When it comes to learning to date again as a single woman with a child(ren), it can be very intimidating. Not only have you matured and hopefully become more grounded in what you want, you are also aware that your actions affect more than just yourself. They can affect your entire family. If you are struggling with getting back out there, here are 7 Tips On Dating As A Single Mom: Learning Healthy Habits.

Determine Your Intentions For Dating

Here’s the thing, not every mother that begins dating is seeking marriage. And that’s okay. If you are newly single and are just wanting to get your feet wet and have a great time or if you are dating with the intention of marriage, it is important to know exactly what your goal is. The clearer you are on your goal, the closer you will get to manifesting what it is that you desire.

Just a heads up, this particular article will focus more on moms dating with the intention of marriage. Some of these tips can also be applied to casual dating as well.

Create Your Lists

In the same way you should determine your intentions for dating, you should also think about what it is that you desire in a partner. We plan for a big promotions, to buy a home, and to pursue goals. We have to view dating with the same mentality. Women should create three lists:

  1. Write a list describing your desired partner and his attributes. Get specific. Think about what you would like his core values to be. Is religion or spirituality important? Would you prefer to date a man with children already? Are you seeking a man in a certain age range, income bracket, and how would you like for him to look? Don’t forget, when it comes to looks, age, and income, these are surface requests. Be willing to compromise here or you could miss out on a great companionship.

2. Have a red flags list. Red flags are signs that should make you consider if this is the person for you. Red flags are not deal breakers but they do alert you that there could be a potential problem in the relationship. Be prepared to have a healthy conversation if a red flag occurs and determine if this red flag can be fixed or become a deal breaker.

3. Create a deal breaker list. What are absolute no’s for you when it comes to dating? If you are vegan, a meat eater may be someone you are not willing to compromise with. Is smoking a deal breaker? What about someone who does not have a relationship with God? Once you determine you deal breakers, you know that if any of these are present, you cannot move forward with this person. There is no conversation to be had. You must walk away.

Once you determine your lists, you are narrowing your dating pool but becoming more specific about what you hope to find in a partner.

Average Is Perfect

There is a lot of conversations online around what we deserve in relationships and marriage. The truth is, you deserve whatever it is you are willing to show up and work for. There has become this stigma around the idea of “average”. Listen. There is absolutely nothing wrong with an average man. Majority of us are average women. It does not matter how many degrees you have, how much money you have in your bank, or how pretty you are, you are a person just like the next person. Re-define what you believe average or “high value” equates to. It is not just about money or being taken care of. As a mother, you goal in dating with the intention of marriage is seeking a partner who will make a great husband AND amazing father to your children. Even if your child’s father is actively present, your husband will still be a stepfather to your child(ren). Average men make amazing partners. Set realistic expectations and understand that Meg The Stallion is not your dating coach.

Date Like A Mother

Dating has become extremely unique in our modern world. There are dating apps, social media websites, matchmakers, and traditional dating which can discourage someone from trying to enter the ring of finding a partner. As a mother, it can be even more intimidating. Date like a mother. You should not be dating to compete with childless women. Set realistic expectations from the beginning and do not create the illusion that you are always available. Make time to date but make sure your partner understands that you are a mother first. Even if your children are older and especially if your children are younger, your new partner must accept all that comes with you, not just you. Do not try to bait and switch a man into dating you. Be honest up front about the fact that you do have children. Do not wait until you are five dates in and three months later to drop a truth bomb like that. You do not have to introduce him to your children until you are comfortable but he does have the right to know if he is falling in love with a mother and wants to be a stepfather before the relationship gets too deep. If you are casually dating, you should never introduce your children into a situationship. Use discernment here.

Practice Dating

If you have been out the dating game for a while, I hate to tell you sis but you are probably a bit rusty. While it is important to be clear on what it is that you expect from a partner, you must also be realistic on how you are showing up as a partner. You must relearn how to interact with love interests again, how to engage, flirt, and carry on conversations. Start saying yes to dates, even if it is just for practice. Understand that dating around does not mean sleeping around. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Pick up hobbies that are just for you. Start reading books and listening to audio books. Learning new crafts will not only make you more conversational and interesting, they will also expand your dating pool to meet someone who shares your interests.

Build Your Community

Do you know who has the hardest time dating? Someone who has no time to date. I want you to unchain yourself from this storyline that you just don’t have time. We make time for what we want in our lives. For mothers though, there is the very real narrative that you may not have a proper support system versus not having time. It is important for single mothers to build community for a various reasons and dating is one of them. It takes time to get to know someone so learn to carve out time in your schedule. Create friendships with other moms, lean in on your family if they are close, and learn to date when your co-parent has the kids. Hire a babysitter or nanny if you have to. Do not make excuses for not putting yourself out there.

Self Love Is The Best Love

“Learn to love yourself girl or nobody will”

J.Cole – Crooked Smile

Remember this: You are not dating at a deficit. Heal your past traumas so that your new relationship does not have to address them. If you do not have a healthy dose of self love, you cannot determine how you should be loved by someone else. That is the last obstacle you want to encounter when dating. You want to show up with healthy dating habits so that you can easily point out toxic traits. If you are looking for marriage, you will learn to determine if the attraction is lustful or has longevity. You will be aware when you are being love bombed and when you meet someone who has actions to match their lovely words.

Be gentle with yourself and open your heart up to to the idea of love again.

You can do this.