While they’re still just human at the base, there are many factors you need to consider when dating a single parent. They already have a love of their life present. While it’s not about competing with that, it can be hard to find a happy balance.
Here’s what you need to consider before getting serious with a single parent.
Their Availability Is Limited
Listen, we’re sorry to break it to you, but you’re not the priority. In fact, you’ll always come second to their kids, even when they’re fully grown, so get used to it now.
Between cooking, cleaning, shopping, and driving the kids to their extracurriculars, they only have time to squeeze you in here and there. Keep in mind, that doesn’t mean they don’t want to see you.
You’re Not Expected To Be A Nanny
Don’t feel like their kids are now also your responsibility. Your relationship with a single parent is a separate entity from your relationship with their kids. How much you want to be involved is also your choice.
Plus, it’s okay if they don’t like you or treat you like a parent. That’s not a dealbreaker as it can change over time.
Flexibility Is Key
You’re going to get bailed on, even on anniversaries. A lot of being a parent is actually out of the parent’s hands. The babysitter could cancel last minute or the kid could come down with a cold.
If you rely on spontaneity or don’t like when plans change last minute, then this might not be the relationship for you.
Late-Night Calls Aren’t Booty Calls
While calling you at 11 p.m. may seem suspicious, it’s actually quite normal for a single parent. It’s the only time they actually have to themselves when the kids are finally in bed.
It can be hard to juggle their attention and text you during the day, so nighttime seems like the most appropriate time to let you know they’re still thinking about you.
Reconsider Your Definition Of Romance
Late-night drinks and spending the day in bed watching Netflix are more like rare luxuries in a parent’s life.
You might have to replace wine and fancy brunch dates with watching Paw Patrol with a five-year-old. If you can make that feel okay for them, they’ll feel more loved than if you were to get them flowers.
Find Your Boundaries With The Second Parent
It’s not usually ideal to deal with a partner’s ex, but when they share a kid together, you kind of have to. They may want to meet you to feel safe about who their kid is around, so just be the bigger person and don’t overthink.
You don’t have to be friends, but it’ll make everyone’s lives easier if you’re civil.
They’ll Have Experience Handling Mood Swings
Being a parent teaches many skills, some of which are patience and communication. If you’re feeling down or frustrated, don’t feel like you have to hide it from them.
After handling their kids’ temper tantrums, your rant about Karen at work will seem like a walk in the park in comparison. Just make sure you don’t make them feel like they have to be a parent to you too.
They’re Used To Being Independent
Don’t be offended if they don’t ask for your help or support. They have had no choice but to rely on themselves to raise mini adults, so now they’re just used to it.
Plus, this likely means that they don’t want or need you tagging along to all their activities.
They Don’t Care So Much About The Small Things
Don’t blame them if they can’t understand why you’re upset over a parking ticket. It’s likely because they’ve trained themselves to not care and to let go of such small inconveniences.
With kids around, 10 different things go wrong in a day and they had to learn to adapt and go with the flow.
The Relationship Will Move Slower
Don’t expect to live a movie-like lustful romance where you end up moving in together by the end of the year.
There are many more factors that go into this relationship because they have to consider their kids too. The changes affect them as well.
They’ve Learned From Experience
They say experience is the greatest teacher. On one hand, this means that your boo will be more guarded and might even still be dealing with their baggage.
On the other hand, it’s unlikely they want to repeat the pattern and will put in the effort to learn what went wrong so that they don’t make the same mistakes.
Don’t Expect To Meet The Kids
Just like we said that you don’t have to be a parent figure to their kids, they don’t have to involve you in the kids’ lives either.
They have to do what is in the best interest of the kids, even if that means keeping the two of you separate.
They Might Not Want More Kids
Although this isn’t usually a discussion you have with a new partner, it’s an important one to ask if you’re dating a parent.
If you hope to have kids of your own, they might have already decided that the ones they have are enough. Knowing this early on could save a lot of heartache.
They’re Still Human
Don’t hold them to a higher standard just because they’re a parent. They get overwhelmed and make mistakes just like anyone else you would date.
The only difference is that they might deal with it differently. They might not be able to process their feelings because they’re prioritizing their responsibilities.
You Might Have To Give Up Your Vision
If your relationship with a parent works out, you need to make sure you’re ready to make some sacrifices.
Take it from someone who lived it: “He had to live in a certain part of town due to where his kids went to school. In their divorce agreement, people of the opposite sex could not spend the night when the kids were there. He lived in the suburbs, which is kinda my nightmare.” —coconutcurrychicken / Reddit
You Should Feel Really Special
Here’s the thing. By now, you get that being a single parent means being really busy. That means that they don’t have time to play games or lead you on.
If they’re making time for you, even if it’s little, it means that they’re choosing you over napping and actually really like you. So you should feel special!