Wether you’re recently divorced or have tragically lost a partner, going back into the dating world as a single dad is no easy feat. Between figuring out how to balance your time with your kids or successfully co-parent with an ex, going on dates can seem like a terrifying prospect. But focus on excitement over fear – this is a moment of rebirth and new beginnings to celebrate.
1. Bond with your kids to make the path for dating easier
Even if you feel emotionally over your ex, make sure that you’re spending time to get to know your kids better. Prioritize bonding time with them – as a single dad, it’ll feel very different than when you were part of a unit. By getting properly reacquainted with your kids in this stressful time for everyone, it’ll make the transition easier when you do start seeing someone, and not make them feel like they’re being neglected. You might have lost something, but they did too.
2. Don’t talk smack about your ex
Post-divorce, it can be kind of cathartic to vent about your ex. Just make sure that you don’t do this with the women you’re going on dates with. Additionally, your kids will treat people the way they see you treating people. Generally, just don’t speak poorly about women! See things with a glass half full mentality and grab the day with optimism, rather than being a complainer.
3. Don’t bring home the one night stands
If you’re finding your mojo again and are finally getting intimate with a new partner, that’s awesome for you! Just make sure not to bring casual dates back to the house. If you can actually see a future with the person that you’re dating and can envision them being a step-mom to your kids, that’s the time when they’re ready to come home. Children take things to heart, and will get confused if you keep bringing home new people. Use your better judgment, see what the future with a partner could look like, and if it all checks out, a sleepover is ok.
4. Don’t go for your usual type
This might seem wild and scary for some people – many have a definitive type, and anything outside of that box doesn’t lead to a spark. But if you can try to open your mind up and go for a new type! After all, not to be harsh, but the last one didn’t work out too well, so maybe going in a completely new direction will be in your favor.
5. Discuss what you want before you dive in
Having the DTR talk for single dads is super important. It’s otherwise known as the “define the relationship” discussion. Jot down the qualities you’re interested in, and beside it, a list of what you don’t want. The “don’t want” list might be long, and that’s ok, because at least being a single dad you have a clearer idea of what makes a deal-breaker in a relationship.
6. Have a chat on the phone before going on a date
App dating is a fantastic way to meet someone, but you don’t get a true idea of someone’s authentic self til you talk to them on the phone. Texting and talking is a big difference, and can help you avoid bad dates immediately. Also, talking on the phone helps to break the ice a little better and make the in-person meet up less awkward.
7.Become friends first, but express attraction
The name of the game for single dads is “taking it slow,” but to make sure your prospective future lady doesn’t think that you’re friend zoning her, you still need to show interest. This will help bring the trust to the forefront and make it easier when time for intimacy does go on. A friend doesn’t have to be platonic, but it can start there, and you can always treat a woman with kindness, playfulness, and most of all, realness.
8. Find closure with your ex
If she passed and you need to do a ceremony to come to terms with that, do so. If you’re divorced and still co-parenting but need to clear the air, do so! Your ex is your past and your new lady will be your future, so it’s unfair if you’re still holding onto something that doesn’t exist. Forget the bitterness, sadness or resentment, and start from a new page.
9. Don’t be quick to judge
Everyone makes mistakes and life doesn’t go perfectly. You probably already know this as a single dad. So remember to be open to single moms, and other people who have life circumstances you might not understand immediately. They’re being open and judgement-free with you, so do the same courtesy for them when it comes to their own skeletons.