Many people hold a limiting, almost prejudiced view of dating single parents.
A good number of them might consider it a red flag, almost instantly turned off by the very notion of having a kid in the mix.
Maybe because they consider the child “excess” baggage, or they’re not emotionally up to the task of by a proxy parent, or maybe they just don’t want to deal with bitter exes.
The irony is that the single parent can bring a refreshingly unique dimension to a relationship that you simply wouldn’t get dating in more conventional circumstances.
Let’s dive in!
Dating a single parent can humble you fast–something many of us need, whether we realize it or not.
In the context of dating, you may no longer be the sole priority as you have been in past relationships.
Suddenly, your partner’s affection and time are split between you and the responsibilities they have for their child. `
So, instead of instant gratification, you’ll have to contend with the child’s needs as well. This teaches you patience.
Besides, raising a kid is no walk in the park, it takes responsibility and a fair bit of endurance.
Simply witnessing how patient your partner is around their child is bound to rub off on you.
2) What unconditional love means
Childless people tend to have a different set of priorities.
Many of the single folks in my circle, for instance, are overly concerned about having an abundant social life, their follower count on Instagram, or finding thrifty deals at Lululemon.
By bringing a child into the world, single parents have made the decision to love and care for a cause greater than themselves.
Sure, you may occasionally tell your friends you love them after a couple of drinks, but this is not quite the same thing–a parent’s love for their child is on another level of profundity.
So, when you have a single-parent partner, by mere osmosis, you gain a deeper understanding of what concepts like unconditional love and true selflessness are truly all about.
Think about it: a kid isn’t just a hobby or a pet, they’re actual human beings with needs and priorities like the rest of us.
To sufficiently nurture them, single parents often have a non-negotiable checklist for their children: make sure they go to sleep at bedtime, that they’re well fed, that homework is done efficiently, the works.
Simply put, when you have a child, there’s plenty to think about–not just Netflix and chilling.
Being a single parent means having the flexibility to adapt to ever-changing circumstances and plans.
For example, sometimes date night with a single parent can get derailed by an impromptu trip to the doctor or an emergency parent-teacher meeting.
While this doesn’t sound ideal, if you look at the bigger picture, you’ll also likely develop the virtue of flexibility by dating the single parent–something that will surely benefit your relationships, romantic or otherwise, in the long run.
4) The importance of quality time
When your partner is preoccupied with parental duties, a night out on the town can take on a whole new meaning.
You tend to savor their company more than your average date since the time you get to spend together is, generally speaking, more limited.
Being mindful and present is one of the keys to romantic longevity.
So I’d argue that the idea of having concentrated quality time is more beneficial to a relationship than simply being around each other constantly and acting complacently.
My last major relationship got stale because of, for lack of a better word, overexposure.
She was unemployed. I worked from home.
We were always together, we got too comfortable.
Inevitably, things fell apart.
Instead of making time for dates and quality time, we just took each other for granted.
And like disgruntled flatmates, we slowly built resentment towards one another.
So believe me when I say that mindlessly being together to routinely pass the time can get old in a hurry.
On the flip side, consciously making your time together quality time is a crucial aspect of any functioning, flourishing relationship.
5) Maturity and responsibility
A few of them have unfortunately become single parents too.
In short, most of them no longer actively participate in our weekly Friday night benders.
In essence, parenting has become a full-time job for them.
So by dating a single parent, you’ll likely be influenced by their mature and responsible mentality–and further, you’ll come to terms with the gravity of parenthood.
My cousin is a single dad. He has two adorable young boys, aged six and two.
He used to be a bit of a black sheep in our family. He was never able to hold down a job, he was often inebriated, and he was perpetually stoned.
But when he had his kids, he did a complete 180, transforming into a full-fledged, responsible grown-up.
Today, he’s a present father, has stopped drinking and smoking, and actually makes a real effort to earn money to provide his boys with a good upbringing.
When he had his first son, his parents weren’t happy; they saw “getting someone pregnant” as just another one of his antics.
But in hindsight, given his disposition, having kids is probably the best thing that could’ve happened to him.
6) Co-parenting dynamics
If the single parent you’re dating shares custody with the other parent, then this will introduce you to another realm of relationships–and how to handle them with respect, tactfulness, and diplomacy.
Co-parenting often is quite a complex and nuanced pursuit, sometimes with a bit of emotional baggage lingering beneath the surface.
Being able to make the most of a potentially testy situation by setting aside feelings to reach the common goal of successfully raising another human, is a proper show of character.
Remember, when it comes to good parenting, love wins.
Witnessing this unfold can teach you a lot about life and how to approach your relationships with finesse and empathy.
So, the next time you come across a prospective mate in life and they happen to be a single parent, don’t let that detail deter you.
Of course, you may have your preferences, but the fact is, dating a single parent can reveal a whole fresh and exciting world for you that can help you grow and love as a person.
Like most things in life, relationships shouldn’t have to be linear.
Sometimes fulfillment comes when we don’t expect it.