I can still remember some amazing dates I had before I was married—the kind of dates that started in the afternoon at a Cubs game or a museum, that continued into dinner, followed by an after-dinner cocktail at a little Lincoln Park Pub or a piano bar. Then, after the drinks, a walk home, which then turned into a sleepover, and then breakfast in the morning. When you’re in love, a date can last as long as you both want. It can even last for days! But dating is a whole different ballgame when you’re dating as a single parent.
When dating as a single parent, parenting schedules, kids needing rides, and other kid-related things leave little time for long dates.
In fact, sometimes it’s hard to even find a time to plan a dinner date, let alone a huge chunk of time to spend with the guy or girl you think might be “the one!”
Dating after divorce can be incredibly challenging, and people can start to feel frustrated, resentful, stressed and bummed out when trying to get together with their significant other, especially if the families aren’t yet blended.
But here’s the silver lining. If you are in this situation, be happy that you have such a great connection that you are dying to see the person and vice-versa. Many men and women can’t even meet anyone they want to have dates with! So, guess what? You found him! Not being able to find a lot of time together is a good problem to have.
Here are some tips for dating as a single parent:
1. Accept that you can’t always plan dates ahead of time.
I don’t know about you, but my kids change their plans ten times before they actually go out, or they don’t know their plans until 15 minutes before they are leaving. So, you kind of have to be flexible and be ready to go if you find yourselves with some freedom.
2. Try not to be too disappointed or angry if your plans get cancelled.
It happens. It’s part of the deal. Your kids plans fall through so, so do yours. Accept it. This is life when dating as a single parent.
3. Appreciate the times you do have together, even if they are short.
This leads me to my 15 fifteen-minute date ideas for those dating as a single parent.
You can have a GREAT great date in 15 minutes. Here are 15 ideas for a fifteen-minute date.
1. Meet and take your dog for a walk together.
2. Meet at a coffee shop for coffee or tea.
3. Meet at the library and read him or her some poems.
4. Meditate together at one of your houses.
5. Sit in your car and kiss and hug.
6. Fold laundry together and empty the dishwasher if one of you needs the help.
7. Plan a trip together on Expedia.
8. Put on some old music and dance. And slow dance.
9. Grocery shop together.
10. Help him cook dinner (or at least help him start).
11. Have a glass of wine together (it will probably only be a half glass if it’s 15 minutes but so what?).
12. Play a few hands of Black Jack.
13. Watch a “Seinfeld” episode.
14. Meet at a beautiful park or a lake and sit on a bench.
15. Go for a quick jog together. A little bit of exercise is better than none.
I will say this. Long dates are wonderful, but there is something very sexy and fun about a 15 minute date. Because the time together is so short, both people always leave wanting more, which just makes the relationship more exciting and appealing.
Remember three things if you are frustrated in dating as a single parent. First, it’s important to keep making an effort to have dates—no matter how long or short they are if you want the relationship to grow. It takes a lot longer to get to know someone, and you might lose the momentum with someone if you can only see them once every three weeks.
Secondly, if the relationship is truly meant to work out, then it will, no matter how many dates you have and/or how long the dates are. Lastly, remember that things won’t always be this way. Relationships are constantly changing, the kids will get older, and there will be a time for the two of you to have those long dates someday.
The question is, are you willing to wait? I think that love is magical, and that two people who want to be together will find a way, whether it’s a week vacation to Mexico or a 15 minute date pumping gas together.