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Navigating Valentine’s Day as a New Couple

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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.

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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.

love-romantic-gift-present

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.”

#Awkward

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Our advice?  

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!

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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.

How to survive online dating – be yourself.

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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.

looking for your perfect partner

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.

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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.

 

 

How to get your online match to message you back

You’ve uploaded your photos, you’ve written a great online profile and your thumbs ache from swiping through potential matches.  You’re in the thick of online dating and have a couple of matches that you want to reach out to and get to know better.  Just where do you start?

how to get an online match to message you back

The thing is you want to come up with a witty opener, something other than the usual ‘Hi, how are you?’.  You could be predictable and ask them something based on their profile…OR you could use the brain between your ears and take a personal approach.  This is exactly what one guy did and it netted him a 100% success rate with the ladies.  Joe Bagel decided to create poetic masterpieces based on the initials of his prospective matches name.  His excellent wordsmith skills certainly got him noticed by the ladies, and you can read the full article here.

With so many singletons now using online dating sites to find their perfect match your potential match may well have been inundated with inbox requests and your opening flirtation needs to hit the mark.

Getting your online match to message your back

Remember the phrase ‘quality over quantity’ – never has it been truer than when sending messages to potential dates.  Rather than adopting the idea of cast the net wide go exclusive and only message a select number of matches. For the guys reading this, trust me many women can spot a rehashed message a mile off.   We get so many of those lazy mass-messages that we just ignore them.  If you spend a little more time creating a unique message, you’ll probably find it’s much more productive. For example, why not try an ice breaker question ‘What are your top five movies?’, nearly everyone loves a good movie and this will see what common ground you have.

Don’t bombard your matches.  If you send a message and they take a while to answer back.  Don’t sweat it.  People are busy and lead a life outside of their dating app and it may just well be there is other stuff they need to attend to.  It is easy to think the worst but keep your cool.  Don’t keep sending messages and (unless you’ve written something really offensive) you don’t need to message them to apologise for getting in touch.

when your online crush won't text you back

Get to the point.  Once you’ve hit up a conversation and the messages are flowing ask your match if they’d be happy to take the conversation either to a phone call or a coffee.  There is no point in stringing it out.  Whether you’re a guy or a girl be bold and make the first move and ask the other one out so you can actually have a more in-depth conversation and get off your phones and talk face to face.

Don’t be lazy.  Whilst it may be tempting to use phrases and acronyms during your conversation good spelling and grammar goes a long way in making the right impression.  Intelligent people are generally looking for someone on their level and the overuse of emojis (no matter how cute the unicorn one is) smacks of immaturity and the fact you’ve had one too many cans of Red Bull for the day.

Keep it lighthearted.  Online messaging apps are for light-hearted chat and banter.  Keep the serious stuff about exclusivity and your hopes for the relationship for if/when you meet – that way you can gauge accurately your date’s response.

These are just some of the tips you can put into practice to help make messaging your online matches a success, which ultimately is a HUGE confidence boost for anyone doing online dating.

getting your match to message your back

So go forth and get your creative hat on and start chatting.  If you have any personal stories or mistakes to add to the list, we’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Plenty More Fish Success Story – Debbie and Kevin

It seems our silver daters are having lots of success at the moment over in our Silver Pond.  We were really pleased to get an email from one of our members Debbie telling us she’s found love with a fellow member.

“Hi there, My name is Debbie Baker-Smith and I have found love through the website, Plenty More Fish Silver Pond.

The new man in my life is Kevin Looms. Kevin was someone that I chatted with online very quickly after joining the website.

His photo was attractive and the answers he gave in his profile questions intrigued me. We then swapped phone numbers and had a very long telephone conversation.

Then we plucked up courage and met, we have been out several times now and are an official couple. It all began with the website. Here are 2 photos of us together.

Debbie Baker-Smith

online dating for over 40s

Congratulations, to Debbie & Kevin who were matched together in our Silver Pond which specialises in dating for over 40’s.  We always love to hear from our members when they’ve found that special someone online, so if you’ve had success using Plenty More Fish tweet us @plentymorefish.

Busiest day of the year for online dating

The mantra of ‘new year, new you’ and all that is well and truly in the front of everyone’s minds as we head back to work this week following the Christmas break.  One look at your Facebook feed and there is a plethora of ‘resolution’ themed memes promising good intentions.

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So many of us set ourselves targets for January, and those of us looking for love are no different – and according to research the 3rd January is THE busiest day of the year for online dating websites and apps.  As us lust longing Brits head back to work, research has shown that dating sites are expecting a 37 percent hike in activity as millions log on hoping to find new romances for 2017.

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Whilst some of us may be entering 2017 newly single after relationships ran their course and ended up single before the holidays. Others may well have hung in there until New Year’s and realised they were in a relationship that wouldn’t go the distance.  Then there are some singles who have made the decision after having another holiday alone that they’ll have a go at dating in an attempt to find their soul mate.

Whatever situation you find yourself in at the start of 2017 you’ll have plenty of choice to browse through as millions of new profiles hit the online dating websites, and with the average user trawling around 43 profiles when they log on it wouldn’t go amiss to set yourself a bit of a strategy to catch the eye of Mr or Miss Right.  So here are our top tips for standing out in the busy dating pond this January:-

  • Get a great photo – honestly, one showing you surrounded by your mates drinking and partying hard may seem like a good idea but remember you want someone to notice you not the social scene you’re into, or worse even fancy one of your mates!  Remember the adage ‘a picture paints a thousand words’?  Why not consider investing in someone to help you take a great profile photo so that you really stand out.
  • Challenge the stereotypes – ladies who says men have to make the first move? Be proactive and not reactive and if you see a guy you like strike up a conversation.  Pose a series of interesting first date questions that allow the two of you to see if there is common ground before moving to the next stage.
  • Be engaged – many of today’s dating sites have a whole host of extra features that you can access as part of their membership structure.  Opting to pay for a level of membership with access to these features can work in your favour as generally people who shell out for online dating subscriptions are serious about finding a relationship.  You” have the chance to send more messages, get read receipts and send more photos allowing you make those matches quicker.

Whatever your relationships goals for 2017 the first part of it is dipping your toe into the water and seeing what happens.  With more of us than ever using dating websites as a way to meet new people around the UK,  January is the perfect time to try with so many other singletons also out there with the same agenda.

Looking for love in 2017?  We’d love to know what you look for or avoid in an online dating profile.

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How far would you travel for a date?

Today I am posing what on face value seems to be a simple question ‘how far would you travel for a date?’ In particular a first date.

long distance dating

For many of us in the world of ‘online dating’ we’ve dipped our toe into this pond because our social circle of friends are all in relationships and settled and unlikely to offer any romantic leads via their circle of friends anytime soon.  The theory with online dating is that you get to meet a wider variety of people than if you went to your local pub on a Friday night.  This is certainly true you live in Sleepy Hollow and have a village population of 30 online dating is a great way to widen your dating radius in order to strike it lucky.

Looking at my recent experience in online dating I am a creature of habit. My profile clearly restricts my search criteria to under 30miles.  Why? Well for me the distance is a huge problem. Whilst I drive and love to drive, I do not want to be heading out on a Friday to meet Mr A and spend an hour and a half in my car before I get there.  Neither do I want to spend two hours on public transport just to go out for date night pizza.  In fact, my last several dates have been in about a 12 mile radius from my house for those very reasons – I am also pretty lazy and a creature of comforts….I want a relationship with someone who is close by so that when either of us is having a crappy day we can simply be there in ten minutes with a pick me up hug.  So for me personally dating way outside my postcode zone is just a no-no.  Currently Mr M is based about a 30 minute commute and we can be warm and cosy and meet for midweek cuddles, it’s not a grand tour for either of to see each other and that works just fine.

Could I honestly see myself dating Mr G in Cardiff or Mr X in Leeds….nope.  I’ve done both and it is not only exhausting on the bank account it’s pretty emotionally taxing too.  The other way to look at it is this.  If you spend 90 minutes driving to meet Mr X or Miss X and you get there and it’s the worst date ever (you know the one where you literally cannot wait for it to end) in reality you cannot walk out after ten minutes or have some sort of fake phone call from your bestie to rescue you because you’re too far away!! Once you’re there you are there for the night and that means you might drink more and end up doing the whole after dinner coffee thing!

 

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Long distance relationships are challenging in many ways but if you really, really like someone maybe it is about putting in the extra effort to make them realise they are the one for you.  Finding a soulmate today is not easy – nothing in life is and if you’re looking for someone whose values and goals align with yours and you really want to build a future with them then maybe just maybe you have to put yourself through the inconvenience.  Remember though it has to be a two-way street.

Honesty is key to any relationship but even more so for a long distance one.  If you have kids set your boundaries, be open and upfront about whether you’d relocate or not, if you have family who depend on you then make this known – in general what may seem like hurdles may not be an issue to the other party but they or you cannot make an informed decision if you do not communicate your relationship deal breakers.

If you’re making the effort then so should the other person in the relationship – otherwise, you really are flogging a dead horse and you shouldn’t have to sell yourself.  If someone doesn’t want to put themselves out for you then listen to your gut…the right person will travel to get to know you and meet you and if the relationship is right you’ll find a common ground to build a future on.

Recent studies showed that on average Brits are prepared to travel an average of 400 miles to meet Mr or Miss Right…yes really, we clearly are a committed bunch and men were inclined to travel an extra 22 miles to find the perfect woman. So whether you are online dating in Birmingham or living in London and wanting to expand your dating circle maybe its worth broadening your horizons to see what lies a little further afield.

Have you ever had a man or woman tell you that you live too far away? How have you handled it? Have you made a long distance relationship work?  Please share your comments and tips below.

long-distance-relationships

 

Are we dating in the dark ages?

The following headline jumped out at me today whilst catching up on social media on last night’s episode of First Dates.  Instantly it had got my back up:-

Is your CAREER holding back your love life? Dating app reveals which jobs are considered the ‘sexiest’ for women and men…’

Before you check your calendar the year is still 2016 and we haven’t reverted back to 1816 (although from reading the full article on the Daily Mail website you would think we have).

I couldn’t believe that we were all really this shallow in the 21st century when looking for love. Had we forgotten about the art of romance and instead become wooed by the size of a date’s bank account?

couple in love

I think I read the article with my mouth agape, which wasn’t the most pleasant for my work colleagues, but I couldn’t actually believe what I was reading.  Apparently a leading US dating app had analysed the profiles of 1.5 million of its users and claims that job titles can have a dramatic impact on people’s love lives as data shows how professions can affect likeability.

According to the survey the ‘sexiest’ professions for women were flight attendants, speech therapists and a product manager (nothing like a bit of stereotyping).  For men it didn’t get much better with the top three most ‘desirable’ professions being a doctor, psychiatrist or a lawyer!

Now it’s not difficult to spot that the male jobs are high salary, professional executive roles which is somewhat worrying as it would imply that females choose our dates based on earning potential / potential for gifts.  

As an independent woman in her late 30’s this shocked me as I really thought we were beyond the materialistic aspect of who to choose for your date.  However, upon surveying a small sample of female friends on whether certain jobs would entice or put them off a potential lover it appeared that job title was the one box all of them would look at first.

A friend of mine bluntly put it ‘there’s no way I could date the  £10 an hour pizza delivery guy when my £200 a session psychiatrist is a much better option – just think about it, you’d get awful cheap bottles of prosecco on a Friday instead of a good bottle of rose LP.”  

I hang my head in my hands.  Really – females of society – have we resorted to this in order to find our perfect date?

Ironically the men I asked weren’t much better with at least a dozen quite happy to reinforce the ‘sexy secretary’ myth or the fantasy of joining the mile high club with an air stewardess.

online-dating-profile

This begs the question, in the world of online dating how many of us actually put our real job title in our online dating profiles?  When I tried online dating a few years back I put as my job title ‘Entrepreneur and Business Owner’, after all this was what I was.  The number of high flying corporate men who approached me was phenomenal – yet for one guy who was a self employed plumber I was deemed too ‘ambitious and driven’ and he actually commented that he was threatened by my job status.

Curious.

Surely, for those of us looking to find a long term partner one of the most attractive things about a person is their desire to better themselves and grow, and our careers are the way that we do this.  Anyone with any form of gainful employment surely is an attractive option because they are showing independence and commitment for a job even if they really really hate it!  

Me personally, I am far more likely to date an employed individual (it doesn’t bother me what they do) than an unemployed individual.  

Why?  Simply because if a person is unemployed it says so much to me about how they value themselves.  There are thousands of jobs available, and they might not be what you want but they are there.  It is better to have any job than to have no job at all.

So whether it’s the pizza delivery guy on a Wednesday or my personal trainer on a Friday if either of them ask me out on a date over Christmas I would quite happily say yes!

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Have you had other online daters hit on you because or your job description on your profile? Or perhaps you have had potential dates fizz out when your job doesn’t meet your date’s expectations?  We’d love to hear from you.

Don’t fancy being lonely under the mistletoe this Christmas?  Take advantage of our ‘early bird’ offer and save 40% on our VIP packages from the 13th – 15th December.  Just enter code PMFJINGLE40 when you sign up to any of our online dating sites.

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