Having children shouldn’t stop you from meeting someone special. But how do you stay safe online as a single parent dating? Read our safe dating tips for single mums and dads.
According to single parent statistics there are around 2.8 million single parents in the UK today. A large percentage of these have dependent children. But how do you date when you have kids that still live at home? Many single parents turn to online dating as a convenient way to meet someone: It’s quick, easy and can be done from the comfort of your home. But how safe is online dating for single parents?
For a single mum or dad, getting back into dating after the breakup of the family, be it through divorce or bereavement, is tough. Whether or not your kids live with you, the prospect of meeting and dating someone after a long period in a stable relationship can be daunting. All the more when the wellbeing of your kids is your priority, and you are keenly aware that you need to keep yourself and them safe. So, if online dating is how you are going to embark on your single parent dating journey, you need to observe some online dating safety rules:
Choose the right dating site
The vast majority of dating sites and members are genuine, but there are a few scammers about, so make sure you choose the right dating site. If you are asked to disclose private information online or receive phishing emails claiming to be from an online dating site, then the site is probably not authentic. Choose a well-known or niche site that suits your preferences. If you are looking to meet and date another single parent, for example, you could choose a single parent dating site which would give you the security that you and your date are in the same boat – single parents prioritising their kids and always keeping their safety in mind. If you are not set on meeting another single parent, you could of course join another site, such as Christian or Muslim dating site if your future partner’s faith is important to you.
Don’t share too much information
Beware which information you share: Don’t give your surname, email address, telephone number, the company you work for or the exact area where you live in your profile or early communication. Any such information might make you or your children identifiable. Especially women tend to reveal too much information about themselves. Wait until you got to know the other person better and found out more about them, before you divulge too much private information. Any reasonable person will understand and admire you for your sense of responsibility.
Social media platforms
Dating safety is a valid concern, especially for single parents and in an age when we share so much information online, be it through Facebook, Instagram, or professional networks. Don’t use your Facebook profile photo, or better: Consider setting your Facebook and Instagram pages to private whilst you are dating online. If you are not willing to do that, check how much personal information you reveal there.
Safe communication tools
Keep conversations on the dating platform by using the tools your dating site offers: Messaging services are completely confidential and secure. If you do decide to use your personal email, ensure you do not show your full name in the email address or the name field. You can always set up a new account for free for your single parent dating journey if you don’t know how to change your existing one.
Trust your instincts
Never meet someone, you haven’t talked to on the phone or even better video chat at least once, or who has made you feel uncomfortable in any way at any point during your correspondence or chats. If you have a niggling doubt that something isn’t quite right, trust your instinct. You should feel 100% comfortable meeting your date.
Don’t feel pressurised
There are no written rules in online dating. Don’t feel you have to go for dinner on a first date if you would rather do coffee or drinks. Don’t feel you have to stay over on the third date because you think he expects this. Be honest about your expectations, intentions, your children, etc. If something about you doesn’t sit well with your date, then it’s better to know now, then to find out later. If you are meeting someone who doesn’t have kids and isn’t understanding of a single parent’s time restraints, for example, this will lead to greater problems later. So, be honest – it is a good test if nothing else.
Never get into someone’s car on a first date
This is one for the ladies and may sound obvious. But we often fall into the trap of thinking we know our date really well because we read each other’s profiles, messaged, chatted on the phone, etc. Use your common sense as you would if you met a stranger in the street or a bar. Even if you had a fabulous date, resist the temptation of getting a lift home – regardless of the late hour or the babysitter waiting. Keep yourself and your home address safe for now.
Meet in a public place
Beware where you go for your first date or dates. If he picks a place that you have never heard of, check it out beforehand to make sure you are not taken to a near empty bar in an isolated area of town without taxi rank. It is always safer to suggest a public place, such as a monument or museum where you can meet and from where you can stroll to a bar or restaurant together (or not if things go really badly). If your date has any experience or tact, he or she will do just that or be happy to go with your suggestion instead.
Tell someone where you are going
Tell a good friend or family member where you are going and who you are meeting. Let them know you got home safely and agree what should be done if you do not check in with them after the date. This is incredibly important to ensure that someone looks for you if something went wrong – even if it’s just to discover that your phone battery that has run out. As a single parent, you need to make sure you are safe.
Check your date out
Ok, so we are not suggesting stalking, but if you want to verify that your date is who she or he claims to be, a little research can be justified. You could check their professional profile, for example, or just google them, assuming you have been on a few dates and know a little bit about your date now. If you don’t, this could set alarm bells ringing.
There may be other reasons, why you wish to verify who you are meeting: if you have any doubts about the tales or adventures your date told you about, for example. A little embellishment may be acceptable but most single parents will appreciate honesty more than anything, especially if they have been betrayed by a partner in the past.
If you were unhappily married and are a newly single parent, your self-esteem might have suffered and you may need time to regain your confidence. Getting out there and meeting people is a great way to boost your self-esteem and recognise your qualities. Just remember to be true to yourself: You have been in a long-term relationship and you probably know, or have an idea at least, of what works for you and what doesn’t. Don’t think that because you are a single parent, you are in any way less attractive and have to go for second best. A relationship should never be a compromise.
Don’t rush into things
Many single mums and dads get so caught up in the hope of meeting and falling in love that they don’t see the dangers that can come with online dating. They fall in love with a profile or a voice or daydream about someone they have only met a few times. It is easily done when you are a single parent and feel isolated or down, but you remember that you do not get to know a person overnight. It takes months, and sometimes years, to find out everything about a person. Take time getting to know your date, and even more time introducing him or her to the kids. They might behave differently towards you, your children, and others if they are under a lot of pressure. So, don’t rush things.
Don’t get me wrong, online dating as a single parent can be exciting, and meeting different men or women can be truly enjoyable. There are a lot of interesting singles out there whose paths you would never cross if it wasn’t for internet dating! If you use your common sense and remember the rules of safe online dating, you could enjoy lots of wonderful dates and maybe even meet someone special. So, go ahead, sift through the nonsense (as you do in real life) and enjoy your single parent dating journey!
More articles that might interest you:
- Single Parent on Holiday’s Single Parent Dating Guide
- Top Tips for Creating a 5-Star Dating Profile
- Where to Meet Single Parents for Dating
- A Guide to the Best Places to Meet Single Parents