Making Time for Love as a Single Parent

singleparent

Making Time for Love as a Single Parent

Single parents are pressed for time no question. After homework, colds, soccer practice, career, and taking care of the household, who has time for dating? But don’t despair. Your love life doesn’t have to be consigned to the junk bins of time. In fact, there are plenty of single parents who squeeze in time for a vibrant love life. Want to know how they do it? Follow these steps to find out how others like yourself are making time for love as a single parent.

If you can’t get a sitter or find some time to go out and meet people, use your computer. Sign up for an online dating site, or even a few dating sites. Make some time to go through them each day. Respond to something, chat, flirt, or even send someone a message. Do it at night instead of falling asleep in front of the TV or in the morning before everyone else gets up. Reach out to your social network. Invite friends and family to set you up. Send an email and ask them to ask friends of friends who is single and who they can set you up with. It isn’t desperate, it’s inventive. You may soon have more dates than you can shake a pogo stick at. When it’s time to go out on a date, get one of your single friends to watch the kids. You can watch their kids when it’s time for them to go out. Pick lunch dates or meet for coffee if that’s more convenient. Find the times when you aren’t playing parent and make those date times.

If your kids are old enough to be home alone, let them. But keep them busy. Get DVDs, crafts, and other things to keep them occupied while you’re out of the house. When you go to functions, talk to other people, mingle. See if there are other single parents. You should have plenty to talk about, whether it’s a child’s soccer game or the science fair. Why not chat people up and if they are interested and you are too, see if you can meet sometime later. Actually, see if there are events in your town or city for single parents to meet. It’s much easier to date a single parent, there are plenty in every area including yours, and you will have a common subject to talk about and break the ice over.

Try seeing if there are any Meetup or Eventbrite groups or events in your area. Check with the local singles bar, singles event planning companies, the civic center in your town or city, or your house of worship if you are religious. Sometimes certain radio or entertainment venues have singles events, perhaps check into these as well. Check out Parents without Partners and see if they have a chapter or organize events near you. Their website is parentswithoutpartners.org. They have guest speakers, workshops, study groups and social activities. Just because you are a single parent doesn’t mean you can’t find love. It just means you have to be flexible and use your time wisely. For more advice read, Dating and the Single Parent by Ron L. Deal.

The Age of Digital Infidelity

faccebook-cheating

The Age of Digital Infidelity

Researchers have noticed a change in how we interact on the internet, in terms of our love lives. They are seeing the rise of what they call “digital infidelity.” University of Indiana researchers conducted a study which found that Facebook users often have “back-burners.” This is someone to fall back on if their primary relationship doesn’t work out. A back-burner could be an ex or a platonic friend where chemistry and romantic possibility exists. Men had double the number of back-burners women had, in this study. Still, the practice was common among both genders.

Respondents on average had two separate sexual or romantic conversations going on, besides their partner, at the same time. A similar find by OnePoll, a research firm, found that as much as 50% of women had what was called a “backup husband.” This is another love interest to dovetail into the role if their marriage ends in divorce. An official with OnePoll told the Daily Mail, “With sites like Facebook and Twitter, it’s easier than ever to stay in touch with an old flame.”

The rising trend has caught the attention of academia. Researchers are beginning to follow what they are calling “remote infidelity.” This is being described as emotional infidelity using your smart phone, or via social media. One of the leaders in the field of sex and relationship research, Dr. Helen Fisher said in an interview with Salon that a lot of people don’t even realize they are doing it. “If you’re rushing away from the dinner table with your family to check your e-mail it’s affecting your relationship,” she said. The Indiana researchers say however that this phenomenon is nothing new, just how we interact has changed, due to advances in technology. There have always been back-burners for those in relationships, the researchers point out. Emotional cheating and physical cheating occurred, as did lots of heavy flirting across offices and bars. Now they are done through apps and social media instead. The nature of technology has changed the game. For instance, texting is so easy, intimate–as it is only between two and can be done so effortlessly and secretly, that emotional cheating and flirting can take place at a level that wasn’t conceivable in the past.

The online dating industry has been studied and culled by researchers. What they’ve discovered is startling. A 2011 Pew Research study found that those who have smart phones and use social media have larger networks than those that don’t; one third larger. Those connections of course lead to other connections. That moves into endless possibilities, endless connections and so many more choices than ever before. Most experts believe that relationships rely on three things for success: the strength of the emotional bond between the two, each person’s satisfaction level and whether or not there are other available mates for one or both parties. The internet has now increased availability exponentially, which makes one wonder whether or not it is making relationships more unstable.

A niche industry exists of spyware technology. mCouple is one such app, letting you see your lovers every Facebook message, call and text. In advertising the manufacturer’s state, “You and your partner are madly in love and want to be closer than ever before? mCouple is a mobile tracker that can help you stay in touch 24/7!”But of course reverting to this type of method to keep tabs on your partner is stalker mentality. It is unhealthy and threatens the very emotional bond which keeps a relationship strong. Plus healthy relationships are built on trust, and those who trust one another don’t spy on each other. Indiana University researchers say that the presence of these back-burners and backup husbands doesn’t have a thing to do with the strength of the primary relationship. So what one might call the age of digital infidelity, another may say is just a modern twist on the same old courtship dance that has been going on for millennia. For more on the intersection of love and the internet pick up a copy of, In Real Life: Love, Lies & Identity in the Digital Age by Nev Schulman.

Getting Over someone You Adored

HEARTBROKEN

Getting Over someone You Adored

Sometimes you just can’t wait to get rid of someone and move on with your life. Then there are those relationships you regret ever getting into. There are the ones who sting and the ones that cut deep. But the worst of all is getting over someone you adored, someone you feel that you just can’t live without. You’d rather go without limbs, eyes and vital organs than your lover and can’t believe they’d even think of leaving you. Perhaps it’s just a passing phase, or they’ve suddenly become mentally ill. How will you go on living? The end of a relationship can consume your entire life. Some have even contemplated suicide. Whether it’s feelings of abandonment, inadequacy, guilt, misplaced anger or rejection just know that you are going to be okay. You’ll get through this. Someday you’ll wonder what is was that you saw in this person. First, it may be cliché but with time it will hurt less and less until one day you’ll be free and feeling great. Allow yourself the proper time to get over it. Don’t obsess over your ex. Instead, focus on you, how you are feeling and your healing. When you’re ready get back into the swing of things. Even if you don’t feel like it, fake it until you make it. Be social and engage with others. Start to reconnect with your own past. Find out what you want to do with your life. When you get to make decisions like that, single life can start to feel quite liberating.

Try different projects, volunteer, reconnect with your faith or explore a path you’ve always wanted to try. Lots of people find comfort in writing. Why not start a journal or even a blog? If you are into the arts take a local class. Spend some time thinking about improving yourself. What patterns do you see creeping up in your own life that are destructive? What can you do that’s a healthy alternative? Go on a road trip with a friend, visit a country you’ve always wanted to see, volunteer at your local homeless or animal shelter, tutor a child and feel what it’s like from other people’s point of view, in order to gain some perspective. Take up some new activities. Visit new places. Explore your interests, yourself and your world. When you are ready consider dating again. What would you be looking for? What did you learn works for you in past relationships and what hasn’t worked? Why not reconnect with past loves and see what they think of you and your relationship now in hindsight? What were the lessons that they learned? What did they learn about you? What really happens when you lose a major love is you find yourself, the love of your life. Once you reemerge a stronger person you will seek and find the person you’re meant to be with. So enjoy the journey inward that will lead to a quest to find love in the time to come. To explore this topic further pick up a copy of, Getting Past Your Breakup: How to Turn a Devastating Loss into the Best Thing That Ever Happened to You by Susan J. Elliott.

Why do People Stay in Bad Marriages Rather than Divorce?

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Why do People Stay in Bad Marriages Rather than Divorce?

Oftentimes when you know someone in a bad marriage, they will go through a list of complaints and anecdotes that paint their spouse in a not so flattering light. Sometimes it isn’t a bunch of little things, but one long problem such as an ongoing affair or drug or alcohol abuse. At other times a litany of issues can seem like an avalanche of problems that this person is wallowing under, brought down upon them by their spouse. These could be lying, cheating, disappearing, improper parenting, cruelty and so much more. Confronted with such a list, most people believe that the relationship was beyond redemption. Yet, people in these types of marriages are often ambivalent as to whether or not they should leave. So why do people stay in bad marriages rather than get a divorce when it seems irreparable and hopeless? The first thing one must understand is that these are weighty matters. Don’t take a stand. The person can’t come to the realization all at once, by merely taking the advice of a friend, or even a therapist. The second thing is that we really can’t know what the marriage is like from the inside. We only know what our friend is telling us. There are perhaps other aspects of the marriage that are satisfying.

When asked why they don’t leave, there are a few answers that often pop up; for the children’s sake, an unwillingness to give up economic certainty or assets, an unwillingness to leave the house, being attached to mutual friends and even in-laws, negativity about striking out on one’s own, and the fear of being lonely. Some people feel like they might be alone forever. So which is better, staying in a marriage you don’t like or divorcing and finding out it wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be? Let’s take a look at each reason for staying and see if, through analysis, it’s better to stay or go. The effects on children depend, just like anything else, on who you speak to. Some psychologists say that divorce is detrimental to children. One study out of the UK found that children in single parent or step-parent homes were just as happy as those that came from dual-parent homes. Living in a household stuffed with anger and unhappiness is worse. Plus, children model their own loving relationships after what they observe in their parents growing up. Do you want to teach them to go for happiness, or to settle? Chances are they will follow suit to whatever you decide.

Divorce is expensive and it costs more to live apart than together. Still, there are families in every economic circumstance that do it. There are others, more wealthy, who say the money is the reason they still stay together. When a couple divorces, friends will inevitably go to one side or the other, despite everyone saying they’ll keep in touch. In fact, this is just cover for self-doubt in navigating the world post-marriage. The attachment to the in-laws, too, is really nostalgia for the relationship as it was when it was working, when it was good. The truth is, if you and another person share a deep bond, the divorce isn’t going to come between that. There are in-laws and mutual friends that keep in touch with ex-spouses whom they’ve come to hold in their heart. Usually as time moves on they become aunts, uncles, and friends of the family. Divorce is not embarrassing, nor is it shameful as some feel. In fact, it can be a liberating experience to navigate your own course and sail unencumbered, under your own stars. Don’t fail at imagination or fail to dream, or you will fail in spirit. Really, see if you can resuscitate the relationship.  But if you can’t or it isn’t healthy to, find a way to guide yourself honestly, and true onto your own happiness without regret. You will be loved by someone again, when you are ready, and chances are your ex will, too. That’s good and how it should be. But don’t stay miserable in a marriage for a reason that out-and-out doesn’t make sense. If you are still unsure, pick up a copy of How to Know If it’s Time to Go: A 10-Step Reality Test for Your Marriage by Dr. Lawrence Birnbach and Dr. Beverly Hyman.

Does your Girl have a Mean Streak?

MEAN-WOMAN

Does your Girl have a Mean Streak?

She may be kind to you, but do you get the feeling she’s putting on her best face? Do you feel that she has a darker side, existing underneath this façade? Colorado marriage and sex therapist Lisa Thomas explains it like this, “Sometimes in relationships, even long-term ones, women want their significant other to only see them in the best light.” Does your girl have a mean streak? If she does you need to be able to recognize the signs and put the kibosh on them before they begin to ruin the relationship. The first thing to notice is her social situation. Does she have many friends? If she doesn’t have many friends, or none at all your Spidey sense should be tingling. Psychologist Stephen C. Phillips says that “If all of her relationships have soured or there are few left, she may have a side to her you’re not seeing.” Kindness is infectious. Kind people then are often surrounded by friends. But if she has few if any, beware. She may be sweet now, but once she’s comfortable enough to let her hair down, she could become a totally different person.  “Difficulty with intimate friendships does not bode well for an even-more-intimate relationship,” says Phillips. Ask her what happened to her friends. See if you can settle what differences they were having or help her to apologize. You don’t want to be her everything either, even if she is sweet. Every relationship needs a little breathing room.

Is your girl too hard on herself? This could spell trouble in your relationship. People who have impossible standards for themselves often project those standards on friends, family and others around them. Of this Phillips states, “People who are happy with themselves tend to be more generous in their estimation of others, while those who are unhappy with themselves may go out of their way to make others feel equally unhappy.” Have a sit down talk with her. Tell her she needs to give herself a break. Let her know that it hurts you when she’s so hard on herself, since you think that she’s amazing. Your words and the fact that you pulled her aside to say them to her may make all the difference. When you two go out, how does she treat the waiter, the barista or the bartender? If she’s generous, sweet and polite you are in safe territory. But if she treats people in the service industry poorly she may be stingy with her love and other positive emotions. Keep track of concrete things that she does that you think are rude. Then talk to her about them. She’ll change her behavior if she’s worth your time. Does your girl have a short fuse? If she goes off on people, have a talk with her and see what’s bothering her. She may just have anger issues. But something might be going on. Lastly, red flags should go up if she doesn’t get along with your mother. If your mom doesn’t like her, she may be seeing something you don’t.  Sit down with your girl and talk it out. See why she feels this way and how your mom feels alone in a separate conversation, then see what the best way to move forward is. To learn more about why some women have a mean streak, read Mean Girls Grown Up: Adult Women Who are Still Queen Bees, Middle Bees, and Afraid-to-Bees by Cheryl Dellasega, Ph.D.