Dating already comes with its own set of challenges. Still, the fact that we’re currently living in the time of the worst public health crisis we’ve ever had in modern history and the worst global recession since World War II, it almost feels impossible. And for single parents, the task feels doubly hard.
Solo parents who were looking forward to finding love this year need not give up so easily. Experts say that what produces a successful relationship is the same thing that produces success in life—grit. And we only need grit when times are hard. So times of upheaval should not preclude you from trying to find love. After all, these can be the conditions upon which you find a lasting and enduring relationship.
If you feel like now is the right time and that you’re ready, don’t hesitate to dip your toes in the water. Here are some tips for single parents who want to date and find love in the time of COVID-19.
Since many unessential activities like going to church or volunteer work are currently discouraged, singles don’t really have many opportunities to meet people in the flesh. People from both sides have argued about the effectiveness of online dating, but given our current situation, it’s a moot point. Bars and restaurants might be opening up already, but it’s still not the safest way to go out and meet people.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discourages people from staying out in bars and restaurants for too long, especially if they’re crowded and in enclosed spaces. You can also meet people at work, but if you’re working from home, social media is still your best bet.
Don’t shy away from the idea of online dating. The Pew Research Center found that 12% of Americans have married or been in a committed relationship with someone they met through a dating app or website. That’s not a bad statistic! Consider getting into these platforms, and if you find that you could use some extra help, consider hiring dating services and professional matchmakers to help you set up a profile.
Ask people you trust to connect you with good potential partners.
But if you find yourself wary about the idea of meeting people online, the traditional route works, too. Ask the people in your life, those you trust and you know are a good judge of character, to introduce you to people they know who are single and who could be a good fit for you. Friends doing some matchmaking magic is still one of the most common ways people find their partners, so don’t hesitate to ask your most trusted friends for help.
Take it slow.
If there’s one thing the pandemic is doing in romantic relationships, it’s that it has forced so many couples to take things slow. Many engaged couples have had to cancel or postpone their weddings. Couples who have only been casually dating have been forced to slow down and be more cautious about taking the relationship more seriously.
As a parent, you have so much more to consider. Having a child means you’re not just finding a potential spouse; you’re also building a family. It’s important to know the person you’re dating like the back of your hand since they will also play a major part in your child’s life. When this person enters your life, they will also be entering that of your child’s. Make sure whoever you date is worthy of being a step-parent before you consider entering into a serious relationship with them. Some characteristics that you need to look for include:
- An understanding that your children will always be your priority
- Kindness and patience
- The knowledge that they’re not coming in to “save” your family
- Willingness to build a relationship with your children without being forceful or overstepping their bounds
Add these qualities on top of your list of non-negotiable characteristics, and you’ll be sure to find someone who can fit in healthily into your family.
Talk to Your Kids
Don’t forget to communicate with your kids. As anxious as you are about the idea of starting a new relationship, they might have their own set of worries and concerns, too. Assure them that they are still your priority and that you are first a parent before you are someone’s boyfriend or girlfriend. Remind them that no matter what, they come first. Acknowledge their fears and doubts, but assure them that you will do all that you can in your power to build a family that’s healthy and happy, for them.