Friday, 24 February 2017

My Top Ten List of Do's and Don't for Over 40's Dating!

Everyone tells me how rewarding it can be to have another person in your life - someone to share the good times and the bad - and yes I can see the value in that. However, to me being in a relationship with someone also means having to trust people again - and until recently I wasn't ready to do that!

When I first got married in 1999, I worshipped my husband and expected to live happily ever after with him but things didn't work out like I had planned. But after only 7 years all the love and all the passion had gone, and all we had left with was a big house with a big mortgage, and money (or the lack of it) became the most important topic of our heated conversations!

I never imagined that I would be divorced at only 36 years of age, or that I would end up as a single mother with two little children to raise. Getting divorced from my husband also meant taking an enormous step backwards with my financial security - and it was a very bitter pill to swallow - and I have struggled ever since. 

I shut myself off to the possibility of having another man to share my life, until recently when I had a sudden change of heart. Once again I find myself yearning for a man to love, and I miss the company and security of having a partner to depend upon. I know that there is still some life left in the old girl yet and so am on the 'hunt' again for a new man for the first time in over ten years!

I have therefore stumbled across the internet dating scene - which is literally saturated with dating sites and apps for phones, with thousands of singles now going online and looking for love! So where do I start from now that I fall into the 40 + dating category! and how do I go about meeting a man with similar interests from my age group?

Things have changed so much with the introduction of new technology in the last ten years - and maybe these will help me to fine-tune my search for the perfect partner - but are we really any better off with all of these gadgets to play with? Dating websites and introduction agencies have been around for as far back as I can remember, but do modern-day methods on the internet really help anyone, or are they just in it for the money they get from preying upon the hopes of the loveless?

Personally I have to admit that I have joined up to at least six different sites over the course of the last two years, and am constantly disappointed by the way in which they operate - and find that there is always something missing for me. And so I am currently in the process of creating my own :)

Most of the sites expect subscribers to pay at least £100 upfront to join up as a member, for a period of between 3-6 months, but I am not prepared to pay that kind of money to find a relationship, Unfortunately I come from an era where I was raised in the old-fashioned ways of courting, and initially dismissed the idea of 'online dating' as it was 'just not for me'. Now I am not sure...

Some of the newer sites launched within the last two years are quite clever and provide introductory specials for a very short period of time to give you an inside peek at their prospects - or advertise for people to 'conduct searches of their membership database for free'. 

All of them encourage you to create a user login and a personal profile to tell people a little bit about yourself, and what you are looking for in a potential partner - these are also mostly free and allow you to put yourself out there to 'test the waters a bit' which is really a pretty good start. These are the types of sites that I prefer, and have recommended the one that I am on to friends of mine recently with some success.

From time to time my friends and I compare the stories of our disastrous (and sometimes successful) online dating experiences - which are always fascinating and make for some interesting - and hilarious - dinner conversations. It is a whole new world for me!

People always quote the phrase 'You can't judge a book by its cover' and encourage people to keep an open mind about others, But honestly I find this a contradiction in terms when we as a society are forced to rely so much on our looks to attract a partner on-line these days. What chance do we have of finding someone compatible with our values in life - when we are displayed to them in a single photograph - and have merely seconds to draw their attention and hold it, before they swipe left or right again?

There are literally thousands of people online looking for a relationship these days that are basing their decisions to attract a mate purely on looks alone - and it truly worries me. I have to admit that I have a certain 'type' of man that I am attracted to, but should that proclude me from meeting anyone potential who does not possess those characteristics? I am not really sure what to think!

Once upon a time it used to be that first meeting of the eyes across the crowded room that attracted you to a person, and you got butterflies in your stomach whenever they spoke that told you to pay attention - because here was some-one important - but you just can't get that moment of instant attraction from only a photograph. 

A lot of the dating websites use a similar format for interactions between members - either you make the first move or they do - and you will often see the same profiles recurring on each of them - whilst some of the sites rely on personality traits when matching people together. I must admit that there must be some kind logic to that method of match-making, but just because it looks good on paper doesn't mean that there will necessarily be any 'sparks' flying between the couple when they are finally introduced. A lot of it is down to pure luck.

I wanted to share some of my own personal observations with you all, in the hope that these may be of help to anyone who is still out there on-line looking for love - and just like me is struggling with it! The simple fact is that none of us know where this technology will take us, but I do believe that dating websites definitely have a place in the world. We may not always get the results we want from them but if we can create a wishlist of what we are really looking for in the perfect partner - then we will recognise them instantly when love finally comes to town!

1. DO - Create an amazing personal dating profile for every site.

You have to take this seriously and complete the entire application if you want to attract a quality date.  

I would strongly recommend that you take your time with this and can not stress this enough! You only get one chance to make a good first impression so put as much effort as you can into making your profile the best that it can be!

You should pay as much attention to this as you would a prospective partner, and treat it accordingly. 

Half-hearted attempts to attract a mate will not give you the results that you are wanting, and incomplete profiles or unanswered questions will reflect badly on you and give people a negative impression. It is just like applying for a job in some respects but the job is being a husband, a boyfriend or sexual partner - this is your one and only chance to shine. Focus on your best personality traits and give people reasons why they should pick you - and tell them about the ways in which you can be an amazing partner to them and make their life better - not worse! 

2. DO - READ THE PROFILES OF THE OPPOSITE SEX PROPERLY BEFORE you send off your first wink, cheeky one-liner or personal introduction

Your quality time is precious - but you must also respect the money and time invested by other people on the site who are 'paid subscribers' looking for a serious relationship - they are not just in it for 'a bit of fun' and are NOT interested in playing games or having casual sex unless the profile says so!

Don't send off stock cheesy lines or introductions - personalise every single email if you want it to work or otherwise don't do it all ... some of their friends might be receiving the same introduction!

3. DO NOT - Advertise your flaws and don't talk about the past. 

We don't want to hear about your previous 'toxic' relationships or your bitter break-ups with an ex! 

Don't turn your personal introduction into a big rant about a previous partner, or list what you don't like about women in modern society today or write things down like a list of demands!

4. DO NOT - Send off introductions to women if you do not meet their 'ideal partner' criteria!

Personally I don't like getting requests from people who are half my age. It's a little bit flattering but more often than not reminds me of how much better looking I used to be 'back then', and makes me feel much older than I really am.

Likewise if someone is more than 15 years older than me. I know that they have a lot of life experiences to share but I don't want to date anyone who is the same ages with my parents.

Personally I also don't want anyone who is halfway out of a relationship (separated) or says that they have only been single for a few months and acts like it has been a lifetime for them.

I only go for divorced or single men - its a lot less complicated and let's face it - no-one wants to know about your emotional baggage at this stage of their life. If you are supposedly OUT of a relationship - then go the whole way OUT and get that quickie divorce arranged and make it final - don't stay married if you are not living together any longer, or if you have hopes of getting back together some day. That just isn't fair on anyone.

5. DO - Spend some time getting some very good quality photos together to put online.

a. Upload 1 x main profile photo (preferably a good clear headshot with a photo of you smiling) 
- do not place anything in front of your face like a beer glass or look like you are dodging one of your workmates who has decided to make up a profile for you for a bit of a laugh :) 

- make sure that the photo is a recent shot showing people what you look TODAY - not from 20 years ago when you used to have hair or were 20 pounds lighter than what you are now and had teeth.
- make sure that the viewer can see all of your features clearly and do not upload fuzzy images
- do not use the webcam on your laptop or mobile phone, and do not use passport or licence photographs (let's face it - nobody ever looked good in one of these)
- do not use photographs of your animals or your motor bike/car as your main profile shots instead of your face!

This is a really important one to note: - do not use no photograph at all - you will be excluded from most online searches immediately and you mine as well delete your profile from the site altogether!

b. Upload an additional 2-3 recent photographs of yourself doing an activity you enjoy in life.

- that does not include drinking with your mates in the pub with a table filled with empty glasses
- that does not include pictures of you with your arms around other women
- keep the kids and partners of the opposite sex out of the photos (this includes grownup kids)
- do not upload photos of your crotch, or photos of you with your shirt off (in any capacity)
- do not load photos of you with your tongue hanging out or giving anyone the finger (really)
- do not include any photos of yourself in some kind of weird fancy dress costume or mask

c. Do not include any 'poser' shots - ie. you leaning next to a tree, crouching down or looking uncomfortable

d. Do something different with your photos if you can but not weird like :) 

- Nearly everyone who has been to Australia shows a picture of themselves standing in front of either the Sydney Opera House or the Sydney Harbour Bridge! (just saying)

- Everybody who likes mountain climbing show photos of them climbing a mountain (yawn)

e. Make sure that you list yourself in the right section, 

ie. Don't click on 'woman looking for a man' if you are a 'man looking for a woman' - you would be surprised how often people come up in the wrong category.

6. DO - Create an interesting introduction in 250 words or less about yourself.

Try to be original to make yourself stand out from the crowd - look at other profiles - be different! 

- Do not refer to your bikes or your cars as an actual penis extension (and don't use it to pull women)
- Do not under any circumstances use the 'Shout Out' Feature on any website EVER which broadcasts your profile to the entire group all at once (I had to learn this one from personal experience and apparently it makes you look desperate)

7. DO NOT - Talk about anything sexual under any circumstances unless the woman introduces the subject first or specifically says that she would like to talk about it with you, and do not be smutty or inpolite. 

8. DO NOT - Send anyone any naked photos or photos of your private parts unless the woman specifically asks you about it or asks you to send her a photo of you naked - especially if you have already had a date with them.

- Do not conduct video calls with anyone without your shirt or clothing on (enough said and an instant turnoff).

9. DO NOT - Create a profile if you are in a relationship or married to someone else.

Trust me - you will get caught out and there will be hell to pay when it finally happens!

Not to mention the fact that you will be breaking one or two hearts in the process!

And last but not least... 
10. DO NOT - Lie to anyone about anything, or create a fake profile - not now or ever!

There is nothing worse than 'false advertising' and you are just wasting everyone's time or worse.

At the end of the day I still believe that the very best way to actually meet a person is IN PERSON - and I am going to make an effort to get out and about as much as possible from now on. It may an old-fashioned method of meeting the man of my dreams but the results are instantaneous - even in this day and age,

Meeting a new partner can be made through an introduction from friends, by joining a personal interest or social club or getting out of your comfort zone and trying new things and new places you haven't seen. 

I personally would love to see a return to the good old-fashioned values and original days of courting, and will let you know if we think of any more tips to add to this list!! 

Please feel free to add your own comments and tips/stories below for everyone else to read.

Please stay tuned for more articles from us!

Tamara :)

I was a sailor, I was lost at sea
I was under the waves before love rescued me
I was a fighter, I could turn on a thread
Now I stand accused of the things I've said

When love comes to town I'm gonna jump that train
When love comes to town I'm gonna catch that flame
Maybe I was wrong to ever let you down
But I did what I did before love came to town

Used to make love under a red sunset
I was making promises I was soon to forget
She was pale as the lace of her wedding gown 
But I left her standing before love came to town
I ran into a juke joint when I heard a guitar scream
The notes were turning blue, I was dazing in a dream
As the music played I saw my life turn around
That was the day before love came to town

When love comes to town I'm gonna jump that train
When love comes to town I'm gonna catch that flame
Maybe I was wrong to ever let you down
But I did what I did before love came to town
When love comes to town I'm gonna jump that train
When love comes to town I'm gonna catch that flame
Maybe I was wrong to ever let you down
But I did what I did before love came to town

When I woke up I was sleeping on the street 
I felt the world was dancing and I was dirt beneath their feet
When I looked up I saw the Devil looking down
But my Lord he played the guitar the day love came to town
I was there when they crucified my Lord
I held the scabbard when the soldier drew his sword
I threw the dice when the pierced his side
But I've seen love conquer the great divide

When love comes to town I'm gonna catch that train
When love comes to town I'm gonna catch that flame
Maybe I was wrong to ever let you down
But I did what I did before love came to town


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