I recently got a call from a friend who married right out of college, divorced 10 years after that, and now shares custody of her child with her ex.
The call went something like this: "Can you remind me what a dating site is? You've told me about it, but it never mattered before. How do I do this?"
For many divorced women, online dating was not an option before they were married and in the dating pool. And, let's face it — for some, the Internet wasn't even born when they recited their vows.
It's difficult enough to navigate the dating world when you're single; when you're looking to date again after a divorce, it's likely to feel even more tough. But with these 5 tips, you'll be able to navigate the world of online dating more easily, and will be more likely to find your perfect match the second time around:
1. View it as an opportunity.
Being on a dating site and revealing the fact that you have a child is an advantage you may not have in another scenario. There are divorced men with children who are looking for love who won't be turned off by single moms at all. Be honest and upfront about your status as a single mother in your dating profile. After all, you come as a package!
Divorced daters also have an advantage in that (I hope) they have learned something about themselves and what they're looking for in a partner. Write out all the things you have learned about yourself and what you believe you must have and can't stand in a potential mate. Examine the list so that you have clarity on your needs and dating goals moving forward.
2. Know when you're ready to date seriously, and make your intentions known.
It can be exciting to date again after many years of marriage, but you may not want to rush into another relationship when you are newly separated. It's important to take some time to date again and exercise your dating muscle. It's also important to make your intentions known so that people who find you online realize you're not looking for a serious commitment at this point in time.
When you're ready to get into a serious relationship again and/or if you're interested in having more children in the future, it's also a good idea to highlight these facts in your dating profile.
3. Know when your kids are ready.
Your child doesn't need to know the details of your dating life or your online dating activity. Generally speaking, it's a good idea to date for at least a few months before an introduction is made between your child and your date. It's important to see serious long-term potential before you integrate the person you're dating into your family.
Remember, your child didn't choose to be in this situation; and after going through a divorce, stability is important for him or her. Refer to your new date as a 'friend' until you are certain it's something more.
4. Spend less than half of your profile talking about your child.
Of course being a mom is an important part of your life, and you should mention this in the "About Me" section. In most cases, it's good to spend a few lines talking about your favorite activities with your child and what you love about being a parent, and then move on. You have more interests and facets to your identity than being a mom, so find the balance when you're writing your online profile.
Include simple photos of yourself — a close-up and one full-body shot works best online. If you want to include a photo of your child, that's fine too — just remember that the internet attracts predators. For this reason, you may not want to post a shot that shows a clear view of your child's face or advertises too much personal or contact information.
5. Do your research and have fun. Surf around the net and look at dating profiles of other divorceés across the country. Pick a few that you like and want to emulate in your dating profile. Most important, take the pressure off yourself and have fun!
Always keep your dating profile upbeat, positive, and humorous. Men are attracted to women who are confident and playful. It's OK to reflect on what you've learned through your last relationship, but leave the negativity out!
Lastly, when you're figuring out how to "work this thing" known as online dating, remember that 40 million other users are wondering the same thing and most are just hoping that someone like you is out there to meet.
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