Guest Post By: Laura Feeney
What’s a girl to do when the way people meet changed drastically in the last 10 years while she was busy being married? One newly single mom got a quick lesson in all things Tinder and Match.com after her husband left.
When I became single again, I had to face the reality that I would have to start dating again if I wanted to meet someone. Prince Charming wasn’t going to magically waltz into my life by me sitting on the couch watching the Thursday night lineup of Shona Rhimes’ shows. But, I learned quickly that today’s dating world is much different than before I was married. For starters, twelve years ago people actually talked on the phone, you met someone face-to-face, and you participated in the now-abnormal in-person conversation. Fast forward to 2016 and single people get acquainted through the net. To say it is a study in human behavior is an understatement.
As a minivan-driving mom of three, I have learned a few things these last few months of being in the dugout of online dating. One of the most important things to me is that my kids have NO CLUE that I am dating. It is too confusing for them and they don’t need to know. And wow, dating as a single mom has its challenges. Either my kids are too young for some guys or I won’t have enough time. Others don’t want to date someone with children because they consider them a distraction. Good riddance, MY.KIDS.ROCK.
Dating as a single mom sort of reminds me of a job interview. I am trying to figure out if this person would be a great fit and if there is a connection. Still, I don’t want to jump the gun. Questions I have had to ask myself is would I want this person around my kids someday. I only have one day a week and every other weekend (when the kids are with their dad) for dating, so wasting my time with someone that doesn’t fit the bill isn’t something I am willing to do.
For my profiles on dating sites, I used to have these cute details about myself – my interests, my hobbies. Nope, after a few months in, my profile has changed to I am a mom, no I don’t want your dirty pictures, no I don’t want friends with benefits, please write in full sentences, know how to use you’re and your correctly and please be normal. I know, a long shot, but I figured I would give it a try.
Single Mom Learning to Date Online: Buckle Up, it’s Quite a Ride
I have come up with a list of things for the newly single mom to be prepared for with online dating:
- Have thick skin.
Online dating isn’t always the most flattering. Some comments can hurt your feelings, some comments make you want to poke your eyes out and some comments will make you question your faith in humanity. Toughen up, chick. The roller coaster ride is just getting started and even though you may want to puke at times, it gets fun.
- Some people don’t look like their pictures.
Ever hear of the show Catfish? This can and will happen. Public Service Announcement for my ladies: You may meet someone at a bar who originally sent you a picture that is 20 years old or is a completely other person. Be prepared to get yourself out of such a situation. Always plan to meet your new online friend in a public place, keep the Uber number ready, let the bartender know a secret word that means the date is going bad and to give you shots of Fireball if necessary. Have an exit plan, people.
Don’t ever give your number out if someone says they want to share some more pictures. Just don’t. Trust me. Just don’t do it.
- Know how to screenshot.
Your married friends will live vicariously through your screenshots of these random messages you get from potential suitors. You will get messages that make you laugh for days. My favorite one so far has been ‘you are like a chocolate chip pancake in a sea of burnt waffles.’ Yes, a real person text that to me. Now you have a small glimpse of what I am dealing with.
- Have fun.
Dating is hard. At times, exhausting. But not all dates will be bad. You will meet some cool people that end up being good friends, even if there is not a connection.
- Don’t be embarrassed by the minivan.
I am a mom. I drive a minivan. I show up to dates in my Nissan Quest. I own it, I am a proud of my minivan. I am a single mom doing this crazy dating thing and my minivan is just part of my story.
- Take a break.
I am currently on a break from online dating. It can get overwhelming at times and it is okay to shut it down, focus on those cuties that you are raising as a single mom, drown yourself in some re-runs of “Sex in the City” and forget about dating for a bit. I am still exploring this new phase of my life and it requires a deep focus on myself, my kids, my friends, family and me. If I have learned anything, it’s that a special person will walk into your life when you least expect it. Who knows, they might be right in front of you and you don’t even know it.
Okay, now you have a full picture of the strange world of a once married girl entering the world of social media hookups. It is full of comedy and fear, laughs and shock. If you find yourself in my particular situation, you now have a little heads up of what to expect. So when you go on your first date, throw on some make up, put on some earrings and buy some new perfume to wear. Don’t be nervous. This is nothing compared to the feat required to raise little humans. Now go be someone’s chocolate chip pancake!