In our ultimate guide for single parents you’ll discover which online dating sites cater to singles like you, and find tips for using online dating and keeping your kids occupied while you head out. Finding a babysitter though? That’s on you.
Q: How do you know you’re ready to date again?
A: This one’s easy—you’re ready to date when you feel ready to date again. For some parents, dating when you need to leave a toddler or young child at home may be too nerve-wracking and you may prefer to wait until the kids are a bit older. Other parents may be ready to date as soon as their child is old enough to stay with a babysitter or grandparent.
In a sense, it’s not a matter of figuring out when you should date again, but why. Are you looking for a little fun, a fling, or something more serious? Parenting—especially as a single parent—can feel a bit isolating at times. You’ve got the kids, the house, hopefully work, and….sometimes not a lot else going on. If you’re looking to date in order to break the monotony, or just have some fun and get out of the house, then you know to keep your romantic ambitions in check for now, and just have a good time.
If you’re a single parent going through a divorce, you should have free time if you share joint custody with your ex-spouse. On the other hand, if you’re still dealing with a complicated divorce, you may feel that you prefer to wait until you’ve figured out what went wrong in your marriage and what it means for your next relationship before you really put yourself out there. Every divorce is different though, and this is a decision that only you can make.
Q: What are the best dating sites for single parents?
A: Single parents are a major target audience for dating sites and there is no shortage of options if you’re looking to meet someone online. If you’re a bit unsure about where to start, you might want to try out a free site first, just to see what’s out there. Most dating sites will let you sign up for a free trial membership which you can use to browse user profiles just to see what type of singles are on the site. If you want to use the site to actually contact other users, most companies require you to sign up for a paid membership.
You can try the general online dating sites or focus specifically on single parents, with sites like Single Parent Meet or Just Single Parents which focus specifically on singles like you. This is a good way to limit your options solely to people who are in a situation similar to yours, and who are less likely to have a problem with dating a single parent.
On both dating sites you can plug your likes and dislikes into the search filter and if you’re a little uneasy about getting the conversation started, Single Parent Meet can help you out with message ideas to break the ice.
On Just Single Parents, you can use the “Encounters” section, which provides matches that the site thinks you may like, and you can also create a “dating diary” where you put details about “you and your lifestyle” for other users to learn a little about you. Single Parent Meet also lets you fill out some details about your relationship history, your kids, or whatever you like.
How you use features like these is up to you, but part of what’s great about online dating sites is that they let you put your best foot forward, and craft the first impression you’d like to make.
Online dating sites for single parents also offer a wide range of payment options and opportunities to reach out and connect with other users. Also, some of them have even partnered with babysitting services who can watch your kids while you go out, so that’s one less excuse to not get out there and meet somebody.
Q: How do I find the time I need to date?
A: As you know, having kids can change your whole concept of time. Your personal time can slip away as the baby comes first, and the whole orbit of your life changes. The thing is, this isn’t permanent, and so much of it is up to you.
Dating can be an essential part of reestablishing time for you and your own personal identity and lifestyle separate from your kids. Online dating can make the process easier by helping you cut to the chase and find like-minded people who may be less likely to waste your time. Also, sometimes as parents all we need is a little push in the right direction, and online dating sites do a good job of giving users icebreakers and other prompts that can get the ball rolling.
Q: Should I date just for fun or to complete my family?
A: Dating with children can be a bit more involved. If you see the relationship progressing you may feel compelled to introduce the new love interest to your children, especially if you feel strongly about the relationship. In fact, looking to build a family life again may be one of the things you’re looking for with online dating. Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean that every person you meet should be introduced to your family or that you should bring them into your children's’ lives right away.
Also, if you’ve been through a painful divorce (is there another type?) you may feel hesitant about introducing your children to a love interest that could be out of the picture in a relatively short amount of time.
If you’re looking to meet people, get out more, and have some fun, the stakes should be lower than if you’re trying to find somebody to build a new family with. Regardless, there isn’t a single right or wrong answer to this question. It’s about what’s right for you, how you feel, and who you happen to meet. Only you can decide.
Q: Should I involve my kids in my dating?
A: In the beginning of a relationship, when you’re still getting to know each other, it’s a better idea to keep your children and your dating life separate.
For one thing, your dating life will be an opportunity for you to have a life and interests beyond your children, a world of your own that can to some extent be a “kid-free zone.”
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t let your children know that you’re seeing someone, but all things in good time.
Q: How long do I wait before introducing my kids to my new partner?
A: If you’re considering introducing your new love interest to your children, make sure you get to know the person well first, if anything, just for safety’s sake. In addition, if your children have already endured a divorce and some form of parent-child separation, it could be another harmful blow for them to become close to your significant other, only for them to leave their life soon after.
Sometimes it can be really hard to see where a relationship is heading, but it’s a good idea to hold off on introducing your kids to your new love interest, at the very least until you get to know that person and have some confidence in the relationship.
If you are considering introducing your love interest to your children, you should first let your children know that you will be introducing someone special to them. Try to project confidence and make it clear that you are there to listen to any concerns they may have. Older children may be more resentful of a new member of the household, and it may take time for them to warm up. Be understanding—and also patient.
Q: Should I date a young parent or an older parent?
A: This is another one of those questions that can come down to a personal preference, but there are a few things to consider. With a younger significant other, there may be a desire to have more children, which could mean new siblings for your children. Not to mention you may also not want more children yourself.
With an older parent—especially one with older children—there may be less of a desire to spend time with young children or have an active role in parenting.
At the end of the day though, each person is different. An older parent with grown children may relish the opportunity to spend time with young children again, and a younger parent may already have their hands full with their own kids and not be interested in having a bigger family. Whatever their individual preferences are, one thing remains a constant—you need to have some clarity about what you want out of life, and follow what’s important to you.
It’s Your Time Now
Getting back out there can be hard after having kids, especially if you’ve also recently been through a breakup or divorce. Fortunately, single parents have a much easier time these days because of online dating and the companies that cater to people just like them. If you’re ready to start getting your love life back on track, see what some of the best online dating sites can do for you.