"Should I let my date spend the night?" "Should I not let my kids see us kissing or holding hands?" These are questions many dating single parents wrestle with. And frankly, it's important to consider them because your children are learning from your own example what to expect when it comes to dating, intimacy, and commitment. It's a tremendous responsibility, and it's one that will impact the decisions your kids will make as they grow older and begin dating themselves. This is why it's so important to decide now what your own single parent dating rules are going to look like.
Create Your Single Parent Dating Rules Before You Date
Create your rules before you even find yourself in the position of having to decide where and when you're going to express physical intimacy with a partner. In my opinion, a casual partner should never spend the night in your home. Staying over suggests a sexual relationship whether you are intimate or not; and should you decide to engage in a sexual relationship with someone you're dating, this is not a fact your children need to know. Whatever you decide, though, set your mind ahead of time so that you are not easily tempted to change your intimacy rules in a moment of passion.
Check Your Intimacy Rules Against Your Own Expectations
Your kids are taking notes. If you let it be known to them that you're engaging in a sexual relationship, they're going to take that as permission to follow suit in their own relationships. To many single parents who are raising young children, this seems like a far-off concern. However, your children will likely remember more about the details of your dating relationships than you might imagine, so make sure your intimacy rules are in line with the expectations you'll have for them in a few years.
Be Up Front With Your Partner About Your Single Parent Dating RulesIt's really important that you share any decisions you've made on this issue with your partner. For example, if you've decided not to kiss or show physical intimacy in front of your children, you'll want to share that opinion with your partner before bringing him or her home to meet them, so that it doesn't become a point of tension or miscommunication.
Share Your Intimacy Rules With a Trusted Friend
This is key. Share your single parent dating rules with a friend and ask him or her to help you stay accountable to the rules you've set for yourself, and - when necessary - remind you that you created those rules out of what you believe is best for your children in the long run.