As the Chief Executive of Relate, the UK's leading relationship support organisation, I thought it might be apt to share a little of my own experience of how relationships can develop over time. Ian, my husband, announced on the eve of a long weekend that we should paint the kitchen. I felt my chest tighten and an acute sense of impending doom.
Since online dating made its way onto our computer screens in the early 90's, it's evolved from a stigmatised and sparkless process of dating deluded weirdos into a normalised and adventurous way to meet the love of your life. From its primitive beginnings, online dating has fallen into the whirlwind of emerging technologies.
I have to admit it - I was never really much of a feminist! If I'm being even more honest I spent most my twenties not really understanding the concept, nor even thinking about it for that matter. Like most flat chested high-pitched cocky young girls - I thought I had it ALL figured out, and when I needed advice I went to the people I could trust the most; my Mum and Grandma.
There's a wild misconception amongst women that we have to do something extreme to be noticed by men; be the most beautiful woman in the room or be insanely outgoing or nobody will ever know you're there. It's quite the contrary. Chances are that men are keen to approach you, but they're not sure you'd be interested
India is supposed to be the exotic land of love, yet for some reason love seems to now be a second hand emotion. This is despite the multi-million dollar Bollywood industry based on selling love, passion and perhaps a bit of sex. Both sexes are becoming practical- choosing their partners based on bank balances, job security, baby carrying capacity, suitability/compatibilities to families, similar castes and good genetics.
If you're a single woman, it's highly likely that the most annoying things you encounter on a daily basis aren't bad dates or jerks hitting on you while you're on the train. Rather, it's the 'wisdom' that your friends, family and strangers on the street love to dispense when the subject of your single-dom comes up.
Recently I read that there is a simple way to tell if someone is really 'into' us, and not surprisingly, in a material world full of material girls (and boys), it supposedly depends on how much money and how much commitment we are willing to put into that initial meeting or on that all important first date.
Being 'baby ready' is so much more than purchases and the inevitable pushing. You can make heartfelt attempts to sort your self out. You can do a whole lot of growing up. You can deal with your inner issues, your angers, your resentments, your bitterness, your issues with your parents, your addictions etc
In the last month three male friends have told me not to tag them on facebook. Faced with the prospect of deletion, and guilted by the new-found knowledge that I threaten a fragile relationship with their girlfriend, or their ex, it shines the spotlight on something utterly fascinating: facebook, the network that everybody loves to hate, presents us with a stellar opportunity for personal growth.