Getting over the hurdles of dating as a single parent
If you’re not over your ex…
When you’re starting to think about dating after a break-up, there’s one big question to answer first: are you over your ex? Dwelling on old feelings will only make it harder to move on and more confusing for your children if your forays into dating new people don’t work out.
Pursuing new interests will help you to move on from your previous relationships as well as making time for yourself as much as possible. This will also be useful when you want to arrange a date or two in the future as you’ll already be well-practised in organising your week to include leisure time.
Dating takes up time and (for most single parents) time’s not something which is in abundance. In order to have enough time to meet people and go on dates, you may need to reorganise your weekly schedule. If you can’t rely on babysitters all of the time, could you change your hours at work or fit in lunch dates instead? You may have to be creative with your time to be available for dating. If you’re really pushed, online dating provides single parents with a way to meet new people which isn’t time-consuming or difficult.
When to introduce the children
Usually, it’s best to wait until you are established in a new relationship before you introduce your new love to the kids. This will stop them from becoming confused if the relationship doesn’t work out and saves any further instability in your home. Depending on the ages of your children, talking to them in advance about how they feel about you dating may help the first meeting go smoothly.
When planning the first meeting between your partner and your children, try to pick a neutral location which is nice and relaxed. Don’t try to control how everyone interacts – if your kids feel they have agency over the occasion, they’ll be more receptive to your new partner.
How will your date react?
Feeling nervous about how your dates will respond to the fact that you have children is normal. It could be that you encounter a few negative reactions but there’s no reason to think it’s impossible to meet someone new. Single parents are often seen as being strong, responsible and grounded – three very positive qualities for any prospective partner to have. There are some people who like the idea of dating someone who already has children, perhaps because they can’t or aren’t sure about having children themselves.
In order to avoid any misunderstandings, such as your date worrying that you are looking for a new parent for your children, be honest and upfront as much as you can. If you let your date know exactly what you want out of a relationship, they’ll be more likely to relax and enjoy your company.
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