Two people on a first date

Two people on a first date (Photo by Wiktor Karkocha on Unsplash)

NEW YORK — Dating as a single parent means every second counts. On average, they know if they want a second date just 38 minutes into the first meeting. That’s according to a new poll of 2,000 single parents, which reveals that it also takes them less than an hour (55 minutes) into a date to determine if they’d be interested in having sex with that person.

In fact, the average respondent believes that less than one-third (31%) of the dates they’ve been on were “worth it” or made them consider investing in a second night out. Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Stir, the survey aimed to uncover how single parents are emerging from the stereotypical mold, igniting their own flames, and how they’re enjoying dating.

The dating scene for single parents — ‘it’s complicated’

Since becoming a single parent, respondents say they have a clearer picture of what they want from a partner (48%), appreciate romantic moments more (34%), and are more willing to date outside their typical “type” (23%). Three in 10 will break things off faster if it’s not a match, and 20 percent have higher expectations for good sex. 

However, that doesn’t mean the dating scene is a breeze. The top three assumptions that single parents encounter are that they don’t have the time or energy to dedicate to dating (34%), that their life must be very complicated (32%), and that they’re looking for a co-parent over a romantic partner (32%). 

Results also revealed that more than half of single parents (57%) are now embracing their silly side more than before they had kids. They’re also more cautious (60%), open-minded (49%), and confident (32%) than they previously were in life.

Respondents also outlined other ways they’ve evolved since becoming parents. Those include feelings of increased bliss, such as, “I am way happier than I have ever been.” Others are becoming more mature, stating they’ve “become more responsible and accountable.”

parent child
(Photo by Bruno Bueno from Pexels)

That’s only one side of the picture, however, as a little more than half (51%) are less tolerant of drama, and 25 percent say they are less critical of their body. This may stem from the fact that a whopping 80 percent believe that becoming a role model to their child means that they need to hold themselves to higher dating standards than before they were a parent. 

“It’s important to note that single parents are people beyond their children. Dating is more than just looking for a co-parent or trying to squeeze it into a busy schedule due to societal norms,” says Chief Dating Expert for Stir, Rachel DeAlto, in a statement. “Single parents are looking for spontaneity, fun and love and they aren’t settling for less.”.

In general, single parents wish topics like life goals (55%), dreams for the future (51 %), pet peeves (33%), and sex or intimacy (26%) were brought up on dates more often. On the other hand, timeframes for talking about sex and having it vary.

Fourteen percent of respondents believe the right time to start talking about boundaries, sexting, or having sexual conversations is before you’ve met in person. Almost two in five (39%) will start those conversations within the first three dates.

When it comes to actually being physically intimate, 27 percent believe that they need to be in an exclusive relationship with that person. However, for almost one-third of respondents (31%), the first, second, and third dates aren’t entirely off the table.

“No matter what your timeframe for intimacy is, results show that single parents are dating for more than just sex,” adds DeAlto. “In fact, 57 percent of single parents say their favorite part about dating is simply having fun.”

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 single parents of children who are under 18 was commissioned by Stir between August 17 and August 23, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

About Sophia Naughton

Meet StudyFinds' Associate Editor, Sophia Naughton. Sophia graduated Magna Cum Laude from Towson University with a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication directly focused in journalism and advertising. She is also a freelance writer for Baltimore Magazine. Outside of writing, her best buddy is her spotted Pit Bull, Terrance.

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1 Comment

  1. PJ London says:

    As I tell my wife, being my first wife is no big deal, we were young and stupid. What counts is being my last wife.
    57 years later, I still introduce her as my first wife.