NAOMI Way is no stranger to being called "beautiful", "stunning" or "gorgeous" on Bumble and Tinder – and matches with 90 per cent of blokes she fancies on dating apps.
The 33-year-old, from Solihull, is regularly told she's "the nicest person they've ever met" or "fun and sexy" by her dates, so why is she still single after four years of trying to find Mr Right?
The make-up artist, who's been on 30 first dates in recent years, thinks she knows exactly why.
“Men are scared off when I tell them that I’m a single mum of two little girls, and then the nail in the coffin is that I’m a young divorcee,” she says.
In fact, Naomi has even had her kids labelled "baggage" by some of her ex-flings – something she finds incredibly hurtful.
Naomi, who's mum to Lyla-Rose, seven, and Ivy-May, four, met her ex-husband when she was just 16.
Married at 24, a mum at 25 and divorced by 29, she now thinks she may never find love unless the negative stigma around dating divorced single mums changes.
In an exclusive chat with Fabulous, Naomi said: “When I first started dating about four years ago, my friends reassured me that I wouldn’t have a problem finding a man.
"They said I was young, pretty, had my own house and a successful career – but they couldn’t have been more wrong about my dating journey.
Men are scared off when I tell them that I’m a single mum of two little girls, and then the nail in the coffin is that I’m a young divorcee
“I’d been with my ex since I was 16, he was all I knew and I’d never been on dates with anyone else.
"I'd never even used dating apps – although I’d seen my single friends use Tinder and Bumble so I soon got the hang of them.
"Now, four years on, I couldn’t even tell you how many matches I’ve had on dating apps, but I've been on 30 first dates and I’m still single.
“I don’t find it hard to get matches, nine times out of ten if I right swipe I will get a match.
"But once we get chatting and I reveal I have children, and then that I’ve been married already, things start to go downhill.
"Whether things end before we even meet, after a couple of dates or a few months down the line, it’s always the same excuse – they’re not prepared to commit to someone who has kids as their first priority.
"They don’t want to do the whole marriage and kids thing with someone who has already done it with another man – a man who will always be in the picture to some degree.
"I get told they want ‘to go through it with someone who is doing it for the first time’ which does make me feel like there’s something wrong with me.
“I’ve matched with some guys who are very direct, super flirty, with sexy chat from the off and telling me how attractive I am – but that all comes to an abrupt end once I reveal that I’m a divorced mum.
"Even some of the guys who claim they don’t mind go onto ghost me before we actually meet."
I have been told that they’d prefer someone ‘with less baggage’. That makes my kids sound like two old suitcases, which makes me really mad
Although the comments sting, Naomi appreciates it when dates are upfront with her – as she can't be bothered with time wasters.
She said: “I remember the first time a bloke was just blatantly honest that he didn’t want to pursue me because of my situation, it was shocking and devastating.
"I always tell men about the girls and the divorce straight away once we get chatting, as I don’t want to waste anyone’s time, including mine.
"This guy instantly said: ‘I’m going to be honest but I don’t want to date someone like you’, he meant someone with kids.
"To be put in a box like that was heart wrenching, but I’ve got used to it now, and I appreciate the honesty.
"What’s worse is the guys who convince themselves it doesn’t matter, drag it out hoping they’ll change their minds, and then ghost me once I’ve invested time, effort and emotions.
“These guys begin to realise that I have other priorities, I can’t just be out having fun every night or going away for dirty weekends.
"They realise that life is not straightforward for a single mum and it takes a little more effort – something they’re not willing to put in.
"It doesn’t happen often but I have been told that they’d prefer someone ‘with less baggage’.
"This I find offensive, my kids are little people and I have no regrets about having them.
"The word 'baggage' makes them sound like two old suitcases, which makes me really mad!
"A lot of guys even put in their profile: ‘never been married or divorced: no kids, no baggage’, this puts me right off them.
“I get so frustrated with dating and relationships, something always seems to go wrong for me when it comes to finding love, and I keep asking ‘what’s wrong with me?’
"Why can’t someone just commit? Believe me, I’ve put the effort in. I've dated guys from London to Wigan as well as closer to home but it’s just not happening.
“I’ve tried older guys and sometimes they’re even less mature than the young ones.
"I’ve dated guys who have their own kids too, but it hasn’t worked out for a number of reasons.
"When you’re working with two restrictive schedules, I find myself putting in more effort than the guy and then feeling resentful.
“Getting the dates isn’t an issue. It’s finding a nice, fun and mature guy who won’t run away at the first sign of having to make a few sacrifices, like not having a girlfriend who is available at his beck and call.
"I don’t have much spare time because of the kids and yes it would be so much easier if I lived alone, but I would never swap my situation.
"I think the having kids is a bigger deal to the men than the divorce, some of them can get over that bit.
"Some people just don’t like kids, others do but they need time to learn life is different when you have dependants.
"I get told quite a bit after dates, 'you’re one of the nicest, kindest people I’ve met and I find you really attractive but I’m just not sure about the kids situation'.
"I’m really upfront about being divorced and having kids, I didn’t used to put it on my profile but I realised I was wasting so much time.
"I still get a few through who don’t read the profile so I have to tell them – and then they’re off pretty sharpish and that’s fair enough.
"But people need to understand that single mums are strong, independent, selfless and caring and can make great partners for life.
"Instead of seeing us as ‘used or damaged goods’, they need to consider what we’ve been through, how busy our lives are and understand that we are multi-layered and amazing people.
"We aren’t needy like they might expect, we’re strong warriors."
Source: Read Full Article