Okay, confession time. The moment my divorce was final I screamed “I’M FREE TO DATE!!” 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 mum 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 my boys. 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:
- 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.
- Know the golden rule of love: Don’t do anything to hurt yourself, don’t do anything to hurt others.
- 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 bloke out. I find I need to help draw his attention back up to my face, because I have a beautiful smile.
- 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 become a more authentic me, and I’m so grateful I did, because I learned the most important rule of all…
- 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 mum 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.
Lori works at MOPS International as the Regional Outreach Team Lead. She’s also a writer, speaker and a divorced mama of two exceptional boys, 10 and 7. Lori’s most favorite thing to do during her off time are swimming, running, biking, hiking and traveling to far off places. It was during the most painful and challenging event in her life that she came to understand the full measure of Jesus’ love for her and she’s been following his lead ever since. You can find her blog at asoftplacetolandblog.wordpress.com.