Monthly Archives: December 2016

Dating and the Single Parent Tips

Think dating is difficult? Try dating with a five-year-old or fourteen-year-old watching your every move. Suddenly your romantic life is immersed in the morals, values, and integrity you’ve established for your children. Can you hold fast to them or are you just talking out of the both sides of your mouth?

Every single parent must remember they are showing their kids how to date: what to look for in a man or woman, how to act, how to be treated, is sex before marriage ok, is a lot of sex with a lot of different people before marriage ok?

Children notice a strange man in mom’s bedroom, they notice a half naked woman in the kitchen in the morning. They’ll quiz you incessantly about your date, did you like the guy, do you think you might get married to that woman. They’ll also be loaded with opinions about your dates: be ready to hear not that just “he’s nice” or “she’s pretty” but “he looks mean” or “She doesn’t like me, I can tell.”

So there are some proven suggestions for loving, caring parents who for one reason or another find themselves back in the dating game.

  1. Ask yourself — how important are your kids to you? This is a serious question. “I love them to death,” isn’t a serious answer. “I love them so much I’m willing to put off any relationship for a year or two or three,” is a serious answer. I’m not saying that’s always necessary, but sometimes it is. God put the destiny of these young children in your hands, you can’t be willing to throw it out the window for the first good-looking regional manager that walks into your life.
  2. If your first relationship ended in divorce, remember your kids probably still love their parent. They don’t want to hear how much nicer this new woman is than their mother. For awhile they won’t want to hear how much more you love this new person.
  3. You don’t have to, in fact you shouldn’t, introduce every date to your kids. This will only confuse them and let them build up false hope about a person they unexpectedly like.
  4. Let every date know you have kids. This will eliminate future complications with prospective partners who absolutely aren’t ready for the responsibility of kids.
  5. Do not let your kids find half-naked strangers roaming around your house in the early morning.

Dating Past and Find a Great Partner

Without resolution, awareness, and acceptance, your relationship history may have a strong influence on your current dating life. With a past that feels heavy, heartbreaking or disappointing, dating in the present may feel very draining and trigger anxiety and fear.

Your past has a lot of influence if one of your greatest fears is having it be repeated. Therefore, you utilize behaviors designed to protect yourself, which makes it difficult to trust others and take chances toward intimacy and connection.

If the end of a previous relationship came as a shock or devastation to you, you may struggle to get close to someone new and approach dating with walls of emotional protection. If an ex betrayed you, you might be hesitant to trust a new partner and become fixated on determining if certain behaviors (for example, not responding to a text quickly) is a sign of cheating or future rejection. You might find yourself debating over giving into urges to check a potential partner’s email or phone for other clues.

If your past isn’t resolved, you may assume that the person you’re dating now will abandon you or break your trust just as your ex did, even if everything is going well in your current relationship. You may doubt if you are lovable, wonder what you have to offer, and beat yourself up about your relationship history and current singlehood. While these thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are understandable as they can be protective in nature, they represent the past remaining unresolved and dictating each moment.

Here are five ways to approach dating when you have had difficult relationship experiences in the past:

Reconstruct and modify the narrative in your mind for healthy closure

It is true that you can’t erase the past, but you can take control of how you think about it, which is what matters most and drives your behavior in the present. Spend time thinking about the story you tell yourself about your previous relationships, your ex’s, and breakups. What is the feeling that accompanies these thoughts and relationship stories? If your narrative feels very negative, is filled with anger, blame, resentment or fear, see if you can modify it to feel more neutral or positive. For example, can you find the silver lining? Can you focus on what you learned about yourself, your needs, and relationships instead of staying stuck? Can you find some space to create a new and improved version of an unhealthy or uncomfortable narrative by making modifications to the story you tell yourself? Rewrite your story and change any scripts that are not serving you well.

Watch your assumptions about the past

Most of what happens to us in life is not personal. This concept can be especially tricky to believe in the relationship world because relationships involve vulnerability and breakups can by nature feel personal. Also, unfortunately not all relationship endings involve healthy closure or communication. This can cause your mind to run wild with false ideas about what happened and believe stories that may or may not be true. Your brain may naturally want certainty and closure so badly that it will create answers to unresolved questions regardless of how factual they actually are. Therefore, it is important to watch your assumptions about why an ex treated you the way he or she did or why your relationship ended, as well as how your ex is doing now, especially if you are bothered by their current relationship status. Always remember that thoughts are not facts no matter how believable they may seem.