Friday, October 26, 2007

Dating as a Single Parent (Article)

Dating as a single parent is a really big deal. There are so many factors to consider. Internet dating has become popular, but is it safe? Between work and family responsibilities, finding time to meet eligible people can be a daunting task. In that case, a lot of people have found matchmaking websites quite valuable. It allows them the ability to screen potential suitors without having to leave their home. If you’re considering Internet dating, I recommend the following:

• Don’t give the potential suitor your home address – Meet him at a public place such as a restaurant. Your home is your sanctuary and should be a place of refuge for you and your children.
• Don’t give out your home telephone number, use your cell phone instead – In the event the relationship sours, you don’t have to worry about someone blowing up your home phone, and disrupting the lives of you and your children. Besides, you can always turn the ringer off your cell phone.
• Don’t let him know the location of your job – Never ever bring trouble to your place of business. If the relationship ends, you don’t want him possibly showing up at your job, causing a scene and embarrassing you.
• Don’t give him your office telephone number – Once again, use your cell phone. You don’t want to take a chance of someone harassing you on your job.
• Always tell someone that you trust where you’re going. Whenever you go out on a date, make sure someone knows where you’re going, whom you’re going with, and when to expect you to return.

When Should I Let Him Meet my Children?

Single parents are often faced with the gut wrenching decision of when to allow a suitor to meet their children. As a rule of thumb, your children should not meet anyone that you’re not seriously considering marrying.

First of all, children are impressionable. You don’t want them to become attached to someone that you’re dating only to have them disappointed when things don’t work out. As a parent, your top priority is your children. Everything you do and every decision you make you should have your children’s best interest at heart.

Secondly, what are the signs that the relationship has progressed to a level where you feel comfortable enough to let your children meet the man you’re involved with? Just because he asked you if he could meet your children is not reason enough. You need to do your homework and be as certain as you can be that this is the right thing to do for all parties concerned.

If you’re in a relationship filled with drama, don’t bring that around your children. What do I mean by drama? Did you think your relationship was monogamous, and you found out that he was cheating on you? Drama. Is he married? Drama. Does he have a substance abuse problem? Drama. Has he told you that he has a problem dating women with children? Drama. Is he emotionally or physically abusive towards you? Drama. You get the jest of what I’m saying. Your children didn’t ask to be born; therefore, it’s your responsibility to protect them. Don’t knowingly bring drama into the lives of your children.

Single parents have to be very selective about who they bring around their children. If you’re dating a nice guy and you want to take it to the next level, consider the following:

• Is he reliable? Does he do what he says he’s going to do? If you can’t depend on him to keep his word, then you don’t need to introduce your children to a flake.
• Is he impatient or short tempered? If so, he may lose his cool and become violent with your children?
• Do you trust him? Trust is a big deal. Can you trust him not to harm your children?
• Does he have any children of his own? If so, does he have custody? If not, is he active in their lives? Does he pay child support? If he has never been married and has multiple “baby mommas,” most likely he wouldn’t have any problem getting you pregnant and not marrying you either. And if he’s a deadbeat dad, you need to run and not walk to the nearest exit.
• Does he like children? Not all men like or want children. If a man can’t accept your children, then he doesn’t need to be with you. You’re a part of a package. It’s all or nothing.

Another thing, before you introduce your beau to your children, have a long discussion with him and find out his intentions. You need to know how he feels about you. Is he in love with you? Are the two of you working towards marriage? How does he feel about dating a woman with children? If he has children, does he want any more? If he doesn’t have children, is it important to him to have biological children of his own? You need to know all of this and more before involving your children in your love life.

The Decision Whether or Not to Have Sex

We all know what the Bible states about sex outside of marriage. It tells us not to fornicate or commit adultery. Sins of the flesh are particularly grievous to God because they are the most personal – they involve our bodies, our temples.

It is my heart’s desire that single parents would get their spiritual life together. Being single is a great time to become closer to God. As a parent, it’s our obligation to our children to pray from them. Our prayers for our children are stored in the storehouse of God. And because of our prayers, tithing and acts of kindness, our children receive favor from God.

Sin clouds our judgment and hinders our prayers. While you’re single I would encourage you to become involved in your local church and volunteer in your community. It’s a great opportunity to do the Lord’s work and meet interesting people in the process.

As you grow in your spiritual walk, you will find yourself convicted by the Holy Spirit every time you sin. Spiritual growth is a process, and regardless of where you are in your spiritual journey, we all have areas of our lives that need work. If we were perfect we wouldn’t need God. With that said, if you find that you’re unable or unwilling to abstain from sex until marriage, here are a few points to consider.

• Don’t sleep around. Promiscuity is immature and irresponsible. You’re a parent now, act like it.
• Practice safe sex. Never have sex without a condom. Even though condoms are not 100% effective (only abstinence is 100% effective), using some protection is better than none at all. There are so many sexually transmitted diseases that it’ll make your head spin. Don’t get caught out there and don’t be deceived. Some diseases are not curable, some cause birth defects, and others can make you sterile.
• Don’t bring your partner to your house. Go to a hotel or to his house. If that’s not possible, wait until your children are asleep before you entertain company. And he should be gone before your children get up in the morning.

Copywritten by Dwan Abrams

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