Don’t settle for less because of your Solo Mom status
When I divorced my ex-husband, the biggest mistake I made was jumping into a new relationship with an old flame. He made me believe, just long enough to give him a chance, that things had changed since the last time we had spoken. But it was too late when I realized he was still the same guy whom I had left years ago—a self-described “free bird” who dodged as much responsibility as possible without any regard for whomever he hurt in the process—and that I was in a bad rebound relationship. I felt more miserable in this relationship than I had ever felt with my ex-husband, and to rub salt in the wound, my ex-husband was, at this point, treating me with more kindness.
Let’s face it, it can be extremely hard for us as Solo Moms following a divorce or the end of a serious relationship. We deal with a multitude of challenges as we work through our emotions, and many of us are learning how to coparent in a new type of weird relationship with our former spouse or partner. So many of us, myself included, end up trying to settle down with those who aren’t worth our time and effort because we’re lonely, we believe their bullshit, or we feel like damaged goods—or a combination of these and other reasons.
So what can we do to avoid a rebound relationship?
Find a good therapist. The most important thing you can do is admit that you’re in a vulnerable state and find a good counselor or therapist to help you navigate the issues and situations you are dealing with during your divorce. My biggest mistake was thinking that I didn’t need an unbiased ear, someone to help me work through my own weaknesses and imperfections regarding my state of mind. If you are thinking about divorce or recently have been through one, the best thing you can do is work on your mental health; you deserve to feel as if you are the best version of yourself you possibly can be each and every day.
Don’t go looking for a “good time” if what you really want is a stable relationship. When you are on the dating scene again and don’t have your kids for the evening, it can be easy to find yourself at a club or bar. The majority of the men whom you’ll meet in such places often are just looking for a one-night stand—and though having a one-night stand doesn’t make you a horrible person, it can be really upsetting if you fall for a seemingly nice guy and it turns out he’s interested in only “one thing.”
Believe actions, not words. We all have met people who have told us one thing and then continued to do the complete opposite of what they said they were going to do. When a potential partner comes into your life, make sure you don’t take this person at his or her word for anything until you really know the person (and, in some cases, not even then!). Face it, it can be extremely hard to find a single man or woman who has his or her life together, but if you simply allow those whom you are interested in to prove themselves through their continued actions, you can avoid a lot of heartache.
Say what you mean and mean what you say. If you do enter into another relationship, don’t be afraid to lay the ground rules and hold your partner to his or her side of the bargain. Make it known that because you are a Solo Mom, the time you give to this person is special because early on in a new relationship, you probably do not allow your children to meet your love interests, which means that the time you’re spending with this person is time that you could be spending with your children. Simply put: you don’t have time to waste playing childish games. The end goal for most Solo Moms reentering the dating world is to find someone whom you not only cherish but also rely on to be a responsible and generally good person.
Be selective. Most important, be selective if or when you introduce a new partner to your children. You may unintentionally end up in a rebound relationship despite your best efforts, and if that happens, it can be hard to explain where so-and-so went to a child who may have become extremely attached to this person in a short period of time. You may not always be able to spare yourself the heartache, but it is important that you try your best to minimize additional heartache when it comes to your children’s well-being.
Did you know that the ESME community has Tribes of supportive Solo Moms based on your unique circumstance? Come see if joining an ESME Tribe is right for you.
Tara Glenn is a Solo Mom of four who currently resides in Pensacola, Florida. She has a background in public affairs, writing, and photography. Tara spent five years in the Navy and now volunteers with the Civil Air Patrol as a public affairs officer. She enjoys working with small businesses as a ghostwriter as well as encouraging her children’s love for aviation in her free time—the running joke being that she only creates pilots, as all of her children love to fly!
Please feel free to contact us with any comments or questions.