‘I just didn’t think I would fall in love again’ – not an unusual feeling after a divorce or separation. But Sarah had almost resigned herself to it just being her and her daughter after her relationship with her long term partner dissolved before their daughter turned one. As things settled into a routine though, she found herself thinking about dating again and turned to dating apps.
‘I had no idea what I was doing – I met my ex on a night out but I felt a bit too old for clubbing every weekend and, anyway, I have my daughter to think about.’ Dating after divorce: 7 divorcees and dating gurus share their advice Feelings were mixed though, and Sarah said the one emotion that she felt the most was guilt.
‘Guilty for moving on, for even thinking about dating, for potentially bringing someone new into our lives, the usual parental guilt.’ Sex and relationship therapist Lianne Young, from House of Ardent, said that while its usual to feel that way – don’t. ‘Becoming a single parent does not make you any different from any other single person out there.
‘You’re still human, and it’s natural to want to find sex, friendship, love, or whatever it is you are looking for. ‘Be confident and get out there. ‘Make the time for yourself and remember you are not just a mother or father. ‘You are a human being and deserve just the same opportunity as everyone else to find love.’
If you’ve decided to give internet dating a go, then you may be wondering whether to mention you have children on your profile or not. Clémentine Lalande, Co-CEO at Once dating, says it’s ultimately a personal decision.
‘Answering as a parent myself, with my children being a big part of my life, it wouldn’t be something I could hide. ‘I believe honesty is the best policy and would recommend a single parent always revealing that detail upfront.
‘Any trusting relationship starts with honesty from the very beginning. ‘A brief sentence in your biography is the easiest solution. Internet dating: baby steps (Picture: Getty) ‘It shouldn’t give a lot of personal information or reveal names.
For example: ‘I am the proud parent of a six-year-old boy and am looking for someone to share my future with’.’ However, when selecting a profile picture, there is one thing you should perhaps avoid – using pictures with your children.
‘Being a parent is a big part of who you are, so it is likely that your children feature in the majority of your recent photographs,’ Clémentine continued. International Day of the Midwife: 6 funny birth stories from parents that will leave you laughing and wincing
‘A lot of parents do want to show off their children on social media to friends and family, but dating apps are not the platform for this. ‘If you want to show you as a parent and use pictures with your children in, a distance shot is best for security – perhaps the whole family in the park.
‘Keep the close-up shots as just you for safety. ‘Just in the same way you would pay attention to who accesses your photo albums on Facebook.’ If you don’t want to reveal on your profile, when should you mention your children? Which is better for single parents?
Online dating Dating in real life Shilpa Gandhi, certified matchmaker and founder of introduction agency, Amare Exclusive, advised that honesty was the best policy. ‘Always ensure the person you are dating knows that you are a parent. It is a good way to root out the ones that aren’t right for you.
‘You may think having children is carrying extra baggage but they’re not. What should you do if you don’t enjoy your job (but you can’t leave) ‘You are a ready made family and the right person will feel lucky to have you all in their lives.’
Sarah found that the reaction men had when she said she had a child was surprising. ‘I’ve had men not bother message back when I’ve told them and when I was out with friends one of their acquaintances was chatting me up until I said I had a child.
‘It was rude but at least I knew not to waste my time.’ You also shouldn’t feel guilty about having to rearrange or cancel dates because of childcare. Shilpa explained there was nothing wrong with your child being your main priority.
‘The right person will respect you for it.’ Derek, who has been divorced for three years, has advice for when you were ready to move your online relationships into real life. ‘It’s likely they’ve got kids if they’re divorced or separated and using an app so one of the key issues to clear up is ‘Do your weekends sync up?’. ‘
By this I mean if you both have kids on the same weekend you’ll also have free weekends at the same time so that’s a great start. ‘Matches who are unlucky not to have this same chance situation will have to work harder to see each other!’ That could mean asking friends and family to help out with childcare or using a babysitter.
Shilpa added: ‘Always make time for yourself before a date. Time to move from parent mode to you mode. ‘Enjoy yourself. Parenting alone can at times be stressful. It is important to unwind and relax so that you can be yourself.’
Whether you are a single parent dating or not, it’s wise to follow some common sense rules to keep yourself safe. Lianne explained: ‘Make sure you follow some golden rules. ‘If possible, set up a separate email account for dating sites.
‘Never reveal your address until you have met the person a few times and you are sure they can be trusted. ‘Always meet on mutual ground such as a cafe or bar which you both know. ‘And always let someone know where you are and who with in the early days.’
You’ve downloaded the app, been on a few dates and maybe you’ve found someone who you can see a future with. Introducing your children to someone you’re seriously dating will be the next big step and one that Lianne advises shouldn’t be done on a whim.
‘At all costs, avoid the ‘revolving door’ syndrome. ‘Children deserve all the love, security, stability and respect you can provide. ‘Never forget your role as a parent takes precedence over anything else you may want to do.
‘Don’t subject your kids to the ‘revolving door’ syndrome where they meet a series of new dates, week after week. It is just not fair on the children. ‘Don’t introduce them to your children on the first date.
‘Leave it until you know you are both committed to the relationship. ‘Never lie to children. If it’s a new love interest, then tell them the truth. ‘I always suggest bringing a new partner into a conversation with your children in a low-key way so they are aware of the name and there are minimal expectations
‘We all feel happier when we are able to put a face to a name we have heard, and who we know something about. Children are no different.’ But there’s an elephant in the room. Or rather an ex in the background.
‘If you are on friendly terms with your ex, I suggest having a chat about it before new partners are introduced so you both adopt a consistent approach. ‘There is nothing worse than the ex arriving to pick up the children one weekend with a new partner in tow that you know nothing about.
‘It’s not fair on you and it’s not fair on the children. ‘If your ex has a new partner on the scene, I would insist on meeting her or him before they’re introduced to the children. ‘Of course, the same guidelines apply if you wish to introduce a new partner.
‘If you’re on less reasonable terms with your ex, and they won’t agree to this approach, ask them if they would ever leave the kids with a stranger – they wouldn’t. ‘So address the children’s safety immediately.’ For the moment, Sarah is just enjoying the process.
‘I’m happy, I have a fantastic child, a great group of friends so there is no pressure to find someone else. ‘My main piece of advice to other single parents is to have fun and enjoy the experience.’
Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2018/05/08/dating-divorce-date-single-parent-7517693/?ito=cbshare