These are my 4 top do’s and dont’s for single parents who are dating again:

1.My golden rule is don’t introduce your child too early.

Children form attachments so much faster than adults, again this applies more so to younger children. Introducing your child to a potential partner (and of course, referring to them as that) before you’re even sure if it will work is bound to end in disaster. If this is the first person you’re dating since the breakdown of your relationship with your child’s mother or father, it’s possible that this is still your rebound. Rebounds don’t always happen days or weeks after a break up, they often happen months or even years so just be careful. Start by introducing them as a friend if you want them involved in family activities and once you are both sure it’s going to work out, then slowly allow your child to accept that this person is here to stay.

2. Have a good long think about the sort of person you feel would be good for you and your child.

Taking myself as an example.. I have a history of dating guys who would be no good as a father figure. They either behave as a child themselves or they’re only interested in a trophy. You need someone who will lighten the load, will be happy to be hands on (not straight away of course) and of course in the long run, love your child as part of their family. My best friend and sister have got incredibly lucky from here, and the guys they are now dating since being single mothers are completely different to the sort of person they have dated in the past. They definitely give me hope that I can change in the kind of men I’m attracted to!

3. After a while do do do include them as part of the family.

There is nothing worse than keeping your family life with your children and your partner as two separate parts of your life. If you ultimately want your relationship to work out you have to be able to merge to two seamlessly. I know this makes me sound like a bit of a hypocrite because I have mentioned further up the article about not introducing a potential partner too soon, so this of course is the next step once the relationship is established. I have known single parents who have their children during the week but once the kids are away at their mothers/fathers they spend time with their new partner. This does not work. You can’t live two lives. When you find the right person it will be so easy for them to fit into your daily life. Then of course if you reach the stage of living together it won’t be a shock to your child when they suddenly appear in their house every morning or night.

4. Ultimately, your new partner has to be aware of your situation from the word go.

It has to be something you bring up in conversation if things do get serious. Dating someone who isn’t prepared of discussion a future with you once you attach the label of boyfriend or girlfriend probably isn’t right for you or your children. When you have a child you are always considering the future and this person needs to be comfortable to also do this with you. There are really no rules to dating any time of your life, but when a child is involved, you do have to be more considerate and careful. It’s one thing to cause yourself upset, but you must be more wary with your actions when you have a child, in every aspect of your life. That’s why I will never bungee jump!