‘The best love is the kind that awakens the soul; that makes us reach for more, that plants the fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds. That’s what I hope to give you forever.’
Are you struggling to find it or keep it?
They say, ‘don’t go looking for love, love should find you’.
Well, I’m sorry – for some people life is too short for that. A lot of women aren’t prepared to stay home waiting for Mr Right to come to their front door. Nor are they prepared to mingle in bars, mix work with pleasure or stop in supermarket aisles to chat to a man (unless it’s Gerard Butler or Liam Neeson – I was going to write ‘joking’ but actually… I would stop and chat to either. I’d most probably ask them to reach up and get me something off a shelf and take it from there).
Back to love…
In the words of the great Phil Collins…
‘You can’t hurry love, you just have to wait. Love don’t come easy, it’s a game of give and take’.
He’s most probably right in some respects but you still shouldn’t sit at home waiting for it to land in your lap.
I’m no expert, I’m just opening up a conversation topic that I have experience in and I share a tiny bit of it at the end…
This article is for women of any age who are doing or thinking of trying internet dating, otherwise known as online dating. Whether you love it or hate it, internet dating is proving to be a good way to meet your soul mate. In fact, 1 in 5 of us meet a partner online.
The first step on your journey to find a partner online is choosing which dating site suits you and your requirements.
According to www.mashable .com the top 5 dating websites are:
- Best for all kinds of daters: Match
- Best for the opinionated: OkCupid
- Best for those looking to get hitched: eHarmony
- Best for international daters: Zoosk
- Best mostly-free site: Plenty of Fish
You may want to join multiple sites or a more specific site like kissinggates.com or muddymatches.com for farmers, fitness-singles.com for those enthusiastic sporty types or yourtravelmates.com for an adventurous travel buddy.
I also recommend trying ‘Bumble’.
If you are single and want a mate, take an online journey – the world is your oyster!
STOP! Before you begin, here is one of many things I need to tell you:
No matter what you think people might say about you doing online dating – it’s really important that friends and or family know that you are doing it. Let’s for one moment go back to Liam Neeson and the movie ‘Taken’ – I’m not saying it will, but if something goes wrong on your first date it’s sensible to make sure people know where you are going and who you are with.
What will work for you?
Search and seek out what site or sites will work for you. Dabble and decide.
Your perfect partner could be a click or swipe away. I have my fingers crossed for you!
One of the joys of internet dating is you can use a filter system to hopefully find someone who ticks all your boxes. Although, we do need to be realistic… it’s unlikely that all the boxes will be ticked but it is possible.
Here is an example of what a filter could look like for a woman looking for a man. The choices a woman could make are:
- A man
- With photographs
- Between 5’10 and 6’4 tall
- Aged between 47 and 57
- Salt & pepper hair
- Blue or brown eyes
- Separated, divorced, single or widowed
- Slim, athletic or a few extra pounds
- Has grown up children
- Likes to exercise
- Likes to hike
- Likes to go out
- Likes to travel
- Loves food, especially cake!
- Likes cats and dogs
- Has qualifications
- Lives within a 50-mile radius
You really can be that specific!
However, it’s worth noting that just because a man doesn’t eat carrot cake doesn’t mean he’s not the one for you.
Internet dating is a bit like catalogue shopping but sometimes it can be like Russian Roulette! One minute you are spoilt for choice and the next you are staring at the same faces, day after day.
A t-shirt is an option…
When I was single, my daughter suggested that I should go to a bar with a t-shirt on that listed my requirements from a man on the front with my name and phone number on the back.
I gave it some thought for 3 seconds and decided to stick with the internet option or hoping to bump into Gerard Butler or Liam Neeson in my supermarket.
When people do online dating they can connect with people, look for compatibility through talking about hobbies, interests, passions and life in general. There will be someone out there for you…it’s a journey, sometimes long-haul but don’t be discouraged.
The Bourne Identity syndrome…
Anyone can be who they want to be online, use a photo of someone else and create a fictitious profile but I don’t recommend you do it.
As the saying goes… liars always get found out.
Honesty is the best policy…
Try to be honest and genuine but remember sometimes things aren’t what they seem. Be cautious.
If you’re lucky you will find an honest and genuine guy.
Here are some recommendations for when you start internet dating:
Buy a notepad and write down the following:
- The name of the platform or platforms you join
- The date when you joined (you can come off a lot of sites within 14 days and not have to pay anything)
- How much the membership has or could cost – check the small print
- Note your username and password
- Write down the name or username of anyone you really like with pros and cons, what boxes do they tick?
- Write down the name or username of anyone who behaves inappropriately towards you. You are able to report those people and believe me, there are some seriously weird people out there!
- When you initially join a dating site you normally get bombarded with messages and it’s time-consuming to keep writing to each man individually for the first phase of contact. Create a little interesting bio and introduction and copy/paste that to save time initially if you need to
- Use a nice photograph, people don’t respond well to profiles without photographs
- Use a variety of photographs revealing your hobbies and showing you in your best light. Don’t use photographs with your children, family or friends in them. A lot of people do and I don’t believe it’s safe or wise to put your children on your dating profile
- Write an interesting bio for yourself. You can do lots of research online about how to create the perfect profile and try thinking like a man
- Don’t lie, it’s not worth it
- Make it clear what you want
- Make it clear what you don’t want
- Do fish around, don’t limit yourself too much and don’t just ‘settle’ for someone (guilty)
- Everyone comes with some kind of baggage – big or small. When a guy says he doesn’t have any, it makes me nervous (guilty)
- Look for alarm bells. For example – 6 children by 6 different women. That’s definitely something to be concerned about (he could have been unlucky but it should still hold up a red flag)
- Be choosy who you reply to and be careful what you say. Don’t give away too much personal information and don’t mention sex in your profiles (unless that is all you’re after)
- Just because a man’s profile looks ideal doesn’t mean to say when you see each other that it will be a perfect match (don’t build him up to be Gerard Butler in your mind)
- If you find someone you really like and you are on other sites, look to see if he is there and compare the profiles he has. Is he consistent with his information? (don’t get uptight if he is on multiple sites until you know the full story)
- Find out what you can about him. Ask questions and explain that you wouldn’t feel comfortable meeting him if you don’t know his surname and address
- Once you have that information, ‘Google’ him. Find out what you can about him online through social media. Yes, it could be perceived as stalker behaviour but it’s very important that you look after yourself. Safety first!
- Talk to him on the phone before you meet
- Meet in a public place and make sure your friends or family know where you are going
- Don’t disregard guys that are not your ‘normal’ type
- Use internet dating for your self-esteem and to build your confidence
- Make new friends. You don’t have to date the people that you like on the site, you can just be friends and banter
- Don’t expect too much. If it works that’s great but don’t expect to be whisked off your feet and live the life you have dreamt of since a little girl (guilty – I could kick myself so hard)
- Ignore people that judge you in a negative way about internet dating
- Talk to people who have done internet dating and take any tips or learn from their mistakes
- Don’t kid yourself that you are the only one he is talking to online! (you might be but the chances are slim)
To all you ladies out there that have done internet dating – have I missed anything?
At this point I would like to re-iterate that this article is an insight and an offering of information. I’m not telling you what to do, I’m not suggesting you do it my way and I’m not trying to put men in a bad light at all.
My biggest mistake…
Take what you can from my mistakes and they were monster mistakes!
What went wrong in most cases?
I was naïve. I didn’t have much self-worth and just wanted to be part of a relationship, not desperately but it was a desire. I was stupid and I have lots of regrets (kicking myself again). I’m not unique, there will be plenty of people who can say the same.
When I say ‘settled’ I mean that I didn’t initially fancy the man I met, or found them exciting but I was comfortable to be in a relationship with them and found something interesting about them. I learnt to have strong feelings for them and I didn’t think I deserved any different or better – I settled.
I dated one person each time I did internet dating and started a relationship with that man each time. I did that three times in 10 years (well that was stupid!). I’m ashamed to admit that potentially my line of thought was, ‘he will do’. I don’t think that makes me a bad person, I just think I thought I was in a safety zone (wrong!).
I’m not intending to be disrespectful to my previous partners at this point. They were nice people, just not right for me or me right for them.
I cringe as I write this…
- The first man I dated through internet dating used his best friend’s photograph and lied about his age (alarm bells!). When he admitted to it on the phone I listened to his reasons, checked out if they were legitimate and dated him. He wasn’t my normal type and I settled. He came with big baggage that came between us but I learnt a lot from him and the 7 years weren’t all bad (trying to be positive)
- The second man wasn’t my normal type and I settled again! He actually told me that after a few weeks of meeting him and he was right. He came with a lot of emotional baggage which became a big issue. What I learnt from that experience was the fact that you can’t fix someone else. It was 2 years of egg shells and that was draining (I wish I knew when to walk away)
- The third man wasn’t my normal type and I settled again. Within the first week of knowing him he promised me the world and I fell for it – marriage, houses and ‘forever’. 8 months later it all ended. For whatever reason but apparently, ‘I’m special’ and I must not forget that (classic comment). A week later I realised it wasn’t him I missed, it was what he had offered me
Of course there’s always 2 sides to every story. None of them did anything bad by me so I wish them all well.
It wasn’t love…
I didn’t learn my lesson each time, I didn’t see the pattern and I didn’t think I was worth any more than what I got. However, my recovery rate was very quick and it was a clear indication that what I felt for them wasn’t ‘love’.
After all of that and at 48 years old, I promised myself and my daughter that I wouldn’t just ‘settle’ anymore (at last!).
I wouldn’t date someone who would ‘grow’ on me and I would break the cycle, it was such a relief being honest with myself.
I dated a handful of men and identified what I definitely didn’t want. One of the men was extremely kind and he was my turning point, he made me realise that I was worth so much more. We weren’t right for each other but we helped each other at a time when we needed it most. I will always be very grateful to him.
Internet dating can be fun, it can build your confidence, help you heal from a broken heart and hopefully find you a friend or partner who you can make memories with for the rest of your life.
I’ve most probably not included other important factors so please let me know if I have.
I’m going to finish this article on a very happy note.
I didn’t give up on internet dating. I had found an inner strength to truly believe that I was great (chuckle) and I didn’t have to settle! I wasn’t going to look for someone who could fill a gap in my life, I was hoping to find someone who would enhance my life and add something extra.
I realised that before I could start another relationship, I had to be happy in myself to be happy with someone else.
Someone special who I met on internet dating has come into my life and he has:
- Removed any doubts about myself and my abilities
- Got rid of the ‘egg shell’ feelings
- Allows me to be me, the person I was 12 years ago. Comfortable in my own skin and great! (chuckle)
- Makes me feel like I am really important and asks for help and really helps me
- Communicates very regularly
- Doesn’t say unkind judgemental things
- Brings out the best in me
And for the first time, I actually really fancied him when I met him (chuckle)!
As the saying goes…
Nothing good lasts forever and nothing bad lasts forever. So you make the most of the good and get through the bad knowing that it will be good again.
If you can do that with someone special by your side, that’s pretty awesome.
Having said all of that, internet dating might not be right for you but you won’t know until you try.
Internet dating eventually worked for me (fingers crossed) and I hope it does for you. I really do (ignore the fact it took me 12 years!).
We will be doing an internet dating for men article (written by a man).
That should be good ladies! All is fair in love and war…
Are you in a same sex relationship or are you looking for it? I would love to hear your stories and advice.