The world of dating is daunting at the best of times, but if the internet was in its infancy and Nokia phones ruled the mobile world the last time you were dating, it is no doubt even more frightening to contemplate. Having a positive attitude and patience are essential before even contemplating getting back into dating, especially if you are juggling your responsibilities as a parent with looking for love.
How can you tell if you're even ready to step back into the search for a new love? Well here are four things to contemplate, and if you can be positive about each of them then you're in a good place mentally and emotionally to be considering dating again.
1. Are you over your past? It can be very tempting, especially if the divorce was messy, to pull away from humanity and stand in glorious isolation. This is only natural as a response to pain, but you are going to have to make some kind of peace with your past before you can successfully look for a new relationship. If you can recognise that one individual does not represent their entire gender, and can recognise and own your own mistakes along the way as well, then you're heading in the right direction for being able to start over again.
2. Have you had time to create a new life of your own? Post-divorce we all start to rediscover what we like and want, and this period of recharging and rediscovering who we are is one of the most important reasons to take a break between relationships. If you have moved from looking for someone to fill the void in your life to wanting someone to share the rich life you've made for yourself, then you're ready to start looking for a new partner.
3. Do you have the resources to date? By this we don't just mean money - though that helps with dining out and going to the movies - but also whether you have the mental reserves of energy and wit, the desire to dress up in nice clothing and the resilience to cope with the emotional rollercoasters of the dating scene. If you're feeling a bit thin on the ground in these areas then perhaps you need to keep recharging, but otherwise you're probably ready.
4. Are you still selfish about your time? As a single parent you're busy and run on tight schedules. Children take a lot of time and energy, one way or another, and you may feel that those private moments of sitting on the sofa eating popcorn, playing computer games or buying those new clothes are too precious to compromise for someone else. If you're still enjoying being single, then there's no shame in that and dating can wait - but at some point you're going to be weighing the balance of that against the excitement, fun and reward of a new partner. When you find yourself doing that, then you're ready to date.
Just remember that children tend to feel threatened by any changes to the status quo, and may feel that any new dates are a threat to them and the love that you have for them. Listen to your instincts as a parent in this respect, to minimize the upset and you won't go far wrong.
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