Zoe Coetzee, 20.04.2018

The beginner's guide to dating a single dad

According to Statistics Canada (by way of GlobalNews), ''the number of children living with just their dad grew much faster (up 34.5 per cent since 2001) than the number of those living with a lone mother (up 4.8 per cent)''.¹ If you date men, then, especially as a slightly older single, chances are high that at some stage you will be find yourself dating a single dad. So what do you need to know?

Dating a single dad brings with it a certain set of considerations, but also can be an expansive and incredible experience. If you’re a single mom looking for a partner who understands your lifestyle and demands, or if you perhaps you met a wonderful man who happens to be a dad too, we’ve compiled a list of 12 useful insights and the best benefits of dating a single dad. 

Dating a single dad: a different ballgame

Here are a few basics that are useful to be aware of when starting a new relationship with a single dad. If you’re wondering what you should expect dating a single dad, or are perhaps wondering ‘what does a single dad look for in a woman?’ - sit back, relax and enjoy EliteSingles’ guide to single parent dating. We cover the basic insights that will stand you in good stead, and what a father now knows that can create exceptional relationships with his partner.

  1. Slow and steady does it

You should know from the get go that, when you’re dating a single dad, everything is a little more serious. As it’s not only themselves that single dads consider, sometimes one can experience a more measured approach than dating a footloose and carefree single man who doesn’t have children to think about.

  1. Children are part of the parcel

You should be very clear on this point – if you’re a dating a single dad, children are part of the deal. This can mean you need to be flexible to how you approach topics like sleeping over, chill time and the way you go about getting to know each other. You should be prepared to nurture relationships with his children, and create a positive dynamic together if you want a lasting relationship with him, but also be guided by him for the right time to start.

  1. They do come with ‘baggage’

The hard and fast truth is that if your man has children there is a high likelihood that the children’s mother will also be involved. We’re all adults and everyone brings their own baggage to a relationship. But in the case of dating a single dad, one should be able to communicate and cooperate with his ex, which is not often the case on the relationship landscape. They had children, were once romantically involved and share a bond in their children, but this is not a threat to you. Keeping your insecurity and jealousy in check when you’re trying to date a single dad, especially with a single ex, can be challenging. Focusing on what is best for the children is a good way forward, and know that the three of you can be ok too!

  1. Adjust and adapt: plans may change

As a parent dating with kids, plans can change out of your control. You never know when your might child might feel sick at a sleepover, or school is out on spring break. Understanding that plans may change and learning to be flexible is an essential skill to acquire. If you’re wondering ‘what does a single dad look for in a woman?’ be able to adjust and adapt to a moving target!

  1. Number two

Even when he falls completely in love with you, one of the hardest dating a single dad ‘problems’ is accepting that you will not be his number one priority. He is a father. His child will come first. They are dependent on him, and as a single dad, he is committed to caring for them. This doesn’t mean he can’t love you with all his heart, it means that he can’t drop everything for a romantic weekend getaway, needs to be home to read bedtime stories and already has a little person who thinks he is theirs. Learning to integrate is one of the challenges, but blended families can double the joy and become their own healthy family unit, with all of its own security and stability.

  1. Dating on a deadline

Dating a busy single dad can feel a little like dating on a deadline. Grabbing a quick coffee date or squeezing in catch up calls once bedtime stories have been read can be tough. Especially in the early days, when you’re still being introduced to the time family, there’ll be less time to spend with you. To make the most of it, learn the art of quality connections, even in quick catch ups.

The advantage: how dating a single dad can be brilliant

So now you know the low down, what’s the good news? Dating a single dad can be pretty darn amazing, and here’s why…

  1. The world no longer revolves around him

A man who is a father has gained a great nugget of wisdom – the world does not revolve around him. Being a father, he knows what it takes to be aware of other people’s needs! You will find he is probably more patient than you and has the knack of knowing what you need before you do.

  1. He has responsibility nailed

Having children expands the very definition of responsibility. His single parent priorities go beyond just having a good time and he will impress you with his capacity to think ahead, plan a schedule and budget. Parenting can be the greatest school ground for partnering!

  1. No time to waste  

If he shows up and puts in the effort, you can be sure it’s serious or has the potential to be.When you’re dating a single dad, he doesn’t have time to waste on dead end dates. Time is of the essence and that means you get to skip ahead, past the game-playing. If he makes time to see you, you can be pretty sure that he’s into you!

  1. EQ and IQ  

In a relationship, emotional intelligence is more often than not more important than intellect. A father has a special skill set of sensitivity and perception that has the power to create a depth of understanding and communication in a relationship that is special.

  1. The more the merrier

You get to know and love not just one person or partner, but also his children. In the long run, you can create a new family dynamic together. And as the saying goes, love multiples when it divides.

  1. He can cook

Let’s not underestimate the value of a man who can cook a decent meal, with vegetables and without complaining! Not only is it handy, it is sexy. An EliteSingles survey showed that 83% of women find someone who can cook more attractive! And a single dad can whip up a meal with relative ease and still have energy left to put you to bed…

EliteSingles editorial April 2018