My family, friends, regular blog readers, and podcast listeners will know that this year I am prioritizing dating more. You can read about that here.
I thought I’d keep a little log over the next 12 months or so on my dating adventures, and also share some of my past experiences of dating since becoming a single mother, including the highs and lows.
So welcome to the Tinder Surprise blog post series. I’m hoping to post an update monthly, but I’ll see how I go. Here is Part 1.
Hopefully we won’t get to Part 267, because I’ll probably look like this by then.
So in Part 1, I wanted to let you know how dating has been going for me since deciding to actively put some effort in. I joined Tinder late last year after a recommendation from one of my friends who is going through a divorce. I went on the app with him to have a look, and it did look highly entertaining. So I thought, why not?
Since then, I have met two people in person from Tinder.
The first Tinder date I went on, was pretty uneventful from a dating perspective, but it was really fun. We didn’t really have any romantic chemistry, but we connected quite well on a professional and mindset level. Our “date” felt more like two friends catching up, and we have remained friends. I felt pretty good about my start to online dating, and the worry about being thrown off a balcony by someone like Gable Tostee diminished a little.
The second Tinder guy – WOW!
We spoke on the phone a couple of times and he suggested we meet up. But then life got quite busy and I did think to myself that I just didn’t have the time to date. But when I unexpectedly found myself with a child free evening the next day and no plans, I rang him (from a private number) to see if he was free. I later found out that he hadn’t been, but had made re-arrangements to make it work. He was a father of three children and had 50% care of them. He also lived about 15 minutes from me, and was a teacher for special needs kids. It all sounded pretty good to me.
He suggested he pick me up from my house to go out to dinner because he was ‘a romantic’. It was a lovely offer, but I told him that until I’d met him and seen he wasn’t a psycho, I would just meet him at the restaurant.
I was a bit shocked when I saw him – he was covered in tattoos (just like my ex) and had some unusual piercings. He even had his children’s faces tattooed on him, just like my ex. Not exactly what I had noticed in the photos, but he still looked like a nice guy and I decided to stick it out. I did think Great, Dad’s going to love this though.
About an hour into our dinner the waitress brought over a big bunch of roses to me. I wasn’t really sure what was going on, but it turned out they were from him. I was quite surprised, but it was a lovely gesture. I did suspect that he did this for all the girls, but he informed me that all the other girls got one single rose, and I got a whole bunch because ‘he had a good feeling about me’ and he wanted to ‘write out our future history perfectly’.
I had a pretty good time though, and he seemed very honest and open, and when he offered to drive me home, I accepted. However I told him to drop me off about a kilometer from where I live (so that he didn’t know my address).
In hindsight there were a few red flags: he was very full on with flowers, gifts and champagne. Although it was really lovely of him, he did set the bar quite high for himself, and it was quite extreme for a relationship that lasted 3.5 weeks. He also never asked me much about myself. The day after our first date, he called me and told me how much he liked me, and I clearly remember thinking ‘why?‘, because he didn’t seem to take an interest in much about me, or ask me any questions about myself.
There was one exception though. Something I have noticed as a single parent, is that if I go on a date with someone, they are curious about what happened with my daughter’s father. Every time I go on a date, people want to know the history of what happened with my ex, and if I’m honest – if they’re a parent, I’m curious about the history with their ex too. And this date was no different. I guess it’s natural if both of you are parents, because you already have something in common. But it’s also really unnatural to spend your first date talking about your ex so much. And this is something that I had never noticed so early on in dating, before I was a parent.
I find it really interesting hearing about how different people talk about the mother of their children. Most of the time I sense a lot of bitterness (and quite often hatred) when they talk about their ex, and it’s quite off putting on a first date listening to a massive bitch session. But he seemed quite hopeful and positive about their future co-parenting relationship, and I did enjoy myself over all on the date, so I agreed on another date.
Date 2 continues..
I could probably write a book on what happened next but I really don’t want to re-live it. Let me summarise the highlights and low-lights though: on our second date he cooked me a 5 course seafood extravaganza, and on our third date he stormed off. He was talking about his ex wife quite violently, and I asked him of there had ever been any physical violence in the relationship. That didn’t go down very well, and that was the end of that date.
On our fourth date he took me to a BBQ and I met his parents, brother and some of his good friends. I could have sworn they were actors because they all told me word for word the exact same thing about him. Either that, or they were coached. At this BBQ I started to notice a bit of a controlling tendency because he was quite pushy about who I should and shouldn’t talk to. He was quite insistent on meeting my family, and when he did – my mum wasn’t entirely sure about him, and neither was my dad.
My house looked like a florist and I was given gifts, wine, champagne, and jewelry. Even my daughter got flowers and gifts, and he hadn’t met her. But we would argue, a lot. “Let me just cut you off right there” is a statement I don’t want to hear again for a while. He would say this regularly when it was my turn to respond to whatever the argument was about.
At one point he even suggested I was having a breakdown, which was absolutely ludicrous. I don’t think he was used to people standing up for themselves. And when I heard the nickname his friends gave him: “angry dad”, I could relate.
I think we were just two very different people that ended up in a bit of a whirlwind romance. Obviously there were some good times too, or I would not have continued dating him, but it was like having a three year relationship in the space of three weeks. After it ended, he suggested we see a relationship counselor together to work it out, which is a bit much after 3 weeks. When I declined he said he was going to see one to get to the bottom of who’s fault our arguments were. Some things are just not meant to be. And although he did have some great qualities, there were plenty of alarm bells ringing, and I’m glad I’ve got an alertness about people now that I probably didn’t have so much in the past.
To be honest, it put me off Tinder a bit. I stayed off it for a while after that.
I have said though that I’d probably have to kiss a few frogs before finding a good one, so I was ready to get back into it after my “me time” trip to Bali. So I’m back!
A Tinder Surprise
But something unexpected happen whilst I was holidaying in Perth with my daughter (prior to her having time with her dad). We were staying at a girlfriend’s house when I received an email through this very website.
It was from a man who told me that he’d found my website through Tinder. Before I continue, let me tell you that at this point I nearly fainted. I would never put my website on my Tinder profile. Firstly, although I am very open on my blog and podcast, there are some things that are better told in person over time, and I’d prefer to tell any potential partner things about myself, in person. Secondly, my Tinder profile is VERY private. I have NOTHING written, and you would not know from looking at my photos that I even have a child. I am very conscious of the fact that some pedophiles get to children by dating single mothers. Obviously this is any parents worst nightmare, and I hope that by doing this it weeds out any sickos.
Seriously, the things us single mothers have to worry about!
I was actually so grateful that man emailed me, as I never would have known that it was up there on Tinder for everyone to see. And sure enough, as I went on to Tinder to check, there it was: JULIA – FOUNDER OF SINGLE MOTHER SURVIVAL GUIDE. I’m not sure how this happened, as the last time I had been on Tinder (about 5 weeks before that), it DID NOT say that.
I quickly called my friend over because I was having a panic attack and fumbling around trying to get rid of it, and being the non-techy person that I am, couldn’t do it. Luckily my girlfriend who is married, and NOT on tinder but is a technological genius, fixed this problem for me pronto! In hindsight it was not that difficult, but I was pretty panicked at the time.
Once I recovered and read the rest of the email, he actually sounded really lovely. And it had nothing to do with Tinder. He was simply pointing out how he found my website, and that as a full time single dad, he was glad he did. It’s not that unusual actually, I have a lot of single dads read my blog, and 50% of my podcast listeners are actually men. Most of the stuff I write and talk about applies to single parents in general.
He also shared his view about a recent blog post I had written – We need to let go of the single mother stigma. He said that he did agree with what I had written, but as a full time single dad, he had also received some hurtful remarks, and prejudice against him. He said that he regularly receives comments like “You’re amazing! I don’t know how you do it… as a man”, which is completely insulting. He also said that he had been subject to comments like “how could you take your children away from their mother”, suggesting that as a man he is unfit to be a single parent. And of course it is highly presumptuous on people’s situations.
I have asked him for his permission to write about this, as I really wanted to share this comment with you. I can’t imagine women receiving the same comment.
Anyway, back to Tinder. Thanks to that man’s email I have re-entered the Tinder abyss and am ready to take on what it throws at me, and share it with you!
Lessons learnt so far
My lessons learnt so far:
- Do not under any circumstance give anyone your number before you’ve met them, because you may be sent dick pics.
- If they send you a link to their Facebook page, don’t accidentally like something on their page; they’ll know that you have been (not so subtly) stalking them.
- Don’t give anyone ANY private information until you have met them in person and got to know them. In addition to your phone number, this includes your last name, Instagram, address, Facebook etc. This should go without saying, or maybe I’m super paranoid, but some people are crazy or creepy and you need to protect yourself and your children. It’s quite scary what you can find out about people online. Even if you give someone your phone number, they can find out your full name, and from there, whatever else they want to know about you that’s available on the internet.
- Always meet in a public place and tell someone where you are going.
- Just because someone is a parent, it doesn’t mean they are normal.
- Before you go on a date with someone, speak to them on the phone. They will definitely ask for your phone number if they want to meet you, or talk to you. Politely decline and ask for their number instead. You don’t want to waste your time going on a date if there’s no connection whatsoever. Just dial #31# before entering their number, and your phone number will come up on their phone as a private number. I have to thank one of my single mum friends for that tip.
Stay tuned for Part 2.