Dating today is complicated and you shouldn’t expect it to be any easier dating a single parent. At times, a huge disparity can arise from this situation and it calls for a lot of understanding to make it work; after all, love is about putting in the effort to understand one another. If you find that you are interested in, attracted to, or seriously wanting to build a relationship with a single parent, bear this in mind.

Time is golden

Not to mean that time is more golden for a single parent but if a single parent is going to be away from their child just to spend some time with you on a date, then that is a huge sacrifice and you better respect their time. This will need proper planning and way in advance because they possibly need to get a babysitter. While at it, you ought to be flexible as there may be a date cancellation should an emergency occur at home. And if this is going to work, you need to be patient and willing to adapt to situations easily. It can be frustrating when you have to cancel a date, maybe for the second or even third time because a child is sick. But this is part of the deal. And forget about staying out for as long as you want, he or she still needs to tuck in the kids at bedtime. So brace yourself for this and be okay with it or else walk away now.

An ex might still be part of the equation

Many people have a fear factor of dealing with an ex who will always be hovering from a distance. So you need to ask yourself if you are up for the challenge. It’s very likely that an ex will be a large part of your lives, or at least until the children turn 18, because of co-parenting or co-custody of the children. You might have to deal with your insecurities especially when you see your partner with their ex and child or children looking like a happy family. But not every ex is dramatic and wants to snatch your partner back. Whatever the story of your partner and ex is, you need to be cordial as the ex may be part of your life for a long time to come. The most important thing is to draw realistic boundaries early and trust your partner.

Don’t expect the kids’ approval upfront

You are probably in love with him or her but you need to brace yourself for any kind of reaction from the children after the introductions. Do not to expect too much from the kids, first be honoured to be included in the most important part of your partner’s life – their children.  Remember you need to develop a relationship with the children before they can trust you and warm up to you, which obviously takes plenty of time. Do not yield to the pressure to impress the children by buying them all manner of gifts; this gesture might backfire when they resent you for attempting to buy their love. Rome was not built in a day so don’t attempt to win them over in a day. And don’t take it personally if they don’t like you right away. Just be involved in their lives, treat their parent well and be genuine. Everything will fall into place with time.

Dating a single parent shouldn’t scare you

Yes, many single parents may not be able to spend every waking moment with you, but they are often mature, responsible, nurturing and deserving of love. Like any other relationship, this one too needs to be built on love, trust, understanding and commitment.  And the risk may be worth it, but you will never know unless you give it a chance.

PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 2015