Whether you purposefully sought one out, or life just delivered her to you as a wonderful surprise, here you are, dating a single mom. She’s smart, gorgeous, kind and loving.
She knows how to manage her time and prioritize what is important in life. She’s nothing like the childfree women you’ve dated before.
This is new territory for you so naturally, you have some questions about how best to navigate this situation so that both of you are happy.
Here are some guidelines for making dating a single mom a great, healthy and life-enhancing experience for the two of you!
Acknowledge that dating a single mom is unique
Before, with your childfree girlfriends, your time was your own. You could propose a spontaneous evening out without much notice, and be drinking and dancing an hour later. Not so much with a single mom.
She’s going to need some advance notice for your dates because she needs to line up childcare.
And, unless her child is at a sleepover at the dad’s or friends’, there will be no late nights. No staying out ‘till the wee hours of the morning just because you have had such a great time and you don’t want this to end.
No, she’s on the clock. She’s got a babysitter to pay and release, and an early-morning alarm to get her child up and ready for school.
Her priority will always be her child
Contrary to a childfree girlfriend who has all the time in the world to invest in your relationship, the single mom’s number one focus is the well-being of her child. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t have the time to focus on you.
She will give you what she can, and it will be very special to her and to you.
It will just be parceled out around what she is giving to her child. And that’s a good sign because it means she is a thoughtful, serious person.
Make sure you actually like kids
Before you become involved with a single mom, make sure you actually like kids and like the idea of being in a kid’s life. Because if this relationship goes well, you will be part of her child’s life, and you want to be able to love that child and have them love you back.
If you aren’t sure how you feel about little ones and all their quirks and demands, don’t date a single mom.
Don’t rush the meeting
You like that she’s a mom. But don’t rush into setting up a meeting with the child. Her child has been through a lot of emotional upheavals already.
Take your time building a bond with the mom first.
Talk with her about the right time to make this important introduction, and do it on her terms. She knows her child best.
Is there an ex in the picture?
In the event that the ex is still part of your girlfriend’s life, let her handle the communications and any issues that come up with that relationship. If they are divorced, it is likely there is not a warm and fuzzy feeling between them, but they have to remain communicative due to the child.
You may not agree with how they manage things, but hold yourself back from commenting on their relationship.
And don’t enter into any discourse with the ex directly. Let them be them.
However, you can provide support to your girlfriend by being a good sounding board and actively listening to her when she discusses her ex (and anything else!).
Show her that she can trust you
A single mom may have experienced broken trust in her past relationship with the father of her child. She may be wary. She may be reluctant to open up to you completely, to establish deep intimacy with you.
Give her time and show her you can be trusted. Make plans and stick to them.
(No last-minute canceling; remember—she’s reserved a babysitter for your night out.) Be reliable. Share yourself with her to encourage intimacy-building. As time goes on, she will understand that you are someone she can count on, and your relationship will deepen naturally.
The single mom may have body issues that your previous, childfree girlfriends did not have.
She’s had a kid. And that’s a beautiful thing. But her body will be different. Perhaps less firm. Breasts not as high. She may carry some extra weight around her belly that she’s sensitive about. Remember: she does not have the luxury of going to work out at the gym every day and eating rabbit food to keep her weight down.
She is too busy making sure she’s there for her child. So if your priority is to date a woman with a tight, lean body, a woman whose life revolves around her Crossfit classes, don’t date a single mom. If, however, you love this woman, tell her how much her body turns you on. She will relish hearing those words, especially if she has been feeling down about her mommy-shape.
Where are you in your life?
Are you a single dad, too?
Make sure you have released your emotional baggage before you start dating a single mom.
Make sure your divorce is signed, sealed and delivered. No “testing the dating market” if you are still married or just separated from your wife. It isn’t fair to the single mom, who needs someone free and clear. She’s got enough drama in her life. There are plenty of women who don’t mind hooking up with a guy who is just looking for sex or some company. Single moms aren’t your target.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.