Back On The Market: Tips On Dating While Co-Parenting
Most of us were in a relationship with the person we had a child with. For many of us, that relationship came to a romantic end – even though our co-parenting relationship continued. As a person who falls into the large segment of the population of being single while parenting, I have come to realize that dating as a single parent is both essential and tricky.
So, how do we do this? How do we date and hopefully grow a loving relationship with a deserving adult while raising our children? Single parents can be plagued with guilt about their failed relationship and crippled by the fear of the reaction their children may have to a new love relationship in our lives. Here are some basics to keep in mind as you work your way toward losing your single status.
No Kids Allowed
Our children should know that we are going out to enjoy time with other adults but they do not need to know anything about who we date early on. We need to spend time separate from our children getting to know those we are dating. Don’t have him or her meet you at the door where the kids can meet them. No need to spike anxiety in our children with someone who may not last past the first few dates.
Test the waters about your children from the start. You have children whom you are responsible for in many ways and a potential mate needs to know this and be supportive. If they aren’t into kids or think your relationship and your kids should be kept separate, stop dating them.
You’ve Gotta Be In It To Win It
Being tired and uninspired to get dressed and get out is not an acceptable excuse on this dating journey. Single parents are always tired and always looking for a good night’s sleep but you’ve been tired for less than sexy reasons. Being tired because you went out on the town should be a no-brainer. Don’t hide behind your exhaustion. Mr. or Ms. Wonderful will not find you on your couch.
Once you realize that your dating is becoming more serious, it’s time to start revealing more to the children. Start by saying things like “Mommy is going to a party with Mike” or “Daddy is going to to a concert with Tasha”. Let the children gradually become familiar with your mate before they have to meet them. Eventually your children will inquire about Mike or Tasha on their own and request to meet them Then it’s time to set something up that is casual and non-threatening. Have them come over to the house for a short amount of time, like an hour or two. Slowly let the length of time get longer and activities with the children to become more diverse.
Once we get out of your own way, meeting that special person is possible and folding them into your family can work. Slow and steady is the golden rule. Eventually if you love your new mate, in time your children will too. Enjoy the process because once the kids fall for them, they won’t be all yours anymore.
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