Flirt & Have Fun – Dating Tips
5 Dating Tips for Single Parents
By Annette Benedetti
As parents, we spend a good amount of time preparing for the moment our child’s first date shows up on our doorstep. We craft the perfect threats, plan ways to secretly follow them, and research stats on what to expect when the days of dating inevitably arrive. Getting ready for our children’s various ages and stages is simultaneously exciting and frightening.
But navigating our own dating lives after having children is rarely included on the list of things to plan for. Whether as a result of a partner’s death or—as Ms. Paltrow likes to call it—“consciously uncoupling,” roughly half of parents find themselves single and back in the dating pool again at some point. The following are five easy-to-apply tips for modern-day dating as a single parent that will help you flirt and have some fun.
Let go of the guilt: You have made it through the loss of a relationship and the challenge of reestablishing a healthy family life. You are rocking the responsibilities of raising children, having a career, and managing a household. You deserve some you time and companionship. It’s time to let go of the past and get excited about what’s to come. Positive energy is good for both you and your children.
Change your focus: Many of us spent our early adult years looking for “the one” and dreaming about marriage and building a family. Now, with your family life firmly in place, dating has changed. You have the opportunity to refocus your dating goals and first work on meeting new people, building friendships, and having fun. Take time to explore your options so that when you do decide to recommit, it’s because you know what and who works for you and your family and what and who doesn’t.
Don’t hold back: Single parents often fret over when they should let a person of interest know they have one, two, or three (more?) children. The answer to this question is the same advice you’ve always given your children: Be honest! Withholding important information is the same as lying. No one wants to be caught off guard with news of that magnitude half way through the first or second date; give it upfront. Besides, anyone worth sharing time with will value you for all of the facets of your life, and admire the pride you take in your parenting.
Telling the kids: So you’ve found love and your first instinct is to share, share, share! Our social networking feeds are filled with announcements of “So-and-So are now in a relationship!” followed by a lengthy list of congratulatory comments. You so want those comments to be for you! But you have to tell the kids first. More important than when the kids find out is how they find out, and they must find out from you and no one else. You may be able to tell your tween or teen that you’re dating sooner than you can younger children, who might find the news of a new “friendship” easier to grasp.
Sleepovers: Timing is a choice that each individual has to make based on his or her own beliefs and personal boundaries. But what child and family therapists overwhelmingly agree on is that children should not be subjected to sleepovers until you are ready to make your new partner a permanent part of your whole family’s lives.
In general, a good approach to take with your new dating life is to consider how you want your children to handle dating when the time comes. If they are already dating, perhaps it’s time to take your own good advice.