If you are a divorced or single woman with children, you should follow all The Rules. In addition, be especially careful when dating not to go on about all the pain from your first marriage or talk too much about your children.
When you meet a man at a dance or social situation, it isn't really necessary to mention your children at all. Let him take your phone number, then wait until he calls for you to gently weave it into the conversation. Don't say in a serious tone "I need to tell you something." Remember in Rule §19: Don't Open Up Too Fast, we advise you to tell him about yourself very informally. Just casually say, "Oh, that's my son playing the piano" or something like that.
If and when he does ask you out for Saturday night; don't say, "Nine on Saturday is great, but I'll have to call the baby-sitter." Don't fill him in on details of raising children or how your ex-husband was supposed to babysit and is just so unreliable! It isn't necessary for a man to know you haven't gotten your alimony payments for the last three months and Tommy really needs new sneakers. Simply say, "Saturday at nine is great." At this point he is interested in you, not your family or your problems.
Please do not take this advice the wrong way. We are not telling you to be ashamed of your past or your children. Just wait a while before involving him. On your first few dates, it would be wise to meet your date in the lobby of your building or a restaurant so you don't have to introduce him to your children. This is as much for your date's sake as your child's. Your child should not have to meet every Tom, Dick, and Harry you date only the serious contenders. Let the man be the one to bring up meeting your children. Make him curious about seeing them. Meeting your children should be an honor, not a routine occurrence. Just the way you hold back on other things in the beginning of your relationship, this too should take time. Make him work (again? yes) for the privilege of meeting your loved ones.
On the other hand, don't use motherhood as an excuse not to get out there and mingle. Having a child often means being in situations with married people and you might feel like a fifth wheel among all the couples you meet at PTA meetings and Little League. But remember that there are plenty of single fathers out there who want to remarry. So go to PTA meetings with a smile on your face and wearing a nice outfit. Socialize wherever you go with your child. You never know.
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