If you’re a single parent, you’ve already got a lot on your plate. The idea of dating can seem daunting for a variety of reasons, from who’s going to watch your child to when it’s the right time to introduce children to a new friend. But we’re starting with the big question: how to meet someone in the first place.
Here’s a quick guide to help you get back out there.
Lunch breaks: Take a walk, sit in a park, visit a coffee or book shop. Don’t spend your lunch hour checking in on your kids or catching up on social media at your desk. Is there a potential crush at work? Invite them to join you. Do you think you have a lot in common with the person who makes your coffee every day? Ask them when their break is.
Meet Up: Sites like Meetup.com offer the opportunity to gather with like-minded folks, about an amazing variety of subjects. You can find sports teams to join, clubs based on your interests, craft nights, and so many other activities where you can just expand your social circle or even meet people looking for relationships. Meetup.com also has more specific groups tailored just to singles (click here to see some local options). Similar sites like Eventbrite or WeGoDo can also connect you to local people based on your interests. Take it a step further and head right to SingleParentsMeet too!
Say Yes: If you have access to a babysitter and no reason to stay home other than “my kids might need me,” don’t make an excuse next time you’re invited to something. Do your co-workers want you to join them after work for happy hour? Sure! Does a friend need a plus one to an upcoming event? Go! You never know who you might meet!
Ask: Have you always wondered if so-and-so is single? Ask your friend to introduce the two of you or set up a date. Do your friends know you’re ready to get back out there and start dating? If not, tell them what you’re looking for and see if they know anyone who would be a good fit. Online dating sites are fine, too, but these people know you — tap their expertise.
Find kid-friendly adult activities: You spend your free time with your kids, of course, and you probably go places that are kid-oriented: zoos, playgrounds, indoor play/fun centers, and the like. While these places do have the potential to drum up a conversation with another single parent, try hitting up locations that are geared toward adults instead to enhance the possibility of meeting a like-minded person. Outdoor festivals, farmers markets, and art shows are abundant with the warmer weather. Pop-up beer gardens and free concerts under the stars are also usually open to all ages. How about a museum or a bookstore? Even the gym is an option. Just because something may be considered an adult hangout spot doesn’t mean you need to leave the kids at home.
Feel confident: Be sure to put yourself first sometimes — a mantra that goes for all parents, really. Get a haircut, a manicure, a new pair of shoes, or an outfit. Dating, of course, should be about more than appearances, but a little pampering can really boost your self-confidence. A new ‘do or mini makeover with friends can be the first step to a new you!
Photograph via Canva.