Online dating lost its creepy stigma years ago and as a single mom I find it totally accessible and helpful when it comes to meeting guys. However, I keep my son out of my online dating escapades. That’s not to be confused with what I disclose on my profile. I always check the “Have Children” box “Yes.” There’s no point luring men in on false assumptions. I’m a busy mom!
However, I never post pictures of my son on my online dating profile. I don’t care how cute we look hugging Donald Duck in Hawaii or if I appear sporty and chic in a Little League photo—my son’s photo doesn’t belong on whatever site I’m trying out. And I honestly cringe when I see guys with a kid on their shoulders or holding a newborn. In fact, sometimes these guys post accompanying headlines like, “Meet my godson!” Yikes, does your godson’s mom know you’re using him to show your softer, I-like-kids side on a site designed to introduce adults to one another for by all means, adult reasons?
My son is not involved in my dating life and until I know if a guy is good enough to meet my son, he doesn’t. I’ve been a single dating mom for six years. In those six years, my son has casually met two men. He never formed attachments to them and it was always low key and I make a point to never be affectionate with a guy in front of my child (not even hand-holding or snuggles!).
When you’re a single mom you have to remember that you’re not the only one who will suffer a broken heart if there’s a breakup. There’s probably some subconscious reason I keep my son completely disenchanted about my personal life—I mean his dad left me when I was pregnant, so there’s clearly the fear of abandonment hanging over my head. And there’s also the crystal clear reality that I’ve grown from that experience and can function alone and awesomely without a man—not to be confused with not wanting a man. There’s a big difference there.
But the fact remains, dating as a single mom involves protecting your child on the unknown ride. And I’ve always made it a point to separate my mommy and dating life, which is not easy and makes me feel like I’m living two lives, but it’s what I choose to do, so despite my feelings of sadness, relief, joy … after a breakup, my son remains in the dark. He’s 6. He belongs in the dark.
Then there’s the super scary reason I choose not to paint a visual of my child for a stranger on a dating website where my online name is not googleable.
I remember working on a story for a parenting magazine a few years ago and how I interviewed a psychologist about the downfall of sharing your child’s image on a dating site—that there are sick people in this world who troll sites to take advantage of fragile, lonely single moms and horrifically, their children. Dating as a single mom is no joke. We have to put our guard up for so many reasons and my child is EVERY reason.
Always remember what you’re advertising on your online dating profile. Mine is pretty basic. There’s a few photos of me. I disclose I have a child by way of the check yes for kids box. I like mob movies, golden retrievers, sushi, and hot yoga. I’m a writer. I guess we could meet for a drink as a first date idea.
More for Single Moms:
- 8 Guys Reveal How They Feel About Dating Single Moms
- What it’s Like to Be Single & Dating As a Breastfeeding Mom
- Coping with a Breakup When You’re a Single Mom