This post is written by my talented friend Jo O’Donovan who is a Life and Relationship Coach. If you are single and looking for love, in a relationship which you want to improve or struggling with work colleagues Jo’s expert guidance can help. You can find her at www.mydream-myreality.com
As I muttered these words, I would watch the eyes of my friends widen as they licked their lips and prepared to be entertained. In fact, they didn’t even need to be friends, everyone I came into regular contact with – hairdresser, beautician, work colleagues – they all wanted to be delighted by stories of a terrible date, a disaster or catastrophe that would leave tears rolling down their faces and me contemplating deleting my dating profile forever!
Of course, these were the people I was openly telling that I’d sunk to the level of desperation that meant I could not meet someone ‘in real life’ and had gone ONLINE!
There were those I actively tried to keep it a secret from – my teenage kids (“That’s so SAD mum!”), my mum (“Does he want to see you again? I know you didn’t like him, but it would be nice if he wanted to see you again!”) and of course, the staff at any local cafe or bar. I did not want them taking bets on if I was going to get a second date, and would they see ‘that guy’ with me again!
I approached my dating with dedication, I first put up a brief profile sounding really optimistic, easy going, light-hearted and looking for fun. That lasted about 2 hours…then I realised it read to others as ‘good time no strings attached -please send me a picture with lots of skin (muscles and/or dick preferably), ignore the age group I’ve specified as ideal (Baby…it’s just a number!) and jump straight to sexting without telling me your name!
After a few re-writes, I felt finally my profile reflected me. And then I waited, and waited, and waited!
Ping – then I got some hits…hmm, no, no, no….ooooooh – NO! I felt the men approaching me hadn’t really read my profile, they mentioned mainly how I looked (not so sleazy this time, but still looks focused) and didn’t appear interested in what I had said or specified as an ideal partner.
It became clear that if I wanted anyone more suitable I would have to do some contacting and finding them in the list of eligible men. And so that’s what I did, I developed a system of reading and contacting possible soul mates that got me out there and dating! And no horrors…well, there were a few…
One of my first dates suggested we go to a rooftop bar in Melbourne and it was a great choice – the place was lovely, he was well dressed, he insisted on buying the drinks (it was my student days in the UK that I’d last dated and those guys never bought you a drink!), so far I was impressed.
Then, as we ordered our second drink he explained he shouldn’t really have alcohol with his medication as he can get a bit manic…he then proceeded to tell me of multiple occasions where things had gone crazy (think the movie The Hangover), ending with the words “yeah…mind you, those are the only bits I can remember! You can still see the scar”
Another date was with a painter and decorator – first date, nice enough setting bar with a bistro if we got along where maybe we could get some food? He was 5 minutes late – not a crime. Still in his painting overalls – hmm, not the greatest first impression, maybe he was working late and didn’t have time to change (we met at 7.30pm).
Alas no, he’d come straight from work at around 4 pm and had been in the pokies (fruit/slot machines) for the last 3 and a half hours. Let’s face it…if it starts like this, its probably only going to go downhill if anything!
There was a guy who was so nervous he couldn’t order a drink – not for me!
One who talked bitterly about his ex and the marriage split – I want to go home!
And one who explained to me he helped at his kid’s primary school to get to know the mums of other kids for afternoon frolics – Why are you telling me this? What am I doing here???
And probably a few others… hhhh
However, I was relentless in my search. I would not give up. One work colleague would look exhausted by my telling him of the 3 dates I had lined for the weekend. I didn’t stop dating and got better at picking better possibles and actually had many, many really good dates.
A few guys I saw just once, some a few times… I got to see places in my city that I didn’t know and became a reliable review-giver of bars and restaurants for my friends.
I even managed to have a long-term relationship (just under 2 years) with someone I met online. During that time I changed from wanting a partner to spend free time with to wanting a partner to really commit and live with, and wake up next to. We were never going to feel that way about each other…
So back to the dating for me…
It was a Saturday, and I was asked out by a guy I knew was NOT right by the profile, the goofy picture, the TV shows he liked…everything. But I had no other offers…it was Saturday…how bad could it be?
He was 20yrs older and 20kgs heavier than I anticipated. I sat there thinking, “How long until it’s not rude to say I need to go?” I disagreed with everything he said and he’d then tell me I was right and agree with me. He began to actually try to fix up another date between us… and that’s when I bolted. Ran, I may have knocked over tables I flew out so fast.
It wasn’t really him – it was me. I knew this guy wasn’t going to be right based on what he had already shared prior to us meeting! I should’ve trusted what I knew and had felt inside and stayed home.
Instead, I drove straight to a friend’s house and began to cry. Now that is not me…yes, I get upset sometimes, but I’m the optimist in our group. I’m the one who never gives up. “I’m sick of constantly putting myself out there!” I sniffled through my tears and probably some snot – yes, I was feeling rather bruised.
“Perhaps,” my friend bravely ventured “You might want to give it a break for a while?”
I remember looking up at her and adamantly refusing such a thing was even contemplatable! “But I’m not going to meet HIM if I give up!” I sobbed. I mean, the man of my dreams wasn’t going to just knock on my door was he. If it were a movie, of course, he would probably do just that or I would just need to buy coffee in the same place every day and then realise my friendly barrister is actually the one I’ve been looking for all along! Silly me!!!
All that could be done for that night was sleep on it.
I should totally have taken her advice and taken a breather. I should have just chilled a bit and focused on me, my friends and family.
What did I do?
Well, I got straight back on my app and fixed myself up a date for the Tuesday night of course. I told you…I’m the optimist of the group!
And I sit here today thanking the moon, the stars and everything in between because that Tuesday’s date turned out to be the meeting of a very special person.
That Tuesday (a date I nearly didn’t bother with) was the day I met the man that has gone on to be not only my loving partner but my soul mate! I knew there was someone out there for me, I knew I would eventually find love, but I had no idea that I would find this kind of love – the toe-curling, passionate, giving, caring, go out of your way for kind of love! A love that fills me and makes me beam by merely thinking of him. A love that for the past 4 years has grown stronger and more caring as we laugh, cry and share our lives.
Now, I accept that this approach is not for everyone. In fact, I get that for some, even now where it’s actually commonplace to be on a dating site if you are single, it’s something they can only dip into occasionally.
For me though, I would rather keep trying and fail at dating than sit at home wondering…my fear of not trying and missing out was way greater than trying and failing!!!
Keep moving in the direction of your dreams…Jo x
Life and Relationship Coach