Single Parents: Are You Ready to Start Dating?
This Post is Sponsored by eharmony
Dating. It sounds good in theory, right? I mean you get to spend a few hours speaking to other grown ups and there’s the potential for some fun and fulfilment too. But how do you know when you’re ready to start dating again? And how on earth do you make time for it as a single parent? You’ve already got so much other stuff to do and one or more small humans who are entirely dependent on you.
We know that many of our Facebook group members are single Mums or Dads. And it’s absolutely lovely to see them supporting one another through the challenges of single parenting, including dating. We see posts from newly single parents worrying that they won’t be part of a happy couple again. Our lovely group members also dish out first date advice to Mums about to head out the door and there are often posts asking for advice on when to introduce new partners to children too.
The truth is, single parent dating can be a bit of a minefield. But ultimately your happiness is important and no one can pour from an empty cup, right? If you’re thinking that now might be the time to start dating again, this post is for you. And you’re certainly not alone!
Bump, Baby & You Single Parents Looking for Love
We conducted a mini poll to check how many Bump, Baby & You single parents are ready to date and the results are in. We asked: Are you looking for love?
Yes – 45.7%
No – 27.15%
Maybe in the future – 27.15%
As you can see, nearly half of those polled told us that they were looking for love, but slightly more (54.3%) told us that they either weren’t looking or weren’t quite ready yet. If this sounds like you, what is putting you off taking those first steps?
Dating at any time has hurdles and everyone and their situation is different. It can take time for hurt to heal or to feel comfortable with the idea of potentially introducing someone new into your routine and maybe one day, your family. Practicalities like babysitters or making time for dates mean that dating as a parent can mean extra expense and planning. But if you’re keen to date and need tips or advice, you can be sure to find support from other Bump parents who have been there!
Navigating The World of Online Dating
Online dating is hugely popular with parents in our group. It offers a convenient way to meet new people but there are some things you might be wondering along with safety points that you need to be aware of.
Firstly, how soon should you tell prospective dates about your kids? We’d say it’s best to be up front and honest on your profile. Let people know that your child is your number one priority but you don’t need to share photos of your children on your profile, as it always pays to be mindful of safety when it comes to internet dating. You’ll find some excellent safety tips for online daters here. These include being wary of those who want to immediately chat on email or messaging service or ask for your home address to send gifts.
Revealing you have kids might put some people off, but are they really the people you’d want to date? To get the best possible matches, it’s important to be honest about yourself, your interests and what you are looking for. And being picky about the online dating platforms you use could also give you the edge.
We spoke to the experts at eharmony to get their top tips for successful dating as a single parent. You may have heard of eharmony before: it’s an online dating platform that uses detailed questionnaires to find matches that are a better fit for you. It bases matches on 18 different aspects of compatibility, so it offers you a little bit more than swiping left or right based on a couple of photos and a hundred word bio. This is good news for single mums and dads who want to do a bit of extra vetting because they don’t have time for bad dates.
Three Tips for Dating Success from Experts eharmony
Q: Dating as a single parent can be a completely different ball game to dating pre-children. What three tips would eharmony give single parents who would like to start dating again but are nervous or just don’t think they have the energy to go through it all again?
Tip 1: Let them come to you
If someone really likes you, they will understand you are busy and make an effort to plan many normal aspects of a relationship around your schedule. Instead of going out for dinner, maybe they will come to your house and cook instead. Don’t settle for someone who doesn’t understand that your family commitment come first
Tip 2: Have a strong babysitting team
It is important to have a strong circle of babysitters, friends and family members that you can trust to look after your kids, even at short notice. The more people you know who are willing to help, the less pressure you are putting on the same person to cover you when it comes to child care for your dates. Especially if the person who usually babysits is the other parent of your child (awkward).
Tip 3: Date other single parents
It may sound obvious, but apart from the added difficulty of syncing the schedules of two families at once the benefits of dating those in similar circumstances can be enormous. They’ll be understanding and patient about your situation and, further down the line, your dates can include kid-friendly activities so everyone can come along. Plus, you know they’re good with kids if they already have their own.
There is some great advice for dating from eharmony above but we’d just like to add a couple of super valuable tips we’ve learned from single parents in our group.
Leave your outfit ’til last
Don’t put your date outfit on until the very last moment. Toddlers and babies can’t be trusted not to create a need for you to change if you get ready early. Snot, sticky hands and baby sick can all force an outfit change.
Learn to prioritise yourself
Like all aspects of parenting, when you start dating you sometimes get advice or opinions you haven’t asked for. It’s great to have support from friends and family but only you know when you’re ready to date and that absolutely does not detract from how good a parent you are. We all put our little ones first, so don’t feel guilty if you want to spend a bit of time away from them getting to know someone new. If you’re ready to make the leap, you can sign up for an eharmony profile here.
Have you found happiness after dating as a single parent? We’d love to hear about your happy ending or to have your tips for dating. Leave us a comment below!