Let’s face it, dating in this day-and-age can be downright complicated to say the least; however, when you are a single parent and are dating with kids, it can be pure insanity.
Here are some ground rules that can help ease the roller coaster transition and navigate the murky waters of dating while being a single parent.
- Before you date, take note of self. Taking a good long look in the mirror at yourself before you start dating is a must before you get back into the game. Singles need to take an inventory of their motivation for dating and deal with any unresolved issues before heading out for dinner and a movie.
- Avoid the quick turn-around. Parents who begin dating or marry too quickly after ending a relationship, either by death or divorce, can place their children in a position to be more resistant to the new partner. A quick turn-around can damage the ability for a stepparent and stepchild to properly bond and get to know each other. You do not want to start off your happily-ever-after on the wrong foot.
- Acknowledge your child’s fears. Have an honest talk with your child, acknowledging and validating their fears about you dating. Assure them that their feelings are important to you and that you hear them. As you talk, engage in “what if” scenarios so that they can be prepared for all possibilities. This is the tricky part−be aware of your child’s feelings but don’t let their emotions dictate your progress.
- Don’t rush the “meeting the kids” time. Before you bring bae home, the first few dates should primarily be about the two of you getting to know each other. Casually transition from “a friend” to “your date” with your children. Don’t schedule a meet and greet until you are positive that there is a real possibility for a future.
- Learn all you can about being a stepfamily. Blended families are becoming more and more the norm. But before you blend, learn as much as you can about how stepfamilies function, operate best, and why they have the complexities that they do. Remember, you didn’t start running before you could walk.