Alexandra Hunter on dating as a single mum
Let’s talk about dating. I never imagined I would be writing about my experiences of dating as a single mum. Three years ago, my life was very different. I thought I had found my person; I had a big diamond on my left hand, a newly renovated house, I was happily walking around like a beached whale waiting for my baby to arrive and then, a year later, everything went horribly wrong.
For the first year after I left I didn’t believe I would ever even consider dating again, and less as a single mum. Friends told me I would and I laughed. I didn’t think I would be capable of trusting again, I didn’t think anyone would be remotely interested in my post baby life and my far from perfect body. I didn’t have the time, energy or inclination and I wasn’t prepared to even contemplate being vulnerable. I had lost all of my confidence, not only in myself but in men also. Then the shock began to wear off and I started to consider the possibilities. Not a serious relationship, not something that involved my child but something for me, part time, when Seb wasn’t with me might be nice.
Tinder didn’t exist last time I was dating, and my days of going out on a Friday night are long gone. I reluctantly signed up after one too many glasses of wine with a girlfriend last summer and found that Tinder is both wonderful and ghastly. It boosts your confidence but is horrendously superficial, there’s so much choice it’s overwhelming, and often very little is invested, it was exactly what I needed. When Seb wasn’t with me I went on dates, some hilarious, some awful, some lovely but none that made me think seriously about allowing someone in to my life. I went on a date with a guy who had failed to update his profile from psychologist to trainee priest and was surprised I wasn’t ok with it, someone who was much older than his profile stated, someone who wanted to introduce me to the girlfriend he hadn’t told me existed as he thought I’d be her type too, all sorts. At this stage of life situations are complex, there’s normally enough baggage to sink a small ship, kids of course always come first. After a few months I deleted it, I was busy and I knew there were people out there who would be interested, when I was ready.
In February I was buying Seb trainers and saw a man with his daughter in the shoe shop. I scanned for a wedding ring and he wasn’t wearing one. I wanted to give him my number but I was covered in Seb’s snot, looked awful and didn’t think it appropriate with our children there. Seeing someone who I actually liked made me go back to Tinder, I felt ready. Amazingly his picture popped up in my feed and we liked each other, a couple of months down the line and we’re still liking each other, but no longer on Tinder. The first step back in to the dating world as a single parent after the trauma of a relationship breakdown is daunting. My advice would be to pour a glass of wine, curl up on the sofa and have a look who’s out there, you never know.
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