Being a single parent is probably one of the most difficult jobs on the planet. This delicate balancing act involves about as much discretion and responsibility that any individual could possibly handle. From ensuring that the basic needs of your mini-me’s to being chauffeur, chef and everything in between, taking the helm of this particular vessel can be somewhat intimidating, particularly for parents whose children are young.
The situation becomes even trickier when attempting to pursue new romantic connections after a breakup, divorce or other unfortunate romantic event. Depending upon the nature of the situation, single parents may feel the need to explain their dating life to their children, or, in some cases, hide it from them entirely. Although there’s no “comprehensive” solution or strategy for dating as a single parent, those who do find themselves in this situation may be able to benefit from a few tips.
Challenge #1: Finding Time to Date
When juggling the never-ending scheduling demands of the “parent” and “professional” lifestyle, many single parents find it impossible to steal a few moments away for a date or even “alone time”. It should come as no surprise that many single parents attempt to save time and valuable energy by using online dating as a preferred method for meeting new people. Not only will this allow for more involved communication with a new partner, but it will also allow single parents to meet other daters who exist outside of their current social circle, which can be especially useful during periods of breakup or divorce when friends can be divided.
Alexander Greenberg, founder of the new dating platform PriceDate.com, added, “Online dating is simply the easiest way to connect with romantic interests outside of your personal or professional circle.”
Challenge #2: Telling Your Children About A New Love Interest
According to a recent study, 68% of single dads using the Match.com dating platform waited 3 months or more before introducing a new romantic partner to their children. While it could be argued that this level of secrecy does nothing to smooth the transition for children from a two-parent to single-parent household, those who support this decision argue that it is equally as traumatic for children to be introduced to a new partner, only to have them disappear following a breakup. There’s obviously no “right” way to approach this situation, but, eventually, single parents are forced to disclose their actions to their children. This is, of course, a healthy and appropriate thing to do, as it’s important for children to remain “involved” in a family, particularly after a divorce.
Once you decide what length of time is appropriate for you to introduce your new love interest to your child, you can begin to plan dates that also involve your child so he or she doesn’t feel alienated and resentful.
Challenge #3: Knowing the Right Time for PDA
If children are old enough to remember family memories prior to a divorce, it may be difficult for them to see a parent kissing or hugging a new partner that isn’t their mother or father. Because of this, single parents are advised to carefully consider what is “on” and “off” limits during outings with a new date. Parents may choose to set a variety of temporary boundaries that only exist in the presence of their children in order to ensure that their emotional transitions and healing are not disrupted by the presence of a new partner.
Challenge #4: Taking the Next Step
The worst part about dating as a single parent is that children will always remember the missteps and mistakes that occur during this process. In a way, single parents must be even more considerate when pursuing relationships post-separation in order to ensure that A.) everyone feels ok with the actions that are occurring, and B.) the same mistakes won’t necessarily happen again.
Fortunately, single parents have no shortage of online dating mediums at their disposal for meeting prospective romantic partners.
Alexander Greenberg, founder of PriceDate (see more information here) discussed these trends, stating, “Dating websites offer both single adults and single parents the opportunity to take a no-nonsense approach to dating that will leave them absolutely satisfied with the results they obtain”.
While it would be a mistake to claim that single parenting is easy, following some common sense tips will lighten the load for all involved.