Where do I start? Dating post divorce

Tamsin speaks to Susan Leigh about starting to date again. When is the time right? Where do you start? How does internet dating work?

Susan Leigh A.C.H.Qual, M.N.C.H.(Acc), M.S.M.S.(Acc), H.A.Reg

Susan qualified with the Academy of Curative Hypnotherapy, holds the Counselling Advanced Level 4 Diploma, is an accredited member of the Stress Management Society, Member of the Hypnotherapy Association and a Member of the National Council for Hypnotherapy (Accredited). She is registered with the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) and is a member of the College of Medicine.

She is a highly respected Altrincham, Cheshire, South Manchester based counsellor and hypnotherapist and a regular contributor to national and local BBC radio. She has appeared on BBC1 TV and is a highly regarded hypnotherapy trainer and presenter.

She hosts her own twice weekly afternoon chat show on Trafford Sound radio, available online or via the Tunein App. She writes and contributes regularly to local, national and international websites and publications and has published 3 books - her first in Autumn 2012, ‘Dealing With Death, Coping With the Pain’. Since then she's written two further books, Dealing with Stress, Managing its Impact and 101 Days of Inspiration #tipoftheday available from Amazon or this website. Susan has been helping individuals and businesses since 1988 when she set up Lifestyle Therapy counselling, hypnotherapy, relationship counselling and stress management with her husband in Altrincham, Cheshire, South Manchester.

You can contact Susan at lifestyletherapy@outlook.com or visit her website at www.lifestyletherapy.net.

Tamsin is a Chartered Financial Planner with over 20 years experience. She works with couples and individuals who are at the end of a relationship and want agree how to divide their assets FAIRLY without a fight.

You can contact Tamsin at tamsin@smartdivorce.co.uk or arrange a free initial meeting using https://calendly.com/tamsin-caine/15min. She is also part of the team running Facebook group Separation, Divorce and Dissolution UK

Tamsin Caine MSc., FPFS
Chartered Financial Planner
Smart Divorce Ltd


P.S. I am the co-author of “My Divorce Handbook – It’s What You Do Next That Counts”, written by divorce specialists and lawyers writing about their area of expertise to help walk you through the divorce process. You can buy it by scanning the QR code…
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(The transcript has been created by an AI, apologies for any mistakes)

Tamsin Caine 0:06
Hello, and welcome to the Smart Divorce podcast. In series five, my guests will be helping you to come out of your divorce, dissolution, or big breakup and create a different you move forward with the things that you want to be able to achieve. And think about things differently. I really hope you enjoy this series. I'm your host, Tamsin Caine. And we'll be meeting some fabulous guests. I hope you enjoy them. If you do have any suggestions as to the guests that we could have on, then we'd be more than delighted to hear from you. I hope you enjoy.

Tamsin Caine 0:50
Morning. I'm so delighted today to be joined by our most popular guest on the podcast, my fabulous friend and co author, Susan Leigh, how you doing, Susan?

Susan Leigh 1:06
Great, thank you. Good to be joining you.

Tamsin Caine 1:09
I'm so pleased to talk to you again. Because I know that our chats are so popular on the podcast. And we've got a fantastic one today. Really interesting subject to talk about. So we're gonna crack straight on. If you want to talk get in touch with Susan afterwards. We'll give you her details at the end of the show. But we are talking dating. So crikey dating after divorce. It's it's an absolute minefield, isn't it?

Susan Leigh 1:42
I think a lot of people seem to measure themselves their worth in terms of their relationship status. So you have an awful lot of people who I work with an awful lot of people who are very concerned about if they're going to date again, are they going to meet somebody nice? Are they going to repeat patterns will it last, it's not uncommon for people to judge themselves, their worth the value in terms of whether or not they're in a relationship or whether they're not whether or not they're accessible to a relationship. And so, to me, that's the very first hurdle. Because if I only feel good, when I'm partnered, where is my own inner sense of value, and often you can, you can discover this for yourself by saying, by asking yourself, Who is the most important person in my life. And I think for a lot of people, I don't understand it. For a lot of people, it might be the children, particularly if the children are young. And I get that that's kind of separate entity. But you often find even, even the regular ones of us whose kids are perhaps older, or we haven't got children or they're not any issue for us, even then they'll be looking around for other people to put in the list before them. And I think when we are when we've been through a breakup of a relationship, you have that whole terrible sort of breaking down of everything about yourself about your status, about your lifestyle, so much struggles, probably for a long time, people can trundle along in negative relationships for years. And gradually their confidence goes, their sense of worth goes that posit the posture goes that outlook on life goes. And we need, in my opinion, to take some time when a relationships break down. So I think grieve, and look those wounds because it has often been a very slow burn of erosion of everything around us. And also there's an awful lot of stuff to sort out too when we break up a relationship.

Tamsin Caine 3:53
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely agree with everything that you've said that I think it's it is getting back that sense of who you are, isn't it and and there's a sense of trust that's that's been broken down in that that's that sort of central trusted relationship, isn't it? Especially if you weren't the one who made that decision? It's very difficult to get back out again. So I suppose the first thing to do would be to think about how do we know when we're actually ready to start looking for a new relationship?

Susan Leigh 4:32
I think I mean, for me, it would be when it doesn't matter anymore. Because when we are I mean I again I know people who almost have to line up their next person before they finish with this one. And so it's almost like I think it was Harold Pinter who said when you when you marry a mistress, you create a job vacancy. And I think a lot of people he always I'd like to have his one in tow, you know, but but I think for for most people, it is often missing out that essential bit in the middle, where we do, lick our wounds grieve, have a bit of time to discover who you are. But discover what you like discover how you function on your own discover what you want to do with your life. Because often if we are in a relationship we're following perhaps, and rightly so, you know, we're following the the requirements of the relationship, we're doing things together, we're building a home together, we're sharing expenditure, we're thinking about holidays together, how our future aspirations might impact on our life. So all those things that have perhaps been toning down, perhaps what we want to do, and I think, when you're back on your own and single again, and it might be age, since you've been in that position, it's good to take stock first, and think, Okay, what do I want to do in my life? Am I happy in the job? I mean, I may need to work to earn money, but actually, what would I really like to do? What am I interests? Where are my friends, like, I lost a lot of my friends, because I'm now single, and rebuilding some identity and some sense of who you are. And to meet that is, then the time when you can start thinking about if you're going to join a dating site, if you're going to join social groups, if you're going to start joining classes, where you perhaps meet people, to my mind, that's when you are in a better place as good a place as you can be to start thinking about dating again. And that doesn't always mean somebody's going to rock up and say, Hey, honey, but it can be a time when you are then feeling ready and able to spot the cues, follow them through and enjoy the whole process of dating.

Tamsin Caine 6:49
Yeah, no, I think that's really good advice. I think you said about you talked a bit there about, about finding yourself and about rediscovering who you are. And if you've been in that position, where you've kind of gone from somebody's son or daughter, somebody's girlfriend have done gone on to be the next person's girlfriend and the next person and then you know, and it's been that thing you might you know, you it could have been, even without long marriage, it still could have been 30/40 years, since I've not actually looking inside yourself and understanding who you are. So how, how do we even start to rediscover who have not even rediscovered but maybe discover for the first time who we actually are and what we what we want from our lives? Where do we go with that?

Susan Leigh 7:43
I think some people you're right can be quite numb, because they have just drifted with the flow of what whether life has led and to some extent that's okay. And if we have children, that is often the way we cope and the way we function. But if we find ourselves single that to my mind, one of the biggest is saying yes, the saying yes more often saying yes to yourself saying yes to opportunities, and going out and exploring. So you know, you might somebody might say to you do you feel like coming along and template joining us with 10 pin bowling or there's a walking group or there's a you know, there's an opportunity to join a night school class or something where you get out and you go along and see what appeals and sometimes saying no, to saying yes to things that you're not really quite sure about, can actually lead to interesting opportunities. So to my mind, it's about being receptive, it's about joining the world, again, you may find you're having to get a job now, because your financial situation has changed, you may find it more time on your hands, because you're not with your children as much. So that can be an awful lot of changes that impact on you that weren't necessarily anticipated. But were utilising the time you do have to, to get out and about and start enjoying participating, finding out what's happening locally asking other people to join in, if you're working or neighbours or whatever it might be, but you know, really starting to reinvent yourself. And that is the way to discover what you do like. And actually that's only a replication of what you probably did as a kiddie where you started doing things and going to all classes or tennis classes or drama or whatever it might be doing all those different things and finding what you liked and what you didn't like, but that is the best way to start doing those things. And by saying yes to invitations and opportunities, you actually get out and circulate. And actually for a lot of people a huge part of doing that is practising your conversational skills, because for many of us, we've perhaps that had a proper conversation. We've been cocooned what you know with a kid the pair or just with the kids at school or our co workers or a partner. And we have perhaps limited or very familiar, conversational exchanges. But by going out and having to start from scratch, which initially might be oh my goodness me, but having to, you know, be keep up to date with popular television, keep up to date with local news, keep up to date with what's happening in the area in terms of social things, having opinions on those things. All that can be a lost art that yeah, start reintroducing and reclaiming and actually discover how much money you can have doing those things.

Tamsin Caine 10:36
Yeah, absolutely. And I guess, the more that you explore the things that you like, and enjoy doing, you know, you may not, you know, there's no guarantees of any of these things. But I guess there may not be a need for even a dating site, because you're doing the things that you enjoy doing. You may well meet somebody who likes doing the same sorts of things, did you I guess,

Susan Leigh 10:59
Precisely, precisely, you're meeting people who have those interests, or are prepared to go along with those things. And you're starting with a common point of interest, which is quite nice. And, and actually, it might start out as a sort of friendship. Or if you're doing a walking group, you're walking on chatting with somebody, and you might fight you might like them, or you may not like them, or you may think they're okay, and if you keep going back. And that's always been my thing, keep going back at the same time, keep going to the gym at the same time, go to that regular class, go to the supermarket, even though at the same time, or what gets out on the park at the same time. And gradually that nod Hi, you know, and sharing nondescript comments, but can gradually evolve perhaps it and it might be some of the same sex it you might end up with a friendship with somebody who you get on well with them. And that in itself is a is a worthwhile achievement from going to places regularly. Keeping that smile available to us a free you can give them away, it doesn't cost you anything. I actually enjoyed doing that. And circulating and building your own confidence in yourself. Because even going to the supermarket, you'll find initially could be a chore. And yet if you just make that a bit of effort, and you have a shave, or you put a bit of lipstick on or whatever it is you do, and you go out and be reasonably nice and and you lift your head up and you're looking around and smiling and being receptive. All these things really are an investment in yourself feeling good, but also in the possibility of having relationships and certainly coming away feeling better about yourself.

Tamsin Caine 12:37
Yeah, you so right. There's something about kind of standing tall. That kind of, they'll be some physiological biological stuff that I know nothing about. But I'm sure it releases some sort of some hormones into your body. Just that feeling of kind of pulling yourself up breathing deeply. Canis myelin, you know, I'm sure. I can't even remember what hormone is, but I'm sure the the whole thing about smiling actually releases hormones into your brain.

Susan Leigh 13:07
It's a whole endorphin lift and the dopamine. Exactly, absolutely. Because, you know, if you're feeling downcast and depressed, the whole theology, you know, you're not really looking up, you've got your head down, yeah, you're introverted, you're feeling detached from the world at large, Don't come near me. And buy something simple that I will say to clients, you know, look up, look up. And see. And also the sole thing about feeling low and flat is it is a very self absorbed approach. Because you're not really paying attention to other things. It is very much a Me, me me experience. So being receptive and are looking out and being available, is less about the Me, me, me and more about the world and engaging and being available. And all those things which we can forget about if we have been battered over a very slow decomposition of our relationship and a breakdown and perhaps lots of abuse and insults and negativities come our way, and the hassle and the stress of it all and the constant battles perhaps that we've been going through all that can be very wearing and so starting to emerge out of that and liberate yourself a bit is a really positive step to take.

Tamsin Caine 14:25
Yeah, no, I really like that. I never thought oddly, I'd never thought about this before. But when you look at somebody's body, who is feeling downtrodden, and you call the inward looking, and actually when I looked at your body position, when you were reflecting what an inward looking person is, they actually their head is looking in towards their body, their body can curls in on itself. So it's almost How are you going to say your most veto? Yeah, absolutely. And it's, it's funny how that how that kind of reflects outwardly because, you know, nobody's got In a common talk to somebody who's looking in, because they look like they're not open to and receptive to even conversation, to even a hi, how are you kind of, you know, when you walk in past somebody in the morning, and I think you're absolutely right that this has got to be the starting point, the starting point is not getting on Bumble, or Tinder or all these terrifying dating sites. No, the start of getting yourself out there is literally just get yourself out of the house and doing some things that perhaps you've never done before that you think maybe you could enjoy. And even if you hate them, don't do them again. But don't say no for your child it

Susan Leigh 15:46
I think as well as being with this as well about friendships, too, because that can be something that impacts on us, because our friends may have divided loyalties. So we may find we lose for the people that we think are important to us. There may be divided loyalties, as I say, we may even be given advice. I mean, our friends may well mean well for us and give us fabulous advice and all the rest of it. But we have to be quite cautious, I think with advice, we have to work out whether those people have our interests at heart. Because often our friends may have and they may be completely unaware of it, they may have their own vested interest in keeping us close, or keeping us following the ideas that they think are right for us. And that we can include family in that too. But where, you know, we perhaps listen to that advice, allow those people to be supportive of us. But at the same time, take that step back sometimes, and we don't have to be abrasive or aggressive, we can just say that, I hear what you're saying that's fabulous, thank you, I'll have a think about it. And that can buy us a little bit of time to go away and, and see how we feel because sometimes we want to run ahead and do things. And other times, we might just want to sit up in the garden for a while and just stare out with our, with our tongue and out of our mouths and go and just be left you know when and that's the ups and downs of healing after a difficult breakup. So sometimes we have to just appreciate that. That's how it is for us right now. So you know, I'm a big fan of letting people help you and be supportive and there for you. But I'm also a big fan of saying, hang on a minute, I'm not just gonna follow the the track down the path or the track that you're suggesting. It's got to be for me, it's got to be right for me.

Tamsin Caine 17:40
Yeah, I think you're absolutely right, I think it is. It's it's taking on board what people say and letting them and sitting with them. Because their experiences. And we were talking about this in a totally different context, just before we press record, but everybody's experiences are completely different. Nobody's lived the same life that we have. And we've all experienced that in a different way we are, you know, we, you and me could be studying exactly the same room and experiencing something in a completely different way listening to a conversation in it have lunch differently with me than it'll land with you. And I think we've got to bear that in mind. When we're receiving advice, though. We're receiving it but we don't need to necessarily take it do it. You know, it is it's listening. And then seeing how it sits with us and seeing how it feels.

Susan Leigh 18:34
Not to get too stressed either. I think that's a difficult one sometimes. Because sometimes if people are spending time with us, we might almost feel obliged to do what they're suggesting. And because that's what the saying, you know, they know, we know, they care about us, they've taken time with us. But actually at the end of the day, there is often that need to to hold it back and just say yes, I really appreciate what you're saying what you're doing. But let me think about it. And maybe sometimes opening up and saying actually I'm feeling a bit pressurised. Sometimes just confessing that, and other people might go Oh, yeah, sorry. You know, I hear you. I'll step back a little bit. And if you're honest and you're upfront about it, most people will not take offence at you confessing that or saying that, you know.

Tamsin Caine 19:24
Yeah, absolutely. I think most people would appreciate on, you know, honesty, nice honesty. But yeah, no, I think you're absolutely right and working on. You know, working on friendships can give you an insight on into yourself before you've necessarily feel ready to kind of necessarily put yourself out there. I mean, I don't know people who've kind of gone right summer months down the line. Now we've would definitely split up I'll get myself out there and start start going on the online dating dating sites and I really quickly realised that it's actually hang on a minute. This is too, this feels too soon. I'm not, I'm not prepared. And I'm not ready for this at this stage. And I think I think you're spot on when you said,

Susan Leigh 20:14
those relationships are called rebounds. You know, one time, that was a fairly common phrase that the first serious ish relationship after a breakup was a rebound, which is the thought going in and out, you know, and, and the rebound is where you're taken all that love, and affection and emotion and goodwill and desire to be loved, and lovable, and cozied. Up and all the rest of you taking all that seeing the first available person and dumping it all on them, and then going, Oh, they weren't what I thought they weren't what I expected. You know, I thought they were like this, I thought they were like that. And actually what that is called in therapy, speakers of transference. Because what we're taking is that whole template of what we wanted and what we were available to offer, and how good we are and how loving we are, and what nice person we're taking all that and that exactly how it looks for us, and we're passing it on to that person, and then investing in that relationship. And then as the real other person emerges, and we got crikey, they're not like that at all. They're not like we thought I thought they were going to be like this. I thought it was going to be like that. And that's what a rebound does for you often.

Tamsin Caine 21:27
Yeah, I guess it's if you're kind of moving into that you've got to be have this awareness to begin with, that's where you are, you know that this is not necessarily a happier for after, because mentally you're not necessarily there whether you're in a position to deal with that, at that point, I'm not sure. But I suppose the the other thing to think about is, when and when to say I, when, when I was sort of, in my 20s probably dating before I got married, the people that I met, I met them in pubs and clubs. You know, I met them socially three friends. That was kind of how you, I guess through work, that was sort of how you met people wasn't it back? Back when you were 20? Something, you know, lots of us now in the seams more than ever, it might because my social circle, but it seems more of as a run in small businesses working in smaller teams. Maybe working from home a lot more certainly since COVID. And the world has changed in terms of how we go about meeting people, you don't go through the newspaper columns, looking at people's profiles anymore. You know, sure if anybody younger is listening to this, they'll think I'm absolutely ancient even suggesting it. But so what, you know, I'm 40 That's a 40 something. What where on earth do I start?

Susan Leigh 23:02
I think I think initially, it's a good idea to a sort of before perhaps in it, look at yourself, look at what you wanting, investment of time and effort, a lot of people will use a breakup as an opportunity to do an overhaul on themselves. So it might be time to refresh your wardrobe as best you can. It might be time to, I say to people sometimes go to a completely different hairdresser than you used to, because that person will see you differently than your usual regular hairdresser. See whether it's a barber or hairdresser. Do that. Because you might come away with a different look that you hadn't thought about before. Going to things like you know, regular walks, accepting invitations, feeling better about yourself, I think, you know, joining in with things that you might not have done before, and also not being desperate, there's not a it's not a very good luck to be desperate. So I think starting it is about perhaps practising your social skills becoming a bit more confident, maybe joining one of the free online sites and, and just having a few almost pen pal type exchanges where you're messaging for a while that you're getting to know each other. Yeah, you get new confidence about having an interaction with somebody else. And I think these are ways that we gradually start building our confidence up. And we start also reacquainting ourselves with what the dating world is like out there. Because for some people, you know, they discover quite rapidly that a lot of people on dating sites are literally just wanting a hookup which means a one night stand and sex is usually involved and you can come away feeling a bit used and abused either as a male or female in those situations so you know getting a bit used to what it's like out there what what is expected what's on offer, what you can kind of anticipate and may be happening. And just don't expect quick results straightaway. Because I think initially, depending on what your situation is, it can take a little while just to feel ready, and that you're not second guessing somebody or that you're not hoping for great things that perhaps are going to be a while before they come. So just taking your time with it and, and treating this as a bit of a new phase in your life, and the August apprenticeship. Like if you're having to start working again, or if you're having to start and building a new home again. And all these things are, there's a lot going on in your life when you fair fairly soon out of a breakup or a divorce. So, you know, it's about being gentle, appreciating that you're perhaps a little bit vulnerable, you're a little bit highly stronger stress. And just just saying, Okay, I don't need to do all this today, I don't need to do everything right now it doesn't, I've not got a date by Christmas, it doesn't matter, I'll just enjoy the view, I'll enjoy the journey, enjoy what brings my way and accept that sometimes you might make friends who are friends. And that might be perfectly good enough for the time being that might be perfectly lovely, where you just go out and enjoy and go out for a few drinks, or a few meals or a few walks or whatever it is, and find what you enjoy. And just do it a step at a time.

Tamsin Caine 26:21
Though I like that and less stress of having to worry about being naked as well. As pairs, you know, as as we get older, there are I read on Instagram, I think it was the other day one of the fabulous divorce coach that that I follow called Claire, Claire black. And she'd put I think it was clear, if I've missed quoted or I apologise. But there was a list of, of kind of must haves, you know, and I think as we get older, we kind of have this, whether it's a mental list, or whether it's actually written down this kind of things that we that are really important to us about the person that we're looking for. And they don't mean physical lab, I have to say, you know, I'm not saying they've got to have black hair and blue eyes and be nine foot three and whatever, but not not necessarily those things, but maybe the type of person they are their political beliefs, their religious beliefs, you know, whatever, these sorts of things. Is that important for us to have? Kind of, I don't suppose nail down but to have an idea of what we're looking for? Or should we be going into this just go into whatever comes my way, let's give it all ago,

Susan Leigh 27:47
I think I think whatever comes our way can be fun. And often, if we're too strict about what we want, do we want someone to be very strict about us? You know, we're not if we're not the perfect age, or the perfect local, the perfect body or the perfect lifestyle? Do we want to be rejected on those grounds. So sometimes being a little bit more fluid a little bit more flexible, you can end up meeting somebody who's really rather nice, and really rather special for you.

Tamsin Caine 28:12
So I agree with you in terms of, of not not completely judging people. But what I find really difficult with with in terms of let's we're just talking about online dating right now, is this whole swiping left and right things. Because if I think back to all of the people, this makes it sound awful, actually, if I think back of the people that I have fallen for, in my life that I've had relationships with, there's not there's not always been an immediate, you know, I don't think I fall in love at first sight. I don't think I've had that. It's more of a gradual thing as you get to know somebody's issue. Like you said earlier in the podcast, you know, you you keep going back at the same time in you, you slowly developing it may begin with the friendship and then maybe a spark of something more, but it starts as a friendship and you grow to like them and then become more attractive to you. Because of the personality that's built in. This is where it blows my mind when I'm looking, you know, when we're talking about online dating, because I'm making a judgement call on whether I want to have a deep conversation with somebody just from looking at their photograph.

Susan Leigh 29:33
Ie their photograph, which the well that's a whole 10 or 15 year old photograph as well. This is a problem isn't

Tamsin Caine 29:42
it? Just absolutely. So what why do we even start with this swiping left and swiping right and I think it's left for no one like for yes just in case anybody's never, ever done it. But yet what Where do we start if we want to be open to opportunities, but there needs to be some sort of chunking them down as to who you even want to have the conversation with.

Susan Leigh 30:13
I think I think this is a challenge, isn't it. And this is a whole different world of dating, which for many people works fabulously, you know, we were leaving busy lives that you were saying before, a lot of people are working different hours and working from home, they're perhaps not going out as much as they did. A lot of people work away from home. So they're not around, they're not available. They're here, they're in everywhere, they're exhausted, they're perhaps seeing their children two or three times a week. So they want to be available for them, they perhaps don't have as much disposable income, if they're running to homes or living on a on a budget. And, you know, we all know that cost of living and things like that, which is sky high at the minute too. So there's an awful lot of stuff that's getting in the way of, of us just being receptive and available. And online dating is a useful way of cutting through an awful lot of the challenges of going down to the local pub or whatever, and finding somebody single unavailable and discovering that there are available because the challenge with that is Are they married? Are they partnered, are they free? What are they getting? So each situation has its own pros and cons. But I think the whole thing about online dating, online dating is is I mean, it has, how keen you are, I knew somebody who treated finding a new partner as almost like a project. And so she had, but at some point in time, we I think she set aside a month and sometimes she was doing a couple of dates a day, just to trawl through the various people and meet them and have a chat and eventually worked out and she's happily ensconced living with somebody in the countryside, all love government. That's fabulous. But there are a lot of people, you kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince. And I think it is being cautious. And the thing is, once we get over 30, we've got to accept that we've been around the block a time or two, as have other people. And what we're getting may well be equally baggages, like we are. And so we have to accept that. Be steady, take it easy. Don't invest too much of yourself initially. You know, relax, have a bit of fun. But be wary, be cautious, because somebody might be a con man or woman, somebody might be just in it for a bit of fun, because they're still married or whatever it is. But to some extent, those things can happen offline, too. And it is about being careful about what you do and where you go, and who you meet and all the stuff that goes with that, you know,

Tamsin Caine 32:50
yeah, I think you're absolutely right. I think we sometimes forget that. With online dating, you do still get the same issues offline. It's just different, I think. And the whole thing you said about, you know, you need to kiss a lot of frogs. I absolutely one of my very good friends. I think she had 22 dates in one week. You know, she in certainly on on more than one day, she had breakfast, lunch and dinner with different with different people. And, you know, it is I think, to an extent are the people I know who've had successful online dating or now in successful online dating relationships, they have, you know, considered it to be another part time job. And it's taken that sort of additional level of hours to, to actually sort of commit to it, I suppose. So it is it is are you in a place where you, you, you want to go through that where you've got the time that you want to spend doing, you know, doing online dating to that extent, or

Susan Leigh 33:53
not a very romantic way to proceed as it I mean, you know, that you're not bumping into somebody, and there's not going to be the chemistry across the bar. And, you know, that little free song where you go up and you think, oh, you know, are they going to talk to me and do they want my number and all that kind of thing. But it is a different a very different approach. So I share something that I remember going to a it was a professional ladies dating site launched thing or dating club launch and all the women in the room it was it was a female only thing. So excuse me, guys, but all the women in the room were professional women, busy women, you know, it was primarily there are a lot of execs from the BBC. There'll be quite a lot of radio work with them. And I've been invited along to this launch and the woman running the group said, Okay, supposing you meet some pursuing everybody's heterosexual presuming you meet a guy, and he says, and you get on well, and you're looking at each other and I'm thinking, this might be this might be interesting, you know? And he says to you, oh, what why don't we Meet up for a drink? Or why don't we meet up for a get together sometime soon? And she asks a question how many women here would immediately reach in their bags and get the diaries of phone out to log in and see when they were available? How many? And we all went? Yeah. Because we knew as busy women, it would never happened if we didn't get our diary out and get something booked in, because we've got a lot going on in our lives. And she went, No, do not do that. What you should be saying is, yes, that would be lovely, thank you. Stop and leave it there. And the idea is that if you want a successful relationship to be built on a good basis, a good foundation, do not make yourself too available. Stand back a little bit, say, yeah, it would be lovely, thank you, and then leave it to him to follow that up and say, Okay, are you free? When would be good? You know, do you fancy next Tuesday, would you like this or whatever. But allow there to be some space for the other person to also be interested. And it was a summary lesson for me because I was thinking to oh, gosh, if they don't get it booked in now, it won't happen. Because a lot of us are, are busy. You know, we're running our own businesses, we're professional people, we might be working away from home, we might have only limited available time. And there is that temptation to be extremely available or enthusiasts stick and want to get things booked in. And I learned from that. And that's something I pass on a lot, because it is it is about being being also in a position where you allow the other person to make some steps towards you, too.

Tamsin Caine 36:36
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. No, I really like that. And before we finish, the I suppose the the one thing is that we that we really ought to touch on is safety considerations. So what it let's say, I'm going on a date on on Wednesday night, I'm going to meet somebody that that I've met, online dating or even Do you know what, even in a bar, but it's not somebody that I know very well? How do I protect myself? What should what sorts of things should I be should I be thinking about doing?

Susan Leigh 37:11
Is a good question, I think, a few a few things, I think, one is go in your own car, or into your own steam. Because that way, if you feel uneasy or unsure, you can leave if you want to, and you are independent, and it also means you're not going to drink as much, you know, it means you're going to be careful how much you actually drink in terms of alcohol. I think the second thing is to have your mobile phone with you. So you have that handy. The third thing is actually ask a friend to phone after about 4050 minutes. And that way that if you're not if you're feeling uncomfortable, or you want to make some headway and get out of a situation that you're feeling isn't quite going your way, you can then pretend that you've got an emergency at home, and you need to go. So first of all, your friend is checking up on you anyway to make sure you're okay. But secondly, you've got a justifiable way of going Oh, really, oh my goodness, me, I better leave right now, you've got the opportunity to do that. The fourth thing is to set a limit on the time, even if he gets an arm like a house on fire, and you think you're the person who feels the same way too. There's no guarantee that that's the case. So if it's a first date, it's useful to say right, I'll meet you for an hour, and then leave. And then if you both do like each other, and one of you is not being polite or courteous or whatever, then you can follow up and book another date after that. So I think you know, and I suppose also, to some extent, there's also maybe not leaving a drink on attended, there's that thing as well about, you know, because there's the spiking thing going on. And there's also the Rohypnol thing where perhaps people are putting additives to drink or you know, but some people are getting them injected in their bodies as well. But just being careful about how close you get and, and maybe keeping your drink nearby. So those sorts of things. And some people like to be even a little bit more security conscious. And maybe be mindful that they only give their mobile number out and no address so that people don't know too much where they live or have too much notion of where they can go and run into them again. So there's that sort of sense of just protecting yourself and practical things like that.

Tamsin Caine 39:28
Yeah, no, I think that's I think that's excellent advice. Susan, it's been wonderful. You know, I could talk to you all day long if I if I possibly could, and if our listeners could stomach it, but I think we'd probably best call it a day for today. I'm sure that that there'll be lots of people wanting to get in touch with you and I know this. This, among other things is an area of work that you're involved in. Would you just give us a brief overview of the types of work that you that you can help people with and how they I can get in touch with you if they're interested in speaking to you further.

Susan Leigh 40:04
Thank you. Well, I'm a counsellor and a Hypnotherapist. My website is lifestyle therapy.net. And I work a lot with stress, anxiety, confidence, self esteem, and all the ancillary things that go with that, like sleeping and relationship issues and repeating negative patterns of behaviour and how we feel about ourselves. Loads of information on my website, loads of articles that I've written, that are free to access. And I have written four books. The fourth one is in conjunction with somebody not too far away from me. But I've written books on stress and endings, my book on death is also including endings and recovering from, you know, the trauma of of a loss or an ending of your way of life or your health or whatever. So, yeah, that kind of thing. I'm happy for people to get in touch. I'm happy for people to use the website. That's what it's there for. And that's wonderful. Thank you.

Tamsin Caine 40:57
That's brilliant, thank you. And on a personal note, I can highly recommend working with Susan because I have personally and she was absolutely wonderful. So if you are thinking of contacting somebody for for help, she is definitely at the top of my little black book. So thank you for joining us, Susan, thank you for your inspirational words and your great advice as always, and thank you for joining us and we will speak to you again very soon. And I hope you enjoyed that episode of the Smart Divorce podcast. If you would like to get in touch please have a look in the show notes for our details or go onto the website www.smartdivorce.co.uk. Also, if you are listening on Apple podcasts are on Spotify and you wouldn't mind leaving us a lovely five star review. That would be fantastic. I know that lots of our listeners are finding this is incredibly helpful in their journey through separation divorce and dissolving a civil partnership. Also, if you would like some foot further support, we do have Facebook group now. It's called Separation divorce and dissolution UK. Please do go on to Facebook, search up the group and we'd be delighted to have you join us. The one thing I would say is do please answer their membership questions. Okay, have a great day and take care!

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