For many single parents, the word -dating’ has a terrifying ring to it, and the thought of actually going on a date is a tad overwhelming. Most single mums and dads are not too keen to start from square one of the dating game. The best advice however, is to throw caution to the wind, take a leap of faith and start dating again.
Single parents have more than enough on their plates being as they are expected to play the role of both mom and dad – so they deserve a night out once in a while. They also deserve a second or even third attempt at happiness and a few dates every now and then will do no harm – in fact it will do them and their kids the world of good!
Here are a few dating tips for single moms and dads:
1. Online dating – online dating is one of the best methods for unattached individuals to find love and romance. There are hundreds of online dating websites, some of which focus specifically on solo parents and this allows single parents to connect with other single parents. The nice thing about online dating is that you can find a possible date based on your specific search criteria, i.e. age, location, interests, etc. Once possible matches have been made, parties are able to take their time getting to get to know each other (online or via phone) and they are in complete control of the speed or the seriousness of the relationship.
Although online dating is the norm, those who aim to meet potential partners online must remember that this type of new-world dating is not 100% safe. Insist that the first few dates are in public places, like shopping centres or restaurants. Don’t give your home or work address out to virtual suitors and if you get a bad feeling about a potential date – abandon the relationship. If you are a single parent, you have to put your safety and the safety of your kids first and foremost.
Social media network sites like Facebook have taken the world by storm and these types of websites have given unattached people the upper-hand. Friends are able to suggest that you send a friend request to a potential suitor and once you’ve become Facebook friends, you are able to get to know him or her in a virtual world. You are able to judge from status updates what type of person he or she is and you can find out more information about the person by visiting their profile page. Once again, practice caution when meeting and don’t believe everything that you read on profile pages – some people have wild imaginations!
2. Blind dates – they may sound a bit outdated but blind dates can end in success. If your friends arrange a blind date for you, before you shake your head and refuse to go, give it a try. Your friends only have your best interests in mind and because they know you well, they tend to choose a person who they think suits you. It’s natural to be a little nervous at first but once you get out there and start meeting people, it becomes a little easier! Don’t expect every date you go on to end with a marriage proposal or to end on a serious note – you could just end up gaining a great new friend.
3. Groups and social clubs – One of the best ways to meet like-minded people is to sign up to join social groups or clubs. If you have a passion for animals, sign up at your local SPCA or animal shelter. A lot of people (often single people) volunteer their time or services and if you both share the same passion, you’re a step ahead before you even start. You will have a topic to chat about and even better is that you will both share a common interest. There are dozens of clubs and groups to join and the best thing about meeting people at clubs is that there are no forced setups to deal with. Even if you don’t meet Mr or Mrs Right – you’ll be getting out of the house, doing a good deed and interacting with others.
Introducing dates to your children
If you’re a responsible single parent, you are understandably very cautious about whom you date and who you will eventually bring home to meet your children. It’s perfectly natural to feel a little guilty or unsure about whether or not you should be dating and if dating is okay. Single parents do not need to have feelings of guilt or worry that their dating could be harming their kids, as long as parents date responsibly, and their child or children are not disrupted because their parent is dating.
Dating for single parents can be quite tricky and the key is looking for a good person who not only likes you but who is comfortable around your children and more importantly accepts your kids. Trying to please everyone may seem frustrating but being a solo-parent you cannot ignore the fact that you will be bringing a stranger into your home and into the lives of your kids.
Here is how you can make it a little easier for all concerned:
- When you decide to introduce your date to your kids, introduce them as friends, don’t add anything else.
- If your kids are old enough, encourage them to give their opinions about your new friend and listen to what they are saying.
- Don’t try and pressure children to like the person or to spend time with them.
- If your intention is to take the friendship to a romantic level and you want to get serious with the person, find out how they feel about your children first.
- Slowly introduce a new friend to your kids by doing fun things together – go out for a meal, or take the kids ten-pin bowling, or to the movies. Let your children and your date have the chance to develop their own relationships at their own pace.
- A new romance is exciting and you will want to spend time together, but don’t forfeit your children’s time so that you can go on a date. Plan carefully and make sure you don’t skip school events or other important dates for your child, so that you are able to go on a date. (Dating needs to work around your child’s schedule).
- Don’t discuss inappropriate issues or topics with your children. Don’t see them as confidantes for your relationship problems or for your personal issues. It’s better not to let them find out about your sexual relationships!