The homework is finished, dinner dishes finally washed and put away, the clothes and wet towels picked up from the floor of the bathroom, and the kids are all in bed. There is silence in the house, except for the sound of the television that’s always on in the background. You are alone.
It’s not that you don’t want someone special in your life, but dating as a single parent is not the easiest feat. When do you find the time to date? How do you meet someone when all your time is spent working or with the kids? Should you try personals, dating online, or single parent groups?
As a single parent, you do not have to forgo dating completely until the children are grown and gone, but you may have to adjust how you go about dating as a single parent versus how you might date if you had no children.
Single Parent Dating Tip #1: Leave kids out of the initial conversation.
When you meet someone new who is a potential dating partner, whether it’s through personal ads, online chatting, at work, through a friend or some other manner of meeting a potential date, you do not need to tell that person you are a single parent right away.
Sure, it’s acceptable to tell the date you’re a single parent if they ask or to even mention that you do have children, but that person is not going to be dating your children. He or she is going to be dating you first, and then only if the dating goes well will he or she meet your children. As such, don’t let talk about your children monopolize the conversation. Your date needs to get to know you first, then your children later.
Single Parent Dating Tip #2: Your date is a potential partner for you, not a new parent for your kids!
While it’s important as a single dating parent to look at how well your dates might mesh with your family should the relationship continue, it’s equally important to realize that when you are dating as a single parent, you are dating, not looking to replace an absent parent.
On the other side of the coin, if you are going to date a single parent, it’s important to realize that you are not going to replace an absent parent. Should the relationship flourish, you might very well become a role model, step parent, or even be considered by the child/Ren to be a true parent, but during the initial dating relationship, this is not your place.
Single Parent Dating tip #3: Don’t bring your date home too soon!
You have had time to become accustomed to being a single parent and having your children interrupt your activities, spill their drinks, holler or argue with each other or you, and you’re probably familiar and comfortable with these things. Your date has not had this time with your children. Give you and your date time to get to know each other first before you bring your date home to meet your children.
This can make your relationship stronger, and also will help ensure that the person you are dating is not going to stick around. You don’t want to bring home every person you date to meet your kids. This is confusing and potentially emotionally damaging to both you and your children.
Single Parent Dating Tip #4: Online Dating or Single Parent Personals
Finding the time in your busy scheduled to date, between work, family and other obligations, is tough when you are a single parent dating. The kids may go to bed early, but there’s babysitters, and finances, and other issues that might prevent you from going out on dates as frequently as you would like, or going out to meet people in order to get a date.
After the children have gone to bed, fire up the computer and find a reputable online dating site or personal ads online for dating. There specialty dating personals specifically for single parents too. As with anything online, you want to be watchful of scammers and players, but single parent personals or dating sites can allow you to meet someone, get to know them before you make arrangements to meet in person, have to pay a babysitter or explain to your children where you are going and why.
Single Parent Dating Tip #5: Be Honest (age appropriately) with Your Kids When Dating
Children are intuitive, and the older they are, the more they are going to see and understand or misunderstand when their single parent starts dating. They will ask questions and you should provide honest, age appropriate answers to those questions. After all, dating is healthy and normal, and they will learn much about dating and relationships from watching their single parent dating.
Remember though, don’t bring every person you date home to meet the kids as a potential life partner, and don’t bring them home to spend the night until you know they are going to stick around for a while and you are ready for them to meet your children. Knowing mom or dad is dating is one thing, but waking to see mom or dad in bed with a stranger is quite another!
These five single parent dating tips are just basic ways to get started with dating as a single parent. Take it slow, keep your head about you, and use common sense when venture out to date when you’re a single parent, and you should have no problems.