Tell us about how you met your current partner?
We were in the middle of a lockdown in 2020 because of the pandemic and since I was super bored, I started using Bumble. I wasn’t interested in dating as such but I came across Tushar’s profile. I made the first move and we connected on the app. After a few days of texting and having great conversations, we met in real life, and that’s how it all started!
How did you know that you are ready to find a partner?
It was a gradual process for me. I was married to my previous partner who passed away in an accident in 2015. I have two beautiful kids with him. After being married for nine years, I was curious to give dating a shot, to be open to opportunities, and to go on dates with people. But of course, initially, it was very difficult for me to embark on this journey because I had just lost my partner, and also I was trying something new after a really long while which made me feel very vulnerable. But that’s how it happened.
What were your biggest concerns regarding online dating as a single mom? And how did you overcome them?
The biggest concern was people’s intentions and safety. I didn’t want to waste my time and energy with random people who I didn’t connect with. So, it was very important for me to talk to them for a long time before I met them. This helped me gauge whether the person was telling me the truth, or not, or whether it was even worth my time and energy.
How did you introduce your partner to your children?
For my kids, I have always stuck by a ground rule – not everyone who you casually date needs to meet your children. If you go past a certain, agreeable point in your relationship and you feel like your partner is also ready to meet your kids that’s when you can consider introducing them. It’s important that you feel safe enough to introduce your partner to your kids. I introduced Tushar after six months of dating. The kids knew I was always texting someone or was on the phone with someone, so they kept asking me about it. I just kept it very simple and about six months later, introduced him to my kids. He came over to the house on weekends just to hang out, eat meals, and play board games with the kids. Gradually, we were all spending more time together because they hit it off really well.
What steps did you take to ensure your child didn’t feel neglected but included when you started dating?
Okay, so first of all, before you even consider or start dating, it’s very important to talk to your kids, and tell them that this is something you plan on doing. You plan to meet other people, you plan to go on dates, some may be casual, some may be serious. But the fact of the matter is that no matter what, your kids will always come first. And their time will never be taken away by anyone else. So that confidence is something that the parent needs to give their child. I talked to my kids about everything after their dad passed away. Also, I did tell them that it was a very big possibility that I’m going to move on and find someone else. I dated other people before Tushar, and they did meet my kids, but none worked out. Hence, the important thing is to tell your kids that they are your priority even if you’re in the same room with your partner.
Having said that, there’s also a point when you have to draw the line if the child is misbehaving, or is being rude, then you have to talk to them separately and figure out what’s going on. But it’s important to let them know, by you and your potential partner, that the kids are important to include them in decisions like going out or including them to do things together. These are the little steps one can really take to make their kids feel comfortable.
Did your child welcome the idea of you dating? Or did they show resistance?
I was quite lucky in this aspect. My children lost their dad when they were five years and eight years old. Since that young age, I have always openly spoken to them about what my plans are, what I want to do, what I need from life, and how I want to live it going forward. So for me, it made it easier because I was open and honest in my communication with them. So they accepted Tushar and now we’re engaged. They knew that as long as mum thinks it’s safe and mum is happy, it’s fine.
What are some of the obstacles or judgments you face from society?
Indian society considers me to be a widow, so of course, there’s a lot of judgement that comes with it. That I should just live, breathe, eat, work and do everything only for my kids. This society doesn’t understand that no matter how young or old a person is they need support having lost a partner through demise, divorce, or separation. Instances where a single mom goes out late at night or a single mom leaving her kids with her parents and travelling for a couple of weeks is looked down upon by society. I’ve been unmarried for the last seven years and I know the kind of judgement people subject you to but I made sure that it did not affect me because at the end of the day I take care of my kids with the support of my parents and nobody else.
What should single moms expect when joining a dating platform?
Honestly, a lot of Indian men do not understand the concept of a single mom dating or being on a dating app. It might be perceived that single moms are desperate. Having said that, there are still some good people out there who are educated, well-travelled, and open-minded who would understand the journey of a single parent. As a single parent, I feel you get to decide how you want to add value to your and your children’s lives. I think it’s your choice–if you want to date or not, but if you want to, give yourself a chance when you’re ready, don’t lose hope!