Dating as a single parent is a challenge in and of itself. There are many reasons why many single dads are reluctant to go back to the dating scene. Some are afraid of parenthood getting in the way of romantic endeavors, while others think they are too busy to enter a romantic relationship with anyone.
But regardless of that “something” that may be holding you back, having a successful dating life while being a single parent is not impossible—no matter how society makes it so. Nevertheless, there are certain things that you must keep in mind if you want to go back to the dating pool while raising your children:
- Start slow
Whether you are a parent or not, dating is something that you shouldn’t rush—ever. Going back to the dating scene is completely your decision, but you have your family to consider. If you don’t feel ready, there is no need to rush things. Always remember that there is no deadline to dating; you are not “missing out” just because you have been single for so long.
- Consider a matchmaker
Dating apps offer a lot of opportunities to connect with new people. However, you probably have to spend hours swiping through profiles and messaging new people to find someone that you share a connection. And as a parent, you likely do not have time to spare to find a new prospect on a dating app, much less look for people who are okay with dating singles with kids.
Matchmaking services are a different story. A professional matchmaker can find compatible people on your behalf based on the information and preferences that you provide. Aside from narrowing down your prospects to the people that are most likely to be compatible with you, it’s all done with little to no effort on your part.
- Talk to your kids
Telling your kids about your plans to start dating again may be uncomfortable for both parties. Still, it’s definitely better to tackle the subject than surprise them with a new “friend” who is suddenly taking up your time. Remind them that they will be the most important people in your life, but you would also like to have someone to go on dates with, build a relationship with, etc.
Typically, kids will have concerns about someone else occupying their parent’s time. Thus, use this as an opportunity to address any fears or anxieties that they may have about your dating.
- Find the right time to introduce
Avoid introducing new people to your kids too frequently. Children can get attached to them, and if they leave, it can affect children’s perception of love and romantic relationships. Moreover, it can also make it difficult for them to form relationships of their own in the future, having developed a belief that people always come and go.
Find the right time to introduce your new partner to your children. If it’s only been a few dates, you probably don’t want to bring them home just yet. But if things are getting serious, slowly ease them into your children’s lives so that neither party gets too overwhelmed.
- Work on yourself first
If you have gone through a divorce or breakup, it can be easy to fall into feelings of insecurity, loneliness, and cynicism. Your self-esteem can take a nosedive. If you try to date while wallowing in these negative emotions, it will likely lead to a toxic relationship where you’re projecting onto your partner.
Instead, work on yourself first. Go to therapy, spend time with your loved ones, improve your self-esteem, and ensure that you are mentally and emotionally ready to enter a relationship with a new person. After all, you wouldn’t want to waste time on a toxic relationship only to end up even more emotionally battered than before
- Avoid telling your children too much
If you’re talking to someone online or going on casual dates with a new person, avoid telling your children too much information about them. Your kids don’t need to get their hopes up and end up disappointed if it doesn’t work out. Moreover, your children should get to know your partner by themselves when they eventually meet if things work out between the two of you.
Dating can be a lot more challenging when you are a parent, divorced, or widowed. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t deprive yourself of a romantic relationship just because of the hardships that may come your way. With the right mindset and careful consideration, you can have a successful dating life while still keeping your children’s interests at heart.