For me dating is a means to an end and that is a long-term relationship with someone that will take a special place in the life of me and my children.
So far so obvious. Or maybe not, because not everyone approaches dating with the same intention. Some people might not even be sure of their intentions, whereas others may be single-mindedly clear in their intentions but less than clear (read: honest) in expressing them.
Clearly wanting the same things out of life – well, more or less anyway – is an important basis for a successful relationship. And this is one of the many hurdles to be cleared on the way to finding a successful match. And a useful starting point is to be honest about why you’re dating.
Still, it seems the potential for mixed messages is ever present. When trying to find a match online it never failed to surprise me when women would highlight their intention as ‘casual dating’ and/or ‘nothing serious’ – fair enough, we all know where we stand – accompanied by a suggestive photograph – for example, lying on a bed in lingerie – and then proceed to use the space given to describe themselves to state, in a very no-nonsense manner, that they are not interested in one-night stands or men that are only after one thing. Hmmmm, maybe a little self-awareness wouldn’t go amiss.
From knowing why you’re dating we now consider what you’re looking for. When looking for dates online clearly looks are an important factor. Some bemoan the seeming ‘shallowness’ of discounting somebody based purely on looks and I am more than aware of the fact that you can grow to find someone attractive over time through getting to know their personality; many relationships begin this way, indeed I’ve experienced this myself.
But it’s all about the medium isn’t it? As far as I can make out people don’t approach strangers in a bar with the thought, ‘well, I don’t fancy her but if I get talking to her we might grow close due to compatible personalities and we might end up as a couple in a year or so.’ Doesn’t happen. So it is with online dating, if you don’t like the look of someone it’s a non-starter really.
As a man of 40+ (age, thankfully not waist size) there are certain things that are working in my favour – I have my own hair that is wholly untainted by Just For Men (have a word with yourself please Sir Paul McCartney), my own teeth – and all of them, and I don’t look over 50. One would think that these aren’t selling points but apparently on certain sites they place you in the elite class of eligibility. Add to that owning a house, a car and having a job and we’re talking top percentile. Oh, and to really up the ante let’s add in honest and normal (ok, normal is subjective and having read my blog there may be certain dissenters on this point but what the hell I’m running with it).
Go on Matty lad – open goal!
Or maybe not. And when hearing about the standard of competition from those that are battling through their third and fourth attempts at finding a decent guy online it can get a bit disheartening when your attempts to find Miss Right are proving futile. I mean, it’s not even as if I’m one of those that poses with fish or stunned tigers (apparently these people exist, and in their multitudes) or my car (ok ok it’s because it’s a Corsa – give me a BMW and that may change; along with the ability to use indicators and not drive like an arse). And I have never sent a picture of my chap.
So what’s going wrong? Maybe I’m just not cut out for this internet dating, I do seem to be going against the grain if the above is anything to go by. Or maybe it’s just that I have been incredibly lucky in how I’ve met people in the past and actually a series of disappointments and non-starters is a more realistic representation of the single life. Maybe a little perseverance is needed.
Perhaps, but for now I need a break. Thankfully my time on my lonesome isn’t difficult to fill now that I can use it to unload / rant / whinge to my blog.
And who knows, maybe Miss Right will be reading this, that elusive lady that has spent her whole life waiting for a nice, normal, decent guy that looks like Brian Cox and has a past that includes mental illness and a failed marriage. ‘Matthew, where have you been all my life?!?’
In the meantime it’s important to remember a few things. My brother has given me lots of good advice including the need to avoid confusing boredom with loneliness. It’s important to spend time doing, or even re-discovering, the things that you love and that fulfil you. The danger is that in running from loneliness we may run into the wrong arms; as they say, the best things in life are usually worth waiting for.
And in the end, despite the disappointments we may experience along the way – as another first date remains a first date, as your ex moves on and finds happiness elsewhere – we mustn’t compromise ourselves by settling for less than we deserve; by believing that being with anyone is better than being with no-one.
Because, regardless of who we meet along the way, we will always be with ourselves, and perhaps the best thing we can do when we are single is to learn how to be truly happy by ourselves, with ourselves, just as we are.
Soundtrack: Supersonic – Oasis