Jewish Journal

Dating for Two

by Ilana Angel

August 6, 2009 | 1:28 pm

Dating is hard.  It’s time consuming, stressful and more often than not, it’s actually painful.  It’s a dance that one can practice over and over again and just when you think you have it mastered, you realize the steps have changed and you are dancing around with two left feet.  With all that said it’s even harder when you have children.

I got separated when my son was a few months old and divorced a year later.  I didn’t really date when he was a baby.  I think I had two dates in the first four years of his life.  I had no time or real interest.  I have friends who got divorced and were dating 5 minutes later.  My ex-husband was dating before the ink was dry on the divorce papers.  Good for them!  But for me I just could not wrap my head around dating when I had such a young child.

When I eventually did start dating I did not involve my son at all.  I spoke of him certainly, and often, but he never met anyone I dated nor did I ever show pictures of him to anybody.  I have always felt that he was a blessing and that any man I dated had to earn the right to know my delicious kid.  You might think it’s stupid or extreme but it was how I felt and it worked for me.  I had a couple of great relationships when he was little.  They were good men and it was nice to be a grown up and not just a mom all the time.  Both of those men never met my kid.  I was not going to marry them so I didn’t see the purpose of introducing them.  While I am very happy with the choices I made in terms of my boy, it turns out that perhaps I had it all wrong.  He is a MUCH better judge of a man’s character than I am.  Probably because he is a much better man than the ones I’ve been dating..

I can tell my kid about a date and he will immediately give me some insight that is spot on.  I can tell him a funny thing my date said or did and he can immediately translate it into man speak and tell me what it really meant.  It is amazing.  At 13 he is already fluent in the language of men.  I can wear an outfit to work or out to dinner with him and he will tell me it’s a good date outfit or on the flip side I can wear something and he will let me know if I wear it on a date I will be two cats away from spending my life sitting on the couch waiting for him to bring my grandchildren over for a visit.

Dating for two has a whole new meaning when your child is not a baby anymore.  I spent a lot of time keeping him out of my grown up life and am happy about that.  I am equally happy that now not only does he have an opinion, but he wants to be involved.  He is clear on who he thinks I should date and even clearer on who I have been dating.

I don’t imagine I will change my philosophy on introducing men to him after a first date, but I think I’m open to him meeting them while I myself am getting to know them.  He is a really smart kid.  He loves me completely, knows me better than anyone else and has my best interest at heart.  When he was little I used to think he would love whoever I loved because he loved me.  Now I know better.  He is going to love whoever loves me the way he wants me to be loved.

I have a new found excitement about dating at this stage of my life.  I’ve got a built in cheering section and stylist.  At the end of the day, no matter what happens, I will always have a divine man who loves me at home.  I’m feeling cute and sassy and ready for love.  There is no trip to the pound to adopt a few cats in my future!  I am hopeful and happy and through the eyes of my child I will always be able to keep the faith.

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