Single Minded Moms: No Frills Guide to Internet Dating for Single Moms
By Melissa Chapman
You admit it- you were one of those mad-as-hell single Moms who, following your divorce, vehemently proclaimed to anyone who would listen that the last thing you wanted to do was date, or even think about men. You had just lived through alimony, custody and child support battles, and the thought of being romantic with a member of the opposite sex made you feel physically ill.
Now that it’s six months later and you’ve come down from your slightly drama queenesque pedestal, you’re ready to take that proclamation off the table. Although you’d convinced yourself that you’d likely spend the better part of your single mommyhood cleaning your kid’s dirty underwear and scrubbing down your family’s bathrooms, you’ve come to the realization that the key to your happiness will never come to fruition staring down the rim of a toilet bowl.
While you’re aware that rebuilding your fragmented self-esteem will always be a work in progress, you’ve actually begun to feel a bit more comfortable in your single mom skin, and have even come to the conclusion that the dating pool waters might not be as murky as you once thought.
Sure you have trepidations and nagging reservations … you haven’t been single in years! You can’t remember the last time you hit a club or bar as a single gal. Just thinking about the awkwardness of going on a first date with a complete stranger makes you feel jittery. And if that weren’t enough to deter you from “getting out there,” your once taut body has been ravaged by two C-sections . . .
And, yet your inner spunkiness, which has been in hibernation mode these last few months, is itching to break free.
At the very least, you’re ready to mingle with other like-minded men and see if you can’t find that love connection that has somehow eluded you.
Being that it’s the year 2008, you are incredibly in luck! Because of the Internet, gone are the days where you’d be forced to attend singles meat market mixers to find potential suitors: Thank God! Now you can virtually chat and get to know someone all without leaving the comfort of your computer chair.
So, as a single mom ready to test-drive the single parent social scene, just how do you get started dating online?
According to Audrey Valeriani the author of Boot Camp for the Brokenhearted: How To Survive (and be Happy) in the Jungle of Love, the first step single moms need to take is to create their online profile.
“As far as single mothers go, the more clearthey are on their profiles, the more likely they will be to attract someone who understands the complexities of being a parent—but is still looking to have fun and find love,” says Valeriani. “It is vital to find someone who understands that your life as a parent will undoubtedly involve last minute changes, interruptions, strains as well as all the silly celebrations that come with parenting.”
One very important tip for creating the perfect online profile: Divulge things about your personality; your likes and dislikes, interests, hobbies and preferences but don’t give too much detail about your children. Bottom line: Single moms should be open and honest about what their expectations.
Begin Your Search for a Suitor
Now that you’ve created your online profile, it’s time to post it and begin your search for a potential suitor. But what should you be looking for?
Above all else, Valeriani says, your criteria list should include understanding, humor, patience—and of course, someone who likes children. It is a wonderful benefit to find someone who is in touch with their inner child and knows how to express it!
“As far as single dads are concerned, I do think divorced men have a certain advantage because they already know a little about raising children, are aware of the mistakes they made in their marriages, and are willing to try and do it again wholeheartedly the next time with the right person,” says Valeriani.
That said, she also believes that single, never-married men shouldn’t be dismissed either. “There may be men out there who just haven’t found the right woman and who are dying to have children and would welcome an ‘instant’ family if they fell in love.”
Do the Telephone Tango
Okay, so now you’ve put together your profile, buzzed through some potential candidates, and you think you’ve found a match. What’s next?
Begin a telephone dialogue and since safety is key, find out basic information about the other person above all else.
“There are people out there who create a profile of who they ‘think’ they are, or who they think women want. But in reality, they are not that way,” says Valeriani.“Talking for a while and sharing family stories will help you identify who this person is by example, rather than just trying to evaluate statements and assuming or hoping that the qualities they promise are true.”
Some phone tip ice-breakers: Talk about things like your childhoods, your goals and dreams, your typical work day—and just a little about past relationships, pay attention to how he treats or refers to his mother, ex-wife, and past girlfriends, his relationship with his kids (if any), and the hobbies he enjoys in his down time. All of his answers can be very telling and give you great insight into his personality if you listen.
Pick the Perfect First Date Setting
You’ve had several lengthy phone conversations and now you’ve got to set-up your first date. Here are Valeriani’s tips:
-Pick a central meeting place where both people come on their own and for a limited amount of time.
A good choice is coffee and dessert, or dinner or lunch; a place where you can talk and get a vibe from one another. Definitely not a place like the movies where they will be just sitting in a dark movie staring at a screen;and a situation like that there is no getting to know one another.
-Set a time limit so that neither person will feel rejected when the time comes to leave.
-After the date, communicate honestly via email or telephone about feelings, impressions, and whether or not there was any chemistry there.
Dress to Impress
You’ve planned the date –now it’s time to plan your outfit; what’ a good first date outfit?
“Choose an outfit that shows off your figure or best features – but nothing too tight or flashy,” says Valeriani. “Pick something that makes you feel a little dressed up. It could be nice jeans and a sweater.”