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?
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.
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.
Can you believe it? It’s June already! How time flies when you are having fun, right? Speaking of fun, where are you taking your date this weekend? Still undecided? Well, your Fairy Fish Dating Blog Mother has a little idea you might enjoy.
A date, especially a first date, should be memorable and the more senses you engage, the more memorable the date will be. Our Date Inspiration for this month certainly ticks that box.
Enter London’s Dans le Noir, the restaurant with a difference. You and your date will be dining, yes you guessed it, in the dark, where you will be served by blind staff. Devoid of your dominant visual sense, you and your date can enjoy one of 4 ‘mystery’ meals where you will get to choose between meat, seafood or vegetarian. This way you get to explore your sense of taste and smell (and let’s not forget hearing) more fully. The food, mostly organic, is based on first quality ingredients, making the experience as interesting and tasty as possible.
Outside distractions, such as mobile phones, are a big no no at Dans le Noir and you will be asked to lock yours away (lockers are provided), giving you an opportunity to completely focus on each other and your sensory experience for the next hour or so.
Expect a few culinary surprises and a new perspective on dining and dating. To end the meal in a more traditional way, there’s a lit bar for post-dinner drinks. Or if you’d prefer sumptuous concoctions of the drinkable kind, why not head over to the nearby Zetter Townhouse cocktail lounge?
Whatever you decide, above all, we hope you have fun. ‘Cos that’s what dating should be!
Happy Dating! x