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Dating as a single parent?

(20 Posts)
Bobbycat121 Sat 09-Mar-19 13:33:41

I have been single for 3 year since my ex walked out and disappeared (no contact) leaving me to raise the children on my own. Over that time I decided I would stay single until my children have grown up. However recently I developed feelings for someone (cant go there for certain reasons!) but ive developed a crush and its made me realise that I dont want to stay single and that I am ready to start dating.

There seems to be alot of people though that think single mothers shouldnt date until their children are older, but im only 30 and so im not sure how realistic it is to not date at all till my 40s!

It just seems so very hard and, frankly impossible to date as a single parent when you dont have much child care help. Even then you’re not suppose to introduce the man until a year or so. Aibu to think its impossible and just give up and stay single? can you be happy and single?

JacquesHammer Sat 09-Mar-19 13:36:12

can you be happy and single?

Of course you can. But you’re not and that’s ok too.

I’ve been single 5 years and have absolutely no desire to date; not because of my child but because I just can’t see how it would enhance my life. I have a FWB, will never go back and have a relationship again.

Could you find a regular babysitter to give you access to some free time?

DuchessOfPhysics Sat 09-Mar-19 13:38:12

you can definitely be single and happy! every time i date somebody after a while i end up feeling a bit burnt out but I have the children 100% so I'm never as free as the man I'm dating. I'm sure there are men out there with 100% responsibility but they're rare.

So my advice, having been there is to not give up. Have absolute faith that it will happen when the time is right and that everything that you do now, every choice you make and every book you read and every hobby and friend and activity you do is investing in to the person you are.

this sounds a bit bullshitty but it's what I believed when I was trapped without freedom on a very practical level. I believed that I would be happy and I believed I would get to the point where i would be free to enjoy life.

And a relationship has turned out to be a part of that (although I'm not quite free yet. kids still teens)

RagingWhoreBag Sat 09-Mar-19 13:49:59

It is hard to find the time for a new relationship when your DCs are young but plenty of us do it. However you need to ignore this bollocks Even then you’re not suppose to introduce the man until a year or so. It’s just ridiculous that some people think you should invest a year of your life building a relationship with someone, only to find they don’t get on with your kids when they finally meet and then you have to dump them because “kids come first”.

You’re a woman not just a mum and you deserve a fulfilling life of your own, not just to be a martyr to your DCs. There’s no reason why you can’t get to know some new people, and if you find someone you want to get serious with, have them meet your kids as a family friend. There are no guarantees in life that anyone will be around forever, people come and go and sometimes they leave a big gap (like your ex) and sometimes they barely make a dent, like a boyfriend of 6 months who didn’t work out.

As long as your DCs have a stable home life, structure and routine, and any potential new BF doesn’t move in or start getting his feet under the table until everyone is comfortable, there are no rules about it. I personally think that if meeting the DCs will be a dealbreaker, it should be done sooner rather than later with someone you are considering a proper relationship with.

No child wants a string of ‘new dads’ coming through their house, but you don’t have to remain single and celibate for 10 years either.

You can keep your dating life separate from family life until you think it’s a good time to introduce a new man in whatever way that works (as I said, as a friend, especially if he also has kids, may work best) and then see how things progress.

As for finding the time, I guess you need to be creative, depending on the ages of your DCs - first dates can be a lunchtime coffee, after that you might need to pay a babysitter or swap a babysitting favour with a friend.

Once things are going well you can introduce the kids and do something together, park, cinema etc (one of my early
Dates with DP was watching Madagascar as my babysitter let me down last minute and DP suggested bringing my kids on our date grin This was within 3 months, otherwise we’d never have got this thing off the ground.)

But with the right person, you can work it out.

Similarly you may feel happy remaining single, but I know I wasn’t. One of the reasons I divorced XH was because I was so lonely even when he was here. I craved that connection with another adult.

DP and I still don’t live together after 6 years as we felt it best for our respective DCs to keep their homes separate, so it doesn’t automatically mean full on blended family stuff. But I have someone in my corner, someone to go on date nights with, to meet
Up for lunch in the week, and to have the odd weekend away, which makes my life happier and more fulfilling. And that’s ok. I can still be a great mum to my DCs as well.

AyoadesChinDimple Sat 09-Mar-19 13:58:01

It took me 4.5 years to decide I was ready to rip my foot in the dating pool again. Ex isn't reliable so I couldn't count on him having the kids whilst I went out and he never had them overnight anyway. My family aren't near so they couldn't help.
I have a few brilliant friends who helped me when I wanted to meet my now DP for dates. We also used to meet during the day at first. Maybe having a sneaky day off work to meet up.
We now live together. I waited a good while before I introduced him to my kids and I really worried about doing so and made very sure I felt serious about him before I did so. It was all very low key and no pressure on my kids to like him. If they'd said the word I'd have taken a step back from dating.
You can make it work. It's tricky but if it's what you want then please don't stop yourself dating because of some perceived rules.

BitchQueen90 Sat 09-Mar-19 14:01:56

You can be happy single. I am in exactly the same situation as JacquesHammer. But you can't force yourself to be happy if you're not.

Do you have any family or friends who could help you out with babysitting occasionally?

Bobbycat121 Sat 09-Mar-19 14:30:34

Thanks for the messages! I feel better about it now. I felt guilty for some reason (no idea why!) my sister would babysit occasionally but im not sure how much she would commit to it. Waiting a year does seem really unrealistic but Ive seen it said alot on here but I dont know anyone irl thats waited that long. Truth is im not happy single

DuchessOfPhysics Sun 10-Mar-19 22:57:57

I agree raging whorebag, I've read that ''don't introduce a man to your DC for at least six months'' advice on mn but I've been single for the majority of the last decade and actually, I have a different 'model' for my kids than the women giving that advice. I want my kids to know that it's ok to date, it's a part of your life, it doesn't take over your life, that I can end it if I choose to, that I don't need a reason to do so, and (importantly) that if somebody I'm dating ends it with me, I'll be fine. I think they've seen this in the last ten years. I am not apologising to the ''wait six months'' brigade because I think when they give that advice they are imagining that that the women making this decision are chaotic jeremy kyle types. I have good judgement and I trust it. I was happy single though. So OP, try and work on being more content as a single person because you make better decisions and over look less when you're in a content place.

Dieu Sun 10-Mar-19 23:07:36

Go for it!
I am on the online dating scene, and trust me, strong connections aren't found all that often.

Bubblegumgal Sun 10-Mar-19 23:50:37

Also agree with @Ragingwhorebag. I can’t help but feel sometimes the advice on MN is very misogynistic. A man can move on and introduce at any time. But a woman? How dare she, once she conceived with a man her body belongs to him. You don’t have to introduce him as your ‘boyfriend/partner’ right away & you undoubtedly shouldn’t put yourself in a position where you & your children are reliant on him. Nor should you want him spending lots of time with your children before 8-10 months. You don’t want to waste your time with a bf who after a year doesn’t gel with your kids, but you also don’t want an endless stream of ‘mummy’s boyfriends’ through the door, getting attached & leaving. It’s all about balance.

YogaWannabe Sun 10-Mar-19 23:59:51

You can of course be single and you shouldn’t feel one bit guilty for dating!

I am definitely one of the brigade PP are talking about but my issue is more around child safety. It’s your child’s home and I think (and statistics prove) it’s dangerous to move men they barely know into their home.

Date galore and introduce when you like but moving them in and forcing blended family situations too soon is imo bad for all DC concerned.

I loved being spontaneous romantically before DD but her safety and security is paramount so I have to exercise more caution.

TheFormidableMrsC Mon 11-Mar-19 00:16:09

I'm in a similar position to you OP. In my sixth year single, DS has just turned 8. Ex sees him once a fortnight for a few hours and a couple of hours midweek (court ordered). It's bloody difficult. While I have lots of lovely friends, many are also single mums and have commitments of their own so I am always reluctant to ask for help. I have no family at all nearby unfortunately. I have managed to date here and there but nobody has really held my interest. However, I do have a FWB and have done for four years now. That works brilliantly for both of us and we tend to spend our days together when DS is with his father. I really sympathise, as much as I'd like to throw myself into the dating scene, it's just not possible. I can't do anything spontaneously, I can't go away for the weekend etc etc. Everybody says "your time will come", well yes, it will, but I am 50 this year and I'll be 60 when DS is 18 so I am not sure I want to hang around until then! I think it's perfectly possible to be single and happy, but it's also perfectly OK to want adult company and sex. I think you should give yourself a break and give it a go. There is nothing to feel guilty about! Good luck flowers

Chocolatecoffeeaddict Mon 11-Mar-19 08:13:33

I dated as a single mum of three, however, I always made sure the people I met I felt a bit of a connection with and had chatted for a few weeks. I didn't have time to be meeting lots of randoms so I was more selective.
I met someone and within 3 months we we having my fourth child, living together after 8 months. We're now happily married and him and my youngest child have completed my family. It was the right thing for us.

Sirzy Mon 11-Mar-19 08:19:15

I think as a single parent it is vital to try to find a way to have time for you (easier said than done I know) whether that is dating or not is up to you.

I was single for the first 7 years of ds life, and happily so. I have been in a relationship for 2 years now and we have taken it slowly because of children but it’s workinh well and everyone involved is happy

ShatnersWig Mon 11-Mar-19 08:21:44

It just seems so very hard and, frankly impossible to date as a single parent when you dont have much child care help

I don't know any single mothers who haven't managed not only to date but find a second partner.

However, I do know many single people without kids who've been single for 9 years and 11 years. So, what do the stats tell you?

ShabbyAbby Mon 11-Mar-19 08:39:35

I don't think you need to wait a fixed amount of time but don't do it straight away either, get to know them a bit first. For some that might take a few weeks, others it might take months or even a year. But that's at your discretion. If I didn't trust someone to meet my DCs after 3 or 4 months I never would.

Bobbycat121 Mon 11-Mar-19 09:31:51

I dont think I am ready to date. I guess I was just enjoying my new crush which I havent had in many years, the excitement and butterflies when you see someone. But my ex has really messed me up and im definitely not ready. It Was just nice to feel attracted to someone again and at 30 I feel like I should have met someone by now. Why do men find it so much easier? my ex didnt waste any time at all.

Theshortone Mon 11-Mar-19 10:17:07

Not in the exact same position, but my oh died when I was 25 weeks pregnant. I decided i could never move on and had no desire to even look again. I did end up meeting someone (too soon, dd was 6m) and I knew id end it. I went back to not being interested at all. Its funny what life throws at you though. My dd was a year and a half when I literally bumped into someone when I was out with my friends and now we have our own dd and are engaged. My first dd is now 6 and a half.

I waited a few months before I let him meet my dd. He is amazing with her and she actually chose to call him daddy. She knows about her real dad 'on the moon' too. Im very lucky i had my parents to help with babysitting.

Dont let anyone tell you how long to wait and do only what makes you comfortable. Any decent man will understand your position. You can and will move on when you are ready.

Bobbycat121 Mon 11-Mar-19 10:40:36

That sounds like the right way to go about it Theshortone if I meet someone, I meet someone. I dont think im going to go looking for it and it normally happens when you stop looking!

JacquesHammer Mon 11-Mar-19 10:46:18

Just remember to do it for the right reasons Bobbycat.

If you want to date because you want to, then that's great - but similarly if you choose to remain single then that's equally as valid.

I think there's so much societal pressure that the "correct" state is to be part of a couple that it can be hard to go against that.

Good luck with whatever you decide!

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