Saffia Farr finds out more from Nevine Coutry, founder of Playdate...
What inspired you to set up Playdate?
Ever since I got divorced five years ago, I’ve never felt comfortable using dating apps. As single parents, we don’t have the same freedoms and spontaneity that single, non-parent people have. It seems that every time I mention I have children to a potential date, they shy away and disappear! My situation is really what inspired me.
What do you find difficult about dating as a parent?
There are three main difficulties or hurdles when it comes to dating as a single parent: 1. Time: We don’t have much free time as single parents and it’s so hard to create it between looking after one or more children, keeping house, working, or running a business. 2. Spontaneity: With single parenting, there’s no spontaneity. If we want to go out, we need to plan way in advance, sort out childcare, and there are many logistical hurdles involved with going on a date or having fun on our own. 3. Criteria: I would say that most single parents will have special criteria when it comes to choosing their next potential partner. Remember Playdate is for single parents looking for meaningful relationships, not a onenight stand or casual date, so that means that we may want specific characteristics in our next partner. They’ll have to be okay with the fact that there are children in the picture, and it can work well if they have children of the same age. Single parents are single because they had a previous relationship either go wrong, or end because of unforeseen circumstances so there may be pain and/or trauma that needs to be addressed and to be handled with care. Single parents may be feeling fragile, so their next partner would need to be sensitive and considerate about that.
How does the app work?
The app works quite similarly to other dating apps, except with Playdate, there is no swiping left or right. I specifically left that feature out because it takes out the humiliation one feels with rejection. With Playdate, to connect with someone all you need to do is send them a chat request and they can either accept or reject it. If they reject it, you don’t get a response. It is less confrontational! When signing up, you have to include your single parent status as separated, divorced, or widowed – and also information on your children and whether or not you would like more children. You set your filters too. Then you have a chat feature and a match feature, which pairs you with others based on your filters. With the chat feature, if you are on a Premium membership, you can also send audio and video messages. We’ve got childcare solutions covered, and a ‘make invisible’ feature too – the latter for those who may not want ex-partners or other people seeing their profiles.
Have any romantic stories emerged from app users?
We have heard from a couple of users that they have found some nice people they are chatting to, but we haven’t heard back yet about romantic dates and love stories. We only just launched a few months ago, so we hope to hear about our first love story or, better still, a new ‘blended family’ soon. That would be the real success for me!
What has been your own best dating experience?
Some years ago, I had a few successful dates with a fellow single parent, who then asked me to bring my son along with a friend of his choice for a special treat; he was also bringing his own son along with a friend. He didn’t tell me where we were going. We met at the park and then he drove us all to a private cinema which he rented out for us to watch a family film and we all had dinner which was served for us inside our private cinema. It was very non-invasive for the children to meet each other and meet the potential new partner and it was a great way to test the waters. Everyone got along so well, and had so much fun! I was really impressed and blown away by the effort made to make everyone so comfortable. That was a 10/10 for me.
And your worst?
I’d rather not say, as it was too humiliating! Let’s just say the person was nothing like his profile and spent the whole time on his phone taking selfies and chatting to friends… and that was the end of that!
Published in issue 75. Accurate at the time this issue went to print.