One day my single mom friend Sarah was telling me about a "panty-wetting first kiss." The next month, my jaw hit my keyboard when she posted on Facebook a pic of an adorable little girl with the message: "My new daughter." Within six weeks of meeting a fantastic guy, Sarah was blissfully engaged. A month later, wed.
Sarah is no floozy. She's a measured, highly educated and successful woman who happened to be a divorced mom. After her marriage ended, Sarah dated for a few years, had some fun and met some duds. Then BAM. End of story.
I've noticed the same pattern time and again: Single moms get out of rotten marriages, date around, then meet a wonderful guy with whom they have a very short courtship and then marry. In all the instances I know of personally, they marry very well and happily. How do you explain it?
Honoree Corder, who blogs at The Successful Single Mom, married her husband Byron just eight months after meeting six years ago. I was chatting with her last week when she chuckled in telling me how her husband teased her for wearing a white blouse stained with BBQ chicken. "I love how you always laugh when you talk about Byron," I said. "I'm very lucky," Honoree replied. I could hear her smile through the phone. "Everyone should have a husband like him." But how does she explain this single-moms-quick-wedded-bliss phenomenon? She told me:
"In my case, it happened because I was a woman of a certain (ahem) age. I had lots of
important life experience including a divorce. I also had successful businesses, I'd become a mother, and I had completed all of the post-divorce stages ... i.e., I had had fun dating, sexapalooza, and 'looking for the right one' dating. Then I got therapy, healed some wounds and got clear about what I wanted. By the time I met my husband, I was not shy about saying what I wanted and asking what he wanted up front to make sure we wanted the same things before we even had a second date."
Honoree and second husband Byron will celebrate their fifth anniversary next month.
Alaina Shearer, who blogs at MsSingleMama.com, and since launched a site for blended families BeautyandtheBiker.com with her new husband, got engaged in six months then eloped in a small family wedding in the couple's back yard.
Her philosophy about why second-marriage courtships can be so speedy? "It's easier for single moms to 'know' after having experienced the brutal reality of marrying a dick," says Alaina, who is due with a son in the fall. "We were both divorced, both had kids, and both knew just what we wanted." They were sure they were meant to be by date No. 3, she told me.
Alaina shares my philosophy that dating as a single mom has huge advantages. She told her readers: "Single moms have a tremendous advantage over our childless dating counterparts in that we know what we need and what we want. While a childless woman may pick a man because he looks hot in those jeans, a single mother is much wiser and chooses a man because he would make an excellent father and/or husband. Assuming, of course, that she is ready for her next relationship or that she even wants another one at all."
I wonder if the fact that we are mothers plays a role. For me, becoming a parent opened up a wellspring of emotions, peace and intuition that no doubt guides me through the minefield of romance. Sarah agrees. "You pay attention to how you communicate with dates, to how to resolve conflicts, to how you interact with each others' kids," she said. "You are looking for all those subtle cues when you date someone-all those echoes of your bad relationships. And when they are absent, it builds trust pretty quickly."
For all her wedded bliss, Alaina calls her short courtship "a bad example" and "an exception to the rule" and urges single moms to be very careful in marrying again. After all -- while divorce rates for first marriages is between 40 and 50 percent, those figures jump to 60 to 67 percent when least one spouse has been married once before and to more than 70 percent for third marriages. "Single moms seem especially eager to partner up," says Honoree, who authored The Successful Single Mom book series. "Often, single moms want to not be a single mom, they want to appear "normal" (whatever that means), or they don't want to be judged for being a single mom."
All these wedded single moms offer the same advice for newly single moms: Date around. Have fun (Honoree is a big fan of every divorced mom indulging in a "sexpalooza." I endorse.). Don't expect every man to be your husband. Listen to those instincts. In telling me about her new love, Sarah's words mimicked others I've heard: "We both just knew right away."