Real Housewife of New York and New York Times bestselling author Bethenny Frankel has a brand new book out called I Suck at Relationships So You Don’t Have To, which is full of great lessons she learned the hard way. Dating as a single parent is no easy feat, so I tapped Bethenny to share some quick nuggets of advice for all of us single moms and dads who are braving the dating pool.
10 Minutes, 10 Questions: Bethenny Frankel gives Christine Coppa the real lowdown on dating as a single parent
A SINGLEWITH.COM exclusive
BF: The challenge of balancing time.
CC: What would you tell a newly single parent about getting back out there?
BF: Be in the moment. Meeting new and interesting people – and that alone – can have value and help you grow as a person. You can make a new friend, learn what you like, what you don’t like. Don’t beat yourself up, because every person isn’t prince(ss) charming. Don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself.
CC: The scene in Jerry McGuire when Tom Cruise eats Apple Jacks with Renée Zellweger’s little boy “the morning after” always sticks with me. How do you feel about introducing a child to the person you’re dating?
BF: He/she shouldn’t be introduced until it’s a very serious relationship, or a person that’s definitely going to be in your life for a while. Even then [the introduction] should start off just as friends. The child doesn’t need to know what the extent [of the relationship is.] Be mellow about it. I mean, single moms have gay friends, male friends, girlfriends – it can be just someone the child is meeting – it doesn’t have to be so serious.
CC: How do you feel about single parents dating other single parents? Too much? Good move?
BF: If you date a single dad, he understands where you’re coming from, the division of time, your priorities and that your kid is your number one priority.
CC: Let’s talk about reeling men in…
BF: Women attract the right type of man if they’re honest about having kids – and that’s something they are really passionate about. You attract the type of man that wants that – a responsible family man.
CC: A lot of single parents swear by a, er, friend with benefits – what’s your take?
BF: My personal thing is that women – for the most part – are incapable of separating sex from emotions. I’m not a big fan of a friend with benefits. I think it gets tricky. A newly single mom might be in a fragile state trying to balance a lot of things and I don’t think being emotionally attached to the wrong person is a good idea.
CC: When I go out on a date I feel like I have to flip the switch and be a sexy woman, not a single mom – and it’s not always easy to reverse roles. What’s your advice for enjoying a night out?
BF: It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t mention you have a child, because that’s a part of your identity. But you don’t want to go on and on and on about it. And it’s not good to badmouth an ex – you can sprinkle in certain things over the course of several dates. I once had a guy tell me about all the money he has to pay his ex-wife and I was so turned off. Get yourself dolled up and looking pretty and appreciate the date. Time away from your kids is something different in your day.
CC: What are some dating red flags for single parents?
BF: A person who doesn’t want kids, doesn’t want to commit, someone who seems to be dating a lot of other people and is not going to be solid. People think they can change someone. Pay attention in the beginning – it’s an indication of who the person is.
CC: Can/should a single parent stay friends with an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend if the child is attached to that person?
BF: That’s hard. Still be friends, if it can be structured. If everyone can handle it. It’s like a juice fast, you have to be delicate – you can’t just go cold turkey.
CC: What’s a single parent’s happily ever after in your opinion?
BF: I think a partnership is nice. I think having a partner that wants to be apart of your family completes the puzzle. Going out to the park on a Sunday. You can have a unit and that person can fulfill something for the child and you.
Singlewith contributor Christine Coppa is the author of Rattled!, a memoir about single motherhood. She’s also a contributing writer at Yahoo! Parenting and the mom of a 7-year-old boy. She loves cheese and wishes she could find a man with her golden retriever’s personality.
Reality-TV star Bethenny Frankel is the author of many bestselling books, including I Suck at Relationships So You Don’t Have To, Skinnygirl Solutions, Skinnygirl Cocktails and A Place of Yes: 10 Rules for Getting Everything You Want Out of Life. She’s the single mom of a daughter, Bryn, who will turn 5 next week. Happy birthday, Bryn!
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