DATING AS A SINGLE PARENT: FIND LOVE ON YOUR OWN TERMS
A practical guide for making meaningful connections ... while managing a full plate
Being a single parent is a juggling act. Every day is a delicate balance between work, chores, and your child's school or daycare. Toss in errands, meals, laundry, and – oh yeah, that little thing called "self-care” – and your hands are more than full. Adding dating to this equation can feel like trying to balance on a tightrope while spinning plates. But trust me, it's not only possible, it's also essential.
It's no secret that parenting can be isolating at times. Companionship and adult conversation are as crucial to your well-being as eating well and getting regular exercise, and that’s a good enough reason to date right there. Plus, who knows? You might find a love that not only revitalizes you but adds more joy to your family's life, too.
But if you're still feeling a bit nervous about taking the leap, here's a handy guide on how to navigate the dating world as a single parent ... with a special (and genuine) shout-out to the game-changer that is Couple.
1. Prioritize your time (and your dating apps!)
Time is a hot commodity for a single parent. When you're constantly on the move, being efficient is crucial. That's where online dating comes into the picture. It’s a great way for single parents to meet potential partners because it's convenient, it saves time, and it allows you to filter matches based on important factors such as their comfort with children. Apps like Match and eHarmony, as well as platforms specifically for single parents, can be fantastic resources.
But in my personal experience, no app comes close to being as single-parent-friendly as Couple. By hosting regular online singles parties, this platform enables you to meet a diverse array of people from the comfort of your own home – no babysitters required! There’s no need to mindlessly swipe through profiles (who has time for that?) because the speed dating sessions allow you to connect and converse with various individuals, one-on-one, all within a single evening.
The best part? You're not just sitting in awkward silence. These online parties are packed with entertainment – comedians cracking jokes, musicians serenading the participants, and interactive games like trivia that keep the energy high and provide plenty of talking points. As a single parent, you get the best of both worlds: real dates and a social night “out” in a safe, virtual environment. In my mind it’s the best bang for your buck. (Metaphorically speaking, of course. Couple is free to use.)
2. Be transparent about your situation
Dating as a single parent means you come with a beautiful package deal. Your potential partner needs to understand and respect your responsibilities and priorities. Be honest about your situation from the start. Couple and other dating apps let you fill out a comprehensive profile, which can help potential matches understand your lifestyle before they even strike up a conversation. Take advantage of this feature. Anybody who gets turned off by your parenting status is likely not a great partner for you anyway, so might as well filter them out on first sight.
Of course, if you’re looking for something casual versus a commitment, it’s not necessary to divulge all of your personal family details on your profile. But if you get a hunch that your hookup is becoming more serious than no-strings-attached sex, fess up fast.
3. Seek matches who respect your parenting role
The right person will understand your primary role as a parent and will be supportive of your situation. Look for people who are comfortable with your parenting status and who are ready to adapt to the dynamics of dating a single parent. They should understand that your children come first and that flexibility is key.
Of course, keep your family’s safety in mind as you play the dating game. Partners who seem a little too excited about dating someone with children (particularly if they aren’t parents themselves) might have ulterior motives at play. Listen to your gut and don’t overlook any red flags.
4. Schedule smart
Plan your dates during your “free” time – when your children are at school, with their other parent or caretaker, or otherwise fully engaged. This way, you can focus on your date and not be worried about rushing home or dividing attention between your date and parenting responsibilities.
Not to sound too fan-girly, but one of the great things about dating people on Couple is its flexibility; you can participate in an online party (and have guaranteed first dates!) once the kids are tucked into bed or during their weekend visit with the grandparents. It helps you ease into the dating routine slowly and organically.
5. Take it slowly
There's no need to rush when it comes to introducing a new partner to your children. It's essential to establish a solid relationship foundation before blending your dating life with your parenting life. As excited as you may be about a new partner (and as tempting as it may be from a scheduling perspective to hang with all of your favorite people at once), it’s still risky to bring them into the family fold prematurely for a host of reasons. Take your time. If this love has legs, it will be worth the wait.
Bottom line, dating as a single parent might seem daunting at first, but it's entirely possible to maintain a healthy dating life while raising your children. It's all about finding balance and using your time wisely. Online platforms like Couple make it easier than ever to meet potential matches in a fun and low-stress environment, but whichever approach you take or app you use, try to enjoy the experience. You've got this, super parent!