To help you get back on the dating scene, eHarmony.co.uk relationship expert Jenni Trent Hughes talks us through her top dating tips for single parents.

Getting back on the dating scene can be daunting

Getting back on the dating scene can be daunting

ARE YOU SURE THAT YOU'RE READY? 

Dating is going to be a big step for you and could have an impact on your children, particularly depending on their age. If you’re not 100% ready, then this will be obvious to any potential suitors so be confident in your decision and never feel guilty about allowing yourself the opportunity to find love.

WHAT KIND OF RELATIONSHIP ARE YOU LOOKING FOR? 

Keep in mind that now you have children, relationships may be slightly more complicated than when you were originally single. That's not to say that you can't meet somebody amazing – think about what kind of person you are looking for and how they will fit into your lifestyle as it is now.

MANAGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS

Don’t expect your perfect partner to fall into your lap after five minutes. Like anything in life, you will need to invest time and effort in order to find somebody you are truly compatible with.  

HOW DO YOUR CHILDREN FEEL ABOUT YOU HAVING A NEW RELATIONSHIP?

You don't want your children directing the process but if they are old enough to understand they can be surprisingly insightful. When you are putting together your profile, they can help with things like choosing photographs or identifying individual qualities or stories about yourself that you may not necessarily be aware of or remember.  

HOW DOES THIS PERSON FEEL ABOUT CHILDREN?

If you meet someone and they are clear, or you have the sense, that they don’t particularly like children then walk away. Your children are wonderfully special and it’s unfair to introduce somebody into their life that doesn’t feel the same way.  

DOES THIS PERSON HAVE CHILDREN OF THEIR OWN?

Though it’s by no means vital, having children of their own means that they will usually understand the complications of childcare, scheduling, last minute cancellations and all the other joyous aspects that now accompany your dating life. That said if they don’t have children, then just look for that sense of understanding, and compatibility where raising children is concerned.    

SHOULD YOU SAY THAT YOU HAVE CHILDREN IN YOUR PROFILE?

Yes absolutely. Honesty is always the best policy and they are a big part of your life, but keep it simple at this stage. ‘I have two children, a boy and a girl, Adam and Anna, 7 and 9' is sufficient.  

HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU INVOLVE YOUR CHILDREN IN YOUR PROFILE?

You are the one looking to find love – not your little one – so make sure your profile picture is of you and you alone.  That said, an image of you and your children later on will provide nice insight into your exiting family dynamic.  

HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU MENTION YOUR CHILDREN ON A DATE?

This is especially difficult, as parents we are hardwired to talk about our children and how great they are! Before a date, take the time to remember the things that really make you tick and make an effort to let your date get to know every aspect of your personality. Of course, if the topic of your children naturally comes up, don’t stress out about avoiding it, go with what feels natural and comfortable to you.  

HOW LONG SHOULD I WAIT BEFORE INTRODUCING A NEW PARTNER TO MY CHILDREN?

There is no set answer here, rather a case-by-case decision on what makes you and your children comfortable. Wherever possible, you should communicate with your children about your current relationship and introduce the idea of a new partner long before the partner themselves. Also, don’t put too much pressure on a first meet. Do something fun and relaxed and let them get to know each other in a natural way.