The single parents’ guide to dating
By Laura Greaves
Author of Be My Baby ($4.99, destinyromance.com)
I was raised by a single mother. I’m also godmother to a young lady whose mum was single for a decade before tying the knot recently – and believe me, she kissed a lot of frogs before meeting her prince. Plus, I’m the author of Be My Baby, a novel about two women each looking for love with a child in tow, so I know it can be tough out there for single mums and dads. Here are my top single parent tips for dating.
If you’re a single parent…
1. Be upfront about your ‘plus one’
Don’t even think about not telling your date that you have children. You will eventually have to reveal this rather crucial information down the track, and it’ll be a big black mark against you in the ‘honesty’ column. It’s true that some people don’t want to date a single parent, but isn’t it better to discover that at the outset, rather than when you’re falling for someone?
2. Don’t only talk about your kids
Your offspring are great and it’s tempting to shout that from the rooftops, but try to resist this urge on dates. Even if you’re dating another parent, he or she wants to know about you,not your children. Of course it’s fine to mention them, but dates are your opportunity to dazzle with your fabulousness.
3. Don’t just date other parents
Sure, you’ll have plenty of common ground when dating a fellow parent. And it can be tempting to focus on the step-parent potential of someone who’s done it all before. But don’t make the mistake of thinking dating a non-parent is a waste of time. The friend I mentioned earlier? Her now-husband wasn’t a dad when they met – but he will be soon as they’re now expecting a baby together.
4. Know when to cut your losses
Let’s be honest, there are people out there who think single parents are a sure bet. They think a woman or man with children will be so grateful to have attracted the attention of a prospective partner that they’ll be willing to get intimate right away, or will tolerate bad behaviour. Know when to walk away from someone who doesn’t treat you with the respect you deserve. Don’t settle for less than a great person because you think it’s the best you can do.
If you’re dating a single parent
1. Don’t worry about ‘baggage’
Just as single mums and dads should look for love among non-parents, people without kids shouldn’t rule out dating someone with a child. The myth of the single mum or dad who’s desperate to find a replacement parent is the product of bad TV shows and movies. News flash: single parents are people, too. Intelligent, funny, interesting, sexy people! Why limit your options?
2. Be realistic about your place in the food chain
When you’re dating a parent, you need to accept one important fact: his or her kids come first. You might be head over heels in can’t-keep-our-hands-off-each-other love, but there will be times when your paramour has to blow off a date to care for a sick child or attend a parent-teacher night. If you value your relationship, you’ll learn to accept it.
3. Be prepared for the ex-factor
We all have exes, but one of the unique things about dating a parent is that you may have to meet and get to know their former partner. It’s only fair that they’ll want to check you out; you’ll be spending time with their kids, after all. Be respectful, even if your partner isn’t on great terms with their ex, and be sure never to badmouth the ex in front of the kids.
4. Think hard before the meet ‘n’ greet
Single parents are often advised to wait until they’re really sure about a relationship before introducing their new partner to their kids. It’s actually a smart move for both parties. If your significant other is keen for you to meet the children quickly, be honest with yourself: do you really see a future for the relationship? Don’t form a bond with a child unless you’re in it for the long haul.
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