As single parents, we’ve got our work cut out for us. When we add dating to the mix things can quickly become unmanageable. Seemingly so. But here are a few solutions to some of the more vexing problems when single parents try to date each other.
- Before You Meet My Kids
- What’s the LTR Prospect?
Scheduling can be an issue for single parents. You’ve got co-parenting duties and time with your kids when being a mom or dad is all you can think about. And when it comes time to scheduling something for yourself, a bit of playtime, dating may be a long way down on your list of things you love to do.
Scheduling Tip: Synchronize your on-duty calendar with your new romance. Often, our schedules are exactly opposite, when you’ve got your kids I’m free and visa versa. As you begin discovering an interest in building a romantic relationship with another single parent, consider asking your ex to swap the weekends with you. You don’t have to say why, just ask. When you’re off-parent time is in sync you can plan weekend getaways together.
Energy is like gold: if you are tired you’re not going to want to put yourself out there on a date. And as a single parent, our chores and responsibilities have gotten bigger, so we’ve got to find ways to build our energy rather than deplete it. If you have Thursday night off, but are too whipped to go out, you might need to work on your routine a bit and see if you can shore up your energy and hopefulness.
Energy Tip: Plan your energetic peak around you-time. If you have Thursday night off, don’t stay up late on Wednesday night surfing Match.com. Get plenty of sleep, eat well, and manage your energy like you manage your money. When you are tired you are not able to present the happy person you are. A short nap on Thursday after work and a small cup of coffee when you wake up might just be the trick to put the spring back in your step and the sparkle back in your smile.
Before You Meet My Kids let’s establish our long-term potential. Let’s not rush into this idea of a relationship before we’ve had a chance to date. You want to see your potential partner in a variety of situations. As you are dating, you are beginning to see how they behave in good times and bad. How do they handle last-minute reschedules? Are they patient with you when you’re kids call needing your help or support?
Kid Introduction Tip: Give yourself six months with a partner before introducing them to your kids. It may sound like a long time, but it’s saved me a number of “well, she just didn’t work out” conversations with my kids. As mine are now teenagers the issue is less important. With younger kids, don’t set them up to meet and invest their attention on someone until you know it’s the real deal.
Trust is the big hurdle in wanting to be in a relationship again. We’ve loved and lost. All of our previous relationships have ended in failure. That’s why we’re single. So how do we trust again? How do we let our hearts get excited before we know how to trust a new person? Does getting involved mean we’re going to be hurt again? Are there trust issues we need to work on away from the relationship? Can you give your next relationship a fair shot at earning your trust if you can’t get there yourself?
Trust Tip: Be clear with your commitments. Follow through on them. If there is a miss between you, apologize and commit to making changes so it won’t happen again.
What’s the LTR Prospect for this relationship? How can you tell if the person has the same intentions as you do? Sure, they say they are looking for a long-term relationship, but doesn’t everyone say that? Do you know what you are looking for in an LTR? Do you just want to date, or do you want to get serious?
LTR Testing Tip: I’ve found it very helpful to remain in the present moment when dating someone new. Try NOT to jump into the future scenarios, the “what ifs” and “what abouts.” And when you are thinking that you both want the same thing, do some reality testing.
back to Dating After Divorce
- 6 Steps of Authentic Online Dating After 40
- What Makes Dating Hard: Can We Be Honest Online and In-Person?
- Online Dating Apps: Do You Have the Time and Energy for Romance?
- Four Ideas About Dating with Mindfulness: Listening for Signals
- Evolved Dating: Driven in the Non-linear World of Relationships
Here are a few of my books on Amazon:
- Single Dad Seeks: Dating Again After Divorce: Advice and Strategies on Learning How to be Loved Again
- Fall of the House of Dad: My journey through divorce, from loss to joy, again and again
- A Good Dad’s Guide to Divorce: One father’s quest to stay connected with his children
- The Sex Index: Getting Our Love Languages Right in the Bedroom
- Here Comes the Darkness: Surviving and Thriving After a Mental Illness Diagnosis
- The Third Glass: When Drinking Becomes an Issue
- The Storm Before the Divorce: When One Parent Wants Out, That’s the End
- Dating 2.0: Aiming for the Love of Your Life