If you are dating a single mom, you are essentially dating a superwoman. She manages her work, her kids, and still lives a full life outside of her role as a parent — a social life, hobbies, job, et all. There is no problem she can’t solve, she is fiercely independent, and full of surprises. The more you get to know her, the more amazed you will be. No wonder you can’t stop yourself from falling for her.
Falling in love with a single mom is easy but dating a single mom isn’t. She has her plate full, with bills and responsibilities, and a partner or a new relationship may never be the top priority for her. So, even though she may be the woman of your dreams in many ways, building a relationship with her may take a lot more than just a scintillating romance.
You must follow certain rules for dating a single mom for that spark between you two to materialize into something meaningful. What are those rules, you wonder? And what are the joys and the problems you’ll experience? We are here to help you decode how to date a single mom, with insights from counseling psychologist Kranti Momin (Masters in Psychology), who is an experienced CBT practitioner and specializes in various domains of relationship counseling.
Why Is Dating A Single Mom Hard?
Kranti says, “Single moms face a unique set of challenges with regard to dating and romance as they must manage the responsibilities of parenthood while also managing singlehood. Single parents may yearn for a romantic connection but balancing a dating life and parenthood may be exhausting, especially when there is a lack of support from family or a former partner.”
It may seem like a lot to take in, but remember, if you really want this, it’ll all be truly worth it. A recent survey indicates that single mothers find partners 10% faster than the average person. This paints a pretty clear picture of what people think about dating a single mom. This is because she knows what she wants and what she has the bandwidth for. She’s not here to mess around with you.
This is why when you date a single mom, you can always expect honesty in your relationship. And she should expect the same from you. Single moms have less time to waste, which is why they’re less inclined to invest their effort and energy in engaging with and going on dates with people they see no future with.
It’s understood that a single mom’s life isn’t very straightforward, hence, you must ask her what she’s looking for in a relationship. She might be looking for fun or a casual hookup. She might be looking for company. Or she might be looking for something serious. Clarify what she needs, and don’t expect more.
You must understand that dating single moms isn’t necessarily “hard”, but it’s definitely not a situation where you can muck about. If you’re looking for your will-they won’t-they romance, you’re better off trying to find it elsewhere, don’t complicate a single parent’s life any further.
What Do Single Moms Want In A Man?
When you’re learning about dating single mothers, it’s important to know exactly what they’re after in a man. If you’re seriously committed to pursuing something worthwhile with this person, it’ll do you some good to take a look at the following traits:
- Someone who is ambitious and has a plan for life
- Someone who can understand her priorities and won’t make her feel bad about putting her kids first
- Empathy is a very important trait single parents look for in prospective partners
- Someone who doesn’t want to interrupt the independence but offers support when needed
- Someone who isn’t in it to play games
- Someone with discipline and a set of values that she can agree with
- Being good with kids is always a bonus (if she wants you to meet the kids anytime soon)
- Someone who can be a solid role model for her children
- Someone who is honest, loyal, and a contributor to domestic life
Speaking about what single moms want, a Reddit user said, “They want absolutely no games, and they want you to be as direct as possible. When I started dating Debbie, she noticed how the pressure of it all got to me a little bit and saw me struggling with expressing my emotions. Instead of the whole game of cat and mouse, she encouraged me to talk about my issues and asked me what we can do to make it work, or if I just want to leave. I was taken aback by her approach, but it did work! We’ve been together for quite some time now.”
Relationship Advice On Dating A Single Mom – 12 Tips
First things first, how do you ask a single mother out on a date? If you’ve fallen for a woman who is raising children single-handedly and are wondering about what your move should be, know that this isn’t going to be like your average dating experience. Dating a single mom comes with its own set of challenges and limitations, and you must be prepared for these expected bumps along the way before you think of how to woo her.
This may make you wonder: is dating a single mother worth it? The answer to that question certainly depends on what your goals are. Single parents aren’t usually looking for something casual; if your goal is to have some sort of fling with a single mom, there is a good chance things won’t pan out. However, if you’re looking to build a lasting and meaningful relationship, then, yes, dating single mothers is certainly worth it.
Now that you understand that a single mom’s life calls for a rather complicated dating life, let’s take you through the intricacies of what it takes to build an enduring bond with her. Here are 12 tips on how to date a single mom that will make you the perfect partner:
Related Reading: What You Must Know About Dating A Divorcee
1. Understand that her children will be her priority
No matter what happens, the cubs will always be Mama Bear’s first priority. If she has to choose between her kid’s doll’s tea party and a romantic date with you, she is going to the tea party, no matter how silly it seems. Her children mean everything to her. Her entire life revolves around them.
Parenting takes time, energy, and effort. This investment becomes even more pronounced for single parents. “Parenting takes priority over re-partnering. Even though they may be interested in finding new romantic interests or getting into a new relationship, caring for the needs of their child invariably takes precedence over their dating life,” explains Kranti.
2. Be there for emotional support
Here’s what to expect while dating a single mom: there will be times when everything around her seems to be falling apart and she will break down. The superwoman will seem powerless. She will need a shoulder to cry on or just a tight hug saying that everything will be okay. Be that emotional support and boost her morale when she feels low. She will feel good to finally have someone by her side in times of distress.
One of the most crucial rules for dating a single mom is to be emotionally available to her. Invest in those deep conversations, and ask and answer the right questions to build emotional intimacy with your partner. However, at the same time, don’t press too hard to learn about her past relationship. Your curiosity about her previous relationship is understandable. But this may well be a touchy topic so allow her the time and space to open up about it.
3. You need to earn the single mother’s trust
Trusting another person with her life and her children is going to take time, especially when she doesn’t want to talk much about what she has been through in the past. To earn her trust, present yourself as you are; devoid of any mind games and trickery.
Whether you’re dating a single mom in her 40s or someone younger, the rules remain the same. You have to understand that she has had her heart skinned once – be it due to a failed relationship, losing a partner she was in love with, or having a child with someone who wanted nothing to do with her. This can result in a lot of baggage and trust issues.
Also, if you’re trying to date a single mother for sex, you might come off as untrustworthy since your entire focus would invariably be on getting physically intimate with her. She doesn’t need more emotional chaos in her life. When you’re dating a single parent, it’s extremely important to earn their trust. Both through your words and actions. Only when you do that, will she let you into her life completely.
As you move forward in your relationship, you may wonder: how to tell if a single mom likes you and has faith in you? The answer is: when she starts trusting you with her kids. She won’t ever trust a random person to barge into her intricate family dynamic. She is careful about who gets to influence her children’s life. Her priority is to make sure her kids feel safe and wanted with her partner. So, if she’s starting to leave you with her kids for prolonged periods or if she trusts you with their health and safety, she has complete faith in you. Do not take that for granted, it’s a huge deal.
Related Reading: First Relationship After Being Widowed – 18 Dos And Don’ts
4. Make her feel secure
Insecurity will creep in and doubts regarding you will arise. She wouldn’t want a repeat of whatever happened with her ex, so she will keep scrutinizing you. Make her feel secure by giving her the emotional and mental comfort she needs. Attracting and dating a divorcee is different because she might be looking for substance and maturity, not just romantic charm and sweet nothings.
“Single moms may seek a degree of commitment from their dating partner. This becomes a prerequisite for her, given that a child is involved in the equation, directly or indirectly,” says Kranti. So, if you’re trying to understand the rules for dating a single mom, know that playing mind games to fan her insecurities is a big no-no.
5. With single moms, you must take everything slow
How to ask a single mom on a date? How to take things forward from there? And most importantly, how to date a single mom? You may have a lot of questions before getting into this new dynamic, and there is one clear answer for all – be slow and steady in your approach.
You can expect a well-paced relationship timeline since single mothers need time for things to progress and you will have to give that to her. Slow down the relationship, it will help build an emotional bond with her, which will evolve into a romantic and physical bond. Rushing it will only give her the wrong impression about you.
“Single parents also face issues concerning when and how to involve children in their dating lives and introducing potential attachment figures to their child(ren). They need to know how long and in what capacity a partner will be involved in their child’s life. Parents may be concerned about the emotional well-being of their child and may put off involving the child in this new dynamic until a level of commitment with their dating partner has been achieved,” explains Kranti.
So, is it hard to love a single mom? Especially when she has a “kids come first” policy and needs to take it slow? It’s hard only if you’re someone who feels insecure in your relationship easily, if you need a lot of time and attention in a relationship, or if you’re someone for whom the concept of a family doesn’t hold much value. In such cases, your goals won’t align (naturally) and this can be one of the problems of dating a single mom. Please don’t put yourself and her through this. End it soon, and gracefully, if you can see your individual core needs can’t be met.
6. Help her out with her responsibilities
Once a certain rapport has been established, you must make an effort to lighten her load in whatever way you can. Speaking on the subject, a Reddit user said, “Especially in the beginning, single mothers might not ask for help. I know I didn’t. If you do see that she’s struggling with something, DON’T assume responsibility but always do extend a helping hand and offer your support. Should she accept, help her out. With time, you’ll learn how to take initiative without intruding.”
Juggling so many roles and responsibilities simultaneously must tire her out, so a helping hand will be much appreciated. If you’re already involved in her children’s lives, you can pitch in by looking after the kids and allowing her some much-needed “me time.” Helping her out (when she accepts it) will ease her burden and make your relationship stronger. You will be able to understand her kids better too. Besides, dividing responsibilities will give you both more quality time to spend together.
7. Surprises her
A single mother is not used to surprises. She doesn’t remember the last time anyone did something for her. Surprise her by cooking for her and the kids or taking them out to their favorite restaurant. Get her gifts or brighten her spirits with flowers. It doesn’t matter whether you’re dating a single mom in her 40s or 20s, making romantic gestures for her is the key to igniting the spark in the relationship and keeping it alive.
These thoughtful gestures don’t always have to be grand and larger than life. Something as simple as a foot rub at the end of a long, tiring day is enough to make her heart skip a beat. She will begin to appreciate and cherish you more, and that will go a long way in strengthening your bond. So, how to tell if a single mom likes you? Make such small gestures of love for her and pay attention to the way she reacts. That’s how you’d know.
8. Be ready for play dates
One thing you need to understand about dating a single mom is that more than drinks-and-dinner dates, you are going to have play dates with her kids. A date night may involve sitting in the living room with them, playing board games. Remember that the children’s acceptance of your relationship with her is crucial for its future.
Has this got you thinking: is dating a single mom worth it? Fret not. It’s not as if there is no room for romance and conventional dates in this relationship. Just that, not all your time together will be spent doing the average sexual or non-sexual couple things, and spontaneity may take a backseat.
9. Romantic plans are subject to change
While your romantic life isn’t going to be dry and bereft of any cozy moments, you may have to keep your idea of romance somewhat fluid. For instance, it is entirely possible that while you may have planned a candlelit dinner at a rooftop restaurant, you may end up having a play date night followed by dinner because the sitter she had arranged for canceled.
You must accept that in this relationship, you don’t just get yourself a partner but a complete package — provided your connection reaches that level of intimacy where you’re involved in her children’s lives. Do not resent this aspect of her life or your relationship because this is who she proudly is.
10. Don’t involve yourself with the ex
If the single parent you’re dating is co-parenting with her ex, he will be involved in her and her children’s lives, whether you like it or not. One of the most important rules for dating a single mom is never to overstep your boundaries as far as this aspect of her life is concerned.
It is better to stay out of the way when it comes to your partner and her ex. Unless she asks you to step in, maintain your distance. You don’t want an angry ex riding on your back.
11. Make the kids fall in love with you
Wondering how to date a single mom successfully and build a lasting relationship with her? Remember that you have to woo and win over not just her but also her children. When you love a single mom, you must love her kids too – as sincerely as you love her. Once you make that breakthrough, you won’t be left second-guessing the future of your relationship, or questioning, is dating a single mom worth it?
Women love it when their children bond well with their partners. It helps them reaffirm their decision. It is important for the children to like you because their mother will always seek their acceptance before moving forward. Be their friend and a trustworthy ally. Pamper them and win their trust.
Related Reading: How To Choose A Life Partner – 12 Expert Tips To Find The Best Mate
12. Treat her family as your own
The key to happiness in a relationship with a single parent is to start treating their family as your own. When you date a single mother, you are committed to her kids too. You build a relationship with them, and by extension, you now have a new family. It is an honor and a privilege. Many people want to have a family that loves them, supports them, and makes them feel like they belong, and that’s what you’re getting here.
- Single mothers often look for men who are disciplined, committed and capable of being loyal and trustworthy
- Dating a single mother will call for a lot of patience and empathy from your end, and offering support when need be
- Dealing with her family is of utmost importance, make sure you think about how to set a good impression on the kid(s)
- Just like any other relationship, this one will need a lot of trust, respect, loyalty, communication, support, empathy and love
Be patient and understanding, and everything will work out. Before you take the leap, make sure you know what you are getting into and are prepared to deal with it all. After all, you wouldn’t want to make them go through another heartbreaking separation.