Recently, a friend poked fun at me, “What happen’s Luis when you get a girlfriend? You will no longer be Single Daddy Daycare!” I guess he had a point! That said, I don’t think it is anything I need to worry about for the immediate future at least. But it got me thinking, what would happen? Would things change? The answer was a resounding NO! If I am honest, I have tried to change in some way or another for relationships in the past and more often than not, they never work out the way you really intend them to. So for me, the best thing I can do, is remain true to myself and try to be the best Daddy possible to my two children and if I did meet someone, then they would need to understand we come as a package and that the children aren’t baggage.
I have been single a good number of months now (not from the Mother of my children) and I have taken some time out – for me. This is probably the longest I have been single for since I can remember, having often found comfort in being relationships, or having company. I know that this is not always the right thing to do and from what I can see, women seem to be a lot better than men at taking some time out to reflect, finding themselves and self-heal – all sounds very Zen doesn’t it? Although, I definitely needed to re-charge my batteries this time around.
Last week, I was commenting in a group on Facebook that I sometimes post to, about a guy whose wife literally left him the week before to be with someone else and he was evidently upset by this. He wanted her back and he has children with her, but ironically, his post to the group was around how to get back into dating again! I couldn’t help but think that the reason for his post was out of bitterness, which is certainly understandable. What I will say though, is that it surprised me the level of responses and what I perceived to be ill-thought encouragement he then proceeded to get. The majority of the replies back to this person were all from men egging him on to get on dating sites and to basically be as promiscuous as possible!
I took the time out to reply and give what is ultimately a man grieving, some advice which maybe I should have given myself at some point too in the past!! In summary, I told him to take some time out and that the fact his wife has a new partner, shouldn’t be his motivation to date someone else. Clearly as they have just split up, emotions are going to be raw and that is not a good foundation to try and start a new relationship. I then went on to say, that one thing is for certain, there will always be dating sites and there will always be newly single people – so just take your time and recover.
To be fair, I then got a few guys supporting and echoing what I said, but then the post quickly turned back to encouraging this vulnerable guy to get back into dating, which incensed me.
Lots of people (myself included in the past) tend to try to get back in the saddle quickly following a break-up. It can be a lonely feeling when someone you have spent time with and cared for leaves your life and then becomes a total stranger to you. We often think, that the quickest way to find solace is to try and find someone to replace that person, although as we all know, it very often doesn’t work out that way.
I think what makes it harder are the social pressures too, I have found that I haven’t been invited to certain functions as I don’t have a partner. My daughter Connie is always asking me when will I get a new girlfriend. More recently, in response to Connie’s question, my son Joseph said to me “Daddy, why don’t you buy one off your phone – as you buy everything from there?!!” Bless him, if only it was that simple, but that had Connie and I in stitches!
Living over 250 miles from where I grew up and where a lot of my friends and family are, can sometimes make it hard to meet people. On top of the fact, I work from home majority of the time limits me further, throw in to the mix the kids too and all of a sudden you are faced with quite limited options when it comes to the dating front. We are in a growing era with regards to technology and we often have our phone’s at our fingertips, so everything really points to online dating.
Maybe 5 to 10+ years ago, there was a certain taboo attached to online dating but for someone like myself and my circumstances, it certainly has a place. There are loads of different sites and apps (match, tinder or eharmony – to name but a few) out there providing plenty of choice for people and you can understand why meeting someone online has overtaken the ‘conventional’ method of meeting a partner through more ‘traditional’ ways via friends etc.
With the increase in users, comes an increase in competition. However, with 7.5 billion people in the world and 65 million people in the UK, you would think there is someone out there for everyone? (who wants to be in a relationship) – I remain optimistic!
So what is the best way to date when you are a parent? How would a full-time single parent date? I suppose, different people have different ideas about what a date would look like or how you would even get to the point of dating someone, but I will try and share some pointers if I may.
We are all busy people, but I definitely wouldn’t meet anyone who I haven’t spoken to on the phone first, for me it is a must – and it quickly weeds out people who are serious versus those who are just looking to have a pen-pal and text all of the time! Call me old fashioned, but by speaking to someone on the phone, you can cover off a lot of ground quickly and get a better feel for someone.
According to eHarmony’s 2015 relationship study, 69% of people admit to doing a background check on their date via google – the technology is at our fingertips, companies do it when recruiting potential employees, so why wouldn’t you? I would suggest that figure is probably even higher, but for people’s self-preservation. For me as a single parent, my ultimate goal is to be with someone long term, why wouldn’t I do it? Worse case scenario, it can satisfy you from a basic safeguarding perspective – afterall, this person will be meeting your children at some point if things go well.
If you are a full time single parent, things are a bit harder. There are obviously restrictions and clearly no self respecting parent would want to introduce their children to a complete stranger, or would they? I have said before that I am not a big fan of play places generally speaking, but I guess they have their uses. They are public, they occupy the little ones and they serve coffee! I personally, do not see anything wrong with a prearranged visit to coincide with another parent (all with their children) in order to briefly say hello and have a chat – you could call it a date but it can really be played down in the eyes of the children, though for a full time single parent who can struggle with their availability, it could be an option? Plus then you are also seeing how that person is around their own children and you can safely gauge if you want to see that person again.
I have been on a date before with someone who didn’t think me having joint custody of the children was right – see ya!! For me, it is imperative when I do decide to properly date, that the person understands my situation in it’s entirety, the fact I do have my children half of the time, the fact I do communicate with the children’s Mother and that this shouldn’t be a threat to the situation. Afterall, no one wants additional stresses and dramas in their lives!
Selfishly and I was saying this to someone over the weekend, I quite like my situation having the children alternate weekends as it free’s up a lot of available time for me if I did meet someone or to catch up with friends and as I have said in a previous Post that I spend more quality time with my children now than when I was married and with the children’s mother.
Dating can be expensive, the meals out, the fancy cocktails and, as a single parent, money can be hard to come by. Yes, we all like to be treated and made to feel special but there is plenty of time for that, right? The aptly named KISS (Keep It Short Simple) acronym I think is a good way to approach a first date. People could be nervous or apprehensive, so why not just go for a coffee or a walk (weather permitting) – plenty of time for extravagance at a later date!! (no pun intended).
My follow up post on a single parent dating a person with children vs. someone who hasn’t can be found by clicking this link.(True happiness, is this what two families coming together looks like?)