The life of a single parent is constantly filled with new and challenging choices. The decision to get back out there and start looking for love again is a positive and healthy step. Yet with it comes the challenging task of explaining it to your children and potentially them to a new partner. But the good news is that with a bit of planning, and a lot of patience, you roles as a partner and a parent can coexist.
With this in mind, here is a look at some of the major dos and don’ts for any single parents who are navigating the dating scene again.
Give it time
You might be ready to see new people, but your children aren’t always ready to give their blessing. If they have lost a parent or are still coming to terms with your divorce, children can really struggle to recognise their mum or dad as a single person. Until they are emotionally ready, it’s best to keep your romantic life private and give them time to adjust and accept your situation.
If you’re starting a relationship with someone from another culture, for example, someone you have met through the Asian dating scene, bear in mind traditional customs mean family relationships are often even more close knit and private. Be sensitive to older traditions and be sure to show extra patience during the early dating stages.
It’s not uncommon for children to feel like they are losing the chance to spend time with you. The dating process can add to this sense of replacement, especially if a babysitter is caring for them during the evening while you look for love.
A great solution that allows people to discreetly meet other singles is online dating. Relationship sites like http://www.eharmony.com.au bring people together based on their compatibility and shared traits. Best of all, they can do it from the comfort of their home computer, meaning no more expensive, late nights and plenty more time to spend at home with your kids.
Keep it low key
Keep the first introduction as low key as possible and opt for something simple like a trip to the park or a game of bowling. Establish how you plan on introducing you partner in advance, and whether you will use the term ‘friend’ or ‘boyfriend/girlfriend’. Meetings can build up in length over time giving your kids a chance to get to know your partner better, and to understand that they’re trustworthy.
Introducing a new partner to your kids can be challenging for everyone involved. Feelings of jealousy are natural and you need to take the time to help your children understand that a couple’s relationship is different from that between a parent and a child.
It’s also essential that you reassure your children that their relationship with their other parent doesn’t need to change, and that your partner in no way presents a replacement parental figure. All in all, hang in there because while it might seem challenging early on, stepfamilies really do work. So be patient and understanding and things will work out smoothly in the long run.