Let’s talk about dating

Or lack thereof I should say. At the start of this year I got back “in the game” as it were. I felt ready to get out there and start meeting people and dating again. Over a few months I was going on dates and just enjoying myself.

I wasn’t actively looking or, er, “hunting”. Things just either organically or naturally happened, which was nice and easy. That has since dried up somewhat and there’s a dearth of prospective males on the horizon.

At university it was so easy. You’re in a big fish bowl of people mostly the same age as you, usually single and available. With no actual jobs (I mean proper career jobs) and no real commitments it was so easy to meet people. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t date a huge amount (see my post about being an introvert…) but it was easy to meet people. The potential was definitely there.

Now I’m in a full-time career and time is tricky. You get up, you go to work, you come home, you sleep. With an hour commute both ways and a dog to look after it’s hard to do anything in the week (and getting up at 5am to go to the gym means granny bedtimes – yes I know this is my own doing).

But it’s not like I have a a crowd of men banging down my door anyway. I’m not turning down dates because I have no time. If only that was the case! Most of the people I work with are happily married older men. And most of my friends are all coupled off and don’t seem to know other singles. It seems we’re a sad and dying breed.

So what do you do? This isn’t a rhetorical question. I don’t actually have the answer. I am genuinely asking for guidance here. I’m 28 which, let’s be honest, is no spring chicken (though also not ancient). I look in the mirror every morning and go “this is the best it’s ever going to be” because tomorrow I’m one day older. OK this is bleak. I don’t think I’m completely abhorrent to the opposite sex (at least I truly hope not) but tick tock and all that.

My friends, from their fabulous happy marital cloud, say “go on Tinder!” and then proceed to “want a go” and “let me play” like it’s a game. But you hear horrific stories about Tinder… I don’t want to just hook up with randomers. I’m not that girl. And the thought of meeting up with someone who thinks I am that girl is terrifying! Or meeting up with someone and having one of those horror story dates.

Being part of a running club you’d think would be ideal, but really no. It’s full of lovely people, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not exactly a hive of prospective singletons. I started bouldering and climbing to widen my social bubble and I suppose that might help if I was going more regularly…

It is so easy to just carry on with my life and do nothing. I’m comfortable in my own company and can get very routine-based. My mum keeps telling me “It’ll just happen! You’ll meet him in the supermarket or in the street”. What? Actually, what? No I won’t. In Tesco my attention is fully on food. And bless my dad and his practical nature, comments like “When is the time to get your eggs frozen?” really don’t help.

*Sighs*. Honestly, if you’re not single, BE GRATEFUL. I used to joke when I was married that I’d hate to be “out there in this day and age”. Not so funny now is it! I don’t mean to be all moany or sound like a desperate sap. I am OK on my own. I’m not quite Carrie Bradshaw desperation level yet. My problem though is that time will just fly on by and I will continue living in my happy bubble of my little life and routine and be everyone’s single friend Anna, the one that likes running and eating too much.

If you’re in a relationship, how did you meet your partner?

Do you have any horror story dates?

Do you have any dating advice?

33 Replies to “Let’s talk about dating”

  1. I indeed met my partner through running! And yeah, people do tend to meet through friends or friends of friends.

    Online dating isn’t a bad idea, but Tinder in particular is hook-up motivated. I’d try one of the more specialist ones and be honest that you’re looking for a relationship, not just a hook up. I have friends who’ve met their partners (successful relationships of over 3 yrs) on Guardian dating (helps streamline social and political views of potential partners!) and on Plenty of Fish too.

    People do meet in your situations too- I know 2 couples who met at the gym, and I dated someone I met on a train once too. People also definitely meet in the supermarket. However you are right to be proactive. If this is something you want for yourself (to have a partner in your life) then good on you to go get it!

    1. I think the whole online dating thing in general scares me. I’m not great at just randomly meeting people. Chatting via social media or through messages is fine but when it comes to face-to-face convos, I need to know I can relax and be comfortable around someone!
      That’s so cool you met someone on a train! This is where I go wrong, I just sit there and make no effort to engage with anyone.
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…Marathon Training and Reigate HalfMy Profile

  2. I hear ya sister!

    I too was hoping to meet somebody through running, but it hasn’t happened yet…

    I use Tinder and dating sites, and whilst you do have to be picky about who you meet up with, I have met a few decent guys this way (even some who I already vaguely knew through running!). I would just suggest chatting to someone before you meet up, so you get a reasonable idea of them before potentially wasting your precious time on a date 🙂

  3. Interesting post but sad to read in any way for someone who is obviously confident, charismatic and full of “Joie de vivre”. I am one of those happily married older men you speak about but I have several female friends who are single and so does my wife ranging in ages from 25 to 45. The overall consensus seems to be that there is a growing breed of single females who quite rightly will not settle for just any man and will also not revert to the expectations which on-line dating or tinder etc places upon them.
    The one common denominator to me that people can change is their routine, don’t let it become too entrenched unless it absolutely has to be – eg work and even that’s subjective. You are obviously someone who will try new things but perhaps you need to go a step further and say right on Sunday I’m going to forego my long run and do something different. What though you might ask and that is the conundrum.
    An old work friend of mine had a bad break up in her 30s and decided that she would spend one year not saying no to anything and the following year paying off debts to enable her to travel and work in a kibbutz. She never got that far – the confidence she gained from the experiences of the first 6 months led her to meet her now husband and they had a child together a year later. So it can and does happen and I am sure you will find happiness again – just don’t get stuck in that rut!

    1. Perhaps that’s the issue, that as women get older we seem to get more picky with who we’d be willing to date… our “tick off” lists get longer and more specific as we’ve figured out more about ourselves.
      I’m trying to be more of a “yes” person now. I won’t turn things down because I can’t be bothered or it doesn’t fit in with my normal plans. You’re right in that I need to shake things up! Thank you for your advice 🙂
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…Marathon Training and Reigate HalfMy Profile

  4. Helpfully, I met N at work, when I was 32. That was the same year I signed up to Guardian Soulmates (I did enjoy that – I’m still in touch with the runner I met there, and I had some lovely dates. My flatmate married the guy she met there, and they’re expecting their second kid). It was also the year I dated my university tutor (NEVER EVER DO THAT!), and the year I decided, in general, just to say “yes” to things, and shake it up a little. And, it was when I was whinging at N about the previous night’s date, who’d suddenly gotten cold feet at me the next morning, that he decided to write me a heartfelt email and ask me out, and I thought “sod it, I don’t think he’s my type particularly, but why not?”

    Because, really. Since when did a morris-dancing homebody knitter, who spends masses of time volunteering with Girlguiding, and who has a fairly conservative (small c) outlook, with a hint of leftiness…start going out with a guy with long hair who’s in a heavy metal band?

    My best friend met her husband when they were rattling buckets at the end of a BBC Prom at the Albert Hall. Mixed gender volunteering is a good way of meeting people. I’ve also been out with a chap I met in the queue for the Last Night of the Proms, a chap I met on a train, a chap I met at a married friend’s 12 night party, a guy in a bluegrass band (I plucked up courage and simply said “hello” at the end of the gig), morris dancers, ceilidh dancers…I’ve done a lot of going out, it seems!

    Meeting up with potential dates at lunchtime might work? And, I hate to say it – but your Mum is partially right. He will show up somewhere entirely random. Maybe not at running club – but the beginning of a race. Not in Tescos, but on the bus (I never did pluck up the courage to speak to the guy on the bus – but I know from the Metro brief encounters column thingy that he liked my smile…)
    Jane recently posted…We are having a barbecueMy Profile

  5. I know Tinder has a bad rep! But I had a few dates with totally normal decent guys and met my crazy amazing boyfriend on there. His roommate actually met his girlfriend on there too and they’re literally two peas in a pod. It’s kind of a cool way to meet people you wouldn’t know otherwise. And you can usually tell the hookup creeps pretty easily. 🙂

    I felt the same way as you when I was divorced and then when my almost 5 year rebound relationship ended. I couldn’t imagine how to meet anyone with my schedule. It definitely happens when you aren’t expecting it – but also when you’ve got a pretty bomb lifestyle like you do. Keep your eyes open and just try some fun things – never know!!

  6. I can totally relate here! Most of the guys in my running club are over sixty or married. I have a few prospective guys who run, but one is a grad student and the other lives over an hour away. I work weekends with my job and train pretty highly most days. I’m still working on this because part of me would like a partner, and the other part is happy with my life and current situation.
    If I come up with any tricks, I’ll let you know.
    Ellie recently posted…Cold Brew Coffee and WIAWMy Profile

  7. Hi Anna

    Well as you know I’very been through a pretty torrid time in this regard. BUT amazingly, and through running, I met Nicky and we are both so grateful that we took the plunge and got back out there! We met on fitness singles, although we already knew each other but thought each other ‘out of my league’!! It WILL happen Anna, keep the faith……
    Kevin x

  8. I am the last person to have any idea of this- I met Andy when we were both in sixth form (although we went to the same school, we met through mutual friends going to a gig, and then happened to be going to another one the week later). I would have no idea about dating. I love watching First Dates on TV, but I would be so uncomfortable in that situation. I have only heard bad things of Tinder (mainly what guys are looking for) but a lot of my friends have met their partners/ spouses through internet dating, so I guess that is as good a place to try as any. Lunch dates seem like a good idea if your office is a bit more central, and then they can’t go on for ages either as you both have to get back to work.
    I think you are doing the right thing by doing things that you find interesting, as although you don’t want a clone, you want someone who shares some interests with you. And you are not that old! Plus you never know when things will happen- one of my friends met her (now husband) partner on the internet, and she was 30 (she was losing hope a bit as had a few bad endings to her long term relationships up to that point, and one of her friends bought her a profile on a dating website for her birthday)- now a few years later they have got married, bought a house and had a baby. So keep your eyes open to any new experiences that are offered to you, as you never know.
    Have you heard of Aziz Anzari? He’s an American comedian/actor (in Parks and Rec)- he did a book which we listened to on holiday, I think called Modern Romance. It’s interesting as his parents had an arranged marriage, and they look into all kind of stats and things, but in an interesting and lighthearted way. Worth a look if you had an audible account or something (or you could read it, by looking at the words…, but he is funny and narrates it himself). Chin up!
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…Savse smoothiesMy Profile

    1. I do keep hearing these stories about people either randomly meeting their partner or finding them via the internet. So I know it IS possible I suppose! I think I just need to chill and enjoy life – and say yes to more things! Not get stuck in a routine…
      Oooh I will check that book out – I think I’ve seen a sketch of his. To be honest, I have quite a lighthearted and positive outlook on things (despite perhaps some of the tone of this post!). I find it better to laugh at my situation and what happened in the past rather than be all doom and gloom. I hate people feeling sorry for me or thinking I’m lonely and it definitely helps relax people if I joke about it rather than it be something NO ONE MENTIONS.
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…Marathon Training and Reigate HalfMy Profile

  9. I was always told to stop actively searching and that the right man is out there somewhere…

    I’m 37 and I think my parents have finally stopped dropping hints about me finding the right man, getting married and having children. I was once a week away from getting married, it didn’t work out and my experience stopped me trusting men for quite some time.

    I thought I might meet someone at running club or at university. I didn’t. Everyone is either already in a relationship/married or far too young. I know that my height has stopped a few men asking me out. Apparently my height is intimidating. There’s not a lot I can do about being tall, I can’t exactly chop my legs off.

    I’ve accepted the fact that I’ll be single forever and will turn into a lady with dozens of cats.
    Emma recently posted…July reviewMy Profile

  10. I’m afraid I have no words of advice…just the same situation! Though I am now waaayyyyy older than you and also resigned to being single forever. I would say with lots of cats like Emma but Battersea Cats and Dogs home wouldn’t even let me adopt because I’m not home enough!

  11. I met my husband online about 15 years ago before internet dating – in the old school chat rooms. If you want to go the internet/phone dating route, it doesn’t have to be tinder. You can sign up to more respectable companies and although you have to pay, I would hope that there would mostly be a better standard of people on there.
    Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy recently posted…Comment on Courgette (Zucchini) Pizza Bites by KarlyMy Profile

  12. I’m sorry to hear about these struggles girl. It’s true that things do get harder as we get older because there are less “opportunities” and such. But I think the best thing is to just NOT worry about it and let God bring that man into your life. Your running club as well as your social scene seems pretty active so you are BOUND to run into someone there [see what I did there? ;)]
    kat recently posted…PlantFusion Lean Review [plus a recipe!]My Profile

  13. I always found it really difficult to meet people. I have difficulty even making friends. I don’t know how I would meet anyone if I were single. I’m too anxious for the dating scene. I met my fiancé through work. We worked together occasionally, and I liked him. I started deliberately taking shifts that I knew he would be working, even though he was unavailable, just because I liked spending time with him and work was more fun with him there. When his relationship ended, we started to talk more and more outside of work, and eventually went on a date. Never stopped going on them!
    Laura recently posted…UKRunChat Squat Challenge – Week 3My Profile

  14. I relate to this post so much. I was single throughout most of my 20s and didn’t meet my husband until I was 30. I don’t go “out” to bars and all my friends were married, so I came to the realization that online dating would be the only solution. I had tried online dating many, many times, but finally I tried it AGAIN and the first person I reached out to ended up being my husband. Hang in there- you WILL meet someone, I know it can be hard to have faith.
    Elizabeh C. recently posted…How To Fit a 5K into Your Marathon TrainingMy Profile

  15. Come and join our running club. Everybody seems to meet their partner there. We’ve had club weddings and everything!
    The comments from your parents made me smile. I’m sure they mean well, but…getting your eggs frozen?! You’re not there yet! I think your Mum is along the right lines. (Although maybe not the supermarket. I think hands brushing against the same apple and catching each other’s eyes only happens in the movies!) You sound like you’re doing everything right though. It makes sense to go out and continue doing the things you love like heading to the gym and racing. (Shame about spin guy wearing a wedding ring…)
    I’m no help as Dan and I met at University on a night out. Although, when our future children ask how we got together the story of Dan being involved in a drunken dance-off is hardly the romantic story I wanted to tell to my future kids!
    Mary recently posted…Two years a wifeMy Profile

  16. I totally relate to this. I’ve never had a proper boyfriend and have no idea what being in a relationship is like but feel like I *should* be dating and sometimes I think it’d be nice to have someone as all my friends are coupled up these days. I tried Tinder but it just wasn’t me at all, there are so many other things I’d rather do with my time but at nearly 29 it does sometimes feel like I need to get on with things but I’ definitely a believer that things will happen when they happen. x
    LilyLipstick recently posted…Life: Endless SummerMy Profile

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