Living in England there are some things that you come to expect:
- Not having a a summer
- Scary headlines about immigrants in the Daily Mail. Every day
- Being unable to drive more than 10 miles without encountering roadworks. With nobody working at them
And as much as we (I) may complain and moan about them, at least we know where we stand. We learn to live with it, and in a funny way we like it, because we all like to have a good moan don’t we? (And anyway, we can always book a cheap getaway, buy a Beano or take a train if it does all get a little too much for us).
Sometimes though, we just can’t help it. We try to be stoical about things, try to accept that life isn’t going to do us any favours and that the status quo is, well, the status quo… but we just can’t help ourselves. Against our better judgement we dare to hope, we dare to dream, we wear three lions on our shirt and
Yep, we dare to get our hopes up when we really ought to know better. Reality bites / sucks / blows. Especially when it doesn’t (sorry, I couldn’t help myself).
Ah, disappointment my old friend, you never leave me for long do you?
The dating life of a 40 something divorced male can be kind of like an England penalty shoot-out: for every Stuart Pearce there is an ‘I had a lovely evening,’ for every Chris Waddle a ‘You’re a lovely guy,’ and for every Gareth Southgate an ‘I’d like to see you again.’ And as the ball is struck – less precision placement, more hit and hope – the crowd rises in blind expectancy and…
‘But I see you more as a friend.’
‘He’s going home, he’s going home, he’s going, Matty’s going home…’
To be fair it doesn’t always play out that way and disappointment can come in many guises – in my modesty I daresay maybe one or two women may have been disappointed by me (no no no, not in that way) – but the end result is the same. As much as we might tell ourselves not to have any expectations, to enjoy each first date as a night out if nothing else, it can be hard at times to stop your mind from running away with thoughts of winning the championship (I thought better of saying ‘getting your hands on the trophy’).
So how do we cope with the inevitable disappointments that dating will bring? (Unless of course you are one of those blokes that lies, cheats, treats their women like rubbish – they seem to be doing alright for themselves if women’s dating profiles are anything to go by).
Well, how about ‘Man Up’!
Fact is if you’re going to date you’re going to face disappointment. That’s just the way it is. So you’re going to need to develop a thick skin. Many people will tell you not to take rejection personally; well, it bloody well feels personal. But we don’t have to take it to heart, it doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with us. It just might be that she is partial to coffee and you’re more an Earl Grey tea.
(Unless you’re this guy then please just give up; there’s always exceptions but you get my point).
And – it’s a cliché because it’s true – try to enjoy being single, it definitely has its benefits. You know what I did yesterday? Whatever the hell I wanted to. You know what I’m doing tomorrow? Whatever the… you get the picture. Fact is I know that one day I will look back at this period of my life with a nostalgic hue; with the knowledge of the lessons it will ultimately reveal and free of the doubts and insecurities of the moment, today will take on a fondness in tomorrow that isn’t always noticed unless I take the time to look.
Of course, we’d all like to meet our perfect partner but it’s not going to happen overnight. But if we are really comfortable with being single, if we don’t see it as a problem to be cured, then we’re less likely to put too much pressure on ourselves and others when we’re dating.
And if we do get our hopes up only to have them knocked back down again? Well, we bounce back, and each time the drop is from a lower ledge, the climb back not quite so far.
There isn’t somebody missing, she’s out there, you’re just going to have to wait a little longer to find her. Or maybe she’s already there and you just haven’t noticed.
You never know what’s around the corner; and maybe there’s no need to be in a rush to get there.
I Get Along – The Libertines