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    Love Letters

    Do I tell my dates about my toddler?

    A lot of men seem turned off when they find out I’m a single mom.

    Send your questions to Meredith here.

    Q. Hi Meredith,

    I am a full-time working single mom (recently divorced) of a toddler. It’s been more than a year since my ex and I split, so I have taken time to grieve the loss of a relationship that I thought would last forever. I don’t ever want to live with another man under the same roof, never mind getting married! I want to meet someone who feels the same way.

    Now that I am back “on the market,” it seems that when I meet someone and say I have a child, there are two outcomes: 1) Some men are simply not interested; 2) Some feel like they are doing me a favor by talking to me.While I understand Group 1 and respect that decision, I absolutely can’t stand the mind-set of Group 2.

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    I’m considering not saying right away that I am a mom. Ideally, a man from Group 1 and I would then get to build a strong “base” for the relationship — so when he does find out I have a child, he’ll know I’m worth the extra effort. What is the best approach? Tell right away or later?

    — Later?

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    A. I understand what you’re trying to accomplish here, but I don’t think you should turn your kid into a secret. You can probably keep family out of initial conversations, but once you’re really getting to know someone, you’ll want to mention the most important person in your life. It doesn’t have to be some grave, monumental announcement. It’s just like, “Hey, I live in TOWN, I work as JOB, I have this HOBBY, and I share an adorable toddler with my ex-husband.” The end.

    I don’t believe waiting to talk about your child will give you a better shot with Group 1, by the way. If those men are really opposed to dating someone with kids, a few nice outings won’t change their minds.

    Dating is frustrating for most people — with or without children — so it might take you a while to find someone with the right reaction to you being a parent. Consider broadening your settings on dating apps, from age to location. Another cool single parent might live some extra miles away.

    Also, think about the language you used when you wrote about what you want in the future. I believe you’re not interested in marriage and cohabitation, but words like “never” and “ever” can be . . . limiting. It wouldn’t hurt to be a little open to the idea that everything might change.

    Meredith

    READERS RESPOND

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    Don’t keep your kid a secret. It will not impress anyone. ELLEEM

    She needs to tell way before the first date. If they meet on a dating site then it needs to be part of her profile. JONRUNSGRAFTON

    “I don’t ever want to live with another man under the same roof, never mind getting married!” has some very bitter undertones . . . THENURSE

    There are plenty of nice, single dads out there. Find one. ROADRUNNER

    Meredith Goldstein’s novel “Chemistry Lessons” is now available. Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters.