There are plenty of fish in the sea, and the right one is out there for you. I want every single dating woman (and man) to remember that! There’s even a dating website that uses the popular idiom in its moniker. The problem is that most people don’t believe it, or for some reason they don’t think it applies to them.
I’ve chosen poorly more than once when it comes to dating, and remained in those relationships far longer than healthy. What I seemed to forget at the time was that there are more than enough men to go around, and there is no reason to settle when it comes to dating. As my friend Mary kept telling me until I could repeat it back to her with a straight face, I am all that, plus an entire vending machine (forget the measly bag of chips).
It’s an easy message to digest when you have healthy self esteem, and see yourself as a prize. Have a couple of bad dates, a failed relationship, get knocked down once or twice, and you might quickly forget. So, if you can’t quite believe it’s true at this moment, use it as a mantra to get through those times, know it’s a fact, and just keep repeating! There are plenty of fish in the sea.
I certainly don’t mean to make it sound like people are expendable, but when we are looking for a partner with whom to share our lives, we cannot settle. We owe it to ourselves, our current or future children, and the potential partner! No, you won’t love everything about your partner every minute of the day, but you should feel good and positive about yourself when you are together, lucky to be in such a relationship, and that there is no one better suited for you at this moment. You should feel valued, supported, respected and able to be yourself, completely.
For some, dating is inherently fun and comes naturally, but for many it’s not so simple. Dating as a single parent can present some unique challenges. However, as parents we also have the responsibility to put our kids above our personal feelings and needs, so if you can’t do it for yourself, do it for them. Don’t settle for any reason, and I’ve heard them all: I don’t want to be lonely, it’s too hard to start over, I’m too old, I’m too fat, I have too much baggage. You will be the loser in the long run, and if you are a parent, your kids can’t help but be affected as well.
Single parents may not have as much time to date, the ability to make last minute plans or have sleepovers. Many parents choose not to introduce dates to their children, further limiting available time. It’s hard to find a partner to accept all of the parameters. Do we just not date? That is definitely the path that many single parents of young children choose, but for the rest of us, please do not settle simply because you may not have the easiest situation to accommodate. You are worth it and the right man will work with it—you just may not have met him yet.
What happens in a bad relationship is that we find ourselves justifying behaviors—ours and our partner’s—and we’re SO good at it! We can justify everything from criticism to abuse. We convince ourselves that our partner isn’t so bad and there’s probably nothing better out there anyway. We find ourselves trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. There is a reason that it’s not fitting! Not that everything should be super easy all the time, but it really shouldn’t be that hard. And please remember the vacuum principle—if you are holding onto that square peg, trying to force it into that round hole, there is not any way the round peg is going to find it’s way into the picture at all. Make room for the right peg, I mean fish! You know what I'm saying!
The biggest reason we forget that there are “plenty of fish in the sea” is because we are afraid. We are afraid that there’s nothing better than what we have. In 10th grade my guidance counselor, Mr. Stenger, found me crying in the hall one day. It took him one try to guess that it was a boy who caused those tears. “I bet you liked him a lot,” was all he said. I nodded. “I bet you liked him more than the boy before him.” Yep. “And did you like the boy before him more than the one before that?” Uh-huh. “Well, then you know you’re going to like the next one even better.” I don’t know if I believed him at the time, but it turns out, since 10th grade I have liked every boy better.
Fear is understandable, but it shouldn’t be an excuse. When it comes to dating, get excited about your future. Your match is out there, and when you find him (or her), the journey will have been worth it.