Dating today is a challenge for many, dating as a single mom magnifies those challenges which sometimes makes the prospect of dating seem impossible. But many single parents date successfully, so it know it can be done but single moms (and dads) should not take dating lightly.
There is a lot at stake when children are involved!
7 tips for dating as a single mom:
Know why you want to date.
Before you decided to start dating, you should know what the goal is for dating. Are you looking for companionship? Do you want a long-term relationship? Would you like to get married?
There are many different reasons for wanting to date, figure out your reason, because this will have an impact on whom you choose to give your time to, and time is precious!
Know who you want to date.
No, I am not suggesting you go stalker status on some poor unsuspecting man. What I am suggesting is that you have, what I like to call, an ideal man. Basically, it’s a list but, to me, an “ideal man” humanizes him. It makes his existence real.
Some things you may want to consider:
Basic character traits
Sense of humor
Kids or no kids (of his own)
Feelings about blended families
Shared interests or hobbies
Political leaning, affiliation or beliefs
If you want to start dating as a single mom, you need to be realistic about what that means. It means, you will potentially be adding another human into the mix and this human will take up some of your time.
Since most of us don’t have a lot of extra time, it’s important to be real with ourselves about what will have to go in order to make room for dating.
For those of us that have our kids full-time, it means time away from our kids. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to sacrifice your kids for dating but, most likely, something else will have to go in order to make sure that doesn’t happen.
For example, one thing I really enjoy doing is using babysitting time to go to Target by myself! It may sound silly but I realize that if I were to date, the solo Target runs will have to take a backseat because I simply can’t afford to sacrifice that much time with my child.
Getting to the point of being ready to date takes time. For some of us, it takes more time than others. I have noticed that many single parents will say they are “open” to the possibility but not looking. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, if it’s actually true.
I was having a conversation with a single male friend of mine not too long ago about dating. I made the comment, “…not that I’m looking” because I wanted to be clear that I’m not desperately searching for a man. His response was, “we don’t have to be looking but we can be open”.
I am not sure why those words struck me the way they did in that moment but I realized that I have been saying I am open when I really haven’t been. I believe that I wanted to be open to the possibility but my fear of being hurt and rejected again was holding me back from that reality.
You have to be honest with yourself about where you are at on the scale of openness. it is not fair to the men you will date or strike up chats with to say you are open when, in fact, you are not.
It’s ok to just be at a place where you want to be open. My advice is to stay there and figure out what is holding you back before you drag another person into your uncertainty!
Create boundaries & guidelines.
I am in a few single mom groups on Facebook. Recently in one of the groups, a mom was sharing that she had been chatting with a really nice man for a bit. One night she was home with sick kids (they were sleeping), so on a whim she invited the nice man over for their first date.
As you can imagine, there were many comments of the nature of “are you crazy!?!”. I admit, I had the same thought (which I kept to myself, by the way). Safety issue aside, assuming he really was a nice man and everything was fine, what if the kids had woken up to find this nice man in the living room with their mother?
All women should operate with wisdom when dating but when you have kids you have to remember that you aren’t the only one involved, you have to think about the safety and emotional well-being of your children as well as your own.
There are so many things to think about when kids are involved and if you don’t think about them in advance, you may end up making a bad decision on a whim.
Sit down and write out some guidelines for yourself before you jump into dating.
Here are just a few ideas:
What type of setting are you comfortable with for a first meeting/date?
At what point would you ideally introduce your kids to a significant other?
Will you tell your kids you are dating?
When should you tell your child’s father you are in a relationship?
Would you consider relocating?
Would you consider living with a significant other? And, if so, how long do you need to date first?
How long would you ideally like to date before getting married?
Trust your gut.
Before I was a mom, and I did actually date, there was a brief period of time where I made some pretty stupid mistakes. There was one particular date that I honestly had the thought that the man might kill me. I have never been so afraid in my life. And I’ve been carjacked!
The thing that makes me most upset about that night is that I had a bad feeling from the start.
I should have trusted my gut.
If you have a bad feeling, go with it. Don’t second guess yourself. Don’t talk yourself out of it. Just get the heck out of there!
Focus on the big picture.
This is related to the idea of knowing why you want to date but it takes it a step further. Dating can most certainly be challenging, so you have to be focused on the big picture. What value can it add to your life? Or will it?
Personally, I can see the value of forming a different kind of family unit but I don’t see value in dating just do date. So, if I can’t see a man in the big picture then he will not be getting my time.
Staying focused on the big picture of why you want to date will save you a lot of time and heartache!
Do you have any dating tips for single moms?
About the Author
Hi! I'm Inez, the owner and content creator of For the Love of Mom, a website dedicated to helping women thrive in life & motherhood.