So, you find yourself back on the shelf. You are dating again. You are ready to meet someone new and share your life. Dating has always had its challenges; just read Romeo and Juliet. All the best novels have an element of searching for love. For most, who we meet is now down to an algorithm. We enter the data and an app creates our potential mate. We swipe left or we swipe right and it’s as simple as that.

Over the last few years dating has taken a huge turn. It was only around 10 years ago that those looking for love would have scoured the newspaper personal columns. With the introduction of smart phones and apps came online dating in the form of Tinder, Bumble and eHarmony. They all profess to be different, but most people on the dating scene say they sign up to several apps to widen the search, only to find the same people across all of them

Of course, you could try an agency for a more professional solution to your problem. For a fee, an expert will do the searching for you; matching you to several ideal candidates. Many turn to this method after epic fails with the online scene. 

One thing’s for sure, dating is huge business and the numerous TV dating shows just prove this; celebrity dating, meet a date in a restaurant and there is even a nude dating show where men and women choose their ideal partner by assessing whether they are attracted to their private parts before they see their face or get the opportunity to speak to them. Crazy.

Wellness

Are you looking for love or just sex or a combination of both? Whichever it is, it can play havoc with your mental health and wellbeing. The whole procedure can turn into a second job, rewriting your profile, changing your photos.  How do you stay sane through this? Men and women are desperate to find a special connection, but over and over again we hear stories of how hard it is.

It does happen though and there are many who find online dating a success and move on to live their happily ever after. People fall in love all the time but you need to be resilient.

Many people go on a date and end up making new platonic friends. It is really important to not make a big deal of “finding love” per se. Increasing your bank of friends is always a good thing, especially if you are through a tricky relationship breakdown. It is actually quite likely that you do make some good friends along the way as you may have a lot in common with many people.

Ignore the smug-marrieds who snigger at the thought of online dating; they are on another planet. The majority of people looking for a relationship are logging in and swiping. Everyone on an online platform is there to meet for one reason or another. You just have to match your reason and theirs. If you are hoping for a hook-up – make it clear, or you will be left feeling frustrated when your matches say that they are looking for something serious. Just be honest from the outset.

Try not to get too nervous and simply think of dating as meeting new people. Removing the dating and finding love aspect from your head, will take the pressure off. It should be fun and remember that your date will be anxious too. At the end of the day, until you actually meet your date in person you are not really going to know if there is any chemistry. No photo can really show what a person looks like or demonstrate their superb sense of humour. You are just looking to hit it off with someone. Of course, there will be incidences where you really like someone but you just don’t spark something in them and vice versa. Maybe the old adage “throw enough mud at the wall and hope some of it will stick” is the way to go if you have the energy. Go serial dating. 

It’s always a good idea to be direct. There is absolutely no point in stressing yourself out on a date, pretending to be something you are not. Make the first date a short one, just in case you realise from the first moment you meet “they are not the one”.  A coffee or quick drink are always acceptable and be honest and explain why. The other party will probably be relieved to hear you suggest this too. It’s not only your mind you need to consider, all those dates and small talk are exhausting. If you can cut down the hours you spend on first dates, this could be a good idea. Thinking what to say; it’s tough. Consider your wallet; if you were to go out for three dinners a week, you’d need to take out a mortgage. Short and sweet I the best way to play it.  At the end of the day, if you really do hit it off it will be lovely to look forward to meeting that person again as soon as possible.

Don’t stress about who pays, make it a rule that you just split the bill. In this way, there is no issue. Some still believe that the man should pay. Male or female, just insist you pay half and cut out that drama and angst.

Health and Wellbeing

Try not to make dating the only thing happening in your life and ensure you spend time having fun with friends and family. At the end of the day, you never know who you may meet when you are socialising in different circles. Ask your friends if they have any “singles” they could arrange for you to meet for a blind date. If you keep a healthy normal life away from the dating scene, you won’t become completely obsessed. It’s very easy to become disheartened if you haven’t had any matches. The search for new love can be cruel.

If you haven’t matched with anyone, are you setting your sights too high? Maybe you are actually approaching it like a job, with a checklist of everything you want. You can have a few things such as wanting a non-smoker, children or not, where they live, but actually does anyone know who they are going to fall in love with? If someone knew what attracted one person to another, no one would be single. There is no science behind it and opposites really do attract. There will always be stories such as the 5ft 11 female looking for a 6ft 4 Clooney lookalike who immediately fell in love with the 5ft 9 guy who fibbed about his height on his profile.

Don’t beat yourself up if you really like someone and they don’t feel the same. They can’t help their feelings any more than you can. It is what it is and you just have to move on.

If you really don’t have time to do the app style dating and wish to take a more formal approach, then a matchmaker or dating expert really is the way to go. A professional can remove all the stress and provide you with a number of suitable dates and there are people who provide this service listed in The Hug Directory. It may also be useful to consider having some life coaching or counselling if you are out of a divorce or long-term relationship. You may have issues which need to be dealt with which are blocking you from moving forward. A coach will help you to establish your life goals. Only when you are happy within yourself can you welcome a new partner into your life.