As well as freezing my eggs, 2015 was the year that I returned to the world of online dating and the previously mentioned ‘Project Wonderful Man’ began.
Online dating is something that I have always approached with very mixed feelings. It feels, to me, that it has become somewhat comparable to buying a home; you decide on the things you will not compromise on, set the search criteria appropriately, have a look around and see what matches up, arrange viewings, decide whether you get a good ‘feeling’ before finally deciding which one to make an offer on…
As much as I love a good property search (in fact for a short time I loved it so much I thought perhaps a career as an estate agent might be for me) I personally dislike the fact that finding a soulmate seems to have come to this. I grew up with my parents’ love story and as cheesy as it sounds, I hoped to follow in their footsteps.
My parents love story: Dad was appointed the manager of Habitat in York, where my Mum was the secretary. Late one evening Mum and Dad happened to be the only people left in the store. Mum was carrying some post out, when she tripped and fell on the stairs, luckily Dad was there to catch her! Despite breaking her fall, he was concerned for her welfare and insisted on immediately taking her to casualty. After being checked over by a doctor, Dad thought it only right and proper to take her out for a drink to calm the nerves… And, as they say, the rest is history. They’ve been happily married for 42 years, have two wonderful children (even if I do say so myself) and 3 amazing grandchildren.
However, after taking a look around the office of my new job, and hanging around the stairs for a while, I decided to opt for what has become a more ‘traditional route’ of finding a partner and turned to the internet.
Time to start building the foundations for ‘Project WM’:
Step One – Decide on the best dating website/app
The question here is do you go down the route of Tinder which is synonymous with ‘swiping’ or the more involved eHarmony route which promises to match up singles for ‘lasting and fulfilling relationships’.
Step Two: Write a profile about a ‘Wonderful Woman’
The key here is to display your key personality traits whilst being sincere, witty, intelligent and adventurous but not too full of yourself…!
Step Three: Select Appropriate photos
Obviously, these need to be photos of you looking your best, however you have to be careful not to choose ones that are unrealistic or difficult to maintain further down the line…
Step Four: Select Search Criteria
This is where I really feel like I am on RightMove rather than Match! What is my age range criteria? How far am I willing to travel? Is that full head of hair, height requirement etc really essential?!
Step Five: Trawl through tens/hundreds of profiles
Shock horror it appears that only a few men seem to have applied the same rigor when creating their profiles… And so the frogs emerge!
It was whilst I was embarking on the egg freezing process that I began Project WM. Was this a wise choice? Perhaps not. However, this was my reality of being 34 and once again single. I was keen to ‘get on it’ and wanted to have all the irons in all of the fires.
During the egg freezing process I went on 4 first dates, 2 second dates and 1 third date. Based on the next 18 months, these would become fairly average stats for me. It was a busy time and I could certainly have been described as being on a ‘mission’ and that mission being to find a suitable man to have a child with. In hindsight I know this was not the right approach to finding my Wonderful Man, but I was being driven by a ticking biological clock which was ticking louder by the year.
In January 2017, just before my 36th birthday, I met ‘Mr Nice’.
Mr Nice was just that, a really ‘nice’ guy. He had recently moved ‘down south’ to start a new job. He was open, honest and up for adventures. We started the dating process in the same way I had done for the last 18 months. Date 1 a drink in a local pub, followed by date 2 a dinner in a location of his choice, his choice was nice. So we continued onto date 3 and he cooked for me – paella, very nice. Then date 4, the activity date where we went caving, which, you guessed it… was nice! The dates continued and we even joked about how he had surpassed all the previous daters from the last 18 months.
For the next 6 months I enjoyed nice. We took weekends away, met each other’s friends and family and generally the relationship just pottered along. It therefore took me a while to realise ‘nice’ wasn’t Wonderful Man status. I was not viewing Mr Nice as someone to build a future with and be partners in life, but simply someone to have children with, and so we parted. I know I hurt his feelings, but the situation was not fair on either of us, and certainly wouldn’t be on any potential children. I truly stand by the fact that I would rather be happy by myself than have a child with the wrong man, and as hard as it was to have that conversation with him I know it was the right thing to do.
It would take me another year of soul searching, research, talking to anyone and everyone who listened – however I had made a big decision and I was another step forward in my journey into single motherhood, by choice.