Picture this: You’ve been having a great time getting to know someone you matched with on Hinge, and the conversation seems to be flowing well.
Then, you mention you have kids, and now your match seems to be taking longer than usual to get back to you. Sounds familiar?
While online dating for single parents can understandably feel a bit more challenging than it may seem for a single 20-something, sharing your status as a single parent should be exciting, not something to worry about.
In this article, I’m going to share with you some helpful tips on how to get responses while online dating as a single parent.
Online Dating Tips for Single Parents
1. Don’t Hide That You’re a Parent
If you’re a single parent navigating the online dating scene, chances are you’ve had at least one of these questions swirl through your mind:
- “When should I mention I have kids?”
- “What if the person I’m talking to doesn’t want kids?”
- “Will my match be understanding of my busy schedule?”
When you’re chatting with someone who you seem to have a lot in common with, you can understandably feel a bit scared to share that you’re a single parent. Even still, never hide the fact that you are.
Relationships are built on trust, so being as honest and forthcoming about your situation as you can be is best.
If you’re okay with sharing a photo or two of your child in your online dating profile, that can give you the opportunity to share that you are a single parent without outright saying so.
Posting a photo of your child’s first birthday or you and your children at the beach should be enough of a clue to the person you’re talking to. If they ask, be forthright.
Perhaps you’d prefer to keep your child(ren) off of the internet. In this case, consider using one of the prompts, captions, or bio options to mention that you’re a parent, such as “My favorite part about myself is being a single parent to the best little boy in the world!”
You could also caption a photo with, “The best beach day with my baby!” This way, you don’t feel like you need to come out and say that you’re a parent to every match you have, and you can start all your conversations online as your genuine self. 
2. Select Conversation Starter Photos
If you do decide to feature your kids on your online dating profile, choose photos that would prompt a conversation from a match, such as a picture from a vacation to Disney World or a day on the boardwalk at the beach.
Photos that encourage conversation are a great way to help someone get to know you and start a lively conversation.
Perhaps your match absolutely loves Disney, or maybe they know their way around some boardwalk games. If you message first, you could share a thought about their photo that ties in with your children.
Additionally, the other person’s response to the mention of your child will also tell you a lot about who they are. If they don’t seem interested in continuing the conversation or acknowledging the existence of your child(ren), this is a good sign to move on to your next match.
3. Come Up With a Witty Message to Break the Ice
It’s always a good idea to have a witty first message in your back pocket to send to your potential matches.
Think of something that encapsulates your personality and your situation as a single parent, such as “Yes, that is my child in my profile photo. He’s the best kid a dad could hope for!” or “Before you ask, no, my kid doesn’t always look this cute.”
Inserting a little humor and getting ahead of the likely question about having kids will help to relax both you and your match as well. They will likely appreciate the humor and the opportunity you gave them to glean insight on a topic they may have felt hesitant to ask about.
4. Don’t Discount Non-Single Parents
As a single parent, you may wonder if only other single parents will truly understand your situation or be interested in dating someone with kids. Happily, that’s not true!
While you don’t want to spend time getting to know someone who doesn’t enjoy being around kids, don’t discount non-single parents who may reach out with a message. Give them a chance.
There are plenty of matches who babysat growing up or even have nieces, nephews, or little cousins. Most people have had some experience with kids. You can gauge their enthusiasm (or lack thereof) about dating a single parent.
5. Don’t Stress Over the Details
When you relax and try not to worry about how to bring up that you’re a single parent in the best way or at the right time, you’ll be your most genuine self. Authenticity is the easiest way to attract the right person for you.
If a potential match is not interested in dating a single parent, remember that it’s not personal. Some people simply don’t want kids, and that’s okay.
While hearing that may sting a little at first, remember that it’s not about you individually. Plus, their honesty just saved you a whole lot of time and energy that you could be putting into a relationship that’s a better fit for you.
6. Be Honest About Your Situation
While the fear of “scaring someone away” is normal when mentioning that you’re a single parent, when you start communicating with one person more frequently, make sure you’re upfront with them about your life as a single parent.
Some people don’t understand that parents—let alone single parents—have the responsibility of another human, and their top priority is always going to be their child until the relationship has had time to become more serious.
There is also the added obstacle of navigating the relationship with the other parent if they’re in the picture and all the communication nuances that entail.
In an article for Bumble about online dating as a single parent, one person described how they inform the people they’re interested in about their busy schedule:
“I give my daughter my attention when I’m with her, so it might mean I’m slow or unresponsive for a bit,” says Jeegar, 42. “Doesn’t mean that I’m not interested, that’s just where my focus is likely to be.”
When asked, be clear and gracious about your availability for date nights, especially if you have full custody of your child(ren).
For some people, lack of availability is a deal breaker, and this is something the two of you should discuss right away if you anticipate your schedule being a potential challenge. This honesty gives the other person the opportunity to understand that you have certain obligations as a parent and that you may have less free time at various points in your life.
As a single parent entering the world of online dating, you may wonder how to share that important part of your life while still staying true to yourself.
While navigating dating as a parent can feel challenging as you manage two busy schedules, hold down a career, and maintain a social life, the right person will come along and embrace every aspect of your busy (and fulfilling) life. They’ll be understanding and supportive of your role as a parent, and they’ll want to be active in your child’s life when the time is right.
If the relationship doesn’t work out, remember not to take it personally. Connections fizzle every day for many people, and that ebb and flow is simply a part of the journey of finding the right match for you.
So, have fun, come up with some witty messages, select a handful of great photos for your profile, and simply be yourself!
Featured photo credit: Tibor Pápai via unsplash.com
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