Dating on a budget

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      Suzanne — I can sympathize with your situation. I was divorced when my children were 3 1/2 and 5. I did not have any family nearby to watch the kids and felt guilty leaving them with a sitter so I could go out because they were in day care while I worked to support us.

      My big concern was who paid for the babysitter? Was it a “cost” of the date or what? To further complicate matters money was tight and therefore needed for necessities, not dating/entertainment and many perspective dates were not accepting of the fact that I had more than 1 child.

      I am happily remarried now (after nearly 10 years on my own)so things obviously worked out fine. In my experience lunch dates worked out great in the beginning, dating when my ex had weekend visitationsor occasionally letting a church friend/familystep up to the plate to watch the kids for special
      dates/occasions. I would bake somethingnice for whoever at church helped out as a thank you and when that got out I had additional families offer to take a turn.

      As far as dating while my kids were with my ex, I learned not to mention it or he’d deliberately flake out to ruin my plans (but that’s another story altogether). Generally on casual dates (early on in the relationship, 1st/2nd dates) I would pay the sitter when the kids were young, but no other expenses and my date would fund the activity (dinner, movie, etc.). If it was a steady relationship, I would mention my dilema and my date picked up the costs related to the kids’ care when necessary.

      To reciprocate I would make a meal for us to share at another time/for another date. I made it a point never to have “overnight” company if my kids were home and did not let them meet anyone that I dated unless it was to become a
      long-term kind of thing. My kids did become attached to someone I dated for 3 years and were hurt when I ended it — so be careful.

      The manI married was someonewe knew for 10+ years. We met through volunteering as scout leaders — my Dad jokingly hassaid he didn’t know there was a merit badge in romance 🙂 My kids were very comfortable with him as he had been in group activities with us “forever” proving you never know where Mr. Right will turn up. Sometimes I would meet a “friend” by casually bumping into him while at a fast food restaurant (prearranged, butmy kids never suspected anything).

      The kids would playon the playground while I visited over coffee with my date. Best of luck to you and your daughter, Suzanne. I feel certain brighter days are around the corner for y’all.

      Fesmire Gibbons
      wrote: My daughter is just two years old, so she needs a
      babysitter. I don’t know other single moms in my area.

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