Am I ready for dating??

A friend of mine, aided and abetted by her two twenty-something daughters, is trying to convince me that I should apply to appear on the Channel 4 TV programme, ‘First Dates.’ “You’re an ideal candidate,” she says. I’m not exactly clear why, or in what way. Actually all I can see is that it would be ironic:: a single solo lifestyle expert looking for love and publically (viewed by millions) going on a date?! But maybe I can be persuaded…..

For quite a few years now, I have not been in the slightest bit interested in looking for love/my soulmate, finding a partner and having a relationship. I still carried the scars from my most recent forays into the complex battleground of middle-aged dating. At the time, I hadn’t been looking for love etc then either – mutual attraction and interests just occurred to each party at about the same time, lasted briefly and fizzled out. I decided that I couldn’t be bothered to try again. And it was somehow a relief to make that decision, and not to need to play the attraction game.

However, for the first time since then, I have to admit that I have started to feel as if I could welcome a man into my life again. And it has somewhat taken me by surprise! So, in analysing why this change has happened now, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is all about how I feel about myself, how comfortable I feel in my skin and confident in my self-worth. In short, I’ve learned, or rather I’m learning, to love myself. Experts in this field all maintain that we shouldn’t expect to be loved if we don’t love and care about ourselves. The truth in that smacked me between the eyes.

When I was last actively looking for love, it was the fashion to join a dating agency, that provided a service whereby men and women were ‘matched’ according to what they said about themselves and what they were looking for in a partner (their profile.) I don’t recall the name of the agency I signed up with, but I think it was purely for graduates and professionals working in London. Client profiles were matched by so-called ‘expert matchmakers’, who sent the details out to prospective dates in the post. I remember the excitement of seeing the logo on an envelope! The package I signed up for guaranteed me enough prospective matches to result in at least 6 dates over a year, at the end of which I would have, quite literally, ‘met my match.’

Initially I was full of hope, but it turned out to be a complete waste of time and money. The expert matchmakers either weren’t expert at all or just never had the quality male candidates I was promised: I rejected lots of profiles on first reading. I ended up going on 13 dates in a year, rather than the six I had paid for, as a result of my complaints. It became clear that men had a tendency to see themselves as a version of tall, dark and handsome, and to stretch the truth/tell fibs in relation to their education, or occupation, even their hobbies and interests – sometimes all of these. But I persevered for the hell of it, and because it provided me with a year’s supply of amusing anecdotes on dates that went wrong!

Don’t get me wrong, had some things been wrong but, nevertheless, we really clicked – that would have been a result! And that would be the same for all the men I met through, for example: small ads in respectable broadsheets, special singles get-togethers based around a London event, or Solos short breaks and holidays. None delivered. (And for those I met, I may not have delivered either.)

So now, damaged by the above experiences, and before embarking (perhaps) on a TV ‘First Date’, I know I have to draw up a new profile for myself and the person I am hoping to find. In respect of the latter, I’m going to take motivational guru Bob Procter’s advice to focus on the qualities and attributes I would like a prospective partner to demonstrate, for example is he kind, generous, caring, young at heart, supportive, healthy, solvent and most importantly, available?

In keeping with modern practice, I need to test out my profile and requirements on an internet dating site. I’ve been doing some research on those specifically targeting the over-50 age range. Did you know you could register with a site specialising in mature women for men; sugar daddies for women; Filipino or Filipina partners, and on a postcode basis? The last one promises, ‘Meet senior singles near you and walk to your date!’ I need to continue researching to find the right one or ones.

I might think I’m ready for a relationship, but I’m entering the modern dating arena with trepidation. Am I really ready for dating? To be continued……..