We are eleven days into the New Year and I am sure you have your resolutions jotted down and you are on a mission to tackle them. I know many of you know me as MARRIED Ericka but I was a single parent before that. Dating as a single parent can be tough. My husband and I both had child(ren) prior to one another and although that was great, there were many struggles that came with that. You see, we actually handled it differently. However, this is about how I handled it....I will save how he handled things for a later date.
I had a strict policy. My daughter has only known her father and my husband...that's it! My husband didn't meet my daughter for about a year and a half and that was completely by design. I didn't want to complicate things for her or compromise our feelings as well. I want to share with you some ideas to help you through dating as a single mother.
Know your child - I know my child could be sensitive. With this, it was very important that I protected her feelings. The child can get wrapped up in your relationships making break-ups difficult for them as well.
Determine the nature of the relationship - Are you looking to build a future with the person. Meaning, are you looking to be exclusive. We had our struggles with this even after my daughter was introduced however, I did have a statute of limitations because I didn’t want to compromise her feelings.
Use Caution With Introductions - Sometimes the way you introduce your new boo can come back to bite you with your children. So, careful with how you make those introductions. Using the term friend is what I used.
Hold Off On Family Time - We can get so wrapped up in the idea “You have kids, I have kids , okay let's be a family.” Children are impressionable. If you have any uncertainties about the relationship heading to the next level, operating as a family unit could be very murky waters if you split because the children have formed a relationship too.
Talk to Your Child - Sometimes as parents we can operate as a dictatorship. When you are dating, it is okay to talk to your child(ren) and get their opinions. Oftentimes, a child's voice doesn’t seem to hold any merit, which is problematic. When you are dating, it is an opportune time to grasp an understanding of the child’s feelings.
When should my child meet the guy i’m seeing? This is all about comfort and where you see the relationship headed! This is different for everyone however, I personally waited because I wanted to establish a relationship first before my daughter did.
How did you handle dating? I would go on dates and see my then “guy friend” when my daughter was at her dad's house on weekends or when she was spending time at my mom's house. I took complete advantage of all those moments because I knew I didn’t want my daughter to meet my “guy friend” just yet.
How did you handle breakups? After my daughter met my husband unfortunately, we had periods where we broke - up and it was difficult. As I suspected, my daughter would ask about him and his children and I was left to answer those questions and I didn’t know how to adequately do it because she was so young and I didn't want my answers to come back and bite me ( I mean clearly we are married now!). Nevertheless, my philosophy is when you break up with me you break up with my child. I am a pretty straight forward person and I don't like complexity with situations that are pretty simple to me and dating is one of those things for me.
Count the cost mamas! Dating can still be fun and searching for that boo is definitely attainable as a single mother. Everyone has different philosophies when dating with children. I have seen some very unusual situation and I have seen some situations that are too laxed for my likings. Despite it all, as a mama we deserve happiness and a special person to share our life with.