Clicking Their Way to Finding True Love
7 do’s and don’ts of online dating for single parents
With the hustle and bustle of working, raising kids and racing to extracurricular activities, making time for a social life can be challenging, especially for single parents whose personal time is a rare commodity—but they aren’t destined to a life of solitude. The desire to find balance and become well rounded drives the single parent to schedule “me time” into their hectic schedules. In order to streamline the art of finding companionship, many have found the efficient and discreet world of internet dating much more enticing than the singles bar or speed dating. Why leave the house and kids cruising for the chance meeting when a catalogue of potential dates can be found readily available at their fingertips for review at their convenience (usually about 20 minutes after the kids are safely tucked into bed.)
Dating online has boomed in the 21st Century. With the evolution of the internet, people work online, shop online, attend classes online—and singles are now seduced into the virtual reality of online dating. The diverse abundance of profiles entice today’s single parent to explore hundreds of potential matches in a search for a potential love interest. We have come a long way from relying on church socials or the town matchmaker, but is true love really just a click away? As the single parent embarks into the seemingly abundant playground of potential love interests, the available online profiles incite the imagination and create expectations. One starts to wonder: “Where have these great people been hiding?”
Computers help us approach dating with efficiency, allowing a larger quantity of potential matches to become available. Though, computer matches are not without fallbacks. In an arena where deceit is easy, how does one protect himself or herself from the fraudulent, or even dangerous, people who post profiles? Which users should have red flags next to their pictures?
When single parents post profiles and date online, they should remain cautious and alert to avoid potentially dangerous situations. Here are some tips to safely date online:
1) DO NOT PROVIDE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR CHILDREN. Never post photos of your children on the dating web sites. Do not give your children’s names, dates of birth, schools or other potential identifying information. Child predators are everywhere. Enough said.
2) BE CAREFUL WHICH PHONE NUMBER YOU PROVIDE TO DATES. Do not provide a phone number that could be answered or viewed by your child. Clearly, your child does not need to answer a call from a new interest courting your affection and, certainly does not need to see unwanted naughty text photos that some online daters disseminate as part of their dating ritual.
3) DO NOT INTRODUCE YOUR CHILDREN TO DATES UNTIL YOUR RELATIONSHIP IS SOMEWHAT SERIOUS. Your children do not need to observe a revolving door of dates. Remember that you are a role model and how you conduct your dating life will set an example for your children and have ramifications on their self esteem. Your children need to feel like they are your top priority, not second fiddle to your social calendar. Dating is the process of getting to know potential life-long partners. As you get to know each other, you could decide that a particular relationship isn’t for you. Give yourself time to see if the relationship is going somewhere before introducing your children—They do not need to meet four different dates in a month.
4) SCHEDULE YOUR DATES FOR YOUR CUSTODIAL OFF-TIME. Explain the custody arrangement and your time limitations to your date. If your date requires time and attention that could affect your ability to give your children the priority they deserve, then evaluate whether that is a deal breaker. For example, if your date tries to pressure you to skip your child’s soccer game so you can spend time together, it is clear that your date feels that his or her time with you should be the priority. Remember that you only have one chance to raise your children and having them play second fiddle to your dating life will have an irreparable impact on their self esteem.
5) BE HONEST ABOUT YOUR ROLE AS A PARENT. If your date is not interested in a life that includes children, where could this possibly be going? Be realistic… and not so desperate that you are willing to lie or hide your true life. You want to be loved for who you are. Be open and honest. For example, if you are attracted to a man who puts in his profile that he doesn’t want children and you delay discussing your children, what will the ultimate consequences be? Are you really wasting time. Instead, it makes sense to discuss your children in the first conversation to find out if the relationship would have any potential.
6) AVOID DATES IN LOCATIONS WHERE YOU MIGHT RUN INTO PEOPLE WHO KNOW YOUR CHILD: It is always a good idea to meet in a public place for the first date for safety reasons. However, do not meet at a place where you are likely to run into your child’s teacher, dance teacher, friends or neighbors. Your child does not need to hear from others that they saw you on a date. Just think how embarrassed your child would be if the neighbor child teased him at school, “ooooh… I saw your mom on a date!”
7) DO NOT USE THE FAMILY COMPUTER FOR YOUR ONLINE DATING: Please remember that if your children are old enough to use a computer, then they are old enough to access your dating website, review your profile, read your emails and have unlimited access to your adult dating world. Always password protect your profile access. But, just remember that the cookies on your computer can easily direct your child to your last site viewed. How would your child feel if during the draft of their term paper, one of your online dates started IMing about the date the other night? Would they pretend to be you and carry on a conversation? Would they discuss it with you? Or, would they keep the information to themselves, but just looked at you in a different light. It’s your responsibility to keep your online dating private.
Dating again after a divorce can be stressful. Online dating can provide a wonderful method for single parents to meet a true partner and benefit the entire family. If you are open, honest, discreet and approach your online dating experience with the time and care of finding a true quality relationship, magic can happen.
The online experience allows the single parent to craft a profile ad which describes their attributes and the limitations in their life style. When you get a phone number at a chance meeting at the coffee shop, who knows what the date’s education is, whether he wants kids or has an allergy to seafood. But the online experience allows you to be upfront with ”deal breakers” and honestly portray the traits that are important to you. Will she go mountain biking with you? … Will she quash plans to see the Lakers game? And, many times, even if you don’t find love, the common profile interests can lead to meaningful friendships. The age of technology has catapulted single parents into a new dating ritual through the virtual world. If approached with these guidelines in mind, online dating can offer single parents the thrill of searching for new love and at the same time maintain your parental responsibility for safety and discretion. You never know; finding love may be only a click away!