10 Things You’ll Know If You Met Your Partner Online

1. You have an alternative story about how you met – The stigma of online dating has well and truly gone but for some reason we can’t quite admit yet that we found love online. Perhaps we had such low expectations of online dating that it takes us completely by surprise, either way, you tend to find people sticking more to the ‘friend of a friend’ line.

2. You both agreed to delete your dating profiles – Or maybe you MADE them delete it! So you’ve now been a couple for a few weeks and things are going great, but you can’t help but wonder if they’ve deleted their dating profile yet. Don’t panic if they haven’t – it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve been using it.

3. You wonder if they’ve dated someone you know – Just about EVERY single person uses some form of dating app these days and so chances are you’ve probably encountered someone your partner knows. Fingers crossed you didn’t say anything inappropriate to the best friend!

4. You wonder just how many dates they went on – Were you their first choice? Probably not. It’s easy to worry about how many dates your partner had before you – particularly when you reached double figures!

5. Online dating ‘is’ all it’s cracked up to be – Yeah you get a little bit embarrassed and yeah your friends mock you but if truth be told online dating gave you everything you ever wanted and so it’s hard not to feel a little grateful – even if you don’t like to admit it.

6. You forget to change their name on your phone – You’ve been dating for a year and yet their name in your phone is still ‘Sarah E-Harmony.’ Surely they’ve earned a surname by now?

7. You lied about being online as a ‘one-off’ – When you started dating you told your partner that you don’t usually do this, a friend signed you up, you were drunk or it was just a one-off. Now be truthful, you have six dating accounts that you’ve been flitting in and out of for years, you’ve had photoshoots arranged specifically for a good profile picture and you’ve deleted and reinstalled your profile countless times in the hope that failed matches will change their mind.

8. You’ve found out all the little white lies – We all tell a few white lies when we meet someone new and most of them you can’t hide forever. No you didn’t used to be in a band, no you’re not over six feet tall, no you didn’t meet One Direction you were pushed of out the way by their bouncers and no you did not invent Pokemon Go.

9. You hope a friend meets their partner online just so you’re not the only one – Your partner is great and you’re deliriously happy but the fact you met online still casts the slightest of unwanted shadow, if only your BFF would also meet someone online everything would be just fine.

10. You wonder if you picked the right one – There’s so much choice online that you start to wonder if you’ve made the right decision. Did you settle too quickly? Was there someone better just a few profiles along? Chances are you should have a little more faith in your decision-making.

5 Things Guys Don't Want To Hear

As I’ve spoken at length about before, guys aren’t particularly great at sharing their feelings. In fact a lot of men are more accustomed to biting their lip than actually expressing their honest opinion to their partners. Now that might sound a bit harsh, but ultimately it saves us rather a lot of trouble, an easy way out if you like. So ladies, if you ever feel like your man is being uncharacteristically quiet when you bring up certain subjects there’s probably a very good reason why. Here’s my list of comments that guys never ever want to hear…like ever!

c50fc643a30a2fbc9f277dafb4db58f81. “I’ll always love him” – Everyone has a past, we all hate that fact but in the end we learn to accept that it’s a part of life and sure you might not be your partner’s first, second or even third love, but that doesn’t mean we want to hear all about it. A friend of mine was recently telling me about how things didn’t work out with her ex, but that he’ll always be the one and she’ll always love him no matter what. I said please tell me you’ve not said this to your boyfriend?! “Oh he just knows” was her response. No, no, no, no!! Whether it’s true or not don’t ever let your partner feel like they’re always going to be second best, no matter what they do. There should only ever be two people in your relationship.

2. “I like it when a guy does this…” – So this continues from point one but leans more to the physical side of the relationship. How many guys have been with a girl in the bedroom and she’s let slip a comment that leaves your stomach numb and your mind full of images? We know you’ve got a past, we’re already trying our best not to think about it, but please don’t give your guy sex advice based on your past experiences. After all, actions speak louder than words. Show him, don’t tell him!

3. “I’ve had bigger” – No explanation required.

4. “I’m outside” – So you’ve got a night out planned with your friends or colleagues and sure we’d spoken previously about you meeting them and maybe even going on a double date sometime, but please oh please don’t surprise us! It’s not that that we’re ashamed of you or that we’re up to something we shouldn’t be, it’s just that this is your man’s time to lead-large_trans++eo_i_u9APj8RuoebjoAHt0k9u7HhRJvuo-ZLenGRumAhave some ‘me’ time. If he wanted you there, you’d have been invited. Tough love I know, but sometimes it needs to be said.

5. “We need to talk” – History dictates that this is code for ‘we need to break-up’but if you’re saying it just for effect, attention or to prove a point then please just leave it out. Guys can be sensitive souls as well (whether we admit to it or not) and well it upsets us more than you think. (I’m laughing at the sad face I unintentionally pulled as I wrote that).

Guys don’t think you’re getting off lightly though, these comments of course work both ways. But yeah be wary of what you say, within every burly builder is a sensitive Sally pretending that you are in fact untouched in every way…deluded aren’t we.

An Unusual Case Of Online Dating

I’ve already sat for ten minutes trying to decide what to call this article, but in the end I decided to call it exactly what it is. This is one of those stories you read in magazines and you think to yourself there’s no way that can possibly be true, but this one, to my surprise, is.

About 18 months ago I started a new job in Glasgow and in my training group I met an older gentleman who’d recently moved home to Scotland having lived in America since the age of 5. He was fascinatingly interesting and yet strangely peculiar, pleasant and odd all at the same time, but ultimately a decent bloke.

I came to learn he was the religious type. His views were at times outdated, even if he did always have the best of intentions. He had split from his wife some years ago, the epitome of a bitter divorce battle and yet he still spoke with such warmth and respect for women and longed only to find someone to settle down with. It sat well with me the way he spoke, a gentleman in it’s truest form even if it was a tad cringeworthy at times.

As I got to know him better however, I realized that his ‘longing’ to meet someone was verging on utter desperation. I’ve spoken at length before about desperation. It’s not a crime and it fleetingly happens to us all at some point in our lives, but desperation can be a very dangerous thing. It clouds our judgement and more often than not, leads to poor if not crazy decision-making.

A few months had passed by when he told me he’d signed up for an online dating site, no surprises there. It’s quick and easy and has become more and more commonplace than ever before. What did surprise me however, was the particular website he had singed up for. If you’re eager to meet someone and want to settle down as quickly as possible surely you’d sign up for a site that allowed you to meet people in your local area or your city or at least your country! Why on earth he had signed up for ‘RussianCupid.com’ I’ll never know. I’m convinced he’d fallen for a pop-up advert somewhere and genuinely believed Svetlana really was ‘waiting for his call’.

I asked him more about the website, I was curious as to how it all worked. It was then that his eyes instantly lit up as he told me with great enthusiasm that he’d already ‘met’ someone. He couldn’t believe his luck, a girl had messaged him within minutes of signing up, even though he hadn’t added a profile picture yet. I was mentally holding my head in my hands. He went on to tell me how lucky he’d been that she’d messaged him first because for men to make first contact it cost an extra £14.99. It was a scam in it’s purest form.

Thankfully, within a few days he realized this. Sadly though he was convinced that only this particular person wasn’t real and had decided to persist with the same website despite numerous warnings from anyone with a brain. A week later came Russian girl number two. This one less than half his age – naturally. I warned him to be careful this time, to keep in mind what had happened before, to tread with even just an ounce of caution and to recognize the usual warning signs. He didn’t – naturally.

‘Oksana’ was a nurse in the centre of Moscow who didn’t have internet access at home and so could only message him from work. She only ever messaged at the same time – 7pm, Monday to Friday. Warning sign? Of course it was. What 20 something living in a big city doesn’t have internet access? A few days later I asked how it was going and he gave me an almost breathless look of sheer joy. He stuttered for a second as he pondered where to even begin with his declaration of love for yet another fictitious Russian girl. Once again he’d been drawn in hook, line and sinker. By this point he’d become a scam artist’s wet dream.

I asked if he had any pictures, “oh I have 16 pictures” he replied in a fading American accent. Sixteen? Very specific I thought to myself. Sure enough he’d been sent a fair few pictures. What didn’t seem to alarm him however, was that every single picture was a poorly shot amateur modelling picturing. Photo after photo in fields, lying in grass, bent over a sink, on the train, at a bus stop, even in the frozen food section of a supermarket. No selfies, no photos with friends or family, just a steady stream of photos from what looked like a low budget Eastern European porn flick.

I must stress at this point I do not wish to be overly harsh on him. He was a nice guy after all, but the excruciating naivety of a man of his age was infuriating. How could he convince himself so strongly that this was real? He wouldn’t listen, no matter how many times myself or anyone else tried to tell him.

Eventually the messages dried up and he admitted his mistake. This realization was sheer relief for me, he wasn’t my responsibility but I seemed to be the only one with any persistence in trying to make him realise what he was getting himself into. His latest failed romance however, would not deter him. He was insistent that online dating was still the right path for him.

This time I was expecting him to join Match or Plenty Of Fish but no next up was ‘Christian Dating’ a site notorious for scam artists looking to capitalize on the naivety of generous Christians and sure enough more messages from Russians! Nothing against Russians, but If I were him at this point I’d be running for the hills at the sight of anything remotely Russian – unless it’s white and comes in a glass.

This one was a little more blunt, I almost respected her for it as it would save me weeks of watching him get his hopes up only to be let down again. Within two days she was asking for money to fly to Scotland and start a life together. Two days?! It seems online dating is serious business in Russia. My colleague, sadly, gave in to her request following a very creative sob story she drip fed to him over a series of late night messages. With the best of intentions, he handed over his entire three month bonus. I’d seen first-hand how hard he’d worked for that bonus. I was sad for him but also overwhelmingly disappointed – I’d warned him so many times. From this point onwards he was convinced she would be moving to Scotland. He went as far as to moving to a bigger house in preparation for her arrival and had planned to greet her at the airport in full Highland dress – honestly. As the days and weeks passed by I kept asking when she would arrive and was given the same answer for nearly two months “in two weeks”. As it turns out she had been demanding more and more money and when he refused, she stopped messaging.

I hoped this would be the final time he would fall for such schemes and thankfully it was. This wasn’t to be his final venture into the world of online dating, but at least it was the end of a pretty horrendous run. He’s the only guy I’ve ever known who’s had three successive relationships without hearing their voice or having any form of physical contact, must be a new record.

The final twist in this tale involved a Dutch woman, half a tank of petrol and a migrant crisis at Calais. One last bash at Christian Dating proved to be a bit more fruitful this time. He met a woman called Christina. They shared his religious beliefs, her love of experimental cooking and a mutual love of all things Bruce Springsteen. They talked for hours on the phone most days, not just at 7pm, Monday to Friday. After three weeks he flew to Brugges where she had been working to surprise her, not knowing that she had in fact already returned home to Amsterdam. Christina, touched by his gesture drove all the way back to Brugges with no money and half a tank of petrol to pick him up. What was supposed to be a spontaneous weekend turned into a three week holiday thanks to the ongoing ferry issues at Calais and in those three weeks it seems they both found a soulmate. It all seems a bit too much to comprehend even now, but it’s a true story nonetheless. Christina has now moved to Scotland, living in the house he’d rented for the Russian.

This is obviously an extreme story, a complete one-off. In the end it seems online romances aren’t the evil of the dating world after all, but my old colleague certainly made things difficult for himself. There are endless lessons to be learned from this story. Don’t let desperation make your decisions, don’t sign up to obscure websites, don’t date fake Russian models, don’t send strangers money and if you travel abroad to meet your new squeeze make sure you go to the right country. Ultimately though, don’t give up. You’ll find what you’re looking for – eventually.

PTB

A Thank You To My Readers

As we start the countdown to 2015 I wanted to write a quick post with one very important message – thank you. For me 2014 has been a year of extreme highs and heartbreaking lows but my new found love of writing and the support of my readers has been by far my greatest highlight.

I began the year in a far away land, Australia to be precise. I’d moved out there feeling rather lost but delighted to once again be surrounded by the incredible friends I had made on my travels to
America. Going to Australia was one of the scariest things I’d ever done. I’d walked out on my job, packed a bag and flown to Oz via stops in Istanbul and Bangkok. When you do something like that it’s difficult to know if you’ve done the right thing. Abandoning every possible form of stability in search of an adventure. Some people thought I was crazy and maybe I was a little bit but no regrets, I had my reasons. There were days when it made my stomach turn wondering if I’d done the right thing but the following weeks of exhilaration, endless Melbourne sunsets and the manner in which new and old friends adopted me as an honorary Aussie, more than dispelled those fleeting moments of doubt.

When I returned home I was even more lost than before I left. I’d spent so long depressed in my bed (about three weeks to be exact) that I’d almost caused an intervention with my family – funny but true. This is one of the major pitfalls of travel – unbelievable highs to the inevitable ‘what now?’ This is when I discovered blogging. Not exactly a return to stability but a step in the right direction, in fact I was enjoying it so much I was reluctant to find a new job. Not many of my readers will know this but my blog was originally an ‘experimental food’ blog – it lasted approximately 3 hours. I realized the key to blogging was writing about something you are truly passionate about or at the very least something you have a little bit of knowledge about. Experimental food? Must have been the jet-lag.

When I started writing I was astounded by the feedback I was getting, it’s a wonderful feeling to know people can relate and genuinely benefit from your stories. The emails and messages I get from people unlucky in love and young writers starting out looking for advice leaves me completely blown away and incredibly thankful. It’s a real privilege to know your opinion can make a difference to someone’s life. Five months and 30,000 readers later I simply want to say thank you, to each and every person who took the time to like, read and comment on my posts, it genuinely means the world to me. I’m so happy to have discovered the blogging community and long may it continue.

Wishing every single one of you an incredible year ahead.

With Love

PTB

Things Guys Say On Dates

In the spirit of the weekend I’ll keep today’s post on the funny side. Whilst doing research for my blog I spoke with a number of women on dating site PlentyofFish (work purposes only I promise) and have inadvertently compiled a list of the most shocking things guys have said to women on first dates, some of this may shock even the most avid of daters. Here’s my Top 50, enjoy!

50. “Would you mind if I touched your ankles?”

49. “Would you mind if I sniffed your arm pits?”

48. “You look a bit like Baloo the Bear”

47. “You look like a shoplifter”

46. “I’m a shoplifter”

45. “My Mum is making me move out after my 40th birthday next week”

44. “You are so sexy, remind me a bit of my sister”

43. “Do you mind if I quickly finish this game of solitaire on my phone?”

42. “I don’t really fancy you but I needed a night out”

41. “You look like a girl who loves anal”

40. “Did you make that dress yourself? Looks like it’s falling apart”

39. “Your hair is nice but your face could be better”

38. “Is McDonalds ok?”

37. “I had my first gay experience last night”

36, “I have a really tiny penis, I’ll show you under the table if you like?”

35. “I have the keys to a morgue if you’d like to see a dead body?”

34. “You must’ve been really fat when you were younger”

33. “I’m not really interested in you like that, I’m actually looking for a surrogate”

32. “have you ever made out with your sister?”

31. “I’ve made out with my sister”

30. “23? You look at least 40”

29. “You smell like cheese”

28. “I miss my ex almost every day”

27. “My shirt is actually part of a pyjama set”

26. “I’m completely racist, don’ talk to me about those people”

25. “I’m not paying for the wine you drank”

24. “Do you and your friends ever compare vaginas?”

23. “I’ve had over 500 sexual partners”

22. “Do you plan on getting your teeth fixed?”

21. “The woman behind the bar is actually my Mum, you’ve already met”

20. “My penis is crooked, it curves to the left”

19. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you I’m in a wheelchair”

18. “I got caught pretending to have sex with a pavement”

17. “I think you’ve eaten enough”

16. “You should go and help with the dishes”

15. “no shoosh, shut your mouth”

14. ” You eat like a garbage disposal”

13. “I showed my Mum your picture, she thinks I can do better”

12. “yeah I’ll see you again, I feel a bit sorry for you.”

11. “I’ve had chlamydia six times”

10. “I’m actually married”

9. “Can we go somewhere else my wife’s best friend has just walked in”

8. “I can’t stay long I have another date after this”

7. “Can you drive me home?”

6. “I’m really into model trains, I brought this one to show you”

5. “Have you always had a double chin?”

4. “There was an incident with a ladyboy”

3. “My stag do is next weekend”

2. “Send me a picture from the toilet”

1. “I’m technically not allowed to leave the country”

Luckily most of the women I spoke to saw the funny side of things although a few did give out a slap or two. So to the women of Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester and London I sincerely apologise on behalf of these characters and men, well I think it’s time we had a talk.

Happy Friday

PTB

Has Dating Become Pointless?

So I was reading an article in the Huffington Post by Relationship Expert Susan Winter, who claims that dating has become ‘tedious, unnatural and unnecessary.’ So I had to ask myself, do I agree?

Winter who rarely dates, decided to prove to friends and family that she could date if she wanted to and in doing so agreed to meet every man who asked her out resulting in an impressive 98 dates in 9 months. Her quest to find love however was unsuccessful – but was this down to the quality of her suitors or the attitude of Winter herself? “Men parade their toys while women serve as the cows, pigs and horses parading for our blue ribbon of acceptance” she proclaims. It saddens me however, that a ‘relationship expert’ could be quite so cynical. Dating I admit can be tiring at times, but I firmly believe that your success rate is dependant on not just your approach, but your attitude as well. Knowing that Winter had set out with such an agenda I probably could’ve told you that every single one of her dates would prove unsuccessful before she’d even left the house. If you’ve been on 97 dates which you’ve already deemed failures, did date number 98 ever really stand a chance?

I find myself strangely defensive of dating because personally I’ve always found it to be a fascinating and at times hilarious social protocol. The awkwardness, the nerves, the sweaty palms – back in the day I just thought it was all part of the fun. I remember once being asked out by a girl who was completely out of my league – I mean I was really punching here – I was so enamoured by her that the pressure to impress that night was tenfold. We went to a local pub where two comedians were hosting a kind of ‘games night’ which seemed like the perfect icebreaker and something just a little bit different. “Everyone stand up” they said, “if we call your number you must sit down and if you’re left standing at the end you’ll be asked to come up on stage and take part in tonight’s finale.” Myself and fourteen others were left standing and then split into three groups of five. The first five were sent into the audience to find as many items of red clothing as possible. Deep down I was panicking, I was a stick-thin, self-conscious adolescent on a first date with this stunning girl and I just so happened to be wearing…a red t-shirt of course. The five contestants had just about got to the end of their game when one of the hosts excitedly grabbed his microphone and shouted “there’s a guy in the front row with a red t-shirt on!!!!” Before I knew it the five contestants came hurtling towards me to quite literally rip the shirt from my back.

There I was sat in the front row, topless, awkwardly wrapping my skinny arms around my even skinnier teenage frame. To my horror my humiliation didn’t end there, all the items taken from the audience were left lying in the middle of the stage for the owners to come up and collect and so I had to actually make my way up there. What was even more humiliating was that after the others had left I couldn’t actually find my t-shirt. There I was wandering the stage (embarrassed and quite frankly freezing by this point) asking if anyone had seen it. I could see my date sitting in her seat looking absolutely mortified – as easy-going as I am I literally just wanted to curl up in a ball and cry. As it turned out, my t-shirt had already been thrown next to our seats a few minutes before I had(unnecessarily) got up on stage. The only thing worse than humiliation is unnecessary humiliation!

All of this had happened and it wasn’t even my turn to take part in a game yet. Before I knew it, I was back up on stage (fully clothed), this time stuffing my face in a cracker eating competition. This was anything but pretty, five guys stood in a line with tiny pieces of cracker spouting from every corner of our mouths. To this day I’ve never forgotten that the competition was won by a young guy named Sean Connery – honestly!

Much to my surprise, that night ended with a kiss. We had one more date to a David Gray concert but as good as he is the music was so depressing it killed the relationship before it had even begun. Although we never saw one another again, that first date (albeit horrendous in many ways) was one of the funniest nights of my life that I’ve never ever forgotten. Dates are memories, life experiences that we learn from and on the off-chance that it does go well, you might just find what you were looking for. Believe it or not that one humiliating evening did wonders for a teenage boy who’d long been lacking in a bit of confidence. The beauty of dating isn’t always about finding ‘the one.’

So to Susan Winter I say no, dating isn’t pointless. What’s pointless is going on 98 dates with anyone who asks just to prove a point. Nonetheless, I sincerely hope you find what you’re looking for.

Happy Dating

PTB