Dating can be a minefield when you are single with kids. But at the same time, there’s never been a better time to date – it’s easier than you might think to meet like-minded people, and an added bonus is that you’re an older and wiser version of your younger dating self (probably!). Here are our top 10 single parent dating tips, all in one place.
Read on for the 10 things you need to know that are going to make dating as a single parent SO much easier…
Dating again after a divorce or separation can be a huge step. You might be worried about repeating past mistakes, getting hurt or seeing your children hurt.
One of the best ways to know if you are ready to date as a single parent is to look at the current relationship you have with yourself – if you don’t appreciate, love and nurture yourself, then you will have difficulty sustaining a loving, nurturing relationship with someone else.
If you feel like you’re not there yet, that’s fine. Spend a bit of time doing things for YOU – maybe rediscovering old hobbies, finding new interests, reconnecting with old friends and maybe meeting new friends who are also single parents on a free community like Frolo.
Dating success doesn’t mean finding a partner for life, it’s all about getting to know an interesting new person and having fun on this date, that’s it!
The only thing you need to decide at this stage is whether you’re enjoying yourself and whether you want to see this person again. If you’ve made that decision, you’ve had a successful date.
If you’re feeling anxious about dating, plan a date that is as stress-free for you as possible – try something close to home, inexpensive and not too time consuming.
Meeting for a coffee and a walk in the park is far less demanding than going somewhere fancy for dinner. If you can fit something in without needing a babysitter, that’s another level of stress avoided.
When you’re dating, you’re not going to be perfectly matched with every person you meet – sometimes they’ll like you more than you like them and sometimes vice versa. Rejection might also come in the form of people not returning your ‘likes’ or matches. This can be emotionally triggering if you’re a single parent who’s recently experienced rejection but please remember this:
EVERYONE experiences rejection sometimes. If it doesn’t work out it doesn’t mean anything bad about you, so see if you can separate your self-worth from what other people think of you. You are an awesome, resourceful, strong, arse-kicking single parent and you rock! Stop thinking about whether you're right for someone else, and start thinking about if they are right for you. This way it won't be about rejection, as you'll realise the people 'rejecting' you weren't right for you, either.
Time is precious when you’re a single parent and a video chat is a really effective way to assess whether you have enough in common with a person to want to take the time to meet then in person. A quick video call is also a great way to check someone looks like their pictures if you're using a dating app that doesn't use verification. Of course, this isn't a problem on Frolo Dating!
Be aware of red flags that might signify that someone isn’t a good match. Be aware of love bombing; if someone seems too good to be true, they probably are. Follow single mum and dating and relationships expert @lalalaletmeexplain who talks a lot about safety when dating, and has a host of tips in her book Block, Delete, Move On. Use an app like Frolo Dating where all users are verified so you can be sure people are who they say they are. Keeping yourself and your children safe is as always a priority.
You might not have a whole lot of spare time on your hands as a single parent – but don’t let that put you off dating. There will be other single parents in a similar situation and it may be that you have more phone or video dates than usual but that’s ok.
Don’t expect a mind-blowing, body-tingling spark from date one. Even if you only had an ‘ok’ time give it another chance. We are hard-wired to notice people’s faults first especially if we’ve recently had negative experiences as single parents.
Chemistry can take time to build and there are lots of other positives or green flags to look out – do you they respect and understand your time limitations as a single parent for example?
Every family is different, but if your children are young, they probably don’t need to know that you’re dating. Until both you and your new partner are sure you want to be in a committed relationship together, it’s usually better for your children not to meet that person.
If it’s appropriate you could tell your kids that you made a new friend and you want to see how things go. Never compare your new partner with their father/mother, or make any connections between the two.
They will understand all the complications that come with alternating weekends, tricky exes or whatever your particular single parent experience brings.
Plus you will never have to explain to them that your children will always come first and they will also never, ever see your kids as ‘baggage’ (yes that is a real thing).
Most of all, remember this has the potential to be a really exciting and positive time in your life – it might not be one you ever planned but embrace it and good things will come! Stay tuned for more single parent dating tips and stories.
Frolo Dating for single parents is now live!
Become a Frolo Dating Founding Member now by downloading the Frolo App and choosing Dating Mode.
To find out more, head over to our blog post ‘Everything You Need to Know about Frolo Dating’