Dating a Single Mom in Her 20s? (What You Need to Know)

August 14th, 2023 

I've been dating a single mom in her 20s for several years now.

She's actually the second mom I've dated (I swear it's not some weird fetish). I came in with reasonable expectations for how I thought it would go. Yet, I was still surprised by how much I needed to adapt to her life.

Together we've gathered a list of what we consider essential to know about dating a single mother (in her 20s).

But before we get started, let me say this...

If you really like someone, then it's worth trying to date them. Just make sure your expectations going in are as realistic as possible. It's a significant adjustment to dating any mothers, let alone those in their 20s. Consider where you are in your life and what you want when deciding whether to date her.

There Will Be Some Baggage

The first thing you should come to expect is the baggage.  It's not just about having the kid but rather everything that comes with it:

  • Her relations with the ex could be messy. She's still in her 20s, so the prior relationship likely ended recently. She may be more resentful than other woman (who've had more time to process the breakup). Hopefully she's on good terms with him.
  • She's likely to be under more stress than others her age. Raising a kid is difficult (particularly when emotions are high from a divorce/breakup). It's easy to underestimate how her mood and well-being will end up affecting you.
  • Her freedom will be limited. Her kid is the priority, not you. All of her decisions will be made with that in mind. Sometimes that will mean having to bail last minute on your plans. Don't expect this to change, even if you two go the distance.
  • Her income may be limited for a while. This depends on the individual, but a kid can complicate the progression of an education or career path. Of course it's challenging for her to do both, but it still impacts your life.

It may seem harsh to not date someone because their life is busy, stressful, or has limited income potential. But it's your life, and only you are responsible for it. You should know with conviction if you can handle it (for your sake and hers).

A shot of a young single mother standing beside her child in a stroller.

What to Know From the Start

The dynamics of dating a young single mother will likely be a bit of a shock to you.

  • You'll have to accept the likelihood of the kid's dad being around. A girl's ex always being a part of her life can be a tough pill to swallow. It's worth asking if things are cordial or not. Ideally, he just swings by regularly to pick up the kid (allowing you to have free time with her).
  • Her parents are likely very involved in her life. This isn't exactly bad, as it's great to have supporting parents. Still, it can be another drain on any independence you have with her. In addition, you should expect the ex's parents to be involved as well.
  • She'll probably want to have some "talk" with youIt may not be some huge discussion, but it will likely happen early on. She'll need to know you're fully aware of the situation and what it will mean.
  • You don't want to act like some father figure toward the kid (at least not initially). It's good to show that you're supporting. Just know that it's weird to take on that role while she barely knows you.

    In my case I didn't meet the kid for over a month and didn't spend significant time with them until the third. Be cool/friendly toward them without actively giving off "dad vibes."

Why Being in Her 20s Makes Things Different

A single mom in her 20s will likely be more mature for her age. The responsibility over a life will push her toward adulthood rather quickly. This can be a good thing if there's a significant age gap between you.

If she had her kid in her early 20s (or younger), she may have missed out on the typical party/clubbing phase.

Whether or not that's relevant will depend on the individual. For me, that phase ended nearly as soon as it began. It didn't hold my interest for very long. With that said, she's single and may like to go out with her friends from time to time.

Her life is probably more chaotic than others her age. Wanting to let loose a bit makes sense when she can catch a break. 

This was true for the first mom I dated. I rarely drink, so I didn't engage much in that side of her life (but it wasn't a deal-breaker anyway).

A young mom at a club dancing.

Single Moms Often Have Different Standards

On one side, most moms will know that their child will be viewed as baggage. It's a bit brutal, but it's also the truth.

Therefore, she'll probably be a bit less picky than other women

You should expect her to value general and financial stability more than looks or status. If she wasn't in your league before having a kid, she could be now.

Yet that may not always be ideal. You would hope she's with you because she likes you (and not your money). 

At the same time, you can expect that she's looking for something more serious. How quickly she'll want to move things will depend on the person.

What to Expect in the Long Term

It's easy to underestimate the impact of dating a single mom. 

It's more that it impacts everything than it being some huge negative. Even just hooking up needs to have the logistics figured out (arranging alone time, making sure the doors locked, etc.),  It's difficult to have any sort of spontaneity.

You should recognize that she may want more kids again in the futureThat's great if you want kids. But if you're in your 20s, you probably haven't given it much thought yet.

If things go well down the line, lending a hand with some stuff can help her a lot. Maybe picking up some food or offering to help out with chores. If her ex isn't around much, this can be things the man of the house would have otherwise done.

Again, just make sure not to do it too early. 

I have always picked up the check when we went out, though. In my case I could tell it was definitely appreciated.

The adjustment from the start will be pretty telling of what a future with her could be like. Be honest with yourself if you have the stamina to persist with an arrangement like that. At least you do become better at adapting to it over time (in my experience).

The most unexpected part for me was the kid(s) themselves. It was a little intimidating at first, but I soon learned they can honestly be fun to be around.

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