Dating In A Modern World

So I am still reasonably young, or at least in my head I am, but I swear my heart is older than my head. Recently I've been trying to get a bit more "active" on these dating apps, but really, I just can't get to grips with the whole concept and I have to wonder whether new age dating has killed off all the things I really want from a relationship.
Maybe want is the wrong word, the things I need would maybe be more accurate.
Perhaps I am cutting my nose off here, maybe being so pedantic means I am destined to be alone with a bunch of cats until my last breath, but my heart just doesn't want to settle.
I've never been great at being alone, from about the age of 16 I always had a love interest in my life and never went any length of time without having either my eye on someone or being with someone. After my second human came along and I looked back over the years that had passed, I realised that my love life had been a bigger priority than it should have been. Sometimes at the neglect of my parenting duties and I was ashamed.
Being a young mum, maybe it was only to be expected but second kid round all I wanted was to concentrate on my girls and be the best Mother I could be. I wanted them to remember their childhood with me being home on the weekends like my parents were for me.
This last year I have been learning so much about life and what I want from it and one of those lessons is undeniable that life has to have balance. I'm not just a mum, I'm a person in my own right and I have needs.
No, not just sexual ones, you filthy animals, but emotional and physical ones.
(There's something about a lack of human contact that can cause you physical pain. When you read a book or an article and the author writes
"her body ached to be held"
as dramatic as that may seem and although it's been written to dramatise the story, I understand those words.)
I have been enjoying the time I have free of my kids and although I have that nagging mum guilt that they are growing so fast and I should be soaking up their every word, I have started to enjoy just having time to soak in a bath or nip out for a cuppa with my friends when I want to. I refuse to beat myself up or let that mum guilt get the better of me because what I have noticed is that the kids are happier since I started working on making myself happier.
So part of that has involved making a good attempt to get back into the land of mating and dating. I am swiping through Tinder, trolling through Pof and trying not to waste time fantasising that one day the plumber will come to fix the leaking taps and we will fall in love while I pass him his wrench!
(Could still happen though­čść)
My experience with dating apps until now clearly hasn't been successful. The whole one night stand thing wore thin for me sometime long ago, when I wasn't worrying about plucking my facial fuzz and grey hairs or measuring how much fat hangs over my jeans
( Yep, only in my mid-30s and having to deal with this shit!)
Now, I can be "modern woman" enough to send the first message but I think my heart has always been old-fashioned. I'm not ready to see chivalry die off and for men to not make any effort.
Back in the day when the male of the species became interesting to you, and you barely had mobile phones let alone one that gives on-demand access to dating apps, you would just meet someone, face to face and if you liked them, hope your mate would put in a good word and he'd ask you out. And they did. The boys asked you out.
There's nothing quite as exciting as starting to crush on someone, wondering if they like you back and having butterflies when you know you're going to see them, catching their eye and feeling your face flush, wondering if you can talk to them without spitting a little. It was old school and it was far more fun than how you're expected to meet men now.
When I was a teenager and people asked what I wanted to do after school, my answer was always,
"be a wife, have loads of kids and work a little part-time job for extra cash."
There were never any dreams of fame or grandeur. Just simplicity. I just wanted a settled life and a 2.4 children family with a faithful husband and I don't know that has ever changed. I've heard the
"you're too picky" comments and the
"No one really has that"
cynical remarks but who's to say that they don't? Who's to say what defines picky and, if picky is what I am then is it a bad thing to know what you want?
I am open to the fact I am crazy, but not crazy enough to think anyone has a perfect life. Everyone has ups and downs in life, in their relationships, it's the nature of humans for perfect to be ever changing and never really achievable. But, should anyone to settle for less than someone who makes them happy, deliriously happy, the best part of the time?
Do I want to settle for someone because I'm getting older and fatter and feel I should?
No!
I just don't.
I'm not claiming to be happily single, but I am not miserably lonely either and I am content in the knowledge that I haven't reached the stage of desperation that I'd just be fine being treated badly by someone.
I am learning my self-worth more each day.
So............I hear your brains ticking, asking what it is this elusive perfect man has that I am holding out for? I'll share with you.
Future husband either isn't desperate for kids or has kids of his own already. As much as I love being a mum and I desperately miss having babies in my life, my body isn't strong enough to carry another human, and my mind isn't strong enough to effectively manage the anxiety that crippled me the first two times. I would be happy to make a blended family, I've been there briefly before and I have the love to give other kids. Whether my own or not. Although I wouldn't rule babies out completely because things change, someone who absolutely needs them isn't for me.
Future husband has a decent job, not one that has him stuck in an office until 11 pm at night, 6 days a week and bringing home enough cash to put me in a Kim K style mansion, just enough to be comfortable.
( I'm easily pleased, I'd settle for a Kate and Wills style cottage)
But seriously, materialistic things only bring so much happiness. I want someone who is present, can come home from work and make me belly laugh just because he likes to see me happy, even after a shite day and who is interested in how my day went.
I'm not keen on the idea of being with someone who has been married before either. I know this one is a bit discriminatory, I'm sure there are millions of divorcees who would treat me like a princess, but I want the day I walk down an aisle to be a first for both of us. Not a day that friends and family or even he will inevitably compare to the one before. I know that marriages can break down for numerous reasons, but I don't ever want to doubt the person I'm with wouldn't fight to the death to keep the vows we made.
He has to be able to make me laugh, that's something I've always needed in a relationship. He has to be a little bit romantic every now and then, know when I need a cuddle and when I'm just being a stroppy cow, but he has to be a man.
So this one is a bit controversial but I want to know future husband will look after all of us. Not take over, after living alone with kids for the last 15 years I am independent and not sure I'm programmed to take a back seat. (Yes, I know I am a control freak, shut up)
I just can't respect a man who needs to be told what socks to wear or wants to put me on a pedestal, thinking that every move I make is right and never challenging me to think about what I say or do. It's the balance thing again, of needing someone who can make important decisions for us and knows that I don't always know everything and sometimes, I need put in my place but also being accepting of the fact I need to have my say.
One of my favourite songs is Bethany Joy Lenz, Halo.
She sings,
"Why do you put me on a pedestal, I'm so up high that I can see the ground below, so help me down, you've got it wrong, I don't belong there."
And
" I always said that I would make mistakes, I'm only human and that's my saving grace"
Maybe it is a sexist, 1950s Stepford wife dream, but I want my man to wear the Halo in my eyes. I've said before I don't believe in perfection, but just to know the person I spend the rest of my life with is as close to that for me and my little beans as possible.
There is also the obvious factor of looks, you have to have that attraction there. That spark!!!
I may have some curves going on but I'm no Marilyn Monroe so I don't expect for future husband to be some god in the looks department, but there has to be a spark going on. The joys of being an over-thinker are that I relive things a million times over and because I have always been ruled by my heart a lot of my time is spent wondering where I've gone wrong in my past. That's something I'm trying to change, however, when I look back to the two or three longer-term relationships I've had, the one that always makes me sadder than any other that it ended, is the boy that gave me butterflies every time I looked at him. Even when he had morning breath.
Talk, dark and so god damn handsome and for a couple of years we were together he gave me the family I had always wanted. It wasn't a great relationship always but when it was good it was really good. A huge part of what made it that way was the attraction we had between us.
I could look at him from one room into the other and with one look he could make me run to him. We very rarely kept our hands to ourselves. Maybe it was having that spark, that total attraction that makes the need to feel that again stronger. Or maybe it's just I am ageing rapidly and am grasping onto the hope someone will still feel that way about me.
Either way, I know that maybe having a list of needs this long may mean I don't get the wedding I always dreamed of or find future husband who still has no face, but I think that's right for me.
This life only comes along once and if I leave it knowing I didn't take less than I know will make me truly happy, I think I'm ok with that.
Happy Dating folks.
L x

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