Dating As A 23-year-old Single Mom

What’s your question about dating and relationships? Tell me through this form – or email [email protected]. Also: former letter writers, I’m looking for updates! If you’re someone who wrote in before, tell us how you are now – and whether our advice helped. Email your update to [email protected] with update in the subject line. Tell me what letter was yours and how it all worked out. We’re desperate to know more, and we love new questions from former letter writers.


I’m a 23-year-old single mother and I have a 3-year-old daughter. Her father and I we were just not working out. Of course, I desperately wished that he’d showed me his true colors before I got pregnant and decided to keep the baby. I’ve been single for about a year and a half now and I want to date, but I find it very hard. Guys lose interest in me quickly once I mention that I have a kid.

This has honestly made me lose hope in ever finding a man. I am tired of being rejected over and over again, to a point where I am starting to believe that I’ll be single for many many years. Although it’s only been a year and I am probably wrong about not finding someone eventually, that’s how I’ve been feeling since I put myself out there. My single, childless friends, of course, can’t understand me when I express how dating is hard for me. I just feel alone and hopeless right now.

– Single


“Although it’s only been a year and I am probably wrong about not finding someone eventually …”

Yeah. That’s the reality. I know it’s lonely and scary right now, but your dating life will evolve. You’ll also change, and you might feel less of a need to look for a partner at certain points in your life. If you can sit with these uncomfortable feelings for a bit, they might become less overwhelming.

Some things to consider:

1. There’s no reason to prove that your dating life can be normal again. It will be very different, no matter what, because you have a child who depends on you. Instead of comparing yourself to friends or anyone else, think of your needs and what a good partner for you might look like.
2. Please remember that it’s a pandemic. Dating hasn’t been easy for other reasons too. Some people are just getting back out there. Others are easily overwhelmed for their own reasons right now.
3. You’ve been raising a very small child. As your kid grows, there might be more space to have help, keep friends around, date, etc. From what I’ve seen, these first two years can be especially solitary.
4. You’re not like everyone else. Your life is different. But you’re also having very cool experiences and bonding with a small human. It’s not all about losses here. Please focus on what you’ve gained.

Remove the pressure and remember you’re young. Many 23-year-olds are dating around, not committing to anyone in particular. They write in telling me they can’t find the right significant others, and that sometimes, it’s hard to find companionship. Your life is unique, but your peers are also finding their way.

– Meredith

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