If you’ve been single a while, the hurt of losing a long-term relationship can start to dull. Over time you might have dated a few people but not found anyone that you want to really invest in. Of course, you have your kids to think about. You might have felt that none of those guys was worthy enough to have them in their lives. Some single mums don’t even introduce their children to dates until the relationship has reached a very serious level.
One day, though, you might meet someone that manages, somehow, to break down that wall you put up. They make you feel vulnerable but in the very best way. And you want more. When you’ve been hurt before, a new relationship will never happen over night. So when someone comes along that ticks all the boxes, you might be very hesitant about pushing it too hard.
The L Word
Saying that word is really hard when you’ve said it before and been burned. But you’ve said it, and he has said it back, and neither of you regrets it. Still, expressing a sentiment and changing your life to prove it are two very different things. As a single mum, you know you can do it all on your own. You may not like it, but this life has empowered you, strengthened you, and proven to the world you’re capable of achieving anything you set your heart to. Would a man in the house take that away from you again?
The Other Man
To your new beau, your ex, the father of your children, is the other man. To your ex, your current squeeze might be considered to be the other man. There is no escaping the fact you now have two men in your life, and both are very important. You will continue to see your ex no matter what because he gave you your kids. To make life easy, you might want the two guys to get on. You certainly don’t want any tensions between the two. In reality, both will be wary of each other. It’s not going to be easy or comfortable. Are you ready to enter that world?
Another set of parents is certainly going to be challenging. You may still have a good relationship with your ex’s parents. They are your kids’ grandparents after all. But when you solidify a relationship with a new partner, there will be yet another set of vested parents. They’ll want to get to know your kids and spend quality time with them. While life is always easier with in-laws you can get along with, it doesn’t always happen like that. For some women, the potential mother-in-law can be the final tick that is needed before a commitment is made!
Too Needy? Too Much? Too Afraid He’ll Say No?
Many relationships are about hanging out and having fun when you have nothing better to do. Others are about trying each other on like a pair of shoes to see if you’ll fit in a relationship that could last forever. Then there are the blurry lines of everything in between. Is he thinking of you in the same way you think of him? Are you really sure you’re ready to give up that independence you fought so fiercely to make work? What does he think of you as this strong and powerful woman? Does he even think about a future with you at all?
Ultimately you can’t possibly know the answers or the truth unless he tells you. And if he’s not forthcoming with that information, you might be wondering why. Of course, he might be frightened he’s going to scare you off or appear to be coming on too strong if he gets down on one knee. Have the conversation!
Signs He’s A Keeper
Even if you’re a commitment-phobe right now, you can still see the signs that he’s worth overcoming your fears. Chances are he’s terrified you don’t want to go all the way to marriage even though he does. Has he ever bought you any personalised gifts as sentiments of love? Have you ever bought him any? Do you use the L word when you hang up the phone, or simply because you felt it at that moment? Do you describe him as a partner when you talk about him? These things are all signs you’ve got him on your mind. But this person is only a keeper if you’re in the right frame of mind to go that far with him.
Of course, there will be plenty of fears and concerns. If he has kids from a previous relationship, then things could be pretty complicated. You’ll want to know all the kids get on and that you can pull together as one very big but happy family. If he’s already let you spend quality time with his children, and you have been comfortable with him around yours, then it’s a good sign that things could work.
You’ve likely been there before. Potentially the father of your kids was, at one time, your soul mate. You shared everything both physically and emotionally. Now that connection has been severed you might be wondering if there is room in your life for a new soul mate. Is it even possible to have a second? Yes, timing is important. You both need to be ready to let the other person in so you can become soul mates. It should be obvious to you both that you’re getting that close.
Having the conversation is never easy. You don’t have to propose to him though to find out if he wants a forever relationship with you. You might need to both be on the same page about many other aspects of your future life together too. Do either of you want more children? Are you willing to move away from your children’s father if your new partner has a career change? What about caring for each other’s parents as they age and become more frail? Would you consider exes staying over if the kids became sick? You’ll only know if you ask.
Telling him you love him and want a relationship that lasts could involve the M word. Many wonderful forever relationships form and last without the need to legally bind each other. But many people feel that declaring their love in front of friends, family, and God is important. Do you know how he feels about such things, and do you share his sentiment? Tell him where you stand today and what you’re looking for in your forever future.
Making it formal can be one of the scariest moments in a relationship. You want everyone to be happy that you are joining. This isn’t always possible and can sometimes be detrimental to the relationship. Of course, if your partnership is strong and committed, this won’t matter, and you’ll work through the differences with those concerned.
You might be keen to give gifts to each of the people that will become part of your new family. This can be a wonderful way to welcome them and be personalising the gift will make is even more sentimental. Be patient with those that aren’t as certain as you are. After all, you’ve got the rest of your life to enjoy with your new partner. There’s no rush.
Love can be very difficult to describe, quantify, or even declare. It can be a feeling, a state of mind, and a prerequisite to life changing decisions. How far will your love take you and your family?