An American friend introduced me to the ‘single and ready to mingle’ expression the other night and I thought it was perfect for where I’m at.

‘Mingle’ implies a light and playful approach. It also suggests dating a few people at the same time, which is something our friends across the Atlantic do so well. A coffee here, a drink there, juggling a few potential dates until it feels right to be “exclusive” (spoken in my best American accent).

Thanks to Internet sites and apps like Tinder, we Brits are becoming much more adept at multi-dating, which seems a lot healthier than the approach I took in my younger years – get drunk, snog someone and wake up in a relationship, wondering if I really wanted to be there.

But relationships can be light and fun. They can flow. It doesn’t have to feel like I’m swimming upstream. I can relax and let go. If it’s not fun, I can walk away.

So I’m single and ready to mingle again after a brief courtship came to an end. He was my third Tinder date and I liked him from the start but after two months, it became clear I wanted more than he could offer and we went our separate ways. Of course, I’ve wondered if I asked for too much too soon and put too much pressure on him, but I’ve learned a lot about myself.

I returned immediately to the dating scene, but I soon realised I needed time out. That time has been really helpful – I’m feeling very happy with my life, very aware of my patterns in relationships and ready to date again.

But what am I looking for and how can I go about finding it?

I decided to call in a bit of help. Elizabeth Sullivan is a love mentor who helps people find the relationship they want and make it work. I knew it would be good to speak to Elizabeth for my book – her clients include professional women who’ve spent years focusing on their careers – but could she help me on my dating journey?

From my session with Elizabeth, I was reminded that it was important for me to follow my heart and do the things I love – and perhaps I would meet someone I liked while I was out and about.

I guess the best thing about going to see Elizabeth was it suggested I was ready and willing to put time and effort into my love life. We spend money on professional coaches and hours perfecting our CVs but how much do we invest in finding a relationship?

I’ve always assumed love would just happen but I’m realising I need to put time into creating a good online dating profile as well as make sure I’m out and about meeting new people and doing the things I love.

The other great thing about seeing Elizabeth was being able to take a break from my hectic schedule and relax in an incredibly comfortable chair as she spoke to me in soothing tones about the relationship I deserved and the ways I could meet like-minded men.

Hypnotherapy is one of a number of tools Elizabeth uses with her clients and while I struggled to switch off my thoughts, I’m hoping some of the positive messages she spoke to me as I closed my eyes took root in my mind.

From my session with Elizabeth, I was reminded that it was important for me to follow my heart and do the things I love – and perhaps I would meet someone I liked while I was out and about.

I also understood that I was looking for someone to have fun with, first and foremost. Much of my life has been about strife, struggle and hard work. I think I believed my relationships had to be like that too.

But relationships can be light and fun. They can flow. It doesn’t have to feel like I’m swimming upstream. I can relax and let go. If it’s not fun, I can walk away. If it is, I can walk on with him. So I’m back on Tinder and a few other sites, I’m booking trips and activities I love and I’m open to whoever comes my way.

Just a day or two after deciding to date again, I met a cute guy in a Brazilian club – Brazil had just beaten Colombia in the World Cup and the party had started. Our encounter went no further than a few dances, a bit of chat and me dodging his persistent attempts to kiss. I used to snog total strangers when drunk but doing so when sober seemed rather odd (is that just me?).

But the experience was a lot of fun – and it was a very good place to start.

Katherine Baldwin
About the author

Katherine Baldwin is our Maybe No Baby Blogger. She is a writer, storyteller, coach and speaker. As a coach, Katherine specialises in helping professional women navigate the world of dating and relationships and fall in love. She also helps men and women follow their passion and transition into more wholehearted, fulfilling lives. Katherine is writing a book about her journey from 40 to 45, a period during which she came to terms with being 40, single and childless, overcame her fear of commitment and her perfectionism and learned to fall in love. You can find out more about her work at katherinebaldwin.com, read her blog at fromfortywithlove.com and follow her on Twitter @From40WithLove

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