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Dating is an ever constant word that comes out of the mouth of singles with kids and without. It is probably the single most thought that’s shared by both sexes on a daily basis. I mean what it looks like may be different, but each sex thinks about it daily. It becomes an issue when a single parent starts dating because they have to keep not just themselves, but the kids in mind. It becomes a trickier situation to find a pool when the single parent is a Christian and wants to date with those values in mind. I say an issue because most of the dating pool isn’t touting being celibate or a virgin until marriage. All you have to do is look at social media and television in general to see what the majority is looking for in a mate. But, it can be done. Dating effectively as a single parent that is. I list here 5 questions you need to know in order to successfully date as a single parent.
- Are you ready?
This may seem like a silly question, but are you ready really is the most important question you can ask. Some people are single due to loss of a spouse or partner due to death, some because someone walked away, and some are divorced. Before you can date someone else and really get to know them, you must have healed from your hurt and let go of that other person. Also, some folks need to get rid of immature attitudes, selfishness, and the like before wanting to date someone. Many people overlook this step and consider dating something they should just do all the time. No, it is okay to take a break and heal. It is okay to fly solo and live your life. If you have kids, then you surely need to focus on you and the kids. They’ve lost a parent as well, and need you during this time. Take the time to focus on you, your family, and your happiness as a new unit. You’ll be glad you did.
- What is your plan?
I ask this question because you really need a plan. Dating on the fly does not work. You’ll end up being weird or only friends. When you have a plan, you know what you will accept and will not accept. You know what you are looking for in a man or woman. And, guess what? Confidence is sexy. More so than confidence, you’ll have peace. Peace because the power isn’t in his or her hands, it’s both of yours. You are an adult. Act like it. You do not go on a trip without researching it and planning places to see. Even if you loosely plan, you still plan. So, it is with relationships. If you want a good one, show up, plan for it, be confident, pick well according to your plan. In other words, set a standard. Not that he or she should be some certain height or weight or look. But, that you will accept men who speak well of women. You will not accept dates from jerks.
- What are your must haves?
For me, I must have a good, Godly man. His character should speak for him. He should know how to introduce himself to me and is not faking his chivalry. So, what are your must-haves? Does he need to share your faith? Is it okay for him to not have a faith or be of any faith? Do you have children? Is it okay for the potential mate to have or not to have children? What are your views on having more children if they do not have any? You’ve got to find time to get to know you in order to know what you are looking for in a mate. I keep saying mate and writing as though this is permanent because that is what dating is. It is two people seeking to see if they are compatible for marriage. Not a hook-up or someone to hang out with. They make friends for that- the hanging out part. Hooking up, hopefully, is never a part of your plan or a must have. You need to allow yourself the time to court and be courted to see if you are compatible for the person and the children. Life gets messy when you live life like your married and then you break up. Is that what you want to teach your children? Dating around is okay? Going in and out of relationships is okay? If not, then make a plan now. Set your standard now. And, stick to it!
- Does he or she share your faith?
This one may not be a deal-breaker for you, but let me explain why it should be. Life can be tough. Dating does not take away every issue. You will have to rely on your faith. It will be easier to be with someone who knows why you believe what you do and also shares your faith. Can he or she handle how you worship and respond in those times when your faith is tested or when you’re just living out what you believe. There will be clashes. Expect them. There is so much to be said on this topic. I’ll save that for later, but know what you believe and why. Be prepared to share that with your possible mate.
- Does he or she have kids? If so, does he or she take care of/see them?
I have seen too many women marry men who do not take care of the kids they already have. Why? Why would anyone do that? I know. They believe what they are told. The character of a man and a woman is of utmost importance to you. Although people can change for the better and outlive their past mistakes, not taking care of or seeing their children is not a mistake. It is neglect. Also, some people have had a hard time as a single parent and so they may not want to have more children.
Love isn’t easy but it is beautiful when you find the one who is for you. To do so and date properly, you need to ask the questions listed above and then some! The answers to them are what you need to know, before the feelings start rolling in, so you can see if you and this new person is really a good fit. I wish you the best in life, love, and faith. Remember, you can meet, date, and marry a great person. It is up to you to do your due diligence first to ensure you are ready and do the work to see how the new person fits for you and your family.