Tuesday, May 28, 2013


The day after my last relationship, I woke up said, "I'm done putting my life on hold for anyone, or the lack of someone. I'm pursuing my dreams now."

At first, I thought that meant I wanted to stop renting and to buy an apartment.

But three weeks later, I realized that no, I wanted to become a mother more than anything.

I knew (thought) I couldn't have both, and motherhood couldn't be denied, so motherhood it was.

I waited a good eight months -- the first time in my life I've shown such restraint -- to confirm my certainty.

But I never wavered.

So eight months later I started the trying to get pregnant, and many many drugs, five at-home ICI's (think turkey baster) and one IVF cycle-with-complications-leading-to-hospitalization plus afrozen embryo transfer led to... pregnancy... and ten months after that... motherhood.

I've never been happier. I've never been more fulfilled.

I've never been lonely.

Since weaning Calliope, though, I started to think that it might be fun to have a "friend with benefits" -- you know, some nice interesting conversationalist to take me out to dinner and then have over for a quick romp in the sheets before sending him out in the night so I can wake up well rested with my little one the next morning.

The practical aspects of this arrangement are a little fuzzy. Especially because I haven't been attracted to anyone in ages. I'm not even desiring sex right now, it just doesn't sound repugnant the way it used to (not the idea of an orgasm, that sounded fine all along, just the idea of tangling with another human so intimately seemed repellent  Another human in my life with needs? Ugh.).

So it's been simmering in the back of my mind for a couple of weeks.

Then my friends mentioned seeing an old... ahem... and old SOMETHING of mine. A guy I had a connection with for oh, seven years or so. We've never lived in the same town. But we would see each other a couple of times a year at various running events in far flung towns and had undeniable chemistry. We had great conversations, fun hijinks, and more. It was clear to everyone that we had eyes only for each other, those couple of times a year.


He was in a relationship. And then married. Though I never met her. She wasn't involved in our running/camping group.

Not much of a future there.

And then, shortly after Calliope was born, he came to visit me. He was in town for a work trip. Our first time seeing each other outside of our running alter-universe. Our first time in our real lives. And my first as a mother.

I kept Calliope strapped to my chest the entire time, as my own personal human shield.

There was still something between us... but I had no patience for it. He was married. He said he wished we could be friends. I said I had lots of friends.

I wished him well, and sent him on his way.

And mostly forgot about him.

He texted me last week.

He and his wife are getting a divorce.

We talked on the phone tonight.

I wanted to keep it light. It was light. I wished I could say "any way to see you for an evening of light entertainment (and that's it)?"

But I didn't. I kept it light, and friendly.

We spoke for thirty minutes and got off the phone -- he was very late to a dinner party. He asked if he could call me again "some time." Said he hoped he might see me at a running event this summer, invited me to the one he is helping to host, and that he had missed me at a recent one.

I felt peaceful when we got off the phone. It was nice, talking to him.

A half hour later, a sinking feeling came over me.

I realized that I really liked talking to him.

This terrifies me.

I'm the queen of wanting more-more-more. I'm like a drug fiend.

One of the reasons I've keep a strict distance away from any sort of intimacy, especially with raging pregnancy hormones, is that I was scared of getting (wrongly) attached.

And now I'm scared of that again.

Never mind the reasons that he is a bad idea -- just ending a marriage, in another town, and maybe not intellectually stimulating enough -- me in a relationship is a bad idea.

Calliope is my number one priority. I'm so scared of doing something to screw up our life. Scared of taking my eye off the prize -- raising my child to the very best of my ability.

Yet I also recognize that it would be perfectly acceptable to have some grown up life that doesn't include her.

But I feel like I have no compass to guide me. I'm so afraid of losing my way.


  1. I was just thinking about this idea of "balancing" single motherhood with dating in my mind other day. How does one know if someone is good with children, but still keeps them at a distance until the relationship is serious enough to meet their child? Dating is hard enough, but now we have to think about how it effects our child too! Talk about the ultimate third wheel!! :)

  2. I love your honesty in this post, especially your last line. I think you'll do fine if you always keep in the front of your mind this: "Calliope is my number one priority...Scared of taking my eye off the prize -- raising my child to the very best of my ability." If any part of dating this man or any other man doesn't fit with that priority then it's not right for you...use that as your compass.

  3. The thought of dating just exhausts me, and exposing my kids to mom dating is frightening (my single mom NEVER dated). But the idea of a parnter is nice.

    The other night my most significant ex (whom I lived with and would have married) came over for dinner. He lives in Spokane and is married with 2 kids, but was passing through town for a night. 17 years since we've seen each other (!) and we still have chemistry - we had a wonderful conversation. It was very strange!!

  4. I think it's great that you're thinking of this. A FWB is great, but let me tell you, (as master of FWB arrangements), a FWB is someone who you don't quite respect enough to date, but just to sleep with. It doesn't sound like this guy is FWB material, IMO. It sounds like he's relationship material. And as someone who also just broke up with a man who lived in another state, was recently divorced (papers signed, not separated, which is even less committal), this guy is looking for a rebound. Steer clear of trouble, and be friends if you can. And find a less complicated FWB if that's what you really want. He's not it. He'll leave you an emotional mess.

  5. Wow. I feel like I could have written this. No, I don't have anyone on the horizon right now, but all the rest? I could have written. Which means I have zero words of wisdom to offer. Other than to say... I'm pulling for you lady. Hoping you figure it out, so that I can at least use you as a guide when I attempt to do the same.

  6. I'm a huge proponent of FWB.. with clear boundaries & expectations on both parts.You need to be able to separate yourself emotionally from the person & experience. Not everyone can do that, actually most can't. In able to enjoy ourselves in bed, most women need to have attraction and for lack of a better word 'warm fuzzies'. That leads to trouble with boundaries. My advice to my own girlfriends has been to put limits on how often you do it, once a month for no longer than 6 months, etc. That's just a guideline. But you get the idea.

    Maybe this helps, maybe this doesn't. A wise friend once said to me, your kids are only young once, you have time for that later. Don't put yourself out there if it takes away from them now. My girls are 13&15 now (still need me but way less), and I see the wisdom in that now. Lonely doesn't necessarily change with regular sex, it fills a need yes, but it can make you even more lonely. A full life with friends, family & activities may help but may not.. ugh!

  7. C is your compass. With her, you won't lose your way.

  8. Well that seems kind of exciting, as well as scary. It could be excellent fun. Though you are right to be a bit guarded.

    I think you have Calliope securely placed as your absolute number one and that this will help you stay on track - there is no way you will stop being number 1 mum. Well said by Shannon - C is your compass!