Do you ever feel worn out and tired and grumpy and the kids are fighting and you feel like you just have no reserve left? You don’t need someone else, but it would just be nice. It would be nice for someone else to take you out every now and again, talk adult stuff with, go to a movie that isn’t a cartoon, have some intimacy and fun and laughter aside from making huts, getting covered in flour baking with your child, doing housework or organising playdates.

Just getting out of the daily grind, can be like a breath of fresh air. One of a child’s basic needs is belonging, love and affection. With my daughter, this is probably her hugest need. Without getting this need fulfilled from me at least morning and night, she is one unhappy child. A parent is just as deserving of a bit of this happiness too!

The old fashioned courtship is almost completely extinct, but one still holds out hope. People still go on blind dates and connect up through friends and family, and there is the increasingly popular internet dating. As a solo parent, internet dating is perfect. There used to be a stigma around it, but it is increasingly becoming acceptable and almost expected in many social circles, although it’s very common for a guy to ask me why someone single and attractive needs a dating site. They seem to lose sight of why they might be on there also, but also the fact that solo parents don’t often get the same luxury of time and freedom that many other singles might have.

I personally think dating sites are great. Yes, there are few people with profiles that are clearly not in the right mind space or emotionally mature enough to be dating and are very negative, but the beauty of dating sites is you a good chance of finding this out BEFORE meeting them face to face. Internet dating gives you the filter system you wouldn’t ordinarily get on a blind date or meeting a guy at the pub. You can see their photos, establish what their values, personality and interests are, and at least an idea of whether there is possible compatibility, before investing time (and for some solo parents, money paying for a babysitter!).

I am still single but an old timer at internet dating, with more coffee dates than I can count and  plenty of interesting experiences and characters along the way, and even made a few good friends out of it. I am fine with it. I know when the timing is right that Mr Right for me will come along. You don’t have to be on there for a serious relationship either. There is nothing wrong with friendships with other woman or men or a bit of companionship – it’s about time that society was less judgmental about this, more open minded and quite frankly concentrated on keeping their own life happy. If you aren’t hurting anybody, and keep honest and clear about what you are looking for, what’s the problem?!

The reality of internet dating is you get what you put in to it. If you set up a positive profile, are polite to others, don’t advertise all your baggage (let’s face it, we all have it, but as I say, it’s how you manage it that counts), and don’t set up a profile bagging the opposite sex with an angry list of all the things you don’t want or how crap your ex was! If I got a gold coin every time a guy made a positive comment about my profile and how refreshing it is because it’s honest and natural and positive and not negative and angry and full of obvious issues, I would be a rich woman! Dating attitudes don’t get excluded from the universal life rule, that you get what you give. How about putting it out there what you do want?!

Woman, particularly, can get bombarded with messages. I have talked about this with male mates who are online dating and they seem to get considerably fewer than us females. I have learnt over the years that it pays to have your own personal filtering system, i.e. work out what core things are important to you or what would really get on your nerves, and stick to them. It’s the only way you are going to filter through to the person you are meant to be with, and it helps you cull out all the ones you’re not and save everyone a lot of time wasting.

For example: I immediately cull out anyone who messages in text speak, has a nude pic, can’t come up with anything but “how are you”, sends me sexual advances, has negative stuff on their profile or just simply not attracted to. This culls a lot! 🙂

But don’t get despondent, there are plenty of nice ones too and we are all different, just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

Online Dating for Solo Parents

A few online dating rules, just my own personal suggestions, you still need to decide what feels right for you.

  1. Keep it honest
  2. Use a recent clear photo that looks like you, and expect the same, stick to your guns on this (have met a lot who are not like their photos)
  3. Be polite – it seems rare, but I actually respond to every single message even if it’s a polite “No thanks” – people will respect you for it and it keeps the positive energy flowing
  4. Make it clear in your profile what you are looking for, include things like non-smoker etc. if it’s important to you
  5. Keep it positive
  6. Don’t fear rejection or take it personally. We can’t be everyone’s cup of tea, nor is everyone ours, beauty is in the eye of the beholder; it doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough, just not right for them.
  7. Be yourself!

This article from Woman’s Weekly online gives some good dos and don’ts of internet dating.

For those skeptics out there, I met a soul mate off internet dating once (he passed away) and have made long term friends from online dating too, so all is not lost, and it at least shows that it’s a possibility.

So if you are on your own with your child/children, feeling life is a little mundane and too much routine, why not break it up a little with a bit of dating. You might even add some spice to your life, get to know yourself more, and have a few laughs along the way. There are no guarantees, and you may find Mr Right for you elsewhere, but if nothing else, it can be a pocket of companionship in its own right, you could learn something you didn’t know, and a great way to truly work out what you and do and don’t want in a relationship, if you haven’t already!

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Michelle Woolley is a qualified nanny, has worked in hospitality, accounts and advertising, and is now studying Bachelor of Social Work full-time, working part-time as a support worker for people with disabilities. In her teens, she volunteered at kids' camps and listened to real life stories, dried the tears of many young girls struggling with living in a broken family. She didn’t realise that one day she would be drying the tears of her own child while parenting alone. Join her as she writes about her journey.

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