Before I was married, ‘dating’ wasn’t really a thing. The terminology was far more British. You went for a drink with someone, possibly had a bit of a snog, then if you met up again and the pattern continued – at some point you would have an awkward conversation about being boyfriend/girlfriend and then boom – you were hooked up!
Except we would never say hooked up.
Or ask if we were exclusive.
Back in the day it was easier, you were either going out or being packed in.
Fast forward to current day…
Meeting someone is anything but simple.
The terms have changed, the rules are different, the internet exists, and thanks to my single parent status – it is a whole new ball game.
I have learnt the new terminology, experienced the online world, can communicate in text talk – although I will never learn to like it. I don’t LOL – I am still capable of laughing out loud.
But I still have not really figured out how to combine dating with parenting. Dating can be sooooo much fun, if you can manage to get out of the house.
However, the obstacles you face as a single parent dating are bigger than a Toby Cavery’s supersize plate.
The first one being time.
I don’t have any.
Between work, football drop off, Brownie collections, parent’s evenings, swimming lessons, gymnastics clubs, PTA events, play dates, and the dog, I have approximately six hours spare a day.
I like to spend that time sleeping.
That ensures I don’t have to invest my life savings in concealer to mask the huge suitcases under my eyes.
So, if I do date – that dude has to feel like he may be something special, as he is cutting into my dream time.
The second one being cost
I am all for splitting the bill on a date. I am also happy, if I have asked the lucky man out, to foot the bill. I am also totally comfortable to let my date pay if they have invited me out.
However, I am not about bankrupting myself on a first date.
One dating nightmare involved the world’s dullest night with a chap who spent the whole time talking about his ex-wife, their daughter, and his two cats and their caravan. Upon first sight I realised the only way we would find a spark would be if someone shoved a piece of dynamite in my bra. But as I had a babysitter booked and was raised with good manners I tried to make the best of it.
I watched as he consumed a bottle of red and three courses, I had two courses and a Diet Coke. I also paid for a sitter for four hours.
He decided we would split the bill as I was clearly a woman who didn’t want a chauvinist pig. I explained he was right, but I was also looking for someone who didn’t need his booze paying for, and I popped a tenner on the table, made my excuses and left.
That one unsuccessful date had left me £30 lighter.
Then of course we have the issues of fibbing to the kids. If I put eyeliner on, my older pair immediately mug me for details of my evening destination. They try to catch me in a lie, with both of them convinced I am going for a date – and me less keen to share that information.
Then there is the dilemma of where to go….
Too close to home – you run the risk of bumping into people and having to explain away your date. Luckily we are not that Americanised as yet to simply be able to say ‘this is my date for the night’, but unluckily, we are all still stuck with introducing dates as ‘my friend, x,’ whilst blushing madly – therefore telling the world that we are indeed on a first date.
Too far away from home – well, then we are adding cost and time – again, not ideal!
And we have not even discussed the problem of finding a babysitter. God bless my mother, she is always on hand to help when she can, but then I have to say I am dating. Even at age 40 – I still like to have my secrets, and don’t need the parents to know every time I step out with a chap….
Chatting about single parent dating, with other single parents…
As a single parent you have a couple of solutions to the problem of dating.
One is to resign yourself to die alone, the second is to suck it up and just crack on.
Some help is on hand.
Match, a dating site, that in my opinion attracts the more normal gentleman, is dealing with some of the obstacles that single parents face. Currently they are offering 3 free babysitting hours via a service called Yoopies. Any new or existing Match member will be able to get a date night free with three free hours of babysitting, plus the usual membership fee to Yoopies waived. You can find more information here.
Not a bad idea – because falling in love is pretty epic – and if you are dating, then you are en route to making that dream come true!
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