Another year gone and another year approaching Valentines Day as a single woman. During my teenage years and early twenties, my mother always told me “don’t worry there are plenty of fish in the sea”. Well many years later I cannot help wondering where they all are. Whilst I have had several serious long term relationships, in between those times I have always struggled to meet men. My theories are many and intertwined, such as I am an introvert and by default the worst at participating in small-talk; my flirting skills are virtually non existent; father-daughter issues because as a child my father was aloof and non-communicative so by default I am aloof with men; most men assume I am already in a relationship; I am too independent; and I stay home a lot. Shall I go on?
Every year I make a pledge to myself to be more outgoing, extroverted, join social groups, explore online dating, participate in life more fully etc etc etc. As part of the deal for moving half way around the world to London last September, I promised myself to dip my toes back into the world of online dating. How hard could it be with all the new the dating apps such as Bumble and Happn? No need to fill out lengthy questionnaires like the good old days of Match.com. In my search for a life-long partner and best friend, dating and starting spontaneous conversations with men I find attractive are two of my greatest challenges. Both of these activities strike fear and dread into the heart of this introverted single woman. What better way to overcome my fears than turn to the world of online dating apps. Or so I thought. There is something quite uncomfortably confronting about having your age glaringly displayed on your online dating app profile to make you realise you might have just missed the finding-the-man-of-my-dreams boat. Sailed from shore, adrift in the wide open sea and never to return.
This realisation is a hard pill to swallow when you don’t look or feel your age but the calendar and number on your profile says otherwise. The guys I find attractive on first impression, and whose profile blurb pique my interest enough to swipe right, are for the most part ten to fifteen years younger than me. With the bait cast out with one quick motion across a smartphone screen only to linger in a deep blue abyss, I feel too old to attract the men that fire a tiny spark in my brain. And whilst there are many successful older-woman-younger-man relationships in the world, it is still confronting to think that younger guys might find you physically attractive but just that little bit too old for a serious, long term, forever relationship. Especially if they have kids in their future ideal relationship landscape.
It seems as time passes by, finding a potential life partner is like trying to find treasure lost forever at the bottom of the sea when you are still walking lost through a dry land-locked wilderness. You know its not going to be easy and imagine one day plunging into the deep blue sea and holding your breath for an extraordinary length of time, diving through tons of vast uninhabited water before spotting the glittering diamond on the sea bed. A tiny sparkle of hope. My mother always told me there are plenty of fish in the sea. Maybe that is true but for now I still haven’t found the right fish for me. And the older you become the number of available fish the ocean dwindles to a few tadpoles flailing about in a muddy puddle by the side of the road. Maybe my standards are too high. Maybe I expect too much. Maybe, just maybe, one day I will no longer be sitting on the single shelf.
In the meantime I guess a single girl can buy her own Valentines flowers, right?
For more single girl adventures read about my Dining Alone in Paris experience.