I didn’t know if I wanted to go ahead and post this today. The news of my friend’s dad’s death (whose 30th birthday is actually today, how horrible to lose your dad just before your 30th) shook me to the core. She is an expat as I am and her dad lived miles away, as mine does. It’s the first time I empathised so much with someone, I could feel her pain in every cell of my body and my brain. I can still feel it. As if it was my dad. If it was my dad, I would be lying on the floor, in the dark, crying my eyes out. I hope she is OK and coping as best as she can.
I’m still upset, but life goes on. The best thing to do after the death of a loved one is to remind ourselves how damn short life is and keep going. Here it goes…
I was never really a big fan of Valentine’s day. Love should be celebrated every day. Not just romantic love, but all kinds of love.
Instead I decided to write how dating is for me, with all my quirks, at my age.
And it is different when you are in your thirties.
The era of online dating
I’m not actively trying to date. And one of the main reasons is because I heavily dislike online dating. I know I shouldn’t, I know that’s the most common way people meet nowadays, especially at my age, but there are so many weirdos online (not sure if there are more weirdos online than in real life, that’s debatable), after a couple of attempts I gave up. And messaging five guys at the same time to decide who I want to go out with, whilst they do the same, doesn’t appeal to me. I want to feel special, not just another person they chat up. I’m old school, I love the feeling when you first meet someone and your heart is pounding so loud you can hear it, the nervousness and excitement. That’s why I probably never find anyone I really fancy.
Can he be the one?
You still want to have fun but in the back of your head you think ‘Will this work long-term? Can I imagine being with this person longer than a couple of months?’, ‘Is he my lobster?‘ If like me starting a family and having a couple of little ones running around is one of the things on your bucket list then dating the wrong person in your thirties can be a waste of time, although you still want to have fun and enjoy life.
How do you know then? I’m not sure myself but in my head it’s something like this:
You just ‘click’ from the moment you first meet. You talk to each other all the time, you can’t wait to see each other, you get butterflies just thinking about each other, you have a lot in common, you laugh with the same things, the conversation is open and honest from day one and everything it’s just easy. You make each other feel special and somehow it doesn’t fade away after a week or two. You surprise each other, turn at each other’s door, and every day is fun and different. And he would somehow know I love pink roses (Ok that bit is too far stretched to ever happen). Sounds amazing. A rom-com plot. Well, it rarely happens and even if it does, sometimes it happens at the wrong time in your life.
The older, the wiser, the fussier
The older you get the fussier you become. I know myself very well, and that doesn’t always come with age, I worked hard on self-awareness and I know what I’d absolutely dislike in a partner, from simple things like long fingernails to lying and arrogance. And I know what I’d want, being as open and honest as I am, having a laugh (probably the most important), feel challenged intellectually, like the same films, impeccable music taste, talented (music, writing, cooking, anything creative always gets me), incredibly well smelling, loves good food and the list goes on. If I were to choose my dream man he would probably be a hybrid of Dan Smith’s (Bastille) voice and quirky looks, Derren Brown’s intelligence, Louis Theroux’s charisma and Cedric Grolet’s baking skills. Not asking for much.
Just the right amount of craziness
I was never attracted to normal, conventional people. Which comes with risks. And it almost never works out, with the exception of my seven year long relationship. See, people with temperamental personalities are so unpredictable, they end up messing you up. It makes me wonder if I’ll ever find someone with just the right amount of craziness. Maybe one day I’ll find the James to my Alyssa.
Can I trust you?
That’s probably the hardest part of dating. I’m pretty smart, if I say so myself, which is one of my downfalls because I tend to overthink EVERYTHING, but intelligence doesn’t help when it comes to matters of the heart. I’m open and honest and I unfortunately sometimes trust people too easily and I believe everything they say. Being open makes you vulnerable. On one hand if you don’t let your guard down and trust the other person they’ll probably give up eventually, and that happened to me in the past, that’s why I learned to let people in, on the other hand you may trust and believe them but turns out they were lying all along to get you into bed.
I have a story to tell you on that, a recent experience that disturbed my mental wellbeing, for a while. I’ll post just about that soon, when I’m completely over it and I can share what I learned without any hard feelings.
What about sex?
Chemistry is essential. No matter how incredibly well you may get along with someone, if you don’t want to rip each other’s clothes off and the sex is consistently bad, there is no point. You may as well just be friends.
I’m one of those people that hates one-night stands, they are awkward and never enjoyable, for me anyway. I’m still surprised that some people are so bad at it, even ‘players’. Sex is one of the greatest joys in life and if it doesn’t make your toes curl, walk away. And word of advice, always always use condom.
Too good at goodbyes?
Being single and living on my own for two years now, I’ve reached a point I absolutely love my me time and my life as it is right now. And with everything else that comes with age, mainly being fussier, it gets harder and harder to meet someone I’d gladly give up my own precious time to make an effort to date them. I’ve met people over the last two years who I didn’t even bother getting to know and just let them go. It is much easier to move on rather than try, especially if you are not attracted to them instantly or it’s too much effort. Sad but true.
So what do I do?
Dating should be fun no matter your age. It is tougher when you are in your thirties, there is a lot to think about and there will always be f***boys around, you ‘ll get your heart broken many a times but that’s life. You have to walk through the mud and dog shit to reach the meadow. And God there is a lot of shit out there. But unless you want to spend your life in a cave, hiding from the world (trust me sometimes I desperately want to do that), you have to take the leap, get out and give people a chance.
And one day you’ll find that one person who is perfect for you. The one who’ll love you for who you are and will never get tired to show that to you. The one who will make everything easy. As my favourite professor Marios Adonis would say ‘Relationships are not a walk in the park but if it’s too much work, walk out. Love should be easy’.
I don’t really believe the ‘one’ exists, that’s just a myth. But it’s amazing when you meet someone you get along with from day one. I hope one day that’ll happen to me.
I’m so happy I’m more mature now and although rejection and being taken advantage is never easy to take, I don’t try to make sense and ask for answers anymore. I just learn and move on. I love myself too much to let anyone make me doubt myself. And I have a lovingly, amazingly support network, friends and family.
I’m not avoiding dating but I’m not desperate to date anyone either. I am getting older and I’d like to have a family by the time I’m 40 but if it doesn’t happen it’s not the end of the world. It’s not worth the compromise. I’d rather be single rather be with someone just because I want family.
Two years ago, around this time, when I reflected on what I learned from my relationships and my mistakes, I made a promise to myself.
I promised I’ll never lose myself in a relationship ever again, but next time I’ll be with someone, I’ll forget all the dos and don’ts, (‘is it too soon? is it too fast? is it too slow?’). I’ll be honest and open and I’ll just be myself, with all my flaws from the beginning, I’ll trust and love with all my heart, it will be fun and crazy, a big adventure. But I’ll only do that if I meet someone who inspires me and makes me feel that way.
If I meet that someone, I’ll go for it. If not, I’m happy with my life as it is. Everything is as it should be as my gal Adriene would say.
PS. Thank you to the lovely Lou for the warmest hug she gave me first thing in the morning, just what I needed, to Lee and Sarah for all the laughs and to Linda and Donna for taking care of me today.