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Introducing HLN’s new dating column: The Secret Dater

Come along on a journey of exploration of all things modern day dating in the North East.

Written by High Life North
Published 20.06.2023

They say you need to kiss a lot of frogs to find a Prince, but, in 2023 even frogs are few and far between. Especially when you’re on the hunt for frogs who are single, eligible and over 30.

Every little girl dreams of what her love life is going to be like when she’s a ‘grown up’ but how many of those dreams include dating in your 30s?

The number of single women over 30 in the UK is on the rise. In the 1991 Census, only 18.3% of women aged 30-34 were unmarried. In the 2021 Census, this rose sharply to 54.2%.

This isn’t a position we were prepared for as kids and teenagers. And, as the dating pool gets ever smaller and more complicated, it can be harder and harder to navigate.

There isn’t a Disney movie about handling ghosters, single Dads, and skeletons in the closet. Deciding whether to send nudes, or have sex on the first date was not a PSHE topic at school.

There is no manual for this, and, inevitably, it can be a minefield. It’s’s a minefield I find myself right in the centre of at the ripe old age of 34.

Just over a year ago I moved to Newcastle from London. After a break-up that, at times, I didn’t think I’d survive, I packed my bags, got a new (and remote) job, and drove off up the A1 in search of something fresh.

Now, a year on, I’m ready to dip my toe back into the dating pool.

First port of call? The apps, of course. I started swiping again a few months ago, and although the dates thus far have been nothing to write home about, I was very quickly reminded of the best part of dating.

The part where you tell your mates all about it.

The joy sparked by running home to the girls’ Whatsapp chat and sharing all of the gory details. Working through your ‘icks’ and sycophantically reeling when you think you’ve met a good one.

Dating in your 30s can suck. It does suck. But, by sharing the highs and lows with your pals, and working through hard emotions, it can be great fun and an opportunity for growth.

As I keep telling myself, at the age of 33 I was able to uproot my life, change my job and make a whole new friendship group, just through being curious, positive and care-free.

Has it been hard? Yes. But it’s also been tremendous fun.

So, in theory, if I take this curious, positive and care-free attitude and apply it to dating, that’s got to work, right?

In my twenties my scattergun approach to dating and general desperation to find someone to split London rent with left my self-esteem broken and bruised.

I believe that one of the benefits of dating in your 30s is that you know who you are and what you want.

This time round, I’m tackling it differently. I’m tackling it with confidence and curiosity.

I know what I want and I’m not afraid to go and get it. But most importantly I’m determined to have a good time on the journey.

My plan is to take this summer by the horns, so to speak, and get back out there. To live in the moment and try anything once (within reason, of course) – and I’ve decided to take you along for the ride.

From Speed Dating to blind dates, and everything in between, I’ll be sharing my experiences along the way – good AND bad.

Plus, I’ll also take some deep dives into dating culture. Like, what is the best way to react when you get ghosted? What is the difference between dating in London and the North East? And much more.

So, come with me on this journey of exploration of all things modern dating. I can’t promise I’ll find my Prince, but I can promise it’ll be a laugh.

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