For many, Singles Dating is a whirlwind of ups and downs, excitement and disappointment. We go out, we meet a great person, we get excited about the potential, we find out they really aren’t what we’re looking for, and we do it all over again. It is a self-perpetuating cycle that can be exhausting and depressing, but it doesn’t need to be. If we can put it all into perspective, and control our expectations, being single can be rewarding, fulfilling, and fun, just as it should be.
Unfortunately, one group of singles has a little harder road to travel. Single parents not only have to deal with the time constraints of parenting – which makes meeting people difficult, and building relationships even more difficult – there are often financial strains and a constant battery of needs being thrown at them. If you’re a singles dating parent, it is very important to figure out a way to focus some of your energy on your own growth and future. Parents who are singles dating must carry more weight and responsibility, but that doesn’t mean life is over. The first step is the same – what do you want?
To make it easier to manage, think of it this way: People who are singles dating have three choices:
1. Focus completely on self-development and survival and not date at all.
2. Enjoy short-term interactions and “play the field” until the desire to settle down emerges.
3. Actively look for a long-term partner.
Unfortunately, most of us live our lives in the grey areas between the choices, because we are not deliberate in how we live our lives. Too often, single people simply “go with the flow” of their dating lives. This approach disengages us from what we really want; it disallows us from having a say in the direction our lives take, so the first game of “Relationship Roulette” most of us play is with ourselves. In order to be satisfied with our personal lives, we need to be honest with ourselves about what we want. You have to be able to say,”I’m fed up with singles dating and I’m ready to work at having a real relationship”, or “I’m not at all interested in being committed to anyone”.
Once we are honest with ourselves, and a deliberate choice is made, we can embark on living that choice. For those who are not interested in a relationship, it’s important to make sure that the people we engage with understand our position. It is also very important that the decision to remain un-attached is deliberate, or the outcome is ultimately disappointment and failure.
When the decision to actively search for a long-term partner is made, it is best to invest some thought into what we really want.
• What qualities are important to you?
• What kind of lifestyle do you want to lead with your partner?
• How much emotional energy are you willing to put into a relationship?
• Are you looking for a long-term light and fun relationship where each of you continues single dating while managing your own lives independently, or are you looking for someone you can move in with and eventually marry?
• As a singles dating parent, think about how much contact you want your partner to have with your kids.
Be deliberate. Think about your ideal situation; visualize and fantasize about what the perfect day, week, month, and year would look like for you. Think about the qualities that are important to you:
• What type of education level and employment?
• Do you prefer a homebody or someone who is very active?
• What kinds of activities are important to you?
• Is religious belief and/or activity important?
• Do you want someone who will be actively involved in helping you with your children?
Only when we clearly understand what we want, can we actively pursue it, so make an honest list. Use that list as a guide; chose places that are more likely to attract the type of people you want to meet, and ask questions that will help you learn if the people you interact with will meet your standards.