Internet Dating

Dating is a part of human mating process whereby two people meet socially for companionship, beyond the level of friendship, or with the aim of each assessing the other's suitability as a partner in an intimate relationship or marriage'

So you've been on your own for a while now, or maybe you haven't! - maybe you'd rather jump straight back on the horse (to coin a phrase). So what

are your options? It's not like you can go out on a whim anymore, going out these days takes military planning - babysitter, money, clothes (that fit) ....new body, new confidence - boyo the list is endless....

Once you've decided that you are ready to date, there are few things you may wish to consider or simply be aware of and this personal mini-guide is an attempt to address the variety of dating issues.

So where do you meet this Knight in shining armour?(or in my experience a 'fucktard' in badly fitting jeans). Depending on your age, length of time you have been single, length of your last relationship, ages of your children and your own personal circumstances, your approach to dating will be very different. Dating websites whether you love them or hate them is the accepted way to meet a suitor in this day and age. Dating sites weren't for me but I know of at least 8 couples that have met on the internet and gone on to marry. Speed dating is another option, utilising single friends of friends is a good way to go, and randomly meeting someone on a night out is probably the most unlikely way to meet someone these days if you're after a relationship with some longevity.

So let's assume that you have been some time out of the dating game, and the thought quite frankly is terrifying! (I'm with you ladies - I've been there). Let's start with the websites to ease you in gently (well at least you can hide behind your computer and terminate when you please). The four most popular sites are Match, Plenty of Fish, Zoosk and Tinder. All can cost a pretty penny, (all apart from Match offer a basic free membership but if you pay you have better facilities),

Match.com

'1 in 4 relationships now start online, so begin your dating journey with match.com'

The most expensive of the sites in my opinion. You are able to join from £29.99 a month, but keep an eye on your subscription because unless you cancel they will continue to take payment. You are given the false impression that because you are paying you are indeed meeting a slightly better calibre of male but I'm sorry to say the majority are still plebs. The profiles are the most informative, so you're able to get quite a good idea about the person before contact is made.

POF

'POF Has More Dates, More Relationships, More Visits Than Any Other Dating Site'.

The free website with the supposed bad reputation. To be fair I recognised lots of faces on here that were also on Match. I didn't find anything on this site any worse than Match.com. You still had the same uneducated, bad mannered and less than gentlemany males as any other site - of course I can only share my own experiences and I know from friends that decent men really do exist - they just seemed to avoid me! There is a function called 'Meet Me' where you can flick through only the faces of men that you would like 'to meet', however, you aren't given any details so could end up wanting to meet the 2ft, unemployed, chain smoking male from the Scottish Highlands! This site is a nightmare when you come to wanting to delete your profile, and I had to resort to Google to find out how.

Zoosk

'Online dating has never been easier. Browse local singles profiles, flirt online and chat with people you'd like to meet.'

This site is in association with Facebook, and in my experience the biggest waste of time. It's difficult to know if you have messages, then you can't reply to them unless you buy 'coins'. This site is very difficult to start a conversation with anyone. Forget it and move on...

Tinder

'Tinder is how people meet. It's like real life, but better. Get it for free on iPhone'

This is a good App if you are out with a gaggle of girls on a regular basis and able to hook up with men whom are also using Tinder on a night out. Its like playing a game of 'matches' and I found myself getting addicted to just finding a match - yay! than actually wanting to meet anyone.  There are some benefits to using Tinder.  You can't see each other online and you can only contact each other if you have both 'swiped to the right'  However on the down side it imports information from your facebook and could leave you vulnerable to prying eyes of an unwanted.

Internet dating didn't work for me, I got bored and quite frankly disillusioned by the male species.  That doesn't mean that you will experience the same so it is well worth joining if only for a short time just as a social experiment if nothing else,  From my own personal experience I can guarantee that men you have never met will do the following.... you have been warned!

1. Send you a picture of their erect penis! - Staggering I know..... It doesn't seem to matter the age or intellect of the male, at some point and totally unprovoked they want to send you photos of body parts. For me this would initiate and instant blocking. Seriously - how am I meant to meet a man for a coffee or meal when I have already seen their willy!! - call me old fashioned but ........

2. Ask you your dress size as the 'deal breaker' for a date. What ......a .......loser!! You can kick him to the kerb Mama!!

3. Want to know how big your boobs are. Astonishing I know but some men really are adamant on what size boobs their suitor should have. Some men actually don't like boobs, whereas others want them on par with Jordan! - The days of wanting to meet a woman with a good personality seem to be long gone - it's all about the body it appears.

4. Ask you if you 'deep throat'? - I went to a Convent - I'm not going to dignify that with a response to a complete stranger!.

5. Some men it appears like to know how much pubic hair you have!! (I kid you not!) Certainly not a discussion that would have been held by our grandparents prior to that first date! - Don't even lower yourself to their level by answering, they are clearly going to be looking for a classless bint - something that you are far from!!

6. Become possessive before they have even met you - yup! There are men out there that really do believe they 'own' you before you've even had a date. Once guy told me that he didn't like the thought of me ever having been with another man. I took the opportunity to remind him that I had 2 children and they certainly weren't delivered by a Stalk!!

So to the 'Do's and 'Don't of Internet dating

Do's

1. Enjoy the prospect of meeting new people. There are a variety of individuals on these sites, some interesting, some not so. I have made online acquaintances/friends that I have never met in person but continue to keep in touch with for a couple of years via personal email.

2. Do be prepared to have your confidence and self-esteem trashed.! You will meet men whom will expect a size 8 Supermodel regardless of your age and whether you have had children. This is where you discover that a large percentage of men really couldn't care less how intelligent, funny and kind you are, but more interested in how big your boobs are (depending on their specific requirement) and what dress size you are. You will also spend hours speaking to men that you eventually meet and then never hear from again, leaving you asking 'what's wrong with me?!' - the answer is nothing. This is the very nature of internet dating and something that takes some getting used to if in fact you do at all! If you reach a point of feeling 'low' because of your internet experience (and this is a common phenomenon) its time to take a break for a while and get re-acquainted with what is 'real' in your life.

3. Make sure you have your date sooner than later. It's all very well spending a month or more talking and getting to know each other, but there have been many an occasion where following the date there is no more contact. What a waste of your time!! - The person you have been getting on so well with online simply isn't anything like that person in real life.

4. Be honest with the sort of person you are looking to meet, and don't compromise yourself for anything less.

5. Write a detailed profile about you stating your hobbies, interests and things that you like and dislike. Detail the sort of person you are hoping to meet. Be positive and truthful. Use a recent photo of yourself and include a full length one. Avoid using pictures that involve pets, children and other men. I've seen profile pictures of the man on his wedding day stood proudly next to his new bride! Errrr- something went wrong there then didn't it!! - Doh!!

Don'ts

1. Do not discuss your children. There is plenty of time for that. I'm absolutely not saying that you don't acknowledge their existence, however, we live in a very sad and depraved world and we need to protect our children. Sadly it's been acknowledged that these sites have been used by those more interested in your children, than bagging a date with your good self!!. I have experienced this myself.

2. Don't give too many personal details about yourself for example where you work, the road you live on, bars or restaurants you frequent or any other information that when pieced together could identify where you live so that a person can find you. Stalkers are no strangers in this method of dating.

3. Don't be frightened of blocking a person if you feel they have been rude, inappropriate, disrespectful or a nuisance.

4. Don't be in a hurry to give your telephone number out. If you want to talk away from the website try using KIK Messenger . This app allows you to message from your phone without giving your number out.

5. Don't give up at the first hurdle if you are intent on meeting someone. Online dating needs to be viewed as a part-time job for the hours and effort that are needed. Regular logging in is essential, and you need to be prepared to send a mailshot of emails to instigate conversation. Gone are the days when a man will make first contact!

6. Don't discuss your previous relationship. Men cannot stand women that are bitter and are still 'hung up' on the 'Ex' for whatever reason. And....if your 'Ex' is a psycho, keep it a secret for now.

The Date

Preparation is key, and I don't mean only on the day of your date. From the time your date is arranged its time to start preparing after all first impressions really do count!

1. Stay off alcohol and any foods that bloat you, brings you out in spots or gives you flatulence. You will feel much better about yourself on the day of your date. Make sure you exercise even if only intensely for a couple of days as this will really add to your mental wellbeing. And Mama Nat orders early nights leading up to your date! I've been guilty of getting so nervous the night before a date that one too many vino's have been consumed resulting in a hangover, bad skin and upset stomach when it came to my date.

2. Make a mental note of things that you are going to talk about to avoid awkward silences. Cast your mind back to things that you have spoken about that you can ask him, or things that you can ask him that you haven't yet spoken about. Zone in on his hobbies, his interests and where he hangs out in his spare time. Men love talking about themselves so as long as you keep firing the questions conversation will flow nicely.

3. Give yourself ample time to get ready. You simply can't turn up to a date harassed because you only gave yourself 20 minutes to get ready Have a nice soak, paint your nails, exfoliate and shave your armpits. Spend time on your hair and make-up. Wear something that makes you feel nice but that you also feel comfortable in. A good squirt of perfume, clean teeth and you're sure to WOW him.

4. If you go in to 'freak-out' mode just as you are about to leave the house call a friend who can encourage you, listen to some music and make sure you visit the toilet before you leave the house. Being nervous is normal but it's also good not to show your date how nervous you are. I found going with the attitude of 'you can never have too many friends' and trying to forget it was a 'date' really useful in getting over those nerves. After a drink and some banter you will be fine, and if you get there and it doesn't feel right then it really is OK to make your excuses and leave.

5. Be sure to tell someone where you are going and given them as much information as you can about the man you are meeting.

6. Enjoy yourself!!. If nothing else meet someone with the view of gaining friend even if that's all it turns out to be.