As a single parent, dating can be a little scary, especially if you're just beginning to put yourself "out there." As a beginner, use the following tips to help you adjust your expectations and prepare to re-enter the dating world:
Before you being dating, online or otherwise, give some serious thought to why you want to be in a dating relationship in the first place. Are you hoping for companionship, fun, or validation? Knowing what you're looking for from the outset can help you avoid some of the most common relationship mistakes.
Being open with your children about your desire to date will make the transition easier for all of you. It's important to remember, too, that your kids may strongly resist the idea of sharing you or giving up hope that you'll reunite with your ex, so be extra sensitive to their feelings and concerns as you prepare them for the reality that you'll soon begin dating.
There are many ways re-enter the dating world, from online dating to asking someone out on your own. Remember, too, that not every date has to be an evening event. It's fine to shart with something more casual like meeting for lunch or a quick drink after work.
Whether you're looking through online dating profiles or being introduced to the friend of a friend, it's important to know what you're looking for. The acronym "CHECK" can help. The letters stand for Character, Healthy relationships, Easy to be around, Children, and Kindness.
It's crucial that you know from the very beginning what you will tolerate in a dating relationship and what you will not. These common "deal breakers" can help you avoid heartache down the road and more quickly find satisfaction in your dating relationships.
Finally, decisions about birth control and physical intimacy need to be made up front. In addition, consider sharing your choices with a trusted friend who will help you be accountable to your decisions, as well.
You may find that introducing dates as "friends" makes this issue easier for your children, but it's important to talk with each date ahead of time about your plans, so that they'll know why you may seem more formal with them in front of your children. Alternatively, wait until things become more serious before introducing your children at all.