My ex and I have been separated for a few years now. It took me a little while to get back out on the dating scene, but eventually I learned how to be an adult, instead of just a dad. Flipping the switch can be hard sometimes, but I’ve learned I’m not the only one who struggles to date while being a single parent.

Over the past few years I’ve met several single moms and gone on dates with a fair few of them. Being a single parent is a good common ground to stand on—especially since it’s such a major part of life. I often find a weight is lifted when I tell a woman I’m a single dad and she tells me she’s a single mom.

But just because you’re single parents on a date doesn’t mean things magically click. It’s a good starting point, but you still need to hit it off! And if you do, there’s always the kids to consider.

If you’re a single parent getting back onto the dating scene, here are a few things you’ll have to deal with eventually. The answers are different for everyone:

  • When do you let the person you’re seeing meet your kid? And in what capacity do you introduce them?
  • When do you let your kids meet each other? Are they at a similar age where they’ll get along or have things in common?
  • Do your schedules align for date night? Or are you both stuck trying to find a sitter or switch days with your ex?
  • How does your ex handle your introducing someone else to your child? How do you face those concerns?
  • If you spend the night together, how does that impact the household dynamic when your child is staying with you?

As a single parent in the dating world, there are a lot of questions you’ll have to ask yourself. It takes a little bit to figure things out and find your boundaries, but when you do, you’ll start to feel like your old self out there!

The one thing I’ve learned that’s a steadfast rule is to be upfront about being a parent right away. It’s a big deal, and it’ll affect the trajectory of whatever dating life you hope to have. If you make a connection with someone and suddenly spring a kid on them, they’re not going to take it well! Be upfront about your role as a single parent, and find someone who’ll have you for who you are—kid and all.