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Dating a Woman with Kids - 10 Things to Know When Dating a Single Mom

Posted by Pascal on August 12, 2020 at 9:09

Dating a Woman with Kids - 10 Things to Know When Dating a Single Mom

To many men, the prospect of dating a woman with kids can be daunting. Starting a new relationship is enough for anyone to feel at least a bit nervous. Thus, when you add kids – and often an ex boyfriend or husband – the perspective becomes even more intimidating.

Yet, with all the potential partners you can meet online, sometimes the right one is a single mom. The heart wants what it wants, you know.

So, you might have a few questions. To start with, why are some of your buddies telling you that dating single moms is a bad idea? and if you do decide to date someone with a kid, how should you go about it? how do you prepare for things you have never experienced yourself?

Fear not, for we are about to answer all these questions and tell you what you can prepare for, what you should expect, and how you can make this the best relationship of your life. Scratch that. The best relationships of your life.


My Friends Tell Me I Should Not Date Single Moms. Why? Is Dating a Woman with Kids a Mistake?

Let’s get one thing straight: it isn’t.

Getting involved with a single mom is no more a mistake than dating someone else. It’s about how you go about it, what efforts you are ready to consent to, and your mindset going in. Just like in any relationship, really.

That being said, there are reasons why some men are reticent to the idea of dating a single mom.

Most of these are personal, but they might resonate with you. Or at least serve as a reminder of what you are getting yourself into.


#1 You Won’t Generally Be A Single Mom’s Top Priority

As much as she likes you, she will love her kids more. Her attention, affection, and resources will be directed first and foremost toward them.

You might think: “Well duh, I already knew that. That’s the way it should be anyways.” But there is a difference between knowing it and experiencing it.

In practice, this means that you will often take a backseat to her children’s needs. Her child got sick? She’ll need to cancel your date tonight. Soccer game on Sunday? You probably can’t plan that day trip you wanted to take her on.

Of course, there will still be times where she makes extra efforts to pay attention to your needs, but it might not be the norm.

In other words, when you date a woman with kids, expect the unexpected. If you are flexible enough to deal with changing plans and a fast-paced lifestyle, you might have fun along the way.


#2 Some Men Don’t Want an Instant Family. Decide Beforehand if You Do

This is especially true for younger men or men who don’t already have kids of their own.

If you get into a long-term relationship with a single mother, sooner or later, you’ll meet her kids. That’s the idea, at least.

This means that you will get involved with her kids and help your girlfriend with “parenting” tasks. Even if you have some time to get used to this idea, the transition is usually more abrupt than it would be if you started a family of your own. That’s because there is an already existing family dynamic and your girlfriend has been a mom since before you even met her.

Deciding to be a stepfather, a good stepfather, is not a decision you should take lightly. If you choose the mom, you also get the kids.

Some men are just not ready to step into that role. If you think you are one of them, that’s okay. For the sake of saving everyone’s time and not toying with other people’s emotions, be clear about it.

Other men, however, really like this idea and adjust incredibly well into that role. If that’s you, dating a single mom – and the family that comes with her – can be tremendously enjoyable.


A man on a date with a single mother outside in nature


#3 If She Goes, the Kids Go Too

This is the opposite of the previous point.

You might be great with her kids. They might have bonded with you and you with them. But what happens if your relationship with the mom ends?

It won’t matter how close you’ve grown to the kids. If she’s gone, so are the kids.

And if you’ve grown fond of the little ones, that can be heartbreaking.

Unlike their biological dad, it will be hard for you to stay in touch with them after breaking up with their mom. This adds pain to an already difficult experience, so some guys prefer not taking that risk.

Even relationships that start on the best of terms break down sometimes. Understand and accept that dating a woman with kids comes with a higher risk on that regard.

You won’t always know whether your relationship will cruise smoothly or sputter. Don’t let that stop you from pursuing it, because you won’t know that unless you give it your all. The key is being comfortable with that uncertainty and managing your expectations.


#4 Her Kids Might Not Like You

When you date a woman with kids, you are building more than one relationship. That is, on top of getting to know her and putting your best foot forward, you also need to do your best so that her kids accept you. Or at least, tolerate you.

It isn’t always easy.

Some kids will see you as a barrier to their parents getting back together. Others will be reluctant to accept you as a legitimate authority figure when they already have their biological dad to fill that responsibility. And some will be standoffish at first, especially if they are used to seeing people coming in and out of their life.

And you’ll find all that after you are emotionally invested with their mom.

If you choose to pursue a relationship with a single mom, you’ll need to make more efforts. When dating a woman with two kids, you’ll actually build three new relationships at the same time.

When it works out, the payoff is fantastic. But you can also see why some men feel this is too big of a task.

Expect some friction, but know that it is normal and don’t let that discourage you from dating a great woman.


#5 You’ll Have More Responsibility than Authority

At least in the beginning.

As your relationship with the mom grows stronger, you’ll have more opportunities to get involved in her kids’ lives.

Sometimes you’ll be called upon to help with the kids, to volunteer some time to referee a baseball game, or to contribute financially to their education and extracurricular activities. All of these are great contributors to your relationship with them and allow you to forge a deeper bond with the kids. To function as a family unit.

But keep in mind that you might not have the same level of authority when it comes to discipline and enforcing boundaries.

Even if the biological father is not already doing those things, you might find some resistance coming from both the children themselves and your new girlfriend.

As you know, kids go through phases where they like to defy parental authority. As a stepfather, they might give you a bit of a harder time. On top of that, their mom might often side with them or not let you enforce rules as you see fit.

When that happens, remember that this is a natural, maternal instinct, without any malicious intent on her part. If you are in this relationship for the long haul, you’ll often find that things get easier as you and the kids get used to each other.


A couple with a toddler looking at a computer


That being said, we need to accept that some men can be intimidated by the perspective of dating a single mom. Maybe they have had bad experiences dating a woman with kids in the past. But if your friends try to dissuade you from dating a single mom, don’t worry. Their advice may be more a reflection of their own insecurities than an accurate prediction of what’s lying ahead for you.


What to Expect When You Start Dating a Woman with Kids

If you fell in love with a single mom, can see yourself interacting with her kids, and understand the risks and efforts involved, congratulations! A good relationship with a single mother can be absolutely wonderful.

The following tips can help you achieve just that.


#6 Understand That You Might Not Have the Same References

This might look insignificant. Until it isn’t. It is better if you know it can happen.

Everybody brings their own lifetime of experiences to their relationships. That means there might be some gaps to bridge when it comes to general knowledge and cultural references.

In the case of a single mom, her world view might feel very… different from yours.

She might not have as much free time to keep up with the current zeitgeist. Instead of knowing who Kylo Ren and Deadpool are, she’ll be able to list you all the animals on Old MacDonald’s farm though. So that’s a plus, right?

This might make finding common ground a (little) bit more difficult. Especially in the early stages of a relationship where small talk is more important. But it also provides you with a golden opportunity to introduce her to all the cool new things you are into.

You’ll also provide her with a much appreciated change from her usual conversations with fellow moms and parents. And help her keep up with current events too.


#7 You’ll Need to Avoid Getting Sucked into Drama with her Ex

Until now you probably never worried about interacting with your girlfriend’s past boyfriends. However, that changes when you date a woman with kids.

For better or for worse, the bond she shares with the father of her kids is forever. Even after the teenage years, there will still be graduation ceremonies, weddings, and baptisms to attend. If you stay with your single mom girlfriend, you’ll have to interact with the guy.

Fortunately for you, most separated parents know how to be civil with one another. In some cases, you might even get along great with your girlfriend’s ex.

But in other instances, there could be some serious tensions. The issues that lead to the separation may still be unresolved. Lingering tensions caused by a messy divorce could make things tense. And the decision to separate might not have been mutual.

In any case, remember this: it is not your battle to fight.

Sure, be there to help your new girlfriend vent and support her emotionally through it. But you are only in a relationship with her, not her ex. Duking it out with him on her behalf won’t make things better and will only leave you stressed and exhausted.

So, save your energy to comfort your girlfriend, and watch from the sidelines.


#8 Accept Taking a Backseat to Her Kids

If you have kids of your own, then you know how time-consuming and tiring they can be. If you don’t, just know that your new girlfriend is not ignoring you. She just has so much on her plate.

Babies require constant feeding and changing. Toddlers need to be dressed, fed, and dropped at the day care before work, and cleaned, fed again, and entertained when you pick them up after work. Older kids have school, extracurriculars, sports games, sleepovers and homework. All on different schedules.

That’s what the single mom you are dating is dealing with. A lot of the time on her own. Dating as a single parent is something she will do in addition to all her usual duties.

You won’t be able to see her as much as you would like. You might think: “Well that’s only until she introduces me to her kids,” but even then she might need to reshuffle plans at the last minute if her kid gets sick or a ride to a friend’s house.

To put it simply, moms will prioritize their kids’ well-being.

Which is, in fact, good news, as you’ll witness firsthand how responsible, organized, and reliable they can be. All good qualities you’d want in a partner.

So, know that she still likes you even if you are not always at the top of her list, and do your best to help where you can.


#9 Don’t Let Others Dictate How You Should Feel About Dating a Woman with Kids

Remember how we said your friends might try to dissuade you from dating a single mom? Well, they won’t be the only ones with an opinion.

Everybody seems to have strong ideas on how you should live your life. Your decision to date a single mom will fall under the same scrutiny.

Some people will be fervently opposed to you dating a woman with kids. Others will encourage you but proceed to point out all the things you are doing wrong.

Regardless of how well-intentioned they are, their opinion is just that: an opinion. They shouldn’t impact your decision to date a single mom or not.

The only thing that matters here is: Do you like each other and find ways to let each other know it?

Yes, it’s true that your relationship will face more hurdles. But it doesn’t mean you can’t be happy with a single mom. If you can contribute to her life and make things easier for her, if she is a good addition to your life and makes you happy, and if you are both pulling in the same direction, who cares what others say!

If she’s the woman of your dreams, you go get her.


A man carrying a child on his shoulders


#10 When Asked to Step Up, Be a Mentor to the Kids

Kids these days live in a society where it is getting increasingly harder to find your bearings. Social interactions, unspoken rules, and education are constantly evolving and being redefined.

The kids you are interacting with might experience a background level of anxiety just trying to make sense of it all. Because their parents separated, the dissolution of their family unit might have exacerbated these feelings.

Replacing their father might be a tall order, if not downright unnecessary. Especially if he is still interacting with his kids regularly. But the kids still spend half their time away from their dad. Sometimes more.

While you don’t need to be a father to your girlfriends’ children, you can still be a father figure to them. Someone whom they can look up to and who can give them a continued sense of stability and guidance as they switch from their dad’s to their mom’s house.

Over time, you can become that person: a mentor. Someone who teaches them life skills and develops their character. Who introduces them to sports and whom they trust to communicate with.

And most importantly someone who demonstrates, by showing them, what a healthy relationship looks like.

All without diminishing the role their dad currently plays in them.

Just like watering seedlings will help them grow into strong, healthy trees, your efforts in that area will benefit your relationship with these kids and with your single mom partner in amazing ways.


So, Dating a Single Mom: Should You Do It?

As you can see, there is a common theme to all the tips in this article: dating a woman with kids takes efforts. You’ll also need compassion, patience, and understanding to make it work.

But that’s the case for most things in life worth pursuing.

You have to put in the work in any relationship if you hope to see positive results. And if you date a woman with kids, the rewards can be even greater than in your previous relationships.

You reap what you sow.

And with more and more single mothers turning to online dating to find love, who knows, one of them could be your soulmate. So why not start looking at this huge pool of potential partners?

In fact, why not start right now

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