Though the prospect of dating after a divorce while simultaneously raising children may certainly seem like they go together like oil and water, rapidly changing societal demographics and norms are making it easier on all parties involved. A single parent’s daily itinerary is undoubtedly filled with school, homework, and extra-curricular activities, not to speak of managing his or her way through the tough economy. But out of the wonderful and chaotic life of being a single parent can unexpectedly come to dating life, and possibly more.
Dating can be a daunting prospect even without the demands of raising children. And though, at first, it may seem that your dating outlook as a single parent is limited, it actually can be refreshingly straightforward and refined. Nara Schoenberg of the Chicago Tribune (Feb. 7, 2009) recently tackled this subject in her article, “Dating…with children, An increase in single parents means less stigma, more confidence, experts say.” Schoenberg described the changing tide, “While single parents once battled the stigma of ‘broken’ homes and ‘failed’ marriages, and their children were cast in the unenviable role of ‘baggage’ that no worthy suitor would want to undertake, attitudes have changed profoundly in the last two decades, parents and experts say.”
The major change is quite simply the sheer magnitude of the number of single parents in society today. The Tribune article detailed some of these numbers, “There are 12 million single parents living with children younger than 18 in the U.S., according to 2007 Census Bureau figures, a whopping 200 percent increase over 1970, when there were 4 million.” Times have certainly changed, and divorce today in no way, shape, or form carries the stigma that it did in your parent’s era, and the numbers reflect as such.
Further, there are benefits in the straight forward nature of being a single parent as it pertains to dating. Your children are unequivocally the most important part of your life and there is no debating that subject. Any prospective suitor that has a problem with that aspect of your life is quickly and happily shown the door. Schoenberg wrote, “single parents say there are plusses to dating with children, among them that it does tend to weed out the jerks and prima donnas pretty quickly.” This transparent aspect to dating can be refreshing, as a single parent quoted in the article said: “To some extent, I’ve only got room for one princess in my life,” and though that was spoken tongue-in-cheek in relation to his daughter, the vein of thought is certain: my children come first.
The large number of single parents looking to date has spawned a network of support groups, both online and elsewhere. The Tribune also reported that “single parents are turning to online dating services, with Match.com reporting that fully 47 percent of its U.S. members have kids… Single parents are coming out of the woodwork and are no longer ashamed of their status,’ says Morgan Siler, 29, co-founder of iheartsingleparents.com, which went online a year ago and gets200,000 page views a month.”
Single parents should avoid letting antiquated images and societal norms affect their psyche as it pertains to dating. Dating today as a single parent is easier than you might think and has the added benefits of openness and transparency that might elude other potential relationships.