The main problem with being a single parent attempting to date is image. Not the image of yourself but rather, the image other people have of you.
You may not be a Valium-popping, shopping bag – carrying, baby-cradling single mum but it is possible that others see that image in their head. Tag that along side the thoughts of a ready-made family with instant serious responsibilities and one can see where the problems lie.
The fact is, being a single parent is a lonely business. Your social life is restricted unless your ex has custody of the children. You tend to stay in on the evenings and see to your children more than you do to your own needs. Soon enough you have become isolated and when you feel ready to date, it’s tricky to know where to begin. And then of course there is the perennial question, if you do get a night out occasionally, will you be able to meet anyone right?
I went to see ‘About a Boy’ starring Hugh Grant and I could identify with his character. There definitely are many single mums I know who are desperate to find a nice guy to date. But that doesn’t mean it is an easy pick for any man that strolls along. I have found single parents have very definite views about who they would like to meet and who would fit into their lives. Being available simply isn’t enough.
Many of my friends are single parents and the most common complaint is that people don’t seem to be interested in them once they admit they have children who live at home. It’s almost like it is too much hassle for a prospective date. However my single parent friends are the most caring, organized, gentle and forward looking people I have ever met. Most have weekends free due to their ex partners having custody, so it is not as if parents are tied up 24/7 as many believe.
Word on the Street
I asked a few single male friends what they thought of single parent women and they said they would not discount dating them if the number of children was manageable. What they meant was that if you have one or two children, it’s an acceptable level of future responsibility, should there be any. However one of my lovely single female friends has 4 children and she felt that that was somewhat of a put-off. She went on to say that she now viewed having a relationship would happen once her children grew up but not before.
The focus should be on you as a person and your domestic situation shouldn’t matter. This may reveal why some single parents feel it is necessary to conceal their domestic situation until a little way down the line.
“It’s not like I am lying, it is just that I am not going to be too specific” said one female friend. Revealing that you have a child later on once you have hooked your mate doesn’t appear to cause too many problems but I would be very cautious of that approach as it can look deceitful to the opposite party.
The Bottom Line
With the deterioration of marriage in modern society and more people cohabiting before marriage, the number of single parents being alone and not being able to find someone will definitely rise.
But look at it this way – they have already demonstrated their domestic skills, their fertility, their organizational abilities and their ability to cope under pressure. Therefore, a single parent should be top pick amongst our ever increasing pool of singles, right?
Single parents have a lot going for them and I have begin to believe it is simply a case of overcoming the initial years of isolation and getting back into the dating game with confidence.