So you’re a single dad who’s finally staggered out of the smoking wreckage of your long-term relationship. Suffice to say, it hasn’t been pretty. You’ve endured gut-wrenching upheaval, a close shave with bankruptcy, plus the realisation that you suddenly have no furniture (hello IKEA!). Somehow you’ve muddled through and emerged shell-shocked but still just about in one piece. In fact, now that some time has gone by, you’re finally ready to start thinking about dating once again.
Unfortunately, global pandemics are not very conducive to romantic tete-a-tetes in the secluded nooks of dimly lit restaurants. Not content with fucking up the world economy, Covid-19 is now sabotaging your love life, too.
But Sharon Draper, a psychologist and relationship expert for eHarmony, disagrees. She reckons this could actually be the ideal time for a single dad who wants to ease himself back into the dating scene.
Before coronavirus, she explains, modern courtship basically tended to involve a bit of flirty texting on your dating app of choice, then a meet-up in a bar or a restaurant. “And then you’re right into it,” Sharon says. “Suddenly, there’s the chemical and physical attraction and, a lot of the time, things can progress very quickly. If you’re really attracted to a person, you’re less likely to see any potential red flags.”
None of which normally matters that much. Except that, if you’ve only just emerged from a turbulent break-up, you’re probably still pretty vulnerable and raw. It’s not the best time for your confidence to take another hit. Or to get locked into another messy relationship that you’re not totally sure about.
Right now, however, you’ve no choice but to move at a slow pace. Covid-19 restrictions mean that physical meet-ups are impossible, so people are forced to make do with “virtual dates” over FaceTime or Zoom. Admittedly, that’s not very convenient. But it’s also a gentler way to re-introduce yourself to the dating merry-go-round. (Oh, and it’s also advanced a fair bit since this clip.)
“If you haven’t been dating for a while, now is the time to start experimenting,” Sharon insists. “Virtual dating is a great ‘in-between’ that’ll help you learn more about the person and find out what they’re really about.”
Virtual dating, of course, enables you to see your date to figure out whether there’s some form of spark. But the lack of physical proximity means that you’re not able to tumble headlong into something, just because she happens to have a nice smile and a low-cut top.
“You can’t just get wasted and then hope for the best,” Sharon admits. “You’re going to have to be a lot more creative in trying to get to know the person. You’ll really have to connect on many different levels.”
This slow-motion progression is hardly ideal. But the reality of dating as a single dad is that you’ve now got more responsibilities to work around than during your child-free days. Being forced to inch forward could help you make sounder decisions and avoid heaping further complications on your already crowded plate.
“People often jump into relationships,” Sharon says. “Sometimes it’s good to have the time and space to work out exactly what you do and don’t want.”