If you are a single parent you may be concerned about the effect of dating on your children and whether a new partner will accept them.
- Don't feel guilty. You have a right to a life of your own and you'll be happier and more able to care for your children if you are taking care of your own needs.
- Do not try and hide the fact that you have children, but do not talk about them constantly whilst on a date. Concentrate instead on getting to know all about your new partner.
- Build up your time re-dating and let your children get used to the idea, especially if you don't spend much time out socially at present. Answer any questions they have but do not go into intimate details or talk of new a new "mummy" or "daddy".
- Consider what type of relationship you are looking for. If you are not ready for a serious relationship and considering something more casual, keep it separate from your home life.
- Do not let your ex interfere. As long as your actions are not putting the welfare of your children at risk, you can do as you please now that you are single.
Introducing a New Partner to your Children
- Give your relationship a chance to mature and develop before introducing a partner to your children. You need to get to know each other as a couple first.
- Introduce your new partner gradually when you feel that the relationship is becoming more serious, and both of you are ready. The first time make it a quick introduction and build up towards spending a family day out together.
- Signs of affection such as holding hands or hugging are normal between couples, but take it slowly, as the children may feel uncomfortable seeing you with another partner to begin with. Keep any sexual intimacy or time in bed away from the children altogether.
- Be patient if your children react towards your new partner with hostility, they will need time to adjust and may not share your feelings towards them. They could feel that accepting them would be a betrayal of the absent parent and may have concerns that they will miss out on your attention. Make sure that they still spend plenty of time with your ex and that you spend time with them without your new partner being there all the time.
- If the situation does not improve talk through any concerns your children have. Make it clear that you have a right to your own life but that you still love them just as much.