Julie Ferman


Dating and the Single Parent
by Jody Seidler
Dating as a single parent is an interesting and complex topic that single
parents, at one time or another, face either with trembling trepidation or
heartfelt joy.

Single parents, regardless of the circumstances surrounding their
'singlehood', do not want to spend their time alone in the world. The
question then becomes: what are the rules and regulations of dating and
when do they bring the children into the mix.

In my mind, their are two types of dating for single parents. The first
type, which I prefer to classify as "What's your custody schedule" dating is
when you begin to date another single parent. These odds are great, being
that close to 62% of all parents these days are single parents. There is
nothing worse than finding someone you're attracted to, only to discover you
're on opposite custody schedules...and neither of you are able to change
your weekends. You might as well have a pen pal.

So, when dating a fellow single parent, the first thing you're going to want
to discover is their custody arrangement. This way you can schedule your
dating without taking time away from your children, which is your first
priority. You can save on guilt and money by only getting a sitter for
special events; or if your children are the same age - you can share a
sitter, as long as you don't do it often in the beginning. I feel it is most
wise to spend quality time with your children and keep your datingseparate.
When you do introduce your children to your 'date'...introduce him/her as
"your friend". Try to keep affection
focused on your child and not your 'date' while in your child's presence, so
they continue to feel secure with the idea of you spending quality time with
someone other than them.

How does one meet other single parents? These days there are groups for
single parents to get out and socialize (Parents without Partners is one),
you can also meet single parents in your synagogue or church, and even in
your children's schools. Years ago, I put together a single parent group in
my son's school when I discovered there was no support for single parents in
the schools. Now, that group is going district wide. More and more
organizations are creating support for single parents in the form of
educational, dinner groups, matchmaking, networking and social events.

The second type of dating is what I call Non-Parent dating. These dates have
little idea what the single parent lifestyle really entails, unless they
have dated a single parent before. There may be some frequent or surprising
issues that prevent the relationship from really getting off the ground. It
is challenging for a non-parent to understand the ins and outs of sharing
custody with an "ex". Sometimes that means you have to see the "ex"
frequently, speak to them frequently, and emotions can get elevated during
those times. Another challenge for non-parents who date single parents is
that they are always on call for their kids...the children come first.

It is very wise not to introduce your children to your date unless it is in
a group or activity setting; and you should not introduce your date to your
children one on one until you are very serious about your relationship. Don
't forget, your children have already suffered one loss, it is wise not to
set them up for another if you introduce your dates too soon or too often.
You are a role model for your children and you don't want them to see your
love life as a revolving door. If you've ever flirted or had a very
personal conversation with someone in front of your child, I'm sure you saw
some territorial flags go up in them and perhaps some reactions of jealously
occurred. Children don't want to feel like they are losing you to someone
else, they are very protective of their parents and their parent

Already registered?
Log in here