5 things every single parent should know about dating

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Being a single parent is tough – some people have a bad habit of defining you as ‘a single parent’. Not as an attractive single woman or man, who would like to have a bit of romance and excitement in their lives. But, if you’re starting to think about launching yourself back into the world of dating, we’ve got 5 things you need to know to get started.

Dating as a single parent? We’d love to hear your stories, comments and tips below.

1.    Know that you’re ready
First things first – are you ready to date again? You may feel like you’re ready to bring some love into your life, but you need to be sure you’re over your ex and in a good place to meet someone new. If you feel like you’re still holding a torch for your ex, or that you’ve been pressured into dating by friends or family, take a step back. This whole process has to be about YOU, not about pleasing other people and certainly not about finding someone to help you get over your ex.

If you’re not ready to date it’ll show – you might talk about your ex on your dates, or (if you’re dating online) your profile might show some red flags to your matches. It’d be a waste of your time and money to start down this path before you’re ready.

2.    Know that you deserve to go on a date
Single parents are kings and queens of self-guilt. How many times have you spent time away from your kids and felt those guilt pangs? Maybe you’ve even cut a trip or activity short to get back to your kids because you feel so guilt-ridden? But here’s the thing – mums and dads that get to have time to themselves make for happier mums and dads, which of course means happier kids. Once you’ve resolved the feelings of guilt over leaving your children with grandparents, friends or a babysitter so that you can have a good time, you’ve made a huge leap.

3.    Know that you can find the time
Your next question may well be ‘Where will I actually find the time to go on dates?’ The answer is simple and complicated at the same time, and the reason behind it is the reason behind why everyone asks that question – fear. The simple answer is there’s always time. How you find that time is up to you, but it’s there. Dates come in all shapes and sizes. No time for a dinner date? How about a morning coffee date? Or maybe a lunch-break date while you’re at work?

As for the fear part of the equation, well, it’s something that affects most daters whether they’re young, old, with or without children. It’s the fear of the unknown, getting hurt again perhaps, or even of rejection. You could stay single if you think it’ll protect you from these things, but you’ll be missing out on so much more.

4.    Know when to talk about your children
Your children are everything to you – you’re doing something amazing raising them alone, whether there’s an ex-partner on the scene or not. But dating is about you, not you and your children, and it’s important to remember this on a date. The fact is that your date doesn’t want to spend hours listening to you talk about your kids (whether they’re a parent or not) – your date wants to learn about you. They want to know about your interests, hobbies, your job, and what’s important to you in life – beyond your children.

By all means talk about your children, they’re bound to come up in conversation, but this is about you. We’re guessing this might be a rare night off for you, so indulge a little. The same theory applies for online dating profiles – you might want to mention you have children, perhaps so your date has the full picture, but don’t make your profile all about them. You’re selling YOU.

5.    Know that you should be having fun!
Dating should be fun. Yes you might get nervous, and we’re not saying there won’t be any disappointments along the way, but overall it should be an enjoyable experience. It’s important to remember that a first date is just that – it’s not an interview to see if this is the man or woman you want to spend the rest of your life with, nor should you be trying to figure out if they’re the kind of person who’ll take your youngest to play football in the park on a Sunday morning. You can – and should – think about that stuff later.  Of course, trust your gut; if you really wouldn’t trust your date with children, there’s no point pursuing the match.


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