When you’re a single parent and also working and homeschooling, time can be of the essence. As we talked about last week, you can date, but if time is an issue for you, you may feel like dating is impossible because of the time it can take.
Whether you’re looking for a fast first date, or a way to fit in time for an ongoing relationship, it can be handy to have a few ideas in mind for ways to go out and still not spend a lot of time away from your responsibilities.
So today, I thought I’d share my ideas for 3 quick dates – these are all dates that can, generally speaking, take an hour or less (not including drive time).
- Coffee. Coffee’s been done so much that it’s become a cliche. It’s in almost every book, movie, TV show – for some, it’s even been turned into a really sleazy pick up line. But it’s a cliche because it works. You can get a cup of coffee in seconds, minutes if you get fancy, and spend most of your time together talking, rather than looking over a menu, ordering, and eating. It’s also got a built-in timer, when you finish your coffee, you can make your excuses and leave. At the same time, if things are going well and you have more time, you can always get another cup and extend your time. There’s no commitment, either way. It’s also cheap, which can be a great bonus whether you’re paying for your own or your date is paying for you both.
- Breakfast. It may seem strange to even consider starting your day with a date – most of us end it with one instead. But breakfast can be a great way, like coffee, to have a built-in timer. Whether you have to go to work, or run errands, or head over to the kids soccer game, chances are good that you have at least one thing on your schedule for the day – and even if you don’t, he probably does. Maybe that thing doesn’t have an actual set time (you may prefer to get to the grocery store at 9 AM, but does it really matter if you don’t get there until 3 PM?), but it still gives you an out if things aren’t going well, and if things are going well, then it gives you the push you need to end the date and get on with your day. Added bonus: it prevents you from spending all day worrying and working yourself up about the date, so you might not be quite as nervous.
- Ice Cream. Ice cream, like coffee, comes with a built-in timer in the form of allowing you to make your excuses and say goodbye when you finish your ice cream, if you need and/or want to. Unlike coffee, you probably won’t want to go back for seconds if things are going well, but depending on where you go, you can either sit at the table and continue talking or leave the ice cream shop and walk around, do a little local tourism or window shopping. The bonus with ice cream is that you can get some to take home to the kids, too, so if they knew you were going out, they’ll feel like they got a little treat from your time away.
You can probably be pretty creative and come up with a few ideas of your own. The main thing to look for is that an activity doesn’t require a specific amount of time – movies, for example, are going to require a minimum of an hour and a half to two hours, depending on the film, so they’re not necessarily “quick.” Look for activities that either allow for a short amount of time, like coffee or ice cream, or ones that come with a defined end-time – say, for example, a rock-climbing gym that requires you to pay by the hour: you can pay for one hour and then your date is done.
One important note to keep in mind: whatever you do, whether it’s coffee, breakfast, ice cream or something else, be safe and smart about your dating. If your date wants to pay for your drinks or food, you can certainly allow that, but make sure you take your drinks and food directly from a server or the person behind the counter. While your date is probably a perfectly nice person who would never do anything to hurt you, with kids waiting at home for you, you can’t assume that. Also make sure that you’ve chosen a highly-trafficked public location, and told at least one other person where you’ll be and when you expect to be home. It doesn’t hurt to even text or call that person when you’re home so that they know you’re home safe.