Being a single mom has made me a commitment phobe

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.
commitment phobe

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.

Commitment phobe or no commitment phobe,  this solar system is a happy one. Keep Calm and Carry On Linking SundayMy Kid Doesn't Poop RainbowsAnd then the fun began...
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  1. July 31, 2016 / 3:10 pm

    Isn’t it amazing how having a child just changes your full outlook on life, how you sit back and analyse every situation and don’t make any decisions too rashly. It sounds as if your content with how things are, I mean there’s no rush to add an extra planet to your solar system just yet. Thanks for an open and interesting read #KCACOLS

    • thesingleswan
      July 31, 2016 / 8:32 pm

      It is amazing. I agree. Pen x

  2. July 31, 2016 / 4:56 pm

    I’m impressed that you have managed to do some dating (and a little bit jealous!) I have thought about online dating again, but the thought of it makes me feel a bit sick at the thought of a) having to ask my mother to babysit so that I can go on some pathetic date with someone I probably won’t be interested in, and b) putting myself back into that world which I associate with years of endless rejection. Let alone the fact that I feel increasingly self-conscious about the way I look, my age, etc. I’ve got a post in drafts about it. Every time I think to myself, “oh here’s a minute where I can go online” that thought it immediately followed by “and do some blogging!” #KCACOLS
    Min recently posted…Having a Baby: What’s The Right Time?My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      July 31, 2016 / 8:30 pm

      Well, I can see from your blog that you are a lot more productive than I am. You can waste hours on tinder. Trust me, your time is better spent on your blog. Pen x

  3. July 31, 2016 / 6:04 pm

    Thanks for sharing such an honest story, sorry that you haven’t yet found someone you feel you can commit to or that you feel put off from doing this. It’s great that you have your son and a good relationship with him. #KCACOLS

    • thesingleswan
      July 31, 2016 / 8:29 pm

      My pleasure. Pen x

  4. July 31, 2016 / 8:33 pm

    I haven’t even heard of happn as a dating app which means I must be about 108 now. I did used to like online dating even if I didn’t actually go on the dates as I couldn’t go out and leave the kids to do anything remotely grown up on my own and I was too broken anyway. Well done for even giving it a go. When it’s right it’s right and you’ll do it again, it doesn’t sound like you’re a commitment phobe, just smart! You always come across as so sussed in your head Pen, you’re a winner.

    mainy x

    mainy – myrealfairy recently posted…Five of My Favourite 2016 Moments ….So FarMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      August 2, 2016 / 6:45 am

      Hi Mainy,

      Thanks for your comment. I don’t think you are missing out for not having heard about happn.
      I try to be sussed in my head, but I don’t always manage it – trust me.

      Pen x

  5. Sarah Ella (Mumx3x)
    August 1, 2016 / 6:17 pm

    Being a single mum is not easy but yes, it’s amazing how it changes perspective on things isn’t it?! Well done on giving dating and these dating apps a go! I met my fella online even if we are in a long distance relationship! #KCACOLS

    • thesingleswan
      August 1, 2016 / 9:44 pm

      Ah, that’s nice. I always like to hear about relationships forged online. Pen x

  6. August 1, 2016 / 7:57 pm

    It must be difficult to re-emerge yourself into that world but fair play to you to doing it. I love the way in which you described your situation by using the solar system, it was a great metaphor. You sound at peace with the situation and that is the main thing. Thanks so much for linking at #KCACOLS. Hope you can come back again next Sunday xx

    • thesingleswan
      August 1, 2016 / 9:43 pm

      My pleasure. I am glad you liked the metaphor and I am indeed at peace with the situation. It is a nice feeling. Thanks Pen x x

  7. August 1, 2016 / 8:10 pm

    Commitmentphobe or not – you seem pretty happy in your 3 bubbles! I don’t envy you foraying into the world of dating with a child on your mind but you seem to know what you’re doing! #KCACOLS

    • thesingleswan
      August 1, 2016 / 9:42 pm

      I am pretty happy in my 3 bubbles. Thanks for your comment. pen x

  8. August 1, 2016 / 10:32 pm

    Lovely honest post. Well done for getting out there on the dating scene and I think I can see that you need to compartmentalise your life to protect your little boy. It’s really admirable of you. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for you splitting with you ex when your little boy was so small, it’s such hard work having a baby and juggling work and everything else. Good for you x #KCACOLS
    TheIrishBabyFairy recently posted…Mammy Profile – OrlaMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      August 2, 2016 / 6:43 am


      thank you so much for your lovely comment. I really appreciate it. Pen x

  9. August 2, 2016 / 10:00 am

    I always think that even commitment phobes will commit when they meet the right person. Its no wonder you’re wary and keeping men at arms length as you have so much going on. Dating is hard enough to navigate before children, let alone while trying to balance everything parenting brings. Good luck and I hope you meet the right person when the time is right for you xx

    • thesingleswan
      August 3, 2016 / 9:48 pm

      Hi Caroline. I suspect your are right. I haven’t met the right person. I don’t need to yet. I am not sure that I am ready. thanks for your comment Pen x

  10. August 2, 2016 / 12:44 pm

    Yep…it’s so no easy is it?! The problem for me was when I met the man I wanted to introduce Seb to, it still felt like I had to keep everything separate! Sometimes I think maybe I should have done that. Just had Dan as a boyfriend, someone to go for romantic weekends with and then been ‘me’ and a motherhood the rest of the time. Putting it all together just didn’t work…but it’s ultimately what I want and I think I’m compromising by not holding out for that. Dan would be happy for us to revert back to this, stay married but live separately to solve our issues. But I want Seb to feel included in my choices and it feels wrong to have a life with him and a different life with Dan. Oh the joys of single parenting! (glad you got some good sex though eh?!) Love & hugs to you!! Tor xx #thruthabout
    teacuptoria recently posted…Big EmotionsMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      August 3, 2016 / 9:47 pm

      Hi Tor,

      I know. It is really tough. I think that ultimately though I am not really ready for a relationship. Maybe Dan wasn’t the right person for the kind of relationship that you were looking for. Single parenthood is tough. Single parent dating is tougher. Loads of love. Pen x

  11. August 2, 2016 / 3:09 pm

    I’ve never heard of happn but that sounds like trouble to me. It sounds like you are content with your current lot in life, and don’t see any need for a man in your life. I see no reason to change. As your kid gets older, it will probably be easier to find the time, but if something happened here I don’t think I’d be in any rush to get back into the game #truthabout
    jeremy@thirstydaddy recently posted…Being a Parent Means Being an A-HoleMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      August 3, 2016 / 9:41 pm

      thanks Jeremy. I appreciate your comment. Pen x

  12. August 2, 2016 / 9:21 pm

    I met my hubby online quite a few years ago now, but it really seems as though dating apps have come on a fair bit in that time. Happn sounds positively terrifying. I love how honest this post is and I salute you for identifying how and what works best for you and your life with your little man, and sticking to your guns with it. Most importantly – your solar system is a happy one and that is all that matters. Thanks for linking up with #fartglitter x

    • thesingleswan
      August 3, 2016 / 9:40 pm

      Hi, Thanks for your comment. My solar system is indeed a happy one. Long may it continue. Pen x

  13. August 3, 2016 / 2:50 am

    I think you are amazing to be able to deal with all of this on your own and still prioritize time for yourself. I may not be single, but I do need me time. Thank you for making it seem more possible for me! #KCACOLS

    • thesingleswan
      August 3, 2016 / 9:39 pm

      thanks for your comment. Pen x

  14. August 3, 2016 / 5:28 pm

    I can totally understand why you stay far, far away from that happn app-that sounds absolutely terrifying!

    Kids really do change our outlook, don’t they? It’s so fascinating to me how differently I think now that I have my son. I’m sorry that you haven’t met anyone worthwhile yet, and the only advice I can offer is that it takes time. I actually met my husband online, so there’s hope! I’m glad to hear that your life looks happy as it is now though, I’ve found that those who look for a man to make them happy don’t tend to pan out well. <3 #KCACOLS
    Savannah recently posted…Are Box Tops Really Worth It?My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      August 3, 2016 / 9:38 pm

      Hi Savannah,

      thanks for your comment. I totally agree with your last sentence. Only we can make ourselves happy. Other people can’t do it for us. Pen x

  15. August 3, 2016 / 8:19 pm

    I have to admit the dating scene terrifies me and I’m glad that I was never really there. I was 17 when I met my husband and have been with him ever since. I don’t think I’d be very good at dating. #KCACOLS

    • thesingleswan
      August 3, 2016 / 9:37 pm

      Wow, that is lovely to have met your husband so young. The dating scene is terrifying and great fun in equal measure. Feel free to live vicariously through my tinder exploits recounted through my blog. Pen x

  16. August 3, 2016 / 9:12 pm

    Maybe you are not ready and you know that is fine. It is OK to be single if you, it is ok to date if you want, it is ok to be in the relationship if you want. Only you can chose but you have to be happy and even if you do’t know isn’t it great you put your feet in and explored. It is a journey of self discover. X #kcacols

    • thesingleswan
      August 3, 2016 / 9:34 pm

      Indeed, and maybe I am not ready to date again. It is as you say a journey of discovery. Thanks for your comment Pen x

  17. August 3, 2016 / 9:39 pm

    I’m beginning to realise that being a single mum might genuinely mean years of singledom from here on in for all the reasons you mention. Whilst my ex has spent a lot of time cultivating a new relationship he has had the luxury of time and the ability to pick and choose whether or not he will spend time with the children during the formative stages of his relationship. For us mums that is not an option and actually – we don’t really want to spend that much time away from our kids – they would feel it, they would be aware of us placing our energies elsewhere and it wouldn’t feel right for any of us.
    Reading this I was reminded of some mediocre dates I had all those years ago – your description of the situation is spot on. I don’t think I can say I ever met someone as cool and hip as your saxophonist sounds though! Bit like fishing isn’t it? Catch a good one… and then throw it back! 🙂 Thanks for linking up with #thetruthabout this week Pen X
    Sam recently posted…The Truth about… #85My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      August 3, 2016 / 9:53 pm

      Hi Sam,

      thanks for your comment. yes you are right it is a bit like fishing. You find a good one albeit rarely and then throw it back, or more likely a mouldy leaf or a piece of litter attaches itself to your line and you wonder whether it is even worth giving up free time in front of the tele.

      I went on a tinder date last night…and wished I’d stayed home to write a blog post about the perils of having a life plan. Oh well, lesson learned.

      thanks for your comment Sam and also for hosting #thetruthabout Pen x

  18. August 4, 2016 / 1:43 am

    I love the honesty in this, and how your worlds revolve around each other. Being a single mom is not easy. I think you are doing a great job. Thanks for sharing. #KCACOLS
    Jen @Practical, By Default recently posted…Coffee Chat-Links and LaughterMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      August 4, 2016 / 9:28 pm

      Hi Jen,

      Thanks so much for your comment. Pen x

  19. August 4, 2016 / 8:09 am

    I am so pleased to hear, with that last sentence, that you are happy. Because being happy and single must be better than being coupled and unhappy. I can totally see how you don’t want to rock the boat when you are happy with how things are and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Everyone is at different stages in life and what works for someone else doesn’t necessarily work for you. #BrillBlogPosts
    Lucy (@Lucy_at_home) recently posted…‘Am I fat?’ asked the 5 year oldMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      August 4, 2016 / 9:28 pm

      Hi Lucy,

      Thanks very much for your comment. I totally agree. Much better to be on the shelf than in wrong cupboard (not closet) so to speak. Pen x

  20. August 4, 2016 / 5:31 pm

    I’m just thinking about dipping my toe into this world. I’m seeing single motherhood as an advantage, I am gonna have such a ridiculously high jerk filter. No one other than the best will get near my boy #brilliantblogposts

    • thesingleswan
      August 4, 2016 / 9:26 pm

      My sentiments exactly Charlene. I look forward to hearing all about it. Good luck. Pen x

  21. August 6, 2016 / 7:40 pm

    This post is so honest and interesting. It sounds like you are cool with the way things are right now. I’m sure when another planet is required, you will know. Thanks for sharing! x #KCACOLS

    • thesingleswan
      August 6, 2016 / 9:58 pm

      Hi Shaney,

      Yes I am cool with the way things are right now. Thanks very much for your comment. I appreciate it. Pen x

  22. August 9, 2016 / 5:18 pm

    Lovely lady I totally get your planet description, I think it was a very clever way of describing it. I was a single mummy for years then when I did start dating the weekends when my son was with his dad were my grown up weekends. I didn’t want to be hurt, not my son to have another man leave…It took a long while and some tricky patches but a couple of years later we are all living together and no one has died. Whoop. I never intended to date I has happily made my piece with spinsterhood…just kind of happened. I guess in a long rambling way I am trying to say when you want it and are ready great if not then you kick ass as you and you have a little one that loves you whatever 🙂 #brilliantblogposts

    • thesingleswan
      August 9, 2016 / 8:29 pm

      Hi Jade,

      Thanks so much for your comment. I am glad you relate to the post and I am not the only single woman in her mid-30s who just doesn’t want to date seriously. Pen x

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