Sex and the Single Mom: So, What Happened with Your Son’s Dad?


dadI’ve told the story so many times that I’ve rehearsed the pauses. I know when to wait for my date to laugh and then cringe. “So, as I was breastfeeding our son, I opened my computer; there was a picture of the two of them in all white. Since she looked like the type of basic chick who takes her social cues from cheap magazines, I knew it must have been taken before Labor Day. My son was born in November.”

It gets easier each time I tell it, but I also hope each time will be the last time. I don’t want to wear this story like a merit badge anymore: proof I’m over it.

The truth is, I’m very much over him, but I don’t know if I’ll ever be over the pain of that experience.

After I tell the story, if my date’s not a psychopath, he tries to match my emotional toll with a story of his own. The time a girlfriend got an abortion without asking. When he met his dad for the first time. Taking care of his sick mother. Or, if he’s lived a particularly privileged life, that time he, too, was cheated on – in high school or college.

Even though I’m sure these stories hurt the teller very much, I selfishly think each time; I have you beat.

My story is a eulogy; it killed a part of me, a dream I’d had since my parents divorced on my 10th birthday.

I can usually snap out of this feeling and continue the date. I take another bite of my now cold food and say, “That must have been hard. I’m sorry you went through that.”

What he does next serves as a litmus test of where things are going. If the conversation tapers off and he’s visibly awkward: nowhere. He can’t handle me. If he skillfully changes the subject and the conversation continues seamlessly: somewhere. This has potential. And, if he somehow manages to get me out of my head and make me laugh: back to his place (just kidding).

So, what happened with my son’s dad? A lot. But it’s okay that you ask because each time I tell that story, I feel one step further away from that moment and that pain. Know though, despite the smile on my face when I tell it, yeah it still hurts a lot.

So buy me another glass of wine already, and let’s talk about something less serious, like death or taxes.


  1. I hate telling our story … We were together, then I told him I was pregnant, he got out of the car and I didn’t hear from him for three weeks. He’s seen our 5.5 yr old son probably about 10 times since he was born. Men automatically assume there is some huge disaster waiting for them after they ask that question…and in reality, there isn’t. He isn’t involved and that’s that. No need to get angry for me or empathetic…just acknowledge it and let’s move on.

  2. Right!? Thanks for the read and extra thanks for the comment. It’s always lovely to know there are sisters in arms out there.

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