Dating, oh man, after being in a bad relationship it was hard to start dating again. My son and I had been on our own since he was one years-old. I had no time to make friends, let alone date. When my son was four I decide it was time to invest in myself and my happiness. I found several things helpful when I started dating again.
The first 2 things that area a must. Since my son was so young and had an absent father, I wanted to make sure that my dating did not further complicate his feelings and confuse him. I found a liable sitter and made sure that my date and I meet at a neutral location. A place where my date could not have contact with my child, and it kept my home safe. At least, until I could get to know them better and ensure that this person was worth my child’s time. I think that it is very important to be honest with the person you are dating. They need to understand why they cannot come over to your house or meet you child. This brings me to the 2 must. The person must respect that you are a single parent and that your child comes first. While there is room for them, the child’s needs come first. If a person is worth dating they will respect you and your decision. If they do not, they are not worth your time or your child’s. That is a red flag.
Second, if the relation just does not feel right, follow your instinct. Your instincts are rarely wrong. While self doubt and fear can play into nervous feelings, do not ignore your gut. We are programmed to know when to run.
A single parent must make sure that they do not spend all their free time dating. Keep time for your child. Your child needs your time more than anyone in the world. You can date for the rest of your life, but your child only has one chance to grow up happy and health. Not just physically health but mentally healthy. A child needs to know they are loved. If you have a pre-teen or teenager, talk to them. Ask them how they feel about your dating. Let them know you think their input is valuable. If your child does not like the person you are dating respect their opinion. Find out why. Kids need to know they can come to their parents and you will listen. Try to resolve the issue if you feel the relation ship is worth it. If the issues cannot be resolved favor your child, or find a compromise. Remember they live in the house too.
Finally, take it slow. Find the right one, don’t settle, make sure they are your best friend. You may have to look for a long time to find the person, but remember when you quite looking you usually find what you are looking for.