Dating as a single parent can be extremely tricky!
Finding time to date and figuring out when your new flame should meet your kids can be challenging to navigate.
While you can certainly step into the dating world all willy-nilly as a single parent and hope that things work out, being mindful and proactive can help you build lasting connections without going through the process of trial-and-error.
Here are some tips for getting off on the right foot when dating as a single parent:
Think About Whether or Not You Are Ready to Date
If you start dating as a single parent for the wrong reasons, it’s unlikely that things will turn out the way you want them to.
Yes, single parents get lonely – but that’s not a good reason to start dating!
You should only date because you want to, not because you feel that you need a partner or that you’re missing out on a relationship.
You also have to consider where you stand when it comes to your last relationship, whether it was with your child’s other parent or someone else.
Are you over what has happened? Are you ready to let go of emotional baggage?
Most importantly: Have you taken the time to find yourself again?
If you’re still holding on to the past or jumping into dating too soon, you’ll have a difficult time forming meaningful relationships.
Figure Out What You’re Looking For
While you don’t have to create an inspiration board defining your perfect mate, it’s important to consider what you are looking for in a partner and in a relationship.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself:
- Are you looking for a long-term partner or a casual date?
- Does your ideal partner have children of their own?
- Are you interested in having more children in the future?
- What age range are you willing to date in?
- How important is financial independence in a partner?
- How much time can you commit to dating? How much time can they commit?
Knowing what you want will save you the trouble of dating people who don’t fit the bill. Feel free to communicate these wants in the early stages of dating, so no one wastes anyone’s time.
Build a Relationship on a Foundation of Friendship
As a single parent, your free time is limited, so you may be tempted to rush into a relationship instead of taking the time to develop a friendship.
Friendship is the connection you make with someone with whom you share similar interests, have meaningful conversations, and learn things from each other. This is the spark that will keep a relationship going.
It also helps to build attraction. Sure, someone may be good in bed, but things will get stale fast if you don’t feel a sexual connection.
Plus, if you jump into sex too soon, you may end up defining your relationship as a physical one right away. By developing a friendship, you allow yourself to form deeper emotional connections with someone so that your relationship isn’t solely based on sex.
So don’t feel rushed to become intimate or commit to the person you’re dating. Take your time and establish that foundation of friendship.
Be Yourself Right Away (And Be Silly!)
If you feel like you have to act like someone else to impress your date, then they are not the right person for you, and you will end up wasting your time (and potentially having your heart broken)!
While you don’t have to lay your whole personality out on the table in the early days of dating someone, you definitely want to be your unique self.
The sooner you show who you are, the more quickly you can start building a connection with someone if your personalities work well together.
Being silly is a great way to be yourself and avoid having too many serious conversations. Laughing together can create an irresistible bond and is a great way to enjoy each other’s company.
Keep Yourself Busy
This may seem counterintuitive since single parents are constantly busy, but hear me out.
Attracting the right person means finding someone who is not dependent on a relationship or requires someone to be dependent on them. Two independent individuals can build a healthy and strong relationship!
When I say keep yourself busy, I mean don’t dedicate the majority of your day waiting by your phone to see if your new date has messaged you. Find meaningful and engaging activities that you enjoy to distract yourself.
In the end, this will make you more interesting to your potential partner. They will appreciate that you have hobbies and interests and want to learn more about them, thus growing a stronger connection.
Go On Adventures and Do Activities Together
Long gone are the days of traditional dates like dinner and a movie. Engaging in activities with a date creates an unforgettable experience and allows you to develop a bond.
You can do something adventurous as horseback riding or something as simple as going for a hike. The activity itself doesn’t have to be glamorous – it just has to be more unique than traditional date ideas.
In the early days of dating, you should also try to spend time with them in a social setting. This will help relieve pressure on you and your day, so you don’t have to focus solely on talking.
Going out is a great way to feel at ease, but it will also give you a good idea of how your date interacts with other people – something you may not see if you spend all of your time together, isolated and alone.
Hold Off On Introducing Your Kids
This is perhaps one of the most important cardinal rules of single-parent dating!
You should hold off on introducing your date to your kids for many reasons. While you want to be completely honest right away about having your own kids, it’s important to keep your parenting life and dating life separate for a while.
First of all, kids get attached very easily. It wouldn’t be fair to let them develop a connection with someone you aren’t in a solid relationship with, only to have them disappear from your child’s life.
Second, dating is all about you! This is your time to go out, enjoy yourself as an adult, and do adult things.
Once you bring your children into the mix, the dating relationship will shift into a sort of “family” dynamic. It may be that you’re not ready to fully integrate your new partner into your life – and that’s okay!
There’s no absolute rule as to when you should introduce your kids to your new partner. Just keep in mind that dynamic shift, and you’ll know when the time is right.
Remember that there’s no need to rush!
Dating as a Single Parent
There’s no perfect formula when it comes to dating as a single parent, but the most important thing to remember is that, by starting off on the right foot, you can avoid wasting your time with incompatible partners.
Have you tried dating as a single parent? Do you have any advice to share? Let us know in the comments!