Dating Guidelines for Single Parents
As a single parent, you probably have so little free time that dating seems an impossible task. Yet, single parents are dating in unprecedented numbers, so if you’re looking for another “head of household” to date, you’ll find one.
As a responsible parent, you’ll want to be very cautious about whom you date and eventually bring home for the safety and well-being of your child(ren). You may feel guilty or unsure about whether dating is OK. Of course it is, as long as you do it responsibly, and your children are not disrupted by your dating.
Single parent dating involves finding a quality person you like, who likes you, and who is comfortable with your children. These extra dynamics can be frustrating, but should not be ignored or overlooked. Pressuring your children to like your date and going too fast for them to get comfortable with the situation will create unnecessary trouble. This article presents some guidelines to help you, your children and your new date be more comfortable, and assure that things go smoothly.
If your children are small, they have a right to be primary in your life. They should not have to compete with your new relationship for your time, attention and affection. This takes planning, because your schedule is already full.
Because today’s society is very mobile, it’s easy for people who are not savory to hide their backgrounds. Getting to know people as friends before dating increases the safety of dating and meeting new people. To maximize safety, choose group activities, daytime activities with the children along, and stay in public places until you establish your date’s character. You may also want to invest in a security system or video doorbell in order to stay safe in your own home.
Meeting other single parents at PTA, church, and school or sports events is a great, non-threatening way to begin. The public setting provides safety, a chance to get to know the other person. Then you have an opportunity to find out what others think of him or her. Meeting his or her children or other family members will quickly reveal their values and attitudes. When your children meet another parent, an adult friend, or a church or temple member rather than a date, it’s much less threatening to them. There is less pressure on everyone.
Rules for Everyone
Children aren’t the only ones who need rules to follow. If the adults involved (you, your date, your ex, grandparents, friends) do the right thing automatically. If their behavior is not suitable for you and your children, you need to inform them of yours.
Setting and keeping rules may sound like a drag, but sensible and reasonable guidelines can help a lot. When everyone knows what is expected of them, they will feel respected and secure.
Author Bio: Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. (www.tinatessina.com) is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 40 years’ experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 15 books in 17 languages, including Dr. Romance’s Guide to Finding Love Today; It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Ten Smartest Decisions a Woman Can Make After Forty; Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences, The Real 13th Step , How to Be Happy Partners: Working it Out Together and How to Be a Couple and Still Be Free. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog (), and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter. Online, she’s known as “Dr. Romance” Dr. Tessina appears frequently on radio, TV, video and podcasts, including on GenerousMarriage.com. She tweets @tinatessina