I got a request from a reader, Davis. He wanted me to discuss dating a single mom.
I’m an avid reader of your blog sometimes having to put everything else on hold. I’d like you to write about and maybe you have and shall point me to the right post – dating the single mother. Twice in a row I have fallen into delicate situations where:-
SCENE 1: a single mum and I are really hitting it off in every way you can think of.
SCENE 2: Everyday motherhood reality sets and shifts her focus to the intricate balance of providing for and spending time with her kid(s). I think this can be read as the fear of being hurt, or its-too-good-to be-true and focuses on where her future and security is inevitably invested, her kid(s), where she can’t possibly be heart broken by a 2 yr old.
SCENE 3: I feel sidelined, and tactfully withdraw coz to press further puts so much pressure on her to keep up with all 3 aspects of her life – her kid, myself, work.
SCENE 4: The I-hate-to-love-you-and-leave-you feeling takes hold
Dating a single mom can be difficult for a man. It is confusing and trying to find time to be a couple can be very difficult. I stopped dating shortly after my son turned five. I just found it difficult to focus on his needs and trying to balance that with a relationship. I also wanted to focus on my son. He needed me and that need was more significant than my wants.
A single mom is no longer solely worried about your emotional well-being. Her decisions affect someone else. I had many single mother friends who did date. When things were rocky in their relationships the children were often hurt too. Women want to shield their children from this. If she lets a man into her child’s life and he leaves, he isn’t just leaving her. She may be equipped to deal with this but it affects her family. Her children run the risk of feeling abandoned and hurt. Her attention can also be divided as she is trying to heal from a failed relationship that detracts from her time with her children.
It is understandably difficult to take that risk. A single mom’s children come first and she has to protect them. Single mothers are different from childless women. Children can make a woman more guarded. What she wants for herself may not be what is best for her children and most women know that. They don’t date the same way. They have different priorities.
If a man wants to date a single mother I think the most important thing to remember is that she is and always will be a mother first. If you aren’t serious about a relationship with her then don’t involve her children but accept that she will always meet their needs and wants before her own. If you are serious about her or really want to have relationship then don’t pressure her. When she feels comfortable with you she will let you in. If she doesn’t it is time to move on.
If you are certain that you want relationship, be honest with her. Give her time to find a way that that works for her family. Letting someone into her family is frightening because it just doesn’t just impact her. She has to see how you fit. Don’t force the issue because if she cares about you then you both can find a way to make it work.
Here is another great post on the subject.