Single mothers who are thinking of dating again have a lot of questions. (You can find the answers to some of them in this article) One of the biggest questions is about when, and how, to start back up with the physical side of dating. You know, having sex.
You’re a single mom, you’ve got kids – you know how sex works. But what you might not have thought about is how sex will work now that you have to keep those kids in mind at the same time. It was one thing to have sex with your partner or husband before the divorce or separation, but bringing someone new into the house presents some different problems (as well as some of the same ones).
Don’t rush into things
First of all, remember to take it slow. If you’ve just started dating again, enjoy the social aspect and don’t focus on the physical. If you’re really looking for a long-term partner who will be good for both you and your kids, you will want to avoid anyone who’s just looking for a quick one night stand. Not only will that type of relationship end up hurting you, it can have a lot of negative effects on your kids. Here’s an article that will help you get everything else in order before you start to date.
Be honest about your family situation
You don’t have to wear a t-shirt that says “I HAVE TWO CHILDREN” but you also shouldn’t hide that fact. Honesty is the most important part of any relationship, especially one that has the potential to have an impact on your family, whether positive or negative. If the fact that you have children makes a man change his mind about dating you, he’s probably not the one you should be with anyway – so you’re just saving time, if you think about it.
Be careful about who you’re being honest with
On the other hand, watch out for online ads that seem to be targeted towards single mothers. There are some men who think that any single mom is so desperate for a relationship that she’ll do, or put up with, anything. These are often the same men who are just looking for quick sex. And it’s not a nice thing to think about, but there are also men who prey on and abuse children. If someone like that is looking for a single mom with kids because they think she’ll be easy to bully and abuse, then you’re putting yourself, and your kids, in harm’s way.
Keep your relationship priorities straight
Your kids are your primary concern, and your own health and safety (both physical and emotional) is right behind that. This is something you need to keep in mind when you start dating. You might be tempted to put your date first, because you’re interested in making this into a long-term relationship, but in the long term that probably won’t help. And if your date starts demanding that you put him first, especially if this is combined with a demand that you have sex, that’s a very good sign that you should walk away.
Do your best to keep your kids out of the loop
Even in the period of time leading up to your decision to have sex with a new man, you’ll still be talking on the phone, meeting him, and maybe even introducing your kids to him. There will probably be ups and downs, and really, your children shouldn’t have to deal with either. This is especially important if your kids went through a difficult and argument-filled time when you were married or living with your ex. While you shouldn’t hide that you’re dating, try to make sure it makes little to no difference to any aspect of your child’s life.
Time your dates carefully
Once you’ve decided to have sex, you need to decide when, and where. It’s a good idea to avoid bringing your new partner home with you at first, but as a single mom there might not be many other options. If you and your ex have a shared custody arrangement, there will be times when your kids are spending the weekend, or a whole week, with their dad. If you trust the new person with your address and access to your house – and really, if you’re going to have sex with him, it’s a good idea to know him well enough to trust him – then it might be easier to be there, in case there’s an emergency and your ex needs to bring the kids back to the house.
On the other hand, if you’re able to be away from the house, you might be more comfortable in another location, whether that’s the new partner’s apartment or a hotel. Again, be sure you know enough about him to trust spending the night with him! You’ll have to keep your mobile phone with you so that you’re always in contact with your ex or the babysitter (or your sister, or your best friend, or whoever’s taking care of the kids). But you could find that it’s easier to relax when you’re not in your house, surrounded by all of the evidence that kids live there – and he might find it easier to relax, too.
Think about whether he should spend the night
If you have a few hours free, you don’t always have to spend the night with him, or have him stay with you. On the other hand, especially if you’ve been dating a while and your kids know this new man, it can be a good way to gradually introduce the concept of a new and larger family. Here are some things to think about when you’re deciding whether or not have someone stay at your house overnight:
- If you’re serious about this man, and he is about you, then it’s a non-verbal way to get the kids used to the idea that the two of you will likely end up together, and sharing a bed for more than one night.
- Having someone spend the night can trigger a child to express thoughts, feelings, and even anger that they might have been hiding. Generally this is related to the idea that you won’t have enough time for them now, if you’re spending time with a new man. While this isn’t easy to deal with, it’s a great opportunity to make sure that you’ve got good communication with your kids, and that you talk things out before the situation gets worse.
- If your kids like him, they might actually think it’s a good idea to have him spend the night, especially if you do something like make it into “pizza night” or “movie night.” You’ll need to be sure your kids are comfortable with the situation first.
- While kids might enjoy the idea that your new steady boyfriend spends the night every weekend, they probably won’t like it at all if there’s someone different in the house every few weeks. In other words, don’t bring everyone home. This is not a healthy thing for your family, and if what you’re looking for is just fun and sex, your children shouldn’t be involved. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have sex, but it’s better to keep your family out of that aspect of your life, for their well-being and safety.
- Don’t be tempted to sneak someone in after the kids have gone to bed, and push him out the door before they wake up. As a parent, you know that something always happens in the middle of the night that brings your child to your bedroom door. If you’re not comfortable with the idea of your kids knowing that there’s someone in your bed, then you might not be ready for this aspect of the relationship, with him or with anyone else. Remember, you don’t have to rush!
Don’t feel guilty about your desires
When you feel sexy, when you’re getting the physical affection that you need, you’ll feel more confident and happy. You can get this physical affection through kisses, hugs, and frequent touching instead of with the actual sex, but there’s nothing wrong with want to satisfy that desire as well. You’re important, and you should treat your needs as important. As long as they don’t cause permanent problems for your family (or for you) there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a healthy sex life.
Some women are tempted to avoid this whole issue by using their kids as an excuse for not having sex, or even for not dating at all. That’s a mistake. It’s not being honest, and it’s also the first step towards resenting your children for restricting your freedom and your life. As a single mom, you CAN date and you CAN have sex – you just need to be more thoughtful about it.
Listen to who’s talking – and know when to stop listening
Your inner voice might not be the only one you hear, unfortunately. Your mother might think that you’re neglecting your family. Your best friend might not approve of having sex without being married (or at least in a committed relationship). Your ex might start “trash talking” about your morals and your habits – especially if he’s not having luck on the dating scene and is feeling envious! All of these things will affect the way you feel about dating and sex, and if your kids hear any of it, directly or indirectly, it will affect them too.
You need to be especially careful when it comes to what your children hear from your ex. If you’ve taken the time to talk to your kids before you start dating, and before you start having sex, then they should be able to understand the true situation. However, they will be bothered if they hear negative things about you from their father. You might not be able to keep your ex from saying bad things about you, but if you’ve got a good relationship with your children, you’ll be able to help them talk about it, and talk through it.
The one voice you always need to listen to is the one in your heart. If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll know the right choices to make. You’ll know when it’s right to start having sex again, and which men are good partners for sex, or for anything more serious. Take care of yourself, keep listening to your children, and have fun!