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Early on, I made the decision that if I was going to end up alone that I would want to be at peace with that. Yes, I’m talking about the whole finding happiness within bullshit — except I don’t think it’s bullshit.Just trust that my personal experiences have lead me to this conclusion, and not some sappy line in a self-help book.

Don’t even think about posting a dating advert without a photo. You meet, and the blood drains from their face as they realise that your photo was taken 10 years, five stone and 500 wrinkles ago. You don’t have to write someone an epic love letter (please don’t) – just pick out a couple of appealing points in their ad and write a quick intro email. Some rookies assume that they must answer every email, even if it’s “thanks, but no thanks”. “Thanks but no thanks” can feel more hurtful than no reply.A picture-less ad says: “I am so ugly I didn’t want to risk a photo,” “I am married,” or “I am on the run from Broadmoor.” Everyone who likes your main photo will want to see more. Whether you’re a man or a woman, a photo with your shirt off makes you look desperate and/or only interested in sex. This is a cruel fact of life for online dating beginners, especially men. Likewise, you won’t “keep them keen” by making them wait days for a reply. Don’t allow an email conversation to drag on for weeks without a date.Not because they can’t get enough of you, but because a single photo is not a reliable indicator of what you look like. Use photos and emails for spotting potential, but don’t start fancying the pants off a two-dimensional image. More men than women advertise on most dating sites, so the girls get the pick of the bunch. Read the profiles that get most views, and pick up tips from them. You may think you’re “connecting”, but you can’t judge chemistry unless you meet up.I would rather be alone than settle for anything less. When you know what you want, you don’t confuse lust, attraction, boredom, the need for attention and excitement (all powerful feelings) with love and compatibility.I don’t want to argue with those who think I should be more flexible. I have good friends who are serial daters and are never single for a second, and yet they are no closer to finding the relationship they truly seek. I don’t have the patience to waste my time in something my gut knows will not work. That being said, it doesn’t mean I haven’t allowed myself to spend time in situations driven by those other emotions.

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