Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Money Factor

How much does money matter in dating? It isn’t as black and white as religion, or even body size, except for the first date. Men who refuse to spring for the first date cup of coffee or wine get sidelined fast. The interpretation comes across as not interested. Women, who continued dating No Pay Charlie, discovered just that. With this in mind, men can meet for drinks only on a first date, but make sure you pay for it.

Not every man gets that far since his salary or lack of one keeps him out of the dating game. On online dating sites for women described their perfect man differently depending on the country. American women wanted an attractive, wealthy man who was both romantic and could make her laugh. The British females preferred a man with a nice house, good car, and a salary around 100,000 or better (not sure if that was dollars or pounds.) The women who answered the survey wanted men with money. Why is that?

Advertising infers if we’re not driving expensive cars, taking exotic vacations every other month, or live in luxury communities, then we’re failures.  A wealthy boyfriend or husband is the yardstick women use to demonstrate their desirability. Dave Ramsey, financial speaker, takes a kinder approach that women are nesters and want to be sure there’s enough money to keep the nest intact.

I’ve read several online articles and advice columns about lovelorn men suspicious of women trying to part a man from his money. At some point, you need to know the relationship your potential date has with money. Trust me; I once was married to a wild spender. If I’d known about it during the start of the relationship, it would have ended there. The money talk doesn’t have to be the first thing out of your mouth and should never be discussed on the first two dates. If you never make it to date three, it never really mattered anyhow. A date gives hints without you asking.

People measure someone’s success by the model of car or neighborhood they live. Often people can be one-step from foreclosure in an expensive neighborhood while someone else residing in a modest neighborhood has money in the bank. In the end, you’re not dating the car or house.

A high earning individual does not guarantee romantic happiness. Keep in mind, unless your potential sweetie is a trust fund baby, he or she worked hard to get where they are. This means long hours, business calls at night and weekends, and a driven personality. It’s hard to have the witty lover who takes leisurely hikes across the countryside and the millionaire. Notice I didn’t say never.

Financial stability is more important than wads of cash. Most wealthy men aren’t looking to find some down on her luck female in order to raise her up to equal financial status. Keep reminding yourself that Pretty Woman was just a movie.  The moneyed set socializes with the other wealthy families. There are rare cases, but they usually sign an unbreakable pre-nup.

The best advice is to get your own house in financial order. By doing this you’ll attract a like-minded person. Most women don’t want to marry a man with a truckload of debts. Not too surprising, men find this off-putting too. A woman is avidly listening for clues such as home ownership, job titles, and income during casual chitchat. The man is equally on guard for remarks about impulsive spending, overdue bills, and school loans.

Never make the mistake thinking that money will solve your problems. It will disguise them for a bit, but they’ll resurrect like a zombie in a horror movie. Only they’ll bring more problems with them. Often money-strapped individuals will marry or move in with the affluent partner expecting a happy ending. What they receive instead is an uncomfortable union that pleases neither party plus a fear of leaving which manifests itself as resentment.

Before I married the first time, I went through premarital counseling with my ex. What we didn’t do was have financial counseling or even a discussion of money-related goals. This would have been more illuminating than discussing whose parents we’d visit at Christmas. Know who you are financially because it matters.

Impulsive spenders shouldn’t expect happiness with tight-fisted financial conservatives. Each party will view the other as wrong. Most adults don’t want to learn money management. They made it this far and see no real reason to change. Many people in a relationship think their partner’s salary is their money. Not all partners feel the same.

Go out and enjoy your first couple of dates. Look for the red flags that could indicate financial issues on the horizon. It’s much easier to move on before you invest too much time in an individual. There are hundreds of people out there who aren’t a good fit, financial or otherwise. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can change them.

Should money factor into a relationship? Yes. The way you handle your own expenses count. Unrealistic expectations of your future date squiring you to various expensive venues matter too. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your beau had no other use for his or her discretionary income than to spend it on you. As the relationship progresses, expect to contribute to it financially by sharing date expenses. In the end, poor money management should be just as scary as the man who announces he lives with his parents.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Are You a Memorable Date?

Sure, a horrible date is memorable, but ideally, you want to be remembered as both fun and unusual, someone with a little extra oomph. The usual dinner out, or dinner and a movie, doesn’t has the same impact as a cooking class. A pleasant experience transfers and enhances the appeal of the date instigator.

A friend had a rather lackluster experience with her initial meeting with an online date. Her initial reaction was not to see the man again, until he suggested a murder mystery dinner. She decided he deserved another chance because he showed creativity and depth by his suggestion.

Different activities tend to stick in a person’s mind. What works also depends on the person. Reading profiles or gently inquiring before a date might give you some tips on the perfect date. Activities helps relax people and conversation flows more naturally.

1.       Cooking classes - Please make sure your date wants to do this. I deeply enjoyed my cooking class.
2.    Wine & Canvas - Participants create a work of art while sipping wine. The date has a souvenir of the shared date.
3.       Ghost walks - This works better in the summer or early fall. There is plenty time to walk and hold hands.
4.       Flying a kite - This can occur in a public park and capped off by a picnic.
5.       Comic-con - This only works if it is nearby and your date is a fan.
6.       Live theatre - This is a step-up from the movies.
7.       Symphony Under The Stars - Being outside, listening to wonderful music with a bottle of wine. Life doesn’t get much better than this.
8.       Miniature golf & arcade - Offer a small prize such as chocolate for playful competition.
9.       Visit a traditional piano bar - Make sure to request her favorite song.
10.   Go to baseball game and make sure to get a hot dog and Crackerjack.
11.   View an art gallery or the natural history museum together.
12.   Breakfast date - Bring breakfast and watch the sunrise together.
13.   Volunteer together at the animal shelter or a local community event.
14.   Go to the state fair together - Make sure to sample fair food.
15.   Discover local street festivals - The more unusual the better.
16.   The planetarium.
17.   Brewery or wine tasting - This only works if your date drinks.
18.   Apple picking - Most you pick it farms offer a hayride to the fields.
19.   Caving - There’s something majestic about caverns and caves. Make sure your date isn’t claustrophobic.
20.   The Dinner or Mystery Train - Plenty of locales have put old passenger trains back in service as a dinner theatre train.
21.   Ice Skating-This only works if at least one can skate.

There’s much more, but that’s another blog.  A great time results in future dates. Be the fun date, not the forgettable one.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

How Gender Myths Hurt Your Dating Potential

What gender myths do you believe? You’ve heard them. Men are strong and silent while women are chatty and social. Men are only interested in sex, while women want a good provider and father of future children. Men lie and women deceive. Bad boys score while decent men are left in the dust. What if everything you thought you knew was just a lie, a myth created by some forgettable person, but the power of the myth lives on, crippling people in search of a meaningful relationship.

Most of us have heard endless tales of how nurturing and wonderful women are, being natural mothers.  Several crime stories of mothers who not only abused and killed their own children, but also attacked other people’s children made us rethink the natural assumption that all women would be a good mother. Judges continue to award custodial rights to women who aren’t fit mothers. One reason is men aren’t considerate caregivers according to current beliefs, but plenty of men have taken the role of the stay at home parent, chaperoning playgroups and supporting home life.

Another myth is the bad boy always gets the girl. Sometimes, this is true if it mean he gets the girl for one night or on the short term. Often women even marry the bad boy, but soon abandon him when he proves an unworthy partner or parent. On the other hand, the stable man tends to attract a long-term relationship. Television and media lionized the player, but seriously, there is nothing worse than an aging player cruising a bar.

Myths, urban legends, or whatever you call them, have a purpose, but not information or truth. Often it is to support a viewpoint by whoever created them. A recent study indicated that men had no issue being committed or faithful, especially with a limited supply of women. The general purpose besides love was practicality. Why take a chance on a good thing by shopping around? It makes sense. If men were the hopeless players they're characterized as, then they wouldn’t be able to stay in a relationship.

Women initiate over seventy percent of divorces in the United States, but not always for cheating or abuse. Often the man’s only crime is being ordinary, not the romantic movie hero. Not quite what you see on television. Often people, who should never have married, do. Men are more willing to tolerate a mediocre marriage than women are. Not quite the image of the middle aged husband chasing after the young intern. It doesn’t mean that some don’t, but not enough to make it a fact.

Does this make you wonder what other myths you believe without any actual proof? Proof is relative. If you have a bad day, then a negative filter changed the everyday occurrences. The same day, looked through a positive lens, is totally different.

Are you judging people based on a combination of myths and stereotypes?  The man you never heard from didn’t call because he was commitment phobic as opposed to the mixed messages you may have sent. It’s easy to dismiss people according to accepted myths. Rejecting someone before they can reject you is an excellent way to prevent emotional hurt. It also keeps you single.

There are men who want a serious relationship. Another myth buster is high earning women who are the breadwinners in the family. It’s odd we can accept this one, but have an issue believing men can be loyal and committed to one woman. It’s amazing when you think about it because millions of men do just that, but you never hear about them. What’s up with that?  

Monday, January 12, 2015

Get Your Dating Mojo on for 2015

January 4th is the biggest online date join up ever. Online dating giants track this information and realize it is the Black Friday of online dating. No wonder they offer free weekends at the same time your relatives are prying into your love life or the lack of one. Unlike Black Friday, if you missed one day, all is not lost. All those thousands of people who signed up are still there at least for another month or more. Before you jump into the pool expecting endless winks and dates, you need some info.
1.       Choose your online dating service wisely. Many smaller firms have less to offer. Decide if a specialty dating site is for you. Do you have to date someone who is Jewish, a farmer, over 50, or an avid golfer? If not, you might go for the big guns such as Match and eHarmony. They’re better known and have many more people to peruse.

2.       You are the product. With this in mind, market yourself well. First, think of yourself as a prize, not some lonely loser who needs a date. With this in mind, pick a username that reflects positive qualities and will stay in someone’s mind. Often companies allow taglines. Make yours unique. “Looking for my last first date” was good the first time, but now it’s trite. Ask friends for help.

3.        Grammar matters with both males and females. I realize most of you aren’t hoping to attract a writer or an English teacher, but the use of texting terms or failure to employ full sentences immediately gets your profile trashed by around 60% of potential dates. The simple reason is you don’t care enough to take the time to do it right.

4.       Be specific. The generalized “I like people, animals and sunsets” might earn you a place in the Miss Teen USA pageant, but doesn’t go far with real adults. If you like astronomy, mention it, as opposed to just stars. If travel is your thing, mention where you been and where you might like to go.

5.       Then there are things you shouldn’t ever mention in a profile such as:
·         Your love for your pets. (Assumption: crazy cat lady)
·         Collections of anything from Smurfs to Star Wars figures. (This translates to lonely loser who spends all their spare time on Ebay.)
·          How your children or faith are first in your life. (Immediate thought is there is no place for a relationship.)
·         Recent weight loss. (Even though you’re proud of this, your date will think you’ll be no fun as far as dining out or you’ll balloon up to your former size.)
·         Recent divorce or break up. (Any mention of this in your profile or on the date lets people know you’re not ready to date.)

6.       Profile Photos. Every site you go to will tell you something different. Some will say yes to outdoor photos, others, no.
·         Do have a close up with you smiling
·         A full length shot
·         2-3 casual shots with a mix of full length and close ups
·         Be well groomed
The don’ts are much easier to list.
·         No mirror or obvious selfie shots
·         No shirtless photos
·         No shots with friends
·         No photos with a drink or cigarette (It looks like you can’t put either one down)
·         No cut down shots where you’ve snipped your former mate out of the photo
·         No out of focus or dimly lit images. (Looks like you have something to hide)

Realize people will be looking for a reason to message or not message you. Even too many photographs of non-related items such as the beach, the sunset, your car, or a bird could be all it takes. You are the product, not what you own, where you’ve been, or even your Jet Ski. The Jet Ski isn’t looking for a date.

7.       Have realistic expectations.
·         Not everyone you think is a good fit will think the same about you.
·         Just because you received a profile, doesn’t mean the other person received yours. Be proactive. Wink, send a note, do something. The worse that can happen is nothing.
·         Silence happens. Often you don’t get a reply to your wink, or someone doesn’t answer after initiating the response. Anything could be the cause, from the membership ran out, shyness set in at the possibility of meeting, or connection with another member worked out.
·         Don’t give up if you don’t meet someone significant immediately. I winked at my own sweetie and didn’t hear from him for a month. His membership had run out. Even when I met him, I didn’t know he was the one until about three months later.

8.       Stay safe. Everyone has heard horror stories of online dates gone bad. Truth is people your cousin fixed you up with can go horribly wrong too. Most of us have the common sense to intuit when something isn’t quite right.
·         Use a nickname
·         Give a general location, as opposed to neighborhood or town.
·         Develop an account just for receiving dating emails without your actual name in it.
·         Photos should not have identifying items in it such as home address or work logo.
·         Agree to drive separately to a public place for the first meeting.
·         Go with your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, you’re under no obligation to continue the date or communication.

Be positive. Expect good things. We usually find what we are looking for. Good luck to all of you in 2015.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

What Are Your 2015 Dating Resolutions?

The Huffington Post published a very insightful article about why women aren’t getting what they want from a dating relationship. There was much backlash from people who didn’t like it. Upset, it didn’t fit their parameters of dating relationships. You can read the article in its entirety here. The long story short is women engaging in attention-getting behavior to attract men, devaluing themselves in doing so. Anyone saying what yet?

·         Women are increasingly desperate in their actions from sexting, allowing a man to move in without the benefit of commitment, trying to act out various scenes from Fifty Shades of Grey, and sex on the first date. All in the belief this will magically translate into utter devotion on the man’s part.

·    Women aren’t acting as if they’re important. Instead, they are engaged in questionable behaviors, chasing down the elusive commitment. At times, it seems like a buyers’ market and women are willing to do anything to catch the buyer’s eye.

·         Moving in does not signal the desired commitment. For the man it is cheaper with  shared or no rent and guaranteed sex. When things don’t work out, he has no issue leaving because he has the belief there are plenty of women to cater to him. (Not sure how much validity there is behind this belief.)

·         Before thinking there are so many women out there ready to allow a guy to move in, make a sex tape, have his way paid, step back and consider if you want this kind of a man? Are you looking for a loser who will suck all the vitality and hope out of you before moving on? Are you constantly involved with people of this caliber? If so, you need to change your game plan.

·         Expect more. You’re worth it. Looking back on my own history, I went out with a series of users. Treated me bad, no matter how good I was to them. Nothing changed until I understood what was going on and I discovered the power of NO. Sometimes, it was, “No, I won’t go out with you,” to “No, I refuse to allow myself to be treated in that manner.”

·         Steve Harvey in his book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man refers to the chirp-chirp girl, who jumps into a car when the man activates the key fob. Steve discovered when dating his wife she refused to get out of the car until he came around to open the door. She showed him she was worthy of respect. Most women vault out of car believing they aren’t worthy of respect.

·         Consider the last year. Do you regret the time and effort spent on non-viable relationships or just dating? Know when to cut bait. Often we continue seeing people that have no possibility of ever developing into anything, or into anything good. Dating just to be dating often jades you and gives off an air of desperation, and not confidence, of a sought after female. A confident, content woman can enjoy her own company, turn down inappropriate dates, and never ever stalks her ex on social media.

·         If you are looking for a long-term relationship, expect it to develop slowly. That’s how real life works, not a bit like a ninety-minute movie. Magazines, movies, even songs idealize love at first sight, falling in love in a week, chucking the world and going off together. These ideas are appealing because they are fiction, rather like being Superman. No female expects to turn into Superman, but she does expect to meet a man seeking marriage in a bar. Better chance at becoming Superman.

·         Take a long look at some of the extremes women are going to do to attract attention. When you see other females doing it, do you think over the top, sad, pathetic, or do you think I wish I was her? Let that be your guide when choosing behavior.

·         Your history can serve as a guide as what not to do. Different guys don’t mean a different result. Your behavior could be the issue.

·         Two perfectly okay people meet & it’s not all flowers and butterflies. Even if someone is perfectly acceptable, it’s no reason to force a relationship.

·         It’s better to be happy and alone than miserable in an abusive or apathetic relationship.

·         Refuse to be the covert girlfriend. No public dates or meeting friends, co-workers, or family means he doesn’t really consider that the two of you are dating. It usually means he’s already in a relationship.

·         Hold back. Instead of texting him all the time, tagging him in social media, buying him thoughtful small gifts, Don’t. It only makes you look needy. It also leaves you with no way to up your game. A man, hoping to wow his first date, ordered a limo which took her to a very exclusive restaurant, then the theater. He did get a second date, but his date expected the same treatment or better for the rest of their short dating relationship. His date felt cheated when he didn’t repeat the performance. The man decided he couldn’t maintain this particular relationship. If they started out with a dinner at a chain restaurant things might have worked out.

·         Throw away your preconceptions about who is your idea mate/date. Often we limit our dating pool by considering only people of a certain age, size, height, race, etc.

·         Work on being the type of person you’d like to date. Like really does attract like.

·         Finally, no ultimatums for yourself or anyone else. This is not a make it or break it year. It is a year of being your most authentic self, embracing the world as you find it, not as how you imagine it to be, living in the moment, and simply being real. You may find yourself falling in love…with yourself, life, experiences, and possibly a special someone. Made even more special because he wasn’t someone you’d ever consider looking at twice in 2014, but 2015 was the year your eyes opened.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Halo Effect

Illustration by Lynn Bonnette

Have you heard of The Halo Effect? If you remember any of those Renaissance paintings where all the saints had golden halos around their heads to indicate their importance, it allowed everyone to know who the important people were. It gave them divine characteristics. Well, The Halo Effect is a little like that. The difference is people blessed with a halo by those around them are not usually deserving of it.

The Halo Effect is when skills, attributes, and potential are attributed to people due to their unusual good looks. We all know attractive people are treated different, which is the basis of The Halo Effect. Here’s a quick example in everyday life. As a teacher, I had a student who could easily be a male model. He was beautiful to look at and in excellent shape, but an emotional weakling in almost every way. All the teachers and coach refused to see it. Someone as handsome as he was had to be intelligent. Nope. Someone with such height and physique had to be great at football player. No again. Any guy with such dark romantic looks would be an amazing boyfriend. A huge no! Despite what everyone witnessed, people continued giving him extra chances that an average student would never get because the adults couldn’t conceive that the student could be lazy, ignorant, limited, and selfish. His appearance indicated he possessed characteristics he didn’t have.

This happens all the time in the dating world. We continue to have high hopes for people who have done nothing to deserve our optimistic thinking. We believe if someone looks like a lead from a rom com, then he should behave in a similar manner. At times like this, it is beneficial to make a pro and con list. Too often, our emotions play havoc with logic when dealing with The Halo Effect. The teachers who‘d been endlessly disappointed by the handsome student kept giving him extra chances because of their own conditioning. Unfortunately, they demonstrated to the average or less than average attractive students that the world is not a fair place.

The Halo Effect can and will guarantee an unhappy relationship. What you think someone should be like does not create a great relationship. Instead, it leads to a series of letdowns. It’s not too surprising that often when we get to know a person our perception of him or her changes. Often a handsome, apathetic beau loses his attractiveness with time. A considerate, average looking guy grows more handsome with each romantic gesture.

Often the shorter man or plainer woman is much more interesting and fun. One reason is they learned to be more entertaining because they realize they can’t rely on looks. The Halo Effect won’t work for them. Considering this, you might want to decide if you are choosing your date with what he could be as opposed to what he is.

Most people understand The Halo Effect and use Photo Shop to benefit from it. People are upset when they meet the owner of the enhanced profile because they believe they no longer have the desired traits that the viewer gave them. Of course, they may never have had them no matter what!

The best way to handle this is to accept that wonderful people come in all sorts of packages. Spend less time looking for the perfect package and more time getting to know people behind the package. Try to keep in mind; no one really wears a halo.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Your Home's First Date

You’ve finally met someone who might be worth keeping. Everything is going well until you visit his home or he visits yours. Suddenly, the relationship takes a turn the other way. Return texts are few and the dates dry up too. What happened?

Your humble abode did not pass the relationship test. Your home has to put on its best face too for the initial meeting. Think how you’d feel if your date showed up in smelly gym clothes. A casual invite occurs after cleaning.

Home Turnoffs

1.       Sloppy. There’s a difference between a jacket on the couch and dishes everywhere and an unmade bed.

2.       Unsettled look. When there is no sign you’re staying. Lack of curtains, wall art, even real glasses as opposed to those souvenir restaurant cups.

3.       Signs of previous visitors of the opposite sex. This could be anything from hairpins, shoes, clothes, toiletries. It doesn’t matter if it belongs to your sibling. She won’t ask, she’ll assume.

4.       Smell. This is hard for people because they are used to the way their place smells. You may have to ask a friend to scent test your place. Anything from bacon, pets, stale smoke, or the locker room stench has to go. A thorough cleaning with a lemon or pine scented product will help, but room deodorizers and candles are good too.

5.       Location. This may not be something you can help. Because let’s face it, you aren’t going to move.  This is more of a female issue because if she feels unsafe, then she’ll not want to stay over.

6.       Pets. Do you have too many? Is your canine vicious? Is your date allergic to cat dander?

7.       Children. Did you mention you had any? Is your child or children in your date’s face?

8.       Roommates. Often your roommate can be a deal breaker. Perhaps your roommate likes embarrassing you or decides to make a play for your date.

9.       Smoking. Your date might be aware you smoke, but it’s an entirely different experience to step in an area steeped in stale cigarette smoke, not a pleasant one.

Home Upgrades

1.       Wall art. You can in mix some photos of you doing fun stuff.

2.       Plants. Go with fake if you can’t do real. Not too many or it starts to feel like a jungle. Green is relaxing.

3.       Wastebaskets in the bathroom. Women appreciate this touch.

4.       Soap by the sink. Full roll of toilet paper on the spindle, preferably not the cheap brand.

5.       An actual sofa as opposed to chairs, which allows the two of you to snuggle while watching a movie.

6.       Clean, coordinated sheets and fluffy pillows.

7.       Boxes of tissues scattered throughout the living room, bedroom, and bathroom.

8.       Actual dishes. You can pick up glass dishes anywhere from Target to the Dollar Store. No reason not to have a couple along with real flatware. Plastic dishes, glasses, and especially forks signals you’re not a grownup.

9.       Clean matching towels in the bathroom. (You only have to have one set in the beginning.)

10.   Food in the fridge. Something besides beer, condiments, and takeout containers. It’s nice to be able to offer your guest a snack or drink.

11.   Lamps. The good thing about lamps as opposed to overhead lighting. It’s more flattering to your skin tone and the use of appropriate dim lightning sets the scene.

 The home visit is a positive step forward, but it can also be a research time for your date. He or she may be doing a little investigation work. Is there any sign of hobbies or interests? Could be checking for signs of a significant other still in the picture. (This is where the answering machine can be a killer, although most people have voice mail.) Could be you bragged about a telescope or a huge movie collection. It helps if you actually own an item you bragged about; otherwise, everything else you mentioned will appear to be a lie.

The home visit doesn’t always seal the deal either. Don’t invite someone over too soon. It would be a shame to go to so much work and end up dumped. Unfortunately, many people instead of working on the premise on what is good about the person work on what is wrong.

It’s possible, your potential sweetie could decide after spending time in your home that the two of you could never work because you have atrocious taste in art or have carpeting as opposed to hard wood floors. Don’t sweat it, because if all it takes is a crystal bell collection or ceramic dragons to scare him off, then he was looking for a deal breaker. Someone who likes who you are won’t mind floor coverings and will find your collections unique because they are part of who you are. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Important 1st Date Red Flags

Recent new events including dates who robbed their date or the rise of dating abuse tends to make the single person wary of dating, but there are some subtle red flags that should give warning. Keeping an eye out and a clear head will help you avoid bemoaning your fate later. Most of these signs can apply to both men and women. Here’s what to look for:

1.    Too good to be true dates.  The ones who are supposedly rich, handsome, and amazingly successful. This a setup to ask for money often before you even meet because once you met you’d realized the truth. One elderly man who signed onto the dating site Seeking Arrangements went out with seventeen years old twins who later robbed him and went on a spending spree with his credit cards after tying him up.

2.     The jokester. This man heckles you about your job, pets, and clothes, whatever. He may think he’s funny, but he is verbally abusing you. He’ll only get worse.

3.     The crazy ex he or she once had. Okay, many people have crazy exes. The fact he wants to talk about her on the first date, talks about she drove him to do stuff, had it coming, or the need for revenge is your neon exit sign.

4.     Being mean to help staff (the waiter, valet, ticket person, etc.) Consider first date behavior should be super nice. If he can’t be civil for the length of a date, then you’re in trouble. It also means he regards those people as less than himself.

5.       Angry driver who displays road rage.

6.  If you ever feel afraid or uneasy, then it is definitely time to leave. It can be a remark, inappropriate touching, bad driving, and the list goes on.

7.   A casual comment about a celebrity recently embroiled in a domestic abuse case being mistreated as opposed to condemning the abuse. The real question is why he mentioned it anyhow.

8.       Too serious, too fast. This person confesses he’s falling for you before the evening is up. Smart, date-worthy people don’t fall that fast, but abusive people do. They’ve learned they have to corner the date, possibly sleep with her, to create a bond.

9.       The date who takes over. You know the one who orders for you without asking.  It’s okay if he asks first & you agree. He starts listing books for you to read and movies for you to see. Even has the nerve to make clothing suggestions. Run away. He only wants to make someone into a clone of his perfect woman.

10.   Cell phone never leaves his hand. He’s on the phone, texting, reading a text, etc. Get the message: you’re not important.

11.   Porno dialogue. You’re interested in his job, siblings, or if he’s a cat or dog person and he’s asking you if you’ll do something he saw in a porn video.

12.   The I just got done with yard work look. It happens. Guy or even woman shows up for a date, unkempt, frazzled, even sporting body odor. C’mon, anyone knows better than this. If your date didn’t make an effort to primp on the first date, then it will never happen.

13.   Irrational jealously.  He or she thinks you’re checking out the wait staff. Resents you being  involved previously. This person will monitor your every move and invent drama where there is none. Scary.

14.   You make your date mad while on the date. Who knows what you did. It might have been checking out the waiter (that you really didn’t.) Now, you’re on the defensive and find yourself apologizing or worse, trying to make it up. Makes you wonder if you're out with an adult.

15. Trash talks your friends. Why would anyone put down people he or she never met? The only reason is to separate you from your friends.

16.   The split personality thing. He’s all charming, but after you come back from the bathroom. He’s surly. Could be a personality disorder, or maybe he was that way all along and the charming part was an act.

Truthfully, it sounds like a list of reasons not to go on the second date, which it is. You can’t meet the person you’ll click with if you spend all your time going out with people you don’t click with. Most of the red flags hint at later abuse. No one needs that. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

20 Dating Tidbits Worth Knowing

A recent article by Your Tango summarized the 20 things you learn about dating in your twenties. Curiosity had me flipping through the slide show to determine if I knew these things. Surprisingly, some of them I found out rather recently. Why is that?

People over forty usually got married in their early twenties and often to their high school sweetie. They had very few relationships or dating experiences to serve as a knowledge base. That’s why the dating world is difficult for the mature adult. Single is not something they know. There’s all kinds of rules and expected behaviors. It would be useful to review them.

1.       People in bars are looking for sex, not relationships, and certainly not marriage. (I always suspected this despite all the movies and sitcoms that have the heroine meeting her happily ever after in a drinking establishment, usually the bartender.)

2.       Games don’t work. It doesn’t mean people don’t play them. Some may remember a book called The Rules. This slender book gave info on how to catch Mr. Right. Ironically, it did work sometimes. This, of course, confuses the issue. Games, like lies, eventually get you in a mess of trouble.

3.       You deserve someone who makes you happy. Someone who wants to and does thoughtful things for you. It took me forever to learn this one. My attempts to earn thoughtful behavior failed. Happiness only came after I picked a different type of man.

4.       If there’s no chemistry right away, don’t waste your time.  Whoa! Wait a minute, I disagree. Many a woman has been on fire for a bad boy only to be disgusted by his shallowness days later. On the other hand, people grow up together and fall in love years later. Sure, a person can rationalize why he or she should like someone, which isn’t chemistry, but pure, unadulterated desperation.

5.       Drunk sex sucks. Regret isn’t so great either.

6.       Being someone you’re not is an unending game. Realize that if a person doesn’t think you’re awesome as your authentic self then you don’t need him or her in your life. (Late lesson for me.)  You do have to present the real you immediately.

7.       Save time for you. Too often people become a couple and shelf their friends and interests. Bad deal because eventually resentment sets in over the behavior, even if the partner never requested it.

8.       Invest in the past, cancel the future. People who expect their dates to act like previous dates will have issues with ever getting to the second date. It involves being vulnerable. You can’t compare all men to your abusive ex. On the other hand, if your date is bad-tempered now it will only get worse with time.

9.       Expensive gifts don’t mean squat. As teens, we wanted gifts as a badge of desirability. One man could buy a Mercedes w/o blinking an eye, but it doesn’t equate love or even indicate exclusivity.

10.   Social Media is a relationship killer. Don’t air your grievance aired online. When you do, sides occur, and it grows into a feud.

11.   Oversharing confuses the issue. This happens when you decide to trot out every argument between you and your sweetie to a jury of your peers. Yes, they’ll take your side, making you wonder why you even put up with the jerk.

12.   Respect yourself. People take their cue from you as far as how to treat you.

13.   Dinner & a movie won’t cut it for every date. Eventually one or both of you will decide the relationship is boring and break it off. What you were doing was what was boring. Mix it up, challenge yourself to try new things. Throw in a street festival, dancing, pottery class or two.

14.   Date nights are a must. Now that you’re a couple you have to schedule in us time.

15.   Breakups suck. What’s worse is living with an abusive, apathetic jerk.

16.   Lower Your Expectations. If you’re on the lookout for Prince Charming, he hasn’t been on the radar since the 17th century. He never was since he’s fictional.

17.   Being single is better than being yoked w/a weirdo, player, or an okay for right now guy. Singleness looks better and better sometimes.

18.   Sex isn’t good if you can’t ask for what you want.  Don’t wait a year or two before bringing it up.

19.   Be the bold one. Shy guys might love to go out with you, but they need help. My sweetie was convinced I wasn’t interested because I didn’t give him the signal. I still don’t know what the signal was.

20.   The guy who won’t commit, won’t. Quit wasting time on grooming someone to get them ready to commit. That’s why previously married men are better than never married men in date ability. Their track record demonstrates they will commit. Sometimes, they just won’t connect with you. Accept it and move on.

I’ll be honest and say I didn’t learn at least four of these until the last couple of years. Now days, people stay single longer and date more, which gives them more experiences and reflective periods. They often make their initial commitments at a much later age. It’s not too surprising couples who married young break up as they grow into different people. There is also the phenomenon of grandma and grandpa parting ways because people live longer. In the end, millions of single people are clueless when it comes to dating.

Here’s a few they missed.

Don’t date people for potential or the possibility you can change or train them. Bad deal, people don’t change. 

Rude or bad behavior is exactly that. Don’t make excuses such as a hard day, tired, or drunk. Everyone is capable of trotting out good behavior; failure to do so shows you’re not valued.

Look beyond the exterior. People try to pigeonhole by appearances alone without getting to know a person. People often miss their soul mate because he or she was not in the current popular package.