8 ways to get back into dating for single parents

Dating can seem like a challenging experience and even more so if you have children, whatever their age. The key is to find a way to share your time between your family and your personal life. Here we have outlined the top ways in which you can have great dating experiences and still be a parent.

Communicate with your children

Before you start dating it is very important that you talk to your children and explain that you will be meeting new people. Depending on their age, some children may feel a little uneasy about this. This is the time to reassure them that they mean the world to you and that will never change.

Introduction

It isn't a good idea to introduce your children to every person you date. You risk confusing your child, and even unsettling them, especially if you go on many dates all with different people. Also, if your children become attached to your date after a very short time, then you risk them getting hurt, and even angry, if things don't work out between you and your date. It is best to only introduce someone who will be around for more than just a couple of dates. When you do decide to introduce your date, make the first meeting relatively short, then gradually increase this time with each meeting.

Acknowledge your children's feelings

It is important that you understand how your children feel about you dating. If they don't like the fact that you are sharing your time with someone else, don't let this put you off dating. Listen to their views and explain that you like to spend time with other people, and this doesn't mean you don't want to be with them. This may be an ongoing progress, but sometimes all that is needed is a little reassurance.

Don't force your date onto your children

Once you decide it is time for your date to meet your children, don't expect your date to start parenting them. They are your children, not your dates. Obviously after time, the relationship between your date and children may become stronger and feel more relaxed. It is only then that your date will feel comfortable enough to take a more responsible role.

Don't force your children to like your date

The biggest mistake you can make is trying to force your children to like your date. Children need time to accept that their parent has someone new in their life who is taking up time that was once spent with them. Some children will accept your date sooner than others. The best thing to do is simply give your child time to get to know your new partner and let a relationship happen naturally between them.

Don't force your children to like your date's children

If the person you are dating has their own children, then you mustn't assume that they will automatically get on with yours. It is best for you to meet your date's children without your children being present and the same applies when your date meets your children. If your children have had issues with you dating someone, then you should expect your date's children to have similar feelings. Every child is different, therefore some may love the fact they have someone new to play with. Other's don't like change and will hate having to share their parent with others. The best approach is not to force all children involved to like each other, this could do more harm than good.

Don't constantly talk about your children

When out on a date, don't spend the whole time talking about your children. It is perfectly natural to want to talk about them, but keep it to a minimum. Your date will want to get to know you before they get to know your children.

Find a balance between dating and family

It can sometimes feel like you are putting your family first over your personal life, or vice versa. You must remember that you deserve to have your own life which sometimes means putting yourself first. You mustn't feel guilty going out on a date, the same way you mustn't feel guilty if at times you need to put your children first. There will of course be times when you will need to put your children first, that is part of parenting, but if your date shows signs of being jealous when you do so, then that is a sign that a relationship simply will not work. It is all about finding a healthy balance between dating and your children.

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