"A museum, bookstore, sidewalk fair, farmer's market, or a park without swings where your kid can run on the grass and play catch are all places where adults hang out too," advises Spencer.
You have to step out on a limb sometimes -- that's where all the fruit is." To put things in greater perspective, think about all of the things you've managed as a single parent: middle-of-the-night illness, potty training, getting the bills paid. --Tia, 34, New York, New York Solution: "It's so completely understandable that you feel insecure for this reason, but the decision by the father of your child to leave was his, not yours -- and a choice that big cannot boil down to something as simple as 'not liking you enough.' "Whatever his reasons were, they were his reasons, his issues, and his problems, not yours.
A date with a cutie and a cocktail is nothing -- it's fun! So please, don't let his life choice mirror back that you weren't worth it. She suggests this trick: Make a list of ten reasons why you would want to date you -- qualities you bring to the table that your friends, family and child appreciate.
--Shannon, 29, Avon, Ohio Solution: Yes, you can have your cake, eat and enjoy it too.
Spencer says, "If your carriage is turning into a pumpkin just when your night is getting more interesting with someone you've been on a few dates with, consider starting your next date at his place, rather than ending it there.
"We're always nervous when we step into new or unfamiliar territory.
Embrace that nervous energy, those sweaty palms and the knots in your stomach, because they're all signs you're taking a positive step forward to try something new in your life. If the father of my child didn't like me enough to stay around, what makes me think a guy who has no biological connection to my child will?
In other words, if I'm going on a date, I don't want to tell her I have a work obligation.
But, is it OK to be honest about dating with my child?
--Renee, 30, Totowa, New Jersey Solution: Spencer says to rethink that afternoon of fun.
"It's hard to meet your match when everyone you're hanging out with is under three feet tall." She recommends, instead of heading to kid-centered places, to try some kid-friendly ones, where you might be able to scope out a cutie.
Problem: I took the plunge and joined an online dating site.