8 Rules to Dating a Single Mom
Dating. I would imagine that everyone has some sort of reaction to that word. To some, the word evokes memories of romantic moments with a significant other. To others, the word summons horrific memories of blind dates that made you want to run for the hills. For me, the word triggers memories of blown money, awkward silences, over-analyzed text messages, and just straight-up awkwardness.
The female race is an elusive and intimidating breed. You never know what is going on in a woman's mind. In fact, I would venture to say that there are times when even they don't know what they’re thinking, so you have GOT to be on your toes. That's why dating is so difficult! Once you think you've got them figured out, you get clocked in the head with their purse, and you have to look for another gal to date.
Now that you've got some fond (or not-so-fond) memories of dating bouncing around in your head, I'm going to throw another element into the mix that will make the dating game a little more advanced.
The gal that you're interested in dating is a single mom.
Take a deep breath.
You're drawn to her because she is very mature and independent (and beautiful, no doubt)—you like that. But along with her fears, feelings, and needs that you have to be willing to give your all to, she might have a few kids that will need that same sort of support and love as well.
So, I've scoured the interwebs for tips that should help when dating a single mom. Here are eight rules that I think will lead you in the right direction.
Rule #1: Don't Treat Dating Like It's a Sprint—It's More Like a Half Marathon
Guys, you have got to take it slow. Despite everything being instant these days (texting, canned sandwiches, high-speed internet, get-rich-quick schemes), you have to give the relationship time to blossom, and it's not going to happen overnight. Let her gain your trust. You're a great guy, so don't blow it by proposing to the gal on the second date. Unfortunately, I've heard of stuff like that happening. You will strike out … and then wallow in sadness with a canned sandwich and instant oatmeal.
Rule #2: Cut the Crap and Quit Playing Games
Playing games with your prospective partner's emotions is reserved for teenagers. You're better than that. High school was years ago—you're a big boy now. I've found that being straight up with how you feel yields awesome benefits. Don't pull at her heart strings by playing games. Chances are she's already a little tender from stuff that's happened in the past. Being honest and having good communication skills, from what I’ve heard, are of HUGE importance if you want a successful relationship. But, then again, I only heard that through the grapevine, so I may be wrong.
(I'm not wrong.)
Rule #3: Do NOT Bring Up Her Ex
That's none of your business … yet. Sure, if you get into a more serious relationship with her, her ex will more than likely be brought up, but for the time being, get to know her—not why she is a single mom. Get to know what makes her tick. Get to know what she loves. Get to know what she is passionate about. What's more enjoyable than a beautiful woman happily telling you about everything that she loves? Maybe sushi, but this definitely comes in as a close second.
Rule #4: Man Up and Be a Gentleman
She may or may not have been emotionally broken in the past—you don't really know. Either way, do what you can to show her that you are a decent guy—open the door for her (yes, the car door and the door into the restaurant), speak kindly about her and other people, be genuinely interested in her. Respect her feelings and respect her womanhood. Don't be coughing up the big bucks at some fancy restaurant just so you can get some later. That's low and, quite frankly, chauvinist.
One more thing.
Don't you dare split the check with her on the first date!
Rule #5: Give Her the Support That She Needs
I've never been a single mom before, but I know a few, and they have got a ton on their plate. A single mom is responsible for providing for her children's emotional, financial, and social support in addition to her own. All by herself. Be someone who is willing to put aside everything that you are doing so that you can be excited or sad or angry or hopeful with the woman that is needing that support.
Rule #6: Face It. Her Kids are Priority Number One
If she says she's too busy with her kids to go out with you over the weekend, she probably really is busy with her kids. Kids are a huge responsibility when two people are sharing the responsibilities, but now that she's taking care of the kids by herself, she's definitely going to have her hands full. Be patient and realize that although you may be an important part in her life, those kiddos are at the top of her list.
Rule #7: Don’t Be Pushy in Getting to Meet Her Kids
I'm quite sure that you're going to have to have a connection with the kids in order to have a successful relationship with a single mom, but you've got to let the relationship with her kids happen when it happens. When she feels comfortable with you, and she trusts you enough, you'll get to meet her kids, but you've got to take it slow. I love kids as much as the next guy, but you'll need give it some time.
Rule #8: Just Be Patient
Good things come to those who wait. Give her time to trust you. Give her time to really feel able to share her feelings, her desires, her fears, her children, and herself with you. You've got your whole life to be married to her.
Clearly, dating is not the same for everyone. These rules definitely aren't fool proof, and you should probably adapt to specific needs of both the woman and her children, but these should get you past the first few awkward stages of dating and get you into a more serious courting relationship.
How do you feel about these rules? Well, they're more like guidelines (Pirates of the Caribbean, anyone?). Do you have any to add? Do you think any of these would end in disaster? Let me know!