racing in the rain

Five Lessons About Dating a Single Parent: Racing into Love

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Share your bed,
but keep your own bedroom.

My last three relationships moved *way* too quickly into cohabitation situations. Sure, we were “in love” but we were also still within the early months of dating. It feels so amazing when you are falling in love and when things are going well. Everything adds up and you both say, “What the hell, let’s do this!”

What’s the Hurry, Lover?

All three of the relationships had very different trajectories. I’ll take them out of order to protect the innocent and left behind. (Sorry, that was a bit snarky. Oh well, call me a snarky b then.)

Relationship A: was enflamed from our first in-person date. This woman and I lit up the phone lines twice before we met. One of the ideas floated was, “Let’s fuck our way through all of Brené Brown’s books.” She was in. I was in. And while we never moved in together, I spent an inordinate amount of time at her house. And when it was time for her to move, say at the two-month mark of our relationship, there was a bit of a hiccup as she became sad I was not inviting her to move in with me. It was too soon. And this fracture may have been why she moved all her things out of my place a few weeks later.

Relationship B: had been developing from a friendship of six months into a romantic relationship that surprised both of us. And then Covid arrived and boom, we had a conversation early on, as we all thought the world was ending, “I think you should probably move in, while this blows over. I don’t want you heading out every day to your apartment.” I agreed. And we began our journey in the spaceship of love in an uncertain world. It was a highly pressured and stressful time. And we faired well. But there were issues within the first two weeks of our dating, that should’ve waved me off. I jumped right over those flaming red flags because I was already infatuated.

Relationship C: was also a bit of a whirlwind. I’d been acquainted with this woman for several years. One day, after I’d posted an encouraging comment on her “just broke up with my boyfriend” post on Facebook. Her response was quick and a bit calculated. She asked me if I wanted to play tennis. I didn’t know it then, but she’d had her sights on me for some time and had been reading this blog with an eye for details. After about a month, she flew us to NYC for a vacation, and on that trip, we bought rings at Tiffany’s. We weren’t engaged. But we were something. I wanted a ring. I loved being married. And at some point, I was even engaged to this woman.

The problems came later after she bought a place for us to move in together with my kids. Turns out she liked the idea of me having kids, but she wasn’t ever that “into” my kids. My kids remember her as being pretty cruel. The issues were bigger than likes and dislikes, of course. And when the breakup came down on this relationship, this woman became furious and a bit obsessed with my Facebook posts and this blog. She began a smear campaign on her Facebook page, and since we had over 100 mutual friends, she was really trying to burn the bridge by hurting me. I was unimpressed, but it took a more serious threat to get her to stop posting about “narcissistic abuse” that she had just gotten free of. I’m sure she was just trying to hurt me, but as it ended, I had to block her from all forms of communication. Even then she used a fake FB account to troll my FB page. Sad.

Fast Times in Loveland

Let’s just pace ourselves in our love relationships. Even if things are going 100% great. It’s best to take it slow, especially in the hot sex months in the beginning. You cannot think clearly when your blood is carbonated by sexual desire. You might agree to get married or move in with someone, and it might be a terrible idea.

While I learned a lot from each of these three women, I also learned 5 Lessons About Dating a Single Parent.

  1. My kids are just as important as me. Love them as you love me or be gone.
  2. Time is the currency of love. If you don’t have time for a relationship, don’t try to fake it.
  3. Alcohol is a deal killer for me. If the attraction turns into addiction, I’m out.
  4. Sex is blinding. Good sex is infatuating. Great sex is probably a bit unreal. Watch for the red flags. Slow your roll. The hotter the sex, the slower you should move or make decisions.
  5. Commitment is about creating and nurturing the WE of the partnership.

Even When It Feels Great, Slow Down

There’s no hurry. We get the idea that we’ve got to rush into things, especially if we’re on fire. It’s just not true. You have plenty of time. I’m nearing 60, and there’s absolutely no rush this time. Let’s take it easy. Let’s really take the time to love and know each other while we still have our own places, while we’re establishing healthy boundaries. There’s no rush to move in together. None.

Share your bed, but keep your own bedroom. That way there is no blurring of the boundaries while you are still trying to figure out the basics of the relationship. Don’t race into the rain when things are uncertain and intoxicating. Give your love time to mature a bit, then see where you want to move together.


John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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John McElhenney