But only if you really want to …

This is the single most important thing I want to say: 

If it doesn’t happen then it’s not the end of the world. Lots of us live alone these days and actually that’s great too in many ways … independence is fabulous, don’t knock it, I spent 14 years on my own bringing up my eldest daughter and honestly – I was happy, content and relished that time.  Many of my married friends envied me.

The stigma of online dating has diminished in recent years and I know lots of people who have dipped their toes in, some successfully – finding long term partners.  I met my husband on  plentyoffish.com.  I was lucky I guess I didn’t have to go on a string of dates with rejects – the right one turned up  couple of days after I registered.  Taking the plunge is always nerve wracking but as long as you follow my helpful hints and tips you might get lucky and bag a suitable ‘him indoors’ pretty pronto (if that is what your heart so desires)…

Which site?

There are so many choices now, some catering to specific interests/lifestyles -e.g. datingvegetarians.co.uk or if you like the rural life try muddymatches.co.uk obviously steer clear of Russian brides or anything else dodgy.  Tinder is really popular and has lots of subscribers as does match.com

Some sites require you to pay to register, others are free, it really is best to browse before you buy …

Your profile

I had help with this (actually I was bulldozed into it by my friends).  They took my pic, helped write my profile and generally egged me on.  Sitting down with a good friend, sharing a bottle of wine and writing your profile together is a great way to do it.  It’s always hard to big yourself up.

Don’t litter your profile with the usual cliches – gsoh – what does that mean? You might think you have but if you thought Bernard Manning’s gig on Eastbourne pier was fab then trust me sunshine you do not have a good sense of humour.  A sense of humour is great and complete lacking in this department is a non starter as far as I’m concerned.  Laughing together at the world and each other will help get you through the tough times.

Be honest. If you are overweight don’t try and hide it, if you are a bit retro (vintage) like me don’t put a pic on of you as a 25 year old and lie about your age.  Be you and don’t pretend to be an action man “I love adrenaline sports” if actually you are most comfortable with a night infront of the telly.

Once your profile is done and you are registered now the fun starts ..

You can get online and start selecting your future beau.  Yes, there is so much to choose from and it’s mind boggling, I scrolled quickly past the naked ones, the ones holding a pint, the ones sitting in open top cars with greased back white hair (I remember that one, he had a great big cigar in one hand and was on millionaire.match) You need your wits about you for this task – Don’t be blind to obvious alarm bells; that 40 something guy still living with mummy who is also a member of a gun club? What do you mean he looks cute?! Run a mile ffs.

Chat for a bit online or on the phone before actually hooking up

Try to suss him out a bit better before meeting up.  A modicum of intelligence is nice, you can soon tell …

Try to find some common ground, shared values and general outlook on life

The date

Personal safety is number one concern here.  We had our first date in a busy pub in town,  I didn’t give him my address before hand or during the date.  We met at the pub and I let a friend and work colleague know what I was doing and where and when we would be meeting.  I excused myself during our first date to go to the loo and call my friend to let her know that I was ok.  I also rang her when I got home that evening.  I think it is also a great idea if you have some friends drinking nearby who can keep an eye on things from a distance.  Take every precaution you can and cover all bases.  It’s also a great idea for a friend to meet you and drive you home afterwards.

And … for the first few dates at least I would stick to a simple drink or coffee.  It’s easier to quit and run in this situation then from a restaurant.

Trust your instincts

If it doesn’t feel right then it probably isn’t.  You can’t change someone or help them modify their behaviour,  don’t paper over cracks, let them down gently but firmly, and move on.  Don’t let it put you off.

If you do decide to take the plunge 

Have fun, enjoy it, don’t expect to meet mr right first time and don’t take it too seriously.  Be happy being you and in your own company.

I love ya anyway (you are reading my blog after all)

Jules xx

And, did I get my happily ever after?  Well, I was lucky and I did find my soulmate…

3 months after meeting we flew to Vegas, and this year we are celebrating 9 years of marriage…

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