Single parent dating, I just can’t be bothered.

When I ditched the dating apps at the beginning of the year, I told myself that I would have three months off and then I would re-open some of my accounts, potentially explore some different apps and start swiping again.  Oh, the delights of dating like a millennial!

Now that these three months are up, I am just not sure I can be bothered.   Online dating apps are so bloody boring, conversations can be so tedious, meeting these guys in person can be so disappointing that I just can’t summon up the enthusiasm. 

I did have a couple of interesting dates, and an on-off theatre and drinking partner for a bit of last year.  Neither of these rendez-vous really led to anything, they were never going to, but if it weren’t for these two guys I would have signed up for celibacy by now.   Anyone know of a celibacy cult?  I am staunchly secular, so no religious suggestions please.

I am really quite good at being single.  I enjoy my own company.  I enjoy my evenings when Cygnet is in bed and I can sit with a glass of wine, my blog, a book, my podcasts or Holby City on catch up (my guilty pleasure).

Being single means I can have my dinner with Cygnet at about 6:30pm.  We both have a bath.  I lie  with him until he falls asleep, then I sit down on the sofa in my pyjamas by about 8:30pm.  I can’t imagine being able to do that with a partner.

Being single means that my sheets just don’t get dirty.  Sharing a bed with a man means you have to change your sheets weekly because they start to smell.  Sorry guys! Being single means that I can change them fortnightly or even every three weeks.  It’s brilliant!

And then there’s the fact that relationships can be really tough sometimes.  Although you may love your partner and can’t imagine life without them, sometimes you might not like them very much.  Relationships can be hard work.  You really have to put time and effort into them.  Being single, I don’t need to do that. 

single parent dating

Then we come to Cygnet, the centre of my universe.  Cygnet really likes monopolising my attention on the days that we are together.  Today, for example, we had breakfast together. We got dressed.  He played with his cars in my room whilst I put my make-up on.  We got the train and then the underground (his favourite) to London Transport Museum. 

We spent a couple of hours climbing on real buses and trains and we had some lunch before getting the train home.  We then played football near the garages (I await the complaints from the spinsters downstairs) and planted some broad beans and sweet peas that we are now growing on the kitchen window sill.  We came in and I cooked some wiggly worm pasta (which ordinary people call spaghetti bolognese) for our tea.  I short, we spent the whole day together, just the two of us.  He loves the one-on-one attention and I love it too.

Cygnet is only two and a half and I can see that he really enjoys spending time with me.  It is really flattering.  I always want to spend time with him. I yearn to spend more time with him. In fact, I often ponder calling in sick at work so that we can spend more time together.  I have pulled a sickie on a couple of occasions. 

I know that things would be very different if I introduced a new partner into the equation.

Cygnet’s father has just introduced another new girlfriend.  The first time this happened, I found the prospect of a step-mother entering the co-parenting relationship really tough, but I don’t think that Cygnet really registered.  He had only just turned one. 

This time around I am fine with it, we’ve been here before, but Cygnet has definitely registered.  Cygnet has registered that there is a woman in Daddy’s bed.  Daddy will no longer take Cygnet into his bed when he wakes in the night.  Cygnet has been demoted, and although he cannot vocalise it, he knows it. 

Don’t get me wrong, Cygnet still likes going to his Daddy’s house (he’s allowed to take a lollipop to bed, what two year old would not like that?), but his enthusiasm has been diluted.  When Cygnet returns from his time with his Daddy I get “I love you Mummy” and big hugs and kisses over and over.  It feels very special. 

I do know that by the time Cygnet reaches six or so, his Daddy will be more important to him than his Mummy.  I know that by the time he is ten he will just want to spend time on his video games or with his friends.  I suspect by the time Cygnet is a teenager, he will be embarrassed to be seen with either of his parents. 

I know that it is a long way off, but I am dreading the time when I need Cygnet more than Cygnet needs me.  I know that having a partner would ease this transition.  The last thing I would ever want to be is a needy single mother who puts emotional pressure on her son. 

I suspect I am worrying prematurely.

I am still pondering the to date or not to date dilemma. Being single certainly isn’t something that I aspire to be forever, but getting coupled again really doesn’t seem like the easy option.    

And the dating apps themselves?  Well, maybe I just need to look at things differently;  they are tedious, they are mundane, they can give you repetitive strain injury from all of the swiping (usually left), but they do at least provide some good stories and anecdotes that I can blog about.

You guys, I am doing this for you.  I hope that you appreciate it!

PS.  A Feminist’s take on a decade of dating, “I want you for my sex toy“, To the men of Tinder, this is why I didn’t reply

Brilliant blog posts on

Accidental Hipster Mum
And then the fun began...
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday


  1. April 20, 2017 / 5:33 pm

    Aw. Your day out with Cygnet sounds lovely! I know exactly what you mean about the changing dynamic when you introduce a new partner though. Whether we like it or not there is going to a division of our time which affects our relationship with the kids. It’s a real dilemma. I do tend to let myself get caught up in thinking that I’m lonely but actually, when the kids are with their dad I really do mostly just love it and appreciate every second! Time to read! In broad daylight! Miraculous! I’ve still got my toe half-heartedly in the water though…
    Sam recently posted…The Truth about… #99My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      April 20, 2017 / 9:05 pm

      Thank you Sam. Sometimes we all need some time to ourselves, and I get the impression you don’t get much time to yourself at all. Take care.
      Pen x

  2. April 22, 2017 / 7:34 am

    It’s been many years since I’ve had the delights of the dating app but I remember the first thrill of the winks and after a couple of months realising that most men on there are dull dull dull, and/or players. What will be will be and enjoying the time with cygnet is precious, you’re a fab mum.
    Mainy recently posted…Is social media and technology affecting your family?My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      April 23, 2017 / 8:26 pm

      Thank you for such a lovely comment Mainy. Pen x

  3. April 22, 2017 / 7:52 am

    You have to be in the right place with your life for a relationship to work, it takes a lot of time and effort. I was worried when I got with my new partner about the effect on the children but he is a better dad than I ever hoped for and now we have a son too but he thinks of all 3 as his children equally. #blogstravaganza
    Musings of a tired mummy…zzz… recently posted…Five things I’m looking forward to next week (Friday 21st April)My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      April 23, 2017 / 8:24 pm

      Ah, that is lovely. I am really glad you found such a wonderful man. Pen x

  4. April 23, 2017 / 12:04 pm

    You’re so right about men smelling, I have to change our sheets every 5-7 days – usually 5! It’s so annoying! Thanks so much for sharing with #Blogstravaganza xx

    • thesingleswan
      April 23, 2017 / 8:19 pm

      Brilliant! And well done for changing the sheets so often. pen x

  5. April 23, 2017 / 8:39 pm

    I totally get this! I’m not single, but me and the kids Dad did spend some time apart when Amelia was 9-18 months old (long story, we’re cool now!) during that time, I loved being ‘single’, and there are days now that I just wish he would bugger off (in a very loving way, obvs!!) and leave me with my babies. Sometimes it’s like having another kid vying for your attention, and I am often heard yelling “right ALL of you – that includes YOU (him!) – stop talking to me at once! One at a time, under 5’s first. Go!” A friend of mine does this ” I want to date I don’t want to date” dance often too. Her girls are 5 and 7 now, and I think part of her feels like she ‘should’ now because they are older, but a bigger part of her just likes her own space. You have to be ready, and when the time/person is right, you will know. xxx
    Aleena recently posted…Sometimes My Kids Are Bastards, And That’s Ok!My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      April 24, 2017 / 8:27 pm

      Thank you for such a lovely comment Aleena. Pen x

    • thesingleswan
      April 24, 2017 / 8:26 pm

      Thank you Cee. Pen x

  6. April 25, 2017 / 6:05 am

    What a wonderful post. It’s so lovely to hear how much you enjoy spending time with your son! It’s true that they may seem to need you less as they grow and become more independent, but really they will always need you! A partner can be a great thing but as you say it can be a rocky road sometimes, and it’s great you’re focusing on the positives of being single. One day you’ll probably just meet the right person and it’ll seem worth a go! Until then enjoy exclusive mummy and son time! #RV&HT

    • thesingleswan
      April 25, 2017 / 10:12 pm

      Thank you Nat. I really appreciate your lovely comment. Pen x

  7. April 25, 2017 / 11:46 am

    I am so with you on this! On New Years Eve – the year where I was about to turn 40 – I had resigned myself to being single for the rest of my life and it just being me and Grace. That was the year I met Ross – and we only met because we went to the same drama group. I had tried all the apps and found them SO boring (and most of the men were after one thing!). I think that the best thing to do is do what is best for you. I loved my own company in the evening for a long time! #TheTruthAbout
    Verily Victoria Vocalises recently posted…The Conception Diaries – 27 Weeks PregnantMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      April 25, 2017 / 10:11 pm

      Hi Victoria,

      that’s a lovely comment to read – thank you. Your’s and Ross story really is a lovely one. thank you. Pen x

  8. April 25, 2017 / 6:45 pm

    I didn’t date when I was a single parent I think we have so much other stuff on! I think it comes to us if it’s the right guy! #RV&HT

    • thesingleswan
      April 25, 2017 / 10:10 pm

      Thank you Faye. Pen x

  9. April 27, 2017 / 9:40 am

    Great read. I dread the future times when they look at you like they wish you weren’t here. And the hormones that will come with my two girls. I can’t bear it! We just have to enjoy the now I guess! Don’t give up on love altogether. When you find it, it’s the most amazing thing ever. Mrs Hergerburger xx
    Mrs Hergerburger @ MakingLittlePeople recently posted…Eating’s (not) CheatingMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      April 27, 2017 / 9:56 pm

      Thanks for a lovely comment. Good luck with the hormones! Pen x

  10. April 27, 2017 / 7:43 pm

    it’s all changed so much now. I met my hubby in a pub then had a snog in a club! I’ve never used a dating site or app but it sounds like hard work. It’s a shame not many people go out anymore. I hope you find your perfect guy soon xx #RVHT

    • thesingleswan
      April 27, 2017 / 9:55 pm

      Brilliant. If only we could meet the good old fashioned way these days. Pen x

  11. April 29, 2017 / 8:54 am

    Aww you’re making me sad to think about a time my kids won’t need me! In terms of dating, I don’t know. If you’re finding it tedious you’re probably best staying away until you can face it again. In the meantime someone might just fall into your life that you don’t mind wearing actual clothes after 9PM for! I remember my single parent days, I found them 70% exhausting and 30% lonely. I think when cygnet gets older there’s a statistical shift x

    Jenny (Accidental Hipster Mum) recently posted…Hallmark at Tesco is Bringing Disney to Life!My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      April 30, 2017 / 8:00 pm

      Thanks Jenny. Fortunately I quite like my own company so loneliness isn’t really a problem. Exhaustion most definitely is though. Pen x

    • thesingleswan
      April 30, 2017 / 7:57 pm

      Thank you Kelly-Anne. I appreciate your supportive comment. Pen x

  12. May 1, 2017 / 11:01 am

    Dating is a bit of an alien concept to me as I met hubby at 18 but it certainly sounds way too much effort! Your current dynamic with Cygnet works so well and a partner would certainly change that. Maybe you’ll change your mind in a few months but for now it sounds like you are happy with how it is 🙂 Thank you for linking up with #KCACOLS and we hope you join us again next time!

    • thesingleswan
      May 1, 2017 / 8:44 pm

      Thank you Kate. Pen x

  13. May 1, 2017 / 8:09 pm

    Haha thanks for doing the dating apps for us! The anecdotes make it worthwhile if nothing else! Your day together sounds so lovely. #KCACOLS

    • thesingleswan
      May 1, 2017 / 8:43 pm

      Thanks! Pen x

  14. May 1, 2017 / 9:42 pm

    Sounds like you had a fantastic day. It must be so difficult to make that decision on whether or not to date again. I do find the dating app anecdotes to be quite entertaining though, so keep trying, if anything, it’s blogging gold! #kcacols
    That Mummy Blog recently posted…From Baby to ToddlerMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      May 3, 2017 / 9:55 pm

      Brilliant. thanks. I am doing this for you lot remember. Pen x

  15. May 4, 2017 / 8:16 pm

    I have a four year old son, so I completely relate to those special days you have with Cygnet. There really is something special about a mother-son bond. My son is my sun.

    I only got married for the first and only time at 40. I think I saved myself about 3 divorces by marrying late in life! I have many, many, many friends who met their spouses through online dating. I think it is very worthwhile, but you might just not be ready for it yet. You’re enjoying being single too much! Maybe consider one of those dating agencies, where there aren’t time wasters just out for a joy ride, like on Tinder. The right thing will happen at the right time; I do believe that what is meant for you doesn’t pass you, and in the meantime, just enjoy yourself… even if that means clean sheets and Holby City. xx

    • thesingleswan
      May 4, 2017 / 8:41 pm

      Thank you again Lisa for taking the time to write a lovely comment. Pen x

  16. May 9, 2017 / 5:11 pm

    I can’t imagine going through dating again. After some of our worst arguments I always tell my partner although I would love to have free evenings and as much as he drives me insane, I would hate to have to tell everything about myself to somebody again and get to know somebody again! Good luck with the dating apps, I’m sure something good and worthwhile will happen when the times right 🙂 #KCACOLS
    Amie recently posted…Stay At Home vs. Working MumMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      May 9, 2017 / 9:53 pm

      Thanks Amie. Pen x

  17. May 11, 2017 / 6:26 pm

    How about applying for Channel 4’s First Dates? They seem to match people well, plus you’ll get a plug for the blog on national TV!! #KCACOLS
    Crummy Mummy recently posted…‘Why I became an egg donor’My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      May 11, 2017 / 8:01 pm

      Brilliant. Hmmm, maybe not, but thanks for the idea. Pen x

  18. Lani
    May 16, 2017 / 10:05 pm

    I’m not sure how I stumbled onto your blog but I’ve really enjoyed reading your posts. I’ve also found myself in my mid thirties, a single mother to a 7 year old boy (quite out of the blue found out husband of 14 years wanted out and T minus 1 week later had a pregnant girlfriend). After a year of heartbreak, grief, new job, new house, new town…whilst putting on a brave front for my son, I’m just exhausted and so bloody over my son thinking his dad is like Santa Claus. It sucks, but I smile through gritted teeth. I also treasure the time I have with my child.
    I also just wanted to say I enjoyed reading your post re dating like a millennial. I don’t even know where to start getting back on that horse. :-/ dating apps sound so unappealing, but I’m not sure there is any way around it. As a single parent the available time for a social life isn’t the same (not a complaint).

    • thesingleswan
      May 16, 2017 / 10:15 pm

      Hi Lani,

      Thanks very much for your comment. It sounds like you’ve had a tough time. I totally get what you are saying when you say that your son thinks his dad is like Santa Claus. I feel that Cygnet gets adventure and excitement with his dad and nagging and normal life from me as his mum. It is not like that obviously, but I am the one who gets him out of bed in the morning, shuffles him off to nursery etc.
      Good luck with the dating. I haven’t mastered it yet. Let me know how you get on. Pen x

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