How To Date As A Single Mum Part 2 – Getting Out On Dates
Are you a single mum, and just hearing the sentence, ‘getting out on dates’ makes you cringe? You’re in the right place. In part one of this series, we covered busting negative beliefs, gaining self-confidence and making your love life a priority. With this preparation, you’ll swap that cringe-worthy mindset for one that’s buzzing with anticipation for things to come.
Next, it’s time to swap the trackies for a fantastic outfit that matches your new mindset, get out there and make a splash on the dating scene.
Success is only one jump away. Here’s how to launch.
Utilise Mini Dates
One of the biggest battles single mums face is actually finding the time to date. Even when you’ve adjusted your priorities to fit dating somewhere between the kids, work and an ever-climbing mountain of washing, finding a few hours can seem like a long shot.
Here’s where another mind shift swing helps. Dates don’t have to take up much time. In fact, all women can benefit from going on mini dates, when meeting a guy for the first time. Think about it this way, first impressions go a long way in deciding whether or not you’re into someone. Within half an hour, it’s possible to detect a hint of chemistry, if you gel with someone’s energy and whether or not you might like to see them again.
For example, if you’ve only got one morning free this week, arrange to meet three guys for a quick coffee, at different venues. Or, have a spontaneous 20-minute lunch date with a guy from Tinder. Dating this way takes the pressure off both of you, enhances a sense of fun and spontaneity and gives you a pretty good idea of who you’d like to allocate more of your precious time to.
Don’t Make Kids the Focus of a Date
Being a mum is certainly at the top of your priority list and makes up the greater part of your life. So, if a guy you’re about to date doesn’t know you’re a mum, make sure you mention your kids, but don’t make them the focus of your date. At this point, he’s invited you to dinner to find out about you, not what your kids are up to at school.
If you’re now scrambling to find something other than the upcoming sports carnival to talk about, it’s time to remind yourself there’s much more to you than being a mum. Go back to your preparation for dating and make yourself a higher priority for a moment. What did you love to do before your babies came along? Did you paint, surf on Saturday mornings, travel the world, kick ass in the corporate world, write movie reviews or play video games?
It’s these quirks and passions he wants to hear about because they give him a sense of the type of person you are. When you reverse the situation, even if your date also has kids, you want to find out about what makes him tick, what he loves to do and how he feels about the world, right? If all he does is talk about his son, you’ll leave knowing a lot about soccer practice, and nothing about the type of person he is.
Before you head out on your date, take a look at yourself in the mirror and access that part of yourself again. It hasn’t gone away, it’s just been on hold for a bit. Chances are, after a successful date or two, you’ll find that woman wants to come out and play more often, which means you’ll achieve better life balance, overall.
Don’t Bad Mouth Your Ex
Closely following conversations about your child winning the 100-meter sprint, is bad mouthing your ex. Neither topic should come along with you on a date. The problem is, it can be very tempting, especially if your kid’s dad is a douche and your date seems to be a lovely, kind guy who’d never leave you for his secretary.
No matter how nice your date is, when you bitch about your ex he’s going to think you might one day talk that way, about him. It’s possible he’ll leave the date having had a negative emotional experience, whether he knows why or not. Remember that dealing with your feelings about your ex is something that needs to be done while preparing yourself for dating, not during it.
“No matter how nice your date is, when you bitch about your ex he’s going to think you might one day talk that way, about him.”
If you can’t think of anything nice to say, it really is better not to say anything at all. When the conversation comes up anyway, as it does, and you’ve dealt with your own emotions, you’re able to talk about lessons you’ve learnt from the relationship and how you’ve moved on.
This gives your date a positive emotional experience because he’ll respect and admire your ability to stand on your own two feet. He’ll get that your ex was a douche, without you having to spell it out, because who would want to leave such a high-value woman in the first place?
Take it Slow
So, you’ve finally made it out on a few dates and you’ve found a guy you think you really like. Your mind rushes through a hundred scenarios, starting with relief that you don’t have to find the time to date new guys anymore and building to visions of your kids having a new and improved role model around the house.
Pushing forward fast like this, even if it’s just in your mind, is usually a mistake for a variety of reasons. Firstly, as a mum, it’s much easier when changes and transitions happen gradually, for you, the kids and even your ex if you’re on good terms, so everyone can acclimatize.
Secondly, your new guy needs to be able to come to you and invest more time in your life, at his own pace. Push him too fast to meet your family or to commit and you might be heading for heartbreak city. On the flip side, if he’s pressuring you and isn’t willing to wait for you to be ready for him to meet the kids, recognise the warning signs. This kind of behaviour indicates patterns of impatience and expected priority, which isn’t the type of personality you want to invite into your household.
Remember that dating, for the moment, is all about you. It’s not about finding a replacement dad, feeling a sense of false safety because you’ve got a man or rushing to beat the clock and give your child a sibling. This kind of thinking is a serious impediment to allowing a relationship to bloom, by forming a sincere connection without any agendas. When you take it slow and enjoy dating, you’ll find everything naturally falls into place, at the right time for everyone.
You might be wondering when, therefore, is a good time to introduce your new guy to the kids. To decide, go beneath the excitement you feel and think about how your kids react to new people. Generally, when children meet someone who’s fun, mucks around and focuses on them (which is likely what your man will do to make a good impression), they quickly form a connection.
While this is great news for a happy house, it can also be absolutely tragic when the connection is taken away. If, for example, you’ve been seeing a guy for a couple of weeks, invite him to a picnic with the kids and he spends all day playing footy or being the ‘horse’ in horsey rides, your kids may very well fall in love at first meeting, just like you did.
Fast forward a week and, just before you all head out for another day at the park, you find out from your sister that your new guy is also dating a mutual acquaintance. Puts a different light on the fun-filled day, doesn’t it? You could confront him, cancel the date or silently worry. Regardless, he hasn’t really done anything wrong, if you haven’t discussed being exclusive, kids or no kids. At this point, you’d be wishing you hadn’t yet introduced him, as the kids yell, “why, why, why aren’t we going to see the fun horsey?”
It pays to really take your time to lay some foundations, before bringing a new man into your child’s life. This means waiting until you’ve known him for at least a few months, met the people in his life, discussed the fact that you’re exclusive and that you’re in a decided relationship.
This way, you can have full trust that your connection is something that’s worthy of attracting you children’s affection too. And, more importantly, that your new man is worthy of a high-value woman, like you.