Dating as a single mom is not easy.
Between finding the time to date and the people to date, it can seem near impossible.
So when you do happen to meet someone that you would like to involve yourself with romantically, you need to make the most of the situation.
However, this can often put single moms in a position where, in an effort to find a good and healthy relationship, mistakes may be made.
If you’re a single mom and ready to venture into the world of dating (yay!), here are some mistakes you should definitely avoid:
1. Introducing Your Kids Too Soon
While there’s no hard-and-fast rule of how long you should date someone before introducing them to your kids, always keep in mind how easily attached children can become to other adults.
Also, introducing someone you are dating to your kiddos right away may place undue pressure on the developing relationship.
The point of dating is to establish a foundation on which to build a relationship.
Yes, how your potential suitors gets on with your kids is important, but you have to make sure the two of you have a strong connection first.
2. Not Disclosing That You Have Kids
You may feel that announcing that your a single mom is a huge scarlet letter, but it’s best to be honest about this right away.
Not all men want to date single moms and they are well within their rights to avoid that situation if that’s their personal choice.
While you may withhold the fact that you have kids in an effort to avoid a dealbreaker, those who may be cool with it are going to feel lied to.
3. Bad Mouthing Your Ex
When you first start dating someone, you are probably anxious and excited to share with them everything about your past.
However, no guy (or girl) wants to hear about your past relationships – at least, not right away.
Because you’re a single mother, whoever you date is going to assume there is an ex somewhere still involved in your life. There’s no need to disclose this information along with the dirty details.
If you move beyond the dating phase into a relationship, the time will come to explain your situation.
4. Looking for a “Dad Replacement”
No matter the situation, your kids have a father. Your goal in dating should not be to find another one.
The point of dating is to find someone who complements you and makes you feel a little more complete. Of course, how they get along with your children will ultimately matter, but finding a “father figure” should not be your main motivation.
Besides, a lot of men take the idea of being a father very seriously and may feel pressured or frightened at the idea of being a father to your children.
5. Looking for a Hero
You don’t need anyone to rescue you from your single mother situation.
The moment you approach dating as a way to find someone to shoulder part of your parenting burden, the more potential suitors are going to run in the opposite direction.
You are ultimately responsible for your children, not anyone you bring into your life as a partner.
Of course, if they do evolve into some sort of parenting role, that’s perfectly okay. Just don’t approach dating with this attitude.
6. Feeling Guilty About Getting Out There
Ugh, mom guilt.
For some reason, we as moms feel innately culpable of being a bad parent the moment we shift our attention away from our children to ourselves.
The truth is, you’re allowed to take care of yourself and you’re allowed to get out there and have fun.
As long as your children are being taken care of by a friend, neighbor or family member, you should never feel bad about going on on dates and enjoying yourself.
7. Trying to Be Someone You’re Not
Sometimes motherhood can cause an identity crisis – you spend so much time attending to the needs of others that you forget who you were before.
This can be particularly challenging when it comes to dating but the most important thing is to not force yourself to be someone you’re not.
Don’t dress in a way that makes you uncomfortable and don’t act in a way that is out of character.
Think of each date as a practice run. You’re probably not going to find Mr. or Mrs. Right on the first go, so let dating be an exercise in finding out who you are, what you enjoy and what you are looking for.
8. Mistaking Sex for Connection
I have a theory based on my own experience that single moms tend to have their hearts trampled because they are so accustomed to giving all of their love on a regular basis.
This is particularly true when it comes to sex since we often equate the physical act with some sort of connection.
While you may be wanting some bedroom action, keep in mind that having sex early on in a dating relationship is purely physical.
If you are looking for a real and deep connection, try holding off on the physical stuff. You’d be surprised how taking sex off the table can really determine if you are developing a true relationship with someone or not.
9. Prioritizing Your Kids in the Relationship
You should, of course, prioritize your children in your day-to-day life but they don’t have to come first in your relationship.
That sounds bad, but let me explain:
Don’t accept someone who is a good mother/father figure to your child but a horrible partner.
You may be tempted to hang on because they get on so well with your kids, but your needs have to be met as well.
This is why holding off on introductions is so important. You are dating to find someone for you, not your children.
They have you already but you need to bring someone into their lives who complements you and with whom you have built a strong foundation.
10. Taking What You Can Get
Single mom life is a lonely life.
While you have great friends and an amazing family, you just want someone to take care of your needs the same way that you take care of everyone else’s needs.
This makes it so easy just to take what you can get and settle for whoever is willing to stick around.
The truth is, you deserve the best and you should never settle for anyone who doesn’t make you feel like the amazing person you are.
As you get into dating, you’ll come to learn what you are willing to accept as well as what red flags to look out for.
Trust your instinct and don’t get trapped in a negative situation for the sake of having a relationship.
Get Out There, Mama!
Dating as a single mom is not as scary as it seems. Sometimes the hardest part is just taking that first step.
And once you do, you’ll find it’s not that terrifying. You’ll feel so relieved that you can go out and enjoy yourself!
Have any single mom dating tips you want to add to the list? Post them in the comments!