Cuties With Cuties 2: 5 Tips for Dating a Single Parent
When you date a single parent, you’re also dating their kids — and sometimes, their ex, too. Dating a single parent is intimidating, but romantic. Someone who has been married and has kids has a deeper understanding of love. Dating them means allowing them to share it with you.
Use these 5 tips to better enjoy dating a single parent and make their transition from single parent to dating parent easier.
Are you a single parent too? Check out the first post in this series, Cuties With Cuties: 5 Vital Tips For Dating As A Single Parent.
5 Tips For Dating A Single Parent
1. Assume Nothing
Single parents have one big complaint about dating after divorce: the stereotypes.
Forget everything you think you know about single parents. Some are friends with their exes. Some have a lower sense of self after divorce; others feel better than ever. Every divorce is different.
Take time to really get to know your partner. Fall in love with them for who they are, not the idea of dating a single parent.
2. Be Patient
Your partner might not have lots of time to spend with you. Any good parent prioritizes their kids over their new SO, so you should expect to be flexible about making plans and keeping dates. Try a quick breakfast or lunch date when their nights and weekends are packed with school activities.
Since time is of the essence, don’t rely on texting to move your relationship forward. Good old-fashioned phone calls say a lot more, faster, and are easier than twiddling on a tiny keyboard.
You’ll also need to be patient about the speed of your relationship. After going through a divorce, your partner may not be ready to even decide if they want to get serious, remarry, or have more kids. What they do know? That they want to be with you. For now, that will need to be enough.
3. Woo Your Partner’s Kids
Being a child of divorce is tough. Really tough.
So when you start to wonder if your partner’s kids hate you — and when you realize you’re not crazy about them either — remember that they’re kids, and they do not have the capacity to understand their parents’ divorce.
Jackie Pilossoph in Divorced Girl Smiling describes a few reasons why kids seem to “hate” their stepparents, and what to do about it.
Loyalty to their other parent, shyness, jealousy of the time you spend with their parent, and misdirected anger are all reasons your partner’s kids might seem to hate you.
All you can do is be a kind, supportive adult friend. The kids may warm up to you sooner if you make friends with their other parent. Once their other parent approves of you, the kids may feel better about spending time with you.
4. Make Friends With The Ex
There’s a very strong chance that your partner’s ex will resent you. They might even hate you — before they even meet you. It has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with what you represent.
When your partner’s ex looks at you, they’re reminded of their broken marriage. They might worry that the kids will start to love you more. But that’s because they don’t know you yet.
Be proactive in getting to know your partner’s ex. Laurie at The Adventurous Writer blog says the best way to do this is to take the ex out to lunch, and to compliment them, especially on how well they raised the kids.
If your relationship with your partner’s ex is already muddled, don’t get discouraged. All it takes is one little joke to break the tension. Take a deep breath, crack a smile, and keep on trying. They’ll come around!
5. Know The Status Of The Divorce
It’s good to know how long your new partner has been divorced — there’s a huge difference between a few weeks and a few years. If you’re not sure, it’s okay to ask .
You might even discover that the divorce has not actually been finalized. Some people spend years in the separation period because they think getting divorced is too difficult or expensive to tackle.
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Originally published at nextgenjustice.com on October 27, 2015.