Dating and the Single Mom

Updated on August 24, 2010
S.G. asks from Midland, MI
19 answers

So I am a single mom of 3 kids and wanting to possibly start dating soon. My question is how long do you wait to introduce a man to your kids? They are 6, 5 and 9 weeks. I dont want to get emotionally invested in something only to find out 6 months down the rd that him and my kids arnt gonna get along. I wouldnt let them meet anyone I didnt think could potentially be something serious and there isnt anyone im interested in now, Im just at a point that I feel ready to be open to it. Also how do you introduce them? Ease into it, like having him come in to pick you up just to meet, then gradually letting them spend more time together? Thanks ladies!

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So What Happened?

so i guess alot of you women think im a slut or something. I didnt say anything about having sex, my husband and I have been seperated for months, he isnt involved in my kids life and im just looking for maybe dinner once in a while or a movie! I have every intention of keeping my panties on and my kids are my number 1 priority or I would still be with my drugged up husband! I specifically said there wasnt anyone i was interested in right now, but Im at a point that if a nice man asked me to dinner I would say yes! I have always gotten very good advice on here but I think alot of this was cruel. My question was more of a future thing anyways that I was thinking about yesterday and talking to my mom about, who was a single mom for me when I was little. I was just getting input. I never relized how judgmental some people on here can be. I dont feel there is anything wrong with going out for dinner now and again or to a movie with a man, and I dont think that makes me a bad mom.

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answers from Detroit on

I hate to contradict a lot of these peoples great opinions but you'll know when YOU know. I tried to stick to all kids of rules when I was a single mom. When I met my husband, those rules went right out the window. I met him and it was a struggle to keep distance between him and my son. It felt right. I did take my time but here we are over 4 years later, happily married and content with the amount of time he was with my kid

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Las Vegas on

Too soon to be asking us this question. Ask us again when your 9-week old is a lot older and you have time to deal with the fall out from your recent separation and inevitable divorce. The women that I see that jump from one relationship to another without a break in between usually end up making poor relationship choices and cause a lot of needless heartache for themselves and their children. I'm not saying don't date; just slow down and give you and your children sometime to work things out and start developing a new life together in a more saner, more sensible pace.

Sorry that you are having to go through this.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

You have a 9 week old, you're single and you want to start dating soon? I'm sorry, but you need to concentrate your efforts on your three kids, supporting them and not worrying about a man in your life. Personally, except for EXTREMELY casual dating, if I were single, I wouldn't bring a man around my children for a loooooong time. Too many horror stories to count out there. If you absolutely must date, you need to make sure he knows the very first thing about your kids, that you're not introducing him to your kids for awhile, and that your kids are the priority. If he acts jealous or isn't into kids -dump him.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I'm glad you are considering your children's needs, S.. It is unwise to start dating again before you're divorced, or for a good long time afterward, until you have established a steady and predictable life for your little ones. Please, please please, wait and focus on being a mom. That's your job now.

And please consider getting counseling so you'll make better choices about future men in your life. I say this not because I know you or assume you can't be smart, but because that's how we are constructed emotionally. All of us, until we find out what our own patterns are, what our real, authentic needs are, and how to look at our lives with more objectivity. I had to do this when I left my first marriage, and it was the healthiest emotional investment I could have made for myself or my daughter. And it relieved me of a "need" to "be completed by a man," and gave me time to establish a good long emotional distance from my ex.

As far as introducing men to your children, don't. Not until you are pretty certain you will want to marry someone. The results of rushing that can be devastating to kids, who may love, hate, or be abused by boyfriends.

My mom brought an "almost-daddy" into my life when I was eight. He abruptly disappeared when my mom got pregnant. Turns out he already had a wife and family, and his relationship with my mom was a big lie. I still carry deep emotional scars from that great grief, more than 50 years later. Don't risk doing that to the babies you've given life to.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Your main focus right now should be your children.... not your potential love life.

Take it from a child of divorce...... Children never get over divorce...they are always torn between one family and another. The sad part is the parents seem to move on find love and blah blah forget about the main focus which is THE CHILDREN.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Dayton on

When I was a single mom I waited quite a while before I introduced anyone I was seeing to my kids. I made sure that I talked extensively with my boyfriend about my kids and that my boyfriend knew the score before he even laid eyes on my kids. By the score I mean, my kids win. Every time. No matter what. I get to make choices. The guy gets to make choices. The kids are the only ones that don't get to make choices, so I pick them every time. If they understood and were still cool with seeing me, then I would introduce them to my kids in a very non-threatening way, on neutral territory and someplace very kid friendly to see how comfortable the guy was in this kind of situation. Someplace like bowling or put-put. There was nothing in my behavior to indicate that this was a "boyfriend". This was just a friend and we were all meeting to hang out. That way if the guy wasn't comfortable, didn't like sharing time with my kids, ignored them, talked down to them, or tried to boss them around I could lose the guy with the kids none the wiser.

That's how I did it.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

As a child of multiple divorces and a serial dating mom, I suggest that you hold off and focus your time and energy on your children. If you live near family, friends, etc., keep that social circle alive. You are NOT dating for fun anymore; the next man in your life should be thought of as a potential husband/father. Every relationship you are in is not just you, it's you and your kids. The man you date isn't just dating you, he's dating you plus 3 kids. If they don't want to potentially be a father, then it's not a serious relationship. If it's not serious, then don't introduce them to the kids.

I totally understand the need for adult companionship. I'm not trying to be mean, just honest from the kid point of view. My mother dated a LOT after the divorce, and I felt that dating was where her focus was, not on me and my sis. She was too busy looking for someone to solve her problems, take care of her, etc. We had to pay for all of her dating mistakes, the emotional pain of liking someone and then having them disappear. She even lived with someone for 4+ years, I let down my guard, and then one day it was over.

Please spare your children this. Please! They are yours forever if you don't screw it up too bad. Good luck

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Kalamazoo on

Wait until you know he's a keeper. Seriously, it would stink to have them bond with him and have it now work out between you two. It can be akin to a divorce since kids often don't understand the difference between dating and marriage.

As far as introductions go. Let them know you've met a special man before he shows up. Then have him come to some social setting with lots of other people, just to keep it less stressful. And keep the PDA to a minimum!!!! This can be traumatic for some kids, especially if they're attached to their dad.

Bottom line, if he's a keeper then your kids should not have a problem bonding with him. And keep your standards VERY HIGH about who you're willing to date!!!!

Best wishes!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

The emotions are your problem and not the problem of your children. Meeting your children should be step 2 in your dating scheme, IMO. Your children shouldn't have to get emotionally involved with someone who doesn't possibly get along with kid #3, when #1 and #2 are in love with him. I suggest you date him first, possibly 3 - 4 months, get to know him, find out more of his feelings toward children and see how he reacts to you having to hang up to tend to the children, or perhaps not being able to find a sitter and if all that works out, then have him over for dinner or for a movie.

Have fun and take it slow.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I am sorry but I am a little confused, you just went through a bad divorce (I think you still married and finish in Sep for what you said in one of your old post) you have a little 9 weeks old baby and 2 little kids. You say: Im just at a point that I feel ready to be open to it, are you sure?
Don't take me wrong, I actually admire your energy, when my youngest was 9 weeks I was still tired and didn't even want to do the dance with my husband.
Is hard for me to think that somebody could have the energy to date with a just born and 2 more kids, but I guess is possible.
You also just finish a long relationship with your ex 5 months ago, you mention your kids where having a hard time and ask you why you all can be together (in your post about him calling late), I really think you need to take it slow.
Eventually, your ex and kids will be more stable, things will settle down and you will meet a nice guy, and when that happen, and you are sure he is the right guy, and you have a serious commitment (possible wedding) then things will be a lot easy.
When my now husband meet my daughter, me and him were dating for a while but I introduce him as a friend, and we start going out as friends in front of my kid, when things got serious and we start talking about wedding I told my daughter we were dating. I am sure there is more then a way to do this, but I do agree with you, you shouldn't introduce your kids to somebody that you are not sure you have a serious commitment. That is just my opinion.
Good luck

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I have been a single mother most of my children’s (19 and 11) lives. When my oldest was 2 his father and I got divorced. His father took none of his court ordered visitation time.
Here are my rules I lived by until I meet my youngest father and that turned out badly. I blame that on breaking my rules.
Rule one no one meets the children till they have at least been around for 4 to 6 months by then you know if they can handle being with you first.
Rule two for the first 2 months they come to the home they are only allowed to hug you when they arrive and leave. (Little boys can be extremely jealous of other men around before they are comfortable with the individual I don't know about girls because I do not have any)
Rule 3 always watch for the date for small covert reactions to the kids as if he is more into you than being a family. This one is hard not all men who are already fathers make good boyfriend and potential husbands. Not all men who have been married before make good husbands and fathers.
Rule 4 the NEVER make the children call him Daddy let them choose what to call him.
Other rules you can make up as you go put some serious thought into how you want to approach things.
After I had been divorced and dating for two years I was stationed at Travis AFB in CA I was so glad I followed these rules. I had met a woman who had a 3 year old child when I met her she was engaged she married and divorced this guy within a year. She got involved with a man we both knew while we were hanging out this man was a Uncle she eventually dated him and the little boy was made to call him Daddy. By this point this little boy was 4 years old and had in his life called 6 guys daddy I cringe to think how messed up he is today at 18 years old. But I also understand why she did what she did she had 10 or 15 step fathers in her life when I met her and she was only 24.
Good luck with your decision and remember what you do affects their development. I wouldn't tell children about casual dates after a couple of months then tell them you are dating someone if they ask why they haven't meet him yet tell them you are making sure they are going to be a good match before they meet them.
One last thing becareful out there dating you are going to find alot of lemons, freaks, jerks and be wary of everyone who insist on meeting your children right away.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Missoula on

I am also a mother of three 10, 8, and 6. I was a single mom for three years before I met my fiance. my opinion, dating is harmless as long as your standards for meeting your children are high. There is a difference between just 'feeling things out' with another man and bringing him home to your kids. If he is a potential 'keeper', he has to know you have children, what they are like, and that they are your world. If he is receptive to meeting your children, then I would have a talk with your children about him and let them know how you feel about him and see if they are receptive to the idea. Take it slow but don't let your children rule you either. It all depends on how all of you feel about the situation.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Provo on

As a single mom, I plan on waiting till I know for sure that it is going somewhere and not just a fling, or date and not go anywhere. Take as long as it takes to know for sure. No need to rush.
My question is how do you meet men besides the internet? I'm not dissing the internet, I just haven't had any luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Longview on

I am a single mom also. I have two girls. I am dating and I do not let the guys meet my children until I know for a fact that he is going to be in the picture. I can say that my kids have met 1 guy thats not their father and we dated for a year. So go for it!! Sometimes I get negative vibes from this site as well, people read more into the question than what it really is.

Hope this helps!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

S. - I'm a little confused and surprised at your update and your new post (I haven't read all 33 responses to your new post). Unless there were some posts that were deleted, i only saw one that bordered on insensitive and that was regarding the panties. Mostly the woman did exactly as you asked - they gave you advice about what they would or have done in a somewhat similar situation. You don't have to follow the advice, but you asked for it and you got it. I think, for the most part, it was very constructive and helpful. Perhaps, and maybe I am way off base here, (and I am certainly not trying to be mean) you have some postpartem hormones floating around and are maybe being a little overly sensitive.

Remember, when you read something you cannot hear the tone of the posters voice so you should try assuming that a caring considerate tone is being used (most of the posters are not really bitchy and judgemental). If your best friend told you your butt looked big in a dress would you be mad at her or be thankful for the fact that she told you the truth even if it wasn't pleasant?

Good luck with all your decisions, you have a lot going on in your life right now, but it appears you are moving in the right direction. Stay strong, stay positive and keep smiling.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I agree with Dawn B! ;)



answers from Detroit on

My strategy has been to date for a while without introducing him and make sure that we are going to get along. Then I invite him to come over as just a friend to meet my kiddo. Maybe a couple times of that. Once I can see how they are are going to get along, then I talk it over with him to see whether he thinks it is wise to let them know quite yet. Sometimes it's pressure for the man because he is afraid of being instant dad (because kids can get that kind of attached quickly). I like to think he's going to be sticking around for a significant period of time before introducing him as my boyfriend.

My current boyfriend, we waited a couple months before he met my son. Then he came over as a friend who was visiting or helping me with a project. Then over the next month, I eased my son in to the mental idea that i was dating someone but refused to tell him who. Once he could handle that I was dating, I told him who I am dating.

We've been together 7 months and while they do spend some time together here and there, we still mostly maintain the boundary that we talk after kid is in bed. At this point, my responsibility is to my son. As my man gets more to the point of planning to stick around for the long term, I'll make sure that they spend more time together. They have some common interests so it's not hard to find a place for them to connect.



answers from Tampa on

As an adult I was surprised to learn just how actively my mother dated when I was a young child. She reserved all dates for nights I was spending with my father and of her many boyfriends I only remember meeting one and that was after they'd been dating for over eight months and there was some talk of moving in together. Ultimately that didn't happen but since I only met him a handful of times, and at the time had no idea how serious their relationship was, I wasn't sad to see him go. He was nice enough but he was just some dude who'd come over a few times.
Obviously your situation might be different if you don't have somewhere that your children go on a regular basis. My parents had fifty-fifty custody and when my mom was working on her master's degree I spent slightly more time at my dad's so going to my dad's was just something I did and there was no change in my routine when my mom went out on a date.
It's funny (sort of) that I was most upset by the end of my mother's two serious relationships that occurred when I was already an adult and long out of the house. She was with David for over a year and Tim for about the same amount of time and when she met my stepdad (four years ago) I declared myself done and said I didn't want to meet him unless she was serious this time. But I liked Tim better than I liked David and I like my stepdad better than I liked Tim so...

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