This article was written by Amy Durant, a freelance writer interested in relationships and romance.
Whether your kid is 18 months or 18 years, it can be hard to find time for a first date when you are a single mom. You may be worried about leaving your children, dealing with issues surrounding your previous relationship, or feeling anxious about getting back into the dating game, but you deserve to find a partner who makes you happy.
Here are a few things to think about when balancing a romantic life with being a single mom.
Am I being selfish?
It is healthy to be a little selfish. Everyone needs “me” time. If you have just come out of a long-term relationship you may feel like you have lost your identity. You need time to reconnect with yourself and work out where your individual passions and strengths lie.
It is important to banish any negative thoughts and realize that it is healthy to want to socialize. By going out and having fun, you will not only boost your confidence but you will be more energized when you interact with your kids.
As long as they remain your first priority, you shouldn’t feel bad about leaving the house for the occasional date. You need a balanced life to keep yourself–and your relationship with your kids–healthy.
How much do my kids need to know?
The easy answer to this is nothing. You shouldn’t introduce anyone to your kids until you are 100% sure the relationship is a serious one. Many kids get attached very quickly and if people keep disappearing out of their lives it can leave them emotionally traumatized.
Be careful to keep any evidence of dating a secret. If you are meeting people on dating sites like eHarmony, be sure to log out of your email account and clear the history on your browser. If you have been dating someone new for a while and the timing feels right for an introduction, then be sure to take things slow.
Maybe start by introducing your partner as a friend and going on cool play dates so he can spend time having fun with your kids. Don’t try to force a relationship between them; they need time to bond at their own rate.
Should I only date other single parents?
Opinions vary widely, but it is ultimately a matter of personal choice. Dating another single parent has obvious pros. He will understand your commitments to your kids, he will be empathetic towards your challenges, and he will have experience with child-rearing issues.
However, if you are both trying to date while balancing parenting, you may find that you have very few opportunities to actually see each other. A non-parent will have more time and more energy to date and will be more likely to fit in dates around your schedule.
Getting back into the game
Getting back into the dating game can be a scary prospect. You need to make sure you are emotionally ready, as the likelihood is you will experience bad dates before meeting a good match. You need to be sure that you are happy on your own with your kids and that you won’t be relying on your date to make you happy.
Spend some time getting back in touch with old friends and picking up a skill you always wanted to do. By building up your self esteem in this way, you will be helping to make your dating experience more successful.
Once you are ready to set up a first date, buy a new outfit or find a favorite dress that you feel happy and confident in. If you are nervous about talking to new people or writing emails, then call up one of your friends and practice!
Having a romantic life as a single mom can be hard work but you deserve to find a partner who makes you happy. Ease yourself back into the game slowly and stay positive. Before you know it, you could meet the man of your dreams!