Single mum, would like to meet . . .
Online dating is a tricky business at the best of times. It’s even harder when there are already two people in the relationship, writes NESSA TOALE
BEING SINGLE is great. Not having to answer to anyone, never having to explain where you’ve been till 6am, dancing all night so you can’t climb the stairs the next day for pure agony. Those were the days.
Now, though, being single is a whole other ball game. It means staying in each evening while my daughter sleeps upstairs - bar one night when I'm not chained to the house.
I was single when pregnant with Beth, but never considered dating. When Beth was born, it was the last thing on my mind, but after a few months I decided to throw myself back into the dating pool.
As a single parent you have to make the most of your free time, but if you are looking for someone special, what do you do? On the few occasions I get to go out, I’d rather catch up with friends than go trawling for men. It’s challenging to find the time to date.
Late dinners or a movie when Beth is gone to bed are good options, but dating in Ireland is not easy. A good chunk of our social activities centre on drink, and trying to meet people in a pub or club is not straightforward, especially from your late 20s on.
Another choice is to go online. Having had a relationship in the past with someone I met on a dating website, I decide to sign up to another website.
None of the first few emails grabs me. I rule out the “hi, ow r u” emails: if someone can’t be bothered to write a personal email in English they aren’t right for me. I also ignore the offers of no-strings-attached “fun”, which come with the territory of online dating.
In my profile I state clearly I have a daughter. I want anyone who might be interested in me to know Beth is the most important aspect of my life. Some men stop emailing after they find this out, but if they can’t get their heads around that, they’re not for me anyway.
The next step – giving a phone number – is trickier. I prefer texting to talking at this stage, and in my texts I try to put across that Beth’s dad is very much in the picture. I don’t want to lead any guy on. I want them to have as much information about my situation before they get involved. Not only are they getting Beth and me as a package deal, but Beth’s dad is here to stay, in her life and indirectly in mine. We are in each other’s company during handovers, Christmases and birthdays. That will never change, and I’ve no time for jealous people.
One encounter leads to a date. After texting for a couple of weeks we decide to meet. We go for a drink one evening while Beth stays with her dad. It’s awkward, as first dates are, but it leads to a second date, and a third and so on. On my 30th birthday, I have a barbecue at my house, and the new man gets on with my friends. Beth also meets him briefly.
But the following week, it fizzles out. I’m still not sure why.