Dating as a Single Mum
Dating as a single mum
Dating in 2019 is hard enough as it is, but dating as a single parent is a whole other ball game. I remember my own very tactful, Mother asking me when I split up with my husband if I was worried that I would end up alone. She told me it was an awful lot for someone to take on and that a lot of people would find it very difficult to deal with another man’s children.
If I’m completely honest, dying alone in a house and being half eaten by Alsatians a la Bridget Jones really wasn’t something that I was concerned about until it was actually said. What if I didn’t fall in love again? What if I never met anyone? Then I poured myself a wine, turned up Beyonce, had a kitchen disco for one and pulled myself together. Dating as a single parent doesn’t make you any different from any other single person out there. We all want to find someone and you deserve the same opportunities as everyone else.
You’ve just got to get out there
I’ve had my fair share of dating disasters and had my heart stomped on a few times during the highs and lows of dating as a single mum but I’m still here to tell the tale.
There was the super manly one that I thought had been sent to rescue me but turned out to have a secret girlfriend of ten years, the one that turned out to have a huge drug problem and the one who hated my son…I could go on but they all taught me something and I don’t regret any of them. Now there’s the one who constantly has me laughing until it hurts and does it for me on levels I didn’t know I had. Patience pays off.
If you’re thinking of taking the plunge then here are my top tips to ease you back into the dating scene:
Be upfront about your children and what you want from the relationship at the start. Never apologise for being a Mum. If you’re having to hide the realities of your life to attract someone then they’re not for you. I don’t mean your secret Made in Chelsea and popcorn binges in your pants, I’m talking about school runs, nappy changing, burn out, money and how often you can realistically go out. Whether you want something serious, or just someone to give you flutters be straight up without worrying about being rejected. If they can’t cope with your reality, then thank them and send them on their merry way. They’re not for you.
Try internet dating
My Tinder heyday was my first toe dipping back into dating, and it really gave me my confidence back. Apps and websites are a great way to meet people and have a good flirt when you’re in the comfort of your own home, especially when getting a babysitter costs a fortune and finding one who’s available when you actually have plans is a small miracle. They’re also a great way of working out what you like and don’t like and it’s quite empowering to say “no, that’s not for me.” (This also includes finding the best comebacks for the unsolicited photos that will be coming your way!) Your mates will also enjoy a bit of swiping on your behalf and hearing your stories! I had a whatsapp group to share the really entertaining ones.
Remember who you were
Remember the you that didn’t use a ‘Mum voice’, eat leftover food off people’s plates and could leave the house without any drama? Find her! She’s still in there. Separating the Mum bit of you from the girl that used to neck tequila in All Bar One stood on a table can be unbelievably hard, especially when teamed with the good old ‘Mum Guilt’ but they’re both you! One of the huge hurdles to get over when starting to date is restoring your self confidence which will most likely have had a battering after a break up. Set some time aside each week to do something just for you that makes you feel good, whether that’s a long bath or hanging out with your best mates. It really does make a difference.
Find the balance
This is the thing that I found the hardest. If you find someone who you really like and things start to progress, trying to deal with the first flush of romance when you want to be in eachother’s grill all the time combined with the restrictions of being a single parent can be hugely frustrating. Fancy a last minute weekend away or drink after work? Um, nope, I’m a mum which means zero time for spontaneity. Your dating shouldn’t impact your time with your children but you will find trying to be everything to everyone can be exhausting. Call in favours for babysitting and indulge in a bit of good old fashioned romance with late night phone calls and messages when you can’t get out of the house.
My final piece of advice if you’re getting back out there as a single parent is to just enjoy the process. You will fall in love again. You will most likely get your heart broken again. There will be highs and lows. You will have awful dates and amazing ones. Great sex and disappointing sex. You will have brilliant stories (and screenshots!) for the group chat. Focus on the other fabulous things in your life by keeping your metaphorical cup full to the brim of things that make you happy, and then anyone else who happens turns up will just be the cherry on top.