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The Qualities to Look for in a Man if You Are a Single Mom

by Erica Loop, studioD

In 2011, according to the United States Census Bureau, the country had 10 million single moms with children 18 years and under. If you are a single mom looking for a boyfriend or husband, finding a potential mate means that you must take your child, and her needs, into consideration. Consequently, qualities to look for in a man often differ for a single mom versus a child-less woman.


Single moms don't need to introduce their kids to every man that they date, says the American Academy of Pediatrics, on their Healthy Children website, and unless you are in a serious relationship will probably lead to marriage, your man needs to understand that he must stick to certain boundaries. Single moms should look for a man who has the ability to understand her family's boundaries and to respect these needs. For example, an acceptable mate for a single mom would not push her into meeting her child right away and would allow her to take as much time as she needs before introducing him. This also means steering clear of family events that involve the children, such as a Thanksgiving dinner, and not coming over to the house when the kids are in the house..


Going through a divorce, messy or not, may leave you feeling frayed or at your wit's end. Additionally, your child may feel like your break-up was his fault, angry or depressed. That said, you should look for a potential mate who has the sensitivity to support both you and your child emotionally. This doesn't mean that he has to supply your family with psychological counseling or constantly comfort you. Instead, he should accept your situation and understand that there are issues that you, and your child, are working through.

Financial Independence

Raising a child is far from cheap, especially when you are a single mom. For a child born in 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture notes that single parents will spend an average of $161,220 on child-related expenses from birth through age 18. Although this is less than the $173,490 for married couples, single parents, who are also single earners, typically have a lower overall income to spend. Whether you get child support or not, raising a child costs a lot more than simply providing for yourself. That said, finding a financially independent man is essential. Although having extra cash to spend on you is desirable, you don't want a man who asks you for money or expects you to pay his way. Additionally, in the event that your romance turns into a marriage, you will want a partner who can equally contribute to your family.


Dating as a single mom after divorce is never the same as when you were child-less and carefree. While you may have hoped that your potential mates wanted kids at some point, being kid-friendly probably wasn't one of your main prerequisites in your younger years. Having the ability to connect with and care for your child is a key quality that you will want to look for in a man. Any man that you date should have the ability to take part in your child's activities or spend quality time with her in the event that things get serious with you and him. On top of that, your new love must understand -- and not take it personality -- when your child acts out, is emotional or shows aggression. These behaviors are typical for children in a stepparent type of situation, and are part of the family building process, the AAP notes.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.

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