I had to make a new tinder profile...

creating a new tinder profile

I'm a fan of dating apps generally. They provide us a way to widen our reach, to pass by via people we'd never meet in any other way. They're a window to a world where you can make connections without having to wait on complete chance. I mean where else do we get to approach people and see if they're a potential partner? I'm far too old to meet men in night clubs, and I'm so old in fact that I don't even know if people even still do this? I presume they do, drunk people at 2am all get that same itch, regardless of how technology has changed I'm sure.

My tinder/bumble account generally ticks over, and although I don't go on tons of dates, they're a reliable place for me to find them. Back in October, I had a mini tinder break, as I treated myself to a holiday abroad. I returned, refreshed and ready to get back on the dating wagon. But my matches had dried up on me. Dead. Empty. Nada.

I was a little stumped. Had I finally run out of men in London? Was I now just undateable? That's when the epiphany hit. I'd gone away to celebrate turning 35. That's what had changed. My age. 

Visions of tick box forms ran through my head, and remembering that classic age bracket 24-34. I'd fallen out of most men's age bracket. It seems men even older than me want women who aren't 35. I decided to test my theory, and I started a new facebook page, with a different age - 33. I started my new tinder account, and made it identical, I just added a line in my bio, explaining I wasn't 33, I was 35. 

The matches came back like normal, and now that's the account I use. I find it sort of funny and sort of sad. I understand that you have to pick an age, as we can't match with every single person. I understand that maybe some men want children, and think that they will need a younger woman if that's going to be on the cards. But I'm also aware that men stereotypically don't date women their own age. That men who are 40 don't want to date women who are 40. Which is frustrating, and stupid. So I'm now officially 33/35. Let's see how this goes.

"Am I bit your bit of posh" (Dating gems)

krista-mangulsone-53114.jpg

I thought I'd share something that happened to me on a date this year. It was a first date, that went well enough we went home together. We had a nice time, and the next morning we had a slow and lazy morning. A strong yey for consenting and happy adults just sharing time together, no biggie.

A comment he made, stuck with me, and I thought it was vaguely interesting. He joked with me, asking "Am I your bit of posh?" Or something to that effect. I quickly retorted that it must mean that he saw me as a bit of rough.....?!

Class is interesting isn't it. He'd judged me, my upbringing and my current life, against his own, and decided that they were different enough they were worth commenting on. This stuff all exists, and 'class' I guess is used to clump people together with shared characteristics. What was weird, was that I didn't see us as that different at all. 

It reminded me of another conversation I'd had with a woman who'd gone on a date with someone she said was much 'posher' than her. She gave this as a reason it wouldn't lead to a second date, and when I asked why, she said the differences in lifestyle felt too big. Enjoying different types of restaurants, different foods, holidays and expectations. She felt uncomfortable.

Perhaps he felt uncomfortable with me, saw us as having different lifestyles. It was oddly one of the reasons he gave for not going on a second date. I guess he didn't want to live like common people.

My break up

break up.jpg

It's been roughly 4 months since my breakup, and about 8 months since I've seen him. I haven't really written about it yet, I've been very conscious that a relationship belongs to two people, and the breakup does too. I've reached a time when I'm ready to write about my experience of 'us' breaking apart, while not sharing anything that belongs to him. If you see what I mean.

reeree bali.jpg

There seem to be two things you give up when you break up. Firstly, you give up how you'd imagined your future looking. How far ahead this went varies, but even your day-to-day future just disappears. I think we can often overlook what a hole this leaves us with; the future that won't exist now. Needing time to figure out what your new future may look like. Our relationships don't form everything in our lives, but they have an impact on all of it. So I've needed some time to just work out what my new chapter looks like, and even what I want it to look like. 

black and white.jpg

Secondly, even if you did the breaking up, or believe that the relationship ending is a good thing, you still have a person that was a massive part of your life, and is no longer. Partnership aside, I miss him as a person. I miss hearing what he thinks about things, I miss having him to talk to, just as a person. So there is time needed to 'grieve' the person. Just getting used to not having him around, or to call. I miss his brain, you know?

reeree rockette 2017.jpg

I've thrown myself into my next chapter; I've moved house, I went on holiday, I've taken a college course. I've dated. If you follow me on twitter, you'll probably hear me talk about dates. But yeah, I'm ready for the new stuff. Which is sort of sad all over again isn't it?

I've realised that there is also a third element that I have had to let go of. I'm no longer the person I was when I was with him. But I've come away from it all with so many positives; I learned how kind I can be, how patient I am, and that I'm more interested in the world around me than I realised. Our relationships help define us, we become part of a pair, and now I'm flying solo again. It's ok if that feels weird for a bit.

I've dated some nice men since, a couple of first dates with perfectly pleasant people but not the right match, and one guy I dated for perhaps a month, but again, not the right match.

I know the next chapter will be better than the last, I'm just not sure what it looks like just yet!

Remembering 20 years of meeting people online - memories 1 and 2

I'm 34, and while it may seem unbelievable that I've been dating online since I was 14, it doesn't make it any less true. I was 14, and had just exploring the rather new world of the internet. These were the days when you were billed per minute of use, so my Mother had a money box next to the PC where I had to put 60p in for every hour I used. It dialled up through your phone line, and this led to many stressful arguments about the phone never being free. Eventually I was made to get my own phone line, which I had to use my Saturday job earnings to pay for.

Anyhow, I loved the internet more than any one I knew. I spent hours every day in chat rooms and forums, expanding my social circles outside of those in my school. I explored flirting and had many late phone calls with strangers. Such a different world back then!

I thought I'd share some of my more amusing internet dating ventures, from way back when, as a way to celebrate the 20th year I've used the internet to connect to new people.

1. I used to have a few penpals from chat rooms, from 14-16 years old. We'd often take it offline, and send real letters, and I met many of these people in real life too. Some even stayed at my home, but more of that later. There was one rather unusual 'friend' I had for quite a few months, who was definitely a grown man, perhaps late 20s or 30s. He was a milkman. He had a fetish for latex and bondage, and seemed to enjoy sending me pictures of the equipment he'd like. We never talked dirty, and he was struggling to look after an elderly parent I believe, but he definitely got off in some way to sharing catalogue images of fetish wear with me. I remember not being too fussed by it, and I still liked chatting to him. He was the only one I didn't give my home address to though, I gave him my family's business address instead. I look back at this 'relationship' in a different way now, but I really just felt sorry for him, and he listened to me. Blimey.

2. I've only had one boyfriend that wasn't from 'the internet', and I got my first proper kiss from the very first time I connected to the internet. I'd had to accompany my Dad to a house where he was working, and he showed me how to connect to a chat room for the first time. I got chatting to two men, Colin and Nik. They were both older than me, I think Colin was 19, and Nik perhaps 20. I was 14. The world was so innocent back then that my Dad said I should give them my home address so they could write to me. I met both of these men, which is why I remember my first internet experience so vividly. 

Colin was my first boyfriend, and my first kiss. We met in a local park after being penpals for a short while. He snogged me, and I remember feeling such a mixture of relief at finally being kissed, and disgusted at how gross the whole thing was. Ha. 

Nik felt like my first true teenage love, although maturity makes me know this wasn't true. But I was infatuated with him. We'd talk for hours, I even think he had a girlfriend, and we spoke as if we were siblings. He was a big part of my life for a long time, and when I finally met him it was pretty surreal. I'm not even sure I completely remember exactly how it happened. I'd gone to Wales to scatter my Father's ashes, and I returned home, aged 15, and knocked the front door. Nik opened it. He'd somehow ended up travelling to London to see me, on a day I wasn't there. My Mother had let him stay in my room, and he stayed the night. All a rather bizaare time. I never kissed Nik, but he helped me through a really tough time. However I look back with new lenses....I was 15, he was 20/21. So weird.

I wonder if they remember me....

Over the 20 years I've been meeting people online, offline, I've made friends, lovers and everything inbetween. I hope you'll head back to share in some more of my online memories!

He's been gone for a month...

long distance relationship one month on

I've hit the one month mark of being half of a long distance relationship. I'm sitting down to write this to give myself a virtual pat on the back. I'm owning it.

B is far away, not somewhere I can swing by for a random weekend, and so the gap is going to get pretty big. But do you know what, it's just time isn't it? In so many ways, nothing has changed at all. Sure, some superficial things have changed; what I do with my weekends being the main one, but the actual real things....they're just the same.

We're still the same people; the same couple. Being miles apart doesn't turn us into slushy poets who make dramatic gestures. We're still the us that we have always been. 

The time zones are tough, and one of us is usuallly going to sleep while the other wakes up, which is challenging as mornings suck wherever you are in the world.  This can make it hard to feel like you have quality time to connect.  But you make do. We're still who we always were.

Technology obviously makes LDRs completely different compared to times gone by, we can Whatsapp, video call, and screen share, all for free. It must have been much lonelier before the world became connected.

I'll be spending Valentines' alone, yet not alone, which will feel odd no doubt. I'm with someone, yet not. I intend to treat myself to something fabulous that day to make up for it!

The silver linings of a long distance relationship

benefits of a long distance relationship

Having been in a long distance relationship for the grand sum on a single day, I am clearly no expert. Yet I am a believer in controlling the messages we hear in our thoughts, and so as a way to balance my natural response of sadness (random public crying....tick) I decided to try and find the positives in the situation. Because they has to be some shreds of a silver lining right?

1. Absence makes the heart pretty fond. Don't get me wrong, my heart is fond, but I've heard that spending some time apart but really make you value and miss what makes your partner so great. 

2. Time to indulge some new activities. As I often say, you can do anything, but not everything, so when you have a relationship your time to indulge in your own hobbies can be sidelined for a while. Throwing in a long distance portion to your relationship means that you're forced to indulge your own interests again. 

3. Time to connect with friends. There are only so many days in a week, so when you're in a relationship it can be harder to find enough time to see all of the people you care about. 

4. Get creative. I imagine we'll need to creative with ways to feel connected. Whether that's returning to old fashioned romance and writing letters, or whatsapp video chat dates, it will really force some creativity.

5. Actively watering the garden. Being in a long distance relationship will mean that you can't get lazy with each other. The relationship will need more tending to than if you were just hanging out all of the time. It will need to be made a priority.

I'm sure the random crying will simmer down soon, and my "lack-of-him" will feel more normal, but for now I'm in a surreal little bubble. My best friend and partner in crime is very far away from me, and for now it just feels sad. But this too shall pass. This isn't an unusual situation, and I'm not unique in my emotions. However, as twitter kindly reminded me, sadness doesn't feel less sad just because others have felt it before you. Or because there are greater sadnesses happening in the world. It's ok to just feel a little sad.

You can have anything, but not everything.

I'm a fan of dating shows, First Dates and Married at First Sight are my current favourites, but I even used to love Street Mate back in the day. I was recently struck by how some people seem to be struck with the disease of "I want it all-itis".

One woman seemed cross that her partner expected time with her, and confused that she was struggling to fit in the 3 am-dram classes she took a week, and all of the other social commitments she had. She seemed to believe that the right man for her, would just fit into her lifestyle. If she had to sacrifice anything he surely wasn't the right one...

Another woman spent most of the show discussing the personality traits of the ideal partner she'd like, however after meeting her date, instantly got cross and sad that she didn't feel instant and electric chemistry.

What we sometimes need reminding of is that we can't have it all!

If you want a partner in your life, you firstly need to be willing to make space for one, and secondly accept that a partnership means a blending of two lives, not one simply merging into yours. It's like me wanting to change my body; I can't change my body and still do everything else at the same time. I've committed to 4 gym visits a week for a while, which means saying no to some other things. I can't do it all.

If you want a partner you can't set an imaginary list of criteria, and stick so strictly to it, that you spend most of your time saying no to a date 2. I remember reading great advice once, that a first date only had to be good enough to warrant a second. Don't make any massive judgements about your feelings, just ask whether it was nice enough to repeat. Sometimes feelings aren't instant, but that doesn't mean it can't result in exactly what you are looking for.

I'm not anti Tinder by any means (I met B on Tinder afterall!) but it has certainly encouraged the "I won't settle for anyone who doesn't tick every single thing on my list" mentality. Which I think means that many people miss out on potentially awesome things.

I'm not saying settle. I'm saying be open, and be flexible. Remain focused on what you actually want. You may need to change your lifestyle patterns if you find someone, but remember you wanted to find someone! You may want someone who is kind, funny and loyal...that person may not be the exact height you dream of. That would be such a shitty reason to miss out on the love of your life.