Be it looking for someone up-front and transparent in their affections or running away from anyone who talks about nothing but themselves for the first hour of your date, there are countless articles and memes warning us of those red and green flags of dating.
But what about those of us with kids? Yes, all the other dating flags apply, but we all know that there are some things unique to the single parent dating experience. As a single parent, dating can be an extra daunting experience. You want to find someone who will accept and support you and your children, and you should never settle for less than you deserve. While it's easy to focus on the red flags when dating, it's equally important to recognise the green flags of dating as a single parent, too.
So let’s jump into the positives! What are some great signs that the person you are dating is a goodun’?
Someone who respects you will respect your lifestyle and how much time you have available for them.
We all know that as single parents, we don’t have as much time as lots of other people for dating, late-night frolics and spontaneous weekends away. Dating people who understand this, organise things in advance, don’t flake at the last minute, and generally consult you in planning things is a massive bonus.
It may be as simple as waiting a little longer to meet than they would like to work around your schedule, understanding that they can’t come for an overnighter right away, or more significant like booking that holiday 6 months in advance. Basically, recognising your schedule as essential and slightly more inflexible is a yum quality.
I don’t know a single parent who is not far greater than the sum of their parts or mountains more brilliant than they were before they had kids. Children teach us so many lessons and give us so many extraordinary qualities that we didn’t know we had in us.
We want to date people that see those things and like us for them. There are so many articles warning people off dating parents, and so few about seeing the positives. Well, I am here to tell you there are loads of positives of dating someone with kids.
There are personal traits like the saint-like patience we develop, empathy, assertiveness, and organisation skills. There are material benefits too. We know how to keep our homes nice, we know at least one decent recipe, and we can throw a birthday party together with 5 mins notice.
And, there are the kids. There are people out there who want a family, want more children, can’t have children, or generally just see kids as a perk. Dating these people is a no-brainer.
Another one that essentially shows they respect you and your lifestyle, and are willing to take things at your pace. Maybe you haven’t dated for a while, perhaps this is your first furore into dating since your ex, maybe you want to make sure the next one is the right one, perhaps this is the first post-partum shag you are having.
Whatever this is for you, dating someone who respects you and your pace is a massive bonus. We as parents face enough pressure, and society’s rules for relationship timelines do not apply to us in the same way. A person who wants to allow things to develop naturally at a pace that works for you both is a good one.
Obviously, your children top your list of important people in your life, and our role as parents is a big part of many of our identities. However, when it comes to sex, dating and love we need to surround ourselves with people who see us and celebrate us for being so much more than this!
We can find ourselves totally consumed by being single parents, which is understandable and to some extent unavoidable, especially if you are someone who doesn’t co-parent.
It’s very easy to become “Jimmy’s Mum” or “Jaz’s Dad” and start to lose your identity as an individual adult with your own wants, needs, fantasies and desires. This is not a long-term strategy for fulfilment and happiness, and a martyrdom-complex can easily follow.
Dating someone who helps you escape your parental responsibilities from time to time and connects with you as a person beyond having children is a huge bonus. Look out for people who want to talk about your bigger visions and dreams, who take you out to adult-only spaces and who allow you to reconnect to hobbies and interests which have fallen by the wayside since you had kids. Trust me, someone who creates space for you to step into yourself as a solo entity is a keeper!
This goes hand in hand with genuinely respecting you as a person. If someone shows appropriate interest in your life as a parent, whether they have met your children or not, that is a great sign.
This shouldn’t feel overly intense or prying, but someone who seems engaged in how you parent, what your kids are like, and helps you feel listened to and supported is a go-go.
After all, it’s such a massive part of all of our lives, so regardless of whether this is a casual fling or a potential new spouse, someone should be comfortable talking about your life as a parent.
I have worked with enough single parents in my time to know that not everyone present during the conception process has turned out to be an attentive, loving, or even adequate parent. This goes without saying.
Just because you have children does not mean you have developed all those lovely skills it takes to be a fantastic mum or dad. This is also true if you are dating a fellow single parent. Do not assume that they are present, active, or positively impact their children just because they have reproduced.
However, if they are actually a good parent, regardless of the relationship they may or may not have with their ex, that is a massive green flag for any potential date.
Being responsible, loving and active in your children’s lives is a turn-on I think we can all get behind. Again, this is a green flag, whatever the co-parenting relationship looks like, and whether or not they are a resident parent. Someone caring deeply about their role in their children’s life is always a good sign.
So that’s our list of 5 things to look out for as a dating single parent that will give you a good indication of dating success – go forth and spot those green flags!
Did you catch our Red Flags of Single Parent Dating blog? Make sure you know about what to avoid as well as what to go for.
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Want to know more about single parent dating with Frolo? Head over to our blog Everything you need to know about Frolo Dating!
Written by Julia Kotziamani, Frolo’s Dating Expert, in 2020.