I have to admit that when people ask me how I met my husband, I often shy away from the truth. Sometimes I flat out lie and say ‘A bar’. Other times I’ve said ‘oh you know… (they obviously don’t or they wouldn’t be asking…) out’.
As time has gone on, I’ve got more confident in telling people the truth; I met my husband of almost 3 years, who I’ve been with for over 5, online.
Despite progress in my honesty in sharing this, there’s still a part of me that really will not tell judgemental people exactly how my husband and I ‘met’.
Online dating has a stigma of being for those who are desperate and lack social skills that I’m not too happy to embrace. However, a great husband and child later I can see how much of a blessing daring to engage in online dating has been for me. I spent about 12 solid weeks (including my 6 week holiday from work) going on about 15 different first dates, some progressed to more dates, most did not, and spoke to about 70 guys in some form.
Valentine’s days upcoming arrival has me reflecting on how I found the love that has been so instrumental in who I am today.
Here are some of my tips for online dating:
Explore your values before doing anything
Whilst healing from an encounter with
a complete idiot someone whose values were no where no mine, I decided that I needed to mitigate the chances of experiencing toxic shizzle again.
I solidified what I wanted by simply looking at at a list of values, section 4 from this site I think, and then ticked the principles that resonated with me.
After doing this, I felt as though I knew myself better and was also clearer about what I wanted in a partner.
Of course, I did not expect my future dates to match all of my values, so I prioritised a couple and went into dates with an idea of what was important to me. No I did not interview men; ‘Can you give me 3 examples of when you were last honest?’ but I went into dates knowing what was important to me and naturally noted if potential beaus and I seemed well matched, values-wise. When I got to the point where I was deciding which guy to talk to further, having my values in mind helped me to make the decision easily.
Do not write anything that can be mistaken for a call out for a casual encounter if that is not what you want
The naive side of me wrote something along the lines of ‘…so if you are a person who likes fun times get in touch’ in my profile to perspective dates.
Fun to me means funfairs, going to new places, laughing uncontrollably. I quickly learnt that the phrase ‘ fun times’ has a whole other meaning for some people that I completely missed when writing my personal outline.
If you’re the kind of person who has a habit of saying things that come across differently to what you intended, ask a friend to read over your dating profile, please.
Don’t let the weirdos get you down
This may have something to do with my ditzy call out for people who like ‘fun’ but oh my goodness, I got approached by lots of weirdos.
One guy told me all about his mansion, money and champagne then asked me to spend the following weekend at his house after just 2 virtual messages. No. No. No. I got definite serial killer or thinking that money= getting everything you want asap vibes from him. I politely declined and kept it moving.
Another guy’s first message did not conceal any of his sordid thoughts. He told me that he worshipped black women and wanted me to dominate him.
I didn’t even consider replying, blocked him and cried about the state of the world. A few more black woman fetish messages later, I almost gave up on online dating.
Luckily my now husband messaged me just as I was about to hang up my dating shoes (or more accurately delete my Plenty Of Fish profile). He seemed cheeky and refreshingly honest. I scrutinised him meticulously for any signs of ebony fetish issues. When we met in real life, we blatantly didn’t want our dates to end; one ‘lunch’ date developed into a day long walk around different eateries in central London, for lunch, dinner, snacks and a dessert. In some ways our dating days haven’t ended. We got engaged after a year of dating and now have a child. Marriage is not a garden of sublime, show worthy flowers, however I’m confident that I’m married to the best person for me.
Do not send more pictures of yourself if asked
Some guys would say ‘yeah, your picture looks good but I just want to make sure, send me more pictures’. I would politely wind down the conversations with these guys. To me, looks mean nothing. I have met plenty of stunning people with peas for brains and toxic habits to know that there is 0% correlation between looks and someone that will be a good life partner for me.
Once I realised that a potential love interest was overly concerned with how I looked, I was no longer interested in them. I could envisage a life spent with constant criticism of what I was wearing, what I did to my hair and my general appearance. I’m not into that and I feel that relationships that are founded on arbitrary criteria will eventually become undone.
Try to see it as just meeting interesting, new people
I know, one of the dates you meet could be the Disney-esque love of your life and you could have a lifetime of happy, sparkly, A* memories together. But I feel that if you go into your first couple of dates thinking about children and trying to investigate what your new surname could be, you may give off desperate, not very genuine or relaxed vibes. I had one date in which I went into it feeling like I was never going to meet anyone, consequently I wasn’t myself and it didn’t go well.
However, if you just see dates as a chance to have a chat with someone you’ve never spoken to before, with an interesting life that is different to yours, you will go into dates being yourself and will hopefully not feel too bad if the person you meet does not turn out to be for you.
When you meet your life partner, your days of dating new people will be over.
Enjoy meeting new people, thinking of nice outfits to wear and going out to new places. I look back at my dating days very fondly. I feel like it was a time in my life in which I was in a (extremely tame) version of Sex and the City. I went out lots and got to explore London in a way I had never done before.I was able to meet some really interesting people, who I definitely would never have spoken to otherwise.
Online dating is an adventure and when you’re shackled up with the person meant for you, hopefully you’ll look back at your dating days fondly.
Happy (online) dating!
○Cultural Magpie 2019