As summer holidays for kids ends (whew!), and back-to-school season approaches, the dating world can offer fun and excitement, especially for single parents. How and when do you get yourself back out there to date and find love again? Is there a right or wrong way to dive back into dating? What are the dos and don’ts to dating as a single parent?
1) Don’t wait until your kids are ‘grown up’ — If the thought of dating again makes you excited, you are ready to get yourself out there. Realize that it will be different to date than it was when you didn’t have kids. Realize that you are entitled to have a life — and it doesn’t matter what the people around you think. It just matters what you think.
2) Don’t get intimate with someone too soon. It’s easy to feel like a teenager with raging hormones again — but the bedroom is not a good place to start the relationship. Lust can be mistaken for love — and you can get swept away in a relationship that is not right for you. Take it slow and steady — and if your new guy or girl isn’t willing to take things at your pace, he or she is not the one for you. And, the right person will go at your pace!
1) Use online dating! Dating can be a big investment for single parents – so using online dating saves you time and money! You can use Dates4us after the kids sleep, and vet people before you decide to go out with them. This helps you avoid having to go out to the bars multiple times per week – which almost no one wants to do!
2) Wait to introduce someone to your kids until you’re exclusive and have been dating for at least 3-6 months, minimum. Kids can easily get attached to people, and if you aren’t certain that this person is a keeper, don’t risk bringing your new love interest into your kids’ lives.
3) Expect resistance from your kids. Your kids have had you all to themselves for a long time – and don’t be surprised if they’re resistant to you dating other people. Sit down and acknowledge their feelings — and let them know that you like to spend time with your friends as well. Not dating of out guilt gets you nowhere but will make you feel resentful.
Make a dating plan that starts when they go back to school! And, if you get yourself out there soon, you might have someone to snuggle with for the holidays!
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Bela Gandhi is the founder and president of the Smart Dating Academy, one of the nation’s top date and relationship coaching firms.