‘Witty Title’ – Is Love Forever?

I fall into two camps when it comes to love. Totally stand-off or totally obsessed.

I’m either Michael Scott from The Office in the episode Performance Review – pining hopelessly or I’m Calvin in Crazy, Stupid, Love. Either way, Steve Carrell has managed to capture my entire emotional love spectrum.

I wonder why we tumble down the side of a cliff for some people and stand well away from the edge for others?

If I was to pick the camp which I most common find myself in, it is the stand-off camp. I’m the Knight on a chess board, guarding my heart, the Queen, ready to dive left or right to save me from falling and facing humiliation. I don’t really know why because I love to love. When I feel love I feel positive, and the experiences in my life are just so much more enjoyable. Feeling that deep sense of commitment towards another person really does lift me up and being loved in return carries much of the same energy. I have longed believed my stand off with the great emotion is because I have seen so many people fall in love so many times, only to have their heart crushed against some invisible pillar, resulting in a heart so broken it can’t possibly be resurrected. Pain. Nu huh, not for me! Truthfully though, I have historically been stand-offish with love because I’ve never felt I deserve to be loved. We could start looking at my childhood for reasons why, and this could quite easily turn into a therapy session where I talk about the fact I had an absent father and the long seated yearning for his love and affection have manifested in time into daddy issues as I’ve never formed a bond with the main male figure in my life, that is now the reason why I carry an avoidant-attachment type and thus it’s not possible for me to believe I am worthy of love from any man and so before they can hurt me I sabotage. Wait. I said it wasn’t going to turn into a therapy session.

And yet, when I do look back on past loves, I can be sure I have felt it and I have embraced it, I’ve felt deserving of it. I may not have given myself over entirely to love, because why give somebody so much power? But I have definitely given them a piece of my heart., some are still there. Could it be that when I have recognised the rest of my heart yearning to be handed over, this is the point that I have pulled back and put an end to things? Or have I recognised that my needs are not being met continuously and through respect for myself, I’ve walked away?

One of my dear readers left a comment on a post quoting her friend “Nothing is guaranteed”. Her friend had shared these thoughts to describe that although she was married, it wasn’t the end of her story. Lots of things could happen down the road so it’s best just to appreciate where you are at in life because before long, you’ll be onto the next stage of your life.

Whilst this could apply to whatever cycle of life you are in of course, because life is a continuum, I think it was Robert Frost who said Life.Goes.On. But this got me thinking…does love have to last forever? Better yet, is love supposed to last forever?

I have experienced love all my life, and loved all my life. My family for starters. And then there’s the love of my friends that I have met over the years. I loved, and was loved, by a man for 13 years so I’m quite capable and able to be successful with it. If I couldn’t love, or if I wasn’t worthy of love, I wouldn’t have good relationships with family or friends. Or a story involving a man for more than a third of my entire existence on this planet. I also know what it is to love unconditionally. But does love last forever? I have had friends that I have loved and lost. Men that I have loved and lost. I’ve even loved family members and lost those. And although the loss has been difficult to bear, I grieve and come out of it the other side, slightly more bruised than before, but definitely stronger. The bruises fade, the strength always remains.

So why do I find it more comforting to be stand-offish with love rather than totally obsessed? What am I looking for in love? Or what am I trying to avoid might be a better question? I spend most of my time I looking to avoid potential heartbreak and the despair and depression that comes with losing someone so close? If that is the case, then why? I’ve proven to myself time and again that I am capable of rising out of the ashes.

In my short time on this little orb of life, I have found a love obsession to be all-consuming. It completely overtakes my life. Not a day goes by without a thought (or several thousand) crossing my mind of that person. My own needs are overtaken by theirs and I find myself getting absorbed in their ideas of life. I can tell you, that with an obsession this blog would fail. I wouldn’t find take the the time to do it because I’d constantly be doing the things that made my obsession happy rather than myself. I’d be blind to all the red flags (if there were any), my hobbies would be on the back burner and all that free time I get would be spent on them. Even if not physically present, my brain wouldn’t allow me time off from them. I think us Brits call it pining after someone. Like a sad puppy who is waiting for their owner to come home. I’ve just diminished myself to a dog.

And despite my newfound perspective that I have promised myself, dropping the cynicism and going after love, or rather letting love in instead of batting it away like a bad game of rounders, I’m still guilty and susceptible to falling into my old obsessive ways. ‘Witty title’ – Pet names is evidence of that. I’ve been so focused on the moments shared with FD and my intrinsic need to try and connect the dots to form a picture, I’ve missed the fact there just wasn’t much of a picture to form to begin with. New me would say we went for a walk. We enjoyed each others company. That is it! Old me insists that there is something to read into in his every movement, word, joke. Weirdly, new me is maintaining new me thoughts on the aaarghpps. I briefly spoke about Chris in witty title – week 1 and how we like one another but had slightly different views on what we wanted in life. Old me would have totally ignored our differences and latched onto the fact that he was attracted to me. Old me would have taken his messages on the app (even the ones that came after that conversation) as a sign of something more. A sign that I could change his mind, if only he would meet me. He’ll see. Old Me would have been convinced that he would change his mind. We did have a sing off to Elvis – Suspicious Minds, which made my day, but at the line where Elvis croons we can’t on together’ I ended the fun and games with ‘no seriously, we can’t go on together’. New me is putting her foot down, although I will admit a small part of old me is lurking in the background, but I’m starting to recognise that you must fall for the person that they are and not the person who you hope they will be. The one in your head is made up! The one in front of you is real!

Is it possible that I expect too much of love? Have I watched one too many romantic films? We all want to fall in love. But as we know, love is an emotion. We don’t ever say we want to fall in happiness. Or fall in pride. And if love is an emotion, and an emotion is a conscious mental reaction toward a specific object or person, and emotions do not last, then it seems a bit ridiculous that we expect love to happen for us and last forever.

Maybe, it is possible that we can fall in love with people in short bursts. As it is an emotion no different to being angry or jealous, those feelings don’t last and we fall out of anger and jealousy as quickly as we fall into them. Is it unreasonable to think the same of love. For the briefest of moments where Chris and I were singing together, I felt a huge draw to him, I was in a positive state of mind and I experienced the rest of that day with more joy than usual, my desire for him multiplying exponentially. A temporary insanity? Is that not love? And if we can fall in love within the briefest of moments, we can fall out of it too just as quickly. I certainly don’t feel love for Chris now, but the positive feelings I did experience were addictive and maybe it is that feeling of being addicted that we chase in our search?

And if love is an addiction, that would explain my history of only ever being at opposite ends of the love spectrum, totally addicted or totally withdrawing.

Maybe that’s where I need to find my balance? That love is a spectrum of sorts. You aim for the middle and hope that as a couple you move towards addiction in the smallest of actions. Whether that be something as simple as carrying a kit bag full of footballs for me or accepting my quirky Elvis superfan status and having a sing-off with me. And when I find myself sliding towards withdrawing, I need a partner who understands that love is work, to help me find my equilibrium back in the middle.

I guess what I can say with absolute certainty thanks to the benefit of hindsight, is that I’ve yet to meet a man who has been able to bring me back to equilibrium. I can’t say for certain that my self-sabotage is not a test, but Relationship expert Matthew Hussey says ‘many people can handle our wounds but not our weapons’. My heart is the queen, the knight is my weapon and I’m stuck in a cycle of love checkmate.

Let’s just pause

I may have gotten a little carried away with my desire to move on and forget FD. Oh You don’t want me? Fine, I don’t want you twice as hard. There. Take that.

This has then kind of, sort of, definitely turned me into this dating machine which is a whole different level of crazy (yes I’m already getting fatigued).

I’m not religious, I don’t really believe in astrology, gods and aliens are stories made up by the Romans and ancient Greeks to keep themselves entertained.

But I do believe in a higher power. I don’t know what it is specifically, some might say coincidence. Some might say luck. Some might say destiny. But I cannot ignore this. Nor yesterday’s horoscope which, as bland as they may be, are lighting up my synapses of hope like the neon double arches on a cold dark night.

I said I would give it until February to friendzone FD, but had already started to write him off early because slow burn doesn’t mean stop buddy! But I am trusting divine intervention (if that is indeed this higher power I am convinced of) to align the stars of FD and this crazy saint before next month rolls around.

….still standing at the bus stop!

Men are like Buses. Part 2

I can’t get this stuff written down fast enough, I have drafts on drafts detailing my internal witterings, trying to unscramble the mumbo jumbo, which is great because I have content ideas and I did commit to writing 500 words twice a week. The problem is none of it makes sense. None. It isn’t funny (yet) and truthfully I’m not sure I even have the brain capacity to edit them in my usual brand of humour because alongside full-time work I am also home schooling. Maths for 8 year old children is hard yo and it’s depleting my cerebral energy. What I can normally edit in a couple of hours is taking me 3 days and it has absolutely nothing to do with being distracted by beautiful men. OK maybe.

Lets back up to the start of the national UK lockdown 2020. I found myself with a menu of potential boyfriends; see ‘Too Many Choices‘.

My cynical view on love was firmly implanted and my Mind, Body, Soul plan was well underway and I ain’t changing for no-one! I just assumed this was the Menz being bored needing to find something to keep them entertained. Whatever, I was nonchalant about the whole thing. Well not the pilot. I liked him. Still do, it’s just not an obsession like FD.

But as the weeks and months passed by they were still hanging about! Huh!? So a teeny tiny small part of me started feeling hopeful, perhaps if they are still here, they are actually interested! Obviously none of them turned into anything particularly noteworthy, as I still find myself ruminating on my love life decisions; they wanted casual and I wanted anything but casual. There may have also been some Cleopatra-esque fight to the death between two and I blew it. Well, that might be an exaggeration, I didn’t really blow anything, they were only interested, not invested so I let the cataclysm fall where it may.

By November however they had all come to an end, the pilot being the last of the 2020 group and I had a renewed male obsession. Despite my best efforts, that has also not come to fruition. Its OK though, I have had my reality check. Moving on.

So, in present day 2021, I decide to start the year off with a renewed vigour against the war of love and download a dating app. Its been productive, I have found myself chatting to some very gorgeous and some very interesting men. I have ‘dated’ (ish) two so far, lets keep it brief.

Insane Rob. Last week we agreed to meet at Costa on my way home from work as we could grab a drink and chat side by side whilst sat in our cars. How very 90’s! Why insane? Just his personality type, he was fun, very funny, he was nice, I’d bang him at least but its not going anywhere given that his communications after Friday being only of the 10pm kind. See ya!

Two nights ago, I video chatted with Matthew the geeky gamer and it lasted for 2.5 hours. He was very easy going, had a lot to say, we share a lot of things in common. The instant attraction really isn’t there but I think there is potential for chemistry. He’s also quite weird, like me and I dig weird!

But what is strange is that I’ve suddenly been confronted by another list of ‘boyfriends’ outside of this dating app! OK, so not all male friends in my life as I alluded to in my blog of the same name (dramatic much?), but I am 100% back to having a menu of choices. Is this a side effect of lockdown? Or has the change in my mindset to go from ‘Love? Meh!’ to ‘Love? Hell yeah‘ been sensed. They say what you project into the world comes back to you. Is this voodoo? Some kind of love karma?

I have known a guy called Nathan for 4 years. We met on POF when I was newly single after a 13 year relationship. I had no idea what I was doing. We went on about 5 dates, but I didn’t pursue anything because he wasn’t very tactile. I think we went the whole time without a kiss. It was weird, but he was funny and I figured with a few dates he’d come out of his hostile shell. He didn’t. Plus, he lived a good 20 miles away and between working, being a mother, having a house to renovate etc, I really just couldn’t see myself having the time for him. I politely explained my decision to not want to take things further and he was really good about it. We have remained friends since, meeting up every so often to hike or eat (when it was allowed) and just generally catch up with each other. Not three days ago, he gets in touch and says ‘Fancy a snog?’

Umm, what?! I appreciate there is nothing romantic about this message, but knowing the guy as I do, this is extremely forward and is as romantic as he can get. Not in the mood for games though and just to check, I replied with ‘for one night orrrrr?’

‘For a bit…’ Oh heck, just see for yourselves….

We haven’t seen each other since September. The whole pandemic making travelling for either of us difficult. He works in a primary school teaching KS1 too so he has his hands full with work. But WHY NOW? I have asked him to explain. He has said the snog and cuddle is optional, so he actually wants to see me. Just me. For a walk. To have a laugh. He doesn’t need to explain really. I’m just trying to satisfy my curiosity.

Then a guy who I used to work with (lets call him Jeff) who I have zero interaction with whatsoever other than to follow him on social media suddenly strikes up a conversation with me in my DM’s. He was responding to a selfie I posted where I had captioned it with ‘Felt Cute, might delete later’. Oh, we know where this is going don’t we? Everybody knows what sliding into the DM’s means and I can see he has been watching my stories for a couple of months. But I was pleasantly surprised, I love when people suggest new places for me to walk and explore and he did just that, and then offered to take me there, we haven’t stopped chatting since. This is not the action of a man who just wants to be friends is it? Especially one who hasn’t spoken to me for 10 years. I guess he’s been plucking up the courage or waiting to see if I am actually single?

I am excited by none of them. Not one of these men set my world on fire. It may be because I am harbouring an obsession. It may be because I have actually learned something over the last 18 months about not getting too caught up in first impressions. What I have quickly figured out though and is now my top tip for dating after 2 whole dates so I’m obviously an expert: leave it a few days after any date before deciding to continue or not. I cannot stress this enough. Unless it was a very obviously bad date, you will most likely come away smiling to yourself purely based on the success of just getting through it, especially if you are new to dating. But this false sense of achievement will undoubtedly obscure any red flags that your brain hasn’t quite processed yet. So you can reflect and will also give you chance to identify his next intentions. Win Win. And this is especially important if you come away having laughed a lot!

Anyway, back to men being like buses.

Insane Rob wants a kind, honest, genuine person, but the fact he refers to his camper van as his ‘fuck truck’ and the fact he spends most of his time in Wiltshire (the fucking other end of the country) makes this a very easy decision. I’m gonna wait for the next bus.

Geeky Matt has zero charisma, but can hold a conversation. He didn’t make me laugh much on the date but has had a few quips whilst we have been chatting which has made me giggle. There was no flirting but he did invest 2.5 hours over a video call. Yes, I said a video call. So I’m happy to hop onto this new bus for at least another stop.

Nathan I do actually like. We have a platonic relationship right now but I could quite easily move out of that into the romantic arena. He’s funny, cute, fit, successful and engaging. They say that when you come away from a date you should consider if you would be friends with this person, attraction or none, and in this case, I have a proven friendship. I’m reluctant though because again, it seems like a casual set up can only be on the cards. I have made it very clear I do not want that. Nathan is a circular, if I hop on, I might discover some new sights but I know exactly where I’ll be going. I do wonder with Nathan if we both have the same idea of what a friendship is. Maybe I’m just one bus stop on his circular tour of town and he has a number of ladies at other stops.

Jeff has completely come out of the blue. He’s the bus I was least expecting. A big flashy tour bus with tinted windows. I have no idea whats on it, but I want to take a peek. Nothing colourful in my DM’s either, just a straight forward let me take you out. I’m gonna hop on board and see what happens at the next stop.

Even though I have been working on me, I am still second-guessing myself. I have a penchance for being friendly, is it possible my general character is being misconstrued? I keep asking myself whether my need to be friendly is toxic to me, my innate need as people-pleaser means I quite often just see the good in people and expect everybody to be as friendly as I am, but I don’t think it works that way. It’s dawned on me that Nathan might just be recycling girls he knows. Maybe I need to start blocking people? I read somewhere that the sign of a healthy woman is one who has the ability to walk away. The train is leaving the station bus is leaving the stop. By staying friends with them, I’m always waiting for the bus and so they’ll never realise just what a loss I am? God that sounds a little big headed, but nobody else is going to put me on a pedestal, I may as well do it myself. And if I want to find the man of my dreams in real life, I need to sort out the dream haze. The haze in this case is underwhelming men!

I adapted Wendy Cope’s poem:

Bloody men travel on bloody buses.

We are talking about fucking buses…

Seriously girl,

…..find one with a car.

And just when I thought my reality check had firmly taken hold, my horoscope goes and gives me this worthy gem:

So do I continue with my obsession or not?!

Men are like Buses

Is it any coincidence that in the week that I start online dating, suddenly every male friend I have in my life wants more? Can they see or just sense my dating aura has turned from red to green?

Or is it purely that I’m just open to a conversation now rather than ignoring people in my attempt to be more date ready?

Funny, huh?

Except FD *rolls eyes*

Reminds me of a poem by Wendy Cope:

Reality Check – an FD Update

Getting the pet names thing down on paper actually had some unintended consequences. First of all, I discovered that I’m not all that invested in him. That’s a lie. I am. But I was asked what pet name I had given to him. The answer was I haven’t which seems very hypocritical on my part. Then I discovered that I had been clinging to this dear obsession of mine always using my ‘make the first move’ mantra as permission to be the one to initiate conversation or suggesting getting together for walks which was giving him all the power. He only suggested going for a walk once in the whole time we have known each other and instead of seeing this clearly for what it was, I allowed my crush on him to steer the entire boat. This newfound clarity actually has me feeling a little embarrassed, it’s ok, laugh with me.

I could look at what we have messaged back and forth, and conclude there is definitely something there, I mean there is no denying that the lobster thing was a future plan and you don’t meet many people where you can fill a 7 hour walk with nothing but conversation. No seriously, you try talking to somebody for 7 solid hours. Perhaps I’m just trying to save face? But yesterday, I accepted that I have no power in this and the only way to reclaim it, if that is even still an option, is to let go.

I’d considered doing this in February anyway because remember his whole ‘I have been hurt so I would need to take thing slow’ line? I figured 3/4 months would be enough time for him to decide if he wanted to take things forward or not. Highly reasonable of me I think. As somebody who does not know how to slow burn, this seemed like a compromise. Having discussed this whole sorry mess with by BFF, she came to the same conclusion as me; Friendzone by February.

And with the added benefit of online dating which I didn’t have in the last two months where I have been embarrassingly dripping my desperate intentions all over the place, I’ve learned very quickly who is interested or not. Not necessarily invested, but interested. If I go a couple of days without a message, the interested ones get in touch. Even Chris, the ‘fair-haired Jamie Dornan’ got back in touch after we decided his desire to not have children in life meant we were at opposite ends of the dating spectrum. I have remained steadfast and resolute and politely told him no thank you. It was hard y’all, but I did it.

So how to apply this to FD? Well, it’s easy on a dating app where you don’t know people and their intentions are already clear, you’re on a dating app! The dynamics of dating someone or making your interest known to someone you already have in your life though? Someone you know through a hobby or sport? That’s a bit more tricky to navigate. Yes, I know, I’m making up yet another excuse for him. But I’m not really, I went through the same thought process when I was debating whether to take it forward or not. But I actually decided to take it forward. He doesn’t seem to have done the same, So yes! Buck up your ideas otherwise it’s Friend-zone February for Football Dad.

Then yesterday, I had to share on the football group chat that we won’t be going back to training until middle of Feb at the earliest, which means on top of the 3 weeks we have missed over the Christmas period and add together the 6 weeks we will now not see each other thanks to Lockdown 3.0, we will not physically see each other for a total of 9 weeks! For anybody who was even remotely interested in another human being, that would not be good enough and would trigger a reaction of action. No matter how teeny tiny small.

Instead, FD replied with ‘Yeah, take care Lou x’. He added a kiss to the message. On the group. For all to see!!!

He fucking friend zoned me first.

Bastard!

‘Witty Title’ – Pet Names

Ok, let’s talk about pet names. Seeing as I can’t get ‘babes’ out of my head thanks to FD and his stupid fucking confusing fucking mind games! Might I just add that everybody at football, or anywhere for that matter, calls me by name, by surname or by nickname so babes is totally, completely, utterly out of the blue. A l i e n.

Why, Why, Whyyyyyyyyy? *cries with frustration, curls up on sofa, hugging my knees*

Ok, so it was New Years. Maybe he had a drink? That’s reasonable, it was New Years! After all a bevvy does tend to loosen ones tongue but look, many a merry word spoken is the sober truth. Right? So I can be hopeful.

Or maybe he wasn’t merry and he just used the term babes in a casual, friendly way. And yet, if that was the case, he’d have referred to me as babes long before now because we have been friends (OK ‘acquaintances’, whatever) for nearly 2 damn years. Why have I never heard him refer to anybody as babes, babe, bae, darling, anything?? Again, I can be hopeful.

It’s a pattern break. I am convinced. He meant it, he 100% thinks I’m a babe! Of course he does else why.would.he.say.it?? You can try and tell me otherwise. You there with your objective vantage points and external, non-invested views giving you total clarity on my desperate and pitiful situation. But I’m not listening…la la la la la. I don’t want to hear it. I want to be HOPEFUL. I need to be HOPEFUL, I need to know that he meant babes in a non-platonic way more than I need my next breath!

But I’ve been so caught up in his babes comment that I’ve completely missed the endearing pet names given to me by my dating arrghhpp matches; Home Slice, Red, and my favourite, Chopsy. In the space of a few days, these random men have put more effort and thought into a pet name for me than FD has after nearly 2 years of knowing me! And they actually reflect ME. They are personal. TO ME. Anybody can be babes. Fuck, I call my friends babes. I call the fucking jacket potato man on the corner babes!

Sooo nowwwww, not only am I dwelling on the fucking generic pet name given to me by a fucking generic man, who is acting very fucking generic and responding to it all in an equally fucking generic way (WHEN WILL YOU LEARN LUVVY?) but I’m suddenly very aware that I have quite possibly, unwittingly, had an impact on these Hinge men too. Getting this down on cyber paper was supposed to make things better, not worse. Instead I’ve gotta go overthink not just the one pet name given to me by one man, but 3 other pet names given to me by 3 other men. FFS.

Or actually, maybe pet names really don’t have that much meaning to them at all and I’m just doing my usual trick of reading into something that isn’t there. Perhaps I’m way off the mark about the impact I have had on these people and it’s just good natured stuff coming from good natured humans. I’ve never been pet named before, so I’m in unchartered territory, is this a sign? Is this what the emotionally secure, high value, good guys do? To build rapport and position themselves in a memorable enough way so they are not forgotten? Is…this…how…you…build…normal…relationships? 😧

According to psychology today (because they are the only reasonably reliable website offering insight on this matter at such short notice, other than a bunch of tweens on Reddit), pet names are used to show affection and project tenderness leading to an emotional charge. Not only this but personal idioms are a sign of relationship solidarity. Seems accurate, its certainly why I apply pet names to people.

I so so so want to believe it is all of that. I want to believe that FD called me babes because he is feeling more comfortable with our relationship and confident towards me. I want to know that it is his version of affection for me and that he feels tenderness towards me.Is it too much to ask that he just loves me already, goddammit?! Actually, I wish that to be true for the Hinge men too, but I’m crushing so hard on FD it is borderline obsession. I just cannot shake it. Hmmph!! But there’s a niggle. In the back of my head. Saying ‘oh now wait a minute’. Maybe this is just clever trickery of the Menz, designed with purpose to lure women into a false trap. High calibre Menz probably have higher calibre tricks right? Creating a false sense of security; a pet name being a friendly blanket of comfort before they tear out this hopeful beating heart of mine from under it.

Fucking monsters.

’Witty Title’ Week 1.

In my attempt to keep myself accountable and understand what works vs what doesn’t in terms of my NY realisations and putting my dating learning into practice, I’m going to attempt a weekly diary. Of sorts. I need a witty name for it though. Diary of an Idiot? The Dating App Diaries? Oh that spells DAD as an acronym. How about DAD…I need your help!? Oh god.

‘Witty Title’ – Week 1 it is then.

My intention is to keep these posts private. Then I said to myself, don’t be silly, share yourself with your readers (be vulnerable, remember?). Then my decision swung back to private because what if I decide to share my blog as part of that vulnerability with a potential match?! And then I considered that this might be funny to read and relateable to some people, it could even be heart-warming eventually, and who doesn’t want to see a metaphorical car crash become nothing more than a minor shunt? And on I go, continuing to swing between private and publish. So if you are reading this, you know how my final decision rested. If not, then I’m talking to myself. Yet again.

I downloaded Hinge. I could have downloaded a ton of apps, but Hinge describes itself as the ‘app designed to be deleted’ with the black heart emoji and if that tiny, technologically designed, piece of art doesn’t describe me and my cynical approach to love, then at least I won’t feel guilty for deleting the app, even if I don’t find love, as they’ve already given me permission! I also met my last ‘proper’ boyfriend on there and whilst it didn’t work out, I can confirm the calibre of possible matches are so much better. The pool is more limited compared to the likes of Tinder and POF, which invariably elicit an eye-roll along with thumb ache from swiping, so quality over quantity right?

So here is how my first 24 hours went:

Likes: 24. Matches: 10. Conversations: 10. Papersifted: 3

How are you papersifting? I hear you ask… 1) Conversational skills – I cannot emphasise just how important this is to me. Communication is the key to discovering someone. It isn’t a means to impress someone, a lesson I have learned the hard way myself. So, if they cannot ask questions and show a sense of curiosity about me as I do them, then I will take that as a big sign that they are not interested in me. I do wonder if I’m being a taaaad strict about this though. I might get lots of questions in a face to face setting, but that’s not really possible on a dating app is it?? Where I find the written word the easiest form of communication, despite it being being the most unreliable, others might not, so I wonder if I might inadvertently be discarding a whole group of people. I definitely don’t need perfect spelling or grammar, but I do need some witty repartee. Or at least a game of Word Tennis. Or Wennis. Oh that’s never gonna catch on. Awful.

2) Not having something in your life other than work or children – I’ve said it time and again: I value my freedom. Which really translates into I value my independence and the fact that I don’t have somebody looking to me to complete them or their life or meet all the needs they lack in their life. BUT, if you are special enough then I will make room for you. If they don’t have any interests or hobbies, that’s bad! Extra-curricular activities are good; a healthy sign of somebody else who has self-love and independence.

3) Making Me Laugh – if they can make me giggle, or do that really unattractive snort thing where I breathe through my nose a bit heavier that normal (BTMNABHTN) we can move this towards a non-app conversation. Unless of course, they haven’t met points 1 and 2, in which case ‘buh-bye’.

4) Above all else, I value kindness. Being thoughtful isn’t possible at all times. I get it. I understand that being kind when you feel the world crushing on your shoulders is the last thing you may consider. Emotions right? But if they can show some glimmer of hope in what is otherwise a shitty world, then I shall consider that as a pretty good sign of empathy and that I’m not going need to tread on eggshells when we have to have difficult conversations.

For the most part, I have initiated all the conversations which I could never do on the likes of Tinder or POF because somehow, in the Western world, being the first to initiate a conversation there has this ridiculous meaning that you are the lesser attractive person. I kid you not! Seriously, go Google it right now! However I am approaching the Hinge mob in the same way I would a guy in a club. Or a dad at football. I’m dropping the metaphorical handkerchief and hoping they’ll pick it up and hand it back to me. Thus, making it easy for them to chat and approach me, because although the pool is smaller, there is still an extraordinary amount of members. Not only do I give them a green light by doing this, I have a second motive (muhahah) I’m hoping I will also stand out.

So…things that have worked well;

Did you know, Giraffes have 3 hearts. That would come in pretty handy for when you inevitably break mine

Debatable topics: ‘Dairy Milk or Galaxy’ ‘Thrilling sport or pompous pageantry’ (in reference to F1) or giving them a lead into my own crazy theory that the Earth is alive.

Telling somebody they have an attractive quality. It’s so attractive when… ‘guys get hands on in the kitchen, completely underrated’ or ‘men get hands on, it shows how strong you are’ ‘a guy can introduce me to new things or is spontaneous’

Being vulnerable (ish) describing ‘how empty home feels without the Christmas decorations, ‘my Elvis Wedding fantasy’ and ‘being open to finding someone special’.

I know, I’m so smooth! And here is a list of things that did not work well:

All of the above. Newsflash!

It’s amazing how up and down the dating app journey can be even in a matter of a few days. It’s pretty ruthless actually, the seemingly easy-going nature of chatting to people has an undercurrent of brutality; charring the remains of my already black heart just seems overkill. What do you mean I am not funny or pretty or flirty enough?! But, of course, that goes two ways. Of all the people I have chatted to this week, I consider 4 of them having potential, although 2 of them have stated they want children and although I feel way too young to say I won’t have anymore, I really can’t envision myself doing it all again. So that leaves two; Chris and Matthew. I fancy Chris. He’s a fair haired Jamie Dornan type with a clever captivating ability to just seem curious about everything. It really is endearing but I wonder whether this endless questioning would eventually do my head in? For instance, would I be allowed to put my feet up on the sofa and binge watch The Office without having to discuss what it is about the dry sarcasm and satire that really appeals to my psyche? Not my psyche dude, my inner child, I like to laugh. Try it sometime! But as it turns out, he doesn’t see adopting step-children in his future for a variety of well explained reasons. He was sure to let me know that he fancied me though and if I was open to a non-committal situation in his clever captivating way. Oh man, I am so so tempted, I can feel my inner slut stirring, awakening from a long siesta, but I send her back into hibernation and say NO! Actually, I flip the script and tell him he should message me if he changes his mind on children ‘winkyface’. TOUCHÉ! I know, I can’t believe it either. I actually like this guy, fancy this guy, and despite wanting to find out if he has the skills of his doppelganger in that film, I channelled my boundaries and politely explained casual wasn’t what I was looking for and gave him a second chance to change his mind to my way of thinking. He didn’t and so we went our separate ways and I am so proud of myself…..This is fucking progress yo!!!

As for Matthew, I don’t really fancy him, but he’s cute and he is interesting and he’s really had me in fits of giggle. He seems well travelled, very nerdy and is a gamer, which means we would have plenty of things to talk about and geek out on and I would have plenty of free time to do my own thing and binge watch TV guilt free. Plus, I could always join in that Tik Tok trend, you know the one where the girlfriend gets out of the shower and drops the towel and the boyfriend’s are supposed to dribble some sort of ‘I’m out, see ya’ to their friends before making sweet sexy lurve to you. On seconds thoughts, I’ve probably missed the boat on that one. I’m not particularly convinced wanting to take part in a Tik Tok trend is a valid reason to pursue a date either, but my wants/needs and boundaries for choosing a partner are no longer based on looks. Unlike Chris, he’s not clever with his words, so I know he is 3 years out the end of a divorce and looking for somebody long term who is adventurous in the bedroom. He explicitly asked me if I was and instead of raising my hackles (as would normally happen) or nose-diving into what his version of adventurous means to him (which I’ve done in the past to prove that I’m so t o t a l l y chill with sex stuff), I just replied with I’m an open-minded gal, and that’s all I will say on the matter until you have bought me a drink! Setting my standard? I think so!!

So how do you balance the attraction to the inside person with the desire to the outside person. Many times in my life I have come across people who I have not immediately been attracted to physically but have developed attraction to, FD and SD both being good examples. And those that I have been instantly attracted to? Well historically I have invested way too much and too quickly with them! Ha, who am I kidding, even when the attraction has grown on me, once I’m there I still invest way too much based on the attraction rather than the investment from them. For example FD called me ‘Babes’ when wishing me Happy New Year. All I’ve done is think about it since, I’ve invested 4/5 days in thinking about whether ‘babes’ means anything. SMH! So just because I’m making progress in one area, I’m failing miserably in another.

But seriously. Back to the Newsflash and dear readers, picture me right now: I am sat on the edge of my seat, leaning forward with that excited, slightly high-pitched crazy intonation in my voice typing these thoughts out to you as they flash in my mind like a virus to a web-browser when you click on one of those ads, or to anybody who is considering dating or currently dating and wondering ‘what if’ ‘why won’t they’ ‘how can I…’ ‘what am I doing wrong?…’.

Actually I’m probably still just talking to myself, but the answer is…

There is no answer!! What works with one guy doesn’t work for another. There is no fucking formula to this. If a guy is on your wavelength and understands your vibe then you will have a conversation. Maybe see if the Wennis (gah!) can last a couple of days! If it does, bingo. Call them. Or ask them to call you! Go on a date. Video call. But do not assume that having a good conversation and making it to a date or two or three is automatic entry into relationship territory. Just because you would like to see this go further or just because you are attracted to him or even still figuring both of those out, does not mean the feeling is mutual. He may have got to his answer sooner than you! Conversely, you might have gotten to that point before him and you’re gonna have to tell him you do not want to take it further. Think about it. How many times you have been the first to conclude a match is going nowhere? Now, keep this in mind when you suddenly feel the familiar discomfort of rejection try to envelope you and remember we do not fear new opportunities, love or vulnerability. We fear old pain!

What a revelation!? I’m gutted though, I feel like if this was a book, I’ve already spoiled the ending and we haven’t even got past the first week. First day in fact, I figured out all of the above on Saturday, in the first 24 hours.

P.S – If you are a match reading this, then I assume your name is Chris and you changed your mind.

P.P.S – but hopefully, your name is Football Dad and you finally came to your senses.

Dating Arrrggghhhpps.

It’s January 1st 2021. Happy New Year you magnificent people! Yesterday I felt like the world was gonna end. Today I actually feel amazing and strong. I’m still carrying some ‘baggage’ with me, trying my best to overcome and not think about it because I have to accept the things I cannot change. But do you remember in my last post, I said I was completely and truly ready for love?

Well I’ve only gone and downloaded a dating app. For the first time since August 2018!! I am not shaming dating apps, I haven’t been absent from them because I can’t be bothered or because they lead very quickly to dating fatigue, or because it’s full of idiots or because men only want one thing. Although the fatigue part is true. It’s because I just didn’t need to…spent most of the last 2 years being randomly pursued by people already on the periphery of my life! But, for somebody like me who doesn’t go out (mostly because I’m in the same boat as everybody else due to COVID, but really, mainly because I’m expecting the love of my life to break into my house when I least expect it) dating apps are a god send. It’s pressure free. I can fit it in around my work, Son, hobbies, life and has the added benefit of giving me options, which is especially pertinent right now so that I don’t lay all my eggs and energy in a certain someone’s basket (yes FD, I’m looking at you).

And I can hear you….’Jeez Love, you just got rid of 4 ‘boyfriends’, you’re trying to catch the attention of a fifth and let’s not pretend to forget your little foray onto Tinder earlier this year in an attempt to woo your work colleague.’ But it was only for a week!

Still counts.

Ok, I’ll rephrase: I have downloaded a dating app and plan to use it with serious intent for the first time since 2018.

Better?? Good, can I carry on now?

Maybe it’s because I am feeling so optimistic today that I have taken this step, although I was secretly planning to do this anyway. But I’m really curious to see whether all the work I’ve put into making better choices has paid off and whether the trust I have put into myself to make those better choices is valid. I’ve already noticed I’m being more open with my words, trying to find the balance of vulnerability and flirty rather than trying to be the funny girl at all costs because typically (and through a life of validation in this way from almost everybody in my life), I consider funny to be equal to love. I’m also not finding it so hard to untangle the incoherent mumbo jumbo going on in my head, which I actually attribute to this blog in all fairness. Practice makes competence and all that.

So, let’s take a bet. Can I make it through 28 days? 14? 7? Would love to know if you have used a dating app that worked for you! Or if you are in progress with your dating app journey, what’s your best piece of advice for someone who’s a little rusty?

Roaring 20’s, Boring 20’s…

My last major walk was on 14th December. That is over 2 weeks ago. It’s been a weird couple of weeks as I haven’t really had the motivation over Christmas, with school being out, working, planning for the big day etc, I’ve found it difficult to find the time. But the problem is I’m now in a slump. I have a whole morning to myself today where I would use this time to get some fresh air and get my heart pumping the red life force through me. But meh. Can’t be bothered. I’m doing a days walking tomorrow so might as well stay in bed where it’s warm right?

I also haven’t had football, and with my county going into tier 4 today, that might not continue either so this definitely feels like a lockdown again despite what the politicians, scientists and law makers say. Tier 4 is a polite way of saying ‘stop fucking mixing you imbeciles’!

And I’m annoyed because I have to go to work. I’m in a frontline industry, working for the emergency services. I don’t get the offer of being furloughed, I don’t have the benefit of working from home and therefore saving fuel. Throughout the last lockdown my son still had to go to school but he didn’t get any of the ‘home-schooling’ work at school because it wasn’t fair on the kids at home and so I’d be doing it after a gruelling day of working and it felt punishing at times. Eventually I just gave up, he’s a smart kid, he’ll pick it back up! The key workers amongst us are facing the COVID fight front on and the best we can get is a clap and a pay freeze. Yay! All because there’s no money in the public purse because our inept Tory government flounders it on crappy apps and PPE contracts to their ‘mates’. (Urgh, politics, I digress).

And I know I should be grateful to still have a job and an income and I am grateful, but it’s hard to maintain that positive gratitude when I see people around me only benefitting from this pandemic both financially and emotionally by being at home with their families.

It’s ironic that I feel like someone who is hard done by though. Because the truth is, sitting at home, working from home, not having the company of my colleagues some of whom are very good friends, means I’d be miserable and more miserable. And so in that sense, because 2020 has been a shitty year in so many ways, I’m glad that my life hasn’t been changed dramatically. It was hard enough adapting to the outside world regulations without having to adapt and overcome at home too!

But I’m really fed up now. And I’m not sure why….If the world opened up again, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t even do anything, I might go out and celebrate the end of the pandemic once, but that would be it. I’m not convinced in myself I’d even go and make up for all the lost time with friends and family.

So why am I fed up? Am I bored? Is it the post – Christmas blues? Has the loneliness of singledom finally set in? Am I not fulfilled enough in my job? Do I have some strife in my life that I just can’t resolve?

Typically, I am the kind of person who just goes with the flow, never really making plans, always last minute. It frustrates people and after this year I suppose I’ve lost a bit of purpose myself. Or perhaps I just need new purpose? My 2020 Mind, Body, Soul resolution worked so well and as it is the time of year to make a resolution for 2021, I think I’ll make some new goals. After all, having goals and something to work towards is a challenge and making progress and achieving great things is what makes life exciting. So… goals to realise for 2021 are set out below.

Realisations.

New Years Realisations!!

1) Read a minimum of 12 books (once a month, not hard)

2) Write 500 words before bed every evening (except Sundays. And Mondays. And Wednesdays). Ok fine, 500 words twice per week.

3) Continue spiritual and personal growth to feed the soul by connecting more with friends and family.

4) Feed my need to know things; continue to explore the world and how to help it through documentaries, news articles, published papers etc and look into taking a new class in Human Factors and Cognitive Bias.

5) Hike once a month with a 5km minimum walk once a week (checking off 100 greatest walks of GB). Those glutes will thank you babe (and so will he).

6) Finish all the small little jobs left to do in the house. Renovation is a pain but so rewarding when the job is finally done. (Plus, do you want to be embarrassed??!)

7) Chores are for rainy days. (Seriously, if the sun is shining, get your butt outside!)

8) Keep a diary to keep me honest with my realisations and create a vision board to see it all.

9) Reduce screen time by 50% (Hahahahaha).

10) Continue to focus on nutrition and overall body health.

So there you have it, my 10 Goals for 2021. Some are totally achievable, others never gonna happen but I strive for the best. In fact, I may not achieve any of them in 2021. I certainly doubt I’ll be consistent with them, but at least it’s all written down, I already have the whole of January planned out in my diary!

And of course there is always the hope that having these goals will naturally lead me into a path of love because I am ready for it. Every crazy, neurotic, anxiety filled, stubborn inch of me is ready for love in my life!

Do you make New Years resolutions or yearly goals? Or like me, do you normally just face whatever the year brings? Perhaps you are you new to setting goals for yourself and finding it hard to keep yourself accountable? Let me know, I’d love to hear your stories.

Being vulnerable…

When it comes to dating, I’m starting to learn that being vulnerable is an aspect that is required. Non-negotiable.

For the longest time I would retort to that with anything along these lines ‘I’m not vulnerable, I don’t need anybody, I’m self-sufficient, what’s a man gonna do that I can’t?’ ….etc etc etc.

But the truth is, being female, which has long been termed as the weaker sex, means that from an evolutionary perspective, men need to feel needed. They need to feel like a man. They want to provide. They want to be our ‘hero’.

And I have absolutely no way of figuring out how to adapt my mindset. I often respond to questions about my love life with ‘I’m too content being on my own’ or ‘I don’t see how I can find time for someone’ or ‘I value the freedom that comes with the single life’ which are true enough but there’s a bigger more vulnerable truth behind them:

Because being content and alone is better than potential heartbreak’

Because giving up my time means I have truly found someone special (who could break my heart)’

Because being tied down with someone is scary and risky and my freedom is my protection’

All the above underlined with ‘ultimately, Im just not worthy of love’ which my brain and heart know isn’t true but my past experience’s have taught me.

And it’s these past experiences that have taught me that being vulnerable is why things didn’t work out. Being needy is unattractive. Wanting passion and desire was too much. A simple life is what it’s all about and needing to be challenged and wanting a partner to mentally spa with made me high maintenance. And so I stopped being vulnerable.

But on reflection, when I have met these partners I was vulnerable. I met SD when I was 16 and needed somebody to love me because I didn’t feel it from anywhere else. When I met the Captain, I needed somebody to love me and infuse me with passion because I didn’t feel it from anywhere else. When I met my last boyfriend, I was so low I felt I had lost everything and needed somebody to love me because I didn’t feel it from anywhere else, not even myself.

There is a theme here that when I meet somebody it’s because I need to feel loved, which in itself is being vulnerable. Problem right now is I have an abundance of love in my life and so I don’t need a man to love me, I love myself, I have the love of my friends and family and maybe that is a vibe I am giving off and despite what all the I’ve doctors, magazines, podcasts claim about how you must love yourself first, maybe I should seek to love myself less. Or perhaps I’ve missed the point and loving myself is about giving me the confidence to say what I feel without fear of being rejected because I know I’ll be OK if I am?

So instead of saying:

‘I’m content on my own’ I should start saying I’d love to meet somebody who is independent as I am but who also want a connection. I want to find love. But if I don’t, it’s ok as I am fulfilled in so many ways’

I don’t see how I can find time for someone’ I should start saying ‘I have all the time in the world for someone special who invests in me as much as I do them’

I value the freedom that comes with the single life ‘it’s risky and scary lowering your guard and letting someone else in, but that’s the whole point of finding love. Nothing comes easy’

And by being vulnerable you show you are emotionally strong and in touch with your thoughts and feelings. Women are sensuous and emotional and despite what has come to pass over the course of evolution, that is what makes us the stronger sex. (Even if we aren’t yet still represented in such a way by society). And perhaps because men don’t have the emotional strength, they need us to be that way to make themselves strong and powerful? The physical vs the emotional.

So, is showing vulnerability to a potential mate a form of confidence and self acceptance? Knowing that you have emotions and you don’t care because that’s how you are made is exactly what is needed. Being feminine and soft is really going to take a major break-through for me, it doesn’t come naturally. But if I’m ready to love someone, and they happen to come along in 2021 then I need to at least be open to the idea rather than completely closed off because vulnerability leads to intimacy.

Brene Brown said ‘’Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”