Online dating

Relationships. At the end of the day, if you’re reading this blog, visiting Free and Single and browsing dating profiles, it is for a purpose. You’re not here for kicks, you’re on the hunt for a potential life partner.


Now, first, before we go any further; I beg you, have you thought this through? When you picture a ‘relationship’ are you seeing the ups, the downs, the good times and the arguments? Or are you rosily contemplating a life filled with chocolates, red roses and sunsets?


Relationships take work. Not back-breaking, miserable Monday-morning feeling work (if it feels like that, it might be time to call it a day). But work nonetheless. There will be days when, say, you’re hungover and want to nap, but your other half is sick and needs you to go out and get cough medicine. There will be times when you really want to go shopping, but it’s the only day your partner’s parents are in town for a visit. There will be points where you question why you are together at all.


However, there should also be some serious ‘ups’! Surprise bouquets and being whisked off to the theatre, voluntarily skipping Saturday’s game to accompany you to your best friend’s wedding. These good moments make the work and the compromises easier, make them worth it. At the end of the day, you know you have someone who will support you, look after you and laugh at your jokes.


Here are some tips for working that relationship:


  1. Never go to bed angry. Ever. No matter how annoyed you are, no matter how tired. Calmly, without shouting, explain that you’re hurt, you’re not happy with the situation, but that you really need to sleep right now or you’ll mess up your big meeting tomorrow. Schedule some time to talk about the issue as soon as possible the next day. Move the venue for the discussion to neutral territory, somewhere public where you can’t shout at each other. Then give them a hug and a kiss and go to bed. The thinking space alone should help resolve the issue the next day.
  2. Now you’re in a couple, you have to think about what the other person would like. If you’re not into that and you don’t understand the word ‘compromise’ then you are not ready to handle a relationship.
  3. Keep the surprise, the suspense and the excitement. Thoughtful gestures, little gifts, compliments, asking for details about their day – all small acts that add up to keep the love burning.
  4. Listen to each other. One of the all-time most important tips for anyone, in any situation, be it dating, friends or relationships. From listening comes true intimacy, true connection and lasting love. You will learn about the other person, you will learn about yourself and you will form a bond that transcends the ordinary.
  5. Keep lines of communication open. Your life is no longer just about you, now you’re sharing it with someone else. You don’t have to report your every move to each other, but if you’ve agreed to meet up and you’re late, show a little common courtesy and phone to tell them. Even if you feel restricted by the interest your other half shows in your whereabouts, it could simply be that they are worried about you. When you’re late, instead of rationally explaining it away as traffic difficulties, they are picturing you mugged and bleeding in an alleyway.


Dating at breakfast time - what to wear?

‘Fancy a Bagel?’ Breakfast Date


If you’re off to breakfast together, make an effort. To be fair, this goes for every date, but the last thing you want is for her to start her day staring across the table at a bleary eyed, hair-mussed, scraggly shaved example of manhood. Go to bed early, get up on time, shower! Dress in lighter colours but stick to smart silhouettes – ironed trousers, soft shirt, layering jumper. Come prepared to discuss the day ahead.


Obviously, you have to dress for the day in front of you but stick in something special to give a nod to the fact you’re meeting a date first. Make sure you give yourself time in the morning do do your hair and make-up to your satisfaction and wear softer colours than you would in the evening. A white shirt and colourful silk scarf is a fail safe option every women can pull out of the wardrobe to look classy and pulled together early in the morning.


Take a date to lunch to get to know them better


‘Let’s do Lunch’ Date


It’s lunchtime, your morning passed in a blur, you feel run ragged already. Head to the bathroom! Splash some cold water on your face and wrists, re-apply deodorant and re-style your hair if necessary. If you were super prepared, slip on the spare shirt you brought with you and be fresh as a daisy when you walk into the lunch date. Smart shoes are a must, unless you’re doing street vendor food, in which case have a back-up plan for where to sit if it rains.


Your head is still concentrating on the details for that afternoon meeting and your nervous hair twirling has caused a frizz situation. To the ladies room! A wash of the hands, a spritz of perfume and a bouff up of the hair under the blowdryer serves to have you ready to charm and chat all through lunch. Take a smaller bag with you to keep your focus on your date and not your iphone. Slip a cosy cardigan on to break down the ‘I’m at work’ barriers and help you relax over lunchtime.


What to wear to the date you know is breaking up with you


‘We Need to Talk’ Break-up Date


If you are about to ditch someone, tone down your look. Dress in sombre colours and at least look like you spent the last few nights in anguish over your decision. If you think you are about to be subjected to the ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ line yourself, dress like you own your own very successful company, have legions of adoring fans awaiting you around every corner and have only to buy a new deodorant to have women swarming all over you. Think smart shoes, fresh haircut, dab of fresh cologne. You’ve already moved on, baby.


If you are about to commence break-up speech number two with your unfortunate date, have the decency to look average, or better, plain. Dark colours, nothing fancy with your hair or make-up, simple clothes. No need to twist the dagger, as it were. However, if you suspect you’re about to get dumped, look fabulous. Accentuate your figure, get a blow dry, wear your favorite lipstick and don some sexy (but walkable) heels. Accept the dumping with a glossy smile, then sashay out of there like you’re off to meet the President for drinks.


What to wear for your engagement


‘Will you Marry Me’ Date


If you’re getting down on one knee, start off with a good quality, dark trouser – no need to have dirt decorating your knees for the rest of the day, especially as you’re likely to be either wining and dining your new fiancee or else drowning your sorrows in the pub with your mates. Depending on how you plan to pop the question, add a suitable top half of the outfit (polo shirt if active, ironed shirt if dressed up and tee shirt…no, never a tee shirt. Make some effort, please). Make sure you have a jacket with a secure inner pocket, natch.


If you’re the one trying to make an honest man of him, good for you. See above. If you merely suspect that you are about to be proposed to, put some extra effort in. After all, there will likely be photos and these pictures will stick around for the entire rest of your life, so no pressure. Get your hair done before your date, keep your make-up simple and classic – anything trendy will date so fast and have you hiding those pictures within the year. Dress appropriately for the venue and get a French manicure, you know. Just in case.



More advice on what to wear for a first date

Get some date ideas that nix the classic ‘I have nothing to wear’ wail by their very nature.

Planning your outfit along with your date


1. Explore your local area and soak up some sunshine!

Take your date for a romantic walk in the sun

USA – It’s Miami Romance Month, so head over to the Most Romantic Places listing and find somewhere that suits your date.


OZ – Go out for a brunch to remember in the exciting atmosphere of Fremantle, Perth.


UK – Head to Leeds for the Food Festival at the beginning of the month and chow down on some tasty nosh!


2. Check out an indoors attraction and feel cultural (maybe)

Take your internet date to a cafe to play board games together

USA – Take your date to this new Byzantine exhibition in Houston, for some history and cake afterwards.


OZ – Check out Hobart’s Salamanca Centre for some buzzing arts, markets, crafts and cafes.


UK – Take your date to this intimate theatre in Exeter and enjoy new plays before anyone else.


3. Whisk them away on a surprise holiday!

Cycling internet dating couple on holiday

USA – Zip over to Mexico with your beloved for a funky break at an all-inclusive holiday resort and spa!


OZ – Fly to New Zealand for a mini adventure and go whale watching, winery touring and chill out together under the stars of glow worms!


UK – Pop over to France on a ferry and enjoy a great day out exploring markets, eating delicious foods and trying out the original language of love.

I’m holding an impromptu survey – right here, right now. Hands up who meets more people when you leave the house having made an effort with your appearance vs. leaving the house to grab some milk or walk the dog with zero effort?


I’m intrigued to discover if this is a phenomenon that occurs only to me. If I select a nice outfit, slick on some make-up, do something with my hair – all confidence boosting manouvres that should help make me more attractive to the opposite sex – then I will see no-one I know, meet no-one new and probably sigh over the wasted effort when I return home.



However, if I slink out the doors at 10am, in jeans and a coat thrown over my hoodie, not a scrap of make-up to be seen and hair that hasn’t been introduced to a brush in over 24 hours, hoping against hope that I won’t run into anyone I know while I pop out to get some fresh milk I will, inevitably run into my neighbour, the postman, that person I vaguely know from down the street and the hottest member of the opposite sex for a ten mile radius.


How does this happen? What bizarre cosmic force is at work to ensure that I have to do most of my social nods and hello’s from the position of ‘person-who-clearly-doesn’t care’? Is this the secret trick to attracting attention?



I want to know whether this runs true for anyone else. I have been given more phone numbers and flirty looks after a bad nights sleep – when I have huge circles under my eyes and straggly hair and am just out to get a fruit smoothie in the hope it will banish my headache – than any time when I have actually been prepared and willing to engage in intelligent conversation with other people. Does this happen to you?


Anyway, the reason I bring my plight to your attention, other than to discover whether it is an affliction that affects myself alone, is to draw your attention to the wonder of online dating. You can channel all that pajama’ed wit and charisma into chatty messages, saucy winks and happy date-hunting while clad in yesterday’s gardening clothes and no-one will ever know. They’ll see your pictures, showing you in a variety of guises. Try for a natural (in good light), a glammed up version of yourself having a good time and a properly posed picture taken somewhere you love (so you radiate happiness).



Those pictures between them will attract all sort of different people to look at your online dating profile. There, they can discover more about you, suss whether your interests mesh in any way and choose to find out more. That’s when the PJ Effect will kick in – they will message you and you can switch on your clearly irresistible two-day-old hair charm. After being on fine flirting form, you’ll have easily winnowed out potential dates from those you just don’t have a rapport with.


Then comes the good stuff – getting ready for the first date. Just don’t maintain the day-old socks styling for that. You’ve already broken the ice online with your glittering PJ Effect persona,  so feel free to now wow them with your lovely looks and some more nervous chatter. If they are the right person for you, you’ll switch into comfortable mode soon enough, even if you are wearing lipstick.


If you’ve been dating for a while, or even if you’ve just started, the change in seasons always gets us thinking about how to change ourselves, be better and reach our full potential. The gap between seasons is traditionally when people do the most clothes shopping, get their hair cut or invest in new beauty products to see them through the new season.


It’s the same with dating. You want to be the best you can be when you head out on a date. It leaves you confident, filled to the brim with self-esteem and ready for anything – be that a another random blind date or the potential meeting of the love of your life.


Here’s our five top tips for getting the Springtime feeling into your dates. Enjoy!


1) Add more vegetables to your diet. Start adding in more coloured fruit and veg as the produce comes into season and boost your vitamin and mineral counts. This will result in healthier skin, hair and body, you’ll feel 100% better and you’ll be looking good too.


2) Clothing. Dump those dark, dingy tones that took you from work to bar during the rainy season and consign your coat to the back of your wardrobe. Invest in some lighter, brighter new colours, knits and prints to instantly lift your mood and make you feel more optimistic.


3) Have a laugh! Head so a comedy film, or have a great night out with a friend who makes you chuckle. Laughing is proven to boost your mood and make you more attractive to the opposite sex. All that smiling will get your confidence sky high and you’ll be ready for an onslaught of Spring dates in no time!


4) Plan a trip. Now is the time to take advantage of all the early bird offers out there and book a holiday with some friends. It gives you something to look forward to on days when you are not feeling your dating luck is going too well and if you do happen to be heading into a relationship come trip-time, the holiday will give you some time apart to enjoy reconnecting with friends and family.


5) Start exercising. Yes, I know it’s hard to get off the sofa when the evenings are still a little drab and dreary, but think this way: if you had started a new exercise regime in November, you’d be fighting fit now with all the pain behind you and all the gain ready to rock at those Springtime speed dating sessions! So start now and be strutting your stuff on the beach come Summer.


In the last post, we covered the tricky issues surrounding the truth on dating profiles. In this post, we’re going to take a look at three  qualities in your online dating profile that really affect how people see you.



Potential dates looking at your profile are going to be interested in the life you lead and your interests, primarily to see if you are compatible. However, don’t underestimate the few who look at your life and think, ‘Hmm, I’ve always wanted to be an artist’s muse/Ad-man’s wife/Equestrian’s partner.’  Some lifestyles have the allure of the big screen depictions and people can often fall for the idea of the glamour, instead of the reality. So if you are an accountant for a small firm in Scotland, you will probably be offered less dates than a plastic surgeon who attends all the latest parties in LA. Silver lining: the dates you do get offered will probably be more meaningful and high quality because the people asking are actually interested in you, and not just your ability to get on the VIP list.


Marital Status

This should be a no-brainer. Unless you are on a cheaters-style hook-up site (which I do not condone), you should not be looking to get involved with anyone who is already spoken for. Just don’t do it.  If they are displaying that they are married, move right along. Of course, in this day and age, it’s no longer as simple as ‘Single’ or ‘Married’. There are a whole sea of divorced, partnered, single parents,  complicated relationships out there. You shouldn’t let something like divorce put you off if the person in question sounds like a great match – but go into it aware of their history and sympathetic to their needs.



Age is a tough one. Some people can find their soul mate, but a few decades too late to be the same age at the same time. Age in a relationship is really only down to society – in Regency times, 18 year old girls were married to 34 year old men, because that was the norm.  In Roman times, 10 year old’s could be married to join two families together. Nowadays, while we all have the freedom to choose a partner from any walk of life, there can still be a lot of prejudice against couples who are not close in age. You’ll have to get to know someone before you can write them off completely, but you should base your initial impression on age unless it is a real issue for you.


We have all been there at one point or another. You get through the mandatory ‘How are yous?’ and the casual ‘You look goods’. You sit down to dinner together, ready to discuss everything over a cosy two-hour meal and *poof* Your entire mind shuts down and all you can think of to say is something along the lines of; ‘Oooh look, they painted the walls red. That’s classic for a dining room, that is.’


Its not an ideal evolutionary response that causes intelligent people to completely loose their ability to hold structured, entertaining conversation the moment they are alone with a potential life mate. You could even go so far as to suggest it is a downright silly function of nerves to prevent you from being at your best on a date.


However, the one comfort I can offer you is that it happens to absolutely everyone, at some point or other. So, in the spirit of acceptance, we at Free and Single have come up with a list of five conversational topics guaranteed to open up lines of communication and five that you really, really, really just should not mention on the first date.


Let’s Get This Party Started – Top 5 First Date Conversation Starters

  1. Are you from around here or did you move here?
  2. What was your favorite subject at school?
  3. How did you get into your career?
  4. If you had unlimited funds, what would you do on holiday?
  5. Do you choose dark chocolate, dairy milk or white chocolate?

This Thing is Shutting Down – Top 5 First Date Conversation Stallers

  1. Religion
  2. Babies
  3. Marriage
  4. Genes
  5. Crazy talk


Here at Free and Single, we know that while the first part of a relationship is fun, nerve-wracking and exciting, as you mellow past the first year or so you can start to grow complacent. You might start taking your partner for granted or under appreciating them just a little bit.


It doesn’t have to be that way!


The moment you realise you are guilty of not sharing a kiss with your partner on your way out the door in the morning, or that you haven’t told your partner something nice in the last 24 hrs is the moment you switch on your PC, flick back to this (book marked!) blog post and start reading for tips of how to reignite the flame!


Free and Single’s Top ‘Date Night’ Tips for Couples


 1. Organise time to spend with each other

It doesn’t have to be fancy restaurants or swanky mini-break trips (although, don’t get me wrong, those are mighty fine ideas!) but just put aside some time each week where you will spend some one-on-one time together – no TV distractions, no wailing children, no work overtime and not a single break to check emails. Check out our ideas for great dates here.


2. Make an effort

Remember how you used to preen before a date, but now you just grab any old hoodie before you head out? I’m not saying rush out and buy a new wardrobe, but think about how good it feels to have your partner stop in their tracks and mouth ‘Wow!’ as they see you. Just sayin’. Want to know what we recommend for that first date feeling? Have a look here.


3. Think of something you know they like

You have a head-start on your first date self here – you already know exactly what floats your partner’s metaphorical boat! You can actually organise their most perfect date, simply because you already know what it is. From a picnic by the penguin enclosure at the zoo to bombing it down a mountain on bikes, there is no need to play it safe with the archtypal dinner-and-a-movie combo – unless that is what they really, really love.


What are your top tips for keeping the love as your relationship progresses? Do you have more tips on finding ‘The One’ and what happens in the Happily Ever After? Let us know in the comments!


Sometimes, the pressure of creating a great first impression creates something I’m going to call ‘Dater’s Block’. You know that you have some great dates in you, but you just cannot actually get them together. You don’t know where to start and then all your creativity abandons you and you are left taking you date to another dinner and a movie evening. Oh, the originality.


Free and Single to the rescue! We’ve had a think and come up with five brilliant ideas for first dates right up to date nights when you are already in a relationship. Let us know what you think and tell us any more date ideas you’ve had in the comments!


5 Great Date Ideas for our Free and Single Online Daters!


  1. Visit a big Zoo and make a day trip of it – you’ll be walking around together, with a constant stream of new conversation starters should you be worried about what to talk about and no-one can fail to be entertained by penguins, intrigued by reptiles and adoring of the monkeys antics.
  2. Why not hire a cool car (I’m thinking drop top if its sunny and monster 4×4 if its been raining) and go for a drive to a good pub for lunch? Feel the wind in your hair and pretend you’re both 40s movie stars or else bang on your wellies and go for a spin on a muddy cross country track.
  3. Try a treasure hunt. Decide on an end location (we like the sound of a boutique coffee bar or maybe an exhibition your date has expressed an interest in) and leave behind clues for your date to work out where they should meet you.
  4. Get down to your local leisure centre (stay with me here, I know it is not the usual location for a date!) and hire a table tennis table. Start a mini tournament between yourself and your date, add in prizes and forfeits and have a good old giggle at each others cross serves.
  5. Join an outdoor tai chi class in a big public park and keep a straight face. Help each other out and take the opportunity to learn something new and chill out. Afterward, you can go for a virtuous lunch at a salad bar or hike over to a doughnut shop and mainline a sugar glazed triple chocolate filled deep fried delight.


Have fun on your dates! Let us know how they went in the comments!

You took the quiz; Are you Ready to Start Internet Dating? You ventured onto Free and Single and now…You have a date!


You have sorted the time, the location, the activity. You’ve thought how you’ll get there and back and you’ve told someone you know where you are going to be to stay safe while dating.


Whether you are a skinny minny, a vivacious babe, a rake of a man or a cuddly dude you deserve to look and feel fabulous on your first date (and all the dates after that, but concentrate on the first one for a moment, please).


Girls; play to your assets!

  1. Try to wear something you are comfy in – its tempting to go all out glamazon, but if you are a jeans and tee type of gal, it will really show that you are not feeling the dress and heels combo. You want your date to fall for you after all, not the ‘wheels and doll, baby’ version of yourself, so dress for comfort.
  2. Choose a part of your body you love and that you don’t mind showing off (so long as it’s socially acceptable!) Flaunt that part of your body and keep the rest under wraps. A good rule of thumb is legs or cleavage, not both at once.
  3. Best all-rounder outfit? (Seriously, works on anyone). Grab a wrap dress.  If you have a teeny tiny waist it will cinch it in. If you have fantastic boobs it will make a ladylike feature of them. Great legs? Slip on your favourite going-out shoes and bada-boom!

Boys; get smart!

  1. This is a first date, fellas. Even if you plan on taking her to an army boot camp complete with mud obstacle course, dress nice for the first impression and bring a change of clothes for the rope wall climbing. Then you can change back into your on-the-town outfit and take her out to dinner after you’re done crawling under chicken wire.
  2. Unless you’re planning on a full-on fancy, super smart date, go smart-casual. Don’t worry, no one in the world knows what smart-casual actually means. Approximate knowledge by keeping your shoes, watch and jacket smart, adding dark (clean) straight cut jeans with no rips in them and a plain tee shirt or polo shirt. Sorted.
  3. If you turn up looking like you made an effort and with a distracting bouquet of flowers, bottle of wine, or other knick knack, you’ll pretty much be set on a straight path to Good Impression. Throw in a compliment (about her) and some gentlemanly behaviour (open the door for her) and you score big points on the first date scale.


Now you know what to wear, it’s just a question of checking out our guide of 10 Things to Remember on your First Date for some pre-date nerve busting (if you’re really shaking, make a martini). If you’re looking for more last-minute  tips and tricks before you head out of the door, why not look in on our list of 20 Top Tips for Meeting your Internet Date for the First Time.


Good Luck! (Let us know how it goes in the comments – your story could feature right here in this very blog!)