To say this is tricky is a understatement. As parents our lives our not our own anymore. Through experiences, I have some advice to share.
First, set up your personal boundaries and expectations. Not just for you but for your child. These are not only going to help you pick and eliminate who is in your life but who could be in both of your lives.
Some men, especially the men without children, may not understand or respect what it takes to be a single parent. When you start dating, you should keep your dating life and home life separate. Yes I know, these potential boyfriends might not like your lack of spontaneity. Even men with children might be problematic because your parenting schedules may be opposite. This does not mean it won’t work. It will just take planning and flexibility.
I’m not here to preach or tell you what to do. I’ve just seen it first hand. My ex introduced a woman to our son after a month of dating. Naturally, my son became attached to his girlfriend and child. Then 4 months later, they were gone. It’s been two years and my son still asks about her and the promises she made him.
I am sure you already know this. Your child/children can still grow up to be happy, healthy and functioning adults, if they come from two homes as long as you provide them with a loving and consistent home life.
If you feel you need to bring a man into your child’s life because he is guilting you about not giving him enough time and attention, then he’s not the right man for you. As a parent, our child’s well being comes first. Not pleasing a man or because we are lonely.
I see people rush into relationships, and six months in it’s over. Think of it as a way to take things slow and enjoy the beginning stages of dating. Go back to the days of late night phone calls and flirting. Harness those feelings of excitement and anticipation that comes with having to wait a few days between seeing each other. Enjoy being someone’s girlfriend and being seen as a woman, not just “mom.”
When a man uses your child as a reason not to be with you, remind yourself of something. Your child is going to be a bonus for the man who gets to be with you. The right man will be patient and respect your responsibilities and priorities as a parent. The right man will also find this very attractive.
As women, we all have red flags, deal breakers and hard nos. Sometimes we bend some of those, right? Well, as mothers we can’t. So write yours down, and stick with them. Just have fun, be patient and you will find a great man to bring into your family.