By Lindsley Lowell

Just because Valentine’s Day is over doesn’t mean single women can breathe a sigh of relief.  Talk of spring romance is just around the corner, and many single women are still not feeling the love.  For them, Valentine’s Day was more like Valencrime’s Day.  It’s hard for women, especially those over 35, to believe that there’s true love out there for them.  When friends and family tell you that you’re too picky, thereby implying that you should settle, remember to close your ears.  Instead, listen to what your heart is telling you.  The fact is, your close ones don’t have to live with the guy … you do.

Love is an easy concept in theory, but when you have been on many a horrific date and feel like the only men you are meeting are dingalings, the thought of a knight in shining armor in your future remains looking like a fairy tale.  Most of the guys out there are far from Princely and are not nearly so charming.

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But if you give up on love, that’s a sad, sad day.  I, personally, feel like it took me 753 years to find my knight, but in the end, it was worth it.  I suffered through some heartbreak and plenty of gruesome dates, but I also had some good experiences as well.  Had I stayed with one of my ex-boyfriends, I would surely be divorced or unhappy right now.  You have to put yourself out there!  You have to meet true love halfway.

Even though dating can be frustrating, you can learn a lot from your dates … even the bad ones.  Here’s what I learned:

Crappy Dates

I have too many bad dates to mention.  One prime example is the guy who looked cute in his online photos, but then showed up wearing a beret and Mr. Magoo glasses.  He spent the hour having a conversation with my high heels.  He hadn’t mentioned his foot fetish in his profile!  Or, there’s the time I was set up with a French dude who seemed great when I met him at a party, until he called to make a date and informed me that he could not take me to dinner because he had no job and no money, so if I liked, we could “go for a walk.”  Needless to say, I told him to take a walk right out of my life.  Better yet, there’s the guy I met on Match.com who kindly paid for our first date (a drink and some sushi), and then the following week demanded that I pay him $21.43 for half the date because I declined a second date.  He stalked me until I had to report him.  Needless to say, crappy dates are hard.  But, they also tell you what kind of guy you don’t want.

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Nice Dates

These are pleasant … and that’s it.  You can compare it to a brown paper bag and white toast; they’re useful, but boring as hell.  The guy is nice.  He has a nice job.  He looks nice.  Unfortunately, there’s no spark, so he may as well be a gay guy or your cousin.  The bottom line is, if your knees aren’t weak, your heart’s not fluttering and you’re not all hot and bothered, this will not be your knight.  True love requires passion and chemistry.

Woohoo! Dates

These types of dates are fireworks, the brass ring or the Holy Grail.  Unfortunately, they do not come around that often.  When they do, it’s euphoric, and he could indeed be your knight if this happens.  People often say “You just know” when you meet “the one,” and I agree.  It was fireworks on my first date with my now husband.  As long as the guy feels the same way, you’re all set.  Congratulations.  If the guy turns out to be emotionally unavailable, or just not feeling the fireworks, you need to let it go.  And even if the woohoo date doesn’t end up being your knight, these dates remind you that it is possible to have someone treat you well, like you should be treated.  DON’T forget this feeling.  This is what will bring you to your knight!

Lindsley Lowell is a former career dater, honorary love doctor for all of her friends, and writer.  While dating in a sea of mediocrity for what seemed like 742 years, Lindsley was forced to put pen to paper for cathartic purposes and document the hilarious, tragic, and heartfelt stories.  Her new book MY KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR IS COMING…HE’S JUST STUCK IN TRAFFIC is a beacon of hope for all the single women out there who are told by society, friends and family to throw in the towel and settle.  In 2011, she founded www.Ladiesinthepink.com – a site for women to share, inspire, create and laugh.  She lives in California with her knight in shining armor and her dog Miss Winnie.