Over the years I have met many couples who met online. As someone who has been married for 18 years, at first I was surprised that online and app dating were so popular. But it seems to be the standard way to put yourself out there these days! An online dating site certainly widens your pool of new people and makes it easier to connect. If you are a single parent that is considering dating again, I like to share some tips from a top holistic, clinical psychologist, Dr. Carla Marie Manly. While her online dating tips would be beneficial to anyone, they are especially helpful for single parents who need to be clear about who they are and what they want in a relationship. After all, single parents have children to consider.
Dr. Carla Marie Manly’s latest book, Date Smart, (above) takes a hard look at the dating pool with the mission to enlighten its readers on best practices. She wants to help readers ensure their greatest happiness and healthiest relationships. You will love the sense of self-empowerment possible through the help of mindset shifts. Her conversational prompts can help you a potential match and determine if they are long-term relationship material.
Seven Top Tips For Online Dating As A Single Parent
by Dr. Carla Marie Manly, Clinical Psychologist and Relationship Expert
Dating can be complicated, and it’s often even more challenging when you’re a single parent. Although many of us yearn for the days when we met potential partners organically, times have certainly changed. And, due to increased uncertainty and fear factors, online dating and dating apps take “challenging” to a new level entirely. Fortunately, your romantic life doesn’t need to wait for the day when you meet the perfect partner by chance in the supermarket or social function. By taking smart dating skills with you into the digital world, you just might find love around the corner.
Tip 1: Put Your Best Self Out There!
Work on yourself internally so that your best self shines. This might involve creating a healthy exercise routine to boost your self-confidence, clearing out baggage from former relationships, or making sure you have quality self-care time to rejuvenate from parenting demands. Explore self-improvement (on your own, in a caring support group, or with a skilled therapist) to address issues that may be holding you back from being the best version of yourself.
Tip 2: Know What You Have to Offer!
As a single parent, you may be uncertain about what you have to give in a romantic relationship. Whether dating online or using apps, it’s important to pause to assess what you have—and want—to offer a romantic partner. For example, you might have lots of time to share or very little. You might have tons of emotional energy to offer or you may want to hold back. You may be willing to share an occasional dinner but feel very protective of your weekends. Or, you might be willing to share your entire life—kids and all—with a partner. There’s no “right” or “wrong” answer; it’s all about focusing on what you want to give so that you can comfortably and openly share these important details.
Tip 3: Be Clear on What You Want from a Relationship!
The lack of transparency in the virtual world can make it especially tough to find a suitable dating partner. Many single parents are so strained that they take whatever relationship opportunity comes along. It’s natural to want to connect with another loving adult, but when you take less than what you deserve, you’re modeling unhealthy dynamics for your kids and perpetuating low self-worth. So, before launching into dating, make a clear list about the non-negotiable elements you want in a partner—such as monogamy, honesty, respect, and emotional connection—and hold your ground.
Tip 4: Create a Genuine Online Dating Profile!
This is a super important dating app tip. Once you have greater clarity about who you are and what you want in a partner, use this awareness to generate an authentic online profile that feels right and true to you. When you present yourself in a thoughtful, honest way, you’re far more likely to attract potential partners who are a good fit. From the profile photos you choose to the background details you offer, strive to be your genuine self!
Tip 5: Meeting in Person
Although it makes sense to get to know someone via a phone call and messaging, don’t get stuck for weeks or months in this realm. If you think someone is a possible fit, setting an in-person meeting for a brief coffee date can help you decide if the match is worth pursuing. Always make sure you feel safe, that the first meeting is in a public place, and that you let a friend or family member know where you’ll be. That may be one of the most important online dating tips for women.
Tip 6: Don’t Settle!
When using an online dating app, take your time to select possible partners based on what’s really important to you. If, for example, you want a partner who will embrace your children with kindness, be clear about that from the start. And, take care not to compromise on the vital elements of a relationship such as honesty, transparency, and compassion. As you sort through potential candidates, set solid, reasonable expectations—and hold your ground.
Tip 7: Pay Attention to Those Red Flags!
Listen to your gut. If you notice that someone’s behavior is off, pay attention. Whether you’re picking up criticism or gaslighting, listen to your instincts. As it’s easy to confuse unhealed wounds with actual red flags (this is one reason self-work is so important), journal and talk with a trusted friend about any red flags that pop up. As your self-awareness increases, you’ll get to know a real red flag when you see it. If a person you’re dating becomes reactive when you discuss any red flags, add this worrisome issue to your BIG red flag list.
When you feel ready to date, remember to be your authentic self. Although dating in the virtual world can be disconcerting, good matches are out there. You’ll date more strongly and positively when you embrace all parts of your lovely, genuine self. And, as a single parent, remember that you deserve to find a partner who loves you and your children.
Thanks again to Dr. Manly for sharing these online dating tips. She specializes in creating optimal wellness through building healthy self-awareness and strong interpersonal relationships. With a holistic focus on creating balance and wellness from the inside out, she brings passion and depth to the self-help realm. Don’t forget to check out her growing list of award-winning self-help books.
I hope you found these online dating tips helpful. Remember, doing a bit of self-help work first may be useful to helping you know what you really want out of a relationship before you talk for the first time. Then, a first date in real life with a potential partner can make sure you don’t waste too much time on a relationship that has no chemistry. When you use online dating services be sure to use safety dating measures to avoid bad dates. Meeting online daters at a coffee shop without exchanging too much personal information is a great way to have a low pressure encounter with realistic expectations. It is a good idea to be honest with your potential date if you are looking for a serious relationship as your end goal. This will help ensure you are a good match.
In the end, remember to have a good time meeting people. Keep an open mind and be patient. Finding the right person will be worth it! I wish you online dating success! If you have questions, you can reach out on social media @familyfocusblog and @drcarlamanly