Single Parent Dating: A Helpful Guide

Published: June 4, 2021
Updated: May 23, 2022
couple with single parent's daughter go kite flying on field

Are you a single parent thinking of re-entering the dating world? What if you’re not a parent yourself but you’re interested in dating a single mum or to go on a date with that cute single father from your gym?

Single parent dating is not without its challenges, but it’s nothing that can’t be overcome. With the right attitude and expectations, there’s no reason you can’t create a happy and successful relationship.

In this post, we’ll start with tips for single parents who are ready to start dating again. Then we’ll switch gears and offer advice for those considering a relationship with a single parent.

Read on for your go-to guide for single parents and dating.

Blonde mother playing with her son on a sofa

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Dating Tips for Single Parents

The perfect profile picture is just the tip of the iceberg. Here are 4 important considerations for single parents looking for love.

1. Make Sure You’re Ready to Date

How did your last relationship end? Was it a messy divorce?

Whatever you went through in your last relationship, your first step is making sure you’re 100% to enter a relationship with someone new. There’s no “right time” for everyone—it could be a few months or many years before you’re ready to take that step.

Make sure that void you’re feeling wouldn’t be better filled by a different solution. Is it truly companionship that you’re craving? Or could it be that you just need more time with friends or a new hobby?

Next, make an honest assessment of your circumstances. Your schedule as a single parent is undoubtedly busy. Do you have time to date and manage the demands of your daily routine? Do you have friends or family who can help with childcare?

2. Get Familiar With Online Options

The world of dating may have changed a lot since the last time you were in it. Of course, you’ve changed too—you have more life experience and new priorities.

There’s no rule that says you have to try dating online, but you should at least be aware of the options. People search for a variety of things in online dating, so you may be surprised by who you can meet and where you can find them.

You could search by hobbies or mutual interests or seek out other single parents in your area. At the very least, you could end up with a few new friends.

3. Make Your Expectations Clear

Are you just dipping your toe in the water, or are you looking for a lifelong commitment?

There’s no right or wrong answer, as long as you’re clear upfront about what you want. Some people date for fun while others seek a lasting connection, with a million types of relationships in between.

When you’re just getting out there again, focus on meeting new people and forging new friendships. Eventually, you’ll meet someone who’s looking for the same thing that you are.

4. Be Honest (Without Revealing Too Much)

It’s best to be upfront about the fact that you’re a parent, as some wouldn’t appreciate being surprised with that detail later on.

Does that mean you have to reveal every fact about your ex, your custody battle, or your kids’ lives? No. Save those details for later in the relationship once you know the person better.

Are You Thinking of Dating a Single Parent?

What if you’re on the other side of the coin? Here’s some helpful advice for anyone considering a relationship with a single parent.

1. Set Realistic Expectations

If you’ve never dated someone with kids, it’s important to realize that it won’t be exactly the same as dating someone without that obligation. You may not be able to dance the night away at a club or take an impromptu weekend trip out of town.

Although the relationship requirements may be different, there are plenty of success stories out there. Be open and honest with each other about what you want, and you’ll be on the right track.

2. Accept the Other Parent’s Role

Even though you’re entering a relationship with one person, there are two other people you need to consider—that person’s child, and the other parent of that child.

If your partner shares custody or still interacts with their ex, it’s reasonable to expect that you will eventually meet and interact with that person too. You don’t need to become best friends, but you should always strive to be cordial.

Singles dad with his daughter over his shoulders walking among trees

3. Don’t Rush It With the Kids

It often takes kids a while to warm up to new people, especially if they were hoping for a reunion. Be sure never to bad-mouth your partner’s ex in front of the kids, regardless of what you’ve learned. 

The most important thing you can do is demonstrate that you’re trustworthy. Don’t try to force a connection — let it happen naturally over time. It might also be appropriate, at some point, to assure the kids that you’re not trying to replace their other parent.

4. Get Used to Extra Planning (& Last-Minute Changes)

If you’ve always dated singles who are footloose and fancy-free, it might be quite the adjustment dating someone with kids.

Expect to schedule plans many days or even weeks in advance so your partner can arrange for child care. You can expect some last-minute cancellations too when the kids get sick or the babysitter cancels.

The more flexible and adaptable you can be, the better your chances of a successful relationship with a single parent.

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Single Parent Dating: Make a Success of It

The world of single parent dating has a few extra rules. But by putting the tips above into practice, there’s no reason you can’t find a fulfilling relationship.

Single parents re-entering the dating world do well to get familiar with online dating resources. They should be clear and upfront about their expectations without revealing too much too fast.

Are you thinking of dating someone who’s a parent? Make sure you have realistic expectations going into it, including the other parent’s role. Take it slow when it comes to getting to know the children, and be flexible about last-minute changes to plans.

So, are you up to the challenge?