When Dating A Single Parent

If you’ve ever had a date canceled because of an emergency with the kids, or felt like your partner is putting their children before you, then this post is for you!

I am not here to judge single parents. They are amazing people who deserve all the love and support they can get. But, dating someone with kids can be frustrating at times.

It’s important that we talk about it so that our relationships have a chance to thrive and grow into something special.

Examples of problems you could experience when dating someone with kids:

  • Your date cancels because something happened to their kid
  • You feel like your partner’s children are taking priority over you
  • You feel mistreated by the children or not recognized as an important person in their life
  • You may feel like you are second best
  • The kids always seem to come first
  • Scheduling time alone together is hard because there’s never a good time
  • You feel like they are talking about their kids instead of you

If you or your partner is in this situation, it’s important to both of you that you resolve these issues before moving forward together.

When Dating A Single Parent

Here are some helpful hints on how to make dating a single parent work.

The kids will always come first no matter what

If you are looking for any kind of advice regarding dating a single parent, the most important thing to remember is that they have their child’s best interest in mind. This includes if they have plans with you and the child tells them they need some time with mom or dad so they cancel on you.

Don’t get upset with the single parent if this happens. Accept it and understand that he or she has to be there for their child. It is very important that you don’t do anything that would make the single parent not want to see you anymore, because of how it would affect their children.

Respect the fact that he or she is putting their children first. Although you may feel like they are cheating on you by spending time with the child instead of being with you, remember that it’s all about making sure their kids are OK.

Single parents are in a difficult position because they have to balance time spent with their children, work commitments, and relationships.

It is important that you do not take it personally if your partner cancels plans last minute or gives up some of his or her personal free time for the sake of their child’s well-being. The most important thing for single parents to remember when dating someone new is that he or she will always put the kids first, so make sure you don’t get upset when these cancellations happen.

As long as you understand this about them, you should be able to find ways to spend quality time together without feeling like the other person isn’t putting any effort into the relationship due to prioritizing their children over everything else.

  • They will always put their kids first
  • You have to be willing to accept it when they say no to plans if their child needs them during that time
  • Be understanding of his or her situation

It may take longer for the relationship to develop than you want it

If you have never been married and/or if you do not have kids, it is easier to get into a relationship. You need patience. Your only other option is to walk away or else you will always be disappointed and frustrated.

  • It may take a while before they’re ready
  • Don’t expect anything from them, but be open to trying to do new things that might make you closer to them
  • Patience is key

If the divorce is recent or in process, he or she may appear aloof at times

No one understands the difficult times that a person going through a divorce will have to go through, except for those who have already experienced it.

It can be draining, frustrating, upsetting, and infuriating. A person going through a divorce may want to be left alone at times as it is an emotional time for them. They may also want to just sit in a room and cry or hug their kids all night while watching TV as they try and heal from this experience. Have respect for those going through a difficult time and do not take their aloofness personally.

Of course, be there for them and offer the appropriate amount of support they may need.

• Understand that a person going through a divorce can be “aloof”

• Be there for them and offer the appropriate amount of support they may need

• Do not push them to talk about what’s going on if they don’t want to (they may need space)

He or She is unavailable

I understand I know… everyone is busy these days. He/she is, however, is really preoccupied. When a person has a job and children and is involved in a legal proceeding, it’s tough to make arrangements for hours on the phone with a new love. If they appear uninterested, don’t take it personally.

  • Accept that he or she is busy
  • Understand if they are unavailable for a phone call
  • Be understanding of their needs, and understand there may be more to the story
  • But don’t be a pushover if they are trying to play games with you.

His or her self-esteem isn’t the highest

Maybe he or she divorced her. Maybe her ex-husband was abusive. There are so many reasons why a divorced person may have low self-esteem and hesitate to express themselves fully. If you realize it’s not about YOU, your self-esteem will improve.

  • Don’t take offense to what they say or don’t say right away
  • Understand that there may be something difficult in their past that makes them hold back on giving 100%
  • Don’t smother her. She needs space, even if she’s madly in love with you. It doesn’t mean you’re not right for each other. It means that she’s still processing her feelings and needs to take a break from you once in a while
  • Understand that they may need space

Be open to making mistakes and learning from them

It’s difficult to date someone with children because it necessitates flexibility and the ability to make no arrangements ten days in advance. Any single parent can tell you that plans and a child’s activities are constantly disrupted. If you’re a planner, this might be an issue.

  • You will have to be more flexible
  • You are accustomed to being the center of your own universe, but this is less so with children
  • No need for anxiety over ever having plans disrupted or falling through

It’s a huge blunder to get involved in someone else’s divorce.

Don’t make the mistake of hating the ex if he/she vents about her ex or cries or maligns him as a jerk. In other words, this isn’t your divorce and the ex isn’t there to defend himself/herself, so you don’t have the full story. Simply try to be supportive of emotions and offer assistance if you can.

• Be supportive, offer assistance if you can

• You are joining someone else’s emotional turmoil

• You can become caught up in anger towards the ex-spouse

• If you try to play marriage counselor, you’ll burn out fast

If you love someone, you have to love their children, too. You can’t just take care of one person in the family

You have to want to be a stepmom or dad before you decide to date that person.

People are, in general, unable to deal with these issues. It’s natural for some individuals not to be able to cope with them. Just be honest with yourself and decide for yourself. There is certainly room for a little give-and-take, but the single parent generally needs to be there for his or her children. Accept it or break it off.

• The children are there first, not you

• Single parent generally needs to be there for his/her children

• You can try to compromise with the single-parent


If you are considering dating a single parent, there are some important things to keep in mind. First of all, the children come first and they may need more attention than what one person can offer at any given time.

Secondly, it’s natural for people not to be able to deal with these issues so don’t take offense when he or she is unavailable or seems uninterested.

Most importantly though, if you love someone then you have to love their kids too!