INTERNET DATING

 
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Normally I like to share my experiences and offer my advice but I'm not sure how much I can offer here. I wish I had great advice to share with you as Internet dating is a minefield. What I can offer is all the things I wish I knew before I was embroiled in years of internet dating. Ultimately I have a lot to be thankful for as I was probably one of the first Tinder marriages. But believe me it wasn't always this way. 

I’m sure most people know that Dani and I both met our husbands on Tinder. It seems the good old- fashioned fairytale way of meeting Mr Right seemed to have skipped the two of us. Strangely we met both our husbands just a couple of months apart. Dani would probably have a very different story to mine as she was in her late twenties when she met Soheil. As for myself I was 40 years old and I’d almost given up. I thought I would get a little personal on this blog as I know there are a lot of women who would relate to this. I guess I somehow hope it will inspire a few ladies to never give up on finding a partner, boyfriend or husband. 

Strangely when most people meet Laurie they say how lucky I was to meet him. Lucky!! I had to internet date for over five years, very on and off I may add. But still that’s a long time to be on the emotional roller coaster of internet dating. Ok I am lucky as I know from the people around me how hard it is to meet the guy that you can imagine spending the rest of your life with. 

Not So Young, Free and Still Single 
I’ll start with a quick brief of my thirties. I moved to London just after my 30th birthday. It was somewhere I’d always wanted to live so whether it was an early midlife crises or not, I decided the time was right. So I finally I had my base in London while I worked away six months of the year traveling with my job as a makeup artist. I guess I was just sailing through life having fun thinking it would just happen, only it didn’t. By 35 I decided to take fate in to my own hands and a friend put me on to My Single Friend. Needless to say it didn’t work and neither did any of the other sites I tried. I say Internet dating is an emotional roller coaster because it fills you with hope and then disappointment, time and time again. I would only usually be able to stomach the initial sign up of three months and then would have a break for at least six months. I never really had that many dates from these websites in this five year period. Some of you that have tried it will understand why it’s not that easy. In internet dating you have situations where you think you’re having nice chats with someone and then they just disappear into the cyber world. I did however have a couple of boyfriends outside the wonder web.

The Ticking Clock
Most of the time I generally got on with being single. I didn’t mind it too much and kind of thought, well everything could change tomorrow. I was busy working and had a nice social life. I also thought it has to happen to me, right?! I will admit as the big four zero was heading my way it did leave me feeling pretty flat for a few weeks every now and then. I guess it’s a pretty scary thought that you may not meet someone. And while we're being honest on here it’s the prospect of not having children that takes up way too many thoughts and leaves you in a very negative headspace. Unfortunately at this age most men out there just see you as a walking biological clock. After all, why wouldn’t they, if that’s what you really want.

Facing 40
I had just about given up and I mean given up. Something changes as you head towards 40 and you have to face the facts. I’d always wanted a family and was certain it would be with a husband. Now I had the realisation that it could possibly be by myself. You really do know you have the best parents when you have a conversation with them about the possibility of moving back home for a while and having a baby by yourself, and all they reply with is, “What ever makes you happy.” With the thought of this looming my best friend persuaded me to go back on Tinder. I’d tried it before and had one very disappointing date - he was about 10 years older and about three stone heavier than his pictures. I lasted one drink. So my dearest friend repeated a few words to me, “You have nothing to lose.” So why not, I tried one more time but didn’t really hold out much hope. Three weeks later Laurie’s face popped on my screen and the rest is history. I moved in with him after four months, he asked me to marry him after nine months and within 20 months we had our wedding. I now live in the country in a family home with two cats and two step- children. I finally have a family. Yes it didn’t quite come in the package I imagined but I couldn’t be happier. 

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Lessons Learnt
I can’t stress how important it is to find the right dating site for you. The reason Tinder worked for me is because you have to be spontaneous and quick with your messages. It works like a normal text and I found this more natural. I would often find with a couple of other sites that you and your match can take too long drafting an email and it gives a false sense of chemistry. Others are too formal and others can be too casual. Tinder also worked as I think those few seconds of deciding to swipe right or left are like the seconds you have when you catch someone's eyes in a bar or down the street. I also felt on other sites that you can know too much about each other before anything has even had the chance to get started. It all just depends on what you like and how you like to communicate.

Pick your pictures wisely and be honest in them. Theres’s no point in putting pictures up from seven years ago. You’ll just be walking straight in to disappointment. Believe me I’ve been there. 

Be very clear from the start with what you want. Don’t be worried that you’ll put someone off by saying you only want a serious relationship. You won’t put him off if he likes the look of you and it will stop time wasters.

Stop looking for Mr Perfect, he doesn’t exist. And here’s the shocker, you’re not perfect either! You'll just find a way to ignore or laugh through the imperfections. And you know what? You’ll end up loving some of those imperfections too. Just make sure it’s only a small percentage of him.

Think about what you want –really want! I spent years just swanning through making the same mistakes. Until a friend said write a list and really think about what you want in that man. Writing that list made me realise what would make me happy. It pays off as you can see clearer and you’ll stop giving time to someone who doesn’t make the list and have true potential. 

Stop wasting time on men that aren't giving you what you want. I and my friends spent years wasting time on making excuses on men who didn't text or call back. He's lost his phone, he's really busy at work, there's a family drama, blah blah!! It was an epiphany when I heard Samantha say in Sex and The City "Honey he's just not that in to you." Hopefully it won't take you until 38!

Don’t be frightened of going for something that’s different to your last dates/ boyfriends. There’s a reason they didn’t work out.

If you’re going to meet someone after chatting it has to be for the right reason. There has to be a spark of some sort. It can be the kindness in his eyes or the way he makes you laugh. But there has to be something. You know from your gut and anything else you listen too will mean you’re just wasting your time. 

Try to only have a few drinks on your first date so you come away with a clear idea of how you feel.  Yes you need a bit of Dutch courage but you don’t want to rely on those beer goggles.

Trust your instinct. You’ll get a feeling when you see him and those couple of seconds or minutes are usually right. You’ll also find out in time if he’s not a good guy, so stop chasing it. Again listen to your instinct. You'll also know when he’s a good guy and in my opinion don’t let him go as there aren’t many out there. Sure he needs to warm your heart and make you laugh too. 

It’s also ok to feel unsure every now and then in the first few weeks of dating. After all you’re just getting to know each other it can take a few dates for someone to get under your skin.

If you’re in your thirties or forties don't be put off by divorce or children. I say they’re the best. They’ve learnt from their mistakes and bringing up children on your own changes a man. Plus may I add there’s nothing sexier than a dad that wants to spend time with his children and has a great relationship with them.

Don’t let distance put you off. It'll all work out and sometimes change is good for you.

Be aware that you may not get everything you wanted in life and most importantly that you’ll be ok. I never thought I’d be the girl who didn’t have children and I never thought I would be so ok with it. You have to remind yourself how lucky you are with what you have. I have the soul-mate, two step-children, two cats (I am the mad cat lady), a family home in a beautiful place and our health. That’s not bad I’d say.

I know a lot of people say you’ll always meet him when you least expect it and that’s true in a lot of cases. But you also have to create some headspace for him to come in to your world. Whether it’s going to new places, not working so hard, getting fixed up by a friend or  joining an internet site. After all life’s busy and tiring as you get older and you won’t find him on your sofa.

Believe in fate. It will all make sense when you meet the right guy and will help you understand why your other relationships didn’t work out.

Never give up!