For most people, getting onto the dating scene is daunting; when there is the added baggage of being a single parent, the challenges are enormous. But this does not mean you, as a single parent, should not get back onto the dating scene. Dating fulfills the emotional needs that we as human beings have, to interact with the opposite sex and make a connection. Whether you are a single parent or not, you still need to be needed, and not just by your kids.
Navigating the Dating Scene as Single Parents
So just what does it take to date successfully as a single parent? If you are a mom or dad, you have extra obligations and considerations to make unlike carefree unattached childless singles. You have to think of your child or children with the realization that your dating life does affect theirs.
Make Your Children Your First Priority
Your first priority should be your child/children; while it is important to go out and meet new people, you should arrange your schedule so that your time with your child/children is not limited. Do not set dates that coincide with school events or special family times. You should also limit the number of nights you go out in a week in case your children start feeling that they do not see enough of you and interpret this for neglect.
If your children are old enough to understand the concept of dating, explain to them that you are going out on a date, but only once the relationship has progressed and is looking like it will go into the long term. It is advisable to minimize contact between your date and your children unless there is a very real possibility of a long-term relationship.
Set a Curfew – For Yourself
If you are a single parent, then you have to set your own curfew. The impression you leave on your kids if you come home in the morning looking all shabby and hungover cannot be a good one. Limit your alcohol intake and set a time by which you will be home. Bringing your date home is an absolute no-no, especially if you have not introduced him or her to your children.
When you decide that there is long term potential in your relationship, then introduce the idea of another man/woman to your children. Be prepared for resentment, anger, hurt and outright rebellion as children do not take well to the thought of a parent being replaced. It is better to introduce your new partner at the beginnings of a serious relationship instead of just popping up one day and saying, ‘I’m getting married!
Dating No-Nos for Single Parents
- If you start going steady with whomever your dating, do not try to foist your kids onto them; if they do not immediately take to your children, give them time to adjust
- Do not take your emotional luggage into a potential relationship. Break the pattern of comparing a new partner with an old one, or expecting your new partner to act like your old one
- Don’t start dating for the wrong reasons such as to prove to your ex-partner that you have gotten over him.
- Never make your date feel like he or she is an ‘instant replacement parent’. Make it be about you and him/her first, before you bring your children into the equation
- Do not become too needy and make your date feel like he is saving you from your life.
Do you have any dating tips for single parents or singles that may be considering dating a single parent? Be sure to share your experiences in the comments below!