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Whether you're six months post-divorce or six years, there is no "right" time to start dating. If you're dying to get out of the house, call your girlfriends for a night out. If you're looking to get your heart pounding, try some cardio.
"Perhaps a better question than when is why," says Christine Baumgartner, relationship coach at The Perfect Catch. Expecting dating to fulfill all your needs is unrealistic and might attract (or cause you to accept) people who aren't right for you.
And Baumgartner says that single parents need to consider that this may be true.
"I tell clients that having some time for 'just themselves' is important," she says.
"Time with friends, time spent on activities that don't include kids or work, and time alone are all important." If you don't have time for these, your schedule may be too busy to fit dating in -- for now.
If you want to date, you'll have to make time in your life for it.
"It's important to engage your village, friends, family who can support you with time-sharing and babysitting," Zane says.
Parents who have a shared custody agreement may have evenings without the kids that they can use to schedule dates. You fill out a profile and it matches you with other like-minded mothers in your area." A potential friend and someone to swap babysitting with? Dating has changed since you were single, and so have you.
If you can comfortably answer your child's questions and tend to their needs with that person lying in bed next to you, then maybe you're on the way to some slumber parties." If not, you can find other creative ways to make time for intimacy. For the timid or busy, it's a great way to get used to the idea of looking for love without the pressure.Whether you're looking for a fling, a ring, or something in between, remember that dating is part of the journey, not a means to an end, Zane says.Baumgartner recommends relating it to friendships your child may have had.Talk about how we meet people we like and as we get to know each other better we get to decide if we still want to be friends, she says.