“You already have a family, so if you want more than a fun hookup, your focus should be on a man who’s clearly father material,” says Susan Winter, relationship expert and bestselling author of . “Keeping your sex life separate from your child is crucial,” she says.It makes perfect sense to me: My needs and desires have changed since having a child, so I want a more stable partner to be around regularly—not just for a booty call. “Having someone come in and out inconsistently isn’t good for any child, especially if they’re mourning the loss of two parents breaking up, or the absence of a parent in general.” As a young, single mom with a full plate, it’s a surprisingly common fantasy to seek out older partners for their wisdom and life experience—but experts advise not to date anyone just because he or she is your senior. “By locking into specific age, you may miss the perfect woman or man who’s right in front of you by applying these limitations.” Remember that age really doesn’t equal maturity.Jenn suggests putting the word out to trustworthy people in your life, who can start the screening process for you: “Let family members, friends and co-workers know you’re looking to date again.You never know who might send someone great your way.” While your single girlfriends might be down for one-night stands, it’s not exactly at the top of most single moms’ to-do lists– regardless of how young we are.“When we’re young, we don’t have a ton of life experience,” says Dr. “Not all 20-something’s are that way, but it does take a while for women to figure out who we are as a person, and develop the strength to assert ourselves and make good boundaries and know who – and what – we want.” Bottom line: Figuring out who you are is something you owe yourself, and something that will help you find a more suitable partner in the future.It can be tempting to vent on Facebook about how stubborn an ex is being, or share how happy you are in if you’ve found a relationship with someone new.
The men I’d normally take an interest in are often just starting their careers, still in undergrad, or staying out until 3AM every chance they get—whereas I’m living the opposite lifestyle, and as a party of two, not one. In spite of this barrage of challenges, I still have hope.
But Winter strongly feels that less pressure will be placed on you and your S. if you leave it off of social media—at least in the early stages.
“Keep your blossoming relationship out of the eyes of ‘friends’ on social media,” she advises.
(Exhibit A: Me.) “It’s important for a single mother to find a partner who is at her level and has the maturity to be a step parent,” says Dr. “He or she doesn’t have to be much older to be both of those things.” Known best for being the experimental and selfish decade, your twenties are certainly a time for exploration and growth – not only for your interests and travels, but for who you are as a person.
When you’re a 20-something single mom, though, it can be a little tough to remember that …and even though you’re confident in your role as a mother, you still have a lot to learn about yourself.