After spending my entire adult life in one relationship, I suddenly find myself thrust into the completely alien world of online dating. As a 36 year old, full-time mother of 3, this is nothing short of terrifying.
So when I was at a complete loss at where to start, I did what all self-respecting seekers of truth do. I Googled.
Mistake number 1.
After plowing through page after page of advice about what to say, what sort of pictures to put on your online dating profile and what to wear on a first date, I initially came away more confused than ever. About who I am, who I should be and who men allegedly look for in a potential partner.
In true personal style, I decided to muddle on through and jumped right on in anyway.
Now, after a few solid months of online dating experience, as well as discussions with single friends who’ve been at it for far longer, I’ve arrived at some pretty concrete conclusions.
1. Don’t be anyone other than yourself.
I’ve read so much advice about selling yourself when dating online and it makes me so mad. By all means, put your best foot forward but you are not a filly up for auction. Don’t ever feel like you have to tone yourself down (or up), be funnier, smarter, skinnier or more interesting than you already are to get a guy to talk to you. If he isn’t interested in sticking around to get to know you for who you are, it’s his loss and he wasn’t the one for you.
2. Don’t over invest.
We can all be prone to overthinking. I’m sure it’s part of the XX chromosome package. Dating and new relationships usually crank this trait up to megawatts. “Did I say the wrong thing?”, “Will he call?”, “Should I call?”, “WHEN WILL HE CALL??”
It can be easy to get carried away in the excitement of it all, but try not to work yourself into a frenzy over an online conversation with a guy. There is a lot of chaff to sift through out there and not everyone is looking for the same thing. Don’t waste your precious energy until you know the person you are talking to is on the same page.
A word on ‘ghosting’ – This phenomenon knocked me for six, having never experienced anything like it in my life. Ghosting is where someone just completely disappears with no further contact. It might be after 1 day, it might be after 2 months. I have had guys ask me on dates, arrange all the details only to cut all contact without warning the day prior. Obviously a better offer came along! Essentially ghosting is the coward’s way of breaking up and is by no means a reflection on you. In the online dating world it is VERY common, so brace yourself.
3. Respect yourself.
You will find yourself in situations where you may feel uncomfortable about what is being said, implied, asked or even shown to you (think dick pics!) Everyone’s bar is different. By all means, keep an open mind to new experiences but don’t lower your standards for a guy you hardly know. If he’s making you feel uncomfortable and doesn’t seem to mind, he’s not worth your time.
4. Love yourself.
This really should be #1. As the old adage goes, love yourself the way you want someone else to love you. Don’t be a conceited arse, but be confident in who you are and what you want from life. It really shines through and is sexy as hell.
5. Look for a partner because you want one not because you need one.
Think of your life as cake and a partner is simply the icing. Cake should be fucking great, even without icing.
I really should qualify all this sage advice by stating that I am yet to find “the one”. I don’t even know if there is such a thing. But what I do know is that dating is not the be all and end all. A man will not complete me. I also know that the right man won’t make me jump through hoops, second guess myself or make me feel like I’m too much or not enough. For me, dating has become an interesting, and often entertaining, sideline to my already full and fulfilling life.
On that note, I’m off to check my inbox.
Have you got any dating tips for mums you’d like to share?