By Jane Hoskyn
Wow, your tenth date in a month – great, eh? Not necessarily.
Trying to find the right man can be a tiring and tiresome process. Dates aren’t much fun when you and the bloke sitting opposite have no chemistry whatsoever, and that’s bound to happen if you’re dating a lot.
Blind dates in particular are hit-and-miss affairs. It’s soul-destroying to endure miss after miss in search of that one heart-melting hit. Any sane soul would rather stay at home every night, watching telly and making sweet music with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s.
So what’s a single girl to do? Sack the whole thing off and vow to stay single for life? Absolutely not. What’s needed is a new way of looking at your love life. Here are a few tips for putting the fun back into dating.
1. Stop looking
Things don’t always go to plan. Sometimes the best way to find the right man is to stop looking.
A break from dating will also allow you to recharge your batteries, and get back into the game later with a renewed enthusiasm. So get off the treadmill and enjoy time alone or with your friends.
As you start to enjoy single life, you’ll exude more confidence than when you were fixated about finding a mate. And men are suckers for confident, independent women.
2. Escape ‘The One’ trap
Once you’re ready to get back out there, keep some perspective. If you go into each date expecting the night of your life and the man of your dreams, of course you’ll be disappointed.
Resolve to keep your first dates short. If the guy you’re meeting is offended because you only have time for one drink, then he’s too high-maintenance for you anyway.
Never be railroaded into devoting hours of your valuable time to a first date. If you turn up and realise immediately that there’s no chemistry, a five-hour evening is a horribly long stretch. Life’s too short.
3. Stop scattergunning
It can be tempting to date as many men as possible when you’re looking for love, but it’s counter-productive.
You won’t have the time or the inclination to make each man feel special – and that’s the key to making him interested in you.
It’s also a risking business to accept dates with a few different men at once. In the US, people tend to date lots of “prospects” at once before deciding to “go exclusive” with one. It’s a recipe for confusion and jealousy. You shouldn’t have to compare two or more men to know whether you like one of them.
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4. Bypass the also-rans
Fear of being single often drives us to accept dates with men we don’t really fancy. Plenty of us also stay in relationships that aren’t working, simply because we’re scared of not being in a couple.
While you’re wasting precious time with Mr OK-I-Suppose, you could be missing out on Mr Right. All that time you spend with the wrong man is time you could be spending having a great time with the right man.
If you find it hard to cut and run, remind yourself that you’re wasting Mr OK-I-Suppose’s time as much as your own. Set him free to find someone who really wants him.
5. … But rethink your ‘must-have’ list
Being too picky can lead to dating fatigue just as easily as not being picky enough.
If you have a very narrow idea of your “type”, you may keep dating men who are wrong for you. That’s why it never works out.
You’re also condemning yourself to constant disappointment, because no-one lives up to your idea of your perfect type. No wonder you’re sick of it all.
Take some time off. When your dating energy is back and you’re itching to get out there again, try out a man who’s a bit different from your norm. Chemistry is a very tricky thing to predict.
6. Look under your nose
You’re surrounded by potential boyfriends. Men you work with, men you’re friends with, men who’ve been in and out of your life for years. Sometimes, the one you’re looking for is so close you can’t even see him.
Not always geographically close, of course. That chap you met online and started emailing months ago, but never met because he lived hundreds of miles away… maybe he’s the one for you after all?
Or maybe it’s the bloke you had a fling with in your first job, before separating when you moved to different ends of the country?
On the other hand, maybe Mr Right really is living next door…