Lessons I’m Learning On Dating While Parenting

Dating while parenting is hard, but like most hard things I have to believe it’s worth it. And before you ask::

• I am not pretending to be an expert as I write this. I’m just a mom…standing here trying to date, and thought I’d shared my perspective.
• Yes {I’m a believer}, I have prayed about it.
• Yes, I have tried online dating. And of course, I am not going to give up {that would defeat the purpose}.

Lessons Learned While Dating While ParentingWhat I Have Learned

Here are the lessons that I have learned, and that I’m still learning while I’m dating while parenting. Understand that this is my experience; I have no professional dating credentials, just a desire to meet my significant other.

The first steps of dating are about you—not necessarily your kids.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think you should hide the fact that you have kids. That should be made known up front. But I don’t think your suitor should profess that they have their “step-daddy license” on the first date {yes, that actually happened}. Introducing your kids to your significant other should be a mutual decision when you are sure the relationship is moving forward. For me, this means that he will meet my son when we are discussing marriage, when he has met my friends and family, and when I’m ready for him to be a consistent fixture in his life.

Online Dating is Hard- Very Hard. 

Online dating may work out for some—and I hold on to that glimmer of hope. But it’s still hard. Let me explain it to you this way. Imagine you go into a shoe store looking for running shoes. But when you walk in you see 75,000 shoes in your size and super cute. Now in reality, you only need one shoe, and you can only really afford 2 of the shoes—but you keep perusing thinking you’ll find something magical because you have so many shoes in front of you.

That’s what online dating feels like. People perceive that the pool is endless. So {prepare yourself}, when you send a guy a message, it might take 5 days for him to respond because he’s looking around and all of the options that have been presented. It doesn’t mean something is wrong with you, because at some point you might ‘shop around’ as well. Online dating makes people a product, and when you are presented with many options you often ‘shop around’, even when you know what you want.

Marriage is the Goal- For me.

Marriage is important to me because of my beliefs, and it is important to me because I am a life-long learner. I want to learn alongside someone who has similar beliefs as me. I want to share moments with someone who is invested in me {and my son}. For me that means marriage. I have to keep that in mind when I meet someone, because I know that’s not what everyone wants. I have to be very upfront about being in a long-term relationship because guys are often blunt about only wanting a physical relationship. While I respect that they are being honest, it is frustrating—but hey at least we can move on like adults before things hit the fan.

What I’d like to Share With My Friends

Now you might not be in the dating pool, but chances are you have a friend or two that is dating while parenting. Here’s some things to think about::

1. If you say to your friend It will happen when you are ready, your friend might hear, Something’s wrong with me and I have to keep improving so that I can be ready. Instead, what you might say is, Keep doing what you’re doing, I know it’s hard.
2. Don’t say God will bring them when you are through working on yourself. I checked- that’s not in the Bible {sometimes you are called to something before you are prepared—and you get prepared along the way}. What you might say is, Have faith, and keep doing what you’re doing I know it can be hard sometimes.
3. Don’t tell your friends to Enjoy single life because you have so much freedom. Because if single life is that much better than marriage, then why are you married? Honestly, there are positives in both singleness and marriage. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be married, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to stay single.

I don’t think marriage is easy, but I do still want it. I didn’t think being a parent, earning a degree, or teaching would be easy. And I took all of those challenges on head first—and I haven’t regretted them.


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