Single Parent Dating Blog

Everything You Need to Know About Dating as a Single Parent

Starting to date again can feel awkward and challenging when you have kids. Finding the time, explaining to your kids where you are going, and keeping a positive mindset can be stressful and cumbersome. Yet it can be equally fun and fulfilling. To help you on your dating journey and to make sure you have a positive experience, here is everything you need to know about dating as a single parent:

Start with Self-Reflection

Of course, no one should jump right into the dating scene without a few moments of self-introspection. Are you ready to juggle parenting and a new relationship? Knowing what you have to offer and what is required from you emotionally will help you when looking for a compatible partner who will appreciate your situation.

Assess Your Personal Readiness for Dating

  • Assess whether you are over your last relationship or whether you are on a rebound.
  • Decide what your motives for seeking love are and whether they are selfish or if you can truly offer something to a new love interest.
  • Think about whether you and your children are ready for the demands of dating as a single parent. Consider the time, attention, and emotions that will be required.

Identify Your Needs and Wants

  • List the qualities you would like in a partner.
  • Think about what you truly seek from a relationship.

heart shape in a hedge

Talk to Your Children

Needless to say, when you are dating as a single parent the wellbeing of your children should always come first, and your kids need to know this. Making them feel safe and loved will ensure that when you introduce another person into their lives, the process will be smooth and easy, and they won’t feel jealous.

Ensure Your Children Feel Secure and Prioritized

It is important for your children to feel at ease with the prospect of another person coming into their lives, no matter their age. Take time and show them affection and communicate to them that they are an important part of your life. If they are old enough, let them know why you are re-entering the dating scene, to help them relax and understand that you would not introduce someone into their lives that they would not approve of.

Provide Reassurance and Support

Allow your children to share their feelings about mum or dad dating and how this might be affecting them. Try to involve your children in some of the decisions you make around dating, so they don’t feel like that part of their lives is completely outside of their control. Always be candid and open with your kids, and they will reciprocate that honesty. Reassure them of your love and commitment. Help them understand that mum or dad dating doesn’t change your relationship with them, and that they remain your top priority.

Listen to Your Kids

Encourage open conversation, especially if you get the feeling that your children are worried about you. It is important that you listen to their concerns and take them seriously during this new phase in their lives.  Validate their emotions and worries by acknowledging their fears and discussing them openly.

Managing Your Time

Dating as a single parent is a whole new ball game – one that requires careful planning. Try to create a schedule that allows quality time with your kids and plan dates during times that don’t interfere with your parental responsibilities. Rather than asking family and friends to “babysit”, ask them to take your kids out for the day or evening, turning it into a positive experience for your kids. From a day at the zoo to pizza or movie night – there are plenty of fun things your kids will love. This balance helps in maintaining a harmonious family environment while you pursue your romantic interests.

Have Age-Appropriate Conversations

Ensure that your discussions around dating are age appropriate. Try not to use big words and complex sentences with young children. Instead use simple terms to explain why you are dating and the type of person you might be looking to meet.

Equally, do not give too much information. When you are a single parent dating, it can be tempting to use your older children as a sounding board. This can be overwhelming for youngsters and cause unnecessary worry. Call family or friends if you feel the need to offload or get advice. In essence, make certain that your kids know what is going on in your dating life but without overloading them with details.

single parent dating - mum with 2 boys

Be Honest with Your Date

It is wise to be straight with your date and tell them from the word go that you are a single parent. This will create a basis of trust and help define an understanding and expectation of mutual honesty. Other important communicate strategies when dating are:

Be Open about Responsibilities and Constraints

Ensure that potential partners are aware of your availability and the extent to which you are willing to go to make time for them early on. It is wise to be as truthful as you can when it comes to what you expect from a relationship so that their expectations will not be unrealistic and cause friction later.

Your date might be a single parent themselves and be very understanding of your situation. However, their day to day responsibilities might still look different, for example if their children don’t live with them full time, are teenagers, or are at boarding school. Try to find out how they envisage fitting you into their schedule and versa. If they are not a single parent, tell them about the difficulties and accomplishments of being a single parenthood to help build understanding and compassion.

Post a Candid Online Dating Profile

If you are looking for love online, ensure that the picture and other details you post online are up to date and truthful. There is nothing worse than posting a photo of a much younger version of yourself and seeing the disappointment in your date’s face.

Most of all, don’t hide the fact that you are dating as a single parent when you are listing your profile. Emphasize your values, and which attributes you seek in a partner to ensure that like-minded people are attracted to you. Honesty can work as a magnet and attract partners with the same views and values.

Enlist the help of a good friend to ensure you create a perfect dating profile. By that we meant that both the description of yourself and your photo should be favourable, but also recent and accurate. There is no point in pretending you are leading a lifestyle that you are not. The truth will come out eventually. You would not want your date to pretend they are someone else, so be honest with singles online - man on ipad

Communicating with your Date

Communication plays a vital role in relationships, and it all starts with dating!

Clear Communication

When dating as a single parent, being open about your expectations and boundaries is crucial. This is easier said than done, especially when you have come out of a long term relationship and are seriously lacking practice! If you are nervous during your first date, smooth pick up lines might help break the ice. Choose something playful or tell a joke to create a friendly atmosphere. Don’t go for anything too cheesy or risky at this stage.

Expectations and Boundaries

It is important to be open and clear with your date about your expectations and vice versa. Balancing your time between dating, working, and parenting requires efficient time management and organization. Make sure to be clear that you will not always be available, but at the same time reassure your date that you will prioritise the people close to your heart. Make it sound like a challenge to win you over, rather than making yourself sound unavailable.

Two-Way Communication

Communication is a powerful tool, and one that needs to be mastered. Make sure you actively listen to your date. Make a mental note about their work, family, life, interests, etc. Ask them questions about themselves. Do not talk exclusively about yourself or your children. There is a fine balance between sounding interesting and self-centred.

Needless to say, if your date talks exclusively about themselves, and doesn’t ask about your life, alarm bells should ring. Of course, they might be shy or lack certain social skills, but communication is a two way street, and this is not a good indicator of things going in the right direction.

Communicating with a New Partner

Setting Expectations

If you understand each other’s expectations, this will reduce the potential for emotional upheavals and conflict during dating and any relationship. Try to discuss the future of the relationship that you both want to have openly. It will be important to know what each of you wants from the relationship to ascertain compatibility. Yet even when you know what to expect from your partner, it will require regular communication with one another to ensure that you are still on the same page.

Resolving Conflicts

You have no doubt had some relationships in your life, and experience has taught you a trick or two. If you haven’t already learnt how to manage conflict, here are some tips to help you resolve disagreements with your date or partner:

  • Don’t just talk – try to listen, too.
  • Always maintain respect for the other person. This includes not raising your voice, and not attacking them for their choices or even their character.
  • Avoid blaming and shaming.
  • Focus on finding solutions rather than dwelling on problems or mistakes made.
  • Be prepared to compromise if this means meeting the other person’s needs.

dating as a single parent holding hands

Handling Rejection

Building Emotional Resilience

Building resilience to handle rejection gracefully is important. Learn and grow from each experience. Accept that rejection is a part of dating. Use the experience as an opportunity to learn. Reflect on what went wrong and what you can do differently. Use this insight to avoid past dating mistakes and improve your approach to dating.

Learning from Experience

If you are not sure what you are doing one, delve deeper into your dating and relationship history. Reflecting on past dating experiences can provide valuable insights, as can analysing past relationships. Try to identify patterns. Understanding your role in past relationships’ dynamics can also help you make better choices in the future. Apply lessons learned to current and future relationships.

worried woman on sofa

Coping with the Ups and Downs of Single Parent Dating

Dating as a single parent may come with some challenges, so be sure to equip yourself with the right tools to handle some highs and lows:

Emotional Support

Make sure you have an emotional support system, such as a few trusted friends who you can consult for advice, so you do not get tempted to confide in your kids who should not be burdened with their parent dating. If you have unresolved childhood or relationship traumas, you might want to consider professional advice, i.e. therapy to help you understand the emotions and difficulties you are facing when dating with kids.

Positive Mindset

Keeping a positive attitude is essential. Don’t let a negative dating experience stop you from seeking love. There will be highs and lows on your dating journey, but it can be an exciting time, with many fun and enjoyable moments. You will meet interesting people on the way, laugh a lot, and learn so much about yourself. Just because one date doesn’t work out, doesn’t mean that there isn’t the perfect person for you out there waiting for you! Focus on the benefits and the rewards and enjoy the process, including the little victories and compliments along the way.

Dealing with Stress

Dating as a single parent should not feel like it is adding an extra element of stress to your already busy life. Make sure you have the time and a positive mindset to be able to incorporate dating in your life. If you do, and the stress of juggling parental responsibilities, work, house chores etc. with dating, you could try out some stress management techniques, such as:

  • relaxation techniques, such as mediation or yoga
  • mindfulness apps
  • learning to prioritise and set boundaries
  • practising self-care
  • exercising

woman doing yoga


No matter how awkward or daunting dating as a single parent will feel at first, try to keep a positive mindset and enjoy the journey. You will learn a lot about yourself and others when meeting new people which will help you with future dates. As you go on more dates, you will find that you are more relaxed and able to enjoyable the moment more. Your judgement will also improve and when the right person comes along, you will be ready to take the next step in your dating journey.

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