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?

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.”

FD#5 – Before I spiral…

Yes I know I said I’d become a nun (said in jest). And I know I said I shouldn’t let 0.000000013% of the population affect my mood or my behaviour (I really want this to be a thing) & I really don’t want to have to repeat the mantra over and over again (but how else do I get through this?)……… FD didn’t even say hi today at training.

‘A guy who is interested, won’t have you guessing and wondering, he’ll want to do the chasing, and if he’s not interested, you’ll be confused’

Sooo confused so I guess that’s that.

Gah! So close yet so soooo sooooooooooooo far away.

She Cray Cray

‘’If she’s single, pretty and fit, she’s crazy.’’

This was a statement by a man. And I’ll be honest, I’m a little triggered.

It’s not because I disagree. But rather the fact that it suggests that women who are the opposite of those words, or who don’t fit all three of those descriptions are not crazy.

One of my bestest friends is completely neurotic. She’s pretty and fit but married and let me tell you, the stories she has told me about her husband and the things she has done are way beyond anything I could ever think up.

– she pretended to be an asian model on linked in and chatted up her husband to see if he’d take the bait

– she deleted an entire hard drive containing photos of him in his previous marriage and binned his previous wedding photos.

– she linked her phone to his so she could get into his emails and Instagram

– doesn’t allow his eldest daughter in their house or to speak her name

– checked his internet history, found porn and so gave the laptop a bath soak

I mean I could go on. And I know men who are equally ‘crazy’, pouring fish oil on car trims and leaving strategically placed make-up in the house, dating family members of their ex.

Ok so men may be more petty than crazy but my point stands.

And most often, the word crazy is used in the context of ‘its a bad thing’. If you ask my friend she’s say her actions come from a place of love, and the men from a place of hurt, anger or jealousy. But it’s interesting that all of these things are steered by emotions.

Now, I’m not saying I’m not crazy. I can definitely fall foul of my own emotions and I’ve done some pretty crazy things when that’s happened….

– I once text a guy who I hadn’t even been on a date with a fucking essay on how I felt such a strong connection and that him going quiet on me had really upset me and he was a cock blah blah blah – turns out his grandmother had died. Awks.

– I imagine any guy with dating potential in the role of groom and if he’d look good in an Elvis costume, and if I don’t think he could pull it off, I discount him immediately (have I mentioned how ambivalent to marriage I am)

– I do a social media trawl so deep that I wind up in a labyrinth of pictures and posts and can’t find my way back.

– I have put myself in places I know they frequent in the hope of running into them, and then ignored them when I do.

– I write a blog detailing all my emotions and thoughts

But are those things red flags? Do these actions that may be considered crazy to men really those of somebody imbalanced? Or is it rather a perception that an inability to manage and control emotions is a bad thing and so we should all walk round like robots? I wonder what my male friend thinks the appropriate adjective for his fellow males of the same categories is? A player? A flake? Emotionally unavailable? Has high standards? High maintenance? A pest? Abusive?

Some of those may well be fitting, but for the majority….

If he’s single, fit and handsome he’s a big fat scaredy cat. I’m going to start calling this Alpha Pussy.

Boundaries

Let’s face it. When there is a new love interest I tend to get carried away. I can’t help it, it’s as if my wiring fires up, all my cylinders get into gear and I go into what guys call crazy mode. Now thankfully, the crazy has been confined here, or at least I think it has but I feel I may have shown my hand too early.

‘I guess I’m going to make it my mission to feed you grape juice and Lobster

His Reply: ‘Yep, that’s definitely the plan going forward.

Some protest if we’re the only two in it’

His Reply: ‘the best 2. You have to start somewhere

I’ve had the best day, mostly because of your company’

His Reply: ‘yeah the feelings mutual so thanks’

Him: ‘i fell asleep on the sofa, woke up with [son] on me’

My Reply: That’s a cute image 😍

Him: ‘wait until you’re 40, you’ll really feel it then’

My reply: Oh behave, you’re well fit, you didn’t have to climb your stairs on your hands and knees

His reply: ‘ That’s funny, especially picturing you climbing the stairs’

Not that it really matters if I have shown my hand, what’s the point of playing a game, there are other ways I can be mysterious and intriguing. And it is just texting, you can’t really show your hand too early if the feelings mutual, can you? Theres not really a lot to read into here I know & whilst he doesn’t make the first move very often, when I reach out, he matches the effort in conversation. So I wanted to make a post that I can look back on to remind myself what to look for when newly dating. It’s not an exact science, but at least it helps me set my boundaries and expectations whether this is for football dad or anybody else.

1. Investment

Do not invest in him based on your attraction levels. Yeah, so what if you’ve had a crush on him for 6 months, if he’s not reciprocating your level of effort, boy bye! This is really all that matters. Investment can be something as simple as sending a text and getting a reply in a timely manner. Or it can be arranging an elaborate date once you have seen each other a few times. It could be mimicking – you preen, he preens. You laugh, he laughs. You move to him a little, and he comes your way too. It’s not always about the first move and girls shouldn’t expect the guy to make the first move all the time, because whilst you are enjoying the chase, he’s seeing it as a lack of investment from yourself! Equally you don’t want to make every first move. Even it out.

2. Communication

Guys are just bad at this. It’s not their fault, it’s something to do with their hard-wiring. But guys can communicate, they just need a helping hand and that is where you come in setting your boundaries. If you make it clear what you expect from communication, a guy will adapt. For instance…you suggest a date. Guy knows he can’t due to other commitments. Most guys will be flaky, because it’s non commital but a guy who is interested will explain why he’s busy for a few weeks and give you an alternative option. And if there’s even any chance of getting together before then, he’ll say so. If he’s keeping it loose, then you should make other plans and when he reaches out, kindly explain ‘we didn’t firm anything up, so I arranged X,Y,Z. Would love to set it up with you though’. This is clearly setting your expectations up without being too aggressive and still being open to meeting him. If he doesn’t get the hint and continues to be a flake or loose with commitment then boy bye!

3. Friendship

The foundation of the relationship is based on a solid friendship and not sex. Finding things each other enjoys doing and sharing interests. Friendship is not a mojo killer, you can still be sexually attracted to a friend, just be careful not to end up in the friend zone. A cute ‘We can’t be friends anymore’ text followed up with ‘your a blues fan’ or some other jokey retort. Or a ‘you looked hot today, have you done something different?’ text will keep the tension. ( OK, confession, I have yet to try either of these approaches, so take it with a pinch of salt and wish me luck for when I do). No

4. Flirting

It doesn’t come naturally to some people, but I need a tactile partner. I love to be loved. Ironically, I’m not a tactile person, well not without the invitation from the other person anyway. If there’s no playful touches, a hand on my back or a gentle arm around the waist then I’m probably going to withdraw pretty quickly. The same goes for making me laugh. A few cheeky comments intertwined with a funny story will have me hooked. It doesn’t matter how pretty you are, or how rich you are or how popular you are. If you don’t have charisma then don’t be surprised to find a ‘I’m not feeling the spark, good luck and take care’ text.

5. Chivalry

Ok so I’m old fashioned which is completely against my ‘make the first move’ and ‘I don’t need a man’ motto’s. Except I do. I need a man in my life. I want a man in my life. I just don’t want any man in my life. Truth be told, Its a deal breaker. I need a man holding the door open, carrying bags, fixing the taps, putting out the bins, helping with the shopping, sharing the cooking. Building a life to together. Sharing intimacy, being vulnerable and empathetic. To me these are gentlemanly qualities that have long since been forgotten (in my experience). I mean I can do all of those things myself obviously, I’ve been doing it for the last few years but it’s more fun when somebody else wants to do it and get involved. And in its own way that’s the guy taking care of you. And wouldn’t it be nice just for once to have somebody take care of you?

So. There’s my 5 boundaries. Written. Crystal clear. No ambiguity. If a man does not match these 5 qualities then it’s time to stop investing. Stop chasing.