Let me tell you, it is interesting out there in Dating World. I've met some terrific people - some even more than once. And I have learned some lessons; lessons about what it's like to be dating in your forties, and lessons about what it's like to be dating at all.
- Texting and emails are not the same as face to face communication. You can have a wonderful connection with someone in messages, and none at all in person, and unless you're planning to conduct your relationship via smart phone from separate rooms you need to find that out. Meet sooner rather than later.
- You will know within 30 seconds of meeting someone face to face if you are attracted to them. I know that attraction can grow over time. I also know that it has very little to do with 'objective' good looks. But trust me. You can look at photos, you can exchange emails, but once you walk into that room and meet that person you will know immediately if the chemistry is there or not. And if it's not there, it's not there, and it's never going to be.
- Be yourself from the very first meeting. There is no point feigning hobbies or interests, or trying not to swear when you usually do, or not mentioning your kids, or pretending you don't eat much. It doesn't matter how 'perfect' he seems. If he doesn't like you for you then he is not perfect and it would never work. And besides, trying to be someone else is exhausting. It's hard enough just being ourselves.
- Men can and do have as much relationship baggage as women, if not more. The difference is that women, generally speaking, will give themselves time before they start dating again. Men often rush out onto the dating scene almost immediately after a break up because they are loathe to be alone. And so you can find yourself dating a man who still has unresolved feelings for his ex. Beware. Ask questions. Listen carefully. And if he still seems to be pining for Kylie from two months ago, run very quickly back to RSVP. Because she isn't going away any time soon.
- A man who does not return your emails or texts is either dead or not interested in you. Retain your dignity and do not chase. But by the same token, be polite and respectful to the men you are not interested in and let them know so that they don't have to sit around waiting. A simple 'I'm sorry, I don't think it's going to work out' is sufficient and is basic human courtesy. (And to the very nice man who deserved better, I apologise. I'm just figuring this all out myself.)
- A small penis will always be a small penis, no matter how much time and love you give it. I mean this metaphorically, of course. A small penis isn't necessarily an issue. But if there is a is an issue at the beginning of a relationship - a characteristic, an attitude, unfinished business, a flaw - chances are it's not going to change.
- Have fun. A few coffees, a few drinkies, meeting new people, having a chance to go out in the world... it's all good. And when it's not all good, have a break. Because, after all, there is nothing wrong with being alone.
It's quite nice, actually.