Finding a serious relationship when you're done with dating games

Casual dating is the bane of every wannabe committed dater’s existence. Dealing with hookup artists, game players, and serial ghosters makes the process of online dating a lot harder and more frustrating than it needs to be. What should be an enjoyable experience meeting and connecting with the right people on dating sites and apps can often leave you feeling disillusioned and just plain bummed.

But that’s about to change. When you join a dating app for people who want kids, or for those who already have them, you clearly have your priorities in check and your needs in order. Gone are the days of awkward conversations like “What are you looking for?” and “So, um, how do you feel about kids?”. You’re tired of the dating merry-go-round and definitely aren’t about to be a willing participant in anyone’s casual fling. Here’s how to get serious when you’re ready to take things to the next level.

1. Be More Mindful of Your Dates

In the past, it may have been sort of fun to move from date to date and figure out your options. Today, you don’t have — or want — that kind of “luxury.” Because ultimately, there’s nothing really fun or enjoyable about sifting through all the clutter. Today, it’s about tapping directly into what you want — and sticking to that intention.

So figure out what matters most to you. With an interest in finding a potential life partner or possibly adding a stepparent into your single parent equation, you have to be picky. Look for features that are truly appealing and enduring, like a genuine curiosity and interest in what you have to say. Think about the factors that really matter to you, too, so you can eliminate those who don’t meet the criteria. No wasting time. 

2. Listen for Those Verbal Cues

Sad but true — there will be a few players who slip through the cracks, maybe because they behave like they’ve got some potential at first before revealing their true colors. No sweat. Just listen. Really listen. Is the “We should do this again sometime” comment followed by a friendly text and a proposed date for the next meeting? Or does it hang in the air between you, both of you knowing full well there was zero chemistry and no chance of another date?

Then there’s the vague date. Those are the folks who want to “do something this weekend” but don’t really have any idea what that means. They also aren’t exactly blowing up your phone during the week in an effort to solidify plans. The unknown is such a common part of dating, often because one person or another just isn’t into it but doesn’t know how to back away. The slow fade isn’t cool, and if you’re experiencing it, ditch that connection pronto. And if you’re a single parent dating, there’s definitely no time for these kinds of antics. 

3. Know When You’re a Priority

Bottom line: people on serious dating sites take dating seriously. And people on single-parent dating sites are definitely busy, but they’re all there for a reason. So you’ve got to make sure the person in question makes you a priority. They have to be so into you that you really feel their presence in your life — not in a way that makes you nervous, obviously, but in a way that feels natural and comfortable. 

Not feeling like you’re number one? Do you come second to things like video games and nights out with their crew? These little cues say a lot. There’s nothing inherently wrong with those things, but when you’re on the mission to meet The One, you aren’t about to compete with Fortnite for the spotlight.

It also helps to join a free dating site that’s designed specifically to meet your needs at this moment in time, like heybaby. The dating app ensures that you’ll only meet people who are on the same page as you are when it comes to finding potential life partners. These are folks who are either already parents or want to be parents one day. Whew. That’s one tough conversation out of the way, making it easier than ever to leave the game-playing in the dust.

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