Dating as a Single Parent

Entering the dating world is a roller coaster ride all on its own. In this so called theme park feelings of fear and excitement override all the other emotions but dating as a single parent, well that’s a whole other ball game, isn’t it?

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Are there actual rules to this thing, some steps or guide lines? In all honesty dating before you had kids is much easier but dating as a mom demands certain levels of maturity. “You have one or more little people depending on you” said single mom Tara Ellison, who shared her dating experience online before meeting her husband.

After the fog of her divorce lifted her friends and acquaintances began to set her up on blind dates. There was a director, a body builder, a dentist and a very distasteful gentleman who ended up spitting his gum in his piece of baguette (folding it like a napkin) and snacking away. Fingers crossed you don’t have to go through the same dilemma!

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But how do you even begin, is there a right way or a wrong way and not only that but, what do you have to consider when it comes to your children?

You might be a bit rusty, it’s okay!

You’re getting back in the game, what now?

A 30 year old single mom started of the conversation on Parenting.com by saying that “The last guy I dated was my son’s father. My son is now four and I am really nervous to go on a date and almost feel like I’ve never even been kissed”

It’s not an unreasonable fear and a common one at that, butterflies are normal; you should be worried if you’re not feeling queasy. Think of it this way – you’ve been potty training, staying up late at night with a sick child and listening to wines and tantrums for a while now what’s so bad about going on a date. The territory might be new and unfamiliar, nervousness and sweaty palms should be embraced, feeling like a teenager means you get to feel young and vibrant again.

Where to find the suitors:

Between Barney and friends conventions and my little pony parties, the variety seem to be quite limited. So where do you find “mister potential”?

Today’s technology doesn’t make it that hard but when kids are involved we don’t always want to go the world-wide-web route. Amy Spencer, relationship expert and author of “Meeting Your Half-Orange: An Utterly Upbeat Guide to Using Dating Optimism to Find Your Perfect Match” (what a title) gives some good advice on the matter:

“It’s hard to meet your match when everyone you’re hanging out with is less than three feet tall.” Instead of going to conventions and places especially for children, go to a place that is child friendly. Museums, bookstores, parks – where a guy might take his dog for the occasional walk, Farmers market or the lake (I think you get the idea).

Who should you be dating?

Along with worrying about picking up the kids, work and what’s for dinner the thought of a man who will be able to fit into your lifestyle might also be crossing your mind.

32 Year old mom Jade Adrian asked if it was better to date a fellow single parent because another might not understand her lifestyle. Remember that you’re a person too and not just a mom – you have needs and wants even if you don’t feel like it right away.

Spencer says that one should not close a door even before it had a chance to open. Yes of course the person should know that you have and be open to the idea and respect the life you have and share with your child. More than that isn’t always needed.

So, uhm… about my kids.

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When should you reveal that you have kids?

Remember how you tell your kids to always, always be honest? Well practise what you preach ladies. If you feel like you have to hide your children to your date then don’t bother. I’m not saying you should run up to the man and announce that you have kids right then and there but it should definitely come up in the first conversation.

What do you tell your kids?

Don’t lie to your kids about dating. Still, less is more, says Deborah Roth Ledley, PhD, licensed psychologist, founder of the website TheCalmMom.com “Keep it simple and say something like, ‘I’ve been feeling so lonely and it is time for me to start meeting some new people.’” Information to the minimum, you’re simply going on dates this is something for you (like a little escape or “me-time”

When do you make the introductions?

Obviously you don’t have to introduce your kids to every person you meet simply because kids tend to form attachments very quickly.  “Just wait until it really seems as if the relationship is serious and stable. Then, it can be nice to introduce your child to a new person in their own environment.” says Ledley. A favourite place for the kids or even at the house with food they picked out should make them feel more at ease.

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In a nutshell:

Kids and circumstances are different; when it comes to your kids your date needs to understand your lifestyle (not necessarily have the same one). That being said it’s a new territory for everyone.

If there’s no chemistry don’t try to breathe life into a dying fire and when it comes to your friends setting you up, ask as much questions as possible, this from Tara Ellison.

In the end we were all made to be loved and affection comes in different ways, love from your kids is special but being wined and dined is a different type of necessity for a women. Moms need it to put a spring in their steps when packing lunchboxes.

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