Following the recent blog post about coping with Christmas a few people got in touch advising that because they are single, Christmas brings up a huge sense of loneliness and asked if I had any tips. As I am in my tenth year of a relationship, I don’t think that I am the best person to provide advice and support about this topic. Nonetheless, I really want to reach out to those who have asked so I asked one of my best friends the fabulous Gen O Farrell to come on board and provide her pearls of wisdom.
As Valentine’s Day is looming, I imagine it may also be a difficult time for people who want to be in a relationship and aren’t. Personally, I think Valentine’s Day is just a money racket. We seldom celebrate it unless it suits us and we fancy a night out together or a nice meal. I have always thought that it is so ridiculous to make a big deal on one day when you should express your love for one and other everyday of the year. I have actually often spent Valentine’s Day with my lovely mother because she was my first love. Love life has its struggles for everyone and despite being very happy now, prior to Ian I did experience horrific heartbreak. Along with this, Ian and I also did long distance for two years which was very difficult. All in all, despite how lucky I feel to have Ian and I adore him, relationships are hard work and require a lot of love, growth and maintenance on a continual basis. Anyway that is just a side note to provide context that even people in relationships don’t necessarily love or even celebrate this day.
The issue of not being in a relationship is however difficult for some people who want to be and it’s important to note that not everyone wants to be which is absolutely their decision. There is also the pressure of the never-ending ticking clock to procreate that I so often hear. While there is no getting away from the fact that it is a biological time bomb, as you are considered to have a geriatric pregnancy if you are over 35; I work in a maternity hospital and frequently see women in their forty’s having healthy babies. I also see many women having babies solo without any man through donor sperm and intrauterine insemination. Surrogacy is also an option for single males who would like to have a baby. So, don’t feel that being in a relationship is the only way to fulfill a desire to have children. So if you find yourself single for whatever reason and want to mingle, Gen has come up with some suggestions as to how to meet people. She has also kindly spoken about her own journey of heartbreak, picking herself back up and dealing with the pressures from society to conform to the perceived time constraints. Gen’s positive mindset has enabled her to love and not fear being single or dating and is something that I have always admired about her. Hopefully by her generously sharing it here it will also support you. She lives life to the full, embraces experiences and is one of the most fun and loyal friends that we are lucky enough to have in our life.
So I will hand over the baton to Gen to bestow her knowledge and experience of navigating love and life in the world we live in.
My beautiful friend Lia approached me a few weeks ago and asked that I put some words of wisdom together around my experiences of navigating love, being single and dating in Ireland in 2019. Initially I was anxious and a little unsure of what to write. As a 32 years YOUNG, single country gal living in the big smoke, I’ve had plenty of ups and downs in my love life over the last 10 years, all of which I think have taught me something valuable. To quote Miss Grande.. “Thank u….Next”!
My last long-term relationship ended in my early 20’s and although it took me a while to get over the heartache that comes with young love and loss, I definitely feel like I’ve managed to find ways to pick myself up and get on with enjoying life to the max. Whether it’s fleeting romances with friends of friends, Tinder/Bumble dates that develop into something more or those unrequited crushes we all have from time to time. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy being single, especially the older I get. Seeing the people in my life, settle down, get engaged, get married and start a family. All of the above I hope will happen for me someday. But I live by this mantra; ‘What’s for you won’t pass you by’.
Dealing with Heartbreak:
I’m someone who wears my heart on my sleeve so I’ve always found talking to friends or family, having a little cry when needed and not bottling things up helps. A problem shared is a problem halved and that counts for heartbreak, disappointment and just being generally peed off with the lack of decent male specimens around. A good old DMC -deep and meaningful with the girlios (including Lia) has really helped me figure out what I do and don’t want in a partner in life. When I was mad about the boy that saw me just as a friend, when I’ve been ghosted by the handsome farmer or the time I realized that I was just not getting the respect I deserve after wasted months of dating. I have hashed it out, vented my frustrations and got the people in my life that I love and trust to remind me that there’s nothing wrong with me and that things just weren’t meant to be this time.
My advice is to make sure you have a full diary!!! Events, gigs, festivals, lunch’s,dinners, cinema, shows, quizzes, comedy nights, gym,exercise, tag rugby, group activities, family time and travel, have all been a major part of keeping me entertained and positive in my singleton adventures. I love doing my own thing, seeing the world, making new friends, trying something new and I feel totally confident to do those things by myself. So someday, I know I will get to share those experiences and memories with the right guy and hopefully make new ones together too.
I’m also all about the self-love. A lot of people might feel it’s a waste of time and hard-earned money; but I am completely in favor of treating yourself to that shellac manicure, the curly blow dry, the tint and wax or the potter around the shops now and again. I like to feel good about myself… just for me.
Getting on to the dating side of things, unfortunately I don’t feel like I’m an expert. The online dating app craze just hasn’t really worked for me yet. I have only really had experience with the apps, ‘Tinder’ and ‘Bumble’. Tinder gives you the option to swipe left for no or right for yes to a potential partner. Once a match is made, either of you can make the first introductions. Whereas with Bumble, once a match is made, the girl has to make the first move and patiently wait for a response. There is a 24 hour time limit for your match to reply to your message, if they don’t by then the match is gone. Sending out 10 messages to 10 perspective guys may only result in 1 or 2 replies or connections. I’ve found you really have to invest time and patience into these apps. A good friend told me once that she set aside 30 minutes of her day every evening for this exact reason. This would be her allotted time to scroll through the apps, send out alllllllllllll the love, weed out the weirdoes and reply to the select few that had returned some interest. To be fair, it worked out well for her as she is now living with her boyfriend of 2 years, courtesy of Bumble. If you’re lucky enough to get through the initial chat and “getting to know you stage”, setting up a date ASAP and meeting someone in real life is key. I still prefer the old-fashioned organic way of getting to know someone, as much fun as it is to just flick through pictures and seeing what takes your fancy.
That is the extent of my current knowledge and as much as I can contribute thus far. My knight in shining armor hasn’t presented himself as of yet but I continue to know that when the time is right it will happen. A friend is keen to set me up on a blind date in coming weeks, so keep your fingers crossed for me!!
Thanks for reading and I hope this has sparked some joy and optimism for you.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Remember that self-love is not selfish; you cannot truly love another until you know how to love yourself.
Love Gen and Lía xxxxx