Single, With Children

BEING a single parent certainly is not the romantic death penalty or even a sentence of solitary confinement.

Through eHarmony, tens of thousands of divorced and widowed people have discovered for themselves that dating is alive and well, even with kids at home.

Still, it can’t hurt to set a few ground rules for yourself and to think through some of the issues that might arise.

Be honest from the beginning:

It isn't always easy to bring up the fact that you have kids when considering going out with someone new.

But your date deserves to know what to expect of a relationship with you—perhaps that you’ll only be available every other weekend because of custody schedules or that your babysitter can never be out past midnight. Put it all on the table up front, and you'll avoid unfair surprises later on.

Go slow:

Unless you and your dating partner are both certain you want to take the relationship in a more serious direction, don't rush to introduce him or her to your kids.

Having a new adult in their lives is never “casual” to them. They will be confused by too many new faces.

When you feel the time is right, keep the meeting low-key and brief, and do all you can to remove pressure from everyone. Your kids need as much time as you did to get to know someone new.

Be realistic:

After introductions, be careful not to expect too much from your new relationship too soon.

Someone who has never had kids will need plenty of time to develop their own relationship with your children. Remember, you didn't become a parent overnight — you had nine months to get accustomed to the idea.

Practice being more than a parent:

Yes, you are responsible for children, and you take that seriously. But that is not all you are.

It's okay to think of yourself a multifaceted human being also. Get a babysitter, relax, and treat yourself to an evening on the town. Lighten up and have some fun.

It is true that dating when you have kids is a logistical and, at times, an emotional challenge. But don't let that stop you. Romance awaits...just make sure you’re home by midnight!

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