For most people, dating can be daunting. But, single parent dating can sometimes take daunting into an entirely new stratosphere.
The world of dating can be fun, enjoyable and hugely rewarding. But for a lot of single parents, plunging back into the dating pool is fraught with fear, apprehension, and a great deal of uncertainty.
You wonder, “How will the kids react?” and, “How will I do all of this?” and, “What on earth am I doing?”
But here’s the thing. Being a single parent does not disqualify you from enjoying a rich romantic life.
Yes, dating can be a minefield. But it doesn’t have to be.
Single Parent Dating
As a single parent, you have three core considerations underlying all that you do in the dating world: Your children, your date, and yourself.
Now, we know that you’re concerned about how all three of these will work together, but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Here’s our single parent’s dating guide:
The primary concern you probably have about getting back into the dating scene is your children. It doesn’t matter if they are lovable little rugrats or bewildering hormonal teenagers, these little Gods are your babies, right?
How will they respond? Is this best for them? How will I manage to fit everything into our already busy lives?
Let’s take a closer look at some of the main things to consider where your kids are concerned.
Ease your kids into the idea that you will be dating
Your kids are the biggest part of your life, but they don’t get to dictate the terms of that life. That said, it’s important to ease them into the idea of their mom or dad dating. Gently. Very, very gently.
You can start some “What if?” conversations in advance. “What if mommy started to go out a little more?” “How would you feel if daddy started seeing some friends?” “What would it be like for you if mommy or daddy started dating in the future?”
This is a great way to open the conversation with your kids. You’re including them in this important aspect of your life and you’re preparing them for it all at the same time.
They are likely to have all kinds of feelings when you start dating
Your kids have been the center of your universe for a long time now. It’s been you and them against the world. And now, here comes somebody to threaten that world – at least, that’s the way your kids might view it.
It’s important to be prepared for this. You can talk to your children about their fears and, if they have questions, you can answer them thoughtfully.
The importance of listening to your child’s concerns cannot be overstated. Most people listen to respond, they don’t listen to hear. Actively listening when your child talks can be one of the greatest ways to show love and respect. It also helps make them feel validated.
“Meeting the kids”
Before you bring anyone into your home, it’s essential that you feel this person is a right fit for you and your family. Remember, you are not just dating this person, your kids are as well.
The first time your kids and your new partner meet, keep things casual. Call them a “friend” or a “date”. Then, as things move up a gear and you both become more committed, you can become more intentional with your wording.
After it’s official, allow your children the freedom to move toward your new partner at a pace that suits them. Don’t try to force the issue.
There are a few essential snippets of advice that are worthy of paying attention to when you meet someone knew. Here they are:
Take it slow
This part of your life is an exciting new phase, and the tendency might be to feel swept up in the exhilaration of adult company. But hang on. Not so fast.
You need to take your time to get to know the people you choose to date. If there’s one date in particular who seems like a breath of fresh air, that’s super. But slow down a second.
You can be incredibly enchanted by somebody in the moment and get to know them over time. Slowly does it.
Welcoming somebody into your life is a big deal. Welcoming them into your family is an even bigger deal.
How do you know you’re not attracting the wrong kind of people?
As you get to know someone, you might find that you too have similar interests. This is great but always remember that shared values are far more important than shared interests. Your partner’s core values must be a match with yours or you’re doomed to fail before you begin.
In the rush to make sure everyone else feels comfortable with you dating, you might forget about yourself. Don’t!
Here are the most important questions to ponder for a single parent in the dating world:
How do you know if you’re ready to date?
You know you’re ready when you have done the internal work first. Ask yourself, “Why do I want to date?” If the answer comes in the form of, “Because I’m lonely,” or “Because I feel my life is missing something,” you are probably not ready.
A partner should add to an already full life. They are not here to complete you. You complete yourself.
Do you know what you’re looking for?
Knowing yourself is vital if you are to know others. And knowing yourself – your values, your deal – breakers – ahead of time is absolutely crucial before you step into the dating world. You have to know your best self before you present that self to others.
What is it you’re looking for in a partner? What fundamental attributes are attractive to you? What behavior will you accept and why? What kind of energy will allow into your life?
These questions are so important because the old saying is true. If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.
Do you know where to look?
The dating scene has probably changed since you were last out there looking. Online dating has taken the world by storm and may be worth a try. Remember, a profile photo speaks a thousand words.
There are loads of other ways to meet someone, of course. Start up a new sport you enjoy or go to kid-friendly zones. Strike up a conversation in the coffee line or go for a stroll in the park.
The sky is not the limit here, your imagination is.
Single Parent Dating – Finding Love
As a single parent, you are surrounded by love on a daily basis. You give it in abundance and you get it back by the truckload.
Good for you. That is truly awesome.
But finding room in your world for a romantic life is an important aspect of leading a full, rich life.
And you deserve a life that is full. A life full of joy. A life full of happiness. A life full of love.
And there are all kinds of love in this world. And you, my friend, are deserving of them all.