I have realised that being a single mom has made me a commitment phobe.
I use various dating apps. I have profiles on tinder and bumble. I’ve avoided happn because happn maps exactly where you and a prospective date have crossed paths and how often. I find that a bit scary. I think happn must be a great app for stalkers. I am a single mom with a two year old child. I don’t want a stalker.
I have been on a few dates. Some have been disastrous. My first foray back into the dating scene after six years of coupledom was the worst date ever. It lasted a whole 26 minutes (the time it took for me to order and then down my large glass of wine). He was arrogant and offensive and at that moment I pondered a life of solitude and celibacy. My date made a lifetime of solitude and celibacy seem like a very very appealing option.
Other dates weren’t disastrous, they were just a bit mediocre. There were a couple of guys who were nice, but uninspiring and I didn’t find them remotely attractive. They were genuine guys, but there was just no spark or real conversation. I am not blaming them; it’s at least half my fault. We just didn’t click and life is too short and time is too precious to waste on nurturing uninspiring conversation with someone with whom you don’t click. I won’t see them again.
Then there was this one guy with whom I really did click. He was a saxophonist, a really talented musician. He also worked in politics as a speech writer. He’d just returned from a couple of years in Hollywood trying to make it work in the music business but had found that he didn’t fit in. He had discovered that good old England really was his home and he had returned to London. He was interested and interesting.
And the sex was good. Like really good. He was considerate and generous and it just felt easy, fun and light hearted. Despite the fact that he was five years younger than me and I’ve had a baby I didn’t feel self-conscious about my post-pregnancy and childbirth body.
But I kept him at arms length. He never met my son. I never had any intention of him meeting my son. This little thing that we had was pure escapism and nothing more. I knew that I never wanted it to be any more.
I often feel that I live three parallel lives.
First, there’s the planet of Cygnet. My son and the apple of my eye, he is the person who I look at and wonder what I have done to be so lucky in life. When I am with Cygnet he has my undivided attention.
Then there’s the planet of work. I returned to work when Cygnet was 7 months old, 6 weeks after I had separated from his father. Cygnet’s father and I were still living together. It was an horrendous time and sometimes I look back and wonder how I got through it. But I did get through it. I got through it by using my work as escapism. By focussing 100% on work during the hours I was there (which are full time hours) I was able to put the other stresses to one side. Not forever, but for 8 hours a day 5 days a week. The distraction of work got me through a difficult time.
Thirdly, there’s the planet of ‘me time’. This time is limited, but it is time when I decompress and refresh. I might get my nails done, go to a gallery or the theatre, meet a friend for dinner or sometimes just get an uninterrupted night’s sleep. This is the time when I dabble in a bit of dating. It was also the time when I would see the saxophonist.
I feel like my three planets are being held in a solar system at a precise distance from each other by a series of complex and delicate magnetic fields. It is a tenuous and temporary balance, easily disrupted.
It was quite clear to me that my delicate solar system would not be able to cope with a relationship planet entering the magnetic field. The saxophonist was a great guy, but I had turned into a commitment phobe. It wasn’t difficult to end. It just fizzled out. I guess he could sense that my heart wasn’t in it. I am not disappointed. That’s just the way life is.
My delicately balanced solar system is still intact and that is important to me. My desire to preserve my delicately balanced solar system has made me a commitment phobe.