Dating is a whole new ball game when you have children. Many marriages or relationships for one reason or another do not last these days and unfortunately women and men are left not only trying to work out single parenthood but also to take care of their own hearts and find relationships that make them feel valued.
My mother remarried when I was just a toddler. She had met a few men that were kind and sweet to her, but only one took my older brother and me into the equation.
When you date a single parent, you are essentially dating a family. A child's heart is just as important to consider as the single parent you are dating.
Baggage… What is baggage? Well, emotional baggage is what you carry with you from one heart break or relationship to another when you do not heal.
Children have emotional baggage as well sometimes. Sometimes, the breakup of a family can affect them long after it happens.
When my mom began dating after her divorce, she looked for one criterion for a long-term perspective relationship. She was not looking just for a spouse, but also for a father figure for me and my brother. Someone who loved us as much as her. She would joke years later that our dad, who adopted my brother and me, married her because he loved us so much. That, of course, is not completely true, but I can tell you that Dad always acted as a father to us.
Baggage is not the children you carry into the next relationship. It is not OK to say that a relationship is good for you when it is not good for your children. If a relationship compromises your ability to be the best parent you can be for your children, it is not a good relationship. No if's, and's or but's about it.
The importance of finding a partner that understands and values you and your children is essential. The thing to look for is a person who shares your faith in God. My father led my family with love and faith. His beliefs were a foundation for us.
A broken heart can be a stepping stone towards negative relationships, if we are not careful. We can forget about all else while we just search to make ourselves feel whole again. This is why it is so important to work on your relationship with God as a single parent before you try to find a new man or woman to love.
Here are a few red flags to look for if you are a single parent:
- Does the person get jealous of your children?
- Does the person you are dating value your faith in God?
- Does the person have their own personal faith?
- Do your children feel comfortable and like the person you are dating?
- Is the person you are dating developing a relationship with your children as well as with you?
If at any point you feel that your values as a parent are not the forefront of a new relationship, take a moment to examine the relationship to determine if it is a healthy one. Sadly, I know some parents who feel they can keep their dating and home life separate. That doesn't work in the long run.
Our hearts can break again and again. God is the only true love that can fully heal us. No other person who is not seeking a relationship with God can create the healing we need.
If a relationship is not healthy for you and your children, then walk away.
Do you find that it is hard to date as a single parent? What are some of the things you look for in a relationship?