The thought of starting to date again can be really overwhelming for a single mom. For a while you haven’t even thought of dating and then at some point you start to feel like maybe you’re ready.
But dating as a single mom is totally different than dating when you were a single woman. You don’t want to waste your time dating someone who doesn’t have the same priorities as you. So if you are only interested in having fun and keeping things super casual, you don’t want to end up dating someone who wants a long-term relationship. Likewise if you’re interested in someone who will be long-term, you don’t want to end up with someone who’s only looking for a good time.
Then there’s your kids. You likely feel guilty about taking time away from them to spend it with someone else. You’re also unsure if or when you should tell your kids your dating. And when the hell are you supposed to tell the guy you have kids??
Don’t worry, here are all of the dating tips for single moms when you’re beginning to date again!
When to tell your kids– I personally think not every situation is the same and there is no magical time when it’s best to tell your kids you are dating someone. I will say that I think it’s best to wait at least a few months to really get to know the guy you’re dating and see if you think he’s long-term material. There’s no point in telling them if he’s not going to be in the picture for awhile.
When to tell the guy you have kids– Within the first few dates. Some people may tell you not to do this because it might scare a guy off if he finds out you have kids, but isn’t that kind of the point? You don’t want to date a guy who’s not down with being around kids or doesn’t like kids. You want to get rid of those guys pretty quickly. Plus when you find a guy who likes or respects that you have kids, that relationship is much more likely to work out in the long run.
When I first started talking to guys, I made sure I let them know that I had very young kids. I knew it would make a difference because very young kids are high maintenance. I knew a lot of guys wouldn’t be down with that because it means I didn’t have a ton of availability. But instead of being upset by that, I knew the ones who weren’t right for me were weeding themselves out.
When to introduce your kids– Again, there’s no magic number. I personally believe in waiting several months before introducing someone to my kids. If you’re casually dating you may not want to introduce them because you don’t know how long he’ll be around.
But if you’re serious about a guy then the next step is to introduce him to your kids. You will want to see how they get along with each other.
You also don’t want to introduce your kids to every guy. That being said, you can certainly date however many guys you want! Just don’t bring them all home to meet the kids. Meeting different men who don’t stick around can be confusing and stressful for kids.
Let go of the guilt– I get it. Between everything you have to do in a day, you have precious little time to spend with your kids. But you are more than just a mother. You’re a woman who wants to connect with someone else, have fun, or be in a long lasting relationship. You deserve to have that. Your happiness matters just as much as your kids happiness does.
If your kids are resistant to you going out, let them know that you like hanging out with your friend just like they like hanging out with theirs.
Set realistic expectations– When you first start talking to someone you want to make sure they have realistic expectations about the relationship. When I first started talking to guys, I knew I had to tell them I couldn’t go out at the spur of the moment. I couldn’t go on spontaneous weekend getaway. I couldn’t go out multiple times a week. I also couldn’t be out all night. So if spontaneity was something that was really important to them, I knew it was not likely to work out so I didn’t waste my time. On the other hand if the guy understands that and is ok with the expectations you have set, he may be worth pursuing.
You also want to make sure both you and the guy are honest about what you’re looking for. If you’re both on the same page about casually dating or looking for a long-term relationship it’s obviously much more likely to work out well.
Take things slow– You may want to speed things up because it’s been some time since you’ve had a man in your life. It may feel really good to have a man around and you may be anxious to have your kids meet him because you want to see how they get along. That’s a normal feeling to have but you want to let that relationship develop over time. You want to make sure you really know who the guy is before you introduce him to your kids. Once you do introduce him, you want to give him time to know what you’re like in your home life with your kids.
Your kids are your responsibility– You are the parent therefore all parenting responsibilities are yours. Set those boundaries so he doesn’t feel like he has to step in and so he knows you don’t expect that from him. If a guy tries to take on the parenting role be sure to make those boundaries clear with him. If he still tries to parent your kids and isn’t respecting that you are their parent, then it may be time to re-think the relationship.
I know dating as a single mom can seem daunting. I was really nervous about it because while I knew how to date as a single woman, I just didn’t know how to date as a mom. These dating tips for single moms will help take that overwhelm away and give you an idea of how to go about beginning to date again. If you’re ready, don’t let those nerves stop you from having fun and seeing what’s out there!
One Last Thing!
This is the last month in a 7 month series that will feature other single mom bloggers to provide a single mom resource!! Each month we will discuss a different aspect of single mom life.
Check out this page to read about other tips on dating as a single mom! Single Mom Resource 101
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