- After a six-year relationship ended, I decided to take the search for The One seriously.
- Luckily for me, I don’t mind dating – so I created an OkCupid profile and got started.
- Within a year, I had had over 30 first dates and met the man who had become my husband.
I’m one of those weird and rare people who really enjoy dating – so when I getting out of a six year relationship on the wrong side of the 35, going back to apps didn’t bother me.
Although I have always loved meeting new people, I was ready to move on to the ‘happily ever after’ chapter of my life and eager to meet a man as interested in starting a family as I am.
Even though I spent most of 2014 continuing Thirty-something first datesI also met The One.
I understood who I was and what I was looking for
In my twenties, I viewed dating — and, if I’m being honest, my entire life — as some kind of goofy social experiment. I did weird jobs, answered weird ads on Craigslist, and slept with unsuitable men just for fun.
This time around, I realized that if I wanted to meet people who were sincere and willing to get vulnerable, I had to show up with the same energy.
After a few weeks of nonsense, I disconnected FarmersOnly and deactivated Tinder – which at the time was exclusively a hookup site – and focused my efforts on one of the more serious apps at the time: OkCupid.
I filled out my profile completely and seriously and added my favorite photos of myself – photos that I felt good in but were also true to how I looked in real life.
I stopped throwing red flags and learned to look for them
When I was dating in my twenties, I did what my friends and I called “front loading.” I would tell potential partners everything horrible about me from the start so that if they were to reject me, we could be done with it.
But by my mid-thirties, I had accepted aspects of myself and parts of my story that I used to see as flaws. So this time, I stopped exposing these facts in the first five minutes after the meeting a person.
Instead of obsessing over my perceived flaws and insecurities, I focused on whether the person in front of me had something to offer. I would make a mental note if a man spoke badly about others – especially other women, like their mothers or their exes – and anyone who had obviously behaved badly in past relationships.
Information like this has been revealed often and early on – sometimes on the first date. One guy had no qualms about leaving a co-parent and a grandchild to cross the country and devote himself to writing a book. There was also a musician who couldn’t name a single singer he liked, which signaled to me that he didn’t see women as equals in his field. Another date made a homophobic joke about a male jogger’s short shorts.
Details like these wouldn’t automatically disqualify a person, but they were definitely red flags.
I quickly let go of relationships that weren’t working
I’m pretty attractive, personable, and very good at making people feel seen and heard. As a result, I almost always had the possibility of going out with a guy a second time.
At first, it was hard to dismiss the people I put in the “nice, but not for me” category. I felt guilty for potentially hurting someone’s feelings, and maybe a little scared that I couldn’t do better.
A very nice man, for example, would probably have done anything for me; in fact, he actually did my taxes that year. But after casually dating for a few months, I knew he wasn’t what I was looking for, so I stopped letting him buy me fancy dinners.
I was quickly learning what I wanted and becoming more and more willing to believe that what I was really looking for was there. I had to end things with a funny, handsome guy who traveled for weeks on his job; he had assured me that it would not be a problem, but it was a problem for me. I also knew that if I wanted to find someone to settle down with, I had to stop seeing these men I had crazy sexual chemistry with but clearly didn’t want anything serious.
A die hardest relationships to leave was the only one – and the only one! – guy who broke up with me. After eight months of exclusive dating, I had fallen hard. But rather than chase him or stay home licking my wounds, I threw my copy of his house keys down a drain and reactivated my OkCupid profile.
In the end, I also gave up my “rules” and listened to my heart
I was barely over my breakup when I met the man who would become my husband.
Arran ticked all the boxes: he was smart and funny, he had a great job, and he had a good relationship with his mother, to name just a few attractive qualities. But the fact that he smoked weed and drank a lot worried me.
It was also too soon to get serious again — so when he asked to be exclusive after our third date, my instinct was to run.
Instead, I trusted my instincts and logged out of dating apps with the promise that I would log back in immediately if I had to.
More than six years, two children and a house in the suburbs later, we are still doing well.
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