Life throws us some pretty awesome things, such as giving us the opportunity to raise children. Sometimes, life also throws us some not-so-pleasant things, like having to raise those children alone. Whether you are a single parent due to a death, a divorce/break up, or the other parent does not want to be involved in the child’s life, you are tasked with raising that child to be a happy and healthy human being. That’s a pretty big task, and many single parents forget that they need to take care of themselves as well.
One of the areas single parents tend to forget is their romantic life. Many parents throw themselves completely in rearing their children — taking them to doctor’s visits, sporting events, school recitals, and a slew of other events — leaving them with little to no time for themselves.
There will be a time when you are ready to get out there and try something new, like join a single parent dating site with the hopes of finding someone you can share a meal with that doesn’t require ketchup packets or is covered in yellow processed cheese. But before you jump into the dating work, there are some things that you will need to make peace with first.
1. Understand that you are different
You may want to channel your pre-kid days and live it up like you used to. Unfortunately, you cannot do that because you have responsibilities and children to look after. Plus, depending on the circumstances that led you to be a single parent, those circumstances will change you. It is expected that you look at life a little differently after a tragedy. You just have to be open to discovering and embracing the new person you’ve become.
2. Your children have changed too
Unless your children were very young when you became a single parent, you will have to take into consideration that your children are changed too. This means that if the child is old enough to remember the death of their other parent or a divorce, they may not be open to someone new coming into their life. By talking with your children and giving them the opportunity to talk about their feelings, you can have a dialogue about you dating again and what that means for them.
3. Be prepared for the possibility of heartache
While we like to think that everything will come up roses and we will find the love of our lives when we begin dating again, chances are that it won’t be quite that easy. When you have already dealt with the heartache of losing the person who helped create your children, you may not be so eager to go through that pain again — which is okay. When you are just getting back out into the dating scene, take things slowly because sometimes you may think you are ready, but something happens and it brings back painful memories. You know when you are truly ready to date again as a single parent when you are able to look back on the past and not feel overwhelming sadness or resentment.