Monday, 12 August 2013

Joining the dating scene as a single parent

As I mentioned in my previous posting, I've been single for nearly 5 years. During the early years I was more concerned with making sure my children weren't hugely affected by their dad no longer living at home, of course there were tears and tantrums, but we worked together and came through it. I know they are still upset about their dad no longer being involved in their lives but they are happy, confident kids. We have been living in our new house for 3.5 years and they have settled fantastically.

About a year ago, I decided that I'd like to join the dating scene, but had no clue where to start. I began filling up my diary with nights out with my friends in the hope of meeting someone, but I mostly found there are 2 types of men you meet on a night out: Mr-One-Night-Stand or Mr-Married-But-Pretending-To-Be-Single. Unfortunately I met both of them and I came out the other side feeling used and upset.

Being a single parent, I don't get the opportunity to get out and about to meet people as often as I like, after a few dating disasters a friend suggested online dating. Of course, my first reaction was very much like the vast majority of the British nation, it would be full of weird and desperate men, would people judge me on having to resort to meeting guys online? Why is there such a stigma attached to online dating? Why is it such a taboo?

My curiosity got the better of me and with much reluctance, I signed up to a dating site. I took the time to write a nice profile and include a recent picture of myself smiling and happy, just as they suggest...then I sat and waited. Within the next few hours I was inundated with messages, some were basic 'Hi' others were a bit more in depth, some were a bit on the vulgar side. I got to grips with weeding out Mr-One-Night-Stand and after a few days of messaging back and forth with a guy, I arranged to meet them. In the past few months, I've had some great dates with some fantastic guys but for one reason or another it hasn't worked out. No spark, I like him but he doesn't like me, He likes me but I don't like him.

Just recently, I went on a great date with a lovely guy, we are very alike, only time will tell if that's a good or bad thing, we laugh about the same thing and are both big geeks, it's only very early days yet but I'd like to see where this takes me.

My verdict with online dating: it's a great way of meeting guys, you can chat via messaging from the comfort of your own home, you can be upfront and honest about what you're looking for before even thinking about meeting them, most of the men I met were in a similar position to me; single parents with not much time for a social life. However, I would always advise to exercise caution when giving information or arranging to meet someone online, we hear horror stories about how easy it is to create fake profiles and lure people in with a fake persona. My advice would be:

  • Meet somewhere public, like a restaurant or a pub.
  • Do not upload pictures or send pictures which include your children (for obvious reasons).
  • Tell a trusted friend what you are doing, where you are going and who you are meeting. You can contact them or have them check in with you to make sure everything is going ok.
Dating as a single parent is hard, but there are a lot of genuine guys out there, who are happy to work around children and commitments. Do any of you have dating horror stories or dating successes? I'd love to hear them.

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