single mums

Dating and single mums – eharmony and Mumsnet

Dating  |  April 5, 2021

Single mothers face a disproportionately difficult time in finding new romantic relationships, according to this 2021 study carried out by eharmony and parenting website Mumsnet. But almost three-quarters say online dating makes this process easier. eharmony and Mumsnet interviewed an exclusive panel of 1,000 single mums in the UK and investigated in depth the challenges faced by women raising children on their own. Just over half (55%) of those surveyed reported they had only started dating five years after their last serious relationship. Prejudice aside, their main challenge is finding the time (87%) to get back out there.

Dating and relationships among UK single parents

Neither agree or disagree

Single mothers have a harder time dating than single fathers

Single parents lack opportunities to find someone to date organically in person

n = 1,001; Percentages rounded; supported

Attitudes to dating among single mothers

Three-quarters of single mothers with online dating profiles say they mention having children on their profiles. Many say this is because they don’t want to waste time speaking to potential matches who would be put off when they discover they have children. Over two-thirds of mothers say this has happened in the past.

Neither agree or disagree

I feel being a single mum has put off potential partners in the past

I worry about how much I should talk to a date or new partner about my children

n = 1,001; Percentages rounded; supported

Barriers to dating among single mothers

A majority of single mums say they struggle to find the time for dating, as most have to juggle the demands of their jobs and childcare. Many more say they cannot afford the costs of childcare that would allow them to meet potential partners.

% who agree

I don’t have the spare time to find potential partners

I don’t have time to look after my children and go on dates

I struggle to find childcare to allow me to go on dates

Custody arrangements with my ex make it harder to find dates

I can’t afford childcare to allow me to go on dates

My child/children find it difficult or don’t want me to go on dates

n = 1,001; Percentages rounded; supported

Ex-partners rarely make it easy for single mums

A majority of single mothers say they are responsible for a much greater share of childcare than their ex-partners and it’s often a major barrier to their search for a new partner. Fewer than one in five (17%) mums say their ex-partner would be willing to take on a greater share of childcare to allow them to go on dates, while more than half (53%) believed their ex would refuse to look after children if they knew it was to facilitate a date.

single mother


of single mums think their ex-partner would not agree to look after the children to allow them out on a date


of single mums say arrangements with their ex-partner mean they take on most of the childcare

Attitudes to children among dating partners

Most single mothers prefer to mention they have children in the very early stages of conversation with a potential new partner – 84% say they would make it clear before a first date and 79% would make it clear on their online dating profile. However, there is a lot more hesitancy about introducing a new partner to their children. Over half (56%) say they would not do this until at least six months to a year after meeting a new partner.


Over one in five UK single mothers have encountered negative attitudes towards their being a parent on dating apps

Study information
  • Study typeSurvey
  • ApproachOnline survey
  • Sample Size1001
  • Reference Period2017-2021
  • InstituteMumsnet
  • Region/City/CountryUK
  • LanguageEnglish