Meeting a new man can be a minefield for anyone, let alone when you’re already a mum. But before you even tackle the world of single parent dating, how do you even know you’re ready to get back out there? According to relationship expert Claire Brummell, there are some important questions you need to ask – and answer yes to.
1. Have you let go?
Finding a new partner (and possibly even a potential new step-parent for your kids) can feel daunting when you're out of practice. Before you start uploading your favourite selfie onto that dating site, make sure you really have let go of your previous relationship – romantically, emotionally and without any sense of guilt. Because you need to be able to date and start new relationships with a clean slate. ‘Bring lessons forward, but leave the emotional baggage behind,’ Claire says.
'Bring lessons forward, but leave the emotional baggage behind'
2. Have you reconnected with YOU?
However strong your personality is, being in a long-term relationship can change you to some extent, especially when you add in the fact that you’re a parent too. 'It's important to get back in touch with who you are, and recognize your self-worth, before you’re ready to meet someone new,' says Claire. The first step is expunging any thoughts of guilt and failure that you may feel after a break up. It’s important to indulge the parts of yourself that aren’t about motherhood, too. Make time to spend time with friends, have fun and do things you love, even if it’s just catching up on your favourite box set.
3. Are you happy on your own?
Before you even think about dating, you need to be happy by yourself. If you’re looking for a new partner to ‘complete’ you, then you’re dating for the wrong reasons. ‘Being able to be happy on your own is fantastic for your self-confidence, and this shines through when you meet new people,’ Claire says.
4. Are you open to finding love?
Emotional barriers shoot up when you’ve been hurt or disappointed, especially when you’re not only protecting yourself, but your little ones too. 'You need to be totally emotionally open to love to move forward and take the plunge,' says Claire.
5. Are you open to new relationships succeeding (or failing)?
If your perfect man is standing in front of you, declaring his love, will you feel happy, or stressed? ‘Recognising the feelings this conjures up can tell you whether you’re ready for a relationship or something more casual,’ says Claire. You also need to be able to cope with relationships not working out, which is all part of knowing your self-worth and that you’ll be happy again on your own.
6. Do you know what you want?
This is possibly the most important question you need to ask, says Claire. Clarity in what you want to get from dating will be a big factor in how you go about doing it. For example, if you’re after a serious relationship, casual dating sites like Tinder could be too flirty. Plus, being focused on the qualities you’re looking for in a man is more important than ever now, as it’s not just your own interests you’re looking out for. After all, he might look like David Gandy but if he's more of a Russell Brand type when it comes to dating, he may not be right.
Answered yes to all of the above? What are you waiting for? Your very own Brad Pitt is somewhere out there waiting for you… and you may find him on M&B's dating site.
Was dating again as a single parent a hard decision for you? Let us know below.