I was chatting this morning about the dating game after 40, the perils of Internet dating and just where do you meet the man of your dreams? I suddenly recalled a long-forgotten conversation with a doyenne of dating – a woman who ran one of those highly expensive introduction agencies that cost thousands to join. Unable to afford her services, I took advantage of the ‘have an hour of my time for £150’ offer, which gave me access to her wisdom, though not her database.
Her advice was to advertise in a ‘quality’ newspaper but if I wanted to ‘get a man’ then NEVER, EVER to mention my love of horses. ‘Men’, she told me, ‘do not want a woman who has horses. They think they will love the horse more than they love them. Horses are a no-go!’.
Now this posed me with a dilemma. Not only did I own two horses, I was lucky enough to have them living literally right outside my cottage and I had a large, if slightly ancient, horsebox parked right by my front door. Can’t invite him back to my place then! To make matters worse, I had just had my first book of horsy humour published and had a business coaching horse riders. So I would have to pretend that this ‘Tina Bettison’ he had googled was someone else entirely who amazingly looked exactly like me!
But the thing that really didn’t sit right at all was this. I would be starting out at the very beginning of any potential relationship with a lie. Now call me fussy and perhaps a bit moralistic, but I don’t think that is a great basis for a relationship. If a bloke did that to me, you would not see me for dust.
So what is a girl to do? Well I wrote two more books of horsy humour so that definitely nailed the coffin firmly shut on men who weren’t keen on horsy women. I did not put the ad in the ‘quality newspaper’. I carried on being single and wondering how to meet ‘my man’.
And then I decided to do something radical. New Years Eve 2008 I wrote a list. A long, long list of all the attributes I wanted in a partner and yes, a shared love of horses was definitely on that list, as was shared values and beliefs.I was determined that he would arrive in 2009, though I had no idea when or how I would meet him.
Paul arrived on April 28th 2009, at a conference we both attended. He ticked off every item on that long, long list. The first time he visited me I took him to meet the horses and involved him in the daily ritual of poo-picking the field. He fell as much in love with them as he did with me. As I write, he’s gone to feed them in the rain so I can finish this post.
So my advice: if you want to ‘get your man’, be honest; be brutally honest with yourself and write that list. Then when he turns up, not only will you recognise him but you can be brutally honest with him too. Which in my experience makes a very solid foundation for a good relationship. Perhaps I should mail this advice to that doyenne of dating!
Tina Bettison is a writer, author and talk show host. She has written four books of horsy humour: 100 Ways for a Horse to Train its Human, 100 Ways to Live with a Horse Addict, 100 Ways a Horse is Better than a Man (written before she met her lovely partner!) and Bombproof Your Human: A Horse’s Guide to Teaching Confident Riding. She is currently writing‘Seasons of My Self’ (an exploration of women’s rhythms and cycles of identity) and ‘The Angel, The Starfish and the Camouflage Bra’ – a book about finding your own voice and telling your story. Tina posts her thought for the week The Monday Moment on her blog and also hosts an online radio show ‘Your Voice’ which is broadcast from her website.
Buy the books: http://www.tinabettison.com/horsy-stuff/
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