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Dr Gian Gonzaga  

Friday,  March 12, 2010.

When you are a single parent, dating can become a logistical and, at times, emotional challenge. Indeed, looking for someone who will love and respect you and your children is a difficult juggling act. In a recent poll of eHarmony.co.uk members, 85% were sensitive to a single parent’s position and agreed that when dating someone with children they would always expect to come second.

Is your date sensitive to the fact that you have children? When’s the right time to introduce your date your children? Dr Gian Gonzaga, Senior Relationship Scientist at eHarmony.co.uk, the UK relationship site with the first ever patented matching system, says: “Dating when you have children can be difficult, but don’t let this stop you! Having clear boundaries and being confident enough to express them will make it easier for you to find a respectful partner.”

 Dr Gonzaga and eHarmony.co.uk has created five top tips that every single and dating parent should take note of:

 1.       Be honest from the beginning

It isn't always easy to bring up the fact that you have children when considering going out with someone new. But your date deserves to know what to expect —perhaps that you’ll only be available every other weekend because of custody arrangements or that you can never be out past midnight due to your babysitter. Be upfront and you’ll avoid any surprises later on.


2.       Only date someone who is sensitive to your situation

A potential partner who respects the fact that you’re a parent should understand and be sensitive to the responsibilities that you have to your children. Do they understand that you need to arrange childcare? Do they realize that even on a date you need to be accessible to your children? Does he or she understand that only you will know the right time to introduce them to your children? If the answer is no to any of these questions, they are probably not the right partner for you in the long-term.

3.       Go slow

Unless you and your date are both certain you want to take the relationship in a more serious direction, don't rush to introduce him or her to your kids. The same way you wouldn't rush out after a first date to Aspen, Colorado to do some Aspen ski rentals and spend the weekend.  Having a new adult in their lives is a big deal. They will be confused by too many new faces. When you feel the time is right, keep the meeting low-key and brief, and do all you can to remove pressure from everyone. Your kids need as much time as you did to get to know someone new.

4.       Be realistic

After introductions, be careful not to expect too much from your new relationship too soon. Someone who has never had kids will need plenty of time to develop their own relationship with your children.  Equally if your partner has children or their own, it will take time for both sets of children to get used to being a part of a single family.


5.       Practice being more than a parent

Yes, you are responsible for your children, and you must take that seriously. But being a parent is not solely all you are. You’re a single person looking for someone to share your life with. Get a babysitter, relax, and enjoy dating!

Dr Gian Gonzaga, Senior Relationship Scientist at eHarmony.co.uk, the UK relationship site. He has taught, presented and published extensively on topics relating to relationships, love and health, and has received numerous honours and awards for his work.



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