Can the single men we try to date ever understand single parenting?

(24 Posts)
equinox Thu 04-Jul-13 06:25:51

Can anyone shed some light on this issue please!

I have tried to date men over the past 4 years without much success owing to various reasons. However I note there has been a common thread in them all - they just do not get our single parenting lifestyle one bit! If I say I am trapped indoors night on night unable to go out they just not get it - and if I say I am always hard up - they assume it is owing to poor budgeting skills - which simply is not the case as before my son was born I owned two properties in London which I bought largely without help from anybody so that cannot be true. These are both sold now and I moved up to the midlands to in theory break even and help the sums better but we all know the cost of living these days .....! I just have a modest extended 2 bed house now.

They also usually have issues about their own children i.e. if they are still young they wish they saw them as much as we see ours - and that is of course understandable but invariably they just want to sit there and talk about their own life and its problems - without really listening attentively to ours so that they can finally grasp it and show some understanding and empathy.

This even applied to a psychologist I knew who was highly qualified and top in his field and a very high earner - quite a considerable catch - who was interested in me - but despite experience of working with many single parents over the years - he still did not get single parenting in my view. This is owing to various comments he had made which implied a total lack of real insight.

Is it really just hopeless as I would really like a bloke to understand me in the future and although there is potentially one in the pipeline I do not think it will ever work for me if I do not get some understanding. Can they not learn to get our situations by making some effort?? Am I expecting way too much?

I would be grateful for any feedback ladies!

Without wanting to sound to glib - isn't it generally the case that men aren't good at understanding women and visa versa? Add in the obligations of children for men that don't have their own and it would be more so.

I think it is entirely reasonable to hope that you will find someone that can empathise - that is what we all want. However, I also think it will be, sadly, normal to wait sometime to find that "fish" in the sea.

equinox Thu 04-Jul-13 11:22:22

Thanks Muswell Hill for your comments!

Oddly enough I would love to move to Muswell Hill lol.

So I have to wait more than 4 years then! It has been 4 years of 'surveying the single market' shall we say - and meeting endless frogs! Not much out there maybe ....!

Why is it also that I keep meeting men who are sick - not sure what the karmic message is behind that really! For example MS, bowel cancer recovery, a rare blood disorder, damaged balls and teeth (yes, seriously!!) from a cycling accident and I believe there may have been one or two others too in fact I know there was - there was a guy with emphysema - not all of them were through the internet either....!

Weird huh.

teetering13 Thu 04-Jul-13 11:25:30

Not just men .. women too

Single parenting I think might be one of those things that you have to be 'in it, doing it' to get it ..

YoniBottsBumgina Thu 04-Jul-13 11:28:49

I don't think anybody can understand it unless they have experienced it or seen a very close friend/family member go through it.

But it's not unreasonable to expect somebody to be empathetic and listen and remember, for example, that you can't go out at short notice because you need to get a babysitter.

You don't need someone who makes assumptions about your life skills - budgeting, whatever - and feels sorry for you.

Also I have not dated anybody with children of their own but I would imagine this to be extremely raw and difficult because of the time-difference issue - I get frustrated occasionally by being the only person responsible for DS and never getting a break but I could see how that could come across to someone who is hurting because he cannot see his children as much as he would like. It would be easy to become resentful of each others' position especially if you are both struggling with the status quo. If he is happy and accepting that his DC are in the best place and grateful for the contact he does have then that might be different - if there are unresolved issues then probably best to steer clear.

magicrailroad Thu 04-Jul-13 15:43:52

I agree with the others, single parenting is just not something that other people get unless they're in that situation. Plus, single parents aren't all the same - I was on a low income/in council rented when I was a single parent, but I had friends who were getting lots in maintenance and had kept big mortgage-free houses in their divorce, so weren't in the same situation at all! And they didn't really understand how much I struggled financially either. But I do have very helpful parents/sisters, so going out at short notice was never a problem for me.

I am in a new relationship now but I was kissing frogs for longer than 4 years! I would say, don't lower your expectations or standards and make sure that the guy you end up with, is one who deserves you smile. I think a lot of single mums are encouraged to settle for anyone who is 'nice' and 'willing to take them and their kids on'. Which is not a very high standard at all! I generally preferred to see men who didn't have dc of their own, as it becomes a minefield once you start mixing families, exes etc.

equinox Thu 04-Jul-13 18:32:54

Thank you for all your feedback ladies. I think the sorry truth is that nobody gets it like those actually in the situation like us.

Yes you are so right magicrailroad no need to lower our standards whatseover in fact mine have become higher than ever although not unreasonably - as I have made a couple of errors of judgement with the men in the past before my son was born too! His father to name just one lol.

Sometimes I think these days with the independence so many women enjoy and I have to say I do totally relish it hard though it is to stay indoors trapped so often - to be able to think for myself without running countless ideas past a second person would get kind of irksome if I had to account for my decisions in the future! So many men have a bossy way about them too and are rather arrogant they just wouldn't get past first base with me no matter how much money they waved about or how good their job was.

Perhaps the best thing is to just go for a guy who we really like and enjoy it part time and not to ever move in with one ever again - indeed I am already planning to get a dog once my 8 year old boy leaves home so I am not alone!!

I don't know why so many people automatically assume we are desperate for a bloke nothing could be further from the truth it would just be nice to find a kind caring man at long last no matter how little money he had as long as he had that quality and wasn't boring or draining company I would be so happy....!

SnoopyLovesYou Fri 05-Jul-13 17:07:23

Equinox your last post sums up my attitude towards men EXACTLY :-)

SnoopyLovesYou Fri 05-Jul-13 17:39:09

Also equinox hilariously ALL the men that I have been in contact with have (quite serious) health problems. Does past 30 mean for the scrap heap or what? (Some of my ones were even under 30)

SnoopyLovesYou Fri 05-Jul-13 17:39:55

I didn't mean that their health problems were hilarious. Far from it...

revealall Fri 05-Jul-13 23:38:30

I remember my friend coming back fro a second date with a single mum. He was completely in shock sat the reality of children.

He had rocked up at 6.30pm to "surprise" her. She had offered him a cup of tea and then realised she'd given the last of it to her youngest for bed. Being polite she'd suggested she'd pop out to get some more. This involved getting one out of the bath and the other away from the TV (because she couldn't leave them with a man she had met only once before).

It hadn't occurred to my friend that "dropping in" would be massively intrusive to all of them.

(I suggested popping in later with wine would have been a better bet!!)

quoteunquote Fri 05-Jul-13 23:48:37

I was a single student mum when I met my (now) DH, He knew more about single parenting than I did, he was raised by his mother(quite ill), lots of siblings, and foreign student lodgers, totally absent dad,

he could make an interesting tasty meal from few bendy carrots and left overs at the bottom of the fridge, he knew every budgeting trick in the book.

So find a man who was raised by a single parent (my sister married a man raised solely by his dad, BiL is also brilliant), they tend to get it.

Lioninthesun Sat 06-Jul-13 00:00:54

Oooh quote maybe that will be the next generation of online dating!
'SingleMum's Man' - I can see it now... smile

I haven't ventured out of the house for a night out for nearly 7 months into the dating world as a single mum yet. Petrified about logistics of it tbh.

SnoopyLovesYou Sat 06-Jul-13 00:09:08

Yeah Lion I'm not too sure about the bendy carrot curry myself ;-)

Lioninthesun Sat 06-Jul-13 00:13:15

I forsee some flatulence in the 'bendy carrot curry' future. wink

equinox Sat 06-Jul-13 15:52:26

Snoopy you do make me chuckle!

Thanks for the insight ladies lol.

Wallison Sat 06-Jul-13 16:05:47

I've decided to knock dating on the head for a while for this very reason. I've found men who want to meet my son after three dates (err, no fucking way), men who feel sorry for me and think I need rescuing (I don't and am very happy thanks all the same), men who have quite clearly abandoned their kids (already got one of those in my life thanks and don't need another), men who just don't get that I can't drop everything and go out on a whim and get all sulky about it (ffs does this really come as a surprise to you?) etc. I'd very much rather be on my own than deal with all of this kind of crap, and save my nights out for having a laugh with my women-friends - at least that way I know I'll have a good time. And I don't need to shave my legs for it either.

SnoopyLovesYou Sat 06-Jul-13 22:07:32

Wallison exactly. Except you forgot about the ones who just plain and simple think you're 'easy' because you're a single parent. Bleugh!

equinox Sun 07-Jul-13 06:25:10

Yes it is disgusting isn't it Snoopy that sometimes they assume we are gagging for a screw.

I suppose the Daily Mail portrayal of us single parents is that we are loose slappers and will go with anything in trousers!! As well as lacking in qualifications and living in a council property And sponging off the state FFS!

Men only get it when they have fairly recently had their own children. I have no family support so can't go out at the drop of a hat and the ex is to all intents and purposes effing hopeless as he is 100 miles away and has never had a car on the road all the 8 years of our son's life!!

If any guy assumes I need rescuing they can think again too! Plonkers lol.

Also why is it that all older people who aren't in touch with the realities of being independent and living in the 21st centry automatically assume we can't find a man and that we should be coupled up at the earliest convenience to fit in with society's norms and conventions!

I am not at all gay but it is for this reason I sometimes really do feel I get on quite well with gay women as they don't fit in with society's expectations and conventions either lol. I guess both our 'categories' are indirectly making a statement to society, to say leave us alone and don't pick on us for being different!!

SnoopyLovesYou Sun 07-Jul-13 07:22:28

Equinox I think you and I would get on well. Thank you for shedding light on why I have so many lesbian friends! I was beginning to think I must be lesbian myself (except I'm definitely not!) That must be it! I'm just not prepared to fit in with society's norms. When I broke up with my ex, (who was God's gift to womankind didn't you know?) a close male family member said to me 'You were lucky to have a man in your life.' Another male family member said 'I don't think you should start having inappropriate relationships.' !!!!!
Sigh.

After telling people about the lies, the threats, the emotional abuse, the drinking etc, several people in my life went on to disregard entirely everything I had told them. 'Would you not think about taking him back?' some of them enquired in all seriousness.

I'm sure some men do have some worth as fathers and partners (sorry I haven't met many of them that fit this criteria) but why can't people accept that some men, despite how they might come across, are just worthless pieces of &@!*?

Lots of people see a mother and her children on holiday etc. and think 'Oh God. No wedding ring. She must have got herself into trouble. No man. She must be bad news.' I know I am talking about a place here that's quite backward as far as the UK is concerned but it is very unfortunate that some people are so judgemental and judge people based on prehistoric ideas. As if a woman's worth (especially if a mother) is reflected in the (salary of the) man she is with. It's probably true that most of us would like a partner eventually but this is the same for men and people who don't have children too. Now I know some of you living in London and places like that may not get where I'm coming from here and believe me, I don't get these people either. #dreaming of moving somewhere more cosmopolitan ;-)

SnoopyLovesYou Sun 07-Jul-13 08:02:20

Re: the Internet dating though. Is it doomed to failure for us with children because so many men have severe prejudices against single parents/ misunderstandings of what being a single parent actually means?
I was considering deleting my account...

Dervel Sun 07-Jul-13 09:36:35

Honestly I know few people in relationships who are fundamentally happy and haven't in someway settled. Relationships should always encompass compromise, but not to the extent where anyone settles.

Children from prior relationships are the one area where there is no wriggle room. Children must always come first, and if it helps I think most of my mates are cut from the same cloth as me, so there are chaps out there who are suitable. I'm from a broken home myself, raised just by Mum and any man who has any inkling will most likely be impressed rather than express pity at your single parent status.

Although this might sound bleak, but I think it's essential to bring it up. Meeting the right person is an incredibly rare occurrence, and making it work even rarer. You don't want to walk past Mr Right, but be too busy trying to make something work with someone settled for to notice.

That said I still hope we all get our happily ever afters...

equinox Mon 08-Jul-13 06:03:24

In my experience most wives overcompromise. I live in the east midlands these days which is quite a killer on the social and cultural front. Whereas the men really do not mind us having children as they are quite boring homely pipe and slippers types in the main to start with, there is a severe lack of single women around whether it be ones with children or ones without. I would say they do NOT have many prejudices about single parents in this region that was more in London when I was living down there - and people generally assumed we were doing it for the cash (although this was some years ago prior to the recession) FFS!!

Snoopy I need somewhere more cosmopolitan again too! As soon as I can afford to move to somewhere not too chavvy but not too up itself in Kent I am gone!! I had to leave London owing to economic reasons my mortgage was a fortune and I had no family support at all to sustain the demanding jobs i.e. coming home 630/7 pm and going in once a week for 8 am start it was just not doable.

The women in this region are quite man needy and dependent Snoopy so I do totally get what you mean about them identifying with being in a relationship with a man at all costs. I just wish there were more single women about!! And could they be INTERESTING ones please too!!

equinox Mon 08-Jul-13 06:05:34

By the way Snoopy out of interest WHERE is it that you live currently in the UK? I just wish it was near me lol. Bet it isn't. Knowing my luck you live in Devon or somewhere lol!!

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