Dating As A Single Dad In 2024 - A Coach's Guide

Last updated
February 3, 2024
minutes to read
Dating As A Single Dad In 2024 - A Coach's Guide

I won't lie. Dating is harder when you’re raising a kid.

One of the biggest challenges is finding balance:

  • Being a good dad isn't easy...
  • Neither is meeting new people…

But finding a partner you're excited about is 100% possible.

No matter what happened in your previous relationship, you deserve to be with someone awesome ❤️

Today we'll cover my best strategies for how to date as a single dad, including:

  • 🧠 Arriving at the right mindset for dating
  • 📍 Meeting partners you’re compatible with
  • 🗣️ Communicating about your situation with women

Let's dive in!


1. Have Confidence In Your Experiences

Man stretching his arms up, looking happy

No matter what terms you're on with your ex, she gave you an important gift...

You now have a keener sense of what you need from a partner.

Knowing what you want is an huge edge on the countless singles still wandering, trying to figure themselves out.

Your relationship experiences, and the values you’ve developed from them, bring you:

  • 🗓️ More intentional dating
  • 💏 More meaningful connections
  • ⏳ Less wasted time

Chances are you’re looking for a woman on your level, who values stability and family, and sees the love you have for your kids as a plus.

Take confidence in your self-awareness.

Allow it to guide you toward the right partner for the next chapter in your life!

2. Remember There’s No Rush

Man sitting surrounded by cluttered belongings

No matter how awkward being newly single can feel...

There’s zero need to rush back into dating.

Leading a family is a major commitment. You can't expect to have the same energy rebounding that you did post-breakup, pre-kids.

Take the time to consciously ease back into dating, and pay attention to how you feel.

Particularly if you feel negative emotions toward your ex, or mixed emotions about the prospect of dating with kids, remember that you’ll fare better if you can find inner peace here first.

Dating is intimidating, particularly after a major life change.

Few people ever feel 100% ready to dive back in, but there’s a world of difference between:

  • ❌ Dating because you feel like you “should,” or because it might help you “move on"
  • ✅ Dating because you know what you want, and you’re ready to find it

Readiness to date is your decision. Only you know when the time is right!

3. Be Open With Your Kids

Man playing with his daughter in a tent in their living room

Once you’ve decided you’re ready to dive (or wade!) back into dating, you want to communicate thoughtfully about it with your children.

Your goal is to provide reassurance to your kids, while setting fair expectations.


  • 🥇 Emphasize to your kids that they’re still the most important people in your life
  • 👋 Explain that you’re excited to make new adult friends, some of whom may be the opposite gender

I’ve learned from my clients that “friends” is often a great way to describe dating to kids, because it’s both honest and digestible! I've seen other experts (e.g. this article from a MD on dating as a single parent) recommend this as well.

4. Be Open With Potential Partners

Man and woman talking over lunch at an outdoor table

Many newly single dads feel confused about when and what to communicate about their kids to potential partners...

  • 🤔 Should you mention kids on a first date, or sooner?
  • 🤨 What should you say about their mom?

In reality, the women you date need to know two things ASAP:

  1. You have kids, and they’re a priority in your life. This is important to communicate BEFORE a first date, because you don’t want to waste time on a woman who isn’t comfortable with it.

    👉 If you’re dating online your kids shouldn’t be the focus of your profile, but you should absolutely include a photo of you with them, and a prompt about how they mean the world to you. This will help you attract the right women.
  2. You’re ready to date, and you’re not hung up on the past. She wants to know this before a date, too, because she’s not looking for a guy with baggage.

    👉 This is always better shown than told. Demonstrate your readiness to date by minimizing discussion of your ex, and instead keep your conversations focused on what’s in your future!

I’ve worked with single dads previously who’ve worried that communicating about their kids upfront will turn some women off…

They're right. Sharing that you have kids will turn some women off.

But this is a good thing.

If you have kids, you only want women in your life who are comfortable with that.

The sooner you can filter out women who aren’t comfortable with kids, the better. They aren't for you, and you don't want to waste time on them.

Also, being a single dad doesn’t mean you’re required to only date single moms.

You may form connections more quickly with other single parents because of your shared experiences, but you shouldn’t assume women without children aren’t interested…

As a woman with lots of single friends in their late 20s and early 30s without kids, I can confirm there’s less stigma against dating a guy with kids than you might imagine!

Also, whatever stigma exists often has more to do with emotional baggage from prior relationships than kids themselves.

To summarize:

  • 👨‍👧‍👦 Do communicate honestly about your family, because it's a waste of time not to...
  • ❤️ Don’t be surprised if your family is a deal-breaker for some women, but don’t assume it’s a deal-breaker with all women!

5. Move Forward Deliberately

Man loading boxes into a car

Psychologists have observed that introducing too many women too frequently into your kids’ lives may negatively impact your kids’ perceptions of dating, relationships, and love.

It may be wise to wait to introduce your new girlfriend to your kids until your relationship feels steady accordingly.

This is OK — it means more opportunity for you to get to know your potential partner without the kids around.

Before your new lady meets your kids, explain to them that she has nothing to do with their mother.

This way, they don’t compare the two relationships.

Psychologists note that new partners can trigger a loyalty complex in kids, where they feel like they’re betraying their mother by accepting your new partner.

Setting the expectation that these relationships are unrelated can help you avoid these issues.

When it’s time, keep the initial meeting low-key and brief.

Do it somewhere that feels safe for your kids, like at your home. This can help ease tensions and assumptions.

Finally, avoid forming expectations around how your new partner and kids will respond to each other.

It’s natural to hope your girlfriend will automatically love your kids and vise-versa, but hope usually leads to expectations, expectations usually lead to pressure 😕

Instead, let everyone gently ease into this new family dynamic together.

Wrap up & next steps

Now that you're familiar with the basics of dating as a single father, ready to get your rear into gear, and land an awesome partner?

I've got three ideas for you...

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Idea #3: Read more articles