Dating as a Single Parent

Alecia Kennedy
7 min readOct 25, 2022

How do you navigate these treacherous waters?

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

Two and a half years ago, at the very beginning of the pandemic, I moved out of my own house and left my marriage of 18 years. My daughters were seventeen and six at the time, and despite years of hanging on to save the family and spare my children the trauma of a divorce and separate homes, I knew I had stayed too long and let things become too dysfunctional before pulling the plug.

Although this was my second marriage (and divorce), I had been childfree during my first marriage so it was the very first time I had to seriously consider how my marital status would affect other people. I also had to think about a future time when I would begin to date again and how that would affect my children.

I knew from experience what it felt like to be the girlfriend and then the stepmom. My ex was twice divorced with one child from each marriage when we met, so there was double the fun when it came to treading the emotional waters of two ex-wives and two suspicious children.

I saw the pain my stepchildren endured during tense weekends and the drama that ensued after every single interaction. Someone wasn’t fed the food they preferred, someone’s feelings were hurt, someone’s brand new shoes were dirty. The complaints from the respective ex-wives never stopped until the kids turned sixteen…