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Sex and the Single Mom

Categories: Hoping for Love, Missing Parent


I had to get up from my computer three times while writing the headline to this post, walking in circles and cracking my neck, inspecting the sink for any errant ants, wondering, is there maybe some pudding in the cupboard? Anything to distract myself from my nervousness at stepping into this taboo topic.

I picture Doctor Laura with her crackling voice and defiant understanding of the Way Things Should be Done: no dating for the single Mom until the child is 18 and out of the house, she would say and so I think: yes, you know what? I need to write this.

Married couple sex is discussed openly and with gaiety in the media: husbands make lecherous jokes, wives roll eyes, advice columns explain patiently how to keep the spark alive. Twenty-something relationships are highlighted in ad campaigns: naked, brawny couples rolling in white sheets in underwear and sexy tank tops. But there’s not too much out there for the Single Mom who is devoted wholeheartedly to her children, carrying around a bit of a hole in her own heart. Ecstasy for the Single Mom isn’t sexy, it’s taboo.  It’s baked with guilt and suspicion and a half a cup of “you really shouldn’t be doing that.”

I’ve been single for a year and a half now. I’ve worked hard at working double time to support myself and my son, I immersed myself wholeheartedly in deadlines and proposals and honestly, my single-minded focus on work was therapy for me: a welcome distraction from the empty pillow beside me. There’s no place for a pity party in the land of exhaustion.

I took solace on the Internet, through real life friends and cups of steaming tea with my Mom. But the day arose, not too long ago, where I suddenly felt the full-brunt force of the realization that, man, I miss having a man to talk to. I miss having my hand held, my hair touched, someone to chase that determined raccoon off my porch. And I decided, I’m ready, I’m going to start putting myself out there.

It’s easier to make the decision than to act on it. I realize it’s a whole new ballgame: the wrong men will consider my son baggage, the right one will love us both. But how do I find the right man without introducing him to my son immediately? How can I explain who I am as a person without showing him my sweet little sidekick from the get go: here, see, this is Part II of my heart. This is the piece of my soul that walks on the earth. Do you get it?

My feeling is that it’s not right to let my son meet any man I am just getting to know: introductions should wait until it’s very serious and even then there are so many questions. Do I keep my eye out for a kind-hearted single Dad? Should I wait till my son is in school? Would I have to give up one of my jobs to even try to have a social life? Can I handle on more ball to juggle? Is the possibility of long-term love even worth it?

The short answer is that of course it’s worth it. It’s what we’re all after, isn’t it: someone who will love us with our all our foibles and quirks, luggage, sticky Kool-Aid hands and assorted Hot Wheels trucks.

I think my son would be happy to see me happy and fulfilled, to know that I sacrificed much for him, but  thatI still placed a bit of emphasis on my own secret hopes, in the desire that both of us might live our best life here on this planet. I just wish someone would hand me a roadmap to the first street on this new bit of the journey, because solo navigation is pretty hard with a sidekick who can’t yet read.

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19 comments so far...

  • Wow. I struggle with the same feelings..although I wish I could say I was ambitious as you and was working two jobs! You’re doing a wonderful job with your little man. Thank you for putting into words the thoughts that have been tormenting me for a long time.

    Miz  |  June 6th, 2008 at 8:19 am

  • I am so glad you’ve touched on this subject. I’ve been single for over two years. It’s not because I feel it’s wrong to be in a satisfying relationship. A lot of it was getting myself to a point where I felt I knew myself again(breaking away from the person I was with my ex, and getting used to being mommy). But most of it is all the questions you are asking above. I have a daughter so for me a lot of it is pure paranoia. It’s a tad irrational, but I feel that I want it to just be her and me until we can actually sit down and talk about important things that may come up. But it is hard. My daughter is just in awe of my male friends and I feel a pang of guilt that she doesn’t have a father figure. I live in an apartment building and every morning when i leave for work I smell the same over powering smell of axe body spray in the hallway and i’m over come with loneliness. I know that must sound so pathetic but it’s true. We may be single mom’s but we’re still woman with needs. I think that as long as we can continue to put our children first(NO MATTER WHAT!!) and use good judgement when introducing a man into our children’s life then we have nothing to lose, but hopefully gain something more fullfilling. Good luck Kristin, you deserve a good guy!

    Miranda  |  June 6th, 2008 at 9:24 am

  • Well said!!!
    I have no idea when to introduce someone to the children. First who wants to get involved with someone if they don’t get along well with your child. How and when do you find out? But then you don’t want to introduce them too early.
    I have dated two guys and both were in education. One a teacher, the other a principal. I figure they have had to have serious background checks right.

    Then there is the other issue of it would be so nice to have a extra pair of adult hands to help me chase my little tornadoes around the house. OH my kingdom to have a clean home. Speaking of which the dryer is calling me.
    Good luck!!! Dating post children is challenging and scary.

    Terri  |  June 6th, 2008 at 7:53 pm

  • Miz: I’m not sure if it’s ambitious as much as required. I live in a really expensive city, and I love good food and pretty sparkly things.

    Miranda: My son has that “awe thing” around males too…it’s a little heartbreaking.

    Terri: Challenging, scary, and very very hopeful, no?

    Kristin Darguzas  |  June 6th, 2008 at 10:08 pm

  • You know what? Screw Dr. Laura. She’s a crackpot.

    The greatest gift you can give your son is the knowledge that he is an important part of your life, but not your WHOLE life. That you still need adult relationships. That you loved him enough not to make him the center of your universe.

    Is it trickier, navigating dating with a kid in tow? Absolutely. Is it worth it? Hell yes. Love him enough, love YOURSELF enough, to keep looking.

    Mir Kamin  |  June 7th, 2008 at 3:50 pm

  • I think I love you, Mir.

    Kristin Darguzas  |  June 7th, 2008 at 9:35 pm

  • I know I am going to get in trouble here but, I am a man. Yes now I went ahead and said it. I found this blog by chance and found myself interested in the topic. Go figure! I am not sure if this comment will make the cut but here goes anyhow.

    I too have been alone for over a year and a half. I have a wonderful little girl who is my life. I have a neat little blog where individuals have helped me along the way to be the best dad I can be and for me that is what’s important.

    I have often struggled with what your topic discusses. It sounds like it is much more than the s-e-x but about giving and receiving of love and affection. I have recently found myself wanting much of the same but deciding to get back in the game is somewhat hard. I seem to have forgotten how to play and even worse, where the game is. :-)

    As for your little boy, I think it is important to guard his heart until you found someone that has potential. I know when I find someone it will be months before I introduce my little one to them. I guess it is a personal choice but in my mind it is a good one and if the other person doesn’t understand that then “adios”. The children need to be put first and protected, they can’t do it themselves so as a parent I have to.

    Anyhow I have rambled on long enough. I wish you the best of luck and it sounds like you know what needs to be done. Take it one day at a time… Unlike you I have the energy for a pity party, I guess I better get there….

    Jason  |  June 8th, 2008 at 5:41 am

  • Good for you, Kristin. You deserve to be cherished. Wishing you a gentle, erudite, sparkling honey!

    Miriam  |  June 8th, 2008 at 5:56 am

  • Jason: a male perspective is refreshing and always welcome around here, no matter what. You are right, the child has to be put first and protected. That’s the bottom line it always comes down to.

    Miriam: erudite and sparkling! Sounds wonderful.

    Kristin Darguzas  |  June 9th, 2008 at 3:27 am

  • You and Dr. Laura. Geesh!!!

    Jessica  |  June 9th, 2008 at 2:27 pm

  • I have been a single dad (widowed) for 3 years and fully understand and appreciate what you are saying. The children must always come first, no matter what! I know my son does, and if I am lucky enough to meet someone I think will be the one, I truly hope he and she get along or it cannot work. So then I also wonder; what if I wait until I am totally in love with a woman, and for some reason, she and my son do not get along? Then the hole in my heart was filled, but only temporarily. So I think timing is everything. I know I would do anything for my son, protect him in any and every way, that is a given. So, should he should meet her (if I ever find her!) when it is starting to get serious, but before it gets too painful to lose? Am I being selfish? My heart was crushed when I lost my wife, so I am very fearful of being hurt again I suppose…
    I guess my point is there can be two sides to every argument. I am probably overproective -if there is such a thing - of my son since he lost his mom at 5,a nd she was only 38, so it was a horrible thing for him to go through…

    It is a more complicted thing than one would imagine. The children come first, but in a way, having him meet someone before I get too deep in it, is putting him first. It is allowing his feelings into the decision at an apprpriate stage of the relationship. I would just tell him she is a friend of mine, and see how they get along. If things are good, and she and I progress in our relationship, he would know her already and alleviate a lot of nervousness, tension and potentilly a broken heart or two.

    This was not intended to be such a lenthy posting, but my thoughts sometimes lean either way on this particular topic… I think the fact that we put such time and energy into these decisions is indicative of the fact that our children come first! Ah, the life of a single dad - the beauty of raising a wonderful son - the lonliness at night without a woman! The prior certainly compensates for the latter, as raising a child, and the love of my son, is such a beautiful thing! Like you, though, I miss holding hands, and having that special someone with whom to share life and love.

    Children first - always. Lose hope of finding true love again - never!

    sorry for the lengthiness, I am new to blogging but this topic is one I think about so often…

    Keith  |  June 9th, 2008 at 3:28 pm

  • I really appreciated being able to read the views from the ‘other camp’. You may have had a lengthy post Keith, but you made a lot of really good points. I personal feel like 1.) many of my own beliefs on the subject have been validated and 2.) I have more variables to consider. I really like the idea of introducing new people as friends for a period of time. That thought alone has opened some doors of opportunity for me. Thanks!

    Also, I am so sorry about your wife, that must be difficult especially with young ones. My heart goes out to you.

    Miranda  |  June 9th, 2008 at 3:49 pm

  • Wow I had barely gotten married 2 weeks before my son was born and separated before he was even a month. I found that dad the one man I loved for 16 years was addicted to pain pills and just not wanting to be the man I need and my son needs. I have to protect my son from potential harm and so I asked dad to leave.

    I am now thinking what happens when I am ready to get into the dating scene again? I am so worried I might pick a bad seed. That my son may not get along with him. That our parenting skills might be off and we argue about one being too harsh or one being too nice.

    But I do know for one thing I will protect my son and only bring those around that are potential to be long term. My own mother was a single mom and out of all the men she dated I only remember meeting three. One who took her on a trip, one fiancee, and the man she married 19 years ago that I call dad.

    I hope to meet men like Jason and Keith who will love my child just as much as I could love thiers and make a go at a family. Men who have standards close to mine. At this time it would be nice to have someone there but I am not ready to. I am content going at it alone.

    Celina  |  June 15th, 2008 at 8:16 am

  • Kristen, I would encourage you to address the sex part of the post more directly, like what is the sex life like for a single working mother? What are your needs and what do you want? We’re all smart adults around here and that discussion would be chock full of insights. I would also encourage everyone to check out, DM talks frankly and humorously about dating/sex for single dads. Plus, DM is a great guy.

    Here is my take: I’ve dated two single mothers (one I’m currently seeing), and the dating model has been the exact same. We meet and go on some dates, the physical part is fairly slow (by my usual standards, although it’s cool), and I don’t get to meet the little guy until well into the relationship…like basically until we’re bf-gf. Even when I have sleepovers at her place, I come over after he’s asleep. There’s not much time/space for wild adventures (weekend getaways) but that’s fine too. Sometimes the kid stays at his grandparents house and we have more flexibility.

    This hasn’t been my experience, but I’ve noticed single mothers almost always take on FWB relationships until they find a proper bf.

    Single mothers need and want sex. They’re just like everyone else and it shouldn’t be a taboo subject to talk about. Kristen, you’re an attractive woman, so I hope you’re getting some action!!

    Lance  |  June 16th, 2008 at 5:23 pm

  • [...] Sex and the Single Mom [...]

    Do You Let Your Kids Know You’re Getting Nooky? | Honey and Lance  |  June 19th, 2008 at 1:30 am

  • I think we all as single moms struggle with sex and being a mom! I myself did struggle to but I meet a really great guy and he loves my daughtrer just as he loves me. Now don’t get me wrong it is a little harder to date when you have a child or children because time and trust is a big issue for you. But we as women have to keep story like this open an free to all the other single moms out there that are going though or struggle motivated. Please my best advise is to not give up on your personal self, get your hair done, buy that sexy dress and love who you are at all times and that okay guy will come to you!

    Lynn  |  June 22nd, 2008 at 6:27 am

  • Okay, so here I go again! Single dad Keith here.. I’ll try to keep this one shorter…
    Celina, I am sorry you unfortunately married a deadbeat.. I guess some men just do not realize how good they have it, or have their priorities in order. Since the primary topic here is sex and the single mom, I guess I should be completely honest.. I have not had sex in a while, which, as a man, also brings another thought to light. I am really out of practice! So another thing to think about for me, will I be good enough for the woman when I finally find her? Will she understand that I just need time? I hope so.. I love sex and seek a woman that does also, but I’m not super confident in myself after not having any for so long…
    Well, I have actually joined a dating site again, because I have no intent of giving up my search. There has to be a woman for me out there, one that appreciates a decent guy, that loves to laugh and have fun.. .maybe she’ll be smart and love to read even… right?
    Well, wish me luck in either finding some sex, or hopefully, a mate! Either would be great at this point, but I am really hoping for someone to share life with in the long run..

    Keith  |  July 7th, 2008 at 10:14 am

  • 50+ year old, exhausted single moms with deadend jobs are not going find someone to date much less have sex. Who has the time. I either work, cook or clean every minute I am awake. I have no money for food and housing. I am going to go to do what to meet people. All my girlfriends are either married or living with someone. It is not realistic to hope to ever be held again.

    Abilene  |  July 9th, 2008 at 10:22 pm

  • I’m really sorry to be the bearer of what I assume is bad news but here goes:

    I’m a 19 year old girl whose parents were divorced when I was four and my younger brother was 2. The happiest times of my life were those that were spent when my mother was not involved with someone else.

    My mother remarried first when I was 9 and had a child when I was 10. He is a sweet boy who’s 9 now and I love him more than words can say, he was like a little living doll for me to play with. However, her husband was verbally abusive and one day when he was at work, we all four of us packed up our things and left (the four of us being my mom, my two brothers and myself, to be clear).

    Things were absolute ecstasy for the next 3-4 years. I was in junior high living in an apartment with my two brothers, going back and forth to my dad’s house. This was honestly the best time of my life. I know it must have been hard for my mother to not have a man in her life but she was so devoted to my brothers and I. I was also able to be her partner in crime, we would talk late into the night about boys and school and I could tell her everything (which is no small feat with a adolescent girl, or so I’m told).

    Then she met her current husband. He is really a treat (and I mean that in the most sarcastic way imaginable). I cannot stand him. I almost convinced her to break up with him before they got married. She made the call but he talked her down. I cried during her wedding day, alone in the corner (I was the maid of honor). It was awful. I still despise him, and while I don’t use the word hate, he’s the person with which I’ve come closest to using it. She has had 3 children with him. I love the kids and thankfully my putrid stepfather and I have a tacit understanding that we will be civil and nothing more.

    But I worry about my brother from my mother’s second marriage, he won’t be able to leave the house when my stepfather is berating him and telling him how horrible he is and threatening to send him to his father. When he’s telling him not to eat my stepfather’s food because he’s not his real son. When he’s blaming every little insignificant flaw on his upbringing and the fact that he wasn’t brought up in the sanctuary that is my stepfather’s household (oh, and please don’t think I’m exaggerating, nobody likes the man).

    So alas, my mother has finally realized that children are hurt when their families are torn asunder and has vowed to stay with this loser. C’est la vie. She to this day apologizes to me for leaving my father and says that her two biggest mistakes in life were leaving him when she was young and naive, and then remarrying before I was old enough to mentally accept being replaced (because I was, I really truly was). I was not able to accept this until I moved out of the house. But I love my mother for all of her flaws.

    Please don’t remarry. Having replacement parents sucks and unless you find the perfect human being (Jesus?) the man you wind up with will only be put out that he is entering a ready-made family. At best he will harbor a grudge and forever wonder what life would have been like had he married someone who didn’t come with a young child, and at worst he will try to edge out your poor, sweet son.

    My mother, bless her heart, sticks up for us now but when she first got married her marriage was like a new toy that needed to be taken care of, and which my brothers and I were sabotaging by being teenagers and having “attitude” (yes, you will learn all about attitude, boys get it too).

    You may even want to have kids with your new husband. That will cut into your son like a knife. I promise you. Every time you get pregnant, he will think “gee, just when I was finally beginning to accept the arrangement…”

    I’m sorry if this upsets you and if you want to hit the caps lock key and tell me how horrible I am that’s fine. I am only 19. But I’ve had 15 years’ experience on this topic and my entire life has been devoted to dealing with step parents. I wish I could live those few years between marriages over and over and over again. They were truly the best of my childhood.

    With regards to my dad: my dad had a live-in girlfriend for 14 years before they were married and I’ve only just now begun to accept her (now that I’ve moved out of the house). However, she is still hurtful and tells my brother and I that we have the worst mom in the world, and I cannot say anything back to her because to upset her would be to cause a rift between her and my father. Do you really want your boy to be dealing with complex thoughts such as those at a very young age? Because he will.

    Dr. Laura isn’t crazy, I listen to her every so often and everytime I hear her tell single mothers to wait on love I want to thank her. I hope that one single mother will give her child the childhood that I always wanted. One full of love and acceptance by their parents. Not one of replacement and having to tell your parents, “It’s okay, I’ve forgiven you by now. What’s done is done. Yes I wish that you hadn’t left my father and yes I wish that you had never remarried, but without it would I have all of these wonderful brothers?” (I have 5, to recap, only one of which is not a half brother).

    Perhaps you think that you can avoid the mistakes that my mother has made and find the perfect marriage. It is your right to do whatever you see fit. But maybe this will give you pause. Maybe it will give your son one more glorious year like those years I had between marriages.

    Patty  |  August 12th, 2008 at 2:21 am