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Sex and the Single Mom: No, I Don’t Want You To Be My Son’s Step Dad

My son has only ever known his parents as separate entities. Therefore, I have had approximately six years of experience dating as a single mom. In that time, my son has met two men and I feel a lot of guilt about each of them.

So I was shocked after a recent text from “I Hope This is Dog Poop” Guy stated he didn’t want to keep wasting my time because he wasn’t ready for a serious relationship, or to start a family. If you recall, we were only dating for two months; so if he’d asked, I would have readily told him I was also not ready for a serious relationship or to start a family. But, that is often the assumption when you date a single mom; that the logical step after casual dating is being a step dad. For me, this is not the case, nor is it logical.

Introducing my son to someone new is not something I take lightly anymore.

The first man he met was an amazing opera singer from North Carolina. He was one of those relationships that made you realize why nothing had worked out before. It was different and special. He traveled in and out of New York for auditions and gigs. After several months of dating, I asked if the next time he was in New York he wanted to stay with me. Bad idea. We played house for a few weeks here and there.

It was beautiful but it caused me to want this thing I’d never had before: a co-parent. So when he’d leave and I’d lose him, I got really angry. Angry at people who had a partner to split the load. Angry at my son’s dad for not being there. Angry at my mom when she tried to help because even though she was helpful, she’s not who I wanted there.

When we broke up (long distance never works), I almost felt relief that I could go back to doing it on my own every day. This way, I could manage my expectations. So, I did, and I promised myself that the next person who met my son would be the man I married.

That promise was fulfilled. The summer my son was three he spent a month in Maine with my parents (because I lost my apartment) and I met an Engineering student from Zambia. When my son returned, it didn’t take long for me to want to introduce him to the new guy I was seeing. A few months later he was spending most weekends with us. A year later, we got married and moved in together.

This time it was different. He was certainly not a co-parent. I don’t know if “Zambian Engineer” didn’t feel comfortable in that role or if I didn’t allow him to take it on because of my past with  “Opera Singer” (probably a combination of both); but, the lines were drawn.

My son referred to him as his step dad in public, called his mom Grandma, we even had a family Christmas card I sent out that year (a life long dream of mine). But, we didn’t make parenting decisions together, and he didn’t go to the park with us, or help with bedtime routines. We were not in this parenting thing together.  

Turns out, we weren’t in a lot of things together. My son was devastated when I told him we were getting a divorce. He cried out of true sadness for the first time. My son told me his stomach hurt and then grabbed his chest/heart in pain. This broke me more than the divorce itself. And, on occasion, when my son asks after him or tells strangers he has/had two dads (which leads to some interesting park conversations), I spend a good chunk of that evening crying into a glass of wine.

So no, “I Hope This is Dog Poop Guy,” I was not looking to start a family with you. I was just looking for someone to take as a plus one to weddings and talk about my day with. The next person to meet my son, needs to prove themselves in my life for an extended period of time before they are allowed into his. I strongly believe that person is out there but, apparently, I have a few more first dates to go on before I find him. 

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11 Responses to Sex and the Single Mom: No, I Don’t Want You To Be My Son’s Step Dad

  1. Jennifer January 11, 2017 at 2:07 pm #

    Still loving your blog! It has a level of honesty that is refreshing. Oh and the nick names remind me of how I label my past relationships.

    • sarah January 11, 2017 at 3:26 pm #

      Thanks you for your openness and you are not alone in this sentiment. When I was a single mom, I had this struggle a lot. I felt like saying to new suitors “just FYI, I’m not looking for a dad for my son” was weird and seemed forward, but then again if it wasn’t said, I felt like it was assumed it was what I wanted. Sigh

    • Keveney
      Keveney January 12, 2017 at 12:15 pm #

      Thank you for your support ! Dating is a struggle, right?

  2. ACAL January 11, 2017 at 3:07 pm #

    I loved reading this, Keveney! I think most women can relate to your article. It’s good to know that though the search for love is tough we’re not alone in it. The right guy will come around for sure!

    • Keveney
      Keveney January 12, 2017 at 12:15 pm #

      Thank you !

  3. Hallie January 11, 2017 at 4:29 pm #

    Such a tough situation… the want of a partner to share things with – the day to day etc… and then having to hold back (for X amount of time) the part of your life that is most important- your kid! Another great read! I need to go back and read the entry about “dog poop” guy. You like how I shortened his name!? Haha!

    • Keveney
      Keveney January 12, 2017 at 12:17 pm #

      Thank you and yes, when you need a laugh, go back and read the other piece. Ha.

  4. Val January 11, 2017 at 6:53 pm #

    I am so thankful for your open, honest blog! As a new-ish single mom who hasn’t ventured into this territory yet, your blog is like a guidebook. Thank you!

    • Keveney
      Keveney January 12, 2017 at 12:17 pm #

      Most of this is what not to do. Hahaha. But I am so happy it’s helping people to read it. It is definitely helping me to write it.

  5. Roger February 5, 2017 at 1:44 pm #

    When I started dating again (also after a failed long distance relationship) I didn’t let my dates near my children. I figured if it worked out and I thought it was going to become permanent, that would be the time.

    I also didn’t want to meet my dates children for the same reason!

    Nice site/blog

    • Keveney McCrillis
      Keveney McCrillis February 6, 2017 at 9:21 pm #

      I can relate Roger. Thanks for the read and the comment!