Every parent is entitled for their chance at love, regardless of how old their children are. Unfortunately, in their quest to find that love, parents tend to be unbalanced — either they focus on their new partner too much, or they are so stuck in parent mode, they don’t give their partner enough attention.
Here are 6 practices that you should do in order to have a well-balanced dating life as a single parent.
1. Realize You’re Creating a Family
As a single parent, you have to recognize that one side is going to be left waiting while you are with the other. This usually causes the side that is waiting around to wonder what role they play in your life and how it effects the other relationship. At this point, you have to figure out if the person you are dating is going to be part of your family or not. Remember, your children are there for life — this person your dating may or may not be.
2. Avoid Being a Serial Dater
Parents who have a quick turnaround in between partners will usually be met with some resistance with their children. Kids need stability and when they see different people coming in and out of their lives, they will start to question the meaning of love and the validity in any relationship you may have in the future.
Before you decide that you are ready to start dating again, single parents usually look in the mirror and evaluate if they are even ready to begin dating again. They sort through their emotions and consider their motives for wanting to get back out here.
4. Ask “What If?” Questions
During all stages of dating, you should be asking your children “what if?” questions. Before dating ask questions like, “What if I started dating? Would you be okay with that?” You should continue to ask “what if” questions periodically so that you can gauge how your children feel about you dating, the person you are dating, and if they are alright with how your relationship may be progressing.
5. Employ the Soft invitation
For your older children, you can’t simply expect them to get along with your new partner. This is when you want to use a soft invitation. This will allow your children to get to know your new partner at a pace that is comfortable to them. For example, instead of saying “We are having dinner with XYZ tomorrow,” you can say something like, “XYZ invited us over for dinner tomorrow. Would you like to go?”
6. Acknowledge Your Child’s Worries
It is only natural for a child to be worried about you dating again. They will be wondering what will happen to them if the relationship progresses into something much more serious. You will want to let your child know that you understand their fears and reassure them that nothing will happen unless they are okay with it. Always make sure the child is comfortable with coming to you about their fears and never punish them or make them feel bad for feeling as they do.