Falling in love when you are single can be fun. But if you are a single parent, more so a woman with kids, it becomes difficult. While it is absolutely acceptable to seek comfort in the arms of a man, being careful about your choice and handling the situation with care is necessary as you can’t afford to repeat the same mistakes.

Take the case of architect Anjali Sharma (name changed), a pretty, educated divorcee who fell in love with a colleague. Since both worked together for long, she thought she knew everything about him and his background. However, she was in for a terrible shock when after the engagement, she found out that he had hidden his chronic disorder which started to trouble him. Anjali felt cheated and with a young daughter in tow, was not ready to suffer. She broke off the engagement, but she is now an emotional wreck, wanting to get into recurring relationships just to find out if she is attractive to men. Currently, she is taking counselling sessions to come out of the emotional mess.


Ask yourself whether you really need him
Many women these days are happy to stay single. The feeling may be stronger after you have had a divorce. However, this does not stop you from having fleeting feelings about finding love and starting afresh. The trick is to give yourself some time after divorce and truly understand your needs. If you feel you are stable enough to lead a life without getting into a marriage, then it is perfectly okay to have a relationship which takes care of your needs but does not bind you into commitment.

Be clear about what you want
Once you decide that you need a partner, just be clear about your expectations from them. You may want someone to shoulder the responsibilities of home and kids or you may just want someone who will understand your need for company. Whatever the case, you should always be honest about your intentions, so that no one is hurt and there are no awkward situations.

What to look for in a partner
When you are single and vulnerable it is easy for someone to manipulate you, so be on your guard. Psychiatrist Dr Ashith Sheth gives tips on what to look out for: “The partner you seek after a divorce should have a stable career and settled in life. He should respect your dignity, be a responsible human being who is not into bad habits. Find out whether he is sincere about a long term commitment. Avoid men with irresponsible behaviour and don’t go in for a long-distance relationship which is difficult to maintain. You should be on your guard when a man spends too much money and gives you lavish gifts for no particular reason. A sweet talker too should be totally avoided. Most importantly, you should clarify in the beginning of the relationship itself whether he will be ready to take the additional responsibility of your children.”

Kids take time to adjust
As compared to adults, children need more time to get over the feelings of anger, discomfort and sadness after their parents get divorced, so don’t rush them into accepting it. Start off with brief meetings where both get to know each other, but even then there is a risk that they might find a potential partner to be a threat. However, single mothers should be honest with the children about the person she is interested in.

Says child psychologist and family therapist Rashi Anand, “Talking to your children about a new partner depends on factors like the child’s age, maturity and readiness. For a child below 10 years it is suggested to introduce the person as a close friend, as children at this age may misunderstand the concept of dating and may develop insecurities about their importance in their mother’s life. Once they enter the teens, dating or having a special friend is a concept they understand and accept more easily. Irrespective of the age, the mother has to be cautious to systematically sensitise the children towards the new person in her life, so that kids don’t interpret it as a threat to their relationship.”

Source: Times of India

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