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Their negativity was surprising and quite upsetting at times. One friend suggested I should just focus on being by myself, while a particularly charming family member questioned why being a mother wasn’t ‘enough for me’.
They even implied that I should wait until my son was 16 – only another 15 years on my own then!
I do realise this all sounds pretty depressing, but then, by some miracle, when I’d been single for around a year I met Jack* – someone I really liked who seemed to really like me.
As his kids were grown up, he didn’t suggest we have our first date at a soft play area or express his disdain for solo parents.
Their comments made me feel that my desire for dating and sex meant I wasn’t measuring up as a mum in some way.
Then there is simply my lack of free time – my son goes to stay with his dad every other weekend, so I have precisely 48 hours a fortnight to have fun. In truth, I doubt we’re even seen as a great catch and imagine lots of people think I should just settle for whoever I’m lucky enough to get.Aside from the obvious safety issues, nobody expects child-free, single women to be happy with dates in their own living room, so why should I settle for that?I want to meet for coffees in lovely cafes, enjoy walks along the beach and go on amazing nights out that don’t end until the sun comes up.I’m not sure what a man is his late 30s was expecting, but I sincerely doubt he’s found it yet.Then there was the guy who wouldn’t accept that I’m only free every other weekend and wanted to come round to my house once my son was asleep.
Another man I dated for a few months got annoyed that I couldn’t spontaneously go to London for a long weekend because I had Josh.