The Benefits of Getting Back Out There…Single Parent Dating

Single-Parent-Resource-Dating

Benefits of Single Parent Dating

Dating as a single parent always takes some effort. Practical concerns such as finding the available time, additional costs for childcare, and even being emotionally open are all normal thought processes.

Despite all these hesitations, going on a few dates, may be just what you need to put some spring in your step. Even if you aren’t looking to jump back in a relationship, believe it or not, there are many benefits to dating that may just prompt a few single parents to reconsider getting back in the game….

There are many reasons for someone being a single parent. Whatever the background story, the thought of putting oneself out there for some may seem hopeless, however, statistics and research paint a different story.

According to Pew Research Center…

57% of Widowed or Divorced Adults Remarry
50% of Previously Married Seniors Remarried in 2013
43% of Previously Married Ages 25-34 Remarried in 2013
64% of Divorced or Widowed Men Would Remarry
43% of Divorced or Widowed Women Would Remarry

These figures aren’t to suggest in any way that remarriage or a relationship is the goal, however, they do reflect there are many single parents out there who do happily succeed in finding a partner, which for many is refreshing insight.

Additionally, these statistics are pretty remarkable considering so many vow to never get into another relationship—at least initially. The data generally indicates higher rates of repartnering among men, such as after divorce (Buckle, Gallup, & Rodd, 1996; Wu & Schimmele, 2005), as compared to women, however, the statistics typically track within a five-year timeframe. This would lead one to assume most women simply take longer to remarry.

Prior to children dating was an adventure. Fast forward to present day, and often due to the increased responsibilities, adults are many times swayed to forego the fun in terms of practicality.

There are and could be a billion reasons to stay in with a movie, but rather than position dating as a serious endeavor, why not just enjoy the process?

According to researchers Hunt & Hunt (1977), single parent dating serves three primary functions, particularly in easing out of the transition from a former relationship.

Socialization

The great thing about dating is that it provides adult interaction outside of the children and work environment. Mingling with others can be a stress reliever. If you check out The Solo Parent article on the importance of incorporating more laughter in your life, it’s pretty clear if you’re with someone with whom you have a great time, there are numerous benefits. It also opens the door for potential emotional connections.

Self-Appraisal

Dating is a learning experience where people can reassess personal strengths and weaknesses. Examining past relationships and lessons learned, one can determine what behaviors they’d like to continue and others they’d like to leave behind. If you found with previous partners you always felt positioned as the financially responsible one, break that pattern! Seek to leverage the areas you like about yourself, while working to discard trends you don’t want repeated.

View the process of dating as an opportunity to expand facets of yourself that you hadn’t been able to foster in the past. Perhaps you always wanted to travel, but a past partner didn’t enjoy it, now you can seek out people with those same interests. By putting more energy into areas and interests you want to incorporate in your life, you can focus on meeting like individuals. Always wanted to snowboard or ski, but your former partner didn’t enjoy the cold? Now is the time to possibly spend time with someone who does!

Therapeutic

Dating can facilitate social networks, decrease loneliness, increase self-esteem, and possibly provide common problem-sharing opportunities. It’s a great feeling to know you aren’t the only single parent out there. Whether your date has children or not, it’s nice having someone to bounce ideas off, and of course the ego boost the attention provides is always nice!

The key to dating as a single parent successfully is to simply be authentic. Viewing dating as a process for yourself rather than a destination in finding a relationship decreases the psychological stress often associated with putting oneself back in the dating pool.

Utilize dating as a method to expand your social circle, meet new people who can introduce you to hobbies you’ve always wanted to try, check out places you’ve been wanting to go, and someone to talk with about your career and/or personal goals.

Infusing new opinions and viewpoints expands our worldview outside our social circle, and allows others with different backgrounds or histories to perhaps offer feedback we hadn’t considered.

What have you got to lose? Go for it!


Buckle, L., Gallup, G. G. Jr., & Rodd, Z. A. (1996). Marriage as a reproductive contract: Patterns of marriage, divorce, and remarriage. Ethology and Sociobiology, 17, 363–377.

Hunt, M. & Hunt, B. (1977). The divorce experience. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Pew Research Center (2014). Four in ten couples are saying “I do” again. Retrieved from: http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2014/11/14/four-in-ten-couples-are-saying-i-do-again/.

Wu, Z., & Schimmele, C. M. (2005). Repartnering after first union disruption. Journal of Marriage and Family, 67, 27–36.

According to researchers Hunt & Hunt (1977), single parent dating serves three primary functions: Socialization, self-appraisal, and therapeutic.
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One Comment on “The Benefits of Getting Back Out There…Single Parent Dating”

  1. It would be nice to see some more data around the cost/ benefits to the children in regard to bringing another person into their lives. There are some dark statistics around sexual abuse from step parents. I would also love to know why women chose to go back to a relationship after 5 years. Lonely (wanting something for themselves) , Children’s needs (want a father figure) or Money (wanting financial help)? What does it do to children when a second marriage fails? Get back out there and have some fun is a little bit light for this topic.

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