Dating Advice, Mother's Guilt

Updated on April 05, 2011
R.H. asks from Lincoln, NE
14 answers

I am new to the dating world after being alone for 5 years. I am a full time mom to my son and his dad is what I like to call Missing in Action (MIA). It is hard to get breaks, but I do try. I am doing the online dating thing since I don't have a lot of chances to get out there and meet guys. I have been on a lot of BAD dates and was about ready to give up on it. I recently met a guy for coffee. He and I really hit it off and ended up sitting there talking for 3 hours! So later he asked when he's see me again. I said I was free next weekend, but that is his weekend with his daughter. So I ask if he wants to do the following weekend. He was elusive and said it might not work. So I got to the point and asked what he meant. He said he wanted more than to be able to see someone once or so a month, which I understand. He said he needs to see me at least once a week to make it work. (I like that we are communicating and problem solving together) So I said I would see if I could work it out.

Well.....guilt is taking me over in many forms. First I thought, perhaps I could hire a sitter and that would be good to give me more free time. But I am so financially strained I can hardly justify spending over $100 per month to have time to date this guy. Then the mothers guilt takes over. For example, if I have a sitter on Thursday nights I feel like he was at school all day and then with a sitter at night? I feel like I should be at home being a mommy, not out with some guy. Maybe it would be different if he was with family, but I don't have any family to help me.

Then, I feel kind of angry that I am the one who is looking at all the shuffling. Like for example, he has his daughter next weekend (he gets her every other week for a week at a time) So I am free next weekend, but he is not. Why am I the only one who has to sacrifice time with their child? I mean I realize he gets her only half the month and I have mine all the time.

Are these normal feelings? I'm so confused on how to balance work, full time mom, and still find time for me.

2 moms found this helpful

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So What Happened?

Thank You Mamas!!!! I decided to take all of your advice and tell him that I don't have any family to help me and weekends are when I'm free. I mean I want more free time, but during the week things are too crazy for dating. I also did some soul searching and told myself what you have told me. In the beginning it should not be work and I should not be feeling angry. Also, I don't feel the need to rearrange my life after one date with him. So anyway, I told him my non negotiable times I am free and he replied "I don't know what to say about that" which made me more mad. So I replied, "It's a 2 way street, I've only been on 1 date with you and I can't be expected to have all the give to someone I'm still getting to know. This is what works for me." He only replied "K" and I thought you know what see you later buddy! I don't have time for someone like that. Thank you SO much Mamas for helping me see that he is not worth the head ache! Plenty of fish in the sea!

More Answers



answers from Pittsburgh on

I would be a bit leery of ANY man who puts some sort of "demand" out there on the first date.
And I don't see how you fitting around HIS schedule is "problem solving and/or communicating"!
Easy enough for this PT dad who probably gets his kid every other weekend and the rest of his month is free playtime.
He "needs" to see you once per week to "make it work"? Really?
And you're right, the most important role you play right now IS mom. I'm sure there are lots of men that you can date a lot more casually on a weekend night that would be a whole lot easier right out of the gate.
This guy? Might be a nice guy, but it's obviously at the wrong time.
Ultimately, what he's asking you to do is CHOOSE between time with him or time with your child--something a really NICE guy would never do.

@Tracey K--endearing? Demanding her weekly time after O. coffee date? Seriously, he sounds controlling, and almost desperate! How on earth would he know it's "relationship-worthy" after 3 hours?

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Modesto on

Hmm, by him already being somewhat "demanding" by telling you "its not gonna work if I dont get to see you at least once a week" is red flaggish to me. He should be jumping through hoops to try to see you... He sounds lame to me, sorry. He sounds "needy" and you dont need that when you are raising a child, you'll find yourself having to do his bidding all the time too. I'd scratch him off the list in my little black book as a potential keeper. A GOOD man will make your life EASIER not more difficult---keep that piece of advice in mind.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

You are having these feelings because he is treading on your boundaries. In relationship it is appropriate for each person to meet the other half way and to work things out together. He is aksing you to make all of the concessions, this is not the making a great relationship. You really don't know this man but from what I am seeing I would drop him like a bad habit. Learn the valuable lessons about what you really want in a relationship and continue to go on dates and meeting people.

I know this may sound kindof harsh. As women we tend to give people the benefit of the doubt and second guess ourselves too often. I have learned that my first instinct is right on point for me and if I had listened to my first instinct I would have been better off in many cases.

Don't feel guilty but listen to your heart and kick this uncompromising man to the curb for one that you can work with. FYI - I held out for my husband and he was definitely well worth the wait. Valuable things and people are worth seeking out and waiting for.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Umm.. you just met this guy and already there are issues. Why would you have to change anything in your life for someone you just met ?

I always say, if "its there" today then it will "be there" tomorrow. No need to rush.
I would see this guy if I was available and he's available. I wouldn't go changing anything just to see him more so it will work. If he's interested enough , he'll be there ............

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Lafayette on

i understand the guilt. i was in school full time, with my daughter being in daycare full time when my fiance and i started dating. i had my daughter all the time, her dad was just starting visitation and was only doing a few hours at a time to start with. and he wouldn't do anything on weekends that he had his boys. and he worked when my daughter's father had her. so it was always me giving up my time with grace. i felt so guilty. but thankfully we worked out that we could have lunch and things like that, while all the kids were at school and or we'd have dinner when i'd have to be at school late when my mom was babysitting anyways.

about a month and a half into things, we knew it was the real deal and decided to introduce the kids. it made things so much easier. i no longer had to get my parents to watch grace. and it helped to see how everyone got along.

i suggest getting the babysitter for a few dates, and if you see it progressing then take it to the next level and start involving the kids... if he's not interested in that... then his loss. and you learned your lesson. btw, if this doesn't work out, i highly reccomend that's where i met my fiance, my good friend just got married to a man she met there, and she was introduced by her friend that got married to a man from that site. its a free site and its amazing!!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

I really agree with Denise P.! Seriously -you're supposed to do all of this shuffling and planning in order to see him once a week, yet he doesn't have full custody of his daughter, so he has a lot more flexibility and therefore should be the one "making it work" if he wants to date you. If this is the first date, I can only imagine what he's going to expect from you if you get more involved with him! I would be really leery of this guy. If you really, really like him and want to pursue it, be very up front with what you can and can't do. Being a mom is the #1 priority, so if he can't work around it, then too bad.

I don't think there's anything wrong with getting a sitter now and then for your child so you can go out. If you're leaving him constantly, it's one thing -but not a few times a month. However, sitters are very expensive, so make sure when you get one and spend that money that you really are doing something for YOU! All moms need a break!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I'm going against the pack here. I don't find it demanding. I find it endearing. He let you know that he is looking for more than the occasional hookup. He wants a relationship. That's where he is in his life right now. No games, no mystery. He put it out there that he is ready for a full time, exclusive relationship. And letting you know that he will need to be a priority for it to work. Not the top priority. He's only asking for 1 date per week. But, still a priority. That's what we're always telling women...Not to be afraid to be clear about your expectations of a relationship.
This weekend doesnt work and maybe you need to get a sitter a couple times a month. It's unrealistic to think you will be able to date without EVER getting a sitter. Noone is going to work with I have time for you in 3 weeks, for very long. You will be out a little cash for a sitter, he will be out cash for the date. Sounds fair to me. If he were eager to just "get in where he fits in" I would think - player, dog, serial dater. He wants to see you and just you on a regular basis. What's wrong with that. Everybody has mommy guilt. But remember you are a woman, not just a mom. You're happiness will add to your sons happiness. There are worse things in life than going to a sitter. If he's at daycare all day, stay with him until bedtime. Go out for a late dinner and cocktails after little one goes to sleep. He will be fine!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Dating sucks. Not that I currently am, but I've done rather a lot of it. And then have spent quite a bit of time in a bad marriage.

The one thing both of those things have taught me? I get on with TONS of men, but a very VERY small fraction of them have lives that would 'fit' with mine, and vice versa.

Compatibility isn't just about clicking, or chemistry, it's also about lifestyle/ jobs.

Think about military spouses for a moment. Those who have long term marriages usually LOVE the time apart and LOVE the time together. They get killer balance between honeymoons & independence. But the military is rife with divorce because as a society we're taught that "love" is "enough". It's not. You can love a person to bits but despise the way they choose to live, to the point of being miserable all the time. So thousands and thousands of people who need to 'never be apart for a day' marry someone who's gone 6+ months a year.

You clicked with this guy... but off the bat you're having lifestyle issues. Are they surmountable? Possibly. But each of you is *completely* within their rights to need different lifestyles.

The personal balance issue... that's trial and error. One thing you MAY try is not dating, but still carving out that time. Once you figure out how much free time you can really have and still feel good about yourself, you'll know how much time you have to offer someone else.

just my experience

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

If this guy really likes you he will work with YOUR schedule! Your son deserves as much time as you can give him. Our kids grow up so fast . Please don't settle for a guy like this one. You and your son deserve the very best. I was in your shoes, and finally met a wonderful man who understands I have to put my son first and he encourages me to do so. Please just take your time with dating and just keep looking until you find someone who deserves you. I wish you the very best.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I'm with Denise P on this one. Saying that you have to see eachother at least once a week for things to work after you've only had coffee with the guy seems a bit demanding. Little alarm bells are going off in my head saying things like "control" "manipulation" and such. I can see if you the two of you had been dating for a bit and he wanted to see more of you but after one coffee date? Hmmmm, something sounds off. And you are already feeling angry which indicates this may not be the guy for you. Listen to your instincts mama.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

I think, he's playing games.

I would not believe him, frankly.

And why on earth, does he 'need' to see you at least once every week in order to make it work?
He has his daughter, every other week. THUS, per HIS dating 'rules'... he therefore CANNOT ever, see any woman every week at least once. Because he has his daughter
So, he is, not able to even keep his own "rules" about dating.
It is his fault.
Not yours.
It is his drama.
Not yours.

Meanwhile, you are stressed about it.
Just see a man who is more on par with you.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I love Riley's answer, especially the carving out time for yerself bit.

On that token, I'd like to suggest a tool that is extraordinarily helpful in my life: Mama trades.

I have a few close girlfriends who are also mothers. I trust them enormously and we have similar (enough) parenting credos. I take their kid/s either for an overnight or for a day and they return the favor. It's cheap, fun, rewarding and I feel a heck of a lot better leaving the girls with their best friends and "aunties" than I would a sitter. Besides, we can't afford sitters/daycare and many of my friends are in the same boat. It's a win win situation.

When the kid's are with them, I have no mama guilt. None.

Good luck, lady! You deserve some time to yourself (or with a fella!).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I think your feelings are normal. I also think that a guy needs to understand that you can't just "make time" to see him after one coffee date. I think you should suggest setting up a 2nd date when it works with your schedule, then see what happens and what kind of timing could work for both of you longer term. I think finding a sitter or some type of childcare occasionally could be necessary, since you don't have a 50/50 coparenting situation like he does. Also, get creative, can lunch times work? Mornings?

I've been dating a man for three years and we see each other usually once a week, sometimes more but sometimes less, depending on kids, work, school, and other activities. I feel lucky that I found someone who's life is as full as mine and who doesn't add extra stress to my life by making demands.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rapid City on

You don't need to go out every time to get together. You also don't want to bring a man in your son's life until you sure it is going to be long term because to lose guy after guy in your son's eyes will take a toll on him. I don't blame him not wanting to give up his weekends with his daughter, you have a hard time giving up one evening a week with your child, which I understand completely. Would it work for him to come over to your place after your son is in bed? It would give you time with him visiting, watching movies and getting to know each other without involving your son or taking your time from your son. When my husband and I were dating, my infant son and I lived at my parents so I didn't worry about going out. We did take him on at least every other date. We met when my son was 6 months old, engaged when my son was 9 months old and married a couple weeks after my son turned a year old. We have been married for almost 29 years now. If you get serious with this guy, then introduce your children and see how you all interact together. Have weekend picnics at the park and such. Only do this when you are sure it if both of you believe you have a future together. If you start talking marriage, then I would make house rules for both children and parenting guildlines so there isn't favoritism when everyone is together.

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