Single Parenting Dating - Balancing Your Needs with Those of Your Child

Single parenting dating ...

... when a friend of mine, confided that she found her responsibilities as a single parent exhausting, but rewarding, I knew her well enough to press for more information. What came out next was not surprising: even though she felt fulfilled in her role as a mom and a professional, she was haunted by the feeling that there was something missing in her life.

I pointed out that perhaps she craved adult companionship. She nodded at this and her eyes filled up with tears. She confided that she was concerned that dating could adversely affect her child.

While I supported her concerns, I asked her two important questions: 1)had she considered how invaluable it could be to provide her daughter with a model for a healthy male-female relationship? 2)Had she thought about how depending upon her daughter for her relationship needs might be a burden and be detrimental to her child in the long run?

My friend was facing the dilemma that most parents face when it comes to single parenting. Dating was something she longed for and feared in equal measure.

Single Parenting Dating - Examine Your Beliefs About Dating

The first thing I pointed out to my friend was that she had out-dated ideas about dating. Dating did not have to mean long hours spent in smoke-filled bars or a succession of one-night stands.

In fact, she could view dating as a means of expanding her social network and a way to bring a companion into her life. Of course, since this companion would also become a part of her daughter's life, she would need to be cautious and carefully balance her needs with those of her child.

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Better still, she could approach single parenting dating with a positive mindset. As I pointed out to her, she had already proven to herself that she and her daughter could make it without a man, so she wouldn't be coming from a place of desperation. She wanted a man; she didn't need one. She and her daughter deserved the careful consideration that she would bring before deeming anyone a worthy companion.

Since I had many single friends with children who were successful with online dating, I recommend a reputable online dating site. Although I'm happily married and have never used online dating myself, I think it's a great way to get your feet wet when you've been out of the dating scene for some time. But first, she needed to have a conversation with her daughter.

I advised my friend to spend some one-on-one time with her daughter and during a quiet moment, tell her much she loved her. She needed to explain to her that their relationship was special and no one could ever come between them. Then she could explain that just like her daughter has friendships, mommy has a need for friendships too. Then she could bring up the subject of dating and explain that she was going to find a man that both she and her daughter could like.

Now for those online dating tips:

Single Parenting Dating - Online Dating is a Great Place to Start

  • Select a reputable online dating service. Three of my single friends who have ended up married used this Online Dating site.
  • Be truthful about yourself. If you expect to attract a person with character and integrity, you must show these qualities yourself. Resist the temptation to post an old photo with a younger and possibly slimmer version of your current self. Make sure to emphasize that you have a child and how important it is for you to find someone who understands that children must come first.
  • Proceed with caution. When you find a person that you would like to date, spend extra time getting to know this person online. Although you may be excited, calm down. For your first date, make sure to select a neutral meeting place like a coffee shop or restaurant.
  • Ask questions to reveal the character of the person you are dating. If you like what you are discovering, make sure you feel confident enough in this person's character that you are ready to introduce him to your daughter.
  • Keep things friendly, take it slow and keep your eyes and your ears open. Pay special attention to how your date interacts with your child and what your child thinks of him.

The outcome of this single parenting dating experiment in my friend's case was that she met a wonderful man (yes, from that Online Dating site that I referred her to) who she married one year to the date after she first met him. In addition to being happy, her daughter is thrilled to have a daddy.

Before finishing up this article, I spoke with my friend and she said that her fears about dating were quelled by a re-examination of her beliefs and her resolve to take her time and find the right person. Best of all, now that my friend is getting her needs for adult companionship met, she feels that she has a deeper reserve from which to draw in order to be an excellent parent.

About the author: Laura Ramirez is the author of the award-winning parenting book, Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting. This common sense book teaches you how to raise children to develop their strengths so they can grow up to lead purposeful and fulfilling lives.

Single Parenting Dating - Single Parenting


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