5 Ways I’ll Date Smarter In 2013 As A Single Mom

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It’s eleven days into the new year and I’ve decided that one of the things I’m going to do in 2013 is this: date smarter.

Let’s face it: dating smarter helps protect you from messy breakups and heartaches that’ll make you want to do nothing but lie in bed on a Saturday morning even though your son is saying over and over again, “Let’s discuss our plan for today, Mommy! What are we going to do?” But it’ll be tragic if you answered by saying that the only thing you’d like to do is lay there. All day long. And possibly eat ice cream. All day long.

(Totally not talking about myself here.)

In order to avoid this catastrophe and date smarter, I’ve come up with a list of things to do as a single mom who dates:

Plus: Fascinating (& Surprising) Patterns Discovered by Analyzing One Million HowAboutWe Dates


Date different types of guys.

I love that dating shenanigans have a way of being pleasantly surprising. And, more often than not, when I accept an offer from a guy I thought I wouldn’t be into because he wasn’t “my type,” I end up having a really good time and enjoying a new experience. It’s a total win-win.


Plus: So You Think You’ve Found The One, But You’ve Only Been on Four Dates. What Now?


Kiss more, sex less.

Hey, remember when making out for hours on end was as frisky as it would get? Remember that warm-and-fuzzy-butterflies-in-your-stomach feeling you’d get from just kissing? Remember when making out was fun and exciting? Let’s bring that back this year! Not to mention that sometimes it’s easier to navigate a dating situation without all the complicated emotions that stem from sexual encounters. Just saying…


Plus: Internal Debate vs. Polling Friends & Family: How Do You Deal With Relationship Conflicts?


Stop creating fantasies and illusions too soon.

So I went on one great date? While it’s a big effing deal, one great date does not a “happily-ever-after-this-is-a-great-marriage” make. Everyone knows that you should at least wait until the third great date to start picking out china patterns and researching destination weddings. (Okay, okay… the fifth great date.)


Plus: Chasing “Happily Ever After”: Why You Should Wait for the Real Thing (And How I Almost Didn’t)


Remain in-the-moment, but still be purpose-driven.

I’m all for living-it-up and enjoying the moment, especially since there’s something magically exciting about casually seeing someone new. But, after a while, it gets old if you don’t have the “Where is this going?” conversation. I have a kid. Casually dating someone for too long without having a clear direction of where it’s going? Yeah, I’m not about that life. (Anymore.)


Plus: What to Do When You Feel Like Giving Up on Dating


Shield my single mom life from my dating life, but don’t separate it.

I spent the better part of 2012 separating all things “Single Mom Life” from all things “Dating Single Gal Life” because I wanted to date like my childless counterparts. I just wanted to enjoy dating. And motherhood. Separately. There were times when I didn’t even talk about my son Aiden on dates, which is just unsustainable and unrealistic since, well, I’m his mother. I’m not saying that I’ll trade in cozy adults-only dinners for kid-friendly ice cream dates at our local playground. Never that. But, after dating the same guy for a while, it’ll be time to infuse a few Aiden-friendly dates in the mix.

Although… ice cream at a local playground does sound pretty sweet. (No pun intended.)

Alicia Harper, M.A., Ed.M. is a 20something single mother, blogger, and educator. Her life is filled with all things pink, except for the one bit of blue – her rambunctious 5-year-old son. Together they make a great pair, and Alicia chronicles the trials and triumphs of being a young, single mother living in NYC at Mommy Delicious. Find her on Facebook. Follow her on Twitter.