On loneliness

I’ve been feeling more lonely, more often, over the last few months. There, I admitted it.

I do enjoy my own company and usually *need* time on my own to stay sane.

But lately, it’s felt a lot more like ‘lonely’ than ‘alone’.

I have friends, but I no longer seem to have a best friend. She’s got her hands very full with two small children, a husband and a hectic life. She’s been drifting away from me for a few years now, if I’m honest. And it’s not for the lack of trying on my part – but after being turned down repeatedly when I suggest we meet up for coffee, or a drink, or even dinner if she can get away, I’ve kind of stopped asking. (She never calls me to suggest a get-together.) I miss her so much. She could always make me laugh until I wheezed. And she was always the person I could tell anything to.

So there’s a big gap in my life without her. I have other friends, but none who I feel I can call at 10pm when I’m having an anxiety attack. Which sucks, because I’ve been having a few of those recently, relating to a health issue.

How I wish that when I wake up in the middle of the night, and scary out-of-proportion thoughts flood my head, and my breath gets shallow and fast, and my heart thuds in my chest, that I had someone I could snuggle up to. Who would put a comforting arm around me and tell me that it will all be OK and that he’s there for me, and that I’m not crazy. And tell me to go back to sleep and it will all seem less awful in the morning.

Because it’s starting to feel like I’m never going to have that. That I’m weird and there’s something strange about me that just puts people off. Is it how I look? Should I lose weight? Do I walk funny? Do I smell bad?!! Or is it this unapproachable aura I apparently project, that makes me seem prickly or aloof and just not the kind of person you’d want to get to know. How is it that everyone else knows what to do to find The One?

I’m dreading getting older and having to deal with health issues on my own. Having to cope with the ageing and eventual loss of my wonderful parents without support. And not having a companion to hang out with and weather life’s ups and downs with.

Yes, I love being single. But no, I do not want to be single for the rest of my life.

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That awkward feeling when…

… you think you might be starting to have feelings for someone who has always just been a friend.

This has happened to me so many times and has never ended well. But isn’t it inevitable, when you’re really good friends with someone? (I was going to say ‘with someone of the opposite sex’ but didn’t want to be prescriptive – although in my case, I am referring to guy friends.)

It’s quite exciting – suddenly being hyper-aware of someone you’ve until that point been very comfortable around. The person who’s always supportive, who you speak to often on the phone, who others say ‘Oooh he’s lovely’ and you respond with ‘Isn’t he? He’s like my big brother.’ The person your concerned relatives as you about, with thinly veiled hope that perhaps the scales will someday fall from both your eyes and a big fat white wedding will result.

But it’s also awful. Suddenly you’re awkward around your best buddy. You wonder if he can sense that something has changed for you. Then the despair that it’s one-sided… or the double-edged exciting possibility that maybe he feels it too – but what if taking things to a new level blow up in your face, and you end up losing a friend you adore.

Do you think a man and a woman, both single, can be ‘just friends’? And here I mean someone you’ve been friends with for years and years, not a new friend. Does attraction always come into play – from one side, or the other? Is it possible to have been friends with someone for a long time and suddenly see them differently? And can we really be truly platonic?

Would this get a response on a dating site?

Wanted: A man who will be my companion and my friend. Who will love me and stand by me. Who will fight my corner. A man who will be there for me as I get older, who will help me deal with losses and help me feel that I’m not alone. And I will do the same for him. We’ll have our own interests and often go and do our own things, but we’ll enjoy meeting for dinner and telling stories about our days – at home, and in far-flung exotic places.

I don’t expect fireworks and violins. We don’t even need to have a swing-from-the-chandeliers sex life… I’d be happy with cuddles and kisses on the couch. I need my independence, but I also need kindness, intelligent conversation and warm, tight, full-body hugs – often. Where are you, Mr?

The art of the great hug

I’ve been thinking recently that I am underhugged. I really don’t get as many hugs as a girl needs. And as one who loves a good hug, my hug-deprivation is even more noticeable at the moment.

Sure, I hug my family and friends whenever I see them, and that’s nice. But it’s not the kind of hug I mean. I don’t mean cuddling either (I’m also under-cuddled but that’s a whole other thing 🙂 ) – as in the type of hugs that lead to sex. Continue reading

Online dating profile pics – some interesting research

According to research by OKCupid, if a guy wants to attract attention on an online dating site, he should have a mysterious, unsmiling look on his face and preferably be holding an animal. Apparently depicting himself in a travel context will garner him the least responses.

Women should look flirtily (is that a word?!) into the camera, be outdoors and show a hint of cleavage.

Hmm. My online dating pic shows me grinning broadly, indoors, with no cleavage on show. I should switch it for a week and see what happens. Interestingly, I am much more likely to initiate contact with a guy who has a travel photo – to me, that’s interesting and a conversation opener.

For the full report, click here.

Online dating turn-offs #2: Dodgy photos

If you decide to pop your profile on an internet dating site, you’d think the logical thing would be to include an attractive photo of yourself, wouldn’t you? It’s amazing how many guys get deleted from my matches because their photos turn me off. (Yes, I am ruthless!) I’m not referring to discarding the ugly people, but those with the following pics:

  • Shirtless. Come on. As a first impression? If you’re well-built, I’ll worry that looks are everything to you / you won’t consider any girl who’s less than supermodel-esque / you spend an unhealthy amount of time in the gym or on creatine supplements. If you’re weedy, please keep it under wraps, at least until we’ve got to know each other a little. If you’re in between, leave a little to the imagination, why don’tcha? Women are not as visual as men (yes I know, I’ve just contradicted the entire topic of this post!) and you’re more likely to hook us with your sparkling personality than your well-oiled pecs.
  • Face obscured. What is the point of putting a photo up of yourself if we can’t see your face properly? Lose the sunglasses, peaked caps, long hair, etc. etc. and just show us what you look like. I favourited a guy years ago who only had photos of himself in sunglasses on his profile – I wanted to see his eyes before I met up with him. He had beautiful, soulful eyes – no idea why he kept them hidden.
  • Webcam shots. A photo of yourself taken with your webcam will NEVER be flattering. Period. Guaranteed to give you a a big nose and forehead – and creepy pallor.
  • Unidentifiable in a group shot. So your profile pic is a little grainy but hooray, there are six other photos in your profile I can look at. Only problem is that they’re all group photos and it’s impossible to pick out which person you are in any of them. De-lete.
  • With your kids. Personally, I’m not keen on dating a guy who has kids, but then again, never say never. I just don’t think an internet dating site is the best place to show off your family photos. There are weirdos and stalkers out there. If we get chatting and I’m interested, I’ll ask to see a pic of them. Right now, I’m interested in YOU.
  • With members of the opposite sex draped all over you. Oh so you’re reeeally popular with the chicks, are you? Mr Studmuffin? Then why are you on an internet dating site? Hmmm.
  • In what looks like your wedding outfit. Was it YOUR wedding? Are you still married? If you’re divorced, don’t you think it’s highly inappropriate to use your wedding photo as your online dating profile picture?! If it wasn’t your wedding, please say so on your profile: ‘my profile picture was at my best friend’s wedding, where I was the best man’ will help put my mind at rest!
  • With a kitten / dolphin/ in uniform / [insert cheesy cliche here]. I’ve actually become good friends with a guy who used to change his profile photo regularly from one cheesy option to the next. Apparently it worked with other, non-cynical girls… For me, it wasn’t so much a turn-off as great way to tease him: ‘what’s next – you shirtless, tenderly holding a baby?’ Hee hee!

So guys, if you’re reading this, here are my tips for a dating profile picture that will at least get me clicking through to read more about you:

  1. Smile! Look friendly, relaxed, kind and approachable. (Sounds like a no-brainer but seriously, just take a browse on any dating website…) Caveat – only do this if you actually have those qualities. If you’re an unfriendly, stressed out, mean grouch, your photo should reflect that…
  2. Try to find – or take – a photo that captures you attractively and naturally. Make sure it looks like you normally look (lose the airbrushing…) so I can recognise you when we meet up. I’ll find out eventually what you really look like, so why not let me know sooner rather than later?
  3. Show your eyes.
  4. Keep your kit on.
  5. Give us something to work with. Include pictures of you doing something unusual, or in an intriguing place. I’m less concerned about the other people in the photos – I’m not interested in them. This will pique my interest and also gives me a conversation opener.

OK, I’m off to check my matches…

Messages in movies

Last night I watched the movie ‘The Jane Austen Book Club’. I really related to one of the characters in it: Jocelyn. She’s perpetually single and likes being alone, lives quite far out of town, is devoted to her dogs who she breeds.

The male protagonist in the film falls for her and in one memorable line, after she’s brushed him off again, he says something along the lines of ‘You just want to be obeyed. That’s why you have dogs.’ LOL!

OK, so I have cats and am not nearly as stunning as Maria Bello, who plays Jocelyn, but it did make me wonder if my own need for being in control (and being ‘obeyed’) gets in the way of potential relationships.

Don’t you love it when a movie makes you think?