Dating for a single dad can be challenging. On the one hand, you want intimacy and fun. On the other, you’ve got kids and they make things more complicated. Fortunately, single women usually like kids and are actually interested in being a child’s confidante. This means, keep your chin up! 5 signs the single women you’re looking at are actually interested in you will give single dads a head’s up on how well they’re being received and what to look for.
Dating a man with kids is often super fun for single women. Not all women, sure. But for the majority, our DNA is wired to take care of others. Children included. You’ll know she’s into you by the way she responds (over and over again).
Let’s take a look at the obvious signs: she shows an interest by smiling, laughing with you, dressing up, and being pleasant. All the things we do when we’re interested in another person. But then there’s the interest in your children, the inquiries about their lives or the concern about how they’re doing.
On a cynical level, I believe we all show up super sweet, smiling, laughing, pretty or hot, pleasant, interested, concerned, and nice during the beginning stages of dating and building a relationship. Why else would any one of us stay involved with anyone else otherwise? This is where things get confusing.
The single dad declares, “She really likes my kids!” Please excuse my scorn, but, like… duh!? You wouldn’t be dating her otherwise. BTW this is the same for single moms dating single men too. To be clear, don’t you think you wouldn’t, or maybe you shouldn’t, date someone who doesn’t like your kids?
However, dating a man with kids is not the stuff of movies and storytelling. Families are complicated and it’s not easy to blend a family into one unit. The challenge of being a single father is finding a woman who not only adores you but also one who can handle the obstacles all blended families go through on their way to becoming a united family.
I grew up in with 5 step brothers and sisters. They were older than me and didn’t live at my home with their father, my step-dad. My dad and my step-mom also had a daughter. Altogether, there were 12 kids. None of it was easy. The age differences were broad and we, fortunately, did not all live under the same roof.
Growing up in the Brady Bunch era, I had fantasies we would all get along. But that’s all it was – fantasies. The older kids had their own lives and several never bonded with my mother. When my step-dad passed, most of those step-siblings went on with their lives. Sure, wounds were opened but my mom is a tough gal and she carried on with those who wanted to share their lives with her.
Talk about some tough love.
But in order to grasp the amount of emotional stuff kids bring with them, we have to develop a thick skin. All children resent sharing their parents. So why should a new lover or step-mom be any different?
I say all this to single dads (and moms) as a way of giving you a head’s up. She’s interested but is she aware? You’re interested but are you prepared? Here are 5 signs the single women you’re looking at are actually interested:
She likes that you still like women and you make her feel good
Men who like women treat women right. They’re not stereotyping all women into a cookie cutter mold that looks like their ex-wife. By letting women show up as they are, it allows single dads to find healthy, fun women.
Women want to feel good around a guy so single dads need to have things in perspective before settling into a long-term relationship. Guys who don’t feel great about themselves or about women in general (usually that’s a sign of unhealed trauma) need a little more healing time before they settle down.
You’re a single dad who’s fun and adventurers.
You enjoy doing new things and you enroll your kids in joining you. You’re able to manage your kids’ moods and are able to keep yourself in check. These skills will entice a woman into falling in love with you. Most women can handle kids, they just can’t handle all the responsibility of parenting them. So if you’ve got this figured out, that single woman is going to find you very appealing!
You’re expressive instead of withholding.
This goes hand in hand with a man who’s done some healing work. Women, especially single women, want to emotionally process and get to know who you are today. They want to know about your relationship with your kids and how your day goes. If you’re the kind of man who’s unable to express his feelings or unable to talk about his day, you might have a more difficult time finding a single woman who can take on you and your children in one fell swoop.
But if you’re the type of man who can engage in a conversation, express feelings, and allow her to talk (while you listen); if you can just hold her while she verbally expresses herself and give her room to feel her feelings while you step into yours, then you know she’s into you.
She lets you do the things you need to do without pressuring you
Single women have become used to being independent. You may find if she’s really into you that she lets you do your thing without pressuring you. This is huge for a single dad who’s balancing parental duties with dating.
At first, this may seem contradictory but it really isn’t. Single women need down time too. They want girl time, primping time, time to work out. By letting you do the things you want to do (with your kids) without her pressure, she’s also setting herself up for the personal time she needs to feel good about herself and her life too.
She makes sure you include your children in the things you’re doing together.
A woman who’s secure is going to be willing and able to include your children in her life without making too big a deal about it. Sure, you welcome her company and perhaps even another set of eyes. But more importantly for someone dating a man with kids, she wants to be with them. She also likes being with them when she’s with you. This is huge and valuable. You really can’t be with a woman who doesn’t like your kids no matter how cynical I may be. That kind of single woman is one to hang onto.
Dating a man with kids, she doesn’t force herself onto your children.
This is one of the most difficult and most important steps to take note of. Does she let your kids live their own life? Is she secure enough not to have to be with them whenever you are? Does she use your kids’ affection as some measure of your commitment to her? Be careful here. Too many single dads have gotten themselves into trouble because a woman pressures your kids to do things with her that they don’t want to do.
Dating a man with kids is complicated and at times confusing. Many women you’ll meet will want to be in a family dynamic. The challenging part is reading the signs that she’s ready and able to be in a healthy relationship with you and your children. As you grasp her intentions and read the signs, you’ll be better able to find the right partner for you and your family.
Laura Bonarrigo is a Certified Life Coach and a Certified Divorce Coach. Laura’s a writer, public speaker and the founder of doingDivorce™ School an online coaching program for those ready to shed the pain of divorce. For empowering and practical ways to lose the identity of your past, visit www.doingDivorceSchool.com and laurabonarrigo.com.