Four years ago I was young(ish), I was employed as Director of International Studies for a college and I was single. I was on dating apps, found them hilarious and loved the thrill of going on dates with new people and making a match. Obviously at one point I did make a match, though it burned out quickly and then in one quick moment, my life changed forever. I found out I was pregnant. Apart from a few moments when someone who previously held my heart thought it would be okay to play with my feelings, I have firmly had myself locked away. Not only from romance but from friendships and in a way life as well. By making myself self-employed, apart from when I started to do reviews, I never even needed to leave my house technically though of course I did for my daughters sake. I had had my heart broken by romance and friends and all I wanted was to stay in my bubble, where nothing could hurt me or my daughter again…
Friendships began to slowly creep back into my life when I started blogging and find my mum soulmates – a group of women always there, day or night to laugh and cry, listen and rejoice with. When I moved back to Dorchester a year ago I also became very good friends with someone I’d met years before but never had a friendship with before and now don’t know where I’d be without her.
However, it is only in the last few weeks where I have suddenly realised that not only is it okay for me to date but that actually, I was ready to and finally really wanted someone in my life again. The first mistake I made was to sign back up to Plenty of Fish (Hazards of POF Dating explains it all!) as a week on that is enough to put anyone off. I took my profile down and genuinely thought I’d just rather stay single.
A chance meeting with an old friend led me to Bumble, a new dating app where the women are in control. I’d say it’s a kinder version of Tinder and I really liked how it worked. I swiped right on a few pictures until it popped up – Match. So, I sent a message and waited to see if there would in fact be a response.
A little while later, a notification binged on my phone and sure enough I had a response. Messages binged back and forth for a few days until came the question… “So, do you fancy meeting?!” This is where the problem comes in for me. I have stood on stage and sung in front of 3000 people and I’d rather do that any day of the week than go on a first dates. My stomach drops, my hands start to shake and I either clam up because I become so shy or don’t stop talking and feel like an utter twit.
We made a date and I had to break it due to childcare issues and I genuinely thought this would be where he ran away… but he didn’t. Apparently he understood and a new date was made. I had said I hated first dates because they made me so nervous so we had decided that the date would not be a date date but simply a cup of coffee between two random people.
The morning of the date I got up and honestly I didn’t want to go. I thought to myself, why am I even going? Do I even really want to date? Why do I want to date? But I got ready – didn’t put too much make-up on but honestly any make-up was going to be more than my usual nothing. I wore my hair down which I never do, whacked on a dress – again which I never do and was pushed into the car and set off.
We were having coffee at a local public gardens and I arrived first and sat down with my coffee, making use of the free WiFi to let all my Instagram story followers know what I was up to. Of course, they also found out that he was late. It got to 15 minutes and I honestly began to wonder if he was really in fact going to stand me up… and then he appeared.
We sat and had coffee and the conversation flowed as it had in our messages. He was just the same as he had been there. We went for a walk around the gardens and as I was pretty sure he wasn’t a serial killer we also went for a drive. Talking the whole way round. He dropped me back to my front door, 2.5 hours after we had met and asked me if I’d now like a proper date to which I agreed and I went into my house smiling.
The following night, stomach dancing with nerves, I got ready and we went for a walk along the beach. We sat on the stones of the beach and looked out across the water. There was no need to talk and I felt totally relaxed sat next to him with my hand in his. For the first time, in such a long time, I finally felt like I could breathe. That I could exhale after holding my breath for so long.
There, at sunset, he reached over and pulled my chin round so my eyes looked into his and leaned in and kissed me. Butterflies took flight in my stomach, my skin tingled and when it ended he left me craving more. This may have only been the first kiss but it told me that I was doing the right thing. I was definitely ready to date and that I wanted to date him. I was ready for romance in my life. I was ready for him.
After 4 years and so many ups and downs, I have finally popped my protective bubble and the world looks even better than it did before.