And, of course, the only way to find guys if you’re at home every night while your child is asleep is online dating.At first, it seemed exciting creating profiles on and Plenty of Fish and immediately getting loads of messages.
Dating became a distraction from my daily life, an escape from my full plate of responsibilities. He didn’t have kids and didn’t understand the sinking devastation I felt. “It’s nice to have someone who will have sex with you and not be a jerk, yet not have any expectations or all the emotional stuff.” He had a point.
Even with my friends’ willingness to help out with child care, every night out was a scramble to set up who could watch my kids and when I had to be home by their bedtime. My older daughter was away for a few days after Christmas, and he asked me to go out of town with him. I needed so desperately to get a break from my day-to-day life of working at home. “I gave him an out,” I said to my friend a couple of days later while wallowing through the sixth season of “Parenthood.” “Why did you give him an out? I wanted to escape for an hour or two in between some flirty distractions without worrying about whether he’ll be a supportive, healthy, future partner. I had two very real kids at home who came first, took up most of my time and energy, and I didn’t have much to give.
What became immediately clear is that lots of people my age are like Tom – old before their time and acting like we’ve been married for 30 years.
I realise I’m not a teenager any more, but that doesn’t mean I want to fast-track to a relationship that involves arguing over the remote control when Match of The Day is on.
“Maybe I should set up an online dating account to help me get over him,” I said. After a day on the site, I had three dates on the calendar. Asking a man out on a date, or accepting one, wasn’t just 90 minutes over a beer, sharing the anecdotes that would make us attractive enough to make out with each other.
At first it was confidence-boosting to see that there were a lot of men who wanted to get to know me. What it really came down to was me finding someone who could take on part of my responsibilities. Taking the time to get to know someone meant pulling from time I spent working or taking care of myself. “You can’t expect to either quit having sex or find a perfect match when you’re 40 years old and have kids,” a male friend said.
Have respect for that and do not take it personally.
WHEN I told Tom*, a guy I was dating, that I didn’t want to see him any more as we ‘wanted different things’, he probably thought I meant marriage and commitment.
But I soon got the wind knocked out of my sails when I opened up to friends and family about my newfound love life.