You have been linked here because you asked why you couldn't find a relationship, or why you couldn't find one you wanted. I have written this same answer to so many of you, so many times, that now it's time to write it in one place, once and for all.
You've probably noticed that the men who used to pay attention to you are now staying away in droves. Perhaps you are wondering what's wrong with men. Perhaps you are wondering what's wrong with you. But you are certainly wondering what's wrong.
The first thing you must realize is that men are acting rationally and in their own best interest. Their reluctance to date you is not a form of neurosis, nor is it a character flaw somehow shared by an entire sex. You have made mistakes in your past that make you a bad catch, or, at the very least, a worse catch than you were before you made them.
There are two major reasons why this is so.
This has several effects.
Obviously, the most important of these is that you are now a package deal. A package deal, not just with a child, but with someone else's child. Now, some men do not want children, and some men do. But even the ones who do, want to have children when they are ready, they want to have their own children, and they want to raise those children from the beginning. You might think children are just loveable, especially your children, but it is generally women who love children. Men love their children.
And it's no good to say “I wouldn't expect him to co-parent with me”. There's no avoiding it. Any man in your life, who is closer than a one-night hookup, or a friend with benefits, is going to be in contact with those children, and is going to have responsibilities, express or implied, because of that.
Another, more subtle effect is that any man can now never be higher than priority three. If you are at all a decent mother, the most important thing in your life is your child (or children). After that comes you... because, after all, you have a responsibility to your children. That means he is, at most, priority three. Now, a man doesn't mind taking a back seat to his children, because they are his, and he feels the same way about them. But a stranger's? Not a good bargain.
- Second, you have a poor track record with relationships.
You were once in a relationship, which you saw as serious enough to have a child in. That relationship failed.
Now, this is either your fault, his fault, or some combination of the two. If it's your fault, you are a bad relationship partner. If it's his fault, you are a poor judge of character and a bad decision maker. If it's some combination of the two... well, you guessed it.
Now, perhaps not every woman whose relationship fails is going to take future relationships so lightly. Perhaps there are a few rare men out there who can truly turn psycho with no warning signs whatsoever. Perhaps a lot of things. But consider this: every man who gets involved with you is making a bet on you. Why would he bet on someone with a history of failed relationships, when there are women available who don't have that?
Which brings us to our summary point.
You may be thinking that, yes, all this is true, but you are still a pretty good person. You might be attractive, funny, charming, nice, considerate, a lot of things. Don't you deserve a second chance?
It's not about what you deserve. Men are not impartial gods charged with running the universe, and given infinite cosmic powers with which to do so. They are not here on earth to make sure things are fair to you. They are here to live their own lives, and seek their own happiness.
Which means that any good quality you have might be nice, but they will seek it out in someone who doesn't come prepackaged with another man's child. If you are beautiful, there are beautiful women who aren't single mothers. If you are nice, there are nice women who aren't single mothers. If you are charming, considerate, low-maintenance, feminine, a wildcat in bed... well, you guessed it. There is only one man in the universe for whom you will retain your full measure of relationship-worthiness, and that is the actual father of your child.
Otherwise, the only way that any of your good qualities can outweigh your unwelcome additional feature is if he could never hope to attract the single, unburdened version of you. This means you are going to have to lower your standards. A lot.
In other words, no matter why you left the father of your child, whatever he was, whoever you get afterwords will be not as attractive. If he cheated, if he was boring, if he got fat, if he didn't have a job, if he was unconfident and awkward, if he was an addict, a gambler, whatever... your next one is not going to be better. Get used to it. Find a less attractive man whose drawbacks you can live with.
Or hope to find one of the few single fathers out there. Or swear off relationships altogether.