There’s a pretty common phrase that goes something like this: “If it’s important to you, you’ll make time for it.” Well for the purpose of this article, let me add another one: “Perspective is something gained from experience or appreciation.” Roll these two phrases together and you have the gist of how I’ll highlight the answer to the age old question, “How does one make time for dating as a single parent?” Let’s put this into digestible chunks.
Chunk 1: You must be sure you’re ready to date, emotionally. And this cannot be tied to your desire to have an outlet for the stress induced by work and being a single parent. You must want a genuine connection with someone. Otherwise, you will fill holes as they come up in your schedule and that will be obvious to a partner that wants more or a partner that’s just fine with filling holes. Pun and truth intended. Either way, the outcome will be that you’re frustrated due to a lack of connection or settling for a strictly physical connection which could just as easily become your default go-to.
Chunk 2: Once you’ve decided you are ready to date, emotionally, and it’s something important for you, you must understand that such an important insert into your life should play just as important a role as work and child. Let me say that again! Your dating life should be on the same level as your work and your child. Otherwise, you will find yourself having an important goal of getting into a relationship without carving out the time and emotional attention needed to thrive in one. And did I mention your dating life should be on the same level as your work and child?
[Don’t throw something at me just yet. Read on!]
Chunk 3: Perspective is something gained from experience or appreciation. Translation here: your partner may not understand your commitments to work and child from experience, but they better appreciate the commitment and time you’re putting into it. They will have said appreciation if they are aware of your emotional ties, your stresses at times and the conflicts that can arrive with juggling it all. And, they will have said appreciation, as opposed to resentment, if they feel your commitment to the relationship is strong and not second or third fiddle.
Chunk 4: It is about you too! When your default is that nothing is more important than work and child, you tend to focus solely on those and, without even realizing it, completely abandoning a relationship, often settling for flings to meet physical needs, and, in some cases, resenting your child for it.
Chunk 5: Your child can shine in your life even when they are not constantly on the pedestal. Here are the facts.
- There is nothing wrong with saying you need companionship and intellectual and emotional intimacy in your life.
- Your child wants you to be happy.
- How you balance those facts with conversation and messaging with your child has to be deliberate and constant.
Chunk 6: So how does one blend all of this together in a practical sense? Have the same perspective and appreciation for a partners desire to see you and communicate with you, as you are asking them to have of your plight as a single parent. Single parents can sometimes have the default position that either someone understands they’re third and fourth fiddle or they can take a hike. The danger in this perspective is that said parents can, by extension of that, refuse to alter their life style to accommodate because, well, they don’t have to. If you put the three (work, child, dating) on the same level, and look at things from the partner’s perspective too, you will find yourself being more creative with how you work the schedule and more focused on how you fill your alone time.
- Plan out your weeks. Simply put, set aside the time for dating, regardless of whether you’re with someone or not. You should know, to a certain degree, what your work schedule is, and the times you have your child. Pushing those aside, mark the rest of that time to go out with friends or date. Going out with friends of course, being a means to sharing time with people you care about while opening up possibilities of meeting someone. Don’t, as some single parents do, fill that time with nothing but gym time or errands or Netflix night. You have to make the connection in your mind that this is social time and let the natural flow of socializing and meeting occur. Otherwise, you will have a routine that is not conducive to dating and you will begin making these things your pillars.
- Have the conversations with your child and make the connection behind your happiness and relationships a constant part of your dialogue. What normally happens when this occurs is the child getting excited for you and wanting to help you.
- Find friends and babysitters you trust! This should actually be something you do regardless of whether you’re in a relationship or not. Have them on reserve. Interview them early. Don’t seek to find in the moment or you will decline a date because you don’t have one or you will rush finding one and worry all night about getting home.
Enough reading. It’s time to find someone who will talk to you, hug you or hold you. Now go get ’em!
- 8 Reasons Men Find Some Women Undateable
- Love The Second Time Around: Stepping Outside Of Your Comfort Zone
- Doing These 7 Things Will Mean a Lot To Your New Guy
- 8 Ways To Know Whether You Are Dating A Good Guy Or A Bad Guy
Fred Campos says
excellent post and I think you have covered the major points. If you single, and you have a regular weekend schedule from which you don’t have kids, that would be a great time to plan dates.
For the longest time, I only dated when I didn’t have my daughter. I scheduled around my crazy buzy life. 🙂
Hang in there, there is relationship after divorce.