Diane Hale is surrounded by success stories—her best friend, sister, son and coworkers have all met partners online—but she’s still swiping.
By Courtney Runn, Photo by Photo Texas
From ghosting and sexist comments to conversations that never go beyond the screen, dating apps aren’t for the faint of heart. Adding kids to the mix can introduce a whole new set of obstacles. In our new series Swiping as a Single Mom, we’re talking to single women living in Austin about the highs and lows of using dating apps as moms.
Instead of hiring babysitters to go on dates, Diane Hale has her kids help screen dates. Now that they’re 35 and 22, she no longer has to worry about the complications of dating online with small children. Her son even met his girlfriend online.
“Sometimes we’ll sit down and laugh at [my matches] and go, ‘Look at this one!’ and they’ll go, ‘No, Mom. No, Mom,’ ” Hale says.
An elementary-school teacher, Hale thinks dating apps are one of her best options to still meet men but she’s wary.
“The dating apps do make it easier to meet people,” she says. “But it’s still kind of scary and creepy at the same time.”
She’s surrounded by success stories—her best friend, sister, son and coworkers have all met partners online—but she’s still swiping. Here’s her story of navigating online dating as a mom of adult children.
The mom: Diane Hale
The apps: Zoosk, Match and Hinge
The mindset: “I like Hinge so far because there’s not a plethora of people on there…There’s not that many to choose from so it really makes them a little more enticing. You don’t go, ‘Oh but wait there could be more!’ … Then you really stop and slow down and look and really consider the person more than going, ‘Nope, nope, nope.’ … I don’t want to meet a guy in a bar, and I don’t know where else to meet a person at. All the millennials that you talk to, they all say, ‘Oh dating apps [are] the only way to meet people.’ I think for my generation—the over-50 crowd—it’s different for us because that’s not how we met people when we were younger. We would go out and friends would introduce you and stuff but we’re not in college anymore and you don’t have the social circles as much, especially if you’re a single parent or you’ve got that high intense job you go home and you sit down and you’re done. The dating apps do make it easier to meet people but it’s still kind of scary and creepy at the same time.”
The obstacles: “I’ve heard of so many people that have had success stories and I have not, and I think that’s the most frustrating thing. My best friend met her husband online, my sister met her husband online, my son met his girlfriend online, all the people at work—I also work at H-E-B—so my H-E-B friends who I work [with have] all met their people online and I’m like, ‘Oh my god…what am I doing that I’m not being successful?’ I will say I don’t put a whole lot into my dating profile. I have a hard time putting myself out there that way, so I don’t know if it’s that or what.”
The kids: “It’s a whole lot easier [with older kids] because now I don’t have to worry about…someone watching my kids or introducing someone to my kids. When I do introduce them, my sons will go, ‘Mom, what the hell are you doing?’ It’s not as nerve wracking now, now that I do have the boys and they are adults and I know they’ve got my back and they’re going to protect their mom whereas [with] little kids, I’m protecting them from the person and making sure they’re a good person to help raise my children. My kids are raised; they don’t need that now. I just hope that whoever I meet is friendly with my kids and will enjoy spending time with my kids now and not have to because we’re all in the same house.”
The good: “I met a guy and he said, ‘You’re just not what I’m looking for and good luck with you,’ and we text back and forth just, ‘Hey how’s it going’ kinda thing. You do meet some people that are in the same boat and you know right away, ‘Nope you’re not for me or whatever.’ You can just walk away and say, ‘Good luck with your search,’ and it’s ok. So that’s cool, that everyone hopefully knows what you’re in there for.”
The bad: “The worst is people not saying who they are and trying to get me. I had this guy the other night who was trying to…push me into calling him and gave me a name so I Googled his name and he came up nowhere; I Googled the phone number [and] it came up nowhere. I looked on Facebook, nothing and I’m like I am not calling you. And I know there are a lot of people trying to scam on there. I had one guy who pretended he was in the military and even sent me a picture of his photo ID, his military ID. I sent it to my sister because she does a lot with the military and I’m like, ‘What is this?’ and she goes, ‘There’s no way he’s a four-star general at that pay that he says he is…Block him right now.’ … A lot of people can be scammed by that which is really sad.”
The advice: “[Be careful] if they come on too quickly with all the sappy, ‘Oh God rested the day after he made you” and…instantly want your telephone number to start talking. If they can’t chat through [the dating site] for a while, then definitely don’t give them your number. Just be very cautious.”