Parents

A Single’s Guide to Thanksgiving

Moms
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Holidays are great for celebrating, but they can also remind us of what's missing in our lives. Especially when we visit our families. Aunt Barbara might like to ask too many personal questions, while Uncle Stan usually makes some comment about how nobody's getting any younger.

Instead of letting yourself get upset, or worse, anticipating problems before they happen, take a step back. And then take a deep breath. After all, Thanksgiving is about getting together with family and sharing a meal. It doesn't mean you are obligated to be with your family all weekend, subjected to their scrutiny. After all, you're a single, independent person, with the freedom to do what you want!

Here's what you can do for yourself this Thanksgiving:

Break from tradition. Do you travel to visit family every year for the holidays? Maybe it's time you took a year off and celebrated with friends instead. You might feel obligated to fly or drive to visit parents every year, but it's not necessarily the way you want to spend the holiday. So why not try something different? Invite friends over to your place for a pot luck. Mix it up.

Go out for a drink after dinner. There's no reason to hang out with your family all night, so why not round up a few friends and head to a local bar to share drinks, or to a movie theatre to see a new release? Have something to look forward to.

Set aside time for yourself. Your family might have your weekend scheduled full of events, but let them know ahead of time you won't be attending everything. Make a point to book a spa appointment, lunch with a friend, or even just time at a coffee shop to read your favorite book. Make time for yourself over the weekend. It's important.

Stand your ground. Friends and family don't always respect boundaries and may ask questions or put you on the spot regarding your single status. Instead of making excuses or trying to find a way out of the conversation, respond firmly but positively. After all, being single doesn't mean your life is "less than" anyone else's. In fact, you're probably more social than all of them. Let them know you're enjoying yourself and your freedom, and that you're taking your time. If that feels false, then change the subject to talk about other things in your life - like your career, your friends, or your plans to move to a new home. There's more to any life than finding a partner.

Have fun. Yes, it is possible to have fun at Thanksgiving dinner this year. Relax and remind yourself to count your blessings (that's what the holiday is for)! You have people in your life who love you.

3 Dating Mistakes To Avoid As A Single Parent

Dads
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Dating is hard enough when you’re young, childless, and free from responsibilities. Add in a few more years, a child or two, and a whole lot more responsibility, and dating can feel impossible. There's an intense amount of pressure on single parents. When should you mention the kids? How should you bring them up? How long should you talk about them? You love your children, but do they mean you're doomed to be date-less forever?

The dating game is played a little differently after you have kids, but at its heart it's still the same game. You’ll fumble here and there, but if you keep these dating mistakes in mind, you’ll have a much easier time of reaching the goal.

Single Parent Dating Mistake #1: Avoiding the Internet.

Just because it’s what 'the kids are doing these days’ doesn’t mean it can’t be a thing you’re doing. Get with the times and get online. You probably already use the Web to watch movies, order clothes, learn skills, research interests, pay bills, and most anything else you can think of, so why not use it for dating too? More and more single parents are looking for connections on online dating sites, which means your odds of finding someone who’s open to the fact that you’re a single parent are even better than in real life. You could be just a few clicks away from starring in your own version of The Brady Bunch.

Single Parent Dating Mistake #2: ‘Woe is me’ syndrome.

Lots of single parents fear their single parent status means no one will be interested in them. Sure, it may change some minds, but those aren't the minds you want to be with anyway. You'd be surprised at how many people aren’t scared of the idea, so don't be afraid to date someone who isn't a parent themselves. Alternatively, you can look for other single parents like yourself, if that Brady Bunch idea sounded appealing. The only thing that guarantees you won’t find a date is having a bad attitude about it.

Single Parent Dating Mistake #3: Overdoing it.

Your children are the most important thing in your life and you would do anything for them, but they're definitely not asking you to make them your only topic of conversation. Your date should know you're a single parent, which is easily accomplished early on. If you’re using an online dating site, list it on your profile. If you are online dating but prefer to keep that info private, or aren't using a dating site at all, you can break the news via e-mail, text, phone call, or IM. Once you’re on an in-person date, kid talk should be kept to a minimum. Dates are about getting to know each other, not about your children’s little league games. In fact, challenge yourself to make it through at least two full days before sharing the details of your kids’ lives.

Take a look at our list of single parent dating sites to find a related service.

Match.com is Marketing to a New Generation with MatchMade Scholarship Contest

Dads
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Online dating has been around for a while. And plenty of couples met over a dating website years ago, got married, and now have children. So it makes sense that one of the most established of these - Match.com - might want to prep the new generation when they start online dating. Why not use Mom and Dad as an example for what really works when it comes to love?

It’s not surprising the company is marketing to a new generation of online daters, considering the growth of the online dating industry. Last year, a report came out from a Harris poll that stated more than one in three American couples that got married between 2005 and 2012 met online.

Match.com was quick to jump on that study, touting its matching services for their own successful couples.

Match.com is one dating site that has stood the test of time, and managed to grow its user base over the years despite the onslaught of competition. This month the online dating giant announced its “MatchMade” Scholarship Contest, a $50,000 program open to kids of parents who met on Match. Launched over 19 years ago, Match claims it has led to more dates, more relationships, and more marriages than any other site. The company also says that over one million babies were “made” because of Match, so the company will continue to positively impact the lives of its members by offering a scholarship to the children of its success couples.

Match’s contest revolves around creative story-telling and social media sharing. The campaign kicked off with a video of young kids sharing their thoughts on everything from marriage to careers and college – but mostly about love and babies. The MatchMade scholarship contest is open to students between the ages of 13-20 nationwide, so it’s targeting an older demographic that will be ready for the dating pool soon.

To enter, students must submit a short video retelling their parents’ Match love story in a creative way - from their first messages exchanged on Match to the moment they knew they were meant for each other. Match will accept submissions through June 30, 2014, after which the company will select a group of finalists. In August, the public will choose the winner by sharing their favorite videos via Facebook and Twitter, and the winner will be awarded a $50,000 scholarship. The parents of the winner are part of the competition, too - they will be given $5,000 to put toward a getaway.

“Success on Match takes many forms, but of course there’s a special place in our hearts for the children involved in our members’ lives,” said Sam Yagan, CEO of Match. “By bringing their parents together, we’ve played a small role in the lives of more than one million MatchMade babies, and now with the MatchMade Scholarship Contest, we’re excited to extend that special relationship to helping those children pay for college.”

5 Reasons Why You Should Date a Single Dad

Dads
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Last month we're celebrating fathers everywhere (in honor of Father's Day), so I'd like to give some kudos to all the single dads out there who are looking for love. There are more of you than ever joining online dating sites and putting yourselves out there because you want a new relationship. (And by the way ladies, single dads make great partners.)

But some of you might need some reassurance. If you aren't dating because you think women don't want to date a man with "baggage," it's simply not true.

Sure, there are some women who won't go on a date with a man who has kids. They aren't for you. But there are also women (with or without children themselves) who are open and interested in finding the right man, regardless of his situation. I know, because I was a single woman who married a man with children.

While single Dads do come attached already (to their kids), there are some big pluses that they have over bachelors any day:

He's emotionally mature. Have you been on a lot of dates with men who play games or drop out of the picture before things get too serious? Single dads are different. They aren't into playing games, because they have their kids to think about. They'll want to get to know you before introducing you to the children. And they'll be more expressive about their wants and needs, instead of making you guess.

He can commit. He has children, which is the biggest commitment you can make in life. Likely he also has an ex wife or girlfriend who he committed to when they had the children together, so he's learned a few things about what works and what doesn't.

You can observe him with his kids. When it comes to dating men with children, actions definitely speak louder than words. The warmth and love and environment he provides for them says a lot about who he really is. Observe and decide for yourself.

He's not selfish. Many bachelors are used to living on their own and answering to no one, which means it can be tough for them to form a relationship where there has to be give and take. With single dads, they give a lot of their time to their children, and they understand sacrifice and compromise. They are anything but selfish.

He has a good sense of humor and is more relaxed. You have to have a sense of humor when raising children, because it's a tough endeavor. Chances are he's learned to relax and not let little things bother him so much. He's more focused on the big picture, and in creating a good life for himself and his children.

Happy belated father's day!

Match.com Talks about Dads on Father's Day

Dads
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Don't forget that today is Father's Day.

Did you know that single parents make up a large percentage of online daters? On Match.com, 39 percent of male subscribers are single Dads. These single dads are also 46 percent more likely to meet someone on Match.com when compared to the average male who does not have children. This advantage increases, the older the Dad is. Single Dad's who still have children living at home also have a slight higher success rate on Match.com

For you single Moms out there, single Dads are 56 percent more likely to email you than men without children. This is probably the main reason why single Dads have more success on dating sites. The best chance to meet a single Dad online at Match.com is early in the morning (from 6am to 9am). This is when they log into the dating site the most often to browse profiles and send messages.

44 percent of single Dads on Match.com are between the ages of 35 and 45 with 30 percent being 45 to 55 years old. 68 percent of Dads also wait at least 3 months before allowing their date to meet their children.

For more on the story, read "Up To Date" and for further details about this dating site, read our Match.com review.

If you are interested in a dating site just for single parents, check out our review of Single Parent Meet.

Online Dating Profiles for Single Parents

Parents
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There are a couple schools of thought regarding online dating profiles for single parents. I’ll present both and let you decide which rings true for you and your situation.

Don’t Mention Your Children

Your online dating profile is about you, not your children. The only place you need to mention your children is in the stats area where you select “Have kids,” how many, and your custody arrangement.

After all, your potential match isn’t going to be dating your children – they’ll be dating YOU. You are more than a mother or father. Think about what makes you unique and cool that has nothing to do with your children. Eventually they’ll be grown and out of the house and you’ll have to relate to your spouse on other levels.

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