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.”
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 don't want to date a mom”
- Could I change his mind about dating moms?
- Dating a man who appreciates your motherhood
- Problems dating a single mom: what you need to know
- Where to find quality men to date as a single mom
- Matchmaker sites for single parents
“I don't want to date a mom”
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.
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.”
In this post, a cute, young dating coach explained why so many of his successful male clients are interested in dating single moms.
Dating a man who appreciates your motherhood
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 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 a single mom: what you need to know
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?
Where to find quality men to date as a single mom
Dating sites for single moms
Elite Singles is especially geared towards people who are educated professionals, looking for serious relationships.
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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:
- 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 😍).
- Both parties pay and invest in the service — so everyone is equally invested in finding a quality relationship (and can afford the service)
- 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!
- It's Just Lunch is 28 years old, reports 3 million first dates (!) and thousands of relationships and marriages
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.
Emma Johnson is a veteran money journalist, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post's ‘Must Read” list.
Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.
A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Read more about Emma here.