How to Date a Single Mom
It’s really very easy. Read through this handy list and improve your relationships today!
Ask how her children are. Even if you want nothing to do with them, or are afraid she might go into detail, give five minutes of your time to listen. For her, this gives a chance to vent/brag/ask for advice. And you’ll win points for acknowledging the most important undertaking of her life. Also it’s the polite thing to do. But don’t let it go past five minutes. If you let her over indulge, you’ll ruin your time together and she won’t be present with you. It will lead to other problems.
Be the decision maker for the date. Single parents make all the decisions. That’s their job. When there are two parents you can switch off. With one, you can’t. It’s draining, time consuming, and it gets old. If you want to wow your date, make the plans and follow through. Maybe it’s just me but I’m so spent from deciding every detail that I’d let you order my meal for me. Single moms don’t have room for surprises so when the opportunity pops up, make the most of it.
Avoid asking about the coparent. Don’t bring him up on the date. No matter what the relationship status, he’s alway going to be in her life and there’s nothing you can do about it so you just have to accept it. The less you know the better for you. And in the same token it’s a total red flag if she brings it up and goes on for more than five minutes. But be mindful - if she has to see him just before seeing you she may need to regroup, in which case venting may be necessary. Just listen with no input and let it go. Drop offs can be very stressful even for the most evolved coparents.
Wait six months before you meet the kids. No matter how much she insists that’s it okay for them to meet you, it’s not. Children need stability and a new relationship is anything but. There’s a long list of reasons for this but the main point is the children’s needs come first. It’s not about you.
Don’t offer to pay for coffee, but do offer to pay for dinner. Assume a newly single mom doesn’t have a dime. Because really she doesn’t unless you know otherwise. The time period to get back on your feet after a divorce for a single mom is a few years. It’s really a struggle! Be generous. And make yourself a hero.
You are not her first priority and if you find that you are, run. It’s a sign she hasn’t moved on from the last guy and is looking for another project. Her children are and always should be her first priority. Well, she should be her first priority but that’s a given. Under no circumstances should you put any pressure on her to change her plans when it involves her children. If you are anything less than supportive of the time spent with them, find someone else to prey on.
Let’s face it, newly single moms are vulnerable. If you choose to take advantage of this without stating upfront what your intentions are, there will be consequences. Women remember everything and will hunt you down and anyone connected to you if they feel taken advantage of. And the catch-22 is they will put themselves in the situation even with the knowledge and still blame you. It’s like a test to see if you’re worthy. You can tell them until you’re blue in the face that you aren’t looking for a relationship but if you keep showing up, your actions speak louder than your words and you are in fact in a relationship. One where you’re not contributing. And for that you will pay. Trust me.
Make plans ahead of time. In addition to making you look like a superhero for your thoughtfulness, you really need to make plans ahead of time. There are arrangements that have to be made when there are kids involved and last minute is asking a lot.
For the love of god pick up the phone once in a while. Even if she can’t talk when you call this small gesture will go a long way. It shows you put thought into communicating with her. Texting is for quick interactions, not connections. (For the record a relationship is about connecting.) Take the time to hold the phone to your ear and listen.
Offer to help but don’t expect her to take you up on it. Chances are she’s been doing what needs to get done all by herself and as much as she would love to have someone else take over, she doesn’t know how to let go of control. Don’t judge, it doesn’t make her controlling. It simply means that she’s a Super Powered Mom Who Does It All. Which can be a little intimidating but should be acknowledged and valued. Because underneath that suit of armor is a women who really needs some love and affection.