Dating coach tips for single parents

Kinderling News & Features

Samantha Jayne knows a thing or two about looking for love as a single mum. She admits she spent two years “sitting at home absolutely paralysed by fear” before gathering the courage to get back out there. Now the director of private dating agency Blue Label Life and a trained human behavioural expert, she says 65% of her clients are single parents. Here’s some of the advice she shared with Kinderling Conversation.

1. Work on your confidence

“Confidence is the number one sexy factor that we’ve surveyed. People find it incredibly attractive. Boost your self-esteem by treating yourself to new clothes and a new hairstyle. And then get out there again and expand your social network.”

2. Be upfront about having kids

“Put it out there that you have kids early. It’s about being transparent, especially online. But it’s important that when you’re on your date, you don’t just talk about them. Remember you are your own person and you have your own identity. Your date is your opportunity to connect. If you meet a person outside of online dating, find out about them first and decide on whether you’d like to take things further. Then take your time to talk about your children.”

3. Keep the kid talk positive

"When you do talk about your children, keep it light and positive, be confident and proud of them. If you act as though it’s a positive so will your date. If you make it sound all doom and gloom and are fearful of rejection, then they will probably feel the same."

Listen to our interview with Samantha and single mum Tania

4. Cast your net wide when online dating

“Online dating is a numbers game. I hear so many mixed stories about which service works best, so I recommend diversification. Just like you would with shares. Make sure you join a few websites to increase your chances.”

5. Learn which sites work best for you

“Historically, the sites that you pay for work best because there is an investment of both time and money. Websites like eHarmony are brilliant for newcomers to the online dating game because they do the work for you. You’ll find a lot of analytical types there because they love the fact there’s a formula versus an ad hoc approach. So if you’re looking for an engineer or an IT expert this is for you!

I’ve also heard great things about Plenty Of Fish, which is a free website and RSVP, which has the largest pool of singles so it’s worth checking out for a small fee. There are also specialised websites for single parents definitely worth checking out."

6. There's plenty of offline options too

"If online dating isn’t your thing and you’re more traditional, there are fantastic avenues offline. The best thing to do is to think about what the type of things the person you are interested would do in their spare time. Once you have established this, go and make it happen.

Book clubs and travel clubs are a great option. Also try sporting groups, running groups and the gym.

Just like you have incidental exercise, think incidental dating, when you are out and about travelling to and from work, picking up the kids, walking or shopping, make an effort to smile at people and strike up a conversation."

7. Get some expert advice

"There are some great books on relationships out there so get reading. Checking out online forums is also a good idea. Don’t just rely on your friends’ dating and relationship advice. Your besties may have the best of intentions, but they may not always push you in the right direction." 

8. Don’t put pressure on yourself

"Don’t expect to meet the love of your life on date one. Instead, make a general list of the qualities you are looking for and have a positive outlook. Acknowledge that you’ll probably be rusty and will make a few embarrassing mistakes, and just laugh it off."

9. Get out there and have fun

"Don’t fall into the procrastination trap. It can feel safer to sit around thinking of reasons not to go dating than it can to take action. Adopt the three-word mantra: 'Activity eliminates fear'. The most important thing to do is relax, have fun and focus on what you want. There’s an all-important side-effect here, too. When you’re having fun, your attractiveness will sky-rocket and before you know it, you’ll have so many offers you won’t know what to do with."

Hear Kinderling Conversation weekdays at 12pm and check out the podcast

Also see more Love & Relationships stories:

:: Seven sweet date ideas that aren’t just dinner
:: 46 years and going strong - how to have a long and lasting relationship