The 5 best dating sites and apps for single parents

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Dating is, famously, not the easiest time. Single parenting, is also famously, not the easiest. Put them together, and it can feel like dating as a single parent is damn near impossible.

The good news is, you’re certainly not alone. According to the Pew Research Center, nearly a quarter of children in the United States live in single-parent households. That means there are tons of single parents out there just like you, and tons of single parents who are devoted to their family and wouldn’t mind some romance in their life.

To help make that endeavor feel less impossible, we’ve vetted some of the best dating apps and sites for single parents. We know — dating apps don’t always have the best rep, but there are actually apps made just for parents these days, and some features on more well-known apps like Hinge that can help the dating process along.

But if we’re going to talk about the solutions, it’s also important to address the problem of why dating can be so hard for single parents.

Why it’s so hard to date as a single parent

Sometimes, the most obvious answer is also the most accurate one, and for single parents, free time can be a huge constraint on their dating life.

“If someone is full-time responsible for parenting their child(ren), time is the most difficult/delicate issue,” said Karen Bonnell, a divorce, co-parent, and stepfamily coach and author of The Stepfamily Handbook wrote in an email to Mashable. “Even when the children move back and forth in a two-home family, dating time is often modified to reflect that schedule and can feel compressed and/or a bit like a whipsaw from ‘independent adult dating’ and ‘responsible parent parenting.'”

Even though dating apps take some effort and time, using the right ones can help streamline the process of meeting someone new, which make them a solid option for single parents looking to date. An algorithm that actually shows you people you might be compatible with, rather than everyone in a 10-mile radius with a pulse, is a major bonus.

Hand-in-hand with having time, of course, is the ability to dedicate your attention to a relationship. “Dedicating time for communication (“after the kids are down”) or setting the children up in an activity while letting them know “Mom/Dad’s going to do a little computer work now, or taking a call” can work, but it’s not easy,” Bonnell wrote. “The ability to openly talk about these barriers and to come to reasonable agreements will predict the long-term durability of the relationship with a parent.”

In other words, being upfront and openly communicating go a long way. These kinds of boundaries can also be easier to set and communicate when you’re dating someone who gets your situation, which brings us to our next point.

Are there dating sites for single parents only?

Popular dating sites are the best places to ensure you’ll see a wide array of users, but when you’re dating as a single parent, curation can be key.

The dating app market has been expanding to include apps specifically designed for parents. In 2020, single parents and family-minded folks alike could start looking for love on heybaby. In 2022, the Match Group launched Stir, which was made specifically for single parents (though anyone can join).

To read more about what we think of each of these additions to the online dating market, plus more of the best dating apps for parents, check out our recommendations below.

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