I left my daughter's dad 4 years ago and have zero interest in reentering the dating world

  • Having children was never on Barbara Pazur's bucket list.

  • At 40, she unexpectedly got pregnant and decided with her boyfriend to have the baby — their relationship didn't last.

  • Now, between caring for her ill mother and raising her daughter, she's not interested in dating.

It's been four years since my partner and I split, and the world of dating is a distant memory. As a single mom, I've reshaped my life around new priorities — my daughter's future and finding myself again.

Being a mom, much less a single mom, was never on my bucket list. Before my daughter, I was a rolling stone. My lifestyle was based on international moves and spontaneous travel until I met my now ex.

We were living and working in Dublin and I got pregnant just a few months after we had started dating. It seemed impossible, we had been using protection, and it was just two days after my last period.

But given our age — I was 40 — and the fact that this was a first for both of us, we saw it as a miracle sign that we should keep the baby and become a family. Even though we hadn't had a formal wedding, we considered ourselves married and lived together.

Despite our efforts, our story didn't pan out the way we had imagined.

A year of bad news

After maternity leave ended, I made the decision to quit my job and give my daughter my undivided attention. Constant fighting filled our home with negativity and started to suffocate me. I didn't want our baby to be surrounded by toxicity, so I made a decision for our safety and well-being. When she was six months old, I asked him to leave.

During those tough months, doctors diagnosed my mom with a chronic disease that might progress to acute myeloid leukemia within 10 years. My mom has always been my rock and hero, supporting me through every challenge, including my separation. Now, with her illness and as a widow, it was my turn to care for her.

My whole life was crumbling. I had never felt so insecure, desperate, and miserable. I was broken on so many levels and needed time to recalibrate and heal. I didn't feel like I was living my life — it was living me.

After putting my daughter to bed, I would cry myself to sleep at the end of my long, exhausting days. I had to keep going for both my daughter and my mom, so I found strength and joy in the little moments. I fed on things like my daughter's first clap, tooth, words, and steps.

I found a loving community in the most unexpected place

About two years into my misery, a family friend invited me to a Bible study group. I wasn't religious and more into Eastern spirituality, so this was the last place I thought I would find comfort. I have always perceived Christians to be very judgmental.

Surprisingly, it was nothing like that. They accepted me in their little group of misfits: two old ladies with tragic pasts, a woman my age in an unhappy marriage with grown children, a teenage orphan, and a single grandpa.

It was a group I had nothing in common with, and I could never see myself associating with them in any scenario. But they accepted me unconditionally and offered me a lifeline during my darkest days.

We would meet once a week for two hours to study the Bible. We shared our problems, offered advice to each other, and enjoyed homemade food that each of us would bring. I still meet with them whenever I can.

I'm content with not dating

Woman and daughter wearing hats sitting by the water
The authorBarbara Pazur

These days, my entire focus is on providing my daughter with a stable and loving home

Partly due to a lack of time and energy but mostly because my daughter is at a crucial development stage. I don't want her to feel like she isn't enough for me and that I need to seek love outside our home.

My priority is to raise her to be a strong, self-sufficient, and independent woman, leading by example rather than desperately seeking a "savior" through a string of relationships.

Nurturing a new relationship demands time, effort, and emotional capacity that I simply don't have. My days are filled with parental and homemaking responsibilities, helping my own mom, and running my small business — leaving me with little energy for romantic pursuits.

I choose to devote my time and attention to my daughter. Instead of spending time on waxing, hair, and makeup for a potentially bad date, I'd prefer a perfect day with her — lunch, movies, singing Disney songs in the car together, and collapsing into bed at the end of the day. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Do I sometimes miss having a man? Of course. I miss intimacy and sex, adult conversations, and someone to carry my heavy bags.

While I remain open to finding love again someday, I am equally at peace with the journey I'm on. For now, my priority is my daughter. Building core memories for her and watching her smile far outweighs any personal desire I might have.

My path hasn't been easy, but it has led me to a place of peace, strength, and hope.

Got a personal essay about life as a single parent that you want to share? Get in touch with the editor: akarplus@businessinsider.com.

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