Single parent dating can feel like a minefield – you’re worried about when to talk about kids, you many have taken a knock from a separation and when exactly are you meant to even find the time? Dating Coach Hayley Quinn shares some top tips with Frolo around how to date confidently as a single parent.
Single parenting dating can rarely be described as ‘easy’.
Add in a global pandemic and, if you’re on a quest to find love, it can feel like you’re being faced with a huge challenge.
The past year has been tough on all of us, and for the single parents out there, juggling homeschooling, full-time jobs, and precious little sleep, it’s been like running a tough mudder marathon of over-commitment.
With kids back in school though, perhaps now it’s time to reclaim a little ‘you time’ and start dating.
As a dating coach and mum of one, I want to give you a few tools to get back out there in a way you’re actually going to enjoy.
I know dating as a single parent can often feel like a chore: jostling away up there with applying for your next freelancing gig or getting a coveted Sainsbury’s delivery slot, so our first steps are about taking the drudgery out of dating.
Dating can be motivating and fun: but it starts with your approach to it.
Have realistic expectations
Parents, especially single parents, are capable of performing crazy feats of time management, but as many a cheesy song will tell you, love isn’t on a schedule.
I know how tough it can be when you have so little time to give up a precious amount of it for someone else. This inevitably leads to pressures in dating: whilst ‘flaking’ (the modern habit of cancelling on people last minute) is aggravating to every person, if it’s your one child free moment that week, it’s enough to flip even the sanest person into full blown rage.
Unfortunately, we can’t control if someone cancels last minute, but we can give you an action plan to deal with it so it doesn’t ruin your week.
First of all, if someone ditches out on your date, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a fun evening anyway. See it as a sign from the universe to give yourself some self care: whether that means doing some yoga, your favourite takeout or catching up on the rugby highlights.
Secondly, have realistic expectations for that first date. If you expect sparks to fly and they don’t, it’s easy to chalk that experience up to wasted time. Instead, give your feelings time to grow, and don’t expect anything more than to learn something new about someone else. (And yourself!)
If someone ditches out on your date, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a fun evening anyway. See it as a sign from the universe to give yourself some self care.
Finally, if someone doesn’t respect your time, no matter how great they look on paper, give them a next. You, more than anyone, deserves someone who understands how precious that time is to you.
Remember everything is a filter
Above and beyond any hot date, what’s really important to your long term happiness is that you keep finding the motivation to date. Sooner or later you’re going to meet someone incredible, so it’s about you staying sane along the way.
I’m not going to lie: plenty of dating experiences can feel demotivating! Whether it’s those flaky dates, that your expectations aren’t met, or that you’re just not meeting people who want the same kind of relationship as you. So it’s important for you to develop a good mindset around how to deal with these curveballs when they come crashing into your week.
A good mindset to help with this, is to remember that everything is a filter. Let me explain.
They cancel last minute? They don’t want the same kind of relationship as you? Then they’ve just filtered themselves out of the running to be your partner. Instead of feeling like you’ve lost out, remind yourself it’s actually a good thing – you’re clear on what you want, and it’s freed up your time to keep momentum going until you find that awesome person!
You (and your kids) are awesome
Probably the biggest filter you have as a parent is how potential partners accept and respond to your single parent status. It goes without saying that loving and supportive partners make all the difference to your life! This is why it’s really important that you introduce the topic of your kids in a way that is transparent and positive.
If you have an online dating profile, make sure that you include a mention of your kids. You don’t need to put this in the first line of your profile (because you are an individual outside of your children!) but include a light hearted reference elsewhere, ‘I have 3 teenagers that keep eating all the food in my house and calling me dad…’ ‘My daughter is the light of my life, and probably smarter than me already…’
This communicates clearly what your priorities are, but the light hearted tone shows that beyond everything, you are comfortable with your single parent status.
Remember, whilst dating a single parent may not be for everyone, (hello filters!), there are many people out there who will see your love for your children (and incredible time management skills) as a major plus for your life.