Dating women with children

6 Crucial Things Anyone Interested In Dating A Woman With Kids Should Know

dating advice

Go at her pace and keep an open mind.

by Candace Nagy


Originally Published: 

MoMo Productions/Getty Images

We’ve seen it play out on the big screen 100 times: the single mother portrayed as lonely and love-starved, staying up all night folding laundry while crying into a pint of Häagen-Dazs. It’s an offensive pop culture cliché that isn’t doing single moms, or those interested in dating them, any favors. And it’s about time we smash that image and lay out a few ground rules for dating a woman with kids, because when you actually take the time to understand their needs, you might just open the doors to a relationship with a strong, independent, and loving person — attractive qualities in a partner.

Of course, the standard dating guidelines apply: Go slow, keep an open mind. But dating a woman with kids comes with its own unique parameters. The emotional wellbeing of the child or children involved takes precedence over the feelings between the two people entering the relationship. “Dating is hard. Period,” Dr. Berit Brogaard said on Psychology Today, adding of dating as a single parent, “But it’s always a good idea to keep your dating life separate from your family life until there is a clear commitment to the relationship.”

If you’re genuinely serious about making it work with a single mom, there are some musts that you should expect and respect.

Dating a Woman With Kids: The Field Guide

Be OK with not being her first priority.

If you’re not a parent yourself, it might be hard in the beginning to understand that you will not be her first priority. There will be times, probably pretty often, that she’ll cancel plans or be unavailable for a last-minute rendezvous. Don’t take it personally. Chances are she would love nothing more than a romantic evening — if her sitter didn’t cancel, her child wasn’t sick, or any other reason that has her tending to her first priority: her children.

Don’t ask to meet her children or for an invitation to her home.

Bringing a date home at the beginning of any romance is not recommended for anyone. That’s dating 101. And when it comes to mothers, protecting their children is instinctual. The thought that any of their relationship choices could have a negative effect on their children will likely have them on high alert. They’ll let you know when they’re ready to make that oh-so-important introduction.

Victoria Dunckley MD, child psychiatrist and author of Reset Your Child’s Brain, tells Scary Mommy, “Bringing in a healthy relationship can be beneficial for children, but the dating process itself can be fraught with risk. Kids can have complicated feelings about mom dating. Some get jealous; some are desperate for it to work out because they sense mom is lonely or in need of financial support. Others might want mom to find a partner to fit in with peers with two parents. Less than you might think are looking for a parent figure. So I always advise mothers to be extremely cautious when introducing children to their new partner because it could exacerbate any existing emotional trauma or abandonment issues.”

Leave the parenting to her.

It might seem helpful to step in and offer your advice on how to handle her children, or even directly approach her children with your two cents. Remember, though, that these are her children, and with a partner possibly somewhere in the picture, the responsibility of parenting is always best left to the two of them. What you can do is offer your support when you see that she is struggling in her parenting role, but remain neutral and keep the topic separate from your relationship.

Show compassion.

Single mothers are not all divorced women. Some are single moms by choice, while others might be widows or may have left an abusive partnership. Whatever the circumstances, reentering the dating world can be a very overwhelming and intimidating experience for them. Things like complicated ex relationships, past trauma, and body image issues will require your patience and understanding. So, keep in mind that most single mothers are looking for a partner who is sensitive to their needs and feelings and can meet them with compassion. This is a great way to gain her trust, and we all know that lasting relationships are built on a foundation of trust.

This is why it's important to offer emotional support. Being a single parent can be very stressful at times, so be the kind of partner that actively listens. Offering this kind of help and care will allow her to feel closer to you and more willing to confide in you. Practice active listening by asking follow-up and clarification questions and reiterating what she's said.

Be honest about your intentions.

While all of the rules on this list are important (and going against any of them will likely be a relationship red flag to single mothers), this one should always guide how you proceed in the relationship. You might wonder why it isn’t listed first. But now that you’ve read through the others, you can fully understand the frame of mind that single mothers enter into a relationship with. And you can grasp why it’s essential for a single mom to make sure that whomever she chooses to spend her time with adds positivity to her life and that of her children, and isn’t there to cause pain or waste her precious time — something no mother has to spare.

You might hear about the ex... a lot.

Whether the person you're dating has a healthy co-parenting relationship with the father of their children, much like her kids, he may be a regular topic of conversation. It can be small things like mentioning he picked them up from school or complaints that he doesn't do enough. In this type of relationship, her ex may be a regular part of her life because he's a part of the children's lives. And that means you may not always hear about them negatively, but in a part-of-the-schedule kind of way.

This article was originally published on

12 Cons of Dating a Woman with Kids (Dating a Woman with a Child)

Dating a woman with kids comes with several pros and cons. Many people balk at the idea of dating a woman with kids, but nowadays it is more and more likely that you will build a connection with a single parent.

According to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, millions of children are being raised in single-family homes and a majority of those homes are being headed by the mother.

Aside from unwed mothers, approximately 50% of Amercian marriages end in divorce, leaving several divorcees on the market sharing child custody with a previous spouse.

If you find yourself in a situation where you start dating a woman with kids, you may not know what to do, particularly when it’s unknown territory. While I would never advise anyone against dating a woman with kids, it’s important to take inventory of the challenges that can come with that situation. Take a look below for 12 cons of dating a woman with kids.

Cons of Dating a Woman with Kids 

Ex Drama

Plenty of single mothers have a cordial relationship with their ex, but there’s also a possibility of drama. And the thing about dating a woman with kids is — that if there is drama with the ex — there’s no way around it.

She is going to be bonded for life with this person because of her children, which means you will also have to deal with whatever curveballs that guy throws, without ever having the luxury of him being completely out of the picture.

Wild Nights and Hangovers Aren’t an Option

If you’re still at a stage in your life where you enjoy getting wild and loose, know that you’re not going to be able to partake in that type of debauchery when dating a woman with kids.

Parents need to be role models to their children, which means stumbling through the door at 3 am is simply not a good look. In fact, it could even have legal repercussions.

Single moms also deal with a limited sleep schedule, being that they probably need to drop kids off at school in the morning and attend different school events.

This doesn’t mean you won’t be able to enjoy your time with a single mom or that single moms don’t know how to party. But the freedom to get totally wild and make mistakes isn’t really an option for parents.

Brace Yourself for Schedule Changes

If you’re dating a woman with kids, you need to prepare yourself for things to change at the last minute. If an emergency comes up with one of her kids, she will need to drop everything. Even if you plan a weekend away with her, she will need to rush home if something happens to one of her children.

Your Stress May Feel Insignificant

They say that being a parent is the hardest job you will ever have to do and it’s true. When you’re dating a woman with a child and you don’t have children of your own, you may feel like your stresses are insignificant compared to hers.

Along with maintaining her own income, she is singlehandedly caring for little ones, and she may even be doing it without any help from the biological father.

You might feel like you can’t complain to her about your issues or bemoan a lack of sleep because — let’s face it — she probably hasn’t gotten a decent amount of sleep since her children were born.

Of course, you shouldn’t have to feel like your problems are trivial. Communication is going to be key to a relationship with someone who has children.

You’re Not Her Top Priority

You’re not going to be this woman’s top priority. More importantly, you shouldn’t be this woman’s top priority. She’s a mother first and a girlfriend second. If this is something that you can’t handle, you need to steer clear of dating a woman with children.

Her Kids Might Not Like You

You have to face the reality that her kids might not warm up to you at first, and they may never warm up to you. You can’t predict that situation until you’re in it. If her children don’t like you, it’s not a 100% guarantee that the relationship won’t work out, but it can definitely present challenges that threaten the connection between the two of you.

You Might Not Like Her Kids

Even worse than a scenario where her children don’t warm up to you is one where you just plain don’t like her kids. I’m not saying that you would be malicious toward them, but when there are children in a situation and they aren’t your biological children, you just can’t predict whether or not you will click until you meet them.

And if you don’t like her kids, the relationship is not going to work out. Period. Remember that she and her children are a package deal, and if you can’t accept the entire package, it’s not the right relationship for either of you.

You Need to Step Into the Role of a Parent

There is a difference between “liking kids” and being able to step into the role of a parent. If you date a single mom and eventually get married, that makes you a stepfather to her children. Blended families are nothing unique in this day and age and plenty of men and women make amazing stepparents who love their stepchildren and truly become an important facet of their lives.

However, ask yourself if that’s something you want and would be able to truly handle. That brings me to my next point.

If You Don’t Want Kids, You’re in Trouble

Let’s say that you don’t want kids. That’s completely fine. Lots of people today, particularly millennials, are choosing to forego having children. You might think that, because the woman’s children aren’t yours, that it doesn’t matter that you don’t want children.

But although you won’t (and should never attempt to) be replacing the child’s real father, you are going to have to act parentally if you and this woman become serious. She and her children are a package deal, and it won’t be healthy for your relationship or the children if you treat the kids as something entirely separate from your relationship.

No matter what, you and her children will end up inextricably linked if you end up together.

She Might Not Want to Have More Kids

Let’s take a look at a different scenario. Let’s say that you want to have children of your own. She already has kids and that may mean that she doesn’t want to have more. You might have to deal with the fact that having biological children of your own isn’t in your future if you stay with her.

Crazy Sex-capades? Think Again

Sex is an extremely important part of any romantic relationship. But when you’re dating a woman with kids, you can’t bank on having crazy sexcapades because let’s face it, you don’t want to scar those kids for life by being super loud when it comes to knocking boots with their mom. In fact, she may not want to have sex with you at all unless the kids are not in the house or if you go to your place.

That’s not to say that you can’t enjoy a healthy sex life when dating a woman with kids, but it can definitely get tricky.

A Breakup Could Be Doubly Hard

I’ve talked a lot about scenarios where you don’t warm up to the woman’s children, if they don’t warm up to you, or if dating a woman with kids makes it difficult for you to move forward by having your own biological children.

But there’s another very important thing to consider. Maybe you will get along with her children extremely well.

In fact, you might not just get along with her children — you may get extremely attached to her children. If this happens, and you and the woman end up breaking up, that breakup is going to be especially difficult. You won’t just be losing a woman, you’ll be losing her children too.

But keep in mind, I have seen circumstances where the bond is so strong between the boyfriend and her kids, that you’d still be able to communicate with them as they grow into adulthood. This works especially well if the woman you’re dating (and then break up with) has kids in junior high or high school. The kids are much more likely to want to continue their friendship with you.

Other Things to Consider

This article is intended to give you some insight into the cons of dating a woman with kids, but that doesn’t mean I’m saying you should avoid dating a woman simply because she has children. There are pros and cons to everything, and dating a woman with kids can come with some amazing benefits, despite the challenges that a relationship can bring.

Single mothers are patient, independent and strong. They are less likely to be looking to go out, party and sleep with a bunch of randos because they want a stable, fulfilling relationship in order to set a good example for their children. Single mothers will also appreciate the fact that you don’t look at her children as “baggage” and she will show you how much she appreciates this by giving her all to the relationship.

One of the best ways you can explore dating a woman with kids — while also being wary of the potential challenges — is through MegaDating.

MegaDating is a dating strategy that can help singles reach their dating goals faster. When you MegaDate, you go on dates with several different people at the same time in order to keep your calendar full.

MegaDating is not about sneaking around or trying to hook up with a bunch of people. It is simply a process where you learn more about yourself and what you want in a relationship by opening yourself to a variety of dating opportunities.

I used MegaDating as my main dating strategy during my 100-date experiment. It helped me see that there is plenty of fish in the sea and eventually led me to a fulfilling, long-term relationship. It can do the same for you!

A Better Way to Date

Whether you want guidance on dating a woman with kids, MegaDating, or any facet of the dating world, my coaching and matching services can help you reach your goals.

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 our session, we will create an action plan that will help you overcome the roadblocks you have encountered in the dating world so that you can find the woman of your dreams. We’ll also determine if my 3 month coaching or matchmaking services could be right for you!

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