Whether it was a mutual decision or one-sided, becoming a single parent is probably not the future you envisioned when you had your child(ren) - which is why you can easily feel pressured to partner up with someone else as soon as possible. Yet, this may not always be the best idea. In an extract from their brand new book How To Be A Happy Single Parent, Rebecca Cox and Zoë Desmond outline why you should consider spending some time solo before jumping straight back into the dating pool, and why this could be the best decision for you and your offspring.
Single parenting is hard – not only emotionally and physically, but financially, too. Many single parents feel that their only option to feel secure, in all three senses, is to meet someone else and settle down as quickly as possible. But dating out of necessity rather than genuine desire to meet a partner, can be not only ineffective but dangerous.
If you believe that the only way to be safe right now is to find a new partner, you’re likely to welcome the first person that comes along into your life, without really being sure if they’re the right person for yourself or your children.
Let’s imagine for a second that your pre-single-parent life was on-board (the movie version of) the Titanic. Right now, you’ve been plunged into the water and it feels like you’re desperate to be rescued. A floating door comes along. It looks like it could hold you, so you jump on; however, if you had treaded water for a bit longer a luxury lifeboat might have come past and scooped you up, carrying you off towards a better life. And if you’d treaded water just a little longer still, you may have realised you had fins all along and that the water is glorious, here on your own.
Regardless, the door was never a good option. Take your time and don’t hop onto the first door you see. (Unless you’ve mutually decided that you’re going to get straight back off afterwards and go your separate ways.)
Although taking your time, and finding security alone, might feel like the harder option, it will lead you to a happier ending. We spoke to single mum Layla, a qualified social worker, and dating and relationships educator behind the popular (and brilliant), straight-talking Instagram page @lalalaletme- explain and author of Block, Delete, Move On.
She says: “If you’re trying to fill some kind of void, it’s likely to lead you to date in a way that is not as considered or thoughtful as it might be if you’re dating because you are at the point where you want human connection and love, and you’re alright with being on your own.”
Based on experiences from her own early days of single parenthood, she recommends asking yourself what you’re looking for, and whether you are genuinely lacking love in your life.
“I felt that being loved by a man was the answer to all my problems. And I wasn’t paying attention to the fact that, actually, I was getting so much love from this little boy.”
This article was originally published on Glamour UK.