What It’s Like To Date a Single Parent

By: Simone Paget |


Last winter, I had a couple of girlfriends help me set up my very first online dating profile. When the online dating questionnaire asked whether I’d be interested in dating someone with kids, my friends chimed in:

“Select No!”

However, they were completely chocked when I replied,

“Actually, I’m not opposed to it.”

Although I had never dated anyone with kids, I have a open mind. I’m in my 30’s and at this point, it’s almost a given that the people you meet will have some kind of baggage – whether that be a past serious relationship, marriage or even children with an ex. Furthermore, two of my best friends met the loves of her lives when they were single parents. To keep my dating options as open as possible, I decided that I’d list myself as open to dating a single parent.

A few months later, I found myself dating a guy who was the single parent to a teenager.

Dating a single parent is interesting. It can definitely be more complicated than dating someone without kids and likely, you’ll face challenges that you never could have anticipated.  Although good things do happen (my two friends are proof of that!) – dating a single parent is not for everyone.

For those of you who may be wondering what it’s like to date a single parent, here are a few things you should keep in mind:

1. Things are more complicated, especially when it comes to scheduling dates and hanging out. Depending on the age of the child, it’s possible that finding “alone time” to spend together means getting a sitter or coordinating dates around their child’s swimming lessons, baseball games or other activities. It doesn’t make dating impossible, it just means that you have to be prepared to plan ahead.

2. Their ex is still a very real part of their lives. Whereas most of us have the luxury of walking away from our exes once the relationship has run it’s course, a single parent doesn’t. Depending on the person’s situation, the fact that they have a child together means that as exes, they’re likely to be a part of each other’s lives forever. Whether they’re friendly co-parents or toxic exes with boatloads of “baby mama/baby daddy drama”, you need to be comfortable with the fact that their ex will be a part of their life in some capacity (and that sometimes things can get messy and stressful.)

3. The child will always be #1 – As they should be! Would you really want to date someone who didn’t prioritize their children?! Of course not! However, their child will always come first. For example: Child suddenly falls ill = date cancelled. It’s totally possible to take all of this stride, however you just need to be prepared for the fact that you won’t always be number one.

In the end, things didn’t work out with the guy I mentioned above. It wasn’t because he was a single parent, but rather that our personalities just weren’t compatible as a couple.

At the end of the day, although there were definite challenges, I would definitely consider dating someone with kids again. Every situation and person is different. Just like dating someone without kids, it all comes down to finding the right match.