Everything I Have Learnt About Dating (which isn’t really that much)

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Dating is a bit like shoe shopping.

You don’t always need a new pair of shoes, but you take a little trip round the shops anyway just to see what’s out there. Sometimes you get lured into Office because there’s a gorgeous pair in the window, but after you purchase this gorgeous pair and walk around in them for a while they give you blisters. Or maybe you go to Bicester Outlet Village and buy a pair that, at 80% off, seem too good to be true: which is exactly what they turn out to be as they still cost 100 quid and once you get them home you realise they’re ugly. Or you buy super trendy trainers that nobody will want to wear in a short six months (remember Nike Rifts? Jesus).

Quite often you get bored of the busy shoe shops and decide to browse for your shoes online instead. But then when your shoes arrive at your house they just look completely different to their picture and you have to start that annoying process of returning them.

I really don’t like shoe shopping.

I think this metaphor has gone too far.

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I decided a while ago that I’d had quite enough of shoe shopping dating (I don’t even know which one I’m talking about any more). I’ve done online dating, dated work colleagues, gone out with friends and friends of friends and friends of friends of friends. It has been exhausting, fun, emotional, awful, excruciatingly embarrasing. And because the lessons I’ve learned from my couple of years of perusing the singles market (vom) won’t stretch to a whole book I am using this blog post to impart all the valuable knowledge I’ve learned. YOU’RE WELCOME.

Trust your friends and family’s opinions. Think about it: they know you inside and out and aren’t wrapped up in the OMG EXCITEMENT of a new relationship. There have been a couple of times I didn’t really listen to my friends when they questioned what I was doing dating X or Y… but they were always right in the end.

Don’t worry about what your date thinks of you. If you’re a single mum this fact is probably a much bigger deal to you than it is to them. I worried SO much about this, I really did. But nobody I went on a date with was ever concerned with my two little pieces of baggage – they’d be curious if anything. And if they are funny about it? You’re probably dating the wrong man.

Stop the boozing. All dates I went on prior to September this year involved alcohol in some way, and I have recently discovered that THIS IS NOT A GOOD THING. Getting to know someone over a coffee rather than a glass of wine is a much healthier and more sensible way to start a relationship; you can truly see if your personalities click without Dutch courage to help the conversation along. I’ve cut my drinking by about 50% in the last three months since beginning an (amazing) relationship this way and it has left me feeling approximately 90% better.

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If it doesn’t feel right, it’s wrong. It’s really easy to forget how it feels to be in a good relationship. Especially if you haven’t been in one for a while (or ever). But if you’re doubting either your new relationship, yourself, or the person you are in the relationship with then it probably isn’t right. The best relationships feel natural and shouldn’t make you unhappy or uncomfortable.

People are weird. And sometimes not the good kind of weird.

Don’t compromise yourself for anyoneYou are pretty amazing just the way you are and there is no way someone should make you feel like you need to change. Especially when this someone is supposed to make you feel happy, am I right? If you’re being told you need to be different – thinner, fitter, with different hair, doing a different job, enjoying different hobbies – they are the wrong person for you.

Enjoy spending time alone. When you meet someone new it is really easy to feel like you have to spend ALL your time with them. But my advice would be – don’t. Ease in to it, remember what you want, who you are and what’s important to you. Nothing gives you perspective like a little distance and nothing needs perspective like the early stages of dating.

Listen to what other people say about dating. Because nothing makes you feel better about your woeful tales of dating than other people’s woeful tales of dating. I’d recommend My Potential One True Love for a good read, Thirty Something London for a bloke’s point of view or fellow single mum, lovely Wit Wit Woo.

Hit me with your awful dating stories! I promise it’ll make me feel better..

16 Comments
  1. I’m glad my awful dates make you feel a little bit better :) It’s TOUGH out there Alice … but you’ve made some excellent points, especially not compromising (or getting drunk!) xx

  2. If I was young free and single I would hold this quote very close to my heart, wish I’d read your blog in the 70’s
    “Nothing gives you perspective like a little distance and nothing needs perspective like the early stages of dating.”-

  3. I love this. I found that with serious relationships (as serious as they can get pre-25) pre-Chris I ALWAYS had nagging doubts, which I ignored for months/years. When I had a very nasty break up from a very nasty little boy child I decided that I would never, ever ignore those nagging doubts again. When I met Chris I did not have any of those nagging doubts and that’s how I knew he was ‘the one’ to marry then. I knew myself as a single person well enough to know that I would be A OK without anyone, anyone in my life would have to enhance it rather than be hard work and that’s exactly what has happened. Phew.

    Hear hear and so pleased about the amazing relationship you have now xx

    1. Thank you love. ‘Boy child’ definitely describes a lot of men I’ve met! I live life by the statement that anyone in my life has to enhance it over anything else – friends OR men. I don’t have time for anything else and I think it’s so important! x

  4. Such good tips – especially not compromising for anyone and trusting your friends/families advice – funny how we seem to go against this advice in our youth and it normally doesn’t end too well. Really enjoyed reading this post

    Laura x

  5. I’ve actually never been on a date in my life! I’ve known Mr C since I was 13 and we got together at 19 after I’d been with someone else for 5 years so it’s something that I know nothing about. These are great tips though, especially the alcohol one, I used to be a terrible drinker and in that situation where I would have been nervous it would have no doubt ended in puke!! x

  6. the not drinking thing is defo a good idea I reckon! I met Tom sober but on our first proper date I hadn’t had the chance to have lunch and then we met after work and I only grabbed an apple! I was SO drunk that after he put me on my train home and I managed to get off at my right stop I was throwing up, uh. I’ve not been on many date dates though as I guess we ‘kinda’ knew each other before hand. I have no crazy date stories to share but next time we grab a glass of wine I’ll tell you about my one time posh boyfriend who made me dance to Kate Bush in front of his parents the first I met them… xx

  7. I’m spending my Saturday evening *inhaling* your blog posts. They are brilliant and hilarious! But this is the most brilliant! Dating is frighteningly bizarre and weird. But especially in Milton Keynes. I had one whirl at Tinder but the men on there were just so strange that I considered torching my own phone just to get rid of the App.

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