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So you’re ready to take the plunge. After messaging on a dating app, you feel a connection, you’ve decided to meet up… but all of a sudden, you’re panicking. ‘What if I want more and they don’t?’, ‘What if I’m not as funny in real life?’, and what if, what if… You’re almost tempted to cancel.
Well, we’ve got two pieces of good news for you:
1. You’re not the first person to ever feel nervous before a date
2. Even has advice from someone who can help you to date with peace of mind.
Today, sexologist and professional trainer Sheila Warembourg will help you to boost your self-confidence so that you can enjoy your first date as a single parent.
Even : Sheila, how can we put ourselves in a good frame of mind for a date (perhaps our first date since a break-up) as a single parent?
Sheila Warembourg : I’d say that the most important thing for a single parent is to…. not worry about your children. Once you know that they’re in good hands – and safe – when you’re not there, there’s only one thing left for you to do: enjoy the date with peace of mind. It seems easy when you say it like that, but the reality is different.
Even : What makes dating complicated for parents?
SW : Letting go isn’t easy. In theory, we tell ourselves that it’s simple and that we’ll just enjoy the date, but I hear so many mums, single or not, telling me that they feel guilty about going out from time to time. And if it’s not that, there’s a whole load of other things that could worry us. It’s sometimes difficult to be 100% present in our conversations with another person when we have the ‘babysitting meter’ in our minds, with a bill that goes up as the date goes on. That’s why I insist on the importance of enjoying the date… without guilting yourself.
Even: What would you say to a single parent who’s stressed out about the idea of going on a first date?
SW : I’d say that the most important thing is :
- To accept the person you are. It’s all the more important to keep this in mind when you’ve been with one person for years and then you find yourself suddenly single and you feel like you’ve lost your bearings and don’t understand dating any more. Accepting yourself is accepting that you’re now a parent and that you’re not the same person you were before you had children. That might be because your body has changed or because your priorities have changed. From now on, you act like a parent and that’s that. Even if you take your ‘mum’ or ‘dad’ hat off for the night to be able to make the most of the date, don’t be afraid to accept who you are and to present yourself as you really are.
- Self-confidence takes time to build, of course, and even if it’s not fully there yet, allow yourself the possibility to be who you really are.
- Make the most of the date to experiment. If at the end of the date, the relationship doesn’t go anywhere, or it becomes a friendship, or if you both feel something for each other, you’ll have gained the confidence of knowing yourself better.
Even : Let’s say that the date went so well that one of the parents wants to take it further…
- First of all, I’d say that the most important thing is to be clear with your consent. What I mean by that is to not leave any ambiguity. I see a lot of men who complain that women aren’t clear with their signals and a lot of women complain that men are too pushy. So, man or woman, it doesn’t matter: be clear!
I read a definition of consent a few days ago which said that consent has to be clear, informed, reversible, free, specific (you could say yes to oral sex but no to penetration, for example)… and enthusiastic! It’s a lot better than proceeding without showing any real enthusiasm, right?
- Then, if both partners are on board (and earnest!) I only have one piece of advice: embrace your desires and put yourselves in the best position to live them out. It would be a shame to ruin the moment because you’re stressed about waking up your child in the next room. If the setting isn’t right then put it off for another time, which will only intensify your mutual desire.
“Allow yourself the possibility to be who you really are”
Many thanks to Sheila Warembourg for her advice.
Sheila’s advice for your first date:
- Make the most of it without guilting yourself (or thinking about how much it’s costing you in babysitting fees)
- Accept the person (and the parent) that you are today
- Be clear about what you want and don’t want
- Accept your wants and desires without being embarrassed about them