Now that you're separated or divorced, everything is different. Take dating for instance: before your marriage, you wondered when to introduce your boyfriend to your parents; now, it's your children you have to worry about.
Many single parents avoid the whole question of dating by devoting all their time outside of work to their children. At first glance, this seems like the "right thing to do" -- and it's probably what your children would say they wanted if you were to ask their opinion. But this approach can backfire. "Becoming socially active again is important because it helps free a parent from becoming obsessive about his or her parenting role," writes Vicki Lansky in her Divorce Book for Parent."Letting your adult life revolve around your child's is actually very hard on your child."
Adult one-on-one interaction is an important ingredient to successful parenting. It allows you time to be a person as well as a parent, to rejuvenate, and to find help and friendship. Adult interaction is also vital to avoid the pitfall of relying too heavily on children to fill the gap left by an adult. As a single parent, you have adult needs for intimacy, understanding, companionship, reassurance, encouragement and romance that can only be fulfilled by another adult. "The children will end up feeling the burden and the responsibility of making their parent happy," says John Gray, Ph.D., author of Mars and Venus Starting Over and the founder of the Mars and Venus seminars and workshops. "All a child wants is for their parents to be happy, but an adult has other needs that a child cannot meet."