Hi Evan, I have been reading your blog for a while now, and am appreciative of the insights I’ve learned. I am working towards balancing a dating life while raising two amazing daughters. I have a full time career and a fairly active social life. I recently met a wonderful man online who similar to me has been divorced and has children. He typically has dated women without children as he found it was less complex. We went out four times in one month, and in between there was a strong connection we both verbalized and confirmed experiencing. I was surprised by his uncharacteristic request to date other women as he felt once a week wasn’t enough time to build momentum between us.
I told him I was happy to have met him and that we shared a connection, but wouldn’t be open to the idea of other people and cut things off. Intellectually, I feel I’ve made the right choice. However, I understand my lack of availability may be a big issue for anyone. My heart is having second thoughts and wondering if I should have been open to the consideration of getting to know him better while being open to meeting others? Is that healthy? I’ve dated a good amount of men, and on many levels he seemed wonderful. The “dating other people” bit threw me for a loop and hoping you might share your thoughts.
Thanks Evan. —Single Mom
Thanks for your question, Single Mom, because it’s a great reminder that sometimes a strong connection isn’t always enough to get a relationship off the ground.
There are a few things that I could stand to know about you that would give me more clarity on your situation — namely, your age, his age, and the ages of your respective children. Without that, I’m sort of flying blind here.
If a man is really young, he’s probably used to dating women without children, who are, by definition, a lot more available.
Because there’s a big difference between a 32-year-old man and a 57-year-old man.
And there’s a big difference between a 1-year-old and a 16-year-old child.
If a man is really young, he’s probably used to dating women without children, who are, by definition, a lot more available. Why should he settle down with a woman who can only give him one night a week when he can have a girlfriend who can give him three or four nights? That’s right: he shouldn’t.
And if either of you are raising young ones, they’re a lot more all-consuming than if you’ve got high-schoolers who can largely take care of themselves.
These circumstances will dictate a lot, whether you like it or not.
So the real question isn’t about this guy, per se. He’s just a placeholder for all men that you’re going to encounter as a single mom.
To figure out what to do the next time you meet a wonderful man, let’s backtrack:
Was this guy wrong for wanting a woman who’s more available? No.
Were you wrong for refusing to accept his open-relationship terms? No.
As such, there’s no cause for you to agonize or lament what went down. He did what was right for him. You did what was right for you.
Ultimately, he’ll find the childless girlfriend who can give him more time.
And you’ll find the single dad who understands your predicament and embraces it.
Doesn’t that feel a lot better than worrying that you let some guy get away?
I sure hope so.
P.S. If EVERY guy feels that you don’t have enough time for him between work, kids, hobbies, friends, family and your “active” social life, then yes, maybe you need to make a few cutbacks. But that’s another conversation for another day.