Being a mom is challenging. Throwing “single” into the mix only increases the challenge. After a divorce, most womeon been focus on making the adjustiments needed to the “parenting” half of the title. But they don’t spent enough time addressing the “single woman” component of life after divorce.
The thought of re-entering the dating scene is scary and intimidating as can be. Here are five of the most common dating mistakes made by single moms, and the best ways to avoid them.
- Starting to date too quickly.
Rules about when to resume dating after a divorce aren’t set in stone. The circumstances surrounding divorces and even the state of marriages before the divorces both play roles in whether women are emotionally ready to start dating again or not.
Newly separated women should allow themselves at least year before dating. This gives them the opportunity to become accustomed to their singleness again. No matter their circumstances, women need time to reassess who they are and what they want out of their future relationships, to make sure they don’t jump back into a toxic or unhealthy relationship. They need to transition in a healthy way from being “we” to “me.”
How to avoid this: Women who are recently divorced should wait until they feel sufficiently adjusted to their separation, and until they feel genuinely satisfied with their independence before they bring someone new into their lives. Waiting ensures that they bring the new person into a situation that’s healthy and happy, rather than negative and broken.
If you decide not to follow this advice and choose rather to dive right back in to dating, the next-best thing to can do is to make sure you take things slowly.
- Putting off dating again for too long.
Conversely, returning to the dating scene will be easier if you don’t put it off for too long. Once you’ve fully recovered from your divorce, you should try “getting your feet wet” and give dating a try. Some women become too comfortable with their new single status, so their re-entry into dating becomes ore complex. Letting yourself get “set in your ways,” will make it more difficult to open yourself up to someone new to share your life with.
How to avoid this: Start out slowly. One time-efficient, effective and safe way to do this is to try online dating. You’ll be in control, and you’ll be able to set your own pace, and you’ll decide who’s the right one for you.
- Becoming exclusive in a relationship too quickly.
Dating coaches encourage their clients to “cast a wide net,” that is, to date more than one person before any discussion regarding exclusivity begins. Because divorced women are coming out of relationships that were long-term and monogamous, it’s common for them to feel that they can’t date multiple people at the same time.
But dating more than one person gives you a good way to compare and contrast, and to see who will be the best match for you. It will also give you the chance to date until you decide that you’re ready to make a commitment, without letting yourself become totally absorbed by the first guy you date.
How to avoid this: Monogamy should arise naturally and organically in a relationship. It shouldn’t be forced. Delaying exclusivity will give you the chance to see who will be a good match for you.
Bonus tip: don’t ever assume that you’re in a committed, exclusive relationship until you’ve explicitly and thoroughly discussed this with the person you’re dating.
- Being intimate too quickly.
This one’s a doozy.
Many people have a false notion that sex is just assumed to be part of dating. They think that adult men aren’t willing to wait to have sex. Or, perhaps it’s been quite a while since they’ve been sexually intimate, so they’re craving that connection. What people don’t always understand is that sexual intimacy will join them not only physically, but also emotionally, which will make it that much harder to end the relationship if things aren’t working out.
How to avoid this: Put off sexual intimacy until you’re certain that you’re ready for it. If you decide to make the emotional connection at the next level, don’t suspend your judgment. Anyone who’s a good match will be willing to wait until you’re ready. You don’t want to get stuck, again, in a bad relationship.
- Introducing children too quickly.
As a single mother, you want to find out if a prospective boyfriend will interact well with your kids. But deciding when to make the introductions can be tricky.
Introducing your kids too quickly can set everyone up for further heartbreak. It’s not only the couple who will be affected if the relationship comes to an end. The kids will, too. Savvy single mothers wait as long as they possibly can before they introduce their kids to a potential boyfriend.
A woman should make sure she understands her boyfriend’s style of interpersonal interactions based on the way he treats her, as well as the way he treats his own kids (if he has any). Reducing potential risks is preferable to rushing things. Once the introductions have been made, expectations are raised and there’s no going back.
How to avoid this: Patience is the best approach to deciding when to introduce the kids. Traditionally, men perceive the introduction of kids to be a major step in the relationship. Once you’ve discussed exclusivity and you’re both sure you have a similar vision for your relatihionship’s future, you can start making plans to introduce the kids.
Bonus tip: Don’t make the introductions around the holidays.