Guest author Saskia Nelson shares her top 9 tips for bringing back your dating confidence.
Single mum dating or dating a single dad can be challenging and rewarding, daunting and exciting – especially if you’ve never done it before. Here to guide you through the various joys and pitfalls, the EliteSingles dating experts can help!
A staggering 80% of our members1 would happily date a single parent, but how surprising is that really? Highly educated, and between the age of 30-55, our members are genuinely looking for long-lasting love, and are perhaps more understanding and decent for it! That said, dating a single parent presents its own set of unique challenges…
The first thing to accept is that dating a single parent is a game-changer; forget everything you’ve learnt about the ‘rules’ of dating to this point, because many of them just won’t apply here. Here – with top tips on single mum dating, single dad dating and meeting the kids – is our ultimate guide to dating a single parent:
Single Mum Dating
- Don’t play games; the consensus is that single mums don’t have time to be messed around. Thinking of dating a single mum but not sure if you want children in your life? Then maybe you’re not ready for the responsibility of this situation. The golden rule is this: don’t play games… leave that to the kids!
- Never patronize her, she doesn’t need saving; if she’s got it together enough to manage her life, her kids’ lives and still find the time for dating, she’s probably doing just fine. There’s clearly no need to feel sorry for her. Instead, be there to surprise her, treat her and sweep her off of her feet once in a while – every woman deserves that.
- Forget (and forgive) the stigma; single mum dating, you’ll find, still carries with it some negative connotations. If you find that your friends and family don’t understand it politely explain that all the negative images of your relationship they have are not the full picture. Yes, her life is probably more complex, she may have a busier schedule. But, she’s also probably more committed, nurturing and responsible than your average date. If you’re happy that’s all that matters.
- Her free time is at a premium; you understand that her kids are her priority. Great! Now embrace the fact that you might not be #2 on her list either – there’s her career, her friends, the rest of her family, and that’s all before you even consider her leisure time! Truth is, like any normal human being, she’ll also need some downtime. Respect her need to chill out a bit now and again and don’t nag her to see you if she can’t. You’re an important piece of a much bigger jigsaw.
- Babysitters are your friends, so don’t mistreat them; for the times in which you can get out of the house and enjoy a date night, make sure you get your partner home on time. Leave wild long nights out where they belong: in your youth! Good babysitters are hard to find, so once you’ve got a good one, make sure you don’t scare them away – in the long run, you’ll be thankful to have someone you can rely on when you do want a night to yourselves.
- READ MORE: Want more information about how to single parent dating? Check out our comprehensive guide to dating with kids.
Single Dad Dating
- Single dads deserve respect too; it’s all so typical to think that guys have it easier in these situations. They probably don’t. Whether they’re looking after the kids alone or if they only take the kids part-time, there’s nothing easier about being a single father than a single mother. Assuming that there is will be your first big mistake when you start dating a single dad.
- His ex may still be in the picture; as the mother of your partner’s children, chances are she will be for the best part of 18 years too. Maybe more. Don’t get hung up on this thought – there’s a good reason they’re no longer together after all. Be supportive if he needs to moan about her, just don’t bad-mouth her in front of the kids! No-one benefits from this, least of all you.
- If he doesn’t call, it doesn’t mean he’s not interested; this can be true of all guys, but especially so of single fathers. If dating a single dad will teach you one thing, it’s that your partner can have a hectically busy life outside of your relationship – you won’t always be his number one priority. If he doesn’t call, chances are he’s just busy. If he has to cancel at the last minute, it could easily be a genuine emergency.
- Grand romantic gestures might be a stretch, so learn to love the low-key; whilst there’s always time for romance, being a parent can be a bit all-consuming. Frequent date nights or even taking trips together are often just not feasible, so don’t expect them – when they do happen, they’ll be all the more special! Plus, quiet nights in with the kids tucked up in bed can – without doubt – have their own kind of romance.
- Being a dad is really important to him; your opinion of how he’s doing is a big deal. A study by the Pew Research Center found that 93% of parents say it ‘matters a lot’ what their partner thinks about their parenting2 – far and away the most important opinion on the matter to them. Your love, support and vote of confidence has never been more important than when single dad dating.
- Looking for expert dating advice? Meet our resident psychologist Salama Marine
Meeting the Kids
- Dating a single parent is just one part of a bigger package; be prepared for the fact that you will meet the kids! Firstly, don’t be daunted by this; even people who aren’t especially ‘good with kids’ can learn to love them, but it takes time to get to know them. Don’t forget that they’re people too – with their own emotions, needs, desires and fears – cut them, and yourself, some slack when it doesn’t go well and enjoy the times when it does.
- You have a responsibility to be the adult; all kids can be tough at times, but it’s best not to get drawn into petty squabbles. What kids need more than anything from their adult folk is direction, stability, and some level of consistency. Take your lead from your partner – they’ll no doubt have their own style of parenting and you should try to respect this.
- Have fun! There’s nothing more important; when you start dating a single parent, the temptation is always to go to extremes – either you try to be a new ‘mom’ or ‘dad’ figure, or try to be ‘just friends’ with the kids. There’s a happy medium to be found here. Including the kids in some of your more exciting plans will impress them, impress your partner, and set you up for a fun future life together. Start as you mean to go on!
If – like 80% of our members – you’re happy to look for love with a single parent, why not join us today? It’s fair to say that 100% of our members are here for the same thing – they’re looking for lasting love and a deeper connection. EliteSingles can help you find a truly compatible partner!
1EliteSingles Data from UK Members, April 2016