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.
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.
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 anyone. You 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..