Single Parenthood & Dating
Being a single parent can be challenging for anyone, however when you add dating to the mix it can create further complications. Dating in and of itself can be difficult as you no longer have the option to simply focus on yourself or your own needs, but you must consider the needs of your children as well as your own. When moving on from a failed relationship it is important to stop worrying about what your ex is doing, has he or she met someone new, if he or she is more successful or less successful after the break-up. Do not be concerned with your ex's new love life, rather focus on yourself, i.e., what makes you happen, the happiness of your children, and potentially what you are looking for in a future mate & partner. Children should not be prematurely introduced to someone either spouse is dating. Before former spouses introduce children to the people they are dating, a courtesy discussion about this introduction should occur. This discussion needs to occur because just like adults, children experience challenges with significant changes, i.e., no longer seeing mommy and daddy together but seeing them with other people in what appears to be a loving relationship. Children require time, understanding, and patience to adjust both physically and emotionally.
When dating someone with kids be mindful as well as flexible that changes in plans may occur. There are times as a single parent a date or planned evening needs to be cancelled or rescheduled due to child emergencies, i.e., babysitting, illness, etc. If you and the person you are dating have children keep in mind your children may not always get a long, just like parents they need time and patience to build a relationship.
On a final note, avoid trying to analyze or being critical of the parenting skills and abilities of the person you are dating. Remember when dating and getting to know someone new, things are never what they appear to be. Often when newly dating and introducing children to the person mommy or daddy is dating we can become overly critical of the person we are dating. The best way to get to know someone and or determine whether or not this individual should meet your children you must relax but remain cognizant of your environment. In new relationships it is not uncommon for people to wear a "mask", saying and doing "all the right things". Therefore be open, aware, but avoid interrogating your date as this will only heighten your suspicions and render you unable to really get to know the person you are dating. Dating is supposed to be fun, not a chore. Keep in mind you may have to kiss a couple of frogs before you find you prince or princess.