It can be scary to think about going back into the dating scene, especially when you are a single parent. Regardless of whether you remember what dating was like or are nervous that the fact you're a parent will be a factor, it can feel that the possibility of finding love again is next to impossible.
There are many things to consider before opening yourself up to love, since it isn't only going to affect your life any more. However, focusing on your need to find partnership and mutual affection from someone other than your kids is entirely justified. You are worthy of love, your happiness is important, and change is imperative in moving forward.
10 Your Children Become A Part Of The Relationship Too
As previously mentioned, when you are a single parent looking to enter the dating scene, it's important to consider that your child/children will be a part of the relationship too. Obviously, adult concerns should remain between adults, but if he/she truly intends to be in the relationship long-term, that'll mean your child's part in this is included.
You and your child are a package deal. They are the toys to your Happy Meal. Whoever is worthy enough to date you and your child needs to know that your primary priority is your child; and his/her heart has to be big enough to love you both.
9 Recognize Your Own Values
It's crucial that, before you find love elsewhere, you need to learn to love who you are as a person. Yes, "Mom" is a big part of who you are - but that doesn't capture you as a whole. Hardship and pain from previous relationships for example (like your ex-spouse, the other parent to your children) shape your outlook of the world, which acts as a source of determining which values you hold close.
Whether your values stem from spirituality, upbringing, or life experiences, these components play a major part in deciding what you'll need in a partner.
8 Get it all out on the table
The key to a successful and healthy relationship is exceptional communication. When you are in a new relationship and things are becoming serious, it's important that both you and your partner get everything out on the proverbial table. For a relationship to work long-term, boundaries and expectations need to be discussed.
Trust is an essential component in any relationship, and if intimate information can't be shared openly with each other about the past and present then what is the point? If you consider what you and your children need to be happy, what type of support is vital to making the relationship work, and what expectations you have of your partner, these discussions can be a great starting point of transparency.
7 Strive for understanding, and don't settle for anything less
Being a single parent trying to find love can be tricky, because your new partner will have to understand that your attention will always be divided. Your children's wellbeing will always come first, even if that means cancelling a date because your child needs you.
The right person will not only understand but will willingly join in, wanting to share the load of parenting challenges. After all, if he/she intends to make the relationship into a partnership long-term, that'll mean he/she will be playing a role in your children's life as well.
6 Find someone who accepts your past
Previous relationships can definitely cause a strain on a new relationship. Regardless if there is civility or not between your ex, your new partner has to accept that your ex will most likely always be in the picture. Even if your ex split and isn't fulfilling his/her part in raising your children, the person you are dating now has to understand that there are mental and emotional wounds that might need extra time to heal for you and your children.
Since everyone processes life changes and relationships ending differently, it's challenging to determine how long and how much situations will affect us. The right person will be patient and willing to make things work.
5 Don't be a Damsel In Distress When You Are A Warrior
Maybe you feel broken from your previous relationship, which makes you feel you have to settle or that you deserve less. Perhaps these feelings were caused by harsh words spoken when the relationship with your ex ended. Regardless of what made you feel like a 'damsel in distress,' it's important to reflect on how far you've come.
After all, you are already managing being a single parent (one of the hardest jobs on the planet), which makes you a warrior! You survived a failed previous relationship, you persevered and did what you had to do for the best interest of your kids: you are incredible! Don't settle or compromise for anything less than what you and your children deserve.
4 Take Your Time
It's wise not to rush into a new relationship when your child's best interest is concerned. Of course, we can't always predict when we will fall 'head over heels' for someone, but it's wise to hold off on integrating a new partner in your kid's life until the fog has time to clear.
It can be confusing to children when a parent has multiple short terms partners. Even if a parent who does this genuinely means well, it can muddle your child's sense of stability, which is imperative to their overall development and self-worth.
3 Find Someone Who Brings Out The Best In You
Finding someone who loves you should also bring out the best in you. If you are at your best you'll, in turn, be at your best for mothering. You deserve to feel good about yourself and be with someone who encourages that. Since your main priority is your children, you don't have time to waste on someone that treats you less than how you should be treated.
That being said, your new partner also deserves the same from you. It should never feel one-sided, and one shouldn't have to work harder than the other. If one of you falls down, the other should be ready to help bring the other one back up.
2 When You Both Commit, He/She Becomes A Parent Too
So, the relationship has become serious and you are both ready to commit. Commitment can already be daunting to some, so imagine how intimidating it would be to include children in with the committal. Recognizing that your partner may have some apprehensions about his/her new role is vital to understanding their perspective.
As for your children, gaining a bonus parent is a big change as well. Some accept the change with open arms, while other children may carry feelings of resentment or confusion toward the new family dynamic. This is where you as their parent needs to be available, but your partner should share in the responsibility as well to show your children that his/her new role is taken seriously.
1 Expect A Learning Curve (For Both Of You)
Whether your new love is becoming a part of your already-developed family, or he/she has children of their own, thus creating a blended dynamic; everyone will endure learning curves. You can't expect your partner to always be on the same page as you right from the beginning, and he/she can't expect the same from you.
You are both beginning a new chapter in your lives. There will inevitably be bumps in the road, and that's okay. Fostering a relationship based on communication, trust, and understanding can make opening your heart to be loved again much less frightening.