Relationships can be hard to form when you are a single parent. Not only do you need to consider your children, there may be a lot of other outside factors that make maintaining a new relationship harder work such as mental health problems and insecurities gained from your previous relationship.
Thankfully there are many resources available to help individuals meet new people, such as online networks and speed dating events. Dipping your toe into the dating ocean can seem very daunting, especially when it is you plus children. Our relationship section covers all the advice you may need from forming a new relationship to introducing the partner to your child and how to manage a separation or break up.
Despite having a child together not all people are meant to be together forever and people separate for a time or decide to break up altogether. Suddenly being thrust into the life of a single parent is hard, especially when you are also juggling the emotional fallout and anger from the break up itself however above all it is essential that the children come first.
Communication is key is situations such as these and that includes talking to your children about what is going on, who will live where, what will change but what will stay the same and above all reassure them that both of you love them as much as ever. Acknowledge the sadness and any anger but know that it will pass.
Regardless of why your relationship broke down you are still parents and so it is of supreme importance that bad feelings are swallowed when it comes to speaking to the children and that neither party is negative about the other. The only people who are hurt when that happens are the children. Managed carefully you should hopefully be able to limit the upset and make a head start on a positive new life.
Introducing a New Partner
You may have been dating for a while now and feel the relationship is serious enough for you to introduce them to your children. How do you do this without causing any upset? Children can be very sensitive especially when it comes to change and their home environment, therefore, the first thing you should consider doing as a parent is talking to your child about dating and meeting a new partner.
Keep it short and sweet but explain the situation to them. Now you feel that the relationship is stable, set the introduction in a casual environment such as a movie night indoors with a takeaway. With your child in their home environment, they will feel more relaxed and secure too. If your partner has children maybe you could all go for a casual day out together and firstly introduce as friends. This is also a great way to ease children into a new situation in a fun and caring environment. It also gives them a chance to know your new partner and any other children involved.
When is the Right Time to Start Dating?
Ok so it’s been a while, It could, in fact, be some time since your child’s father/mother was in your life romantically. You feel nervous, anxious and insecure, all of which is absolutely normal. Nerves can sometimes work in our favour and so instead of running away from the dating scene, try to embrace those butterflies. This is a positive step for you and one that is proving you are moving forward with your life. You will know when the time is right as you will start to question dating again. Remember that single parents are strong people who have overcome many battles and while we are not describing dating as war there may be some hurdles (but you'll sail over them).
A date night will be fun and time for you to enjoy, you deserve that. Remember a great way to battle insecurities such as “I wasn’t good enough for my last partner, why would someone new want me and I have a child” is to make a list of all the positive qualities you possess that would make YOU want to date YOU. This is a great way to reaffirm just what a fantastic catch you are and once written down it’s a great way for you to remember and not lose sight.
There is always going to be doubt when you first consider dating again and you could go on forever trying to find excuses or convince yourself that NOW is not the right time, however, you deserve a life and a partner (if you want one) and the sooner you overcome those fears by hitting them head on the better.
When the Child Rejects the New Partner
We all want that happily ever after, the moment our child meets our new partner and they are welcomed with open arms. We long for it to be a joyous occasion, however, there are times when the children are far from impressed and go to on to reveal their disdain or even strong dislike for the new partner.
If this happens firstly it is important to speak to your child and find out what is bothering them. Sometimes children are so used to having a single parent to themselves that they do not want to share them and get particularly jealous when that new person comes along. When this is the case it is crucial you identify strategies to include and not isolate the child alongside making private time for you and your partner. A good example may be to arrange day trips out as a family but when it is bed time ensure that there is time for you and your partner to relax and enjoy alone. Also, allow some time for your child and partner to bond, suggest they do something together without you, it will give them the opportunity to get to know one another and ask any questions they may feel uncomfortable asking in front of you.
It is important that you consider your child’s needs and fears throughout this period and any concerns they may have. Children are more likely to adapt with honesty, security and love around them and these little mishaps at the start usually have a way of sorting themselves out.
How to Form New Relationships
Making time is crucial. If you want to find love then you need to be available. As a single parent this can be hard due to child care issues but when that problem is solved make sure you leave free time in your life to enjoy dating. There are numerous ways to form new relationships through work, existing friends, family, social events and online dating. Deciding how you want to meet someone new can sometimes be left to fate or you taking action such as registering with dating agencies.
According to the Office for National Statistics, around 36 million adults access the internet each day! With that in mind, it is only natural that so many choose to opt for online dating from the comfort and security of their own home. There are lots of dating sites out there from free ones to subscriptions and individually tailored sites such as single parenting and uniform dating. Which type of dating site you choose to use will depend on you personally, what you want and how comfortable you feel.
Remember when browsing profiles not to dismiss people that fit certain categories out of hand. Yes in your previous life you may have only been interested in sporty types however you are a different person now and you might enjoy spending time with people who have different interests. You won't know if you don't try. Thinking outside the box is often the best way to treat online dating. You have a lot to offer as a partner so enjoy this new exciting experience.
- Don’t lie online, reveal you have a child but keep it short and sweet
- Don’t lie to your child
- Don’t cross off people in certain categories
- Keep an open mind
- Make time
- When meeting someone offline for the first time be safe, tell friends and family where you are going and meet in a public place
- Do not invite someone home on the first date
- Be yourself……everyone else is taken
- Take things slow
- Include children in daytime activities