8 Rules for Dating a Single Dad


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Let's face it: dating is difficult. And when you bring single parents, their former partners, and their children into the mix, things get even messier. But that doesn't mean that every attractive single dad you meet is off limits! Just remember these eight rules for dating single dads.

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Rule #1: Be Realistic

You might be used to someone who only has you to spend his time and money on, but with a single dad, the situation will be very different. His kids come first—and it should be that way! Try not to be too upset if he can't afford to take you on extravagant dates or he has to cancel because his daughter got sick. 

{ MORE: It’s Not a Temporary Situation: The Reality of Single Parenting }


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Rule #2: Know the Difference Between Expectations and Standards

Standards are the things you must have in a relationship—mutual respect, attraction, fun, etc. Expectations, however, set you up for disappointment, and they blind you when you've got something good. What I'm trying to say is this: Prioritize the things that are important to you in a relationship, and then keep those in mind. It's good to hold the guy you're dating, single parent or not, to high standards—he should treat you well and make you feel good about yourself, yet it's not good to throw away a healthy relationship because you expect to have a monopoly on his free time or expect his kids to adore you immediately.

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Rule #3: Don’t Overstep

Because his kids are important to him, they should be important to you, too. But be careful about being overzealous. If he's divorced and not widowed, chances are his kids still have a mother who is very involved in their life. Trying to get too involved too quickly will only lead to resentment from her and her children.



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Rule #4: Be Yourself

Generally speaking, you should never try to be something you're not. This especially applies when you're getting to know a single dad and his children. If you're not someone who's really comfortable or familiar with children, don't pretend to be! If he's a keeper, he'll be patient with you and let you get to know his kids at your own speed. And don't try to be “cool” to impress his kids. They'll probably be able to tell you're trying too hard. They'll come around when they can see what a wonderful person you are. 

{ MORE: Making Valentine's Day Special for Kids in a Single Parent Household }

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Rule #5: Jealousy is Bound to Happen

I'm not just talking about you. With single dads, there's all kinds of people who were in his life before you were. His kids may get jealous, his kids' mother may get jealous, and, yes, you may get jealous from time to time, too. Just know that it's a normal response, so try to get through it.

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Rule #6: You May Have Different Ideas About the Future

Whether or not you're a single parent yourself, the two of you may have conflicting opinions about cohabitation, marriage, and future children. Be open, be honest, and communicate clearly when it comes to these important and sensitive issues.

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Rule #7: He's Not Just Looking for Another Mother to His Children

Yes, it's important to show him that you can act appropriately and responsibly so that he sees you as someone who can help him raise his children, but he also needs a romantic partner on top of that. Don't forget to have fun together and take time for yourselves.


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Rule #8: Have Fun!

While dating anyone can be stressful at times, dating a single dad can be downright overwhelming. Don't forget to slow down and enjoy your time together, as well as your time with his kids. 

{ MORE: The Ultimate Gift Guide: The Best Gifts for Moms and Dads }

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8 Rules for Dating a Single Dad

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1 comment

  1. Alexa says:

    Emmy boyfriend’s daughter was 3and a half when I met them. He later found out that she isn’t biologically his but she’s still his daughter none the less. I met her a week into our relationship because if she didn’t like me then the relationship would have ended right then. Her mother is very unfit and we hate her, but we are all civil. Aubrey told me a month ago that I am her favorite mommy. It really warmed my heart to hear her say that. She even said that just moments after I got onto her for being a brat. So I know she meant it. Being in a relationship that involves a child or children is very difficult but the most rewarding thing I could have possibly gotten myself into. I love her and her father more than life itself.


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