I go out with single dads and childless men alike, and some of the latter admit (while others appear) to be uncertain about the logistics of dating a single mom.

On one hand, Dude, we are just like other women! Proceed as normal! 

On the other, our lives are likely both wonderful and challenging in ways that childless woman's are not.

If you landed here, you are likely a guy (or woman) who is attracted to single moms because:

  • You're a single parent, too, so you want to connect with someone who understands your jam (single moms want to date single dads, too, btw)
  • You don't have kids, and feel too old to be a dad to a newborn (and are keeping it real about the realities of babymaking with a much, much younger woman), but would like to be a father — in this case, a stepfather to older kids
  • You just tend to be attracted to moms, and you can't figure out why.
  • You have feels for a single mom in particular, and you are unsure on how to move forward.

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If you are someone interested in dating a single mom, take 5 min and read 9 reasons dating as a single mom is so much better and understand why it will be worth the extra time and effort you may have to put in!

What single moms want in a man?

Of course, there are tens of millions of single moms in the United States alone — far be it from me to generalize all of them! Some want a fabulous, low-commitment physical connection. Others are looking for a fun date, a hiking partner, or someone to share a hobby with.

If we're talking about a serious relationship, here are some common themes that I hear single moms seek out in a man:

  • Reliable. Single moms have a lot of responsibilities, and have little time for people who cancel last minute, are late, or otherwise don't do what they say they will. Is this you? Next!
  • You're a good listener — and talker! Single moms often complain of loneliness, and lack of adult conversation. She may need a break from being needed and listening, and would love to be heard. But also don't expect her to carry the conversation.
  • Have your life together. Of course not everyone is at the top of their professional/fitness/personal game all the time, but in general you have a job, a grip on your personal finances, take care of your body, keep your house tidy, and are in general an adult.
  • Low drama. If you're wrapped up in a high-conflict ex mania, that just says you are really emotionally not available to the woman you are intersted in. She likely has an ex, too, and can't handle a lot more conflict.
  • You are an equal parent. Now, I know very well that family courts, our culture and society are sexist, and marginalize fathers, and this is a travesty. Perhaps you have minority time with your kids, or are alienated by the other parent. However, your current love interest wants to see that you either do have, or have fought hard to have equal time and take equal responsibility for your kids. Otherwise, you are sexist and that is not OK.

How to ask a single mom out — and how to date a single mom

Helpful tips on how to connect, the logistics, meeting her kids ….

1. Ask her out ASAP — single moms are busy!

Leave the ask to the last minute, she has to scramble to find a sitter and that's really uncool.

Plus, it tells her (and any other woman, for that matter) that she was your Plan B for the evening.

Which she may be. But if you really want to see her and invest time in getting to know her, give the woman plenty of time to sort out her schedule.

If she wants to date you, she will find a way to make it work.

2. Ask about her kids

She won't assume you're a pedophile.

This shows interest in one of the most important things in her life.

In fact, if you DON'T appear interested in her family she'll think that you're not into kids.

3. Let her know you love kids — especially if you're a childless man

Assuming it's true.

Sounds cliche', but I always appreciate it when a guy goes on about how much he adores his niece or spends time with a friend's baby.

When a guy laughs at my funny-kid story, or is sympathetic about my mom worries, I'm in.

4. Don't assume she is broke just because she's a single mom

Maybe she is broke, but don't assume.

5. Don't assume single moms' kids need a new dad

They have a dad, or they don't.

You are not being interviewed to be a parent — you are being interviewed for your potential to be a romantic partner.

Of course, that could involve — way, way down the road — being a part of a family with children.

These things are complicated, I know.

Bear with us. But just follow her lead here.

6. If you're out and she is paying for a sitter it is really nice if you get the check

This isn't necessary, and especially after you have been involved for a while you will likely sort out the who-pays-when conundrum.

But if you tend to take turns picking up the bill, but she sometimes rearranges her life to get out of the house and pays for a babysitter so she can spend time with you, acknowledge that.

7. Be patient on asking about visitation schedules

Of course, you want to know when she is free, if she has the kids all the time and whether the dad is involved.

But if you explicitly ask for these details on the first or second date you will appear reluctant about dating a woman with kids.

Which you may be – but if you ask too fast, she will know.

But she wants to feel like you're interested in her in every part of her womanhood — including motherhood.

8. Don't assume she's not free when her kids are home

Women like to be asked out. If you're interested and want to see her, ask her out.

If she prefers not to go out when her kids are home or doesn't like to hire a babysitter on school nights, she'll tell you. Because she may be dying for a good reason to hire a sitter, or take her brother up on his offer to watch the kids or otherwise go out and spend time with you.

If you don't ask her out — no matter how innocuous or considerate the reason — she will assume you don't want to see her.

9. Wait for her to bring up introducing the kids

If it has been more than a few months, or things get very serious very quickly, and she hasn't brought up introducing the kids, bring it up.

[If you're thinking of exploring friends with benefits, here's my advice to you.]

10. Know that when she invites you over, it is more work for her than when you invite her over

Yes, moms are really efficient and they're used to doing a lot of cooking and cleaning.

But if a single mom invites you over for dinner — whether a romantic evening for two, or with her kids — she had to clean up a whole lot of Legos and finger paint and string cheese wrappers and wrangles in an extra trip to the market and wine store to make it happen.

It may appear effortless, but effortless actually takes more effort.

11. Respect that it's a big deal when she introduces you to her kids

She is opening up her life and her whole family's life to you.

Treat this gesture accordingly.

First date tips — what not to say to a single mom

We all say dumb stuff on dates.

Especially first dates when everyone is self-conscious and sussing out someone new.

But there are some things that you just do not say to a single mom on a first date, assuming you’re angling for a second.

Here are 15:

  1. “You look great for a mom.” That. Never say that.
  2. Don't ask to come over when her kid are asleep. Just don't.
  3. “That’s great your mom lives in town so you can leave your kids with her on weekends.”
  4. “I am really loving this time of my life since my kids went away to college.”
  5. “Wow, you look good considering you had two kids.”
  6. “Kids need a man in the house.”
  7. “You had a C-section? That’s awesome.”
  8. “You don’t even have stretch marks!”
  9. Your ex-husband lives in the neighborhood? Is his place near here [looking over both shoulders]? Do you ever run into him? Does he hate that you date? Has he ever beat up your boyfriends? Have your kids met any men you’ve dated? How did they react? Did they resent him?
  10. “Did you get your tubes tied?”
  11. “How much child support do you get?”
  12. “When guys marry single moms and their daughters grow into teenagers, I don’t know how they can control themselves.”
  13. “My ex has a lot of issues so I really want to get married so my daughter has a new mom.”
  14. “Do you masturbate while your kids are home?”
  15. “Not a lot of guys are interested in women with kids, you know.”

Interested in getting to know someone on a second date?

Commit this list to memory and never ever utter a single one of them.

Benefits of dating a single mom

Dating a single mom in her 20s

A single mom in her 20s might want more kids, just starting her career and/or going to school.

Dating a single mom in her 30s

A single mom in her 30s might want more kids, could be in any stage of professional and financial security — including being very established in both her profession and bank account.

Dating a single mom in her 40s

Probably doesn't want any more biological kids of her own, knows a lot about who she is and what she wants and is likely seeking someone in a similar situation — though man moms in this stage of life enjoy great, casual sex lives, including with younger men.

Problems dating a single mom: what you need to know as a man about why dating a single mom is hard

Way back at the beginning of my single mom dating shenanigans I fell in love with an older man. My kids were 1 and 3, his were in college. A few months in, I broke it off over a boozy Italian dinner. “Face it,” I said. “You don't want to be running around with little kids again.”

He agreed.

“I don't want to date a mom”

Old story: We kept sleeping with each other, he decided he wanted to try dating a mom for real, and a year later broke it off for reals because he didn't want to date a mom. For a whole bunch of reasons, that breakup was terribly painful for me, and it took me so many months (many of which I admittedly kept sleeping with him. Sue me.) to get over it.

“You're so wonderful, it has nothing to do with you,” he'd say over and over. “It's just that life got in the way.”

I clung desperately to those words for a very long time. But those words are bullshit (even if it was good of him to employ them). Rejecting me because I have children has every single thing to do with me. I am a mom. My motherhood is not a separate island off the coastline of myself. It is part of me. Arguably the very best part of me. I am a mother, exactly as I said I as when I met you online/the office/Starbucks/swing dancing/trashed at your cousin's wedding.

I've bumped into that same floundering position on dating me, a single mom, several times. “I thought I didn't want to date women with kids, but your OKCupid profile was irresistible,” he'll say. What he doesn't say, but what is implied is: “What the hell. I'll give this a try and if I don't like it, I'm outta here!”

Could I change his mind about dating moms?

I try not to be bitter. We're all human. Can I really fault a guy for liking me so much he goes against his instincts that tell him he's not fit for blended family life? I've got a healthy ego. I'd love to be the one to change his mind!

Yet it's pretty silly that we treat the intersect of romance and children as such an exotic unknown, one worthy of tip-toe trepidation. After all, it's not like I'm raising feral unicorns in my attic, or foster-parenting gnomes. I am a human mother raising human children, the most fundamental essence of humanity, familiar to all, including every single man on OKCupid, who, presumably, was once a child himself.

Related: The benefits of dating single dads

On the flip side, I do think it is possible to change a guy's mind (though I don't suggest banking on it). A few years ago I had a mini-session with dating coach Kavita Patel, who stands out among her peers as a remarkable insight into dating and relationships overall, and has an intuitive power that is slightly freaky. In telling her about my dating, I said: “If a guy isn't into single moms, that's fine with me. I'm not interested in changing anyone's mind!”

Obvious, right? She disagreed: “Sometimes a guy has to see you with your children. Then he can be open to dating a woman with a family.”

Because she got so much right about me, I could never let that advice go.

Last year for a few months I dated a man who was in his early 40s, divorced but with no kids. We were a mismatch for zillions of reasons, but of anyone I've ever been involved with, he appreciated my motherhood more than any other man.

He also admitted to discounting a relationship with a single mom before crossing my path. One day a few months in he told me he'd watched some Facebook videos of my kids in which I was audible in the background. “You're so natural and honest with them. You're an awesome mom,” he said in an uncharacteristically vulnerable moment. “I adore you.”

Which is exactly what every single mom wants to hear very most of all.

Fast-forward to today, and I am in a 3-year relationship with a dad who loves that I am a mom, enjoys long days with me and my two kids, running between soccer games and theater practice and sleepover drop-offs and the rest — more than I do myself, often. He's hot, successful and my friends join me in thinking I won the jackpot.

When, a year or so in, we had a big relationship talk, and voices went low as two middle-aged people who have been through the ringer each made our best efforts to put baggage aside and be vulnerable in our needs, he held my hand across the dining room table as my kids slept in a room adjacent, looked me in the eye, and said:

“I just want us all to be a family.”

Problems dating as a single mom: what you need to know as a single mom

Ladies, here is a huge favor I will do for you:

I will save you the horrors you will find should you google “date a single mom” on the Internet. There are a lot of sexist assholes out there, and you don't need to know what they think.

I will save you from your fears that no good guy wants to date a single mom. Not only have I dated a lot of amazing men who either don't care that I'm a mom, or love the fact that I am one, I also have met and know of thousands and thousands of women who are also mothers who have found love, fun, companionship and partnership after becoming a mom.

But what do the haters say? All those asswipes who swear off single moms? I will share here to save you the trouble of sorting through that toxicity, and assure you that you don't have to worry.

These misogynists claim single moms only want a sugar daddy to pay their bills.

We are all gold diggers.

Primed to attract men, use them for their money and maybe sperm, then dump them.

We will never make time for our man — kids always come first (how and why not to make that mistake in this post).

Used-up, damaged goods, and the like.

You know, stuff that children say when their feelings got hurt and they are too underdeveloped to manage their feelings. So they lash out.

Nothing that an evolved woman has to worry about.

Carry on, you find thing.

Ever thought about online therapy? Way cheaper, convenient, private by text, voice or video counseling — perfect for single moms. Top online therapy sites — which is the best?

Thinking of dating again as a single mom, but not sure where to start?

Dating sites used by single moms and dads

Check out a dating app. This is the easiest, cheapest way to get your mojo back, and get a feel for what is happening out there. All you need to do is connect with one cute guy to get that spark going again.

Online dating is one of the best things in the world for single parents — time and money efficient, and you can even do a background check a woman before you go out with her!

Here is my list of the best dating sites and apps for single moms.

Ready to start dating? Looking for a serious relationship? Our No. 1 recommendation is eHarmony, which is consistently rated the most trusted dating site, and is designed specifically for those looking for meaningful, long-term connections. A+ Better Business Bureau rating, and claims “Every day, an average of 438 singles marry a match they found on eHarmony.” 3-month free guarantee.

Check out eHarmony now for free>>

Matchmaker sites for single parents

There is a reason matchmakers have been in use since the dawn of human sexuality — they work!

Matchmakers tend to be very expensive, with no guarantees. It's Just Lunch is different.

I did a lot of research on It's Just Lunch, and went through the onboarding process, which you can listen to in audio, and read the transcript. I am so impressed — if I weren't in a serious relationship, I'd 100% use this service.

Here is a deep review of It's Just Lunch, which is the largest matchmaking service in the world, and searches its network of literally millions of singles to find you quality dates. Here is what I like about it:

  • It's Just Lunch is 28 years old, reports 3 million first dates (!) and thousands of relationships and marriages
  • Guaranteed number of dates. They quote you a custom price that includes a fixed number of dates over a certain period of time (you can pause your engagement with penalty for any reason — including finding love 😍)
  • Each package 2 free one-on-one personal dating coaching sessions
  • Daters tend to be in their 40s and older, so lots of successful men who have kids and are open to moms with kids and successful careers
  • You are assigned a designated matchmaker who goes through rigorous training, and has years of experience — so their intuition is high!
  • Both parties pay and invest in the service — so everyone is equally invested in finding a quality relationship (and can afford the service)

In this post I lay out the pros and cons of matchmaking experiences, and you can hear for yourself as I go through what you can expect in your first experience with an It's Just Lunch dating specialist.

Ready to try online dating? Get going with eHarmony >>

About Emma Johnson

Wealthysinglemommy.com founder  Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, activist and author. A former Associated Press reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has appeared on CNBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, TIME, The Doctors, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine. Winner of Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web” and a New York Observer “Most Eligible New Yorker," her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was a New York Post Must Read. A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Emma's Top Single Mom Resources.


  1. Ella on June 5, 2020 at 6:43 pm

    Just started dating a childless man…he is a sweetheart but I am having problems balancing both. Seeing him and booking a sitter . And idk how long before either I just decide to maybe move on. He has told me I am welcome to bring kiddos but they are very young and our relationship is very new.

  2. Joh on April 1, 2020 at 8:42 pm

    Moms and guys need to be honest with one another. I know this sound redundant. You have to respect and honor eachother. Guys should always be on the alert from woman. Very simple reason, many out there wants a hot guy and to be successful. BUT, but if you look at this woman are overweight or fat and don’t do much. I know people like that. No question that there are fair share of lousy man out there. And I know guys that I would NOT introduce them to my friends either and are fat and lazy.
    Real man and a real woman will not put up with medicare people. So be strong and make something good out of yourself and not a blob of fat.

  3. Fish on March 10, 2020 at 8:20 pm

    Very interesting article, I am a childless man who is going to try and date a single mother. I saw this out there casually browsing around and it makes sense thank you.

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  5. kas on June 17, 2018 at 11:15 pm

    I am a single mom of 3 and I have been dating a man for almost 6 years now who also has children around my kid’s ages. He never invites me to his family gatherings or his kids sporting events. I made a big deal of always asking him to come to my kids events as well as family events. He rarely did and then just stopped so I quit asking. I have brought this to his attention how it makes me feel that he never invites me or even me and my children to his family events. I barely know his family and my kids have only ever meant his parents and his sibling because his sibling resides with him. It took me many times of bringing up the fact that he never invites me or my kids and its weird. we have been together for 6 years and I barely know your family. Cousins have gotten married and kids have been born and I have never meant them or the spouses. So he recently started inviting me and yes I mean only me. It seems he waits for when I don’t have my kids and it’s still only hear and there. Well lets just say being there is very awkward half the time no one speaks to me and the only ones that do are his aunts and uncles or his parents or grandparents his cousins who are around are age do not speak to me, unless I try to start a conversation. I truly feel they see me as this snob of a person who choses not to come around even though that is not the case I have just never been invited. And he does every holiday at his families house. Mothers day he spent the night before but left early because they were having family get together as they do every holiday. Why can’t he spend a holiday with us we never get to spend one together. The opportunity for me and my kids to move has come along and he wants us to move in, but how is that going to work. I can be very stubborn and I am not going to have us split every holiday apart doing our own thing. HIs cousins baby shower over a year ago I guess I was invited but he never told me till the day of it. I couldn’t go. Then that same cousins baby one year birthday party he tells me oh your invited too but I would have to check and see if ok for you to take your kids since its our weekend to have them…UMMM six years shouldn’t it just be a given? I am overly frustrated and even though I love the man, I am tired of dealing with the same issues over and over again, and now its to the point I don’t want to go to any of his family functions as I feel they now look at me a certain way and probably blame me for never coming around. I know nothing about them. And if my kids can’t go i’m not going. Or am I just being stubborn? Our relationship has been very slowwwwww. Over a year before meant each others kids, he hardly ever comes to me and I always go to him. We never go out. No date nights if he does ask me to go out or plan something fun he always cancels last minute and its usually when I look at the clock and say shouldn’t we be getting around and his response is “oh I don’t feel like going to tired” like seriously!!!!! what do I do to get my point across!

    • Val on July 11, 2018 at 6:08 pm

      You are only a convenience for him. He doesn’t value you. Move on to someone who treats you like a queen.

  6. Lovelifenhappyness on May 4, 2018 at 11:49 pm

    Her having children was not a problem for me at first. It’s what came after that broke my heart. Nothing I could do to save her. I lost trust in her. I can’t even comprehend the sorrow I feel. Any advice?

  7. Lovelifenhappyness on May 4, 2018 at 11:36 pm

    I met the love of my life. Found out the hard way she had a very bad substance abuse problem. She is also a mother of four children. Good news she is getting her life together and maybe also her children. Bad news is she left after all I went through.

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  9. Josh H on June 23, 2017 at 12:02 am

    This list very helpful. One thing though; as the son of a once single mother, I find it very important if you’re going to be in it for the long run to meet the children sooner rather than later. My mother saw it as ” if you’re going to be for me then you’re going to be for my children.” She made the man my sisters and I now call dad take us all out after many months of him asking her out. I believe it is important to meet the children and interact with them, they have serious persuasive power when it comes to you being able to continue a relationship with their mom
    After months of texting, snapchatting, & video chatting I recently went on my first lunch date with a single mother of two children who I’ve been into since highschool (I’m 22, she’s 23) & instead of having her stress to find a sitter I told her it would be fine for her to bring the children as long she was okay with it. Which she was, she later told me the children couldn’t stop talking about lunch & how nice & funny I was. She also said it was the nicest outing she’s had with anyone in a long time & that she was impressed that I was the one who brought up bringing the kids & that I actually interacted with the children. She has told me that she’s has been asked out a few times & once she brings up that she has children the men practically clam up on the spot & don’t talk with her again.
    I know that this isn’t always the case & will certainly not be the best choice of action for every mom. I’m not advocating for you to put your children out there like that because there is alot of creeps. Just in my personal cases it has worked out & could possibly for someone in the future.
    Also happy to say her, her children, & I will be going for another lunch outing tomorrow afternoon.
    Sorry for the long windedness. Just having the possible potential to step up like my dad did makes me happy. I know if something really becomes of this then it won’t be easy for any of us.

  10. Chris on April 8, 2016 at 1:24 am

    Class dismissed! For that to happen you actually need to posses class in the first place. We get it, you got burned by a single mother, that sucks; I feel for ya. But you are categorizing a multiple woman, because of the actions of one dumb, lazy biatch. Simmer down, I know they are all not like that; because I found myself a gem.

    • Deanna Piskor on March 19, 2018 at 8:54 pm

      I am in shock reading this! Im a single mom of two beautiful children , and have never expected anything from a man i date other than loyality and companionship ! I dated a younger guy only to realize he was using me not the otherway around! Because my time is limited from a full time job and taking care of my two children i dont have time for games or bs! It makes me very sad that you would put such a harsh label- its like saying all men are cheats, and abusive- some of us are actually very good woman whos relationships simply didnt workout! I was married for 20 yrs to my high school sweetheart – it didnt work in the end! We arent enemies nor do we wish eachother bad! I dont know who you dated but it sounds like you could use some counseling to overcome your anger towards a single mom!

  11. Charlie on March 19, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    Hey Single Moms,

    I am in a situation which is why I am going to write a lengthy post. I think I am in love.

    I work in a big retail corporation. I met her at regional market training. She happens to be a manager at a store in the town where I live, while I am a manager at the store a town over.

    I went in to meet her more personally today. We talked for a few minutes about work. I think she is just wonderful in every way.

    In the world of social media, I did a search on her before I went to her store. We have a few friends in common and I went to college with her cousin. Her profile is plastered with pictures of her children, but no father. She has two kids. Nothing about this bothers me at all. I just don’t really know how to approach her. Do I take the friend approach for a few months or just ask her out soon?

    I perhaps dug too deep and found out that her former boyfriend or husband (I see no evidence of this) is a former pro athlete who was in the minor leagues of major pro league. He is literally thousands of miles away now with a different girlfriend, pictures of GF with my crush’s kids. Posts saying he is happier than ever blah blah. Real bad guy. I don’t know how bad it was. I could reach out to cousin before I pursue it further, which I barely know her and don’t want to do.

    I am 29 years old. She is two years younger. The jerk has been out of the picture for over a year now.

    I really barely know this woman and just want to get to know her better. And, hopefully, date her, love her and give her everything she deserves.

    Please reach out to me with any advice on how to pursue this.

    • brooke on April 6, 2016 at 3:48 pm

      You should ask her out on a date or for coffee. or as you sggested be her friend. But, either way do something about yoru feelings.

  12. Lynne on May 1, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    I have always been shocked that men don’t always pay when women are paying for babysitters. What is worse is when it is the men that are so excited to express how successful they are. It isn’t a deal breaker for me but it does say a lot about them. xo

    • Emma on May 1, 2015 at 3:56 pm

      Honestly I think it is a lot of cluelessness … they just don’t think about it. Then there are the guys who say, either aloud or to themselves — “It’s not my responsibility to pay for HER kids.”

      Well, no, it’s not, but …

  13. Luchia Dragosh / FabSingleMom on April 29, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    Hi Emma,
    I love your blog. Number 8 and 9 made me laugh. I was told few weeks ago by my friend that I look good for a mom. WHAT??? Is this a compliment because for me is not.
    I joined Ok Cupid a while ago and was chatting with this nice gentleman (so I thought). Out of the blue one night, he asked me to come over. We never talked on the phone before or saw each other.
    I wonder what the reason is, they don’t have common sense or is just hard to date a single mom?

    • Emma on April 30, 2015 at 2:20 pm

      Oh, dunno – maybe that one is just clueless in general, and a single mom walked into his line of fire???

  14. Carla on April 28, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    Love this – 1,2,5, and 6 are my favs. You need to seriously print this list on calling cards us single moms can hand out. Or put in a JPEG that we can add as a profile pic. Only one I’d add: don’t assume I’m unhappy, desperate, or chasing a husband to rescue me.

    • Emma on April 29, 2015 at 7:04 am

      I’ve seen some really off-color behavior (“Do you masturbate when the kids are home?”) but mainly these are good dudes who are just inexperienced dating moms and don’t know the ropes. Hope this helps!

      • Lynne on May 1, 2015 at 3:25 pm

        I have been asked this so many times! OMG!

        • Emma on May 1, 2015 at 3:56 pm


          I thought that was so weird / wrong ….

      • Fish on March 10, 2020 at 8:29 pm

        I dont know why any guy would actually ask “Do you masturbate when the kids are home?” I mean I’m single I seem to be very attracted to single mothers but that would never cross my mind it makes me laugh and cry a little inside that it had to be said because men out there actually ask. Not my business and completely devoid of any tact. Smh.

    • Anonymousmama on April 11, 2019 at 12:12 am

      On my second date he told me I have a good reputation to uphold I wouldn’t want to be seen with ur son.

      That pissed me off any comments?

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