Dating as a single parent: Back to school means back to love

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There are approximately 14 million single parents in the United States.

There are approximately 14 million single parents in the United States. How and when do you get yourself back out there to date and find love again?

Bela Gandhi from the Smart Dating Academy joined ABC7 News at 11AM to explain why she thinks fall is a good time for dating.

Here are the do's and don'ts of single-parent dating:

DON'T

1) Don't wait until your kids are 'grown up' -- If the thought of dating makes you excited again, you are ready to get yourself out there. Realize that it will be different to date than it was when you didn't have kids. Realize that you are entitled to have a life -- and it doesn't matter what the people around you think. It just matters what you think.

2) Don't rule out other single parents! I have clients that are single parents that come into our practice thinking they shouldn't date someone with kids -- because they know how difficult it is just raising their own. That is a mistake. While there are many 'lids to your pot' - another single parent will 'get' you -- and understand the demands you have on your life, and how difficult it is to date with kids!

3) Get intimate with someone too soon. It's easy to feel like a teenager with raging hormones again -- but the bedroom is not a good place to start the relationship. Lust can be mistaken for love -- and you can get swept away in a relationship that is not right for you. Take it slow and steady -- and if your new guy isn't willing to take it at your pace, he is not the one for you. And, the right guy will go at your pace!

DO

1) Use Online Dating! Dating can be a big investment for single parents - so using online dating save time & money! You can use Match after the kids sleep, and vet people before you decide to go out with them. This avoids you having to go out to the bars multiple times per week - which almost no one wants to.

2) Wait to introduce someone to your kids until you're exclusive and have been dating for at least 3-6 months. Minimum. Kids can easily get attached to people, and if you aren't certain that this person is a keeper, don't risk bringing them into your kids' lives.

3) Expect resistance from your kids -- Your kids have had you all to themselves for a long time - and don't be surprised if they're resistant to you dating other people. Sit down and acknowledge their feelings -- and let them know that you like to spend time with your friends as well. Not dating of out guilt gets you nowhere but resentful.
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