Single mums know how to handle difficulties and are used to doing so single-handedly. This strength and independence is often what drives men to them.
Mums are amazing. To mark Mothers Day 2023, we want to shine a spotlight on why single mums, in particular can make the best romantic partners.
They're often capable, smart, flexible, and know what they're looking for in a relationship.
If you've matched with a woman who already has a child - or children - of her own, and are ready to plunge into dating, it's important to make sure you're mindful - and responsible enough to embrace what's new and welcome the challenges.
Here are 10 things to consider if you're about to date a single mum:
1. Her child will always come first (and it's not personal)
She's not like the childfree girlfriend who has all the time in the world to invest in your relationship: a single Mum's number one focus is the happiness and wellbeing of her son or daughter.
That doesn’t mean she doesn’t have the time to focus on you - on the contrary - but when dating a women with kids, know that whatever time and energy she gives you will be as much as she possibly can, and that both are precious resources to her.
This proves not only that she is a good parent, but also that she is a thoughtful, conscientious person who prioritise loved-ones well.
2. Spontaneity can be tough...
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, without a care in the world.
This won't happen as often - of ever - if you're dating a woman with children. She's more likely 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 may not be so many 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.
As you'd expect, she'll be on the clock. it's likely that she's got a babysitter to pay and release, and an early-morning alarm in the form of either her child, or her alarm clock.
3. Respect her schedule
Considering they have kids, you must be okay with flexible times of dates, calls and meet-ups. Yes, she may have to cancel at the last minute if something comes up, and yes - this is more likely to happen when you're solely responsible for another human being every day.
Avoid being stringent as it will only add to the pressure and strain your ties with them.
Remember that this overriding sense of flexibility will bode well in your relationship with her - after all, in life (and partnerships of all kinds), change is the only certainty.
4. It helps if you actually like kids...
Before you start dating a single mum with a toddler or younger child, make sure you actually like children - and like the idea of being part of a child's life in some capacity.
Think about it: if your relationship with a single mother goes well, you will naturally become part of her life - and therefore also of her child's.
If you aren’t sure how you feel about little ones and all their quirks and demands, and this might alter your levels of engagement, then give this some thought beforehand.
Dating someone with children is a great way of having children as part of your life, and becoming part of something bigger and more meaningful.
5. You don't need to act like a replacement Dad
You don’t have to replace anyone. So, don’t attempt to act better. Just be who you are and always be kind, compassionate and empathetic. In the end, being a good person is all that counts.
You like and appreciate that she’s a mum, and that's great. But don’t rush into setting up a meeting with the child. Her child may have been through a lot of change already, depending upon the individual circumstances.
Take your time to build a bond with the mum first. Talk with her about the right time to make this important introduction, and do it on her terms. She knows her child best.
6. Make your intentions clear
Are you looking for a long term relationship or aren’t actually quite ready for commitment? No matter how you see your dating life, your partner must also know. So, be crystal clear about your intentions - rather than playing around.
This will keep you both on the same page and ensure that expectations are managed - without wasting anyone's time.
If you are in it for the long run then tell her: her time is precious and she'll be grateful that she knows about the potential for any longevity - it will also mean that she can make family decisions with that in mind.
7. She needs to trust you - so don't waste her time
A single mum's time, energy, resources and inclination to date - when her life is already so busy - are not to be taken for granted. If she's already shown an interest, then you must be pretty special!
So, give her your time and show her that 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. Then, as time goes on, she will understand that you are someone she can count on, and your relationship will deepen naturally. This is precisely how healthy relationships evolve and thrive.
8. Appreciate their responsibilities
People can often have a lot of relationship expectations. But when dating a single mum, it's important to remember that they already have a life (and a wholeheartedly fulfilling one) that's filled with purpose and responsibility beyond their love life.
Their parental sense of responsibility actually makes them more giving, loving and engaging as a partner - as they know precisely how to balance priorities, resolve conflict and overcome life's challenges.
Just like your other past dates, single mums have their own set of challenges. But it's also important not to make any assumptions. When you're on a date, the most important thing is to ask questions and actively listen.
Before judging them for who they are just 'as a mum', get to know them the way they are. They are so much more than their parental status, and have often led more colourful, interesting and diverse lives than many of the childfree women you have dated in the past.
Stop assuming. Talk to her - it's your duty to get to know her well. And rest-assured, they will invest just as much time into getting to know you.
10. Don't make assumptions about starting a family
It's always a vital topic of discussion at key stages in any relationship.
But if having children of your own is high up on your agenda - either soon at some point in the future - it's important to acknowledge that your mum partner might not necessarily be on the same page, if she already has kids.
Equally, they may be willing to add to their family, if they meet the right person - but don't make any assumptions.
Single parents bring unique perspectives, priorities, and life experiences to the table - even though dating someone with a child can be quite different from what you might be used to.
Some other great things to know about single mums...
- Single mums know what they want. With how busy a single mum’s life is, any addition to her life – i.e. you – is there because she wants it!
- Single mums have no time for drama. Single mums generally aren’t here for drama, meaning things with them could be blessedly fuss-free.
- Single mums will take care of you. They’re nurturers and the care they show their kids will extend to you, too. Win/win.
- Single mums will relish the opportunity to dress up. After days spent in jogggers and scrunchies, most single mums will delight in the chance to dress up for a special dinner. Prepare to be wowed!
- Single mums can handle anything. If they can handle childbirth, and raising a kid alone? They can manage anything you throw at them.
- Single mums are patient. Having kids is a great way to give your patience muscles a workout, and single mums have plenty of practice at it.
- Single mums have high standards, because if she’s dating you, it means you’re part of her kids’ lives, too. Take that as a compliment.
- Single mums are independent. They don’t need you, but they like having you around. That means that they won't be texting you day and night or leaning on you 'just because'.
- If a single mum is dating you, she sees something special in you. Which is a pretty great feeling! Don't take that for granted, and invest in her what she invests into you.
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