Dating Without the Guilt
It can be hard to start dating again once you've split up from your partner. And when children are involved, dating can become even more complicated.
While many single working mums would like a steady partner, often they have little time for a personal life, their self-esteem is battered and bruised, and they feel guilty about not spending every free minute with their children. But you deserve to be happy – so get out there and have a good time!
When to Start Dating Again
Whether you are a single mum due to divorce, separation or death - or if you never had a partner - the key to starting to date is simple: begin whenever you feel ready. There are no steadfast rules, only you know when is the right time for you to forge new relationships, both for you and your children.
However, keep in mind that there are some bad reasons to begin dating. Don't look for replacement relationships to take the place of your old partner, or for someone who will automatically fill every hole in your life. You need someone who will enhance your life and add to what you already have, and also someone who gets along well with your kids and enjoys being with them.
Remember, your children are happiest when their mum is happy. If having a partner makes you feel content, that happiness will reflect on all aspects of your life, and especially on your relationship with your children. There's no need to feel guilty about having a personal life. In the long run, a happy mum is the best thing for everyone.
Five Top Rules of Single-Parent Dating
- Make sure he likes your kids.
- Go slowly.
- Don't introduce him to the family too quickly.
- Avoid sleepovers at your home for a while.
- Enjoy it!
- Make sure he likes your kids. The last thing you want is to be dating someone who either is disinterested in children, or who dislikes yours in particular. Your kids are the most important thing, if he doesn't want to spend time with them then you shouldn't be spending time with him. Even if he's great in other areas, it just isn't meant to be.
- Go slowly. You have a lot more at stake when children are involved, so it doesn't make sense to rush into anything. Take things one day at a time and take your time. If it's worth it, you have all the time in the world.
- Don't introduce him to the family too quickly. Only do so if you believe he has long-term potential. It's not worth introducing your children to a new man every few weeks. It's okay to let them know you're dating, but avoid the Big Introduction unless you think the relationship is really going somewhere. It will save everyone a lot of heartache.
- Avoid sleepovers at your home for a while. Even if your children have met your new partner, it's not a great idea to invite him to spend the night at yours for a while. It can confuse the children and make things a bit difficult to explain if you break up after a week. It might also be worthwhile avoiding any overt signs of affection in front of the children for a while.
- Enjoy it! There's nothing that says mums can't have a personal life. As a working mum you give everything to your job and your children, and it's about time you had some fun yourself. So enjoy things!
Dating without guilt is possible for single working mums, although many of us feel too exhausted to even contemplate going out for a drink after work, let alone dinner in a restaurant followed by a trip to the cinema. Talk to your children before you take the plunge, then jump in!
If you decide that dating is right for you, remember that people are attracted to others who are confident, happy and secure – those three attributes are more important than anything else, including looks and weight. If you project a happy, confident side, others will be attracted to you.
Making time for a love life can be difficult when you are juggling both work and children on your own. But if you can manage it, it's worth the effort. Take things slowly and enjoy yourself. In the long run, everyone can benefit – you, your new partner, and your children.