Could you tell us a little bit about yourself Jenny?
I’m 54 and I’m a fund-raising manager for a charity in Edinburgh.
You’ve been with your new guy for a few months now. Where are you at with him?
It’s great, but I guess it’s a work in progress. He has a lot of really good qualities I haven’t normally come across before he’s not my usual type. I used to think about wanting someone to look a certain way, or be a certain height, but I’ve come to realise these aren’t the important things.
Kindness, availability and a willingness to try new things – he has these qualities. He’s very affectionate. There’s no game playing. It’s all very straightforward and easy – which is so different from my usual experience!
And he’s open minded. I mean he went to see the Barbie movie with me. He hated every minute of it – he told me at the end, but at least he had the good grace to come with me!
How did you meet him?
Speed dating. A bit of a different way of meeting!
He made me laugh a lot, really funny and absolutely no ego about him at all.
Before you joined the Dating Evolved Program, where would you say you were with dating? What were the challenges?
I was just disheartened by the whole dating process really. I was quite naïve. I was doing online dating and engaging with men who behaved badly – and I was hurt quite a lot with all the ghosting and the games. And I think I relied too much on first impressions and the initial spark – which didn’t translate into anything good!
How do you feel the Dating Evolved course helped with these things?
I’ve learned how important it is to be a bit patient – to get to know a guy and let feelings develop. Basically to not rely on the “spark”! I’m taking the “slow-burn” approach with Andy and it’s good. He’s kind, and interesting, and he’s genuinely interested in me. It’s taken me a long time to find someone like that.
It’s also been good to learn about how to spot avoidant types. But the big thing – the massive one – was coming to understand “Wants” vs “Needs”; realising that I should be less stringent about what the guy needs to be e.g. I won’t date this guy unless he’s got x, y and z. This guy’s not got the right shoes, the right hairstyle… that’s just narrowing the pool. So I learned that I could compromise on the “nice to have” qualities, but needed to prioritise the qualities that really matter in the long term.
Re “Wants” vs “Needs” – was there anything you would have insisted on before that you’ve now realised isn’t a dealbreaker?
I always liked someone to be at least as tall as me, good taste in clothes, a high-flying job, a university education.
I’ve come to realise that these things aren’t that important. Andy has run a successful business for 27 years, but he’s not got a university degree – he dropped out because he got bored. He’s intelligent and successful. He’s not conventionally handsome but I find him attractive.
The important things are – he’s kind, he’s got a great sense of humour, he lights up a room.
People worry about shoes. Andy doesn’t have brilliant shoes but they’re ok. But shoes can be changed!
Do you feel the Dating Evolved community helped you – the monthly group calls, advice sessions, Facebook group and so on?
Definitely! I think it’s great to be in a peer group – knowing that you’re not alone. It’s helpful to hear that other women have similar difficulties to yourself, but also to hear the positive stories from other women and how they’ve overcome problems. People saying “well I did meet a nice guy”, and “I did this thing and I’ve met people”. It helps keep us all moving forwards and getting inspiration about how to make opportunities.
The other Dating Evolved ladies really kept me going – without them I might have fallen by the wayside!
What mistakes do you feel that many women are making with dating?
I think women are so quick to dismiss men. Once you get to know guys you find yourself attracted to them when you weren’t before. That isn’t an instant thing but I think it’s a truer thing that when you’re blinded by the guy you think is gorgeous and you want to jump into bed with him. I think getting to know people gradually, seeing how they interact with other people, it’s so amazing. And you can’t get that from a half hour date. Go on a second date with someone. If you’re not really turned off right away – give them a chance.
Another thing - I think it’s mad when women just expect a man to turn up on their doorstep. I’ve learned from you that we have to make opportunities and get out there.
I think it’s really important to use as many networks as you’ve got, tell your friends – I need a man – do you know anyone?
Where do you feel you are now with your relationship?
Andy has so many good qualities – he’s kind, he’s a lovely guy – always helping people out. He’s got great energy and really makes me laugh. And he’s great at thinking of things to do – he recently took me to a spa, and to some great shows.
But of course there are niggles. For instance, his house is really messy and a bit of a turn-off. Also, I feel like I hold the power in the relationship – I’m not used to having that, and sometimes I wish he would push back a bit. But at the same time I realise that I need to learn to accept the reliable qualities of a secure guy, because that’s what’s going to make me happy in the long term.
So it’s a work in progress, and I’m loving having a nice guy in my life.
It feels like the good things are really good – solid pillars of a relationship. And the other stuff is fixable.
Would you recommend the Dating Evolved program to others?
The Dating Evolved Program has taught me to take off the blinkers! That means getting wise about noticing the qualities that really matter in guys, and spotting red flags. But it also means widening your field of view. That’s what I’ve done and I’m now with a lovely guy. It’s so nice having someone in my life!