Few scenarios are as daunting as dating a single parent when you have no children of your own. You can either approach it with heartfelt joy or trembling trepidation. This decision varies from person to person. If you do however decide to pursue the relationship, there are a few things you should know.
Being a single parent is no walk in the park. Single parents are not only the sole providers of their family but also the sole care takers. Their personal time is very precious and valuable to them as they are mostly tending to the needs of their children. You do not want to be wasting each other’s time and you want to be honest about the relationship from the beginning. If you are unsure about dating a single mother, get informed about what this entails and take your time while making the decision. Dating a single parent is very different to dating someone who does not have children.
Children come with a great deal of responsibility. Find out what the rules and regulations are concerning bringing the children into the mix. You want to be absolutely honest with your partner. Playing games is not going to cut it. While you have only yourself to look after, single parents have themselves and their children to take care of. Their lives are fast paced and waiting three days to call is not going to work. Single parents just do not have the time for silly mind games; they are too busy preparing their children for bed or working to provide for their family.
Things you should know about dating a single parent
- First and foremost, if you don’t like children, this relationship is not going to work out for you.
- Dating a single parent means that their children come first. In other relationships, you may have been able to gauge your partner’s feeling for you by how much time you spend together and what you do when you are together. Single parents do not have that luxury. Learn to look for other expressions of his or her feelings for you.
- Do not try and discipline your partner’s children. The only exception to this is if you partner asks you to. If you do have concerns regarding their disciple, speak to your partner about it privately.
- Find out how the relationship between the person you are dating and their ‘ex’ is. If there is tension between them, offer him or her support but do not get involved.
- Take it slow. Develop a friendship first before starting a romantic relationship. This will allow you to get to know him/her better and get comfortable with the idea of dating a single parent.
- Be honest and upfront. Being a single parent is hard work and you do not want to add to their stress.
- You will have to be patient, respectful and understanding. You are the outsider and it will take time for everyone in the family to become comfortable with you.
- Ask your partner questions about their children. Eventually you will meet them and knowing a little about them will make the first introduction a little easier and smoother, especially if you know what their interests are.
- Be responsible to your partner, not for your partner. Single parents have a lot of pressure making sure they are providing for their family financially and emotionally. Offering support and encouragement will go a long way.
What You Need to Know About the Children of the Single Parent You Are Dating
It is understandable if the children are a little stand-offish the first time they meet you. Remember that this is a big deal to them as they are not used to seeing their parent with someone new. Get to know them by asking them what their interests are and make them feel comfortable. You might want to refrain from too much physical contact with their parent as this might also make them a little uncomfortable. Remember to be patient, respectful and honest. You were a child once; think about how you were at that age and try to relate to their situation.
Tips When Meeting the Children
- When you meet your partner’s children, be friendly towards them and hear what they have to say. Don’t force your friendship on them. Let time do the work and wait for them to talk to you. It might never happen, but there might be a comfortable relationship developing between you.
- If the children are getting used to you as their father/mother’s friend, you might suggest some activities that all can join in and enjoy. Kids love flying a kite in the park or going to the zoo or having a skating afternoon at the rink.
- Try make them feel at ease when you first meet them. Kids like physical activity so it might be a good idea to suggest taking them to the park or playground for the first meeting.
- Children get sick and have accidents. Don’t get upset if in the middle of a date if your partner gets a call from home that one of the children has become ill and you have to cut your date short.
- Don’t get upset either when you get a call at home before the date explaining that unfortunately your romantic evening has to be cancelled because one of the children is not feeling well
The most important thing for you is to make the decision whether or not you want to be with this person and their children. And speak to your partner about it openly. The kids have already suffered one loss and you don’t want to set them up for another. If you have any doubts about dating a single parent, be honest about it so that your partner knows where they stand with you. Dating a single parent is not for everyone. However, they also have plenty working in their favor. They are very hard working, dedicated, responsible and they know what it is that they want. And lastly, trust your gut. First instincts are important. It is often what we ignore in those first twenty seconds when we meet someone, that comes back to haunt us.