Single parent households are on the rise and more and more fathers have full or joint custody of children. Chances are high that you may find yourself dating a single dad. If you don’t have kids yourself, this can be both exciting and daunting.
Here’s what you need to keep in mind when dating a single dad!
1. Slow and steady wins the race. Often a single dad who is looking for a long-term relationship will take things slower. Be patient. He isn’t going to introduce you from day one! A good dad will be protective of his children. And that’s what you want!
2. Be flexible. One of the hardest parts of dating a single dad may be that the kids are of course are a major priority. This doesn’t mean he doesn’t have space in his heart to love you, it’s just that he won’t be able to drop everything for a romantic getaway or spend endless hours on the phone with you.
3. Ask him about his kids. You’re probably already doing this, but I didn’t want to skip over it. A single dad who has longterm relationship potential will want to tell you about his kids. Make an effort to get to know about them before you meet them.
4. Validate how wonderful his kids are, even if he complains about them. He may say negative things, but it’s not okay for you to say negative things about them. Be positive and accepting about them.
5. When the time comes to meet the kids, be ready with a thoughtful gift. Come in to meeting them full of appreciation and thoughtful presence. Give them something small that shows you already know a bit about them.
6. Don’t make any suggestions about parenting the kids until you’re married to this guy! Leave all that to him.
7. Don’t discipline his kids. As the relationship grows and you spend more time with the kids, you want to position yourself as the more accepting, loving one and (hopefully) he’ll be the disciplinarian. All too often, I’ve seen women try step into the role of a second parent by telling the kids what they should and shouldn’t do. Often they’re just trying to be helpful, but it backfires with the kids.
8. Make sure you’re validating, encouraging and appreciative to both the children and the children’s mother. You don’t ever want to enter the role of the wicked stepmother. Instead bring love and more possibilities for joy to the whole family.
9. If his ex is making his life hell with the kids, be a great sounding board and give him lots of empathy.
Dating a single dad can be an amazing experience as they come to bond with you and you have a whole new life of sharing your love with children. Even if it seems daunting at first, give it a chance. I’ve had so many women in our Love Mentoring® coaching program grow to absolutely love their guy’s kids as their own.
P.S. No matter what’s happening right now, you can turn your relationship around. And I want to help you any way I can. That’s why I’m thrilled to offer you a complimentary phone or Skype session with one of my Love Mentor® Dating and Relationship Coaches. Go here to schedule your free session – spots are limited.
About Dr. Diana Kirschner
Diana Kirschner, Ph.D. is a relationship advice expert, frequent guest psychologist on The Today Show and the creator of a globally available dating coach and Love Mentor® program. Dr. Diana is also the best-selling author of the acclaimed relationship advice book, "Sealing the Deal: The Love Mentor's Guide to Lasting Love", and of the best-selling relationship and dating book, “Love in 90 Days”. Love in 90 Days was the basis of her PBS Special on love. Connect with Dr. Diana through her Dating Tips & Relationship Advice Newsletter.“Diana Kirschner’s work is life-changing, love-affirming and wonderfully effective.” ~Dr. Christiane Northrup, Internationally bestselling author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom.