• UNTOLD STORIES PART 1

    Dating for a single mom

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    BETTINA CARLOS

    I praise God for the one year that has passed as an official mommy writer and blogger. September 1 marks the anniversary of my blog www.mummybites.com.ph and my parenting column here at The Manila Times. My sincerest gratitude to the readers and followers who regularly buy the papers, check the website and blog, ask for recipes, send their stories and reactions.

    Now, as I celebrate my first year with The Times and as I start counting down to turning 30, allow me to share more of my heart. I am starting a series of never-before-shared intimate and sensitive stories and life lessons that I am only able to share now because 1.) it is water under the bridge and 2.) I believe these were God-filtered circumstances that many people can learn from, just coursed through my life first.

    So in all honesty and humility let me share with you that: I tried to date someone in the past year.

    Dating is not something I have been comfortable with; it has always been a stiff arrangement for me ever since. It is not a walk in the park, let alone for a single lady who already has a child.

    I acknowledge that this addition in my life is not exactly a welcome addition to most men, especially their mothers. And because I don’t want to invest again in a relationship that will not work, I really do not make an effort to see anyone.

    Nevertheless, around this time last year, someone came along—an educated, well-mannered, decent-looking man. We connected instantly and very well because of our similar interests—food and fitness. On top of that, I believed that we had the same belief and principles as he was a Christian too which, for me, made a world of difference.

    Having said that, I assumed that he would be guided by and would respect the dating norm among single Christians—no holding hands, no beso even, no movies and no anything that only married couples should do.

    But his nationality and their unique family traditions somewhat got in the way of us continuing our “getting to know each other” stage.

    Because my daughter at an age where she understands matters more, I became open to her and I would ask for her permission if I can go out. She has always wanted to have younger siblings and she knows that the only way to do that is for her mommy to go out.

    As such, while it is difficult for Gummy to let me go out for meetings, she gives a quick and happy go when I’d say I would go out for a date. She was very supportive.

    However, I never told her who the man is in order to spare her from future disappointments and unnecessary emotional attachments if the thing” does not last long—in this case it barely lasted 2 months.

    Back to the man, I would meet him around twice a week but only when Gummy is already asleep—it is well laid down that I will only give time to other people and for other matters when my Mummy obligations are done—and would talk to him on the phone everyday.

    Of course, his time and attention led me to believe that he knew what he was getting into.

    You see in the Christian dating scene, men verbally express their intentions at the beginning simply because they know what the end-goal of every romantic relationship should be. They do not play mind games, tease and mislead like most worldly, playful men do.

    And as taught by my mentor, I am free to probe and inquire and ask what we are, sort of the “label,” which I exercised.

    But when I did, the answers I got were sugar-coated and not truthful. One of the ways you can test a true man is if they can give a truthful honest answer to a very honest question. No beating around the bush. Truth hurts, and it will hurt just the same so why conceal it with flowery words? Real men have that audacity to be straightforward and truthful.

    To cut the dramatic story short, the “thing” ended shortly when my probing revealed his vague intentions.

    So what can you learn from my disappointing dating experience?

    1. Guard your heart. Pray for wisdom and discernment to determine if the person in front of you has clean intentions.

    2. Don’t fall too hard too early. It may be natural to fall for sweet gestures, regular calls and sweet nothings, but never assume it means something more than the gesture itself. It is safer to think of them as gestures of kindness.

    3. As a single parent, it helped that I did not connect my child to the man I was dating, unless I was sure of his sincerity and intention to pursue. It saved her from disappointment.

    4. Never let anyone make you question your worth as a person, especially as a woman. Your worth is in being a child of God and that alone should be enough to be loved, respected and accepted.

    5. Did I mention that my college friends did not believe it is possible to without kissing or even holding hands? Do not let other people’s opinion or reaction make you second-guess your dating beliefs.

    6. Do not be affected by what the world says. What’s important is what Your Father in Heaven says and thinks of you.

    7. If a man really wants to get your heart, he will work for it, look for it, even if it may be hard. Don’t cave in. Don’t compromise. Stick to your beliefs and convictions. If it is God’s will for you to be married, He will send that person who will pursue you His way.

    8. Always remember the order of your priorities. As a single parent, next to God is your child, not your potential future spouse. You may be dating with the hopes of marrying but neglecting your child in the process.

    9. Pray over everything. Do not rush analyzing and deciphering things. God will reveal in His time. Time is a good teller and revealer of intentions.

    10. Choose whom you will give your precious yeses to.

    To close and just to clarify, I am not shutting my doors to dating. Of course, I still want to get married but I also know the way to that may disappointing and painful at times. I believe if it is truly God’s will, He will make it happen, in His time.

    For now, I continue to focus on my child until someone brave and bold enough comes along, steps up and verbalizes his clear intentions of pursuing this single working momma.

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