Red Flags to Watch for When Dating a Single Mom

Red Flags with dating single mom

Being a single parent requires a person to be strong, mature, and responsible—all desirable attributes in a long-term partner. But, being a single parent may make it challenging to be an ideal romantic partner, and there are certain special considerations to keep in mind if you’re dating a mom. 

It’s important to watch out for the red flags that might cause problems in a relationship when you are dating a single mom. What are they, and could you miss them if you’re not paying close enough attention? Keep reading to find out!


She Constantly Talks About Her Ex

You two shouldn’t spend much time talking about her previous relationship, which is a classic sign that she hasn’t moved on from her breakup. It could also suggest that she is attempting to manipulate you. No matter what, it’s a clear indication that she isn’t ready for a serious relationship with you or anyone else, for that matter. 

Although it’s great if she gets along well with the father of her children, he shouldn’t be a focal point of discussion while she’s out on a date or spending time with a potential romantic partner! You can also learn a lot about whether or not dating her is a wise decision by seeing how she interacts with her ex-partner. She may not be ready for a serious relationship with you if she constantly praises her ex.

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She’s Struggling With a Messy Divorce

Divorce is often messy, and she hasn’t done anything wrong, but now is probably not the best moment to start dating. It’s not the greatest time to connect with her if she has upcoming court dates, legal bills, and bad blood with her soon-to-be ex. 

This is not meant to discredit her as a prospective romantic interest but rather to caution you to take things slowly and weigh all of your possibilities. Depending on how rapidly the divorce progresses and how she feels about the situation, this might not be a big concern or a red flag—it depends on the person and the situation. 

And that doesn’t mean you can’t date her sometime down the road! There is no issue with dating again if the split is complete in a reasonable amount of time and she feels ready to connect with someone. 


She Badmouths Her Ex–a LOT

A major red flag is if she constantly badmouths her previous partner. Although it’s healthy for her to let off steam now and again, she should try to keep it under control while she’s with you.

During a date, both of you should focus only on one other. Constantly speaking ill of her ex may indicate that she is too emotionally engaged in the past or unable to enjoy the present. This may be a warning sign that she still has feelings for them or is in a bad place emotionally, which is fair–but you are her date, not a therapist. 

Her relationship with her ex should resemble that of a business partner—they need to be able to get along and be civil to one another without being emotionally attached.

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There are some exceptions to this red flag:

  • If this is an uncommon event, you shouldn’t put too much stock into it. It’s possible that occasional ranting is simply an effective way to get things off one’s chest.
  • A positive indicator is if she seems evasive or defensive when questioned about her previous relationship. This indicates that she wants a serious relationship with you and doesn’t want to live in the past. 

woman with child

She Prioritizes You Over Her Kids

For a mom, nothing is more important than her children. She has totally distorted priorities if you are more important to her than attending her children’s baseball games or school performances. She needs to prioritize spending time with her family before going on dates and taking road trips on the weekends. 

It’s a positive sign if, after a few dates, you realize that you’re not the center of attention. She may be the center of your universe right now, and that’s OK; however, you should know that her kids will always come first.

On the other hand, if you get the impression that her children are her whole world, even to the extent of obsessing over them, it might be a red flag that she won’t make room for a relationship with you.


She Wants You to Meet Her Children Immediately

There’s reason for her to be wary about introducing a new companion to her kids. As a single parent, her primary responsibility is safeguarding and protecting her kids. Even if you’re a decent human being, every mother’s natural instinct is to be wary of anybody who might come into contact with her children

She could be a touch too casual and impulsive if she can’t wait to introduce you to her kids straight away or even after a few dates! But don’t force the issue if you two get serious and she never talks about you meeting them; let her bring up meeting the kids when she’s ready. Don’t be afraid to talk about it if and when she brings it up, however. After six to twelve months of dating, she might want to introduce you to her children if she thinks you’re the one.

Another red flag is if it’s been six months to a year, and she still won’t formally introduce you. Whether she decides to introduce you is entirely up to her, but if things have been going well, she should at least be interested in doing so.

woman and child with man

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She Drops Hints that You’d Be a Terrific Parent

She needs to find a romantic companion, not a step-parent for her children. In most cases, dating a single mom is not much different from dating a woman who does not have children. You and your partner should be laughing, flirting, and simply enjoying yourselves. She may not be interested in you exclusively as a romantic partner if she appears too enthusiastic about the possibility of co-parenting with you.

If you’ve been dating for a while and she’s made just a few remarks on the sort of parent you’ll be, you shouldn’t place excessive value on these comments–it just shows she can see a future for you as a committed couple!


She Ropes You Into Drama

She shouldn’t involve you in her fights with her ex. The reality is that sometimes can be arguments while co-parenting with an ex. But ideally, she’d be compartmentalizing that struggle and avoiding getting you involved. Be wary if she pushes you to go against your better judgment early on in the relationship to save or defend her–that raises several red flags.

It says a lot about how stable of a person she is if she and her ex are able to have a friendly, respectful relationship with one another. That’s a green flag, no red in sight!

couple talking over coffee

Final Thoughts

Dating a single mom can be a fantastic experience if the timing is right–and timing is everything. If you are interested in dating one or already are, you just need to be aware of the red flags that can mean your romantic road may be filled with some little bumps or loaded with huge potholes that will cause a blowout. 

No relationship is perfect, but single moms have the added pressure and responsibility of doing it all on their own, so it makes sense that some may not be in a great place to start dating. That’s not to say it can’t happen in the future–she may be your Mrs. Right, just not Mrs. Right now. 

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