Dating Single Parents

I admire and respect single parents. They overcome many hardships and challenges, which they face with grace, all the while caring for their children and creating a safe, happy family.

But, you know, single parents are human. They have human emotions and human needs. They need love and affection not only from their children but from other adults who are not also relatives. Like most of us, they need a companion for their life journey.

Some people tell me it’s not right or appropriate for single parents to go on dates. They say that the time for dating in single parent’s life has passed – that the family and children are everything. They tell me that single parents who date are promiscuous or irresponsible.

I strongly disagree. I think single parents have as much right to a social life as anyone. After all, they are single, aren’t they?

Everyone needs love, and most of us want a partner in life. To let society’s whims force us to be lonely is wrong. Single people have a right to be happy and to find someone who will want to help them and support their children.

When you’re the only adult in a household, raising a family is hard. Kids really need two parents when they’re growing up to get a healthy balance of role models and realistic ideas about gender issues. A single parent can’t give that to their children.

And children always grow up and move away. They have families and lives of their own. If a single parent shouldn’t date, you’re saying they are doomed to grow old alone. That just doesn’t seem right.

Some people seem to think that single parents must meet different standards than the rest of us. They may think single parents are immoral people just because they have children and aren’t married. Single moms get criticized for getting pregnant too early or getting pregnant without a husband. Single dads may be accused of being irresponsible or of being more likely to cheat in a relationship. What are people thinking?

The truth is that almost all single parents are hard-working responsible people who care about their families and love their children deeply. They work hard to make a good living for their family and to balance work with school functions with no one to share the burden. It just makes me mad when I hear people judging others for what they assume to be personal mistakes. It just isn’t so.

But single parents may be the best potential mates a person could find. They are mature and responsible. They are obviously committed to their families and children, or they wouldn’t be struggling with the single-parent lifestyle now. It’s the best thing in the world when a single parent dates and finds a partner to build a new life and a strong, normal family.

Finding a partner isn’t easy for single parents. First, they are carrying some baggage from their previous relationship. Whether it ended in death or divorce, there are feelings and habits to break. Second, they have children, which can be a real problem for some singles who don’t have children.

When you’re dating a single parent, you have to accept that they have another set of important priorities in their daily life. You may be tempted to try to compete with them. But that would be a mistake, because you’d always lose. The best thing to do is to accept them for who they are and what their life is like today.

You need to recognize that they love their children very much, and you need to respect that. After you meet the children and get to know them, you will most likely love them too. After all, when you’re in a serious relationship with a single parent, you’re really in a relationship with a family. The kids come with the package.

You may have to deal with some single-parent-specific issues if you want a serious long-term relationship with them. They may have been hurt badly in the past, and they could have some trust issues. You’ll have to show them over time that you can be trusted.

My guess is that you’ll have to demonstrate your maturity, responsibility, and loving nature before a real relationship can get off the ground. And once you gain their trust, you’ll have to earn the trust of their children. That could be even more difficult, since the kids may thing you’re trying to replace the missing parent in their hearts.

The kids will be protective and possessive of their single parent. You might as well be prepared for that. They may suspect that you have evil intentions. Or if the previous relationship was marked with a lot of fighting or violence, they may fear a repeat of those very uncomfortable times.

By being a friend without being pushy, you may be able to begin a relationship with the children. You’ll have to be tolerant of and patient with their moods and suspicion. You’ll have to be loving at the same time you acknowledge they already have (or had) another parent. You’ll have to take it slow with the kids, one step at a time, to build a relationship that will someday be a strong foundation for the happy, healthy family you hope to have with their single parent.

Dating Meeting A Single Parents Children

Especially if you’ve never been married, dating a single parent can be difficult. And meeting the single parent’s child or children can be a source of tension for a new couple. Let’s face it, this isn’t your normal relationship. You may have no strings, but your partner has big responsibilities – a child.

If you’re dating a recently-single parent, you need to be open and understanding. They’re going through a very difficult time, and they have much to think about. They may still be processing their feelings about being single again. Or they may be dealing with their children’s emotional baggage.

Dating comes with all kind of feelings – excitement, anticipation, nervousness. And when you decide it’s time to meet the kids, those feelings get more intense. It’s not just you and your new partner that go through these feelings. The children have greatly mixed feelings about their parent’s new flame. They may be happy and excited that Mom or Dad is having some fun, but they may feel threatened with abandonment issues. They may resent anyone if they thing they’re trying to replace their other parent. They may be jealous.

One or two dates may not be a big deal and may not involve much more than a dinner and a handshake. It’s when you see you really like each other that the challenges begin. Here are some tips that may help you through these first phases of your relationship with a newly-single parent.

How Do Single Parents Find People To Date?

It’s probably been a long time since you were in the dating scene, and you may have lost touch with your single friends and activities. One way to meet new people is through your friends. Perhaps your best friend knows someone they think would be perfect for you. Take a chance. Go on a blind date.

You also have a constraint that many singles don’t: time. It’s important for you to plan your social activities well in advance so you can get a baby-sitter or make other arrangements for your children. So, whatever you do to meet new people can’t be a spur-of-the-moment decision.

Many areas have singles groups where you can meet other unattached people. As long as you don’t have to make commitments, this is a great way to meet people. Group social activities are fun and safe. You get a chance to get to know people before being alone with them.

You may even be able to find social groups specifically for single parents. This way, you’ll meet people whose lives are more like yours. They have the same challenges and problems. You may find it easier to relate to another single parent, and certainly they will be more understanding when something comes up at the last minute.

What about relationships?

You are the only person who knows if you’re ready to start a serious relationship. Of course, you are not alone, and your children will influence your readiness and willingness to get into a relationship.

You need to be very clear in your own mind about where you are and what you want. Perhaps you only want companionship and social contact. If you’re not ready to get serious, let your dates know. Don’t allow yourself to become more involved than you can handle emotionally. Your first few dates shouldn’t be serious, and you don’t need to involve your children with your casual dates.

But if you’re lonely and feel you need someone to love, you may be more interested in getting serious. First, you must ask yourself why. Getting into a serious relationship because you’re lonely isn’t a great idea. You want to get involved with a person, not just fill a hole in your life. Be sure of your motives before you allow things to get to serious.

What to do when on a date?

You’ll want to know that your dates will be both fun and safe. Your family depends on you, and taking chances to date isn’t wise. Always be sure someone knows where you’re going and who you’re going with. Let them know when you’ll be home, and take your cell phone with you in case of an emergency. Let your date know about your family and that you might get a call. No surprises is a good policy.

When you go out, you’ll want to do something that helps you get to know each other. Look for places where you can talk and activities that encourage conversation and interaction. Movies aren’t a good idea for those first few dates because they don’t provide a good get-to-know-you environment. Better to go bowling or play miniature golf than to go to a movie.

For first dates especially, it’s important that you go to public places. Your personal safety is very important, and you don’t want to take chances with people you don’t know. You might even want to arrange to meet your date somewhere so that you aren’t dependent on them for your ride home.