As a new-ish dad (my son is now 15 months old) I can say that having kids is absolutely wonderful. Exhausting but wonderful. And if you’re like me, you may find your kids becoming your go-to topic for conversations. Which is okay in most cases (as long as we’re not driving people crazy).
However, I’ve helped with some dating profiles recently and I’ve seen people put a bit too much emphasis on being dad or mom and not so much emphasis on being that single man/woman looking for a relationship.
Talking about Your Kids isn’t Bad but…
First off, I am not saying you should exclude talking about your kids. And I get the idea of wanting to talk about your kids. Here’s a recent picture of my little guy. How could I NOT talk about him?!
The advice I’m giving here has a lot less to do with your relationship with your kids and a lot more to do with the timing around when you share these details. Here are some of my concerns with what I see being shared in some dating profiles:
But who are YOU?
First, some people end up defining themselves in relation to their children and only in relation to their kids. Take the kids away, and you don’t really have a good idea of who the person is. Yes, your children may be 90% of your life right now but you need to make an effort to represent that other 10% of you that’s still hanging around.
When the kids head to bed or visit friends, do you cease to exist or do you do something with your time? Talk about how you spend that time some. People will want to date you for you, not for a role you have right now (which, by the way, will be changing a lot as years go by).
If you are worried you might talk too much about your kids in your dating profile, ask yourself this: if I removed all the text from my profile about my kids, could someone still get a feel for who I am and want to date me?
The Competition is Too Much to Overcome
Sometimes profiles are written in such a way that people may feel that there’s no way that they can compete with your kid(s). They may not even try to communicate with you. And in many cases, they may NOT be able to compete with your kids (especially early on). But I don’t think this is a good reason to point it out in your profile. If it becomes an issue, that seems more like second- or third-day conversation material to me.
This issue is like the beautiful woman phenomenon where researchers found that women who were considered to be the most beautiful received less contact on dating sites than women who were considered beautiful. People convince themselves they won’t be successful so they don’t even try and the risk of this isn’t limited to attractiveness.
If you concentrate on your kids in your profile, take a step back and ask yourself, “Am I directly or indirectly giving the message that people can’t compete with my kids?” If so, try to tone that down. Yes, it may be true but you don’t need to talk about that in your profile. There are LOTS of things you’ve decided not to include in your profile and that’s all I’m asking you to consider here.
No Kids but Open
Some people won’t have kids and can’t fully understand where you’re coming from. Still, these same people might be very open to dating someone with kids. But if all your emphasis is on your children they may convince themselves they’re not prepared or it would be too much for them to handle.
Here are some examples where I think the information about children may do a profile more harm than good:
A man will never come between me and my daughter
This may be true but what is someone who doesn’t know you suppose to read into this? If you included something like this, who is the audience that you are trying to warn away from dating you? Or you might just feel very passionate about your daughter and want to share that with the world…but this is not the place to do so in my mind.
My son is my best friend and I spend every moment with him I can.
A profile with this statement may then go on to describe every way in which the father and son spend time together. This could be discouraging for someone interested in you. It’s easy for someone to look at this and convince themselves that you would have no room in your life for them. Want to list some ways you love to spend time with your son? That’s great! But don’t relate every detail back to that one area of your life.
My Friday nights are spent with my daughter
I saw this one in a profile where there was a question, “How do you spend your Friday nights?”. I know this one seems pretty innocent and maybe it looks like I’m nitpicking but I think when you get a question like this for a dating profile, it would be better for you to read it as if the question as, “How would you like to spend time with someone you are dating on a Friday?” The answer that was given may have sent the message to some people that Friday nights are off-limits.
We Don’t Have to Include Every True Statement in Our Dating Profiles
The examples I included above are actually positive statements and are great things about these people. I would never ask someone to sacrifice their relationship with their children in the search for a date. However, I don’t feel that every detail of our lives needs shared in our dating profile. The above seems more like good material to discuss when you’ve actually met.
Here’s my concern: there is a lot of judging going on with online dating. And that’s understandable. A few bad dates and we all start to see incompatibility in the smallest areas of someone’s profile. We begin to see risk where no risk exists. My fear is that by putting too much emphasis on an area of your life (children in this case but it goes beyond that), you scare people away. People that, if they had met you, might have realized you’re a great match for them even with your commitment to your children.
So, yes, absolutely talk about your children. But also recognize that you’re more than just a mother or a father and try to represent that in your dating profile. As you have success meeting people, you’ll have plenty of time to express to them the importance of your children.