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Ultimately, what most people want is a partner who will accept their situation, not someone who is going to take on all the responsibilities.

Schiller recommends referring to your single parent status in the context of your feelings or your everyday life: “My children are the most important thing in my life,” or “I spend the weekends with my 13-year-old daughter”.

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At the very latest this should be when you feel that a durable relationship is in view.

If your new boyfriend or girlfriend doesn’t seem especially interested in getting to know your children better, then don’t rush things. Experts recommend staging the first meeting on neutral ground - say at a sports centre or a museum - so that no-one feels like an intruder.

Discover single parents looking for meaningful relationships online on Guardian Soulmates.

If you are new to online dating or want to find out more about the online dating scene for single parents, then check out the Soulmates Blog for great tips and advice.

That makes the position clear without immediately raising the issue of adoption papers! It is also of vital importance to talk to your children about the new situation and to get them ready for a possible change in the make-up of your family.

With older children, it is a good idea to include them at a suitable stage in the process of getting to know your partner.

Negativity is out of place, because there are plenty of people who are specifically in search of someone with children, either because they have children themselves and would like a partner who understands their situation, or because they feel that people without children have less to offer them. Many single parents aren’t sure how to describe themselves in their online dating profile, thinking that they will deter approaches by referring to their situation.

“Single parents are certainly not second-class citizens in the world of dating,” affirms Schiller. Admittedly, a certain amount of discretion is advisable …

In general, if you have split relatively recently from you ex, then you need to tread still more carefully with your children.

There is a greater risk that they will come out with something like: “But I’ve already got a mum/a dad. ” Younger children tend to view any changes in their world as somewhat threatening, so they will often fear that their parent will have less time for them or that they will become less central to your existence.

Some people may think that if they can handle a rambunctious two year old, surely they can handle getting back out there and start dating again.

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