This year I came home four times from college and he was in town every single time.
After I went back to campus each time Mom said, ‘I never get to see you!
Wise singles recognize this important dynamic and don’t assume that becoming a couple necessarily means that they can become a family. Parents who begin dating quickly after the end of a relationship (whether by death or divorce) or who reach a quick decision to marry after a brief dating period often find their children more resistant to the marriage. Smart singles take a good long look in the mirror before dating. Smart single parents don’t let their children’s emotions dictate their dating progress, but they do listen and give serious consideration to how the children are feeling (becoming a couple is up to you; whether you become a family is up to them). Teens and adult children need to move toward your dating partner at their own pace.
They attend to both and take time assessing how the potential stepfamily relationships are developing. This sabotages the ability of a stepparent and stepchild to get off on the right foot with one another and puts the family at risk. They examine their motivations for dating, fears (e.g., their children not having a father), loneliness, and unresolved hurt (e.g., after divorce). Engage in these conversations throughout your dating experience, especially in anticipation of each stage of a developing relationship. If you make it your agenda to get them to accept your partner and relationship, you may be shooting yourself in the foot. Early on your kids may meet your date, but the first few dates should primarily be about the two of you.
Many women have traveled the same path with success and to the benefit of both themselves and the children. Get to know your mate before you leap to introduce him to your kids.
Whether you feel a lack of a social life because of time constraints, other people’s expectations or simply fear of the unknown, you can overcome these issues to rediscover a social life for yourself. If you’re already having issues in your relationship or feel uneasy in any way, wait until you are comfortable with the idea.
If the other person has children as well, it might be wise to orchestrate early get-togethers with just one set of children. But you also need—and here’s where single parents fall short—a silhouette of the type of family you are hoping to create.
You might, for example, engage in an activity with your friend and their children one weekend and then have your friend join you and your kids the next. If the person you are dating isn’t good parent material (with your kids or theirs), for example, you ought to move on. Nearly 20 years of counseling, coaching, and training blended families has revealed to me this secret of successful blended family couples: They work harder at getting smarter about stepfamily living.
And everyone has strong emotions and opinions about who is involved and what the outcome might be. Here are a number of dating “best practices” for single parents: 1.
Realize that you’re not just forming a relationship; you’re creating a family.
If you have children, don’t let them keep you out of the dating world forever.