Dating someone with kids can be a challenging experience at first, especially if it’s your first time. It’s important you understand that the person you’re dating has a whole other part of their life, and that part will always come first. Once you accept that and are ready and willing to be a positive force in the single parent’s life, you can open yourself up to some of the most meaningful relationships you will ever experience.
Check out our list of top do’s and don’ts for navigating the waters of divorced and single parents!
DO be understanding & give space
One of the most important things you can do when dating a single parent is be understanding of their time and situation. They are most likely juggling a job or two, their child’s schoolwork, meals, playdates, sports and an array of other parenting duties—the last thing they need is to be nagged by the person they are dating.
It is essential that you are understanding of their schedule and give them the space they need to be a parent. If you have only been dating for a few weeks, this is even more important. If you get upset about them calling and checking on their kids during a date or being unable to go on a weekend getaway, then this type of commitment may not be suited for you.
DON’T expect to come first
Similarly, you should come into the relationship knowing that you will always be second when it comes to their children. Most single parents will make this clear to the person they are dating, but if they don’t, and you are always trying to vie for their attention, it will only lead to disaster. If they don’t respond to a text right away, for example, don’t take it personally and just assume they probably have a lot going on at the moment.
DO show a genuine interest in their children
One of the best ways to gain the trust of a single parent you are dating is to show a genuine interest in their children. That doesn’t even have to mean being there in-person to help them with their parenting duties. Simply showing interest in stories about their child’s soccer game or something that happened at school is enough at the start.
Once your partner feels that you care and are worthy of meeting their children, you can begin to slowly make yourself a part of their home life, creating a deeper bond.
DON’T try to win the child’s approval
Trying to “win over” your partner’s child may seem like a way to get into their good graces, but it can ultimately lead to disaster if you come on too strong or too quickly. The child, or children, may think you’re trying to replace their other parent and may be unwilling to let you into their life.
In many cases, children hold onto hope that their parents will get back together, and you will be seen as an obstacle in making that happen. Even if there is only one parent in the picture, it is best to take things slow and have them accept you at their own pace. When you give them time and show them respect, they will often open up to you more easily. If they are antagonistic towards you at first, don’t take it personally, know that they are experiencing a lot of complicated feelings.
Now that you’re ready for any single parent that might spark your interest, nothing is stopping you from putting yourself out there to find them! My Safe Dating is an online dating platform specifically for singles in Vancouver over the age of 40, so you can more easily connect with people who share and understand your needs, goals, and priorities.
Sign up for your membership and starting building your profile (and an exciting future) today!