Single Parent Dating Guidelines, Tips and Advice
If the Manual was Missing
Re-entering the world of dating once you’ve been out of it for a while can be daunting. You are starting over in a different time and place. Add the title of “single parent” and there is minefield of obstacles and potential mistakes. Following is advice and tips for single parents getting back out there in the dating scene. Use these guidelines to do it with success.
Be emotionally ready. Single parents, are the loose ends of your former relationship tied up? If you are still angry or grieving from past love and life, you will take that into a new relationship. And it will not matter how great it could be, because it won’t be. Negative emotions will sabotage a new love before it even starts. And no one wants to enter someone else’s mess anyway. If you have issues with self-esteem, now is the time to address them, before embarking on a new relationship. You must be healthy if you expect to be half of a healthy couple. This seems like common sense, but too many people enter into new relationships before they are emotionally sound.
Establish a new support system. Often overlooked, this is important for a few reasons. Psychology Today reports that new friends are typically better at helping you adjust to your new life. New friends are open because they know you as who you are now. Though older friends usually have your best interests at heart, they are commonly biased toward your old life or they could even be harboring some jealousy.
Take care of yourself. Single parenthood is exhausting in itself, without dating. Get proper nutrition and exercise for energy and health. You are going to need it. Experts at helpguide.org agree that “when you improve your physical health, you’ll automatically experience greater mental and emotional well-being”. The side effects of looking great and feeling good can only benefit your confidence and quality of life. Dating adventures automatically improved.
Decide who you are looking for. Make a list of important values, beliefs and standards that a future mate will need to possess. Then do not sway from it. Of course, everyone has a few potentially annoying character traits. Some are insignificant and not to base a relationship’s potential on, while some others are (and should be) deal-breakers. Decipher the difference.
Don’t be afraid of online dating. It provides a great amount of choices and allows for the beauty of pre-screening. No need to waste time and money dating those who are not in line with what you are looking for. Get to know them somewhat before even meeting them. You can start to build an emotional bond without the superficial worries of a blind first meeting.
Establish clear intentions from day one. Be upfront about who you are, what you are seeking and where your priorities lie. This includes letting a potential date know that your children come first. Anyone worth your time will respect and admire this. Additionally, an authentic connection is based on honesty and it all comes out eventually anyway. If it comes out as a negative surprise, it will likely ruin the relationship. Why waste everyone’s time and emotions? If you are looking for casual dating, say so. Heed the Golden Rule.
Proceed with caution. It takes time to really get to know someone. You need to see their reactions and interactions to situations and other people. Everyone puts their most likable foot forward and time will reveal the rest of the person. Search engines can be of assistance as well.
Tell your children only when it’s serious. Kids do not need to meet casual dates. It will confuse them and they could become attached. If the relationship ends, it could be heartbreaking for your children. Be honest with your children without going into detail, by referring to your new friend as just that: a friend.
Introduce after you have concluded there is future potential, but before you have decided for sure. If you are having strong feelings for someone and a future is possible, it’s important to see the dynamic between them and your children. You are a package deal now and if it doesn’t work for your kids, then it doesn’t work for you. Before the meeting prepare your children by talking about it and their expected behavior. Test the waters one toe at a time. The first few meetings should be short and geared toward your children, like the park or out for ice cream. Pay close attention to your children’s body language and encourage them to open up about their feelings. Be sure to let them have their feelings, whether you like them or not. Seriously consider their input; they may be on to something.
Don’t rush your kids. They are going through their own process. Just because you are ready for something new, doesn’t mean they are. According to Michele Germaine, a psychotherapist and recognized relationship expert, your children are dealing with fear of losing your love and attention when you date. It is important to consistently reassure them of your love and that your relationship with them will not change.
While dating as a single parent may not be effortless, these strategies will definitely ease the process. Cast your line and refer back as needed.