Single Parents and Dating

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Dating as a single parent is vastly different from dating as someone who has never been married and who has no kids. Ron Deal, author of Dating and the Single Parent and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, shares advice for single parents to consider as they begin to think about entering into a dating relationship.

Ron gave four principles for approaching dating as a single parent:
  1. Slow Down
    •  A quick marriage is a hotbed for anger
    •  Don't just date a person, date the family
  2. Realize You Can Stay Single
    Many single parents feel pressure to move into relationship
    •  It is easier on your children if you stay single while your kids are young
  3. Move Forward
    Ask kids "what if" questions
    •  "What if mom started dating again?" and "What would you think if I was serious with this person?"
  4. Discuss Parenting Values
    Let values on parenting be just as important as a romantic attraction
    •  It is not just about couple-ness, but family-ness 

Ron encouraged a slowing of the pace for relationships involving a single parent. As a single parent, have you felt a tendency to rush into a relationship? What feelings/desires do you think contribute to this rush (loneliness, lack of security, finances, etc.)?
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Have you experienced pressure to move into a relationship? Is this pressure external (from friends/family members), internal (personal motivations), or both?
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What does your church community offer as support for single parents? Who can you go to in order to find out? What hesitancy do you have about placing dependence on other members of your church family?
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Have you had the opportunity to speak with your children about your intentions to start dating? How did that go? How can you be intentional about communicating with your kids, so that they feel like an active part of the dating process?
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Describe your parenting values. What would you consider are some of your parenting non-negotiables? At what point in a relationship are you comfortable talking about parenting values? Are you willing to end a relationship if your values do not align?
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Have you spoken with a pastor or minister at your church about dating as a single parent? If so, what advice did they have for you? If not, what reservations do you have about seeking counsel from them?
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As you consider entering into a relationship as a single parent, think through your motivations. There is a very real possibility that it best serves your family for you to remain single, at least for a season. If and when you do begin the dating process, recognize that, as Ron said, due diligence on the front end makes life easier after the wedding.

For more information you can find Dating and the Single Parent by Ron Deal HERE.