The idea of online dating has always been quite daunting for me. Maybe it is because of the fear of rejection, of not being “attractive enough” for someone and being made to feel like that, simply by a swipe of a finger. Or, maybe it’s the fear of a date going really wrong. But what makes it increasingly daunting is the fact that I am a single parent.
Here’s what goes through my head when I nervously agree to meet someone: “Will they freak out when they find out I have kids? Are they just looking for fun and to try to get me in bed? Will they not ‘get it’ when I can’t be spontaneous and pack up for a day trip to the country unannounced?”
Half the time, I just avoid it all together, and hope that I will one day have that magical chance encounter with my future life partner; the magical “meet cute”. After all, It does happen and it can happen – but seemingly, only for a very lucky few.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some great, long-term relationships that come out of dating apps – the likes of Tinder, Bumble and Happn are popular for a reason. But as a single parent, there is more at stake – we can’t be as spontaneous or adventurous as we were before having children.
We have responsibilities and are juggling a million things at once. Our time is precious. We can, however, seek to meet and hopefully develop meaningful relationships with like-minded people. I believe it is our right – we deserve to find someone to be happy with, to share experiences with, to raise a family with and to meet someone who may (hopefully) become a (new) life partner. But how?
In a city where we are all extremely busy and overwhelmed by life and the fast-paced lifestyle from work to exercise, paying bills, getting the kids to their after school activities and fitting in a social life as well, it can become increasingly difficult to find the time for finding love.
We don’t walk around with stickers on our forehead stating our relationship status or what we are looking for, although it would make life a lot easier. I love a girls’ night out, when I can find the time and a sitter to look after my son, but what are the chances of meeting that someone on that night out? There isn’t a “single parents’ bar” or dedicated hangout.
To keep up to speed with all the latest opinions and comment sign up to our free weekly Voices Dispatches newsletter by clicking here
As a single parent looking for a meaningful relationship or a long-term partner, I would much rather date someone who is in the same boat, someone who understands what it means to be a parent and who would also hopefully have a sense of added responsibility about them.
They know you are not after a one night stand, they understand the “baggage” and what comes with single parenthood; and the stress that sometimes come with it – such as a difficult ex-partner or issues with raising the children.
In going into a date knowing that you are meeting up with another single parent, like I did, I knew I had already ticked off a few boxes to begin with. I knew that by setting out my terms from the outset, the person I was meeting wouldn’t be intimidated by the fact I had a child; in fact, they would be attracted to me because of it.
It worked for me – and now I know it’s worth us all being upfront about who we are and what we want. Nobody should ever have to “hide” their family set-up – my philosophy is: love me, love my children.
And that’s the happily ever after, right there, isn’t it?
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies