Wow. How quickly time flies. This blog is just over a year old already; how did that happen?!
Starting off as a way of me logging things for myself and to help me iteratively improve my nonexistent dating skills, as well as helping me navigate some of the challenges of both being a single parent to four kids as well as coping with a fairly brutal break-up and divorce, I knew this was never going to be an overnight success. Where fellow bloggers talk about setting goals of getting to 1000 followers and 10,000 daily views, share stories of how they now monetize their sites and tips on how to promote across multiple platforms, I still sit and find myself amazed that anyone at all reads my ramblings.
This has always been a blog for me, myself and I, which is what I tell myself whenever I find yet another set of awards I’ve not been nominated for (not even a BAFTA yet). I do have a handful of loyal readers (hi both of you!), and since picking up my twitter game again I now have people with whom I regularly swap comments and share experiences and opinions. That’s a pretty recent development, however, so I thought I’d take this almost-birthday celebration as an opportunity to highlight some of my favourite posts over the last year.
Right at the start I learned that it’s important to drop the c-bomb into conversations as early as possible. After all, whether it’s later down the line or thanks to some excellent stalking tekkers, she is going to find out eventually. I also discovered after a few first dates that sometimes it’s better to realise it’s not actually a first date but an only date – ie it’s the only date you are ever going on with them. (For the record, I was stood up on my first first date. Should’ve given up there and then.)
I started working out how I might actually approach women in real life as I was having precious little success online. I was improving my first date chatter somewhat, though getting dates at all was proving challenging; I even ran a Plenty of Fish swiping experiment to find out how many messages I needed to send out on average before I could expect one to turn into a date (the answer is somewhere around 2 out of 157 messages turned into dates). This got me wondering whether I was being too picky, but I persevered nevertheless. After all, even if I wasn’t being picky myself, it turned out that my kids had a lot of very clear ideas about the woman they would accept me dating!
I kept going, tweaking my profile and photos and getting out on dates. By now it was summer and I felt experienced enough to understand some of the issues with online dating. I also felt confident enough calling out other single dads who were slagging off all women merely because they’d had a bad experience themselves. Yes, some women are evil, but not all women are evil. No, I actually quite liked women and sort of missed being in a couple with one.
I also felt confident enough by this stage to point out the many ways women go wrong with their own dating profiles. It wasn’t just men who were rubbish at presenting themselves well, after all!
I actually spent some time away from the blog as I actually sort of explored a couple of relationships. It was a real learning curve and taught me loads about how to do things and how not to, leaving me a little wiser than I was before. I was a little more self-aware of my own standards of humour and why some women turned me off, but also became aware of the impact my writing had on others. Recent readers won’t know this, but I used to write openly under my own name. Trouble is, when dates discovered the blog they started to think every post was about them, which caused problems. So I switched to my current anonymous account and haven’t looked back since.
I was back out on the dating scene by then, albeit without a wingman, and knew the difference between what people said and what they actually meant. I was being stalked online more than ever, though was no closer to turning any of these stalkers into a relationship than I had been before (and I still really missed it too) and was still balancing dating with the challenges of being a single dad. I wrote my first guest post for another site and revealed a few secrets, as well as coming up with an online dating bingo drinking game. Don’t try and play it as you’ll die from alcohol poisoning.
Before I knew it, I’d been single for a year. I wasn’t remarried, but the kids were alive and I’d had a lot of fun. Not only were they alive but I was spending more time than ever with them, which was definitely a double-edged sword. I was also starting to get a little fitter, was sorting my home out and felt able to finally share some of my single dad dating advice with other single dads. Mentally I was stronger than I had been before, while appreciating that I still had a long way to go.
In fact, I felt strong enough to share by far my most embarassing story with the world – the time I ended up naked in a hotel lobby surrounded by football fans and theatre goers. Yep, that happened.
And that pretty much brings me up to date. It’s been a hell of a year. I’ve somehow begun the long process of repairing my heart and my mind after a brutal breakup, and have learned how to be an adult again. I’ve met a lot of incredible women, some of whom have become seriously good friends, and made a lot of memories that I’ll look back on with smiles. I’ve probably had more sex over the last year than in the five before it (incredible sex, too, which is perhaps a tale for another day), and have somehow done all this while managing to repay almost two-thirds of the debt my ex-wife left me in.
Oh, and my kids are still alive. which is a bonus.
Can’t wait to see what the next twelve months brings now.