Why I’m Giving Up On Dating

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Without a doubt, the most difficult thing I’ve done since the end of my marriage is dating.

Pre-2013 I hadn’t dated since I was a teenager. Back then match.com wasn’t really A Thing and neither was dating, really. If you liked someone you’d probably go to the pub, have a couple of drinks and snog them. Repeat a few times but at a different pub, the SU bar or bowling alley. If you REALLY liked someone you might go home with them and if you really liked someone for an extended period of time you’d start holding hands and call them your boyfriend. It was a bit easy.

These days it ain’t easy, not in the slightest. There are ridiculous rules that people seem to play by, rules that have no foundation other than in American Rom Coms. You go for a drink. If the drink goes well it turns into dinner. You wait a few days to play it cool then accept an invitation to dinner again. You do the endless ‘getting to know you’ dance which, by the way, the man always seems to be in charge of. You never know if the person you’re seeing is dating you and only you or someone else. Do they like you or are they biding their time?

Most recently I’ve been thinking a lot about dating. Why do people do it? What do they want out of it? Are they in it with the end goal of marriage, or just sex? Why is everything so shades of grey? Why can’t everyone be a bit more honest about what they want?

I think it all comes down to labels. We are labelled in every single aspect of our lives: at work we move from intern to assistant to executive to manager to director. We’re stay-at-home mums, work-at-home mums, working mums, full-time mums. We’re always defined and dating goes the same way. Are we dating? Seeing each other? In a relationship? In a casual relationship? In an exclusive relationship? People need definitions for their Facebook relationship statuses, you see, but it’s never been harder to get them to commit to one.

And this is why I’m not going to date with enthusiasm anymore.

If you want to jump feet-first into dating it’s pretty easy. Sign up to a couple of sites, download Tinder (ADDICTIVE) and you’re away. You can literally (and I have) spend hours each evening thinking up pithy responses to emails that have most likely been copied and pasted to fifty different girls in your postcode. Then there’s the actual date-aspect of the whole thing; sitting across from different men you don’t know twice a week with the goal of getting to know them just in case they might be ‘the one’ or maybe even ‘the one for the next few weeks’. But once you’ve sat across from a few different ‘the ones’ it can become a little bit soul-destroying and I’m bored of it.

I don’t want another husband, not right now. I went in to dating to find someone funny who likes a couple of beers once a week and maybe a roast dinner with the papers on a Sunday. I’d quite like someone I can stay up til 4am chatting shit to and yeah, a bit of action would be nice I suppose. But that is not what I’ve found in the crazy world of dating sites so I’m taking a break. I’m spending my dating hours on work, writing my book and having fun with my lady friends (who are way more interesting and funny than most blokes anyway. Now if only one of them could grow a penis…).

It’d be nice to remember that actually, I’m only 28, and I have time to myself now that I haven’t had for years and I can spend that time having a bit of fun. Not worrying about who I’m going to spend the next part of my life with. If I meet someone who likes casual beers and Sunday papers in the pub then that would be very nice, but if I don’t I have good times with my friends and my career to enjoy.

So this is where the fervent dating ends.  It’s not for me right now but if it’s for you I will leave you with this advice:

– If a man says he is 38 then he is probably 40+. Especially if he looks 40+. Each man I’ve dated over the age of 40 has fibbed about their age on their profile.

– If a man sends you a photograph of his willy before you’ve even met he’s probably not the one. Even if it’s massive.

– If you’re a man who sends girls a photo of your willy before you’ve even met you should know it’s done the rounds of that girl’s friends the last time they had a night out. Or a coffee.

– Ask for a man’s surname and Google them before you meet. I narrowly missed going on a date with someone with a pretty hefty criminal record this way.

– It is impossible to know what a man wants out of dating, even if you ask them. But they probably don’t know either, so there’s no hope.

25 Comments
  1. Good on you!
    Although I haven’t ‘dated’ for a long time I have seen some of my friends go through- some seriously funny stories! BUT love that you are going to invest some time into yourself and just enjoy life.
    That kind of attitude and confidence in being yourself will defo add to your ALLURE

  2. The thought of “dating” brings me out into a cold sweat. I’ve never “dated” as such. I met my husband in a grotty nightclub and we went to a pub for a drink after always bumping into each other in the same club, so by the time the date happened we already knew each other. I’ve got no experience of dating sites, but I’ve heard some horror stories from some of my friends. On the other hand I went to a wedding of one of my best mate’s recently and her and her husband met on a dating site – The Guardian’s one I think. It all seems terribly complicated on the whole though, and not much fun. Far better to do it your way!

    1. It’s really complicated and there seem to be all sorts of unsaid rules about when to contact someone, when to reply to someone, how long to wait between dates and so on. It’s mentally exhausting!

  3. I love posts like this!
    I think dating shouldn’t be something forced, if you meet someone you like then why not meet for a drink. I am a hypercrite to my own advice because I’ve become quite scared of dating :/
    I just did a post on Friends with benefits, and think that’s a bad idea and so I steer clear of that.
    Love the last bit about the tennis player haha xx

    laurathinksabout.blogspot.co.uk

  4. Well I did have a chuckle at this, but not at your expense ;) Well written and sympathetic. I totally get what you’re saying and maybe the break will be just what you need right now. Male company is lovely and if it turns into the right one for ever or even a few weeks then hurrah! But only when YOU’RE ready for it! Enjoy the girlfriends for now! xox

  5. My friend who is 29 got married when she was 18 and recently split up with her husband a few months ago….She has been online dating….The stories she’s telling us are hilarious! One date involved a walk round a graveyard with ‘murder man’…..He wanted to know how she would kill someone…..Pig man who basically ate like a pig and a lovely fella who told her he was wearing his ex’s knickers…..But she has just met a wonderful fella online and things are going well…He seems normal at least.

  6. Oh Alice, I may be a *few* years older than you but you’re not alone. Internet dating is HARD! And yet I don’t think we’re asking for much. Where are the decent men that are looking for the same as us? If you ever find out, let me know!!

    As an aside, I too had a date that found my blog. The fallout proved it was a lucky escape for me – I think the same just happened with him above! (& I don’t mean god lol) x

  7. Great post. I’ve been wondering how you were getting on. I have a friend who dated someone who ended up reciting/singing candle in the wind (the Diana version) on their first and only date. We never let her forget it ;) x

  8. It’ll come darling, it’ll come. I always give everyone the same advice – once you truly stop looking ‘for love’ (or whatever) IT WILL COME! It will be inconvenient, and not easy, and passionate, and flirtatious, and FUN. And it will come, one day. Give yourself time.

    But if you see that tennis player again, GO FOR IT. Because he’s probably an idiot, but for one night, that doesn’t matter. ;)

  9. The dating game is just not fun, I did it a while back and found that I spent so many of my nights with dull boring men when really I just wanted to be at home with a glass of wine and a good movie!
    Plus I’ve never been good at turning down guys either as I always feel sorry for them… whole predicament there in itself! I ended up having to ‘see’ one for far too long for this reason…
    When I gave up on dating everything became so much easier. I had more time to myself to do what I wanted and could actually figure out what I wanted.

    TheLondonMum
    http://www.thelondonmum.me

  10. I love Tindr! Well, correction – I love flipping through my single BFF’s tindr…. It’s absolutely addictive, but I can imagine it might be a slightly different story if I was actually trying to meet people that way!

  11. Hey everyone – great post and we couldnt agree more. Dating for parents (and in general) can be really hard work.

    BUT don’t give up!

    We’d love to offer any single parents (mum and dad’s) a free account on our brand new site if you are interested.

    The site is Single Mums UK and if you email us at hello@thewarehousedatinggroup.com we’ll get you upgraded for a month for free.

  12. I giggled at your sidenote to the tennis player :) Defo revel in the singleness for a while. I was single for SO long..majority of my life I would say but now settled at the ripe age of 32 with a babba so you’ve got years at the teeny age of 28 :) xxx

  13. If it helps, men are utter rubbish at dating. No, worse, we’re utter landfill at it. We don’t know the rules; we don’t know there are rules; we don’t think the rules apply to us anyway. Bravado and overconfidence often covers up nerves making us look shallow or disinterested.

    Sounds like you’ve got a good plan, though. If that tennis player makes eye contact again, say Hello. I dare you.

  14. Internet dating is hilarious and terrifying, in equal measure. I once dated a man who invited me back to his flat to see his collection of scooters. Five of them. Two of them were kept in his bedroom….terrifying? Hilarious? You be the judge!

    Good luck…..have you tried a trawl through of old mates who happen to be single? Could be a way to date without it feeling too much like you’re trying….

  15. O dear, having been recently dumped by my other half I am about to venture back into this pool (well I say about, give it a few years, hours of crying over my broken heart and enough time to make sure he hasn’t come to his senses – wow typed like that I look desperate!) however your post doesn’t fill me with hope!

    1. Don’t worry Lauranne, I’ve since met someone very very nice and credit the fact that I stopped dating with such vigour! I’m sure you’ll enjoy the dating world, it has been very exciting :)

  16. I think it’s great you got out there and gave it a go, but as you say – when you’re only 28 and you have tons of other stuff to focus on right now that will make you happy, then ignore dating for a bit and you’ll probably find you meet someone when you least expect it xx

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