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Are You Saying Too Much — And Saying The Wrong Thing?

After years of dating, you’ve probably got the basics down pretty well, even if it’s been a while since you had to use them. You know how to dress, what to ask, how to behave to show interest, and how to tell whether you’ve found a winner… or another loser.

Online, many of those skills go out of the window. Putting on your best duds is going to have a limited effect in a small portrait, and trying to get across that you’re both humorous and humble isn’t easy when you’re trying write  an essay that’s all about you.

And then there are the mistakes. You might know better than to blab on about your ex on a date or chat on your mobile when things get dull but on a profile, the errors are more subtle. The effects though can be just as devastating to your love life.

One of the most common mistakes is making small things look big. Because you can’t say much on a profile, whatever you do say looks like the most important element in your life. Write that you like playing golf, for example, and a reader will assume that you’re on the green every weekend whacking balls and fishing your club out of the pond. That could put off people who can’t stand the game. It would also disappoint golf enthusiasts when they learn that you’ve actually only swung a club twice, even if you did quite enjoy it.

The solution is to share the detail. If you say you like running, say how often you run. If you’re a fiend at the grill, mention what you cook and when you’re likely to do it. If you’ve got a political point of view, keep it to yourself… unless you’d rather cut your own throat than share a coffee with a Bushite or split a cake with a Clinton fan. Don’t let your preferences appear to readers as necessities.

And one of the biggest preferences that get overblown online is the preference to be part of a couple. Readers know why you’re online. They understand that you’re looking to start a relationship. Say that you’re fed up being single or even describe with passion the sort of relationship that you’re looking for and you run the risk of looking desperate.

And nothing kills a potential date faster than desperation.

Love has a habit of coming to those who seem to need it least. Look like you’re happy and satisfied — but could be even happier with the right person — and it won’t be long before you are.

Dating online? The most important thing you need to know…

Having a great photo is the single most important thing you can do when dating online, so visit LookBetterOnline and find out why more than 98% of our customers get better dates, and see how we can help make your online dating experience successful and more fun than you thought possible!

Instant Action Steps that Can Take You from Singlehood to Coupledom

Have you ever noticed how the people who find partners the easiest are the people who need them the least? They’re the people who have three parties to go to every Saturday night, who have more friends than they can name and always seem to be happy, smiling and busy.

Love doesn’t just happen. It happens to people who make things happen. They do that by taking action.

Ten tips for setting (and keeping) life changing resolutions

It’s time for that annual ritual of making (and breaking) our New Year’s resolutions. There is something about the idea of being able to start over that motivates us to pause (at least briefly) and reflect on our lives as they are, as well as how we would like them to be. Yet how many times have you thought back to last year’s goals and found that many or most of them were abandoned or just forgotten after a few weeks or months into the year?

Many of us have difficulty following through on our resolutions due to factors such as choosing unrealistic goals, not making them challenging enough and/or lacking the necessary motivation to stick with them.

The following tips should help put you on the right course and assist you in staying committed to your most important goals for 2003.

  1. Start with a life vision
    If you don’t know what you want your future to look like, how can you decide what areas of your life need to be worked on? Spend some quiet time TODAY reflecting on (and writing down) what is good, bad or incomplete. Then try to “see” your life if all of these areas were addressed and had become satisfactory to you.
  2. Get organized
    Clear away clutter. Go through paperwork, files, old bills and receipts, closets, drawers and storage containers. Decide what you need and will use and either throw out or give away all the rest. Put aside some time each week for this purpose. After you have cleaned out you can think about your existing systems for management and storage and see if these need reworking or just some fine-tuning. Keep ONE calendar to record all appointments, events, etc. Write down everything- don’t rely on memory.
  3. Expand your horizons and make a commitment to learning something new.
    Challenging yourself will infuse you with greater energy and sense of purpose. It will help build your self-esteem to realize you really are capable of more than you had previously believed. This new learning can also give you additional resources to assist you in your career, personal or love life.
  4. Set challenging but realistic resolutions
    Choose goals that stretch your ability muscles, yet are realistic and therefore less vulnerable to failure. Don’t respond to that negative inner voice that says; “oh, I’m not capable of that”. Instead, focus on what you truly desire for your life and relationships and let this be your guide.
  5. Write down your resolutions
    Write them down and stick them on your bathroom mirror, your fridge, your car dashboard, your desk or wherever you know will be a good place for you to see them. You can also show them to a good friend, family member, your coach or anyone who could provide support and encouragement.
  6. Create action steps for each resolution; write them down, and keep an accounting of your progress for each.
    A resolution without planned action is doomed to failure. Break each goal down into small action steps or objectives. Putting a date for completion will help ensure you follow through. Come up with an accountability system that will work for you. Make sure you check off each accomplishment as you go and be flexible and willing to make adjustments in your action steps in order to achieve your desired end results.
  7. Take care of yourself; eat well. Exercise regularly and learn to control and eliminate unhealthy stress.
    I know this is an obvious one, so why is it often ignored or overlooked when we are attempting to make important life changes? How many times have you said, “I don’t have the time” to eat right, exercise, sleep adequately, etc? Not caring for yourself will guarantee failure. So, why not make this your first and most important resolution for 2003?
  8. Work to eliminate bad habits
    Including this as a New Year’s resolution would put you on the road to good follow-through. Bad habits will sabotage your efforts and use up your limited resources of time, energy and focus. For each bad habit you decide to eliminate, have a good habit in mind to replace it with.
  9. Set appropriate and healthy limits in all areas of your life
    Knowing your limits and enforcing them with yourself and others is a prerequisite to a healthy life and relationship. Learn to say “no” and “enough” and be firm in your resolve that this is a good thing to do. Otherwise, you will also be undermining your resolution to take care of yourself.
  10. Work to be the kind of person you want to be with
    Bringing out the best qualities in yourself will help to ensure that you attract people of good quality into your life. You wouldn’t want to compromise on the standards you have set for a potential mate. Therefore, it’s important to understand that this also holds true for other people in search of relationships.

Now begin this year with the resolve to be the person you know you have the potential to be. You’ll be pleased with the wonderful changes that await you!

Dating online? The most important thing you need to know…

Having a great photo is the single most important thing you can do when dating online, so visit LookBetterOnline and find out why more than 98% of our customers get better dates, and see how we can help make your online dating experience successful and more fun than you thought possible!

Are you (or are you with) a commitment-phobe?

We hear it all the time. “He just won’t make a commitment.” “She just wants some space right now.” “I’m not sure if I’m ready for a serious relationship.”

What does having a fear of commitment really mean? Actually, it means basically what it says. For SOME reason you, or someone you are involved with, isn’t ready to take this relationship (or any relationship) to the next step.

So how do we know if we or our (hoped for) partner are truly afraid of commitment? How do we know that it’s not something else? Is there any real difference between these two anyway?

Do these excuses sound familiar? “I’m just under a lot of stress right now.” “It’s not you, it’s me.” “I can’t focus on a relationship right now because of my overloaded schedule.”

Very often, we want to accept these reasons because we fear the real truth. Other times, we are just very confused by our feelings and the often mixed messages from the other person.

So, how do we evaluate our ability to make a long-term commitment? How do we know if he/she is really ready or willing?

There are only two real issues here to examine.

The first issue involves looking at a true fear of commitment itself. If this is the problem it’s important for the person with this fear to ask themselves a few key questions.

  • Are you concerned about the idea of forever?
  • Do you fear you could make a mistake in who you choose?
  • Do you fear a loss of your freedom/autonomy?
  • Are you afraid of a bad marriage–like your parents for instance
  • Do you fear you would be a bad mate?

If you answered yes to any of these, it would be a good idea to begin working to understand where these feelings come from. Once you understand them better, you can choose to address them. Perhaps you need more time or emotional growth before you consider making a long-term commitment. Greater self-knowledge will help you to overcome this block to building a lasting and satisfying relationship.

The second issue is the inability to make a commitment to a PARTICULAR relationship. This may not be the right one. Perhaps there is a sense of this but it is written off to being a “commitment-phobe” in general.

Focus on the true level of involvement with each other. Is there a genuine connection? Or is there a vague feeling of something missing? Evaluate the quality of your intimate relating. This does not mean how often (or even how good) the sex is. This is about how open, sharing and real you are in your interactions with each other.

Does any of this sound familiar?

  • It seems like we are only killing time?
  • He/she doesn’t seem to want what I want.
  • We seem to be off and on in our level of contact/affection.
  • I/they are still not over a past relationship.
  • I/they just don’t seem to know what I/they want.

Remember to focus on the involvement or lack thereof between you. If either person is disengaged in any way, it’s time to address the real issue of; “Is this the right relationship for us?”

Exploring your ability to make a lasting commitment should be a first step in your plan for building a healthy and lasting relationship.

Dating online? The most important thing you need to know…

Having a great photo is the single most important thing you can do when dating online, so visit LookBetterOnline and find out why more than 98% of our customers get better dates, and see how we can help make your online dating experience successful and more fun than you thought possible!

Happiness and the single person – Changing myth into reality

Does the expression “single and happy” sound like an oxymoron to you? Are you weary of others (especially other singles) reinforcing the belief that singles can’t be happy? Do you find yourself always planning for the future or putting things off until you “are married and settled? Do you often have a sense that the intense feelings of happiness and joy can’t really be experienced unless you “have someone to share it with?” Do you just feel there is not enough time and other necessary resources available to the single person to pursue experiences that can bring true happiness?

If the above resonates in your gut, don’t despair. The following tips will offer ways to help you experience your present reality differently through changing behavior that is based on those negative (false) beliefs. Essentially, these tips will offer advice on how to live a joyful, fulfilling and balanced single life, which will also assist you in achieving a healthy, long-term, intimate relationship.

Seek self-fulfillment as an individual

Place emphasis on being truly alive and experiencing the things that bring you true pleasure. Don’t let the feelings of peace and wonder slip from your life as you wait to share (beautiful sunsets) and other gifts of life with a future partner.

Don’t place your focus on “getting there”

Instead, learn to experience the journey of life. If you can only see the goal of a relationship – marriage, home, children, etc., you will not enjoy the experiences along life’s way. A good analogy for this is that of a person who bikes and sets (ie), a 40-mile goal for the day. They plan and prepare and off they go. The trip consists of thoughts about getting there, watching for problems in the road ahead, measuring the distance and looking forward to the sense of relief and accomplishment when the goal is met.

What about the sensory experiences missed along the way? This biker will not see the way the sun is reflecting on the river. They won’t hear the sounds of the birds and other wildlife in the parallel world around them. The smells of fresh vegetation, moist soil and spring-drenched air will not reach their awareness. It’s doubtful their mind will trip and play with thoughts of other (perhaps childhood) days like this. In other words, they won’t be IN the experience, just racing through it, and missing the magic available all around them.

Don’t put off important life decisions while waiting for that special someone

If your desire is to own your own home, work towards achieving this now. Yes, it may be smaller than if you had a partner to share it with. Your list of must-haves with this first home may be different (as yours alone) than they would be if you were looking for a family.When that time comes, you can make the decision to remain there for a time, or sell/rent out your first place. In the meantime, you will have an investment that you can make into something that meets your needs now for comfortable and secure living. It will add stability and be a wonderful help at tax time. If you are thinking about making a career change or going back to school for a degree, there is no better time than now. Yes, this may involve re-working priorities, moving, giving up some income, etc. If this is something you have decided you want for your life, delaying it until you are settled in a relationship may make it impossible to achieve. Make that move now. Don’t let this time in your life be placed on hold as you wait for things to happen in your life, instead of working to make them become reality.

Pamper yourself

Do nice things for yourself now that you have been putting off until… Go ahead and take that trip to the exotic place you have always wanted to visit. You can return there someday with your special someone.

Make it a habit to set the table for your dinner (for one). Use nice china and candles. Treat yourself as deserving of the things couples routinely provide to themselves as a unit. Ask yourself, am I less deserving because I’m single?

Put care and love into how you decorate your home. It does not have to cost a lot of money or become another chore to accomplish this. Make it a comfortable nest and retreat from the world. You and your future mate can decide together what to keep, change or add to.

Make a plan, not excuses

Make time for the things that matter. Don’t let your job or other responsibilities take over your life. Set those priorities. Set limits on work and other functional tasks. We often cite work as our best excuse for not attending to our other needs and wants. This may mean making less money or not moving up as fast in the organization. Without balance, there will be deficits in the emotional, spiritual, and social and leisure areas of your life.

Write down your must haves

Take time out each day for unwinding and relaxation. Keep a weekly inventory of how you are doing and make adjustments as necessary. Learn how to productively “waste time”. Turn off the blackberry and TV. Spend time alone with your thoughts. Reflect on your feelings and your life.

This is the season for new beginnings. Let this spring be your time for learning how to be truly happy and at peace within yourself. Immerse your senses in the many joys that the world around you has to offer. Don’t shut out the beauty and happiness that is available to everyone, regardless of their relationship status.

Dating online? The most important thing you need to know…

Having a great photo is the single most important thing you can do when dating online, so visit LookBetterOnline and find out why more than 98% of our customers get better dates, and see how we can help make your online dating experience successful and more fun than you thought possible!

The inside & outside of male-female friendships

Relationships with the opposite sex these days can be extremely complicated. How do you determine if someone is genuinely interested in you? Can a man and a woman be “just friends?” I’ve attempted to provide information and guidance to help relationship-oriented singles navigate their way around the opposite sex, as demonstrated by my answers to these questions.

Q. I just broke up with a guy I had been dating for nine months. We got along well on many levels, but realized that we couldn’t be “life partners.” So much of the relationship was good, but the arguing made it bad. While I’m willing to give up the sex and the hope for a future together, I don’t want to give up our friendship. We enjoy many of the same things and I would miss sharing them with him. Can’t we be “just friends” while I search for the guy who will be “Mr. Right?” Allyson

A. Maintaining a platonic relationship with someone you used to date is frequently the source of confusion and frustration. So much of your energy had been invested in this person, which makes severing only some of it very tricky. But if you really want to create a life partner relationship with someone who meets all of your needs, then I suggest it is best NOT to be friends with your “ex.”

Trying to maintain a friendship with someone with whom you had been physically intimate is especially challenging. That’s because sex is like “superglue” – it’s easy to get stuck, but extremely difficult to get unstuck.

Couples who have expressed their physical feelings with one another can easily succumb to the emotional triggers that sparked the intimacy to start with.

I suggest that you sever yourself from this failed relationship completely. Doing so will free up all of your energies – emotional, physical and intellectual – and allow you to explore a new relationship’s potential. Avoiding a “friendship” with your ex will prevent him (and your residual feelings for him) from distracting you from attaining your goal of attaining as gratifying relationship with Mr. Right.

Q. I recently met a guy at the gym. We both have been going for over a year, but only just *found* each other and began talking about two weeks ago. First just a minute of small talk, which expanded to on and off small talk each time we’d see each other (sometimes 2-3 times during the course of a workout). During the second week, we began to talk a lot more, usually between sets. He is always looking at me, and when I catch him, he looks away quickly, which makes me think that he likes me. One night we walked out together and talked for about 20 minutes by the locker rooms. The conversation seemed to go really well, but when there was a meaningful lull, I said, “Okay, well, I better go now” and he said, “If I don’t see you tomorrow, have a good weekend.” I know he was going away for the weekend, but still, I cannot imagine why he didn’t ask me out or for my phone number. I have made it clear that I like him, touching him when we talk, smiling, looking at him, etc. A mutual friend told me he’s not a player and takes it slowly with women because he’s a bit nervous. I can’t tell if he’s interested in me as more than a friend, and don’t know if I should ask him out. Can you help me with this? Tilly

A. I wish that I could tell you that this man is interested in you as more than a friend, but I can’t. All I have to go on is what you told me, and it does seem “promising.” However, if this guy does indeed have fears, then you risk making it worse by being direct and asking him out. And truthfully, I believe that the “laws of nature” dictate that men need to pursue women (which I wrote about previously). So, rather than asking him out yourself, you should instead find ways to make it easier for him to get to know you outside of the gym, and see that you’d be responsive to being pursued.

One time-tested idea is to invite him to a small party at your apartment with other, perhaps mutual, friends. Since you share an interest in being physically active, perhaps you could suggest some other exercise or sports-related activities that are done with a group, such as hiking, running or biking events that your gym, or other groups, might organize.

I also suggest that you consider utilizing your mutual friend to find out what his interest and intentions are. I believe that a third party can be a valuable resource and ally. She can subtlety let him know of your interest, and find out if it is mutual.

It may turn out that this man is not interested in pursuing a romantic relationship with you and would prefer to be “just friends.” This is when you can model what that would look like. For example, you could say “Since my goal is to find a long-term, committed relationship, then I guess we’ll only be seeing each other at the gym.” And then you’ll need to make sure that your conversations between sets are brief so that don’t get distracted from attaining your goal of a fit body, and a committed relationship. Good luck!

Dating online? The most important thing you need to know…

Having a great photo is the single most important thing you can do when dating online, so visit LookBetterOnline and find out why more than 98% of our customers get better dates, and see how we can help make your online dating experience successful and more fun than you thought possible!

What went wrong? When relationships go from hot to cold

Everything was great. We had been dating for 6 months. We shared the same interests, felt very at ease together, had (often) discussed future plans and had even spent some of the holidays together. Our relationship seemed right on track and just right in general. Then, without warning, he said he “needs some time to think and figure things out.” He stopped calling and rarely returned my calls. When he did, I was often met with silence on the other end of the line. When I asked “what happened”, I just got a verbal run around of excuses about how busy he is and/or how much stress he is under right now. What happened? What did I do? I don’t know what to think.

Does the above scenario sound at all familiar? If so, you can relate to being confused and stunned over the sudden change in a boyfriend’s/girlfriend’s behavior. Now think about this – What if your relationship wasn’t what you thought it was? What if unspoken issues had existed all along? What if there were signs you chose to ignore or just didn’t see? Are any of these possible? Probably.

This sudden change in a couple’s relationship is reported quite a bit by individuals who have just broken up with a significant other. Unfortunately, it leaves the person who has been “dumped” with feelings of low self-esteem, regret, inadequacy and anger. There is often no real closure, as the couple is never able (willing) to talk through what went wrong or was never right with their relationship.

So, how can you know what the problem was and hope to avoid a repeat of this hurtful experience? You can do this by examining your failed relationship and gaining insight and understanding about what just wasn’t right between you. In order to assist you with this; I am providing a basic framework of the relationship stages a couple must pass through TOGETHER in order to get to a place of shared intimacy and commitment. If either person’s feelings change before, during or after one of these stages; it is not necessarily the “fault” of the other individual. It is simply a statement about the individuals’ rightness (or not) for each other. It is also a reflection of each individual’s relationship readiness and ability to handle long-term, committed intimacy.

How an individual handles their changing feelings and resultant behavior toward the other is a subject for another article. Relationships have stages. We have all read articles and books by authors who have come up with their own unique number or names for these. I will try to take a very basic approach to this and keep it simple and as universal as possible.

Attraction

This is the first stage. It is physical, intellectual and emotional – on a very surface level. Girl sees boy and vice versa. They flirt, talk and get a very basic sense of the other. They are usually responding to a physical pull. He/she is cute, funny, charming, interesting to talk to, etc. Without attraction, first dates wouldn’t happen. It can therefore be assumed that the other person finds us attractive if we have gotten to a first date.

In a way, this is the easy one. We are unknowns to each other. Things progress from this point or they do not. Hurt feelings are minimal. We usually chalk up rejection to; “I’m not his type”. There is no need to analyze or wonder what went wrong.

If both people feel a strong enough level of attraction continues to exist after a few dates, they usually move along to stage two. However, if one finds the other has unattractive characteristics or behaviors, this can lead to an abrupt change in the relationship. Remember, these behaviors or characteristics would be ones that would manifest in the very early stage of dating. Some examples: frequently late, never offers to pay, dresses or grooms sloppily, rude to waitress, etc.

Romantic Relating

In this second stage, couples begin to test out the idea of themselves as a unit. Dating is no longer brand new. It is more comfortable and predictable. Sharing romantic dinners and exciting special interests are typical dates during this new and fun time in a growing relationship. During this stage, flowers are given for no special reason and loving cards are slipped back and forth with words like “thinking of you”. It’s a happy carefree time, when lovers tend to idealize, romanticize and overlook that which can be right in front of them. The relationship seems effortless and spontaneous. Affection is shared openly and frequently. One’s partner seems perfect. There is rarely conflict during this period. The partners often share the unrealistic belief that their relationship is so special and unique that it will always stay this way.

This stage can last from three or four months up to more than a year. It is actually the shortest stage that any long-term relationship goes through. It is also the one we wish we could hold on to forever and long for when it is gone. This is the stage that love poems speak about. It is also believed (falsely) by many that this is what long-term committed love will always be like. Many relationships begin to stumble at the end of this period. For that is when reality begins to set in. As partners begin to experience some disagreement, conflict and/or shared challenges- the relationship shifts as do the dynamics between the partners.

Though many relationships move past this stage, a number do not. Why? There are many reasons. These can include:

  • lack of readiness for the challenges of the next stage
  • issues with commitment and fidelity
  • immature beliefs about what relationships should be
  • being stuck on an idealized, romanticized notion of love

If one of the partners is not ready for a less than perfect and more demanding stage of love, they will exhibit this in their behavior, language and overall level of openness and availability towards the other. This is when the couple begins to think more seriously of a future with each other. The focus tends to be; how well do we get along, do we share similar interests and do I want to date this person exclusively?

Growth Through Negotiation

This is a very challenging and growing time in all relationship building. Reality comes into play as the couple settles into the comfort and predictability of their togetherness. Little issues can become blown-up into large conflicts. The individuals begin to compete for their share of control and their place in this growing union. Differences can become highlighted instead of minimized. This is often the period when couples experience their first fight. Hurt feelings can occur as that once loving and completely accepting other person airs a criticism or voices annoyance or concern. Often, the individuals believe it is the other person who needs to change.

This is where the need for (or lack of) communication, problem-solving and negotiating skills becomes apparent. For without an adequate measure of these, disagreements can break down into screaming matches where insults and recriminations are fired like missiles. If the individuals can listen, be supportive of each other’s feelings, compromise and not lay blame, they have a good chance of working through this stage and achieving a true intimacy. This does not mean they will share all the same beliefs and opinions or that they will necessarily even like the other’s view. However, having and showing respect is a cornerstone of a healthy relationship.

Not only will relationships fail without these relationship-building strengths, they can also abruptly end if one of the partners decides that they don’t feel the same way about this person in their less than idealized state. The reality may not be to their liking or just something they are not ready for in general. Either way, they will pull back, present differently or disappear without warning. How they handle their changing feelings is further information about their level of relationship readiness and maturity in general.

Intimacy

Intimacy is the reward that is gained when a couple has successfully worked through the difficult last stage of negotiation. It is almost like a new coming together with much greater self (and other) awareness. This new information can work to solidify the union or give one of both individuals enough new information about the other to require a reassessment of their desire to remain together. Each person looks at the other in their (naked) state and asks; “Is this the person I want to be with?” Here their individual differences are highlighted. The early romantic haze has cleared. What they have to offer to each other and to a future life together comes into play.

This is a time when couples often begin to contemplate each other’s attributes in a more practical way. They look at the other’s strengths and weaknesses. They evaluate each other’s potential as a future spouse, parent, provider, caregiver, partner, etc.

Relationships can be tested more during this time. Infidelity is one dysfunctional way that some individuals do this. Often, this leads to the end of the relationship.

When differences can be seen, aired and accepted, the couple has a good chance of moving on together from this place. Essentially, they have decided they want to be with the other, warts and all. When the behavior of one or both partners change, it is generally because they have made a conscious or unconscious decision regarding the wrongness of the other for them or for the type of relationship they seek.

Commitment

This is the final stage of relationship building. Once individuals have reached this place, they are ready to cement their bond. While much growth and work will lay ahead in a future life together, they are ready to begin this life soon.

New challenges arise during each stage, and will happen here as well. However, if the couple has successfully worked through the previous stages, they should have many of the tools they need. The external problems and pressures that come with life will test their resolve and commitment over the years. They may need to reassess, re-negotiate and renew their feelings and commitment. Fortunately, they will be in possession of the basic tools required. If they choose well to begin with, they should be successful.

As you evaluate your failed relationship, note the stage you were in when the change occurred. Chances are that the necessary level of readiness and maturity was not present in one or both of you. Perhaps one of you decided that this is not the kind of partner or relationship I am seeking. This new information and insight should help you to choose a future partner who is better suited to you and desirous of the same kind of relationship that you are.

Dating online? The most important thing you need to know…

Having a great photo is the single most important thing you can do when dating online, so visit LookBetterOnline and find out why more than 98% of our customers get better dates, and see how we can help make your online dating experience successful and more fun than you thought possible!

Looking The Part Online

It’s the picture. If you still haven’t had a date that’s led you to consider suspending your dating site membership, then the chances are your photograph is holding you back.

Yes, your profile description could need some sprucing up — and we can help with that too — but it’s the photograph that always makes or breaks an opportunity on a dating site.

The chances are, your photograph contains at least one of these common profile errors:

  • It’s cheesy. Lots of people have professional portrait shots lying around that they took years ago in studio — or worse, in a mall. They think that because they were taken by a pro, they must be good.
  • They’re wrong. We reject more than half the photographers who apply to LookBetterOnline because we want photos that show who our clients really are — not photos that show them holding a tulip or grabbing their shirt collars. Who ever does that?
  • It’s indecipherable. If someone has to squint to see you, they’re not going to bother. Far too many photos on dating sites go for the natural at the expense of the expressive. We see the surroundings — they’re big and focused — but we don’t see the face (that’s small and blurry). If someone can’t see you, they won’t date you.
  • It’s says all the wrong things. When people look for a date, they look for the best they can land. That means to get someone who’s at your level of attraction, looks, status and charm, you need a picture that expresses all of those qualities.

Sub-standard pictures always bring sub-standard results.

And there’s really no excuse to have a poor image on a dating site. When you can have a selection of great images to upload for just $149, nothing should be holding you back. Find a photographer now.

Why not averange Joe? Exploring Melana’s Choice

Admit it. You snickered, rolled your eyes and laughed out loud as the group of “Average Joes” filed out of their bus to meet Melana that first night. You probably thought “no way” as you settled in for a soap about a beautiful girl’s rejection of the geeks. Indeed, Melana herself stated, “Someone is messing with my head”, as the next “average” guy stepped down to meet her.

However, in the episodes that followed, there was bonding, friendship and attraction between Melana and a number of the guys. It actually began to look as though she was falling for at least one or two of them. Then came the twist. The “gorgeous” guys were sent in to challenge the Joes and test Melana’s ability to see past the surface and choose based on what each man had to offer as a total package.

At that point, what were you thinking? Who was your front-runner? Did you think it possible that the bonds that had been formed would be strong enough to hold Melana’s attention- and heart? I’m guessing that many people did. I know a lot of people were routing for Adam or Zack.

So, what happened? In the days that followed the final episode, virtually all of the commentary centered on a very basic and “simple” explanation of Melana’s choice. They all said it was about “looks”.

While I agree that physical attraction played a significant role, I believe Melana’s choice involved more than this. How we choose has to do with many things. These include:

  • physical attraction
  • shared interests
  • social compatibility and friendship
  • intellectual compatibility
  • ability to communicate
  • basic values
  • level of self-knowledge
  • level of maturity and dating experience
  • personal and family goals

I am going to do a brief examination of how these played a role in Melana’s final decision. Follow along with me and think about how these factors come into play in your meeting and dating life. Perhaps Melana’s public struggle with these can provide some valuable insights into how you choose potential partners and assist you in your desire to make the best (and healthiest) choice for you.

Let me begin by stating an obvious point that we are all aware of. The circumstances and setting of the meeting and dating that takes place on a “reality” show have little resemblance to the real world of dating. Dates are chosen, as is the person who will be doing the choosing. They are sequestered in a beautiful, romantic place where all their physical needs are attended to and everyone can present themselves in their best light. The real world of money, time, energy and the need for making dating plans are all handled by professionals who go “all out”. Even though the contestants spend weeks together, they are not confronted with the real life issues that singles in the dating world must deal with. Therefore, the circumstances are idyllic. This has pros and cons. I think we all have a pretty good idea of what these are. The major plus is that everyone can present himself or herself “equally”. The major drawback is that each relationship is limited to this fantasy existence, and there is no opportunity to see each other deal with the day-to-day challenges of real life.

Stepping back into the episodes prior to the inclusion of the “hunks”, can you recall the great dates that Melana had with the guys? The group dates were full of laughs and bonding on a friendship level. We all enjoyed watching Dennis get to the top and see the support and caring that were shown towards him. With each week, Melana discussed and demonstrated the attractions she was forming with different guys on different levels. A few rose to the front of the line as she eliminated based on not just looks, but on the “connection” she felt with each. Indeed, she used this word a lot. This connection was formed by the elements of:

  • social compatibility and friendship
  • ability to relate
  • comfort level
  • basic attraction

Just prior to the twist episode, Adam and Zack seemed to be the front-runners. In their individual dates, they were able to get to a deeper level of communication. Personality issues arose. There was discussion centering on likes, dislikes, attitudes and some of their own personal and family history. They began to get a sense of each other’s basic values and goals. Their ability to relate verbally and intellectually started to come into play.

At this point, Adam seemed a strong front-runner. Do you remember what qualities Melana highlighted as she discussed her feelings about him? “He’s funny, down-to-earth, smart, liked by everyone, and just a great guy.” Do you remember their first “passionate” kiss, and how surprised Melana was at what a great kisser Adam is? We have to wonder why she was so surprised. Perhaps because he didn’t look like the type? But he clearly was. It appeared that Melana was forming a strong bond with him that included all of the elements that love requires- including physical attraction.

So what happened?

Enter the hunks. Do you remember Melana’s face as they were brought into the room? Pleased would be a good description. Her physical attraction to them was obvious and strong. She used words like “handsome, great body, too pretty”, to describe them. Still, she was drawn to Adam.

As the show went on, Melana had individual dates. She decided to go out with the new guys to give them a chance. She eliminated Zack, to whom she had admitted having a strong physical attraction for, while being unsure about his other attributes.

Towards the end, it was Adam vs Jason. Who would she choose and why? Clearly, the way Jason looked was a major factor in his staying on. However, Melana also talked about her comfort with him and the ease she felt in their ability to communicate. Melana also rated their physical intimacy as great. Indeed the scenes shown from their dates demonstrated a strong chemistry. Melana was very drawn to him. But what about Adam?

Do you remember how Melana showed mixed feelings on her second to last date with Adam? She expressed that she felt conflicted. Adam was hurt and said so. Even so, they were able to go on with the date and have a pretty good time. On their last date, there seemed to be a real bond. Melana got a lot more information about Adam. He is successful, hard working, has many close friends and healthy family relationships. Clearly, she was impressed and drawn to all of these traits. But not enough….

So why her final choice? Melana found friendship, good communication, compatibility, mutual respect, comfort and attraction with Adam. She also found these with Jason. In addition, there was a STRONGER physical attraction. Remember her words, “look at him, who could resist that face.”

The answer for her final decision? I can only speculate here. However I believe it had to do with her level of maturity and self-knowledge. Someone with greater self-awareness, a strong handle on their life goals and a level of maturity that teaches us that looks fade while other attributes become stronger over time; may very well have chosen Adam. Instead, Melana appeared to have succumbed to the immediate passions of the here and now, instead of looking ahead to who would be the best choice for husband, father and partner in the future and sometimes harrowing journey of commitment, marriage and family life.

I read with interest that Melana and Jason’s “relationship” appeared to be over after their return from their final fantasy date. I was not at all surprised. One can only guess what went on. I think a good guess is that they got to know each other better without the pressure and competition that had come before. Perhaps Melana began to see that along with his sweetness, Jason had a strong passivity towards life, whereas Adam strove for achievement through hard work and determination. Jason seemed to be in need of time and maturity before he would be able to move towards an intimate and committed relationship and the responsibilities and challenges that come with it.

No one but Jason and Melana will ever know for sure. I just can’t help but wonder if she will regret her decision and wish she had been older and wiser when she was asked to make it.

I’d love to hear YOUR thoughts and ideas regarding Melana and her choice of Jason. If you’d like to express them, please go to http://www.consum-mate.com to contact me.

How To Hand Out Rejection

It’s no big deal to get heaps of emails on a dating site. With a good picture and a well-written profile, there’s no reason why your inbox shouldn’t see a steady stream of messages. But while all of those people might be interested in knowing more about you, it doesn’t follow that you’ll be interested in knowing much about them. Or anything at all for that matter.

In fact, you’ll probably find that most of the messages you receive in your mailbox will be from people who are a very long way from your idea of a perfect partner.

So what do you do with them?

The first thing to do is congratulate yourself. Your profile is working. Even if you haven’t caught the fish you’re aiming at, you know your hook is well-baited and you’re getting bites. There’s good reason to hope that it’s only a matter of time before something really exciting swims by.

But first you have to toss the minnows back. Winks you can ignore, canned messages you can can,  and super-brief emails that just say “Hi!” or “Hullo Gorgeous” you can send for recycling.  If the sender hasn’t put anything into a first contact, you don’t have to put anything into a reply.

But if someone has bothered to write a real email, one that refers to your profile and shows genuine interest in meeting you, then it’s common courtesy to drop them a line back.

The temptation though is often to lie, to thank them for their interest and say that you’ve met someone. No feelings are hurt and there’s little chance the person will persist. You can get away that if you’re 100 percent certain that you never want to date them. But lying is bad for the soul and if you just have the slightest doubt that you might want to go back and take another look, then it’s a definite no-no.

Instead, you can try softening the rejection. Say that you’re just browsing at the moment, that you’re not quite ready step back out there, but when that changes you’ll let them know. It’s you, not them… but without the cliché.

 

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