00:00:00 - 00:00:48
Hannah: Welcome to Happily Ever After the podcast where we talk about life's big stories from break-ups and breakdowns to icky secrets and happy endings. It's the stuff that makes us human. I'm your host, Hannah Harvey. I'm a writer and a parenting blogger at mumsdays.com. That's M.U.M.S.D.A.Y.S .com. I'd be really grateful if you could subscribe and leave a review because it basically means more people can find the podcast. And I also really love hearing from you, so please do contact me through Instagram @Mumsdays with any of your stories really and you know how you relate to the episode or even questions that you may want answering. You can find all the details from this episode in the show notes.
00:00:50 - 00:01:26
Hannah: Hello and welcome to Happily Ever After with me, Hannah. And today I'm flying solo because Katie's currently looking at a house, which is exciting. But she has left me with instructions to talk to you about ten things that I've learnt about internet dating in my 40s and I should probably put a little addendum to that, which is. And after you've been divorced and as a single mother or a parent.
00:01:27 - 00:01:52
Hannah: So the first thing I wanted to talk about is the fact that. Ah, well, it's. It's a tricky beast. I definitely think that's fair to say. But I don't think it's impossible to find something really interesting and fun. But you definitely need to not be too serious. So, um.
00:01:54 - 00:03:29
Hannah: So the first thing that I've written down is that I think it's important to get really clear about what it is that you want and not be too wed to the idea that this is exactly what you want and it has to be this thing like you're allowed to change your mind. But when you're going into finding somebody new and dating, it's really helpful to understand. What it is you're looking at at this moment in your life and what you're looking for at this moment in your life. And so a little while ago, I was chatting to Claire Venus on the podcast. That's episode 43, and she was talking to me about relationship ethics because this is - she got very clear about what she wanted and then very soon afterwards found her husband like the guy that she really, really loves and has had kids with and has been with for the last ten years. And so basically, she was working with Jambo, who I'd interviewed on episode 38 of the podcast. And she yeah, she was working with Jambo, and his advice was to, to work out these relationship ethics, to work out what you really believe and what you're really looking for so that you can know when you've found it. So, so these are the questions that she put to me that I needed to work on before I go into the next stage of actually going online and looking for somebody.
00:03:30 - 00:04:20
Hannah: And so the first one is to write down what your beliefs are about relationships. So sit with a, you know, clean sheet of paper and just kind of write out what it is that you believe about relationships. You might realise that there are certain things that you don't like about your beliefs about relationships and there's things that you want to maybe work on or delve into in therapy or stuff like that. Because obviously everything we believe about relationships is stuff that we've learned over time and stuff that we've seen modelled for us, and it might not necessarily be the healthiest thing. So have a really good look at that and. Check that it it really sits right with you now so that you're not going to keep repeating old patterns.
00:04:21 - 00:05:06
Hannah: The next question was what are your beliefs about your partner? And so what is your partner like? What are they into? What's important to them? Like them as an individual. So look at that bit. The next bit is to look at what your beliefs are about how your partner will be in a relationship. So what do you need them to do? What do you need them to be like? How do you want them to behave towards you? Uh. And, you know, if you've got kids at this stage in your life, obviously that's going to be a huge element of, you know, moving on with a new person.
00:05:07 - 00:05:49
Hannah: The next question to look at is how I will feel in a relationship. So, you know, it's pretty obvious, like, what is it that you want to feel when you're in a relationship and. How does that fit with the new partner that you have in mind? What is it that you really want to feel like? For me, I think a lot of the time things come up around feeling safe and to feel secure, that kind of thing. So really dig deep and think about what's really important to you and how you want to feel when you're in this relationship.
00:05:49 - 00:06:30
Hannah: And then the final question, which is kind of a really tricky one actually, and quite hard to distil, but it's how will I know when I've met this person? Um. Because I guess the idea is that if you can get really specific about how you're going to feel, then it's going to be really obvious when you actually meet this person. So yeah, that's a fun thing to do and I think it's so helpful to do that before you even start. So you can really. Look at where you are at and if actually there's some things that you need to work on before you embark on trying to start a new relationship and meet new people.
00:06:33 - 00:07:29
Hannah: The second thing that I've learnt about internet dating in my 40s is that. Well, the world of dating has completely changed from when I met my kid's dad. I met him. At a conference. But really it was like the drinking element of a conference. And I think when you're in your 20s, going out and meeting people is a lot more likely to happen than it is. Uh, well, I've just turned 40. So in your 40s, your social circle and the amount that you're going out and doing things. Um, significantly changes. So the way that we're meeting people now isn't just because online dating is easier and available, but it's also at this stage of life, it's harder for me to go out and. Meet people because I'm just not going out as much. So.
00:07:32 - 00:08:46
Hannah: When you what I found is I actually think most of the apps. Are very similar. So some people, like all the people on Hinge, are much nicer than the people on Tinder. If you go on Match.com, it's better because you have to pay straight off in the end, If you want any decent outcome from an app, you're going to end up paying because they'll stop showing you to people if you don't. So whatever happens, you're going to pay. And I have found the interaction across Tinder Hinge Bumble And what's the other one? I've used Match.com to be more or less the same, so. I think it depends how serious you are in finding somebody as to whether you just bite the bullet and go on all of them, or if you take it in turns and be like, Right, I'm going to do this one for this month, and then I'll try a different one next month too, depending on if you've met somebody or not. Um, but you are going to end up paying, so maybe one app at a time is enough because it's also quite an overwhelming experience.
00:08:46 - 00:09:58
Hannah: So when you first. Set up your profile. That first flurry of interest can be, and I don't know, just loads of different energies and people wanting to make, you know, touch base with you. It's quite, uh. You can get sucked into it. So. And there's like a weird energy of like, people being like, Oh, you're new, like fresh blood, that kind of thing. And. And it feels a bit like you've been. Put in a room with the lions. Or it can do anyway. So making sure that you're in that right, the right headspace, that you're clear on your relationship ethics like keep returning back to what it is you're looking for so you don't get sucked in. Um. Early on and just take take breaks and. Make sure you're doing plenty of other things with nice people at the same time. Because my third point is that my experience has been that some men are pretty gross and you do need to be careful. Uh.
00:10:00 - 00:10:50
Hannah: Because some people kind of I get the impression some people are on there to kind of pick a fight or too. Not not necessarily have a nice experience And. So I've learned that I don't have to speak to everybody. If I get any sort of bad vibes from someone, I just won't speak to them. But it has taken a bit of time to learn that kind of thing. So it's important not to feel like you're being manipulated or guilted into doing something by pushy people. In fact, yeah, if they're pushy, that's basically a red flag. So. More and more these days. I'm really trying to tap into what my intuition is saying. And if this if I'm immediately like.
00:10:52 - 00:12:02
Hannah: It's I mean, it seems really harsh to say, like you're just messaging people, but there's, you know, you are allowed to fancy them, like to look at the picture and go, they look cute and you are allowed to. Kind of. Rule somebody out if they're just not that interested in you or they're. Doing something that makes you feel a bit icky. So some of my other red flags include. I mean, the obvious ones are like being very overtly sexual very quickly and you haven't even met the person. It can at certain times of the month. That's really fun and you can get sucked into it, but I'm not convinced it makes for the best relationship start and slagging off their ex quite quickly or telling you their life story about why they split up quite quickly is. Either a sign that they're not over it or a sign that they are a bit controlling. From my experience.
00:12:02 - 00:12:44
Hannah: The fourth thing that I have learnt from internet dating in my 40s is, uh, it's quality, not quantity. Um, so as I mentioned before, like when you first go on, it can if it's been a while, you can feel a bit like a kid in a sweetshop and be like, Whoa, there's all these single guys and they're all in one place and you can quickly make yourself really kind of sick and make yourself, um. I don't know, just get overwhelmed by all of the fact that there's this many people available to you. Uh.
00:12:47 - 00:14:44
Hannah: So, yeah, I think distilling it down to people that you actually really genuinely like the look of they I mean, you might not be bothered about distance, but for me, I'm like, I'd rather you lived closer to me. Um, and that we've got certain things in common. Like for example, some people want kids and I don't want to have another child. So even if I like the look of them, I'm like, that's it's not going to work. Um. So yeah, being a bit discerning about who you're going to chat to and. Trying to be patient. I'm really not very good at this. I love the idea of creating space in my life so that the right person can find me. And actually, Claire, Venus had sent me something a little while ago about this. This woman had done a reel online, which I'll link to in the show notes, but and it was her with her husband. And there was something kind of triggering about it for me, actually. But she was basically saying. When she was looking for her. Well, when she was yeah, she was single and she was trying to find the right person. She had this. She was trying to manifest this idea that she was the honey and she wanted the bees to come to her. So she wanted her husband to come and find her and then make it really obvious to her that. She was the one that he wanted. Um. But obviously if you then go on a dating app with that kind of approach. The then you might get inundated with lots and lots of people. So it's helpful to be really clear about how you want to be spoken to, hence going back to relationship ethics and how you want people to get in touch with you, how much you want them to engage, whether you want them to make the first move or whether you're willing to do that too.
00:14:46 - 00:15:17
Hannah: And yeah, just to try and be a bit patient with it and not be like, Oh God, right, I'm here. I need to make it happen this week. Which is easier said than done, especially if you've got kind of addictive tendencies. Yeah, which leads me nicely onto the next one, which is to try and take your time. And I, yeah, I find this tricky. I'm like, I can't be doing with the back and forth long messages. I kind of want to meet someone quickly if they're interesting to me online to see if there's actually that spark in real life.
00:15:19 - 00:15:51
Hannah: Um. But that's kind of unsustainable. If you're speaking to say you've first gone on. You've set up your account, Quite a lot of people have got in touch with you and, you know, they all seem quite nice. So you're like, Oh, well, I want to meet you all. It's kind of unsustainable. So after a while, you know, if none of those are working out, it's absolutely fine to take a breather and just have a couple of weeks not doing this stuff or just chatting and yeah, you can kind of go back to it when you're ready.
00:15:53 - 00:16:42
Hannah: Uh, and I would say so number six is to be very careful when you're ovulating because hormones are kind of crazy at this stage, and I think it clouds your judgement. So you can be quite like. I really want somebody because your body's basically telling you to go and make babies. So, yeah, it's maybe a really good idea not to be doing that kind of thing or being on the prowl or on the hunt, as Katie would call it, when you're ovulating, because you might then accidentally end up with somebody that in real life you. Are not that compatible with. So just bear that in mind.
00:16:44 - 00:17:23
Hannah: Another thing that I think. Uh, is to me, so I don't drink. So my second, my seventh point is to kind of be careful about using these things when you're drinking because it's similar to when you're ovulating, your barriers and your boundaries are down and you can think that something's a really good idea and then wake up the next day and be like, Oh my God, I can't believe. Uh, I've ended up making these terrible decisions with somebody that is completely incompatible with me. Like, fair enough. Go and have some fun, but just be really mindful that you might not love the outcome the next day.
00:17:24 - 00:18:12
Hannah: Uh, number eight is. I mean, it's all easier said than done. But I've put don't make it all about finding someone new to love like it's okay to use. I mean. Right. We'll go back to the fact that I don't drink. I'm all or nothing. Okay? So when I'm using something like this, I'm a bit like. Right. I'm here for one reason and one reason only. And I'm actually trying to temper myself in that respect and be like, it's okay to just go and meet people and have a nice chat and a coffee and and see if something comes of it. Like you don't have to here A now decide that this is the person or not. You can. Just go and see what happens.
00:18:12 - 00:19:04
Hannah: And you know, there's something new to learn about yourself with every new interaction with somebody. And I feel like the act of even just going online and starting to use Internet dating and stuff like that shows the universe that you're like open to something and you're ready for the right person to come along. But to not be desperate for the right person to come along, if that makes sense. So it's almost like demonstrating that your. You're ready for love. But, um. Not. Yeah. Not being too desperate. Not trying to look too hard and having that feeling of trust. So I'm here. I'm open. I'm open to these experiences. And I trust that in time, the right person will come along and I will find them.
00:19:08 - 00:20:21
Hannah: I find it quite difficult because I feel like. You know, I'm taking up somebody else's time and I don't want to hurt their feelings if I'm not like, Oh, you're the one. You know, which leads me nicely onto number nine, which is when you meet people, try not to let people pleasing take over. For me, I find it quite easy to meet somebody and be like, I can empathise with them quite quickly and. And I'm quite malleable. So I end up being like what they would want me to be. So it's quite important. Well, it's very important that you turn up in your yourself and you keep in mind, again, going back to the relationship ethics. You might meet somebody who you're like, Oh, they're really good looking, they're funny, they're this, that and the other. But there's something that doesn't sit right. And you have to be very truthful and honest with yourself because. That that little niggly bit of intuition is the most important thing you can listen to.
00:20:21 - 00:21:04
Hannah: Having had a few different relationships, I've ignored some of those and it just makes it harder down the line. And it's okay to be a bit picky because at the end of the day. Um. This is your life. And it's really important that. You're confident in yourself and you're confident in what you're looking for and you're okay with being alone. So this is not coming at it like I need somebody to come and complete me because I don't have the self confidence to do myself. It's coming at it from I'm confident in who I am and what I believe in and what I'm looking for.
00:21:06 - 00:22:09
Hannah: And I'm. Open now to sharing this with somebody else. And I've really grappled hard with this whole concept because I feel like, uh, there's a part of me that really still wants that external validation and gratification of have something, somebody to really love me for me and want me. But. There's another, you know, the other part of being alive and having a partner is having somebody to share what you do with. And that is the way we kind of live at the moment is we. Like, you know, there's two of you and you live together and share your life. And that's okay as long as it's not too all consuming. And it's not like I need this other person in my life in order to complete me. It's. I've got this great life and I would really like to share it with somebody else.
00:22:11 - 00:22:25
Hannah: So yeah, it's a tricky one. But I think really being mindful of how you're feeling and not getting too carried away is absolutely vital to the whole process and just keep returning back to those relationship ethics.
00:22:27 - 00:23:20
Hannah: And my final point on this is online dating is not the only way to meet people. It feels like it at times, but. I've had a few, like old fashioned interactions recently where I've met somebody and. We've been like. Oh, should we go for a coffee? Should we? Can I have your number, that kind of thing. Or through friends. So. Yes, do the online dating thing. But also bear in mind that it's nice to explore all the other options, like making new friends. I've started swimming in the sea every day, and just the act of doing that has meant that within the last two months my friendship circle has like quadrupled.
00:23:21 - 00:24:16
Hannah: And as a result of that, you're just meeting loads of different people and being invited to different things. And it's like if you get invited to something and parties and yeah, like I'm not a massive fan of parties anymore and I don't, you know, I'm not going to get drunk or anything like that, but. You just don't know what's going to happen. And I think you really have to be open to opportunity. And being open to chatting to people that you don't know. Like as I'm walking along the beach or I'm walking to the sea, I'm that person who will stop you to talk to you. And I don't mind that. Like I've just learned to embrace the fact that I really like interacting with lots of different types of people and hearing their stories. Um, and I think that's all part of just learning to accept myself and having a quiet confidence in. Who I am.
00:24:16 - 00:25:11
Hannah: So, yeah. I think that's more or less it just generally being open to what what's available out there and being willing to try new things, even if it puts you completely out of your comfort zone, which a lot of the time it does. Um. I think that's how we end up. Finding the right person is just being open to what is going to turn up. So there you go. Katie. I hope that was acceptable. Thank you ever so much.
00:25:11 - 00:26:43
Hannah: So the other thing I really wanted to talk to you about is the sponsor for this show is Company of Two, which is a brand new podcast brought to us by Claire Venus, who I've mentioned many times. Um, she got in touch a few weeks ago and was like, We're starting a new podcast with her friend Laura, and she just felt like it was a really lovely connection with you guys, which I completely agree because basically her new podcast with Laura is all about creatives, people who own their own company or freelance people and what happens after you've had a baby. So when a company of one becomes a company of two, um, and yeah, I just it's absolutely fascinating listening to the two of them. Like they both are from such interesting creative backgrounds, and by the time they were ready to have children, they had very established careers, careers in a way that I, I didn't really. So for me, like becoming, I mean, I'm still trying to work out what I'm going to be when I'm a grown up, but coming to having my own company happened after having children, but for them, they had established careers and then they've gone on to have babies. And yeah, just the whole podcast is about what happens once. The baby comes along.
00:26:43 - 00:27:15
Hannah: And I'm sure absolutely tons of you will know this exact thing, whether you're a creative working at home or if you've got a job or a career that you really love. How do you then balance all the different things like hormones completely take over and make you want, you know, to do very unusual things, whether it's hugely ambitious in terms of your career, but also being, you know, wanting to be at home with your baby. And how do you balance what this new life actually looks like.
00:27:15 - 00:28:05
Hannah: So I would highly recommend going to check out companyoftwo.substack.com. With Claire and Laura. There's space in within subsect to join in with conversations. I think they're also looking for guest bloggers at the moment so. Yeah. Just go and check them out and go say hi. You will be very welcome there and I'm sure it will seriously connect with many, many of you. And you can go and share your like because it's it's such a joyful time, but it's just so confusing with that move from maiden to mother. Um, but yeah, I just think you're going to love it. So go check it out. Okay. Thank you so much for your time and your ears, and I'll speak to you again soon.
00:28:07 - 00:28:48
Hannah: All right, then. Thank you so much for listening and I'll see you again next time for another episode of Happily Ever After with me, Hannah. It would be amazing if you could leave a review and subscribe. And of course, if you've got a friend who might enjoy this episode, please do pass it on for anything else. You can get in touch with me through Instagram @Mumsdays or by my website Mumsdays.com. And did you know that I've got a newsletter? So it's the best way to stay in touch and to make sure you don't miss any podcasts or any freebies or competitions that we're running. And again, you can sign up to that through the website.