Dating is never easy, especially when you throw kids into the mix. Not only do you have to make time to find potential dates, but you also need to make sure that the people you meet are open to dating a single parent.
Now, if you’re ready to jump into the world of online dating, we know how intimidating it can be, especially with all the myths surrounding it floating around.
That’s especially true if you’re new to the online dating game. To help you out, here on some tips to help boost your success and help you keep your sanity.
1. Know What You Want
If you’ve never tried online dating, knowing which app to download can be overwhelming. There are thousands of apps out there, so how can you know which one is for you?
Before you do anything else, you should know what you’re looking for and how deeply you want to get involved.
Are you seeking a relationship or occasional companionship? Do you have a particular type of partner in mind? Do you have niche needs or preferences?
Knowing where your priorities lie is key to choosing the app that will serve you best.
2. Do Your Research
Once you know what you’re looking for, it’s time to do some research. Begin by reading some well-researched reviews of dating apps to give you a better idea of which apps are worth your time and money and which aren’t.
Articles worth reading will either recount the writer’s personal experience or will be a list of the most popular dating apps with the pros and cons of each.
No matter which style of article you’re reading, be sure it gives plenty of detail and comes from a well-known, authoritative site.
Making a list while you’re reading can help you to compare the apps you’re interested in. To narrow down your choices list the positives and the drawbacks of each app and compare your needs to each.
3. Show Off Your Best Features
Once you’ve selected and downloaded an app, focus on how your online dating profile looks. You should choose at least three flattering pictures that show you looking your best.
Your main profile pic should be a headshot, not a selfie. If you don’t have a photo that works, ask a friend or family member to take your picture. Make sure you’re well-groomed and find a spot with a lot of natural light.
The rest of your photos should show off something about you that you’re proud of. You can use a cool travel photo, a nice shot of you while engaging in a hobby, a photo of you and your pet, or a full-body photo of you wearing a nice outfit.
4. Craft a Unique Profile
With the pictures taken care of, it’s time to get to work on creating a profile that will grab potential match’s attention while still being authentic.
Although most sites don’t require you to fill out a ton of information, it’s worth the time it takes to complete your profile.
If you don’t take the time to show fellow singles who you are, unless you’re drop-dead gorgeous, your profile may not get as much attention as it should.
Be positive and talk a bit about yourself as well as what you’re looking for in a partner.
You can also be upfront about being a single parent. While there are many singles who are open to dating someone with kids, for some, it’s a deal-breaker.
You don’t want to waste your time and interest on someone if it will never work out.
5. Make Dating a Priority
Life as a single parent is busy. Between looking after your kids, work and all the other little chores that crop up as part of running your household, you’re likely exhausted by day’s end.
That’s why it’s so important to make dating, and yourself, a priority. You deserve to have adult time and someone to share it with.
Luckily, you don’t have to go out on the town anymore to find someone. Dating apps make it easy to spend an hour or two after the kids are in bed chatting with and getting to know potential matches.
So carve out some time for yourself each night and relax on the couch while meeting some great people.
6. Talk First, Meet Second
While talking on the phone might seem so 2010, it’s actually a really good idea for online daters, especially if they’re single parents. Talking on the phone first, or video chatting if you’re comfortable with that, will give you a way to screen potential dates before committing to going out with them.
Talking on the phone or by video chat will give you a much better feeling of who each potential date is. After all, it’s much easier to hide one’s true self online than it is through actual voice contact.
By talking first, your gut should tell you if they’re worth hiring a babysitter for. Who wants to shell out for child care only to find out the person is a dud, or worse, a creep?
7. Take Your Time
Don’t be in a rush to find a date and don’t have any set expectations about how long it should take. Online dating should be fun.
But if you’re in a rush to find a relationship, you won’t enjoy the process and it will quickly become stressful.
Once you’re ready to meet someone in person, wait for an evening when you have time to devote to the date. Make sure you can book a babysitter and then clear your schedule of all other commitments. Engage in a little self-care before your date.
If the date goes well, that’s amazing. If it doesn’t, don’t try to force it.
You should never feel pressured to go out with someone again if it doesn’t feel right—or, even worse, because you don’t want to be alone.
8. Balancing Family and Relationship
If you’ve met someone you really enjoy spending time with and want to pursue a relationship, remember, balance is key.
As a single parent you need to be able to balance your children’s needs to be with you with your own to be in a healthy adult relationship.
Your new flame needs to understand that you’ll always be a parent first and a lover second. Your kids also need to be secure in the knowledge that they aren’t losing you.
Striking that perfect balance ensures harmony both at home and in your new relationship.
9. The Kid Equation
Speaking of new relationships, don’t be in any rush to introduce young children to your date, even if you’ve gone out several times.
You definitely don’t want to risk your kids bonding with your significant other and then not have it work out. That can leave children sad and confused.
Even if your kids are teenagers, meeting a potential love interest can be tough. So take things slow and let your teens adjust at their own pace.
As a parent, you must also be prepared to pull the plug on a relationship if your kids and your significant other don’t mesh. You can’t force your kids to like the person you’re dating any more than you can make your date care about your kids.
So if the relationship between your children and your mate isn’t working, you need to be ready to deal with your disappointment and call it quits.
Dating as a single parent takes time, effort and commitment. But with these tips, you’re sure to have success while keeping balance in your family life.