Falling in love and following up on first dates – when’s ok?

Okay, so you’ve read and digested everything there is to know about how you should attract, achieve and behave on a first date and it’s paid dividends (see tag #datingguruuk if you need a recap). The night has gone perfectly, you’ve not embarrassed yourself or your online dating partner (now your offline beau) and there were several hints that you both wanted to see each other again. Fantastic – you can’t beat a bit of bully, can you?

You’ve done the ‘text me when you get home safely’ bit, if you’ve not dropped them off or got them a cab back home (if not, why not!?) and you can go to sleep easy – if you can drop down off cloud nine to actually get into bed, obviously. But when’s the best time to follow up? Should you be on their case first thing the next morning? Is leaving it the traditional three days too long, given how hyper-connected we are, both socially and with our love lives?

For those of you old enough to remember a time before e-mail, mobile phones and online dating, the ideal grace period was three days. That was, of course, when homes only had one telephone, a man came around to light your gas lamps, you used to have a bath in front of the fireplace on a Sunday night whether you needed one or not and it didn’t half get cold on the WC in winter when you had to go in the outhouse.

I can categorically tell you that, based on one dating site’s survey earlier in the year, the ideal follow-up time is now one and a half days and not the traditional three, from when the height of social media activity was a party-line phone shared by one and all in different flats in the same block.

Don’t be overly keen – give them chance to breathe, but don’t take too long, making them think you’re not into them. If you’ve been out Friday night, then Sunday dinnertime’s the perfect time to see if the second date is still on the cards.

And talking of overly keen – one last tip for would be offline daters, if you’ve only just progressed from the online dating scenario. Do not rush your opposite number into a relationship they may not be ready for, for a whole host of reasons (remember, they’ll tell you why in good time).

Nothing is scarier than someone developing an all-enveloping crush on you after you’ve only met once or twice and there is little else I can think of more likely to put someone off meeting you again than a relatively new love interest constantly mithering you that you should.

As we aspired to in the first #datingguruuk article this week, love is like a flower and will blossom naturally given the correct bedding and by allowing it to bask in the sunshine. Smothering someone will crush any desire they have to be with you. Let them breathe and give them time to respond – you will only come across as desperate if you keep texting and leaving voice-mails and pm’s on your dating site!

So that’s that – we’ve come full circle in this mini-series designed to help out us poor Brits who are crap at UK dating! And all this advice, you could have paid through the nose for from a relationship expert in EST, USA. And we’ve given it you free – aren’t we just the best!?

Here’s looking forward to your company in February; I’ll let you know where to send my card to. Love always, dating.org.uk.

First dates – keep the personal stuff to a minimum

There is a world of difference on your first date between letting your date know a little bit about you and you either giving them your life history or being that pleased with your achievements that you come across as boastful.

Money is a great thing to have but there are better ways of letting someone you’ve met on a dating site know about it other than by reeling off a list of what you bought with your ‘spare change’ or by actually dropping into the conversation your latest bonus or pay-rise. Sure, that’s the kind of stuff you need to be honest and open about when you’re in a long-term commitment together, but not the kind of subject you want to be discussing at a first date. If you’ve got class, it will shine through in your actions and personality; you won’t have to tell your date about it – they’ll work that one out.

And another slip-up that many singles often make when it’s their first time out with someone they’ve met through a dating site is asking how come the other’s unattached. If they want to discuss that (other than with someone whom they’ve developed a deep relationship), they’ll have mentioned the reason they’re single on their dating site profile or during private communication. If you have to ask, you’ve either not been paying them close enough attention or they’re not ready to talk about it with someone who they hardly know. Leave the subject of past relationships – even if you are totally stuck for anything else to say on your early dates – until your partner starts to open up about them.

Likewise, they will definitely not want to hear in too much detail about everyone you’ve ever snogged the face off. Please, try and remember, dating in the early stages is about getting to know your new partner – past relationships are just that: past. The clue’s in the question, folks.

As well as overwhelming questions, there is also the possibility of rushing the physical aspect of a new relationship. No matter who it is, no matter how good looking he/she is and how much they implore you for a little first date physicality, say no.

Unless, of course, the object of the date is purely on the pre-determined understanding that you’re just meeting up for an ‘online dating friends with benefits’ type of arrangement, of course. It has been known to happen but, generally speaking, if all someone wants is adult dating, they will head towards a dating site that specialises in quickie dates or one-off intimate liaisons; it is not the done thing on a first date with a member from one of the mainstream dating sites.

There is more about that aspect in our first date tips for him, for her and for the two of you series, if you need further clarification as to why that type of activity is not the best basis for a long-term relationship.

So, one more article to go for January from the #datingguruuk series, then we’re into the month of lurve…February!

Relationship experts and their roles on dating sites

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll have seen a growing number of articles relating to high-end dating sites and the fact that the singles who sign up for these ‘all-in-one’ sites rely heavily on a relationship expert to take care of their every dating whim for them.

Okay, from the various write-ups in the media surrounding the increased interest well-to-do singles have in online dating of this stature, I guess there has to be a little more to it than what all the glossies have been printing. I mean, you’re not going to pay over the odds for dating advice that someone is going to print in the press for free, are you?

And you’re not going to part with four-figure monthly dating site fees (in three-month subscription chunks, I hastened to add) for information that some relationship coaches are giving away for free, surely?  You ARE?!?!

And that, I suppose, is really the key – the difference between me and those 6-figure city slicker earners who think nothing of blowing £12,000 a year on a dating site subscription because they’ve not got the time to research and digest that which, with a little research and patience, is waiting in cyberspace for zip, just an e-mail subscription away.

And relationship expert, dating coach, lifestyle guru – whatever moniker you want to attach to them – they’re all out there, dangling the carrot with free pdf downloads to get you to sign up in the hope that you’ll one day go on and buy one of their products off of them. Providing you’ve got the time to read, interpret (for an English audience – the majority are American, as you’d guess, with the rest badly re-written copies in a language that starts off close to English in the first paragraph to draw the reader in but then soon descends into gibberish to avoid the plagiarism checkers) and then learn how to act upon the information, you’re quids in!

So, purely in the name of delivering quality dating advice to you, my loyal readership, that the dating royalty in London, New York and Miami pay through the nose for, I’m going to give the rest of January over to what I believe is the closest we’ll get to expert relationship advice, for free!

So, in totally English fashion, let’s start with five articles looking at where you’re going wrong, why you’re still single and why you’re coming back time and again to dating sites to find ‘the one’.

(article series tag: #datingguruuk)

Start dating as you mean to go on – drop the fibs

So, yes – welcome back to the #datingguruuk series, taking a sneak peek for free into what the mega-loaded singles from the dating capitals of the world pay a fortune for every month. Yep, it’s only a peep – I’m not going to offer to call you up for a fifteen minute ‘get-to-know-you’ session (it’s true – if I’d lived in US EST zone, I’d have got one!). But that just shows why eHarmony have felt the need to completely revamp the ads for their UK dating sites compared to those in the US. We do look at dating in a totally different way to our American cousins. Oceans apart, geographically and in our love lives, it seems. Anyway, before I board that Titanic, as promised, why we’re so useless at dating:

Have you been to Amazon recently and seen how many books there are about dating? 14,100. That’s just under the tag dating. Then there’s the ‘for women’ (6,500+), ‘for men’ (a similar 6,500+) – there’s even a selection of 20 titles for dating the undead! The state of UK dating must be pretty awful if we’re buying guide books in love on the off-chance that a lycan or succubus is gonna drop by!

And I’m not one to suggest that the menfolk need a helping hand, but there is a strong selection entitled ‘dating tips for men’, yet they’ve dispensed with a similar section for the fairer sex. I did suggest over the weekend that women know how to get what they want, didn’t I?  Even Amazon are backing me up, there!

Do we need help dating in the UK? Oh, yes.

So, back to my e-mail series from the lovely EST lady in the US and our first fallibility when it comes to striking up a potential relationship: honesty.

Not to make out that we’re a nation of fibbers (rich, coming from the country that tried to convince us we’d landed on the moon, that Elvis was dead and that Iraq were building nuclear power heads – okay, one of them may be true: RIP the king), but telling porkies almost seems to become a habit when we’re in the process of doing our chatting up.

In the context of online dating, it starts with out dating site profile. Studies have shown that there is an accepted tolerance of height, weight, the age of our photo and what we do for a living, where the truth is even expected to be stretched a little.

But it appears that many folk can’t get out of the habit when it comes to dating offline, either. The problem is that when you start with a little white lie, you often find you have to tell another one to get around the original. Before you know it, you’re spinning a whole web of deceit and the only one getting caught up in it is you.

So, the message is clear. Start your relationship as you mean to go on. Be as honest as you can. If there is some bad gunky, use your judgement and wait until the relationship can support its gravitas before you throw it in, but never lie about it! See you over the page; remember: #datingguruuk

The hopes and fears of expectant singles

The #datingguruuk is back with another installment of why we Brits could do with a little helping hand when it comes to dating. Lots to get through, so straight into the mixer:

Take a chance on me

Fear of the unknown is one thing – it’s irrational, there’s very little reason to it. Like being scared of the dark: there’s nothing that’s metamorphosed just because you’ve turned out the light switch.

Rejection, however, can be a very real possibility. No matter how well you’ve developed your relationship on your dating site, when it comes to the crunch in reality, your date may just not be that in to you (metaphorically speaking – you should never let him get that far on a first date!). You have to prepare yourself for that possibility.

What you mustn’t do is let that tentativeness at least stop you from giving dating a go. It’s an absolute fact that nothing tangible will ever happen between you if you just stay online dating all your lives. Yes, you may not want to risk breaking up a cyberspace friendship but, in reality, if you get on that well on your dating site that you feel ready to date, you should at least have a decent time, no matter what the romantic outcome.

Don’t build your hopes up too high

The danger is, of course, that if you let your nerves build up to such an extent, you’ll also find that your expectations increment at a similar rate. Regain focus.

It may feel like such an achievement that you’ve actually asked your online partner to start dating, and it so is, but what may be a first time for you may be a regular jaunt for your newfound partner. It’s a first date you’re going on, not your honeymoon; keep it in perspective.

Love at first sight happens, but rarely

Your first date may have left you feeling a little deflated, it is usual. But that is usually because you set your expectation level too high in the first instance. If the birds aren’t singing his name or you’ve not started annoying your mates down the pub with hers yet, don’t panic – and certainly don’t judge someone on this basis.

Love is like a flower, a thing of natural beauty that takes time to root, nurture, grow and eventually blossom. If you got on well with your date, had plenty in common and don’t recall anything that rang any alarm bells, give the relationship the exposure it needs to bloom, its day in the sunshine, and see how you feel after the pressure of a first date is not hanging over you like a dementor.

Feeling ready to start dating, yet? A few more lessons tomorrow, then you should be done. See you then. x