20 Tips for Online Dating as a Single Mom

Fact Checked by: Debbie Gutfreund, MA

Does the idea of online dating as a single mom scare you or make you want to run for the hills? Do you image endless dates with guys who aren’t serious about anything other than getting into your umm… pants? Girl, we feel you on that! Here’s the secret though… you can totally find your perfect online dating match! 🙂

Your children are the most important thing to you, they are what’s most dear to your heart in this world and you would do anything for them right? Well, how about seeking out a truly great man or woman as your match? Dating someone who is incredible and treats both you and your children amazingly well is not optional, it is a must. Show your children the type of love and respect they deserve in their adult relationships by setting the example in your own.

Today we are going to discuss all the #truthbetold issues that single moms are faced with when it comes to online dating. We will give you sound advice on how to take control of your dating potential and not waste time on the wrong people.

Our Tips and Advice for Online Dating as a Single Mom

1. It’s a Package Deal

There are a lot of situations in life where things are optional, for example, some people believe using a turning signal while driving is optional. Getting that added protection on your new sound cancelling headphones is optional. Choosing to be an active part of a single mom’s children’s lives is not optional… it’s a straight-out requirement.

2. Your Children Are Not Optional

This would seem pretty straight forward, right? Not necessarily. You really need to make it known from the get-go to your online dating match that your children are not optional. Explain that you are open to building a relationship, but your children will always come first, and they need to be comfortable with that.

Make sure that he or she is not only open to the concept of dating someone with children, but also just as importantly, that they would be potentially a great parent (or step parent if you will) to your children. Wanting children is very different from raising children. Your online match could tell you all day long they want children, but that’s like saying you want to lose weight.  They need to show you they’re serious by “actually getting on the treadmill,” otherwise it’s just hallow words… and you don’t have time for that.

3. Be Clear About What You Want

If you want someone who can acclimate into your family’s life, then let that be known.  If you want him or her to be the type to go to the beach with you and your kids on the weekends and build sand castles, then let that be known. If you want them to be a part of Wednesday movie nights with your kids, then let that be known.

It is important that you paint a clear picture of the family dynamic you want to have with your children and your online dating match. This will also help them to see how they can potentially fit into a life with you and your children because the uncertainty of what that might look like down the road could be scary or overwhelming to some.

Let them know how their unique talents would mesh well and add value to your children’s lives.  For example, are they an amazing cook? Maybe they could teach your kids how to make tacos on “Taco Tuesday.” Maybe they are a gifted musician and your daughter has been wanting to learn how to play the guitar so badly. Creating situations where they can share these talents with your kiddos allows them to build a great and bonded relationship with them.

4. Don’t Settle Out of Fear

You don’t have to continue to date that person because you worry that no one else will come along. There are millions of people on online dating sites seeking the exact same thing you are, love. If they aren’t the right fit, then don’t short change yourself. Don’t lower the value (or expectation) in a relationship that you truly deserve. Go for what you want. Go big or go home!

5. You Want to Be Seen

Yes, okay… so you are a mom, but you are also an incredible woman. You are intelligent, sexy, and you’ve got it going on right? You want your online dating match to know that your kids mean the world to you, but you also want them to know that first and foremost you want to be seen as a woman.

You have certain basic needs that need to be met. You need to feel appreciated, wanted, cherished, sexy, the list goes on and on. Your needs are not just physical needs, they are emotional as well. For many you also have spiritual needs that need to be met.

You don’t want to just be the mom who arranges play dates, packs school lunches, changes diapers, and is a straight up wizard at planning out each day’s events. You want that thirst quenching feeling for the fierce woman who lies within you. In other words, you’re more than just a mom, and you want your potential match to see that.

6. Matching with Someone Who Wants Kiddos

You’ve made it clear you have kiddos, but do they want kiddos too? There are plenty of guys and gals out there who really want to date someone with children, they are not some elusive unicorn that you have made them out to be in your mind. Take a deep breath, and know they are out there.

7. Look in the Right Places

It is funny how times have changed. Ten years ago, online dating was sketchy and taboo, now it’s the cat’s pajamas. Looking for a match as a single mom couldn’t be easier than it is with online dating. There are sites which tailor the search results and matches based upon criteria as specific as “wants kids” and “doesn’t want kids.” A word of advice, steer clear of matches who list “not sure” if they want children or not, that could more than likely lead to a bad news bears situation for you. Totes not worth it.

People used to meet in bars, but nowadays the cream of the crop seem to have moved away from the old-fashioned way of meeting people and have put their efforts into online dating. You can meet so many more people that you otherwise wouldn’t have even had access to in those prehistoric “dinosaur” times before online dating made its grand entrance into our world.

8. Parenting May Be Brand New to Them

Okay great, so we’ve established they want kids, but parenting may be a brand-new concept to them. Have patience with that. Allow them the time necessary to learn how they will get along with your children. Remember they need extra time with this because not only do they have to develop a relationship with you, but they also need to develop a relationship with your children, now that’s double duty which takes a lot more time and effort.

Have realistic expectations. If your online dating match only sees your kids once a week at best, then don’t expect them to become close with your kids after only a month, or even six months. At that rate it could take years for them to build a bonded relationship with your children depending upon their age. And if your children are older (think teenager) then that is a much more difficult relationship for your potential match to build.

9. What Type of Person Are They?

This is such a critical area to focus on. The type of online dating match that you bring around your family is crucial. You need to make such that first and foremost they are truly a good person and would set a great example for your children.

Do you want someone who will throw a football with your son in the backyard, and have silly dance parties with you and your kids at any moment? Do you want someone with a strong moral compass who can help guide and give advice to your children when life’s challenges arise? Do you want someone who will (actually) come around? For some, that last one seems to be the biggest hurdle to get over.

10. Make the First Couple of Dates About the Two of You

Let your online dating match know you are serious about getting to know them and building a connection with them first. This goes back to fact that you are a woman first, and a mom second. Remember that you want someone who is going to show genuine interest in getting to know you, and your match wants the same thing, for you to get to know them.

Once you get to know more about each other’s likes and dislikes, then you can talk about the likes and dislikes of your children. For example, your online dating match should know you love to go out salsa dancing before they know your daughter is in gymnastics classes.

You must build the connection with this person first. If your connection leads to a bright (and long) future together then one day your children will leave the nest and you will want to ensure you have a bonded relationship with your match when that time comes. In other words, it cannot be ALL about your kids.

11. When to Make the First Introduction

Ahh… this is a question we get a lot! When is the right time to introduce your children to your new online dating match? Not all circumstances will be the same, so you will have to use discernment or an educated determination to honestly answer this question.

You know your children. You know your match. You know the circumstances. Be honest with yourself and read on to see what would work best for you.

12. Make Sure You Really Want to Take This Step

This is BIG! You need to know you want to pursue a relationship with your online dating match first and foremost. Do you see a future together? Does your new sweetie want to meet your kids? Are they really itching to meet them? Are they super stoked? Or, is it more that they know it’s coming eventually so they are just going through the motions?

If they are super excited to meet your kids, and they keep asking you repeatedly… “When are you going to let us meet?” Perhaps it is time. If they seem to respond a little less excited, and it’s more in response to you pushing them to want to meet your kids… well then… it’s not time yet.

Your online dating match should be bothering you to let them meet your kids. They should be taking initiative to mention it to you. They should already be planning out what you will do when it’s time to meet for the first time. They should prove to you how badly they want to meet your kids.

You know that feeling with new attraction when your so excited to see each other? When you are non-stop talking to your friends about that person? This is how your new crush should be towards your children. If not, then it’s either not time to introduce them yet, or it’s time for you to move on.

13. Don’t Introduce Them All

Not every guy is going to be worth your time, let alone your children’s time. Do. Not. Introduce. Just. Any. Guy. To. Your. Kids. Your children are not dumb, they will see right through the fact that you and your new online dating match are not the right fit for each other. If they are not the right fit for you, then they certainly are not the right fit for your children either.

14. Give It Time

How long do you think it will take your new sweetheart honey poo bear to build strong loving feelings for you? Maybe a year or two? Maybe longer? Well, this same rule applies to your children. It will take your online dating match awhile to fall in love with your children (no matter how cute, cuddly, or cool they may be).

Have patience with the process. Things truly worth having, are always worth waiting for, so give it time.

15. Ponder This Question

You know the question that came to mind when you initially laid your eyes on him, “Will he make a good father to my children?” Yeah… we all think that same thing, and it is an important question to ask when you are a single mom.

As a single mom, you know your children very well. You also know what your own strengths and weaknesses are. When it comes to choosing your best online dating match, keep in mind that you need someone who can compliment not only you well, but also your family. You need someone who has strengths where you have weaknesses and vice versa, so you can beautifully balance each other out. You need to be a unified team together, so you can support your children from that foundation.

Perhaps you have a son really interested in sports, and you yourself are not so athletically inclined, maybe you want someone who is, so they can be there to support and teach your son in that way? This is one small example of the mindset needed when pondering the question, “Will he be a good father?”

16. Will Your Children Accept This Person?

This is the next big question that crosses your mind when you first meet that new online dating match. Will your children accept this person? Will your match accept your children? Will they love your children (one day) as if they are their own? Will they even get along? Will they like each other?

17 Talk to Your Children First

Once you have determined that you are ready to get back out there and meet potential matches, have a conversation with your children to see how they would feel about it if you started dating. Don’t just have some random guy who you are referring to as “your friend” show up at your house. Your children are intelligent and will see right past this.

Utilize family meeting time or even a longer car ride to discuss this topic with your children. Depending upon their age the conversation will be different. Younger children are not able to comprehend why mommy wants a boyfriend now. Older children will have resentment if you don’t talk with them beforehand. Play your cards wisely.

18. Take Their Feedback Seriously

After you’ve discussed your dating potential with your children, really sit back and listen to what they have to say about the subject. Often, children fear what it could mean for them and how it might threaten their relationship with you, especially if they have already had trouble in their life such as a divorce.

Give a label to their feelings, this is especially important for younger children who do not understand fully how they are feeling or what it is called. Tell them that you heard what they said, you under stand their anger, or their fear, and reassure them that you will do everything within your power to be there for them.

Often children are worried they are going to “lose mommy” to this other person, especially if their time with you is already limited. Open dialog and regular feedback throughout the process will be vital to having a successful online dating relationship.

Anytime your child has an interaction with your match, have a casual conversation with them afterward to find out if they had fun. Ask them what their favorite part of their time with your online dating match was. Address and concerns or odd behavior such as withdrawal or jealousy, as these are completely normal feelings for children to have to overcome in those circumstances.

19. Allow Them to Pick the Place

Throw out some fun options of where your online dating match and your children can meet for the first time and allow your children to pick from the options. Maybe there is an arcade they have been begging you to take them to, and maybe your new boyfriend is amazing at ski-ball. Perfect!

Be sure to make all the suggestions locations that are good for having open dialog, for example, don’t go to the movies where no one is able to talk… awkward. There are so many family friendly options out there to choose from.

Also, be sure to give them options where your new match might be able to shine (a little). Maybe he’s great at the driving range and your kids have been wanting to learn? Fun experience + bonding time = Success! 🙂

20. No Pressure

Let your online dating match know that there’s no pressure for him to put on a show for your kids. He doesn’t have to go out of his way to try and impress them. Kids don’t like a show off. Just keep it real. The simplest thing, such as playing with building blocks with them, can impress a child a lot more than a grand spectacle.

For some children, just being present means everything to them. After all, this is how children spell love: T – I – M – E.

The Bottom Line

As we have addressed in this article, when it comes to online dating as a single mom there are a lot of things to take into consideration. Your children come first, and yes, it’s a package deal. Although, do not allow your children to dictate your dating life. They are a huge part of your life, but they cannot be the only part.

Remember these helpful tips when navigating the online dating world, and remember that you are worthy of love, you are amazing… you made human beings after all, and that is miraculous in itself! No matter what your history is bad breakup with your baby daddy, divorce, or maybe you are just a single woman who adopted a baby because you could, just know that you are amazing! And know that your perfect online dating match is out there!

Just as you say to your children, “Take your time,” “Be careful,” “Wait your turn,” “Be patient,” you need to tell yourself these things too. Take your time in getting to know someone, and make sure they are legit about you before you bring them into your children’s lives.

Be careful in who you chose – make sure they are a good person, someone you would want your children to emulate or to be like. Wait your turn and be patient, well… these are a bit more tough, but we all know good things come with time and patience. 🙂

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Author: Matt Seymour, MSF

Matthew J. Seymour is a dating industry expert with over a decade of experience coaching singles, reviewing dating apps, and analyzing trends within the industry. Matt is a published author with his most recent work “Get More Dates: How to Master Online Dating Apps” that hit shelves in 2023. With a Masters of Science in Finance (MSF) degree from the University of Florida and extensive knowledge of the innerworkings of the online dating industry, Matt frequently serves in an advisory role to some of the largest dating apps on the market. In Matt’s current role with Healthy Framework, he leads the interview team that regularly interviews key dating industry leaders, and leverages his financial knowledge and dating app experience to review and share what singles need to know to get the most out of dating online.