If you’re thinking about dating a single dad, there is a lot that you need to know. Having a child can change anyone, but a single dad has to rise above quite a bit to fill the shoes of being a father. This means they are going to have some extra responsibilities, but it also means they’re going to have some extra traits and skills that make them a pretty awesome catch in a relationship.
We’d like to take a little time today and point out some of the most important things that you need to know if you’re currently dating a single dad or if you’re thinking about getting involved with a single dad. Every single dad is going to be different, but we’ve found a lot of things that seem to be pretty constant across the board with most single dads out there.
This information can help you decide if you want to date a single dad and it can also help you to get the most out of a relationship with one. It’s not like they’re some weird creature or anything like that just because they’ve already had a kid, but there are things that will be different in their lives you need to be aware of.
You will never be a priority over his child.
This is not meant to discourage you or make you feel like you’re always going to be fighting an uphill battle. In fact, the title of this section could have been worded a little bit better. What we meant to say is that you can certainly become as important as their child is to them, but it’s not going to happen overnight. You see, a good dad regardless of whether they are married or single cares about their kid or kids.
It’s important for you to realize this because for a long time as your relationship grows, their kid is going to come first. If you don’t understand and accept this, you’re constantly going to feel like a second choice all the time if you compare how they treat their kid to how they treat you.
Here’s some good advice. Don’t compare yourself to their kid. Realize that this is someone important to them, and respect the fact that they care about those that are closest to them. As your relationship grows, you will become more and more important to this guy, and you’ll start to come close to their kid in terms of priority. You’ll never surpass them (and you shouldn’t want to), but you can become just as much of a member of their family.
This single dad tip is all about patience.
Single dads are emotionally intelligent.
One of the best perks about dating a single dad is they are going to be emotionally intelligent. Because they have to deal with quite a bit with their child, they’re forced to learn how to deal with emotional situations. If you’re looking for a man that is in touch with his feelings and not scared to be vulnerable and emotional, you might be looking for a single dad especially one that has a girl or girls.
There’s something humbling about having a child that can make a man drop his ego and realize that the world does not revolve around him. This can lead to a higher level of emotional intelligence which can mean great things for you and his relationship. For some reason, a lot of people think that dating a person with a kid is a burden when in fact, there are a lot of positive things that you get that single men without kids typically can’t offer you.
It’s amazing what life experience can do to a man.
His free time may be limited.
Kids are a big responsibility. This goes for finances, emotions, and time. Depending on the age of the kid, the dad may be changing diapers all the time or going to soccer practice and band rehearsals. Regardless of how old the kid is, there are time commitments. Now, as the kids get older, the time commitment changes as they start to become a bit more independent so keep that in mind when you’re looking at a relationship with a single dad.
The reason you need to be aware of this again deals with patience. Single dads are going to have limited free time which means they’re going to be a bit trickier to get dates scheduled with. It also means that there are going to be a lot of times where they need to cancel dates or reschedule when a babysitter falls through, or a kid gets sick.
You have to be willing to be patient with this, or you should never date a single dad. It won’t be fair to either of you. But, if you’re willing to understand and respect his sense of duty, responsibility, and ability to commit to something, then you two could have an amazing relationship. His free time is not going to be zero, it’s just going to be limited. You should feel extremely special when he chooses to spend that with you and not with the guys drinking beers and watching football.
His kids are a package deal.
This probably goes without saying, but we wanted to make sure it was clear. The kids and the single dad are a package deal. Don’t think that in some magical world the time commitments and things like that are just going to magically go away. Their kid is always going to be a part of the picture and expecting anything other than that is just selfish on your part.
We aren’t going to hammer on this point too hard, but here is what we want you to know. If you’re going to get into a relationship with a single dad, make sure you are okay with their kid being a part of the picture. Don’t get into the relationship if you’re just okay with putting up with the kid for a while thinking they are going to go away.
You might not meet his kids right away. Don’t be offended.
For a lot of you that are totally cool with a single dad having kids (you might even love kiddos), you may be excited to meet his children or be eager to meet them to show him that you’re totally cool with it. While we applaud your openness and eagerness to show your acceptance, we want to let you know that you need to be patient. Most single dads are extremely protective of their children, and they’re going to be hesitant to introduce you to their kids until they know that you’re going to be around for a while. Even then, they may be hesitant or slow to introduce you to their kids.
You need to realize that this has nothing to do with who you are or the quality of your relationship. Kids are fragile and they can’t emotionally handle or understand a ton of different women coming and going and temporarily filling the role their mom may have used to fill. If the mom is still in the picture, it may be a lot for them to process seeing their dad with someone other than her.
The point is this. All family situations are different. All single dads are going to handle introducing you to their kids differently. You need to be ready to be patient and realize that if they don’t immediately introduce you to their kids, it does not mean that they don’t like you or that your relationship is not advancing as it should. A lot of this depends on the kids who you’ve never met. The only person that truly knows them and knows what is best for them is their dad. Remember this and just focus on your dates and your time with their dad.
Single dads are adaptable.
Another great perk of dating a single dad is that they are highly adaptable. Your experiences in life makes you who are and having a kid forces you to handle a lot coming at you fast. Being a single parent makes you have to handle these things even faster and fill bigger shoes. Single dads have to fill the mom and the dad shoes when they’re parenting which takes a lot. Dealing with all of these new and unique situations can only happen if you learn to be adaptable and handle what’s thrown your direction.
This is going to carry over into your relationship. If you’re tired of men who can’t seem to bend at all, that’s not what you’re going to get with a single dad. They’ll be firm on the things that matter to them (like their children’s well-being), but they’ll be able to adapt well with what life throws at the two of you.
The Next Step
If you’re looking for more information on dating a single dad or dating as a single parent, we’ve got you covered.
- Dating Advice for Single Parents
- Problems With Dating a Single Dad
- How to Tell Your Kids You’re Dating Again
Written By: Jason Lee
Jason Lee is a journalist and data analyst with a passion for studying online dating, relationships, personal growth, healthcare, and finance. In 2008, Jason earned a Bachelors of Science from the University of Florida, where he studied business and finance and taught interpersonal communication.
His work has been featured in the likes of The USA Today, MSN, The Motley Fool, Net Health, and The Simple Dollar. As a business owner, relationship strategist, dating coach, and officer in the U.S. military, Jason enjoys sharing his unique knowledge base with the rest of the world.