Bradley Cooper and Irina Shayk: Adjusting to Life as a Single Parent
Now that Bradley Cooper and Irina Shayk are no longer in a relationship, they will have to learn to navigate life as single parents. Their celebrity status might make the adjustment period a lot harder since paparazzi and curious fans will likely be tracking their every move. Their busy travel schedules might also make things rough at first.
If you’re a new single parent, you probably have a lot of questions about the future. Showbiz Cheat Sheet chatted with Dr. Seth Meyers, eHarmony’s resident psychologist and relationship expert, to learn how to successfully handle life as a new single parent. Dr. Meyers also weighed in on Bradley Cooper and Irina Shayk. Here’s a peek into our conversation.
Showbiz Cheat Sheet: What surprised you most about the study?
Dr. Seth Meyers: eHarmony’s Singles + Desirability Study found that 70% of people and 77% of millennials are looking for a serious relationship rather than something casual, and that being serious about finding a partner is desirable. In a time when casual dating appears to be the norm, this was surprising. Millennials are not as interested in the hookup culture as we had been led to believe.
Another healthy surprise was how much food matters. People see eating meals as an intimate activity and a desirable hobby to share. Staying in for a meal, which is what millennials seem to desire more than going out to eat, allows people to relax and converse in a private setting. It allows people to explore new foods and recipes together.
CS: How can you make sure your child isn’t negatively affected by your dating life?
SM: Above all, children need to be nurtured. They need to feel like a priority and that they are the most important person in their parents’ lives. The younger the child is, the more attention they need. Dating as a single parent is not easy. It’s tempting to get caught up in a new relationship, but it’s important to make an even greater effort to focus on the child’s physical and emotional needs.
For that reason, a child should feel comfortable around a potential partner. Children are resilient and versatile, and they enjoy meeting new people. At the same time, they also become attached more quickly than adults. Introducing a child to a potential partner should be carefully orchestrated. Only introduce a child to a new partner after a bit of time has passed–say, a month or two–after you have reason to believe the relationship will continue.
It’s also important to be physically and emotionally present in a child’s life while dating. This means remembering to do things such as putting them to bed (if they’re young) as well as attending important events such as dance recitals and soccer games.
CS: In your opinion, how long should a newly single parent wait before dating?
SM: Being a newly single parent brings a different experience for everyone and the changes it brings may require more adjustment time for some. There is no universal timeframe that someone who’s newly single should follow. It’s unique for everyone and that’s okay. Newly single parents should take extra time with their child to make sure they’re adjusting well, and remember to ask the child this simple question during free blocks of time: “Is there something you would really like to do today?”
Single parents who date should remember a basic rule: Always make the child the number one focus. After all, this is an adjustment period for children, as well. There’s no question that there will be changes all around. Figuring out these changes and adapting to them requires thinking about these issues daily in order to make the most thoughtful decisions.
CS: What advice would you give Bradley Cooper and Irina Shayk as they adjust to being new single parents?
SM: Eharmony found in its study that honesty is the most desirable trait in a potential partner, followed closely by kindness. Those two traits should be present even in a breakup. People want someone they can rely on and that’s especially important when you share a child. Be honest with your ex-partner, especially when it comes to the children you share. Show kindness, as you are both adjusting to being single parents, which is very different than being in a relationship. While you are no longer together, you will always be in each other’s lives.
Bradley and Irina are surely representative of this. Media has reported that both are very involved parents and that their young daughter is their primary focus following their separation. They’re even continuing to spend time together as a family. Because of their unique position as celebrities, they will have to work harder than most parents to protect their child’s privacy. With the looming risks already associated with being a child of split parents, the risks their daughter faces as she adjusts to a new way of life are heightened as a result of the situation becoming a public story.
CS: Anything to add?
SM: Millennials continue to surprise in the best way. There’s a long-standing stigma around millennials that they are irresponsible and lackadaisical, which aren’t qualities we associate with single parenting or parenting, in general. The generation, however, could not disagree more and consistently proves that with traits like empathy and positive attitudes towards mental health.
Eharmony’s study also found that dog owners are considered highly desirable. It makes sense when you take a step back and identify what being a dog owner implies. A person who has a dog is already comfortable with dependence, commitment, and are proven to be reliable, much like a single parent. Being a single parent requires reliability, trust, confidence and kindness, all of which are desirable traits.
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