So here I am in my late 30s and find that the dating world has changed so much! In my early 20s, I met my now ex-husband in a bar and we didn’t live happily ever after. So here I am now, divorced and ready to date again. Turns out the bar scene isn’t really where you find a man anymore -it’s online through dating sites and apps, like Bumble and Tinder. I mean before dating apps were for those who didn’t have the social skills to meet people in person, but now it is the TRENDY way to date…and boy is it complicated! I am in no way an expert, but here are some things I have learned in my online dating journey as a parent so far:

Online Dating After Divorce

Don’t take online dating too seriously

You have to go into online dating as a source of entertainment – because let’s face it guys in their late 30s-early 40s have NO CLUE how to take a selfie…but they do try! So you will see plenty of extra chins and up their nose pics.  And let’s not forget how many of them love to take gym selfies (in the mirror at the gym – and yes, you can see others in the background!) or Dad bod shirtless in their own bathroom (with all the dirty towels and gross shower curtain half hanging up too).  I mean seriously, there seem to be sooo many of those out there.   I guess there is someone for everyone.  And for my sake, I do hope mine is out there – just without the shirtless and up the nose selfie pic!

SWIPER – NO SWIPING! 

That’s my Dora the Explorer reference if you got it!  You learn to Swipe LEFT a lot (which means NO, not interested) and every so often swipe RIGHT (I like your look, are you interested in me?) and then you can MATCH with someone and start talking to them once both have swiped right on each other.  Words that were foreign to me before, but you catch on quick…and Yes, I have accidentally swiped RIGHT on a total dud before – and you can simply unmatch quickly! No hard feelings, and he just disappears so it’s not uncomfortable.  A great suggestion is to have your girls come over with wine and help you swipe left or right  – we even put up a projector screen one night and had some great fun and lots of laughs!

Be open to conversation

Some guys want to say “Hey” and then want to meet up for drinks.  The 20 year old me with no real career, kids, or schedule would have said “I’m in, see you in 20 minutes.” However, the 30-something me thinks things like I need to check my calendar, um tonight I am already in my PJs, and I can pencil you in next weekend when I don’t have my kids.  What I actually say is “Let’s keep chatting and get to know each other better first.”  And some guys are cool with that and some just disappear…Boy Bye! There are a plethora of fish out there so keep on movin’ forward (or bumbling in this case).

Be ok with a date (or two) gone bad

It will happen, but hopefully later you can laugh about it.  My favorite was a second date (yes hindsight is 20/20) and he took to me a sports bar with waitresses in little short outfits (sigh).  We met up with his friends, his sister, and HIS EX-GIRLFRIEND.  Yeah I know – Awkward.  He then got wasted (like chocolate wasted) and I had to take the keys and drive us home…and by us I mean me, him, the sister, AND the ex-girlfriend. OMG! But that’s not it! He tried to sloppy drunk make out with me while I was driving.  And before you ask…NO THIRD DATE.  See it’s funny – NOW anyway! And it makes for a great icebreaker conversation on future first dates.

Don’t introduce your kids too quickly

Please, please, please make sure that you are in a monogamous relationship that is stable and consistent before you have the guy meet your kids. A good reference time for me was after discussions like “Where is this going?” “I don’t want to see other people anymore” “Let’s both delete our Bumble profiles.”  Don’t let him into your family life until you are sure that he will be around for a while.  There is nothing worse than your kids seeing a revolving door of men come through – save that for their weekends with their dad (KIDDING!)

Remember, your kids fall in love too

Once you find an amazing guy and he is around your kids for awhile, they fall in love with him too.  And if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t just break your heart, it breaks theirs as well.  It is so much harder when you have to look out for your little one’s feelings.  And if (and when) you do find your happily ever after, show your kids an example of what a great relationship can be.  I believe in marriage and I do hope in this ever evolving technology of dating through apps, I find my Prince Charming and live happily ever after – and I can tell the story of how we met on Bumble at our wedding. 

Any dating advice for single parents? Do you have a funny (or not funny) dating disaster story? We would love to hear it!

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Swiping Right- A Parents Guide to Online Dating After Divorce