Dating For Single Parents: How To Meet And Introduce Someone New

Being single and raising a child or children can be a lot to handle. So much so that the prospect of dating becomes unappealing. You wonder what a new boyfriend would think of your kids or if you can juggle everything in addition to a relationship. But you’ll never know until you start dating. Even as a single parent, you can find someone who can love and bond with your kids. Here are some dating tips to get you started.

  1. Don’t jump in before you’re ready. Examine yourself to see if you’re ready. You want the right partner, but you also want to be the right partner for them. If you’re not ready, it will end up being a disaster. Are you happy with yourself or are there some self-worth issues you need to work on? Research has repeatedly shown that low self-esteem can have a negative impact on your happiness or satisfaction in a relationship. It can also distort how you see things and your perception of your partner. You may need to give yourself more time to work through your problems before entering into a relationship. Single parents need to be in an extra good place before dating since there are so many other complicating factors.
  2. FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU WANT. There’s no way anyone, let alone single parents, can have a successful dating life if they have no idea what they want from a partner and a relationship. Begin to plan now by identifying what your deal-breakers are and what the qualities are that you’d like but could live without. If you know what you want, it’s easier to make a decision when the time comes.
  3. Don’t compare your dates to your ex. The aftereffects of a long-term relationship can linger like a bad stench, and for single parents, it can make the idea of dating again even less tempting. You may find that you naturally compare any new people to your ex/your kids’ other parent. Whatever happened between you two, there are some things you still like about them. You probably want someone with their height, their disposition, similar mannerisms, and so on. In some cases, you might find yourself comparing your next date to your ex. That’s a recipe for disaster. Remember that you’re supposed to be making a fresh start.
  4. BE OPEN ABOUT YOUR KIDS. As all parents know, single or otherwise, is that there’s no you without your kids even when you’re dating. They’re a part of you, so any potential partners will need to acknowledge and respect that. It’s important that they realize your kids come first in your life and it will always be this way. In fact, being upfront about this is a good way to know if they’re the right fit for you. If they seem irritated or uncomfortable when you talk about your kids, consider it a red flag. At the same time, don’t allow your kids stories to dominate your conversations. Allow for other interesting conversations that will help you see if there’s chemistry there.
  5. Talk to your kids about your desire to meet someone. If your children are old enough to understand, they should be aware of your new friend. Make it clear to them that nothing will change. And, as you and this person begin to integrate your lives, your children will understand that they can be a part of the relationship. The new partner is a friend to everyone in the house, not just you. It’s best to have this conversation well in advance of the event. Posing hypothetical “what if” questions to your children can help them prepare for what is to come and put things into perspective. When they understand ahead of time, you manage their expectations so it doesn’t come as a surprise when you find the right one. Single parents who are dating need to strike a fine balance when it comes to bringing someone new into the fold.

More dating tips for single parents

dating single parentsiStock/Drazen_
Mother and her baby girl spending beautiful sunny autumn day in nature.
  1. FIGHT OFF THE GUILT. Guilt sets in for most single parents when they start a new relationship. You may worry that your kids will be jealous that you’re spending a little less time with them. You might even feel guilty for daring to leave them with someone else while you’re out enjoying yourself. There’s also the anxiety of not knowing if your kids will like the new person in your life. Making time to love and feel loved isn’t selfish. Besides, being in a relationship doesn’t mean you can’t still prioritize your kids. Even though it will be a little different from what they’re used to, it’ll be for the best.
  2. Make time and space in your life for love. Now that a relationship is on your list of things to do, you need to make time for it. Dating for single parents can be extra complicated as your free time is limited to begin with, but as they say, where there’s a will there’s a way. Get your partner involved to achieve this. This helps you both plan out convenient times to meet up. Discuss work and other obligations that keep you busy all week and plan your dating activities around them. Make a list of activities that you can both enjoy doing together, rank them in order of importance, and put them in your calendar.
  3. FIND HELP WITH THE KIDS. Maybe you have a trusted friend who’s happy to look after your kids while you’re on a date, or maybe you have supportive siblings and parents who are keen to babysit. Alternatively, you could hire a babysitter to assist you while you have fun. If you’re still in contact with your kids’ other parent, they should be happy to spend time with them while you’re out. Discuss your relationship with close family members. Even your ex might need to know. You’ll be telling them not to seek their opinions or consent but simply to be aware.  Single parents have to put a lot of extra thought into dating to make sure everything runs smoothly.
  4. DON’T GET CARRIED AWAY. As all single parents in the dating scene are well aware, you owe it to your children to never abandon them due to your newfound love. It’s natural to want to spend more and more time with your new love interest, but the last thing you want to do is validate your kids’ fear of losing you to a stranger. They may grow resentful of you and your new partner, and the last thing you want is a strained relationship with your children. Single parents have to be extra measured when it comes to dating in order to ensure no one feels ignored and everyone’s needs are being met. It can feel like a lot of pressure sometimes.
  5. Don’t forget to indulge in some me-time. Not everything is about your kids and your new partner. You’ve got a life and some me-time away from your partner, your kids, and your chores won’t hurt. Single parents need to focus on self-care perhaps more than childfree people, not just for their kids but for their dating lives. On the contrary, it helps you feel better about yourself. Taking good care of yourself improves many aspects of your life and helps you cope better with stress. A little tweak to your weekly itinerary to include a spa session, drinks with friends, workout, or other social activities helps a great deal.
  6. Practice patience all the way. There’s no reason to start dating until everything feels just right. Have fun and stay positive while you’re still looking and waiting. It may take some time to find the right fit for you. However, it is always preferable not to rush. Desperation can cause you to lower your standards and make poor decisions. Use dating apps with caution, and remember that even after you’ve found someone, patience is required. To understand each other and grow your love and bond, you have to take your time. Don’t rush things because if it’s right, it’ll all work out in the end. Single parents may have a harder time with dating, but when you find the right person, it will be worth it.
Amaka has a BA in linguistics and works as a freelance content writer. As a result of her insatiable curiosity, she writes in a variety of B2C and B2B niches. Her favorite subject matter, however, is in the financial, medical, and technological niches. She has contributed to publications like ButtonwoodTree and FinanceBuzz in the past. Currently, she writes for Wealthofgeeks.