Before You Start Hitting On That Hot Single Dad, Make Sure You Know These Things

While many women wouldn’t even consider dating a man who’s got kids, there’s no reason to discount a single dad altogether. Most of them are committed, responsible, mature, and incredibly caring — and that’s just to name a few of their amazing qualities. However, there are some downsides and certain things you need to keep in mind if you want it to work.

  1. He doesn’t have baggage, he has children. While some women may look at children as baggage, no parent does. Ever. Don’t call (or even privately consider) his kids baggage unless you don’t want to hear from him again. If you’re one of the lucky few who gets to actually meet his kids, understand you’re no longer dating just him, you’re dating his kids. If it doesn’t work out, their little hearts are going to be broken too.
  2. He has an ex that’s not going away. If you’re dating a guy with kids, chances are there’s a mom involved, and if there is, she’s going to be there forever. You either need to learn to deal with their relationship, good or bad, or move on because she’s there to stay. He doesn’t need your jealousy or suspicion about her, so if you can’t be cool, you need to end it ASAP (or not go there to begin with).
  3. His kids are always going to come first. When you’re in love, you want to be the person who comes first in your lover’s life, but once you’re a parent, no one comes before your kids. That’s just how it goes. It doesn’t mean he can’t love you and be there to support you, just that the well-being of his children will always be top priority.
  4. He’s a single dad, not a deadbeat. Too many people assume a single dad is a deadbeat dad. Don’t. Sometimes in life, things don’t work out and a single dad steps up to the plate and does the best he can as a parent.
  5. He’s busy. Like, really busy. When you’re a parent, you have all of your responsibilities and then all the responsibilities for a whole other person, and that makes you incredibly busy. So when it takes an hour or two to get back to you after a call or text, or when he can only go out a few times a month, don’t take it personally. It really isn’t.
  6. He’ll probably want to go slow. Don’t expect a single dad to be inviting you to Little League games and family vacations at the end of the third date. He’ll likely want to go slow, especially in areas that involve his child. While he may date, he’s not going to introduce his kids to every girl he goes out with.
  7. His free time is devoted to being a dad. Single dads don’t have a lot of free time. When they’re not at work or folding laundry, it’s piano lessons and building living room forts, so if you’re looking for a guy who wants to hang out every moment of every day, move on, a single dad just doesn’t have the time for that.
  8. He already knows he’s not the center of the universe. As soon as you hold your newborn child in your arms, you realize you no longer matter. That little person becomes the center of your universe. That means single fathers have already moved beyond their egocentric perspective and you need to understand that you’re not going to be the center of their world. That spot’s already taken.
  9. He takes responsibility seriously. Single dads have a lot of responsibility and they take it seriously. They’re not going to drink and drive or stay out all night at the club on a random Tuesday. They have bills to pay and little people who rely on them. They must be responsible and expect the women they’re dating to be responsible too.
  10. He’s a role model. When you’re a parent, you’re a role model, even when you don’t want to be. That means single fathers don’t bash their exes, they don’t make out while watching Finding Dory, and they can’t smoke a joint in front of their kids. They must be responsible adults.
  11. Overnights are going to be difficult. One of the hardest things to get used to when you’re dating a single dad is that overnights can seem next to impossible to pull off. If he has full custody, there are always little ones there and an overnight babysitter that’s reliable and available on short notice is as rare as a unicorn. If he has partial custody, know that weekends mean family time, not sleepovers.
  12. He’s learned to love a quickie. When you live with children, you learn to take advantage of precious moments because sometimes that’s all you get. So if the kids get wrapped up in an episode of Paw Patrol, it may be time to lock yourself in the bathroom for a quickie before there’s a commercial break.
  13. He’ll only get serious if you’re mom material. A single dad doesn’t need drama and he doesn’t need a woman to take care of, he needs a partner — and he’s not going to consider you as partner potential if you don’t like kids or aren’t stable. He needs someone who’s step-mom material, someone who’s going to love and care for not only him but his kids too. If that’s not you, don’t waste his time or your own because it’s not going to work.
Molly Carter is a backyard farmer, a fitness fanatic, and a pursuer of happiness. She writes words and eats real food.