Dear Shan Tell’em,
Thank you for answering my initial request for advice! I’m glad that I decided to reach out to you and your words were very helpful. Now that things have calmed down a bit, I want to know how to start dating again. What are good ways for single moms to meet new people? It’s tough coming out of an almost ten-year relationship, but even more difficult when you have a child. I’ve never dated any other man other than the father of my daughter since she’s been born. I don’t want to end up in another bad situation, and I do not want any type of drama.
Back in the Groove
Dear Back in the Groove,
I am happy to hear that you’ve progressed since we last communicated! Glad that I could help. First, I want you to make sure that you’re ready to date. While it seems like your relationship was over long before the decision was verbally expressed, I can’t help but note that you wrote to me less than two months ago. People are different and some get over situations rather quickly, but I still want to encourage you to take a little more time to figure out if you are truly ready to start dating again. Ten years is a long time to be with someone, but life goes on and you deserve to be happy. Do not base your decision on being lonely or bored or the fact that your ex is seeing someone else. Superficial reasons like these only complicate your journey and make it very easy for you to cheat yourself and another out of what could be a genuine connection. Make sure that you are mentally, physically and emotionally ready to open your heart up to someone else again.
Once you’ve determined that you are ready to date…
Dating with a child is a bit more challenging as you have another being to consider. You and your daughter are a package deal and deserve nothing but the best, so you must be very cautious of whom you introduce to your seed. I encourage you to start slow, and really get to know those who might interest you romantically. Don’t introduce anyone to your daughter unless you know that it’s getting serious. Feelings of reservation are encouraged and necessary to protect your child from harm. I’d also like to suggest that you talk to your child’s father about your plans to introduce your daughter to your new mate. You’re not asking for permission, but the gesture is a sign of respect for his role in her life.
When you first started dating your ex, the old-fashioned way of meeting people was still very much in practice. I mean…Myspace was still popular. But now, you have an array of options such as dating sites, apps and other technological advancements that you can use to your advantage. Hell even professional matchmakers are available. So meeting eligible bachelors won’t be a problem. Finding one worth anything is where you may run into a bit of trouble. But I am confident that you will, no matter how many frogs you might have to kiss to get to your prince.
It is important that you take your previous relationship for what it is. If you go dragging any type of heavy baggage into your new situation, then you will get old results. See each potential mate as their own man. Nothing more, nothing less.
Always aim to be upfront about having a child and what you wish to gain from dating. If you’re looking to casually date, just remember to have fun and not take much seriously. But if a more long-term relationship is what you desire, be patient, diligent and consistent when it comes to what you want. Also, keep your eyes peeled as everyone initially puts their best foot forward. Usually, you show up as the best version of yourself for the first three to six months of dating. Peep game and peep it quickly.
Good luck and I wish you the best.
Your turn: Got a question for Shan Tell’em? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or simply comment in the section below! And don’t forget to join us on Twitter every Wednesday at 3PM CST for a live discussion on love and relationships. Keep up with the conversation via the #AskShanTellem hashtag.
Shantell E. Jamison is a Chicago-based writer, radio personality, and cultural critic. She’s also JET Magazine’s Digital Content Editor. She’s been featured on WBEZ 91.5FM, “The Monique Caradine Show,” Vocalo 91.1FM, KDKA Newsradio 1020AM, WBGX 1570AM, WYCA 102.3FM, Chicago Now, EBONY, The Grio, The Black Youth Project, The Gate Newspaper and “Launching Chicago with Lenny McAllister.” Her debut book, “Drive Yourself in the Right Direction: Simple Quotes on How to Achieve Your Best Self” is available now at Amazon.com.