Dating a Single Mom: 8 Success Tips for Making It Work

Dating a single mom by the beach

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So you've got your eye on a ​single mom. She's smart, strong, and beautiful, but also a bit of a mystery. How can you make this relationship work? And how do you let her know that you're not just playing games—without getting overly involved too soon? Before you start dating a single mom or explore taking your relationship to the next level, set the stage for success.

  1. Recognize that dating a single mom is different from dating someone without kids. A mom's time is limited, and much of her energy goes toward taking care of her kids. But she’s also much more clear about what she wants in life, and that's an attractive quality!
  2. Accept that her top priority will always be her children. In other relationships, you may have been able to gauge a woman’s feelings for you by how much time and energy she put into your relationship. When you’re dating a single mom, this isn’t necessarily the case. She may not have the time to see you as often as you'd both like. Learn to look for other expressions of her feelings for you.
  3. Avoid disciplining her children. When you’re dating a single mom, let her handle 100% of the kids’ discipline. The only exception to this rule is if she specifically asks for your support or help. If you have concerns about the kids’ behavior, talk with your girlfriend about it privately. Never attempt to handle the issue yourself without discussing it with her first.
  4. Stay clear of any drama with her ex. If there’s tension with her kids' other parent, let your girlfriend handle it. Of course, you can support her and encourage her, but don’t contact her ex on her behalf or get involved in an ongoing court battle over their custody agreement.
  5. Pace yourself. It’s important to give your relationship time to develop. Don’t rush into moving in together or getting engaged. Instead, take it slow and focus on developing trust before you take your relationship to the next level.
  6. Offer emotional support. As a single mom, there is a tremendous amount of pressure on your girlfriend to provide for her children financially and emotionally. Be the kind of partner who can listen without trying to solve every problem for her. She will work it out in time. Offering support and encouragement will help you build a stronger bond.
  7. Be trustworthy. As a single mother, your girlfriend may have experienced situations previously where she depended on someone who was not trustworthy. Set yourself apart by being someone she can trust. Be responsible to her without being responsible for her.
  8. Allow your relationship with her kids to develop naturally. Don’t try to be too much too soon to either your girlfriend or her children. If you’re not sure about how involved you want to be with the kids, be open and honest about that. At the same time, it’s important that you don’t begin to take on a role that you can’t maintain for the long haul.

A Word From Verywell

You’re the only one who can know whether dating a single mom is right for you. Don’t get caught up in listening to family members or friends who will try to discourage you or suggest that she’s just looking for a stepparent figure. This is rarely the case. Pay attention, instead, to the woman you know and the relationship you’re building together.

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