To The Man Who Wants to Date a Single Mom:

Things you need to know before dating a single mom.

Image courtesy of Jae Raine Photography

Chances are if you’re reading this blog post, you’ve found it while surfing the internet for advice on dating a single mother. If that’s true, you’ve found the right place for information! So you’ve found a woman you want to take things to the next level with… but she has children and you don’t. While the idea of dating a single mother, especially when you haven’t before, can be intimidating, don’t run for the hills just yet! Dating a single mother is not for the weak, that’s for sure, but there are many benefits to dating one as well. It’s important that you recognize just how different dating a single mother is compared to a woman without children. Below is a list of things to know before you decide you want to date a single mother. Should any make you think twice, she probably isn’t for you.

1. Don’t waste her time.

The very first thing you need to know is that a single mother has very limited free time, so don’t waste it. You don’t need to be ready to drop down on one knee (Definitely don’t do that), but also don’t waste time getting to know her if there isn’t a chance you could see yourself with this woman. She doesn’t have time to get to know you for nothing. If she’s trying to rearrange her schedule to make time for you, she’s obviously interested. Show up to the plans you make, on time, and be mindful of the fact she can’t sit there for hours talking over a cup of coffee or bring you back to her place. After all, she’s most likely paying for a babysitter and that’s not cheap.

2. Expect more time in and less time out.

While this should be common sense when dating a single mother, I’ve found this is not the case. As a single mother, we can’t just drop whatever we’re doing to go out with you. Finding a reliable and trustworthy babysitter alone is stressful, not to mention figuring out days and times that work with the babysitter and how to pay for it. Because of this, expect to spend most of her limited free time in (after the kids have gone to bed) and very little out at a bar for drinks. Plans to go out need to be made at least a week in advance and with the high possibility they’ll be cancelled last minute when the babysitter decides he/she can no longer watch the kids. If you’re the spontaneous type that doesn’t plan things until the last second and need someone just as flexible, a single mother is not for you.

3. She doesn’t need you.

You need to understand that she doesn’t need you. Maybe that sounds harsh, but it’s the most honest thing you’ll read in this blog post. Regardless of if she’s been a single mom since day one or for the last six months, she’s been juggling several roles all on her own: mom, dad, head of household, breadwinner, maid, handyman, etc. She’s literally stressing herself out over caring for children, managing one (or three) jobs, and all her other responsibilities while not letting a single soul see the struggle she faces daily. You’ve probably figured out this is why she has limited availability, but you need to also recognize that this means she doesn’t need you around. She wants you around. If a strong, independent woman is intimidating, dating a single mother is definitely not for you.

4. Her trust in men is shot. Don’t take it personal.

You probably haven’t noticed yet, but I guarantee you her trust in men is shot. There isn’t one woman who looks back at the dreams she had as a little girl and remembers wanting to be a single mother. Something happened in her life that broke through her dreams and became reality and because of that, she doesn’t trust easily. Most likely, the men who followed after her kids father only enforced the idea that men are pigs. Sorry, but it’s true. She’ll assume you don’t mean a thing you say. She’ll take your words for what they are: a string of letters tied together in a pretty package. She doesn’t want words, though. She wants action. She won’t tell you, but she’s questioning everything that comes out of your mouth. She’s looking for the red flags that tell her to run. She doesn’t mean to, I promise, but she does it nonetheless. It will be up to you to show her over time that all men are not the same. If you’re not willing to be patient with her, don’t date a single mother.

5. She’s serious, even if she says she’s not.

That statement probably scares you, and I don’t blame you if it does. It scares the woman you’re considering, too. First, this may not apply to every single mother and to know if it does you need to ask her yourself. With that said, chances are she’s serious about you but she’s too scared to tell you. When she was left by someone she thought she could trust and given all the responsibilities, she kept telling herself she’d never let another man in; she’d never risk having her heart shattered again, because it hurt too damn bad to put it back together alone. However, she still yearns for someone to share her life with. It’s human nature. So if she’s taken the time to get to know you on a personal level, she can see a future with you should it lead there. She’ll tell you she doesn’t want a man or that she’s not looking for a relationship, but somewhere in the back of her mind that’s not entirely true. Again, don’t go dropping down on one knee, but if the idea of commitment and a possible future with this woman scares you, dating a single mother is not for you.

6. Her kids and her are a packaged deal.

I feel like of everything I’ve said so far this should be the most obvious, but again, it’s apparently not. Unlike the other parent in her kids lives, she will not separate herself from them. This means that if you’re dating her, you’re dating her kids too (in a sense, don’t be weird about it). The two are one in the same. Her kids come with her and chances are she’s already told you that, but you need to take her seriously. Don’t make her feel bad for being a single mother and not being able to devote full attention to you and the relationship. Once again, she’s balancing a million roles and the role of girlfriend comes dead last. This doesn’t mean she won’t dedicate alone time with you where she can or that she doesn’t take the relationship seriously, but you need to understand that her kids come first, always. If this is something you can’t deal with, she’s not for you. Period.

7. She doesn’t want you to be Dad, and she doesn’t need your money, either.

You’re thinking heavy about this dating-a-single-mom-thing now, huh? Good. Let’s get to the next important piece of advice: She’s not looking for a dad for her kids, and she isn’t looking for a sugar daddy, either. I don’t know why, but one of the first things I usually hear when talking to a new guy is that I must be looking for someone to “play daddy” to my kids, or that I just want someone to “come in and pay the bills for me.” Aside from the fact these comments are incredibly offensive, they lack any logic whatsoever. No, she is not looking for you to play daddy to her kids. Don’t forget, she’s already mom and dad. Also, she’s been managing her bills just fine without you, so don’t insult her by assuming that’s what she wants. If, after time, you’ve become a male role model for her kids or want to make things easier for her because you recognize she’s working her ass off, great! But, that’s not what her intentions are by dating you. She just likes you. Again, if you’re the kind of traditional masculine man who doesn’t like an independent woman, keep moving along. She isn’t for you.

8. She needs communication.

Like all healthy relationships, the woman you’re interested in is going to need proper communication from you. Did you catch that? Proper, not constant. She doesn’t have the time or the energy to sit there and wonder if you like her, why you haven’t sent a text or called in three days, where things stand, etc. Again, she’s juggling a million roles. So you need to be willing and able to effectively communicate with her. She literally needs this from you. If you’re just busy and that’s why you haven’t talked in a couple days, tell her that. For extra points, text her ahead of your busy week or weekend and tell her you might not be in touch as much, but you’re thinking of her always. She doesn’t need to talk to you all day everyday, but that doesn’t mean she’s okay with not hearing from you at all. If you have strong feelings for her, tell her so. If you’re not quite sure what you’re looking for, tell her. If you’re nervous about what role you’ll play in her kids lives, talk to her about it. If you’ve realized dating a single mom is not for you, tell her so. Do you see what I’m getting at here? Regardless of what it is you have to say, don’t just leave her confused and guessing. Communication is key in every relationship, especially one with a single mom. If that’s not your style, don’t even bother; dating a single mom is not for you.

9. Chances are her kids are going to hate you at first… and that’s okay.

Just like the headline reads, her kids are mostly likely going to hate you at first and that’s okay. You need to remember that you are the man who came in and stole their mother’s extra free time (and some of her attention). In reality, if you’re meeting her kids you’re probably the first serious relationship since their parents split (depending on what led to her being a single mother). This doesn’t last forever, I promise, as long as you’re patient and understanding with them. Her children will warm up to you. Just give them time to see you’re the good guy in the story. With this, though, comes a responsibility to be that good guy. If you’re not patient and understanding, and if you’re not the good guy of the story, then dating a single mother is not for you.

10. Love her kids like they’re your own, but respect that you’re not Dad.

This one is probably the most terrifying to you, Dude Without Kids, and again, I totally understand why it might be. However, we’ve already established by dating a single mother you’re open to a serious commitment and can see a future with this woman. While the woman you’re interested in will never ask you to be a father to her kids, you’re going to get attached to them and they’re going to get attached to you. You’ll probably be around them more often than their biological father, so you’re going to become their “father figure” whether you want to or not. If the idea of reading bedtime stories, messy Sunday breakfasts, and attending their school events is too much for you, you need to walk away from this now. After all, you’re not just getting the woman but the whole family, too.

There. You’ve made it through the top ten things I would suggest considering before dating a single mother from a single mother. Are you scared out of your mind to take things to the next level? Have you decided you still want to pursue her? If you’re wondering what the perks are to dating a single mother, let me give you a quick run down.

First of all, she’ll love you like you’ve never experienced before. She has the carefree spirit of a child (after all, she spends a lot of time with kids) and the seriousness of a CEO (because she’s running her own empire). She has you in her life because she wants you there and not because of any obligations, and that’s where you get the best of her. She will make you feel warmth and sunshine on your coldest and darkest days. She’ll inspire you to be a better, stronger person because she’s been through literal hell and is still moving along. She’ll care about the little things that matter to you, and be patient and understanding where no one else would be. To put it short, she is love. You might not get that yet, but you will should you choose to date her. It’s an incredible thing to experience (and I hope you do).

Second, and as mentioned above, she’s been through absolute hell; raised children by her own all while dealing with loss and heartbreak and struggle. She’s been broken apart by someone who swore to love her and the children they helped create, only to watch him walk away from all those promises. She picked up all those broken pieces, built herself into something stronger and braver, and is still open to finding love. If that doesn’t demonstrate strength and resilience, I don’t know what does. Why does this benefit you? In all honesty, if she can do that for herself, just imagine what she can do for you.

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