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Dating Advice #100 - Single Mom
Dating Advice 100

Dating Advice #100 - Single Mom

She's trying to put the confusion of divorce behind her, manage the kids, and start dating again. Will it work?

by

Dear Rosie & Sherry,

I am finding it more and more difficult to keep going in this futile effort to find a husband. I have been divorced for two years and I have four children ages 3-10. The fact that I'm a single mother seems to be such a problem for guys that I never even get a second date. I am a nice outgoing, good looking, friendly, earthy person who has a lot to give.

Why is this such a big problem? I'm not asking so much for a father for the children -- they have one who takes them every weekend and loves them very much.

Don't I deserve a life? Don't I deserve to be happy? I just don't know anymore.

Signed me,

Depressed & Defeated

Dear DD,

We receive a lot of letters from divorced men and women who are having trouble re-entering the dating scene, and feel that part of their difficulties are due to the fact that they have children. So you are not alone.

The good news is that there are many people with children who remarry. However, many of these people marry when their children are a little bit older than yours.

One of the difficulties you are facing is that at least one of your children is a pre-schooler. This simple fact can be enough to deter some potential suitors. Small children need a lot of maternal attention and many physical needs taken care of; older children may be a little more independent physically, but they still need their emotional needs met. It is easier for a potential step-dad to visualize involvement in a family of less physically dependent, older children, than a family with very young kids.

It also may be that there are other issues complicating your situation. You may have not healed from the pain of your divorce and this may come across when you are dating. Or a lack of closure will make you feel a little unsettled, which also will come out on a date.

In Judaism, just as marriage is a metaphysical reality -- i.e. two souls fusing together to create one complete soul -- so too divorce is a metaphysical reality. When people get divorced, they must obtain a "Get," a religious document that separates the combined soul of the man and woman. Without a proper Get, even though the man and woman have physically separated, they are still bound together metaphysically -- and considered as if fully married. For more info on arranging a proper Jewish divorce, go to http://kayama.org/.

Statistics show that it takes on average two years for someone to recover emotionally and financially from a divorce. We suggest that you take a break from dating at this point in your life. We're not saying how long that break should be; you might need several months, or you might need a few years. During your time off, be good to yourself.

It is very helpful to get involved in some kind of project that will give you a sense of accomplishment. This can be studying a section of the Torah; participating in a community program that helps people who are less fortunate; or taking a course to learn a new skill -- even a simple skill like cooking, photography, home repairs, or computers. Try to find something that interests you, and devote some time and energy to it every week.

You should also focus on enjoying meaningful activities with your children -- play games with them, read to them, help them with homework, and find inexpensive activities you can share.

It will also help if you start to exercise at least three days a week, even by walking briskly or bicycling for a half-hour each day. Exercise helps your body release endorphins, which improve your mood.

Finally, it will help you a lot if you can accept your "ex" the way he is and cooperate when it comes to your children. Sherry is a divorce lawyer, and she knows this is easier said than done. However, she knows from experience that divorced people who are willing to accept their former spouse's limitations, instead of always being upset by them, can move forward in their lives much more easily. This will also make life easier for your children.

If you need time to regain your inner peace, don't feel guilty about taking it, and don't worry that you are losing valuable time that you should be spending finding a new husband. If you take the time to heal, to nurture yourself, and to let you and your children regain your equilibrium, chances are that when you return to the dating scene you will find it easier to find dates who won't be scared off by the idea that you have children, and you will also improve the likelihood that you can develop a lifelong relationship with one of these men.

We wish you the best of luck,

Rosie & Sherry

Published: January 19, 2003

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Visitor Comments: 10

(10) Marlayna, August 31, 2002 12:00 AM

4 kids too

I too, have four children ranging in age from 4-9. I met a man that I thought was an ideal match....he had three children of similar ages. We dated for one year and our relationship very slowly progressed to become more serious. However, it ended for reasons that are not 100% clear to me. It was apparent we possessed a great deal of love for each other, and the physical, emotional and mental connections were undeniably unusual. In my heart, I believe my children were the main issue for him, though he cited other, more fixable reasons. I am taking time to recover....however, I do understand the author's loneliness and frustration.

(9) Anonymous, June 19, 2002 12:00 AM

W/Children

I married a divorced man who had children. They lived with their mother and he paid child support. The children and I never did get along. I opened my arms and home to them, however, they seemed to only want to make life difficult for us. From the experience I've had, should I ever divorce, I will not marry someone who has children. Supporting two families is not an easy thing. When my husband was out of work, I resented having to pay his child support. Not having his income and having to give part of mine away made it difficult for us. When we had a child of our own, his children resented this very much and took it out on my child. They hurt him terribly, both emotionally and physically. An innocent 2/3/4 year old does not deserve what he had to go through. That is in the past. Put it behind me. Learn from it. I strongly advise against marrying a divorcee with children unless you know that you,the divorcee, and children can get along and work things out and make things last.

(8) Nicole Al-Aiday, June 19, 2002 12:00 AM

Made a bad choice in marriage & now paying for it

I am about to embark the single world again, shortly. I want to just make friends (Male & Female) in the Jewish community. But I don't know where to go. I made a bad choice in marriage, by marrying an Arab/Muslim man and had a beautiful baby boy. I am afraid of being judged my new jewish friends. How do I start to approach a new life with no many fears. Plus I am living with my mother, temporially in a small town in Central Pennsylvania. I don't have a clue on how to find the Jewish community here.
Please help
Suffering of Lonliness

(7) Richard Vail, June 18, 2002 12:00 AM

Divorced Parents

I'm divorced and have a child. When I was still dating (I have since married to a wonderful woman who is converting along w/her 13yo daughter), I would only date someone with children as they would know what it is like to be a single parent and would be more likely to accept my child, as I would hers.

(6) Olga, June 10, 2002 12:00 AM

it is hard

It is obviously more difficult to find a date or a husband when you have kids. I have one teenager daughter and still meet people who are hesitant about me because of it.So I have no idea what would I do having 4 kids???Who would marry me?But I think nothing is impossible.I dated a guy who has 4 children.Two of them live with him all the time, and two other ones come over for a weekend.I had no problem with it, it didn't work out for other reasons.But they were teens and preteens and were very independent.I think when you have little kids it is really hard to date.But I think it is possible to find a guy who would not mind four children at home, but it would take more time and effort to accomplish.And then it is important to actually get divorsed.I don't even date separated people.Get divorse first , take some time off, and go ahead: keep looking.It will happen!!!

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