Loving a Single Father

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Single fathers are more prevalent than ever. In the U.S., they head up 8 percent of families with kids, according to the Pew Research Center. In 2011, there were 2.6 million single father-led households, meaning that men now make up approximately one-quarter of all single-parent families. This means that if you're dating in your late 20s and 30s, it's increasingly likely that the pickings will include single dads. If you choose to pursue a single dad, it's helpful to keep an open mind as his life is likely to be a little complicated.

His Children Will Come First

Dating a single dad means knowing that his kids will always come first. It's important to be as patient as possible. His life is likely incredibly complicated and scheduling time to see each other may be difficult. His kids were there first, so you'll have to deal with the fact that any good single dad will need to put his kids' needs at the forefront of a relationship. That said, having kids isn't a good excuse for bad behavior. Repeatedly missing dates and not answering your calls and texts shouldn't always be chalked up to kid-related issues. If he wants to date you, he has a responsibility to be a gentleman. If he isn't living up to that, consider moving on.

His Parenting Style is His Character

One of the great things about dating a single dad is that his parenting style can be telling of his character. A single dad's relationship with his children and how he parents, from what kinds of activities he does with his kids to what types of rules he sets in his household, is extremely telling of what kind of man you're dating. Plus, a dad who shows his vulnerability and doubts regarding his parenting role is a great sign that he is in touch with his emotions and the emotions of his children. Men who are parents have often had to go through massive transformation in character and lifestyle -- a change often for the better, breeding more responsibility and more emotional warmth.

Being a Parent Yourself Will Help

His kids play a huge part in his life, so be advised that he's going to want to talk about them a lot. Here's where it helps to be a single parent yourself -- you can bond over parenting conundrums and you will both be understanding when it comes to the difficulties that come with scheduling conflicts. Your lifestyles will be similar. You both have limited attention spans and one very important priority -- children -- which tends to make other things fade into the distance. If you're not a parent, it's still helpful to know where your new mate is coming from so that you can be as sympathetic as possible.

Have Fun and Go With the Flow

Single fathers are often under a lot of stress and they're looking for mates who can inject some much-needed fun and levity into their lives. Their kids will also likely love you for this quality, so if your man sees you in this way, he's sure to think you'll be great with his kids. Single dads need partners who can go with the flow as life with children can be unpredictable, and he needs to know you won't become upset if your plans don't exactly pan out.