The old lady's guide to internet dating


This year I did something I never thought I would do, I looked for love online. All of my friends said I should, a lot of 'what have you got to loses' flew around. To that I say, my dignity, but this was hanging by a thread anyway; so I cleared a corner of my phone and downloaded those darn apps. Apologies to anyone with whom I interacted during this period, it wasn't you, it was me. In that I didn't really want to connect with you or understand you or God forbid go out with you; I wanted to feel better about me.

The last time I dated it was to a Britpop soundtrack; the country was safe in Tony's hands. Times were simpler. If you wanted a date you went to the Firkin and drank until someone looked good enough to snog. Perhaps this is still an accepted practise but with a kid at home, it's not one I can utilise. I figured that there was once a time I turned my nose up at internet shopping and I now spend more time on ASOS than sleeping, so I needed to accept change. Unfortunately I'm not sure I was in the right place and understandably I did not meet the man of my dreams (who I have recently discovered is happily married to Lisa Bonet) but I learnt a lot, about myself and about love on the internet, and so if you're thinking about taking the plunge, go ahead but please learn from my mistakes.

Be honest. In all ways but particularly photographically honest. Actually, one guy I dated said, 'You are much hotter in person, you looked really boring in your photo.' Which left me spending the remainder of the date thinking, so why are you here dude? Still I would prefer that to him turning up, saying nothing and spinning on his heels, which has happened to someone I know. I always say somewhere in my profile that I'm a mother because that's a deal breaker for some people. I don't know why, it's not like I'm gonna bring my kid with me to the crappy pasta chain you've chosen for us to dine in but still, it's always best to be upfront.

Leave your baggage at the door. My previous advice does not mean listing all your failings for the world to see and for God's sake, leave the past where it belongs (in the private photo's of your Facebook). It always makes me giggle when I read a profile in which the author has unwittingly described their ex. You know - 'No cheaters, no one high maintenance, no one who's particularly fond of sushi'. Why not just write, 'No Julie's, particularly not Julie's from Derby. F**k you Julie Bradbury!'

When people show you who they are believe them the first time. This Maya Angelou quote is one I dish out to my mates all the time but online I didn't always follow it myself. I'd read on his profile that he was 'not looking for anything serious' (which in case you're wondering means, not looking to spend any cash) but I'd still feel disappointed when the date didn't end with a proposal. I learnt this lesson the hard way when I met a man who told me, 'You're amazing but I could never date anyone with a kid.' And my little brain thought, yes, yes but you don't mean me, or my kid. He did. 

Deal in reality. The worst thing about online dating is it starts to feel like a game - Candy Crush for the heart. You feel bored, so you decide to have a little swipe and see if you can score a few more points, I mean matches. That disconnection can stop you remembering that those messages come from real life people, with real life jobs, real hopes and dreams and electricity bills and Auntie Pats. Treat people as you would like to be treated because dating karma is a thing. Also keep an open mind, many people I have dated in life, I would not have connected with online. Not because of their looks (what can I say, I have a thing for handsome men) but because they have some 'flaw' that online would have made them dismissible. I have said no to people on the internet for being too positive, not positive enough, gym lovers, dog owners, emoticon enthusiasts and for liking puns a bit more than is healthy and at the time I thought I was being reasonable. Don't think of the internet as a path to your prince charming but a pub full of strangers, in which you may meet someone who looks good enough to snog. Get drunk if you need to, sometimes it helps.
The Pramshed

28 comments

  1. The dating world is so hard & I think online is even harder!! Some helpful tips - I think have realistic expectations is a must! x

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  2. I honestly wouldn't know what to do now in this new world of dating. Whatever happened to just going to the pub. It seems a bit try before you buy these day!

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  3. Great tips. Have realistic expectations is a must, I think a lot of people like to fabricate their profiles!!

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  4. Made me giggle. I've always hated dating when I was single, couldn't stand the mind-games. But yes, definitely be honest and leave your baggage out, unless of of course you don't mind them running away :)

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  5. Good luck on your internet dating adventures! I've been with my husband for 14 years so I can't quite imagine what it's like to brave the online dating world. It seems like a lot of work! #fortheloveofBLOG

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  6. I tried internet dating seems to be the way forward these days but it wasn't for me I really enjoyed the dating though! #fortheloveofblog

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  7. As someone who met her previous partner of 10 years online and current partner I can completely understand. Dating world has become a hard place, harder than in person dating.

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  8. Lol Charlene the title of this post cracked me up...old lady you are not! But a great guide all the same x

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  9. I love the believe what they say - that does seem to be a universal flaw we have. It's hard but it does work out too...so good luck & great guide. But the upside of online dating, you are one step ahead in the process than if you actually did meet at the pub. You already know 10 mins about them....#FortheloveofBLOG

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  10. My brother met my SIL online so I know first hand that love can be found online, but you do have to pick the rights sites. Great advice x

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  11. I definitely think the dating world has got a lot harder to navigate in recent years - these are great tips for those of us who remember a much simpler way of dating!

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  12. I have to admit the thought of dating in this day and age fills me with horror. Good luck and hope you find the right person

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  13. Oh I do love this post!!! My brief internet dating adventure taught me that I really don't have the patience for it!! Those are such handy tips though and I especially like that Maya Angelou quote.... I need to jot that down!!! #fortheloveofBLOG

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  14. I met my now husband on the internet, but 15 years ago when dating sites/apps didn't exist!

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  15. A lot of our friends have met their other halves online, it seems like the way to date now. People are so busy these days, it's a great way to meet people!

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  16. Great dating tips here. Not a fan of the whole dating thing. Just to complicated sometimes. However I know many couples who met online.

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  17. I met my now husband online, and would recommend online dating to anyone. It's a good way to put your toe back in the water so to speak. I think it's important to make a few dating pacts with yourself first about how you are going to approach it

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  18. I met my partner thought internet dating but I appreciate that I'm one of the lucky ones! Thanks for linking up with #fortheloveofBLOG

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