Panning for gold

I’ve joined a couple of dating sites. It’s been a year since my last (rather botched) attempt at online dating, and while it isn’t my first choice of how I’d like to meet the right guy, it’s my signal to the universe that i’m open to moving into the next stage of my life. You’ve got to be in it to win it, right?

Of course, lately I’ve been feeling increasingly content with how things are. I’m in love with my little flat and so happy I made the move to this part of London. Work is bubbling along, and I’ve got some big plans for 2014 that I feel ready to tackle. I see my friends and family enough to feel connected and loved but not so much as to feel overwhelmed — i’m happiest in my own company, and more importantly, I’m okay with that! I’ve been having actual conversations in my journal about whether I really want to “give up” all this calm contentment for the potential rollercoaster of a relationship. But the wiser more evolved part of me knows that there’s so much more I could learn about myself in relationship to/with another. That being on my own for the last eight years has been the most empowering period of my life, and now it’s time to see what other magic can be made walking the path alongside another person.

The naughtier less evolved side of me knows that when i’m lying in bed alongside my beloved after not a single wink of sleep all night, I’ll be smiling and thinking “giving up” the calm contentment was totally worth it. This girl cannot survive on bread and water for another eight years, let’s put it that way.

So I’ve pinned the available sign on my door and so far it’s been what I was expecting. Several messages from twentysomething guys asking if i’m up for “a bit of fun”. A handful of messages from gentlemen who were clearly absent the day they taught punctuation at school (no judgement there, just the acknowledgement that these things matter to me). A note from a man who seemed polite in his message but upon reading his profile i discovered he was The Angriest Man in the World. I’ve read profiles written by married men openly admitting they are looking for affairs. There was a guy fishing for a BDSM partner. A cross dresser. And several rugby team’s worth of blokes who are “easy-going and laid back”, like to eat out at restaurants and whose favourite film is The Shawshank Redemption.

I’ve also had a peek at some of the ladies in my age group — interestingly, i thought all of them looked lovely.  I could see the beauty in every single photo I saw. We girls certainly know how to a) pick a nice photo and b) make the best of ourselves (the majority of the boys, however, look like serial killers. What is it with blokes and photos?) I’m happy to report that I didn’t feel any competition with the women on the site — it was just reassuring to see i’m not the only single 40-year-old out there. Part of me actually wanted to write to them and suggest they check out some of the nicer guys I’ve spotted. I think I may have missed my calling as a matchmaker.

It’s far too early to know if this is going to be a successful mission and I know I’m going to have to pan through a lot of silt to find the gold, so I’ve signed up for six months with the intention of staying open and not taking it too seriously. The right guy for me might not be on the site(s) yet. In fact, he may never be and we’ll bump into each other outside my local supermarket. Who knows? What I do know is so many of my friends have found love this way it would be silly not to at least give it another try.

There’ll definitely be a few more dating posts in the future as frankly, some of the messages i’m getting are just too hilarious not to share :)

Posted on 29-05-2013
31 responses
  1. sherold

    Susannah – this is going to be great fodder for a book or a nice story for a magazine. I love reading this and I am 61 – I can’t imagine doing this at my age. Luckily I am married to a great guy. I loved reading this and I encourage you to keep sharing your process. I’m rooting for a great guy to discover you!

  2. Anne-Marie

    Good for you Susannah. I wish you adventure and the finding of love. My admiration to you for being so bold, open and vulnerable.

  3. Diana

    I’ve experienced exactly the same here in Switzerland! I’m really looking forward to your posts about your online dating adventures :-) I wish you luck!

  4. Christianne

    I seriously love everything you have to say, and this post made me crack up laughing several times. I’m glad you’re going to keep sharing this online dating adventure with us. xo

  5. Parisa

    I’m also trying to be open. I’m 29 and have been single for almost five years. Thanks for sharing your stories! Reading your blog is one of the most uplifting things in my life. good luck honey! xo xo

    what a lovely thing to say, thank you! xx

  6. angie MIZZELL

    I think it would be quite funny if you found a mate for someone else. You could list “Matchmaking Services” along with your ecourses. :) I like that you are cueing the universe to begin working in your favor.

  7. kathryn

    I agree…dating sights are priceless for a good laugh! I think that men overseas are either more open or crazier than Americans…but obviously have bad photos in common!!

    When I was on those sights (in my 40’s too), my favorite one was this guy who spent his entire post explaining how he wasn’t into his body but all 10 photos of him were topless and in short shorts! Come on…that’s priceless!!!

  8. Corliss

    Someday Dearie! Keep us posted!

  9. Sherry Smyth

    Good to see you getting back in the saddle! And having just come home from England and been in exactly that spot, I know where you took the photograph…which is making me all kinds of smiley inside and out!

  10. ERIKA

    I think signing up for an online dating account is a good sign to the universe for sure. I ended up having a really weird relationship the year before last with it, but I was grateful because it showed me some of my own issues with dating: primarily in settling, worthiness, and standards. It gave me the strength to say what I wanted, to realize I deserved what I wanted, and that it wasn’t worth it to feel less than wonderful in a relationship at someone else’s hands. I really believe that experience opened me up to the love I have in my life now, and so I am grateful for that. :) I wish you the best, even if it’s just a series of experiences that prepare you for that one relationship that lights your soul on fire in the most amazing way. :)

    Erika, your comment really resonated. I’ve been doing the online dating thing for a couple of months and just said “see ya” to a guy after noting little signs popping up that I wasn’t honoring what I need/want. It has definitely been an experience in introspection!

  11. Jill Salahub

    I am wishing an introvert partner for you. I have one and this has made all the difference. I don’t have to give up my quiet, alone time because he needs it as much as I do. We can be quiet and alone together, or I can ask him to go hiking or for a long run and it’s no bother, no need to explain. It’s also easy to talk him into just staying home when we’d planned to go out and there is no guilt involved, only understanding. And yet he’s an engaging and outgoing person when we do go out, so smart and so funny. I am wishing someone like him for you. *closes eyes and wishes: just like him* xo

  12. catherine

    “the majority of the boys, however, look like serial killers” – that’s so true!!!

    Even so, I like trusting my gut feeling looking at a person’s photo. I don’t go for ones I just don’t feel comfortable with.

    On a really dodgy free site – I trusted my instinct and messaged first and started chatting with a guy which looked ‘cute’, ‘shy’, ‘nice’ in his photo.
    After months of chatting, and finally meeting him in person, I found that my first instinct was right.
    I found my cute, shy, nice +…quality of a Prince (who goes to craft fair, stationery shops and wool shops with me and make me cookies!!!), who also has a genuine nice family.

    Other people I met were quite normal too:
    – an IT person, who ended up started his own business and moved out of UK
    – a music person

    For all the girls – have fun (but keep safe) on your dates. Don’t be afraid to message the guys first. Enjoy looking at serial killer’s pictures AS WELL AS THE EYE CANDIES

  13. catherine

    Since you are in London…

    I am a member of this group.

    Plenty of nice people out there who are interested in photography. Plenty of single men there (not many *young* single guys there when I was searching, but) a lot of them have become good friends (and friends in person that we sometimes meet up outside regular flickr meet-ups).
    My first outing was the London Flickr All-nighter 2010…and the rest was history. Life changing. I even let them meet my bf; also dragged my mum (from Hong Kong) along to a trip.

  14. Annelise

    I love this post! Every single bit of it! It is all so hilariously true. I just turned 39, have been single for what feels like a million years, and joined a dating site on my birthday last week to open myself up to new possibilities. Lord knows, my last few long term relationships ended in divorce, anger, and heartache (consecutively), but this dating site has me in constant eye-watering, deep belly laughs. It is an adventure! Best to you! You deserve every of laughter and potential happiness that comes your way!

  15. Sheila Bergquist

    I admire you for trying this. I hope you find love again because you seem to have so much to give, it would be a shame to keep it all to yourself. Any guy would be lucky to find you. Good luck!

  16. Lizi B

    Loved this post – you go, lady! And good luck with all the funny types of guys out there!

  17. La plume et la page

    Not easy to find gold and I agree with you: on facebook most of the men look like serial killers!

  18. Gillian

    Hello Susannah!
    It’s Gillian from Toronto and I just want to wish you a grand adventure with this dating thing, I’m super sure there is a soul waiting for you to click on his profile…after all YOU are on there so there must be a match in the male department that is destined to meet up with you.
    It must be hard for those guys (and gals) to put themselves out there and yet what a brave gorgeous thing to do.
    I know two couples who met and married this way- they weren’t interested in going to bars or meeting people at work, etc. This ended well for them, very well in fact they are so well matched so keep your eye out for the male Susannah and you will be all set!!! HA!
    Much love xoxoxoxo
    p.s. Enjoyed every word of your book and sent a copy to my best friend in North Carolina who then was inspired to begin living her authentic life and just returned from saving elephants in Thailand. You see what huge ripples in the pond you make girl????

  19. Alicia

    I have also decided to open myself since his death in 2007.

    Online dating is different.

  20. Kiki Salon

    Susannah, the gold does come, I promise you that. I met my husband through MySpace; we just talked and talked until we finally met. We were married five months later – mad, but beautiful. Just before I met him, I read something that hit a nerve. The article explored the idea of making room in your life for a partner – setting up your apartment as if he has had already arrived. You know, emptying a drawer for him, creating a little space on your bathroom shelf – those little gestures that affirm your desire for someone to come into your life. A little gesture maybe, but a huge shift in your psyche. It may all be claptrap but, somehow, I don’t think so – it makes sense and it worked for me. With love…

  21. Angela

    I felt the matchmaking thing, too! I was putting people together in my head, based on how they came across in their profile, whether or not they had anything in common…

  22. Busymomma66

    Just keep your sense of humor. I was on the dating sites, and I wanted to find the love of my life. Then I got real and just wanted some fun and funny stories to tell my girlfriends. And then low and behold, I found the love of my life (in my 40s). Just so you know his profile was boring at best, and the photos were ehhh. lol.

  23. Katrina

    Joining you in the world of online dating – at 42, with nearly grown kids, and 2 divorces behind me. I am, apparently, attractive to men older than my Dad. Sigh. The experience is good for a few laughs!

  24. Jodes

    I can relate to every single word you wrote (including previous forays into the peculiar world of serial killer photos/dating sites). I’ve been mulling over how and even if I wish to send out that “Open for business” signal to the Universe for a while now and your post is just what I needed to read. Thank you Susannah for articulating so well the very reason I too should break out of my “oh so comfortable & fulfilling” single life of 7 years. Yes it has taught me much, made me strong, and allowed me to grow in amazing ways I am so grateful for, but if I stop here, I will stop growing and miss out on a whole range of experiences that can only come through the crazy, wonderful rollercoaster that is an intimate relationship. So thanks again for the right words at the right time.
    Enjoy your new adventures lovely :)

  25. charlotte

    Good luck in finding someone new =3
    Just remember to get to know them before you get serious. Even at my tender age of 18, I have experienced a heart break from an ex that keeps me on the look out for the warning signs in my new long term boyfriend, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
    Anyways best wishes, and remember: Live, Laugh and Love

  26. Nicola Dent

    Hi Susannah. I too have joined a dating site. I am 43, widowed with a 4 year old son. It isn’t how I would choose to meet someone but it isn’t easy to do it any other way. Most of the emails haven’t been what I am looking for but am trying not to take it too seriously and just see what happens. xx

  27. Holly

    Well, susannah, I will say right now I met the love of my life through a random add on Facebook!!!! I added him as I was single and heart broken and liked the look of his profile photo, the next thing we were messaging, he was single, we met up, fell in love and now we’ve just moved in together in north London!! It’s been 2 years.

    Seriously, the universe will guide you to that man if he is meant to be! I really do believe this now! Xxxx

  28. Renee Bell

    oh i love that i stumbled upon this… maybe time for me to let the universe know i may want to ‘dip my toes’

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