Dating as a single mum isn’t like dating as a spinster. This is why you must go in with some intimate advice from other single parents who’ve dated with success, and know what to expect.
We’ve done the leg work of gathering this information so all you have to do is sit/lie down, relax, and have a great read:
1. Timing is Key
Is now the right time for you to start dating? Is a question only you can truly answer. It’s important to make sure you’re over your ex and at a good place emotionally, financially, etc.
You may think a new partner can help you with these things, but it’s important that you figure them out for yourself before making a decision to share your life with another person on that level.
The perfect time to start dating as a single mum then is when you are content with your life you are ready to let a new person in.
In the same vein, you have to consider your child/ren as well.
Seeing someone (dating) can be addictive and time-consuming. Remember, this time, you are not the only one going into a relationship; it’s you and them. Does he understand your need to prioritise your kids from time to time? Is it the right time to introduce another prominent figure to them?
Does he like and respect your kids, and vice-versa?
The last thing you need is to add pressure to your life causing you or your children to suffer. Remember dating should be a fun, blissful, and positive addition to your world.
If it’s not, then something’s not right.
2. Make Your Expectations Clear
It’s important that you plainly spell out what you want to get from your return to the dating scene. Are you looking for a life partner?
Or just friendship and fun?
Take a definite decision in your mind, and share it with your date. It’s vital you have a definition from the onset; besides, he will appreciate you being up-front and honest.
This, however, is not to say it will always end up the way you plan.
You might be in the market for a fling and end up with Mr. In good times and in bad, till death do us part or encounter a date with varying dating objectives.
Clear expectations and definitions are a good start if you’re looking to date as a single mum.
3. Be Upfront but not a Tell-it-all
You will need to share with your date any important factors in your life, including that you have children.
They are not ‘baggage’ as some people provocatively refer to them.
They are an extension of the wonderful package that is you.
But just names and ages are fine to start.
No need to bare all the details such as childcare arrangements and their father.
It’s just not the kind of stuff a possible partner will want to hear at a go.
Stick to the headlines and save the details for later if your relationship becomes more serious.
4. Set Your Priorities Straight
Keep in mind, dating as a single mum it’s not going to be the same as when you were a teenager.
Take time to consider how it will fit into your current life.
You can’t swan off when you like or spend hours chatting on the phone when you should be helping your kids with their homework.
Meeting someone you really like is a heady sensation; not even being a single mum can change that.
But don’t leap headfirst and then get frustrated that your home commitments are holding you back.
Keep your priorities foremost in your mind. In fact, a simple formula is a parent first, partner second.
Remember, if all goes well you could in no time be nurturing a relationship between your partner and your kids.
5. Consider Online Dating Options
Like me, I know your old-school self would have cringed at that headline.
The thought of promoting yourself online can be enough can so scary it’s almost a put off altogether –I get that. But if you’re hoping to meet Mr. Right in a cool bar when you never go to any bars, you’ll be waiting a long time.
There are tons of online dating sites, both free and paid. Some are free such as Tinder, whereas others, charge a token and offer quality matching service and, best of all, privacy.
Not only do you have the opportunity to meet loads of potential partners that you simply wouldn’t have met any other way, but you can get to know them better before you commit your valuable time to have a sit-out with them.
There is plenty of advice online about writing your online profile and what to be wary of. And when you think you’re ready, ensure you arrange the first meeting in a public, ideally busy, place.
And don’t give your address or issue an invite to your home unless you feel really comfortable.
6. When and What to Tell the Kids
All children are different, and you know yours better.
So, when you tell them about your new partner is entirely your call.
RSVP recommends: “You should go out with them for some time and know that this is real and has long-term potential before they get an introduction to your kids”.
Your children don’t need to be a party to your disastrous dates –because there probably will be a few.
Remember you are your child’s first role model.
How they see you handle this now could have an effect on the way they date later in life.
7. Potential Complications
Even though you’re single, your ex-partner may still be very much part of your life because of your child/ren. And vice versa with your date/potential partner.
Jealously should have no place in these relationships.
Anything that puts a strain on the rapport you have with your children’s dad is not worth it.
It will certainly make your life harder, but your children’s infinitely more so.
A great deal of maturity and acceptance are required to navigate the complications of mixed families, and this is one of the most important factors when you are returning to the dating scene as a single mum.
Find more tips on parenting and motherhood here.