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When I became a single mom, I ended up dating much faster than I planned. Who knew the quiet guy from around the corner would grow up to be a handsome Marine Biologist? Not this lady. But alas, there he was – single and totally interested. So, I gave it a shot because it had been ages since I made out in a parking lot leaning up against a car. What I didn’t expect happened after the first few dates.

Jason wanted to hang out after dinner and not along the sidewalk. Awkward silence… He was accustomed at this point to driving me home. But the thought of inviting this dashing dude into my living room past the football cleats and basketballs by the front door to the couch covered with stuffed animals and headbands was as appealing as going to the OB/GYN. Expose my motherhood to this potential boyfriend? No way! Jason knew I was a mom of course, but our conversations revolved around music and movies, adventures around the world post-college, work, and politics. Around him, I felt like a sexy 30-something and I did not want that image tarnished by dishes in the sink and play toys in the bathtub. I needed some personal space.

So I coyly replied that I would love to see his apartment. Turns out, it was a great bachelor pad and we stayed up all night with twinkle lights and Ray LaMontagne while we drank wine and looked at his high school yearbook reminiscing about old friends we grew up with. I woke up in the morning and didn’t have to make a bed, clean up, or make breakfast. He doted on me and I felt like I was back in college. This set up our routine for the next 5 months. I never did invite him to my house but twice and we never left the living room. At my house, I felt like mom. I looked around and saw the carpet that needed a vacuum, homework that didn’t get packed into the bookbag, and the sneakers that were stuffed under the couch. Very unsexy. At that point of my new single-mom dating career, I needed to escape my reality in order to get back to feeling like just a woman. The need for separating myself from my home really surprised me but it was a necessary step to getting comfortable with my new situation.

That was over 5 years ago. I have since embraced the sexiness in and because of my motherhood. I have been lucky to date good guys since who have helped the merger along. (Jason and I are still friends.) That personal space was really integral in my transformation into a capable dating single-mom.

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