How to date a single parent
Single parents get a tough break when it comes to dating. They are often avoided or judged before a single conversation is had. There is quite a bit of dating advice out there for them. But what about the people who do decide to date a single mom or single dad? What should you do? If you’re attracted to a single parent and want to give dating one a try, do it! Just read my free dating tips first.
So you’ve met an attractive single parent and you’re eager to get to know them to see if there’s any passion. Great! So why are all your friends warning you before you’ve even had a first date?
Misconceived ideas about single parents
- They’re somehow “damaged goods”. Reality: Everyone has a past and having children is actually good motivation to work on your issues. Single parents are no more likely than any other singles for singles to be messed up.
- They’re always going to be looking for something serious. Reality: Actually many single parents don’t have time for anything serious and just want a casual dating arrangement so that they can have a little fun.
- They’re always going to secretly wish that they could get back together with their ex. Reality: SO not true! Even if things ended on good terms, the relationship still ended for a reason (and if a child couldn’t hold them together, you can be sure it was a strong one).
- You’ll suddenly be…a parent. Reality: Um…no. Not unless you put yourself in that role. The kid has two parents, they just don’t live in the same house.
- They’re going to get pregnant (or get you pregnant). Reality: Not only are most single parents not looking to have any more kids, this is also something that you have a direct say in (condoms…hello?).
Starting off tips for dating single parents.
Although single parents are amazing and very datable, there are some things you should keep in mind when dating.
Tip one: Go slow
Don’t try and meet their kids right away. Only go on dates once a week, a single parent needs time for their children. If you’re not taking up too much of mom or dad’s time, then the kid will be less likely to resent you.
Tip two: You are not a hero (and they don’t need one)
Some people start dating a single parent and think that they have to “save” them. That they need to find better schools for their kids, that they should buy them groceries or cook meals. That is not dating! Also, this sets up a very unhealthy power dynamic where if they do accept your help, there’s going to be an expectation of more help given. More importantly, this is insulting behavior. This person got along fine without you and they will after you leave their lives too.
Tip three: Make sure you’re ready
If you’ve been dating a single parent for a while and they’re starting to mention introducing you to the kids, make sure you’re ready for it. Obviously you’d better like kids in general, but it goes beyond that. If you meet someone’s child and then break up with them the next week, a child will blame themselves. Only meet the kids when you know you’re going to be around for a while.
Tip four: Meeting the kids properly
If you’re feeling ready for a meeting, try and make it a casual thing. A good way to meet them is on neutral territory or a place that they’re comfortable. A school play, or musical recital is a great way to meet them briefly and comfortably. A first meeting should be fast so that they’re not overwhelmed. Try and get to know them slowly over time. Remember, don’t make promises and don’t try and get closer to their parent by befriending them. Kids tend to ask inappropriate questions and if they do with you, just say that it’s private and you’re not going to answer that. Above all, be kind and respectful to them and their parent.
Tip five: Be aware
Kids should come first with parents. If you feel like the person you’re dating isn’t ready for a relationship or is having trouble managing time between you and their children, back off. If you really like them, try communicating to your sweetheart and talk about your concerns. It’s also ok to offer a little breathing room. Don’t stay in a relationship because you feel guilty for them or their child.
Everyone deserves a shot at love. If you’ve never dated anyone with kids before ask yourself if it’s for a valid reason, or just out of preconceived notions? If you like kids, then there’s no reason to shy away from a single parent. Everyone in the dating world is different, some are messed up, some are brilliant, having kids doesn’t make a person more likely to be one, over the other.
Good luck out there with dating!