Navigating the Challenges of Dating as a Single Parent

FT Contributor  | 

Attempting to date as a single parent can be challenging. Many single parents find it hard to juggle childcare and responsibilities while trying to meet new people who could potentially become romantic partners. Additional challenges of single parent dating include the financial burden that often comes with trying to go on dates or the emotional trust that may have been broken in previous relationships.

While there are many struggles to dating after a divorce when you have children, there are ways to ensure you can move on to a happy life with a new partner. If you’re upfront and honest about your situation as a single parent while focusing on budgeting for your dating life, you may find it easier to navigate dating as a single parent. By reviewing the strategies for overcoming the challenges to single parent dating and learning about the resources available to you, it can be easier to enter the dating scene, have fun socializing, and eventually find your new life partner.

Challenges for Single Parent Dating

In and of itself, dating can be stressful and time-consuming, but single parent dating adds more obstacles and challenges. As a single parent, you may find yourself facing these challenges as you attempt to enter the dating world again and navigate your new role as a parent looking for love.

Social Stigma

One reason you may be wary of dating as a single parent is the social stigma attached to divorced or single parents with kids. A potential partner may not be interested in you when he or she finds out you have children. Jealousy could be the reason for this lack of interest. Some adults that don’t have children of their own may assume you won’t have enough time or energy to be a good partner if you have children who also need attention. They may not want to date single parents because they feel they won’t get the time and attention they deserve out of the relationship.

Some potential dating partners may also refuse to give dating a single parent a chance because they don’t want to potentially deal with the ex-spouse or co-parent. Whether you have a good relationship with your child’s other parent or not, potential dating partners may assume they’ll be stuck in the middle of a dramatic and exhausting situation between both of you.

In some instances, potential dating partners may not give you a chance simply because they don’t like children. There are many adults who have made the choice not to have children because they don’t want the responsibility or would prefer to live their lives without children. If this is the case, these singles are better off only dating potential partners without children who have no intention of having kids.

Trust in Romantic Relationships

If you’ve had your heart broken or you’ve been betrayed in a previous relationship, you may also find it challenging to date as a single parent. In order to begin dating, you’ll have to feel vulnerable again and put yourself out there. This can be scary as a single parent who experienced a relationship that ended badly.

Overcoming your feelings of distrust and feeling comfortable getting to know someone new can take some time. Your past relationships can affect how you feel as you’re moving forward in the dating scene and can make it difficult to be certain about when you’re ready to begin dating again.

Financial Burden

Single parent dating can be a huge financial commitment for many adults. As a single parent, you may need to pay for childcare when you go on a date, in addition to what you’ll spend on the date itself. Children can be expensive, so adding in the costs of dating may seem impossible, prohibiting you from exploring potential matches.

Ensuring the Comfort and Safety of Your Child

As a responsible and loving single parent, your child’s needs and comfort come first. You may be apprehensive to begin dating after a divorce if you don’t feel your child is ready for it. If your child feels insecure about the time he or she gets to spend with you, going on a date may seem like an inappropriate move for now.

It can also get complicated when you feel you’re ready to introduce a romantic partner to your child. The introduction of a new partner to your child can be confusing for him or her to understand. If you don’t know your new romantic interest very well, appropriate supervision is also necessary. You could be exposing your child to abuse or neglect by this new partner, which can make your child wary of any other new romantic interests you introduce to him or her in the future.

Strategies for Dating as a Single Parent

If you feel you’re ready for dating as a single parent, there are ways to overcome these challenges. By following these strategies and ensuring you take the right steps to keep yourself and your children safe and happy, you can enjoy a fun and promising dating life as a single parent.

Be Upfront

Being upfront and honest about the fact that you’re a single parent will make dating more realistic and less of a time-suck. It’s important to tell your potential dates, either on your dating profiles or in your first conversations, that you have children. While you don’t need to delve into every detail of your single parent life, make sure your potential date is well aware that your children are your top priority.

By being honest about your single-parent status, you can weed out daters who aren’t interested in a romantic partner with children. This saves you time and the headache of getting to know someone only to find out that he or she doesn’t want children to be a part of the equation. If you’re proud and positive about the fact that you’re a single parent, you’ll attract potential romantic partners who are comfortable with your life and responsibilities.

Budgeting for Dating

If creating a romantic connection is important to you and your personal fulfillment, you’ll need to make it a priority in your life. If financial woes are making it hard for you to date, it’s time to budget for dating as a monthly expense. Consider dating an investment in yourself, your happiness, and your wellbeing. Set aside a budget for your social life and childcare as well as other expenses that might pop up. By prioritizing your dating and budgeting for it as a necessary activity, you’re more likely to enjoy the experiences you have with new companions and you’re more likely to find a promising romantic connection.

Finding a Balance as a Parent and Romantic Partner

As a responsible and caring single parent, your child is your first priority. However, you can only be a good and devoted parent if you’re also feeling happy and fulfilled with your life. Therefore, if dating is important for you, you’ll need to make the time for it and not allow your child to dictate your romantic life.

While devoting some of your time to dating is important for your wellbeing, you should also ensure you’re creating a good balance between caring for your child and finding a potential romantic partner. If you begin a serious relationship with a potential match, it can be hard to maintain this balance. However, you can’t let a new partner radically shift how you parent your child. Maintain the quality time you spend with your child and continue to meet his or her needs as a stable, happy, and healthy parent.

Dating Sites and Apps for Single Parents

One of the greatest challenges to dating with kids is meeting new potential partners. However, there are several dating sites for single parents and smartphone apps that make meeting singles in your area easy and fun.

EliteSingles

This website uses the science of matchmaking to pair you with potential singles in your area. You’re required to complete an application and survey so the app can systematically send you matches. You can opt for the free version or the premium version for $31.95 per month for 12 months. With premium EliteSingles, you have access to unlimited messaging, a more detailed personality profile, and other advantages.

SingleParentLove

This site is devoted to helping single moms and dads find love. This international matchmaking site offers a free three-month trial, then you can choose between a Standard, Gold, or Platinum membership. Your communication options are more detailed and expansive with a Gold or Platinum membership. Membership fees for these packages can vary based on your location.

SingleParentMeet 

With this free app and website, you can meet single parents in your area who are looking for partners. You can send and receive emails from other members, as well as view profiles, photos, and see who looked at your profile. You can also upgrade your membership for access to live chat and additional features. The upgrade costs vary, depending on the package you choose and may include processing fees in addition to membership costs.

Just Single Parents.com

Use this website or app to meet single parents in your area. All profiles are checked and it’s free to join and start searching. To send and receive private messages, use the instant messenger, and have access to other additional features, you’ll need to upgrade your membership. The membership terms and fees offered by the company depend on your location and current account status.


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This post was updated November 12, 2019. It was originally published November 12, 2019.