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Dating Again

Have a shower, put on your glad rags and turn charisma up to 11. It's time to get back out there.

couple dating in a cafe

Wooohooo, let’s get back out there!!! Ok, lots of circumstances have led you to being a single dad. You’ve been on your own for some time, or maybe you caught your wife in bed last week with another man, woman or something else, and you’ve decided you ain’t wasting time diving back in because it’s been 10 years since you were happy. You might already be jumping in and out of relationships anyway, so you’re already a pro at this stuff, in which case you probably don’t need to read this. But, there are many of you, who have been in a marriage or relationship for a lot of years, find yourself single, had your period of mourning and decided you wanna get back out there. And now you’re ready, you realise the last time you dated was when you met your wife/partner a number of years ago at University or a nightclub or something and you’ve completely forgotten how to flirt, chat up and get into it. You also realise that you don’t have a bunch of mates also single to get out there with , so you’ve got no ‘wing man’ to back you up. Next you find that when you go to a nightclub it’s filled with teenage kids or early twenty-somethings, so you’ve probably got little hope of trying to pick up in such a place anyway. You probably also realise that mouthing the words ‘I love you’ through your car window at strangers walking past still doesn’t have the desired effect, and your favourite chat up lines like ‘Does this rag smell of chloroform to you?’ aren’t effective and are also more likely to wind you up in jail then between the sheets.

online dating app

Plenty of Fish in the Sea Blah, Blah, Blah

But hey, that’s ok, dating is all online these days, you can find a date tailored to your desires (Ha! sure) without having to go through awkward approaches to random people. This can be a nice new experience to find someone. The last time you dated, mobile phones were the size of bricks and the most complex thing on it was the ‘snake’ game, not Tinder.

Yet everyone gives you the ‘plenty of fish in the sea’ line, and that there’s loads of single women (or whatever else you’re in to) out there looking for men. Your female friends tell you women (or men) are looking for a guy just like you because all the other guys are dickheads. Apparently, the 'Universe' will provide and 'everything happens for a reason'. Don't know about you but I often find the 'Universe' seems to not like me very much at times.

Your male friends go ‘Phwwoooar, you’re lucky mate, get on Tinder, there’s tons of chicks gagging for it’. But you’re likely overwhelmed, excited, terrified, still feel guilty and bunch of other emotions all at the same time.

man making lady laugh in a cocktail bar

What about the kids?

But before you begin, you’re probably wondering about your kids. Are they ready for you to start dating? Will it upset them because they still feel you’re going to get back with their mum? They will feel a range of emotions, as well as possibly be worried about who this new person might be, and if they'll replace mum? How will mum feel about it? Will the new person you’re dating move in? What if she’s horrible? And so on…. You NEED to bear this in mind.

Ultimately, you can’t let your kids prevent you from being able to move on and enjoy companionship again. Personally, the one of the worst parts of being single for me was not going out for a romantic dinner or a drink or to the movies with someone. Yes, I’ve got mates I can do that with, but it’s not the same now is it.

You just have to be mindful and handle it accordingly, which will depend greatly on the age and emotional wellbeing of your kids. What I found is that my kids were much more open to the idea of me dating again as opposed to their mum dating again.

I think kids are often more protective of mum over dad. They’re generally more uneasy about the prospect of a new man in the house with mum over a new women in a house with dad. The point is, don’t just show up with a new woman unannounced one day and expect that it’s going to do wonders. It won’t.

The way I approached this with my children worked very well. I began by testing the waters and being flippant, joking about it saying things like ‘Gosh now I’m single, women are fighting to get me go on dates all the time.’ Or ‘If I go on a dating site, do you think I’d get 100 or 200 women asking for dates?’.

A couple of weeks of this and they became desensitised to the idea, which made meeting someone for drink when the time came much more palatable for them.

young couple staring at sunset

Online You Say?

So you decide to start downloading a few dating apps, there’s the ones you’ve heard of and another 30 or so you haven’t. You start with Tinder first because everyone knows that one, then you try to decide whether to get, eHarmony, Zoosk, POF, Bumble, Hinge, Elite Singles, RSVP, Match, OK Cupid, Coffee Meets Bagel, Happn, Flava, Badoo or something else next.

But the stress doesn’t end there. Suddenly you realise you have to upload some photos of yourself and that the only photos you have are of your kids or as a family, most of which have your ex in. At best there’s a few with drunk mates in a pub. So you try to ask friends to take some flattering photos, but they feel forced and not authentic. It's also tricky to know what constitutes a good photo. When I put photos together for a profile that I thought showed me in a good light, others seemed to think they didn't do me justice. Male friends also seemed to have a different opinion about what photos looked good compared to female firends. Perhaps getting opinions from females about your profile is a better idea if thats what you're after.

Writing the ‘bio’ or ‘intro' or 'about me’ section is a nightmare. You want to stand out without being too cheesy, you want to write ‘down to Earth’ because it sounds like something girls wanna hear, but you’re not even sure what it means. It’s an absolute minefield. Anyway, there are plenty of good places to find tips on writing online dating profiles but just googling will give you plenty of other options.

Hopefully, you’ll get swiping and start making connections, but don’t let it rule your life, and be prepared to be disappointed that you aren’t getting supermodels hit you up every 5 minutes. I found it to be like waiting for a bus. Nothing for ages then 3 show up at once.

Not All Sunshine And Rainbows

Online dating is definitely a different ‘kettle of fish’ to meeting someone through chance, work or mutual friends. When trying to have a conversation with a stranger through text, be careful not to get stuck in a game of text tennis that eventually becomes stale.

My advice is to try to meet up for a drink or coffee soon so you can tell if you’re wasting each other’s time. Personally, I prefer a coffee or drink for a first date, that way it can be over quick if they’re not for you.

Especially if like me you turn up to a date to find she’s used photos of someone else entirely, or they’re clearly 10 years older than the pictures online. There’s plenty of horror stories out there and you’ll probably be the victim of some yourself. Just try not to be the one who creates the horror stories for others.

Just a Snapshot

It’s also up to you how you use these sites. I have both male and female friends who use these sites purely for a fling or one night stand and others who are looking for a soulmate. I’m not here to give you specific dating advice. There are plenty of places for you to get that information and even dating coaches if you need some extra advice. I’m just trying give you the bigger picture for what it’s like being a single dad getting back into the game.

If you get to the point where your date becomes more serious then check out my article on when to introduce your new partner to your kids.

Whatever your endeavour, I hope you find what you’re looking for so that you and your children can have future happiness.

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As with any of my articles and posts, feel free to contact me with feedback or other ideas about things you'd like to see on my site.

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