New to Bounty?
Re-entering the dating world when you're a single parent is scary. I mean, dating was never easy anyway, but when you have kids you enter into a whole new set of worries and stresses that you never had in your dating life before.
Things like, will your children like them? Will they like your children? Do they have their own kids? Is their parenting style different to yours? What will your children and their other parent think of the situation?
It's enough to make you want to hang up your dating shoes, turn your back on interaction with the opposite sex, and get a membership to your local sex shop instead! But don't lose heart. Dating is not impossible, it just kind of changes a bit.
"It's important to remember there's more than one relationship that has to blossom for it to work completely," says professional relationship coach, Rachael Wilson.
"There's not only you with your new partner, there's also your children with your new partner and the new partner with your children. This adds an extra layer of complication and some teething problems can come up while everyone gets to know each other and settles into the new way things are."
However, there are ways to help this new transition take place. "Talk to your children gently and honestly," she advises. "Let them know they have a say. Often being consulted instead of being told can go a long way to starting on the right foot."
Where to meet singles
But what about where to meet a potential date? I know of a couple of single parent friends who have met future dates in the car park of their child's daycare centre, but this is very rare, and risky too if it doesn't work out and you have to continue the daily niceties over the toddler room sign-in book.
"Join hobby or sports groups," Rachael suggests. "That way you're being social with people you have something in common with. And don't be afraid to meet people online, there are single parent support and social groups and then there are the online dating sites."
Once thought to be sleazy or just for one-night-stand hook-ups, online dating has become one of the most popular ways for people to meet. In fact, almost 10 percent of members on Adult Match Maker, Australia's largest adult dating site, are single parents. And with more than 1.9 million members all up, that's a lot of potential partners.
Their chat rooms are great ways to talk to people and get to know them and their forums are full of stories about positive experiences and real-life love stories. Max and Carlina for example, with 11 children between them, thought that meeting a new partner was virtually impossible. But, thanks to the chat room and the bonding over a recipe, are now engaged and planning their wedding.
For more relationship advice, including workshops and forums, head to rachwilson.com, and don't forget to try your luck online with one of the many dating sites available. You never know, you might meet the person of your dreams, or at least make a bunch of new friends.