Our Single Parent Sessions are a series of interviews where we speak with single parents about all things dating & parenthood.
Dina Gindy is a successful Business Start-Up Coach. After leaving the corporate world after 17 years, Dina has helped thousands of 9-5’ers quit the rat race and pursue financial freedom to live a life they truly want. Dina is divorced and has a 13 year old son.
Please tell us a bit about yourself.
So, my background is in marketing and I was in the corporate world for 17 years! I got married when I was 19 and had my son at 21 – fresh out of university. I was absolutely in love with my husband – adored him, adored him, adored him! But then as I approached my early 30s I started to feel this kind of discomfort. I was really unhappy in my life with what I was doing and I felt stuck.
When COVID hit and lockdown happened it was a moment of self awareness – like for everyone. I decided to get divorced and I moved out of London to the countryside. That’s been my path since.
What does your current situation as a parent look like?
I’m a single parent at the moment- my son kind of goes in between mine and his Dad’s who lives in London. We have a really good relationship, we co-parent and yeah, it works.
How would you describe your current relationship status?
I’ve got a girlfriend, who I absolutely adore. It was never in my history or in my peripheral awareness that I’d ever be with a woman but things happen!
How do you spend time away from your kids?
Literally working, training, building up my business – the three things I do in my life.
When did you start dating after your separation/divorce?
I started getting to know people straight away. I mean, I held on to separation and divorce for a very long time and I didn’t do it. So when it eventually happened, I was very much ready to move on.
How did you find the time to date alongside work and being a parent?
To be honest – thank god for apps! I don’t have time to go out and socialise as such. I also don’t have experience of dating, so going out and getting to know someone did not exist for me. Apps were very much a safe space for me to explore and go at my own pace! I also needed to make sure that if I was giving someone my time, there was definitely genuine interest there. I found apps helped with that, which was awesome.
What is the biggest struggle dating when you are a single parent? What one thing would’ve made it easier?
Ah the mum guilt, definitely the mum guilt! That is the biggest struggle.
In terms of making dating easier, easier access to childcare would’ve helped.
How did you and your current partner meet? Did you discuss your kids straight away?
We met online and we connected straight away – and then met up a couple of times. We both talked about our child’s situation (she has a daughter) up front and that was it.
Describe your ideal first date
I think drinks and dinner, or just something casual. For me, it’s more about getting to know someone in a good environment.
How did your child feel about you dating?
So… he’s not very fond of the idea. He’s coming to terms with it, but I can tell it’s not easy.
When did you introduce your current partner to your child and vice versa?
To be honest, pretty soon. I mean, my son’s pretty mature. I have quite an open relationship with him in terms of explaining things and communicating.
I met my girlfriend’s child around the same time – in the first couple of weeks. We weren’t introduced as a couple though, just as friends.
How did you introduce them? Any tips or lessons learnt?
I truly believe in introducing them somewhere casual and in a place that is their environment. I didn’t want to, for example, take my son over to a place that he’s not comfortable with and then put him in an even more awkward situation. To be honest, he’s old enough to kind of guess what’s going on anyway, so I think the comfort of their location and environment is a big, big thing.
How important to you was it that your next partner is also a single parent?
No, that wasn’t a huge thing for me. I know what my priorities are, I know what my boundaries are – if someone could fit into that then amazing but if not then so be it.
What are your thoughts on a ‘blended’ family?
It is one of the hardest things in the world- it really really is. I’ve been with my girlfriend for two years, and it’s been a tough one. Blending families is not an easy feat and we have to go at the pace of our kids and not try to dictate things based on what we think. I’d say that’s the biggest thing that I’ve learned along the way.
What have you learnt about yourself as a single parent?
For me it’s the importance of time and financial freedom to be able to spend quality time with my son. My son lives with his Dad because of school, and as I’ve moved out of London. I spend weekends with him which I struggled at first to adapt to, but it’s good for my son and as parents we have to stop being selfish.
Describe being a parent in 3 words
Unconditional. Supportive. Compassionate.
Being a parent is also about leading by example. I think we tend to put our own fears, doubts and desires onto our kids, and we need to really respect that they are their own individuals.
If you weren’t in a relationship at the moment, would you download Playdate to seek a new partner and fellow single parent?
1,000,000% yes! With the apps I used, I was finding a lot of people much younger than me, whereas I want someone who’s been through life and who understands where I might be at. If someone’s a single parent too then they’ve got that kind of like mindedness as well. A single parent dating app is an awesome idea for sure.
What one piece of advice would you give to fellow single parents who are too scared or nervous to start dating again?
Just do it. Just do it. Create a profile and just do it! We all have fears and we end up procrastinating putting things off – this is why I got into mindset coaching. There is nothing you’re ever going to lose but there is so much that you will gain. Be it experience, be it knowledge, be exposure, whatever that might be.
For me I don’t believe in being scared of doing things. I really, really don’t – I’ve done a lot of work on myself to get over that. So yeah, just just fucking do it!