The romantic landscape is difficult to navigate no matter who you are. But when you’re dating as a single dad, you face a different set of challenges. Being a single parent means that date plans can change in an incident if there’s an emergency. It also means assessing whether a woman is a good fit for your personally as well as a good fit for your children.
You may feel apprehensive about putting yourself out there as a single dad. But remember, just because you’re a parent first doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to find a long-term, compatible partner.
As a dating coach, I’ve worked with men throughout the world who find themselves in different dating predicaments. Many of these are single dads. The percentage of single-parent households has risen significantly over the years, with the number of single fathers making up close to 20%.
If you’re dating as a single dad, know that you’re not alone. Regardless of your circumstance, being a single parent is no reason to hold yourself back from the dating world.
Take a look below for 11 of my expert tips on dating as a single dad.
Make Sure You’re Ready
When you’re starting to date as a single dad, it’s important that you have taken some time to reflect on your situation. Maybe you are entering the dating world after a breakup, maybe you had a child with someone you weren’t in a relationship with, you are a widower, or you could be dating post-divorce.
If you have a child from a previous marriage, it’s very important that you have gone through all the proper procedures and allowed yourself time to grieve the marriage.
Also, remember that legally separated is not synonymous with divorce. If you are legally separated, that means that you’re still married. And dating before all the correct paperwork has been signed and filed can open up a can of worms that you don’t want any part of.
You also want to make sure things are smooth (or as smooth as they can be) when it comes to custody agreements and the like. Remember that the woman you are dating won’t just be taking on the role of girlfriend and potential stepparent — she will also be privy to the relationship you maintain with your ex.
Go through the proper steps involved with healing and make sure you are ready to enter a new relationship.
Talk to Your Kids About It
It goes without saying that your kids come first. When you’re ready to date again, sit down with your children and let them know that you are going to be trying to meet someone.
Reassure them that their mother is not being replaced and that nothing in your relationship with them or love for them will change if you meet someone. Allow them to ask questions, listen to them and practice kindness, empathy, and compassion.
Don’t Introduce Every Woman You Date to Your Kids
The last thing you want to expose your children to is a revolving door situation.
Take things slow when it comes to dating as a single dad. Only introduce women to your children after things become serious. Make sure you sit down with your children and prepare them before introducing them to your new girlfriend.
Wait to Introduce a Woman to Your Kids
Even if you’re serious with a woman, don’t feel like you need to rush introducing her to your kids. There is no specific timetable when it comes to this. Make sure that you and the woman have built a great foundation in your relationship and that this relationship has the potential to last a long time, even a lifetime.
Along with avoiding a revolving door, keep in mind that attachments can form between your children and the woman you introduce them to. For that reason, you want to only introduce people you don’t foresee a breakup happening with.
That’s not to say that even the strongest relationships aren’t susceptible to dissolution, but you want to do your best when it comes to certainty.
No matter how you meet a woman, you want to be upfront about your status as a single parent as quickly as possible.
Some men are hesitant to reveal that they have children early in a relationship. They fear that revealing this fact will scare women away. This is because they are worried that having children makes them seem like they are “damaged goods” or “have baggage.”
But remember this — any woman that is going to view being a single parent that way isn’t a woman you want to date anyhow.
Some women don’t want children or even to be a stepparent, which means they wouldn’t be a suitable partner for you even if the two of you have a strong connection. Thus, it’s important to let ladies know right away that you’re a father so you can weed out anyone who wouldn’t be right for you before getting too far in the dating process.
If you get set up with someone or meet somebody out and about, let them know that you are a single parent before or during the first date. Don’t delay it.
When it comes to online dating profiles, be sure to pick a “Has kids” option if it is available. Either way, tactfully disclose that you have kids on your dating profile.
Keep it Light and Positive
When it comes to disclosing that you have kids, keep it light and positive. For online dating bios, treat your single dad status as something to be proud of — because it is.
Talk about how lucky you are to be a father to amazing kids. Being a good father is an extremely attractive quality and you should embrace it with confidence. When you treat it that way, women are going to naturally gravitate to you.
You don’t have to go on and on about your kids or the fact that you’re a dad. When it comes to online dating and first dates, you want to be able to show off all of the different qualities that make you a unique and valuable partner.
Don’t Bash Your Ex
This is very important.
I don’t care how terrible your ex is. Do NOT bash your ex to women you go out on dates with.
If you bash your ex, it’s going to seem like one of a few things might be going on with you:
- You’re not over your ex.
- You have a lot of baggage.
- Your ex is going to be a nightmare to deal with if she keeps on dating you.
- You’re petty.
- You don’t know how to handle conflict properly.
All of these things will send a woman running, so avoid this by speaking civilly about your ex or — better yet — not bringing her up at all.
And if you have issues with your ex, work on resolving those issues or at least getting things to a civil place in your relationship. If you have kids with someone, that means you’re going to have to deal with them at least until your kids turn 18 (AT LEAST). Do yourself a favor and try to make things as painless as possible in that department.
Use This Dating Blueprint for the First Three Dates
When you’re dating as a single dad, your time is limited. You may have to drop everything if your child has an emergency. Other responsibilities like school events and general quality time mean that you can’t go out all night with women or have tons of sleepovers. And you definitely don’t want to bring women to sleep over at your place when your kids are there.
But you can still sweep a woman off her feet without sacrificing time that should be spent with your kids when you follow my dating blueprint. You also won’t have to worry about spending loads of cash on women when you use the following guidelines. Using this blueprint, you can make the most of your time with quality women while also keeping your time in check:
For first dates, choose something that is less than an hour and costs between $10-$15. The first date is intended to build trust and rapport. You can even easily fit a compelling first date into your lunch break. For example, if you live in San Francisco like me, I’d recommend going to Ferry Building Marketplace for a coffee.
Second dates should be something active and free. Hiking, biking, a picnic on the beach and a visit to a cool museum all make great second dates. The purpose of this date is to escalate sexual tension.
If you make it to a third date, it’s a good sign that you two could be compatible in the long-term. Make sure to review my top third dates questions before going on the date.
The purpose of the third date is to assess whether you and the person you’re with are a good fit as far as morals and values go. At this point, you can find a night that is appropriate to take her out for a romantic dinner. Make sure to plan the date on a night when you don’t have your kids, as the third date is often when physical intimacy occurs.
Offer Compelling Date Ideas
When you’re dating as a single dad, you don’t want to go out and party all night — or at least, you don’t exactly have the time to do that anymore.
Dating when you’re a single dad often means you want to get serious with someone and find a woman that will be a good match for you and your children. You don’t want to waste time with casual flings and people who aren’t looking to be exclusive.
For that reason, you need to give yourself the best possible shot at finding an amazing partner. One way to do this is by crafting compelling date ideas that are designed to help you build authentic connections with different women.
A compelling date is one that aligns with her and your interests, while also introducing her to a new experience. For example, you could choose to have a picnic at an affordable or free outdoor music festival where the bands playing are similar to bands the both of you like.
When you ask a woman out on a date, you also want to have a solid TDL in place. A TDL is an acronym we use here at EmLovz to refer to a date’s call-to-action. A TDL stands for:
- Time: The time of day that a date will take place
- Date: The day of the week that the date will take place
- Location: The place that your date will be happening
When you offer a compelling date with a specific plan in mind, women will be very impressed and much more likely to say “yes” to you. Lots of girls get guys asking them if they want to “hang out” or “go grab a drink sometimes,” which lacks chivalry and effort. By offering a compelling date that has a clear TDL, you stand out from other guys.
Finally, this method can actually enhance your image as a responsible single parent that women would be lucky to date. As a single parent, you have gained the maturity and responsibility that many men who do not have children lack.
Women will notice when you court them properly and — if you’re a single dad — they are likely to associate your maturity with that fact. Do you see how that upends any fears you have about being viewed as someone with “baggage” or as “damaged goods?”
There are a lot of pros to dating as a single dad, and I promise you that mature, quality women want to give you a chance.
MegaDating is a dating strategy that I recommend to all of my single male clients. Now, as a single dad, you’re not going to be able to load up your schedule like men who don’t have children. However, you can still use a certain extent of MegaDating to your advantage.
MegaDating is a dating process that involves dating several women at the same time in order to find a great partner and avoid settling for the mediocre. Keeping your options open is great when you’re dating as a single dad because it helps you practice your dating approach over and over again; in time, you get really good at dating, so those insecurities you have over dating as a single parent melt away.
Hire a Dating Coach or Matchmaker
I understand that not all situations are created equal. Your experience dating as a single dad can be astronomically different from someone else’s. That’s why I recommend hiring a dating coach & matchmaker like me to help you find the most success.
If you’re ready to get started, head over to my calendar and book a new client 1-on-1 Zoom session with me or one of my colleagues today!
During your session, we’ll discuss your dating goals, create an individualized action plan, and see if my 3 month coaching or matchmaking services could be right for you!