Written by: Steven Petter
Dating or daunting?
So you’re back out on the dating scene, you’ve ironed your best shirt and drenched yourself in Brut, time for the lucky ladies of the world to fall mercilessly at your feet, mesmerised by your dad dancing and enthralled by your witty repartee. Joking aside though, going out dating is stressful enough but then you have to worry about who is going to look after the kids, feeling guilty about leaving them to go out, what happened if you do meet someone, it can all become too stressful. Fear not though seeker of love and affection, single dads dating can be fun, and children are far better at adapting to new life changes than we are so go out there, enjoy yourself and live a little.
The first big hurdle once you have arranged a babysitter is trying to sound interesting, difficult enough at the best of times, now I’m assuming here that you’ve already found the lucky lady, either through work, in a bar, or through a dating website and tonight is the first real date. Dinner and a few drinks which will inevitably involve some conversation, well lets hope so anyway, if not then it may be time to get that pretend phone call and exit stage left, the chat will be the ice breaker so be aware that if you’ve just spent the last five years working and bringing up a couple of children on your own, you may be lacking in the stimulating conversation department.
Before you go, remind yourself what you’re into, what films do you like, what music do you listen to, what are you plans for the future,all interesting stuff that will avoid the pit fall of talking bout nothing but your children, that said, make sure you do talk about them. More importantly ask questions, show interest, pay compliments and above all just be genuine, my limited knowledge of women is enough to know that on the whole they can see through an act straight away.
Introducing a new partner to the children
So, you’ve won the ladies heart, well done, you’ve had a few successful dates and things are going well, here comes the next big hurdle, introducing her to your children. This will be trickier as the children get older, if you have just the one five year old then don’t expect too much resistance, however if you have a couple of teenagers then be prepared to do some work. In the first instance introduce your ‘friend’ to the kids on neutral ground, the park is a good one, all meet up there, introduce your new lady as ‘your friend’ and play some games.
Do this a few times and then if that goes well you can bring them over for dinner, sitting down with a meal has formed bonds for thousands of years, encourage the kids to ask questions and make sure the whole experience is fun. At the end of the day, you know your children, they may be very accepting of someone new in your life and be happy just to have a new friend to play with, or they may not, it depends on a multiple of variants which only you can control so the last and most important stage is talk to your kids. Talking will help you to realise any secret misgivings they may have and give you the opportunity to settle them.
Be honest with the kids
Being open and honest with your kids is the most important rule when introducing a new partner, explaining to them that the two of you are very good friends and that it’s nice for you to have adult company will guide them toward understanding, remind them of course that they are the most important people in the world to you, and of course bribe them with ice cream. The whole experience needs to be positive for them, there can be no negative input or they will find it hard to cope, finding someone who is compatible with both you and your children can be a nightmare but if you follow these guidelines then it should go well.
What if things don’t go to plan?
The big question is, what if it doesn’t work? Problems can arise from anywhere, clashing personalities, a jealous ex wife, conflicting schedules. Really, anything could stop it working, and sometimes it just won’t work, be honest with yourself but don’t let your children dictate the terms of your relationship, you have needs too. Where ever possible talk to their mother about it, this may be very daunting but having her support will save you some heartache. Don’t be afraid to try and find love if you think no one will take a man with children, they will, and children are very clever, they understand more than we give them credit for sometimes, be open and honest with everyone, especially yourself and most importantly have a good time.