Read these 44 Dating Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Single Parent tips and hundreds of other topics.
Often children feel afraid that their dating parent will leave them and/or they will be replaced by the new man or woman in their parent's life.
It is very important that you communicate and reassure your children. Let them know that the fact that you are dating will not change their time with you or your committment to them.
Before you ever agree to date someone, be open and honest with them and explain that you have children. To many individuals, this will make no difference. Do not try to hide your children from your date, but readily introduce them and watch carefully how they interact with each other. Is there open resentment or hostility on either face? If it is on the face of your child, then the reason for it should be discussed with the child later. Many times it is rooted in fear of losing the love of their parent to someone else, or it could just be jealousy that someone else is taking time spent with the parent away from them. Discuss your intentions openly and honestly with your children and reassure them your love for them will never diminish. If it is on the face of your date, ditch them!
When you feel like you have found the "right one", check to see how your children feel about it. If they do not feel the same as you, or the "right one" does not get along well with your children, have the strength, courage, and integrity to end the relationship. Never "settle" because you feel it may be your last chance. Do not jeopardize the future happiness of you or your children. The "right one" will eventually come along that all of you can love and who will love all of you in return. Anything less and you will be cheating yourself and your children out of the best that life has to offer. You both deserve the best!
Do not date someone who will add to your problems such as a) people with drug/alcohol dependencies, b) those with volatile ex spouses/friends or family, c) those who are unemployed, d) anyone who is still married or going through a divorce, or e) spouses with many children from previous marriages requiring compromises and schedule adjustments or (f) anyone with an obvious lack of judgment or commitment as evidenced by multiple marriages. These are all big red stop signs or red flags. Heed them. They are there to protect you.
Everyone knows when someone has a chip on their shoulder, everyone except the person who has it. Even though you may think your disappointment and anger at the opposite sex is undetectable, it is not. Look to see if you are harboring hidden anger or resent, or ask your friends if necessary. If so, get rid of it. Only then will you have a better chance of attracting the mate that you desire. Chips are very unattractive.
Do not give your children the power to prevent you from developing relationships with other people. It is natural for them to be a little possessive of you and to instantly dislike your dating. They may still secretly be clinging to the false hope that you and your ex might get back together and that you will be a family again. If that is the case, you need to explain to them that this is not a possibility. Be open and honest with your children.
Never date simply for the sake of dating. Date because you have found someone interesting that you feel might make a good spouse and be a good parent to your children, not because you are lonely or bored. When you date out of loneliness you are too vulnerable and could end up making major mistakes. Get more involved with friends, your family, community or church activities and that loneliness and boredom will fade. Date because you are interested, not bored!
Do not include children on first dates. Let your dating partner know you have children and feel free to talk about them to assess their reaction to the idea. You may be tempted to want to see the interaction between your children and your date, or to let the other person know what they are getting into, but resist the urge. Check the person out yourself alone. You do not want to confuse your children by parading an endless line of potential mates before them. Children learn quickly how to sabotage relationships before they ever get going because they may fear having to share you with someone else. Do everyone a favor and skip the first date "family time." Make sure you are interested enough in the person before you starting including the children. Give yourself a chance first.
Learn to control your biological urges if you expect your children to control theirs. Children tend to imitate their parents. If they see mom or dad having sex outside of marriage, they will imitate the same behavior which could very well ruin or short-change their young life. Be a good role model for them to imitate.
Children need to be able to look up to and respect their parent. By the time your children reach adolescence, you can no longer discipline or mold the behavior of your child as much as you could earlier. What will keep them in line more than anything will be their respect for you and not wanting to hurt your feelings should ever find out about their misbehaviors. If they lose respect for you, they will lose respect for others as well as themselves and are headed for a lifetime of problems. Respect from your children has to be earned; it does not come automatically. Set a good moral example for your children to follow
When you decide to start dating and have discussed it with your kids, proceed with caution and go slowly. Give your children time to adjust to the fact you are dating. You do not need someone camping out on your doorstep?every night. Your children need you to spend some quality time with them also. Make sure you have regular dates with your children. Go to the park, the ice cream shop, or McDonalds, or spend an exhilarating afternoon playing sports. Just make sure you plan some time to be alone with your children so they do not feel shut out of your life. Remember growing up can be painful. Having to learn to share your toys is one thing, learning to share your parent is another. Reassure your children constantly that they are the most important thing in your life and you will always love them.
Don't date at home until you are sure you have found “the one.” Children often have difficulty accepting the fact that their parent is dating. It is very unsettling for children to witness the revolving door of relationships that ensue in the search for "the one." Be selective about dating and introducing your children to your dating partners. Don't add to their confusion. They have already lost one parent and may fear losing you to someone else. Or they can be so eager for someone to love them, they can become attached too easily and end up getting hurt when your relationship ends. Wait until the relationship looks like it is headed somewhere before you spend too much time together as a “family” in your home.
Do not marry someone simply because they will make a good mother or father for your children, and your children like them. By the same token, do not marry someone who is not interested in being a parent to your children. Marry because you love someone and you want to spend the rest of your life together, someone who loves your children as much as you do. Do not settle for anything less. And do not allow your children to choose for you. If things do not work out, they could very well end up thinking it is their fault as many children tend to blame themselves for their parents divorce. That is too much responsibility to put on their young shoulders. Its okay to get their input on who they like or dislike, but the choice should be yours.
This tip comes from an article on dating by Tammy Jones at SingleRose.com. When you have teenagers, you have to be able to talk the talk and walk the walk! In other words, practice what you preach. Do not let your teenagers catch you acting like an adolescent, i.e., steaming up the car windows, or getting felt up. I could not say it better! Children learn by example. Set the right example for them. If you do not want them doing it, then do not do it yourself!
Know something about a person before you agree to a one-on-one date. You can discover information through trusted mutual friends, a series of phone conversations, or by observation of their behavior if you have previously met. Agree to meet them noncommittally at school functions, sporting events, single group events, or with a group of friends. Be very careful regarding individuals you let into your life, even as friends. Be wary of anyone addicted to drugs or alcohol, who has mental or emotional problems, or who has a criminal record. You are looking for stability, not accidents looking for a place to happen. If you do not know anything about them, stay away from them until you do. If they do not want to wait, you are better off without them.
Once you have found The One and have taken the time to build a solid relationship with them, allow them the time to do the same with the children. Give them the time and space to develop their own relationship separate from you. If everyone is to live together in harmony and survive during those times when you are not around, they must learn to love and/or respect each other without you around.
If your date is lazy, does not want to work, preferring to sit around and drink beer all day and watch TV, show him the nearest exit. You can tell what kind of husband he will be by his actions while you are dating. If he does not offer to lend you a helping hand in preparing a meal, cleaning up afterwards, doing some minor household chores, etc. be aware that this will change if you decide to marry. It will get worse! If he is only interested in helping himself and not others, then you need to help yourself and get rid of him. Marriage is a partnership, not slavery. You already have all the responsibility for yourself and your children, do you really need to take on another burden? Find someone who will be an asset, not a liability.
Be careful about introducing your children to a revolving door of dates. There is a difference between casual dating and serious relationships. Wait until you find someone you consider a good possibility as a potential mate before allowing your children to spend much time around them. Children may become attached to someone you are dating and be heartbroken when your relationship ends and you move on to someone else.
You should definitely tell your children that you are dating. You are not doing anything wrong by dating other people. Hopefully you and your ex can both explain the dating to your kids in a manner that honors each other, and assures your kids that neither of you is attempting to replace their mother or father. Just make sure your children feel secure in the love of their parents.
Make sure that you are in love, not "in heat." When you are vulnerable and lonely, it is very easy to think that this person is the one. Spend time together discussing important areas such as parenting issues and what values children should be brought up with. Make sure you are both headed in the same direction with common goals and directions for the future. Once that itch is scratched,will you have anything in common? Make sure you really want to spend the rest of your life with this person, not just needing someone to fill a temporary void in your life. Think about it. Sex and beauty soon fade. Common threads of friendship will help keep a marriage intact.
Tammy Jones at SingleRose.com lists some guides to follow in choosing dating relationships: 1) Do not date someone who is uncomfortable with kids, but is willing to try. 2) Be alert for people working the kids to get to your heart. 3) Do not pick anyone less emotionally healthy than you. These types of situations are a complete waste of time and will cause much anxiety for you and your children. You do not need any more problems.
Office romances are always frowned upon as they usually do not work out. Someone usually ends up getting hurt, and everyone in the immediate vicinity feels awkward afterwards. Work and pleasure do not mix as evidenced by the multitude of sexual harrassment cases being filed daily. You are opening yourself up for potential lawsuits when it falls apart and the other party decides to seek revenge. Or one of you may have to find another job because the work environment is too uncomfortable. Do not put your job or working environment in jeopardy. Steer clear of these types of relationships and avoid the potholes.
Single parents dating find there is an added dimension to the dating process. In addition to trying to find someone with whom you want to spend some time with, you also must consider the effect dating will have on your children. Remember your child has already lost one parent through divorce or death, they do not want to risk losing the other one. Talk to your children about your desire to date. Assure them that your spending time with someone else does not diminish your love for them sometimes adults just need to spend time with other adults just as your children need to spend time with others their age
Some guys come across as being very nice and appear to like your kids, but they then "change" and start taking their anger, fears and frustrations out on your kids. It may be subtle things that tear down their self-esteem or disappoint them, or it could be something worse. Remove your rose-colored glasses or blinders and end it quickly should this happen.
Planning your dates to coincide with custodial visit with their other parent may or not be good. It can be good from the standpoint that you would not need to find a babysitter, plus it would free you from feeling guilty for not spending that time with your children. Be aware though that this type of plan can and probably will backfire. Broken relationships tend to bring out the worst in people. If your ex-spouse finds out you are using his/her time with the children to date, they may do everything they can to sabotage those plans by not showing up, being late, etc. Your children can also end up feeling like an unwanted fruitcake being passed back and forth so the other parent can date. Avoid surprises and disappointments. Have a backup babysitter lined up in case you need it. As they teach in scouting, Be Prepared!
For a great book on dating relationships, check out a new book release called Hollywood Dating Blunders: How to Avoid the Bloopers by Skyward Publishing. This soon to be released book offers rules for dating, questions to ask your dating partner, and baggage and warning signs to watch out for. An invaluable resource for anyone seriously looking for a mate to help you find the right one and steer you away from the wrong one. Well worth the money!
When you decide to start dating again, remember you are no longer a single individual, you come now as a package—you have children. As the saying goes--love me, love my kids.If the person you are dating does not like children or is not interested in having a family, especially a ready-made one, break it off quick before either of you gets too involved and consequently get hurt. There are plenty of people out there who would willing accept a ready-made family, so don't waste your time on someone who won't.
Wait for the real thing; don't settle for cheap substitutes. True love waits. If a person truly loves you, he or she will want to make a commitment to you and will wait until your union is legally sanctioned before asking you to participate in expressing your love through sex. And sex outside of marriage also has a big impact upon your children, young and old alike. Consider the consequences before you indulge. You will find it is not worth the risk.
When you find someone you feel may be a potential mate for you, do not forget to consider your children and how they feel about the person. If they do not feel the same as you or you sense that person considers your children excess baggage, have the strength, courage and integrity to end the relationship. You should never settle for someone because you fear this might be your last chance. Settling jeopardizes not only your future happiness, but also that of your children. The "right one" will eventually come along that everyone can love and who will return that love. Anything less and you will be cheating everyone out of the best that life has to offer. You deserve the best so be patient. It will be worth the wait.
When you begin dating someone, the focus should be to find out as much as you can about the individual to see if you are compatible. After all, dating does many times lead to an eventual marriage. Find out all you can, and the way to do that is to ask questions. There are a number of questions you can ask to give you insight into the other person. A good reference tool is a new book entitled “Hollywood Dating Blunders” by Jim Carroll and Dennis Foose, LPC. These two individuals have taught marriage seminars and provided relationship counseling for a number of years. A list of sample questions is posted at www.skywardpublishing.com, the book's publisher. Find some questions and start asking.
If you are tempted to indulge in sexual relations while dating, stop to consider the impact upon your children. You will not only damage yourself, but you also damage your relationship with your children. Kids learn by behavior and the role model you set must be a good one. If you want moral, upright, honest children that you can be proud of, then you need to make sure you set the right example yourself.
In dating someone, be on the alert for red flags that pop up alerting you there is a problem. Typically a person is on their best behavior in the dating process. If there is a bad habit you notice while dating, it will only intensify when you are married. Does the person drink excessively on occasion? If so, those occasions will happen more frequently after marriage. What about drugs, foul language, flirting with others, overspending? These are all red flag areas. Better to end it now, then be stuck with their problem later that will not only affect you, but also your children.
Wait to have sex until you find someone with whom you want to spend the rest of your life with, get married, and then feel free to enjoy all the sex you want with your spouse. The real enjoyment in sex comes when you are with someone who has made a commitment to you and will be there tomorrow and the next day, not someone passing through. A few moments of pleasure is not worth the pain and agony of a shortened and incapacitated life. Think of the costs involved. It is not worth it.
If someone sets you up on a blind date or you have agreed to a date with someone you have met only briefly, play it safe. Agree to double-date with whoever is setting you up, or plan to attend a special event and meet the person there. Do not allow the person to come to your home. There are far too many weirdos out there for you to take chances. Get to know something about the person first before you let them know where you live. And if they do not take you home afterwards, the likelihood of enduring unpleasant consequences will be diminished. There is safety in numbers. Play it safe until you are better acquainted.
Contrary to what you may see on TV or in movies today, sex does NOT have to be the appropriate ending for a date. Having sexual relations outside of marriage not only demoralizes you and your respect for yourself, but it also in this day and age exposes you to innumerable sexual diseases that literally will kill you. Show respect for yourself and stay healthy!