Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Keeper Checklist

There are more single adults in the United States than married adults. It should be simple to find the special someone with so many choices. Right? If you’re reading this blog, it might mean you’re finding the search difficult. It’s not just you. Probably one of the nicest women I know has similar problems. She’s even written a blog about her most recent dating experiences.

Another friend always has a new romantic development whenever I visit. Usually, she’s thinking aloud if she should continue to see the guy she’s currently seeing. I’m quick to point out if she’s wondering then she already knows the answer. How do you really know if a man is worth keeping? Here’s my perfect 21 ways.

(For my male readers, I think this list can work for women too. Reverse the pronouns and you're good.)

1.       He doesn’t borrow money from you even if he pays it back. Boys can’t manage their finances. Adult men can.
2.       He pays attention to you all the time. You never wonder if he’s listening to you. He’s able to get you the perfect gift because he notices what you like.
3.       He not only can carry on a conversation, but also can raise thought-provoking points.
4.       He reads something other than the TV Guide.
5.       Good surprises include him cooking dinner, watching your pet when you’re gone, or love notes hidden in unexpected places.
6.       He’d rather be beside you than anywhere else.
7.        He doesn’t make plans without consulting you since you’ll be a part of them.
8.       Even if you’re wearing sweats and no makeup, he still thinks you’re beautiful.
9.       He doesn’t have the need to flirt with the server, the hostess, or any other women.
10.   Not too surprising, he has no need to lie because he’s not a cheater.
11.   He not only asks about your day, but also is supportive in your ventures.
12.   He gets along with your friends and family. This is a dedicated effort because a few of them are very nosy and abrupt. Another couple are just weird, but they’re your family.
13.   There is a feeling of comfort and safety with him. No ‘I wanna be a racecar driver driving’ that has your heart racing along with the speedometer imaging certain death. He never threatens your stability physically or emotionally.
14.   He has a sense of humor, can laugh at himself, and is able to make you laugh.
15.   He’s not into game playing and never makes you cry.
16.   He’ll eat the broken cookie, leaving the whole one for you. It’s the same thing you did for previous boyfriends who never even noticed. He’s all about the little thoughtful things.
17.   He has wonderful manners. (Disclaimer: Opening the car door is followed by a request for rent money because he’s short this month doesn’t count. This is textbook example of being played.)
18.   You truly like him and being around him. It seems somehow easier to love people than like them. Consider how many past relationships, you loved the guy, but in the end didn’t like being around him. There is some truth about being friends first. It’s also the reason you are never really friends after you break up because you never were to begin with.
19.   He has no issue saying he loves you, but you already knew that.
20.    You can trust him. He never makes promises he can’t keep.
21.   He makes you feel like a woman, as opposed to his mother, or one of the guys.

You noticed I didn’t mention being 6’ tall or thick, luxurious hair. Often six-pack abs don’t come with excellent conversation. My sister believes that movie-star handsome men don’t have to be faithful because there’s always another woman waiting. 

 Is your fellow not a keeper? Then stop wasting time your time trying to transform him into what he’s not.

My second friend who kept dating good looking ‘boys’ finally met an excellent man. Ironically, people kept trying to match them up for the last year. She kept refusing the fix-ups because she thought he wasn’t her type. Her surprise came when she discovered what she thought was her type wasn’t what she really needed.

Normally, I’d say with a checklist that it’s not possible to have all these traits, but this time it is possible. The list is the traits of a stable man who has his act together. It is also the sign of a man in love. You may not see all these characteristics immediately because the relationship has to progress before you notice them.

If you already have a man who exemplifies these, then you are blessed. Don’t make the mistake so many do thinking there’s someone even better around the corner. They take off chasing an attractive shadow only to find it gone along with the man they left behind.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Beware of the Whiner Date

The other evening my Sweetie took me out to an upscale restaurant to celebrate my birthday. The hosts were all dressed in formal black as were the waiters. White tablecloths bedecked the table while votive lanterns gave out dim circles of illumination. The clientele spoke in hushed voices, well aware of the expected behavior in such an environment. There was one exception though, the woman in the booth next to us.

  Apparently, she was on a date with an older gentleman. A very patient man who listened to her complaints about the weather, the restaurant, and almost everything else. The man managed to keep an upbeat attitude, trying to be solicitous of the woman’s wants.

We shared the same waiter and were pleased with the service and the food. It was the best seafood and steak we’ve ever eaten. Not so, for the woman next to us. She told the waiter the food was inedible and she could cook better. I can imagine her date shrinking into his seat. Even though we ate in the same restaurant, had the same or at least similar food, we had two vastly different experiences because of the attitude of our dining companions.

Would the beleaguered man go out with the cranky woman again? Many would consider that he wouldn’t, but I wonder since they were an older couple probably in their late sixties. Unfortunately, many senior citizens excel in the art of complaining. It might be hard for the congenial fellow to find a less whiny person, but if he did, he’d certainly be appreciative of her.

This brings me to the topic of this blog, The Whiner Date, which comes in many forms. This date can take the form of the ridiculer, who questions your every decision with a raised eyebrow or even a joking comment about it. The unsubtle message is you’re not okay the way you are.

While some people may chuckle about people donning rose-colored glasses, a few people sport negative glasses. Nothing pleases them from traffic, other diners, the wait, preparation of a drink, and the list goes on. It is emotionally draining to be around such a person.

Whininess is irritating. The date undergoes emotional equivalent of nails on the chalkboard when his or her companion whines. A whiny date undermines the companion with complaints. All the date knows is that it is an uncomfortable experience.

An episode on Dr. Phil profiled an attractive professional woman who couldn’t develop a relationship. The show spied on her after arranging a date with an attractive professional man. Snippets of the clips showed her date trying hard to be engaging, but she had a downer comment for everything. It’s surprising her date didn’t bail.

Dating is nerve-wracking enough with many daters second-guessing their every move. A companion who criticizes everything only ratchets up the tension, which contributes to an unpleasant experience. Most people can’t put into words what was wrong with a whiny date besides not feeling it.

Remember when on a date, it’s not a gripe session. Traffic could be bad or your food might arrive cold, but there’s no reason to comment on it. By complaining, the inference is your date could change it. Somehow, the date bares the responsibility for your unhappiness, which is not a good place to be.

When the date ends, what might have seemed like a great date to the whiner is an eventual close for the person who paid for everything the date found fault with, which means it wasn’t a good investment. I think back to the man dealing with the whiny woman seated next to us. My Sweetie and I enjoyed a leisurely dinner with dessert and coffee, but the couple still sat at their booth as we left. It takes a great deal longer when you have to whine about everything.

My grandmother always reminded me not every thought that passed through my head needed to fall out of my mouth. Too bad the woman next to us didn’t have a similar granny.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The World of Ghosting

Have you ever heard of ghosting in reference to dating? I hadn’t until now, which is ironic considering I’ve been ghosted and maybe guilty of it myself at least once. What is ghosting? It’s simply vanishing into thin air with no explanation. It’s easy to do in this world of digital communication.

Phone dating apps along with online dating allows daters to keep a certain distance. Even though the idea is to bring people closer, it creates cyber walls to hide behind. The first instance of this is your matches on an app or an online service. Let’s face it, no one responds to all their matches, especially if you receive dozens. I’m not even sure the same people are matched, which makes you wonder. A woman could receive a match, which is far from her stated requirements. He could live across the country or be the wrong religion. Naturally, the person deletes the match. There could be someone wondering what why Cindy in Louisville didn’t like him. Sending a note that she’s not interested is more work than she wants to do. Besides, it seems more hurtful to say you’re not interested than to do nothing at all. By doing nothing, the person can assume your account is inactive. All is all it isn’t that bad.

The second level of ghosting happens after you establish contact. The people involved both liked what they saw on an app or a dating profile. They text back and forth, maybe even call, then one person cuts contact. No reason, no preamble, they stop calling. The other party waits, gets up courage, and sends a random text. Nothing. It is the cyber equivalent of being stood up. It is a common practice that most people don’t need spelled out. If the snubbed party continues to text, he may find himself blocked. Often if communication had moved to social media, the abandoned party can watch the various dating exploits of a potential beau. Not sure, if it’s more hurtful to be defriended than to be so unimportant that the ghoster is unaware you’re on his social media feed.

The third level happens after a date or two. We date to discover if we like people. However, many people don’t even want to take the time to do that. They insist on coffee dates that last mere minutes. A few even do covert drive-bys or walk-bys to decide if they even like the way a person looks before introducing themselves. It shouldn’t be too surprising that people go incommunicado after a date or dates. Somewhere along the line, they decided it wasn’t working rather than actually explain this in person on in a note; they vanish similar to an apparition.  While this is easy, it is incredibly inconsiderate. The ghosted individual could become frantic thinking an accident occurred.  Eventual sightings of the ghost leads to the realization of instead of being in intensive care, the former date is a member of the callous jerk club.

Ghosting can go to amazing heights too. A friend of mine had a long-term relationship with what I would term a needy man. One day he disappeared off the grid, she wasn’t even sure he was in the same country.  After weeks of no contact, she saw on social media he’d changed his status and was dating again.

The most famous example of this odd phenomenon is Olivia Newton John’s former boyfriend Patrick McDermott staging his own death. Thousands of dollars and countless tears went into the search for the man, who resurfaced years later in Mexico. He didn’t do breakups well. He proved ghosting can be done without using social media.

Blogger Taylor Davies in her dating manifesto declares she’s desensitized to the behavior since it happens so much.  Current dating is more of a game of hide and seek. Our reliance on technology is part of the issue along with distance. We meet people we never would have met if we dated only in our general neighborhood, school, or place of employment. Running into former dates isn’t an issue.

Ghosting says a great about the person who does it.  Once you’ve started communicating, a simple explanation is appropriate before disappearing. If the person continues to contact you, then it is okay to cut contact. If you dated and the other person thinks you’re in a relationship, then you definitely need to say something even if it is a text. Often people walk away from first dates with no plans to see each other. Should you make this clear? That’s a quandary.

I’ve heard of some people being very specific why they’d never date someone. That’s going overboard. If the person inquires, yes you should be clear as opposed to ignoring the message. By not being clear, the person builds up a pseudo relationship with a ghost.  It is as if the missing person is lost at sea, but could return at any moment. The ghoster might discover on social media he’s in a relationship with the woman he hasn’t talk to in weeks.

There’s always an exception to the rule. The person who doesn’t quite get that you no longer want to see him or her no matter what you do.  It reminds me of the Adele song where the left woman still shows up on the married guy’s doorstep demanding to know why he never thinks of her. Ghosting
would definitely makes sense in that case. Moving to a new zip code, changing your name, and dyeing your hair would work too.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Grand Gesture

Ironically, I get many of my dating terms from television shows, although the idea may be universal. The Grand Gesture stems from doing something unusual or showy to demonstrate how much you like someone. Despite the term, which I borrowed from The Middle, it doesn’t have to be huge.

 A co-worker, friend, or associate you’ve been crushing on for a while mentions a love of Girl Scout cookies. Ah-ha! You might think to buy her or him a box, but that might be too much, especially if the feeling isn’t reciprocated. Instead, buy a box and offer some to the object of your affection. Most likely, he or she will take the cookies and then will develop a pleasant association with you. The association will be at a deep level of the subconscious where you represent something good. This opens the door for bigger steps such as a coffee date.

The cookie ploy might not work. What if he or she refuses the cookies? Right now, it could because of Lent or a diet. It could also be part of the Dobler/Dahlmer theory best explained by Ted from How I Met Your Mother. John Cussack made the character Lloyd Dobler legendary by holding up his boom box outside his ex-girlfriend’s house as it blasted their song. For those who never saw Say Anything, it regained him the affections of his ex. This scene earned its place among cinematic grand gestures. Right up there with Rhett scooping Scarlett up in his arms and carrying her up the staircase.
Several men have probably parked themselves outside of a former girlfriends’ house blasting Foreigner or REO SpeedWagon songs. Half of these lovelorn individuals had the police called on them or the family dog chased them away. The other ones reunited with their love, if only briefly. 

The difference lay in how the serenaded felt about it. She could have wanted to get back together. The gesture could have even charmed her long enough to forget why they broke up to begin with.

Those who didn’t fare as well had the Dahlmer effect named after serial killer, Jeffrey Dahlmer. Any grand gesture big or small icked the individual out because there was no interest of ever being involved. Everyone remembers someone from their past trying to flirt, maybe giving them an unwanted gift. The initial reaction could have been surprise that somehow this undesirable individual thought he or she stood a chance. They were undesirable simply because the feeling wasn’t returned. 
If they continued the behavior, then it became weird and stalker-ish.

Of course, it would have to be at a noticeable level. This noticing factor can be difficult, though. Beautiful women expect men to do things for them. After all, they do. Men open doors for them, volunteer to carry packages, compliment them, even buy them drinks. Most men would think these are gestures, but to some women it’s what men do. They also stop and change flat tires when a hot chick is stuck on the side of the road. They roam the hardware store to find that doo-hickey needed for the ceiling fan to work. It may be super hard to get the office beauty to realize you’re gesturing at all.

However, a person who is already interested in you is aware of everything you do. Even to the point of giving it connotations it may not have. If your grand gesture isn’t remarked on, there’s a good chance it wasn’t welcomed. You’ll want to cool it then to avoid becoming the creepy guy or gal.

Men often buy advice online from men who bill themselves as pickup masters only to find themselves slapped or a drink thrown in their face. The easy answer would be the girl wasn’t into the guy. How could she be when she’d never met the guy before? The more likely answer is those techniques seldom work. Even if the female did have some interest, using those tired scams would kill it.

Often we’ll hear someone wax fondly about what her beloved did to gain attention. We might think the gesture was cheesy, silly, or contrived. Not too surprising since we are not interested in their beloved. Whatever the action, it will make the person a Lloyd Dobler in their eyes. Lloyd’s actions were fitting for a teenage in love. I suspect it wouldn’t work as well for a fifty-ish man.

Once you suspect your grand gesture has icked out your intended, stop immediately. One more word of advice, never ever put your grand gesture on social media. Besides thousands of people witnessing a fail, it will never ever go away. Rather like the guy proposing on the kiss cam only to be rejected. He’s probably rethought that action a few hundred times by now.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Signs of a Potential Abuser

Think Abusers Wear Highly Identifiable Masks?

The incidents of dating violence and violence against online daters has risen measurably. It's important to know what to look for to avoid being a victim.

An abusive manipulator comes on initially as all charm, compliments, and gifts. Most women will regard this grooming behavior as proof he isn’t controlling or abusive. In fact, he’ll consistently tell the woman everything he does is out of love. This is also the favorite line of the abusive woman. She may even go so far as to tell the man he’s the one with the issue or needs counseling. Of course, if you’re involved with an abusive woman, she’s not nearly as generous with the gifts as the man is. If at any time you wonder if your date or mate is an abusive, then you already know the truth. If your friends mention it, it must be bad because most manipulators try to look good in public. It helps bolster their lie about how well they treat you. Avoid this type at all costs.

If three or more apply, then you’re in danger of abuse or already in an abusive relationship.

·         He or she wants an immediate relationship after meeting once.
·         Irrational jealousy
·         Controlling. Needs to know where you go, who you met, how much money you spent, wants to see the receipts.
·         Unrealistic expectations. This refers to you meeting his or her every need in the relationship while looking fabulous.
·         The abuser sees him/her/self as the victim. He or she never takes responsibility for personal actions.
·         Hypersensitive, which results in taking everything personal
·         Critical of you.
·         Use religion or culture to control ex: Women must be submissive to their husbands.
·         Tells you what to wear, even buys you clothes with the expectation you’ll wear them.
·         Subtly criticizes your friends & family. Invents events or illness to try to prevent you from seeing them.
·         Resents any hobbies or outside activities you might have. Finds ways to curtail them.
·         The two of you never do anything you want to do. Your favorite restaurants, activities, etc. fall by the wayside. You might even make plans to do something you want, but it is cancelled due to illness, work, or some other convenient excuse.
·         Mood swings that appear to have no perceivable trigger. With this person, you’ll constantly be walking on eggshells.
·         He or she is cruel to animals. Doesn’t understand the concept of pets. If a pet is around, they could be keeping a dog for hunting purposes or a cat for mice control.
·         He or she makes violent threats such as threatening to punch someone who cut him off in traffic.
·         Guilt trips when you decide to do something you want to do.
·         Humiliating or embarrassing you on purpose.
·         The two of you go out with his/her friends, then excludes or ignores you.
·         Refuses to talk to you, nor answer your calls or texts, to punish you
·         Withholds affection. This can run from refusing to hold your hand to being locked out of the bedroom.
·         Uses the I love you, but…. statements that tack on a criticism or a desired behavior.
·         Makes everything your fault
·         Threatens suicide if you leave.
·         Constantly calling or texting when you’re apart. This isn’t love, it’s checking up on you.
·         Flirts with other people in front of you. Laughs it off if you call him or her on it.
·         Cheats.
·         Uses sarcasm, eye rolling, and belittling terms
·         Knows your insecurities and makes mean jokes about them.
·         Uses control statements. Example: If you don’t go with me to Hooters, then I won’t go to the Spring Fashion Preview. He never makes it to the fashion preview.
·         Uses money to control behavior.  In the beginning, it can be not having money to do activities you want to do to finally controlling both your finances to prevent your needed departure.
·         The abusive partner may also threaten your pet or child to insure desired behavior.
·         Plays mind games. Insist events never happened making the victimized partner question his or her sanity.
·         Intimidates with guns, knives, or other weapons. This can be as subtle as showing or loading the gun.
·         The person forces sexual acts you don’t want.
·         Slaps, grabs, punches, pinches, and then blows it off by calling it teasing.
·         Destroys your property or forces you to dispose of a beloved item.
·         He wants you to have sex with him all the time. When you’re not there, you must send sexy pictures or provocative texts. This is more about ownership and control as opposed to passion. Reasonable people know you have a life outside of them.
·         Disappears for days without any explanation or a weak excuse such as: I had stuff to work on.

In the end, it is all about control, not love.  If you feel like you’re doing things you don’t want to do, Stop. Don’t give your controlling mate a chance to reform because he won’t. Many a person has been sucked in by the I’ll change story, followed by two weeks of good behavior. Make an extraction plan. If you’re not living together, it’s easier to get out.
1.      Change your phone number, email, etc.
2.      Defriend him or her on social media, but go silent for about a month. This person is canny enough to friend your friends to cyber stalk you.
3.      Be unavailable. This might involve not being at home, or not answering your door.
4.      Make a list of the abusive behaviors and incidents to remind you why you left when you feel lonely.
5.      Do something you’ve wanted to do, but denied yourself.

If you’re living with someone, it will be harder because they’ll be hyper aware of everything you do, but it’s do-able. If you work, call domestic abuse hotline from work or a public place.  Get together your license, social security card, and other personal identification for a quick exit.

If you’re ambivalent about leaving an abusive partner, look at these stats.  Men suffer abuse too. One out of seven men are in an abusive relationship. The figure jumps to two out five when the man is involved in a homosexual relationship. Abuse isn’t just a female or hetero thing.

I’ve been in abusive relationships and have been alone too. Alone is so much better. It allows you to gain the wisdom and distance to recognize a good, functional relationship.

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.