Through my circle of friends and single moms I meet through this blog, I often hear cries of horror about the thought of dating.
Especially if you have kids.
What man in his right mind would consider dating a single mom? I can’t imagine getting out there again! My single-mom body is a wreck and I haven’t been on a date in 15 years!
These fears are totally normal — but don't let them hold you back.
I’ve spent the past 9 years dating as a single mom — including my current 3-year, committed relationship to a single dad — and let me tell you something: there is no better time to date than as a single mom.
How to date as a single mom
Not sure about getting out there again, and to be dating as a single mom?
1. Recognize your fears as normal, but commit to dating anyway.
These fears might include:
- Being unattractive with your age/mom bod
- Having too much emotional baggage to attract a quality man
- Traumatizing your kids
- Getting your heart broken
Trust me: used up, lumpy, wounded moms meet quality men every day of the week. Take it from me! Remember: For every divorced mom on the market, there is a lumpy, wounded divorced dad! Embrace your humanity — and his.
2. Rest assured: Your kids will be fine
Just don't date for the sake of looking for a husband, and for the love of God, do not move in any time soon. From my book, The Kickass Single Mom:
One of the most-cited studies about single mothers is the harm caused to children by the instability of boyfriends moving in and out of their home and lives. Leading researcher on single mother families, Sarah S. McLalanahan of Princeton University, found that children raised by single mothers (who tend to be younger and poorer than married moms) are more likely to struggle academically, because these single moms have less stable relationships with their children’s fathers, and men overall, with new boyfriends and their children moving in and out of the family home. It is
fatherlessness and poverty — not divorce or separated families per se — that put kids at risk.
We found that divorce and separation play a limited role in shaping children’s cognitive abilities, such as language and mathematical skills, which are tested in conventional school examinations. Maternal education and poverty are much more important in this area. In contrast, family instability plays a much bigger role than mothers’ education or poverty in the development of “social-emotional” skills. For example, family instability has twice as much influence as poverty does on whether children develop aggressive behavior. It is on par with poverty in causing childhood anxiety and shyness.
This research is important, and I urge you to heed it. But do not let it scare you into celibacy, or shame you into sneaking or lying about your romantic life, or staying up late worrying that decisions that led to this point have sentenced your children to a crappy life.
Far from it.
Research highlighting mothers’ relationship instability, which is within your control. The research is not about financially independent, unmarried moms who date a bunch of people without committing to them. The risks associated with “partner instability” have little to do with men who do not live in your house, who are not automatically relegated a boyfriend, move in with his children, and other major life changes that come with serious, committed relationships.
The risk to negative outcomes for your kids, we can assume, plummets if you have a healthy attitude about romance, and are financially stable enough that you are not compulsively tempted to co-habit out of financial destitution, rather than healthy commitment to a shared future with a man or woman you love.
3. Download a dating app and get to it!
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.
Don't quite have the confidence yet? Or know you need to make some changes in regards to the way you think about yourself? Online therapy is very affordable, convenient because you communicate with your counselor via text, phone or video, and it's anonymous! BetterHelp has thousands of therapists to choose from, A+ BBB rating and fees starting at $35/week. 10% discount (no coupon required) for Wealthy Single Mommy readers. Check out BetterHelp now >>
Here are nine reasons why I believe dating as a single woman is better:
- Single moms already have their kids
- Single moms are kinder to themselves
- Single mothers are a stronger, happier version of themselves
- Single moms are sexier
- Single mothers accept their bodies
- Single mothers have become the women they're meant to be
- Single moms are not that annoying, needy girlfriend
- Single mothers are less susceptible to wasting time on the wrong guy
- Sex as a single mom is better
1. Single moms already have their kids.
Now you can date for you.
When I was dating in my twenties, I was looking for a husband with a healthy set of testicles with which to sire children.
I have them now. Two awesome, healthy ones, in fact. I can check that off my life to-do list and look for a man for love or companionship or sex – or all three.
The pressure is off as a single mom. Get started today by checking out my post on the best dating apps to use as a single mom!
2. Single moms are kinder to themselves…
…and that makes you a delight to be around.
Divorce is a bummer.
So many disappointments, self-blame, and broken hearts. To move on, you must forgive.
Forgive yourself. Forgive your ex. Forgive the friends and in-laws who you felt deserted you.
This kindness bleeds into your other relationships. Since becoming a single mother I have found that I am so much less judgmental of myself.
I am also far less critical of other people, including men. And guess what? They seem to like me more for it! Imagine that.
3. Single mothers are a stronger, happier version of themselves.
Being a single mom means that you have been through at least three life-altering experiences.
- You became a parent, which will blow your mind, heart, and life in incredible ways.
- You’ve found yourself single after a serious long-term relationship.
- You've faced the reason-defying triumphs that are required of single motherhood.
Whether the single part was by way of divorce, breakup, death or choice, it was a big deal, and that changed you.
You survived that, and not only are you better for it – you’re sexier for it.
Still feel like you have work to do on yourself before you start dating? I understand. Online therapy is a great option for busy single moms — prices start at $40/week for unlimited therapy, which you can do from anywhere via text, video or phone. It is also anonymous, and there are thousands of counselors, which makes it easy to find a great fit (kind of like the benefits of online dating apps!). Check out our review of the best online therapy platforms.
4. Single moms are sexier!
Confidence, a full heart, and life experience all equal being a richer, fuller person.
People are attracted to these single-mom qualities in a real, meaningful way.
Especially the people you want to attract, aka awesome men.
5. Single mothers accept their bodies.
You’ve carried and birthed and nursed a baby.
You know what an amazing thing the female body is.
It's imperfections? Who cares!
Age and childbearing have allowed you to enjoy your body for all it has to offer. Including sex.
Not quite there yet? Consider therapy to help work through your confidence hang-ups, and get your power back. Online therapy is a great option for single moms: very affordable, convenient because you communicate with your counselor via text, phone or video, and it's anonymous! BetterHelp has thousands of therapists to choose from. Check out BetterHelp now >>
6. Single mothers have become the women they're meant to be.
When I met my husband in my mid-twenties, I was still struggling to make my way professionally.
My longest friendships were still forming, and I was still figuring out what was most important to me.
Now, I have reached many milestones in my career, relationships, and inner life.
I know who am, and what I want. Which makes dating about 1,000 times easier.
7. Single moms are not that annoying, needy girlfriend.
Women with kids have a whole lot of responsibilities. Our time is limited.
How could we be clingy? When we do have time for boyfriends, we make the very most of it.
Throw a fit because he didn’t text for 3 days?
Please. I have lunches to make and doctor appointments to schedule.
8. Single mothers are less susceptible to wasting time on the wrong guy.
Because you have less time. Busy single moms have fewer lonely nights to fill, fewer dinners eaten alone.
There is less temptation to piddle away hours waiting on losers to commit just because you’re lonely.
Time is precious, and efficient moms know that the best way to spend time with a man is truly enjoying a really, really great one.
Ready for a serious relationship? How to get over your ex and loneliness, and find love again
Read our review of Top dating apps for single moms
For finding a serious relationship, a boyfriend or a husband, eHarmony is our No. 1 recommendation.
9. Sex as a single mom is better.
When you feel comfortable with your body, let go of past hang-ups, and are less critical of your partner – that’s when stuff gets good.
Plus, there’s no pressure to have babies.
There is something amazing and magical that happens when women divorce. They get beautiful. And they get horny.
It's no coincidence these two things go hand-in-hand. Or that they follow divorce. No matter how contentious or acrimonious or downright explosively miserable the end of your marriage was, being divorced is better. It always is. It was sad. It sucked. Now it's better.
Here is why:
After divorce, you feel alive again
When you finally sell off his engagement ring, that heavy, nasty weight of your ex leaves and you realize that you will survive and that life does go on, all of a sudden the sun starts to shine a little brighter. You start to notice the different shades of green of the leaves in that tree that has been outside your house for years and years. Your children seem unbelievably wonderful, and your own reflection in the mirror starts to not look so horrible. It is as if those cracks of light inside of you are now on the outside. And everything about you — on the inside and the outside — everything is better.
And the men. The men! All of a sudden, you start to notice that there are men in the world. Not just people with hair on their arms who smell different that we do. They are men who have bodies and hands and deep voices that offer compliments and eyes — eyes. Eyes that look at you and make you realize that those men are thinking things. Things about you. And that makes you think those things about yourself, too. And about those men. And those men? They're everywhere.
Sex can finally be just about pleasure.
And sooner or later you find ways to be with those men. On dates, and in bed. And you cannot believe how much better it was than the last time around. The last time you were in your 20s! You were silly and looking for a husband and had an agenda! This time? Who cares!? Well, you care — about everything. About all those feelings and the touching and the joy and the thrill and that passion and the love. Love wasn't this great last time, was it? Could it have gotten better? And yet you care about nothing. None of those things that were on your list. You have those things yourself — the kids and the house and the career. You start to see the spots in yourself that a man can fill. And you start to see men in different ways. Because you are different.
Men are better after divorce, too.
There is no speculating this time, no guessing about what he might look like in middle age, or whether he will fulfill all those dazzling plans he lays out, or whether he has the capacity for love and friendship and joy. Because now they have track records and portfolios. Of life. And you shop for them, and try them on and enjoy them. That is the thing about being divorced and dating. You enjoy men. Because you enjoy yourself. And life is full and secure like it wasn't before. And what is more beautiful than that?
Nothing breaks my heart more than a woman who cannot be without a man. That personality is always rife with desperation, bad decisions and alienating others who love her best. Never a good look.
Even if you are not prone to the dramatics of partnering up ASAP, you may feel like a loser because you are not in a relationship.
It is normal to feel sad and lonely if you don't have a boy- or girlfriend. (It can also feel horny, but that is a slightly different topic — don't get those confused!)
In this episode, I share why being single is such an incredible opportunity you should not squander.
It doesn't have to be forever, but if you couple-up right away, you miss out on so many opportunities for personal growth, a new adventure, learning so much about yourself, others around you, and what your next relationship might be.
After divorce as a single mom, you can experiment sexually
Recently single mom friend Sarah and I were IMing about how we prefer men who are aggressive in bed.
“I'm the CEO of my entire life!” Sarah complained. “Do you know how hot it is to let someone else take over for 20 minutes?”
“It's not just in bed – give me a vacation from my life for a while,” I responded. I was referencing my weekend date — a guy I met on OKCupid named Lou who I have pretty much nothing in common with but proved to be the perfect Saturday night activity. For the past few months I've been in a dateless funk fueled by disappointment that a love interest didn't pan out and a long, grey, life-filled winter. Despite being little of what I am looking for in the long-term, this Sicilian-born, Harley-riding electrical engineer from Queens charmed me with a witty profile, flirty and articulate messages and pics that suggested — quite accurately, I found — a darling smile and a 6'3″ body built like a brick shit house.
Hotness aside, I knew Lou was just what my mental health needed when he called to arrange the date. He would drive to my neighborhood, so, per protocol, I promised to text him a location to meet. “What are you talking about?” he said in a loud, friendly, Queens accent. “I'm picking you up and I'm taking you out!”
Music to my ears!
Let me back up here. If I had to describe myself — which one is prone to do when she finds herself juxtaposed with a Lou — it would be that I'm a New York intellectual who dates more or less the same. My boyfriends tend to be writers and filmmakers interested in lefty politics and sustainable urban development. Lots of skinny jeans, the occasional fedora and dates that involve plenty of polite negotiating and triangulating a mutually convenient meeting point. Lou is Republican who wore a gold crucifix under his slim-cut waffle shirt, and he picked me up and took me out.
When I got in the car, I immediately took to Lou's big, warm vibe. He took my hand and kissed my cheek hello, cracking a giant, handsome smile. “What's this?” he said. “You're the only woman I know who doesn't do her nails!” And off we went in his pickup all the way across Queens to a neon-lit Mexican restaurant with valet parking.
I could write a whole post on the beauty of going out with men you have no interest in dating long-term. If you don't care if you ever see the guy again, somehow everyone is freer to be themselves — and enjoy each other more. If I was looking at Lou through relationship goggles, I might have bristled when describing his most recent relationship with a woman who moved into her new house by transporting one dining chair per day in her car.
“Look, sometimes I like to be a man, you know?” Lou said. “I told her, ‘Listen, I'll come by Saturday with three of my friends and we'll move you in one day.' But she said I was being too pushy. Women!” Instead of recoiling in feminist disgust, my interest was piqued. What other ways did he like to be a man? And was he going to show me on our singular date?
That's the thing with the Lous of the world, Sarah and I agreed. We love that they take over plans for the evening, and then take over our bodies for the night. When you are an independent woman with lots of responsibilities, many men assume that we want to carry out that strong role all the time. But I need to feel like a woman, and the times I enjoy that most are when I am with a man. If I am being honest with myself, being a woman means – to a degree – being passive. And that requires a man who is – to a degree – the alpha.
Lou is not going to be my boyfriend. My boyfriend will be “an artsy-fartsy guy” (as Lou described my type) with whom I will triangulate our first date. I loved hanging out with Lou, the macho way he relieved me of any responsibility for the evening, the easy way I fell into passively following his lead, crucifix dangling in my face much of the night. But I am a woman with an opinion or 50, and a clear vision for my role in the world. I can't imagine settling for anything less than intimacy with someone who is my partner, my equal. Can that person be someone who is totally dominant? Could I ever be happy being consistently passive?
“You're fun to hang out with,” Lou said, pulling the covers up to his chin. “Do you like to spoon? Roll over, let me spoon you.”
And I did.
Sex and dating in middle age are actually a lot like dating as a teenager
One Sunday morning I had brunch with my brother Josh and sister-in-law Susan. They're in their early 30s, don't have kids, stay out late, and sleep in on weekends.
Susan grilled me about my date from the night before while my little brother pretended he'd lost his hearing.
“We went for Ethiopian food in the Village and then he drove me home,” I said.
“Why didn't you invite him up?” Susan asked.
“Are you crazy? The kids and the babysitter were there.”
“So what, he got to second base in the car and then you were home by midnight?”
“Oh my God. That is so funny. And that's so early!”
I felt a little defensive about my single mommy lifestyle. Because, really, what can you do? But then I realized that dating as a single parent is kind of horrible and awesome in the same way that being a teenager is horrible and awesome.
In fact, while necking in his four-door sedan (car seats in back) my single-dad love interest and I were laughing about all the ways that dating as a parent is the same as dating in high school:
It can be tricky to find alone time, everyone's finances are limited, and you often have to answer to the scrutiny of parental figures. After all, had I ushered my date upstairs Saturday, I'd have had to face Karen, our beloved long-time babysitter who serves as a surrogate grandmother to my kids and me. What would she think?
My friend Sarah is a professional single mom whose ex lives out of state — drastically limiting her child-free hours, and forcing her to turn to babysitting from her mother in order to get laid. Tapping her inner teenager, Sarah always lies to her mom about her whereabouts when she goes out with men, lest she get “the third degree about whether he'd make a good father.”
“I don't want to lie, but I also don't want to deal with the judgment,” Sarah told me. And so she obeys her mom's rules–or else she pays the price. “I told one guy I went out with that we'd be skipping dinner and going straight to sex because I had to be home by 11:30,” she said. In my case, I was acutely aware that every minute spent making out in that car also came at a price — the cold, hard hourly rate paid to Karen.
The upside of all this finagling and sneaking and financing is that it collectively mounts the lusty, torturous tension lacking in readily-available sex. Like, for example, in marriage. In other words, sex as a single mom can be unbelievably hot. Which was probably not the case when we were in high school.
But Sarah and I agreed that sex isn't the only part of dating that makes us feel like we're in 10th grade again. I nearly didn't publish this post. I mean, what if my date reads it and feels betrayed or embarrassed and doesn't call me again? I mean, OMG, I would totally DIE, cuz I like totally like him! But like, would it be my fault? I mean, he knows I blog about my life or whatever, so, like, whatever!?
Ready to start dating? Dating sites ad dating apps for single parents
I'm a huge fan of online dating, which is where I met my boyfriend of 3 years.
Best dating website for relationships: eHarmony
For finding a serious relationship, a boyfriend or a husband, eHarmony is the leader:
- Free 150-point personality report
- Apps for iOS and Android
- 100% of members are proven to be real (no catfishing or married people!)
- Free version
- For paid memberships, eHarmony has one of the lowest prices, with costs starting at $7.90/month.
- 3-month free guarantee
- A+ Better Business Bureau rating
- Video dating
Here is my guide for how to choose the best photos for your online dating profile.
Free online dating sites
Great news for single moms and dads is that most of the major dating sites have free versions — and some dating apps are completely free. Keep reading for details about free and paid versions of popular dating apps:
Popular dating websites and apps
eHarmony dating website
This site has been around for more than 20 years, and was created by a psychologist trying to understand how to match people to create committed, fulfilling partnerships.
Users on eHarmony answer extensive lists of questions, which then scientifically connect you with strong potential matches — not hookups. A+ BBB rated, free version, and 3-month free guarantee.
SilverSingles dating website and app
SilverSingles is focused solely on singles aged 50+. The free membership allows you to set up a profile, complete an in-depth personality test that will help match you with compatible dates, and view other members' profiles.
Silver Singles has both iOS and Android apps via the iTunes and Google Play stores, and is owned by the same parent company as EliteSingles, Spark Networks, which earned an A+ Better Business Bureau rating.
EliteSingles dating website and app
EliteSingles matches potential partners via extensive questions about your values and ethics, lifestyle, how you feel about yourself, career and accomplishments, emotional maturity, whether you are seeking more children or not, sexuality, and more.
This online dating app tends to attract professional, educated singles seeking serious relationships, including single moms and single dads.
Match.com dating website and app
The interface is a little dated, but workable, and in many parts of the United States, Match still reigns as one of the best online dating apps, with largest selection.
Plus, there’s a free trial option, low monthly cost, and creating a profile is simple.
OkCupid dating website and app
This highly interactive dating site features tens of thousands of user-generated questions that allow you to know a prospective match without even a phone call.
Zoosk dating website and app
The app-based dating site has 35 million users around the world, and pulls in your social media accounts to help you quickly create an account and find dates, including with a free version.
Tinder dating website and app
Tinder started out as a hook-up dating site, thanks in part to the fact that Tinder invented the swipe.
Tinder has gone mainstream, and increasingly single people use Tinder for dating for serious relationships, as well as friends with benefits.
This is the fastest-growing dating site, and also tends to skew younger, but that is also changing.
Tawkify dating website and app
Tawkify is a personalized matchmaking service — not a dating app. The site has more than 100,000 members, who join for frees who are considered for dates and matching. Customers, on the other hand, pay a fee between $99 and $6,000 per year, and meet with a concierge matchmaker who personally selects potential matches.
The League dating website and app
This new online dating matchmaking service that bills itself as very elite, as it only accepts a small percentage of waitlisted applicants, who are approved based on data from their Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, presumably seeking out daters with higher income and education. Membership costs $349 per year, which is similar to other sites, with additional, optional fees to increase the number of daily matches and other perks.
Plentyoffish dating website and app
POF is a solid, straight-forward online dating app with 70 million members, that reports that 44% of its female users are single moms, and that single moms find matches 10% faster than other users.
Christian Mingle dating website and app
All the sites allow you to search by religion, but only Christian Mingle caters to people seeking fellow Christians for friendship, dating and relationships. Owned by Spark Networks (Better Business Bureau A+ rating), this site is the largest database of Christian singles, and verifies 100% of users and photos as legit.
Christian Mingle reports the highest number of Christian marriages of any website.
Is dating within your Christian faith important to you? Start a free trial membership on ChristianMingle.com >>
Happn dating website and app
Happn focused on hyper-locality, using your physical location with GPS tracking to connect you with people who you have crossed paths with in real life, showing you a map of where you have been in the same coffee shop, bar, grocery store or AYSO soccer field.
Bumble dating website
Bumble was created by Tinder co-founder Whitney Wolfe, with the sole focus of putting the power of dating into the hands of women.
In other words, women have since the dawn of time been sick of dudes coming on too strong, cheesy pickup lines, dick pics, stalkers and worse. Bumble is the answer to these issues, as in all cases, women initiate the online flirting, and are the only gender that can initiate in-app conversations and chats.
Bumble changes that by attracting men who like and respect women who make the moves.
Dating app alternative: It's Just Lunch matchmaking service
Matchmaking site It's Just Lunch— a 28-year-old dating service that claims more than 3 million first dates (!). It's Just Lunch packages guarantee a fixed number of dates, which you approve before you meet for lunch, coffee or drinks.
Recent breakup? Don't miss an opportunity of a lifetime — to be single!
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.