It took awhile for me to navigate the online dating world. I found that there are some great people out there. There were also quite a few losers.
After 15 years of marriage, and 6 children, I dreaded the idea of dating. Would guys even want to get involved with a mom of 6 children? Would my struggle to get out of an abusive relationship affect the way I saw other men? And, would I have the time or the energy to put my best foot forward in the online dating world?
I contemplated all those issues and decided that meeting men in person was not ideal. I figured that online dating might be the best way to get the ball rolling. After all, I was a whiz on the computer and I could interact with others at the time of my choosing; when the kids were with their dad or in school.
Let me tell you, online dating was an interesting experience for sure.
Along my online dating journey, I learned a few things that I feel are important to share and help other moms out there considering getting back “in the game”.
Be Honest: I made sure that my profile, and conversations, were almost insanely honest. My picture was current and my status was crystal clear: divorced mom. I also decided that the BEST thing for me was to focus on creating new friendships. Looking for Mr. Right wasn’t going to be my focus; looking for amazing friends was. I was genuine in all of my conversations and was honest. The only exceptions were specifics like my location, full name, names of my children and so on. Safety first!!
Be Open-Minded: There really are a lot of great people in the world. And, I made quite a few real friends on free online dating sites. I did go on dates after multiple conversations, and I really enjoyed getting to know new people. I didn’t put much emphasis on a person’s looks, income or whether or not they had a fancy career. I was more interested in their character. Now, I will say, there were certain things I steered clear of because I knew my own preferences. I didn’t want to date someone who still lived with parents, didn’t like children or had never been in a long-term relationship. I kept an open mind but after numerous conversations, I could tell where this man was going with his life and it was at that point where I “friend-zoned” them. Sometimes, that was enough to make them disappear. And, that was okay by me.
Be Fun: Whatever that is for you, give it your all. I personally started all of my conversations with a game of “This or That”, which is an awesome icebreaker. An example would be “Coke or Pepsi?” (they must pick one of the two choices) and then they answer and then you give your answer. Now, they get to ask a question. It’s easy and fun and you learn a lot without huge pressure on either person to be “perfect”. You are totally free to use that idea, by the way. Anyway, whatever is fun and interesting for you, go for it. If they aren’t up to the challenge, then they might not be a good fit for you anyway.
Be Smart: Okay, this has nothing to do with intelligence at all. This means that you are careful with what you say and how you say it. Be careful with sharing photos, social media sites (like Facebook account), detailed information about you, friends or family members or meeting people in person. It also means, that if you get a bad vibe off of someone, block them immediately and move on. If you get a good vibe off of someone, take your time and really let it flow organically. Being smart also means know yourself, and don’t compromise your standards or values for anyone.
Be Specific: Look, you are busy. You’ve got kids. The last thing you need is to get caught up in games with people who don’t know you, respect you and are possibly just looking to get laid. So, before you even hit the sites, take some time and work on you and what you want. Know who you are, what you want and the specifics of your ideal guy. You may, or may not, find him on a dating site, but once you know exactly what you want, you won’t settle for less than that.
Be Patient: It takes time to heal from a major life-change like divorce. As a Mom, you’ve got so much going on with your kids, no matter their age. And, chances are you haven’t been giving yourself a ton of attention or nurturing thus far. After all, you had a spouse and child/ren to care for. Perhaps also a career outside of the home with a boss and co-workers or a career inside of the home where you were the boss. Whatever may be your previous scenario, now is your time. You still have to care for a lot of things, but take this as a chance to create a new life for yourself. Forgive yourself and release guilt. Take responsibility for your part in the marriage and divorce. Become confident in who you are and know that only you control your happiness.
It took awhile for me to navigate the online dating world. I found that there are some great people out there. There were also quite a few losers. I invested in my own personal development and worked harder on myself than anything else. When we do that, we become invincible. The best thing is that once you realize how wonderful you are, you realize you don’t need a man. That’s when Mr. Right seems to appear suddenly, out of nowhere. And, he may just be everything you didn’t even know you wanted or needed. It all starts with you.