Did you know that my middle name is ‘Dating Extraordinaire’?
I mean obviously it’s not, but for some reason people come to me for dating advice and I genuinely have NO clue as to why. Yes I bagged myself a dreamboat of a husband, but still. The guys before him were certainly nothing to brag about. Cry about, maybe.
The people come in their thousands and line up outside my house waiting to hear my insanely accurate advice. I mean, it’s pretty dead outside right this second but it is raining…
On a more serious note however, people do ask for advice. I find that they want to know the magical texting/dating formula that results in them being able to put a ring on it.. They easily get caught up in the ‘I can’t text for another 40 minutes because I don’t want to look keen’ or ‘I’ll screenshot in an hour but I can possibly be online in the meantime’ or ‘I’ve scared them off, I replied too quickly’.
We’ve all done it. Myself included. I used to spend HOURS analysing Every. Single. Word. in a text looking for the hidden meaning and whether I’d been too keen to reply to a text. Because obviously dating is made up of complex HTML coding and needs to be decoded.
That is until I met Tim. Now, I desperately don’t want to come across as gushing and obsessed with my husband, but there really is no other cheesy way of phrasing this so please forgive me.
Tim has taught me the following:
- Be yourself
- Don’t overthink
When Tim and I started chatting online it was completely natural. We didn’t get hung up in the clock watching to reply to a text, he wasn’t bothered about appearing too keen to ask me out on a date, and this helped me to relax to break news about the old epilepsy.
Being myself made complete sense. I didn’t have to worry about moonlighting as the perfect human being (I mean I am, but the pressure can get to me you know). To put it this way…. 2 days before we had our first date, I had spent several hours standing in the sun watching the London Marathon and quite frankly I was able to rival Rudolph; I was not at my goal weight and I was mid MSc dissertation and therefore wasn’t in my most relaxed of moods. I was emotionally dead inside after a kind of weirdo dating thing with essentially a sociopath (I really wish I was joking) and I was a teeny bit lonely. The dating profile writes itself.
To put it another way… I wasn’t in a place to play games and nor was I willing to let someone in my life that would cause further disruption. I was feeling ruthless.
I was me and Tim was Tim.
Now this blog post is for both those analysing every text message AND the people who are put off by a text that might be in their inbox 30 seconds earlier than they’d like. In the instance with Tim I was the latter (with every other guys, I’d been the former). He asked me out on the fourth message which was a little keen for my liking and I did think he might want to try and kill me. Casual. But I did the following:
I sucked it up.
I sat there and thought ‘what have I got to lose?’ (apart from my life, but we’ll meet in public and I should be okay). Back then, many people weren’t lining up outside my front door (even when it was sunny) and I was a self-confessed man hater. But his longest relationship was 7 years (i.e. not a player) and we had the same taste in music. It was now or never.
Now obviously you will know that this date ended up with me marrying Tim 3.5 years later because you are all avid readers of my blog, but I have also been able to reflect on the differences between Tim and the other guys (and it’s more than just Tim being a decent human being).
There was no need for any games, analysis of text messages or starving myself to meet his unrealistic expectations of women. We were transparent with each other about our whereabouts, and he respected my insecurities. It was so incredibly simple. I won’t pretend it’s been plain sailing all the way, but we work as a team to overcome the obstacles.
I sadly can’t guarantee that the next date you go on will be with ‘the one’. I’d be sunning it up in Aruba if I had that kind of talent. But what I will say is this (cue Jerry Springer’s ‘Final Thought’).
The world is a messy place – particularly at the moment. For most of us we have the freedom to go about our daily lives worrying about what’s for dinner and who’s getting dumped on Love Island. The thing is with modern dating is we have the ability to meet a lot of people, and there is no guarantee that ‘the one’ is waiting for you on Tinder. But one thing I am pretty sure about is that if someone is really that bothered about the timing of text messages, then they’re not worth your time. If you find that you have to tweak your personality to accommodate their needs – you’re not going to be a very happy bunny. For those bothered about receiving too many messages from the person you’re dating – are you even into them?
The best thing you can do is stay true to yourself. Respond to a message when you want to and rather than checking WhatsApp every 30 seconds to see if your message has been read, distract yourself with a hobby or friends. But don’t try to force something that isn’t there. You can’t make them like you just as much as they can’t make you like them, and if they’re not into you, that’s not a reflection of your personality.
Sadly these kinds of dating antics have had quite detrimental effects on people’s mental health, including my own. I often look back at my previous ‘relationships’ and wish someone had told me that I deserved to be treated better, but on the flip side, we don’t all know how we should be treated until we experience it. I would say that as a general rule of thumb; if the person is causing you increased anxiety (beyond the normal butterfly level) or making you doubt yourself, then I would run for the hills. I genuinely believe that if someone truly cares about you or is generally interested, the games won’t exist.
Remember, what’s for you won’t go by you.