From Single Parent to New Partner: Five Tips for Navigating the Terrain
If you’re having reservations about returning to the dating pool after becoming a single mom, take heart. You’re not alone. It’s not unusual for single parents to have mixed feelings about dating as the “playing field” has been significantly altered. Now you have a little one (or several little ones) to consider and the consequences of your actions could influence not only your life, but theirs as well.
Closing yourself off from relationships altogether, however, isn’t the solution. If you feel you’re ready to start dating again, the following tips can help you navigate the dating scene with more successful results.
* This post contains affiliate links. This means that I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you subscribe or purchase something through the links provided.
Make Yourself Available to Meet Others
Once you’ve decided to reenter the dating scene, make yourself available to meet others. If you feel comfortable with the idea, ask family or friends to introduce you to single men they feel you might get along with. You could even list some qualities you’re looking for in a man to make it easier for loved ones to set you up.
Online dating services could be another option to meeting someone new. Online matchmaking services such as Match.com, eHarmony or SingleParentMeet.com provide opportunities to connect with single men you could be compatible with. Online dating puts you in control of your dating experiences and helps you set a pace you’re comfortable with. Once you start, dating will become easier and more natural. The more you date, the greater your chances of finding someone to commit to on a long term basis.
Take it Slow
Casual dating shouldn’t be a stressful experience. No one is pressuring you to enter a relationship you’re not ready for. Go slow and make decisions you’re comfortable with. You may find yourself swamped with unsolicited dating advice from family and friends, but you don’t have to accept it all. It’s your life and you should have confidence in making your own choices. Taking it slow will give you greater perspective in establishing the relationships you want.
Be Considerate of Your Children’s Needs
As a single mom, you may find your kids lacking enthusiasm in your decision to date and possibly find someone new. This is a natural reaction and shouldn’t deter you from enjoying an adult social life. Your kids may be fearful of losing you or being relegated to second place due to your desire for adult companionship. Reassuring your kids of your love and balancing your dates with quality parenting time will help them get over any reservations they have in this area.
Older kids, in particular, may feel uncomfortable with the idea of a “new man” in your life. You can keep anxieties in check by being discreet in your dating and considerate of their feelings. It’s not necessary for your kids to meet every man you’re dating, especially if you’re only dating on a casual basis. Once you find someone special, however, take time to introduce him to your kids and look for ways to slowly incorporate him into family outings.
Don’t Rush into Physical Intimacy
If you’ve been single for a while, dating could stir up feelings you haven’t experienced for a long time. Once female hormones get activated, you could easily mistake passion for true love and get involved in a relationship that’s not the best. As a single parent, you can’t afford to get carried away by your feelings – there’s simply too much at stake. Rushing into intimacy due to passion or fear of losing a man’s interest won’t help towards establishing a solid relationship. If there’s long-term potential, it will be worth taking the time to discover it before adding the complexity that accompanies physical intimacy. A relationship based on mutual respect and understanding will have greater potential to last.
Use Direct Communication to Balance Dating with Parental Priorities
Keeping your social life in balance with your parental priorities may become challenging. You may be pulled toward parenting when you’d like to be dating, and vice versa. As a single mom, your parental responsibilities will take priority over dating, and it can feel like a losing battle. Direct communication can be key. Transparency can make the difference between waning interest and mutual understanding in a budding relationship. By the same token, don’t let parental conflicts take the place of direct communication when you’re not really seeing relationship potential. Finally, communicating with your support network and being honest about your desire to connect might reveal much-needed babysitting support.
One Foot in Front of the Other
There’s little doubt that dating poses many challenges for single parents. At the same time, with a thoughtful approach, effective communication, and a little courage, it can open the door to meeting that special someone who makes it all worthwhile.