06/08/2014 09:09 BST | Updated 05/10/2014 06:59 BST

5 Phases of Dating

I've been single for two and a half years now and during that time I've found it relatively easy to talk (and write) about dating. As harsh as it sounds, I haven't really cared too much about anyone in that time (although there were 2 notable exceptions) and so when feelings aren't involved it's easier to be nonchalant about dating.

However, I've realised that there are five definite distinct phases of dating:

Phase 1: "I'm never going to date again. Ever."

Post break-up I didn't date for five months, which I think is perfectly normal. However, I do hear stories of men dating a lot sooner post break-up but maybe that's because they find it harder being on their own? (#controversial) I just couldn't face the idea of dating ever again and we all need time to heal - it just takes some people a lot longer.

Phase 2: "Would anyone ever want to date me again?"

My first foray into dating post break-up was scary. I mean really scary. I'd been with my ex for ten years and was pretty messed up by the end of it ... I couldn't imagine anyone wanting me, let alone me trusting anyone again. But I bit the proverbial bullet and joined a free dating site and tentatively began to date. They were all (a lot) younger than me and in hindsight I think it was because there was no chance of me ever having a 'real' relationship with these men. It was safe. It was fun!

Phase 3: "I wonder if I'm ready for a boyfriend?"

I've asked myself this question on and off throughout the past two and a half years and up until the last few months, I wasn't sure of the answer. I've liked the 'idea' of being in a relationship again because I have always thought of myself as a long term relationship kinda woman, but any time I even entertained the thought of it, either the man turned out to be a douche or I panicked. I definitely wasn't ready for a relationship.

Phase 4: "I'm ready for love again."

This is a recent phenomenon and one that I don't quite know what to do with. My heart has healed as much as I think it will and I like who I am again ... enough to want to share my life with someone. But how do you go about finding 'that special someone'? Timing has never been my forte ... and I always end up wondering if I'm just destined to be single for the rest of my life.

Phase 5: "What will be, will be."

The philosophical me has come to the conclusion that there's no point forcing anything. I've met a few great men but the relationships haven't worked out for one reason or another and I'm not one to force things.

I truly believe if it's meant to be ... it'll work out. Or not!