As a parent, you probably find it easy to put your kids’ needs ahead of your own. You devote your weekends to playdates; your “home office” is filled ceiling to floor with toys and crafts; and you have started to look forward to the next installment of “Little Einsteins.” However, if you hope to find a life partner, you have to start devoting time to yourself ― and to many single parents, that idea is utterly terrifying.
It is easy to stay busy as a single parent, but when there is time to think about the future ― and prospect of romantic love ― most single parents are plagued by fears and doubts. Here is a quick and easy guide to calm your worries and help you through the sometimes complicated world of dating as a single parent.
1. ‘How Do I Get Over My Nerves?’
The idea of getting back in the game after a few years of singlehood can be utterly terrifying. However, dating is intimidating for everyone ― not just single parents ― so you should feel comfortable knowing that anyone you date is just as nervous as you are. In fact, your sweaty palms and knotty stomach are probably signs of excitement rather than anxiety, which means you are taking positive steps toward a happy future.
2. ‘Where Do I Meet People?’
If you aren’t at work, you are with your kids, but you don’t have to spend all your time in kid-centric places like the playground or the zoo. Instead, you can take your little ones to kid-friendly locations, where adults also tend to congregate. Places like farmer’s markets, bookstores, and walking parks are perfect places to keep kids entertained while you interact with people your age. Of course, if you are even more pressed for time, you can always go on online dating sites for parents for more opportunities to find your best match.
3. ‘Who Should I Expect to Date?’
It is common for young single parents to be wary of initiating contact with singles sans kids, but you shouldn’t discount the possibility of fostering a relationship with a non-parent before testing them. Though it might feel like “parent” is your primary role, you likely still enjoy plenty of adult activities that keep non-parents interested. You don’t have to limit your options to other single parents when you start to date.
4. ‘When Do I Mention My Kids?’
More likely than not, you haven’t gone on a first date since before you had kids, so you probably believe that most potential partners are less-than-interested in dating a parent. Therefore, telling your date that you have little ones at home may feel intimidating.
In truth, most singles your age probably have endured the same experiences you have and are looking for someone with maturity and responsibility. You shouldn’t be afraid to tell your date the truth as soon as possible to ensure you find someone willing to be a co-parent if the relationship works out.
5. ‘What Do I Say to My Kids?’
Kids, even older ones, rarely understand their parents’ desire to date. Thus, you must carefully and calmly explain to your kids why you are looking for a romantic partner. Because dating requires some time away from home, it is impossible to lie to your kids about your new possible relationship. It is best to be as honest as necessary, without revealing gritty details about your dates or the process.
6. ‘How Do I Introduce My Kids?’
It is much harder for kids when they become attached to a new adult only to have him or her disappear after a few weeks, so you should be careful about when and how you introduce your dates to your little ones.
You should only make introductions when you are fairly confident that a person is going to become a serious romantic partner. You should present your date to your kids in an environment they are comfortable in, like your home, and you should make the event special with favorite foods and activities.
7. ‘Is It Appropriate to Have Adult Fun?’
While you don’t have to sneak around like a high schooler, you should be careful in how you schedule sex with your dates. If you are having trouble sealing the deal, you might arrange your next date at your partner’s home, where you can quickly get comfortable. Because your late-night options are limited by babysitters’ curfews, you should also consider planning more daytime adventures, during which you can enjoy some afternoon delight.