Single White Female… Plus One

I’ll be the one to say it: dating as a single parent can be tricky in more ways than one.

After I got over my initial post-divorce loneliness, I was indifferent to the idea of dating for quite awhile.  Then I went through a period of casual dating.  Now I am more in a place where if someone I really liked came along, I would probably be open to an actual relationship.  However.

It is clear to me, thank you therapy, that I married Tyler after overlooking plenty of issues that actually should have been dealbreakers for me, probably because I was afraid to be alone.  That is to say, I settled, and after I quickly realized that, I was depressed because I wanted different things than Tyler was able to (or wanted to) give me.  I do not want to make that mistake again.  If I’ve learned one thing about myself, it’s that I would rather be alone than be with someone who’s not quite it.  That makes me extremely picky.  I also have the added consideration of what type of man I eventually want to have around my daughter.

When I do find that rare guy that I am actually interested in, I think that me having a child and being divorced so young scares them off before they get a chance to get to know me.  I am always immediately up front about the fact that I have a two year old.  I am not sure how else to handle it.  What else am I supposed to do, pretend that I don’t have her?  First of all, I love her and am not ashamed of her, second of all it’s just dishonest, and third of all I can totally picture how that would go:

“Welcome to my house!  No, I don’t have a toddler, what are you talking about?  Ignore that ride-on lion that you just tripped over and is now playing some kind of cracked-out circus music!  Pay no attention to the fact that all my pasta is mini!  Why yes I do have abnormally small feet and a penchant for hot pink Crocs.  Here, have a seat at the tabl– whoops, not that chair, it’s got a booster seat strapped to it.  What would you like to drink, whole milk or Mott’s For Tots?”

Yeah.  No.  Pretty sure it’s better to just come out with it right away.  Besides, if me having Caroline is a dealbreaker, then it’s a dealbreaker and that’s fine.  Not too many ways around that one.

Then there’s the whole issue of being divorced, as I’ve discussed before.  Ideally I guess I would meet someone I really liked who is also divorced and has their own kids already, but not too many guys my age and in my social circles meet those criteria.  Luckily I am not too lonely or worried about this right now, but it’s something I am starting to think about more and more.

So if you’re a single parent, how do you handle these types of dating issues?  How have you met other single parents, and how/when do you go about telling people you meet that you have a child?

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