How do you feel about dating single parents?

Here’s a question for you, and you don’t have to give me your answer:

How do you feel about dating single parents?

I won’t judge you for your answer, just keep it in mind. Here’s how I feel about it, or have felt about it, personally: When I was in my early twenties, the idea of dating a single mother was something I hadn’t really considered but was open to. I never ended up “dating” someone who had children, but I did go on a few dates here and there with different women with kids.

In my mid-twenties, I was firmly against dating single parents, mostly because I  wanted to run wild without responsibilities. As I got closer to 30, I became more open to dating someone with children, but I didn’t specifically go out of my way to meet single parents.

The reasons behind my changes in opinion mostly came down to lifestyle and mindset. At 23 years old, I was more open to dating someone who had children primarily because I didn’t actually understand what it was like to date a single parent.

In my mid twenties, with a greater understanding of what that would look like in practice, I decided it just wasn’t for me. The demands didn’t seem to fit with my carefree, hard-drinking lifestyle. The closer I got to 30 years old, the more I matured in both my outlook on life and dating, and my lifestyle habits.

I told this story not tell you how to think, or what age is a good age to start being open to dating single parents, just to share my point of view and how it evolved. That shouldn’t have a bearing on your answer, or motivate you to change your answer. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that whatever motivates you to date or not date single parents is valid.

I don’t want to frame this as though single parents are undeserving of love. Far from it. I think that regardless of life circumstances, we all deserve to be able to find a consenting adult who wants to be with us. It doesn’t matter how many children you have or haven’t had. I also think that if someone doesn’t want to date a single parent, whether because of maturity, or selfishness, is a valid reason not to date a single parent for them.

If you’re reading this looking for an answer to the question of whether you, specifically, should date a single parent, I can’t give that to you. What I can do is help you decide for yourself. Ask yourself this question:

Does the lifestyle of a single parent suit my life?

Don’t get me wrong, I know that dating a parent makes you a parent. You might eventually become a part of your partner’s child’s life, but it isn’t a given early on. That’s not what I mean by their lifestyle suiting yours. Dating someone means that in some way, you take on parts of their lifestyle. This is true for everyone, not just single parents.

If you date someone who has to be in bed at 10pm on week nights because of their job, you don’t need to go to bed as early as them, but you can’t have a weeknight date at 11pm with them either. I think that we should all consider whether the people we’re interested in have lifestyles that suit our own lives.

The people we date impact our own lifestyle, in big and small ways. Dating a single parent can come with all the joy of dating someone without children, but it would be dishonest to say that the lifestyle of a single parent is suits everyone’s lifestyle. The question you should ask yourself before dating a single parent should be, first and foremost, whether you’re willing to, and if their lifestyle is something you’d be interested in sharing in.

So, what do I think about dating single parents? I’m all for it, if the lifestyle is something that suits you. It’s not for everyone, and that’s okay, but it might be right for you. You might not want to date a single parent today, but who knows what the future holds. What I would never say is that no one should ever date a single parent. We all deserve to find someone who loves and cares for us, single parents included.

Good Luck Out There.

Also published on Medium.