Sick of being on your own and keen to find love again? Here’s the guilt-free way to make it happen
You’ve done a day’s work, cooked the dinner, cleaned up, put your children to bed and now at last you can look forward to putting your feet up.
But all you have to look forward to is another night in. Alone.
Life as a single parent is exhausting. Sometimes it can feel like all you do is juggle work, childcare and school runs, and then, at the end of the day, there is no one to share it all with.
One in four families in the UK is now a single parent family, yet many people who have been through divorce or separation aren’t ready to be on their own forever.
They want to meet someone special. They want their happily ever after.
But how do you do this when you have children to consider — or if you feel guilty about moving on?
Dating coach, Jo Barnett, says: ‘Many single parents — mums in particular — worry or feel guilty about introducing someone new to their children, so often they’ll put off dating, using this guilt as an excuse.
‘But actually you need to overcome these things if you are ever going to meet anyone. Remember that when your children grow up and leave home, you’ll be alone, so it’s important
to make the effort to get out there again.’
Jo says the first step is to write a list: ‘Include what you want from a potential partner but also what you want for yourself. It’s important to keep track of your own goals too.’
Jo says another important step is letting go.
‘Before dating again, you need to move on from past relationships and let go of any anger. You don’t want to be going on dates with that past anger or upset with you,’
But what if you simply don’t have time to date again?
On a practical level, Jo concedes it can be very hard when you need to find someone to look after your children: ‘For childcare, get your ex involved. If he has them two nights a week, use those days to date again. If your ex doesn’t do this, get a babysitter or ask a friend to help you out. Then you need to get out there, but also join dating apps like Bumble or Happn — where you can “like” people you’ve actually crossed paths with.
‘Get out in the real world too. Join a club or do something you enjoy to meet other people.’
If you do manage to meet someone you like, what are the dos and don’ts? Should you put off telling your dream partner that you’re a single parent?
‘Don’t pretend you don’t have children,’ Jo says. ‘That’s a big no. You need to be honest from the start because you’ll be found out eventually.’
Another important thing, says Jo, is not to introduce a date to your children too soon.
She says: ‘For safety reasons and to feel confident about your children meeting a potential partner, I’d wait at least five dates before introducing them.
‘Don’t forget the relationship might not work out so you don’t want children to think this person is “the one” if it then doesn’t continue.
‘Introduce your date as a friend first. Don’t hold hands or be overly demonstrative in front of your children. Take it slowly and then, if your new date also has children, you can think about meeting up all together with his children and yours.’
You’ve every right to feel happy. And a happy parent usually means a happy child.