"Are you seeing anyone yet?"
I hate this question with the burning heat of a thousand suns.
While I fight back the urge to ask people if they've broken up with their jackass SO's or tell them I'm more interested in a relationship with my right hand, I usually smile politely and answer a simple "No,". I know that most of the people who ask me about my dating life mean well, but it's really none of their business. How do you politely say that? How do you kindly tell your grandmother's friend that she's overstepped the boundaries?
The facts are this: I'm an almost-25-year-old single Mom to a beautiful little boy. I'm also enrolled in an advanced diploma program in Public Relations. I've just completely uprooted my life in an effort to make it better after separating from my husband - six months after we were married. It's been almost ten months since we split up and I am not seeing anyone, nor am I in any rush to. Firstly, can we go back to the beginning? I'm twenty-four years old. I have been pregnant or a parent for almost all of my twenties. I've been in a committed, long-term relationship for all of my twenties until now. Can't I just figure myself out - is that so much to ask?
Some people ask out of concern for my son - "he needs a father, dear". Had my wonderful parents not raised me so well, I would turn around and tell these people (in no uncertain terms) where they can stick that idea. Am I sad that F doesn't have his dad in his life? Yes, I am. It hurts more that my son doesn't have his father around than the breakup ever could have. A big part of the reason J and I were still together was my own narrow-minded idea that he "needed his Dad". The truth is that F has a lot of wonderful male role-models, like my Dad and my many uncles, cousins and my brother. I always point that out. To me, that's like saying that a same-sex couple can't raise a happy, well-adjusted child or that single-parent households are no more than a breeding ground for would-be criminals. J sends me the odd text saying how much he misses F, but the reality is that he has made no effort to be in his life.
When the timing is right, F and I will be ready to welcome someone into our lives: someone who is going to love us unconditionally, support us emotionally and be involved in our lives. I'm not going to rush it or jump in - it's not just my heart on the line. F has suffered enough loss in his life, he doesn't need someone else to let him down. I remain to believe that his dad can still change, but only J can do that. Only J can decide that he wants to be here for our son. I tried to make that decision for him, and it blew up in my face. I was barely twenty when J and I began dating, and I was 23 walking down the aisle. The last five years of my life have been a mix of joy and despair, but I wouldn't change them. They were spent concentrating on J, and then on our child. It's time for me to spend a little time on me.
I've learned that there are times to leap and times to stay still in life. I am taking a GIANT leap of faith in going back to school - I've put everything on the line. Less than week after school started, the sale of the home F and I have lived in is due to close and my life is up in the air. It's scary knowing that I might not land in my feet, but it's the good scary - like when you're about to go on a first date. The idea of dating someone new is terrifying - like when you're being chased by Zombies. Until I have the good-scary feeling about someone, I'll be rocking it solo.
And who knows: maybe that special person will be waiting to catch me.