Once you reach a certain age, as a single person you may have children of your own, or you may not have children, but you are dating people who do. This definitely makes dating more challenging and possibly very rewarding at the same time.
Let's look at dating from each perspective:
As a single parent:
Finding time to date is often an issue. Between work and your children, that leaves little room for personal time, let alone dating. That means efficiency is key.
It helps if you have a support system—either friends or family that would look after your kids while you go out. Many single parents have their kids every other weekend, so they can plan adult activities for when they are solo.
A lot also depends on the age of the children. Younger kids are more pliable than older kids to accepting a new person in their parent's life.
There is the perspective among single moms and dads that they are less selfish than those people who don't have kids because they have to focus on others and not only themselves.
The comments that I have heard from my single-parent clients are:
- "The person I am dating has to accept me and love the entire package...children and all."
- "I really need a flexible person to date. Someone who is understanding because I can't always control things when it comes to my kids.
- "I wait awhile before I introduce my child to the person I am dating. I want to make sure that it's serious. I don't want my child to get attached and then have to deal with a loss if things don't work out."
There are many benefits a single parent can get from dating. For example, you have an adult companion and someone who can offer emotional support when needed. It brings about a whole new perspective of the dating life for a single parent.
As someone looking to date someone with children:
A whole new world opens up for the single person who doesn't have kids once they know someone who does have children. You have to have patience and be willing to put the needs of your partner's kids before your own... many times.
You will be going to kids events and spending time with your partner's kids in addition to your alone adult time. The child(ren) may accept you readily or you may have to deal with some resentment as if you are an intruder and taking this parent away from the child(ren).
Also, the single parent may expect the partner to pitch in and help—with feeding time, cleaning up after the children, entertaining the children or other parent-like responsibilities.
The issue of discipline and how much say you have will come into play, as well.
The comments I hear from my clients who don't have children and are dating single parents are:
- "I need to feel that I am special and that my partner is thinking of me. I understand that most times the kids come first, but I need to see that he is making the effort for us to have alone time."
- "I really like the idea of being a part of a child's life since I doubt I will have children of my own at this age."
- "I have to see that the person I am dating has a good relationship with their ex and that the kids' interest comes before their own. Also, I need to feel accepted by the kids in order for me to stick around."
- "My biggest transition was having the kids around and knowing what to do with them."
The benefits of dating a single parent are being a part of a child's life, building a bond that can last a lifetime and having a ready-made family.
My clients tell me that it's not easy, but if you hang in there for the long haul, you do become a part of the family and it becomes very rewarding.
The key to both sides feeling happy about the relationship is being able to communicate each other's needs and come up with a solution that works for both parties. Dating with children brings in a whole new dimension. It is definitely challenging at times, but the rewards generally outweigh the downsides!
This article was originally published at Heart Mind Connection
. Reprinted with permission from the author.