COVIDeo dating so far…

While we’re all practising social distancing, we’re certainly not disconnected. From what I’ve seen, read, heard and experienced so far, it’s quite obvious that people are feeling quite lonely, a little stir-crazy and rather lecherous (I think that’s an alternative for “horny” (?)<— sorry, I dislike that word).

Until further notice we’re all living under house arrest, we’re now finding ourselves in a situation that has prompted getting glam for the cam, FaceTime happy hours, virtual game nights, synced cooking and synced Netflix viewings. With that said, I think dating in isolation during a pandemic actually has some positives! When it all started kicking off, I was receiving less sleazy messages from guys that I wouldn’t touch with a barge pole, and more messages with collective concern and care (genuine or not… who knows!) But naturally because of what’s happening in the world right now, people are deeply connected and affected so we instantly have something in common to talk about. I’m finding that this topic (although I’m pretty much over it) has become an easy conversation starter, so you very quickly learn if someone is a pessimist or an optimist, what their hobbies are outside of the usual “Food, Travel, Skiing, Hiking, Exploring” 🙄 yawn! Even their political views to an extent.

Looking at the more humorous side of things; cheesy chat up lines will 99% of the time make me immediately swipe left (that is, after I’ve taken a screenshot and shared it with my friends!) People are evidently getting much more creative which I’ve found rather amusing. Yes, Coronavirus chat up lines have arrived in full force. Singletons, if you’re in need of inspiration, why don’t you try one of these for size…

“Are you Coronavirus? Because you are simply breathtaking!”
“If Coronavirus doesn’t take you out, can I?”
“You are way out of my league but I have spare toilet roll if that helps?”
“Wanna make plans together and cancel them?”
“I have rubbers… and I don’t just mean gloves.”


Before the pandemic, I had never even thought about a virtual date before. Of course my preferred route would be to meet up in person but I figured I may as well give it a go… I’m pretty open minded and realistically, what choice do we have right now?

Prior to COVIDeo date #1, I had a few reservations/concerns… like, “how does this shit actually work?”, “this is going to be weird and awkward!”, “is dressing up necessary?”, “what should I wear?”. In the end, I decided to treat it like a normal date as if I were going out (basically an opportunity for me wear something cute! Yay!)

Thankfully the guy was proper cool, and, similar to me… as in he was a total motormouth which kept the conversation flowing nicely. Surprisingly I felt comfortable straight away, we had a good laugh and there was absolutely no awkwardness… apart from the fact that I was very aware he was drinking wine and there’s me with a 1L bottle of Lucozade in my hand! Haha! …What can I say, it was a long week at work and I had minimal sleep! Overall it was a really pleasant date that lasted about 3 hours.

I’ve only had 3 COVIDeo dates so far which is not exactly a huge sample size but the thing that has stood out for me was the stripping back of the social environment you’d normally get in a bar/restaurant. Being able to simply enjoy talking to one another, having things to share despite the fact that there’s no physical element is a really good sign!

Some of you may want to put dating on hold until we’re out of this phase, which is fair enough. But for those of you who are still keen to date, I’d highly recommend giving virtual dating a go. I totally understand that it’s frustrating getting to know someone, creating a bond but not being able to see them in physical form. Nonetheless I think this temporary way of dating provides a chance for people to take things slow, get to know each other on a deeper level and build a connection. Can I add that it also helps expedite the process of weeding out time wasters.

I suppose the big “unknown” from all of this is whether the connection built in the virtual world will translate in real life. But if you’re being your authentic self, then I don’t see why it wouldn’t? We still have a good few weeks of lockdown ahead of us, so my advice is to just enjoy it for what it is. Let’s hope some of this new openness, attention and follow-through will stay with us when we finally re-emerge out of our homes and back out into the world.

“When do I get my fairytale ending?”

A few weeks back I was talking to my cousin over WhatsApp, we were exchanging stories on all the latest dating dramas and screenshots of our erm… interesting matches. We’re both in agreement that online dating sucks, and while I’m having a lot of fun with it, my cousin is on the brink of giving up!

There are some women who really want the whole marriage and kids thing (my cousin) and some who are open to the idea but not particularly fixed on it (well that would be me!) Speaking of which, did you know about 17% of marriages and 20% of relationships begin online. I guess it’s not a terrible stat, to be honest I think it’s amazing when people manage to find their perfect partner online, but I think there’s a sprinkle of luck involved too!

The idea of fulfilment

During our conversation, my cousin said to me “When do I get my fairytale ending?” — and even though I’m fully aware that there’s no such thing as a “fairytale ending” (I’m not pessimistic, just a realist), it dawned on me that actually… dating can be quite the opposite sometimes. I feel like there’s this whole stigma about settling down. Traditionally, the stages of a “perfect relationship” has always been portrayed as: dating someone for many years, buying a house together, getting engaged, getting married, having kids and growing old together. Obviously this way of thinking has branched out and moved on yet it’s still an idea that people hold on to. For the singletons who hold tightly on to this way of life, tend to feel the pressure more as the years go by.

I find that as you get older, dating becomes harder. The truth is, the longer you’re alive, the more baggage you build up. We become set in our own ways, we’re more particular about what we want in a partner, we’re more critical. And this is just a tiny handful of reasons why. You’ll also find that everyone has been in some form of relationship(s) already, people might have children, be divorced… all of that stuff. So what do we have left? Well, it’s a choice of:

1. Serial daters – doesn’t take dating seriously and doesn’t want to take dating seriously
2. Broken but healing – may succeed once healed
3. Broken and not healing – toxic and undateable
4, Mentally unstable – this can cover a lot of ground but generally toxic and undatable or adds too much of a burden
5. Married – no thanks
Kids from someone else – might work for some, dealbreaker for others

You get my drift right? Okay, fine… there might be like 10% of “normal” people out there but even so, it’s not the easiest journey, particularly if you’re someone looking to settle down. There are other factors which unfortunately make an individual put pressure on themselves, this includes:

1. When all your friends are getting hitched and popping out babies
2. Parents / Other family members
3. Awareness of your body clock
4. Not being able to enjoy your own company

5. Overthinking about the future

Go easy on yourself

One might not be fussed about any of the above but I totally understand why a number of women are in a hurry to find their Mr. Right. The thing is however, progression of a romantic relationship can’t be forced or rushed, it’s something that should naturally evolve over time. So on that point, I wanted to compile a few “words of wisdom” for my fellow singletons. Mind you, I’m no love guru here, I’m simply picking out some narrative from various books I’ve read and conversations I’ve had — all which I’ve personally found useful and taken onboard.

JUMPING INTO RELATIONSHIPS
There are a number of reasons why people rush into new relationships. A lot of the time, it’s an attempt to get over an old one (ie. filling a hole in their life), but rebound relationships rarely stand the test of time because until your heart has healed you’re unlikely to be in the right frame of mind to let someone new in. Lost relationships deserve to be grieved. Even if the choice was yours to end it, there is still the loss of the hope you once had for it. You’ll be surprised how much you discover about yourself when you take some time out to heal.

Being part of a healthy relationship requires being a healthy person (mentally and emotionally). While it’s lovely to have a companion, it’s vital to feel comfortable and happy within yourself when you’re on your own and before entering a new relationship. It’s worth mentioning that no one ever figures everything out about themselves. I’m still learning every day! But when you know what you want and need in a relationship, the higher chance you will find someone in alignment with those needs.

TRUST YOUR OWN JOURNEY
We need to remember that everyone’s timing and journeys are different — and I’m not just referring to relationships in this instance. What works for some will not work for others. In life, it can be very discouraging when you witness friends or siblings reaching important milestones, whilst you’re there struggling to make ends meet.

Now if we look at dating, it can be hard to suppress feelings of sadness, envy or whatever it is you feel in the age of social media where everyone’s life seems so perfect online. If you find yourself thinking “why can’t it be me?” after seeing a friend’s Instagram post announcing her wedding engagement while she’s in the Caribbean with her new fiancee — it’s totally understandable. There was a study on Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking which found that social media use was associated with lower self-esteem and poorer mental health.

Please don’t focus on how you rank in comparison to others. Enjoy your journey. And remember that your journey has nothing to do with how well other people are doing, or what they have… but it has everything to do with what you want to do, and where you want to go. That’s all you need to worry about.

HIGH STANDARDS VS. BEING UNREALISTIC
People people people… we must draw the line between having high standards and being unrealistic. First of all, there is nothing wrong with having high standards. I think it’s a sign of healthy self-esteem, and it implies clarity about who you are and what you want. High standards conveys someone who knows their worth and what they deserve and are not afraid to ask for it and expect it done.

On the other hand, having unrealistic expectations for yourself and others isn’t great. Expecting someone else to be perfect, tick all the boxes all the time and do things when and how you want is not fair. Sorry but who do you think you are? If you’re constantly feeling disappointed in your relationships, you might want to consider the fact that you expect too much from your partner. Yes, relationships involve compromise and there are certainly non-negotiables, but sometimes we need to do some readjusting where expectations are concerned.

I’ve seen people’s (long ass) lists where there’s a column for dealbreakers and a column for requirements… and boy, some of that stuff is incredibly far-fetched and laughable. I’m not even gonna go there! Anyway, the bottom line is that you must understand and accept that no one is perfect. By doing so, you release yourself and others from this competition that nobody can ever win. 

STOP JUDGING
I have been particularly bad at this in the past, which is why I’ve been called “stush” before. One thing I would like to highlight is that putting yourself out there, being in a vulnerable position isn’t such a bad thing — and I’ve massively appreciated it when the other person does the same. It really helps when two people are honest and can communicate. It takes a good amount of time to really get to know someone and even then, you’ll only know a fragment about them. Even in relationships where you learn more over the years, people change as they go through different stages of life, things also happen and you either go with it or walk away.

Managing your judgement is very important here. The problem with judging early on is that you don’t allow a chance to connect with the other person on a deeper level, where you see their core values and beliefs, and watch their actions to make sure that they’re aligned with their words. At the end of the day, kindness and acceptance is imperative when getting to know someone new.

ENJOYING THE MOMENT
The best part of dating? Having fun! Life might throw a lot of bullshit your way, but it should be enjoyable… and as a bonus, sometimes it’s a learning curve. There are people who restrict the fun side of things because they’re not living in the moment. In fact, the same people are most likely too busy formulating plans on how to lock things down with the “potential”. Remember: Not all relationships will lead to marriage, some will help you discover new restaurants.

We often lose sight of what dating is all about, and in my opinion, it’s about connecting with another person, sharing who you are while learning who they are, enjoying the activity, laughing at the jokes, flirting and appreciating each other’s company. When you don’t take yourself or the date too seriously, you’ll quickly find yourself having the best dates of your life. Perhaps we need to trade the unattainable “fairytale ending” for a happy journey with a few bumps en route.

THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING SINGLE
Lastly…. this. I wasn’t always someone who enjoyed being single but when I took the time out and focused on me and put myself first, my mindset and outlook changed completely. As a society we’re so wrapped up in finding someone to complete us, instead of trying to complete ourselves. Being single is when you learn about yourself and discover who you are. You have all the freedom when you’re single with no one holding you back — so make the most of it! Don’t allow yourself to be so enthralled on becoming somebody’s that you forget to first become somebody. 

Well that’s it from me… I hope you enjoyed this post and it’s given you some food for thought!

Are we burning ourselves out with all these matches?

Dating apps… there are far too many options out there (I’m talking apps and potentials), it’s been said that the golden rule of dating is to never put all your eggs in once basket. I’m not opposed to this, however if you’re not on your A-game or you’re a newbie to dating apps, this multi dating palaver can quickly become confusing, tedious, tiring and kind of messy! I know because I used to be a multi-dater once upon a time. I got to a point where I was having 3 dates a week. And no I’m not bragging here. It was fun and a great laugh at first, but I started pondering… is it really worth the time and energy? Is multi dating truly the way forward in search of a suitable partner?

Repeating the same small talk, asking the same questions to X number of guys over and over — while also trying to remember what they’ve/you’ve said… it’s far too exhausting! Keeping up with several conversations simultaneously meant that I had to leverage my organisational skills (good thing I’ve worked in Project Management). I used to have copy and paste questions (and answers) saved in my phone notes! Basically a bunch of templates. Cheeky huh? It was certainly an efficient way of doing things… but in hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have treated dating as if it were some kind of routine/chore! 😬

Multi dating = Multi confusion?

So I refrained from multi dating strategy and wanted to share my reasons why:

1. As mentioned above. Small talk. It’s necessary but painful… and I’d rather not multiply the number of times I have to do it.
2. I love getting glammed up… but truthfully it’s effort! For me, I’m either dressed to the nines to looking like a peasant — there’s no in-between!
3. When you’re not quite getting that spark and you have to drop the awkward “I’ve had a great time, you’re lovely but…” message. Eeek.
4. Constantly looking over my shoulder during a dating incase I get caught by one of the other dudes!
5. Guilt. I know I shouldn’t feel guilty but… I have a good heart! I feel so bad if a guy starts pouring their feelings out and it’s not mutual.

Some people start wondering whether the grass is greener on the other side. Dating then becomes a numbers game and everyone feels disposable. The problem is that this way of thinking doesn’t allow you to properly connect with someone — keeping one foot out the door ultimately means your efforts are half-hearted.

By the way, how you choose to date is totally up to you. I’m merely sharing my experiences 🙂 So why did I multi-date in the first place? Well I’m not going to lie, boredom was the main reason. But in the early stages of dating (especially when you don’t actually know what you’re looking for) it’s nice to connect with different types of people, have a laugh, suss out what type of people you gel with, what qualities/characteristics you like in a person and what you don’t. Then if you happen to share mutual interests, values, humour and enjoy each other’s company then great! I do think multi dating is ideal for those who prefer to keep it casual… although I know people who do it for the ego boost.

Providing that you’re someone who’s unsure about what you’re looking for, here are some other reasons why multi dating can be a good idea:

1. It prevents you from becoming too attached (if that’s your dating style).
2. You won’t feel the pressure or need to rush things.
3. You’ll have a clearer, more rational observation of individual traits you like and dislike.

Why do you want this position?

Multi dating is like being an employer, you’re looking for the right person to fill a role. The first stage is essentially pre-screening, you know… going through their photos and bios (CV), then selecting candidates to match and chat with. I think my record is holding 17 different conversations across 4 apps at one time — I won’t be doing that again! 😬

Then comes the process of elimination. If the conversation is dead, you unmatch. If all goes well and the candidate has kept my interest then they move to second stage (WhatsApp, maybe a phone or video call). A little after this point, if I haven’t blocked them yet, then it’s final stage (setting up a date). Scheduling dates was a bit of a madness… I had to keep a diary to remember who I was seeing and when. Many articles advise letting the other party know that you’re dating around from the start, I don’t think that’s necessary, but that’s just me.

Disclaimer: My definition of multi dating isn’t having a full blown relationship with multiple people. Nor does it mean I get intimate with every single guy at the same time! Once I’m into someone and the feeling is reciprocated, I cut ties with the others.

Conclusion

I think multi dating is kinda long! I guess my attitude around it has changed, I honestly can’t be arsed! These days I’d prefer to invest time in one person. It requires less effort, I don’t get caught up in any complications, it’s an opportunity to get to know someone on a deeper level without other “distractions”, it’s respectful, and if things don’t work out then it’s just a simple case of dropping them, moving on to the next one or chilling! Why make life more difficult right? What’s your take on it?

The hoe life is no life… for me anyway.

Call me old fashioned or boring but with the development of dating apps, we’re now in an era where people skip the niceties, forget about courting, get straight into “DTF?” (Down To Fuck – for those not familiar with the lingo), then it’s off to do your thing and sneak out the morning after.

Hookups have always been on peoples agendas, and I think dating apps have made it easily accessible. If you’re anything like me, someone who has never been interested in a quick bang, it’s easy to get jaded with the world of modern dating. Don’t get me wrong, for those who enjoy the freedom to have casual sex whenever and with whoever, by all means do your thing! I’m certainly not judging.

Each dating app encourages users to make it clear what they’re looking for on their profiles in order to help set expectations on both sides. However, even when you do that… you’ll still get a handful of people that match/message you with other intentions. Of course I can simply choose to ignore or unmatch them, especially when they send distasteful messages. But it’s the ones that play the game, act like they’re looking for something other than a hookup but aren’t completely upfront about what they really want. 🙄 Why? What is the point?

In my opinion, it seems that many people (both men and women) don’t actually know they’re looking for — in which case, these particular individuals should deactivate their accounts and do a bit work on themselves. Alternatively, if a quick romp in the bedroom is what people are after then there are specific apps designed for those after something that isn’t long-term/serious. Sorry folks, I don’t know all the app names but I’d say Feely and Tinder are probably good starting points.

As a female dating app user, you wouldn’t believe just how easy it is to rack up a bunch of men to sleep with. I’m not tooting my own horn here, it’s a fact that women get more matches then men. Basically there are a lot of guys out there who want sex with no strings attached. I don’t use any photos where I’m in a bikini, in tight gym clothing or little “ratchet” outfits… yet I still get ridiculous messages. 🤮 Can you imagine what it’s like for the women who do use fleshy photos? I’ve got to be honest here, when I swipe through my guy friend’s matches, some of these women will put “looking for a relationship” then use pictures with half their breasts out and posing in lingerie. Really? You’re not exactly leaving much to the imagination.

Anyway, we live in a modern society and sexual promiscuity happens; everyone has their own wants/needs. It’s just that my preference is to be in a place where I feel stable, comfortable and not have to deal with the aftermath of emotional messiness. I would much rather be with a person that’ll make me feel good all the time, not just for one day or on occasions.

Casual sex is suited to those who can simply compartmentalise (and not many can). But I also find that these people tend to display quite intense, antagonistic, narcissistic personality traits. I guess you could say it’s kind of similar to the FWB scenario — except you need to remove the element of friendship! So yeah… hookups. Not ideal for those who are an emotional train wreck or those hoping that a relationship will be the end result. Do you agree?

Back ups. Safety nets. Back-burners.

A back up partner, standby lover, or spare-tyre lover is a person anticipated as a potential future romantic partner in the event of the failure or unforeseen end of a current relationship.

“If we’re still single when we hit 40, just be with me, let’s have kids together.” — I have a friend who was being very serious about this offer… and by the way, he’s aware I’m writing this blog post! Every time I saw him, he’d say it again and again. I laughed it off, sarcastically joked about it numerous times until he looked genuinely offended.

According to an article I read the other day, “50 per cent of women in relationships have a back up partner.” – Wow, I did not know that. And just to throw it out there, here are some other little facts about women with back ups:

1. Married women are more likely to have a second option in place as compared to those in a relationship.

2. In most cases, the back up choice is usually an old friend, who has harboured feelings for the particular woman. Or else, it could also be an ex-boyfriend/ex-husband.

3. The majority of women said that their back-up would be somebody whom they had known for at least seven years.

4. One in ten women also said that their back-up had confessed their feelings to them already.

I’ve never quite understood or considered a back up. By no means do I judge people who have one but are “safety nets” there out of fear of being alone? Or is it to gain personal confidence knowing you have someone else to fall back on if worse comes to worst?

Looking at it from one perspective, I guess once you commit, you eliminate all other options. If option number one doesn’t pan out, you have to start over, which is probably a daunting thought for some. Then there’s also the element of having someone readily available to cushion the blow in case of a potential heartbreak.

In my opinion, a back up sounds very similar to being a football substitute. You’re essentially “benching” them until you decide you need them. And unless they’re happy with the agreement and are willing to wait it out (maybe forever), I find it unfair to keep someone around (who likely has feelings for you) until further notice. I certainly wouldn’t feel comfortable with that arrangement.

But maybe that’s just me and my empathy for others. What are your thoughts?

Why is it always something?

From age 16 until now I’ve been in 5 relationships… although I wouldn’t consider the ones before 25 “serious” as my young, wild and naive phase lasted a fair few years. When I finally matured and got my shit together, I decided to remain single for a while — 2 years in fact. I spent a lot of that time focusing on myself, working on my own happiness. I learnt how to enjoy my own company, spent more quality time with family and friends, went on a fair few holidays, got through a ton of books, put more energy into my career, improved my fitness, took up new hobbies, as well go through the process of self-reflection, all which gave me an incredible amount of perspective.

I can’t emphasise how important the self-reflection part was for me. Once I took a step back and analysed my life events, behaviour, values and beliefs; I decided it was time to make a few adjustments. I didn’t necessarily change who I was, but knew there were areas within myself that needed improvement – my attitude in particular. Once upon a time, I used to be extremely selfish, I went from 0 to 100 extremely quickly, sometimes violent, easily irritated, always spoke without thinking, was condescending towards others and had issues with authority.

Being a typical teenager/young adolescent was an obvious factor, however there were so many more layers to why I behaved and acted in such a way… but I won’t bore you with my life story! Maturity, different experiences combined with taking a time out made such a positive impact on my life. Over the last few years I’ve found myself to be much calmer, a better listener, more empathetic, understanding and open-minded. I pretty much did a 180! 😊 And if you’re wondering how any of the above is relevant to dating/relationships… just bear with me… My friend recently described my relationship history as: “Every bad trait you could ask for in a man, you found in each one of your relationships.” – This is true! Here is an overview on everything I’ve encountered in the past (not fishing for sympathy by the way!)

Relationship 1 – violent, controlling, cheater
Relationship 2 – no backbone, gambler
Relationship 3 – drug abuse, no ambition/drive
Relationship 4 – needy, insecure, controlling
Relationship 5 – compulsive/pathological liar

Quick overview

Number 1 affected me the most for sure. He did me dirty! 😩 I was young, it my first boyfriend and I was very cut up about it when it came to an end. A few of my issues stemmed from this particular relationship, and caused some of my existing issues to magnify. I knew it had affected me badly because when I entered my second relationship, I ended up being an icy bitch while displaying signs of a very unstable, insecure person. I just didn’t allow myself enough time to fully heal before jumping into a new relationship. Thinking back, I was a real handful to deal with! But the fact that he was a gambler didn’t help much with my irritable behaviour, he also never put his foot down when I was being mean, thus making it very easy for me to be a living nightmare.

When I was 21, I signed myself up for CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), I could feel my rage getting out of control as it was slowly spreading across to my home life. I found therapy helpful, it made me more self-aware, however it wasn’t going to solve everything… and putting what I learnt into action was a very slow process for me.

After the dramas and the 2 year self-cleanse, I told myself that if I were to get into another relationship, that I’d be the best version of myself, not let past issues creep into the present, not set any expectations and just go with the flow. Which I did… as well as I could anyway. As you know, people don’t just change overnight.

Then Relationship 4 & 5 happened. Along came Mr. needy, insecure and controlling, followed by Mr. compulsive/pathological liar. Oh and not to forget, my dating history includes (but not limited to) being ghosted, bring dropped because they were still hung up on their ex, bring slow faded. Isn’t dating delightful?

The “psychoanalysis”

I believe my old line manager at work came to the conclusion that I was the “common denominator” — rude. Firstly, I’m confident it’s not me — yeah, that’s what they all say! But seriously, it’s not. I’m someone who thinks very logically, I have my head screwed on and don’t act “cray”… well not anymore! I’ve already gone through that phase. What I don’t know is how and why I manage to attract certain types of people. They seem cool at first and then all the toxicity suddenly comes pouring out! Literally… why is it always something? I’m capable of understanding that no one is perfect. I’m not and have never asked for perfect. I totally get that everyone has had some shit to deal with in the past but how is it possible that every person I’ve been in a relationship with… or even short-term dated just ends up having some major issue??

Ain’t nobody got time for that!

It’s a good thing I’ve learnt not waste too much time and energy on people! To think that I used to drag things out for more than a year in hopes that the person/situation would by miracle change! Madness. Don’t get me wrong, I think people can change but it’s not an overnight thing… it can take many years and quite frankly… who’s waiting?

I exchanged some hilarious dating/relationship stories with my work colleague the other week, and she shared a this little theory with me. She believes that damaged/unstable people can sense the aura of those who have their shit together. Then once the victims have been sussed out, these “parasites” will lure us in, latch on and absorb as much time and energy at the expense of our happiness and wellbeing… so in essence, I’m a host for these leeches! Sad but sounds about right.

Turning point

On a serious note though, not many people are aware of their internal issues or they simply choose to suppress it. I feel it’s vital for everyone to self-reflect. Not only do you become more confident and happy within yourself but it helps to build much better relationships. It’s certainly not a natural or easy thing for people to do. Many will struggle to hold up a mirror and really take a good look at themselves because it means being vulnerable, being completely honest with oneself and admitting mistakes/faults. When I think about the past, I genuinely hope that my exes/guys I’ve dated have gone through this process and managed to better themselves allowing them to discover real happiness and love.

Perhaps I’ve been dealt a slightly bad hand when it comes to dating/relationships but will always be grateful for the experience and learnings that came with it. I have no idea what to expect next but all I know is that right now… I’m in a really good place where I have peace of mind, life is stress/drama-free, I can look back and laugh, cherish memories, write about it and enjoy the moment 🙂

I’m not picky. I just have standards.

Yeah okay I do have a fair share of dating disaster/failed relationship stories (partly why I started this blog in the first place)… so when I spill the latest to my various groups of friends, they seem to think the “pattern” is due to my pickiness and high maintenance attitude. Well, I humbly disagree. I’m far from picky and not even close to high maintenance – really, that’s the truth. Besides, I’m from South East London… say no more init!

In terms of qualities and characteristics, I don’t ask for much. Just someone who is capable of being honest, can hold a good conversation, has a sense of humour, respectful and has direction/ambition in life. For some reason though in today’s society, even those 5 things can be a challenge to find in a person!

For those who are unfamiliar or new to the online dating scene, I want to give a bit of detail on how I filter out the absolute lunatics from the ones that appear “normal” (not to put you off but a good percentage of these “normal” people still end up having major issues, they’re just pros at putting on a facade!)

Anyway!!! Before I get into it, let me quickly explain why I decided to flock over to dating apps. Firstly, I (and I’m sure the majority of people) would prefer to meet someone in real life. It enables you to cut through the bullshit, see if you have chemistry right away and figure out if you’re attracted to the person (not depending on or being disappointed by misleading photos!) However, currently, for me anyway, there isn’t much opportunity to meet someone in the traditional way (i.e. social events, during a night out) and there’s a few reasons for this:


1. My circle of friends are mostly married with kids so getting dolled up and going out to clubs/bars/lounges are a thing of the past. Besides, I couldn’t think of anything worse. I stopped going out years ago, and even if something did crop up, I’d happily pass and spend the evening in bed!

2. I also want to highlight that the types of people approaching me at clubs/bars/lounges were usually very sleazy and after one thing. It’s the same grotesque kind that have the audacity to ask for your number when they’re parked up in their cars or stopped at traffic lights.

3. Social gatherings – yes these happen once in a (rare) while but it’s highly likely that I’d be familiar with everyone there already!

4. Meeting people at work… hmm, not a big fan of mixing business with pleasure but okay I wouldn’t rule it out. As long as we worked in very different departments! It’s how I met one of my exes to be fair… but clearly that didn’t last (nothing to do with work, tell you about it later) but truthfully… finding a potential partner when I’m at work is the last thing on my mind!

5. Meeting people through friends – I find it very cringeworthy when a friend tries to play matchmaker. Not to mention that I don’t trust their taste and judgement in character! Lol! Sorry guys!! …Look, it’s not like I straight up say no, I do ask for a few details and a photo. Then I’ll get a response like: “Yeah so he works with me, he’s really nice, super smart but… he does dabble in drugs.”


A couple years back, with a lot of convincing from my old work colleagues, I finally gave in and created a few accounts across 4 dating apps. Tinder – which lasted for about an hour. Plenty of Fish… well, that’s another topic for later. OKCupid – great for blog fodder. Bumble – meh, guys look good, not much substance though.

Since it was unfamiliar territory, I asked my colleagues (a bunch of lads) how it all worked. Apparently the best way to find “hot chicks” was to continuously swipe right on everyone, then save the filtering for after… “it’s the most efficient way of getting matches” they claimed. Erm… sure? Except I wasn’t looking for “hot chicks”!


Not many females I know use dating apps (I can see why!) so I had to figure out my own filtering style.
And seeing as photos are the first thing people look at, I’ve listed the kind that instantly make me swipe left:

USING ON PHOTO (EVEN IF IT’S A GOOD ONE)
I can’t trust that.

MYSTERIOUS PHOTOS
Wearing sunglasses in every photo. Blurry photos.

HALF NAKED/GYM POSERS/AB SHOTS
No.

THROWING UP GANG SIGNS
Are you not like… 37?

PHOTOS OF PRIZED POSESSIONS
Cars, properties, gadgets… *yawn*

WTF PHOTOS
i.e close up of a beard, close up of an eye, a photo of a garden shovel.

SOMEONE I RECOGNISE FROM SCHOOL/WORK

OMG.

…okay, that’s the first stage of filtering out of the way.


The second filtering stage focuses more on the substance. Below are things I find rather off-putting or consider deal breakers:

CHEESY QUOTES/STATEMENTS
i.e. “Live laugh love.” or “I’m looking for my partner in crime.”

NO BIO/MINIMAL EFFORT
“Ask and find out.” – This displays laziness to me. Make some effort please? Bullet points will suffice.

THIS KINDA STUFF…
“Hookups”, “I’m only here for the weekend”, “Want to have fun”, “I’m very kinky and need a submissive woman”

WEIRD NAMES
i.e. Rubber Alien (the dude was wearing a gimp suit), Black Magic, FootSlave, Mr. Nice Guy

“HAVE KIDS”
Works for some. Just not for me unfortunately.

“ENTREPRENEUR” OR “SELF EMPLOYED”
I fully respect anyone that has their own business and built it from the ground up… and if I can see that displayed on their profile, it’s all good. From personal experience, I find that the genuine people will include the name of their company. The “dreamers” however… they like to talk a good game. You’re basically unemployed.

SUBSTANCE ABUSE
That’s their business. I’m not judging but it’s a deal breaker for me.


So there you have it! My two stages of filtering. It’s much easier to be cut throat when you know what you want and don’t want. The only thing left after second stage is to figure out whether these “normal” people are actually wearing a mask!

At this point, some conversation would have started and that’s when the third stage of filtering kicks in… it’s a bit tricky from here but don’t play detective too much, you don’t want to kill the vibe with a nice, genuine person!

Oh and please don’t go stalking them on Facebook / Instagram / LinkedIn (unless you really feel the need to). The best thing to do is just enjoy getting to know each other, go out on dates, have fun, don’t set any expectations but also:

1. Don’t neglect that intuition!
2. Be aware of red flags!
3. Don’t lower your standards out of desperation/fear of loneliness!