Back In The Saddle

*I know you’ve all be anxiously awaiting my return to the dating scene. Some of you have even doubted that I could make it an entire year. Well, I made it and I even lived to tell that tale.  This piece is one I’ve written for MOPS International’s publication The Fridge Door. It will be published on June 3rd. I raise a glass to the I’ve become and the wife I hope to be someday, but first… to the dating scene I go…*

Okay, confession time. The moment my divorce was final I screamed “I’M FREE TO DATE!!” Is that bad? My optimism quickly turned, however, when I took a close look at the dating pool. Match.com, creepy selfies and shirtless shots, oh my!! The next words out of my mouth were, “WHAT am I doing here?

Dating as a single mom doesn’t have to be so bad, but I quickly learned to begin with my end goal in mind. One night, I snuck into my boys’ room while they were sleeping. I’d spent way too much time (again) browsing through my matches and not enough time with boys. They were quick to tell me so. As I watched my sweet boys, snuggled safely in their beds, I was overcome with this one thought – the most important goal of my dating efforts: “I never want to put them through another divorce again.”

There are no guarantees in life. Can I get an amen?  But, to increase my odds, I have personally committed to the following rules for dating:

  1. Know thyself. I messed up in my marriage just as much as my ex-husband. I found a great recovery class through church and un-did some bad mistakes, habits and hang-ups.
  2. Know the golden rule of love: Don’t do anything to hurt yourself, don’t do anything to hurt others.
  3. Know your boundaries. *Remember – these are my rules – your boundaries may look a little different. I don’t let men text me anymore, only phone calls. I am never alone in his or my home past 8:00 pm. I pay attention to the way I dress, I call this HBO – help a brotha’ out. I find I need to help draw his attention back up to face, because I have a beautiful smile.
  4. Know who you are! Take some time to become who you want to be. Find your gifts, talents, passions, purpose and be the amazing woman you were created to be. I took a year off dating to becomea more authentic me, and I’m so grateful I did, because I learned the most important rule of all…
  5. KNOW THIS, finding “the perfect man” will not make your life perfect! I may never marry again and that’s okay. I’ve learned I’m not a commodity and shouldn’t let myself be treated like one. Committing to these rules has helped me clarify the type of man I’d like to attract and the type of woman I want to be.

It’s easy to take this dating thing too seriously or maybe not seriously enough. As a single mom I have discovered a foundational truth that impacts my dating life: Every decision I make, and every action I take,  will have a lasting impact on my kids.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Steve Karich says:

    Very nicely said! I remember somethign my G-pa and Dad told me once, and that was “You’re the only one that can make you happy. No woman or anything else can do that for you…..just you.” Happy Mother’s Day to you.

  2. gretchen lapham says:

    Yes, you do have a beautiful smile. 🙂

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