Whether you’re taking a second chance at love, or are yet to find your perfect partner, approaching the dating scene is daunting enough, let alone when you’re juggling other, more demanding priorities such as a job, friends and kids. Claire Certain, Head of Trends and Dating Expert at Happn shares how to get back into the dating world.
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The pressure point I hear most from single mums is that they just don’t have enough time to search for potential love interests, let alone spend days or evenings going on dates – and that’s not even factoring in other logistics such as childcare if they do eventually progress to a dating scenario!
Fortunately, time-saving tools are available for those of us who find it all a bit much, but still have the yearning for human connection that doesn’t involve nappies, children’s play-dates or idle chat with a colleague over the coffee dispenser. That’s right – I’m referring to dating apps, which are actually incredibly useful tools because they can quickly and easily cull and refine potential crushes based on what you want in a partner, such gender, age and geographical location. What’s more, it’s easy to scan the profiles of other users to establish common interests and identify characteristics, meaning you don’t have to waste any time pursuing a dead-end.
Like many single mums I talk to, you’re probably thinking online dating is way too ‘techy’, ‘cool’ or ‘young’ for you, but in reality, users over 40 years old index very highly.
In light of this, I’ve put together my top 5 (time-saving) tips for single mums looking to set up a dating app profile:
First thing’s first – before you even open a dating app, ask yourself if you’re ready to give your time to someone else besides your children and family. This will help avoid disappointment and hurt later down the track if you realise you’re not ready to juggle these emotional commitments. If the answer is no, there’s no reason to give up completely, just reassess in a month or two!
Don’t stress, just keep it light-hearted
It may have been a while since you were last on the dating scene and it’s easy to forget how to be yourself. The important thing is that your profile provides a quick summary about who you are; whether it’s brief, witty, poetic or cryptic, it just needs to convey a bit about your interests, hobbies and lifestyle. In the same vein, your photos should include a mixture of profile and lifestyle shots that give other users an understanding of you as the unique, fun, individual that you are! Most-crushed profiles usually have a combination of 5 high quality, colour photos, with some that clearly show your face (ideally smiling!) and others showing you engaging in hobbies, with friends or outdoors.
Be upfront and honest
It’s important to be open and honest on your dating profile about being a single parent, as it ensures you are being true to yourself from the beginning, which will mean no tricky conversations later down the track. This doesn’t mean you have to post a photo of your kids on your profile, or talk about them in any detail – whatever feels most comfortable for you. You should also continue this theme of honesty as you progress to chatting and dating your crushes; ensure your dates are aware of your obligations and boundaries, and that your kids’ needs have to come first. If they’re the right person for you, they will work with your commitments.
Remember to treat yourself from time to time – you don’t have to be a parent all the time!
When chatting on apps and going on dates, remember that not everything needs to be about your kids! After all, you’re a beautiful, vibrant individual, so there’s no reason why you can’t talk about your own interests, engage in a little flirtation and allow yourself to have some fun. If you’ve gone to the trouble of organising a date and locking in childcare, you should take the time to indulge in some me-time and make the night about YOU!
Communicate with your kids
If they’re an appropriate age, you may want to consider being open with them about any relationships that are getting more serious. How much information you share is up to you, but this is an opportunity to hear any concerns or questions they might have and provide reassuring answers. This will also help you gauge appropriate timings for important milestones like a partner meeting the kids. Just take it slowly and assess everyone’s comfort levels before making any decisions.