Entering the dating scene after being out of the loop for a while can be scary and you may feel you don’t even know what to do or expect. And although everyone deserves to find true love a second and even third time around, getting back on the dating saddle can make anyone apprehensive, but it doesn’t have to be if you follow these basic tips.
Online dating tips for single parents, widows or widowers, and divorcees
While dating can be intimidating but here I will address specific concerns for those who have been out of practice for a while.
Online Dating Tips for Single Parents
Dating as a single parent can be very challenging. Having said that, a lot of single parents do it so you’re not alone. But, as a single parent, sadly most especially if you’re a mother, you’ll need to watch out for predators that prey on single moms to get to their kids. Not all monsters look or act like monsters, so you’ll need to be on your guard.
Be Honest. It’s best if you don’t talk about your situation regarding your kids at all when you’re online. You don’t want to lie, so you can put it in your profile – but don’t make that what your profile is about. And if it’s an answer to one of the questions, be honest. Being cautious will help avoid predators. But, you don’t want to be viewed as a liar either. You can be very upfront about your kids in your first meeting.
Don’t Put Up Pictures of Your Kids. Never use a picture of your kids with you in your profile picture. You don’t want weirdos looking at your kids online. It doesn’t matter what type of website or app you’re using – predators are there. Just like they’re at the little league game or the gymnastics studio. You must be on your guard for this.
Don’t Introduce Kids to Dates. It’s best if your kids don’t meet any of your dates until you believe it is going to become a long-term relationship. Kids meeting a long line of dates for mommy or daddy is not a good plan, because it will teach them that relationships are disposable. You want to demonstrate long-term relationship behavior by only introducing them to people that are safe for them to develop emotions about.
Raise Your Standards. If you’re looking for someone to marry and be a step-parent to your children, consider what you’d want for them as well as yourself. But remember that children do grow up and move out and go on their own eventually. You need to have someone safe in their lives, but you need someone who is good for you too.
Take Care of You. You are a parent now, so you need to be around for your kids. Don’t take risks that you wouldn’t want your child to take as an adult. Don’t take risks you wouldn’t want your best friend to take. Meet people in public, get to know their circle of friends, let them get to know yours, and only if it’s working out bring the kids into it.
Dating can be fun and exciting if you take precautions to ensure that you do it honestly. Know what you want, and stick to your guns about your standards and values – no matter what. It’s better to not bring more people into your children’s lives if they’re not going to be the right people.
Online dating tips for divorcees
Every divorced person eventually feels as if they must get back out there and start dating. In truth, you don’t have to, but if you do you’ll be glad that you did. Dating is fun and healthy if you know how to do it and what you want to get out of it. But, dating when you’re an older person who has been through a divorce can be scary.
Avoid Giving Personal Information Too Soon. Chat for a couple weeks online before you give out your personal information such as phone numbers. Today, people can find out a lot of information about you just from a phone number. If you’re female you might want to get their number first, or you can chat via Skype.
Be Honest Even If It Makes You Look Bad. If your marriage ended due to something you did, and your connections or date ask you for your story, tell the truth. After all, you probably learned a hard lesson based on the mistakes you made. In fact, you should always focus on what you did and what you can change about yourself rather than what a horrible ex you have.
Meet Sooner Rather than Later. After chatting for a couple weeks online, then talking by voice or video chat, you should move it to meet in person rather than waiting. If you feel any type of connection and have seen no red flags that haven’t been answered, arrange a nice daytime meeting where you can be on neutral ground and talk.
You’re Not a Loser If You Date Online. So many people act like dating online means something about your personality, but it doesn’t. 15 percent of dating adults date online. Only about 20 percent of adults meet people in bars. So, it’s not really that different and some would argue healthier and better than meeting people in bars.
Take Everything Slowly after Meeting. Once you do meet, even if you like each other, start slowly. Do lunch, do some double dates with friends and groups, go to the park, the zoo, the museums. Enjoy a park picnic together. Try to avoid too many dinner and movie dates, because it’s hard to get to know someone in a movie and eating out all the time is unhealthy.
Stay Off Meat Market Sites. Well, this has one caveat, which is: unless that’s what you’re looking for. If all you want is a hook-up, it is there to find for sure. But, try to be safe, have someone to make a safe call to with code words so that you can get help if you need it. Do some internal work on yourself to ensure that this is what you really want.
Be Willing to Go Dutch. Times have changed. It’s not fair to expect one person to foot the bill for every single date. But, it also depends on the situation. If one party makes a lot more money than the other party and doesn’t mind paying and has stated so, it’s okay to enjoy being spoiled. But don’t expect it.
You can have a great time dating online as a divorced person, just as much as if you were never married before. But, you’re more experienced now and you likely learned something from your marriage – such as who not to get too involved in. When red flags present themselves, take the time to consider the facts and then move on. There really are lots of fish in the sea.
Online dating tips for widows and widowers
Dating after the death of a loved one is especially hard. Some people even feel guilty about it. They want to get rid of their loneliness but they don’t want to betray their spouse. Rest assured that you’re not betraying anyone, though. You have a right to find love and happiness again.
Know If You’re Ready. While it can be hard to know if you’re ready, you can dip your toe into the dating pool by dating online. Sign up for a dating site that caters to your needs, fill out the profile, upload a picture, and you’re in business.
Date for the Right Reasons. Don’t date only due to loneliness, because a bad date can make you even more lonely. Date because you’re ready to meet new people, find a potential life partner, or (if you’re into it) hook up with like-minded people. It’s up to you what your reasons are. The right reasons are the reasons you know to be true for you.
Be Honest and Upfront about Your Intentions. Whatever your dating reasons may be, you need to be upfront about them. If you want to find a potential partner, it’s okay to say so. If you want to meet new people and just enjoy playing the field, that’s great too. The important thing is to be upfront with all potential dates of your true intentions so that no one gets hurt.
Talk about Your Spouse but Don’t Compare. A lot of widows and widowers are afraid to bring up their late spouse. But the truth is, this person was likely part of your life for a long time. Whether they were a good or bad spouse, you’re going to think of them with each new “first” you take. Just don’t compare them to the person you’re dating, and try not to overdo it.
Be Prepared for Backlash from Family. If you’re older, were married a long time, and have grown children, it’s important to be prepared for potential backlash from family. The best thing to do is talk to them about your plans and make it clear that it’s your life and if you do bring anyone around, they are special to you and they should treat them as such.
Most of all, try to enjoy your dates. It might take you some time to figure out what you really want, or you may know right away that you want a new spouse. It’s okay to want a new spouse, but try to enjoy meeting people and don’t be in a rush.
That first date can be especially daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Put yourself out there and with time you will love again.