Where can I meet single dads (parents) for dating?
July 14, 2013 11:40 PM   Subscribe

I've been trying online dating, having been a single mom for a few years now, but I'm not finding very many single dads out there. Where are they?

I've got an online dating profile. It gets lots of views and I get a ton of messages. But I was actually hoping to attract the attention of guys with kids. When I look online, though, there just aren't very many guys with kids on the online dating sites. So where are they?

I haven't had any trouble connecting with guys on the site. But parenting is a huge part of my life and I really think I'm most likely to make a good connection with someone else with children. I think they're more likely to relate to my circumstances, understand why I can't put them first, and deal with my parenting schedule. I've been more than willing to talk to child-free guys on the site and maybe I'll meet the right guy that way. But, honestly, someone who can relate to my role as a parent seems more appealing to me.

My friends tell me that, because Vancouver is so expensive, most professionals with kids stay married, even if their marriages are miserable. I'm not so sure about that. But it does look that way. I know that people with graduate degrees and professional jobs are less likely to get divorced. But, honestly, I don't need 1,000 guys. A few to wittle down would be nice. The only single dad I know from my kids' school is super religious and I don't really want to date the former partners of the moms I know anyway.

My profile gets a lot of views and a lot of messages. Guys on the site tell me I'm pretty. So I don't think the problem is my profile. I think it's that the single dads are somewhere else. How do I find them?

(I have already trying single parent groups, but they are 95% women. There is no Parents Without Partners here. And, in several years of being a single parent, I have not run into any guys at any of the activities I go to.)
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats to Human Relations (12 answers total)
Dunno what site(s) you're using, but OKC and others I've seen let people search for people who have/don't have children.
posted by ambient2 at 3:14 AM on July 15, 2013

FWIW a female friend of mine in an urban area where eligible males seemed scarce took a workshop in how to meet men (this being pre-Internet) and told me that one of the tips they gave was to go to the zoo on Saturday or Sunday. The assumption was that divorced dads with weekend custody would be there.
posted by wjm at 3:40 AM on July 15, 2013

Parks with playgrounds get a whole group of parents on weekend mornings. There's no way to know who's single, but that's true of most anywhere, so bring your kids and strike up conversations. In general, I'd say dads will be in places where they can DO things with their kids...what depends on the activity options in your area. Zoo was a great idea, wjm. How old are your children? Water parks and parks with water features are great for little kids, but laser tag is great for those a little older (and more fathers escort their kids there than mothers do). Arcades, caf├ęs near any of these places.

Though, if your dating website doesn't have a filter for this, you might just start with a new site that does (as ambient2 mentions).
posted by eralclare at 6:36 AM on July 15, 2013

I think you may be assuming too much about single dads. Not all of them are good parents and not all people without kids would be unwilling to put your kids first.

Just FYI.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 7:05 AM on July 15, 2013 [5 favorites]

I suggest parks because they are free and nearby. There are usually plenty of dads with kids on the weekend, and socially it's totally acceptable for parents to strike up conversations with other parents (which is one of the side benefits if being a parent if you like conversing with people). All you have to do is say something like "nice of you to give their mom a break" and you are on your way to finding out what you need to know. So much better than the Internet. I'm making the assumption your kids are of park age.
posted by Dansaman at 7:08 AM on July 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

I know a woman who got taken to the cleaners by a man she met at PWP. He didn't even have kids, was just looking for a woman with low self esteem (and found her.) Not saying it's not a great organization, just saying, if he's at PWP and turns out NOT to have kids? Run fast run far.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:12 AM on July 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'm a single dad, and if a woman approached me when I have my kids I would be appalled. And I say this as a guy who appreciates being approached by women generally, but my time with my kids is time specifically for them, and I try to keep them insulated from my dating.

As far as where to meet me, I'm on OKCupid. I list that I have kids, and mention it a lot in the explanation to my questions. However, I don't mention it in my profile otherwise, since I am selling myself and not my kids on the site. I think this approach is common for men, as opposed to women who tend to put their kids front and center on the dating site.
posted by I am the Walrus at 10:14 AM on July 15, 2013 [7 favorites]

My then-single dad met his second wife at a Parents Without Partners event.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:26 AM on July 15, 2013

I am a single dad. The answer to "So where are they?" is unfortunately the same for us as for single moms: at home watching our kids with little time to spend on dating.

I am, however, different from many (most?) single dads (for instance, I am the Walrus above), in that I have my daughter every single day, and so I do not set aside my days with her as somehow special "daddy-daughter time" or anything.

Recently though I have gotten into a relationship (with a woman with no children) and I met her at a social activity I was invited to by a mutual friend.

All you have to do is say something like "nice of you to give their mom a break"...
This is patronizing.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 11:55 AM on July 15, 2013 [4 favorites]

I was an un-partnered single mom for nearly 15 years. I found less luck when I was being super specific in my "list" of things I wanted. If I were you, I'd broaden my search queries. It's tough enough to date as a single parent. You might find more luck if you were open to dating men without children.

I really think I'm most likely to make a good connection with someone else with children.

You don't actually know that's true. There are many single men who would and do date single mothers. And similarly, you should be careful not to over-idealize dating another single parent. Blending families is really, really difficult.

Finally, there is, for me, a difference between "single dad" and "a single man with children". One implies full-time care, and the other is part-time. Are you looking for fathers who are taking care of their children full-time?
posted by frizz at 11:55 AM on July 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

All you have to do is say something like "nice of you to give their mom a break"

Just a heads up that many dads who are equal or primary caregivers find this sentence rage-inducing.

Other than that the park is a good suggestion, as is anything else that involves sitting at a distance with other parents while your kids do their thing.

Do your kids take swimming lessons or anything like that?
posted by the latin mouse at 12:06 PM on July 15, 2013 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for all your replies. I'm not idealizing other single parents. It's just that parenting is such a big part of who I am that I would prefer to be with someone else who understands what I am going through.

I do talk to men (and women) at parks and activities. I've maybe once ever met a guy who was single. I agree that it would be patronizing to suggest the guy was giving their mom a break (and I wouldn't really want to connect with a guy who saw taking on his parenting role as a break for the mother).

@frizz, where I live, most men have their kids 50/50 or 60/40, not part-time.

I have wondered if my access schedule means I have an opposite schedule to most guys. But that doesn't explain the online dating sites.

I don't sell my kids in my profile and would have no intent of an introduction probably within the first year.

I recognize that some single dads are terrible partners or parents, so it's not as if I think they are all perfect. But I'm kind of perplexed about where to find the other professional, educated guys with kids. I'm perfectly willing to date guys without kids and I do talk to them on the sites, too. I do kind of not understand how guys get into their 40s and have an affinity for kids without ever having had them. For me and my past partners, having kids was high priority, so maybe I have some sort of knowledge gap about why someone who wanted kids and has good social and relationship skills would not have had them at some point.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 3:13 PM on July 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

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