Single mom to engaged – a look into my unconventional love life

Hey mommas, I hope 2021 is treating you well! Today I wanted to share my experience dating as a single mom and the tips I learned along the way. I started 2020 – 18 years old, single, with a newborn baby, now I’m engaged, about to be 20yrs old, with a soon-to-be one year old!

Deciding to Date as a Single Mom

Deciding when it’s time to date can be scary as a single mom. You’re worried about if there’s someone out there who can love your babies like their own, or if you’re going to ever find someone to spend the rest of your life with. But once you decide to take the plunge, what do you do? What’s next?

For me I knew I was ready to start dating again when my daughter turned 6 months old. I had several friends recommend Christian Mingle so that’s where I turned first. Meeting a guy in person naturally wasn’t really an option for me thanks to COVID-19. So I created my little Christian Mingle profile and browsed through my 23 matches. No one really caught my eye and after getting a few DMs from some creepier older men I decided Christian Mingle just wasn’t for me.

Choosing the Right Platform

I really wasn’t wanting to try a dating app like Tinder or Hinge since the guys on there aren’t usually looking for something serious or an instant family. Because of this I decided to try my luck at eHarmony, which btw is way better than Christian Mingle. What lured me in what the extensive personality quiz you have to take when making an eHarmony account; I’m a sucker for quizzes!

I spent about 30 minutes answering questions then began scrolling through my matches. There were 1,927 of them!! So instead of going through each one I decided to see who message me first. Overnight I got 34 messages. Some had potential, others didn’t, but one guy caught my eye. He was goofy, fun, and was ready to have a family. It was like God answered my prayers and made him just for me.

He liked cats, brownies, and mushrooms on pizza. He had a weekly ‘ice cream day’ like I did. He wanted a big family and was at a point in his life where he was ready to settle down and start his own.

I was already smitten. I payed for a 1 year subscription so I could see his profile picture. Best $150 I’ve ever spent haha! Talk about a stud! And lucky me, he was interested in a date!

The Perfect First Meeting

We instantly hit it off, texting and FaceTiming daily for about a month before finally meeting. He was 4 hours away from me finishing his degree at a uni in the next state over so I made a day trip over there alone to meet him. From the moment we met I knew this was it. It was just amazing from the get go. He was everything I had been praying for the last year.

The first time meeting him was like no date I’d ever been on. When I was about 30 miles out from his apartment I had a blowout on the interstate! I had called him to tell him I was going to be late for our date. This man, as perfect as ever, hopped in his pickup and drove all the way out to help me change my tire and take me to a tire store to fix my flat. Talk about being baptized by fire haha. The rest of the date was more conventional; lunch, a walk around downtown, and then back to his place where he gave me the cutest teddy bear and chocolates! This date was no doubt one I’ll never forget and the way he saved my from my horrible car issues without hesitation really showed just how caring he would be in our relationship. I couldn’t have asked for a better man. He literally was perfect to me from the start.

Like, he treats our daughter like his own, you’d never know he’s the stepdad. I cannot express how much this warms my mommy heart. Knowing that my daughter will get to know a fathers love after all. To have a man in who life who’ll never leave her and will do everything in his power to take care of her. For this I’m so grateful.

and it’s crazy because we may have never met.

I set my preferences on eHarmony to show me men aged 20-27. When I met my fiancé it was just a handful of days before his 28th birthday. I wouldn’t have normally gone for an ‘older man’ but I knew the older the guy the more likely he’d be ready to settle down and become a dad. Also just going off looks and personality, you’d guess he’s 22-24 tops. It’s funny too because all of my aunts, uncles, grandparents, and even my own parents have notable age gaps. All ranging from 7-13 year gaps. So I guess I’m following the family tradition with our 9 year gap… interesting tradition to be a part of..

Building a Family Together

So we dated for about 6 months, met each other’s families, and fell deeply in love. Then we did something crazy.. we got engaged! Once again, following the traditions of my family, we got engaged after only a half a year of dating. Maybe it’s a personality trait that runs through our genes? To fall in love fast and marry within a year of meeting? All I know is no one in my family has ever divorced and my own parents celebrated their silver anniversary this last fall. So if I was following in their footsteps I must be doing something right?

And that brings us to now. About three and a half weeks out from our “wedding”. We’re just eloping out of respect to COVID-19 and the frontline workers fighting it. Our honeymoon is also postponed until after graduation this summer when there’s eventually safer travels.

What I learned while dating is:

Listen to your mom instincts.

There was a lot of guys who gave me a bad feeling that I just couldn’t get myself to trust them enough to be around my child.

Know what you want and search/wait for it.

Don’t settle for the first guy who gives you the time of day. I had messaged with several guys that first night but it wasn’t until the 20-something-th guy I chatted with before I found the guy who checked all the boxes.

Always exercises caution when meeting a new person, especially when your kid is involved.

Never meet someone for the first time with your kids. Leave them with a trusted sitter until you’re comfortable with the man your meeting. In addition to that, do not leave your children alone with a new guy until you are absolutely certain there are no red flags. Over caution doesn’t exist when your talking about your children’s safety. Do a couple of google searches, ask your mutual friends about them, maybe even a background check if you want full confidence.

Let them know upfront that you’re looking for something serious & long term.

Let guys know before you even go out that you’re dating for marriage and a family. Put it in your bios, tell the guy who asked you for coffee, tell your friends and family that are setting you up that if the guy is looking for something casual then they’re not the one. Because you’d be amazed how many guys are willing to date a woman with kids without intent on having a serious relationship, they’re just dating around. By letting them know what your looking for from the beginning, you’ll save yourself having to turn away handfuls of men looking for casual relationships or hookups.

So no matter what your dating story is, whether there’s an age gap, you dated a shorter or longer time than usual before getting engaged, if you don’t believe in marriage, or you’re not sure you want something serious yourself, your dating story in special and unique to you! If you’re still looking for the one, don’t lose hope! It is very important not to settle for someone you won’t be happy long term with. And I truly do recommend eHarmony to any mommas or dads out there looking for a new chapter in their life

I hope the absolute best to you and your love life and I hope my story gives hope to a single 20 year old mom who thinks no one would ever want them anymore after being a teen mom. I’ve been there, I’ve felt that, and I’m telling you there are phenomenal men out there ready to step up and adopt your kids and love them as their own and who know your past but do not hold it against you. It gets better, they really are out there!

Where did you meet your SO? Feel free to share your love stories below!


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