Finding love isn’t easy as a single parent, but it’s possible. Learning about dating when you have kids can help you enjoy the experience.

Single mom holding baby, admiring flower bouquet from a suitorShare on Pinterest
FG Trade/Getty Images

Dating for single parents might sound intimidating, but a time can come when you think about the idea. Finding love as a single parent is possible, and it’s an exciting part of the journey. Learning how to make it a positive experience can make all the difference, and the tips discussed here can help.

You may have many emotions when you decide to start dating as a single primary parent. It can cause negative feelings, including frustration or disappointment, but it can also bring excitement and hope.

Dating is always an adventure, but it’s an entirely different experience for single parents looking for love. They must consider their children rather than only thinking of themselves. Plus, they’re not as readily available as a single person with no kids.

Although it’s a complicated experience, a single parent deserves happiness and love. Don’t be afraid of the unknown because you can embrace the chance at a new start.

1. Waiting until you’re ready

If you experienced a breakup or divorce, consider thinking about your mental health moving forward. Experts indicate that overcoming a previous relationship can trigger depression symptoms. You can take all the time you need to grieve and heal before considering dating as a single parent.

Making sure you’re ready to handle potential setbacks in modern dating (like this, this, and this) can help you stay positive and confident. It can help you prioritize self-love, making all the difference in finding a long lasting partnership.

2. Determining where you can meet someone

Once you’re ready to start dating, consider where you can realistically meet people. Meeting new folks is essential to the experience, and you might make a few new friends during the process.

Consider attending local events or joining social outings. You can also try online dating sites to connect with people outside your inner circle. A few other ideas include meeting someone at:

  • the gym
  • single parent support groups
  • kids’ sporting events
  • work (depending on your company stance on workplace romance!)
  • community workshops

3. Sticking to your ‘love list’ but keep an open mind

Having a love list can help you identify what you want in a partner and relationship. It could prevent you from settling and perhaps even bolster your confidence as you find love.

Your love list can include characteristics and qualities that you want in a partner. It’s wise to keep your list short, only focusing on your core needs to allow yourself to maintain an open mind.

You can also keep an open mind about how someone can meet your needs rather than assuming there’s only one way. You may update your list as your life changes because your needs will shift, too.

4. Being honest (with prospects, your kids, and yourself)

Honesty is essential for finding love as a single parent. Consider being open and honest with your children and dates about everything. It promotes trust early on, allowing you to build on a solid foundation.

You don’t have to tell your kids immediately but try being as honest as you can when you start dating. If your children are older, you could use it as a learning opportunity. With younger kids, you might only want them to be comfortable and aware.

Being honest with your partner is essential, too. You can make it clear that you have children — it’s a big part of who you are. You might consider not dating anyone who isn’t OK with you being a parent.

When to introduce your kids to a steady romantic partner?

Psychiatrist Dr. Domenick Sportelli suggests not setting a specific timeframe for introducing your kids to a romantic partner.

Every family is different, and being mindful of your child’s feelings will help you determine when they’re ready.

He also suggests not telling your child about your romantic partner at home. Try choosing a neutral place that your child enjoys. It’ll help them relax and process the information.

Sometimes your child might feel like they will betray the other parent by liking the new partner. It can make them resist forming a connection, and it often takes time for them to come around.

Whichever way you choose to tell your kids about a dating partner, it’s helpful to ensure they know they’re still your priority in your life.

Consider whether your romantic relationship has a stable future so that you don’t inadvertently expose your child to fleeting partners.

Was this helpful?

Another thing to be honest with your prospective partner (and yourself!) about is what you want in a relationship. Here are some helpful resources to take an honest look at where you’re at and what you really want in dating:

5. Tune in to your kids’ feedback and tune out unwelcome opinions

Experts describe “mom-shaming” as someone criticizing your decisions and parenting styles. And this shaming can happen to any gender of single parent. When you decide to start dating, not everyone will love the idea.

You might hear opinions from other people and comments said behind your back. There’s a way to take in constructive feedback that comes from a place of love and protection — and keep out others’ opinions of you.

Your kids might have a hard time adjusting to your lifestyle change. It helps to actively listen to what they have to say and consider their perspective. If your kids have trouble coping, therapy can make all the difference.

You might feel like you don’t have enough time or energy left, but you can still find companionship — and love if you want it. It’s not always easy, but you can enjoy the experience of finding a new partner.

Percentage of single moms who get married

Statistics show that approximately 40% of children born in the United States in 2020 had unwed mothers.

Another 2021 study looking at the living arrangements of parents with children at home indicates that just over 50% of single parents have never married. Indeed, many single parents choose to stay single.

One study shows that many people are willing to date a single parent, so you can avoid thinking there’s no chance for you. You might keep up hope of finding a partner to complement your existing family.

With many people willing to fill the role, remember not to settle because you are worthy and deserve love.

Finding companionship or romance as a single parent is possible, even as you might need to overcome obstacles. You can make it happen using these tips, finding the opportunity to enjoy the type of intimacy you may crave.

The dating journey might get complicated, but don’t lose hope because you can fall in love. If you want to find love, the person meant for your family is out there.