Single Mum Dating: The Beginning


Dating as a single parent is a weird experience. Before I was ‘back on the market’ (a phrase that makes me feel like a house. Or a cow) I hadn’t been on a date in ten years, and even then all my dating was as a teen to the cinema or a bowling alley. I kind of expected it to be just like it is in Sex and The City (spoiler: it isn’t. Thanks SJP for shattering my dreams).

I made the conscious decision to get back out there quite soon after my relationship was over. I know that not everyone agreed with this but to me it seemed pointless to sit in my house alone night after night mourning the demise of my marriage; after a long period of attachment I was excited at the prospect of conversations with men I was not related or married to and wanted to experience a social life again. I didn’t go into dating wanting a boyfriend, just interesting conversation with people who weren’t weirdos and maybe a glass or two of wine.

So where to start?

As a single parent who works from home the opportunities to meet new people aren’t endless. For a start, at the toddler groups I attend the eldest men I come across are three years old. There’s the whole ‘get chatting to a bloke in the coffee shop’ thing but how do you ask if they are single without coming across as desperate? Ditto the gym. If you don’t watch it you can come across as a bit of a keeno (and I say this as one who’s probably come across as a bit of a keeno in the coffee shop).

You can meet blokes through friends but there’s only so often you can bother them for introductions before they start getting pissed off with you. I met a man in the pub who seemed nice but he was 23 and living with his mum and I felt like putting him on the naughty step every time he said a bad word.

And so I turned to online dating.

Really, it’s the perfect solution. You flop on the sofa, watch a romantic comedy to re-affirm your faith in everlasting love, have a couple of glasses of wine for dutch courage and open up the laptop. The wine means you will be exceedingly witty in your online profile and you can spend the rest of the evening browsing potential suitors (and car crashes) on the site.

The magic thing about online dating is the minute detail you can go into when you’re searching for dates. I would liken it to trying to find a particular item on ASOS; it’s the human equivalent of trying to find a Black Maxi Dress in a size 10. It’s literally that specific, you can search by age, hair colour, height, location… you can even search by salary. Shallow, yes, but you’d better believe that everyone clicks on the £80k+ box out of curiosity at least once. And the choices are endless! You’re literally presented with thousands of results: old men, young men, tall men, short men, funny men, not so funny men… SO MANY MEN.

One of the hardest things I found with online dating was filling out the profile. How do you describe yourself in a little white box? How do you make it clear that you don’t want any weirdos? At what point do you mention that you have children? How do you make yourself sound hilarious yet alluring? It’s not easy, and trying to channel Carrie Bradshaw again didn’t help. But I did it, and the photos I submitted that (hopefully) didn’t make me look like a troll were accepted.

NewlySingleMama2013 (not my real username but quite catchy, right?!) was online. Dating was GO.

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  1. I loved this post. Though I actually do not know what I’d write in a small box. “Charlotte. Bit fat. But kind. Likes…men? And wine. And men that like wine. And men that like babies and dogs. Very important. WLTM…one of those men.” I think, as annoying as he can be, I’m going to stick with Stephen. ;) I’m glad you are so happy Al. I TRULY AM. xxx

    Posted 7.19.13 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      Hahah, I literally wrote “I like eating and wine and people who are good at jokes. Oh, and crap TV”. Online dating skillz, I definitely have them ;) xxxx

      Posted 7.19.13 Reply
  2. i loved this post too. flippin ‘eck, not sure what i’d put in the white box…and dread to think what i’d put after a few vino’s! all the very best with everything xxxx

    Posted 7.19.13 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      The wine is dangerous… makes me feel ever so clever and funny when I’m probably not! x

      Posted 7.20.13 Reply
  3. Alex wrote:

    Haha oh god tricky one!! I hate filling out any forms with ‘about me’ as the title…awkward! Good luck in your man hunt and with any first dates (you should watch that First Dates on Ch4, hilarious!), look forward to reading the next installment! xx

    Posted 7.19.13 Reply
  4. Ava Piaf wrote:

    Loved this post! I too am in the Single Mum Dating Game…. am finding it – um – anything but dull. Good luck with it. Would love to know how you get on.

    Posted 7.19.13 Reply
  5. Richmond Mummy wrote:

    Good for you, go for it! I would be terrified to get back into the dating game but will happily watch you from the sidelines (not in a creepy way of course!) and am delighted for you xx

    Posted 7.19.13 Reply
  6. mamacymraeg wrote:

    My little box would be: Half Italian, Half English…but Welsh. Short, curvy (as in podgy) but not too hairy. Big eyes (all the better to see you with) I wear deodorant every day and clean my teeth twice a day…looking for someone who does similar. Creeps and can jog on.

    Posted 7.19.13 Reply
  7. Anya from Older Single Mum and The Healer wrote:

    You’re a braver woman than I am. Friends of mine do it and keep me in stitches. I look forward to the same here but wish you luck anyhow! PS I presume you know @iamwitwitwoo?

    Posted 7.19.13 Reply
  8. I loved this post Alice – your writing style is so brilliant. I hope you find the one online! :)

    Eve xxx

    Posted 7.23.13 Reply