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  • 5.    She fears about going through pain / rejection / betrayal again.
    Getting into a new relationship is an immense risk for single parents because of the stigma of the past and the possibility of failing again.  Past relationships will cause them to think many times over especially because of a) unresolved issues from past relations, b) the limitations that her role as a single parent brings.  She is aware that the new relationship offers no guarantees , including that past mistakes will not happen again.

    Being a counselor allowed me to observe cases and suggest important points worth considering by single parents before being romantically-involved again.   

    •    Seek the child’s welfare. Your child’s wellbeing is equally important as your happiness.  Strive to have openness and honesty in your relationship while still unattached, and prepare your child for the possibility of a new person coming into your lives.  Children react differently and manifest different behaviors when faced with this idea.  Constantly giving them attention, assurance and affection may help ease acceptance of their parent’s newfound love.

    •    Respect your ex as the parent of your child.  Your new partner is not a replacement of your ex, contrary to what some single parents tell their children (“he/she will be your new “mommy or daddy.”) No one can take the place of the child’s real mom or dad. Discrediting your ex-partner just to gain your child’s favor might do more harm, and may make it harder for the child to accept the new relationship.    

    •    Relationships matter.  Single parents have to weigh two important relationships – the one with their child and the other with the new partner.  The child does not have to be at the losing end just so the parent can be happy, likewise with the parent.  Aiming for a healthy parent-child relationship and a clear set of values and goals would help single parents set the stage for possible significant changes in their life that will impact their child.

    Falling in love again is a tricky situation for single parents, but most issues can be addressed with the proper attitude.  So long as the parent continues to carry out her parenting duties and nurturing her relationship with her child, and has laid down her cards to the new partner, a new chance at love can be a win-win situation for everyone involved.

    Photo from sxc.hu

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