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In 2012, there was estimated to be just under 1 million single mothers in Australia – that’s a huge percentage of all single women. Indeed, if you date women, dating a single mum is a very real possibility, especially if you date women in their 30s, 40s, or 50s. So how can you make sure that you give it your best shot?
It starts with the right advice. We’ve found the five things you need to know before dating a single mum – and three reasons why doing so can change your dating life for the better.
- Read more: Dating as a single mum? Learn about single parent dating with EliteSingles
5 things you should know before dating a single mum
1. Know that she’s got a lot on her plate
When you’re dating a single mum, it’s not just about you and her. This may seem obvious on nights when she has her kids – but it’s something to keep in mind during her free time too. For single mums who are juggling dating with a job and kids, free time is precious, and while she will want to spend many of her nights off with you, she’ll likely want some ‘me time’ too. No work, no kids, no dates, just Netflix and a bath (or, let’s be honest, some actual sleep!).2 Give her space to recharge and you’ll find that the time you do spend together is better than ever!
2. Flexibility is key – even on date night
Started dating a single parent? You’ll soon learn the importance of flexibility – and the difficulty of spontaneity. When you’re dating a single mum you can’t just whisk her away for a romantic weekend: not when she has to organize a babysitter, emergency numbers, and replacement routines. Even when you do plan something like a date night in advance, there’s always a chance a single mum may have to call it off to deal with a sick kid or cancelled sitter.3 Be understanding, be supportive, and when she can make it, it will feel all the more precious.
3. Rethink your approach to romance
Everyone has a few signature moves that they pull to impress a new date. You cook that spicy penne, you uncork a bottle of red, you put on the latest HBO mega show, bada bada bing! Or maybe you both sleep late then queue for brunch somewhere trendy because you know that love means buying a girl overpriced avocado toast.
Or at least, that’s what you used to do. When kids are in the picture, late nights and sleep-ins are probably no longer on the cards. However, all is not lost! You just need to rethink what you consider to be romance. That mimosa-laden brunch becomes a rowdy morning at Cora, HBO for two becomes family shows with the kids. The bonus? You may just find that sitting through yet another episode of Paw Patrol earns you bigger heart eyes than the avocado toast ever did.
4. She has a romantic history. Deal with it
Want to be a part of a single mum’s life? Then you’re going to have to deal with the fact that her ex may very likely still be around. She might have a friendly co-parenting deal, she might want her ex to step up more; either way, you’ll be expected to appreciate the presence her ex has in her life. Don’t try to outdo them or replace them and, most of all, try not to feel jealous if she spends time with them.4 Just remind yourself that she chooses you each day.
5. Follow her lead when it comes to you and her kids
One of the most important rules of dating single mum is to let her set the pace when it comes to her kids. When it’s early days, it’s vital that you be her partner first and a potential parent to her kids a very distant second. You may not even get to meet them until she’s sure of you, and you need to be ok with that. The flipside? Her introducing you and her kids is a true sign she’s smitten. As The Huffington Post put it, ‘’remember, if you’ve met her children, it’s the sign of all signs that she sees a future with you and most importantly, she trusts you.’’5
3 reasons dating a single mum can be fantastic
1. She’s practical and doesn’t sweat the small stuff
If there’s one thing dating a single mum teaches you, it’s that they are the definition of capable. As writer Jennifer Ball says “We bring home the bacon, we fry it up in the pan, we clean the pan…hell, we bought the pan.”6 If you’re looking for a delicate princess who wants you to wait on her every whim, keep right on walking. But if you want a practical, can-do partner who can take on what comes her way, a single mum is a great bet.
2. Her history has taught her what it takes to be a good partner
They say there’s no better teacher than experience, and that’s especially true when something doesn’t work out. Seeing what doesn’t work shows you what to treasure, what you’re willing to give – and what you will no longer accept. Single mums who’ve been through separation and divorce make great partners precisely because they’ve learned this lesson. Life has taught them they cannot give nor expect perfection, and as a result, they’re able to focus on the real rhythms of healthy love.7
- Read more: taking a second shot at love? Try our guide to dating after divorce
3. If she falls for you, it’s the real deal
Here’s a truism: single mums are busy women. They work hard to provide for their families, while also doing everything it takes to smoothly run a household. This means those dating a single mum have to share her time and attention, but there is a flipside: it also means that’s she’s simply too busy for games. If things aren’t working out, she’s far more likely to be upfront than waste her precious time stringing anyone along. Therefore, if she lets you into her life, be proud! She definitely thinks you’re someone special.8
- Read more: want to know if she cares? Learn the signs she likes you
EliteSingles editorial October 2017