The ultimate guide to dating with kids
Why dating with kids is difficult
Why is dating with kids such a tricky problem? In Canada, around 15% of all familial households are headed by a single parent, meaning that there are millions of singles who are raising kids in this country.1 Interestingly, single moms make up about 78% of these households (although the percentage of single dads is rising faster).2 There are two conclusions we can draw from these statistics:
There are a lot of people raising children on their own
The majority of them are women, with men making up a smaller (but growing) proportion
So, wouldn’t that mean that single parent dating is incredibly common? Something that happens almost effortlessly if you find yourself at the end of a relationship, or after a divorce? Unfortunately, most women - and some men - find themselves too busy to date.
Another factor is the guilt they sometimes feel pursuing their own happiness. This is a big problem because a parent’s happiness is crucial to their own well-being as well as their kids! Single moms and dads also assume that nobody without kids would want to date a single parent with kids. Fortunately, a study conducted by EliteSingles proved this is an assumption and not true in the majority of cases.
Feel inspired to start dating again? Then this is the place to start. We’ve put together the ultimate guide to dating with kids, so single parents all over Canada can start investing in their future happiness, as well as that of their kids.
How do you know when you’re reading to start dating?
Making the transition from full-time parent to thinking about yourself as an individual is a stretch for most parents. Having gotten used to being the center of the world for your kids, you can start forgetting that you’re a person with wants and needs rather than just a cleaner, chef, and 24/7 nurse.
Consider why you want to start dating again. There is no ‘right time’ to start dating again but think about what’s motivating you to find someone new at this moment. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed or you’re just dying to get out of the house - maybe you’re not hankering for a date, you’re hankering for some help. Enlist some family members to help with looking after your kids and have a night on the town with some friends. Asking a new partner to do some emotional heavy lifting early on in a relationship is unrealistic and may cause you to settle for just about anybody so you can have a breather.
If you’re genuinely missing sharing experiences with another person, rather than just feeling mommy/daddy cabin fever, then give yourself permission to start dating again.
Feel the guilt and do it anyway
As previously mentioned, guilt is a huge factor for single parents when they consider dating again. Questions ranging from spending money, time or worrying about being judged by other people are common.
People who are dating with kids have to remember that their mental health, well-being and happiness are very important. If you feel trapped or unhappy the people it will affect, intentionally or not, will be your children. Your happiness is paramount to theirs. When in doubt remember the self-care ‘Oxygen Mask Principle’. If you’ve ever flown a plane you’ll remember the instructions ‘put your own mask on, before putting on anyone else's’ this principle encapsulates why your own happiness is important. You can’t help anyone else unless you help yourself first.
Time, Time, Time - Find it, take it, don’t waste it
So, you’ve decided to get back into dating, you’re making an intelligent commitment to the furtherment of your emotional maturity and an investment in your future. Uh, so where exactly do you find the time?
The majority of single parents work full time, maintaining a delicate balancing act between daycare, babysitters, family, friends and their career. Finding time to meet people can seem like asking the impossible. However, thanks to the advent of online dating, meeting people can now take no time at all!
Online dating means that you can meet new people without sacrificing precious time going to typically fruitless dating events or singles nights. Another big bonus is that usually, you can say you have children on your dating profile - on EliteSingles you can even specify that you’d like to meet another single parent or you’d like like to meet someone who is childless. This negates any awkward first date conversation where you have to bring up that you have kids.
Take the time to meet a lot of different types of people. When you get back into dating it can be easy to slip into old habits and start dating the same type of people. Explore your options and take your time, but don’t waste it. As someone who's dating with kids, your time is precious, if someone constantly cancels or seems reticent to commit to plans then move onto your next match.
How to meet people - offline and online
Offline dating is tough nowadays. Depending on where you live, social events may end up being a small collection of people you’ve known all your life. Contrastingly, if you live in a big city then people might respond to you in shock and horror if you tried to strike up a conversation with them on the street.
Of course, there are singles events, parental get-togethers and people still flirt in bars - that’s never going to go out of fashion. But, if you’re looking for a serious relationship then online dating is your best bet. It allows you a certain control that you don’t have in real life and it’s one of the best tools if you’re thinking about dating with kids. You can choose all the criteria you want a potential partner to have. With EliteSingles, you’ll complete a comprehensive personality test that will help us match you to people who share your goals, values and desires. If apps are more your style then check out our review of the best dating apps available.
One piece of advice if you’re dating with kids and you’re going to try out online dating - don’t have your main picture as you and your child, or just your child! So many single parents are exceptionally proud of their children, as they should be. However, on a dating website, it’s an not the norm and tends to put people off. You’re an individual, think about what kind of person you want to present to the dating world - check out our tips to make your profile pop here.