As you fearlessly put yourself out there, dating is a journey that provokes a wide range of emotions: hope, elation, disappointment, anxiety, frustration, and passion. If you’re getting back on the dating scene as a single mom after a divorce, or if you’ve been single but want to get back on it, this emotional roller coaster surely contains some extra twists and turns when you’re a mom.
Here’s what you should know about dating as a single mom, according to women who have done it, as well as a few things to keep in mind if you’ve started dating a single mom (and want to impress her).
Dating as a Single Mom
It’s going to happen, single moms: we’re going to start dating again. Let’s start with some sound advice from other single parents who have successfully dated.
1. Be patient and wait until you’re ready to begin.
Even those with unshakeable self-esteem can be tested by dating as a single mom and the chance of rejection that comes with it. Wait until you’re confident “you’re strong enough; to face the setbacks, the ghosting, and other possible awful conduct out there,” says Lucy Good, founder of Beanstalk, an online community for single mothers.
2. If you’re feeling guilty, try to tune it out.
While your children will always come first, you shouldn’t feel awful about desiring a personal life of your own as an adult. Lara Lillibridge, the author of Mama, Mama, Only Mama: An Irreverent Guide for the Newly Single Parent, describes how seeking romance can benefit your children in the long term.
“Kids need a positive role model for good relationships,” she explains. “Moms are under pressure to be born-again virgins and to give up everything for their children. While this may appear admirable, children learn a great deal through observation, and it does not teach them how to have a good relationship—or dating life.”
3. Be as open as possible with your children about your dating plans…when the time comes.
Children, as you may know, are a curious bunch. Acting secretive, depending on their age, may simply raise additional inquiries. According to Lanae St.John, a trained sex coach whose work includes coaching parents on sex education, there’s no reason to hide the fact that you’ve decided to start dating as a single mom. “Be honest,” she advises, and consider utilizing it as a teaching opportunity with older children. “When you reach a point when you’re seeing someone wonderful, share the experience with your children; talk about the attributes and characteristics of your special someone, and why they’re important to you.”
4. Prepare yourself for unjustified judgment.
People may offer unsolicited opinions on your new dating life. Mom-shaming—critical and outright rude comments made about a mother’s perceived parenting failures—is all too common. “Judgment may come from family or friends who have their own opinions about how appropriate dating as a single mom is,” says St. John. “Trust your intuition and take it with a grain of salt.”
5. As soon as feasible, inform potential dates that you have children.
St. John, Good, and Lillibridge all believe that you should reveal your parental status as soon as possible. If you have a single mom, mention it in your online dating profile or bring it up on your first date (if not earlier). “Being a parent is such an important part of who you are,” Good says, “that you shouldn’t hide it.” “In fact, with so many other single parents out there looking for love, it’s often positive.”
6. Do a comprehensive background check on potential partners.
While your children should be on your dates’ minds, Good advice waiting until they’ve earned your trust over time before providing photographs and facts. According to St. John, “a dating single mom still has the grave obligation of screening her companions.” “Avoid putting yourself or your children in danger by exercising caution, conducting due diligence, and properly checking their personality and background.” This is true regardless of how wonderful you feel about them, she continues.
7. As for the subject of whether a mom should reveal her children to someone she’s dating,
When and how you do it depends on what you think is best for your family, but as St. John says, “take as long as you need to keep your family safe and happy first.” You’ll want to tell your kids about the new person ahead of time (consider explaining why you like them so much, as St. John suggested), and answer any questions or concerns they may have. St. John stated she didn’t expose her own children to men until she was sure he was safe; they’d been together long enough for her to recognize things were serious.
Before you make any introductions, Good suggests asking yourself these questions (which you can also ask your kids if it feels right): “Are they prepared to see Mom with a man who isn’t her father? Will they congratulate you? Or do you feel sorry for Dad?”
8. Remain open-minded (and a sense of humor).
Dating necessitates perseverance, as things will not always go as planned. Don’t be discouraged if you meet folks with whom you connect but don’t experience that magical spark. In fact, dating can help you expand your social circle. Good claims that while she didn’t find Mr. Right online, she did make new pals (and someone to tend her garden).
Dating as a Single Mom After Divorce
Are you a single mom searching for some dating advice to help you ease back into the singles scene? Dating as a single mom after a divorce can be difficult not only logistically, but also emotionally. What will the children’s reactions be?
What does a single person wear and how do they act? It’s unfamiliar ground, yet stepping outside your comfort zone may be incredibly rewarding. It’s a totally other ballgame dating as a single mom than it was before you had children. These pointers will assist you in getting off to a good start…
1. Recognize that you have a right to a life.
It may appear like everyone has an opinion on whether or not you should date. But this is your life, and you, not someone else, are the one who gets to live it. Consider how long you’ll be out of the dating scene before your children leave home if they’re young. There’s no need to wait till the perfect time or until the nest is empty if you’re ready to date.
2. Be prepared to face some opposition.
When you first start dating as a single mom, don’t expect your kids to be pleased. After all, they’ve had you all to themselves for a long time and now must share. It’s a completely natural reaction. Sit down with them and express your understanding of their feelings. Explain that while you care about them, you also enjoy spending time with your friends (just like they do). You become a martyr if you don’t date out of guilt. And, unlike your children, you get to make the decisions as an adult.
3. Pay attention to your date when you’re on a date.
It’s easy to become engrossed in your children’s lives as a single mom. They shouldn’t, however, be the main topic of discussion on your date. Spend some time learning about this new man’s interests, profession, and hobbies. It’s acceptable to discuss your children, but keep it to a bare minimum.
4. Your children are not required to meet every new man.
When a procession of guys arrives to take their mom out, the children become uneasy. It’s a good idea to keep your dates discreet until the relationship progresses. If you don’t, your children may become enraged or jealous. Make it a casual encounter somewhere other than home when it’s time for the kids to meet this terrific new man.
5. Don’t get too close too quickly.
When you start dating again as a single mom, it’s natural to feel like a teenager with raging hormones. The bedroom, on the other hand, is not the finest place to start a relationship. Passion is sometimes confused with love, and it’s easy to get caught up in a relationship that isn’t right for you. If your new man isn’t willing to wait, he won’t be able to wait for much else. A good gentleman will not be pushy and will respect your emotions.
6. Be patient.
A new relationship might feel like a breath of fresh air, and it’s natural to want it to progress quickly. Allow yourself enough time to get to know this new man. If the relationship has the potential to be long-term, taking things slowly won’t hurt. It will allow your children time to acclimate to him, and he will have the opportunity to learn more about you as their mother.
7. Adopt a tactful demeanor.
You might not realize it while you’re caught up in the excitement of a new relationship, but all that hugging and kissing isn’t acceptable in front of a young audience. You’ve gone too far if your children have said, “Get a room.” You should consider the behavior you are modeling for your children. Try to act in the same way you want your children to act when they reach adolescence and early adulthood.
8. You are the one who is responsible for your children’s upbringing.
Don’t let your new boyfriend take on any parental responsibilities until it seems reasonable. What exactly do I mean? It would be strange for him to pick up your child after practice unless he is a regular feature in your life. Don’t even consider allowing him to punish your children. Your children may resent it and may even bear a grudge against him as a result.
9. Keep your priorities in check.
Even if your child’s out-of-town games allow you to spend some time alone with your new lover, you should consider it over. Find another time to be with your boyfriend if your presence at the game would mean the world to your child. When they’re spending the weekend with their father or going on a camping trip, for example.
10. Breakups can be difficult.
Breaking up can be difficult for both you and your children if you’ve taken it slowly and built the relationship over time. Regrettably, loss and change are unavoidable aspects of life. Sit down with your children and explain the problem to them, as well as listen to their worries. Allow time for them to heal as well as yourself before leaping back into the dating pool.
Red Flags when Dating as a Single Mom
When dating a new partner, a single mom should be aware of the following red flags:
Irritability and impatience are undesirable attributes in a long-term spouse, especially if you have children. You may need to break off the new man you’re dating if he has a short fuse. Road rage and dangerous driving are symptoms of annoyance and impatience, as well as signs that you can’t trust him to prioritize safety. Weil and Upton Attorneys at Law remind us that “speeding, aggressive driving, refusal to yield, and failing to maintain control of the vehicle” are all symptoms of reckless driving behavior.
Selfless, helpful, thoughtful, and accommodating is what you’re looking for in a man. He’ll go out of his way for you and your children, and he’ll be delighted to help you rather than annoyed. This kind of flexible approach is what you should look for in a long-term spouse. Pay attention to a man’s patterns of behavior to see whether he’s the accommodating sort; see how often he does something he probably doesn’t want to do as a favor for you. If he is more unaccommodating than accommodating, this is a characteristic you should not tolerate.
When you’re a single mom dating, the last thing you want to do is date someone who is a slacker. Planning a special date night, assisting you with errands, and assisting you with your children all need effort. He’ll be the stuff of nightmares if he’s the lazy type. Most single mothers aren’t searching for a grown man to babysit; if your choice turns out to be a slob, he’ll probably prefer to sit on the couch. If the new man you’re dating consistently exhibits characteristics of laziness, that’s a red flag you shouldn’t ignore.
4. Financial Uncertainty
It is not necessary to date someone affluent, but it is necessary to date someone who is financially solid. You should date someone who is capable of running his own game rather than relying on you to do it. It may be who can pay for dates, assist with grocery shopping, or show some other indicator of maturity, such as being financially secure enough that money isn’t an issue.
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Honest interactions might help you avoid problematic situations in the future. Dating You are neither his mother nor his babysitter, thus you can’t afford to have another mouth to feed who can manage his own. When you’re dating/vetting someone new, it doesn’t make sense to pay for everything or have a broke person mooch off of you. If your new relationship financially harms you and your children, which it will if you have to pay for most things owing to your new man’s financial instability, you and your children will suffer.
The majority of dating single parents are preoccupied with a variety of issues. They must concentrate on their children, home responsibilities, their jobs, and their social lives. If you’re a busy single mom, a needy man isn’t the type of man you want to be with. You’ll need your man to have his own life, hobbies, friends, and obligations. Even if he doesn’t have children of his own, he needs to focus on having a life of his own, plenty of other things to focus on so that he isn’t overly reliant on you.
Being a single mother is not easy, to say the least. You’ll be stressed, agitated, overwhelmed, or simply busy on some days. There will be times when you are unable to attend to your new man’s demands or desires, and he will have to be understanding. You should date a man who can put himself in your position and understands you both; instead of being demanding, consider your sentiments. Empathy, or the ability to be empathic, will allow him to place less pressure on you and instead inquire how he can assist you.
Online Dating as a Single Mom
If you don’t know what you’re doing, online dating can turn into a nightmare. So keep these pointers in mind if you’re a single mom looking to date online.
1. Use a trustworthy website or app.
The first, and arguably most critical, step is to find a credible website or app for your needs. There are likely hundreds of dating sites and applications available. It can be very tempting to go for a free site if you’re a single mom on a tight budget. While some free sites can produce wonderful results, dating is similar to so many other aspects of life in that you get what you pay for. Anyone can sign up for a free site and say or do anything. Because they don’t want to waste their money, those who invest a small amount of money are more inclined, to be honest, and forthright.
2. Embrace your dread or anxiety.
When it comes to dating again, we frequently experience anxiety or fear. Both sentiments can be much more severe if we’ve been in a relationship for a long period and this is our first time dating as a single mom. Accept your emotions. They’re natural and make perfect sense. You’re beginning over, and because of your children, there’s a lot more on the line this time. Anxiety and fear are signs that you are aware of the gravity of the situation.
3. Ignore other people’s opinions.
Your ex, your mom, Aunt Judy, a coworker… there are lots of individuals in your life who will pass judgment on you. They’ll make sure you know whether they judge you for dating in general or specifically for internet dating. It’s your responsibility to ignore it. It doesn’t matter what they think. Because you are the one who is living your life, yours is the only one that matters.
4. Assume that you wish to date.
It will show up on your profile if you are cautious or pessimistic about dating. And if you’re feeling either of those things, it’s totally acceptable to be content with being single right now and not dating at all. If you do want to date, though, be enthusiastic about it. What exactly does that imply?
It implies you shouldn’t say stuff like, “I’m a little scared about this,” or “I don’t really expect to find someone worthwhile, but what the heck?” in your profile. It also means avoiding topics such as not having a lot of time for dating, not wanting to waste anyone’s time, or any mention of your prior relationship and why it didn’t work out.
5. Prioritize yourself.
As a parent, you’ve grown accustomed to prioritizing your children, which is proper. However, as a single mom, you must prioritize yourself when it comes to online dating. Prospective dates aren’t interested in hearing about your children and how they’re doing in school; their favorite movies; or their greatest characteristics. They want to know your favorite movie, your best attributes, and what you want out of dating. In your dating profile, you should concentrate on yourself, with an emphasis on what you’re searching for in a partner and relationship. Your children are a component of the package, but they are not the most important element.
6. Be open and honest about your role as a parent.
While your online dating profile should be about you, it shouldn’t be completely devoid of your children. Any prospective partner should be aware that you have children in order to make an informed decision. It’s best to eliminate them before you even know they exist if they don’t want to date someone with children. Don’t be afraid to admit that you have children. But keep it short and leave out the details.
7. Make no apologies or justifications for having children.
Many single mothers have come to believe that having children is a defect for which they must apologize or make excuses. “I’m sorry, but my kids and I are a package deal.” “I was married when I had my children, but my ex-husband cheated on me, and now I’m a single mother.” Being a parent does not require you to apologize or make excuses. Your children are gorgeous and amazing, and you should be proud of them at all times.
8. Avoid involving the children.
This is a piece of advice offered to single mothers all the time, but it’s worth reiterating. It’s tempting to include your children in your dating life. It could be for the sake of convenience, or because you believe you know your date extremely well; or it could be because your date has children, and you believe you can kill two birds with one stone. Whatever the reason, don’t include the kids until you’re sure things are growing serious. This is for the benefit of everyone, but especially the children.
9. Keep your swipes/matches/conversations to a minimum.
Please bear with me as I clarify what I’m about to say. You have thousands of possibilities at your fingers thanks to dating sites and apps. With just a few swipes, you may be connected to hundreds or thousands of people with whom you might be compatible. Who, on the other hand, has time to talk to that many matches? Especially if you’re a single mom? You’ve got more essential things to do with your time, so make the most of it by restricting your dating possibilities.
10. Make first dates as simple as possible and in easily accessible areas.
The first date is similar to a job interview. You want to see if this person matches your expectations if you have a good vibe with them and if you want to go on another date with them. So keep them simple and don’t make an effort to go on them. I recommend going for a cup of coffee (or tea or a smoothie). Choose a Panera or Starbucks (or a local store) close to your house or job for all of your first dates. You’ll never have to wonder where you’re heading again. You also give yourself an easy escape if things aren’t going well by confining it to a cup of coffee.
11. Pay attention to the present.
It’s simple for you and your date to start “future leaping,” or anticipate a possible future together. This is how you end up with dates who declare they can’t imagine themselves as a father/mother; to your children before you’ve even told them their names. They sprang into the future and began picturing a future with you.
12. At least every other day, check the website/app
For many people, the question of how often to check the site for matches and messages is a huge one. Daily? Weekly? Several times a day? Allow it to notify you, and then go through each notification? I recommend monitoring it at least once every other day, but not more frequently than that.
You want to check frequently enough to respond to fresh matches and messages before they assume you’re uninterested, but not so frequently that you get obsessed. You don’t want to come to seem as desperate if you react to every message right away.
How to start Dating as a Single Mom
If you’re a single mother looking for simple dating, keep reading for some advice on how to make your love life more gratifying and enjoyable.
1. Get your dating game on.
We don’t mean how to look acceptable in the half-hour between your babysitter coming and you departing on a date when we say ‘getting ready.’ It’s all about knowing what you want out of a relationship.
2. Set aside time for you.
When dating as a single mom, it’s critical not to neglect your own time.’ When you’re juggling a profession, parenting, and a new relationship, this is easier said than done, but any time you can commit to self-care will benefit you in other aspects of your life.
3. Make online dating a part of your life.
As a single mom, online dating platforms can be really beneficial. There are a lot of elements that make online dating considerably more acceptable, including a rising number of sites that offer a safe, effective service and help to foster genuine connections.
4. The best policy is to be honest.
When dating as a single mom, you may meet people who aren’t looking for a connection with a parent. It’s better to find out sooner rather than later, so be honest about your circumstances and be proud of becoming a parent; it’s the most important thing many of us have accomplished.
5. Finally, have a good time.
If you’ve been out of the dating game for a while, it may be both nerve-wracking and exhilarating. If you have young children, make sure you plan ahead for appropriate daycare, since this will allow you to relax on dates knowing your children are safe.
When dating again as a single mom, we need to be clear enough to heed to the “gut check” we feel. It’s critical to give ourselves enough time to heal after a breakup. I’ll wait years, if necessary, before even taking another man’s hand in order to attract and nurture a healthy relationship for myself and my son.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it hard for single moms to date?
Dating is difficult for everyone, but it is especially difficult for single mothers. Single moms want more from their partners, such as honesty, dependability, financial stability, and kindness, and there are single men and women who meet these criteria on the market; they may simply be more difficult to locate.
Is it worth dating a single mom?
While it may seem counterintuitive to rule out single parents as potential dating partners, it may be the best course of action. It’s preferable to be straightforward about your unwillingness or inability to deal with the issues. It will spare everyone, even children, the agony of a future breakup.