How to escape the phone zone

Thanks to the prevalence of online dating, it’s common to establish rapport with a love interest by chatting via text. Messaging back and forward can be a helpful tool to sound out what the other person is like. However, this can sometimes evolve into something single people need to be wary of – getting stuck in the phone zone. 

This stage is where you exchange a flurry of messages without making a move to meet in person. It’s a fairly common phenomenon, with more than half of daters having found themselves in the phone zone in the past three months. 

A purely on-screen relationship develops, leaving you confused about how to move things to into a face-to-face date. You may find you are enjoying the arrangement for now, loving the thrill of receiving yet another message and enjoyed textual chemistry without having to attach labels to the romance. The common pitfall can be that you develop an attraction and attachment over text, but are left disappointed when you meet, if the chemistry isn’t there in real life. Having great chemistry via text message does not necessarily mean you are bound to hit it off in real life. Unfortunately, sometimes conversations eventually fizzle to nothing despite all the energy you’ve invested in chatting back and forward. It can also be a drawback to feel like you know everything about a person before you meet, as it leaves little to be discovered on the first date. 

If you are fed up with being in a seemingly never-ending phone-based talking phase, and realise things won’t progress without human connection, it’s time to initiate a conversation about meeting up in person. If it turns out you are not on the same page about where you want to take things, then you can move on. It can be a red flag to encounter somebody who is reluctant to take things further as it could be a sign they are avoiding commitment, aren’t who they say they are or are unwilling to emotionally invest in anything more. Don’t get stuck in the situation where you are constantly giving them the benefit of the doubt – if you’ve encountered a string of excuses about how busy they are or been rebuffed in your attempts to schedule a low-stakes first date, then it’s time to move on. People will always make time for those they want to make time for.  

Many daters find a middle ground in suggesting virtual and video dates, which give you a better opportunity to see whether you hit it off though the screen before committing to an in-person date. This has become a good antidote to the cost of living, taking the pressure off committing to an expensive night of dinner and drinks with somebody you’ll end up not sharing a connection with. 

It can feel nerve-wracking to make the first move, but the other person may be just as daunted as you are about initiating a date. You could check their availability and see how they react or design an invite around something you’ve already been discussing, such as an activity you both enjoy. If the reaction isn’t what you were hoping for, don’t let it get you down – there’s plenty more people out there to chat to and hopefully connect with in person.  

Are you looking for love? Why not give the experts at Ignite Dating a call today. We work hard to find you the perfect partner, using our expert mix of personality profiling, experienced matchmakers, intuition, and our extensive private network. Get in touch today to find out more!


The best date ideas in Bath

Bath is a wonderfully romantic ancient spa city which is delightful to explore, boasting gorgeous honey-coloured architecture and natural thermal springs. The vibrant city boasts plenty of fun attractions and romantic dining spots to help you create a memorable first date. It’s also the perfect getaway for more established couples looking to spend quality time together with a relaxing mini break. Bridgerton fans can enjoy touring the various familiar filming locations dotted across the city. Whether you prefer serene activities, getting active, or trying something a bit different, we’ve rounded up the best date ideas to enjoy in the Bath area. 

Enjoy the thermal waters

Thermae Bath Spa offers a wonderfully tranquil experience right in the centre of the city. Fed by the natural thermal waters, the spa offers a range of packages including two-hour spa sessions which include access to the open-air rooftop pool with spectacular views across the skyline of Bath. The Roman Baths are also well worth a visit, even if you can’t get in the water itself! Check out thousands of archaeological finds from pre-Roman and Roman Britain and treat yourselves to an afternoon tea in the iconic pump room. Visiting soon? Add a romantic flourish to your visit by seeing the Great Bath torchlit during special summer late openings

Get out on the water 

Taking to the water on the River Avon offers another beautiful perspective on the city. What you choose to do is really up to you and your appetite for getting active – you can kayak, paddleboard, rent wooden boats or even a traditional punt. Grab a rental from Bath Boating Station, where you can picnic on their pretty lawn after you’ve worked up an appetite on the river.  

Luxury cinema 

In a more sedate mood? Then a romantic night at the Tivoli is for you. The cinema offers luxurious extra-wide sofas to snuggle up on, with small tables and a lantern so you can enjoy delicious drinks and food with your movie. 

Take a tour

If you are new to the area, or just want to experience a different side to the city, there are a range of walking tours to participate in. Try a range of food and drink tours of Bath, from the guilty pleasures culinary artisan tour to grazing local market stalls, you are sure to find something that suits. Or stick close to your date during a spooky ghost tour complete with grisly storytelling and audience participation, which is a great way to explore the city at night. 

You can also enjoy your own self-guided treasure hunt throughout the city, following a trail of clues and discovering how you work together as a team! There are even pub stops along the way to give you a rest and a chance to experience local historic taverns. If you’d rather relax and chat as you take in the beautiful sights, then join the City Sightseeing hop on, hop off bus routes.  

A date with a difference

Enjoy a romantic hot air balloon ride with spectacular views over the Somerset countryside and a bird’s eye view of the city. The flights depart from Royal Victoria Park and private tours are available for the ultimate romantic experience together. 

Enjoy fantastic food and drink

There are lots of lovely independent venues to enjoy some truly fantastic date nights together. Green Park Brasserie offers live music four nights of the week and a range of different dining experiences, including bottomless brunch, tasty Sunday lunches and delicious steaks. Sally Lunn’s is a historic restaurant offering famous Bath ‘bunns’ in one of the oldest houses in Bath. Wine lovers will be right at home at Corkage, an independent wine merchants offering tasty locally sourced food. Bath Brew House is the place to head if beer is more your tipple, a great venue complete with its own brewery. Circo Cellar Bar offers delicious drinks nestled away in a Georgian cellar with stylish décor.

Are you keen to hear more about the matchmaking process and how Ignite Dating can help you with your dating journey? Just give our expert team a call today and we’ll happily detail more about how our multiple award-winning service works!


What happens when you overshare on a date?

First dates are all about getting to know each other better, but what happens if you take it too far? Sometimes small talk is forgotten on dates when somebody starts dominating the conversation by talking about personal issues that are important to them. In other words, they are oversharing. You can find the conversation slides into deep and serious issues, or the other person seems intent in sharing their entire past relationship history with you. Oversharing can be problematic because it can easily make the wrong sort of impression. Date conversation can be a tricky line to tread, where on the one hand you’re trying to be authentic but without sharing so much personal information that you overwhelm the other person. So how do you judge what’s up for discussion and the deeper topics you should leave until you know this person much better?

It can take some effort to have boundaries with somebody you’ve just met, especially if you are an open person who likes to share in-depth thoughts and feelings with the important people in your life. However, there can be plenty of enjoyment in keeping topics light-hearted and fun, which is usually the safest course of action because you are sharing an evening with somebody who is ultimately a stranger. Otherwise, you risk things going awry as oversharing can ambush even the most promising first date.

While oversharing can be a result of nerves getting the better of you, this sort of behaviour can come across as self-centred because it appears the person is set on dominating the conversation. No matter the topic they’re discussing, it can be annoying if somebody isn’t allowing the conversation to naturally flow back and forth. It can also be a red flag if your date is intent on sharing details of their messy divorce, work woes or health issues, as it can show they have poor boundaries and are coming across as uninterested in the date and discovering more about you. You can risk disagreeing with somebody’s beliefs if you tackle the big topics too early, which can make you come across as critical.

Here are our top tips for dealing with the issue, whether you’ve found yourself oversharing on past dates or you come a chronic oversharer on a date:

  • Remember there is a time and a place for more meatier topics. Invest the time in those early dates to get to know somebody better and to judge whether you want to see them again. Once you’ve established a connection and have got to know each other better, that’s the time for discussing the bigger topics.
  • Deflect any attempts by your date to dig into your past by saying you are happy to share more once you had the chance to get to know them a bit better. You can also try and change the topic or interject with your own experiences if you feel they’ve been dominating the conversation for too long.
  • Make sure you stay firmly in the present. Discussing the past too much, especially concerning exes and failed relationships, makes it seem like you are hung up on past situations or haven’t properly moved on.
  • Try to recognise when you have been speaking for a few minutes and give your date a chance to chat by asking them a question.
  • Being too candid can get in the way of discovering more about your date. Remember, the aim is to learn more about them so you can decide if you want to move things forward to date two.
  • Consider whether your oversharing date is nervous. If you’re seeing plenty of romance potential with this person, it can be worth giving them the benefit of the doubt for now, as their anxiety might be fuelling their excessive talking.
  • Judge your date’s reaction. If they are not reciprocating or looking uncomfortable with what you’re discussing, then it’s time to change the topic.

Are you looking for love? Matchmaking is the perfect way to achieve an easy and stress-free search for love. Give our expert team a call today to see how we can help you!


Training is at the heart of our successful matchmaking process

Ignite Dating is thrilled to announce its Surrey matchmaker Sam Rowland-Jones has achieved certified matchmaker status from the Matchmaking Institute (MMI).

The Matchmaking Institute offers tailor-made accredited matchmaker certification courses with a network of graduates from all over the world. The courses are designed to help matchmakers run their businesses more effectively and hone their skills in offering clients’ successful introductions. The Matchmaking Institute is guided by a professional advisory committee who aim to raise standards and ensure a strict code of ethics in the matchmaking industry. 

Michelle Begy, Managing Director and Founder of Ignite Dating, said: “Here at Ignite Dating we have a commitment to a moral and ethical business, and we ensure our clients can trust they are working with the best. We operate a franchise model, and our franchisees complete an extensive in-house training schedule which includes this all-important global accreditation from the Matchmaking Institute. Working with a dedicated head office matching team, Ignite aim to deliver the best matches possible for their clients, helping them to achieve a successful lifetime partnership”.

She adds: “By investing in extensive training and mentorship we are ensuring that all our clients receive the same award-winning, customer-centric service wherever they are based in the world”.

Sam Rowland-Jones adds: “To be a successful matchmaker, you need plenty of empathy, strong emotional intelligence, and the intuition to be able to quickly judge if two people are going to work well together. It is a real privilege to be able to use these skills to grow a successful business while offering my clients a supportive dating journey that leaves them feeling energised and safe.”

As well as training, the Matchmaking Institute offers its graduates continued support through workshops and professional global conferences as well as opportunities to connect with peers in the industry.

Ignite Dating helps busy professionals across the UK find a life partner. We pride ourselves on the quality of our service and go above and beyond the industry standard. Every client has their very own dedicated matchmaker who works with them to offer guidance and support throughout their dating journey. For more information on Ignite Dating and its highly commended services, get in touch today!


Tips for dating when you are in your fifties

Searching for a partner in your fifties can be a great experience for a number of reasons. Many people grow more comfortable in their skin as they get older and have a better idea of what they are looking for in a partner. A recent survey found 60% of over-50 daters say they make better decisions about compatibility than when they were younger.

However, dating can present plenty of challenges if you’ve not been single for a long time, especially because the dating landscape has changed so much in the past decade. Even if you’ve been dating on and off through the years, the modern dating world can present many of unexpected – and unpleasant – experiences.

The most significant change you may come up against is just how much the modern dating scene has changed due to the prevalence of dating apps and chatting online. It can bear no resemblance to how you had been used to meeting people and can be bewildering to encounter for the first time. The bad behaviour and commitment issues you can encounter on the apps can be an unwelcome challenge to navigate.

The good news is you can best prepare yourself for the dating world by taking into account some hard-won advice from daters who have been in your shoes. Despite the changed landscape, there is so much to enjoy in embarking on a search for love. Read on for our top tips for ensuring you’ll really enjoy meeting new people and get the most out of every single date.

Be content with being single:  It’s important to be secure in who you are before you start searching for love. Ensure you are ready to meet somebody rather than craving it because you are lonely. There are many benefits to being single, including privacy, independence and sharing great relationships with friends and family, so make the most of this time until you feel you are truly ready to date. It’s much better to have a fulfilling single life than settling for somebody who doesn’t set your world alight. It can take time to rebuild confidence after a bad break-up so really take the time to find your feet again before you jump into dating.

Don’t be afraid of online dating: You may be new to the apps, but using online dating for the first time can be a great way to introduce you to people you never would have come across in real life. Keep the conservation to the dating app – be wary of anybody who tries to get you to leave the site to chat elsewhere away from the moderation policies and monitoring of the team behind the app. Really pay attention to what the person is saying. What people do and say online often reflects how they’ll behave offline so keep an eye out for red flags. Be wary if it appears they are attempting to cover up something in their photo, such as wearing hats, sunglasses or posing miles away from the camera, as they may be concealing something. There are apps specialising in over-fifties dating or you may find the mainstream big names work best for you. Decide what you want from the experience and search for likeminded people, whether it’s for something more casual or a committed relationship.

Don’t get hung up on baggage: You’ve both probably been through some big things in your life at this point, including perhaps health issues, horrific exes, and a string of awful dates. However, the first date is not the time to share them. The first few dates should be used to suss out the person’s personality, seeing what you’ve got in common and deciding if you are both curious enough about each other to take things further. Bonding over baggage is not a great way to get to know each other and should be saved until you know each other better.

Work with a matchmaker: If you are looking for support and expertise to get your dating journey on track, it can really pay to work with a matchmaker. They can take all the hard work out of finding somebody special, working hard to understand what you are looking for and actively making introductions to amazing people. Here at Ignite Dating we headhunt suitable matches, leaving you free to enjoy an easy and stress-free search for love. 

If you’d like a helping hand to get your dating journey on the track for success, then give the experts at Ignite a call today


Who pays when you go on a first date?

It’s always been a thorny issue but the debate about who pays on dates is becoming more relevant than ever given the rising cost of living.

Even before prices skyrocketed, it was a hotly debated topic of who is responsible for paying for the first and subsequent dates. Ask for opinions on the matter on who pays the bill, and you’ll hear plenty of different responses. Some believe it’s firmly in the man’s ballpark to pick up the tab for the first meeting. For others, the notion the gentleman should always pay the bill is outdated. In a recent survey, 78% of respondents said they think men should pay for the first date, with men more likely than women to think it’s a man’s role to foot the bill.

Another view is you navigate the conundrum by ensuring you always split the bill. It’s even further complicated by those who think responsibility falls to who did the asking out, believing it’s the person who initiated the date that should pay.

Things aren’t made easier with the escalating cost of living, which is leading to some single people cutting down on the amount of dates they go on. A separate survey found 40% of people aren’t dating as frequently due to the financial burden associated with a night out. 

So how to you tackle the situation when you are (hopefully) enjoying a night out together? You can gauge how the other person feels about it by asking them if they mind if you pay on this occasion or asking them how they feel about splitting the bill down the middle. It’s also best not to just assume your date will pay. First dates can be confusing enough without a tense back-and-forth about who pays, so usually it’s polite to offer to contribute after somebody has offered to pay, but graciously accept if they turn down your offer.

As the cost-of-living increases, you may want to set boundaries as you continue to get to know each other. Make sure you are both on the same page about what you can afford to avoid a scenario where one person feels they are struggling to keep up with the dates you have planned. Casual drinks can have a different date etiquette, with rounds making it easier to sort out who pays for what. This sort of night out can take the pressure of facing a bill at the end of the night out and having to decide how you’ll deal with it.

Perhaps a good way to swerve the issue is to suggest cheap date ideas, which are rising in popularity as an antidote to the rising cost of a night out. These days it’s not unusual to suggest a picnic in the park, or a chilled walk with a takeaway coffee in hand. Some single people want to be sure a date will be worth the financial outlay before committing to an expensive meal and drinks. A low-key first date can help you decide if there may be a connection there before you arrange more fancy date night which costs a lot more. Nobody wants to be left with a big hole in their pocket because of a date which didn’t set the world on fire.

It is good etiquette to be conscious of what your date’s budget before suggesting an expensive night out. There are other benefits to a modest date idea, whatever your budget. With the pressure being taken off with a low-stakes activity, you may feel more relaxed, and it can sometimes be a better way to judge the character of your date. You may find it useful to carry out an element of pre-screening before meeting for a date by leaving voice notes and having a few phone calls to ensure you are curious to find out more about each other before committing to a date.

While there may not be right and wrong answers, it is clear it really pays to be mindful about how your date may feel about an expensive night out when budgets are stretched. The bill doesn’t have to be a massive issue if you are prepared to discuss it and being prepared to contribute can be a lot fairer than just assuming the other person will pay. We’d love to know what you think about who pays on dates – share your thoughts over on our Facebook and Instagram pages!

Are you keen to meet somebody special? Then turn to the experts at Ignite Dating! We are experts at understanding what you want from a partner and can provide you with an easy and stress-free search for love. Get in touch today to find out more!


How to handle breakup guilt

A lot of attention after a breakup is directed at the person who was dumped. There is lots of advice out there on how to cope if your partner ended a relationship you’d hoped was going somewhere. Friends and family are on-hand with plenty of tea and sympathy to offer their support as you deal with the heartache. But what about the person who initiated the breakup? In a lot of cases the other person in the relationship is also left carrying a burden, whether it’s also coming to terms with the end of the relationship or guilt over being the person who instigated it.

Relationships end for many different reasons and it’s important to realise that it’s usually not just one person’s fault. However, feelings of guilt are common after you’ve broken up with somebody, even though it’s in nobody’s best interests to stay together in an unfulfilling relationship. You can feel bad about the upset you’ve caused the other person, especially if they were against going your separate ways. You may also regret your decision to leave and blame yourself for not working harder on making things work. Breakups are bad enough and the situation is a whole lot worse if you are beating yourself up and feeling extremely guilty.

Dealing with feeling guilty

It can be important to remember instead of having done something wrong, you’ve made the right choice for you. If somebody isn’t the right person for you, it’s much better to call time on the relationship, as you know deep down you are doing the best thing in the long run. Staying with somebody to avoid hurting their feelings ends up making things worse in the long run as it hurts more to drag things out.

We’ve shared our top tips for getting over breakup guilt and moving on when you feel ready to do so.

Acknowledge there doesn’t have to be a ‘good’ reason to leave: It’s fair enough to stick in a relationship if you are happy putting in lots of work to try and save it. But if you are unhappy – but too afraid to end it because there’s no glaringly obvious reason to call time on the relationship – you’ll end up miserable. Waiting for the ‘right time’ to end it may leave you unhappy and unsatisfied, when a clean break is really the only option. Breakups don’t have to be the result of an obvious cause, like infidelity or excessive jealousy, and it’s fine to acknowledge you’ve just grown apart, or this person is not who you see yourself staying with. You can end up feeling guilty that you didn’t fight harder to save the relationship but it’s important to trust your gut and remember the reasons you made the break in the first place.

You need to put yourself first: Nobody likes to hurt other people, so it can be tough to be the cause of somebody else’s pain and hurt feelings. However, sometimes you need to put your own feelings first and recognise that the other person can achieve support outside the relationship to deal with their own healing. Forgiving yourself is an important part of the process as well as looking to the future. It doesn’t help to keep dwelling on the past because it can make it impossible to move on.

Be prepared to move on: Don’t feel bad about creating healthy boundaries – if you want to remove an ex from social media, then do so. You don’t have to remain friends and if you want to cut off contact it can sometimes be healthier than going through painful meetups where neither of you are over the break-up yet. It’s often advisable to take a break before you attempt friendship to give both of you time to move on. You also don’t have to feel guilty about wanting to pursue a new relationship when you feel the time is right. You are now officially single and it’s up to you to decide what works for you.

Focus on what went right: A relationship isn’t a failure just because it ended. You will have enjoyed plenty of good times together and learned a lot about yourself along the way. Just because it didn’t go the distance, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t important. So, try not to feel guilty about the conclusion and focus on what did go right.

Have you ever considered matchmaking? Here at Ignite Dating we offer an easy and stress-free search for love, offering a dedicated matchmaker who is with you every step of the way. Working together, we will establish the values and characteristics that are important to you and search our extensive database and private network for the right person. Get in touch today to find out the next exciting steps in your search for love!


The best date ideas for spring

Do you feel a lot more optimistic about dating when spring finally rolls around? According to a recent survey, 74% of single people reported a positive impact on their dating lives when the weather finally starts to improve after the long winter months. Dubbed ‘blue sky dating’42% of those polled said the lighter evenings made dating feel easier and more than a third said they feel happier in general at this time of year.

The arrival of spring can be the perfect time to revamp your dating journey, allowing you to take advantage of a range of exciting date ideas now the weather is finally warming up. The changing seasons can energise your dating habits, with the desire to hibernate during the colder months a thing of the past. This time of year can also be a good catalyst for change as well, perhaps giving you the push you need to shed lingering exes or situationships that are going nowhere. The warmer months tempt a lot more people to get out the house and social calendars are more packed as a result. Data also shows a huge spike in messages being sent on dating apps at this time of year.

There is something so refreshing about being able to finally pack away your winter gear and dress up for exciting evening outings that are packed full of potential.  We’ve shared a selection of spring date ideas to provide inspiration, whether you are meeting somebody new or looking to mix up your date nights with your long-term partner.

Get outside: Are you itching to get out of the house? Sometimes the simplest date ideas are the best, and you could do worse than taking a stroll at your local park. You could take a romantic getting-to-know-you better walk to admire the flowers in bloom or pause for a picnic if it is warm enough. As the cost of living continues to bite, it’s a nifty cheap date idea and allows for plenty of chat if it’s the first time you’ve met. If you are both animal lovers, you could even bring your four-legged friends along.

Share an activity: Make the most of the (hopefully) milder weather by planning an active date. You don’t have to don your activewear to take on a shared activity, a casual bike ride can be a lovely way to spend time together and explore different areas. Feeling competitive? Mini golf can be a lot of fun and gives you plenty of conversation starters if it’s the first time you’ve met. Feeling brave? There are plenty of outdoor lidos if you don’t mind a slightly bracing dip!

Seek out tasty food trucks: Street food has become incredibly popular in recent years and can be found dotted around various city and rural locations. Take advantage of the warmer weather and perch on a bench once you’ve got your hands on some tasty treats. It’s not as formal as a restaurant date but gives you plenty of time to bond over some truly delicious food, whether it’s tasty tacos, diving into a selection of sushi or sampling new flavours of artisan ice cream. 

Enjoy al fresco drinks: Those beer gardens and rooftop terraces are finally reopening, throwing open all sorts of possibilities to mix up your date nights. It can be a lovely feeling to soak up the last rays of sunshine as you take in the view, or settling down with a bottle of wine at a quaint village pub. You also benefit from instant shelter if you encounter an unfortunate April shower!

Take a day trip: Longer days give you plenty of time to take a trip somewhere new for a fun day out. Perhaps you fancy getting to the seaside for a long shoreline walk and sharing fish and chips as the sun sets. You could visit a theme park to share in an adrenaline-fuelled date to remember, or perhaps a sedate trip to a stately home is more up your street. An escape from your day-to-day can be a refreshing way to switch off and really make the most of your time together.

Have you decided spring is the perfect opportunity to reinvigorate your dating journey? Chat to the experts at Ignite Dating, who are here to help you achieve your dream of a loving long-term relationship. Your matchmaker will ask the right questions to gain an insight into what you are looking for in a partner, as well as making recommendations of people who could be a good match, leaving you free to enjoy some truly amazing dates!


Love at first sight, is it fact or fantasy?

We are joined by coach and author Katherine Baldwin to explore how to decide if a date has potential and whether first date sparks are always a good thing.

Love at first sight. It’s a captivating concept and it’s only natural to want to feel chemistry when we meet someone for the first time. However, first date sparks don’t necessarily mean we’ve found our match, nor does their absence mean we should walk away.

Hollywood has a lot to answer for, in my opinion. Romantic movies set us up to believe that relationships should unfold in a certain way – often with intense passion, incredible chemistry, and lightning bolts from the start.

I remember comparing many first dates to my favourite romcom scenes and deciding the chemistry just didn’t match up. I also remember falling head over heels within ten minutes of meeting, only to find the relationship fizzled out within days.

Even for the most grounded of individuals, dating can be a rollercoaster. So how can we tell whether a date has the potential to turn into something more and if sparks do fly, how do we discern whether they signal a healthy or unhealthy connection?

Firstly, remember that when you meet someone for the first time, you are simply gathering information. All you need to know after a first date is whether you want to see the person for a second date. Go along with an open heart and an open mind. If you don’t feel a spark, try not to write the person off. Instead, ask yourself if you feel curious about them, and if they seem curious about you. Are you interested in knowing more about them? If you’re sure you don’t feel curious and you’re getting nothing back, fair enough, but otherwise take a moment to decide if you are judging them too quickly. Do they deserve a second chance?

Obviously, we want to look out for red flags, for warning signs and signals – perhaps they only talk about themselves; perhaps you feel uncomfortable or on edge in their presence; maybe they overstep your boundaries. But could there be another explanation. Are they talking a lot because they’re nervous, for example? Is it worth giving it another shot?

Secondly, if sparks do fly, try to keep your feet on the ground as much as possible and maintain healthy boundaries. It’s tempting to extend a good date late into the night but ask yourself whether it would be wiser to go home and arrange to meet another day.

What kind of chemistry do you have?

Importantly, remember to question whether the sparks that are flying are the result of healthy or unhealthy chemistry.

Healthy chemistry is the genuine connection we feel with someone we find attractive. We want to get close to them, find out more about them. They may have the physical attributes we usually go for, or they may not, but there’s something deeper going on. We see something in them and they see something in us.

Unhealthy chemistry is different.

We meet someone whom we find irresistible. We feel a strong pull towards them and perhaps they feel the same towards us. We throw our boundaries out the window – we share too much and stay out too late. We wake up in the morning in a relationship, without ever really making the choice. This intensity feels incredible. It’s just like in the movies.

The problem is this passion may come from an unhealthy place. Perhaps we are dating with unmet needs and deep wounds. Perhaps we haven’t done the necessary work on ourselves to feel whole and grounded. And perhaps we’re drawn to this person because they are wounded too.

Our wounds meet in the middle, slotting together like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, and fireworks go off. We’re drawn together like magnets and we stick together like glue. We ignore all warning signs because we’re floating on a pink cloud.

Perhaps we stay together and go on to have a fiery, intense but potentially unfulfilling and harmful relationship. Or, in many cases, the fireworks fizzle quickly or the relationship crashes and burns. We get hurt and we hurt others.

With all this in mind, take the time to know and understand yourself, keep an eye out for red flags but, if there aren’t any obvious ones, give people the benefit of the doubt. Welcome the healthy sparks, while proceeding slowly and respecting your own and others’ boundaries. And look out for the lightning bolts that will wow you temporarily but ultimately leave you feeling burnt.

With the above in mind, dating becomes an enjoyable experience that will lead you to the relationship you want and deserve.

Katherine Baldwin is a love, dating and relationships coach, midlife mentor, and the author of ‘How to Fall in Love’, a dating guide for single professionals. She specialises in supporting people to understand and face their relationship fears and to change their dating patterns so that they can find healthy, committed love. Katherine coaches 1:1 and hosts workshops and retreats in the UK and abroad.


Find the best date ideas in Cardiff

You are spoilt for choice when it comes to great date ideas if you are lucky enough to live in the Cardiff area. The bustling Welsh capital is well worth the journey if you want a romantic mini-break, and it’s just a short trip over the border for those living in Bristol and the surrounding area. You’ll find a city packed with great things to see and do, so read on for our top suggestions for date ideas to suit all budgets and interests!

Get active

Do you want to break the ice with an active date to remember? Then there are plenty of fun activities to get stuck into. Check out Cardiff International White Water, which offers adrenaline junkies the chance to have a go at the likes of white water rafting, white water tubing, and inflatable kayaking. Prefer to stay on dry land? Treetop Adventure Golf is a great way to break the ice and judge how competitive your date is by taking on an 18-hole mini golf course. You can also test how well you can solve problems together by taking on a thrilling Escape Room!

Grab drinks

Cardiff’s bar scene is thriving, so whether your preferred tipple is a classy cocktail, a craft beer or you prefer relaxing over a bottle of wine together you’ll find something to suit. The Alchemist offers experts in molecular mixology cocktails, and you’re guaranteed to have plenty to talk about as you marvel at how the drinks are presented creatively to add a dash of theatre to your night. Tiny Rebel is well worth checking out to sample the fares from its award-winning brewery in nearby Newport.

Cardiff is a famous party town, so you won’t be disappointed in terms of spots to keep dancing into the night if things are going so well you can’t bear to say goodnight. Ten Mill Lane offers cocktails and dancing until 6am if you have the stamina!

Find foodie experiences  

There’s a diverse restaurant scene with plenty of gems to be discovered. Zerodegrees is a microbrewery restaurant split over three floors where you can watch the master brewer busy at work behind the scenes. Bully’s is a little gem of a restaurant which uses seasonal Welsh ingredients in its delicious menus. If it’s spicy cuisine you are after, try Purple Poppadom or Spice Quarter for a delicious Indian feast. If afternoon tea is more your style, Voco at the five-star St David’s Cardiff hotel is a real treat. If you have time, it’s also the perfect place to indulge in a dreamy spa treatment.


Cardiff Castle is right in the middle of the city and well worth a look, with guided tours on offer. If you venture out of the city centre don’t overlook Cardiff Bay, which offers plenty of attractions on the waterfront. You can even hire a bike and explore the area for the full experience. It’s home to the Wales Millennium Centre which offers ample arts performances and events. If you are both into rugby, you’ll love soaking up the atmosphere in the city on a matchday, which is electric when Wales are playing. You can take a tour of the Principality Stadium to learn more about rugby heroes and make your way to the hallowed turf.

Hit the shops

Spend a relaxed morning browsing the ample shops and splurge if you are in the mood. Cardiff is home to the world’s oldest record shop, Spillers Records, which dates back 1894, so you can have fun comparing musical tastes. The Bone Yard is a shipping container village filled with independent traders which you can enjoy browsing. Cardiff Market offers an array of stalls to explore and much-loved eateries if you work up an appetite after all that shopping!

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