dating as a single dad

Dating as a Single Dad

Being a dad doesn’t always come with the exact family configuration we thought we’d end up with going in. Some dads are single, widowed, or divorced. Regardless, they’re dads all the same, and it may come time to start dating.

No matter how old your kids are, heading out on a date is inevitably going to come with complications. We don’t know how your date’s going to go, but we do have a few ideas to make sure you don’t crash and burn on the dad end of the equation. No matter how you slice it, dating as a single dad is tricky business and there’s no easy route. We suggest keeping in mind these 5 points for single dads heading into the dating scene.

1. Don’t keep secrets from your kids:

Let the kids know what’s going on. Daddy has a friend and we’re going out for dinner. If telling your kids the truth about what you’re doing would be too much for them to handle at this time, then this might not be the time to start dating. Dishonesty is never the right way to handle difficult issues with your children. [Tweet This]

2. Respect your children’s school night curfews:

Routine in family life is important even under ideal circumstances, and parenting is Job One. When you’re a single dad, it’s even more critical to make sure the kids enjoy some predictability in their schedule.

3. Do not have an overnight guest in their home:

Don’t be a hypocrite. You wouldn’t let your teen’s date stay the night, so don’t add confusion to a moral compass that’s still being set.

4. Kids embarrass easily; practice discretion:

Kissing? Holding hands? Familiarity? Kids are very nuanced when it comes to observing relationship cues. Of course, a lot depends on where things are with their mom; but, when in doubt, err on the side of discretion. And we’re not just talking about in the house. Be extra careful on social media too.

5. Have a friend/brother hold you accountable:

This list is a help and so is common sense, but nothing beats talking things over with a trusted friend. Accountability is always a good call, but it’s especially helpful when you’re exploring these new relationships. We weren’t created to experience life in isolation so take advantage of the human community.

Sound Off

What tips would you give a single dad as he starts to date?

Derek Maul

Derek Maul is the author of five books, a nationally recognized men’s resource, a committed encourager, and a pilgrim in progress. He divides his time between writing and traveling to speak about the fully engaged life.

  • Trent

    I think this is a good list and being a parent and adult first is paramount. I always go on dates when my kids are with their mom and only text or make phone calls with those women when my kids are in bed on my nights. I haven’t crossed the bridge and introduced any off them yet, but there will come a time when that will inevitably happen when I know the relationship is serious.

  • Sue

    This Is So True. Take This Advice. I Know Someone Who Didn’t. Broke The Kids Heart. He Passed Away. And New Wife Of Less The 4yrs. Took All The Money Did Not Give His Kids Any Of It. And She Was A Lay Pastor. Put God First. Slow Down. Go In With Your Eyes Wide Open . The Spirit Of Loneliness Can Cause Us To Make Bad Choices . We Can’t Undo.

    • Mamamia

      Not everyone who says “Lord, Lord…..but those who do the will of my Father”

      There may be some surprises when people come face to face with the Saviour

      A “lay” pastor?


      There is going to be some “‘splainin’ to do Ricky”(reference to “I Love Lucy” for all you millinials)

      Some believe gain is godliness but godliness with contentment is great gain

      The resources from a man’s work is to provide for his wife and children and then he and his wife are supposed to make financial decisions together prayerfully with the knowledge and wisdom from the scriptures

      Other women are not to be accounted as part of the jurisdiction of holy wedlock one flesh

      This society has made a real mess of the family as people marry without knowledge of what marriage is and what Gods definition of love is

      Many marry only from the fleshly lust perspective.

      No wonder they run out of contentment

      It is a shopper’s mentality

      Once a person becomes born again their identity changes from death to life

      Once married there is a change of identity from single to one flesh

      Adultery brings about the breaking of every commandment and harms all people who are in anyway effected

      If they are claiming to be Christ’s it shames the Name!

  • Mamamia

    My husband carried on for 14 years of our 35 year marriage involved with a woman who insisted he give her children but not marriage

    This worked for him since he already had me , his clueless wife who was home schooling our three

    He rather liked the idea of having more children but no added parenting responsibility since befor he did that we had a generous income and savings

    When his cheating became know quite by “accident” he gave a faint effort to save our marriage but that ended soon after it proved to be too much work

    He walked out on us and soon had yet another woman who he told my daughter and I after we saw. Him with her…by surprise again …we thought he was simply leaving to take some time to sort things out in order to return

    It turns out he lied to all of us….the woman he had the children with and spent all the time and marital focus upon now he hates …

    He lied to all of us so his admission after seeing him in public with the newest woman was a tremendous shock and now none of us will speak to him

    His rules…he will only speak to me…still his wife….about the bills

    The new woman thinks he is divorced and probably thinks the children by his adultery are those of his marriage as he still has them go to his place

    We pray the Lord will redeem all things aright

    We are hurt and no doubt he is leading the others in his life to believe that he is an upright man

    People are disposable to him

    His “dating” as if he is a single dad is a lie and will lead those children further to hate Christianity as they told him back when they learns that his wife and children are believers

    He also teaches by example that lying is useful and marriage is nothing to honor.

    The women he gets to date and possibly fall for him get hurt and more assured than ever that they cannot trust a man…though he is very good at deceiving and drawing them into his lies

    The Bible teaches only those widowed or abandoned may marry if their spouse has died or departed in adultery

    I stand for my marriage and do not want a divorce

    My husband is poison to those who trust him or his pose.

    People need to know the Lord and His Word to become wise to the ways of those who deceive in we every aspect of society

    Children of “blended” families based upon any other than widowhood are being led to accept as “normal ” a sinful example of “love”

    ” love does no ill to his neighbor”

    Normalizing sin for the comfort of sinners is vile and propagates sinful worldview in generations who know not the Word of God

    Come quickly Lord Jesus!

    • Mamamia

      I might add….I had warne him about continuing to draw others into his life….he did not listen

      So his “sorrow”over this sin was worldly and will lead to death unless he has a change of heart

      We continue to pray for him and those who he deceives….he knows the Word of God but has cast it away

      He went from a prosperous career with savings and retirement and funds for inheritances for our children to nothing

      I made it part of my growing walk with the Lord to not take advantage of our wealth

      He began to walk away from the Lord and then all of our agreements and vows and he bought the lies of the world the flesh and the devil

      Sin does indeed find you out and God is not mocked

      All who have willfully taken from our marriage with knowledge will suffer consequences
      It is stealing in the name of social “justice”

    • Derek Maul

      There is obviously a lot of pain in your response. Prayers for peace, and for healing – both for you and your husband.

      • Mamamia

        Thank you. I need prayer and so do my daughters and son. Though adults the consequences of this kind of behavior is very deeply felt. We don’t want to wallow in our wounds but as I have turned to the Word and to seek what good might come from learning what to do and how to progress along the lines of God’s Word/Will rather than act OUT of my grief and /or anger…and to learn how my Savior and Lord will direct my way in walking in forgiveness and not to allow bitterness to creep in it has been quite a walk in the past 8 + years since this discovery.

        My comments here were from the concern that when sin becomes normalized through a necessity to be accepted for the sake of some kind of cohesiveness I think that compromises upon the foundation of scripture in truth , especially in regard to how marriage is to be held in high esteem and holiness , then it becomes more difficult for the children of such a situation to determine for their own way of functioning in relationships and especially marriage what is to be expected of them and what they should expect from the person they marry.

        The knowledge of the truth of marriage is severely lacking in many relationships and even among some churches …along with much neglect of the sound doctrine based upon scripture.

        In many churches today emotional experiences instead of doctrine from the rightly dividing of the word and individual study of the Bible and a personal relationship with the Lord has become a trend that has allowed much mixture with many isms and mystical practices in the name of unity .

        The defining issues of following Jesus Christ in truth are often muddied by popular teachings that appeal to the flesh and leave much leeway for sinful attitudes to go unaddressed and uncorrected.

        Anyway I do need your prayers and appreciate your willingness to do so.

        I had exhorted my husband that he would take time to reconcile himself to the Lord and if he was going to interact with the children of the OW that he would direct them to the Lord and instruct them according to the truth of all that we are given to find through study of the Word. He decided not to do that and risk losing relationship with them.

        Instead they have gone on to ‘hate Christians and Christianity’ but we continue to pray the Lord will turn them despite the poor example my husband and their mother have demonstrated . Their mother , the OW is a self professed atheist and feminist and ‘most extreme leftest’ ….perhaps one day she would be a really great saved believer with a fantastic testimony …God ‘s hand is not shortened ! But in the meantime we have seen no change in that group .

        Failing to do that it seems to me that he not only missed out on our own marriage and family and the way God would have blessed him and benefited us all in having that kind of a life experience in keeping with the ongoing instruction and correction toward his own fulfillment in his marriage relationship but he was not as interested in any of the way God would have instructed him once he turned away from continuing in his own walk.

        The companions of his work and his unbelieving friendships where he spent so much of his time and energy ‘building his clientele’ and climbing the corporate ladder embolden him to scoff at any effort any believer made to turn him back to the fellowship of the saints or his once enthusiastic enjoyment of growing in the knowledge and practice of the way God has made known to him through Jesus Christ.

        We ought to take heed to the things the Lord warns us of as believers and not to underestimate the enemy of our souls.

        The god of this age is at work to seduce any to follow their emotions and imaginations into the snare of lust which steals , kills and destroys all who continue down the route without responding to the consciences , conviction of the Holy Spirit , or sound doctrinal exhortations.

        Once securely attached to sinful lust it is only through the prayers of the saints and the grace of God that any may be delivered. So I am cautioned to continue to walk and to avoid entertaining any sort of sinful mindset and am daily searching the scriptures and taking heed to study of all that I am directed to research through listening to teachers of sound doctrine ,..verse by verse , chapter by chapter , book by book so as to learn further how to continue .

        I have spent too many years in my companionship with Jesus Christ to want to stumble over my grief and allow my own walk to be hindered by unforgiveness. I also am very much given to consider my own failings, which far from wanting to not trust again….see a need to learn how to hear and evaluate all things by the Word rather than continuing to give those unproven my full trust.

        So many verses guide my life but I am not so secure in my knowledge of the Bible that I trust even my own knowledge nor faith in myself .I trust in the Lord who has had to keep me over the years through many trials. I extend to others what I have been given and have accepted that much of the time it only will serve to cause someone who may hear to seek out for themselves what God will teach them through their own ‘eating of their own bread’ by His Spirit in the inner man.

        The need for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is something that is effective and effectual in the life of a person. However those who only hear with their ears and trust in their own understanding can only go so far in their walk with the Lord.

        We all need to obey the command to ‘study to show ourselves approved unto God a workman that needs not to be ashamed rightly dividing the Word of Truth ‘ ….and thus have a daily putting on of the mind of Christ …the whole Armour of God .

        2Co 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

        I guess my main reason for posting about this here was to expose to some who take their adultery lightly how much it DOES effect those who are partaking in the consequences. There is little in today’s media which communicates the way this effects people

        The dogma of the present day rhetoric goes along with many of the old cliches “What they don’t know won’t hurt them’ or “what two consenting adults do in private is their own business’ and ‘ the heart wants what it wants’ and ‘doesn’t God want you to be happy’ …ad nausium …have led many into these snares with a sense that it won’t cause pain as long as it is a secret …but as the Word states …

        Ecc 12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

        Luk 8:17 For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.

        It is my understanding that whatever good my husband did , in his POSE to be a good man, it was in his deceit that caused our children and most likely the form of ‘good father ‘ that he so ably performed that has caused more damage ongoing.

        In urging acceptance of a relationship with a woman other than his wife of his youth….his first [ an in his case his ONLY wife] upon his children ….both of our family and that of the OW …as “normal’ and ‘acceptable’ just because it may make everyone comfortable and avoid any ‘unpleasantness’ for the two adulterers ….it TEACHES and influences those who are pressured to accept this arrangement . It is counter the will of God for a parent to model such sinful living arrangements.

        There is apologies but along with it …and effort to have a ‘conversation’ to justify his choices.

        I assure you , though a wife may have her own areas of growing and maturing in her walk …nothing justifies this choice to engage in such behavior.

        It will all be dealt with by the Lord in due time and I pray for the sake of the souls of everyone involved that the Devil will not get anymore booty from his dastardly deeds than has already been .

        In the meantime as I seek to walk in obedience to the Lord I find many who encourage those in similar situations to accept the ongoing deceivers as trustworthy ….I think what I see in the Word is a willingness to receive a person back into relationship by way of boundaries and agreement to desire transparency and accountability along with certainly ceasing from the sinful activities.

        Forgiveness yes….but I believe there ought to be some safeguards as well.

        I spent a good portion of our marriage trusting his words, allowing his freedom to do whatever while accepting his information when it came to business trips he had to take, after work meetings and such and always gave the benefit of the doubt. Some types of work give ample opportunity for men …and women to lie to their spouses and engage in what they term ‘compartmentalizing’ their recreational relationships!

        I cannot tell you how deeply this has effected our children who are adults ….our daughters are long into marriageable age and are not as easily engaging in social activities which might lead to more activity. Our continual moving for his career left us in a new place with no social network or community whatsoever. Even getting involved in our church is minimal.

        People for the most part do not realize the depth of the damage adultery does to families as many do not talk about this openly. Since D DAY I have discovered much about myself in areas that the Lord has been gracious to continue to teach me . I also have had a lot of areas of research in the Word to learn what has happened to the church and marriage and family.

        A hard won education for me even after many years. As many Christian women I got married and had studied the subject of marriage and womanhood ….and ongoing to learn what my part was in marriage . As a home school mom I had more opportunity to learn areas of the Bible I had not studied with as much interest as I did over those years when I instructed my own children.

        I had married a man who had all kinds of interest and was active in the ministry. Once married he refused all encouragement to continue in study of the Word and in learning about what God had for men to know.

        I have had some difficult lessons to learn about how to determine when a person is sincere in their love for the Lord …and for others.

        I am continuing to learn…to learn how to heal and in the process I reach out to other women and men who are hurting . I still need the fellowship of those who love the Lord and who will pray for me and my daughters who live with me still. We continue our daily fellowship and do what we are given to do by the Lord in service to Him among others.

        We did find a church to become a part of to share with others whatever we might and to be among those who love the Lord and His Word.

        The World is simply growing more toward the end of this age it appears and it is sad that so many who might have effected others in their workplace …as my husband had such a great opportunity to do …rejected that and chose to walk away in into the company of those who encouraged sin and mocked the Word of God and had such a low view of marriage.

        I am thankful for this site where men are being encouraged to love their wives and value the way God will use marriage and parenthood to mature them and bless them as well as raise up godly children , protecting them not just from the world outside their home but from the fleshly carnal ways that can do damage as well ..

        Thank you and BJ for the prayers and encouragement you have offered. May the Lord richly bless you for your faithfulness to Him and to your own wives.

    • BJ_Foster

      Sorry for the pain you and your children have had to endure. Prayed for you and your family this afternoon.

      • Mamamia

        Thank you so much BJ…..It is men like you that make life more easy to bear for women and children left to fend for themselves . The Lord is faithful to continue to teach and guide us into all truth through His Spirit .

        Heb 6:10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

        I wrote a rather lengthy reply which was meant for you to read as well if you have the time .

        With appreciation ….

  • MGvH

    Post divorce, I checked in with my young son periodically while waiting for the Lord to point me to someone; “How would you feel with me having a lady friend?” His answer was always in the affirmative. I did meet someone and felt I was given permission to explore a relationship – this one was long-distance.
    But then, a couple years later, when his mother’s next marriage was foundering on the reef, her exit-strategy was to bolt for Europe; “Here, you take him – I’m going to [name of country]”. And suddenly I was the single-full-time Dad of an angry 7th grader. He took his anger out on women in positions of authority – you know, 95% of his teachers! What tiny bit of time and emotional resources I could rationalize holding back from him to give to another would never be sufficient to maintain, much grow, a relationship with a woman.
    So my relationship with her had to be shelved. It took those years for my son to do some serious healing and transition from hating his mother to not liking her but loving her; “I don’t like her and I hate what she’s done, but she’s my mom and I love her.” Even now, that he’s 20-yo and making his way, she continues to disappoint him but he won’t hate her – that’s critical with respect to his future relationships with women.

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Huddle with your kids and ask, “Do you have any concerns about me dating?”

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