Single mothers, regardless of how much we love our children and their company, do not want to spend our time alone in the world. The question then comes up—who should we date and when do we bring the children into the mix? Here is some advice for when you feel you are ready to start dating.
When looking for a person to date some of the best ideas are to ask your friends and family that really know you well to set you up. Blind dates, believe it or not, have a great success rate if the match is really made by a close friend with best intentions. Become involved in a church or community group and be social. Don’t be afraid to go on a date with someone you have been friends with or have worked with for a long time. When you know you are ready, then it wont be awkward and it will all fall into place. Look for red flags on dates and cut any short that seem like a waste of time. Focus on finding a person you could see yourself being good friends with.
Should I date another single parent? About 62% of all parents these days are single parents. There is a great likelihood that the person you may be interested in dating is also a single parent. Being able to accept that fact and being able to relate to custody schedules, ex-partners, and unique living arrangements is important.
The cons of dating a single parent are that you will need to discuss both of your custody arrangements, which can be conflicting and mean less time together. If you can schedule them to align you can schedule your dating without taking time away from your children, until you feel you can introduce your date and the children to your children. You will save on guilt and money by only getting a babysitter for special nights and your children wont be without a parent. Another downside of dating a single parent is that they may not be able to give you the attention or time you feel you need, but because you are in the same boat you may be able to understand the dynamic. The upside of dating a single parent is that they understand what you are going through on a daily basis. You both have likely let go of the baggage and are ready for a serious commitment and have expectations for your family.
Should I date someone without children? It is important to remember that these dates may have little idea what the single parent lifestyle really entails, unless they have dated a single parent before. There may be some frequent or surprising issues that prevent the relationship from really getting off the ground due to some fears they have. It is challenging for someone without kids to understand the ins and outs of “the kids come first,” sharing custody, and having to see and speak to the “ex”. This can cause emotions to get elevated. The upside of dating someone without children is that there may have baggage and they may be very willing to treat your children as their own. You may also have more time with them as they may have fewer commitments than another single parent. Dating someone without children may have less challenge when it comes to introducing them to your children.
Most parents feel it is best to spend quality time with your children and keep your dating separate until it becomes much more serious. When you do introduce your children to your date you can introduce them as “your friend”. If the person you are dating has children, it may be best to involve the children in some group activities to get to know each other. Take both families to the park, to get pizza, or to a movie. It is best to keep any affection focused on your children and not at your date or their children while in your children’s presence. You want them to continue to feel secure with the idea of you spending quality time with someone other than them.
When you’re ready, let go of any guilt, low self esteem, respect your children’s needs, and put your best dating foot forward.