I’m sitting at a lobby of a hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, waiting for an important person that I recently connected with. Then, I remember, my friend had asked me about a question. Single parent. Dating.
They have a lot to consider before getting into relationships, single parents. The playing field isn’t level for them. The primary consideration is their children. Dating is not easy and where children are involved, it becomes even harder.
A few years ago, a certain lady, let’s call her Kim. She got pregnant, followed by a break up with her boyfriend. She knew that her world had changed dramatically and she didn’t think there was a way out of the mess she had found herself in.
You see, she came from a Christian background and had served in her church. Her parents were well known as God fearing and, therefore, a child out of wedlock was going to cause quite a stir in the Christian circles they operated in.
And it did.
The father of the child disowned her and the child, under circumstances that were regrettable.
Kim had contemplated abortion for the sake of maintaining her image in the society. She finally realized that she needed to accept that the best thing would be for her to have the child. It was the best decision that she made, she admits.
Years later, she realized that she still desired to get married despite her challenges with men in the past.
Unfortunately, some men she was interested in took off at the realization of the existence of a child in her life. A few operated as if they wished for the child to disappear. Others weren’t sure whether they were ready for the big responsibility of being a dad. She was sure that what she needed was a man who loved her for who she was and who was going to accept her and the package she came with.
Many single parents, especially chics, find themselves in this dilemma. You desire to be in a relationship but there are many other factors to consider. You’ve heard what they say, avoid single mothers if you’re not ready to be a daddy. How can you take care of kids that aren’t your own? Children are a burden. It’s hard for a woman to love children that aren’t her own. Such women are used goods.
Because of these sentiments, some women have ‘hidden’ their children and do not disclose that fact to their potential suitors. Children are left with their grandparents in some instances to allow an easier dating scene. Largely because the society looks down upon single parents, those who have had children out of wedlock.
Single parents have to contend with the fact that, unlike singles who don’t have parenting responsibilities, they are in the dating scene together with their kids. You want to be comfortable with your child being ok with the idea of you dating and praying all the while that they get along with the person you’re dating.
You have to manage time, balancing between giving your child the attention needed and giving time to your relationship to bud. If you don’t get a good balance, the results can be disastrous. Then there is the other parent to consider. If he or she is not in the picture, dating may be slightly easier. And if it is the reverse, it may be slightly difficult especially around co-parenting arrangements. All parties involved have to be aligned.
I remember reading The Purpose Driven Life book by Rick Warren. Second chapter. First paragraph. “I am not an accident. No matter how my birth came about, even if it was a mistake in human terms, it was not a surprise to God. He had planned for it long before I was born.” Those words have stuck with me for a long while.
Children are a blessing and are not a mistake. Your sexual act may be regrettable, but the children are not an accident. I believe this is especially important for you to note if you are struggling with feelings or thoughts wishing your child away.
When seeking to date, be open minded about whom you meet. Don’t fall into the trap of generalizations. What can God do out of such a hook up?
Pray about your prospects. Let God be at the centre of the relationship. Do not be desperate for a relationship thereby lowering your standards for the sake of being in one. Stand by your values.
Take your time to know the other person. Also, take your time before introducing that person to your children. This is to ensure parties in the picture are protected in the event the relationship does not work out.
At the same time, talk to your children about your interest in dating and be sensitive to how they feel about that process. Keep talking. When you are serious about the relationship, you can introduce the children to the other party and even go on dates together so that they get to know each other.
Remember that you are a parent and that should take priority in this season. Make sure you have dealt with your baggage from the past. Spend time with your true friends who can easily tell if the relationship is good for you and your children. If your desire is to get into a relationship that leads into marriage, don’t give up. It is possible to find a lasting relationship.
Remember Kim? Well, she found someone and they got married and are doing life. She is grateful that she found someone who loves her child as his own.