A Party of One; Enjoy Being Single

BY: - 19 Jul '13 | Single

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by Jay Hurt

As a relationship strategist, I want to touch on something you won’t hear many relationship experts discuss.  Let’s talk about being single.  In many of my articles, I talk about self-improvement and self-evaluation which creates “a better you” that builds “a better relationship.”  My direction here is quite simple…enjoy being single.  I know far too many people who want a relationship, but aren’t happy where they are right now.  There are advantages to being in a relationship and there are advantages to being married.  Single people, there are  quite a few advantages to being a “solo artist” as well, it’s simply a question of whether or not you are choosing to take advantage of them.  Here are some of the options to enjoy while you are enjoying life as a party of one!

Travel

Ok, so when you are single, it’s easier to travel in many ways.  It’s definitely less expensive (than planning for two) to take a day trip to a city close by or a weekend getaway to a city of your choosing.  Also, you can explore international destinations at your leisure.  Financially, we want to set realistic goals for what we would like to do, save toward those goals and then go do it.  There is truly no time like the present, so what are you waiting for?  Go enjoy shopping in New York or Parasailing in Hawaii…whatever your heart desires.  Sitting at home thinking about not having a relationship is not getting you closer to your relationship destination and it’s not enjoying life either…go have fun!

I know some singles are concerned about traveling alone.  There are travel groups out there, as well as friends to hook up with.  Ladies, get your girls together and go to South Beach or Vail, Colorado…whatever the destination, get out of the house—out of the city for that matter—and kick it!  Gentlemen, you can get the guys together to check out a NFL game in one of the new incredible stadiums in Phoenix, Dallas or Seattle.  You might want to go to Chicago for their summer festival.  If you like the idea of driving with no speed limit, visit the autobahn in Germany, where you can also see the Porsche, BMW and Mercedes factories.  There are so many things in our country and around the world we can enjoy while we are single, we must simply make the choice to actually do some of these things.

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Jay Hurt wrote 72 articles on this blog.

Jay Hurt is a Relationship Coach, columnist and author of the book, The 9 Tenets of a Successful Relationship (http://9tenetsonline.com/about-the-book ). Jay’s focus is working with people who want to design better relationships and get more out of life!

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The Single Life: 6 Things Every Woman Should Know When Dating a Man With Children

BY: - 19 Jul '13 | Single

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I “met” Deesha Phillywaw through her book Co-parenting 101: Helping Your Kids Thrive in Two Households After Divorce. I wish I read her work before I became a co-parent. While dating men with children, I didn’t take into account certain things thoroughly discussed in the chapters of the book. For instance, I wasn’t used to being someone’s second priority and having to schedule dates around a custodial calendar. I also thought paying child support meant your child’s needs were met. I didn’t realize bills stretch far beyond a daycare’s door. I also didn’t have to budget and sacrifice for others, so I could easily drop dollars on designer bags, shoes and clothes–if I opted to spend the day at the shopping mall.

Now, that I’m on the other side of the fence and co-parenting the most terrific toddler you’ll ever meet, I want my experiences to positively impact singles dating someone with children. So yesterday, Deesha and I sat down to lunch–we ate our favorite Thai food and discussed our not so favorite topic–co-parenting through problems and over obstacles. I asked her what six things should women know when dating men with children. Here’s what she told me.

1. Don’t Take Every Word as Gold

If a man says, my child’s mother won’t let me see my kids, dig deeper, because while the family court system is broken, sometimes men say they aren’t allowed see their children when they haven’t sought parenting time through a judge. You don’t need an attorney to obtain custodial rights. A father can represent himself pro se and file a motion if he cannot work out an agreement with his ex. Ask yourself, is this man in his child’s life for not only the first day of school and graduation but all the moments in between?

2. Don’t Let the Baby Mama be the Straw Man

If a man is unable to provide for a child financially, that’s not the child’s mother’s fault. If a man doesn’t try to visit his son/daughter, that’s not the child’s mother’s fault. It’s easy for someone to place blame on another person, especially if they are not getting along. Don’t date someone who isn’t providing financially for his children yet wines and dines you every night. I would have to ask if he is paying child support. Is there an unspoken agreement between the co-parents—don’t bother me about seeing your child, and I won’t bother you about paying child support? You must decide if you want to date someone who makes that kind of trade off. Is the man constantly speaking ill about his ex? That’s not who the baby’s mother is—that’s who he is. Even if he thinks negative those things, it’s not nessceary that he has to vocalize everything all the time, especially if his children are in earshot. It’s difficult to do in many cases, but he should be civil. I’m friends with my ex-husband, but not everyone has a good relationship. Just make sure he is respectful in his interactions. What is your man’s character?

3. Don’t Set a Timer on Meeting the Children.

Don’t use the time you’ve been in a relationship as a measuring stick against meeting someone’s children. Look at the timeline from the child’s perspective. Just because you are in love doesn’t mean the kids are. When you think you’re ready, the children are probably ready a year from that. Someone can be serious about you, but they may not be ready to introduce you to their kids. Before you meet the children, ask yourself, are you ready to commit to being in this child’s life. When you do meet them in the beginning, make sure the interactions are short and brief. Go for ice cream or to the park. Plan an activity with a finite amount of time and with no pressure. Children shouldn’t be pressured to like or love someone, but they should be respectful. Don’t make meeting his children be the validation of your relationship.  Don’t put the burden on the kids.

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Heather Hopson wrote 59 articles on this blog.

Not long ago, Heather Hopson was an award-winning television host in the Cayman Islands. Today, she's writing a different kind of story as a new mom. She gives readers the key to her diary and shares personal stories about single parenting, dating, transitioning to motherhood and her obsession with being what her family calls an "activity mom." The site features celebrity interviews, parent spotlights and confessional videos. Follow her journey through motherhood on Twitter @dearmomdiary.

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