Online Dating Jungle

Friend zoning, ghosting, bread crumbing, benched, textlationship…what does it all mean?? Online dating is exhausting and confusing – its a jungle out there.

After 9 months of on off online dating, I am left bemused but hopeful as I’ve finally met someone who I really like and who likes me back. I won’t get ahead of myself though because that is not necessarily the end of the story and brings its own issues.

Let me start at the beginning then or the end I suppose; the end of a two and a half year relationship with a man I loved deeply. The problem was he didn’t love himself too much so couldn’t receive my love or give me his in return; he was running on empty. When he ended it, it took me months to untangle myself emotionally.

My online dating experiences were part of that untangling. Here are some of them:

Date 1 – We start texting and have good banter, texts are regular but not taking up too much time and I’m not grasping. We arrange to meet. The date is fun, we get along, chat is easy. After a hug goodnight, I definitely would like a second date. The next day I text as normal and he doesn’t reply as quickly as normal. I sense something is not quite right and then I get friend zoned, translation, he’s not that into me.

Date 2 – A few sporadic texts, not flirtatious at all. Very laid back style almost to the point of wondering if this dude actually wants to text me, let alone meet up. After a few weeks we finally meet and find there is no connection, surprise surprise. We don’t text each other again.

Date 3 – We text and text and text and never meet up and when I suggest meeting, he comes up with excuses. After a few weeks, it fizzles out.

Date 4 – He just wants a bed buddy and then disappears when he meets someone seemingly better, I get benched.

Date 5 – He’s working away for a few months so we begin a textlationship. We get addicted to texting and receiving a text from him gives me a rush. After a length of time and investment, phone calls, sexting, we finally meet, it’s weird physically meeting him but it has potential. Soon after my intuition is pricked that something is off. I’m proven correct, he turns out to not be what I expected. We never speak again.

In between the actual physical dates, there are numerous messages to different men. Sometimes all the texting makes you feel like you are a priority to these people and sometimes you feel the last resort. You are just part of a long list of women being messaged, you are easily benched for a rainy day, you’re in reserve. Sometimes you are simply swiped away and all conversations are lost. They vanish and there is no control over this happening.

The torture of it all, the lessons.

I’ve heard it put that there is a lid for every pot and that dating isn’t a numbers game, since you only need to meet one person…the best one person to fit you.

It does feel like a needle in a haystack. Some people are lucky though, I was the first online date of the man I’m seeing now and I class him lucky that his first date was me! I still would have gone through the roller coaster of my dating experiences if it meant it led to meeting him though. Plus, I have learnt a lot about myself and although I profess it as a negative experience, I am grateful for it all. It has helped me realise a sensible, heart felt list of 6 non negotiables.

It is so important to know what you want in a relationship and stick to your boundaries. Let’s not stay with or make excuses for a man or woman because we think we can change them to fit our non negotiables or because we don’t want to go back to the jungle again. Don’t settle.

Dating in the U bend is undoubtedly tricky to navigate, it seems there are slim pickings out there. Online dating takes time and energy. It’s an important lesson to feel whole and happy in yourself and love yourself before asking someone else to love you. Online dating will not fill a void in your life, it can even feel more vacuous. This is my experience anyway, it was a relief when it stopped. I’ve taken on the lessons, it both helped and hindered my love journey, ultimately, I’m glad it’s over and hopefully I won’t have to log on again.

Be your own Superhero

Take your life seriously, be brave and take action.

With 2017 behind me and 2018 already unfolding, I feel different….renewed. A new energy is motivating me, like all of a sudden my life has just got serious….no, not serious but that I’m taking my life more seriously. Perhaps this is just a January feeling that every new day counts or something, whatever it is, I’m compelled to make some positive changes. How long will this last? Who knows. I do know that it has felt that I’ve lived a lot of my life thus far like a student and now I’m all grown up at 46 with a 9 year old daughter!! Talk about taking my time.

My first post this year was going to be a poem that I wrote a few years ago but it didn’t feel right so for the first time here, I’m just writing my thoughts as they arise in my mind. So apologies if it becomes a little incoherent.

I didn’t realise how the events of last year had taken their toll on me. I know January 1st is just another day but it still holds significance in wiping the slate clean and letting go of the negative emotions associated with the last years shenanigans. My hopes and desires for 2018 are big, I’m dreaming big for love, career, passions and experiences. Why not? I’ve restricted myself so much in the past, feeling not worthy of an amazing relationship, of abundance, of happiness. I’ve had enough of seemingly being dealt and accepting a bad hand, it’s my time to shine and shine I will.

I’ll prove myself right or wrong, whichever, I have no attachment to the outcome, just that a shift is already in motion. The decisions I make from here on in will send me on a particular path and I’m not going to care about the multiple parallel universes where I turn out differently. I’m going to practice mindfulness in this path, in this universe, there is no place for ‘what ifs’ ‘if only’s’ or regrets.

So I urge you and myself to pull our socks up, stand tall, be brave, dream big this year and take action.

Think I’ll set a reminder to read this post at the start of every month!

A little late but Happy New Year x

40 Something

Mid life crisis

I am a 40 something solo parent. I suppose you could call me a seeker as I have spent time looking at and reading about life philosophies and exploring my internal musings, distractions and demons. I try to practice mindfulness and I am sometimes present enough to recognise the happier moments in life and the joyous revelations. Then I try to be grateful for all of them. However, it has got to be said that life satisfaction has gradually decreased since my late 20’s and early 30’s. It has been a struggle to say the least, although my seeking has aided me on my journey, there still has been a niggly, underlying, low level, ‘I’m not quite in the right place, doing the right thing with the right people’ feeling. My late 30’s and early 40’s has led to a crescendo of dissatisfaction.

Mid life Crisis Theories

Research has come up with a possible reason why this downward turn in happiness during adulthood occurs with a low manifesting as a possible ‘mid life crisis’.

Studies have shown that life satisfaction starts to decrease from early adulthood and continues to do so until middle age, the nadir being in the mid to late 40’s and only then begins to rise again as you get older; thus the U bend analogy. The studies also showed that this was a universal phenomenon regardless of life circumstances or culture (although it has been highlighted that it is more of a western phenomenon).

There are a few dominant theories as to why this happiness U curve exists, one is bendeconomic. An article in the Guardian points out that it is the effect of work on our wellbeing and the downward side of the U curve begins in early adulthood when we enter employment. Contentment decreases as we work more and we have more responsibilities and expectations to deal with. The upward curve in our 50’s is possibly due to having more time to enjoy the fruits of our labour, since the kids are older and we are perhaps more financially secure.

The other dominant theory is psychological. We start off in life with big ideas and high hopes, but we realise over time that they are likely to be unfulfilled. As we get older we gain a new sense of realism and a determination to enjoy life as it presents itself; thus an increase in happiness.

Both theories make sense to me but the psychological theory resonates with me more since it will be a while until my daughter flies the nest and I don’t feel financially secure yet. I’m still hanging on though to my big ideas and high hopes, I’m not ready to throw in the towel just yet. Maybe I need to embrace more realism but I think I will keep my suffering going until I naturally get there.

Bygonesman dog

I do have a sense of more contentment in the future coming my way though. Yes I struggle with getting older, with my hair going grey and my skin ‘doing one’ in the southerly direction. Yes I am frustrated with not being more financially secure, I’ve taken risks in my life that have successfully given me adventures but not that much money. (I’ll take the adventures any day though). Still, I worry a little about my future finances and I have nothing but memories and shoes to hand over to my daughter.

Despite these irritating niggles, I’m feeling a new energy slowly rising, a sense that everything will actually be okay some day in the near future.

The U Bend

If this phenomenon does exist the U-shaped bend teaches us that a mid-life slump is both normal and temporary. It feels true from my perspective, perhaps this is the universes way to teach us our life lessons? A sort of long haul initiation ceremony to teach us to be a wise elder in the future? (if only our society respected wise elders more!) I find it a bit irritating though that my personal experience along life’s journey turns out to conform to some statistical norm, but there is no denying it, the U bend has me.

I feel passionate about this, hence the birth of this blog. I feel urged to write, not only to help myself out by having a platform to cry, shout, laugh and share love and compassion but also to shed some light on life in the U bend. I hope to create a safe place to vent, to make even a small difference in these dark times, for our internal selves and also for the bigger, struggling world out there. I feel that it is important to laugh at ourselves and together, to lighten up and create a positive space to reflect and navigate our way up to the other side of the bend. Maybe this knowledge can help us to relax a little knowing that this too shall pass eventually and at least we’ve got our mid 50’s onwards to look forward to, knowing that we will feel happier, calmer and more content; onwards and upwards!

woman at lake

I invite you to join me on my U bend journey, my musings, my low moments, my upward facing moments and my gradual climb back up to the lighter side of life. Please follow and join in the conversation.