Advice for dating a single parent

Choosing to date online means navigating a world full of predators, knuckleheads, and potential marriage partners.

The problem is, you cannot tell the difference at first.

Pro: For someone immersed in a career or ministry, online dating can open up opportunities that normally would not exist. There is no “Well, I plan on dating someone for six years while I finish my Star Wars collection (sorry, guys), master the art of cooking Ramen, and move out of my mom’s basement; then, maybe I will consider marriage.” For the most part, the people on dating sites want to be married—soon. However, for every good, godly guy online, there is a bad one.

This brings us to the biggest con of online anything: The bad guys lie.

No parent would encourage a child to play in the street, but we do teach children how to walk across the street. The fact is streets can be dangerous and cars can kill you. Put yourself in an environment that discourages things like rape or abduction. With prayer, intent, direction, and caution, a person can avoid the dangers and reap the benefits of great friendships and, perhaps, one day, marriage.

Being cautious can go a long way in preventing injury. A friend of mine shared a story from one of her previous churches. Use a screen name that you do not use elsewhere (IM, Facebook, bank account, etc).

Liking her kids isn't the same as raising her kids. Be ready for rapid-fire spontaneity or an ironclad calendar. There is nothing more beautiful than a joyful child.

If you really want to impress everyone, let her sleep while you get the pancakes going and put the coffee on, or take everyone on a doughnut run. She probably doesn't need saving, but she definitely needs a massage. Say good-bye to after-parties, say hello to more-time-for sex (Lock the door! Pro: There are great people online (I have found them, know them, and am one of them). Her children's games are the only ones she wants to play. Feel like she's perfect except you don't want kids?It's probably best you move along if either of you wants something long-term.2. Instead of pretending you know what it's like, ask questions and be humble. It's also a real question that single moms actually hear. Don't be surprised — or rude — when she hasn't heard the latest from Beyoncé or seen any movies.

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