I’ve had a project/ mini-series in mind for this blog for a while now. General articles are interesting sometimes, but some of the best dating posts out there are the ones that draw on personal experience. So I’ve decided to start a My Love Story series which is basically what it says on the tin- the story of bloggers’ love lives so far and what they have learnt. And what better way to start, then with myself?
As long as I can remember, I’ve been a hopeless romantic. I watched Disney movies as a child. I read romance books. I couldn’t wait for the day I’d have a boyfriend of my own. When I was 10 years old, I turned down a place at grammar school because I didn’t want to be with all girls. And that’s why you don’t let a 10 year old make life decisions.
However, puberty didn’t treat me kindly. Tall enough to tower over all the boys in my class, stick thin, frizzy hair, braces, shy, awkward- then to top it off I scored top in my year in the year 7 exam- so it’s safe to say I wasn’t popular. On the edge of the misfit group, boys in my class would tell me to my face how unattractive they thought I was, and my self-confidence plummeted. I never interacted with a boy on a non-platonic level.
I changed schools for sixth form, gained half a stone, and got blonde highlights in my hair. I started going out drinking, in parks, at house parties, in car parks. For the first time in my life boys noticed me. They started conversations with me, and even said I was hot. I’d blossomed from an ugly duckling, into a beautiful swan.
However, there were limits to my sexual appeal. I was still quiet and struggled to make friends, and therefore suffered from crippling self-confidence issues. My friends got into relationships, whereas I’d kiss boys on nights out but it never really progressed beyond that.
I met my First Love shortly before my 17th birthday. It was like being hit by one of those yellow school buses in Mean Girls. I lusted after him for 4 months, but when we finally got together, he then went on a replica date with another girl. It emotionally destroyed me and broke my trust in relationships for about the next year- until I started fancying someone else at university and I got over it.
Finally, at 20, I struck gold. One day, I decided to give up on dating and focus on enjoying the here and now. That very night, I reconnected with a guy I’d had a thing with the previous year. Within a couple of weeks, we’d both said we’d never felt this way about anyone before and we had a date set up to meet his parents. A week after we’d made it official, he got bored and changed his mind.
At 22, I was browsing the internet, and somehow came across a collection of websites and blogs known as the “manosphere”, or the “red pill”. On these I read various things, one of them being the idea that women peak at 18, and from there it’s all downhill and they’re past it by 25. So I set up a Plenty of Fish account, and began my quest to find my husband.
I tried Plenty of Fish, OKCupid, the Inner Circle and Tinder. I’d blast out first dates, scattergun style, but never found anyone I actually liked. Or I’d meet someone I thought I might like and they’d fizzle out. I become convinced that modern dating was too difficult and there was no-one out there for me. So I ended up pursuing a guy on another continent who had a girlfriend. That didn’t end well.
I moved into a flatshare in London, drifted through various jobs and other flatshares that ultimately left me unsatisfied. I loved writing and had a couple of blogs running at the time, but neither had structure or longevity. My overriding focus was on finding a husband before I lost my looks. Driven mostly by panic, I tried dating sites, dating apps, dating events, and saying “yes” to everything, but I couldn’t seem to get beyond a couple of dates with anyone. I was beyond frustrated.
But every cloud has a silver lining. I didn’t know many people in London, so when Bumble launched it’s BFF function I hopped right on it. At 24, I met a girl called Zey, who went on to become my fellow traveller. I joined Meetup to look for guys, and ended up inadvertently making some good friends, which I needed, as most of my friends from school and university had let me down and disappeared. I started this blog, which led to me appearing on national TV. I realised my dream was to become a novelist, and revisited an idea for a novel I’d had a 21 but never got around to writing.
Above all though, I learned life lessons. It’s the biggest cliche in the book, but I do believe you have to learn to love yourself first. I’ve recently got into the Law of Attraction, and that has definitely made me realise why I was single. If you’re coming from a place of “lack”, you attract more “lack” into your life. A positive mindset is key. And it’s not about having the smoothest skin, but loving the skin you’re in. The girls who end up in back to back relationships aren’t always the girls who are exceptional, but girls who have an open mind rather than a checklist, and believe in themselves. When it comes to online dating, it’s about quality rather than quantity. Get to know someone a little more before you agree to meet. But above all I think it’s better to put down your phone and get out there. Go to events and take up hobbies that you genuinely enjoy, rather than dragging yourself along to another singles mixer. Talk to that hot guy in front of you in the queue at Starbucks. Ban the words “out of my league” from your vocabulary.
As to what the future will hold, no-one knows. But I’m living by the motto of “carpe diem”, or “seize the day”. You might get hit by a bus tomorrow, so don’t waste time fretting about your cellulite. Go and give that hot guy your number.
As I mentioned in the introduction, I want this to be a SERIES, so if you would like to write a guest post on your love life so far PLEASE LET ME KNOW. That would be AMAZING.
I am also running the Color Obstacle Rush in May. I’ve set up a fundraiser to raise money for the Pamoja Project, a charity I worked with in Tanzania, who are looking to run a welding course to help underprivileged teenage boys into employment, so if you love my blog please pop over to my fundraising page and donate/ share. That would be really appreciated!