As April draws to a close, I’m often reminded of a courtship tradition that plays out on the night of the 1st May in German. As a native born in the Rhineland region, where this tradition is alive and well, this night played a significant role, especially during my teenage years.
On that night, boys of the region go out, armed with ladders, saws and often slightly inebriated to cut down a young birch tree which they would decorate with colourful paper ribbons and then plant on the roof of their beloved’s home (or a slightly less treacherous place) to declare their undying love.
Historically this tradition was used as an attempt to promote marriages in rural areas; today it’s still a popular way for singles to flirt.
It’s certainly romantic and probably not something you’d associate with the German culture but it also made me wonder how love is expressed in other cultures. So I started to look and here are my favourite 3:
Everyone knows that finding a four-leaf clover is the symbol of good luck. But not many people know what in certain parts of Ireland it is also part of an ancient love ritual. It is still believed that if a woman consumes a four-leaf clover while she’s thinking of her crush, he will eventually be hers.
In China, the Dai people have this courtship tradition where a group of girls sitting together in the evening are approached by a group of men in red blankets. They will then pick a woman they like and serenade her. If she likes him too, she’ll give him a stool to sit on and he’ll return the favour by wrapping her up in the red blanket.
In what is now a worldwide phenomenon, in 2000, couples started to attach love padlocks – often engraved with their initials – to Rome’s Ponte Milvio bridge and then threw the key into the river Tiber as a symbol of their unbreakable and eternal love. Sadly, this ritual caused quite a safety hazard threatening the collapse of the bridge under all the weight. After a lamppost partially collapsed this tradition was stopped and it became illegal. But since the Italians are a romantic folk they created a website where you can attach virtual love padlocks.
Love is universal and it’s lovely to see that so many wonderful expressions of it are still traditionally practiced around the world.
All you need is love, right?
So you’ve been on more than one date and you seem to have instant chemistry. You’ve been texting for a few days since your last date, and then, POOF! Your match has vanished into thin air.
Welcome to the murky world of ghosting.
Ghosting is a term that is becoming more and more frequently heard in the dating circles and so in our latest blog we thought we’d do a little research and find out just how people feel when they’ve been ‘ghosted’ by a date.
After quizzing some friends and asking around on social media these are the statements that came out:-
- Makes you feel worthless
- Makes you feel confused
- Leads to you mistrusting other potential dates
- Leads to a ‘why do I bother’ mentality
- You feel disrespected
- Feeds insecurities
Let’s face it none of those feelings and reactions are positive and dating should be positive, it should be adventure, an opportunity to meet new people, try new things, have new experiences and make lots of memories.
Ghosting sucks, and this article about a girl who was ghosted by a guy she’d been seeing exclusively for six months (!) shows that it’s not just the early day’s relationships that fall prey to this cowardly technique.
So what can you do if this happens to you in the world of online dating?
- Take a positive attitude – it is not you with the problem. If someone ghosts you it is highly likely they have done it before. A leopard cannot change its spots remember!
- Don’t be tempted to keep messaging for an answer as to why – you won’t get one, and if you do it will be lies, it would see a classic excuse is for the ghoster to say that someone close to them has died and their life has spiralled out of control.
- Don’t change who you are – remember you shouldn’t change just to fit into someone else’s lifestyle. If they cannot handle all of your AWESOMENESS then they are not worth your time and effort.
- Don’t give up – get back online and start making new connections. Relationships don’t just happen they take effort. So be dynamic and start something. Just don’t desperation date (more on this later!)
- Always and most important – remember YOU DIDN’T MESS ANYTHING UP.
Breaking up with someone is never easy to do, but ghosting is really cowardly and more brutal than actually being honest with someone. Focus on yourself, going out with friends and ultimately holding your own and remembering your manners when everyone around you forgets theirs.
Has ghosting happened to you? How did you cope with it and what tips have you got for others in case in happens to them.
It’s true that breaking up with someone is hard to do. I don’t know anyone who actually enjoys telling someone it’s time to call quits on a relationship. Gone are the days it seems when you would meet up face to face and tell each other over dinner or coffee (as weird as that now seems looking back) that your relationship was over. Now it is all about being dumped by text, or even worse by social media.
And that is exactly what happened to a friend of mine this weekend. She phoned me in a state of disarray saying that her latest online dating match had texted her saying ‘that on reflection his life was too chaotic to add a relationship into the mix’. Whilst sympathetic to her tears, I did mention that they’d only just moved off WhatsApp messaging and gone on two physical dates, so surely he was just sparing them some social awkwardness in person. Alas, she didn’t quite see it in the same way.
But in reality is it THAT bad to dump someone by text? Surely there are times when it’s socially ok to spare each other the embarrassment of tears in public.
In an attempt to offer some impartial advice here are some instances it could be considered ok to dump someone by text.
It’s a new relationship – if you and your date are still relatively new, and have only been out three or four times then dumping by text is totally acceptable. You barely know each other and so there is nothing to be gained by a long drawn out letter (you probably don’t even know addresses yet) or a face to face meeting. In fact, if the relationship is that new you could probably just get away with disappearing off the face of the earth rather than an official break up text. No big drama.
Your date is avoiding you / you suspect they are cheating – let’s face it if the person you’ve been dating isn’t returning calls or texts or you have suspicions that they are playing the field then frankly they don’t deserve the courtesy of a break-up text. Just move on.
Your relationship is purely a digital one – if so far your relationship has been purely screen-based and conducted by social media then putting the brakes on it in the same way won’t come as out of the ordinary either.
The relationship is toxic – so you’ve been on a few dates that seemed ok, but then came a turning point and your date’s behaviour has become unstable, unhealthy and overall a little bit toxic. In this case breaking up by text message is absolutely the safest thing to do. Don’t put yourself in a 1:1 situation with them where you might get hurt. Distance is safest.
You are in a long distance relationship – if your location was poles apart and you rarely saw each other and your relationship was all done by Skype and text then it is obviously more logical (and friendly on the bank balance) to break up in this way. Seriously, though if you’ve spent months writing heartfelt essays to each other then that someone deserves a little more than your standard digital breakup.
Whilst this post is a lighthearted jest about digital breakups, if you’ve got to a point of emotional closeness, or been dating for longer than three months, seen each regularly, slept together and been mutually exclusive to each other then you really owe it to the other person in the relationship to give them your time and honesty face to face.
Have you ever dumped someone by text message or social media or had it done to you? How did you feel? Would you ever end a relationship in this way?
As of the date of posting this blog, this is your official warning that it is 14 days until Valentine’s Day. Put that reminder in your phone now and we hereby relinquish all responsibility that we never told you about it.
If you’ve recently embarked into new relationship territory having found your significant other online, this can be a nervy time. You want to acknowledge the new person in your life but you don’t want to come across like a limpet or worse a serial killer.
Don’t fret our team of busy love cupids have been out there hand-picking the some alternative, low key yet romantic options for Valentine’s Day dates. So what are you waiting for, pucker up, look smart and perfect that Spotify Valentine’s Day playlist for the perfect night.
Let’s face it the weather is grim. It’s cold, wet, damp and dark and the thought of dining al fresco is most definitely off the menu. The solution? Create your very own indoor picnic and wine and dine your date in the warmth. Think fairy lights, music, some delicacies to share (chateaubriand is always delicious with someone special), giant faux fur throws and candles and you have all the ingredients for a perfect romantic night in. For a dash of extra cuteness order in some Valentine’s Day cookies for you to share.
There’s nothing more romantic than laying out looking the stars, but in the UK in the middle of winter, your date won’t thank you for this. Instead, why not head to one of the many planetariums across the UK for a night-time view of the sky sans the frigid temps. It will guarantee you some up close cuddle time.
‘If Music Be The Food of Love’…
When you are happy your brain releases feel-good chemicals endorphin, oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine. Dopamine, in particular floods your body and makes you relax and enjoy yourself. Why not look at local gigs and concerts, or even open mic nights that you could take your date to on Valentine’s Day. Obviously pick something you have the same taste in and then you can spend the night listening to a favourite group, relaxing in each other’s company, letting your guard and inhibitions down and you’re guaranteed to have something both to talk about into the wee small hours about later on whilst you get cosy.
Create a Love Nest
We live in a world obsessed with social media and documenting our lives; our Facebook feeds are full of pictures of our friends living ‘perfect’ lives. Sometimes though this obsession to post online distracts from the genuine sentiment of the moment.
Valentine’s Day is all about enjoying each other without distractions and interruptions so why not take a step back and turn your house into your own romantic hideaway. Somewhere where the two of you can decamp for 24 hours, phones off, curtains drawn, lights low, make a bed on the floor and just enjoy the quiet. Simple pleasures such as a long steamy shower together, massage, good food and lots of tactile touching are all ways to make you both feel good about being with each other. Your focus will be totally on each other giving each of you quality time, it is also much more personal than going away to a hotel.
Ultimately, it’s not about the grandiose nature of the gesture you choose to make it is just about making time to show that person that you care about them and that they make a difference to being part of your life. Even if you don’t give a Cupid’s arrow about Valentine’s Day, at the very least, it’s nice to put in a little extra effort to make your partner feel appreciated.
If you’re still looking for your significant other to spend Valentine’s Day with you’ve still got time to get online and find yourself a date. As a little helping hand from our in-house Cupid’s if you use the Plentymorefish discount code ‘PMFVDAY’ you can save 40% on our online dating membership plans. This offer is valid from today up until midnight on the 14th February. So get out there and get wooing.
If you’re lucky enough to have found love online then hopefully our Valentine’s Day date ideas will have given you some inspiration on how to celebrate it with your other half.
Let’s be honest for a moment and put it on the table; dating in your 40s is pretty grim (ok, personal experience talking, it is bleaker than a public service station restroom at the side of a deserted motorway). At 40 the competition is steeper and it becomes a whole lot more confusing and you’ll find the type of men in the over 40s dating pool very different.
Here are some truths that could help you navigate the tricky path of mature dating.
The men are having a mid-life crisis
Men like younger women. A lot of men in their 30’s and 40’s seem to have an awakening moment and panic that they’re getting old and as a knee jerk reaction go out and find the perkiest 25-year-old they can find in an attempt to settle down. Even if you are near their own age they will still see you as ‘old’ and dismiss your profile. Harsh. You may well be witty, successful, outgoing and smart but none of that matters in their heads once you are in the over 40’s club.
You attract that toy boys
An older, gorgeous, confident and self-assured woman is an absolute lure for a man in his late 20s. To them, the age gap works in their favour as you’ll be comfortable and well skilled in the bedroom and the perfect teacher for them to learn some tricks. It may suit you to end up with a 25-year-old toy-boy between the sheets but you’ll struggle to find someone old enough to suit your lifestyle and goals if you go down this path. Think late night booty calls and the wonders of dick pics…really??
You love your kids but not everyone else does
Having kids and attempting to get back to dating and relationships is tough. All the time you are mindful of their needs and emotions. You’re careful not to introduce them to every date, you question when to introduce them to the date and then you’re also trying to juggle a date around organising child care. For some guys the fact you’re a mother will discount you instantly; remember… that says way more about them than it does about you. Equally, you don’t need to introduce them to everyone unless you think that person is going to have some level of permanence in your life. If you enter a relationship be upfront about your kids and whether you realistically want more and you’ll soon find out which guys are serious about sticking around.
You’re set in your ways
Dating in your 40’s means you know what you want – this translates to you’re stubborn and won’t deviate from your ideal situation. Your list of dating dealbreakers is far more set in stone than it was when you were 25, and if you’re looking to settle down and start a family this is now crunch time and you’re going to be super picky about it.
There’s too much choice
Your phone is full of dating apps, you have RSI in your thumb from continual swiping and you’ve moved to second base (WhatsApp) with several potentially interested parties. Stop! Too much choice is a bad thing and makes it harder for you to spot the genuine guys who are real relationship material. If you want a partner with a similar professional mindset and age to your own then it is quite possibly you need to be looking at mature dating websites rather than the usual hookup apps.
You’re flying solo
Chances are that by this point all your other female friends are married, also have kids or are in long term relationships. This means that you’ve lost your partner in crime who will pull you back to reality on nights out after too many mojitos. You are flying solo with no wing woman in your corner to guide you. It can be awkward talking to your friends about your dating exploits when their lives are on a very different path and can leave you feeling a little isolated. Advice? Confide in one close friend who you really trust with your dating tales and keep it between the two of you – their advice will be invaluable and more genuine if they feel like it is something just between the two of you.
Dating in your late 30s and early 40s is complexed. Shapewear becomes your best friend and there’s a whole text acronym sub culture you don’t understand, but on the plus side you don’t have to justify your stream of one night stands to your mother anymore.
Ultimately, don’t lose hope, when you fall in love as cheesy as this sounds it really is something very special and if it was so easy to come by, well all the sense of mystery around it would be gone and it would lose the magic.
Remember at the heart of it you are an amazing woman and anyone will be lucky to have you….just be patient, don’t settle for second best and keep on searching.
It won’t have escaped your attention that in just over three weeks the most romantic (and equally most dreaded) day of the year, Valentine’s Day, will be upon us.
For new couples this can be pretty daunting and place a lot of unnecessary pressure on a new relationship. You may have only met your perfect match online a few weeks ago, but you can already imagine the two of you on February 14th exchanging gifts and having a romantic evening together. You’ll spend ages finding the sweetest, wittiest card that has just enough sentiment without being too close to those three words ‘I love you’, you’ll painstakingly scour Not on the High Street for an appropriate Valentine’s Day gift and you’ll go all out and book that fancy new restaurant in town instead of the Chinese all you can eat buffet.
Stop! For a minute let’s all take a breather. Whilst there is nothing wrong in telling or showing someone how you much you like them, Valentines Day is just one day out of 364 others, and a meaningful relationship isn’t built over a bouquet of roses. Grand gestures pale in comparison to the littler acts of appreciation, thoughtfulness and sincerity.
When you start a new relationship everything is exciting. The simple ping of your phone telling you that you’ve got a message, those ‘good night’ and ‘good morning’ texts and those surprise date nights to pick you up and get you through a tough week are all little things that matter early on. It is about getting to know each other, what makes your partner tick, the little foibles and things that make you smile about each other. The unnecessary commercialism that is placed on Valentine’s Day takes all that away and it stops being a day to establish and grow your relationship and having fun.
Then there is the added problem of what if you and the person you’re seeing aren’t on the same page as to how to celebrate? Maybe one of you is all about grand gestures and going all out to treat the other person whilst the other partner is all about sentiment and “it’s the thought that counts.”
Do enough just to mark the day. By all means, acknowledge it but don’t make the whole day revolve or be about Valentine’s Day.
If you’re seeing each other during the day plan something different for an activity. Why not consider doing something quirky together such as going to a make your own pottery place and creating something together. Go to places that won’t be full of hundreds of other couples – head out to the countryside and find a nice country walk with a halfway pub. If you live near the coast take a walk along the headland and draw funny messages in the sand. Restaurants are over priced so get creative and consider doing something at home like a romantic picnic, add in some candles or fairy lights and big floor cushions and create a foodie delight to enjoy together. If your relationship is at that stage you could always play some naughty food games for fun and there are lots of aphrodisiac foods you can enjoy together!
These are just a couple of ideas on how you could spend Valentine’s Day with your new partner; if you have more we’d love to hear them.
Remember, that spending time together on Valentine’s Day is more important than anything, so make it count.
We’re all looking for ‘the one’, the ‘perfect partner’, the one who always makes us smile and sometimes when you’re dating it is really easy to lose sight of the simple things that make you unique and what you’re looking for in an ideal partner.
When you start dating you quickly realise that there are timewasters, those who will mess with your head and heart and lead a double life, fly by nights, and those with more drama than a soap opera, but there are also emotionally healthy people who really do want something lasting.
The problem is that we disillusion ourselves into what makes the perfect Mr or Miss Right, and the illusion of enhanced perfection is all too readily purported.
Many of my female friends have delusions about finding a Tom Hardy or Ryan Reynolds lookalike in their local and will instantly discount any man that attempts to chat them up who doesn’t fit this bill. Equally, most of my male friends admit that its looks they go for, several of them were more open minded and admitted it would be the way a woman dresses, the way she carries herself and even how much makeup she’s wearing that would determine if they asked her for a date.
Some of them even admitted that for the average Joe it is intimidating at the best of times for them to approach a woman but even more so when she’s dressed up like a cast member from Real Housewives of Cheshire. Why….because they can’t see who the real person is.
Why….because they can’t workout who the ‘real’ person is that they’re looking or talking to.
This week on First Dates Hotel there was the most adorable guy in Eddie the electrician. He was a real man’s man and got matched with a beautiful girl. Despite his nervousness his personality shone through. He made witty jokes, he paid compliments, he was a gentleman, for me he would have been the perfect date. He told an emotional story and opened up to his date – a brave thing for guys to do. However, his date for the night felt the need to make him feel uncomfortable by making reference to his nerves, she led him on with flirting, swam in her bikini in front of him and then benched him to the friendzone. Ouch.
I take my hat off to Eddie – he admitted that the girl was ‘out of his league’ but that he’d love to date her and see her again. He told her so and although his being honest and open didn’t work for him it was his natural persona that made him so endearing to the viewers.
Hang in there Eddie.
Don’t get me wrong it is natural to put on a different persona when you go out on a date, to behave a little differently to when you’re at home. You’re nervous. There is anticipation. You’ve probably been chatting online for weeks and have heightened expectations of what you want from each other. There’s the hope that you really want this to be ‘the one’.
On dates you’ll give typical responses during the evening such as ‘it was nice to meet you’ or ‘thanks for a nice night’. You do this because you put up a wall that says ‘be cool, be casual’ that way you won’t get hurt.
STOP….if you had a really nice time and there was laughter and eye contact and flirting and the awkward moments didn’t last long ask to see that person again! Be brave, take a chance – if you really want to find someone that’s what you have to do. Lay yourself bare (not literally as that would be strange and weird) and throw caution to the wind. Sometimes a connection doesn’t happen on the first date.
If you don’t be brave your date will just think you’re not interested and both of you will fade into the night, opportunity missed.
Also, don’t put all your eggs in one basket when you start dating. You might meet some great dates over the course of a few weeks, be open to going on multiple dates but be upfront if they ask if you’re dating anyone else. Don’t think dating is now your life….it isn’t. Organise nights out with friends, if you’re on your own at home enjoy the time to yourself and do things for you.
The saving grace about internet dating is that it’s a sea full of fish and there are a lot of fish to catch. Always though be clear to yourself and your date about who you are and what you are looking for. Compatibility isn’t about being two people being the same it’s about two people just finding one thing that gives them a connection.
It could take one date or fifty to find that connection but the more honest you are to yourself and your date the less exasperating the whole experience will be.