How to Date a Single Mom
Have you ever been attracted to someone and wanted to go on a date with her only to find out she has children?
Did questions pop into your mind such as "What will her kids think of me?" Or, "Is the dad still around?" Or, "Will she have time for a relationship?"
Yes, dating a single mom will differ from dating a person without children. If you're attracted to and interested in a person, and finding love and getting into a long-term relationship is your goal, you may want to continue reading to get some tips on how to date a single mom to increase your chances of success. Consider your destination so you can plan for potential differences and difficulties along the way.
What is Stepdating?
Stepdating is dating that happens when one or both people have children. For example, you don't have children but the person you're on a date with does, this is "stepdating." So stepdating can involve one parent and one person with no children.
Understanding and knowing how to date a single mom is important because the dynamics are different. When you know and understand these dynamics, you will be prepared for eventualities as they arise.
As a single person, when you date another person who is single (without children), it's just the two of you, but stepdating involves taking the needs of children into consideration, and if you've never had children, or provided the care for children, this will need you to think differently and may take some time to adjust. For instance, you may not have as much free time with your partner to have a romantic weekend away and spend time together without children.
There are a whole lot of differences you may want to consider, and know whether you are willing to compromise on, "before" getting into a relationship where kids are involved. Kids come first and kids need the safety and security of their parents. Finding quality time for relationships can be hard enough for busy women, understanding that a dating single mother will have less time for you and the relationship will help to reduce pre-conceived expectations and resentment; kids come first!
- Your date may not want to introduce you to her children until she is confident there is a potential future together. This is not a sign of her "hiding" you and being ashamed of having you in her life; she is being a responsible parent.
- Be prepared for your date to cancel or re-arrange plans at short notice.
- Again, her kids come first!
- It may be difficult to find fun time together.
- Spontaneous sex and spending the night with your partner may have to take a back seat.
- Spontaneous "anything" may not happen.
- Romantic weekends away may need to be well planned or cancelled if children become sick.
- Be prepared to be flexible without taking changed plans personally.
- Understand that your date may be in constant contact with the father of her children, which includes members of his family.
- Listen to your date. If she says she's busy and struggling but would love to meet again, ask her what can you do to support? Let her know you understand.
If you are a single parent, consider the needs of your kids in relation to your date and her children even from the information they provide on their profile on a dating site or on your first date. For instance, if you have teenage kids and your date has a toddler, are you willing (and able) to get into a relationship with someone who has such a young child? Will you be expected to a father figure for the toddler or is the child's dad on the scene? What is your date's relationship like with the father of her children? Is this a red flag for you?
If you want a dating red flags checklist tool that is different from others that are available, click on the link below to download your copy. This tool will give you the confidence to make a decision whether or not your date is the right person for you.
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Here are some questions you may want to consider answering before you date a single mom:
- Are you looking for someone to have kids with?
- Do you want kids of your own?
- Are you absolutely against having any children?
- Consider the potential destination: Living in a stepfamily. Are you willing and prepared to live in a stepfamily?
- Are you willing to accept any children someone might already have?
- Do you prefer to go on prospective dates with someone who has no children?
- Are you using online dating sites? If you are, are you looking at the person's profile to make sure they're not a single parent if "no children" is a relationship requirement? Or, are you going with the "whatever" attitude and open to any situation? Remember, this is real life where people's emotions are involved, it's not like the movies or the Brady Bunch.
- What are your reasons dating a single mom? Do you want to be her Knight in Shining Armor and make her life "much better" by rescuing her from the difficulties of being a single parent?
- Are you genuinely attracted to the person and can see a potential future? Are you prepared to be in a relationship for the long haul?
- Are any of the above questions "relationship requirements" or "deal breakers" for you?
"Before" you date a single mom, know the potential destination, stepfamily living. Are you willing and prepared for all this entails?
There are many myths when it comes to stepdating, which can confuse you when you are dating a single mom. Understanding and knowing the following two myths will help you remove unrealistic expectations you may place on yourself when dating a single mom. These myths may make you consider doing a "runner" before you've even given the relationship a chance.
1. You will love your date's children. If you end up falling in love with your date, you will love her children as if they were your own. This is a myth. Just because you are attracted to and may even fall in love with your date, it is "not a given" that you will love her children. You may not even like her children at first.
2. You believe that you will need to be (and expected to be) a co-parent to her children. No—absolutely not and not during the dating stage of a relationship. It is the responsibility of the biological parent to remain as the primary parent and caregiver to her children; especially during the dating phase! Supporting your date in parenting is something that happens over time where you eventually share some responsibilities that only happen in a committed long-term relationship. Even then, you will not be the child's (or children's) parent.
“Stepfamilies—turn unique differences between two merging histories into opportunities for growth, creating a new identity and solutions to problems.”
Some Facts About Step Relationships
Stepfamilies are built from loss, whether it's the loss of your date's children's parent through death or divorce, it's a loss.
Consider: has your date dealt with her past losses before she enters a potential relationship with you?
Not to scare you and put you off, but over 50% of families are remarried or re-coupled, and live in a stepfamily, and 66% of stepfamily relationships end up separating.
75% of stepfamilies complain there is not enough information or resources to support them. It's therefore important that you do your research about the dynamics of step relationships and look at related articles.
Statistically, the odds are not in your favor. Yes, I'm one of the 66% who went in blind, like a lamb to the slaughter...
Well, it doesn't have to be like that.
You don't have to be a statistic.
66% of stepfamily relationships end up separating!
How to Date a Single Mom
You can get it right by dating consciously (see Red Flags), being aware of the challenges of stepfamily living, understand and know your relationship requirements and deal breakers, and making plans to overcome these challenges.
Many people (44%) have achieved living in a stepfamily successfully, and you can too.
There are Eight Steps to Success in a Step Relationship:
- Celebrate progress, achievements, and differences in the family.
- Make a conscious decision to commit to your partner and the relationship.
- Set clear boundaries and routines with children in the family and ensure you are both united and consistent.
- Create joint rituals (how do you now celebrate Christmas, birthdays, holidays, school achievements, etc?)
- Establish Roles in the family—ALL children so they feel valued and have a sense of belonging to the new family.
- Promote respect.
- Trust the process and know that there are different stages of growth the family will go through. It takes approximately 7 years for a stepfamily to become a united and established unit!
- Get outside support and information.
You can plan your route when you can visualize your destination.
If you know you can not see yourself ever living with a person who is caring for children from another relationship, why go on a date with her?
As they say, "Forewarned is forearmed."
Remember to get your Red Flags Checklist by clicking the button below.
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Until next time
Relationship Coach and Dating Coach
Coach 2 Connect
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