Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Single Parent Dating

As most of us know, the national divorce rate has been hovering around 52% over the past few years. And according to divorcerate.org, “The divorce rate in America for first marriage, vs second or third marriage – 50% percent of first marriages, 67% of second and 74% of third marriages end in divorce, according to Jennifer Baker of the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri.” Thus, the possibility of your being a single parent venturing out into the dating scene or the possibility of you dating a single parent are certainly real possibilities.

This vicissitudes of this reality are evident every where. For example, today I did a Google Search for “Single Parent Dating” that surfaced 2,999,000 hits, with some of the top sites being “dating sites for single parents”:
Single Parent Meet
Married Before
Single Parent Match

This kind of website marketing, interestingly, is not ill-founded. For example, a very informative website, “Dating for Beginners,” hits the nail on the head: “If you are a single parent and you have found yourself suddenly single, you might be a bit hesitant to start dating right away.” Nonetheless, the article goes on to talk about the inevitability of dating: “if wolfing down a container of Ben and Jerry's every night seems like a more than adequate substitute for romance to you, then it might be time to get back into the dating scene. Also, one can only spend so many months talking to children only before one starts referring to car accidents as ‘boo-boos’ and trips to the restroom as ‘going pee pee.’ Sooner or later, you are going to have to talk to an adult who is of legal drinking age – whether you like it or not!” There are, nonetheless, certain cautions that single parents should seriously consider.

In her About:SingleParents article, “Introducing Your Children to Someone You Are Seriously Dating,” Jennifer Wolf says:

Before introducing a love interest to your children, you should:

Be in a committed relationship

Be able to envision making this person a part of your family

Talk openly with one another about what that would mean

When talking with the children about your relationship:

Realize that your children are afraid of being abandoned

Affirm your own personal commitment to your children

Share your genuine enthusiasm for the person you are dating

When planning for the initial introductions:

Plan something fun

Be yourself

Include your kids in an activity you can all do together

In my recently published contemporary romance novel, If Ever Again… It’ll be for Love, Diane, a single mother of her five-year old daughter, “Becca,” works desperately “to protect her daughter from getting hurt” after she starts dating Michael. For example, when she is discussing this concern with Carol, her best friend, Carol says, “What’s the matter, Diane, are you afraid that Rebecca won’t like Michael?” Diane quickly replied in a nervous voice, “No. I’m afraid she will.”

Question: Have you and any of your close friends ever struggled with single-parent dating issues?



Kelly (Lynn) Parra said...

Yes, I think some often question when it's the right time to introduce their children. It's a tough call, but a personal one. :)

Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hi Kelly,
A tough call -- you bet! And for sure a personal one. (I am working with a person at the moment who is a single mom, and one of her considerations in involving her son in her relationship with her new beau is "he'd be an excellent male role model.")
Thanks for stopping by!