Note: I’m using the female pronoun because I’m a female single parent. I don’t know what it’s like to be a male single parent, but I think these tips relate to parents of either gender.
1. Spontaneous dates can cause more strife than she might feel is necessary. Sometimes it’s hard to find a sitter with short notice.
2. Respect her choice when it comes to telling her kid(s) that she’s dating. But once she does, offer to go on a ‘kid-friendly’ date so you and the kid(s) have a chance to get to know each other.
3. Take her to the movies. To see something R-rated that she wouldn’t take the kid(s) to see.
4. Show interest in her kid(s). After dinner at her house, get down on the floor and play Legos with the kid, or read him a book. But be genuine about it. If you don’t like kids, you probably shouldn’t be dating someone who has them.
5a. Don’t assume she’s just looking for her next husband or a secondary parent for her kid(s). Especially if the secondary parent is still in the picture. You aren’t a replacement. You’re a completely different person.
5b. If the secondary parent is still in the picture, don’t be jealous. If she wanted to be with him, she would be. Don’t compare yourself to him, and don’t put yourself in some kind of competition with him.
5c. Don’t bad-mouth the secondary parent. Ever. If she needs to vent, and you feel comfortable listening, then that’s a decision between the two of you. But this is not your battle. Especially never bad-mouth the secondary parent in front of the kid(s). Hopefully she’s following the same rule.
6. Be patient. Depending on why she isn’t with the secondary parent, she might be rough around the edges. Depending on how long it’s been since she’s dated, she might want to take things slow. If she wants to take it slow, and you don’t, then maybe this match isn’t going to work.
7. Expect to have certain “talks” earlier than your typical relationship. Making the commitment to monogamy, the possibility of a long-term relationship, what you want out of the relationship. These are all things that are probably already on her mind. You don’t have to be the first to broach the subject, but don’t surprise you if she brings it up sooner than you’re used to.