What To Expect When Dating A Single Dad

Updated April 10, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

Dating is something that can be very satisfying, but it can also be quite complicated. If you have recently entered a relationship with a single dad, then you might be wondering what you can expect. Dating a single dad is different than dating someone who doesn’t have any children. Take a look at the information below to learn a bit more about how you should go about dating a dad with kids.

His kids are a huge part of his life

Learn more about what to expect when dating a single dad

The first thing to understand about single dad dating is that his kids will be a huge part of his life. You need to know that his children are likely going to come first. If you’re used to dating men who don’t have kids, then you might be more accustomed to getting more attention. The man in your life will have to divide his time between work, his children, and your relationship. This is a lot to juggle, and you might not always get as much of him as you would like to.

You have to be willing to accept the fact that his kids are a priority in his life. This doesn’t mean that he doesn’t value your relationship, but it does mean that the kids will come first sometimes. Same goes for men who date single moms, children are a priority and should be something to always consider. He might not always be able to spend the weekend with you when he has things that need to be done as a father. You also might have to get used to spending time around his kids if you want to be a big part of his life, too.

It can take some time to adjust to this dynamic if you do not have any children yourself. For many people, getting to know the kids will be a very satisfying experience. Many single dads partner up, building strong relationships with the kids over time, but it doesn’t always come easily.

The kids might not accept you at first

There is a possibility that your boyfriend’s kids might not like you at first. Divorces can be very tough for children to get through. If the man you’re dating has recently divorced, those wounds might still be very fresh. If you’re the first woman that their dad has started dating after the divorce, then you might wind up being on the receiving end of some strong but justified fears and feelings.

This does happen sometimes, and it is unfortunate to have to go through a situation like this. You need to keep an open mind and try to understand things from the perspective of the children. They just went through a significant time in their life that caused their family to break up. Things might still be very strange for them as they are getting used to adjusting to this new dynamic.

Don’t take the children’s attitudes personally if you can help it. They might not be old enough to understand why they should give you a chance. If his kids are teenagers, then you probably remember what it was like to be that age. Understandably, the kids might be wary of you at first. You have to earn their trust over time, and you might need to take things slow while getting to know them.

You should never try to force things on your children. It’s normal to want his kids to like you, but you have to let it happen naturally. Talking to them and being respectful is fine. If the kids get out of line at any point, their father will correct their behavior. Even if you’re overwhelmed by this situation right now, know that it is still going to be possible for things to turn out great. You might be great friends with his kids just a few months from now, but you have to be patient.

He might have trust issues

It shouldn’t come as a big surprise to hear that your boyfriend might have trust issues stemming from his failed relationship or marriage. When people go through a divorce or a big breakup, it can wind up changing them a bit. Heartache is something that takes a long time to get through. If his last partner cheated on him, that would make him less trusting in his next relationship.

Being the next romantic partner after someone has been divorced isn’t always easy. Some men can get through these issues without it being a problem, but others might develop severe trust issues. If he was cheated on in the past, he might show distrust and apprehension. With time, he can learn to trust again. In these particularly delicate situations, it might be appropriate sometimes to give him the benefit of the doubt and understand that he has been through a lot.

Building a strong bond that can overcome the baggage of past relationships is possible. You have to work on communicating well while being truthful with each other. If you need help, then you can always seek out couples counseling. There are resources available to help those with the most significant issues.

His ex will be around sometimes

The fact that he has kids also means that his ex will likely be around sometimes. Unless he is a widower, the other parent of his children will be around from time to time. You might wind up seeing them while they are dropping off the kids, or you might have to interact with them due to other matters involving his children. This might be awkward for you, but it’s something that you’ll have to get used to overtime.

Men who have children have a duty to their kids to be the best co-parent they can be, and this includes remaining in a respectful co-parenting relationship with their other parent. The other parent will be in their children’s lives, making it necessary to learn how to interact with them as naturally as possible. It’s normal to feel a bit nervous or weird about being around your partner’s ex, but you truly can get along normally. The fact that they are his ex doesn’t have to make them your enemy. They are just the other parent to his children, and that means they’ll always be an important person in his life. This doesn’t have to threaten your position as his new partner, and it is to your benefit to learn how to interact with her cordially.

Don’t try to replace the mother of his children

One of the worst things you could do is try to replace the children’s other parent. This is one of the top things to consider when dating a single dad, as trying to be a parent substitute could only result in conflict. You might be interested in marrying your boyfriend eventually. He will be happy to see you getting along well with the kids, and you can even become a second parent of sorts to them. It’s still not a good idea to replace the kids’ other parent in any way. Your relationship with these children is unique, and it should be treated as its own thing.

Some stepparents have been able to build close bonds with the children in their lives. You might even be thought of like a bonus parent to them after many years of bonding. Just know that each situation is different. Respect their other parent and allow the kids to accept you at their own pace. You’ll get to where you want to be, and everything will work out just fine.

Let him handle disciplining the kids

It’s also good to know what to expect when it comes to disciplining the kids. For the most part, it’s going to be a good idea to let him handle disciplining the kids. Kids are indeed going to lash out and act up at certain points in time. When this happens, it’s going to be best to let your boyfriend handle disciplining his kids. If you were to do the disciplining, they’re likely just going to wind up resenting you.

There is no reason to put yourself in this awkward position. You can let him do all of the disciplinary actions, and it will put you in a better position. This doesn’t mean that you can’t be seen as an authority figure to the kids eventually, but it does mean that you need to be careful what actions you take. You want to develop a healthy relationship with his kids, so do your best not to sabotage it by taking on disciplinary duties. They’re his kids, and he needs to discipline them in the way that he sees fit.

Online couples counseling can help

Learn more about what to expect when dating a single dad

Online couples counseling can help you out if you’re having a tough time. Some couples are going to encounter issues with adjusting to changes and challenges. If you aren’t used to dating a man with kids, you might have problems getting used to this dynamic. When you are dedicated to making things work in your relationship, online couples’ counselors will be able to make a difference and assist you along the way.

These professionals can help you to work through any issues that are holding the relationship back. You can improve how you communicate as a couple and will be able to work on strengthening your bond. It’s possible to find happiness together, but you shouldn’t be afraid to reach out for help. Online counselors will be happy to assist you, and you will be able to move forward together with greater confidence.

Counselor reviews

“Sessions with Natalie are very insightful and give practical advice on implementing new habits and changes. Be prepared to engage and be challenged to think in a different way. I know that my partner and I can already see improvements in our relationship and feel more positive about working through our issues together.”

“My girlfriend and I have been working with Alison for about four months now and with her help and guidance we have strengthened our relationship ten fold. Her communication style is amazing and she really strives to make the best of our time with one another. If you’re looking for a counselor you can put your faith in with the whole experience, she’s the one to go to.”

For Additional Help & Support With Your ConcernsThis website is owned and operated by BetterHelp, who receives all fees associated with the platform.
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
Get the support you need from one of our therapistsGet Started
This website is owned and operated by BetterHelp, who receives all fees associated with the platform.