The Balancing Act: Dating Advice for Single Parents

Giving Up Control In A Relationship Without Losing Your Independence

Mom keeps her independence while maintaining control of her relationship with her childrenThe first time my current boyfriend tried to take out my garbage, I stopped him. A few days later when he offered to do my dishes after I cooked him a meal, I refused.

When I told my mother, she asked me what the hell was wrong with me.

I’ll be the first to admit I’m a stubborn woman. After being single for nearly five years, I’d become extremely set in my ways. Without the support of a man I had to learn how to support myself– and damn it, I do it well!

Consistency and routine are what we single moms thrive on once we find our way through the chaos of separation and divorce.  And while there are certainly no guarantees in love, most of us try our best not to make the same mistakes that led us to that type of shitstorm again.

For me, a lot of those mistakes were relying on men too much, too quickly.

As a woman who has struggled with co-dependency, relationships haven’t always been easy for me. In fact, it took becoming a single mom to learn how to stand on my own two feet and face my fears of making decisions alone. The independence I’ve found along the way is something I treasure and at the start of my latest relationship, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to give all or even any of it up yet.

That’s why my boyfriend’s attempts at being chivalrous were lost on me the first time around. It was as if he was asking me to relinquish my independence when he went to grab my trash. The idea that he wanted to perform tasks that I am perfectly capable of doing on my own felt sexist somehow. Until I reeled in my crazy and realized he wasn’t trying to control me – he was just trying to be nice like nice guys do.

The idea that he wanted to perform tasks that I am perfectly capable of doing on my own felt sexist somehow. Until I reeled in my crazy and realized he wasn’t trying to control me – he was just trying to be nice like nice guys do.

As amazing as it is to have a man in my life that acts like a real partner, I struggle with figuring out where I fit in anymore. While I’m still a badass, single mom at heart, I’m also now part of this couple. I’m in a real relationship with a man that is doing my dishes and – gasp – taking out my garbage on the regular.

I’d been so used to juggling my son, my home and myself alone, I forgot what it felt like to not have to do it all. Most of the time I was so focused on handling my day-to-day responsibilities I had little time to daydream about romantic relationships.

Yet here I am in the midst of one now, and I even have time to fantasize while my boyfriend scrubs my pots and pans. It’s nice to be part of a team, even if it still feels foreign to me.

The further I fall for this man the more I realize giving up control to the right person isn’t such a bad thing after all – because the right person will never ask you to give up all of it.

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