Whether you're six months post-divorce or six years, there is no "right" time to start dating. If you're dying to get out of the house, call your girlfriends for a night out. If you're looking to get your heart pounding, try some cardio."Perhaps a better question than when is why," says Christine Baumgartner, relationship coach at The Perfect Catch. Expecting dating to fulfill all your needs is unrealistic and might attract (or cause you to accept) people who aren't right for you.And Baumgartner says that single parents need to consider that this may be true."I tell clients that having some time for 'just themselves' is important," she says.Since hitting the bars is out, start by "dating" for friends, Baumgartner suggests.Look for people who like to do the same things as you do. They offer a casual group setting and regularly scheduled meet-ups, and allow you to do something while you're getting to know the other person."It's important to engage your village, friends, family who can support you with time-sharing and babysitting," Zane says.Parents who have a shared custody agreement may have evenings without the kids that they can use to schedule dates. You fill out a profile and it matches you with other like-minded mothers in your area." A potential friend and someone to swap babysitting with? Dating has changed since you were single, and so have you.
How much should you tell your kids -- or the cutie across the table?
For the timid or busy, it's a great way to get used to the idea of looking for love without the pressure.
Whether you're looking for a fling, a ring, or something in between, remember that dating is part of the journey, not a means to an end, Zane says.
No matter what the age of the child, avoid a detailed account of why you broke up.
Your kids deserve an explanation, but shouldn't be your confidants."This is big nay for me when children are in the house," Zane says.
"In my coaching practice, I suggest that single moms do the inside work to get really clear about their wants, needs, values and beliefs and get in touch with their intuition," says Kerri Zane, single-mom lifestyle expert and author of It Takes All 5: A Single Mom's Guide to Finding the Real One.