It is important for single parents to take some time to develop relationships with other adults. Otherwise there will be a feeling of isolation and that you have to do everything that needs to get done. Here are some tips on creating great relationships with others.
1. Take your Time
You may be tempted to start another relationship right away and go deep fast. However, building relationships take time. It has an ebb and flow to it. Give yourself time to heal from your split and let yourself meet people without setting expectations.
2. Define Boundaries
You will want to set your standard before you begin to meet others. How much time to you have to developing relationships, where do you want to meet, etc.
3. Decide what you want from the relationship
List out what you are looking for in a relationship. Do you want another single parent to talk to while your kids are on a play date? Are you wanting to set up a support system? How about someone to go out to dinner, just the two of you?
4. Understand what you bring to the relationship
A good question to ask yourself is why would someone want to be in relationship with you? What will they get out of the time and effort? Don’t be hard on yourself and say nothing. You have a lot to offer.
5. Be open to something new/different
If you are wanting something different in your life, you have to be open to letting it in. What you think you want show up completely different than what you thought it would be like. You may find yourself thinking ‘I’ve never done this before.’Â It is good to do things that bring you out of your comfort zone.
6. Ask for introductions
If you don’t know anyone who fits what you are looking for, ask friends, family and co-workers, ‘Who do you know, tha…?’ It is amazing how helpful people are when they know what you are looking for.
7. Ask Questions
Now that you’ve met someone, ask them about themselves, what they like and dislike. What are they looking for?
8. Build trust
New relationships should start on even ground, however, there may be some trust issues you bring from the past. Be aware if emotions, attitudes and feelings are affecting how you interact with this new relationship. Start with something small. Plan to meet somewhere. Notice, did they show up on time? Did they do what they said they would? Keep that in mind as you develop this relationship.
9. Don’t talk about the ex
Unless you have decided that this new relationship is to be one that helps you heal the past, leave your ex out of the conversation. Let this be a new relationship, try new activities and create fresh memories.
10. Introduce the kids
Depending on what you have defined for this relationship, you may introduce your kids to this person. Or you may not. Even if your children never meet your co-worker lunch buddy, you can talk about what you did during the day. It is a good example to let your children know that you have friends and take time to do things that are fun.
These tips on creating great relationships with others are focused on how to create a new, exciting life as a single parent. Being a single parent doesn’t mean you have to do everything alone or never do something for yourself. So get out there and have some fun.
Laura C. Ries