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Dating as a Single Mom- How to Avoid Losing Your Identity

Dating as a Single Mom- How to Avoid Losing Your Identity 5.00/5 4 votes

For a single mom like myself, it feels like beginning to date again is a hopeless cause. All the odds seem to be against you because more than ever, you are looking out for yourself and your happiness. I began dating my current boyfriend over a year ago, and I could honestly say that I have never been happier.

One of the hardest parts about dating is staying true to you. People get so caught up in making their partner happy that they forget to take care of themselves.

the beach at lastOne of the biggest reasons why I hesitated to begin dating was that I did not want to lose my independence, and most importantly my identity. I wanted to be the best mother to my one-year-old daughter, and I did not want anyone to get in the way of that, especially a man.

When I finally decided to give dating a chance I was afraid to do what I did in my previous relationship, which was let myself get lost living the life that my partner wanted me to live. But so far I am happy to tell you that that story has not repeated itself.

Instead of building a wall to protect my feelings and myself, I decided to do what was right and give love another chance. If I was going to do it, I was going to do it right. No walls, no fear, or bad attitude.

I have been doing what feels right in MY heart. If something feels wrong, or if I have a bad feeling about something, I have learned to speak up. One of my biggest mistakes my whole life is expecting for others to know how I am feeling. Boy was I wrong!

Woman Reading a DiaryCommunication is key in any aspect of life. And that is what has allowed me to keep my identity in my relationship. I standup for what I believe in, and I speak up when I don’t agree with something. Don’t be afraid to do it. If you don’t feel comfortable to speak up to your partner, you are probably with the wrong person.

Intimidation and fear can be the biggest causes of the loss of independence and identity, and the first step to fixing that is to get rid of the negativity.

One of the biggest pieces of advice that I can give anybody is to do what makes you happy. Yes I am a fulltime student, employee and head of household, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t find the time to do something for myself.

It doesn’t have to be anything drastic. Anything from a mani or pedi, to going to buy yourself a new pair of jeans, to simply reading that book series you’ve been wanting to catch up on.

You need to learn to love yourself before you can love anyone else. It is definitely not easy. I am a giver by nature and would rather take care of my whole family before looking after myself. But sometimes it is essential in order to live a happy life.

For the first time in my life I feel that I am capable of being in a relationship while staying true to myself. If I can do it, trust me, so can you.

Dating as a Single Mom

Dating as a Single Mom 4.75/5 4 votes

Dating is one of the touchiest subjects for a single mom to talk about. It’s hard to go through the dating phase as it is, let alone share that information with your peers. Well I am here to tell you that there is nothing you should be scared of. Let go of the fear of rejection and criticism, and step out of your comfort zone.

MarcoElizabeth-One of the hardest reasons why it is hard to start dating as a single mom is that you have to set new standards for what you want. There are a lot of single moms that think that they need to lower their standards because they have a child, but I couldn’t disagree more.

A child is a beautiful blessing, and that blessing should only make you higher your standards. Realize that your date could potentially be in your life for a long time. Would you approve of that person being a parent to your child? That should be one question every woman should ask herself when she starts dating.

It took me months to start dating after I had my daughter. I couldn’t think of anyone who would be a good candidate to be the man not only in my life, but in my daughter’s as well.

I met Marco in my second year of college. By no means did I feel ready to date. I was concentrated on my education and most of all, my daughter. I guess it’s true when they say that when you stop looking for something you find it, because love definitely found me when I was least expecting it.

familypictureMarco and I had been dating for a couple of month before he met my daughter. I had to learn to build trust with him; I am very protective of my child, as a lot of women are. Don’t feel obligated to bring your date around your child if you’re not ready. Take your time. Your instinct will tell you when the time comes for your date to meet the other part of you.

Dating is what you make it. You can let it be a miserable experience, or fun and beautiful one. I was blessed to have met such an amazing man that accepts not only me, but my daughter as well. We have been dating for a year now, and he adores my daughter as much as she looks up to him.

So if you’re wondering why I don’t consider myself a single mom anymore, well that’s because I feel that I found the part of me that was missing. Now, he is considered part of the family, and I know that I am no longer alone. I don’t consider myself a single mom anymore, but I still think I am a savvy one.

Reruns: Better Left For Movies and TV Shows

Reruns: Better Left For Movies and TV Shows 3.67/5 3 votes

Amy-Bridges_SmartFem profile-2_90“Love is what we are all seeking either openly or privately. Why then, is it so hard to find?” Amy Bridges is a contributing writer at SmartFem with her new column aimed to help readers on Bridging the gap to love and dating. She is passionate about guiding individuals on the right path when dating. Amy is thrilled to assist SmartFem readers with obstacles they might have in their quest for love.

“How many times have you started dating someone and are hopeful that it will work out, only to find out that it doesn’t for whatever reason?” So you break up, stop seeing them, and then all of a sudden, they are back!

Somehow, one or both of you foolishly decides that it may be a great idea to try it again. There is a name for this in the dating world that I like to call a “rerun.”

A “rerun” occurs when your significant other contacts you, or you contact them, and says, “Hey, we should go to dinner sometime to catch up.” You both agree, go on your rerun date and then the night is over.

The following day, if not sooner, your start to think to yourself “Hmmm, this is familiar.” It is often at this point in the thinking process that you are reminded of why you stopped dating them in the first place.

Yes, I know you get lonely, they know you well, it’s familiar…blah, blah, blah. However, odds are pretty high that if it didn’t work out the first time, it’s not going to happen the second time.

Why, one may ask? Because they are who they are and you are who you are. Most people, unless in their late teens or let’s say under 21, are quite set in their ways. Who they are going to become is already decided.

get_ex_girlfriend_backThe best indicator of your future with someone is the past you have had with them.  Not to say that you aren’t both awesome people but what works for one person may not work for another in a relationship.

How many times have you seen in your friends or family a couple who simply didn’t work, yet down the road they have an amazing relationship with someone else. Sometimes people’s values, interests and character are simply not in alignment with certain others.

So, I say start fresh to find someone you are compatible with and let your favorite movie or TV show be the only rerun in your life.

Parts Before Hearts?

Parts Before Hearts? 4.40/5 5 votes

Amy-Bridges_SmartFem profile-2_90“Love is what we are all seeking either openly or privately. Why then, is it so hard to find?” Amy Bridges is a contributing writer at SmartFem with her new column aimed to help readers on Bridging the gap to love and dating. She is passionate about guiding individuals on the right path when dating. Amy is thrilled to assist SmartFem readers with obstacles they might have in their quest for love.

In my years of experience in dating, there seems to be quite a personal trend occurring.  One of which I don’t stand alone in my notice of the change in times.  I have heard and experienced first hand this situation. You meet someone; you start emails, then text, then BAM! There it is, in all its glory, the naked text photo. Yes, I am talking about “the parts.” It’s not just the men, as they have shared, some women are guilty as well.

Business woman standing outside in front of office building, using mobile phoneI just don’t seem to understand why we are sending our private photos, of our “parts” before we even get to know the person’s heart.  I am telling you, sending your private part photos are setting you up for complete failure.

Though our technology is much more advanced than it was when my parents or even grandparents were dating, there are basic fundamentals that DO NOT change between men and woman connections and the basic laws of dating and courting.  Now, I will say I know couples that share these types of photos by choice to keep their relationship hot. Key word I said is relationship, meaning they are either exclusive or are at least dating to where they have already met. At that point whatever floats your boat or your…well I am just gonna leave it at.

Men and women please listen up, STOP sending your parts pictures before you have even met the person your interested in. Leaving something to the imagination is not only a bigger turn on, it is the respectful thing to do for both parties. Let someone get to know you and your heart before you decide to flash them a photo of your parts. Trust me on this one!

The Magic in First Dates

The Magic in First Dates 4.25/5 4 votes

Amy-Bridges_SmartFem profile-2_90“Love is what we are all seeking either openly or privately. Why then, is it so hard to find?” Amy Bridges is a contributing writer at SmartFem with her new column aimed to help readers on Bridging the gap to love and dating. She is passionate about guiding individuals on the right path when dating. Amy is thrilled to assist SmartFem readers with obstacles they might have in their quest for love.

All of us, married or single have been on a first date. First dates can be fun and somewhat nerve-wracking. The first date with a prospective partner is an important one as it is the first time you are meeting and making your first impression with your potential love. It is discovery time to see if there is chemistry. The human emotion of excitement, joy and hopefulness of what surprise may lie ahead is the same chemical reaction and feeling of “being nervous”.

So, how do you make the first date a success? Here are a few pointers for both men and women to tee up the first date to be all that it was intended to be:Attractive couple portrait.

1.)   Be on time- being late shows a lack of respect and importance of the value of the date.

2.)   Be classy – in your appearance and in your sharing. Not the time to discuss your sexual fantasies.

3.)   Two drink limit is suggested. You’re making a FIRST impression, remember you’re not out with your best friend who knows who you really are.

4.)   Listen – be sure you’re not doing all the talking.

5.)   BE YOURSELF, why not, if you continue to see this person they are going to find out and experience that you are anyway. Keep it real, honest and, keep it light.

Most importantly have fun! You’ll both agree or not if you want to have another date. There is plenty of time later to have deeper conversations about your past, previous relationships, etc. The first date is simply a time to take, to explore the basics and get to know your date. There lies the unspoken magic that can occur in a first date if you do it right. Happy Dating!

Cleanliness is Next to Sexiness

Cleanliness is Next to Sexiness 5.00/5 3 votes

Amy-Bridges_SmartFem profile-2_90“Love is what we are all seeking either openly or privately. Why then, is it so hard to find?” Amy Bridges is a contributing writer at SmartFem with her new column aimed to help readers on Bridging the gap to love and dating. She is passionate about guiding individuals on the right path when dating. Amy is thrilled to assist SmartFem readers with obstacles they might have in their quest for love.

I know that it is stated that Cleanliness is next to Godliness. However, for this column’s sake where we are talking about love and dating, I am going to say that Cleanliness is next to sexiness. It may be an awkward topic, but it is one that needs to be discussed.

I have met with and interviewed many dating single men and woman about this topic. Consistently, both men and women agreed that this is an important part of dating since they lead to potential relationships.

Unmade BedOver the years of my experience of love and dating, I have met some amazing and great guys. Though they were wonderful and I was interested, I just could not get past one thing… their lack of cleanliness.

My first experience with this issue was years ago, when I went on a date with a guy that my friend set me up with.  We had our first date at what was then Eddie Matney’s restaurant on 24th street and Camelback. It was the perfect date. He even asked me out on a second date, where he wanted to cook for me. I accepted.

I went to Mr. Perfect’s home and was instantly turned off. The cat was walking all over the counter while he was cooking. There was so much dog hair on the floors that it collected in piles along the baseboards. It was painfully apparent that home cleanliness was not important. So my thought was instantly… What else isn’t clean? (If you catch my drift).

I couldn’t eat the dinner he made; even the dishes had food stuck on them.  It was a great disappointment to say the least. Bottom-line, if your intimate house isn’t clean, how clean are the rest of your intimate areas? Like I always say… Love is in the details.

Look for Amy Bridges’s next column every two weeks.

Bridge to Love – “Seeking Love”

Bridge to Love – “Seeking Love” 4.43/5 7 votes

Amy-Bridges_SmartFem profile-2_90“Love is what we are all seeking either openly or privately. Why then, is it so hard to find?” Amy Bridges is a contributing writer at SmartFem with her new column aimed to help readers on Bridging the gap to love and dating. She is passionate about guiding individuals on the right path when dating. Amy is thrilled to assist SmartFem readers with obstacles they might have in their quest for love.

So if everyone is looking for love, why is it so hard to find? That is the winning question and the answer will have infinite possibilities. Why is it there are so many amazing people open to love or would love to be in love and have a relationship, yet at the end of the day, so many of them are still single? So if everyone is looking for love, why is it so hard to find?

Man giving woman gift.Is it that there are not “plenty of fish in the sea,” as they say? Are we not putting ourselves in the right places or finding the right opportunities to meet the right person? Have we become too focused on other goals in our lives that we forget about the one thing we, as human beings, all desire at our core… to love and to be loved?

Are we just too picky? I often hear many singles say, “I just don’t have the time to date.” Time goes by… sometimes years… and then it seems we suddenly but quietly panic.  Often as a result, we subconsciously become desperate, and desperation is never a desirable character quality for successful dating.

How many times have you met someone who had appeared perfect on paper, and yet you knew just wasn’t “the one?” In my experience I have often found that I loved certain qualities in the different people I dated and that if I could just take those qualities from each and combine them into one person… therein lies my perfect mate.

Despite all the differences, men and woman do share one thing in common. Having interviewed hundreds of singles, I’ve found ultimately both sexes agree… finding love and that special person would be a personal success of greater value than any amount of money or any plaque of accomplishment on a wall. Love is what we are all seeking either openly or privately. Why then, is it so hard to find?

Look for Amy Bridges’s next column every two weeks.

Teen Dating and Warning Signs of Abuse

Teen Dating and Warning Signs of Abuse 4.67/5 3 votes

Woman Applying Lipstick ca. 2000 Trinidad and TobagoWhen we first start dating around the age of 16, we are not mature enough to know potential signs of abuse in a relationship. We are usually very excited that someone is attracted to us and wants to take us on a date. We dress up and look forward to this new experience. If you come from a healthy home environment then sometimes it can be difficult to be aware of the fact that this date might want to hurt you. We are usually in “lust” not love because we have not yet experienced real love.

These are the warning signs;

  • Gets serious too fast and may tell you that they love you.
  • Checks up on you through e-mails, text messages, Facebook, etc.
  • Acts jealous or possessive of your other friendships or relationships with your family members.Angry Man Shaking Fist
  • Tries to isolate you from people and doesn’t want to share.
  • Can be very bossy or controlling. He or she wants to make all the decisions for you and not listen to your feelings.
  • This person may have unpredictable moods and you worry about how to react with him or her.
  • Your friends warn you and so does your family about this person
  • This date will blame you for making him or her mad and not look at their behavior.
  • This date may be using drugs or alcohol as an excuse for their abuse.
  • This date will pressure you for sex even if you say no.
  • This date will always apologize for their behavior if they hurt you physiYou may worry about how to react in an abusive relationship.cally or emotionally by buying flowers or a gift.

If you experience any of these signs then break up immediately.  Make sure you tell someone like a teacher, counselor, or parent what is happening. Let your trusted friend know where you are at all times. Do not break up in an isolated place. Try to have a friend or someone around that could help you if they are abusive. Keep a cell phone on for a crisis code word for your family or friend if you are in danger. Break up in a public place. Make sure you change your routine around since they will know it. Never get back together even if they say they changed and got help.

These are suggestions from experts on the cycle of violence and domestic violence.

If our parents live this life, then you are also repeating the same pattern because its familiar, but you don’t have too with the right information and knowledge. The next article will be about healthy relationships.

Checklist for Dating in Your Twenties

As a student in my twenties people often question my relationship status over cups of coffee. It is simply a natural question that is normal for friends and acquaintances to inquire on, but for some reason when I say the horrible ‘s word’ (single) I instantly wish I could take it back. If I say that I am single I feel them look at me with sympathy like I am extremely lonely or desperately searching for a sole mate. Honestly though, I am so beyond happy at the point I am at right now that I am the furthest from being alone. I always try to explain that I am not ignoring the world of dating, but I am simply not actively pursuing a serious relationship at the time.

Now, that doesn’t mean I sit at home on the weekends scouring through fashion blogs, though I do tend to do this on occasion, I feel that I have a promising social and dating life as a young adult beginning to create a life and career of my own.

I love meeting new people and going out with new guys, but of course I have myself a little checklist that must be met within the first few dates or else he is a no-go. And no, this isn’t a checklist for marriage, but more or less for if I even see us being compatible enough to throughly enjoy our time together.

√  Educated - For me this is the biggest attribute a guy can offer. I don’t bring a sudoku on the first date and request him to finish it before we can order, but seeing that a guy has or is working towards a full education is vital to me. By education I don’t just mean book smarts though, as a journalism major is it imperative that he is also knowledgable on social issues and the present world around him. I feel that I work hard to continually improve my education and if the person I am in a relationship with is not willing to also work towards this, I have a hard time seeing us together down the road.

√  Respectful - This is also a huge attribute that I feel a guy should have. Along with a vast education, a guy must not only be respectful to me but also to the world around us. I feel that many guys are no only sexist but also quite rude today, and I can’t stand to be around that negative energy for more than a few minutes – so the possibility of a future for us as a couple would be extremely limited. Having mutual respect in a relationship is also a basis for trust to me, I feel that most guys that are respectful for women are also very trusting and this helps me to be able to fully trust them.

√  Ambitious - I would say this is the third largest attribute I search for in a man. I proud myself on being extremely ambitious in with my education and I am quite ambitious plans for my future, so for me if a guy is not equally ambitious there is no way it can work. I don’t want to say that he must be the CEO of a company, but I must be with someone who is constantly aspiring for more and dreams of being the best person he can be. I honestly wan the most out of life and I feel that unless the person I am dating is also interested in reaching for the stars then we cannot be in a relationship.

Ladies of the twenties, if you don’t have yourself a little checklist of compatibility I suggest you start one immediately. Even if you play the game a little bit off of your list, have a checklist to make sure you don’t cave on any of your relationship aspirations three months down the road – plus it can save you quite a lot of time!


Pale Gurl – “Serial Monogamist”

Pale Gurl – “Serial Monogamist” 5.00/5 1 vote

­Pale Gurl - Serial Monogamist by Joleen LunzerI’ve never been good at dating.  I am what most would refer to as a serial monogamist.  I’ve had only a few boyfriends in my 32 years on this earth and each relationship has lasted at least three years.  In my younger years, my love life resembled the plot to a John Hughes movie of the 1980’s.  My relationships always began with being friends with a guy who would attempt to date all of my other friends.  After they turned him down, he would confess that he has secretly been in love with me all along.

My longest relationship lasted eight or nine years.  I’m not quite sure the exact amount of time we dated because I stopped counting after he left me to spend a summer in Europe alone.  To most women that would be a red flag, but to me, it was an opportunity to get better acquainted with my cat and to use the bathroom with the door open.   I overlooked many red flags in our relationship, which I now regret, but chalk up to the old saying, “live and learn.”  Having been with him since I was 20 years old, I was naïve.  I also felt trapped since we had decided in 2006 to leave all our family and friends in our home state of Minnesota and start a new life together in Arizona.  Therefore, I let myself believe that it was normal for a guy to have a lock on his cell phone and bring it with him everywhere he went…even in the shower.   And although I found it odd that he only befriended females, I accepted his explanation that he just got along better with women because they were smarter than most men.  I was also supportive as he spent eight years attempting to obtain his associate’s degree.  Even after he quit his job to attend Scottsdale Community College, I stuck by him.  Go Artichokes!  However, it was during that time that our relationship began to crumble.  He became friends with a vegan art student named, Valerie.  Despite the obvious ridiculousness of someone considering herself an art student at a community college, I accepted their friendship and trusted that it was a strictly platonic relationship between two people in their late 20’s who had yet to graduate college because they spent their late teens and early 20’s doing ecstasy and getting tribal tattoos.

A year later, I realized I was wrong.  After accidentally leaving his email open on my computer in early September of 2009, I saw an email exchange between him and Valerie.  In it, they described in great detail the relationship they really had and their gratuitous references to each other’s body parts made me question why they weren’t majoring in anatomy with a minor in gross.  Despite having seen his affair in writing, he still denied that their relationship was inappropriate.  I, however, was no longer in denial and we broke up.   I never blamed Valerie.  I think we as women should always blame the man who was supposed to love and respect us and not the other woman.  Sure, it was hard not to hate her because she was skinnier, prettier and stole my boyfriend, but I was able to take solace in the fact that after reading their email exchange, she didn’t understand the appropriate use of the words “their,” “there,” and “they’re.”  Pretty and dumb may be a good look now, but beauty fades and then you’re just left with a dim woman still working on her associate’s degree in art 22 years later.

After my breakup, my friends encouraged me to try dating.  Being unaware of how to even start such a foreign activity, they suggested that I try online dating.   And in the fall of 2009, I created my first online dating profile on EHarmony.  From the beginning, my goal was to impress any prospective suitors with an attractive, yet honest profile that captured the real me.  I agonized over which picture to use on my profile because I knew that 99.9 percent of the men do not read when there are pictures involved.  I finally decided on a picture of me in my 2009 Halloween costume in which I dressed up as Kate Gosselin from TLC’s “Jon & Kate Plus Eight.”  Being a dating novice, I assumed that any man would look at this picture and instantly be attracted to its representation of fertility and emasculation.  Apparently I was wrong.  After two weeks I didn’t receive any “winks” or messages, which surprised me since I thought for sure the remaining 0.1 percent of men who would actually read my profile description would instantly fall in love with me.

My EHarmony Profile:

Fun gal with a lot to say.  Bring your listening ears because I’d love to call you repeatedly throughout the day until you finally answer so that I can go into great detail explaining to you why I’m mad at a certain girlfriend (which girlfriend varies from week to week).  I am extremely sensitive and moody, but very good at Tetris.  I have adult ADHD and enjoy reading the first 25 pages of many different books in the same day while jumping from cushion to cushion on the couch.  I love animals and waking up multiple times each night to make sure the oven is turned off.  Even though I have an electric stove, one can never be too careful when it comes to gas leaks.  I’m very loyal and avoid red flags.  I’m willing to overlook your infidelity for up to eight years so that I don’t have to kill bugs, cook for myself or live alone.  I love animals and watching myself cry in the mirror.  I’ve been told that I look most attractive when having a panic attack and am willing to share my meds.  For a good time, call another girl.  For a mediocre time and someone who will be tweeting throughout the date, call me.

My two unsuccessful weeks on EHarmony made me swear off dating forever.  Instead I would just wait for a suitor to find me and sure enough, he did.  Two years later we are still dating and I am thankful to have a boyfriend whom I can trust.  I am also thankful that he never read my EHarmony profile.   Also, I would like to think that my experiences as a serial monogamist could possibly help other women out there who find themselves stuck or trapped in a bad relationship.

Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way:

  • If he offers to buy your hot friend a DVD player when her DVD player breaks, RUN!
  • If he gives shoulder massages to any other girl in front of you – immediately add his name to the website –
  • If he wears True Religion jeans and a t-shirt with a blazer over it, do what the PETA people do – throw red paint at him and run away.
  • If he ever expresses interest in visiting Amsterdam…alone, go to your doctor immediately and get checked out.
  • If his ears are gauged, but he refuses to go above a zero gauge because he doesn’t want to permanently stretch his earlobes, leave now.  This just shows a total lack of commitment.  Stopping at a zero gauge is like jumping into a marathon during the last two miles just so that you can get your picture taken crossing the finish line.  Go big or go to your mom’s house.
  • If he has a faux hawk and wears aviator sunglasses, it’s too late to try to change him.  He’s on the dark side of the Force now.  Next he’ll start bragging about “bottle service” and his leased Beamer will be repossessed.
  • If he has a barbed wire tattoo anywhere on his body, you shouldn’t have started dating him in the first place.
  • If he spends over $500 getting a tattoo across his chest that reads: Love, Trust, Happiness – he will give you none of those things.  Breakup with him immediately!  Especially if after getting this expensive tattoo, he complains about having to take you to Ruby Tuesday for the unlimited salad bar.
  • If he claims that the reason he hasn’t put that he is in a relationship with you on his Facebook profile is because he can’t figure out how to do so, accidentally bury his laptop in your cat’s litter box.  If you don’t have a cat, run it through the dishwasher and then claim that you Googled, How to change my relationship status on Facebook and that is what it advised you to do.

Be careful out there.  Thanks for reading!

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