I get it… Dating a single mom can be a tough choice. It’s a huge change from your previous relationships. You’ve probably heard your friends saying “If you’re dating a single mom then you need to know about these red flags, bro!” or “Watch out, dude, she’s way more experienced than you,” as well as many more warnings.
Now, you’re here because you just want to know more about it. Is it really that bad or they are simply overreacting? Well, dating anyone could be difficult, regardless of whether children are in the picture or not. Yet, every relationship also has the potential to be successful.
That said, it’s a fact that certain relationships require more effort than others. And dating a single mom is one of them.
What are the red flags when dating a single mom?
I’m here to lead you through a list of 10 things you need to look out for when considering dating a single mom. When it comes to being in a relationship with a single parent, it’s important to be aware that it will be different from dating your ex-girlfriends.
Every person is different, but these women are specific. That’s why I prepared this little guide for you. You should definitely consider the following few things as red flags when dating a single mom.
1. The messy divorce
Divorce is rough for everyone involved. And dating while going through it is not the best option out there. Neither for the person who’s getting a divorce, nor the potential new partner.
It’s a time-consuming process full of stress and tears. The woman is always busy with court dates, she’ll need to pay legal fees, fight for custody, and often meet with her lawyer.
On top of that, she still has to keep doing her job, maintain relationships with her friends and family, raise the children, and somehow make some time for herself…
Starting a new relationship while changing your life at its core is very demanding. And not many couples manage to succeed in this quest. Those relationships are mostly dramatic due to all the stress and pressure that comes from all sides.
However, if you really like a single mom who’s going through this, don’t give up immediately. Stay in contact, and help her as much as you can, but tell her that dating isn’t the best option at the moment.
Don’t lose hope yet, though. Nobody said you can’t have her as your partner in the future! Once her divorce is finalized and she feels ready to date again, there’s no problem with suggesting a date.
2. She wants to include you in the drama
People who are going through some drama in their lives sometimes spread their negative vibes around. If you’re planning on dating a single mom, one of the red flags is the drama between her and her ex. Especially if she wants to include you in it!
Even though you’re the one who came after their marriage crumbled, you still need to remember they have something together. Something that will always keep them in contact – their child. It’s a great foundation for frequent arguments, or even worse if they’re on really bad terms.
Ideally, she’ll manage those conflicts on her own and keep you out of it! However, if she tries to rope you in and cross that boundary, it’s something you definitely shouldn’t do. If she wants you to come rescue or stand up for her, be careful. It’s a big red flag.
As long as it’s only their conflict we’re talking about, it’s best you don’t get involved at all. But if he approaches and insults you, don’t be afraid to step up.
3. She constantly talks about her ex
One of the common red flags that come with dating a single mom is that she’ll talk about her ex… A LOT.
When you’re together, her ex definitely shouldn’t be a topic the two of you discuss frequently. If it happens more than you think it’s normal, it might be a sign that she isn’t over her ex yet. Or, it could possibly mean that she’s trying to mess with your head and play games with you.
Whatever it is, it’s a big sign that she isn’t ready for a new relationship and is still emotionally attached to the father of her children. Be it ill feelings or happy memories, what’s important is that the connection is there.
If they are on good terms, it’s nice to see that it’s possible to divorce yet stay respectful. If they aren’t, it’s also normal, because something must have gone wrong between the two of them. But no matter the case scenario, her ex should never be a major topic of conversation.
4. And she often badmouths him
Another thing to be careful about when dating a single mom is if she is trash-talking her ex. It’s one thing to tell your own story and share experiences that you’ve gone through together with your ex. But if the single mom you’re interested in is constantly bad-mouthing the father of her kids, it’s never a good sign.
Trash-talking your ex is very damaging to the kids as it can influence the way they see their other parent. And starting a relationship with a person who often speaks badly about anyone is not the best option out there. It only makes you think about what she could say about you to someone else.
When a woman speaks ill about her ex-partner, it makes her look bad, and it’s a testament to her character. Behaving like this shows how as soon as things don’t work out with someone, she will trash-talk that person. It will end up giving them a bad reputation.
If you want to explain some past situations and problems with your ex, there’s a way to do so without bad-mouthing them. I know it can be tough if they’ve hurt you a lot, but there’s no need to act so disrespectfully.
5. She doesn’t put her children first
Okay, now we’re halfway there. When it comes to dating a single mom, you need to specifically look out for the next three red flags. These are about her children.
If a single mom doesn’t put her children before you or anyone and anything else, it’s a really bad sign. Children must take priority, and if a mother doesn’t treat them as such, then you need to be very careful when it comes to dating her. Why? Because she clearly doesn’t have her priorities straight.
Of course, you should also be placed high on the priority list, but it’s not normal to be more important to her than her own kids. If she often skips her children’s football games, competitions, field trips, or school plays just to spend time with you, it’s not a good sign.
Not only does not putting their kids first tell you a lot about her as a mom, but it also tells you a lot about her as a person. It shows whether or not she’s responsible, sensitive, and nurturing. And if you’ve recognized her in the description above, she’s not.
6. Her parenting style is questionable
The second red flag connected to her children is if the single mom has a permissive parenting style. A good parent should know how to blend different styles. She should be able to set the rules, with limits and boundaries, but also be ready to show a good amount of affection to her children.
It’s okay to even think twice about dating them further. If you think you can’t come to terms with these things, don’t be afraid to say so.
The way that a single parent treats and raises her children is a good example of how she’s going to behave towards her future children – possibly yours. Think about whether it’s something you would like or not. Is she the kind of mom you want your kids to have?
7. She wants to introduce you to her kids very early
Meeting her kids is a huge step. It involves a lot of preparation and making sure you’re the one. Her children are the ones she loves the most in this world. Also, the ones she’ll always try to protect from everything and everyone. Especially if it’s something or someone completely new.
Or at least, that’s how it’s supposed to be. Therefore, she should be at least a little hesitant to introduce her children to her new partner, right?
As a single mom, her most important job is to protect and take care of her kids. Even if you’re a good guy, it’s expected, and completely normal for her to be slightly suspicious of anyone who might get close to her kids.
So, if she’s very excited about bringing you home to meet her children right away, it can be a sign that she’s a bit reckless and immature.
If you’re thinking about dating a single mom or you already are, it’s important to be mindful of subtle red flags like this one, even if it comes across as well-intended.
8. She is never busy
Having kids means that you need to be available to them all the time. They are unpredictable, and it’s normal that their mom will need to cancel plans occasionally.
Somehow, her children never come up which can mean that she isn’t always there for her kids and she cares more about her own needs. If she’s never had to cancel your plans, she may be shirking her parental responsibilities.
Think about what I’ve already said about her kids’ competitions, games, and so on. Has she ever mentioned that she has to attend one of those? Has she ever replied late saying she was with her kids? If she has, that’s nice and you should appreciate the fact that she’s there for her kids.
However, if she’s never said anything along these lines, then it’s time to ask yourself some questions. Maybe she wants you to know she’ll always have time for you, but if her children are suffering because of it, then it’s not the right way to go about it.
9. She knows how to use the situation
Let’s be real. She’s been through relationships, marriage, and divorce. She is obviously experienced when it comes to men. Even though it doesn’t seem like a red flag, it could potentially be one.
Why? Because a woman who has dealt with a few men has already learned how to deal with them in certain situations. So it might be a bit tricky for you to trust her all the time. It’s important to be aware of the mind games.
She may try to use the situation from time to time. She knows you like her and you aim to be better than her ex-partner, right? So what might happen is that she will use their problems to shape you. How?
By telling you what was wrong with her ex-husband, the things that annoyed her, and so on. After that conversation, she’ll expect you to remember all of it and try to be different.
Now, it’s not necessarily a bad thing that she talked about some big problems, but if she’s made a big deal out of small situations, don’t feel obliged to change yourself.
If you’re dating a single mom who wants to raise you like she raises her kids, consider it a red flag. Don’t let anyone shape you the way they want.
10. She wants you to pay all the time
And the last red flag I’ll connect with dating a single mom is concerned with financial issues.
It’s a known fact that raising kids is expensive, but if she’s decided to date, she should be stable when it comes to finances.
If she never even offers to split the check or pay for her cup of coffee when you’re out, it could be something to be careful about. It’s possible that she’s just old-fashioned, but money issues are a common cause of breakups and divorces.
If you’re searching for a long-term partner, yet the two of you seem to have different financial goals, it might be a potential concern.
Of course, conversations about finances usually aren’t that common in the early stages of a relationship. But if you feel like you’re there only to help her with money, you should think about the future of your relationship.
I hope you’ve found what you were looking for. Dating a single mom might be tough, and there are certainly a few red flags. But it’s up to you to figure out whether or not it’s something that bothers you enough to do something about it.