Written by Vicki Pavitt, Match’s Dating Expert
Get into a positive dating mindset
Inspiration is key on any journey of change and the journey of finding love is no different. Get inspired by checking out the success stories on online dating sites to remind you that if it can happen for them, it can happen for you. Spend time with couples that you know, whose relationships really motivate you to find something similar and write about what you admire When you’re feeling inspired about dating, you’re more likely to feel positive and optimistic about the journey ahead. And a ‘positive dating mindset’ is a mindset for dating success.
Take the pressure off those early interactions
When your time is limited and precious, you want to make sure that what you’re investing into dating is worth it. But be careful not to slip into ‘interviewer mode’ on your dates, which puts a huge amount of pressure on the whole experience of getting to know a new person. You may ultimately be dating to help you to meet your future partner but try to relax your expectations in the beginning and see dating as a way to get out there and meet new people. Keep things light and start with simple coffee dates to take the pressure off those early interactions. If you’re not feeling a spark then you can leave it there after the coffee but if you are, then you can arrange that second date with confidence.
Be honest about yourself and your life with children, in a way that is celebratory and unapologetic. One of the great things about online dating is that you can write this in your bio. Research by Match found that 25% of single parents in Britain worry that having children will put off prospective dates and it’s true, some people will be put off but those aren’t the people for you. The more authentic you are (in your online profile and beyond), the easier it is for your date to recognise you as their match. It’s actually a great filtering tool!
Recruit a dating wing woman
There’s no denying the fact that modern dating can be hard and challenging at times and that as a single parent, you may be experiencing more pressure than most. This is why having access to support will be invaluable on your dating journey. Ask a friend (someone who is positive and optimistic and who thinks it’s a great idea that you’re dating) to be your dating wing woman. She can lift your spirits when you need a boost and she can cheer you on when you’re out there dating.
Prioritise your love life
Research by Match found that 35% of British single parents haven’t been on a date in over a year (with 45% saying they never date), but despite this, 45% of them said they would like to find a long-term partner. One of the biggest barriers holding them back? Not having enough time to date. If this is you then work with the limited time that you do have. You could do 5-10 minute ‘online dating workouts’ where you respond to messages and ask your dating wing woman for help with more time-consuming things like writing your profile. You can also keep first dates short (you might even want to arrange a quick phone call before you agree to meet in real life). Match also found that finding suitable childcare holds single parents’ back from dating .To conquer this, Match have partnered with online childcare platform Yoopies to offer three hours free babysitting until September the 30th.
Give up the guilt
Dating can be an incredibly fun way of investing in yourself and the opportunity to reconnect your needs and desires (outside of your role as a parent). Choose to release feelings of guilt and see dating as your time to have some fun and enjoy meeting new people. What is good for you is good for your child.
Feel the fear and go for it anyway
Whether you’re brand new to the dating game or you’re getting back into it after being out of it for a while, it’s normal to feel nervous and scared in the beginning, but the more you get out there, the easier it will become. Invite in a big dose of courage and compassion towards yourself. Remind yourself that courage isn’t the absence of fear but the ability to act in spite of fear and it’s not about being fearless when you’re dating (does that even exist?) but feeling the fear and going for it anyway. An act of courage is an act of love. And lastly, be gentle, take it slow and be incredibly kind to yourself along the way. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀