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When asked what she wishes her mom would do differently while dating, Rachel, a smart young graduate student, replied, “I wish she would recognize her own impulsivity and emotional rollercoaster.
Breaking the two families into parts can be helpful initially. Liking a parent’s dating partner sometimes creates a loyalty problem for kids: They don’t know how to embrace everyone and not hurt feelings (especially the other biological parent). You may know how to drive a car, but driving in snow and icy conditions requires a different knowledge and skill set.
Eventually, though, assuming your dating relationship continues to deepen, you’ll want to get everyone together for a shared activity. Because they are caught in a loyalty conflict, children sometimes warm up nicely to the person you are dating and then turn cold. Nearly all blended families have inclement weather to manage as they drive (especially in the first few years), so adopt the attitude of a learner. For 41 years, Family Life has reached millions of people with practical and biblical help for their parenting journey through articles like the one you just read, and thousands of other resources like it.
Below, I share some key points of counsel for the dating single parent, as well as guidelines for when the relationship may need to be put on hold.Tread lightly at first and continue to monitor and process everyone’s fears or concerns. Since you can’t judge lasting love by physical accoutrements or initial biochemical attractions, you need an objective measure of the qualities, attributes, and character of the person you are looking for.If the other person has children as well, it might be wise to orchestrate early get-togethers with just one set of children. But you also need—and here’s where single parents fall short—a silhouette of the type of family you are hoping to create.Attending to the needs of children during dating is primarily about being aware that the children have already gone through a significant loss.Perhaps a parent has died, or maybe the child’s family has “died” because of divorce.
The choice to be with the dating partner or children generally means the other is left waiting … Even before dating, single parents begin a series of conversations with their children that ask, “What if I began dating? ” Periodically, they engage the conversation again and again: “What if Sara and I began dating regularly?