How do you start dating again when you have children? There are certain things you must consider when starting to venture out into the dating world. You also want to take into account how your child will react to this new situation? It is not as hard as it seems but having some tips and steps in place will make this new part of your life easier.
Before dating – Decide how much you want to share with your children about you dating again. This also depends on how old your child is. If your child is young, you might want to wait to see if you even like this person first, then slowing start to talk about them and what they should know. If you child is old enough to understand (i.e. a teenage), you’ll want to share more information with them. At this age they may be resentful or give you a hard time, especially if you keep your dating life a secret. This is normal, but even so, you’ll want to share and talk things through. Some children will be ok with this and some will not. If your child is anxious and will have a hard time, it is ok to wait and ease the conversations in – you don’t have to lay all this information on them at once!
When to introduce your children? – You first want to make sure things are going well. Don’t hide from your date that you are a parent, they should know up front. If you don’t think things are going well, you do not want to introduce your children to this person. Once you and your partner feel comfortable with the relationship, set up a meeting to introduce everyone. This can be a few friends over the house for a get together, or at a public place that your children enjoy. You should set up some different times to ease your child into the relationship.
Having conversations with your children? – It is important to keep open conversation with your child/children. How are they feeling about this new person in their life? What do they like or do not like about this new arrangement. What will make them more comfortable with you spending time with this person? Many kids will think that their parents will someday get back together and this can be difficult for them. They will also think that they’ll lose your attention to this new person. If your child is having a hard time adjusting, sometimes speaking to someone outside the family, like a counselor, may help. Don’t ignore signs and think that your child will just deal with it. It is important to look for cues as to how they are adjusting. It could effect their sleeping and school work, so being proactive helps.
Keeping intimate time private – When you first start dating, it is so exciting and you want to kiss, hug, hold hands, and sit close to each other. This is natural to feel this way, but when you are around your child, you need to be aware of what they are feeling. Keep intimate times private.
Keeping it real – Many parents jump into a relationship quickly because it helps them deal with the loss of their previous one, but taking a step back sometimes helps to see things clearer. Realize this might be a lifelong decision. Keep in mind you are building a new family and forming new relationships; not just with your children, but with your family and friends.
Avoid jumping into marriage again right away; take time, ask your children questions, talk to other single parents and see what they have done. Balance and pace yourself, read about blended families and how to overcome some obstacles. All of these will help your new adventures become easier as time goes on.