Having 10,000 spoons when all you need is knife isn’t ironic, it’s bad planning by the caterers. A free ride when you’ve already paid isn’t ironic, it’s bad timing at the fairground. A traffic jam when you’re already late isn’t ironic, it’s you being an idiot and expecting the Dartford Bridge to be moving smoothly so not allowing any extra time for your journey than you would if it wasn’t there at all. No, I’ve learned the lessons from the work of Alannis Morrisette and am wary about calling anything ironic unless I’m sure it is.
I am, however, unsure on the irony levels of having a blog about dating, along with Twitter and Instagram feeds to match and a podcast to boot, all of which talk about dating and relationships and which aim to help other people with their own love lives, but all of which appear to hinder those of the author. Ironic?
Such is the lot of a dating blogger. There are remarkably few of us out there, certainly few who not only actively blog but actually blog about dating. From the queen of UK dating blogs through to that of one of the best writers out there full stop, dating or no, the dating blogosphere isn’t particularly deep, and I would hazard a guess that each and every writer out there has, at one point or another, debated whether or not to continue.
I, myself, have taken something of a sabbatical over the past few months. While it coincided with a relationship I very much enjoyed but which then came to an end, the hiatus was actually prompted by an incident immediately prior to that. It gave me pause to stop and consider whether having a dating blog and Twitter account was actually doing me way more harm than good, and very nearly caused me to walk away entirely without looking back, like the cool hero in the climactic explosion scene of an action movie.
I am not one to talk about people I’ve dated so I shan’t go into any detail here, but the key reason the date didn’t progress into anything more, despite being a very good match on paper and in person, was that my date felt this very blog proved I wasn’t looking for a relationship and was merely interested in becoming the best dater I could be. This built on previous dates and relationships, who have said that me writing about dating and relationships made them feel uncomfortable or under scrutiny, that perhaps I was merely using them for content or that they feared their words, actions and names would later be strung up for inspection and potential ridicule around the world.
Few of them actually read what I wrote. Few accepted that this was never about them and all about my own thoughts, nor that I wrote for myself and to help others along their own journeys and would never, ever expose anyone in that way. It’s impossible to prove a negative – the fear was always that just because I hadn’t done so yet didn’t mean I wouldn’t in future. There’s simply no way of arguing against that logic.
So I debated. I wondered about whether I should close this whole thing down. Delete the lot, or at least stop contributing new pieces. I don’t like hiding this passion project, and don’t think I will do so in future as I don’t want to give the impression of leading a double life. But if it’s actually hurting my chances of finding love, isn’t that the opposite of what should happen? Shouldn’t this all be helping me?
Many dating bloggers do give up. Most, in fact. Some find love and either retire their writing or pivot their blogs to relationships, reviews and general lifestyle stuff. Others don’t, and get tired of saying the same things and exposing their hurt and hopelessness and despair to the world. And some just get bored. Blogging is hard work, despite what you may think. (Well, good blogging is anyway. Bad blogging is frustratingly easy and common…)
When I therefore found myself single once again, stuck in lockdown and without much to do most evenings I had a choice. I could give it all up, close it all down and start from scratch, knowing that my previous words would no longer cause problems for my future self, or I could get back to writing and hope that I find someone who gets it. Who trusts me. Who is secure enough in themselves to not question every post, every tweet, every photo I share and wonder if it’s secretly about them.
They’ll know that if I do post something about them because I’ll be sure to tell them, as I’ll want them to see it. They’ll perhaps get a kick out of helping me find new article ideas, or try out new date venues to visit when life returns to normal, or actually take a couple of photos of me that I can share with the world without it being a selfie. They’ll also believe me when I promise that it will never be about them, at least not without their full involvement and blessing.
Does this mean I’m going to inevitably filter out some amazing women who would otherwise be perfect for me? Probably. Does this mean I won’t change my mind in future? Absolutely not. Does this mean I’ll get back to blogging every week, come rain or shine? Who knows. There’s a lot of time ahead of us, and all I can think of for now is the immediate future.
But, and even more importantly, is it ironic that being a writer who writes about dating is actually making it far more difficult to find dates and to turn one those dates into a long-lasting, loving relationship? Well, that’s something only a certain pint-sized Candian songwriter can truly ever answer.
Ironic, isn’t it?