To Date or Not to Date

The dating scene is bad enough out there. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of great people to meet, but it takes a while to sift through them all. The dating experience is so time-consuming and as we all know, time is a scarce resource even more so for single parents. But I guess it’s pretty easy to filter through all the date potentials after you tell him that you’re a single parent. That’s usually been my way of scaring people off.

No doubt, it’s tough to be a single parent and dating. If you find yourself liking someone, your long-term relationship potential is determined by his reaction when you tell him that you come in a family pack.

Before diving into the dating scene, make sure you are “emotionally prepared”. What I mean by “emotionally prepared” is that you are strong enough to resist possible damage to your ego caused by rejection and that you have already left the past behind with the doors nailed shut. If you are not yet emotionally healed from the divorce or separation, it’s best to stay away from the scene altogether. It would not be a pleasant experience for either of you if you are seeing the world through the eyes of a jaded divorcee.

If you are ready to date, here are some great things to look forward to:

  • You get a chance to enjoy (or maybe not) some intimate time with another adult
  • You get a break from the kids
  • You get a free dinner (if you didn’t offer to pay)
  • You are meeting new people which can be a positive experience
  • You get to hear a lot of flattery and compliments whether they are genuine or not, it still pads the self-esteem
  • You get butterflies from the excitement of being romanced
  • You get stronger from rejection or more courageous in saying “No” when it’s not feeling right
  • You get better acquainted with yourself and understand your preferences in a mate
  • Most of all, it can keep your life emotionally and socially balanced just as long as you’re not dating so much that you forget to make dinner for the kids

The challenges to face when dating

  • Finding the time to go out will probably be only on the weekend which makes building a relationship more difficult
  • Adding the dating variable to your formula can create some temporary “unbalance” in your routine
  • Talking about your kids with your date especially when your date has never dated a single parent before
  • Not being able to have a slumber party at your date’s house because your kids will wonder where you were (if they’re old enough)
  • For some of us, there is a cost to dating called babysitting fees
  • Finding the right moment to tell the kids about your dating 
  • Finding the right time to introduce your date to your kids

It doesn’t hurt to take the journey to the dating world. Whether it brings you joy, heartache, excitement, or disappointment, dating ultimately is a great learning experience in life.

On the next article, I’ll share with you conversation do’s and don’ts on the first few dates. I’ve learned the hard way.

Chanelle Dupre

Chanelle Dupre is a writer of parenting articles and was a single parent for 20 years to two sons now in their late 20's. She had a column in 3 newspapers and this blog is a curation of old and new stories around the challenges of single parenting and ideas on how to make life easier.

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