Over a third of British single parents say they haven’t dated in over a year – but 45% of us say we would like to find a long-term partner.
The problem with being a single parent on the “dating” scene is that there’s not much of a dating scene when you have a small person in tow. I sometimes need to go out in the evenings for work, so it seems frivolous to use up babysitting favours from friends and relatives on dating things when I might need them to look after S.
The thing about being a single parent is that people often forget that you can’t just go out when you feel like it. I often joke to people that I have a 6pm curfew and to be honest, that’s not far wrong. I am rarely out of the house after 6pm and when S stayed at a friend’s house recently so that I could attend an event, I walked home at 10:30pm feeling giddy at being out of the house after dark for the first time since well before the clocks went forward. I know, I know, get your violins out! But seriously, it’s hard for many people to grasp the idea that being a single parent means, for many of us at least, not having much of a social life that doesn’t involve our children. It can be hard to meet someone. Or even to engineer a date.
I was quite excited then, when I heard that Match had launched a partnership with Yoopies – and were giving single parents access to free babysitting services. They are giving away three hours of free babysitting to new and existing single parent subscribers to Match. This offer provides a great opportunity for single parents to get out and enjoy dating. To celebrate, S and I attended an event at Pizza Express this weekend – and we had a ball!
The event we attended was speed dating for single parents – but the twist was that we were encouraged to bring our children along, and they would be cared for by Yoopies, as well as making their own pizza. I was terribly nervous about walking into a room full of strangers and “putting myself out there” and was also worried about how S would cope with it. I talked to her on the train, telling her that she would be making pizzas with other children, but that the parents weren’t allowed to so we would just chat somewhere else. I asked her to be brave and to play nicely and all the rest of the things we say to our children in situations where they have to meet new people… I needn’t have bothered. We walked into the room and before I’d even taken my coat off she’d run off with the ladies from Yoopies to do some colouring! I barely even saw her again until it was time to go home!
I met lots of single parents of differing ages and backgrounds at this event, and all of them said the same thing: dating when you’re a single parent is a minefield, and childcare is a major reason most of us just don’t bother with it. But we were all at a dating event, so we were all “in the market” for meeting someone – it’s not that we don’t want to find a partner; more that it just seems so hard to orchestrate dating around being a parent.
Everyone I spoke to was very pleased to hear that Match have partnered with Yoopies; it feels like finally someone has thought about us single parents when it comes to dating!
The Small Print
The free childcare offer is available from 03-07-2018 to 30-09-2018 for Match subscribers and children and includes £30 for use on Yoopies.co.uk (the average cost for 3 hours of babysitting). This offer may be used only once and not in conjunction with any other offer or promotion on Yoopies.co.uk. For more details, see match.com/singleparents.
Disclosure: this post is in collaboration with Match; I received a fee for my time.