TEN RULES to find the man of your dreams online – Divorcee ROSIE GREEN, 48, shares her hard-learned lessons including don’t lie about your age, don’t post selfies, and do juggle four men at once
- At the age of 45 Rosie Green’s marriage broke down and she found herself single
- The UK-based journalist hadn’t been single for 26 years and tried online dating
- She has complied her ultimate lists of DO’s and DO NOT’s for finding a man
Nobody will ever love me again. Those were the words I wrote under the heading ‘your greatest fear’, as part of an exercise at a divorce bootcamp three years ago.
I was more scared of being single than I was of ending up homeless or stuck in financial purgatory.
That said, I wasn’t exactly fearless about the prospect of finding someone to love me. Single friends had warned me about online dating. The self-confidence-crushing no-show dates, unwanted nude pictures, ghosting and love bombing and so-called ‘bread-crumbing’ (i.e leading you on by showing morsels of interest with no intention of actually going out — surprisingly common online).
It is daunting, especially when your confidence is at an all-time low post-divorce, but I learned it really doesn’t have to be dismal. You just need a strategy.
At the age of 45 Rosie Green’s (pictured) marriage broke down and she found herself single. The UK-based journalist has complied her ultimate lists of DO’s and DO NOT’s for finding a man
There are ways of gaming the system, tipping the scales in your favour and — most importantly — rediscovering the fun of it all: the luxury of dressing up, the frisson of meeting a handsome stranger…
I decided to go for it a year after my marriage broke up.
At 45, I hadn’t been single for 26 years. (I’d met my ex aged 18 at university.) So part of me felt excited at the prospect of meeting new men.
A friend took charge and signed me up to Hinge, a site which claims to be about finding relationships rather than hook-ups. It felt weird. And then kind of great as all these men started flashing in front of my eyes.
In the space of five months, I went on ten dates. I enjoyed meeting new people, hearing their stories. I counted it as success if I’d had a good time. And invariably I did.
There were ups and downs, obviously. The guy who wore sunglasses the whole time — indoors. The man who (seriously) tried to fly me to Majorca for the first date. Those who ghosted and those who wanted me to send them pictures of myself — naked.
The man who I thought had an old-fashioned, slightly bumbling charm but turned out to be a fop who talked about himself incessantly and bad-mouthed his exes — his wife and the woman he’d left her for.
But overall, the positives outweighed the negatives. I met two boyfriends through dating apps — both lasted around six months — and it played an integral part in building back my self-esteem after my devastating divorce.
I’m now with a man I met IRL (in real life) — introduced through a friend — and we’ve been together over a year. I’m so happy and this comes in part thanks to the lessons I learnt while on the dating circuit.
Seriously, if you get in the right ‘zone’, online dating can be the most brilliant gift of the modern age. You just have to follow these golden rules…
TIPS TO BEAT THE ALGORITHM
Rosie advises to think strategically as you need your profile to be shown to as many people as possible on the and you want newcomers to see it quickly
Think strategically: you need your profile to be shown to as many people as possible on the app and, crucially, you need newcomers to see it quickly. New users get taken, or become jaded, and you want access to them before either happens.
To make this more likely, you need to visit the site regularly. If they detect inactivity, the people — or algorithms — that run the app will make your profile less visible. Refreshing your pictures (adding new ones and removing old ones) every month will mean your profile is given more prominence.
By the way, selfies get 40 per cent less engagement than normal photos. Avoid filtering your pictures or wearing sunglasses, but do smile with your teeth, include full-lengths and a picture doing something you love. I paid the extra money for the premium service. On Hinge this works out at £10 a month if you opt for a sixmonth period. Less than a takeaway and it’s your future so why wouldn’t you?
SETTING THE RIGHT TONE
Rosie says to keep dates breezy. She treats them the same way she does any other big event that feels scary – counting to three and taking a deep breath
So much rests on those initial messages. Make them light-hearted and fun. Being too aloof is off-putting, as is being too keen. Don’t get too deep or too sexual too early. Basically don’t get too invested at this stage.
Imagine you are messaging with a new colleague. You’d like to meet up with them, but your entire self worth/future life doesn’t depend on it. Oh, and avoid stock responses or opening lines that show no originality. ‘Hey!’ won’t cut it.
As for the dates themselves, be breezy. I treat them in the same way I do any other big event that feels scary: count to three and take a deep breath. I also remind myself that whatever happens it’s only a few hours and then I’ll be back home.
DON’T LIE — EVEN ABOUT YOUR AGE
Hands up, I learnt this the hard way. On my profile I put my location as London instead of the Home Counties village I really live in. I didn’t want anyone local to see me on an app. This was a mistake in retrospect. I was greeted by ominous silence when I confessed my true location to the man that was to be my first boyfriend and he continued to raise it throughout our relationship.
A friend of mine shaves a couple of years off her age. This also turns men off. Ditto use of filters.
RELEASE THE SAFETY BRAKES
Some dating experts recommend keeping first dates brief and businesslike. Say, a coffee with a rigid time slot. I disagree. I think that’s admitting defeat before you’ve even started.
For my dates, I went out for dinner — but was selective about who I did that with. That way it didn’t feel like I was ‘interviewing’ them or them me.
The constraints of just a coffee or a ‘quick drink’ feels, to me, like you both have one foot out the door already. It might sound counterintuitive, but committing to a significant chunk of time feels like less pressure. It’s also a sign of emotional generosity and the opposite of being jaded and uptight.
It paid off for me as I had so many fun nights out and the most successful of these was when the safety brakes came off and I relaxed. I know there’s a trend for sober dating, but I found a few drinks to be a vital social lubricant.
HOW TO HANDLE A ‘ZQ DATER’
Ask questions, flirt a little, flatter a bit. Ask them about their job, their lives, their family. Even if you don’t fancy them, you can learn something here.
Online dating forums are full of people talking about ZQ daters ZQ = zero questions). Don’t be that person. If your date does talk endlessly about themselves, leave pauses in conversation and they will hopefully be reminded to ask about you.
Remember they will be nervous too. Put them at ease. Steer them away from previous partners. Say something nice about their clothing or fragrance. Find common ground. And gentle teasing (rather than pointed barbs) will deepen any connection and create a feeling of familiarity.
KNOW WHEN TO SIT ON YOUR HANDS
Be open and friendly but don’t pursue them. Rosie says make it clear that you like them but don’t ask them out and advises not investing emotionally in a relationship until a few months in
Don’t pursue them. I know it’s 2022 and it’s old-fashioned to put the ball in their court — but when it comes to arranging the next date, I say sit on your hands.
Be open, be friendly, make it clear you like them but don’t ask them out. I would also say don’t invest emotionally in a relationship until a few months in. Think of it as a dating probation period.
When it comes to men sending you snaps, if they verge on too sexual or too plentiful, gently shut them down by either not responding to the photos, engaging on another topic or saying you want to save that kind of thing for later.
If they are way too sexual, block, block, block. You are more likely to encounter this kind of thing on hook-up apps such as Tinder.
SAY YES TO SECOND CHANCES
It’s too easy to dismiss someone because you don’t immediately want to rip their clothes off. Maybe their height was not as advertised or they seem a bit too quiet. But I think online dating can become all about tick boxes, whereas it’s good to see what emerges on the second, third or fourth dates. The person you think you want may not be the person you need. When I was dating, if I was on the fence about someone, I’d give it at least one more chance. Maybe two.
THERE CAN BE SAFETY IN NUMBERS
In the early days of dating, experts like the Divorce Coach Sara Davison recommend chatting to four or five men at one time. It stops you focusing too much on one of them, getting too invested. Plus, it’s fun. I did this in the early days of online dating. That said, it was time-consuming!
MOVE ON GRACEFULLY
I wasn’t great at this in the beginning. I may have done some ghosting myself, which I’m not proud of. I learnt from my best friend that this is not best practice. Do unto others and all that. So I would say, ‘I don’t see a romantic future for us.’ Simple.
NO ONE WANTS A ‘DEPENDENT’
Rosie says that it is important to offer to pay your way on all of the dates you go on. No man or woman wants to feel like they are taking on a dependent
It’s important to offer to pay your way on all dates. I make an exception if they suggest a super-expensive restaurant, but even then I’d buy the drinks at the start or the end. Or pay for the cab. I think it’s basic human psychology. No man or woman wants to feel like they are taking on a dependent.
- Why not let our dating experts fix you up on a date? Simply email your — or (with their permission) a friend’s — details and a photo to [email protected] Follow Rosie on Instagram @lifesrosie
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