You have secured your first date and you want to make sure it all goes swimmingly. It’s a confusing time to date nowadays and there’s a lot of conflicting information out there, so it’s understandable if you feel a little nervous. To help you navigate the rapids of the dating river, we’ve compiled a list of etiquette pointers for you to bear in mind for your first meeting with your date:
1. The Queen Vic
Choosing the wrong venue can really set you off to a bad start. Surveys suggest that the majority of singles would prefer their first date to be drinks at a bar. That said, you shouldn’t take your date to your local, where you are likely to be greeted by friends, or worse, the ex. No matter how sociable your date is, you are meeting him/her to get to know them, so give them your undivided attention. Choose a neutral venue like a wine bar.
2. First Date Fashion
We all know how important first impressions are and the way you dress says more about you than you may realise. You may think that a distressed pair of jeans and your vintage T-Shirt make you look oh so sexy, but this look is likely to get you kicked to the curb quicker than you can say Hipster. Gents, think job interview without the suit. Remember to shower, shave and go easy on the smellies.
As for the ladies, the key word here is lady. Choose an elegant but understated outfit which will flatter your figure and use makeup to accentuate your face, but keep it natural. Men prefer natural looking women, who are confident rather than caked (in makeup).
3. Bad Manners
I’m not referring to the ska band here. It’s a quintessential British tradition to be well mannered and polite. Good manners will never go out of fashion and no one has ever complained about them. Remember what your mum taught you and you will be fine. And gents, it’s okay to hold a door open for your date or help her into her chair.
4. Vampire Vendetta
The fettuccine alla scampi e aglio (or pasta with garlic prawns to you and me) are out of bounds, unless a) your date has the same or b) your intention is to repel him or her from giving you a good night smooch. In which case – Buon Appetito!
Oh, and another word of advice here. If you are prone to clumsiness, stay clear of potentially messy meals. I once dropped my spoon into my soup and spend the rest of the date with a napkin round my neck covering the stains on my white top. Yeah, that’s how I roll.
5. Dutch Dilemma
This is the one issue that gives most people a headache. So let me make this easy for you. There is an unspoken expectation among women for a man to pay on the first date. However, some may prefer to go dutch. So gents, to make sure you are covering all bases, simply ask her if she would be offended when you pay. This way you are considerate and you give her an opportunity to decline, in case she’s really opposed to it. Sorted.
6. So Call Me Maybe
To be honest with you, this waiting around for 3 to 4 days after a date malarky annoys me. What is wrong with letting your date know (that night or the next morning) that you had a great time and that you hope to repeat it soon? You are interested in him or her, right? So, show it. (Editorial disclaimer: If you intend to see the person again, refrain from declarations of your undying love for a little while longer.)
Equally, let the other person down easily if you don’t feel that way and allow them to move on rather than holding onto a false sense of hope. Be respectful, thank them for a nice date and tell them the connection you’d hoped for just wasn’t there. There’s plenty more fish in the sea.
Do you have any tips for our members for their first date? Or a funny first date story to tell us? Leave us a comment or send me an email!
For years, I went on date after date. Some of these dates turned into relationships, but none of them lasted more than a few months. I’d describe myself as your average girl next door, fairly pretty, reasonably funny, independent and with a healthy social life. So why wasn’t I connecting with any of these men? We got on really well, often had many things in common, but somehow I always ended up single again. What was I doing wrong? I decided to do go all Sigmund Freud on myself and started to analyse my most recent (and what I would consider more serious) relationships. I really wanted to know why these relationships never went anywhere.
Date No 1 – Eric
Eric and I had so many things in common, he could have been a male carbon copy of myself. We both loved photography, the outdoors and shared the same taste in music. We could talk for hours about our favourite bands, artists and places. We had so much fun together, so I didn’t put much weight on our sex life being on the snooze end of the sex scale but honestly, we simply had no chemistry in the boudoir. Looking back I am not surprised we stopped seeing each other and I’m glad Eric was brave enough to end it. Had he not done so, we may have ended up settling for something that just wasn’t right.
Date No 2 – Mark
The relationship with Mark was the polar opposite to the one with Eric. Mark and I enjoyed many steamy, sweaty and exhilarating romps, but our conversations resembled short awkward mumbles of teenagers at their first school disco. We didn’t have anything in common and frequently argued about trivial things, only to end up in bed again. I have to admit I had felt a great sense of relief when he stopped calling me, thereby ending our sexventure.
Date No 3 – David
David and I met at my weekly yoga class. We got talking, spend many afternoons putting the world to right over our soy lattes. It was evident we had great connection on a spiritual level, yet just like Eric before, we didn’t click in bed. We cuddled, snuggled and tried often, yet it was all too clinical. We soon parted ways as a couple but remain great friends to this day. Looking back, David was only ever going to be a mate but I didn’t want to see it at the time.
So, what do all these relationships, or more importantly their failures, have in common? I had connected on an intellectual level, on a physical level and on a spiritual level yet somehow, I finally realised, I never connected with any of these men on an emotional level. I guess, I never really wanted to in the first place because I was afraid I was going to get hurt again.
As soon as I had realised this, things started to change for me. Suddenly I was no longer afraid to say how I felt, what I liked and what I didn’t like in a relationship. I felt confident asserting myself in my relationships, without drama or judgement and before I knew, I had made a connection. With a man. My man. Michael and I have now been together for 5 years and we couldn’t be happier. I asked him the other day what had made him fall in love with me in the first place and he simply said: “You showed me your heart.”
I guess the moral of the story is, if you hide your true self from the world, you also hide yourself from your true love.
Have you been struggling to connect to men in the past? What do you think is holding you back?
Every person has experienced the pain of rejection at some point in their life. When you have opened up to someone and given them your trust, it makes you vulnerable and open to hurt. Dating new people comes with the risk of being rejected and that can be very upsetting.
The trouble is that unless you open up, you close yourself off from forming a real connection with someone. So if you are someone who has trust issues, what I’m about to say might sound crazy and you might reject me for saying it. But here goes:
Rejection is good for you.
Huh? Yes, you read that right.
Have I gone mad? Certainly not.
Allow me to elaborate.
Imagine a child growing up, completely shielded from all things bad. Imagine it never falling, never trapping a finger or burning itself on the stove. Never being told not to do something dangerous. Never experiencing fear. How do you think that child would cope in the real world? What kind of person would it grow up to be? Hard to imagine, isn’t it?
A world where there is no hurt, simply doesn’t exist. Life’s lessons make you who you are, they teach you right from wrong and what or who makes you happy. So, rather than dwell on the “Why did this happen to me?” focus on the “How has this made me stronger?”. That’s what I meant by ‘Rejection is good for you’.
Realising that bad things don’t happen to you as a punishment, gives you back control and you will see each challenge as an experience from which you can grow to become a stronger and more confident person. You can chose to be a victim or you can chose to be a victor.
Your reality is yours to create. Might as well make it a great one.
Have you experienced past hurts from which you grew stronger? What did you learn from them?
If you and your ex are now happy campers in Friendsville, you won’t need to read today’s blog (but you are still welcome to of course). If however the split is still raw and you are struggling to come to terms with it, then tread carefully my friend as you could be opening up old wounds and adding fresh ones if you don’t avoid these 7 text traps:
1. Pet names and terms of endearments
Your ex is your ex for a reason. They decided that they no longer want to be with you and no amount of Snookiepops or Diddikins calling is going to change that. The truth is, they have moved on and it’s time you do too.
2. Blowing off steam
This is the flip side to my first point. Sadness is often followed by anger and you really want them to feel just how much they’ve hurt you. But sending rude or angry messages serves no purpose other than to validate his/her reasons for breaking up with you in the first place. And all this is going to make you worse. Instead pour your heart out to someone who you trust or punch a sofa cushion until you feel better.
3. No response nagging
If your ex hasn’t answered to your first text, we are pretty certain they don’t want any contact with you. They’ll have their reasons and for your own sanity, respect them and stop texting.
4. Reminiscing the past
This is similar to point 1, as in you are still holding on to the past. Lamenting about your lost love should be reserved for your diary or closest friends, not the one who broke your heart.
5. “Thinking of you” messages
Of course you are! It’s normal but your ex shouldn’t hear about it, they lost that right when they left you. Go out and live your life and soon you’ll forget about him/her altogether.
6. Sexting / Nude pics
This is probably the worst thing you can do – to yourself. Desperate measures often lead to further heartbreak. Avoid at all costs.
7. Pleading with him/her
It’s hard to accept that the person we love, doesn’t love us back. It sucks, we understand. But you need to ask yourself, if they broke up with you once, is getting them back going to solve anything? Things happen for a reason and you may simply not be right for each other. The other person has just come to the realisation sooner than you. At some point you will see it too. Give yourself time. We promise it will get better.
When in doubt it is always better to avoid texting your ex. If you can’t trust yourself, delete his/her number from your phone. Your future self will thank you for it.
Have you ever sent text messages to your ex you later regretted? Tell us, we’d like to hear your stories.
Finding yourself back in the dating world after a divorce can be scary process, especially if you have children. But dating with kids mustn’t become a big hurdle, as long as you remember a few points to consider.
Don’t introduce your kids to a new partner unless the relationship is getting serious. You wouldn’t want your kids to become attached to your new squeeze only to have them experience the loss of someone they liked.
Your new partner should know about your kids from the word go. If he or she doesn’t like children or can not accept you are a parent, it’s pretty clear they aren’t right for you. Save yourself the heartbreak and move on.
Being honest with your children about your new love is vital to have them on board. They will smell BS a mile away, so try and be as honest with them as possible about your relationship. It’s important that you reassure them and explain that they will always be the most important people your life, no matter what.
Accept that your kids may be slow to warm up to your new partner. If that’s the case, don’t push the relationship on them too quickly. Give them time.
Reassure your children that your new significant other is NOT intended to replace your ex — ever. This way, they don’t have to feel as though they have to choose or that they betray the other parent.
Many children cling onto the hope that their parents will get back together for a long time and may struggle to come to terms with it. When you’ve moved on to a new partner, the finality of your split becomes more real to your children, which may bring out feelings of jealousy, anger, and fear in them, so talk to them about their feelings and let them express their emotions without judgement.
Do you have any other advice for single parents looking to date? Share it with us by leaving a comment.
It’s perfectly natural to feel nervous before a date. But what a time, right? Just when you want to be at your best! Don’t worry, it’s actually quite easy to manage those pre-date jitters. Here are some strategies we found to be quite effective:
Preparation is key
If you are one of those people who does everything that scares them at the very last moment, you are also likely to fret all the way leading up to your date, try to find an outfit an hour before or leave your house without really knowing where you are meeting your date. Not the best conditions to Keep Calm and Carry On Dating. So to ensure total dating zen, it’s definitely better to be prepared. Make sure you know what to wear, where to go and plan the things you can plan well in advance.
Set the right expectations
Often dating nerves can be caused by high expectations. The more importance you give the date, the more potential for pre-date nerves. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself, try to relax and just see what happens. Your date will run more smoothly too, because you will be able to enjoy it more rather than ticking off boxes in your head.
Your body doesn’t know the difference between what’s real and what’s imagined. So instead of imagining something bad, try a positive thought. A nervous person’s body will send clear signals, such as raised shoulders, hunched torso and crossed arms which in turn will make you feel more anxious. But you can change your mental state in a very short time and here’s how you do it: Stand up tall, raise both arms in the air like you have just won an Olympic medal. Smile as brightly as you can. This may feel silly at first and I’d suggest you don’t necessarily try this on a crowded train (then again, why not?), but I promise you it does work. The key is to do it for at least 30 seconds and to really FEEL like a winner! Visualise yourself crossing that finish line, feel that winning feeling, your achey legs and stretched lungs. Hear the roar of the crowd and enjoy the moment. Try this exercise whenever you need a boost. The more you try it, the better and quicker it will work.
Let off steam
It’s no secret, that exercise is a great stress buster. This applies to date nerves too. So, hit the gym, go for a run or a brisk walk; anything to get that blood pumping round your body. Added benefits include a healthy glow, confident posture and an endorphin induced happy mood. All very attractive traits which your date is going to love.
One drink, two drink, three drinks, oops
Dutch courage may seem like a good idea, but drinking too much can cause you to make the wrong decisions and actually increase nervousness as alcohol depletes your vitamin B stores. For a calming bevvie try something more natural like camomile tea instead and have a little protein based snack to help keep your blood sugars even. Both will help to keep you calm.
So, do you think you are ready to start dating and put our strategies to the test? The hop over to Plentymorefish.com and find singles in your area.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.