Handling unsolicited love life advice as a single parent

A few days ago on my Facebook Page at Dallas Single Mom, I posed a question as to whether “Single Moms feel the pressure to find a man/partner at ALL Costs.” This sparked a pretty healthy discussion on my page about handling the unsolicited comments and advice you can get as a single person in this world. Go Solo Me, wrote a very entertaining post about this phenomenon on handling unsolicited love advice.

This Facebook post from Dallas Single Mom really hit home with me yesterday. Mainly because I would be wealthy if I had a dollar for every time someone has given me a “kindly nudge” like this since my divorce was final nearly 10 years ago… And, to be honest, it’s been like 31 flavors of awkward since then… Here are just a few and what I thought when I heard them. Some people have pressured me to “find that guy” with the approach Dallas Single Mom shared, “Theres only so much time left for you…” etc. Got it. You think I’m probably doomed.

via Go Solo Me!.

From What Place do these Comments come from

The first thing to remember is to place yourself in the shoes of the other person. You can try to understand from what place these comments are coming from. In my situation, I am 34 years old and my mother constantly bugs me about being available for somebody or that I’m always finding the right guy. When I decide to take a break from dating she can’t understand why and tells me that “I’m running out of time.” I completely understand my mother but this is not her life. She is afraid of what will become of all of us when she’s gone and not their to pick up the pieces when life may go to hell and a handbasket. What really brings this to fruition is posts like the one on Babble where the mom was explaining the “no husband” question posed at little league registration.

Luckily, I am no stranger to Hell and a handbasket so whether it’s dealing  coparenting with my ex, managing the finances, or dating someone “not so conducive to the direction of my family’s future” I know that in the bigger scheme of things WE (the kids and myself) are going to be okay. My mom comes from a generation where you are taken cared of by a husband. There is a real possibility that I will not ever get married again so I’ve learned to accept that. I’m happy.

However, it doesn’t just stop with love advice, single moms get advice from everyone for everything and especially from people that have no clue what it is like to be a single mom. Sometimes single mom themselves give each other bad advice because PEOPLE have their own experiences that are unique to their situation. What works for one, may not work for everyone.

So How do you graciously handle unsolicited love advice?

Begin by understanding your situation, being in touch with your own needs, setting boundaries with loved ones and sticking to it. I have a few tips that may help.

1) Don’t discuss your love life too often and in too much detail with loved ones that might not understand – Talking about  your online dating adventures with your mother who never dated anyone but dad in her life is a concept she cannot understand. Some moms are cool and some are not so don’t discuss your latest exploit unless the other party is mature enough to handle it.

2) If somebody gives you unsolicited love advice, be gracious and say thank you  – there is no need to get into a debate or a need to defend single parenthood. Be gracious and say thank you. In fact, be genuine. Say thank you for thinking of me and you can even ask them to pray for you (if you are a Christian) and wish them a God Bless.

3)  Don’t get defensive – it’s so easy to get defensive but don’t. Let them talk and just smile back. You don’t have to explain your life details. One of the funny things I encounter all the time is church. At church they ALWAYS ask if my husband will be joining me. This is always awkward for me because I feel like I have to explain WHY I have no husband. Even a boyfriend could be a great stand in -almost husband but the reality of the situation is that there is no husband.  So I just answer the question with a simple No. Most people upon meeting you for the first time do not need to be made aware of your relationship status.

4) Answering the “So Where is Dad?” question

I once got asked by a puppet at the Dallas Zoo about where dad was since I brought all three of my kids to the zoo by myself. I had to laugh because is it that impossible for a mother to bring three kids to the zoo. My aunt had 5 kids and did the same thing and when all the cousins got together she managed about 8 kids at the same time. So what do you say across a crowd of 50 people to a puppet who has no manners? A) Laugh and hope they go away B) Ignore the puppet C) Pretend like I don’t speak English

Those are very tempting but keep it simple. He’s not here. That’s the truth and you are not lying.

Are there any other unsolicited love life questions that you would like help answering. Contact me at blog<at>dallassinglemom<dot>com for assistance. 


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