The Danish reality TV executive who came up with the match-making game show Dating in the Dark is a GENIUS. It works on the premise that single guys and gals meet, converse, 'date' and decide who their 'love match' is - in a totally dark room. They can't see each other so can only make decision based on their senses. Does this sound familiar? Aren't we all essentially in a darkened room when it comes to trusting the opposite sex, namely our partners?
Apologies to all pregnant ladies out there for whom the fabled pregnancy 'glow' has bypassed, but as my pregnancy progresses, the compliments from strangers has risen disproportionately.
The bigger and frumpier I feel inside, the more wolf-whistles, car beeps and praise I receive.
Reasons I can fathom are that my previously already ample chest has grown (expensively) 4 cup sizes already, my hair is shiny, and I have lady-like long nails for the first time in my life. Plus despite being closer to giving birth than conception, my bump is about as big as a bout of pre-pregnancy indigestion.
Despite apparently being attractive and even being asked out on 'dates' even with the guys knowing my whole 'situation' - what on earth am I supposed to feel? I don't wish to dwell on the reasons why I am single and pregnant, but after you've shared your deepest fears and secrets with someone and still find yourself alone (literally about to hold the baby), how and why would I ever do it again? I don't need the aggravation.
Once you've fallen in love with the man you thought you'd spend forever with and then been dumped without rhyme, logic or reason, how are you supposed to ever get over the grief? Trust is paramount for any relationship, but as I've learnt so far, it's fragile and easily broken.
A friend of mine, who recently had a daughter in faintly similar circumstances, insists: "I don't want to date again. I don't think there is any point for me as I wouldn't believe them. I know how hard it is - hormones raging and no one to really understand the anger, sadness and yet happiness."
However, I find that statement saddens my already broken heart. As much as it can be a perk not to be forced to share decisions, milestones, disagreements or your duvet with a massive train-rumbling snorer, those things are a part and parcel of relationship life. One I really miss.
I've had my heart broken – who hasn't – but my affectionate, tactile side is seriously lacking in company and support. My mind is now mostly confined to thoughts of impending motherhood, building a life for my child, and I fear/know that she will need male role-models - I discovered I'm having a girl.
I don't want to find a replacement father (is that wrong of me?) but I do want her to witness what a loving, stable, trusting relationship looks and feels like at home.
The problem is that I can't, at this juncture, ever picture that scene happening. I hope I'm wrong. My ever present optimistism has finally been quashed by the one person who used to lift it.
My ex's parting words were along the lines of 'no decent man will ever go near a single mother' – maybe he was right, if no one honest and wonderful was willing to love me before, what hope have I got as a mummy?
Has anyone got any advice please? When did you feel ready to try again? Is there a man out there who can fall in love with me, the person, as well as the mum? I managed to lose the person I thought did love me to someone else. Where can I rent-a-cuddle? Will I ever be kissed like THAT again? Am I really second hand goods now (my counsellor's strange but impacting terminology)? Is it totally immoral to date when pregnant? I feel selfish even thinking about things like this. Perhaps I am.
In my defence, I've never felt lonliness compounded with defiant independence like this before. I don't know how to feel anymore. I've got no one special to wrap my long arms around, and more importantly no one thinks I'm special enough to wrap their arms protectively back around me. I really have spent the last three years dating in the dark.