Disclaimer: The below is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.
Finding “the one” can be hard enough, but as a single parent, the search seems even more difficult. Whether you’ve been raising your child or children on your own since the beginning, you’ve been widowed, or you went through a nasty public divorce, jumping back into the dating scene might seem intimidating.
Getting Out There
It may seem like you’re surrounded by all things kid-related and you’ll never meet Ms. or Mr. Right, but you can increase your odds of finding love if you choose the right places. Bookstores, farmer’s markets and street fairs are all great places for you and your little ones – and for potentially making a connection.
There’s also the online dating scene, which has worked well for countless people. Of course, you’ll have to approach this method cautiously, as traits like emotional vulnerability could put you at greater risk for an online dating scam.
Those who scour online dating apps for victims most often do so for money, but this isn’t always the case, which can make it harder to spot an online scammer. Some catfish – those who pose online as someone they’re not – will go after vulnerable individuals simply because they’re lonely or enjoy the thrill of the catch.
Proceed with caution when you meet someone online, but don’t feel discouraged. Keep your eyes open for red flags. For example, make sure your new love interest will speak with you on the phone, or do video chats, and will meet you in person.
A public records search can help you confirm whether the person who has been romancing you online is real or not. Plus, it can potentially reveal details of a public divorce, criminal past, or bankruptcies.
Are The Kids All Right?
One of the biggest concerns of single parents is how their children are faring while Mom or Dad are out on date nights. Many experts, such as author and relationship expert Amy Spencer, say the key is to be honest, but don’t give too much information. If they’re old enough to understand, tell your child that you’re going on a date. If they have any questions, answer them truthfully, but succinctly, and then move on to a topic your little one cares about.
When it’s time to introduce your children to the new person in your life, use your best judgment on how and when. Dating for a couple weeks might be too soon to bring a new adult into your child’s life, as kids can form bonds and attachments easily. If it doesn’t work out with the person you’re dating, you could end up dealing with a sad kid whose entire world was turned upside down.
There’s also the chance that your kid may not like your new love interest, so you have to be prepared, especially with teens, to have an uncomfortable chat about your date. If you’re starting to get serious, reassure your children and yourself that your new partner is a good choice.
You can find love in a park, at a restaurant, online, or any other number of places, so get out there! As a single parent, your children are top priority, but you deserve to be happy, and if you think you’ve found love, don’t use excuses like being a single parent to avoid it.