Ashton Kutcher is doing it, so why wouldn’t you? No, I’m not referring to him dating an older, yet very attractive woman. He’s dating a single mother, and while she may have a famous ex-husband who is still very much in the picture, dating a single mother can be quite different than dating a woman who doesn’t have any children to look after.
There are many women who enjoy being single moms but are still looking to meet someone special. Don’t run from them thinking they have too much baggage for you to deal with. Instead, check out the pros and cons of dating single mothers before you make your next move.
Worst case scenarios of dating a single mother
When you are dating a single mother, you may have to deal with issues that you wouldn’t encounter if you were dating a woman without children. And while I’m not trying to scare you away from dating single mothers, here are a couple of “worst case scenarios” to watch out for.
1. You hate her parenting style.
Despite the fact that you may not have any children of your own, you may still have some ideas about what being a good parent means. And if your ideas clash with her style of parenting, things might get ugly unless you learn to keep quiet about your feelings.
Don’t think that her parenting style could get in the way of romance? Here’s an example of one relationship that ended up on the rocks because of differing parental styles:
Doug, age 35, started dating a single mother after a mutual friend introduced them. While he admits that it was a surprising match at first, he also indicates that there were a lot of benefits to dating a single mother. “She was mature, independent and the sex was great,” he states. However, he did have some issues with how she raised her 5 year-old child. He says, “One example of a time when we fought over her parenting was when she assumed it was alright to leave her son at home in bed in order to drive the babysitter home.” Doug was shocked by her lack of common sense. Other times, they argued about how much she swore in front of her son, another sore spot between the two of them.
2. Her children hate you.
Unfortunately, dating a single mother whose children hate you isn’t as uncommon as you may have hoped. Often, children in their teenage years who aren’t used to their mothers dating can be the most difficult. They’re at an awkward stage in their lives, and they’ve been used to getting the undivided attention of their mother. Now that you’ve entered the picture, they might not be too keen on the idea.
For example, Patrick, age 58, is dating a woman quite a few years younger than himself. Her daughter is 13 and, according to Patrick, not interested in him being a part of their lives. While her mother is happy, the daughter does not approve of the relationship and makes it as difficult as possible for Patrick and her mother to have a good time when she’s around.
He says, “I took my girlfriend and her daughter on a winter vacation this year to the Caribbean. We had a fantastic time, except for her daughter. She was surly and unhappy. When we went to the beach, she would wear black clothes and fishnet stockings, just to show us she wasn’t going to participate in the fun beach activities that were going on. It was a real struggle to keep trying with her, when all I wanted to do was tell her to get lost.”
Benefits of dating a single mother
While there are always going to be a few worst case scenarios, keep in mind that dating single mothers can also be a very good thing. It’s not all about whiny kids and sticky fingers. Instead, dating a single mother can open up a new world to you that you didn’t even know existed.
1. Her kids are terrific!
More often than not, men who date single mothers find that their children are terrific additions to their dating lives. One guy, who has been dating a single mother for over one year, says he was just friends with his current girlfriend when they first met. “I just fell in love with her kids at first. I love to do things with them, like take them fishing, camping and skating. Then I started to realize I was falling in love with their mother too, and things have been excellent ever since then.”
2. She’s interested in building a real relationship.
Often times, men will discover that women who are single mothers are more interested in getting to know them first, in an effort to build a real relationship with them. After all, lots of single mothers will attest to the trouble that comes with dating many different men consecutively. Having to explain the presence of different boyfriends to their children can be difficult at best, particularly if the children are younger.
Many men love the fact that single mothers are independent, strong and smart. Few men enjoy clingy high maintenance women, so dating single mothers can often be a refreshing change from the kind of women who can only think of themselves.
Etiquette of dating single mothers
Hopefully, these tips will come as common sense to you, but if not, study them carefully to avoid ruining a potentially good relationship with a single mother.
- Don’t think you are a replacement father. Urging your girlfriend’s children to call you “Dad” or think of you as a step-father is a bad idea, unless you have been together for a long time and are ready to commit to each other for good. This will only confuse and anger her children if things don’t work out.
- Don’t punish her children, but don’t let them get away with murder either. If they’re misbehaving, you should be able to let them know in an appropriate way. Yelling, threatening or “taking charge” isn’t right since they aren’t your children and you’re new to their lives. Talk to your girlfriend about any issues you may have first.
- Don’t ask your girlfriend to go away with you for the weekend and leave her children. Unless there is an arrangement made whereby she has certain weekends off, you are asking her to choose between time with you and time with her children. Instead, wait for a free weekend or invite her and her children on an away excursion.
Is there an attractive single mother you’ve been eyeing? Don’t be afraid to ask her out, but just keep in mind the pros and cons of dating women with children, so that you don’t disappoint her, yourself, or perhaps more importantly, her children.