Too busy to date?

Do you feel that there are simply not enough hours in the day for dating? Sadly you’re not alone. According to a study by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), one in three love lives in the UK are affected by work life pressure. People are working harder than ever and as a result their relationships outside the workplace are suffering.
Too busy to date?

The UK has the longest working hours in Europe with a culture of coming to work early and staying late. Although this is not something you can change without moving countries, you can alter the way you manage your time.  Fortunately, online dating sites like Plenty More Fish can help busy people get back onto the dating scene.

Online you could be chatting to 12 singles in a week, in real life however, meeting 12 people would be more difficult. Internet dating is a great way to help people with limited time on their hands open their eyes to the huge amount of errr…..plenty more fish out there!

So, what are you waiting for? You too could be meeting lots of lovely singles in your area. Registration on  Plenty More Fish is free and only takes a couple of minutes.

Signs of a bad relationship

It is believed that William Shakespeare wrote what would later become the most famous love story of all time – Romeo and Juliet – between 1591 and 1595. A quote from this tragic play is:

“Don’t waste your love on somebody, who doesn’t value it.”

It’s safe to say these words are as true as they were almost 450 years ago and what better way to honour the playwright than to take inspiration from his words. My guess is that you, dear reader, have experienced unrequited love before, much like rest of us. It happens. You love someone but they don’t love you back. The healthy way to deal with this is to recognise the truth and move on. Yet sometimes, people become so wrapped up in a relationship, it seems impossible for them to see just how unhealthy that relationship is. Read on and discover the signs of a bad relationship:

Relationship Problems

Your partner puts you down

If your partner calls you names, ridicules you or makes you feel like an idiot in private or in front of others then they are no good for you! No one should be made to feel inferior or stupid in a loving relationship and if that’s happening to you, it’s time to leave.

You are keeping secrets

If you can’t tell your family or friends about the things your partner says and does, then you may not be in a healthy loving relationship. If you lie to protect him/her, you devalue your own principles and could damage other important relationships.

Your partner wants you to change

If you new partner is very critical of the things you do and the way you look, it’s safe to say they do not truly love you. In a healthy relationship you don’t have to apologise for who you are. A healthy relationship will get your confidence to grow. In an unhealthy one it will shrink.

You feel bad, guilty, unhappy, depressed, or sad about your relationship

A loving and good relationship is happiness, equality, respect and kindness. If you don’t feel secure, comfortable and loved in your relationship, then you may be with the wrong person.

Your partner doesn’t trust you

Constant phone calls, texts, emails and demands on your time. Jealous fits and angry accusations are NOT signs of love! If your partner doesn’t trust you or accuses you of lying, then you need to re-evaluate your love. Opening your post or showing up at work unexpectedly, means they don’t trust you. This is a sign of deep insecurity, which could lead to more serious relationship problems.

Your partner controls everything

Your partner making all the decisions may give you the illusion you are with a confident person but the need to control every aspect your life together is often another sign of deeply rooted insecurities. These are not easily dealt with and can be a sign of bad times ahead. A healthy relationship is a democracy, not a dictatorship.

Different expectations

You constantly argue about financial issues, family matters, or goals for your future and can’t seem to agree on your plans for the future. Perhaps it’s time to rethink this relationship. Nobody has the exact same plans for the future, but the happiest couples have the same goals and desires.

Your loved ones don’t approve of your relationship

No one should choose their partner based on their family and friends’ opinions, but it’s still important to take their opinions into consideration. If your family or friends have strong reservations about your partner, seek specific reasons. Find out the root of their feelings, and try to be objective.

Saying they love you but not showing it

We’ve all done things in the past that have upset others, often unintentionally. But doing something knowingly that will upset the other person clearly shows a lack of respect. If your partner doesn’t care about your needs and wants, it’s really not healthy.

Be honest with yourself – the sooner you face the truth, the sooner you can start over. Everyone has a right to be happy and to be loved for who they are.

Does any of the above resonate with you? Have you been in an unhappy relationship? What made you decide to end it?

Your comments are as always welcome.

Of closed hearts & missed chances

X-Ray showing a broken heart

Last weekend, I spent an afternoon with a friend who has been single for a while and inevitably the conversation turned to her love life. She is a member of an online dating site and she regularly goes on dates. (Great start.) She told me about this guy, who according to her, was ticking all the boxes. I was ecstatic and urged her to tell me more. “So,” I said, “when are you meeting him again?” She started fidgeting and explained she’d texted him and was waiting for his response. Three days had already passed and yet, no answer. She couldn’t understand why, as things had been going really well and there was obvious chemistry between them.

This was an all too common scenario in her dating world, so I asked her to show me her text message.  After reading it, I couldn’t help but think that it was written rather dismissively and not very open-ended. He had no reason to respond to it. I told her how I felt it came across and she admitted she had been a bit dismissive during their dates, but ONLY – she said – to see if he was still interested and ONLY because she didn’t want to come across as desperate.

My friend is anything but desperate, I thought. No, the reason she was behaving this way was all down to having been hurt in the past. And I bet the poor guy felt exactly the same anxieties and worries she was feeling. He was probably just as afraid of being hurt. Why is it then, that we can’t overcome these hurdles and simply be honest and open with our feelings when we have met someone we like? Dating should be fun!

Is the fear of heartbreak so much more powerful than potentially losing the chance of finding a loving relationship? How can people find love again without opening their hearts, without taking a risk?

I find this problem rather frustrating, so I’m turning to you lovely readers to help me find answers. How do we overcome this perpetual cycle? What advice would you give to someone, perhaps a friend, in this situation?

7 signs you are in a healthy relationship

7 Signs You Are In A Healthy Relationship

  1. You don’t keep secrets
    Happy couples know that keeping secrets will only hurt their partner, and their relationship so they are open and honest with each other.

  2. You have fun
    In a healthy relationship you can be yourself and that includes being able to make a fool of yourself. When you are comfortable with one another, you are more willing to open up and show your silly side.

  1. You share responsibilities
    When one person spends Saturday morning cleaning and doing the laundry while the other one chills out in front of the TV, it’s not an even share of responsibilities. Divvying up the work is a sign of an equal and healthy partnership that is based on mutual respect. You are a team in all aspects of life.

  2. You spend time on your own
    In a healthy relationship you can and are both encouraged to have your own life, circle of friends and interests. There’s no jealousy or constant checking up on the other person.

  3. You appreciate each other
    As you get comfy in your relationship, routine sets and you could start to take each other for granted. However happy couples continue to make an effort and remain appreciative of each other. They remember why they fell in love in the first place.

  4. You communicate
    Open communication is the cornerstone to a happy and healthy relationship. Expressing of and listening to feelings without the fear of being judged or criticised is a sign of emotional maturity and encourages trust between two people.

  5. You are intimate
    Sex is another form of communication and couples who have sex on a regular basis are often happier than couples who don’t.

Time to Unpack – Letting go of emotional baggage

Girl-Throws-Her-Suitcase

Emotional baggage is something we all carry around. Sometimes the baggage is so heavy and bulky that it takes up more room in our life than it should. We get used to that heavy feeling. It becomes part of us. But when you realise you are governed by your past and your emotional baggage is sabotaging your relationships and your life, stopping you from moving on, you need to take steps to break free and dump that heavy burden once and for all. Here’s how:

Feel the emotion

In order to let go, you will first need to allow the feeling to run its course. It’s okay to feel upset, hurt, betrayed – whatever the emotion – as long as you allow yourself to truly feel it. The longer you deny the truth, the longer you will drag this around with you. Give yourself permission and acknowledge what has happened to you. This is often the hardest step and most upsetting, but it needs to happen so you can start to heal.

Forgive

When trust has been betrayed and feelings hurt, it’s hard to forgive and forget. By holding onto these memories and emotions however, you are also hindering yourself from moving on. The only person you are hurting by not letting go of the past is you. Someone once said, “Holding onto a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”

To start to forgive, try this exercise:  Call the person who hurt you into your mind’s eye, tell them how you feel, why and how they hurt you. Then tell them you are now okay, you have moved on and that you forgive them. Be sincere and then let them go. Now stand in front of a mirror and then forgive yourself. Yes, that’s right. You are very likely feeling feelings of guilt, shame, stupidity for allowing this to happen, for trusting the other person. Allow yourself to be okay with that. You didn’t do anything wrong. Forgive yourself and be kind to you, then let go.

Understand

Give yourself some time for reflection. Pretend you are a good friend who observes the painful situation to gain an understanding from an unbiased perspective. In doing this you will gain clarity of any destructive patterns and behaviours you may hold on to, which may have contributed to this scenario. By gaining awareness of negative cycles you regain control, freeing you from reliving them again in the future.

Focus on the good

Focus on what you would like your life to be. It takes practice but knowing that you can now move forward, safe in the knowledge you have overcome such a painful experience, will give you the strength to live a more confident and happier life. Now go and get it!

Have you ever been weighed down by emotional baggage? How did you manage to get over it? Please share your experiences, we’d love to hear them.

Dealing with Dating Doldrums

We all have different expectations when it comes to dating online and offline. Some may want to date casually, whilst others are looking to find a partner for life. For those of you who fall into the latter category, dating can become frustrating at times, especially when you have been on the market for a while. Sadly, no matter how great you are at dating, there are simply no guarantees that you will find that perfect catch right away.

Woman sitting in front of laptop looking frustrated

While questionnaires and personality tests can help narrow down your search, they can only get you so far. You may be perfect for each other on paper but when you meet in person, there may not be any chemistry. So at times, you may feel like giving up and resigning yourself to eternal singledom. If that’s the case, you may be suffering from what we call the dreaded Dating Doldrums.

When suffering from Dating Doldrums, you may adopt a negative mindset and could even cause you to make bad decisions about who you date, how often you date, and how you respond to potential dates. The key to kick the DD’s in the Bum-Bum is to focus on having fun again. When you treat each new date is an opportunity to meet someone interesting and as an opportunity to have fun, socialise or to simply enjoy life, the whole process takes on a different flavour. So why put pressure on yourself?

The more you live in the moment, the more enjoyable your life and dating life will become. I hope this post has got you thinking and I shall leave you with a quote that I feel we should all live by:

My advice for life: dance and sing your song while the party is still on. ~ Rasheed Ogunlaru

Here at Plenty More Fish we firmly believe that dating should be fun. So we ask you: “When was the last time you went on a date simply with the intention of enjoying yourself?”

Body Talks – Is your date attracted to you?

Read your dates' body language

Ladies, how often have you been on a date and have asked yourself what your date is thinking and wondered whether he fancies you or not? How often did you come away from a date and thought he likes you, only to never hear from him again? Frustrating, right? Wouldn’t it be great if you could read the signs better and avoid this type of disappointment?

Well you can! To understand the signs of attraction or the lack of, you will need to delve into the art of reading body language. We all do it on a subconscious level every day and women choose from 52 moves to show men they’re interested, whereas the average man chooses from a maximum of 10 to attract a woman. So us gals have it a lot easier to spot what he’s subconsciously feeling and here are 3 giveaways*:

Watch the eyebrows

Pay close attention to his eyebrows. If he likes you, he’ll raise them for a split second, or more precisely, a fifth of a second. A flash of the eyebrow is a good measure for spotting interest. It’s something we all do, regardless of age, ethnicity or class. But as it’s so subtle, it’s very easy to miss. When you do spot it though, you can use it to your advantage and raise your brows deliberately in response to signal clear interest. It’ll be like a billboard sign flashing the words “I like you”.

Watch the mouth

If his lips part slightly for a moment when your eyes meet, he likes what he sees. He’ll flare his nostrils slightly, his eyes will widen and his body and feet will point towards you. Generally his face and demeanor will appear more ‘open’, more approachable as to closed off.

Watch the movements

Movements such as smoothing down his hair or adjusting his tie are all part of what experts call preening gestures. It’s like the female lip licking, meaning “I want to look my best for you”. Preening happens involuntarily and more often than people think. To check this, excuse yourself as you head to the ladies and casually look over your  shoulder, and you may just catch him adjusting his appearance.

So, there you have it. For more tips and tricks on reading body language we can recommend The Definitive Book of Body Language: How to Read Others’ Attitudes by Their Gestures by Allan and Barbara Pease.

Happy Dating!

*The above paragraphs are guidelines. Circumstances, like the nerves and pressures of a first date, can influence someone’s behaviour.  But in case it does turn out, he’s not that into you, remember, there’s plenty more fish in the sea and your perfect catch is out there.

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