Serious dating as a single parent? Advice from Julie, therapist

by | Apr 20, 2023 | Wellness 0 comments

Advice from Julie, family therapist

(Re)Finding love when you're a single parent, is it possible?
Or is growing old alone with your cat a fate for single parents? 🙀

If this vision makes you anxious, if you find it difficult to resign yourself to a long term solitude: don't panic. Not being able to rebuild your life, or to meet a serious person, is a concern shared by thousands of single dads and moms.

In France, in 2023, ¼ of families are single-parent families following a separation, divorce or widowhood (source INSEE).

So many of you are looking for a new life. And many of you feel down, when you get ghosted on dating apps, announcing that you are a parent.

Between real constraints (a life at 100 hours! 👶), and unconscious blockages (destroyed self-confidence 😔), how to rebuild your love life?

Where does this difficulty to relate come from, to undergo rather than to live fully his solitude or his celibacy?

👉 Here I share my experience as a couple and family therapist, to help you still believe in love, and move forward 🙂 💘 : 

* the main psychological obstacles to a new meeting
* the questions frequently asked in consultations
* your fears as a single parent
* differences between men and women
* how to reconcile single parenthood and love life

Before meeting someone: learning to love yourself

You may have already read this sentence somewhere...and it's not for nothing!
Being single is not necessarily synonymous with loneliness. Or to put it another way, it is essential totame one's solitude before looking for a serious encounter at all costs.
What is essential to understand here is that by seeking to enter into a relationship with another person, one enters into a relationship with oneself through the eyes of the other person....

🧐 This then poses a fundamental question:
"What is the quality of my relationship to myself?"
And it is indeed here that a deep loneliness can be felt. Only, to go towards fulfilling relationships, it is impossible to save a work on oneself.

👉 You will have understood, the most important point is first to learn how to detect, understand and feed your own needs. Know your values to go towards a quality relationship, meet someone serious.

Stop waiting to be someone else, or worse, for the other to come and change us by fulfilling all our needs. (Spoiler: it doesn't work 😉 ).

👉These visions of Prince Charming or the ideal woman are obsolete, and we know it! This vision doesn't hold water...

How can anyone else know, better than us, what is good for us, where we should be?

Why couldn't I meet someone serious?

Only thing is, even if it's important to take the time to be good to yourself, things are not that simple. (It would be too easy 😁)
And this vision of love, in search of another "ideal", poses many problems. It's not necessarily easy to find love again, even on a serious dating site.
But this quest for a serious and lasting encounter is even more complicated when you are a single parent. I see it every day in my office.

In France, single-parent families now represent one in four families.
It is therefore essential to place them at the heart of the multiple and specific problems they encounter.

This is what I strive to do on a daily basis for single parents who want to meet someone. To make sure that single parents can feel heard, listened to, supported. And above all, to find real solutions.

So I propose to zoom in on the barriers and obstacles to overcome on this path towards the other.

👉 6 psychological brakes to meeting someone again

  • The previous relationship is not yet sufficiently healed and clarified in terms of relational wounds and quality.
  • Loss or lack of self-confidence.
  • The fear of experiencing another failure and starting over (almost) from scratch.
  • Guilt towards the children.
  • Lack of time for oneself, because living alone with one's children is very energy consuming and time consuming.
  • The tight budget, which does not always allow for a babysitter or an outing or restaurant.


👉 Solo parenting encounter: 5 big questions I hear every day in practice.

  • "I feel guilty about imposing someone on my children."
  • "I already don't have time for myself, how can I have time for anyone else?"
  • "How can I see my partner without introducing him/her to my children when I have them H24?"
  • "Will I still please?"
  • "I suffered a lot from the separation, I don't want to suffer again, I'm afraid I don't know how to trust anymore."

Not surprisingly, a common problem clearly emerges.
The question of self-confidence, and therefore confidence in others, is permanent, whatever the family and relationship context.

Self-confidence, we can never say it too often, is THE fundamental question of ALL our relationships, because it speaks first of all of the relationship we have with ourselves.

💡In fact, when asked. "How do you know if you are ready to meet someone?", I would answer that the first step is to take stock of yourself and your needs.

And don't hesitate to ask for support in this process, especially if you feel you are repeating the same patterns over and over.

👉 The 8 big topics of single parents looking for a serious relationship

  • "Will my children accept it?"
  • "Will he or she accept my children?"
  • "It seems so difficult with blended families"
  • "What if I can't find anyone?"
  • "Will I be able to trust again?
  • "Will I please again?
  • "I don't know how to relate, how to seduce, I don't know how to do it anymore".
  • "I don't want to go through another sentimental failure"

It is easy to deduce here that the insecurity linked to the lack of confidence in oneself and in the other in the relationship, will pose real cases of conscience.

These cases of awareness create attitudes that are likely to play in the short, medium and long term, on the ability to balance with the issue of love.

👉 Typical phrases that come up often in sessions

  • "The next one, he/she better hang on!!! No way he/she will make me suffer ".
  • Or "I'm terrified of having to start over from scratch.
  • Or "What if he/she leaves me? I won't be able to bear the pain again"...

And in Top 1, the existential and roundabout question most evoked in consultation! :
"Am I worthy of being loved for who I am?".

Support for single parents: do men and women have different expectations?

Yes, on some points.
To summarize, in men, the fear of the new failure of a relationship prevails.

While for women, the fear of being alone and meeting a man who does not want to commit is major.

There are substantive issues that require help from outside the family:

  • emotional dependence,
  • hypersensitivity,
  • lack of self-confidence,
  • fear of rejection or abandonment,

To be accompanied by people whose job it is, for a lasting effect on the one hand, but also to grant oneself a space of intimacy just for oneself, is then essential.

Developing a healthy relationship with oneself begins with the ability to ask for help. It is a true proof of autonomy and of taking charge of one's own needs, which will automatically increase the level of self-confidence.

To move forward and open up to the world, to others... Because yes, you are worth it, and a thousand times yes, you are capable!

👉 How does single parenthood affect your search for a serious date?

We have mentioned above many reasons that make the love life of single parents complicated.

💡We can also add the bias of the social injunction "being alone is bad", to caricature.
There is this message of "having to" be in a relationship, instead of seeking above all to feel good in one's solitude. Even the one that is undergone rather than chosen.

As if being alone calls into question the intrinsic value of the individual. "Am I enough" (we often think we are too much, or not enough). It is this fear of social rejection that raises the question of self-confidence, in my opinion.

💡To summarize my feelings as a solo mom and couple therapist, I would say thatit is essential to (re)find a personal balance.
Before looking for a serious date,
before deferring this need (or rather this lack) on someone who will have the heavy task of making us ( us, or even a whole family, without being the co-founder).

💡I think this view distorts relationships, and pushes looking for a mate in the wrong direction.

That is to say, by relationship choices that are circumstantiated by fears (loneliness, lack of love, self-confidence etc.) rather than by desires.

Desire to share a beautiful story, to build a beautiful intimacy. And to allow the "third couple" (i.e. the relationship itself), to be nourished, to evolve and to strengthen itself durably.

I think you have to learn to be there for yourself first, and then, know how to listen to the other person to nurture the relationship. It doesn't matter what the relationship is, by the way, but this proves to be all the more true in a serious and lasting relationship, when you are a single parent 🙂

Thank you for reading, feel free to share this article and find me on Noö Family to book your session.
Julie, Parenting coach and couple and family therapist.

* Solo parent bonus *

Practical dating advice from Marina
Founder of Noö Family (and former single mom who found love again).

  • Meet quickly "in real life"
    The "free" time of a single parent is rare and therefore sacred.
    We take the time to exchange a minimum before the meeting to ensure that there is a match on affinities but, we do not wait weeks before meeting in real life! Exchanging for weeks virtually could expose you to disappointments "in real life". At some point, you have to go for it 🙂
  • A short 1st date at lunch break (two birds with one stone 🙂 )
    Not a minute to yourself, let alone date? Take advantage of the lunch or coffee break (for the more chilly) to plan a date! And above all, golden rule: we prefer a short time for a first meeting. Save lunch or dinner for the second meeting ;).
  • "Come as you are" (Or almost!)
    Don't wait until you have an ironclad confidence to allow yourself to (re)find love! Our sensitivity and vulnerability attract love more than our skills and success. Present yourself as you are, that's your charm!
  • Please, no "children" conversation on the 1st date 🙂
    For a 1st date 100% seduction, although they have an important place in our heart, children should not be the subject of discussions during a romantic tête-à-tête so we put away the parent hat and focus on us!
  • We stop the mental: let go...and live ❤️‍🔥
    And above all put aside: the fear of not being "enough", of not knowing how to do it anymore, the aprioris, the ruminations, and let yourself be surprised by the magic of encounters... 😉

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