How not to date online – learning by (bad) example

I’ve been writing about online dating for a long time and to be perfectly honest, sometimes I get bored. After all, much of it is about the same topics, albeit rehashed and paraphrased to make things more interesting. I often wonder whether there’s still a need in today’s dating world to write about dating profiles, first message writing and other such basics. But time and time again I conclude that these are still important things to cover. After all, it seems that there are plenty of people out there for whom such information is important.

Take this article, for example. TLDR: guy goes on Tinder “to find love”, fails to secure date, gets female friend to help him with his profile, secures date with hot model, is disappointed by her flippant attitude and behaviour and concludes that LA is not suitable for finding love.

So can we take this story and learn from it about common dating mistakes? Let’s take a look at what happened here.

The article was written by said guy, hence an obvious bias towards blaming the girl. But let’s break down what the guy did first.

  1. Signing up to Tinder to find a serious relationship
    I personally know people who fell in love on Tinder and I’m sure many others do. But ultimately, Tinder is a hook up app. Its very nature makes it the perfect app for shallow encounters. It’s much easier to sign up to than more serious dating sites, which makes it perfect for when someone’s freshly broken up and needs to rebound. In fact, the girl this guy is slating did just that – signing up immediately after a breakup to make herself feel better. So while it’s fine to look for love on Tinder, you should also accept the fact that many people on there might not be looking for what you are.
  2. Having  a dating profile that’s an idealised representation of yourself
    I often advise men in particular to get female friends to help write their dating profile, but there is such a thing as aiming too high. If a profile sounds like someone who’s not you and you turn up to the date, expect some disappointment. As I’ve not seen either the before or after version of this guy’s profile, I can’t comment on any particular problems, but the fact that he got no action with his own profile and got a lingerie model contacting him for sex after his profile makeover (only to be quickly disappointed when she met him) makes me think there was a lot there that could be seen as unwittingly misleading or just plain wrong.
  3. Going on a date with a model and being surprised that she’s high maintenance
    I mean, seriously, are you 12? She’s a model. She’s in LA. There is no such thing as effortlessly done up. Not if you’re expect your date to look perfect. Most models obsess about their looks, because they have to – it’s what makes them a living. They are also likely to be very driven and committed to their work, which is what it takes to be a successful model in LA. If that’s not something you can deal with then date someone who’s not a model or an actress or any high profile profession.
  4. Being surprised when your date doesn’t think you match up with your idealised profile
    Many people lie in their dating profiles, but it’s a risk you take that is likely to blow up in your face. Can’t do the time…

 

So all in all, this guy made a few bad dating mistakes and paid the price for them. But is the woman involved completely guilt free? Of course not. Let’s see what her issues are.

  1. Going on dates immediately after a major breakup
    Was the guy so different than his profile or was she simply not really interested because she still had feelings for her ex? It’s all well and good to sign up to a dating site and start contacting people so you can get over someone, but the person on the other side has feelings too. Would this guy have replied to this girl had he known her to be so freshly broken up? I think the answer is probably no. By omitting this important fact from her profile, she was effectively lying too. It’s best to work out your own feelings about your emotional state without bouncing them off other people who could get hurt in the process.
  2. Not respecting her date’s time
    This guy drove a long way to meet her. She kept him waiting for ages beyond their agreed time, which is rude. OK, so she didn’t know he’d made a long journey, because he hadn’t told her, but you shouldn’t take the piss anyway. He might be disposable to you, but he’s a person with feelings and his time is valuable.
  3. Being flippant after having rejected the guy
    In spite of the guy taking offence, there’s actually nothing wrong with letting a date know straight away that you are not interested. I’m not going to say that you should do it every time out of respect for the person’s feelings, because as a woman I know that sometimes you just don’t feel safe rejecting someone outright, or you feel that it would create an unpleasant situation with the other person acting all offended and rude. Still, if someone is brave enough to simply say “thanks, but no thanks”, we should applaud it rather than criticise them. This girl, however, went the extra mile, if we believe the guy. First, she practically started talking about his shortcomings (why? Unless the guy is demanding to know them and you feel obliged, just leave it at “no thanks”). Then, she asked him questions about dating on Tinder. Seriously, tact is a virtue when you’ve just rejected a guy.

 

As you can see, both sides of this story made some bad dating choices, which you can learn to avoid in your dating life. Have you had any dating disasters you’d like other people to learn from? Feel free to comment below.

 

 

 

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PersonalityMatch – Compatibility Matching App Review

I’ve recently been asked to review a new app called PersonalityMatch, a free app that lets you take a short personality test based on the Myers-Briggs model, discover your personality type and then see how it compares to those of friends and partners. I figured it could potentially be a useful relationship tool for some, or at the very least a fun activity to share with others.

It’s not hard to see the appeal of such an app – could it be like a cheat sheet for learning about someone else’s personality and how compatible you are?

To be perfectly honest, I have a love-hate relationship with these tests. Obviously, I love reading about myself (who doesn’t?) but I often find the choices in these tests quite limiting, as you usually have to choose between two options, whereas my honest answer is more likely to be “depends” or change depending on my mood. I’ve done quite a few Meyers-Briggs style tests before and have come out as both an Extrovert and an Introvert on different occasions, although the rest has mostly been pretty consistent across the lot.  They’re not perfect, but can be quite interesting and useful.

Compatibility matching, on the other hand, is something you usually see on dating sites where the test is generally a serious and often daunting task (hello, eHarmony!) or a neverending one (hi, OKCupid!). I’m sure there are other apps and sites that let you match your personality with your friends, but this is the first one I’ve personally tried that wasn’t part of an actual dating site.

How it works

First, you sign up with either your Facebook account or your email address. Pretty straightforward stuff.

The test itself only takes a few short minutes to complete, unless you’re the sort of person who’s going to deliberate for ages on each answer, which you’re not meant to do for these anyway. It’s definitely shorter than most compatibility based dating sites I’ve seen (apart from the crap ones).

The app gives you two tiers of information – basic (free) and paid. Surprisingly, the basic information seemed fairly insightful and reasonably accurate, especially considering the short time I’d spent actually doing the test. You get the information in the app itself and I also got an email with the results, so I could read them on a bigger screen. Handy.

There is an option to purchase more detailed information (22 page PDF), priced at $19.99 if you want to know even more about yourself.

Once I’d done that, it was time for the more exciting experiment. I wanted to use the app for what it’s actually meant for – seeing how my personality matches app with those of people I know. I found some willing victims and invited them to the app by email (you can use a whole load of other methods to invite people). They each followed the link provided in the stock email generated by the app and were automatically added as my “friends” when they joined. The app then notified me when they had finished filling out their personality tests and we were ready for a match!

This is the most fun part of the app, because your match report compares you to your friend using both a visual representation and a written report. You can click for more information about what the different parts mean or scroll down to read the text. The basic match report does a decent enough job of comparing the two personalities in terms of “energy”, “information”, “decisions” and “lifestyle” but for less than £1 you can get a more detailed report with the “strengths and weaknesses” of your match, tips on getting along and also information about their personality type. You can also pay a little more and unlock unlimited match reports, which could be handy if you want to invite lots of friends to see how you match up.

 

Verdict

All in all, I liked this app. I’ve seen some very lengthy, detailed tests on some personality matching dating sites that delivered results that weren’t that much better than this (and sometimes, to be honest, not as good).

The fact that this app is not attached to a dating property actually works in its favour, because it can give you more honest results. Dating sites have a vested interest in sending you potential matches and getting you going on dates. A personality matching app doesn’t.

PersonalityMatch  has also got the winning combination of being fun, quick and easy to use, as well as insightful enough to make the information interesting. It really did make me want to share it with more people so that I can get a sneaky glimpse into their personality, and my own.

Even keeping in mind the limitations of these sort of personality tests, there is enough stuff here to give you insights into a relationship or a friendship or act as an ice breaker with a new partner.  While I wouldn’t advise anyone to base relationship decisions solely on an app, I would definitely recommend this app to anyone interested in learning a bit more about themselves and other people in their lives.

Where to get it

The app is free and you can get it from:

App store: https://itunes.apple.com/app/personalitymatch/id1098507017

Play store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.personalityperfect.app

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Want to be on a Channel 4 TV pilot? Man and woman wanted

I’ve been contacted by a TV casting company working for production company Keshet, who are producing a pilot for channel 4 about relationships and dating. They are looking for a man and a woman to be in the pilot. This will not be broadcast on TV, but could be a fun experience if you’re interested in being in front of a camera. These are their requirements:

I am looking to interview a woman in her 20’s – early 40’s (who went to University) who will only date men of a certain social standing, and has extremely high standards when it comes to choosing who to date. I’m also looking to interview a man in his 20’s – 30’s who is university educated, loves online dating and not wanting to settle down yet as having too much fun dating.
The interview is for a Channel 4 pilot so will not be for broadcast and will take up an hour of their time. Filming will be in London on a convenient date and travel expenses can be arranged etc.
Contact Victoria on: tvcastingvic@gmail.com if interested.
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New dating app aims to help users have better first dates

First dates are meant to be exciting, but as we all know, there’s always the possibility of things going horribly wrong. Different people have different views about what makes a good first date, ranging from the location to whether or not you’re meant to split the bill. I’ve heard so many first date horror stories that I was intrigued by  a press release that landed in my emailbox from a company called TakeMeOut Dating (or TMO).  The app is apparently aimed at busy professionals who want to simplify the first date experience by specifying their first date preferences before being shown any potential matches. Once you choose stuff like who you think should pay for the bill or whether or not you want to go to a posh restaurant, the app will show you only those people who match your date choices.  The next phase of the app promises to give you the option to actually book a table at a restaurant, plus a more vigorous screening process of potential dates. While not as extensive as personality profiling, this does sound like a good way of taking some of the confusion and awkwardness out of the dreaded first dates. And as dating should really be about having fun, this can only be a good thing.  Also, to celebrate the launch, they are currently offering a free night out for you and your date for people who join and invite five friends.

 

The app is available on both Android and iPhone.  For those interested in more details, full press release is below, including the free date offer (at the very end). You can contact them via: http://www.takemeoutdating.com/contact-us/

 

TMO (TakeMeOut) – The Dating App That Lets You Choose Your First Date Experience and Review Your Matches

Traditional dating apps leave users with many questions that often lead to incompatible dates, something busy

professionals do not have the time to endure. Will the person I meet have proper dating etiquette and similar first

date expectations? Who is paying for the date? Will we end up going to a place both of us will enjoy and feel

comfortable in?

TMO (TakeMeOut) is designed to cater to the needs of busy professionals by allowing users to control their dating

experience and set expectations upfront. By checking the matches rankings and reviews, users are able to quickly

eliminate unsuitable partners and match with only the best!

When you join TMO you have the option of choosing whether you want to take someone out, you want someone

to take you out, or whether you prefer to go Dutch and split the cost of the date.

Then you specify the desired type of dating experience expected on your first date. Whether it is going out for a

drink, to a restaurant, or something more sophisticated, TMO will offer you the different options

For example, a female user could decide she wants to be taken out to an upscale dinner on her first date. TMO

algorithm will then only show her men who like to wine and dine their dates. When both users swipe right, the

match is made and they are able to chat with one another.

A very unique feature TMO offers is by letting users rate their past dates so that others can know whether or not

they are a genuine person they want to spend their valuable time with. The rating system is one of a kind

algorithm that allows trustworthy users to stand out, and makes the anonymous dating experience safer.

TMO is the only dating app of its kind that offers these unique features. It was created for the purpose of

improving the dating app experience for busy professionals by giving them more control over the process,

increasing the quality of their matches, and ensuring they are matched with real people who they want to spend

their limited free time with. The matching system is robust as it is seamless, designed to be as simple and highly

efficient!

TMO’s next phase will be to provide even more unique features, such as a booking system to book restaurants

online and a more advanced screening process to make sure that you would always meet the person shown in the

picture on your first date. Our goal is to take the work out of dating, provide perfect matches, and let our users get

the most out of life and their dating experiences!

TMO is all about giving their users the best dating experience possible, while building it’s community to become

the standard in online dating. If you join now and share the app with 5 friends, TMO will book a night out for you

and your date with 2 cocktails on us.

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The five golden rules for contacting women on dating sites

Hello All

Messaging women on a dating site is not always easy. Competition can be tough, especially if you’re aiming for an attractive woman. Also, the medium can be a bit confusing, with many men being unsure of etiquette, what women want or expect and what constitutes a good first message. Here are the five golden rules to keep in mind when you’re composing your first message to the possible woman of your dreams.

 

(the man in the pic is in no way connected to this piece)

 

1 Have a good profile in place

The first thing a woman’s going to do is read your profile, yet so many men are so eager to get on with contacting women that they don’t put any time or effort into what they write. A good photo is obviously a must, too and you can get away with quite bland messages if your profile pic is attractive enough (humans are shallow, what can I say). If you need tips about choosing a photo and writing a good profile, start here and here and here.

But don’t worry, if a woman likes your first message, she’ll take a chance on you even if she’s not entirely sure about the pics. So…

2  Be Respectful

Different women are going to respond in different ways to different messages, but the vast majority of women prefer to be treated with respect. It’s fine to be a bit cheeky and flirty, but there’s a fine line between that and being rude, creepy and sleazy. Unless you’re on a hook up site, don’t offer sex straight away or ask about what the woman likes in bed, don’t discuss her anatomy in a direct way  and for god’s sake, don’t send any dick pics. It might seem obvious,but apparently it oh so isn’t. So basically “you have nice tits” is out, but something like “fancy a pint?” or some sort of tongue in cheek chat up line can be fine.

3 Pay attention

Look beyond the woman’s picture and have a good read of her dating profile. Apart from knowing whether you’re likely to be her type, it’s going to be a treasure trove of conversation starters. Remember though that if something in her profile stands out as an obvious conversation starter (like “I work at the circus as an aerial acrobat” for example, or “I am 6′ 2”) chances are every man and his dog will have already asked her about it and she’s fed up of talking about it. So try to go for something less obvious and you won’t be as dull as the rest of them.

4 Keep it short

She doesn’t know whether she likes you yet and really, you want her checking out your profile, so don’t write essays. A couple of paragraphs at most, if not less. If you’re finding it hard to be concise, write out a longer message, then read it over a few times critically and cut it down to size. Can’t write two paragraphs? A one liner is all you need to start a conversation.

5 Don’t try too hard to impress

I know it’s hard to stand out as a man on a dating site, but trying too hard to be cool can often reek of effort and backfire horribly. So don’t go on about your fine qualities in your message, don’t waste your time on trite pick up techniques and whatever you do, don’t go for that lame pick up artist tactic of insulting women to get them to respond. Most women I’ve come across actually hate that. You’re far better off just having a good looking, detailed profile and just saying hello than to try and look like superdate.

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Dating online? How much should you outsource?

Computer keyboard and touch pad

Back when I had the time, I used to offer some services to help people with their online dating profiles. The services I offered included helping the client choose the right photo and helping with online dating profile writing. I tried to keep things as close as possible to the client’s own words, seeing as the clients were the ones looking for dates and not me.

I see it as a way of showing people stuff about themselves that they may have missed, so that they could put this information in their profile. There’s nothing wrong with that, much in the same way someone could come in, look at your rather random employment history and make it look really good on a CV. After all, writing about yourself is not easy, even for very outgoing, eloquent people. I know I hate marketing myself, but writing about someone else is not a problem at all for me.

I’ve also seen some services offering to write some opening messages for you, which I think is borderline. On one hand, sending a first message is a daunting task for many, but once a conversation has started, they find it easier to relate. On the other hand…well, it feels a bit unethical and dishonest.

So recently, when someone showed me a wanted ad for a job involving running people’s complete online dating account for them, I was frankly quite shocked. It seems there’s actually work out there for people to not only write your dating profile for you but also to choose and message suitable women for you, flirt with them online and arrange dates for you. Once the date is set, you presumably turn up all briefed about the lady and the conversation you’ve supposedly had and take it from there. Seriously, guys? Really?

For one, any relationship starting like this would be built on a massive lie. You’re not going to tell your dream gal that the person who enchanted her online was some random student looking for some extra cash on the side, are you? Well, you might, but I doubt you’d get very far.

Also, looking at it from the lady’s point of view (I’m assuming it’s mostly guys using this service, but there’s nothing that says women can’t and aren’t using it too), if you’re too busy to bother trying to make your own connections or so bad at talking to women you need someone else to do it for you, what will you do when there’s an actual woman there?

It might seem like an efficient way of cutting through the dating numbers’ game if you’re a busy executive, but really, people don’t like being taken for a ride and if you’re not like the person who pretended to be you, it’s going to turn around and bite you in the ass.
From what I’ve seen, this is exactly what happens and such relationships don’t last. It’s easy to make a very shy, lost person look outgoing and confident online, but once you swap over to the real deal, the person on the other side is going to know something is off, or just lose interest.

“But it’s just like traditional matchmaking used to be, just updated for the digital age!” I hear some people cry. Well, actually, no it isn’t. People who go to a dating agency or a matchmaker know the score and they know someone else will be matching them with another person and arranging the dates. People on a dating site assume the person writing to them is the person they will meet later on.

If you can’t bring yourself to do your online dating “work” yourself, maybe dating online is not for you.
Why not use an actual matchmaking service (such as Coffee and Company in the UK) where someone does look for suitable dates instead of you and arrange your dates for you, but everything is above board?

Alternatively, you can let your personality shine at a speed dating or singles’ event.

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Looking for love? Owning a pet can help you find it

With summer around the corner (we hope), the thought of sitting in front of a dating app and dating site while the sun is shining might not appeal. But recent research from comparethemarket.com has shown that owning – and walking – a dog can actually help busy professionals find love.

Puppy Love InfographicIt seems that one out of five full time workers in the UK have actually met their partner while walking their dog, while three out of Five made new friends.

Dogs get you out of the house and they tend to attract both dogs and dog lovers. If you want to get talking to someone, a dog is a great conversation starter. Unlike people, dogs make friends easily with other dogs, and while they play, you have the perfect opportunity to make conversation with their owner.

Dogs are often recommended as the perfect companions to widowers, widows and the elderly and it’s not hard to see why. 45% of widows participating in this research said they’d struck up a positive conversation with a stranger because of their dog.

But owning a pet can also improve your life in general. As a proud owner of two cats, I was not at all surprised to discover that 55% of pet owners questioned said they were extremely happy with their lives. As I’ve often said on this blog, if you are happy and content with your own life, you are in the perfect position for finding a partner.

Of those already in relationships, 55% are also said to be very happy with their love life, while 41% said it brought them closer to their partner.

Owning a pet, especially a dog, is a responsibility. But if you’re up to the challenge, you will appear more caring and responsible to those around you. In fact, the research has shown that women tend to think male pet owners would make good fathers. After all, many couples start off by getting a pet together, before having a baby.

But if you’re one of the 51% of London pet owners who happens to own a cat, rather than a dog, don’t despair!

You might not be able to parade your pet around like a badge of attraction and parental suitability, but you can certainly use information and pictures of you with your cat (or cats) in your online dating profile to attract other cat lovers. Cat ladies in particular are likely to appreciate a man who appreciates cats, so while I don’t advocate making your entire profile about cute cat pictures, I do think that letting people know you have a beloved pet that’s a big part of your life can only be a good thing.

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Stop shaming women for ghosting men

A few years back, while my father was in hospital being treated for terminal cancer, I briefly dated someone. It turned out the guy had zero interested in asking me how I was feeling (I was spending upwards of 8 hours a day in hospital with my dad at the time), but was nonetheless interested in coming over to sleep with me. After three such dates, I stopped answering his calls and calling him back. My father nearly died that time. I was a mess emotionally and physically. I simply could not bring myself to deal with anything else, especially not a selfish person who didn’t even once ask me how I was and whether I needed anything.

GhostShortly before my father’s death, when he was briefly out of hospital and assumed reasonably OK, said guy called to ask for an “exit interview” and I picked up. I then got told off for having “ghosted” him, even though I had explained that I’d been dealing with some terrible events in hospital. It would seem that while our short acquaintance wasn’t enough to warrant anything as “heavy” as the guy worrying about my feelings, it was plenty long enough for him to be entitled to have his looked after by me, regardless of what was going on in my life at the time. This is the ugly face of self-entitlement, which is sadly remarkably common.

Ghosting, the act of disappearing out of someone’s life without explanation, is also pretty common in online dating and there are heaps of articles online telling you how horrible it is and what a horrible person you are for doing it (such as this article in Psychology today). Such articles are often written by men, although I have seen some by women who claimed to be “gender blind” when it comes to dating etiquette.

Ghosting does feel horrible. I’ve been ghosted in the past by both men I’ve been on one date with and men I’ve known for a long time. I was as disappointed as confused as you’d imagine. Whether you’re a man or a woman, the longer you’ve known someone, the more emotionally invested you are and the more interaction you’ve had with them, the more disappointed and sad you’ll be when they turn out to seemingly not care about your feelings enough to tell you they’re not interested to your face. This is especially true if you’ve had sex with them, because it can make you feel really used.

But we can’t really pretend that there is no difference between men and women’s experience of dating and social interaction, no more than we can ignore the fact that while men do get raped, it’s far far less common than women getting raped.

Women live in a world where complete strangers tell you to smile on the street and hurl abuse to you if you don’t. Where guys are “just being friendly, what’s your problem, bitch?” until you’re friendly back and then they ask you for your phone number and accuse you of having lead them on if you refuse to give it. We live in a world where self-proclaimed “nice guys” feel so entitled to women’s affections by virtue of simply not being openly horrible to them that they write articles whining about being in the “friend zone” (and cut you out of their lives in a huff, of course, once the potential for future sex is out the window). Guys feel entitled to our attention and affection simply because they happen to be interested in us. If we think we might be interested and then learn that we are not, all hell breaks loose.

Women have to deal with this shit ALL THE TIME, yet we are constantly judged for trying to minimise unpleasantness we never asked for. I’ve even seen articles criticising other women for rejecting men by saying they have a boyfriend even when they don’t, in spite of the fact that this is often the fastest, safest way to get a man to walk away without hurling abuse at you or even attacking you. For many woman, ghosting is not “being a coward” and “putting yourself first”. It’s dealing with real fears and real survival issues in the safest way possible.

Yes, ideally, any person you date who does not want to continue seeing you would take the time to let you know so that you’re not left hanging. Personally, I think that’s the most respectable thing to do. However, this also assumes that the person on the receiving end of rejection will be respectful enough to accept it without demanding an explanation, being rude or abusive or offloading their negative emotional state on the other person. And this almost never happens. Women can be as guilty as men of not taking rejection well and using emotional blackmail to try and get the other person to change their mind, but the chances of a woman putting a man in actual danger as a result of rejection are far slimmer than the opposite. That’s why I can understand women who ghost men more than I understand men who do it.

Let’s leave ghosting after actual relationships (a few months+) out of this discussion. A person you’ve messaged online or been on a date with once or seen on the street and fancied does not owe you an explanation as to why they are not interested in you. Yes, it would be nice to get one for your own peace of mind, closure and ego, but that’s on you, not on them. Just because a person replied to an online message you sent or agreed to date you and then decided for whatever reasons that you weren’t a good fit, doesn’t buy you the right to what could turn out to be an awkward, unpleasant experience for the other person.

We’re all used to seeing ourselves in the centre of the universe, but sometimes we have to accept the fact that, well, not everyone we happen to meet is going to share this view. Even the most heteronormative people often start off as poly on dating sites, going on a few dates with a few different people before they settle on one. Once a person has decided you’re not the one, they are not likely to want to make any sacrifices for you.

How many people would actually accept a simple rejection message without trying to make a conversation of it? Most normal people would figure out a person is ghosting them after a few days of trying and failing to get in touch. It may be bad manners, but it’s not a mortal sin. It’s just a few days of wondering, followed by the unpleasant dawning realisation. So an outright rejection message would be cleaner and give you those couple of days back, but the trade of is either a direct rejection with no explanation (again, you’re not owed one) or direct negative criticism. Most people don’t react well to negative criticism.

The truth is, most people are secretly angry at the other person for rejection them, but won’t admit it to themselves. Instead they’ll be overly angry at the person for “leaving them hanging” (ghosting), or, if they do get a rejection message, breaking up with them on the wrong medium (You’re breaking up with me on Facebook/WhatsApp/text message???), not giving a reason or ghosting them after they insist on not taking no for an answer. Yes, you might be the person who’s going to be happy with a clear “no”, but if you are, you’re pretty uncommon.

Until people, especially men, learn to accept rejection at face value without feeling entitled to an explanation, a conversation or a second chance, I refuse to judge women in particular for taking the safe, easy way out. Sometimes it’s better to let the man on the other side come to a slow realisation away from us, rather than confronting him with potentially dangerous rejection.

In the meantime, whether you are a man or a woman, if you think you are being ghosted, you can either stop trying to make contact and see if the other person reappears on their own after a while or you could simply send a polite message saying that you think you are being ignored and if so, good luck, otherwise “feel free to contact me when you are less busy”. Sometimes just being honest and disarming yourself can bring out the honesty in another person. Sometimes it doesn’t, but then at least you’ll have a reason to write the other person off.

[Ghost image by Marisali]

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Dude, nobody wants to see your penis – common misconceptions about your crotch

One of my fondest memories of my work as an online dating moderator was getting into the office on a Monday morning, making myself a nice cup of tea and then sitting down in front of my computer for a fun hour of going through the new crop of pictures our users have uploaded to their profiles over the weekend. More often than not it would be penises. Lots of them. Often, it would actually be the same penis, uploaded rather a few times, creating an almost Andy Warhol-esque spread.

Self portrait - Just another head shot

You see, our sites were set up so that only photos approved by moderators such as myself would appear. Whenever a user uploaded a photo, it actually had a message about moderators needing to approve it. But I suppose that’s a bit difficult to read when you’re trying to keep yourself erect while pointing a camera at your genitals. So our budding photographers just kept hitting the upload button thinking something had gone wrong with the previous five, ten, 15 uploads. Cheers, guys, for my Monday morning view of your crotch!

Of course, on our sites people like me suffered so other women wouldn’t have to (though we didn’t moderate private messaes, obviously, so female users could get lucky there). But any woman dating on pretty much any dating site would have had her fair share of unsolicited, often unwanted dick pics.

So what’s the deal with dick pics? Men who send such pics are not exactly thinking it through, so would most likely think it’s silly to delve into deep psychological analysis of the phenomenon (such as this one on Psychology Today). There is actually no shortage of articles based on interviews with men who send unsolicited penis pics and, really, it’s not that complicated.

I’ve taken the liberty to look at the reasoning given by men and give the female response below.

 

Sending a dick pic because you think a woman might want it

If you get your sex and relationship education from porn films, you might think women would be delighted at the sight of your genitals once you’ve established a friendly back and forth. After all, porn stars only need to turn up with pizza at the swimming pool to get the sexy party started.

The truth is, most women are not like that. Most women, even very sexually liberated ones, usually need to meet you in person first and decide whether they actually want to go to bed with you, before wanting to see the goods on display. Seeing a man’s naked penis is a much bigger deal to most women as it is for you. Don’t assume a woman wants to see your junk. Generally it’s best to wait for the woman to actually ask for a picture, which women would gladly do, if interested. If you really think she might be interested in one, always ask first. Be aware, though, that some women might find it creepy that you’re even asking at this stage, even if they’ve been flirting with you online, or even in person.

 

Sending a pic because you would love to get unsolicited boob or vagina pics

I’ll let you in on a secret – on gay sites it’s pretty much all penis action all the time. You men love getting unsolicited naked photos, it seems. But here’s another secret – women generally don’t. If she doesn’t know you, she doesn’t want to see your genitals. Not in the park, not in the toilet and not online. There are laws against exposing yourself in public, you know. This is why they’re there.

Think that by sending an unsolicited naked photo to a woman you’ll get her to send you one back? Think again. Unless she’s expressed interest in seeing you naked, she’s most likely to run away screaming.

 

Sending an unsolicited dick pic because you know some women like them

People go on dating sites for different reasons and all people are different. On hook up / sex dating sites you may well find women who respond favourably to unsolicited naked photos. Hell, even on a large dating sites there are bound to be some woman who’d think “oh wow, that’s hot” at a surprise picture of your dick. But 99% of them won’t. They will find it a distressing, troublesome experience that might put them off online dating. Is that the effect you want to achieve? Probably not. Don’t risk it. There’ll be plenty of time for naked fun once you’ve established an actual interpersonal connection.

Sending an unsolicited dick pic because you’re an asshole who likes to harass women

Let’s not pretend this doesn’t happen. Some men might think they are doing it cause “it’s funny” or cause “I’m drunk”, but they might actually be aware of the fact that they are upsetting women. Like any form of sexual harassment and rape, it’s not about sex but about power. Maybe it’s about feeling inadequate, maybe they want the attention, maybe it’s even about getting back at “women” for rejecting them. If you’re that kind of guy, you know women don’t want to see your penis and that’s why you’re doing it. One day you’ll look back and realise you were trying to hurt women and be ashamed of what a giant douche you were. Either that or you’ll graduate to full blown rapist.

Having looked at literally thousands of dick pics men have uploaded to our site, I could never tell whether men were uploading them because they were so proud of their penis or to counteract feelings of inadequacy in regards to its shape and size. Most of the ones on display weren’t really all that, so I tend to lean towards the latter, though male pride in one’s penis can often be misplaced. I sort of hope only nice people come to my blog so hopefully this won’t actually apply to you, dear reader. But if you’re the sort of dude who likes to cyberbully women, do you find the thought of male and female staff judging and laughing at photos of your dick offensive? If so, I suppose that’s the price you pay for shoving unsolicited penis images in people’s faces. I suggest you get some sort of psychological help before your taste for harassment escalates and you find yourself flashing little girls in the park and getting arrested.

 

Do you send dick pics for other reasons? Have you got any more special insights into the mind of such amateur photographers? Feel free to comment below. Please, though, no dick pics. Nobody wants to see your penis.

 

 

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Marketing online dating sites – little things matter

While editing my biography on this site recently, I noticed that the Google ad block in the middle of the page had an ad about “senior dating”. Google obviously knows my age (it’s not mentioned on this site), so I rather took offence at what it was insinuating.  Senior? I’m  not a pensioner! Looking closer at the ad I noticed that the rest of the text refers to “people over 40”. People over 40? Senior? Surely they mean “mature”. And then it hit me – the ad text was for a website aimed at Israelis. Could it be that whoever wrote the ad text obviously thought it up in Hebrew and then translated it into English (possibly using a dictionary or even Google Translate)?  In Hebrew, the word “senior”  is almost interchangeable with “mature” when it comes to being the opposite of “minor”.

So there are two options:

 

Whoever wrote this ad text got the translation wrong, using a word that is technically right but culturally inaccurate.

Whoever wrote this ad text believes that lumping people in their 40s and 50s in with those in their 60s and 70s is a good business strategy for a dating site.

Either way, the result is an alienating ad that made me (a potential customer, obviously, as I’ve recently gone into my “senior” years) less interested in the product.

How could this have been prevented? Better research into cultural implications of words in the language you’re advertising in, better demographic research about what people in their 40s and 50s are looking for (hint: probably not being thought of as being as old as our parents / grandparents when we’re trying to put ourselves out there). While it’s true that many older daters are looking to date younger ones and may be encouraged to see a significantly younger age range listed on a site, I doubt that many people in their 40s would want to date specifically on a senior dating site.

 

When open science goes bad – researchers scrape and release personal data of 70k OKCupid Users

We all love OKCupid’s wonderful insights, gained because of the site’s algorithm and the fact that users often answer thousands of personal questions while using the site.

 

Apparently, this has not escaped some Danish researchers of dubious ethical standards, who scraped the site for publicly available info (the site is free to use and is a dating site, after all) such as names, genders, religion, personality traits and answers to many very personal questions (not pictures, though, because “that would have taken up too much hard drive space”).  This was done without contacting anyone involved, not even the website itself. Then the info was dumped onto an online open science forum for the world to see. Dick move, guys.

It looks like the people involved, although flippant and obnoxious when called out on social networks about this, frankly, rather mean act are already being dumped in it by the University they are supposedly associated with. Also, OKCupid are probably going to file an official complaint and take legal action. Hopefully this will drive the point in, as they seem to not really understand the difference between publicly available on a site and free for anyone to use for their own purposes.

People dating on a dating site deserve privacy and the ability to express themselves online in a safe forum. Taking away that right is a violation. To me, it’s the online equivalent of basically being  a peeping tom or recording people’s private conversations in a cafe. There are laws against peeping and recording people without their knowledge and hopefully, as these researchers violated the OKCupid terms of service, there’s a law or a rule that will be used to make sure these people get the slap they deserve. I must say it’s a terrifying thought to think of people with such lack of empathy and a blatant disregard for people’s privacy working in anything related to psychology. I hope they never deal with actual patients, though I’d be wary of even being a research subject for them, to be honest.

You can read more about this story here. There are also screen grabs of Twitter discussions with the friendly researchers (hint: this is his publicly available Twitter account). This might be handy for anyone who might want to chime in on the subject of ethics and stuff (in a respectable manner, of course).

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Staying friends with your ex doesn’t make you a psycho

The Internet is, as usual, aflutter after some new bit of research is being touted about, claiming (apparently) that staying friends with your ex partner after a breakup is a sign of having “dark personality traits”. Obviously, reading this I immediately imagined some jilted science nerd locked away in the psychology lab bemoaning his (or her) ex partner who stayed behind for a bit of “sex with the ex” and then left again. “I’ll show you! I’ll show all of you!” imaginary science nerd shouts while waving an imaginary fist in between bouts of frantic typing. I mean, the sheer numbers of normal, well-adjusted people who stay friends with their exes would imply that psychosis is not involved.

But when I went to look at the actual website with the actual research abstract, rather than the hundreds of rehashed click and share bait articles, it turns out that you have to really bend over backwards quite a bit to get this headline out of the results.

Turns out most people stay friends with their exes because…well, they like them or they find them reliable and trustworthy. Trustworthy and reliable? Why hey, that’s kinda the way most normal people see their friends. So basically, people who stay in touch with their exes, do it because….well, they see them as friends.

In fact, the scary psycho reasons touted in the clickbait articles (i.e. staying friends because of what you can get out of it) came last in people’s stated reasons for staying friends. The only people who stayed friends with their exes so they could get laid or get some other pragmatic benefits out of it were indeed the people with dark personality traits. But aren’t those the sort of people who’d look at any friendship in such a cynical, pragmatic way?

To  put it in simple terms, all this bit of research has shown is that assholes will be assholes, while the majority of people who stay friends with their exes do it because they like them as people and trust them as friends. But that sounds somewhat less sexy than calling perfectly normal people psychos, eh?

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May 2016 online dating coupons and offers

A fresh crop of May 2016 coupons, sales, codes and special offers from the world’s top dating sites. If you’re quick you can save yourself heaps of money on membership this month. Dating site membership fees can totally add up, so if you’re feeling the pinch but still want to be searching for love on your favourite site (or sites), you could do worse than making use of these. This month, serious relationships win, as there are some fab offers from site catering to both religious and non-religious long-term relationship seekers.

eHarmony

6 months extra free with 6 months subsriptions at eHarmony.com (no code required) - Today only!

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60% Off a 6 Month Membership at eHarmony.com with code EHCODE

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60% Off a 6 Month Membership at eHarmony.ca with code EHCODECA

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72% Off a 12 Month Membership at eHarmony.com with code EHCOUPON

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72% off a 12 month subscription to eHarmony.ca with code: EHCOUPONCA

Jdate

10% off all membership plans.

ChristianCafe

Save 15% on 3 month Subscription until May 24

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May 27-31 – up to 25% off during Memorial Day Weekend sale

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Chat up line fail – why being yourself is better than trying to be clever

I was at a summer festival once, hanging out in the back of a marquee by myself, having just watched a band play. I sat down with my programme to look and see where I should go next when a guy approached me. I was single and the guy was fairly attractive. Had he simply sat down next to me and said “Hi” or asked if I was having a good time at the festival (or anything else within the realm of normal conversation) maybe things would have ended up differently. But he didn’t say any such thing. He said “Who are you and what do you stand for?” I looked at him incredulously. I may have even repeated what he said in that “did you really just say that?”  tone I reserve for people who deserve extra contempt. Shortly afterwards I excused myself and left. To this day, I’m kinda sad I didn’t use this opportunity to educate a guy who seemed pretty harmless on the whole and, as I said, not unattractive.

So what was so wrong with what he said? I mean, it wasn’t rude or sleazy in any way, was it? Maybe you’re reading this and thinking “what the hell is this woman on about?” So here’s the thing. Coming up to a woman and pulling out some whacky chat up line / schtick reeks of effort. Surely if this guy had any confidence in himself and his ability to communicate with people, he wouldn’t feel the need to come up with something like that. He’d simply say hello and start a conversation. The fact that he thinks he need some sort of flashy “hook” to get a girl chatting to him says to me he must not think very highly of himself at all. Maybe he thinks so little of himself and his ability to get girls he even went as far as learning some pick up “artist” tricks, thinking that would get him laid. Either way  – eeewww. Plus – what sort of stupid chat up line is that anyway?

Let this be a lesson to you. Looks have very little to do with whether women will like you or not. This guy was blonde, he had a nice face, he was tall and fairly well built. Yet I was instantly put off by his cheesy line and what it implies about his character to the point where I found him completely unattractive. I much prefer men who are confident enough in themselves to…you know, just have a conversation with me like a normal human being.

So remember: the real world is not like online dating where you need some snazzy first message to get someone’s attention enough so they click on your profile. The classics still work – say hello or give a (non-sleazy) compliment to get the conversation going and you stand a far better chance of getting a good response.

Five ways to survive long distance relationships

The Internet is full of fluff pieces nowadays, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at this recent piece in the Metro (looking more and more like Buzzfeed), giving 10 reasons why long distance relationships are “secretly the best”.

Having been in a few long distance relationships, I can vouch for them not being “the best” at all, as I’m sure many would agree. Ultimately, long distance relationships, if they are monogamous, are tough. For most people, there is only so much to be gained by phone calls, letters, chat and Skype. Unless you’re asexual or too busy to have a libido, you’ll be missing the sex. Intimacy, physical contact – even if not sexual but just affectionate – is also something most of us need. Jealousy can arise, which is often the cause of many over the top displays of affection outsiders see as so romantic. At the end of the day, though, most people would prefer the physical presence of another human being. For most people, long stretches of being alone interspersed with short bouts of relationship-lite is something that can only be tolerated short term.

Long distance relationships are also problematic when embarked upon after only a short acquaintance. For example, if you met someone in a foreign country, fell in love and decided to keep the relationship going. This is because the relationship pattern is usually indication to what life together would actually be. When you are together, it’s like a holiday, because your time together is so short, you’re likely to put everything else on hold. You’ll be on your best behaviour, you’ll tolerate changes in your environment, because you know your partner will leave soon and you can get your own space back.

Here are five ways to deal with long distance relationships.

1. Keep it open

This may seem like an abomination to many people, but as open relationships are becoming more popular, it’s worth mentioning this option. You can make a decision to keep your relationship going while still sleeping with other people. It’s up to you and your partner to discuss the rules of how this would work. You could agree to ask permission before getting off with anyone or you could even agree not to discuss it. If your love is really that strong then having the occasional shag should not come between you, as long as you are both clear on the nature of your relationship and its rules.

2. Keep it short

While I wouldn’t advise selling all your stuff and moving away at a moment’s notice to be with someone you just met, I do advise keeping long distance relationships as short as possible. If you’re in an established relationship, being away for too long can hasten the end. If it’s someone you’ve just met, then meet a few times for as long as possible and then start making arrangements as soon as possible. Don’t let the relationship gets stuck in this limbo stage if you’re planning on one day making it into a proper co-habiting one.

3. Try it out first

If you’ve decided you want to take things further, don’t just drop everything and move. Sublet or rent your place (or have your partner rent out theirs) for a few months if possible and try to spend a few months with your partner to see if you can tolerate actually living together. If you like your own space or are more cautious, getting a place in the same town and dating for a bit before moving in together can actually be very helpful and less overwhelming. If you’re moving to your partner’s town, remember they have a life there. Don’t expect to get the same amount of attention you got when you were there for a week or a weekend and don’t get all huffy if they want to hangout with their friends every once in a while. Take steps to make your own friends and get your own life.

4. Make time for each other

Some long distance couples talk every day. Others have busy lives or other circumstances that prevent them from having this much time. But unless you’re away in the jungle on an expedition with no means to contact your partner, having at least one long conversation a week is pretty much a must for keeping your relationship relevant to your life.

For some people, this might also mean phone sex or Skype sex, so that you still have a sex life. If, like me, you find that’s somewhat of a poor, depressing substitute for the real thing, there are other ways you can keep each other involved in your day to day life while you’re apart. This could be anything from talking about your work day to consulting each other about everyday dilemmas. If this begins to feel like a chore – maybe it’s time to consider what that might mean.

5. Know when to move in and when to move on

What I learned about long distance relationships is that with the physical contact element removed, you can really get to know a lot about the person because you’re always talking. I also learned that it can get dull real quick. This can be a good thing in a way, because you can learn about a person’s political views, tastes, etc. quicker when you’re not spending your whole time in bed. If the person is right for you, this will strengthen your bond. If you learn that the person is radically different from your ideal partner, well, it’s easier to break up with someone when they’re far away.

Match.com launch Date Explorer competition

If you’re in the UK, are single and want to travel the world on Match.com‘s buck, I have some good news for you. Just have a look at this info I got sent and, if this is you, follow their instructions for your chance to win what sounds like a pretty sweet deal.

 

For 6 weeks this June/July one lucky single could be travelling to Rome, Rio de Janeiro, Paris, Stockholm and NYC with flights, hotels + generous travel money all courtesy of Match.com.

 

All the lucky single needs to do is apply to be a Date Explorer, have an outgoing personality, and send us Brits back any dating tips they find.

 

The deadline for applications is the 30th April 2015.

 

For further details please check out http://advice.uk.match.com/date-explorer/apply-be-our-date-explorer

Guest post: 5 Tips for First Date Success

First dates are known for being quite painful at times, but regardless of their uncanny ability to destroy a perfectly good Saturday evening, they are a necessary evil if one wishes to ever get to the loveliness that can be second and third dates. Although dating someone new is always going to be a nervy endeavour, by following these 5 helpful tips you can help ensure a pleasant enough date, without pressure and awkwardness, even if you aren’t spending it with your soul mate.

 

Always Focus on the Positive

 

Nobody has a good time if it is filled with whining and complaining. Be sure to only comment on the positives in your life and your company is sure to follow suit. Smiles and positivity not only make a great first impression, but they are also contagious.

Just as important as acting positively, is thinking positively. Leading up to and during the date try and just be excited to meet a new person and not have premade expectations. Having a pessimistic attitude can really make time drag and you are likely to overlook any positive attributes the other person has brought to the table. Even if someone is not what you were expecting, having a positive attitude about the situation can lead to a fantastic time, and you may meet a friend for life.

 

Properly Prepare Before the Date

 

It is crucial to prepare yourself before dating someone new. Try and learn some basic information about your companion, maybe from mutual friends or their social media profiles. Knowing a few things about them could help decide what activities to do on the date, or provide conversation opportunities while spending time together. Maybe even consider consulting a psychic for some clarity, and to see if there is any possibility or if they have advice on how to make the most of this particular date. Your psychic should be able to give you some guidance on what type of person you’re likely to end up with, so you should certainly use this when looking for potential partners online to narrow down your search. Whilst they won’t be able to tell you your soul mate’s name, they will be able to give helpful clues as to their personality, and maybe even their job or their interests. It is also important to properly prepare yourself physically. You should try to put your best foot forward, making a solid impression by dressing sharply and being well groomed.

 

Have Appropriate Expectations

 

Always remember to keep your expectations in check. People sometimes have illusions of grandeur, and hyping your date up in your mind beforehand will only leave room for disappointment on your end and put unnecessary social pressure on the other party. It’s important to understand that it is only a first date, and this time is for getting to know one another. You should not arrive expecting to be swept off their feet, or assuming their date will be the love of their life.

 

Go Dutch

 

By splitting costs on any meal and activities, you keep the tone of the date friendly and easy-going. There are no unspoken assumptions or expectations when each party is paying their own way. It is also a great way to end a date with no expectations if it has not gone well – nobody owes anybody anything.

 

Pre-plan your Escape Route

 

Despite our best efforts some dates are just…well, awful. Before venturing off on a first date with someone new be sure to have an emergency escape route already planned. Plan dates early enough in the evening to be able to have plans for later on, and be sure to mention them previous to or at the beginning of the date.This way if you’re having an awful time you have an end point to look forward to, and if a great time is being had you can invite them along.

Consider having a pal call or text you part way through the evening to check in. If the date is particularly painful you can take that opportunity to pull the plug.

 

Provided by Derek Acorah’s Psychic Ether, providing online psychic reading experiences as personalised as though provided traditionally face to face.

Guest Post: Top 5 Destinations for a Romantic Weekend in the UK

Ben Holbrook from www.driftwoodjournals.com takes us on a journey to the country’s best romantic getaways.

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It’s difficult to really get to know someone whilst in your comfort zone, especially if you both live in the same city. And there’s only so much time you have available for your new flame during your normal working week. What you really need is a weekend of fun and intimate quality time, and what better way to do it than to escape to somewhere new, somewhere exciting, neutral. A place where you don’t have to worry about bumping into people you know, a place where you can focus on nothing but each other. That’s right, you need a romantic weekend! Here are a few excellent suggestions.

1. Camping in Cornwall – Sun, Sea and Surf

What could be more romantic and fun than a camping trip in the UK’s southern surf capital. The water is clean and the waves are big. You can rent a surfboard or two and take part in a surf lesson at Fistral beach, before taking a stroll along the golden sands, stopping only for a drink and a bite to eat at one of the famous pubs and cafes. And then, as the sunsets and the temperature drops, you can head back to your cosy little tent, aka “the love nest” and keep each other warm.

2. Hiking in the Scottish Highlands – Cold Kisses and Warm Whisky

There’s something incredibly romantic about Scotland’s blistering winds and misty moors. The burnt orange ferns setting the hills alight, contrasting against the mossy greens and starry skies. Stay in an ancient castle hotel, or rent a ramshackle little cottage and see in the days with hot toddies and log fires. Scotland is a seductive surprise not to be missed.

3. Music Madness in Manchester – Slow Dance Magic

here is no better city on earth to visit if you’re a music fanatic. With a wealth of musical heritage, live venues and clubs, Manchester is the place to go for loud music and quiet kisses. Don’t worry, it’s not all about rock and roll in Manchester, there’s definitely something for all musical tastes.

4. Candyfloss and Fun Fairs in Brighton – Bright Lights and Flying Kites

On a warm summer’s evening, with the neon horizon and soft ocean breeze, Brighton feels more like the Mediterranean Coast than the English Channel. Flocks of loved-up tourists walk the promenades, enjoying vintage sweets and nostalgic fairground games. Hailed as one of the UK’s hippest and most vibrant alternative cities, Brighton is a must for any creative couple looking to indulge in some quality one-on-one time. Pack your skateboard and do as this quirky couple did, if you dare.


Video credit: #Sk8seeing – Brighton on a Skateboard by HotelClub Brighton

5. Good Food & Great Fun in London – Sky High Smiles

There’s always something new to do in London, even if both you and your love interest are London residents. As the saying goes, If you’re tired of London, you’re tired of life. Drop in to one of the famous theatre productions, dine at a restaurant with epic views over the River Thames, or take it easy with the hipsters at an edgy Shoreditch coffee shop. Your options are unlimited, and it won’t take long to work out whether your new relationship is the real deal.

Guest post: How To Get Your Ex Boyfriend Back And Keep Him Forever

Regular guest poster K Thompson is back for another great post on the site, dedicated to those of you looking to get back with your ex.

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I know that it sucks your relationship ended, but the fact that your ex-boyfriend left you means that there was something majorly wrong with the relationship you had with him. And even if you do get your ex back, chances are your relationship will end again unless you do something that will make this relationship much better than the last one.
There are a few things you can do to make sure that when you get your ex boyfriend back, you keep them forever.

1. Analyze Your Relationship

What was the reason your ex left? Most of the times, the reason they give while breaking up is not the real reason. Something like “It’s not you, it’s me.” Or “I just don’t love you anymore”. In most cases, the reason they left is because they have lost attraction towards you. Men, usually are not in touch with their feelings and they can’t understand what’s wrong. But when they feel that something’s wrong, they are quick to bail.
In most of the cases, neediness plays an important role in breakups. Men can sense neediness form a mile away and it usually turns them off. Many relationships start with the girl being confident and attractive but ending up being needy over time. When men lose the thrill of chasing and realize they already have you, they start analyzing whether or not you are a good match for being a long term partner. And if you show too much neediness or low self-esteem, they start thinking about leaving.

2. Work on Yourself

Working on yourself, including your confidence, your self-esteem and your self-actualization is going to serve a double purpose. It’s going to help you get your ex back and it’s going to help you keep your ex forever. Here’s why.

– When you work on yourself, you are going to look more confident, independent and attractive. These are the qualities that your ex can’t resist. And when you meet him, he is going to fall head over heels over you. He will be second guessing his decision of leaving you and will start thinking about getting back together. If you play your cards right, there is nothing stopping you two from getting back together.

– When you do get back together, you are going to keep the attraction going because you have worked on your self-esteem before. If you don’t fall back to your old ways and continue working yourself, your ex will do anything to keep you with him forever.

3. Put Yourself before Him

Your boyfriend should not be your priority no. 1 in life. It’s good to have a relationship and he should be important for you, but if you put yourself before him, he is going to walk all over you and then he will leave you, again.

If you make your happiness the no. 1 priority in your life, then you are going to find happiness. However, the problem is that most women think of their ex-boyfriend as the only source for their happiness. If your boyfriend really cared about your happiness, then why are you so miserable without him? If you really made your happiness your no. 1 priority, then you wouldn’t let your source of happiness be someone who left you. You would learn to be happy without your ex boyfriend.

When you learn to be happy without your ex boyfriend, you instantly become more attractive to your ex. And when you do win your ex back, you are no longer needy (because you know you don’t need him for your happiness) and as a consequence a thousand times more attractive.

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K Thompson helps people with breakups. He has been writing online and helping broken hearts for the past two years.

Facebook can tell your relationship future

Check out this interesting piece of research just published, dealing with Facebook connections and what they say about your relationships and whether they’re likely or not to succeed. The way your significant other influences your social connections is the key, apparently, or rather, a lack of such influence may well show that your relationship is doomed to failure.

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eHarmony free communications weekend in the UK 22-26/8/13

eHarmony UK are having another one of their popular free communications weekend this coming weekend. If you’re signed up to the site as a free member, you’ll be able to send and receive messages for free from the 22-26 of August. So set yourself some time to go through the lengthy personality test before Thursday so you’re good to go with some matches to contact when the free weekend kicks in. It’s a great way to try out the site and get in touch with people for free. Of course, always read the small print before putting in your card details!

Click here to sign up with eHarmony.

Guest post: Why Online Dating Is Your Friend After a Breakup

If you just broke up and are thinking of getting back in the dating game, then online dating might just be the thing for you. There is always a little hesitation after a breakup to meet someone new after coming out a big relationship. With online dating you don’t really have to hesitate because unless you are completely ready, you are not forced to meet anyone. You can just flirt around and have fun before even going on an actual date.

One of the most common pitfall after a breakup is losing hope in yourself and in relationships. You feel like you will never find “the one” and you are doomed to be single for the rest of your life. But just creating a profile on an online dating site will give you a lot of perspective. Its one thing to tell yourself there’s plenty of fish in the sea and another to actually experience it. When you are on a website with millions of other singles searching for a partner, it’s hard to feel like you will never find someone for you. Just surfing an online dating website will help you realize the odds are in your favor.

Of course, you should have the proper mindset before you actually start dating someone. One bad date can make you start craving for your ex and start thinking about getting back with them. The truth is, you are bound to go on a few bad dates. And that’s completely OK. You should not look at dating as something you should do to finally be in a relationship again. Sure, that’s why you are doing it. But if you think of it as an experience, you will have a lot more fun going through the good, bad and ugly of dating.

Another reason why online dating after a breakup can be beneficial is because you are probably a little rusty with your pick up skills after being in a relationship for a long time. With online dating, you increase your chances of meeting people interested in dating and getting someone to actually go out on a date with you. It’s much easier to learn how to make an attractive dating profile than to learn how to approach people at a bar.

Online dating can help you jump head first into the dating game again. You just need to have the right mindset and remember that you should not go into a relationship unless you are completely over your breakup and are ready for one.

Kevin Thompson has helped thousands of people with breakups. He writes about breakups and getting your ex back at unbreakup.org.

Tips for mature online daters

Looking for love can be daunting whatever your age, but it can be especially tricky when you’re over 50. You might find it hard to meet potential partners or to find someone who shares your values and view of the future – or perhaps you simply lack confidence.

For these reasons, online dating, on sites like eHarmony.co.uk, has grown in popularity among mature singles. It enables you to find compatible mature singles and get to know them at your own pace before meeting. Here are some tips and advice for the mature online dater.

Make sure you’re ready

 

First of all, it’s important to know that you’re actually ready for a new relationship. Have you had enough time to reflect and get closure following your divorce or split? Are you ready to move on and have a life with somebody else? If you still find yourself dwelling on your previous relationship and going over everything that went wrong, it may be a sign that you still have some issues to work through.

 

Choose your dating site carefully

 

There are many dating sites to choose from, so it’s important to pick one that best suits you and your needs. Are you looking for a casual relationship or something long-term? Most over 50 daters should choose a site that specialises in mature dating.

 

Be honest

 

Be honest about yourself on your online dating profile. It’s no good posting a picture of yourself from ten years ago or describing yourself differently to how you actually are. If you do, you’re sending out the wrong message and may attract people you’re not compatible with.

 

It’s also important to state exactly what you’re looking for in a potential partner and relationship. If you’re looking for long-term commitment, say so – it’s important to attract the right person.

 

Be safe

 

Online dating is perfectly safe, so long as you take the right precautions. Before you meet your date, it’s a good idea to have some video chats with them. This way you can get a better idea of what they’re really like.

 

Also, it’s important that you tell a friend when and where you’re going on a date and when you’ll be back. Always meet your date in a public place, and don’t disclose any personal information on your profile or in private messages.

 

So, if you follow all these tips, you should have a safe and successful online dating experience. Many older couples meet on mature dating websites and go on to have long-term relationships. Happy dating!

 

Images of love competition

Something cute and fluffy for a Saturday morning: Angela Mazur, a talented photographer based in London, is holding a competition where you could win a one hour photo session for you and someone you love. It can be you and your special someone, you and a parent, you and a child or anyone else you love. All you need to do is send a picture of that person with a note expressing your love for them.

More details on Angela Mazur’s photography page.

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Suits you Sir? Online dating for professionals

There are fifteen million single people in the UK currently. If you’re one of them and don’t want to be, the question you must be asking yourself is why can’t I meet the right person? Chances are you are one of the growing class of professional people who just don’t have the time to meet anyone. If you’re a professional looking to meet a special someone, online dating for professionals has to be a credible answer.
Increasingly we are all working longer hours. The 9 to 5 for most professionals is a thing of the past. Many of us are at our desks or in meetings by 8 in the morning, we will perhaps snatch a coffee at some stage, and will eat a sandwich at our desks, sprinkling crumbs into the keyboard while valiantly trying not to drip salad cream down our shirts. Leaving before 6 is unusual and we have to add a long commute into the mix. We go home and do more work, or attend to chores, before collapsing in front of the TV and then dragging ourselves to bed. Sound familiar?
Approximately 15% of people meet their partners through work but if you are a professional you may feel that flirting with colleagues is unseemly. At the same time however, you would like to meet someone who has similar career aspirations to yourself, or is at a similar stage of their career, or at the very least understands that holding down a professional job is demanding and exhausting. For this reason you may well want to turn to an online professional dating site and there are plenty around!
Have a look at the various online dating sites for professionals that you can find, and see which one attracts you most. Once you have identified a good one take the time to fill out the profile in as much detail as you can. Make a date with yourself so that you have the time to do it. If you’re seriously pushed for time, then remember that you don’t have to complete it all at once, and if you absolutely can’t do it, you can pay a freelancer to complete it for you. Either way it is worth investing time and/or money in a good profile. Because it will do a lot of the initial groundwork for you by attracting people to you. Professional online dating sites allow you to meet accessible people and the profile helps to narrow down the focus.
When you’re completing the section of your profile that outlines what you are looking for try not to be too selective. High expectations are fine, but you may be single precisely because you’re not casting your net wide enough. Open yourself up to new experiences and new people. Don’t dismiss them just because they’re a little larger framed or short in the leg than you’d ideally like. If you have chemistry online and the first phone call goes well, then they have to be worth meeting. It’s just a drink after all.
In terms of scheduling a date, if you live locally try meeting for a coffee at lunchtime or a quick drink after work. It doesn’t have to take long; you’re just testing the water. Show interest by arriving on time and asking lots of questions. Be yourself and be confident. There’s no reason not to be.
Once you have met someone you click with you really ought to make the time to see that person, because you can’t keep a relationship going for very long by text message. If you can’t do that then there really is no point in pursuing a relationship at all, is there? Add into the mix that you don’t have any leisure pursuits or any interests and it’s a no brainer. You might need to sit back and take a look at your work/life balance! However, if you commit yourself to playing the game, you’ll find that online dating for professionals is a mainstream solution to a growing problem; give it a go!

Looking for dating sites specialising in online dating for professionals? Try these!

  1. Parship– Don’t fear their lengthy sign up process, this site has some quality people dating on it.
  2. Lovestruck.com – If you’re urban and you know it, you’ll love their no-nonsense approach to professional dating.
  3. Love and friends – A UK only dating site aimed at professionals. Draws a very good crowd, though can be a bit clunky.
  4. Guardian Soulmates – UK site frequented by liberal, cultural professional graduates

What are the rules? There are no rules! Getting in touch again after the first date

Online dating can be fabulous fun allowing for lots of flirting and fantasy, so what happens when you’ve finally summoned up the courage to meet up and you’re not sure about how or when you should contact that person again.
In recent years there has been a ridiculous spate of dating rules that seem to originate in the USA. These suggest that you have to wait between three and six days to get back in touch with someone after you have had a date. These rules suggest that if a man calls or texts the same night as the day of the date, or the next day, then he is too eager and therefore desperate. Really? Who makes this stuff up?
If you have been online dating, then obviously the pair of you are already pretty good at communicating and have been in regular touch for a little while at least. If the man then has to wait six days to get back in touch then that’s seriously out of the ordinary for you folks, right?
Let’s stop playing games here for a second, and jumping through hoops like our American cousins do. Fact number one is that it is incredibly daunting for a guy to contact the woman in any case, so why stretch out the pain? Let him get it over with. Fact number two, it is really hard to be a woman waiting for that phone call. Put her out of her misery!
Regardless of how people meet, through online dating, speed dating, at work, wherever, on the whole women are pretty unlikely to contact the guy. It’s old fashioned but it’s true. It is still expected that the man will do the donkey work. This is unfortunate given that it’s the twenty-first century and we all think we’re post-feminist. Bollox. We’re still hanging three steps behind, ladies! I know it’s a radical thought but there is no harm in a woman contacting a man, and if he doesn’t like it, well that tells you something about his character too, doesn’t it? And perhaps even more radical, if you got along really well on your first date you could always close that one by arranging to see each other again, then and there.
So given you have been online dating, and that you’ve had your first date but you haven’t organised a second date yet, and given that that either of you can actually contact the other at any stage you choose, what should you say? Keep it friendly but cool. Ask if the other person arrived home ok, or if’s the start of the day, just wish them a lovely day. Communicate in the way that you have gotten used to when dating online. Leave a message online for old time’s sake.
I’d recommend that you keep the first follow up phone call short and sweet. Make sure you feel and sound relaxed, and that you have something to ask them: ‘what have you been up to today?’ and something to tell them: ‘I did such and such last night with Sam.’ This shows that you are interested in the other person but that you still have a life and other friends. You are interesting. Don’t gush about how wonderful your first date together was, or they were, be restrained and just be yourself. If you are going to ask for another date, ensure you have an idea in mind of something fun you can do together, otherwise you’ll drive each other mad by not having a clue.
So, at the end of the day there are no rules to dating, and any that you come across online or in books are just arbitrarily constructed by people trying to make a quick buck. You need to do what feels right for you when it feels right to you. You only need to be guided by your date, not by what anyone else says. If you have met the right person it will be right for them too. Remember, it’s a complete waste of energy worrying about when to get in touch after your online date. You only have one life, so grab it, and him or her, with both hands!

Ten Signs that He or She is not the One

Ten Signs that He or She is not the One
Online dating is a really fun and easy way to get to know someone, but at some stage you are going to have to bite the bullet and meet up with that person in real time. The fact is that no matter how well you have managed to get to know someone through an online dating site, eventually you will have to face the reality of who they actually are, and unfortunately, your suitors may not always match up to your expectations. Here are ten tips to help you decide whether s/he is the one or not!
If they take too long to respond to your messages and you get worked up about it, then ditch them. The fact is, the longer it takes a person to get back to you after you have texted, phoned or emailed etc., the less likely they are to be interested in you. People who are interested in you, behave as though they are. They ask about you, they are concerned about your wellbeing and they want to spend time with you. If you have been online dating with someone who emailed you twice a day for two weeks and then suddenly they email you just once in three days, something is amiss, and the most likely reason is not that they have been busy but that that they are simply not interested in you. Walk the walk.
They start to annoy you. You start to get annoyed by certain things they do or certain aspects of their personality or looks. When you’ve been dating online you don’t get to see the tics, but once you meet in the flesh, the crooked front tooth or halitosis can be a complete deal breaker. It may be shallow but it’s a fact of life. Deal with it.
The other person is secretive. They don’t like you to see who’s calling or texting them, or they claim to work away from home for a few days per week, or they have a job they can’t tell you anything about because they’ve signed the Official Secrets Act, or they have a disabled parent so you can’t phone them at home. It’s all BS. Run!
You can’t be yourself. You have built yourself up online to be their idol; you’re a Prince or Princess Charming. Now you find that you can’t fart, blow your nose, smoke, eat or cry in front of them. This is not a goer!
You think you can change an aspect of their personality or how they look or behave. You can’t. This person is not right for you. Move on.
You’re not a priority in their life. While you were dating online they wanted to know all about you and what you were doing. Now, out in the real world you find that most of their plans do not include you. S/he tells you what s/he is doing at the weekend and there is no space for you and no invite. Next!
You don’t feel special. The person that you bring into your life should help to make you feel good. They are your wing person. They care about you. They are supportive. They buy you sweet gifts, they text you daft messages and write silly poems. When you are with them you feel nurtured and that you are their number one. If that isn’t happening, if they are too busy ogling someone else, or they put you down, either to your face, or in public, you need to head on out and do not turn around!
You don’t get a chance to meet their family and friends. If you are not a part of their whole life then you’re on a hiding to nothing. Taxi!
Your friends don’t like them. Dating online is an intensely private process that you do alone, although you may have mentioned to your friends that you had met someone. When your friends meet your new partner you will sense fairly quickly whether your friends like your new mate or not. While it is not always the case that your friends are right by any means, it is worth taking into consideration what they say. If it isn’t just jealousy and sour grapes on their part, think about their perceptions and make amends if you can. Ultimately, however, what you do is up to you, not your friends or family.
No chemistry. Awww! Everything about the other person when you were online dating seemed sensational. Your profiles were a complete match and your messages and emails were full of fun and laughter. Online, they were exciting, interesting and sexy. In person their zip has zapped. You realise you are more in love with the fantasy image of them that you created online than you ever will be in person. It happens. You may even grieve a little for that online love. Be polite and let the real them go and then get back on that website and start the process over again!

Speed Dating vs. Online Dating – which one should you go for?

In our increasingly fast paced world, dating in many ways is becoming progressively easier and more high tech. These days you pay a few gold coins to a website or a dating agency, and before you know it, you can tap into a wealth of hot singles. Well, theoretically at least! It is entirely a matter of personal preference whether you prefer online dating to speed dating, or vice versa, or perhaps you have never tried either, but although you might be wary of one or the other, they both have a lot going for them.
Take speed dating for example. Speed dating gives you a fun night out. It tends to take place in a glitzy and sophisticated bar and you get to dress up to the nines, and take a friend along to provide Dutch courage! Try not to get too nervous or read too much into it; you need to approach evenings like this with a relaxed and fun attitude and take it all with a pinch of salt.
The big advantage of speed dating of course is that you are guaranteed to meet other singles (ostensibly). Everyone is there for the same reason; they are trying to find someone just like you are. You sit at a table and chat to a stranger for a fixed amount of time, usually between 3 and 5 minutes, although occasionally this might be up to ten, and tick a box if you like them. Then a bell rings and the guy moves on to the next table. The organisers take care of the details and email the next day with your matches. Your personal data is never shared with anyone else. You can choose to pursue a follow up date or not.
With speed dating you need to remember that first impressions count a great deal. You really have to be looking your best, and you ought to be capable of making small talk and looking someone in the eye; so if you’re desperately shy, speed dating is probably not for you!
Online dating on the hand is much slower than speed dating and is almost the complete opposite. You set up a carefully crafted profile that presents a face to the world that you are happy to display and you never have to provide spontaneous answers to probing questions. You can take your time to answer any messages and think about how you wish to answer without worrying that you’ll blurt out some ridiculous nonsense that you’ll never live down.
The other great thing about online dating is that unless you’re going to be conversing by web cam or Skype, you can attend to your messages and profile while sat in your pyjamas eating a sherbet dib-dab if you really want to.
Online dating also provides you with a vast array of interesting people all with the potential to date. As far as you know they all want to date you too. But therein lies the drawback. With online dating you can never be sure that people are who they say they are. They can misrepresent themselves, or just downright lie. This might be their job, their appearance, their age or their relationship status. Until you’ve made eyeball contact and gotten to know them you need to use a certain amount of caution.
The other drawback with online dating is that you will have a tendency to create mental images of another person, or even of yourself. Eventually the bubble will burst when you have met and cold reality strikes.
However, at least if you have been getting to know someone virtually you have already broken the ice. Speed dating can be quite awkward especially if you feel everyone else at the event is more gorgeous, glamorous, sociable and bubbly than you are, damn them, or if you don’t hit it off with the person sat opposite you and seriously can’t think of anything to say. It can be quite difficult to make small talk at first but after a few rounds, if you’re not bored of the repetitive process already, you should hit your stride and be able to ask some questions.
Probably the very worst thing that can happen when you’re speed dating is that you get an email from the organisers the next day explaining that you made no matches. In some ways, online dating is a hell of a lot kinder to your ego. If you’re rejected on an online dating site, you can simply message a new person to begin the process again, and reach for another sherbet dib-dab.

Want to have a go at speed dating? Here are some companies running some very popular events:

Grapevine Social

Single Solution

Slow Dating

Urban Social

Dating online: how fast should you move?

I’m often asked whether slower paced online dating is better than fast paced, but I find it can be difficult to generalise. Either can cause issues. On the one hand you may end up in a relationship that is based almost entirely on physical attraction, and on the other you may get caught up in a fantasy world of your own making.
The first thing to consider about moving very quickly from online dating to seeing each other and starting something physical is the old fashioned notion that one or both of you are too ‘easy’. You’ll have your own thoughts on this and no-one has the right to judge, but do consider that there is nothing very special about jumping in the sack with someone straight away, unless of course that’s exactly what you’re looking for; and some people are. But you haven’t built up any emotional bond, so the physical is all you’re left with. A few weeks down the line when you’ve performed every move from the Kama Sutra, what’s left?
Another issue about moving too quickly is that it can smother the other person. If you are spending too much time together there is no breathing space. The best relationships work when both of you are still doing your own thing and seeing other friends and family, otherwise what do you have left to talk about? In fact, you are running the risk of becoming dangerously obsessive if you don’t slacken the relationship reins from time to time, and believe me, that way great pain lies.
The advantage of taking things slowly when you’re dating online is that you are able to get on with your own life and your new friend is a welcome addition. If you’ve been burned in a relationship you’re naturally going to be more cautious, so slower paced online dating will probably work well for you. You can take time to get to know the other person and just have fun chatting and flirting. You need to be careful not to be too slow however, and leave days or a week between messages and emails, because it will feel like you’re not interested at all. You have to give out the right signals. If you are caught up in a situation where you are responding to messages and emails slower than a deceased tortoise, then you really have to ask yourself whether you are interested in continuing to pursue the relationship.
What you need to be aware of is that slower paced online dating, while building a great deal of anticipation, can result in a relationship that has become more of a creation of your own mind, a fantasy, rather than anything that is based in reality. You can build a scenario of a wonderful imaginary romance in your head that can last weeks or months, and then when you meet, the bubble is savagely popped and you can get badly hurt. The problem here is that you spend a great deal of time getting to know someone without really ever knowing them properly. That can only ever come from meeting in person.
Faster paced online dating has the perk that you will speak on the phone more quickly, and then meet up. This has the biggest advantage of all because you will quickly be able to see what strange tics and characteristics the other person has; do they smell, dress strangely or walk oddly? These things are really important because great email chemistry is not the same as great up close and personal chemistry. Words can hide a world of weirdness.
Somewhere in between laborious slower paced online dating and drop your pants faster paced online dating, the magic does exist for you. I disagree with other experts who say there are ‘rules’ to online dating, such as, respond to two emails, get the phone number and then meet or that you should never respond to a ‘wink’ within the first 24 hours. That’s ridiculous. There will be a timeframe that works for you both; take it steady but don’t hold the relationship up unnecessarily. Make sure that you can satisfy both your physical and emotional needs and that you keep seeing the other people in your life. Its trial and error and you will quickly find what works for you!

Want to move fast? Some sites where people generally take things off the site quickly are Lovestruck.com, MySingleFriend.com

Feel like taking things slower? You’ll most likely feel at home with Parship.co.uk or eHarmony.

Online Chat on Dating Sites

Recently there has been an explosion in chat rooms dedicated to online dating and there are dozens, nay, hundreds to choose from. One of the biggest advantages of using the chat room technique to find a special someone is that you can draw from an extremely large user base. There has to be someone, out there, online, that you can forge an attraction with, surely? There are chat rooms for every possible sexual persuasion and flavour combination that you can dream up. LGBT? No problem. Over 40? Absolutely fine. Christian? God yes. Only fancy men wearing aprons? You got it. Just Google what you’re after and you’ll find something. (OK, I may have lied about the men in aprons website).
First off, you’re going to need balls of steel to find the chat room that is right for you. If you try out some of the free ones you are instantly going to be put off by the number of eleven year old boys practicing their swear words and using what they perceive to be seriously arousing chat. Ugh! Just close that tab and head on over to somewhere else. If you are registered with any of the larger and more established dating sites then their chat rooms are going to be a much better place to start, so I would recommend using their facilities for chatting. There are some good free sites, but one I visited used a pop up the second I went into chat offering me soft porn. Goodbye!
Once you have found somewhere that is relaxed and offers a more mature and reasonable level of online conversation then you’ll probably find that you’ll enjoy it. In a decent online chat room you are going to be able to mingle, chat and flirt with singles from across the globe. Feel free to join in the flirting and innuendo – it’s expected!
What is really interesting about online chat on dating sites is that if you meet someone who uses words well, then that in itself can raise their attraction for you. You may fall in love, just a little bit, with their writing and language. And why not? Someone who expresses themselves well through their language may well express themselves well elsewhere. Just saying!
One of the real advantages of chatting on an online dating website is that if you’re shy, out of practice or notoriously bad at talking to, or flirting with, the opposite sex then an online chat room can provide you with the perfect forum in which to practice your skills. You can go at your own pace and take risks. You’ll grow in confidence and if you spend a while chatting with someone and then meet them later, at least the ice is already broken. If you’re not confident about your looks, online chat allows people to get to know you first and like you for whom you genuinely are.
There are of course, a number of challenges for you to look out for. Online chat is easy to use and you cannot trust everyone. Some people cruise from chat room to chat room and they may have something to hide; they may be married, they may be crazy. Take everything with a pinch of salt until you know better.
Some of the biggest advantages of chatting online are: that you do it in the comfort of your own home; it’s easy; and it’s safe as long as you protect your personal information. Plus you can flirt as much as you like; be daring or demure, a goblin or a princess. You get instant replies to questions and can build a great rapport with someone who sparks that initial attraction.
Online dating using chat rooms can be genuinely exciting and great fun. You may have to shovel a lot of muck before you find your diamond but you’ll laugh a lot in the process. Be prepared for the frustration of immature users cramping your style and people telling great big porky pies! Schedule an evening of chat as an entertaining treat when there is nothing on the TV. Relax with a cup of tea or glass of wine and your favourite snack and just join in the fun. You never know who you might meet!

Here are some popular dating sites that offer chat and video chat and often have special offers and free trials:

match.com – still the most popular dating site in the UK. Use chat to set up dates and get a quick idea of who you’re talking to, but beware of people who want to use it for online sex.

Cupid – a big UK site which has also branched out into other countries: Ireland
The US
Canada

Australia
New Zealand

Like on match – you’ll find some users are keen to use the chat system for more than just getting to know people, but it’s useful nonetheless.

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DateTheUK – another big UK site where chat is a very popular feature.

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DatingDirect.com – a long established site with an active chat community.

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OKCupid – a popular free dating site.

Posted by ODB Staff

OKCupid’s “Crazy blind date”- you can say that again!

So, today OKCupid, which I generally rate as a very good (and free) site, has come up with an app called “Crazy Blind Date”. The idea is for OKCupid to basically set you up on a blind date with someone with details kept to a minimum. When I looked at this feature, I could see names and ages, but the pictures on the site have been scrambled to make the dates really blind. I also couldn’t access the full profile of any of the blind date guys in any obvious way, though looking at explanations of how this works, I gather it lets you chat to people beforehand at least.

I’m guessing someone out there came up with this idea as a way to make online dating less calculated and bring back the sense of excitement but really? The thing about real blind dates that are organised by someone who knows both of you: a well-meaning relative whose friend’s son is curiously single, a friend who works with a cool girl she thinks you’d like. You may still end up meeting some boring or weird person, but it’s not likely to be a crazy stalker or a total freak. On a free dating site I’d probably need a bit more convincing and interaction before getting my coat. And I’d want to see a picture. I know most men look better in real life than in their profile picture but I’d still want to see it. I also know that looks aren’t everything, but I’d still want to see it. The problem with online dating is not lack of information; it’s not uncertainty and a multitude of unknowns. Why on earth would anyone want to take away the little bit of information people do get online? Well, at least they got the name right. Stay safe, people. Follow the safety rules if you’re going to try a weird thing like this.

How mature singles are finding love in the UK

If you’re above the age of 60, dating can seem a daunting affair. You might have been out of the dating world for some time, whether you are widowed or alone due to divorce. Dating when you’re older may feel scary, but finding love is just the same at any age. These days, there are plenty of ways to meet your match. Here are some ways you can find your way back onto the dating scene.

Take up a hobby

Join a club or class which focuses on an activity you enjoy. Classes are a really good way to meet people who share your interests. This will put you in great standing for a good relationship. Whether you enjoy sports, reading or the theatre, you’ll be able to find a class which will suit you.

Be spontaneous

If you’ve just come out of a long relationship or a marriage, you may be feeling like you’re in a rut. Long-term couples can become too accustomed to each other to the point where they lose sight of what they want. If you try something you’ve never considered before, you could give yourself a new lease of life.

Use an online dating site

In recent years, dating websites such as eHarmony have shot up in popularity, and new profile matching features make it easier than ever to find a mate.

It is no longer unusual for older people to find new love online – for more information about how to get started, visit this page.

Try a matchmaker

Another way to meet a potential match is to visit a local matchmaking service. Matchmaking services have been around for a long time and provide a personalised way to meet your perfect mate. Potential matches are hand-picked by staff and dates set up according to your personal preferences.

Take a trip

Holidays for singles are offered by many cruise lines with group activities and flexible trip plans for any individual. Groups can be organised by age, giving you the best chance to meet singles in a similar position to yourself. The best part is that you may get to visit a place you’ve never been to before while searching for love.

Be patient

The world of dating may have changed somewhat since you’ve been married or in a long-term relationship. There are many different ways to meet people, particularly with online dating services. Ask advice from those around you and pay attention to your wants and needs. Though times have changed, you’re still just as likely to find happiness.

The fidelity hormone found? Some thoughts about the future of relationships

The big news this week is that oxytocin, the bonding/attachment hormone can make men more faithful to their partners. A while back, some researchers put some of this hormone into a spray and tested it on couples in committed relationships to see how it affected the quality of their communications. They found that couples dosed with the hormone were able to discuss difficult topics to do with their relationship with more ease and mutual trust. It basically took out that whole mutual mistrust and accusatory tone issue that taints most difficult emotional discussions, as the couples were flying high on the love hormone, thus acting from a place of love. I mused then about the possible commercial implications of something like that. Some people might see it as the fast, cost effective alternative to relationship counselling and who doesn’t like a quick fix you can just spray up your nose, right? I see the need for some sort of marketing campaign to convince people to have awkward relationship conversations (with or without the magic spray). After all, a less wholesome “love drug”, MDMA, was supposedly originally touted by dealers under the cuddly name “Empathy”, but it didn’t become a hit with the clubbers till it rebranded as “Ecstasy”. So if someone were to market oxytocin spray based on that particular research, they’d probably get better results by talking about the effects of oxytocin on mutual orgasms, or something. But now, this new research has gone and told everyone that a dose of oxytocin can actually make men in committed relationships stay faithful in the face of sexy women. I doubt there is any interest at the moment at marketing oxytocin spray to the masses, but can you imagine? It would be to bad relationships what Ritalin is to boring tasks. And it wouldn’t surprise me if at some point in the future people just didn’t care. After all, if a man (and probably a woman, too. After all, this research hasn’t been conducted on women yet) is feeling the urge to stay and the prospect of relationship problem-solving or a break up seems daunting or impossible, what could be easier than just spraying something up your nose a few times a day to keep things together? Gone would be the days where people stopped to think about the reasons behind their dissatisfaction, of wondering whether there is a reason why they keep feeling the need to move on. Just like the case of Ritalin, there are undoubtedly people out there who are prone to straying even when they’re in a happy relationship with a person they truly love. But I can very much see a future where a one size fits all solution would mean people stop trusting themselves and thinking about their own motives and needs and just spray themselves into fidelity. Can’t you?

5 types of date to avoid when looking for love in Canada

The first date is an all-important milestone in a nascent relationship. Get it wrong and there may be no recovery. Because neither partner yet knows that much about the other, the first date must provide the space for a bond to be created. Too many make the mistake of assuming that their choice of activity or venue will speak for them, so that they don’t have to.

1. Nightclub

Nightclubs are loud, brash and usually filled with slightly/very drunk people. None of these things are conducive to a good first date. If your prospective partner has expressed an interest in dancing, for example in their eHarmony Canada website profile, a better choice would be a class in a specific form of dance – say, swing. If neither of you have done it before, the learning experience can be fun and a good way to break the ice.

2. Family event

While being proud of your family is a positive attribute, forcing someone to meet them on a first date is a bad idea. For one, it presumes that you are forming a long-term relationship, which isn’t what a first date is about. Secondly, meeting someone else’s family can be intimidating. A first date is nerve-wracking enough without the prospect of having to impress parents or siblings. Similarly, it’s wise to avoid involving friends in first dates. These things come later, once a secure bond has been formed.

3. Remote cabin

While it may seem romantic on paper, whisking someone away to a remote destination can cause unease on a first date. After all, neither partner knows a great deal about the other. Also, the isolation places a lot of pressure on the couple to generate their own entertainment. This can put an unnecessary strain on the budding relationship. The ideal first date requires a little outside stimulus to help the couple through potentially awkward moments.

4. Cinema

A trip to the cinema forces couples to be silent, which isn’t a great way to spend a first date. The darkness and the requirement to stare straight ahead are also major barriers to communication. If you’re not a great talker and can’t stomach the prospect of an intimate dinner date, one piece of dating advice is to find an activity that allows for both entertainment and conversation. Daytime dates are good options in this case, as they open up a lot of outside activities. These don’t have to be exceptional – a visit to the local farmer’s market can be all that’s needed.

5. Extreme sports

While a little adrenaline is good, too much isn’t. Unless your date has expressed an interest in a particular extreme sport, don’t inflict what might be a frightening experience on them. If you must suggest a participatory sport, choose something relatively tame and uncompetitive such as bowling, crazy golf or ice skating.

I think someone I know is being scammed online, what do I do?

Sometimes, you suspect someone close to you is being scammed on an online dating site. It could be a relative or a friend looking for love who’s come across something he or she think is going to be the next love of their lives. When they tell you about it, though, it doesn’t quite sound right. Something makes you suspicious. Maybe you can’t even put your finger on it. If it’s a parent, this could be particularly tough, because you might end up feeling like you are being overly suspicious of anyone your mother/father like.

Because I’ve written a few posts about scammers on here, I have a few pages with hundreds of comments, each talking about a different scammer. Women exchange stories and have found these pages very useful when trying to decide whether the person they are talking to is a scammer. But for these women to get here, they have to have had the initial suspicion to Google the guy’s name. Sometimes, though, people come here because someone else has fallen for a suspected scammer. If the person being scammed doesn’t suspect anything at all, it’s harder to convince them that they are being scammed. Here are some tips that might help:

1. Be very tactful – this is a delicate subject. The person you’re trying to save may actually be in love with the scammer. You need to break it to them gently, rather than be forceful.

2. Don’t make them feel stupid – scammers are pros and they’ve perfected their method over the years. People who are vulnerable or new to the Internet may appear silly to you for having fallen for the scam, but without prior knowledge of how things work, these scams can actually look like the real thing.

3. Act quickly – the more involved the person becomes with the scammer, the harder it’s going to be to extract them and the more painful it’s going to be for them.

4. If your relative/friend tells you they’ve started dating online, a good way around the problem is to give them a lecture about scammers before they even start communicating. Tell them the telltale signs of a scammer (you can find some here and here) so that if a scammer does contact, they will be able to spot him straight away. This method is also good as a way to avoid having a conversation with them about any specific person they may be talking to. It might make them suspicious enough to search for more info themselves.

5. Perform the checks on the scammer yourself – Google their name for one, which may show you all you need to know.

6. If this person has contacted your friend/relative via an online dating site and still has a profile there, contact the dating site customer service department. They may not admit that this is a scammer (to save face), but the profile will be taken down quickly, as they will be able to tell it’s a scammer from just looking at it. You should be able to use this as proof.

Why men (and women) stay in controlling and abusive relationships

I’d only just finished writing a post for the Parship Blog in response to an article about why men “secretly love bossy women”, when this article came up on the Daily Mail site, asking why women stay in relationships with controlling men. I thought it was going to be the perfect balancing answer to the other article, but, being the mail, it’s more about celebrity gossip and personal story telling, without actually getting into the real reasons as to why women are attracted to bossy men. All it tells you is that women who are in such relationships blame themselves for their partner’s behaviour and let them get away with it. Why do these often intelligent, attractive women go for such men? Short of saying “low self esteem and boredom”, the article leaves you in the dark.

Now, this article talks about the extreme cases – stalkers, utter control freaks, people who could even end up being violent. There are obviously controlling relationships that aren’t so extreme. So the question you need to ask is what do the women engaged in such relationships gain from them in order to keep them there? Is it a validation of their home lives as children? A validation of the guy’s passion and interest in them or, as in the men in the relationships I discussed in my Parship article, the freedom to not worry about the hard decisions one generally has to make in life. You can talk about these things for days, but ultimately, if you’re one of these women, then the only reasons you should be looking at are your own. Once you realise you’re in a controlling or abusive relationship (and for that, as much as I hate to say it, articles like this one are actually quite useful, as they lay down the symptoms and name the disease) then you should do your own soul searching, possibly with professional help, to see what it is that attracts you to a man that holds you back so much.

What a chore – sharing the housework, divorce and dodgy research

After the flurry of surveys and studies proving that splitting the housework evenly does wonders for your long term relationships and marriage (from making men feeling happier, to making your sex life better and more), now comes a Norwegian study which, if you believe the snazzy headlines from papers like The Telegraph, shows that sharing the housework actually leads to higher divorce rates. Of course, looking at the study itself and taking into account comments by the guy in charge, it’s clear to see that this is not at all the case, but I’m sure pubs everywhere will be full of guys telling each other things like “and then I told her, if you want me to do the dishes, fine, but be warned that it could lead to divorce!”. Laughs all round. So what’s the deal? Well, it seems that sharing the chores is part of being a part of a “modern” couple with “modern” values, i.e. the woman is most likely educated, middle class and financially independent. Marriage is not the end all and be all to such women, plus people with modern values tend to want more out of their relationships and, for better or worse, are more likely to bolt if things are looking hopeless. People with traditional family values tend to also believe marriage is for life. That’s pretty much it. Sharing the housework is a symptom of being in a particular type of couple, a couple more likely to split up if things aren’t going well. So all you guys thinking of an easy way out can put your apron back on. You’re not getting off that easily!

What’s more attractive? Men and women agree on everything apart from boob size

I’m used to seeing pretty shoddy surveys and bits of research involving “156 psychology students” or “200 members of a dating site”, so it’s quite reassuring to see an actual experiment based on significant data. The Huff Post reports on a massive psychological experiment looking into what men and women find attractive in the female shape. It’s always been assumed that women are good at anticipating what males find attractive. The article lists a psychological theory that states that this is because when women know what men find attractive, they can rate themselves accordingly and subconsciously pick a mate who’s “in the same league”, ensuring relationship longevity. This also works in reverse – men rate themselves in the same way to find a woman not likely to trade up at the first opportunity. Interesting theory, though I’m not sure it matches up with reality. The very phrase “out of your league” wouldn’t have been coined if people (especially guys) didn’t constantly try to get it together with mates significantly more attractive than they were. Both men and women tend to also spend a lot of time trying to manipulate their physical appearance to match what they see as the other sex’s beauty ideal – so they can get a better class of date. And let’s not forget that according to evolutionary psychology, we’re not even trying to work towards relationship longevity. We’re trying to improve the human race by breeding children with those less genetically challenged than us.

But strange theories aside, it seems that men and women agree on most things to do with the female body – lower weight, narrower waist, longer legs (the sort of leg shape you get by wearing heels) – but disagree on one thing – breast size. It seems that women prefer smaller boobs and men still prefer larger ones. This is apparently (according to some research) why today’s fashion models have smaller breasts and Playboy models have bigger ones and also why mannequins have smaller breasts (this according to the article. Personally I’ve seen some mannequins with pretty huge breasts)- women look at fashion models and men look at porn, seems to be what this theory is saying. Roll on a flurry of explanations as to why that is – smaller breasts being more practical, androgynous body types being perceived by women as stronger, more intelligent and more “guy like” – qualities the modern woman appreciates and more. The trend of women viewing curvaceous ladies as ideal has been diminishing over the past 50 years, apparently.

Of course, it’s a chicken and egg thing. Little girls grow up looking at fashion models and they learn to shape their beauty ideals on what they see. If the women in these magazines had curvy bodies, full hips and large breasts, would this ideal be different? The fact that women’s magazines used to show curvy women and women used to view curvy women as more attractive in those days would imply to me that this is the case. At least, I see it as a theory that’s just as valid as the one that assumes women readers drive the visual choices these magazines make. Heroin chic, for example, which is pretty much the epitome of androgynous fashion, drew a lot of criticism when it kicked off and much of it was to do with the personal choices of fashion photographers who were actually either addicted to heroin or in love with models who were. And let us not forget fashion – I’m leaning towards thinking that androgynous, skinny body types are easier to design the sort of out of this world sculptural pieces high fashion seems to favour nowadays. You know, the sort of stuff that’s more about art and fantasy than reality. Narrow, straight bodies can take on whatever shape you give them. Curvy bodies tend to sort of dictate the style.

And here’s your radical feminist thought for the day – the richer and better fed a society is, the more it attempts to control its women by making the feminine body type ideal impossible to match for the vast majority of women. You could argue that this habit funds a huge industry of everything from gyms and supplements but beyond everything else, it also keeps women preoccupied with their appearance to the point where they become so obsessed with it, they forget the power they have over men.

Scientists say the androgynous body type is more masculine. I reckon it’s more child like, Lolita style. This body type, in reality, usually (not always, but usually) comes with a smaller boob size, unless you’ve got implants. Maybe women are just trying to be realistic. Of course, when we have heroins like Lara Croft to show us a totally unachievable body type with a tiny waist and gigantic boobs, I guess reality’s not necessarily high on guys’ minds. I guess if there’s one message we can take away from this research is: if you want to get that brain scientist quarterback underwear model, ladies, keep wearing those heels, popping the diet pills and stuffing your bra.

Are sex tips ruining sex or is it bad sex that’s ruining sex?

I spend a lot of time actively looking for relationship and dating articles online, but sometimes these things just turn up. I found this article while following a link to an article totally unrelated to dating. It’s a bit long, so I’ll sum it up for you, though it’s worth reading. Basically, it says that the abundance of sex tips in women’s magazines is ruining sex for people, because it makes it sound as if sex needs to be this ultra-complicated pursuit you see people do in porn. In fact, the article goes as far as saying that many of these tips originate in porn and that they are mostly aimed at pleasing men. Ultimately, says the author, people end up feeling that “just a bit of oral followed by the missionary position” is not good enough and feel that they have to turn the sexual act into some sort of hard labour. Well…

I’ll start by saying that it’s been a while since I’ve read any of those things, so my memory might be a bit out on what sort of stuff they suggest. I know myself that when your job involves writing a lot about the same subject, you end up struggling to find ideas. I’m sure a lot of the people who write these sex tips do actually get their ideas from porn, probably because their own sex lives are not that exciting and they need to come up with a bunch of new stuff to please their editor, rather than necessarily please the man or woman reading the article if they end up trying it in bed. I’m also sure they get briefs requiring them to include whatever fad that’s popular at the time. So if some celebrity was caught doing something in a sex tape, you can be sure that’ll be all over the mags faster than you can pull out a tissue. So yeah, some of that stuff can be pretty ridicilous and won’t have been tried by the people who wrote it.

On the other hand, sex within the context of a long term relationship can get pretty boring if all you ever do is the one position.

When your guy has that new boyfriend smell and you’re still getting to know each other sexually, you get excited about every bit of physical contact. If you swap partners often, then the fact that you’re with a different person is exciting enough, even if you stick to your usual positions and moves. But when you’re having sex hundreds of times with the same person over time, things are different. You’re basically going to have lots of different types of sex, according to your mood, your physical state, your circumstances, etc.. So there does need to be room for lazy sex, quick sex and even not very good sex (you can’t expect every single time to be perfect when you’re having lots of sex), but you also can’t go around limiting your sexual vocabulary to the basics without expecting things to eventually go very stale. I feel a bit mean saying it, but an article that jokes about oral sex “usually causing jaw ache rather than cataclysmic mutual orgasms” kinda screams “you’re doing it wrong” at me. I can’t help being reminded of the argument between British and French scientists about whether or not the female G-spot exists. Talk about living the “no sex please, we’re British” stereotype. Also, I think there maybe some flawed logic at work here. While women’s mags are definitely guilty of putting women in an obsessive state of mind about pretty much everything (“15 diet tips that work”, “how to keep your man from leaving you”, “is your vagina too ugly?”, etc.), the fact that they advise women on how to spice up their sex lives by pleasing the man doesn’t mean it’s unrealistic for women to want to stretch the limits of their own sex lives, nor does it mean that women don’t have fantasies that extend beyond the obvious.

So yes, there’s nothing wrong with any sexual position or move on its own, but if you’re a guy and your whole repertoire consists of the missionary position and you’re looking for a long term relationship, you’d better find yourself a woman who’s not really that much into sex, otherwise she’s gonna get real bored real quick. Spending hours setting up the bedroom with all kinds of silly stuff just so you can have a bit of a fondle can certainly be a chore, but so can having exactly the same shag every single time. While the sex tips offered by the freshly post virginal 20 year olds and frustrated demi-spinsters who write for women’s mags may be a bit far fetched and stupid, there’s no shortage of good stuff out there written by people whose sex lives are actually a tad more adventurous for real. The Internet is your friend and there are also books and videos out there that do a better job. So remember, kids consenting adults, experimentation is not a dirty word.

Stressed men are easy, say scientists

Sometimes you have to wonder about research people come up with and the logic behind actually funding it. This is one of those times. New research is linking men’s stress levels to their preference in female body types. The smashing, tabloid-like BBC headline tells me men are drawn to heavier women when they’re stressed, but when you read the actual article, you realise stressed men simply preferred a larger range of female body types. Basically, stressed men are easy. Put a man under pressure and he’ll be more open to sleeping with women he might not otherwise be attracted to.

Interesting, if perhaps obvious information. I leave it up to you to decide what to do with this valuable information.

Women’s sex lives affected by…cycling?

OK, this made me laugh, mostly because I actually hate low handlebars on bicycles. Apparently, apart from making me feel dangerously unbalanced, bikes with low handlebars can actually affect women’s genitals, making some bits numb enough to actually make for less sexual enjoyment. We’ve heard it all before about serious guy cyclists and their genitals (lower sperm count, I believe?) but now it seems women can suffer as well. It’s all down to angles, saddle pressure and things like that.

The full article is here. It’s enough to make me really glad I never left my trusty old mountain bike!

Makes you wonder how many women have had sexual issues as a result of this and put it down to something completely different (psychological issues, lack of compatibility with partner, depression, stress, etc.). Sometimes problems can be the result of a completely unrelated, seemingly random factor you wouldn’t normally even consider relevant…

Getting your dating profile to fit the site you’re on is key

I’ve written here before about the need to tailor your dating profile to your “audience” (which in this case means the person or people you would like to meet), but what I’ve noticed a lot of people do is write one profile and then use it on several sites. Now, there’s nothing particularly wrong with this. It can take a lot of time to hit a winning formula with your profile and most people hate writing about themselves. So once you get a good dating profile together you tend to feel that your troubles are over and now you can just plonk that on any number of dating sites you fancy trying and it’ll do the trick. But dating site vary quite greatly not just in the type of crowd that hangs out there and what they’re generally looking for, but also in conventions and the sort of house style, if you will. For example, if you go on a site like Lovestruck, you’ll find profiles geared towards busy London professionals who are generally keen to take things offline quickly, meet for lunch or a drink after work and generally not spend too much time reading lengthy profiles online. Try to use the profile you’ve come up with on one of the personality testing, take it slow, long term relationship NOW websites and you may well stand out, but in a bad way.

You want your profile to stand out, you want it to appeal and attract and most of all, you want it to represent who you are, but you also want to stay enough within the limits of the site so as to fit in and not put off people. This means that you should start by running a search as if you were the person you want to meet. So if you’re a straight guy, you run a search for guys, if you’re a straight woman, a search for women. Then start looking at the profiles you see. What do they mostly have in common? Are they short or long? How many paragraphs do people tend to write? This is probably the amount they’d be willing to read. In general, people who write longer profiles are ones looking for more serious relationships, as they have the inclination to dedicate more time and effort to their profile. But write too much and you end up appearing desperate and lonely when compared with other, shorter profiles on a site where most people keep things concise. Your best bet is therefore not to stray being a paragraph more than the general profile length consensus. This is where you also learn how to avoid cliches. Everyone thinks their witticisms are unique and entertaining, but read a 100 profiles and you’ll end up reading the same stuff over 50 times. Learn from others’ mistakes and know what not to put in your profile.

Online dating coupons for my American readers

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Our idea of evolutionary psychology is based on what now?

OK, so if, like me, you’ve heard all about how men are programmed to “cheat” by nature and women are the homemakers who are programmed to stay at home with one man and the kids, then you may be interested in this little bit of information, which I’d like to file deeply in the WTF pile. Apparently our understanding (as a species) of the genetic programming supposedly found in nature that inclines men towards cheating and women towards remaining faithful originated in a 1948 study conducted on…wait for it….fruit flies!

Yup, that’s right, the underlying assumption that has coloured countless studies since the day it was published was based on research into an insect. They didn’t even electrocute a monkey or anything before coming out with their far fetched conclusions, which seem to not really take into account that there is a teeny tiny difference between a human and a fly. More importantly, no one ever came back to the original study to try and recreate it to see if it really works as described. Until now, that is, when a new team of researchers have disproved it. As always, as humanity (in part, at least) moves gradually away from oldschool values, science eventually catches up with some proof or other to validate something people with common sense already know to be true.

So there you have it. Apparently women are just as programmed to have multiple partners as men (and fruit flies). Science approves this message, just like it recently acknowledged the fact that bisexuals exist. It’s a good thing we have female (and gay/bisexual) scientists nowadays or we’d forever be stuck in the past.

Online dating, you’re doing it wrong

I’ve written a lot about which pictures not to pick for your online dating profile, but if you need any more proof as to why people might think you’re a little bit off, then I have some fine examples for you right here. The word on everyone’s lips is “why?!”

First up, here’s a little page from Buzzfeed, collecting 27 cases of men most ladies would not want to meet dating online. The sad thing is, some of these guys don’t actually look half bad. If only they’d not chosen their words and pictures so damn poorly…

But before you start talking to be about how sad and clueless straight guys can be, I give you another recent discovery. This one’s a blog by an anthropology student collecting pictures from gay dating sites and apps where the subjects are posing in front of the Holocaust memorial in Berlin. Why? I hear you ask. I don’t know. But it happens often enough to feed a whole blog and makes you wonder whether these people are ignorant, want to appear cool or just don’t care.

Single woman in your late 30s / early 40s? You most likely can’t have it all.

It’s funny how your opinion about stuff changes as you get older, isn’t it? Here’s another article I saw about a woman in her late 30s trying to find the husband she’s always dreamed of and, so far, failing. This particular woman explains how she found a man who was “perfect on paper” but left him because there was no real passion there and has gone back to the drawing board, looking for a man to tick every possible box.

Now, when I was in my 20s, I’d be completely understanding of this and tell this lady to ignore everything her family and friends are saying and carry on with the search. Nowadays…Well…Now I think women should think carefully about what’s really important to them in life. I look around me and I see a lot of women in their late 30s or early 40s who are so determined to have it all that they can very easily end up with nothing, at least for a while. Now, to be clear, I’m not actually the sort of person who thinks a woman is defined by having children and that starting a family is the right choice for every woman. I’ve seen many woman discover the hard way that the romantic notion of family life is not exactly what they expected and my own personal views about bringing children into this overpopulated, violent world are somewhat less determined by my hormones or my desire to clone my own genetic make up.

Everyone has a vision of the perfect relationship, the perfect family, the perfect happily ever after. It’s never quite like that, whether you have children or not. So for me, it’s a perfectly valid choice to say to yourself that you’d rather not have a family than have it with the wrong person and you’d rather keep searching for the perfect guy than to settle for someone who’s not your perfect soulmate. It’s also perfectly fine to say you don’t want to have children at all, but would like the focus of your relationship to be the feelings you and your partner have for each other.

Also, let’s keep in mind that now that the world (parts of it, anyway) is moving away from puritan religious values, we’re beginning to understand that the Catholic-style version of perfect love is, frankly, not realistic for most people. The majority of people in the west engage in “serial monogamy”, which comes far more naturally to most than the vision of eternal coupling. In fact, most people in the world engage in some form of polygamy (whether it’s cheating, open relationships or “emotional cheating” – the annoying term for what is basically having normal human urges and not acting on them). It makes you wonder whether there is such a thing as a lifelong soulmate at all. The answer to this, I believe, is a positive one. Some people do find a partner they’d like to be with for life. On the other hand, cases of genuine, lifelong “soulmatism” are actually relatively rare. It’s a lot more common for people to stay together because they believe they have to or ought to.

So, unlike what I thought in my 20s, nowadays I look at such articles as the one above and women who write or identify with it and I say – grow up, ladies, it’s crunch time.
Your deadline approaches and, like it or not, as women we do have a deadline beyond which we are no longer fertile. I look around me and I see children whose parents are going to most likely die when said children are still way too young (because if you have a child in your 40s, you’re going to be in your 70s by the time he’s 30), the result of people holding off having kids while they have their career and choose the perfect partner. Not the end of the world, but not ideal either. Still better, in my honest opinion, than deciding to have and raise a child on your own (i.e. sperm bank rather than say, adopt one) “because you want one of your own”. And no, I don’t have anything against single mothers at all and most single mothers don’t start off intending on raising a child on their own. They end up in that situation and do the best they can for their children. On the other hand, I think that it’s not the ideal situation for a child, so knowingly choosing to place a child in a non-ideal situation before it’s even conceived because you want to experience motherhood is, to me, a very selfish decision.

If having a child is the most important thing to you to you and you’re getting to the point where you may not be able to have one, then yes, you may have to bloody settle. Sure, as I’ve said before, don’t go for someone who repulses you or bores you to tears, but do accept that you may not find prince charming in time for your perfect baby shower. Also, keep in mind that even prince charming may lose much of his charm after your baby comes out anyway. The way I see it, if you can’t stop thinking about your own needs and desires and keep wanting to have it all instead then either you don’t want children as much as you thought you did (which is absolutely fine, but you should come to term with this) or you’re just not ready to have them. Let’s be honest, chances are, you and most people around you will not have the happily ever after relationship you’ve envisioned. Hell, most women in their 20s won’t have it all either. They just have a few years before they have to face that realisation. People change, life changes and relationships change. You may as well decide what’s important to you and get ready to compromise and take risks. Be it risking not having a family (or adopting one later on) for the sake of finding someone truly compatible for life or settling for a relationship that’s likely to not last forever for the sake of having a child. You could also seek out alternative parenting arrangements with gay couples or men who want a child but not a relationship. Not ideal, but then again, what is? You most likely can’t have it all, but it’s OK. You just need to come to terms with it.