I have been advising and researching about relationships for many years. I would advise any single parent to not fear dating and finding a new partner. Protecting our children from people coming in and out of their lives seems like a great excuse to stay on the sidelines, but a happy parent will do much more for the child’s health than a parent that stays home being lonely. Parents need play dates too. Single parents deserve happiness and should embrace dating as a way to get out amongst adults and gain self-confidence.
When there is leftover baggage from our previous relationships, we want to lighten our load as much as possible before we bring a serious new relationship into the family dynamic. If the breakup with the co-parent is fresh, establishing boundaries with communication and visitation is important. You don’t want random visits from your ex interfering with the routine of your child, nor your potential to find a new partner. Establishing rules via the courts or just agreeing to a schedule will keep things predictable. Keeping things friendly as possible with the co-parent will have a positive effect on your children as well. You and the other parent are still the main role model for how to act with the opposite sex for your children.
Setting up a regular date night or a night where you go out with friends is a safe way for you to keep consistency for your child, and allows you to better predict your schedule. Finding open dates is tough when both people in a new relationship have children, so finding a stable day to meet should make it easier on both of you. Just because you have children, doesn’t mean you can’t have opposite sex friends. Don’t be timid to introduce someone new to your child as friends of yours. Your young child doesn’t need to know that you are establishing a relationship, but if you start dating someone, there is no need to hide the fact that you are a parent. If there is no rapport between your date and your child, you can tell that maybe they will not be a good fit for your life long-term. Better to know this early on then after you get emotionally attached. Introducing a new partner to the co-parent might be more difficult to handle for the other parent. After all, they might be taking over their old spot in the family dynamic. Giving advanced notice and talking about it on the phone should help alleviate any surprise emotions and might prevent a conflict.
In closing, dive in and try to make the most out of being in an “adult space” while you are dating. Don’t be afraid to introduce your child when you feel like it’s right. As far as online dating goes, you wouldn’t bring your baby or teenager on your first date, so I wouldn’t advise putting family photos up on your dating profiles. Stating that you are a parent is enough to weed out some of the people you don’t want to meet anyway. When you have a profile full of baby and child pics, potential suitors will be turned off and are unsure of where they might fit into your life.
This article was for Zoosk.com
image credit here