Dating – Chapter 1

So after 20 years of marriage I got divorced, back in 2011. I had five lovely kids (all grown up now) and to be honest they are the only things that I miss from my marriage.  Then at the tender age of 46 I was thrust into the world of dating again, gosh it has changed from I was young !

I must add at this early point that I am no longer dating as I have met the woman of my dreams, Mrs Peter (not her real name obviously), and to be fair it was at a time that I had just given up on dating altogether after really close call , nearly getting married to someone who turned out to be …. for want of a better phrase … somewhat unhinged. More of that later.

First some advice: Be honest. Be honest with your self and also with your potential dates. It is no good whatsoever in trying to fool anyone especially yourself. I am going to talk about, in this instance, internet dating as being quite shy at first that was the method that I found most suitable. It is, however, an absolute minefield !

There are many internet dating sites out there, all purporting to be free but what I quickly found was that hardly any of them actually are, especially if you are male. There are a few which are free if you are female as they want to have as many female members as possible so as to lure in the paying men members.  They tend to say that they are free to join but then once you have created your profile and start getting messages you have to pay to either read the messages or to reply to them. What, I ask, is the good of a free site if you can’t actually do anything on it except browse photos ?  Good for stalkers I suppose but I was looking for a life companion, I could google plenty of pictures of random women if that was what I wanted.  The two ‘totally free’ ones I found were Plenty of fish and Tinder (which is app based only I believe).

Tinder is as far as I am concerned for shallow people who base their dating on someone’s looks only. You know the score … you get a load of profile pictures and you swipe left or right depending on whether you like them or not …. hardly a good way of choosing a life-partner, there is so much more to loving someone than that ! Anyway, that is may opinion and you may have other ideas.  I ditched Tinder after a couple of days.

Plenty of Fish is far more profile based. They ask lots of questions and you can fill in a ‘chemistry’ test which they use to try and find you suitable matches. You can write all about yourself, your likes and dislikes, and effectively try and sell yourself.  This in itself poses a few problems. What if you don’t like yourself? You think you are boring or you look bad in photos? My suggestion is to ask a friend. How do they see you? Why are they your friend? Get them to take a photo or two of you rather than you just taking a selfie in the mirror (there are SO many of those types of pictures).

Next … Be Honest! Don’t lie about your age (I  had one date where her first words to me were “I have to admit first that I am 58 and not 50 as it says in my profile”. When asked why she lied she replied ” I wasn’t getting any dates when I put my proper age” ! ); Put a recent photo, not one of you 15 years ago as you will be found out on the first date; List your actual interests and not ones you think everyone will want to see.  It really is that simple.  When you go on a date you will know if you are compatible very quickly, don’t just say “Well he/she will do” if there really is no chemistry between you. It won’t work in the long run.  Sometimes it doesn’t work after a few weeks anyway, just be honest and have the courage to walk away as it will do neither of you any good in the long run.

Text or phone (or message on the site) first to get a feel for who they actually are. Do NOT send nude photos of yourself … guys especially…. 99% of women see a pen*s shot as a definite turn off ! When you are happy to meet up make sure that you meet somewhere public like a bar or a coffee shop where you can just sit and talk. There is nothing worse than meeting somewhere where you have to spend a few hours with someone who turns out to be totally incompatible.

Listen to what your date has to say. Remember what they say. Everyone, male and female, wants to be listened to and if you can bring up something later that they talked about they will love it.  Try and make the talk about them, especially if you are male. There is nothing worse than trying to tell someone about yourself and having the conversation repeatedly turned round by your date to talk about themselves. At the risk of being sexist I would say that women like to talk a lot more than men… so let it happen. Guys … nod, acknowledge, make eye contact… don’t keep interrupting !

If all goes well on the first date then one of two things will happen. You will have a second date somewhere more interesting where you can talk better …. or …. one of you will just say “Sorry, it doesn’t do it for me”. If that happens just let it go. If it doesn’t work then it doesn’t work. There are, as they say, Plenty more fish in the sea.