I am a single mother with three children and I am finding it extremely hard to date! First, I don’t know where to find quality dates. Second, I can’t seem to find the time between little league and dance class. By the end of the week I am pooped and too tired to think about going on a date. Then I am worried about finding the right man and introducing my children to someone new. What is the best place to meet new people and when should I introduce my dates to my children.
Dear Single Again:
First let me say that when it comes to single parent dating, I have been there and done that! After ten years of marriage, I found myself single again and raising four children. As parents period, our lives are busy, but we have to find time for ourselves and time to live our own lives. If you were married you would most likely set aside time for date night or to spend some alone time with your spouse. I think it is important for single parents to make time for that part of their personal lives. Now, how you go about doing do that is the key!
I think that we have to be very mindful and concerned about our children. I never allowed my children to see me date, nor did I introduce them to anyone that I was not serious about. I have three girls and I did not want to set an example of bringing different men into my house or environment. I also did not want to put my children at risk by bringing strange men in and out of their lives. I did not allow men to pick me up at my house, nor did I invite anyone into my home. So my dating life was very private until I met someone I saw a real future with. That is when I introduced my current husband to my children. And prior to introducing my new husband to my children, I had a conversation with their father, my ex-husband, to let him know that I was going to introduce the children to someone new. Not that it was, or is, his business who I was dating, but because we have a shared parenting agreement, I wanted to be respectful of my children and also prepare him if he had to help deal with any issues or backlash from our children seeing “mommy” with somebody new. Because let’s face it, sometimes that can be a challenge!
After we decided to get married and build a life together, I again sat down my children down before I said “yes” just to make sure they knew they were still my priority and that I wanted what was best for all of us. I think a lot of times we do not take our children’s feelings into consideration when we make important decisions and we assume that they are going to love who we love and get along as necessary. I just believe that communication is necessary, and should be given at an age appropriate level.
As for finding quality dates, getting back into the dating scene was difficult for me. I am not a clubber, so I never enjoyed the club scene and going out. So when I found myself wanting to move on and wanting to date, I had no clue where to start. I went on a few blind dates and then a friend recommended online dating. I did try it, but it didn’t work for me. I have another girlfriend who met her husband online, but I did not have that experience. Making time for yourself, putting yourself in social circles, attending events, and enjoying activities on your own can lead to meeting someone worthy of your time and possibly someone who shares your interests. And maybe you have family or friends that know you very well and that you trust who can also help in this department. Not all blind dates are bad!
Tamara Hartley is Your Advice Guru and author of REAL Advice from REAL Experience: Advice, Tips and Strategies for Your Life Relationships, and Career. She uses her personal life experiences and lessons learned to give others a different perspective and help them make critical decisions in their life, relationships and careers. Read advice archives at www.YourAdviceGuru.com. Email questions to advice@YourAdviceGuru.com or on Twitter @DrTamaraHartley using the hashtag #AskTamara. Tamara is also a certified life coach and works with individuals to find balance, make moves, and live their dreams. Learn more about her coaching programs at www.YourPersonalSuccessCoach.com.