Tips for Dating a Single Parent

Rachel Rumbelow

May 12 comments- 1

Dating a single mom or dad is something that is becoming increasingly common in today’s world. The rate of divorce and changing perceptions of marriage has given to a rise in the number of single parents dating today. In fact, a 2018 Pew Research analysis found that one-third of American children today live in single-parent households.

Dating is already challenging enough, it’s true. Adding the challenges of dating a single parent may seem daunting. Before automatically filtering out single parents from your online dating search results, you should take some time to think about it. If you go into a relationship with a single parent prepared for the unique complexities that exist, it can definitely work and be an incredibly rewarding experience too.

Time is of the Essence

A single parent’s biggest challenge is time. They may be the sole parent who their child(ren) count on and that means all of the things a child needs is their responsibility. Cooking, cleaning, teaching, playing, quality time, fun time, etc. Each minute is valuable.

Knowing how precious time is to a single parent gives you a leg up. You can show them you understand this by not wasting their time. Plan dates that are worth their time and allow for getting to know each other. Make every text and phone call count but at the same time, don’t overdo it.

The most important thing is to be open and honest when dating a single mom or dad. If you see the possibility of things getting serious, tell them. If you only see dating them as something fun to pass the time, tell them. It’s scary but it’s so important. They need to know your intentions. Dating with kids is a hard and messy thing; single parents don’t have time to mess around with mind games or unclear intentions.

single parent dating

Taking Things Slow

Single parent dating offers something that other relationships might not: a slow build. When children and all of those accompanying things that parents have to deal with aren’t involved, you can see the person you’re dating any time that you like. This can often lead to seeing them too often, getting too close too fast and then quickly fading out. It has happened to all of us.

With a single mom or dad, though, as we discussed above, they don’t have time to obsessively see you. You both have to settle for once a week dates or sometimes less. You have to sneak in conversations and it makes you take the time to get to know each other. This is how strong relationship foundations are built. You become less of a slave to neurochemicals that make you feel good only in the short-term. Instead, you build something that can last for the long-run.

To make sure you find the right person to slowly and surely build your relationship with, try giving a paid dating site like eHarmony a try. They have a compatibility matching system that increases the chances you’ll be compatible with the single parent you’re dating. This is why paid dating sites are actually a huge positive when navigating the dating scene. They are worth the money for the higher rates of compatibility.

It’s Hard to be Spontaneous

Dating someone with kids will quickly show you how important schedules are as a parent. Those last-minute dates or weekend trips are unfortunately a thing of the past. Most parents live their lives around their children’s’ schedules and that means everything has to be planned.

If you want to go to that new restaurant opening next week, you have to make sure they know at least a week ahead of time. Don’t book that bed and breakfast until you make sure the weekend you want to go is one of the weekends they don’t have their kids.

It’s not hard to adjust to the need for scheduling everything but it is an adjustment. Once you get in the swing of things, it will become as second nature to you as it is to them.

Meeting the Kid(s)

Meeting your partner’s family is an important part of moving to the next level but it shouldn’t be forced and it should be on the single parent’s terms. It’s a big deal to introduce someone new to a child. Their minds are very impressionable and they can either get attached or feel threatened very easily. It can be a minefield if it happens too soon.

It’s important for the parent to feel comfortable and for a strong foundation to be built between the two of you. This is another reason why being open and honest about your intentions are important. For the most part, single parents aren’t just looking for somebody to be with them, they are looking for somebody to be with their children too.

It’s important to note that just because there is a possibility that you will be a figure in the lives of their children does not mean you will be a parent. Take your cues from your partner about how to interact with the children and make sure the boundaries are clear.

dating with kids

How to Handle the Ex

Dating a single mom or dating a single dad means understanding that the ex is and always will be a part of their life because of the kids. Just as you should take your cues from your partner about how to be with the kids, you should also follow their lead with their ex.

Staring drama or trying to make the ex look bad is not going to do you any favors. It’s hard enough dealing with a family that is fractured, adding any drama to that will only sour things and weaken the foundation of your relationship.

Of course, depending on how the single parenting happened, this isn’t always the case but there will always be some sort of presence of the other parent either physically or emotionally. That’s something to keep in mind so you can also keep your jealousy in check. Try to remember that it isn’t anything personal against you, a child is made by two people and there is no way around that. It’s something that must be accepted before you continue dating your single parent partner.

Using a niche site like Christian Mingle where you know there are shared values will help increase the chances that there will be less drama with things like exes and other family members.


Hopefully, you now know that single parents are just as viable an option in dating as anybody else. It’s the sign of the times and a number that’s only going to grow. Understanding how to navigate dating a single parent is essential in the dating world today. Once you see that a little preparedness is all you need, you open yourself up to a whole new world of choices and rich experiences.

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