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Dating after divorce for me started when my daughter was six months old. In my free time I’d learned and mastered the art of swiping left and right. I had gotten married in a time before swiping and I learned how fun it could be. At first, I needed release… release of stress, release of being a single mom to a 6 month old and three year old, release of the quiet of being a stay at home single mom and of course release of being married to one person for so many years. Getting ready for a date as a single mom with a baby is no easy task. Picture a baby strapped in a stroller and placed in the bathroom so I could have a quick shower pre date. The idea of putting makeup on to go to meet a man while simultaneously playing with my baby literally boggled my mind and still does! I’d put my baby to sleep with a perfect face of makeup on, wait for my babysitter to arrive, get dressed and go see and be seen. Initially for me dating was just dating to meet new walks of life, experience complete freedom again and avoid my present life situation for a few hours a week.

With the onset of corona my two steady dates a week came to a halt and luckily I’d settled into my new reality with more ease and confidence. It was time to figure out what I wanted in order to find the right types of dates. With my love for living alone plus my kids of course, I knew I never wanted a man to take up my space or my time with my kids in my house ever again. Still with remnants of being pregnant and certain postpartum body issues I also knew that I didn't want more kids. But that is not common or ok here where I live. I was greeted with “What? No more kids? No don’t worry, you’ll have more kids, you’re just traumatized. No more marriage? Never say never, don't you want a man”? And to all those women and men who say that to me I answer “Absolutely not”! You’re doing women a discredit to doubt someone who knows herself so well.

Now as my swipes go left and right, as tiring and exciting as it can be, dating is a mixed bag of being hopeful to find that “diamond in the rough” with the exhaustion of knowing just what you want but not being able to find it. And in between all the dates and expectations, every now and then you meet spectacular, glowing humans, myself included, who you

never thought could exist- which for me has made it all worth it.

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It can be hard to know what the right response is to a situation one has never experienced.

Here are some Dos and DON’T’s when encountering divorce topics.

1. When someone mentions they’re divorced…

Do say: I’m sorry you had to go through that, it must have been hard”.

Don’t say: Well, I would have done everything to keep my family together” …Believe me, sometimes divorce is the best way to keep everyone intact.

2. If a divorced person vents about their ex’s behavior…

Do say: “That’s so hard, can I help in any way?”

Don’t say: “Why don’t you just take him to court?” Court is a long, emotional and financially taxing war and can take years to come to an agreement.

3. If your spouse is away…

Do: Complain and vent as regular. Marriage is hard too!

Don’t say: “I’m like a single parent”.

4. Children of divorce are having an emotionally hard time with the same event your child experienced.

Do say: “How can I help”? OR “Yes I can understand”.

Don’t say: “ Well my child is doing ok with the situation”.

Always ask if you can help and as in any situation EMPATHY is your friend.

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Updated: May 17, 2022

As my first blog post here I’d like to share one heartwarming memory that has never faded or been erased by trauma over the years. I think of this memory quite often actually, you know how some just pop up more than others?

One afternoon in the playground after preschool, I was chatting with some moms and of course I'm the only divorced mom of my daughters age group (6 months-1.5 years old). One mom hadn’t realized my status and quickly caught on that I was raising my youngest daughter by myself.

Without one moments hesitation, no questions asked, no judgement of having such a young child and being divorced, no “what must you have done?” or “ how crazy is this woman to have let this happen”?, she reached in and hugged me. A true, heartfelt, understanding hug, right there in the middle of the playground.

Why was this event to meaningful to me? Isn’t this the way we should treat women? In my mind YES.

But so many women have stayed away from me, or made remarks that I didn’t do enough for my family, or that I should have done more for my kids, or just don’t bother to take the time to understand what it means to be a single mom. Of course, there is no way to fully understand unless one is divorced but there is a way to lean in and show support.

Share in the comments how you experienced the stigma of being a single mom? Have you had any special moments of kindness and understanding?

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