As published on Huffington Post
Getting your mojo back after being married can be fun, frustrating, worrisome and confusing. Being excited with new prospects and your newfound freedom can cloud decisions and come across the wrong way, especially to men that are not in the same place as you.
Here are a few pitfalls that could shut down a potentially good relationship real quick.
I understand what it’s like to juggle children and a man in your life, but being aware of the pitfalls is a third of the battle, having an understanding suitor is another third, and you compromising is the final third.
Pitfall #1: As moms, we are really concerned with what our children will think of us dating and rightfully so, but everything in perspective, please.
Please remember you are the parent and you do not need to get your children’s approval; that is way too much power for a child! In conjunction with that, I see moms completely stressed out just trying to hide the fact they are dating from their children. This part of your life doesn’t need to be revealed to your kids in detail nor does it need to be clandestine. Is it natural for your children to want you only for them? Absolutely. Will they act out and make you feel guilty for dating? Absolutely. Should you give in and stay home? Absolutely not! Have an open conversation with them, let them see that you are a multidimensional woman and not just a mom, and set boundaries.
Pitfall #2: Please don’t compare — good, bad or indifferent.
Don’t compare everyone you date to your ex and don’t compare one date to another; let these guys stand on their own merit. Nothing will dampen your thoughts on your new guy quicker than comparison.
Pitfall #3: Ladies, no talking about your ex.
Of course, questions are going to be asked, but you don’t have to go into a story the length of war and peace. Let your ex stay in your past where he belongs. Don’t make this a date of three. And for heaven’s sake, get out of Mommy Mode. Yes, we all have children, but let’s not make the entire night about our kids, their accomplishments, and what they ate for breakfast. Your date will walk away at the end of the night knowing more about them than you.
Pitfall #4: We all have one: a difficult ex to deal with.
It seems their only quest in life is to make yours difficult, but you actually have more power and control over this than you think. If your ex has given you a hard time all day, don’t let him ruin your date night. Don’t rehash every text and every jab that your ex has laid on you. Choose to enjoy yourself and let your date enjoy you.
Pitfall #5: Wanting too much too soon.
Whether you’re trying to get back to what was familiar or your desire to have a man around to fix the house, be a dad to your kids, or meet your sexual needs, pushing for exclusivity too soon won’t work. Let it unfold naturally. If you don’t, the only pushing you will be doing is pushing him away.
Pitfall #6: As single moms, we are busy, busy, busy, but how can you have a relationship if you don’t leave space for one?
Yes, we are moms, but we are also women, friends, daughters, and sisters. We are multidimensional with interests and hobbies. Take time to be the woman you want to be and that includes dating. If you think you can’t fit dating into your schedule, it just might have more to do with fear than time.
Pitfall #7: I hear quite a number of my clients say, “He just doesn’t understand my position.” My question back is, “Are you understating his?”
You see, right away we think that the guy should understand the “plight” of the single mom, but I am quick to help my clients see the “plight” of the guy dating a single mom. He is not in your shoes nor does he share your current responsibilities and past experiences. He might have no children, which means he will be looking at this from a completely different angle. Women, be patient with him as well as the process. Dating with children causes things not to flow as easily and planning is a necessity, i.e. getaways, sleepovers.
Pitfall #8: Dating too soon or waiting too long.
If you have unhealed wounds, dating or being sexually intimate might not be the best course of action. To be a good partner in a relationship, you need to be a whole person, and that includes healing open wounds. The flip side of this is waiting too long and now you have become more set in your ways, perhaps less flexible, and not as open. There is not pat answer on this one; just be as self aware as possible, but one major point is to not compromise or settle out of fear of being alone. It is never too late to find love.
The key here is to blend. It isn’t about him plopping into your world or you into his; it’s about blending them together. If you choose to see this as a daunting task, it will be, and if you choose to see this as a fun experience, it will be. The choice is yours.
Making you aware of these pitfalls is not meant to scare you off of dating — quite the contrary. It is meant to give you a heads up so instead of feeling frustrated you can embrace and enjoy your new dating life.