Being a mom is tough, but being a single mom and trying to have a love life too requires boundaries.
A divorce or end of a relationship leaves both partners feeling conflicted, guilty and upset. Having a new relationship is usually not the first thing most ex’s think about especially when children are involved. Making sure the kids are okay and trying to ease their pain with the changes in the family is a full-time job, and like all changes some days are good and others are a challenge.
As time goes by though, you realize you have a lifetime, and it can be lonely without an adult companion to share your life. Dating is a step that most single moms will consider and when they do the first couple dates can be scary. Times have changed and with the times, social media is becoming more and more a part of the dating scene. One of mom’s fears is what will her dating tell her children, and how can she avoid getting into the same type of relationship she left with her children’s dad?
There are no guarantees with dating someone new, but these ten tips can help.
1. Let go of guilt. You don’t owe your children a lifetime of abstinence from having a new partner to share your life.
2. Don’t rush into a commitment or trust your date with your kids. Your date should not meet your children for at least four months or until you are in a committed relationship.
3. Never allow your date access to your children without you being there.
4. Don’t lose yourself in the relationship. If you dislike football, then don’t go to football games every weekend just because he likes it. This makes you look too eager, and eager can be misconstrued as desperate or co-dependent.
5. Don’t tell your kids all the details in the beginning of your relationship. This is a friend, not their new daddy.
6. Put your kids first. Your child’s school performance is more important than a weekend away. If your date doesn’t honor this or deal with it maturely, he may not be ready for you.
7. Keep your boundaries strong. You’ve come a long way; prioritize what is most important for you. Don’t give into someone because you are afraid of being alone.
8. Don’t panic if your kids treat your date badly the first time they meet him. They may be threatened they are losing you. The more you reassure them beforehand that you will always love them and be there for them, the better they will adjust.
9. Make the first meeting with your children casual and easy.
10. If your children do become attached to your partner but you don’t, let him go. Children should never be placed in a situation where their feelings are what keep two people together. If that had worked the first time, you wouldn’t have an ex. Your children will adjust and do better the happier and more fulfilled you are.
With motherhood comes wisdom, but when you are head over heels infatuated with someone, you often don’t rely on the wisdom inherent in motherhood. Sometimes knowing what you don’t want helps you find what you do.
5 Types Single Moms Should Avoid:
1. Deadbeat dad. If he doesn’t care for his own kids, he won’t care for yours….ever.
2. He texts, but won’t talk face to face. If he doesn’t want to have a conversation with you, he is either having other relationships or he isn’t into communication. Neither is okay for you.
3. He has issues and they are Big Issues, and he wants to talk about them…all the time. Women like vulnerability and they like sharing, but if your date shares too much and they are too big, he needs a therapist, not a date.
4. He’s separated but not divorced yet. You will regret getting into a relationship with someone who hasn’t had time to get out of his own and heal.
5. He wants to be the father of your children today. Although this may seem helpful and sweet, there is a reason, which isn’t as sweet underneath. This guy is desperate to connect.
The majority of single moms do get married to wonderful partners. Don’t let your lack of confidence or low self-esteem discourage you from dating or allow you to settle for someone to avoid being alone. If you’re a single mom, you are capable of running a home, raising a family, and achieving what you prioritize. Never lower your standards when you can inspire someone to respect and live up to yours. –Mary Jo Rapini
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Mind, Body, Soul with Mary Jo happens every Monday and Thursday morning 9 A.M. CST on Fox 26 Morning News.