Dating on its own is a challenge, but dating with kids is a whole different kettle of fish!
Being a single parent is hard enough, but throw in raising your children and getting back onto the dating scene and thats a whole different league of challenges. Here at Dadsnet we have teamed up with Frolo, the app bringing single parents together, to share some top tips for putting yourself back out on the market in a way that works for you and your family.
Time Is More Precious Now
I mean, anyone reading this will know that between having kids and working, you have very little time for anything else. And if you do have any spare time, it’s usually cornered for housework or extra sleep! So when it came to dating, before kids, you had pretty much all the time in the world (and energy) to put into a new relationship. Whilst that’s a luxury you just don’t have this time round, it can actually be a good thing…
It means you can streamline your choices; not just in who you date, but also where and what you do with them. If you have 1 night a week or even a month, to go on a physical date, you’re naturally going to be more considered & thoughtful about it which in turn can lead to a much better dating experience.
Another consideration is that it can be hard when your time without the kids doesn’t align with who you’re dating – schedules are hectic at the best of times and babysitters, as we know, can be expensive unless we have relatives on hand. But again, all of this just hones those choices and can ultimately make dating better.
It Might Go Wrong At Times, So…
Meeting someone is never easy and let’s face it the world is a minefield of potential hurdles. These hurdles, though, can be more critical when time is a commodity and you have children. With this in mind, there are some simple things you can do to mitigate potential challenges:
- Frolo is the worlds first user verified app for single parents. This means that you know who you’re speaking to is actually who you’re speaking to. It’s a fantastic USP of Frolo that enables you to stop wasting time with catfish and filter out those that don’t suit what you’re looking for.
- Speak on the phone or even better, a video call, before you meet up.
- Take things slow – busy parents are, well, busy. So there’s no need to rush into anything and forcing a date just ‘because.’ Time with your kids should always take priority. It will happen, you’ll get time at some point, and in the meantime keep chatting online.
Dating should be fun. Of course, as a single dad you’ll have added stresses & pressures but realistically, at the start of your journey you just want to grab a coffee or a drink with someone to see if you click; not pin them down for life! Just take the pressure off by asking yourself some simple questions from the get-go:
- Am I comfortable with this person?
- Do I fancy them?
- Am I having fun?
If the answers are yes yes yes then you know that this is someone you could spend more time with and get to know a little better. But initially, just have fun and take the pressure off.
It’s worth me mentioning that one of the biggest causes of stress when dating as a single dad is about whether or not to mention the kids. And when. By dating via Frolo you simply remove this stress altogether because, of course, everyone on the app is a parent so it goes without saying. Another friend of mine used to get himself so worked up about how and when to talk about his kids; often to his detriment.
I’d also encourage you to plan your date as stress-free as possible. Travel, location, time & cost all play a part when it comes to dating and depending on your situation can all cause stress. It’s worth spending time (especially when time is precious…) planning the date carefully and making good choices so you can focus on the 3 questions above and not whether you’re late for the last train home or how much dinner is going cost!
We all have red flags that indicate that perhaps the person we’re dating isn’t best suited; in fact, this is usually a fairly long list! For a friend of mine a genuine red flag was if they ever discuss conspiracy theories, which has happened to him! Anyway…
…Green flags are not given enough credit. It seems easy to know what we don’t want, but at the same time, important that we have a list of things we do want. And I’m not talking about looks (although yes, that is important) or careers or even personality traits, I’m talking about values & understanding. Here are some examples:
- Are they interested in you as a dad?
- But equally, are they interested in you as more than a dad?
- Do they have values that align with you and your kids?
- Do they understand your time pressures?
- How patient are they? (Because dating with kids is more of a meandering stream than a white water rapid!)
Obviously there will be some anomalies but also by dating another single parent, it’s likely that do have an element of all of these and this leads back to Frolo in that every member is a single parent of some description so straight off the bat you’re starting from a better position.
You Have Options
It can be easy to fall foul of judgement from others – either you’re setting a bad example to your kids by going on loads of dates or you’re too serious and too quick for your children. Instead of letting this effect you, set your own rules. Spend time to think about what you really want to do…
If that’s to put yourself out there and just have some flings, go for it.
If you want to explore your sexuality, absolutely fine.
If you’re keen to get serious and find someone to have more kids with, crack on.
You set the rules for yourself, no-one else.
What is Dating Success?
This is going to different for every dad, of course. But I would recommend to anyone reading this to work out what ‘success’ means to you before you jump in to the dating world. Success doesn’t necessarily mean finding a life-long partner on date 2. Or even date 22! When I started dating, success for me was whether I had a nice evening (or day) with good company.