Dating as a single parent can be incredibly intimidating. Not only is it a logistical challenge with childcare and parental responsibilities to consider, but if you’re recovering from abuse, loss or adultery, there can be a host of other issues holding you back, not to mention the fear of choosing a bad apple. If you’ve been out of the dating game for a while, how do you know if you’re dating someone toxic? Read this post by Frolo expert and Trauma Recovery Therapist Keyleigh Marie.
Starting to date again after heartbreak can be daunting enough at the best of times. However, starting to date again as a single parent feels much more weighted and pressurised because now you have a mini me (or serveral!) to consider in your decision-making process. Not only that, but time can be more limited and precious as a single parent so it needs to be used wisely.
Now, let’s imagine you have met someone and you have been on a few dates. The dates have been good and you are considering whether to continue this further but how do you know this person is a truly healthy individual to continue this path with? It can be a minefield out there nowadays especially, with all the sharks in the current dating pool!
But do not fear I’m here to share with you my top 5 warning signs you’re dating someone toxic so that you can say no quickly to anything less than you deserve.
I don’t mean physically unsafe as that requires a very different approach, rather, emotionally unsafe to be your true authentic self. Uncomfortable, unlovable, unworthy, unhappy; the list goes on.
Regardless of the “what”, I want you to ask yourself one important question: “how does this person make me feel?” NOT “how do I feel about them?”. This powerful question will help you to differentiate between your feelings and the reality, quality and potential of the relationship.
Whether this is disrespectful communication, being chronically late or casually “forgetting” an occasion or event it is still showing disrespect for you and your time, something which they should understand the significance of when dating a single parent.
Equally, if you find yourself catching out their lies more often than not (more than twice!) then it is a huge red flag. At this point, it is a character trait and it is unlikely to change.
All the while you will be left with trust issues and constant anxiety about whether they are telling you the truth or not. A relationship requires trust and without it cannot flourish - nor will your mental health.
The constant messaging back and forth that leaves you feeling like you cannot have any time alone or when you do finally get to see your friends and family, they need a “proof picture” is controlling behaviour.
Equally, when they get jealous, annoyed and angry because someone else looks in your general direction is another huge red flag for what I like to call “lovingly jealous behaviour”.
I call it this as their reaction is often dressed up as loving and affectionate because they are so into you, however, it is jealous, controlling and manipulative behaviour which is extremely toxic and unhealthy.
Look at the common denominator in all of their previous relationships. Relationships take two people to work and also to break up. The two statements above are red flags because there is a clear lack of accountability, self-awareness and acknowledgment on their part which doesn’t lead to a healthy relationship.
One of the biggest predictors of breakup and divorce is communication. Being passive aggressive is not direct, open or clear communication. Instead, it is an unsaid nudge in a direction that you’re expected to figure out for yourself.
This behaviour shows a lack of emotional maturity and intelligence. It also builds an underlying resentment and evokes petty games – neither of which will build a strong, healthy and happy relational foundation. When you are dating again it can be so easy to get caught up in the moment but it is always good to take a step back and evaluate the situation.
This person may eventually become a solid part of yours and your child’s lives so it's paramount that you are compatible and that both parties are willing to build a healthy, stable, safe and loving environment for the relationship to flourish.
Anything short just won’t do and you deserve nothing less.
You can find out more about Keyleigh Marie’s work at keyleighmarie.com.
Check out the dating advice group chat on the Frolo app to get a second opinion on your dating dilemmas from other single parents in the same situation.
If you’re ready to date and you want to meet another single parent looking for love, check out Frolo Dating by switching from Community to Dating mode on the app.
A updated version of Frolo is now available for the best possible app experience, with features on that include enhanced discovery settings, 'Find me on Frolo' and the ability to share meetups and group chats outside the app, plus the ability to post anonymously on Community and to see all your likes in one place with unlimited likes on Dating mode.