Tag Archive | Dating advice

Budget dating ideas that don’t cost a fortune

Let’s call it what it is.

Dating is expensive!

Besides the cost of making yourself look less sasquatchey (pretty sure we’ve financed our beautician’s third salon) and more like the Snapchat Goddess that you are, you have the cost of the date itself – movies, dinners etc., all of which quickly deplete your fun budget. And yes, we always go Dutch!

So before you go and sign up to discount days on various voucher websites check out our date ideas that don’t suck (budget or balls):

In tandem

Most big cities have places where you can hire a tandem bike and which are really affordable (around £40 for the whole day). It’s also also a right hoot and you get to explore your city (and your date’s bottom) more closely. Remember to take a picnic with you to refuel (*wink *wink) at the next park.

Pop-up Wine Bar

Vinery London is hosting another pop-up wine bar this Saturday. Just rock up and sample some delicious wines and pay what you think the night was worth (and based on how much you’ve guzzled away).

Volunteer together

Volunteering together may not be the first thing that pops into your head when you think ‘hot date’ but it can be a really fun and rewarding experience. Head on over to http://www.do-it.org for some ideas and let’s not forget the mayjaaah karma points you score. Who knows, this could be your thing as a couple.

Just have pudding

A girl’s gotta eat, right? So next time you head on to a restaurant, why not ditch the starter and main course and just have one (or four) different desserts to share with your date instead? It will be cheaper and let’s face it, you will have the pudding anyway so you might as well have the brownie, lemon tart and creme brûlée at the same time.

Go to a festival

What’s better than to dance the night away with bae at a festival? Dancing the night away at a free festival of course. Check out this handy guide to find one in your area.

Do you have any other wallet-friendly date ideas you want to share with a fellow dater? Share them in the comments below!

 

A woman’s guide to surviving dating in your 40s

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.

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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.

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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??

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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.

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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.

wing-woman

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.

 

Failure to Launch

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?

Text the Ex – Avoid these 7 Text Traps

Texting the Ex

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. 

Dating tips for mums and dads after divorce

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.

Be careful

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.

Be open

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.

Be honest

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.

Be patient

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.

Be reassuring

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.

Be understanding

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.

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?

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