Dating is tough no matter what your personal circumstances may be in life.
But when you’re a single parent, navigating the “playing field” is that much more difficult.
Parents alone have a ton of constraints on their time and they’re working together as a team!
Most single parents shoulder these responsibilities by themselves and this is not only time consuming but becomes the focus of a parent’s life outside of work.
So how does a single parent balance raising a child, working, and meeting someone else?
Here are seven best practices for dating as a single parent that we’ve gleaned from the Internet.
First, and most obviously, you have to realize that you’re not just dating for yourself - and vice versa. Single parents do not have the luxury of finding someone that just fits their lifestyle and personality but rather have to find a mate that is also compatible with their children. This is a complicated process. It might help to ask potential dates about their feelings about having a family or explain to them your personal situation. Usually their reaction and/or responses to your questions will reveal where they stand. And if they aren’t “feeling” the family thing? It’s not going to work out but, hey, at least you know now!
Second, single parents need to avoid hopping from partner to partner. Just think about how this looks to your children. Do you want them doing the same? Even if you do, do you think this is the healthiest environment for you them? Honest answers to these questions, again, will point to the conclusion that you can’t just live for yourself anymore, especially when it comes to dating.
Along those lines, and our third bit of advice, healthy dating begins with a healthy understanding of who you are and what you want out of a relationship. If you aren’t ready to date or you have questions lingering about why your last relationship ended, you need to get into a better headspace before you embark on dating again.
Our sixth bit of advice involves imagining various scenarios if your relationship were to continue. Think about “What would this be like with the kids” or imagine how your new partner would react to a common scenario you deal with as a parent. This will help you prepare for your own reaction when the real event arrives.
Our last bit of advice has to do with taking your time and easing everyone into a new situation. Be cautious when introducing your date to your children, especially older children. Keep everything as stable and normal as possible for as long as possible. Not rocking the boat and introducing a new person slowly helps alleviate any anxiety this new person may bring. Join an online relationship forum and share tips, advice, and problems with others in your same situation.
As things progress you may want to look into specific books for help with raising a step family and blending families together. No matter what, you have to realize that the bond between yourself and your children is forever despite how much you may currently be infatuated with someone that isn’t right for your or for them. Your partner can leave at any time, but you cannot abandon your job as a parent.