Are you single again? Getting back into the dating scene after being away from it for a while can be tough. Tougher yet if you have kids involved. There are a number of new challenges involved in dating with children. With working all day, taking the kids to one event or the other. Spending the weekends with homework, housecleaning and grocery shopping, where’s the time? Plus, what about the cost, babysitters, dinners out, the whole idea can be quite overwhelming.
The first thing you need to do is the same as everyone else. Start by making a list of what you are looking for. Maybe at this point you are really only looking for someone to spend time with. Maybe go see a movie that doesn’t have talking animals in it? Have dinner without a happy meal? We all need that adult time. Follow the same rules for creating your profile. But you need to include in your ad that you have children. Let people know if they are with you full time or part time. Many ads say “my children are number one” This is a great way to let people know how important family is to you. There will always be people scared off by the fact you have children, but you probably don’t want to date them anyway. Believe it or not, there are people who would love to find a great person with children because they love family as much as you do. When browsing ads look for people who are interested in “family activities” or “enjoy family time”.
When you do find someone special enough to spend time with, they should be someone who can love your children too. Remember, they are part of a package deal. You, and your kids together. You may want to start even more slowly online than someone who doesn’t have kids. Your children and their safety are your first priority. Any action you take is going to affect their lives as well. So they’ll need to be happy with your new friend also. You’ll need to be up front with them, on a level they can understand for their age group. Just listen to your heart, you’ll know when it’s the right time to introduce your friend to your kids. Start slowly having your children spend time with the two of you together.
Don’t spend time with anyone who can’t love your children too. As I said earlier you are part of a package deal. You must remember that giving out your personal information to someone you still don’t really know not only gives them access to you, but to your children as well. And, of course as parents we all want to be protective of our kids. So, don’t give your personal information out until you’ve met this person a few times offline, and you feel comfortable with them. The first few times they are with you and your children watch for any signs that they may not actually like children, how do thy act?, how do they talk to your children?, do they make any inappropriate comments? Anything that doesn’t sit well, any gut feeling, show them the door. Your children always come first.
For any long-term relationship or even marriage it’s you and your kids. New challenges will come when trying to coordinate schedules and time together. Blending families can be a real challenge and not one to be taken lightly. Respect your children’s feelings. If the other person has children also, it might be nice to have similar custody schedules so that your children and their children are together on the same weekends. That way you can plan family activities together and on your “off” weekends you can schedule time together for the two of you.
Remember, when dating someone with children, you need to accept them as part of the package. That package will probably include the ex and shared custody with them. You need to be flexible and accepting of their past and everything that goes with that. Dating again as a single parent can be exciting, overwhelming, frustrating and very rewarding.