Author Topic: Dating as a widow parent of young kids  (Read 447 times)


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Dating as a widow parent of young kids
« on: February 21, 2018, 10:36:12 PM »
Hi. So anyone have any advice on dating as a youngish widow parent of young kids? Late husband passed over a year ago and I have a 5 year old and am finding dating awkward. I started dating someone exclusively but it's so different being a widow compared to other single parents. Not being able to spend the night or be spontaneous. I feel like I am in high school. Need to get a sitter or if family babysits still feeling odd like I am breaking a rule or something. Sorry if this is the wrong place for this. It's hard to find other widows with young kids to relate to.


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Re: Dating as a widow parent of young kids
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2018, 10:57:15 PM »
I'm not dating yet, and these are some of the reasons why.....  It just feels weird....  My kids are 17 and 14, so they are hesitant to consider seeing mom with a new man, and I feel weird bringing someone new around them..... 

Keep communication open - and remember that you don't have to wear the "widow" label forever - if you want to be single and dating, embrace that! 


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Re: Dating as a widow parent of young kids
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2018, 11:34:30 PM »
I told my kids the absolute minimum. They knew I was dating but I didn’t give details as to who.

I learned this the hard way - I brought one woman home to spend time with them way too early in the relationship. My youngest bonded a little with her and when it didn’t work out she was crushed. I felt terrible but it was a good lesson.

As for using family as a babysitter, I did that as well. You’re not breaking any rules and at over a year out I would hop they would understand that.

With all that said it is certainly tougher to date when you’re the only parent. Best of luck!
'I think I got some of your pickle'


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Re: Dating as a widow parent of young kids
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2018, 07:51:54 AM »
It’s very different dating as a widow than as a divorced person. We don’t get every other weekend kid free so there are the logistics of getting a babysitter, the cost of the babysitter, you have to tell your kids something because they know you are going out, the guilt that you are leaving them home, and no easy way to have over night alone time with a new partner.

My kids were older when I started dating and not ready for it. I did a lot of sneaking around and lying about where I was going. I made some mistakes and my kids made things really hard.  It requires a lot of patience and understanding from the person you are dating.  With time it got better.
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Re: Dating as a widow parent of young kids
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2018, 08:23:50 AM »
My kids were 10/11 when I started dating. I also didn't share much other than I was dating. My kids didn't meet any of my dates at any time. After I knew I was in it for the long haul with my now wife, my boys met her and I met her children.

At no time did we stay over at each other's place when the kids were around (which was most of the time :) ) before we were married. We wanted to model good examples as much as possible. Yeah - it sucked.  ::)

Yes, it is hard - our lives are much more complicated than they were when we single folks the first time around.

No real advice for you but, it's doable - but takes a boatload of planning. Oh, one thing - until you have determined you have met *The One*, don't have him meet the kids. It needlessly can complicate everything if it goes bad.

Good luck - Mike
The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped. (Proverbs 11:25)

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Re: Dating as a widow parent of young kids
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2018, 08:57:40 AM »
I started dating when my son was about 2 years old but I left him out my dating world until he was about 4 and I was dating someone exclusively. I have my in-laws relatively close by so I could do some overnights - this guy also spent nights at my house (in my spare room) so I wouldn't have to worry about a sitter. I initially felt so awkward dating since my schedule was somewhat limited (and I used to apologize a lot) but I realized over time that the "right" guy will understand and make accomodations to help support your schedule (like staying with you more often). The right person will also embrace that you have a child and be inclusive - once you have decided you want to go in that direction. I also have reliable, hired child care help so that too gives me some flexibility -  I want adult nights out to help maintain a somewhat balanced life. Now, I am dating a divorced man with a young child - and our kids get along so we often meet up and all spend time together. Its nice - although it does have his challenges and I have to say I have more flexibility in my schedule than he does - given his strict custody schedule (which is really back and forth but also has no flexibility in it).

Ill also offer a different perspective - I was so worried about my son getting close to someone I was dating and then feeling a loss if we broke up. I was super overprotective (and in a way we need to be) but when the first guy and I didn't work out, my son honestly forgot about him very quickly and was just fine. I mentioned his name the other day and my son said - "who?". One mistake I made in that relationship was keeping my son and him apart for TOO long..Now that my son is 6, if my current serious relationship didn't work out, I think the loss would be greater for my son and I'm mindful of that. But I also learned that my son is more resilient than I thought.

Finally, agreed that keeping open communication about these things is good - especially so you can guage how the person you are dating can/is dealing with your widow status. I know from experience that certain guys will have limited patience with our 24/7 parenting but I was also pleasantly surprised to meet a number of men (including those without children) who were willing to be flexible with schedules to be supportive.


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Re: Dating as a widow parent of young kids
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2018, 12:16:52 PM »
I am 4 years out, started dating 2 years out, and my daughters are now 18, 16, and 10. I have done all of the above. It's definitely situational, and depends on the child. All three of my daughters have reacted to me dating differently. This probably isn't what you want to hear, but I think the older they are the more difficult dating is. Just my experience. I date less than friends with younger children. It's a lot of juggling around schedules, driving, and activities. Plus older children are more aware and more likely to express their opinions. It's definitely more challenging than a divorced parent. I'm thankful that my in-laws help me so I can get out some.

"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." Dr. Seuss


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Re: Dating as a widow parent of young kids
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2018, 05:07:20 PM »
I started dating 2 years out, when my youngest was 3 (now 6). By that time my oldest was 12, so he could babysit for a few hours while we went to dinner or a movie. My kids all met NG very early on, because he came to do some work for me and that was our fist meeting. It worked out, but I probably wouldn't have done that in a more regular or more casual dating situation.

It does suck never having a night off for a sleepover, etc. My parents are very conservative, so I wouldn't be able to ask them to watch the kids while I had an overnight with NG, and 4 kids is really too much to ask a friend to watch. So in our first two years of dating, I think we had a total of two sleepovers together when I was able to work it out that all of my kids would be gone. Over the last nine months or so, since getting firmly committed, and then engaged, NG stays over on weekends. It took a while for me to really feel comfortable with it, but the kids just took it as normal. NG won't move in until after we are married.

It is definitely a whole different world. Do what you feel comfortable with, what feels right for you.
Amy, mom to four (14,13,10,6)


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Re: Dating as a widow parent of young kids
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2018, 07:14:59 PM »
Dragonfly, you're in exactly the right place. To add my two cents, another different experience - I never 'dated' as such, it is more of a thing here these days (I'm in NZ) than when I was younger but I honestly think I could not have done online. I ended up with someone  I'd known years ago, who helped out with chores every few months after my husband died. So the children (they were six and three) knew him a bit before we became an item. He said he would've waited as long as I wanted but ahem, it took a whole two weeks before he was staying over three nights a week. I knew myself well enough to know it wouldn't be long. And don't have any beliefs surrounding premarital sex, children seeing a bloke sleeping in the same bed as me, etc. That said, it would indeed have been much harder with older more 'aware what mummy is doing' children, I think. And in hindsight (we are happily at 6 years now), it was a gamble. But I would never have actually got to be in an adult relationship with him otherwise.
Though the reasons may be different, logistically there are actually a lot of people, mainly women, out there in the same position, where the other parent has left entirely or was never there to start with, and they too have been left in charge 24/7. Those friends are nice to have too, they have some understanding.

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Re: Dating as a widow parent of young kids
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2018, 09:25:06 AM »
I found it impossible to date before my youngest was into high school. 
Peace ~ Bear

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"Grief can destroy you -- or focus you. You can decide a relationship was all for nothing if it had to end in death, and you alone. OR you can realize that every moment of it had more meaning than you dared to recognize at the time, so much meaning it scared you, so you just lived, just took for granted the love and laughter of each day, and didn't allow yourself to consider the sacredness of it."
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