After ending a 6 year relationship, I went on over 30 first dates looking for The One. In less than a year, I met the man who became my husband.

  • 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.

Melissa Petro in her twenties, sitting on a sofa with two dogs


Courtesy of Melissa Petro

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.

Melissa Petro, her husband and their children on a beach

Petro, her husband and their two children.

Courtesy of Melissa Petro

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.

Melissa Petro and her husband on a walk

Petro and her husband.

Courtesy of Melissa Petro

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.

Melissa Petro, her husband and their two children

Petro, her husband and their children.

Courtesy of Melissa Petro

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.

#year #relationship #dates #year #met #man #husband

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