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What I've learnt about dating

Alexis Thompson

by Alexis Thompson
Girl Friday
Friday, 14th October 2011

A year ago I started writing a column for a local newspaper entitled Single in the Suburbs. This weekly column documented a long and at times rather despairing journey in search of love, and this week it will be reaching its conclusion as I leave the newspaper for pastures new.

Of course, it would have been nice to end it on a high note. Something along the lines of 'my dear readers, guess what Mr Right has finally turned up and we're now going to stroll off into the sunset hand in hand to live happily ever after.'

But the reality is somewhat different. I didn't meet Mr Right, in fact I didn't meet anyone that even came close to being him (this mysterious, elusive character that may not even exist), but I have learnt an awful lot about dating, love and relationships in these last 12 months.

"Beware third dates"

For starters, third dates are a nightmare. Well they are for me anyway. They are that unexpected stumbling block during an other wise, blossoming relationship, the crucial stage where it could go one way or the other. This is something I learnt after dating a French man a few months back.

French Guy was so..French. Whatever he wore he looked effortlessly chic and cool, he was culturally inquisitive and most importantly, he knew how to make a girl feel special. That was until our third date, when it all went horribly wrong.

After behaving like the perfect gentleman, French Guy sabotaged our chance of becoming girlfriend and boyfriend by suddenly revealing his true colours. Basically, French Guy assumed that by the third date, we would have sex and unfortunately many men, who aren't in it for the long haul, expect the same thing too. Third dates are that defining moment as to whether or not a relationship will progress or simply fizzle. For me, most of the time because I don't give these men what they want, it fizzles.

Another thing I've learnt is not to judge a book by its cover, especially when it comes to dating. By that I mean, just because someone doesn't sound like your type on paper, it doesn't mean you won't get on with them or have any chemistry. I realised this with a guy my friend set me up with back in March. When she told me about her colleague nicknamed Cookie, I immediately assumed he wasn't my type. He worked in financial services, liked to dress sharply and sounded more corporate than creative.

"Never judge a book by its cover"

However, when I finally got round to meeting Cookie, I enjoyed one of the best dates I'd been on in a long time. Cookie had carefully thought out where we were going to eat, what we were going to do and he behaved like the perfect gentleman throughout the evening. He was also easy to get on with and we surprisingly shared a lot of things in common. The only downside was that he didn't live in London, and going off past experience, I felt it best to avoid a long distance relationship with someone new.

Other lessons I've learnt? That online dating may work for millions of people, but it doesn't quite work for me. That blind dates rarely live up their expectations and that night clubs and bars aren't always the best places to find long-lasting love.

"Be happy with yourself first"

But perhaps the most important lesson I've learnt is that before you can be happy with someone, you have to be happy with yourself. After a year of searching, I may not have found love but I have found happiness being single again. In fact I'm so happy I'm no longer looking for love. Instead I'm just going to sit back, enjoy single life and all of the opportunities it brings with it, and let love find me. Far easier I think.

topic tags: attraction, break ups, conversation, first date, first move, flirting, relationships, stories

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about the author

Alexis Thompson

Alexis is a 27-year-old and very often, cash-strapped journo, searching for her ideal man in London. After being single for almost a year, since splitting with her first long term love, she's decided to ditch the night clubs and bars, and start finding more mature and sophisticated ways of meeting her Mr Right. Join her every Friday as she describes the trials and tribulations of discovering love in a city that has little time for romance, as well as offering advice to those in search of the same thing or who may not have realised they've already found it.

Alexis writes a weekly blog for Dating Trail. If you'd like to be be first to find out about her next installment then please follow us on Twitter or 'Like' our Facebook page for updates.

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