Not long after becoming single, I sobbed to my mum and my friends words along the lines of: “WHO WILL EVER WANT TO DATE ME? A 26-YEAR-OLD WITH AN EIGHT-MONTH-OLD BABY! I’LL FOREVER BE ALONE!” Me? Drama queen? Nah.
Of all of the questions I am asked most: “How did you know you were ready to get back out there and date?”
There was no magic moment where I woke and thought, right… I’m ready for a boyfriend. In fact, it was much the opposite. As someone who always depended on their partner, I felt liberated relying on no one but myself. All I had to worry about was me and Ollie. I could parent him the way I wanted.
I no longer spent sleepless nights waiting for someone to come home, or was abruptly woken in the middle of the night by snoring. There was no one to disappoint me. Let me down. Lie to me. I was free!
While parenting solo certainly had its moments, this sense of freedom was so intoxicating, I knew it was going to take someone pretty special to disrupt this peace.
Jessie Stephens translates modern dating… it’s tough out there.
There were a few false starts. I agreed to go on a few dates with perfectly nice guys, but each time it just didn’t feel right. I simply wasn’t ready, even when I’d convince myself that perhaps it was time to put myself back out there.
But in reality, my heart was still mending. My head was still too consumed in the past and there’s no way you can possibly be ready to commit to someone in that state, and I needed to acknowledge that.
Sometimes I would mention I had a child, other times I didn’t bother when I knew I would never see the guy again. I was always so nervous to bring it up. I felt like they’d judge me and they wouldn’t quite get it. But to their credit, each one of them was so positive, which was so pleasantly surprising.
It didn’t take me long to work out that Ollie was the most amazing filter. Only really genuine, decent guys bothered to talk to me. Anyone who had bad intentions kept well away. I guess they figured they wouldn’t waste their time messing with a woman with a baby. And that was fine by me.
I eventually just pumped the brakes on dating and forgot about it. I invested my time into rebuilding my self worth. I never placed any emphasis on finding someone. If it happened, it happened. I knew whoever I let in had to accept the fact it wasn’t just me, it was my little boy too and everything that came with that.