Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Kids First! Appropriate Relationship Priorities

If you are raising kids on your own, don’t feel like you have to rush out and find romance immediately. Some of the best relationships are those that bloom later in life. Contrary to popular opinion, you do not have a “sell by” date after which no one will be interested in you. You certainly don’t have to wait until your children are grown up to start dating again, but you can afford to take your time.

Finding the “right person” is about the quality of the people you date rather than the quantity. Be very choosy since your kids are going to end up sharing each relationship you start, even if it only lasts a few weeks. They don’t need to watch you get your heart broken over and over again. Seek out a partner who shares your values and understands that your commitment to your children comes first in your life. When you think you have found the perfect match, keep an eye on how being with that person affects the way you relate to your kids. If things get out of balance, it is time to revisit your priorities.

Here are some warning signs that something is seriously wrong:

If: you can no longer seem to find the time to help your children with homework or other important aspects of their lives. Your kids do need to learn more independence, but this should be a gradual training process. It shouldn’t be something you dump on them all at once because you are focused on getting or keeping a love interest.

If: you start losing your temper because your kids always seem to “get in the way” of interacting with your new partner. The early days of a romance are an exciting and thrilling time. It is possible to get caught up in the powerful emotions you are feeling and become oblivious to your children’s need for attention. However, you aren’t a teenager now so you do have more control over your hormones and reactions. Take a step back and look at what you are doing and why.

If: A you are considering changing jobs or moving to a different city to be close to your boyfriend/girlfriend. sk a close friend to help you keep your head on straight if you get caught up in this kind of thinking. Romantic relationships don’t necessarily last, but your kids will always be there for you. Don’t make any radical changes to please someone to whom you have no lasting ties. Keeping disruption to a minimum allows your children to adapt more easily to your dating habits.

If: you find yourself tempted to leave your pre-teen kids at home by themselves or entrust them to people you don’t know very well. You need some time alone with your significant other, but you should take the time to plan childcare carefully. You will never forgive yourself if something bad happens to your children while you were out having a good time. Don’t lower your standards out of loneliness or desperation. One more thing: if your relationship is “heating up”, be discreet but not dishonest. Your kids aren’t stupid and they will figure out what is going on.

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