So, you’re ready to date again. Get in the right headspace with these pointers
Whether you’re a parent or not, dating can be a minefield of awkward/exciting/first moments – but it’s all part of the fun, right?
But there are extra things to think about when you have a child. Start with these…
Go through your checklist
What emotions come up when you think about your past relationship?
‘If they’re strong, maybe anger or hope for reconciliation, there’s perhaps still something to work through,’ says relationship coach Claire Brummell.
Also how would you cope if things didn’t work out in a new relationship – or if they did? So, if Ryan Gosling with an engagement ring came along tomorrow, would you run to the nearest bridal shop – or run a mile?
‘Recognising the feelings this conjures up can tell you whether you’re ready for a relationship or something more casual.’
Meeting someone new when your social life revolves around playdates? Three cheers for the digital age.
‘Internet dating is great because it lays out your set-up from the start and gives you the control,’ says Claire. Start out by checking out Mother&Baby's dating site, but take it offline as soon as you feel comfortable.
‘Websites or apps are the place for introductions and making connections, but face-to-face is how you really see if there’s potential with someone.’
We're offering a special discount on our dating site at the moment, and full membership will cost just £5 for the first month. Just enter offer code MOTHER05 at checkout. This offer closes on 31 May.
Make time for it
Sure, you haven’t been to see any films above a PG rating for a year – but like everything, it helps to carve out some time for dating. So, if this means asking someone to babysit, raid your speed dial.
‘Don’t tie yourself in knots, though,’ says Claire. ‘This has to be sustainable for you and your child, so work out a balance.’
Dropping the C word
So, you’ve met someone who doesn’t know you have a child. There’s no need for a bombshell “I have something to tell you” before the coffee’s arrived in Starbucks.
There’s no need for a bombshell “I have something to tell you” before the coffee’s arrived in Starbucks
‘Your little one is a part of your life, so bring him into conversation as you would anything else that you’re sharing,’ says Claire. ‘What did you do this weekend – you went to the park with your son. And so on.’
The big introduction
Deciding you’re ready for your partner to meet your child is about using your intuition.
If it feels right, start with a no-pressure setting or activity such as a walk in the woods, trip to the park or a petting farm.
‘This gives a new conversation topic and gets everyone used to being in each other’s space,’ says Claire.
Be sleepover smart
Again, think about taking things gradually when it comes to someone staying over, especially as kids are used to routine.
‘Start with meet-ups outside the house a few times, then lunch at home, followed by an evening and eventually a night’s stay,’ says Claire. ‘It just lets everyone get comfortable.’
Keep things open
Talk to your child at whatever level you feel is appropriate for his age. ‘Gauge how he’s reacting to meeting someone new,’ says Claire.
Also get him involved – whether it’s asking what he’d like to do next time you both see your new friend, or making dinner all together at home.
What are your dating tips as a single parent? Let us know on the comments board below.