“Damn baby, that was good.” My new man lay back on the bed comfortable, as if he were staying. “Yes, it was”, I replied as I quickly pulled on an oversized sweatshirt and slide into my house shoes, “but it’s time for you to go. Quickly. Quietly.” “Well wait, can’t I get a drink of water? Use the bathroom? What’s up?” he asked. “The bathroom is by my kid’s room, you gotta go. Denny’s down the street. Water there is free.”
That was harsh, but what’s a single mom to do when a relationship has moved into romantic territory? Four factors cause conflict with a new boo when you’re dating with children. Here they are with tips to work around it!
Time: There is Already Never Enough
When you are holding things down, you barely have time to spend with your kids as it is. By the time you get off work, run your errands, pick up the kids, there is only time for a drive thru dinner, homework check, bath and bed. You barely have time to do something for yourself, like watch the shows you DVR’d, before falling asleep on the couch still in your makeup.
Attention: You Only Have So Much to Give
The only person worse at wanting attention than children is a man! Suddenly everyone is in competition for you! On the weekends your kids were once busy with practices, video games and their phones, but let them see you preparing for a date. Suddenly they need time with mom! They want you to go with them to the latest movie, suddenly crave your signature dishes and want to chill on the couch with you and watch Netflix. All of this is wonderful—this is what makes it all worthwhile! Bonds are being built; memories are being made—but coincidently, hmmm, right when you meet someone you want to get to know. And good luck finding a new man who understands you may easily have to cancel.
Space: A Space of Your Own to Share with your Man
Intimacy is built in more than just the bedroom. It is built cuddling on the couch, sitting up in the middle of the night with drinks and a deck of cards, cooking together , taking a shower together, long talks into the night …just to name a few. But where and when to do these things?
Introductions: When it’s Time to Connect Your Two Worlds
Let’s say you get all of this to work. Things are going smoothly at home, the kids have gotten used to seeing you go out but they are curious about him. This is touchy. The kids could hate him, run him off. Or worse, they like him, accept him and it doesn’t work out.
Steps to Avoid These Conflicts
When looking for a potential dating partner make sure they have some common interests, so it is possible to spend time together doing things you already do. If you like to work out, start meeting at the gym or run at the park together. If you eat lunch outside your office, have him meet you, maybe take a half day and go to a movie.
Take advantage of modern technology. You can still frequently entertain one another inboxing, texting , Skype or even sexting, if you’re cool with that. While you may not have time to go out after work, you can still put a little time in with him after the kids are asleep, you are relaxed and the commercials are on during Empire.
Choose your potential partner wisely, because you are choosing someone that could at some point become involved with your family. A man who has a good character, confident , secure, independent, has his own hobbies and interests and is strong enough to handle plans getting canceled because your daughter has a fever. Plus, if things ultimately don’t work out, he is less likely to start blowing up your phone and going into stalker mode.
Take advantage of the father’s weekends and visits to grandmas. If you don’t have support like that turn to your other single mom friends, work out a deal so you can all switch off for free nights.
Talk to your children. The more the lines of communication are open with them, the more you can work with them to face a crisis, make decisions and help them to not just tolerate your need to go out and do you from time to time, but support it.
By Stephanie Hodgson