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Dating As A Single Mom Isn't All Bad—Here's Why

And why some even bring their kids on the first date.

There are more than 11 million single-parent families in the United States, and, of them, the overwhelming majority (80 percent) are women. If you're a single mother, particularly one over a certain age, that might not sound a very promising statistic for your dating life.

Luckily, however, there's good news. Given how prevalent it is today, single motherhood doesn't have the same social stigma that it once carried. There are plenty of men out there who don't have kids of their own but are super enthusiastic about adopting the father role to a kid that isn't biologically theirs. And while online dating has its downsides, statistics have shown that it's been particularly helpful to people like single moms, who don't have the ability to go seeking men in bars on a regular basis.

In celebration of Mother's Day, a team of researchers at the online dating site eHarmony surveyed 509 single mother and active users to find out how they are navigating the modern world of single parent dating. On average, the mothers were 47.7 years old and had 2 children. 67.6% are divorced, 16.1% are widowed, and 16.3% were never married.

While divorced men are notorious for bouncing back to the dating market after a divorce, it seems that women like to take their time, with 35.8% saying they wait 6 months to a year to reenter the dating pool.

Once they do start dating, however, a lot of single moms are confronted by the question of when they should bring their kids up in conversation. Not mentioning them feels like a fairly flagrant omission. But, on the other hand, some women worry that bringing up kids on a first date might trigger a man's "fight or flight" response—namely, the "flight" part.

Indeed, eHarmony's research shows that, the younger the child is, the more hesitant the woman might feel mentioning that she has one. That said, the number of woman who said they felt nervous about admitting they had a kid was very low (8.25%).

As mentioned before, there's no longer a stigma around being a single mother, so instead of feeling embarrassed by it, just own it. There are plenty of single moms on dating sites who not only admit as much in their profile, but post photos with their children. If a guy gets "scared off" by the prospect of dating a woman with a kid, then he would have been a waste of time anyway.

If you're wondering when to introduce your kid to your new beau, the research has found that more than half of women wait until they've committed to a serious relationship. About 33 percent said that they introduce them after a few months, regardless of their status, and another 10 percent said they'd be fine with it after just a few dates. In fact, 10 percent of mothers even reported taking their child on a date with them, which is likely to become a growing trend, because, let's be real, childcare is expensive.

Of course, the cardinal rule is this: just be yourself and have fun! And for more great dating advice, don't miss 40 Best Dating Tips for Women Over 40.

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Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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