Dating dilemmas for single parents

Dating as a single parent is a tricky business, requiring a lot of determination and very supportive babysitters. When you’re part of a couple, going out is easy, but who exactly is supposed to have the kids for you when you haven’t got a useful partner at home? Rather a chicken and egg scenario there I fancy… So imagine dating a single Dad – how on earth do you carve out time to spend together as individuals and exactly when is it ok to introduce the children?

As a single mother of two daughters and a serial online dater I have yet to find time to regularly leave the house on my own, let alone establish a Proper Grown Up Relationship. I don’t count the elderly ladies I meet at checkouts who woo me hilarious tales of cut price cruises and mixed up prescriptions.

When I recently met a single Dad online, with kids the same age as mine I thought I might be on to a winner – here would be someone at least who understood my predicament and would be able to cut me some slack if I turned up to a date half an hour late and covered in playdoh. What I wasn’t expecting was for him to propose we each take our kids on our first date! I’m a fairly liberal parent – I have been known to buy Fruit Shoots – but this was moving too fast even by my standards.

Needless to say I politely declined, but it left all sorts of unanswered questions for me – just how to you manage the practicalities of dating as a single parent? Should you go for a single dad, or does that just complicate matters even further? And really – kids on dates? Is it a sensible solution to a simple problem of logistics or just too creepy…



  1. 3 January, 2010 / 12:40 am

    Two single parents coming together is an a jungle of potential problems. I’m facing the when to introduce the kids dilemma at the moment with the lady I’m courting (yes, I actually used that word, and with good reason – we really are taking it that slowly). I met her kids for the first time yesterday and it went really well. As far as they know I’m just an old college friend (which is true) and that in itself has made it easier to take things slower I think as we haven’t got to wade through the obligatory getting to know you small-talk (which quite frankly I suck at). I also have the huge advantage that I’m part-time parent (dammit, there really is no good term for it). We’re gonna get the all the kids together soon to see how they get on. The question of when we tell them really depends on whether the relationship blossoms of fades back into friendship, but kids being kids, they’ll probably figure it all out before we do.
    Would I take kids on a first date? It is a strange one. I can see the reasoning on both sides, but I think I’d have to agree with you and politely decline. Just doesn’t seem proper.
    Oh, and a Happy New Year to you and yours :)

  2. 5 January, 2010 / 11:01 pm

    Thanks Sarah! The kids thing does cramp your style a bit, but at least it gives you something to talk about in the awkward silences!

  3. 13 January, 2010 / 5:30 pm

    It makes it more of a weird playdate rather than a date date. Nah. Not what I’d call fun

  4. 19 January, 2010 / 9:16 pm

    Your article made me smile.

    I’ve been there, too. I would date … then things wouldn’t work out … then I’d decide break-ups were too great a disruption for my son, and I’d swear off dating until he was eighteen … then I’d get lonely … then I’d date again … around and around and around we’d go. I don’t have any easy answers for you on this one. I have no advice as to what approach is best–whether or not lots of dating is good or bad. All I can do is empathize and sympathize because I’ve been there myself.

    One thing I can tell all you single moms out there who are guilting yourselves to death like I did … and sometimes still do … my son is now 18, he’s in first-year University, he’s level-headed and smart and healthy and beautiful. He turned out okay despite the dating merry-go-around! I now have my own book publishing company and have published three of my own books. And I’m in a stable, loving relationship with a wonderful man I’m confident I’ll stay with. It all worked out in the end.

    This blog on single-parenting is a great idea. There are many of us out there who could use the extra support and a place to share ideas.

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