Four Things To Consider When Dating A Single Dad

By: Gabrielle Seunagal

Updated June 14, 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Robin Brock

Dating itself is complicated and tricky enough. There are so many factors that go into whether or not two individuals will be compatible enough to date and maintain a healthy, loving relationship. Whenever you're dating, it's important to realize your standards, what you want out of a relationship, and the things you will and will not stand for. As complex and intricate as dating can be, new elements are added when you find yourself dating a single dad.

Dating a single dad is not for everyone, and it's neither inherently good nor bad. Some people may find that their interests and passions align with certain single dads, while others couldn't be more incompatible. If you're not sure what to know, consider, or expect when dating a single dad, that's OK too. There is always room to learn, and there's always room for growth.


What Are Most Single Dads Looking For In A Relationship?

Knowing and understanding what most single dads are looking for when dating is a great starting point. Right off the bat, this can help you determine what you need to consider and ultimately if you want to enter into a relationship with a man who has children.


This may seem glaringly obvious, but when a single dad is dating, they will be looking for someone who is compatible with them and most likely able to get along with their children. Issues regarding new dating partners are one of the leading stressors for single dads in present times. Each father is different, as are children; if you find yourself in a situation where you're interested in starting a relationship with a single dad, understanding the importance of compatibility with him and his children will make a difference and save you a lot of trouble.


When a single dad begins dating you, you will likely be introduced to their children at one point or another. Children are very impressionable, especially in their formative years, and what they are exposed to will certainly impact them. This impact will occur for better or for worse, which is why most single dads want to date someone of character.

Having upstanding morals and values will make a difference, especially when you're around children who are observing your behavior. Being a person of character doesn't mean that you'll never have a bad day or make mistakes; character speaks to who you are and what's important to you on a higher level.


Single dads have had their fair share of experiences with games in relationships and whatnot in many cases. Therefore, when a single dad is ready to date, they generally want an honest and straightforward partner with their intentions. In many ways, this goes back to being an individual of character; the ability to articulate how you feel and be yourself are traits that most single dads will value.

Furthermore, many children can tell when someone is being insincere and putting on airs. Your levels of authenticity will largely impact the quality of relationship you have with your partner and your children.


What To Consider When You're Dating A Single Dad

There are certain caveats and realities which come along with dating a single dad. This doesn't mean that you can't have a successful relationship with a father. However, there are still various details which you should be aware of. Full awareness of what you're getting yourself into will be good for both you and your partner in the short term and long term. Only you can determine whether dating a single dad is something you're up to.

The Kids Come First

If you're dating a single dad, there's a very good chance that his children will come first in his life. Some people view this negatively, but parents should prioritize children who are dependent upon them. The relationship that kids have with their parents will largely determine how they grow and what type of adults they become.

With that being said, putting his children first does not mean that your significant other will not be a good partner. You can still have a great relationship with a single dad, spend one-on-one time together, and otherwise be a happy couple. A dad who puts the wellbeing of his children first is a good man, and it's something that speaks volumes about his character. If you're dating a man who does not prioritize the wellbeing of his kids, this should serve as a major red flag.

He May Be Co-Parenting With His Ex

Unless the mother of a single dad's children has passed away or is otherwise out of the picture, there is a very real possibility that he will co-parent with the mother. There's no telling how the mother of your partner's children may react to your relationship or interaction with the children. Ideally, this is a matter you should discuss with your significant other; however, it's always important to be aware that co-parenting is very common in situations with single dads. No matter how the mother acts, you should do your best to maintain a cordial disposition, especially in front of a single dad's children.

It Can Be A Learning Experience

When you're dating a single dad, you're going to have a front-row seat to him, his children, and their relationship. Seeing how your significant other interacts with his kids can be very eye-opening. You may learn a lot about what it's like to be around children and how to interact with children. Furthermore, you'll get an idea of the type of father your significant other would be if you and he decided to have kids later on down the line. Dating a single dad can be an amazingly informative experience that teaches you about life, love, and relationships with others.

Friends And Family May Have Interesting Reactions

Friends, family, and other people in your inner circle may have interesting reactions; this is certainly a factor you should consider and be prepared for. There can still be somewhat of a stigma associated with dating a man who has children from a previous relationship in certain cases.

Just remember that the feedback from other people doesn't have to determine the trajectory of your dating life and relationships. You know what is a good fit for you more than any outsider does. If you're in a good place in your relationship with a single dad, don't feel like that has to change simply because others don't understand it.

Final Words On Dating A Single Dad

While there are general rules that come with dating a single dad, it's important not to lump fathers into one box. Each dad has his thoughts, parenting style, personality, and so much more. Each of these factors will impact what it's like to date them. Not all single dads are the same, and this is another important detail to be aware of. One single dad may be a perfect match for you, whereas another may be a complete disaster. When you're in a relationship, time will be the ultimate factor that allows you to determine whether things last for the long haul.

Rough Patches In Relationships

Even the best of relationships hit rough patches; this is inevitable regardless of whether you're dating a single dad or a man without children. Rough patches can be caused by various sources, circumstances, and events. Nevertheless, if you're aware of the appropriate ways to go about mending the relationship, this will certainly prove to be of value. Depending on the nature of the issues you and your significant another face, you may find that seeking therapy is helpful.

Therapy has helped many couples overcome various issues and go on to maintain healthy and fulfilling relationships. Children inherently add a new dynamic to any relationship, and there will likely be necessary periods of adjustment. Working with a therapist who specializes in relationship matters is something that both you and your significant other can benefit and grow from.

Online Therapy


Depending on your schedule and your partner's schedule, you both may not be able to make it to a therapist's office every week; this becomes much more likely when your significant other has children to look after and care for.

In cases like these, signing up for online therapy with ReGain is your best bet. Online therapy ensures that you and your partner don't have to disrupt your daily lives and schedules to work on your relationship. Dating woes do not discriminate according to where you live or if your partner has children or not.

It's also important to note that online therapy can be of value to you, regardless of your relationship status. ReGain offers both couples counseling and individual counseling. Our ultimate goal is to help anyone who comes to us. Countless success stories came about as a result of online therapy. You can be next!

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