So I've been single since pretty much the start of my pregnancy and now my son is 15 months old so I feel like I have been single for a while, well I have been. But let's be honest for a long time you do not have the capacity either physically or mentally to even consider anyone else let alone dating. But I’d been thinking about it for a while and recently more and more. Lots of my friends are now having second babies or talking about and it puts it on your radar a bit, the fact that it’s not an option for you yet.
But it’s HARD meeting someone when you always have a 15 month old with you, I mean mainly because everyone assumes you already have a partner with a baby that young!
So what are your options? Same as everyone else these days I guess...you go online. I have always resisted online dating, not because I think there’s anything wrong with it but because I think it is a bit of a strange superficial environment where I would struggle to be myself. I think I am much better in person, aren’t we all? Probably not but a lot of us are. People say really boring shit online that I’m not sure they say offline, like ‘I go to the gym’ or ‘I like nights out but also nights in’ and every single person loves travelling. It’s not that I don’t like travelling but it’s just really bloody obvious stuff. People also say really weird stuff like ‘looking for my partner in crime’ and ‘someone to go on adventures with’ but more on this later.
Firstly, I paid. I paid a months subscription of a not so small amount. I paid because I thought it might improve my experience slightly, enhance my chances, I am skeptical after all and I thought the best way to be proved wrong was to throw money at it. My logic was if other people are paying, they’ve got to be invested right? Not so much. I mean I do think you get far less rubbish and inappropriate stuff than some of the other sites from what I’ve heard. I had a few people who were a bit iffy but nothing super offensive. No dick pics so far.
Despite paying and despite their name this particular website does have a few flaws in their matching process. I get matched a lot, suggested profiles and ‘matched to their criteria’ with guys who do not want to date women with children. I mainly respect this choice, after all you can do this online and for many people that’s one of the perks but its boring and frustrating to be matched with people who have an issue with me having a child.
Admittedly I didn’t put much in my profile initially and to everyone’s defense on these things it’s actually really hard to write reflective and interesting stuff. I didn’t want to be defined by being a mum so I chose not to talk about it much on my profile but I did want to be upfront about it so I did add to my bio. People ignore this. So I had lots of people ‘favorite’ me who had explicitly chosen to put they didn’t want to meet a woman with children. What do you do? Especially if other than they seem alright? I never knew whether to ask them about their decision to favourite me, slightly challenge them or just ask, have you read my profile?
I also had people being like so what you up to this evening, do you wanna go for a drink….erm I’m watching iggle piggle go to bed and then I am going to pick up all the bits of breakfast, lunch and dinner from around my house, watch Emmerdale and probably go to bed.
So I took the step and wrote an ‘advert’, I was tempted to list all the things I am not and don’t do but I’d seen other guys do this and thought it sounded a bit ranty and angry so I kept it light and mainly positive but I did add that ‘I unfortunately can’t be anyone's partner in crime because I have a small child and ending up in prison would be really inconvenient’. I think I just needed to be brave and mention my son in the ad because he is extremely significant and takes up most of my life so why hide this, why be ashamed of it, that is the reality of my life but also in the hope it would weed out some of those people who don’t want someone with kids, who doesn’t really understand what it’s like and who isn’t really that serious.
On the point of not really understanding what it’s like, at first I was drawn to people with children because I thought well at least they get it. I soon realised was a mistake, this does not make you compatible also in the limited experience I have had with the small amount of men I chatted to with children it wasn’t the same. Their children didn’t live with them, they weren’t watching in the night garden whilst they sent me a message, their children were generally older, they could go on dates and out for drinks whenever they wanted. Yes they had children but children were not tugging at their ankles every time they picked up their phones, that was the reality. Just because they had children didn’t make their experiences, challenges and priorities the same as mine. This might be a slightly unfair impression and I think the sample size of guys I spoke to with children is too small to make a generalisation but in my limited experience it just didn’t feel that significant that they had children where as it is for me. I wonder how the mothers of their children are all getting on with dating again….
As mentioned before I think its ok that men have the preference of not wanting to date women with children although I find it frustrating and boring that I keep getting matched with people who had this preference and they lots of guys would message me despite this being their preference and me stating clearly on my profile that I had children. But what I did mind was when I came across profiles of men (of which I did a fair amount) that said things such as ‘Just a normal guy, no kids, no baggage, no drama’. Like fuck off mate, my kid aint baggage and he ain’t drama. There’s a reason you’re 46 and still baggage free my friend. Can you tell I hate them?!
I wanna end this positively and not on a rant about how hard it is to date as a single parent. I have helpfully provided some feedback to said dating website and suggested they improve and further develop whatever tool it is they use to match people, it is not intelligent enough currently.
I have mentioned my son in my ad and stated I have children in the bio section and so I’m definitely not shying away from it. I have received less interest generally but that’s ok, that means there is more chance of connecting with someone right eventually (I hope) and it’s not a numbers game for me (I don’t have the time to keep up with that much inappropriate interest).
In terms of going on dates I think there are ways around this, so when people have asked me really early on I have suggested coffee during my working days near my office which is conveniently in the City. If people want to meet outside of this then they have to wait a bit longer for me to get to know them and basically know if its worth my arranging a babysitter for. I think this is fair but needless to say I haven’t had any dates yet. But I am hopeful. I am hopeful that even if I don’t meet anyone right now or via online dating that I am in a place where I can start thinking about it and if anything the online dating experience so far has taught me its hard (no shit Sherlock) but not impossible and I have a much better idea about what I want and definitely what I don’t.
Are you a single parent dating? Have you been online? What are your experiences? I wanna hear from you. Got any tips or advice, get in touch.