The other day I met a guy. “I’m a widower and a single father,” he announced. “This is usually the part where women run. Let’s see if you do the same,” he challenged.
I would bet that most women don’t run because he is a widower or a single father, but because his attitude inspires flight.
Issuing a challenge is really not the best way to inspire me to break the pattern. I’m not that competitive.
While I knew we weren’t going much farther than the ‘getting to know you’ stage, I kept the conversation going as long as I could.
“So, how did your last relationship end?” I asked.
Now, I don’t read people’s looks at all well—truth be told I don’t really try. I’m enamored with words: I don’t study expressions unless they are expressed through them.
But I could read his look.
I think it was the tone that annoyed me most. Not the ‘I already told you that’ but the malice with which he uttered the words. As if he was challenging me to again do what few had done before me: date him.
I’m a divorced, single mother.
When I say I’m divorced, do people assume I am talking about my last relationship? Labels seem to have a way of sticking around. When I am dating do I have to say I’m dating and divorced? If I remarry will I be a married, divorced mother of 3?
When my children are grown will I still be a single mother? Or does single drop off when they turn 18?
I am not the woman to date first. I am not ‘first date after the end (rather it ended from natural causes or not) of a long relationship’ material. I’m not even sure I’m ready to be in a relationship so I can help someone else get into one?
I don’t know what people think of when they hear the labels I choose to define myself by, so I will translate them.
Divorced: I was married. I know how to hold on to something of value and when to let go of something when it no longer works.
Single mother: I have priorities. I know how to put the needs of others before me. I know how to accept responsibility, how to encourage, and how to love someone other than myself.
It also means if you want to spend time with me, you have to have yourself together.
A clarification: I’m not looking for a father for my children.
Needless to say, the conversation with the single, father widower ended. Not because he is a single father. Not because he is a widower. But because I don’t date challenges; I’m not that competitive.