Single parent families and dating
At first, it seemed exciting creating profiles on and Plenty of Fish and immediately getting loads of messages.
But I soon got the wind knocked out of my sails when I opened up to friends and family about my newfound love life.
In fact, a single-mum friend was seeing a guy who used her ‘lack of spontaneity’ as an excuse for sleeping with someone else.
Now when I spot the word ‘spontaneous’ in a man’s dating profile, I swipe left.
Aside from the obvious safety issues, nobody expects child-free, single women to be happy with dates in their own living room, so why should I settle for that?
I want to meet for coffees in lovely cafes, enjoy walks along the beach and go on amazing nights out that don’t end until the sun comes up.
I once crammed four dates with different men into two days, but as my ability to pick interesting and nice men online seemed to be rather lacking, having four bad dates in two days was just too depressing to repeat. But I still think I deserve someone really special.
Although I had no intention of introducing any of these casual dates to my son, the fact I am a parent did make me feel differently about whom I was choosing to spend time with. I’m sure anyone who has tried online dating has come across the married people, or the guys who are actually a foot shorter, 10 years older and 3st heavier than their profile suggests.
Then there is simply my lack of free time – my son goes to stay with his dad every other weekend, so I have precisely 48 hours a fortnight to have fun. In truth, I doubt we’re even seen as a great catch and imagine lots of people think I should just settle for whoever I’m lucky enough to get.
Their negativity was surprising and quite upsetting at times. One friend suggested I should just focus on being by myself, while a particularly charming family member questioned why being a mother wasn’t ‘enough for me’.
They even implied that I should wait until my son was 16 – only another 15 years on my own then!
It doesn’t get any easier as time passes, but a combination of wine, leaving some clothes on and having the lighting low works for me.
Things with Jack unfortunately fizzled out after a year or so – he was having a second youth of constant holidays and weekend breaks that I just couldn’t join in on, as much as I loved his approach to life.