Dating with kids
There is so much to think about while dating as a parent. When you’re single without kids, you can focus on yourself and the relationship. When you are a parent, a whole extra layer of issues are added to the dynamics. Dating with kids can be an amazing, but complicated experience.
It’s not all about you anymore. It’s also not just about you and the person you’re in a relationship with. It’s about you, the person you’re dating, and your child(ren). An ex could possibly be involved to some degree also, which could further complicate things.
Single parents are SO busy. Plus, is it really okay to take time from your kids to date? What if you don’t even want to date?
Only you can decide whether or not the timing is right for you. But if you do decide that it’s something you want in your life…
Here are some things to keep in mind while dating:
Are you really ready to date?
If you want to hangout and have fun, then do it. If you want to date seriously, great! The most important thing is knowing what you want and being clear about it. It’s not fair to lead another person on if you’re not actually ready.
What are your expectations?
Make your expectations clear. As a couple and as a parent. If you’re on the same page as your partner, there will be less chance of misunderstandings. Also, if your children understand your expectations of them, there will be less issues at home.
How much time will you dedicate to dating?
Keep in mind how much time you have in your schedule to date. Be realistic. Are you willing to meet up during your lunch break, after work, only on weekends? If things get more serious, are you willing to open up more time to build the relationship? Whatever you decide, be open about your time commitments and what works for you.
Be aware of past relationship issues
Be aware of issues in your past relationships that you don’t want to repeat. Think realistically about things that you can do to help this relationship progress and not fall into the same fate as your past relationships.
What are you looking for in a spouse/boyfriend?
I don’t necessarily believe in finding someone who fits a whole list of traits. I do think that it’s important to focus on a few values that are important to you and that you absolutely can’t compromise.
What are you looking forward to giving to a spouse/boyfriend?
Are you looking forward to giving of your time? Are you excited to cook for him? Spend time out and about with him? What are ways that you can serve him? Just as you may like him to take you out, open your door, or other small acts of kindness- it’s important to find things that you enjoy doing for him.
Remember to always be open and willing to communicate honestly. A healthy relationship thrives on 2 people who can talk things out openly and honestly. Even if you don’t have much time to talk on the phone, text, etc. Be clear about your feelings and open about how you’re feeling.
Respect goes both ways. You should always expect to be respected. Don’t allow anyone to treat you as an option. At the same time, it’s important for you to show the same respect to others. Stop with the games and start showing the respect that everyone deserves.
Are you both on the same page in regards to parenting? Or if you’re not to that point in the relationship, does he at least treat your children with respect? Or even understand what you need in another adult for you kids? Do you need someone to step up and be a dad? Or do you want him to completely leave the parenting up to you? Whatever it is, be clear.
When to introduce the kids?
Don’t rush this step. Children can connect quickly with adults in their lives, which means they can easily end up hurt. Ultimately, you’re the only one who knows when the time is right, but try to wait until you know he’ll be around long-term.
How much of your child’s personal life do you share with the person you’re dating?
Dating with kids can be difficult. It’s not just putting all of your baggage on the table. It’s also debating how much of your kids stuff you are going to put out there and when.
You’ll need a lot of patience. Patience with your date, your kids, and yourself.
Dating is much different as a single parent
Whatever you decide works for you, make sure that you are clear while dating. It’s not okay to play games with anyone. It’s not okay to be disrespectful- even to yourself. Make a choice and go with it. Decide what you want and be clear about it.
Also, make sure that you ultimately stick to your boundaries while being flexible and caring. Do what works for you and if you decide that you actually aren’t ready to date at the moment, that’s okay too. Do what works for you, while showing respect for others involved. You may also be interested in other dating posts, such as: The Dating Seasons or Backburner Relationships.
Good luck on your dating journey! What are your biggest dating challenges or wins?!
**This post is the seventh of a 7 month Single Moms 101 series “Secrets of a Successful Life” by Single Mom Bloggers that I am working on with a few other single mom bloggers. We will each be writing monthly about topics that affect single moms directly.
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