Dating is supposed to be an adventurous ride leading you to your one true love. But the reality is not so simple. It comes with a ton of ups and downs. Hope, happiness, excitement, anxiety, frustration, and whatnot. It is one thing when you are young and have a lot of time to make mistakes and undo them. But once you are more settled down in your life, dating gets trickier. Add a kid to the equation, and everything takes a backseat.
Once you become a parent, your child tends to become your top priority, as it should be. They take up all the love you have to offer. Your whole heart belongs to them. And when you are a single parent, you’ll find yourself being more protective of your kid, which demands more of your time and energy. But that does not have to mean you shouldn’t take care of your own needs and desires. Having someone in your life to love and be loved is not asking for a lot. It is the bare minimum. But somehow, that can sometimes seem selfish.
Dating can be a tad bit trickier for single parents, but it is not the end of the world. I know what you are wondering. How do you meet people, datable people, in a kid-centric space? I mean, it’s not like people hang out in zoos and playgrounds, looking for prospective matches. That’s where we come in. As challenging as dating might seem for a single parent, we have some fool-proof tips for you to glide through it and find the one.
#1 Let Friends Come To Your Rescue.
Asking for help can be embarrassing. Yes, it should not be, but several people have said the same. It is awkward to ask your friends and family to find you a date. What if they start judging you? You are, in fact, a parent; someone whose entire life should apparently revolve around taking care of their child. But trust me, not everyone thinks the same way.
You will have some dear ones in your life who think that you should have a world of your own, where you care about how you look and present yourself, and you also care about finding someone special to love, romantically. They always encourage you to put yourself out there and find your love. Everyone should get a shot at true love. Ask these friends and family members. Ask them to suggest you a person they think would be the best fit for you.
Once you become a parent, you are always a parent. That role in your life takes precedence over every other role you play. And your close friends know this and they also know how much your kid means to you. So, if you ask for their help finding you a date, they are more likely to keep in mind that anyone who comes into your life should accept and love your child first.
So stop worrying and ask once. What’s the worst that could happen? These are your people. They won’t be judging you. And even if they do, you know wanting to find true love is not a crime, single or single parent.
#2 Try Online Dating
As a single parent, chances are you spend most of your free time running around your kid, taking them to coaching classes, and several other extra-curricular activities. What you are certainly not doing is hitting the pubs and cafes where you actually have a chance at meeting someone cute and hitting it off with them. And here’s where online dating enters the scene. For someone with a very hectic schedule like yours, online dating apps can be the perfect place for you to enter or re-enter the dating pool.
Things to consider before jumping head-first into the online dating world:
1) Download a dating app that best suits your requirements. You can be looking for casual hookups or a serious relationship. Based on what you want, you can find different dating apps catering to varied needs. Some are more inclined towards casual flings. Their user base is mostly younger people with no inhibitions. And then there are dating apps catering specifically to people more interested in exclusive relationships. Since you have a child to care for, finding someone more stable would serve you best.
2) Once the “downloading the perfect app for you” part is done, you put your attention into creating an attractive profile. That means putting up your finest pictures, smiling ones to be precise. Find the most recent snaps that show you are busy in your favorite activity. Voila, you now have a display image that can do the magic!
Now, bio. It should be written with the 70-30 division in mind. You write 30% of it describing yourself so that when people come across your profile, they have a rough idea of who you are. And the remaining 70% should be about what kind of a person you are looking for and what exactly you expect from them. This part is critical. This part saves you from wasting precious time on people who won’t meet your criteria.
Now all you are left to do is find yourself the perfect match and set up a date. Who knows, maybe they will turn out to be your one true love.
#3 Don’t Start Until You Feel Ready.
This one’s a no-brainer, but people make this mistake way too often, and we don’t want you to follow their lead. Dating comes with some vices, as all good things do. Rejection is part and parcel of dating and can sometimes hamper your self-esteem. So, before you accept someone’s offer to take you out for dinner, or put yourself out in the online dating world, make sure you feel secure enough to face any unfortunate setbacks. The dating world can sometimes be cruel with its ghosting, catfishing, and downright misbehavior.
It is okay to feel a little nervous before re-emerging into the dating pool. You are not alone anymore. You are responsible for your children and their well-being just as much as you are accountable for yours. As a single parent who has recently been through a life-changing transition, the best bet is to take a beat and start only when you feel ready. Don’t let anyone push you into it too soon. After all, dating should help you feel joy, and you should be able to find that in your own time and pace.
#4 Tune Out The Guilty Conscience
Easier said than done. Yes, I know. But that’s the only way to find absolute happiness. And after all, you are just seeking love, not committing a crime.
But it is also natural to feel guilty for a multitude of reasons. For starters, for a long time, your kid has been at the top of your priority. Now that you are looking for another person whom you can hopefully love with all your heart, it can induce some guilt. The entire equation might give you a feeling that your kid is being neglected in the process of finding a partner. They had your whole heart and some more.
Just because you are or hopefully will soon be falling in love with someone, does not mean you still don’t love your child with your heart and soul. You should never feel guilty for wanting to have a personal life. You are not abandoning your child to find a partner. In fact, your child will benefit in the long run from seeing their parents in a solid romantic relationship. Children learn from observation. While you might think being a healthy role model for your kid is acting like a goody-two-shoes who doesn’t look at people romantically, it can have an adverse impact on their young minds. Also, your child should never have to worry about you being lonely.
#5 Brace For Judgments
It’s okay; let people judge you all they want. They will get tired soon and move on to something else. Their judgment is momentary, but if you decide to hold back your emotions and not cater to your needs, that will be permanent.
Shaming divorcees and single parents for wanting to have a healthy love life have been an age-old favorite pastime for some petty people. The whispers when you pass by, the side glances, the comments on your parenting, and worst, the unsolicited advice; it’s all too unchecked and abundant.
Judgments can come from people close to your heart. Those are the ones that hurt the most. But you can’t stop people from having an opinion, can you? They will tell you how inappropriate it is for you to openly date, or date at all when you have a child in the picture. One pro tip, ignore it all. Just trust your gut and remember, no one loves and wants the best for your child more than you. You will never put them in harm’s way.
As a single parent, chances are you are doing it all by yourself. While you are great at taking care of your kid, you must take care of yourself. It might seem selfish to the world, at times, even to you, but to love yourself and to want happiness is not greedy. Hoping to find love is not selfish.
Note: Image credit to unsplash.com