D Is For: Dating

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The D word: dating. Love it or loath it, it’s something that we have all done at some point in our lives; some great experiences and some not. I’ve spoken with friends about success stories and I have personal horror stories I can relate to. Not wanting to put all you single souls looking for love off the dating game for life, I just simply have to inform you of one of the most particularly momentous dating disasters OF ALL TIME. It will not only live with me forever, but could be used for single people across the UK as a new dating tool: the D.D.G.  (Dating Disaster Gauge), for all future rubbish dates.

So, a little about me to give a clear picture of just why dating isn’t high up there on my to-do list.

As a single mother, working  full time as a Mental Health Nurse,  dating has always been a pastime that requires time I don’t have, energy I cannot spare and – to be honest – if I’m ever fortunate enough to get spare time (hysterical comment I know), the only thing I’m going to be doing is laying on the sofa, catching up on TV and wearing the attractive ensemble of a worn out dressing gown and slippers  (sipping on G&T  of course). Being brutally honest, if I’m getting dolled up for a night out (usually after digging very deep for the last dregs of energy within the depths of my soul), I need it to be a guarantee that I’m going to be having a cracking good night and there is only a handful of good friends that this can be achieved with! You know the ones…

In a nut shell as the saying goes, yes, I’m single and you’re going to have to be pretty damn special to change that.

When this particular dating disaster happened, I was working as an inpatient Mental Health Nurse working a variety of shifts; just getting to work deserves a round of applause and a pat on the back! After years of being single, focusing on my career and family and much persuasion from a dear friend…I decided to start dating (again). The said friend kindly informed me that she had signed me up to a popular online dating site…oh the joys, thanks for that.

So, I decided to start dating back in the January and all things were going well: nice stable man no apparent (underline the last word) issues. I decided to keep it low key so hadn’t introduced him to family or friends (always following the safety rules drummed in to me, phone tracker on, text to the mates of my location etc., etc., done) …

After dating for several months and with all going well, still keeping it low key which suited me fine, to my surprise he offered to take me away for a lovely break. Great I thought! The organising of bribing colleagues and family member to take care of my 6-year-old and cover my shifts was a big deal in itself and took great planning. This level of meticulous planning needed, and begging of work colleagues to swap shifts so that could I actually had both days off at the weekend, meant that this weekend away had now become a BIG deal; well a far larger and more public one that I wanted!  The location of the weekend was a big secret so staff on the ward where I worked were now all having bets and started a sweep stake to guess where I was going.

Not surprisingly the weekend became a nightmare from the get go…he arrives at the airport so late that we miss the flight! Oh yes, this is how it started people. I should have cut my losses at this early stage but no, I don’t do disasters by half. I will be honest, at this point I did became suspicious as he was being a bit ‘cloak and dagger’ about why he was late. I had spoken to him as I was leaving my house at 3am so he was awake, packed and lived nearer the airport than I did so this late arrival had my inner radar whirling and on heightened alert! But alas, I continued on.

After he paid a fortune for more tickets, we arrived in the beautiful Zante, and that’s where the loveliness stops.

I ended up with awful sunburn and sunstroke (no idea why as I used plenty of sun cream!) could not be touched by a thin bed sheet for the next 48 hours let alone anything else! This went down like a lead balloon considering he had paid for this weekend away twice.

It became very obvious that we were really not compatible at all. We disagreed all holiday about everything and I discovered the reason why we missed the flight! He had rituals to complete before leaving the house (I had no idea), which involved changing into clean clothes and showering! Every time he used the bathroom! Even if he had only had the clothes on 5 minutes!  Yes, I know this is a personal thing; I understand that we all have our own little ways about things in life and you won’t find a more understanding person that myself, BUT when the individual with this particular way and routine then said that he thought I was strange for not doing the same thing I had to draw the line! Getting out of the hotel took a life time and several dress rehearsals to say the least! I obviously left the room and went to the free bar to wait to see if he would arrive any time soon.

After an awful holiday that resulted in a show down on the morning we returned, I ended up doing what any person would do to survive in this situation…LIE, well a white one anyway. I gave the best Oscar winning performance as I boarded the plane last (as I did not want my booked seat next to the now, short lived ex-boyfriend). This performance won me the award I was hoping for: the seat in the front row with the lovely old lady who was far better company! Plus, she was sat next to the main exit door which I had my eye on!

To say my school athletics teacher would have been proud from the moment that aeroplane door was open is an understatement! As I ran like Usain Bolt through Gatwick airport, deafened by the pulse in my ears and pained by the blood blister on the sole of my foot, expecting to high five the security man at passport control, I felt relief when I reached the outdoors and ran to a cab (all the time thinking why why why did I think of dating again!!).

I returned to work and the staff nearly died when they saw me: burnt to a crisp, red faced, skin falling off! (I became the laughing stock of the ward) and to add insult to injury, within 2 days I developed impetigo! I mean come on, I’m not 5! Geeez!

So, then couldn’t go to work as I was contagious! Then, by the end of the week I came down with cellulitis in my leg! (I have clearly done something wrong in a previous life!) looking like a leper. The now-ex texts me asking for a contribution to the flights (that he caused us to miss). My response was brief and I dealt with that no problem.

The moral of this dating story? Well, if you’re happy with your life don’t change it. Just because society expects you to be in a relationship, don’t feel pressured.

I am content with my life, me and my children. Yes, it’s hard sometimes but hey life isn’t meant to be easy now, is it?

If you’re dating and it goes wrong, don’t worry! Think of my humiliation and raise a glass with a smile.

This post is part of our A-Z of Parenting series where we take a look at the whole alphabet of things that can go right – or wrong – with parenting. A new letter is added every couple of days. Check out what’s happened so far here.
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