You can spend a lifetime searching for the proverbial ‘needle in a haystack’ – that one person whose long-term motivations are aligned to yours. But often, if this doesn’t happen, you can feel that you need to compromise by settling for an unfulfilling partnership, hiding your true motivations, or giving up on your long-term goals altogether. This can often include plans to start a family.
Finding a partner who can become part of your journey is key – but it’s far from a straight forward process. Traditional dating apps involving endless scrolling and ambiguous motives. ‘Analysis paralysis’ from overwhelming choice, can deprive you of your most valuable commodities: time, energy and the belief that what you hope for can ever become a reality.
Our fear of perceived failure can damage mental health, leading to low mood, trust issues, and self-doubt. This can interact with feelings of rejection, inferiority, and the pressure of finding ‘the one’- all of which can take a severe toll on our psychological wellbeing.
In this article, Stacy Thomson – award-winning mental health practitioner, performance coach, speaker, trainer and consultant – highlights the effect that online dating can have on our wellbeing, shares tips on how to approach dating more mindfully, and introduces us to Reddi – a new dating app specifically for people who want to start a family.
Ask yourself: “Am I ready?”
When it comes to starting a family, the window of opportunity is limited biologically (for both men and women alike).
When you are truly ready for a more serious relationship, you will feel confident that you can take care of yourself and also be there for another person in a meaningful way. You will not feel that you need a partner in order to validate yourself; often we seek validation through our relationships earlier in life, but now, we should understand that the best validation comes from within.
You should also feel assurance that, when you do meet the right person, they will enhance your life and the sense of self you have cultivated in the time before you knew each other. Being able to reflect on past relationships, identify your goals and values, and having personal passions and hobbies that thrive without the need of a partner are all good signs.
If you think that you might be using dating apps to escape feelings of loneliness, or indeed you believe that you need to ‘fix’ your single status in order to meet the expectations of others, it might be worth re-evaluating your motives and reaching out to existing support networks in the first instance.
Find the right dating platform
Choosing the right dating site takes time and research – you want to find a platform that caters to your specific needs.
This is where the big differences between dating apps becomes apparent. For instance, Tinder, with its famous yes-no swiping interface, makes it quick and easy to find your next date. Bumble puts all the power in women’s hands; men can’t even contact a woman unless she’s first expressed interest.
Others, like Match and OkCupid, have robust profiles that let you dive deep into a user’s personality before you decide to make contact.
Reddi, on the other hand, takes matching to a new level ensuring that like-minded people are all together as part of a specific community from the offset, saving precious time and energy. What sets this aside from its competitors is its exclusivity. In order to be accepted into the network, potential users must first apply and will then be added to a waitlist.
Practice ‘Mindful dating’
Ask yourself ‘What exactly am I looking for at this point in my life?’ It is okay to use dating apps to do just that – date. You can be social and go out for dinners or drinks just for fun – without being committed to marriage.
But if you are really looking for longer term goals such as family, then approach it consciously, with that mind-set.
Many people engage in the opposite of mindful dating. They might log on to dating apps and scroll mindlessly. They complain about not being able to meet people but ignore good opportunities to do so. Or, they move through dating on autopilot without stopping to have a real conversation and listening to a person to learn more about them.
Be honest from the outset
This is one of the most important rules – both to protect others and to ensure that you can be your authentic self for potential matches. Make sure that the information you share and your profile details are open and honest, and completely true to who you are. Taking a few years off your profile age might help to make you more appealing to other users on a superficial level – but at the cost of honesty and integrity.
Equally, always try to provide unfiltered photos. This will ensure that your potential date will like you for being the genuine you, and will also help to eliminate pre-date anxiety if you do decide to meet your match in person.
Quality over quantity
Restrict the number of people you choose to interact with at any one time. You are better to invest your time and energy on better connections, even if that means there are fewer of them. Remember that time spent wisely is never wasted.
Ensure that you are thorough with your search so that you can find someone who is truly suitable. Take a close look at the profile, search for a particular interest or value that you might share with that person, and start your communication from there. The right person is always worth waiting for.
Manage your own expectations
Dating can be hard, but don’t give up on finding a partner. The journey might be difficult, but it’s ultimately worth it. Expect that developing a connection and a relationship with someone takes time; expect that finding the right person to develop a relationship with will also take time.
The time it takes is out of your control, so just do all that you can do, be patient, and most importantly – be kind to yourself throughout the process.
Are you Reddi?
From my own personal experience and understanding that you don’t need to have and “all or nothing” approach when it comes to starting family, I was inspired to launch Reddi.
The Reddi matching app empowers its members by connecting them to a community who are all ready to start a family. Whether it be in a romantic, co-parenting or known donor relationship. The app is designed to save the precious commodity of time and create open, upfront communication about its members’ ideas for the future.
The emphasis is very much on mutual connection and ensuring priorities are aligned from the very start of the journey. This app enables the narrowest possible search, matching elite individuals to others with similar interests, values and goals.
About the author
As well as being the Founder and CEO of Reddi, Stacy Thomson is an award-winning mental health practitioner, performance coach, speaker, trainer and consultant, who has worked alongside organisations, executives and leaders in roles within a wide range of fields. She was inspired to launch Reddi from learning, through her own personal experience that you don’t need to have an ‘all or nothing’ approach when it comes to starting a family.
Aged 41, Stacy conceived a baby via IVF using an anonymous sperm donor. She believes that the idea of ‘family’ is changing, and many people are seeking new and alternative ways to not only meet people, but how they bring a child into the world. Reddi will provide professional individuals with a platform to lessen the paradox of choice – bringing the right people together at the right time with no need to hide their true motivations. Because time is precious, and we shouldn’t waste a single moment of it.
If you feel that now is the time to join likeminded people who are on the same page as you then please apply to join the waitlist to become part of our community.