Back in the glorious days of youthful exuberance and minimal responsibility, dating was easy. Friends were plentiful. Any night of the week was an excuse to go out. New workmates combined with uni friends, and partnerships occurred organically and with a regularity that meant we took such things for granted.
Fast forward to today and life isn’t nearly as carefree. Nor is there a constant supply of single men ripe for the picking. So, when challenged to spend a month investigating the best way to find the man of my dreams, I chuckled and accepted.
Where to begin?
At this point, I should probably confess to some quirks. Unlike the vast majority of single 40-year-olds, I’m not fussed about getting married, nor am I clucking to have a baby. But hell for me is a Saturday night at home, and I can’t remember the last time I went on a proper date, so I was keen to pinpoint some strategies.
My friends suggested I create a profile on a dating website, so I did, and that was the easy part. But after several messages from unlikely candidates (shared interests don’t seem to figure in online lonely hearts’ criteria for a match) my pals waded in again: “You have to take the initiative…”
Hundreds of profiles later, I found a few interesting-looking men with similar interests, who seemed to know the difference between “your” and “you’re”, and who appeared not to have any weird sexual proclivities. Think I’m joking? Spend time browsing and you’ll find a raft of guys eager to tell the world about their prowess between the sheets.
Finally, I get someone via email who seems normal and funny. We meet, and it’s instantly obvious that he isn’t quite as advertised. Not as tall, much older than his photo suggests and, when push comes to shove, not as keen in our supposed common interests as initially stated. It’s a bust.
It’s time to call in the big guns, so I visit the Love Coach, Carolin Dahlman. We sit and talk before she hits me with the big one: “You’re not ready for a relationship.”
I’m taken aback. She clarifies: from what she can tell from our brief chat, I have my barriers up. If I want to be happy and share my life with someone, I need to believe I deserve it.
Dahlman is the first person to suggest a “vision board”, on which I’m to pin photos, articles, whatever, to help me visualise my ideal man and our relationship. Later, a friend suggests adding pics that show the house I see us living in… even the dog I’d like us to walk together. It’s very The Secret – but a close friend did exactly that, and weeks later met a gorgeous guy and tied the knot with him soon after. When I sit down with a stack of magazines, however, it just doesn’t happen for me. I can’t “see” anything. Although I do find a good article about taming frizzy hair.