17/01/2016 04:43 GMT | Updated 16/01/2017 05:12 GMT

To Every Woman Fed Up With Dating and Wondering Whether They Will Ever Find Love

You may well be questioning the reliability of advice from a woman who has chosen to sift through old diaries and write a blog about dating on a Saturday night, when she should be out and living it large.

But hear me out.

Before I get into it, I should add that I am widowed. However, unless I set up my own nunnery, the prospect of dating will arise at some point on the horizon.

One problem: the current singles scene seems to be as bog-awful as it was when I last left it, judging by the horrendous stories of my fellow single women.

Whether it's the guy who vomited in a restaurant and kicked it under the table, unsolicited penis pics (yeah, 'cos that's going to seal the deal when conversation doesn't) or ghosting - none of it sounds great.

For some of us wondering about biological clocks or who are just lonely, it's enough to make you think maybe you should settle for that guy who likes to pick his teeth and examine the findings, right?


I realise I have arrived at this wisdom the hard, brutal way, but having been in love and been loved by a pretty amazing man (and having just read my diary one year before I met him), I realise there is a lot I have unconsciously learned about self-esteem and being with the right guy.

In 2007, I wrote (possibly after a few wines):

"I wait for a love so big, it lives in every part of my life. Where the morning becomes a moment of quiet peace and entangled limbs; body upon body in a loving sprawl.

"I dream of a love that comes from a man who inspires me to be better without changing my bones, who I look at across a crowded room and think of the moment when we will be alone.

"I wait for the man who can see beyond my skin and really looks into me. He is out there, he has to be. Only a big love will make me lie still."

Despite my ambitions, however, I continued to date losers for another year, until I met my husband and realised that it wasn't a question of there being something wrong with me, I just hadn't met the right guy who could keep up.

Because when you meet a bozo - let's say, someone who doesn't return your texts or who asks another woman to join your date (this actually happened to me once) - it can be easy to think: 'what am I doing wrong?"

One friend even worried that her own success - she's beautiful and a brilliant career woman - was putting guys off.

My husband was great at advice, and although he isn't around, this is what I have learned from him and what I think he would say, minus the many expletives that would have normally accompanied it.

Do not dim your light. Any guy who is intimidated by your success is not worth having around. A good man encourages, champions and supports his woman to be the best she can be at what she loves doing.

If a guy really likes you, it is going to take much more than you acting like a loon on one of your dates to put him off.

Find a man who respects women. If he doesn't, he definitely won't respect you. It's like when people say: 'I'm not racist (insert racist quip here) - I have a black friend'.

Be funny, be bold, be as opinionated as you like. A real man likes a challenge, not someone who agrees to everything he says.

If a guy isn't replying to your messages, he isn't in Antarctica or a dungeon. He just isn't interested. This has nothing to do with the amazing, magnificent woman you are - the guy is clearly a donkey who doesn't know a good thing when he has it. He's not worth the WhatsApp.

You're not being fussy. Moving in with someone is a big deal. Spending your life with someone is a big deal. So you want to take your time finding the right person? That's wiser and better than your unhappily married friend who is now hassling you about being single, yet is stuck in a sexless relationship secretly weeping into their Walker's Prawn Cocktail Grab Bag.

Hipsters are wankers. The End.