How to ‘find yourself’ on-line dating

The last time I dated, I was a fickle fifteen year old, snogging a different boy at youth club every week.

It’s tough being a middle aged, mother of two, starting out on the dating scene again. For starters, where am I supposed to meet a new man when the highlight of my week is a trip to the supermarket or the local Parish Council meeting? And another thing; do I really want to subject myself to all the treading on eggshells, getting to know each other business that goes with the whole dating malarkey?

A few good friends and my brother found their partners on-line and encouraged me to have a try, saying the worst that might happen is I won’t find ‘the one,’ but I might have some nice coffees, or meals, and some decent male company, and it might make me feel alive again!

Put like that it didn’t seem a bad idea. I knew what I wanted and definitely what I didn’t want! I felt ready for the next stage of my journey and hadn’t given up on the possibility of finding love again altogether. And so I decided it might be good to see if I could find some ‘virtual’ company to while away the long, lonely evenings when the boys had gone to bed.

A few months down the line and it’s been interesting to say the least. On-line dating doesn’t have the stigma it used to these days. It’s safe, private, you simply punch in your pre-requisites, how far you’re prepared to travel and ‘search’ to find your ideal matches. The computer does the rest for you.

It’s been a bit of a roller coaster if I’m honest. It’s certainly not for the faint-hearted. Self-promotion goes with the territory for a writer but it’s a different story altogether selling yourself to a man, highlighting your good points and trying to make yourself sound vibrant, funny and stand out from the crowd.

When I first started, there were times when it felt quite gloomy, scrolling down the laptop at endless profiles of Hagrid look-alikes or topless men, half-blinded by the flash as they pointed their mobiles phones in the bathroom mirror. And you’ve never seen so many men who want to straddle their motorbikes or proudly show off their polishing prowess on their Ford Capri’s.

It can be daunting, mustering the bravery to send your photo to some gorgeous guy who you never hear from again or chatting to someone on-line several times only to find they disappear as quickly as they showed up. However, other times, I’ve found the whole psychology of it fascinating. On-line dating is like doing the lottery. It has to be fate or serendipity that makes your cursor hover over a particular profile that on first appearance has no photo and no written profile other than the basics. And how does it happen that a guy who lives a few hundred miles away finds you when he was looking for someone in a twenty mile radius of his home and ten years younger? One of my friends found her husband on-line and discovered he only lived a few streets away!

It’s hard to know what makes us connect with a particular person. I confess. When I first started, I admit I probably viewed most men as a prospective husband. However, I’ve had messages from men I’d probably never have contacted myself yet they somehow found me and turned out to be lovely and within no time we’re messaging each other most days. Now, I simply enjoy the company and since I’ve made some friends along the way, my pre-conceptions and ‘ideal’ criteria have fallen by the way-side.  Lots of men share the same values as me and can make me laugh and if nothing more, it proves that genuine and lovely men do still exist.

In the same way each of my friends give me different things, I’ve found different qualities appeal. It’s not necessarily a physical attraction that makes me connect with someone. I’m not shallow, so looks-wise as long as they’re somewhere between Shrek and Brad Pitt, I’m happy. Sometimes I find the lure of an open, sensitive face irresistible , or soulful eyes draw me over the laptop screen. Then there’s the clown who makes me laugh out loud with a funny quip, or someone has something in his profile that strikes a chord. I’ve even had a couple who have written me poetry!

It’s funny how you find people. People come into our lives for a reason. Some stick around. Some flit out again; butterfly friends. They all teach us something, if we’re open enough to learn from them… because one thing’s for sure, you can’t find your soul-mate if you haven’t found yourself…

Ahh, I can hear you all asking – have I found any soul-mate prospects?

It struck me in a very short space of time that about ninety percent of men on the site mentioned the ‘S’ word. Finding a soul-mate to spend the next twenty-three years with may prove harder. It’s what most of us on the site are probably searching for, and yes, I’ll let you in on a secret. There is one potential but we’ve only been on one (nine and a half hour!) date so far.

The trouble is, it’s not just about finding ‘the one.’ The timing has to be right too. For both parties. It’s important to be about the same distance along your journey. And then there’s the distance in miles, and all the practical stuff, like kids, and homes, and lives. Hey, I told you this dating malarkey is a lottery.

On-line dating is somehow symbolic. It’s as if by registering, you’re declaring to yourself, ‘It’s time to move on. I’m ready.’ Of course some of us are, and some of us aren’t ready. Yet. It’s progress. Baby steps. Giant leaps. It’s as much about finding yourself as it is finding a new relationship. Time will tell and I promise to keep you all posted!

In the meantime, I’d love to hear how you met your ‘soul-mate’ and especially if you have experiences (or tips) for on-line dating!

Come on then, spill the beans. This is the stuff of books, you know! I’m certainly enjoying the research and storing up some of the material…



33 thoughts on “How to ‘find yourself’ on-line dating

    • Thank you Brenda

      I hope so too.What’s the saying; ‘If you kiss enough frogs… you’ll find your prince…’


  1. Enjoyed this post so much, Debbie. Well done, you, and ten out of ten for being so brave! You go, girl, and keep us posted every step of the way 😉

    • Hello Gina
      Thank you so much for your kind words. Well, I figure I won’t turn my life around unless I make some effort and Carpe Diem!

      Thanks for dropping by.

  2. I know I’ve already told you, but this post made me want to laugh, smile, hug you and cry all at the same time.

    As for Ford Capris, I think it’s something to do with the size of the bonnet, or not.

    • They probably lie about the size of their bonnet too, Sue! 😀

      Thank you my friend xx

      • Debbie, I would love to hear more about your experiences! Definitely book material.
        Go for it girl, and enjoy yourself.
        Lorraine x

    • Lorraine – I don’t seem able to reply direct to your comment so am not sure if you have a link or blog?

      Thank you so much for finding us, and your encouragement. By co-incidence, I have a couple of ideas for non-fiction books based on dating and surviving a broken heart!


      • I don’t have a blog, Debbie. Or a link. I like the idea of a non fiction book. This could lead to a new career!
        Lorraine x

    • Thank you Sarah!

      I’ll let you in on another secret. Mystery man and I have a second date planned for Sunday! 😀

      Watch this space…

      • Update: it was another 10 hour date yesterday! We had a lovely full day together. He came over to my home. We took the puppy out on a big walk and then went out for lunch.

        And there will definitely be a follow up! 😀 😀


    • Thank you Claire. I didn’t realise until I posted this just how many people found their partners or know people who found each other on-line dating!

    • Thank you, Rosemary

      There’s more than one novel in this subject and I have an idea or two for non-fiction books, although my mystery man joked yesterday that he hopes to inspire me to start writing erotica at some stage in the near future! :-O


  3. This was such an interesting read… because like you, I will be having to one day start afresh. I am divorcing my husband, but this process is very slow and at the moment can’t do anything (which is soooo frustrating because I’m ready to move on now).

    Although I’m outgoing, and could get chatted up by blokes in clubs and pubs, sometimes I do wonder if I’m really going to meet the right person that way. Are they just out for one thing? Because I’m not really that type of ‘girl’.

    Admittedly, I’m not looking for the same things I was looking for 16 years ago (when I met my husband). I’ve been married, I’ve got the kids… To be honest, once I get my independence back I don’t want to lose it! So I will be looking for a companion, but how long it lasts isn’t really important. I’m looking for someone I can have fun with, some intimacy (because that’s what my life lacks). Someone to get me out of the house. I don’t believe in looking for love, that usually finds you. (So I’ll never say never). Some people have a certain ‘life span’ in your life. But this was so reassuring, because I have wondered if I would need to do the ‘dreaded’ online dating… and to read this reassures me it’s not so ‘dreaded’ after all. Thank you.

    I do think, being a romance writer now, I’m going to be setting my sights a bit too high lol!

    • Oh, Teresa

      So much you’ve written strikes a chord. You sound to have had a tough time of it too but reading between the lines, it sounds like me, that you’re making progress. Baby steps. Two forward, one back…

      Just remember, nothing is to be gained by looking back. Only forward. Carrying the past in our pockets is corrosive and serves no purpose!

      I’m pleased to re-assure you that there’s nothing to dread with on-line dating as long as you get the right site (some of them will make your toes curl!) I have tried a few others but ended up on and have found everyone on there so far seems genuine and like-minded, and MANY have been in the same position as you and so understand. One of the things I like most is I know exactly what I want in an ideal man and what I don’t want so you do get to short-cut some of the process by cutting the crap with on-line dating!

      I told you, I took my romantic novelists head off a while ago and instead of looking for ‘the one,’ I searched out the kindred spirits and the ones who made me laugh and gave me company. I now have quite a little circle of male friends who I email and text regularly, as well as my special ‘mystery man’ who may or may not turn into something more. Just this morning one of them texted to ask my advice as he has a date on Friday.He wanted to know whether he should take flowers! Bless him. (I told him yes by the way – Mystery Man brought me a beautiful bouquet on our first date and it really touched me.)

      You know yourself – there are no short cuts or quick fixes through the pain of divorce. You have to work through it to get to the other side. And do whatever it takes to claw back a life and find happiness, and learn from whatever experiences come your way. It is the same as grieving the death of a loved on. In fact I have found it worse at times as the rejection and all the ripples of the effects of my ex’s infidelity were devastating…

      Like you, I’m fiercely independent. There is no need to give that up! The right man will understand and respect you for it. The beauty of dating at our age is the men also have life experiences and baggage of their own. I can say I’m moving to the stage where I don’t need a man to be happy. And perhaps that’s why I’m more open and receptive and how this lovely man has ‘found me.’ It’s too early to say. But for now, it’s boosting my confidence and making me feel alive again. Most of all, I’m having fun. Isn’t that what life is all about, irrespective of whether I marry him and we sail off into the sunset together?

      Carpe diem!
      I hope we get to meet up at one of the parties/conferences in the future and until then wish you all the best in finding what you’re looking for.

      warm wishes

      • Ah, thanks, Debbie. Yes, move forward, that’s what I’m trying to do. I made the decision at the weekend that the next 6 months will be more positive for me, and concentrate on me and what I want out of life (and that includes the children).

        I like the idea you can ‘date’ more than one at a time lol!

        Hey – us romance writers like flowers! They’re doing the right thing there 😉

        But you’re right. I do know what I want, and what I don’t want… and well, whatever happens happens. I’m not necessarily looking for Mr Right who I can grow old with, but I’m a sociable character, and still at an age where intimacy and the fun things count 😉 I suppose I want someone who’ll give me a kiss and a cuddle when I need it. I love my kids, but it’s not quite the same 😉

        Yes, hope we can meet at one event. Unfortunately I just couldn’t do the conference this year 😦

        I will have to keep you posted as and when the time comes for me to dip my toe into the online dating scheme of things.

  4. That’s a shame, Teresa, but we will meet. I’m sure.

    You made me smile. Christmas time I changed my mindset and stopped thinking about my ex and the past. It served no purpose. Since then I’ve made a concerted effort to focus my efforts and energy on doing the things I like to do and what makes me happy.

    I joked a while back and said the only thing I miss a man for is cutting the lawns! (Thank God for Ann Summers! :D) but I also miss the hugs and closeness of being with a special man and caring for them and being cared for. You’ll be surprised how many men like independent, feisty women with spirit!

    Keep me posted on your progress.

    They don’t have to be ‘Mr Right’ – just Mr ‘Right for now!’


    PS- I levelled with the other guys I’m in touch with and told them I’d met someone special and that I’d like to see how it progresses with him rather than ‘date’ them too. It didn’t seem right to them or him to ‘hedge’ my bets. Interestingly, they all appreciated my honesty and asked to keep in touch which is how I’ve gathered them, along the way!

    • lol! Yes, when I said date more than one at once… I didn’t quite mean it like that. But it’s nice you can sort of check more than one guy out at a time. Good luck with this new man! I’m looking forward to dating again. But I’m trying not to get too inpatient, because it doesn’t help with matters at home then. I get stressed that I can’t move on (husband is refusing to move out of the house, and let us ‘separate’. This is the thing that does drain my positivity, so trying to concentrate on writing with my time.)

  5. Great article!

    I met my husband online, and for him it’s second time around. If we can be of any help towards your non fiction book let me know through Facebook (Angela Pennington) or email

    • Hello Angela

      How good to hear another success story! We Romaniacs all love a happy ending.

      And thank you so much for your kind offer. I have made a note of your e-mail address and might well take you up on that. Watch this space!


  6. I know I’ve just left a comment on your personal blog but I just wanted to say GOOD FOR YOU! And also the world has changed a hell of a lot since the internet made the world become so much smaller. There’s nowt wrong with Internet dating. I’ve done it a few times myself, and straightaway I can think of three pairs of friends who met amazing people via the medium. Two couples are married. The other pair live together. Think about it, sites allow you to reach out and be seen by people you’d never otherwise see or meet. That’s so cool : )

    There are of course downsides such as timewasters, fake profiles etc but isn’t that the same with meeting someone in real life? It’s all about risk, reward, bravery and throwing off beer goggles/rose tinted specs ( delete where applicable) and believing you’ve plenty to offer. Great post. I loved it. Loved all the comments too : ) xx

  7. Oh, Yasmin

    That is so encouraging to hear. Thank you for your responses, here and on my blog.

    Years ago, I would never have thought you’d catch me internet dating. I admit when I first started, I felt a bit of a saddo, but it didn’t take long to realise if that was the case there were an awful lot of us in the same position and where else do middle-aged people with children meet someone when you can’t go out clubbing or pubbing every night!

    It’s an ideal way to find some kindred spirits, friends and who knows, maybe something more… I don’t know if it’s for me longer term, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my experiences of it these last few months.


  8. I’ve been away and only just caught up with your blog and all the lovely replies, Debs – I’m sitting here feeling so impressed and awestruck by you and by everyone else who’s strugggled/struggling through crap times to get out at the other end. Good luck to all of you, and I hope there are lots of laughs, bunches of flowers and cuddles along the way.

    Celia xxxx

  9. Thanks for your kind comment Celia.

    However bad things get, whatever adversities we face, with the right support and mind-set we CAN get through and survive, even though it doesn’t always feel that way at the time.

    Secondly, I do have a couple of male friends but there is nothing like ‘women’ – ‘SISTERS’ as I call them sometimes – at times of adversity. I’m lucky to be blessed with the best friends in the world (in the real world and my on-line friends.) They all give me something different. One is very practical and gives me a kick up the butt, one makes me laugh, one is great for tea and sympathy etc… We all listen and support each other. They have dragged me from under the stone I crawled under and carried me when I need it, as I’ve done the same for them over the years. It’s been exactly the same with our Romaniac Group and how we all connect and support each other.

    Seven years ago when my ex had his first affair and life imploded. I found support from women in the most unlikely of places. Once I broke down at the checkout in the supermarket and the checkout operator lifted my shopping and helped me, without making a fuss and chatted to my little one to distract him. Another time when I had to go into pre-school and tell them we’d separated, the nursery teachers all rallied round, made me a cup of tea and two of them took the kids off to entertain them while two sat down and wanted to talk to me, and help.

    I didn’t really know any of these women. Yet they were full of support and empathy and wanted to help and I’ve never forgotten the experiences.

    We women are lucky in many ways and I cherish all my female friendships more than any single male. My friends have NEVER let me down. 🙂


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