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Lonliness and the single, urban dweller

It’s Friday night. You arrive home late and exhausted from another week of demanding, stressful work and long hours that have left you no time for even thinking about the week-end, let alone planning for it. So, here you are, tired, alone and already anticipating the boredom, isolation and catch-up errands and housework that are to come. Sound familiar?

Unlike generations past, singles today are delaying marriage while pursuing advanced education and demanding careers, often in places far away from where they grew up. The 2002 census data tells us that the median age for first marriage has risen to 25.3 for women and 26.9 for men. This marriage delay has led to a long period of single years in which individuals who have often relocated for school and/or work must find new ways to meet their needs for familial intimacy and sharing.

This new lifestyle has been on the rise for over twenty years, as societal norms have shifted due to divorce, the new sexuality and a desire on the part of singles to marry after they have reached an age in which they know who they are and what they want out of life. Older singles, (late 30’s to early 50’s) were the pioneers in this new way of life. The role models available to them were primarily limited to early marriage after high school, some college or upon completion of a college degree. Marriage was the (expected) next step and the route that marriage-minded people felt they had to choose.

For those who didn’t marry early, the single life has not lived up to its promises. Yes, they have been successful in their careers and many singles own their own homes and have reached a certain level of financial stability and freedom, but the lifestyle issues can be huge. They believed the right person would happen along after they had met their educational and professional goals. Instead, many singles in this age group report that they struggle with a loneliness that has resulted from an imbalance in their lives. Time passed, friends married and moved away and their families of origin were no longer able to function as they once had due to aging or deceased parents. They often refer to themselves as workaholics who attempt to meet needs primarily through success in their careers, while neglecting their social and personal lives.

Younger singles- twenties to mid-thirties express similar issues, yet there are differences that are significant and worth taking a look at. These younger singles had somewhat different role models. Education and career were placed at the top of their lists from childhood. Many had working mothers, who raised their daughters (as well as their sons) to focus on becoming strong, independent adults who could “have it all” if they followed these rules for success. Putting off marriage was encouraged as a way to help them achieve their own personal goals first. Therefore, these singles embrace the belief that you shouldn’t marry until you know yourself first and have learned to meet your own needs.

How has this difference impacted the quality of the lives of these two groups of singles? Younger singles began their independent lives with the expectation of more single years ahead and an attitude that they must build a complete life for themselves and not DELAY (amongst other things), building strong peer support systems. This gave rise to the close-knit, family like groups that are now often referred to as Urban Tribes. A writer named Ethan Watters first used this term in 2001 in a magazine article he wrote about the “tribe” that he had belonged to for a number of years, and how it had nurtured and sustained its members with friendship, emotional support, financial help and family-like bonds.

These tribes were often started with a core group who went to school together, worked in their first jobs together and/or lived together in order to share expenses. As time went on, the bonds deepened and many “tribers” report that they have many of the advantages of family without the responsibility and commitment of marriage. Many have marriage as their goal but are living “full and satisfying” lives until that time.

How can the tribal experience benefit older singles who have found that many of their old friends have moved away or married? They can begin (wherever they are in their lives) to create communities that can meet their current needs and lifestyles. This of course, will be more challenging at this stage of life. So, where should they begin?

The following is a rough list of ideas:

  • friends from work
  • old friends who still share a similar lifestyle
  • new friends they meet through volunteer work, social groups, other friends, leisure time pursuits and church
  • internet searches for local singles

Every metropolitan area offers a wide range of groups for singles. These are hosted by for profit companies as well as singles groups/clubs that are affiliated with religious and other private organizations. You can find them on the Internet by typing in key words such as “singles activities” along with you specific region of residence. Then you can go through the listings, looking for activities and pursuits that you feel would attract singles with whom you would have things in common.

In order for a community like this to take hold, members must be willing to set limits on their work lives and make themselves available for “family style” dinners, nights out, shared leisure time and structured outings and/or vacations, and support as needed to individuals within the group. Just as everyone within a family has their defined role, so will these emerge in tribes. Some will be the organizers or leaders, others will handle the details, while the rest will contribute as needed and as their strengths and interests allow. Over time, friendships and bonds will grow. Individual members will be provided with the support, caring and security they need in order to live a happy single life, which is the foundation on which all healthy intimate relationships are built.

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!

Managing an Online Conversation

Having a great profile is crucial to finding good partners online — the sort of people you actually want to meet, date and see again. But it’s just the beginning. Having an effective profile, one that has an attractive picture and a well-written description, will help to make sure that you receive emails from people you want to hear from and that your own winks are answered.

They set up the first and most important step. But the second step — the one that leads to the date — involves writing the sort of messages that create curiosity and make clear that a face-to-face meeting is going to be the best way to answer those questions.

It’s usually men who make the first contact and it’s a good idea not to be too direct. A well-prepared profile will make a positive impression but it won’t tell the reader everything she wants to know. She should be interested but she’ll still have doubts. Move forward too quickly and she will simply step back.

A good first move then is to send an email — always better than a wink — that praises the profile and asks a question about one of the interests the profile describes. Asking about a book she’s mentioned is an easy one. Picking up on her love of scuba diving or horse riding is even better. It’s something that gets the conversation moving towards a destination rather than moves the destination — the date — into the conversation.

The reply too needs to be friendly rather than cautious. Answer any questions that were in the email and throw in one or two of your own. That’s how conversations work, especially when two strangers meet for the first time.

Ideally, after that first exchange, you’ll begin to get the feeling that email is just too clunky for the sort of conversation you want to have. That’s the best sign that you’re ready for a real date.

All of this though starts with a great profile, and creating that profile will always be your first move. LookBetterOnline’s profile photo packages begin at just $197 and can dramatically increase the number of emails you receive and the chances that your messages will be answered. Order yours here.

Your “Dating Road Map”

As a dating and relationship coach, I’ve provided solutions to singles’ dating problems as well as ways to think about your dating behaviors. Mostly, I’ve had you focus on the people you’re dating, giving you guidance and tools for determining if someone has the potential to be your “soulmate,” or life partner.

But it looks like this hasn’t been enough, because I still receive questions like: “Why can’t I meet the kind of women I want to date?” and “What’s wrong with me that I end up  dating men who don’t care about the same things I do?”

These types of questions are indicative of a problem in what is called the “attraction” phase of dating – making sure that once you are “ready” to date, you will attract the kind of people who can meet your needs and requirements in a relationship. Understanding what it takes to attract the kind of people you want to date will require creating what I call a “dating road map.”

What is a “dating road map?” It’s exactly that – a “map” or a plan for describing, finding and attracting the person you want for a life partner. Having a dating road map helps to guide you and to keep focused on your ultimate destination of attaining the relationship you want. The alternative? Well, you could choose to simply wait for Prince or Princess Charming to drop magically into your life.

Creating your dating road map starts with describing your “ideal mate.”  Your ideal mate will have a combination of qualities and characteristics that fit into one of two categories. The first of these categories consists of the enduring qualities — honesty, kindness, generosity, loyalty, trustworthiness and integrity. Included in this category are the interpersonal skills necessary to making and sustaining a committed relationship. These qualities are considered non-negotiable and mandatory.

The second category consists of your personal preferences: looks/beauty, intelligence, professional interests or occupation, financial stability or level of success, family background and involvement, hobbies, degree of religious involvement. These qualities can be more flexible and negotiable.

The next step in creating your dating road map is to describe yourself. Think about and ask yourself these questions: What are my strengths? What are my limitations? What do I have to give in a relationship? Think also about your goals in life– What is important to me? What is my life path? Knowing who you are and where you’re headed in life influences how you use your dating road map to search for, and especially attract, suitable candidates to date.

When your dating road map is ready – it has your vision of what you’re looking for, as well as an understanding of who you are and what’s important to you — your next goal is to reach your map’s destination. In other words — go out and find him or her! Unfortunately, this sounds easier said than done.

That’s why the next step involves comparing your two lists — the one describing your ideal mate, and the one describing yourself. Looking at the description of your ideal mate, begin to imagine what he or she would be looking for in a partner. Taking the perspective of the partner you want, ask yourself – “What would the person that I’m looking for, be looking for?”

I consider this a process of “qualifying” yourself for who you want to attract, and is an opportunity to “be who you want.” That’s because people frequently don’t realize that our relationships tend to mirror who we are on the inside. Regardless of what we say we want, we will generally attract a partner reflecting who we are and where we’re at in our lives.

This means that attracting the partner you want requires “qualifying” yourself by developing yourself and living the kind of life that you want now. While I agree that you may not be able to live your ideal life without a partner, you should still live your life to the fullest as a way of preparing to meet your eventual life partner.

So, knowing that who you are and where you’re at influences who you attract, the next question is obvious — what do you need to change, improve, or work on, in order to qualify to be the partner for the ideal mate you desire? Here are some examples of areas ripe for improvement:

Are you hoping for a spouse to rescue you from your boring and unstimulating job? Take a course now to help you find a more rewarding and gratifying career.

Eating junk food and take-out all of the time, saying that you’re waiting for a partner to cook healthy, gourmet meals for, or with, you? Enroll in a cooking class now to learn how to shop and cook yourself.

Feeling down because you’re not getting responses to the emails you’ve sent to profiles you’ve seen online? Combat those feelings now by joining and working out at a gym. You’ll feel better about yourself physically, and psychologically.

Following the part of your dating road map that’s more about you stops you from looking at others to change or be different to suit you. It also prevents you from blaming your misery on your single status. While the three examples I gave above were designed to empower you to grow and change, they were also ways to possibly meet others with similar goals — such as learning, cooking healthy, and exercising. By focusing on yourself and determining how to improve your chances of attracting the people you want to attract, you are preparing yourself, i.e., “qualifying” yourself, for the partner and relationship you want.

Dating can be filled with frustrating and ungratifying experiences. Creating a dating road map can be just the strategy you need to clarify your vision, and to help you feel more in control as you pursue a loving and fulfilling life partner 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!

© Copyright 2005 Janice D. Bennett, Ph.D.

Got attitude?

If you are single and looking for a partner, you probably have attitude, but what is it? Are you positive, optimistic, and sure of a good result? Or are you jaded or self-protective? Frightened? Is “scared to death” too strong?

What you want, a plan to get there, and an attitude to match is vital for partnering success. Think about it: if you are sure that what you are doing won’t work, chances are very good that you will be right.

It’s like planning a trip to where you really don’t want to go, but it is the only route you know. Who wants to spend their vacation in the city dump? That’s just what you are deciding to do if you are saying things to yourself like “There are no good men out there,” or “Women are just looking for a fat wallet,” or “It’s not going to work, so why try?” You can be sure with those kinds of attitudes, you won’t find any good men, or will just find gold-digging women, or you won’t get anywhere at all.

Do you know how, when you suddenly become interested in something, you start noticing it everywhere? A few months ago, I got a sudden inspiration that I wanted a white convertible, right out of the blue. And then I started noticing convertibles. Never knew that there were so many of them around, but then again, I hadn’t been looking before. It’s the same way with those PT Cruisers — I think they are as cute as a button, and I notice them. I do not notice Cadillac’s or Chevrolets or BMW’s.

That’s the way it works with attitude and dating. You get a “destination” in your mind, where you are heading, and then, both consciously and unconsciously, you notice things and make choices that get you there. So it is very important, if you want success, to have success as your destination.

I am convinced, that for everyone who wants one, there is a perfect mate Out There. And, if you are looking, it is crucial for you to believe that too.

The question is where this person is, finding him or her, and how long it will take. Those are the real questions.

So can you believe? Can you adopt an attitude of bemused curiosity? Of wondering who your sweetheart will be and when and where he or she will manifest themselves? Of readying your life to accommodate sharing with another? Of hopeful expectancy? Of an opening to possibility and an acceptance of what is to come?

Just try your own Attitude Adjustment and see what happens.

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!

Kathryn B. Lord c. 2003 All Rights Reserved

Don’t Tell Me Who You Are, Tell Me What You Do!

Read the first 150 pages or so of Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice, and you’ll discover two things. You’ll learn that Darcy is proud and Elizabeth Bennet is prejudiced.

Jane Austen didn’t need 150 pages to tell us that. She could have done it in a sentence: “Darcy is proud and Elizabeth Bennet is prejudiced.” But that would have told us nothing. We’d have wondered what Darcy was proud of, what Elizabeth Bennet was prejudiced about. And every reader would have had a different idea of how that pride and prejudice would have affected their behavior.

That’s why Jane Austen shows us Darcy being sniffy at the ball and describes how Elizabeth behaves in his company.

It’s only by seeing people in action and understanding what they do — and like to do — that we can understand who they are.

What does this have to do with online dating?

The most common mistake that online singles make is to try to describe their personality. If it took Jane Austen 150-odd pages to describe the personalities of her characters, what makes you think you can do it in 150 words?

Instead of using the usual list of adjectives to try to summarize who you are (“I’m passionate, loyal and adventurous, etc…”) describe what you like to do.

If you say that you spent last weekend base-jumping, we’ll know you’re adventurous. If you say that you’re the type of person who’s prepared to pick up a friend from the airport at 3am in a snow storm, we’ll know you’re loyal. And if you say that you never miss a Cardinals game, we’ll know you’re passionate… and what you’re passionate about.

No adjective that you use to describe your personality can ever say who you are. Everyone uses the same terms on their profile even though everyone is different and everyone reads those descriptions differently.

But when you say exactly what you like to do, fill it with detail and say what  you get out of it, we’ll get to see your personality. And more importantly, we’ll get to see what life with you will be like.

And that’s the real goal of your profile.

Is Your Profile All It Could Be? Find Out With A Profile Review

Online dating profile, before and after example

Online dating profile, before and after example

Writing an effective dating site profile isn’t easy. It’s no small thing to blow your own trumpet without hitting a bum note that puts off potential partners.

That’s why at LookBetterOnline, we offer a Profile Review service.

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Trick or treat – Is this Make-Believe or real thing?

“I’ll call you this week”. “Yes, I’d love to see you again”. “I had a great time”. “I’m not interested in dating anyone else”. “I think I’m falling in love with you.”

These are a few of the phrases passed between singles as they move through the stages of meeting and dating. At the time, they are uttered with what feels like true emotion and honesty. No wonder the person they are directed to is so confused when the call never comes, the person becomes unavailable, or it soon becomes evident that the speaker is dating or deeply involved with someone else. Can we ever believe what we see or hear? How can we be sure?

Dating is a process of getting to know someone. It begins with an attraction, which is formed by that first impression. Often, this first meeting occurs by chance at a social gathering, at work or in the course of one’s daily life. More and more, it happens through a response to a personal ad and the emailing and phone calls that follow. Both in-person and email or voice contact give us a sense of the other individual- but this is only a brief snapshot of who they may be. It takes real time together to create a larger and clearer picture of this other person and their rightness or wrongness for us. During this time we assess for friendship, attraction, shared interests and values, and a willingness and ability on the part of both individuals to move forward in a relationship.

Given that this is a process, it has stages. A first date helps the couple to learn more. It is a fact-finding experience, which involves not only the information the other provides, but our feelings and reactions to it and to them as a potential partner. We show our best selves and attempt to make an appropriate connection with someone we find desirable. In the best scenario, everything clicks for both people and conversation is natural and easy. More often, there may be questions, doubts, and/or mixed feelings. Seeing each other again is often suggested by one or both people and is a good way to learn more about each other and resolve any questions. But the doubts and negative feelings go unstated in a desire to either give the other person a chance or to let them down easily. It’s also an easy way out for someone who is uncomfortable with this level of emotional honesty.

So, how do we know what the other person is truly feeling? You have several options for getting this information.

  • You take them at their word and wait to see if they follow through with what they have said they would do. Nothing speaks louder than behavior. This option is the most common choice and can leave you in that all too familiar holding and wondering pattern.
  • You attempt to address the situation openly and candidly. This one requires a bit of courage and an ability to be vulnerable. State how you are feeling in a thoughtful but honest way. Ask them to do the same for you. Let them know that you want to hear their honest thoughts about how the date went and if they would like to get together again.
  • The third option should be used regardless of what you do with the other two. Pay attention to their non-verbal communication. How do they look at you? What quiet responses do you get after you have shared something about yourself? What do you see in their facial reaction, posture and eyes? Do you FEEL interest or just politeness? Are they really WITH you, or somewhere else? If you learn to listen to the non-verbal language, you will HEAR much more than what their words have to say.

Listening to the whole person applies throughout the stages of dating and relationships. It is also important during this time to pay attention to their behavior and note inconsistencies or mixed messages. Too often people don’t and are stunned when a relationship “suddenly” ends or they find out they are seeing someone who was not the person they thought they were. Trust your instincts and listen “with a third ear”.

Remember also that the responsibility for honesty is also on you. Don’t say what you think the other person wants to hear because you don’t want to be impolite or hurt their feelings. If you really think about it, it is more hurtful and in poor taste to be dishonest with someone who has a true interest and is trying to learn yours.

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!

Tips for becoming fluent in the non-verbal language of dating

We are all too familiar with the term “body language”. There have been books, workshops and endless discussions spawned by it. But do you really KNOW how to interpret the non-verbal messages that other people broadcast on a continual basis in their interactions with you? There are two levels of communication that occur in any interaction:

  • content
  • process

Content refers to what we SAY. Process refers to EVERYTHING ELSE that occurs.

Interactions can be wrought with mixed signals- saying one thing and non-verbally communicating another.

No wonder so many singles report confusion regarding what their date was really thinking or feeling. On the surface, understanding this language can seem very difficult, if not impossible. Not so, if you learn to speak the non-verbal language of process.

The following tips will be presented using examples of naturally (and commonly) reported dating scenarios experienced by singles.

1. Good eye contact/ poor eye contact

When you are sitting and talking with your date, do you notice how they look at you, when you or they are speaking? When their eye contact is good, this is a sign that they feel comfortable and interested in you. They are really involved in the interaction and want to be there. It also communicates honesty and sincerity. Conversely, when your date has difficulty making eye contact, this communicates discomfort; lack of interest or it could be extreme shyness. The last would be easy to know if they are a shy person in general.

2. Restlessness

Have you ever experienced the restless date? You know the one. He moves around in his chair, she looks at her watch, and his mind seems somewhere else. He may or may not offer an explanation. What appears to be going on is that her mind IS somewhere else. This behavior communicates a lack of interest or a preoccupation with someone or somewhere else.

3. Looking around at others a lot and not at you

Have you ever had the unpleasant experience of being out with someone who watches the crowd the whole time? Perhaps, they just glance furtively (and frequently) around the room? This, of course, signals lack of interest, possible discomfort and a desire to avoid interaction with you. It can also be a general sign of someone who is not trustworthy, or at the very least, hasn’t been completely honest/ candid with you.

4. Is noticeably quiet

Oh, how deafening is silence. It can speak volumes.

If your date has little to say to you what does this mean?

Maybe they are just not very interested in you.

Perhaps they don’t think you would care to hear what they have to say.

Maybe they think you wouldn’t appreciate hearing what they are really thinking.

Perhaps they are in an off or sour mood.

Only you can interpret this. Be careful not to quickly write it off to something you want it to be, as opposed to what it really is.

5. Stiffening or closed-in body posture

You know what YOU do in uncomfortable situations.

You fold your arms tightly across your chest.

You stiffen your spine.

You tightly cross your legs.

You turn your body at an angle away from the person you are facing.

You lean away from the person you are with.

Of course, the reverse is true when the interaction feels good.

You lean forward.

Your arms are relaxed or laying open to the person.

You face the other person directly.

Your posture is relaxed and at ease.

It’s fairly easy to interpret the closed-in posture.

The other person feels uncomfortable.

They aren’t open to the interaction with you.

They would rather not be there.

If this is a first date, it will probably be the last.

6. Physical Contact

Perhaps the easiest communication to read correctly is that of touch. If your date avoids taking your hand or putting his arm around you he may be uncomfortable or unsure. He may also be shy, but you would already know that.

If someone you have been dating for a while begins to exhibit changes in their level of eye contact, body posture, attention to you, availability and/or becomes restless or less communicative, pay attention. Their feelings have shifted. Be careful not to be too quick to explain it away. More than one occurrence should set off your silent alarm. Make sure that what they say matches what they don’t say.

Other (non-verbal) expressions that you should listen to that can suddenly occur during the course of a dating relationship are:

  • Calling less or not calling
  • Change in voice tone
  • Becoming busy and not having time to get together
  • Lateness
  • Missing dates without calling or having a plausible excuse
  • Moodiness- irritation/impatience/anger outbursts

If your date or boyfriend/girlfriend sends you any of the above (negative) signals, the best way to handle it is to comment in a direct (and gentle) way about it. Then watch for what he/she DOES while you listen to their response. This will give you all the information you need.

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!

Online Dating is for freaks and wierdos

Once I began e-dating a friend of mine became a bit curious, and I suspect, concerned. She had her own preconceived notions about Internet dating. While I usually kept details of my dates to myself, this time I printed off the profile of someone I was going to meet that night and showed it to her. She read it and said, “This guy looks fun… oh look, you both like to do the same things… this guy would be great for you… and he’s cute…” She looked at me, “This guy seems perfectly normal” as if it surprised her.

Everyone knows there are nothing but freaks and weirdoes online, right? If you stop and think about it, the people that are online looking for a mate are regular, busy people who just haven’t bumped into Mr. or Mrs. Right yet. And if you can meet your mate at church or in a grocery store, why can’t you meet them on-line? I’ll tell you from personal experience that my husband and I found that we had hung out at the same places for years, and yet it took the World Wide Web for us to finally meet.

I maneuvered around the online dating world for approximately six months. I met a lot of wonderful, sweet, nice guys. In fact, I was very surprised at the number of great guys out there looking for the same things in life I was. None of us could believe we were doing online dating, and yet now that we’ve done it, we know it’s a great way to meet people and date successfully.

When I started Internet dating I was a marketing director for a large firm and I worked long hours. I had the kind of job that consumed me. Looking back, that was one of the reasons I had not yet met someone. Despite the fact that I loved what I did, I really did not have much of a personal life. Sure, I had friends, lots of them, but I also spent many evenings when I came home and was totally alone. I’ve always been very independent, but I realized it would be nice to have someone to talk to at the end of the day, to share my triumphs and my sorrows, and to one day start a family with. I realized that I wanted a relationship.

I had no false illusions of what having a relationship would mean. To the friend that told me a man would not make me happy I wanted to say, well no kidding. I was in my mid 30s and had a great life; of course I didn’t need a man in order to be happy. I had spent a lot of time on my own and it showed me I could do anything I wanted in life. I was a complete person before I started looking for a mate. And I think this is very important.

Don’t misunderstand me, I love my husband and getting married has transformed my life is so many wonderful ways I actually wake up each day and thank God for this gift. It’s better than I ever thought it could be. But before I met my husband, I took every opportunity to do exactly what I always wanted to do in life. I started working on a book of poetry; I went to college for the first time; I spent time with friends; I read; I painted. I had a strong faith. I never wanted to be one of those people that got married because they felt as if they were missing out on some part of their single life. I enjoyed my single life immensely. My husband and I both did exactly what we wanted when we were single, and we were both complete people when we met. Now, we are both independent, creative people who make the ultimate team. We are truly partners, friends, and lovers. My husband and I talk a lot about meeting the right person at the right time. He’s never met anyone he wanted to marry before me, and if someone would have told either one of us that we would meet our ideal person and marry just one year later, we would have probably laughed in their face. I never believed in the sappy stuff people talked about. I thought it was just an extension of pillow talk. When couples would tell me they “just knew” when they met the right person, I always rolled my eyes and thought they were crazy. But it’s true, I knew with him in a way I never knew with anyone else. He says the same thing; with me it was just different from the beginning.

Now I don’t tell you all this so you’ll think I’m just a sap who wants everyone in the world to get married. Au contraire. I firmly believe there are many people that have no business being married yet, let alone in a relationship. Be a complete person all on your own first. Be brave enough to spend some time by yourself to figure out exactly what you what. Don’t jump from relationship to relationship, and don’t be afraid to walk away from someone if it isn’t totally right. And for goodness sake don’t stay with someone because they are okay “for now.” If you stay in a relationship that isn’t quite right it is only keeping you from the one that is right. Wish them the best, mean it, and move on. Don’t stay with someone that isn’t right just because you think it will magically transform and turn around one day or because you are simply afraid to be alone. Look at it this way, the time you spend alone will help you figure out exactly what type of person would be great for you. And then when that person is finally right in front of you, you’ll know it. You deserve to be happy, not just “okay for now.”

With all that said you’re probably wondering if my e-dating adventure was all fun and games. Well… yes and no. Granted, I met more sweet and wonderful guys than I ever thought existed in the world. But I also met some real goofs. But hey – doesn’t that happen in the “normal” dating world as well?

Look at it this way, the more you date, and the more likely you will meet not only great people but also some not-so-great ones. Several years ago I met a guy (in a bar) that I went out on what I thought would be a fun date. We had planned lunch and then a ride on his boat, but when he picked me up he asked if I’d mind stopping by his house for a quick minute. He said he’d forgotten his jacket. Sure, I said. We walked in, not to his house (as he’d originally said) but to his parent’s house. Then he introduced me as, “This is the girl I told you about,” to his parents. After hearing the “oh, she’s lovely” comments from his parents I realized this guy was reading more into this date than I was. Thankfully we left and had lunch. Then we met up with two of his friends that were also dating. The four of us went out on his boat for a quick spin, and while my date was showing me the sites we could hear the sounds of his two friends madly making out behind us. I tried to give him my best “don’t even think about it” look, when suddenly my date said, “Uh oh.” It turns out the boat had run out of gas. We had to start rowing ourselves back towards the shore, until mercifully a rescue boat came to tow us in. When we got to shore my date acted as if this was the most normal thing ever, so when we docked and he asked me what I wanted to do next, I told him I wanted to go home. On the long drive back to my house he chatted non-stop about his life, and suddenly I heard a beeping sound coming from the car. He continued yakking away until I finally had to ask him what that sound was. He laughed sheepishly, then told me that was the warning sound because the car was about to run out of gas. That would make twice, on the same date. And this was someone I met all on my own.

So you see, you can meet odd people anywhere. The Internet isn’t exclusive to them. I should tell you that despite how awful my date with this man had turned out I was glad I went. At the time I had an on-again, off-again relationship and was seriously wondering if I could date someone else. I realized that despite how this date had went, there were plenty of people in the world looking for the right person, and I owed it to myself to move on from something that wasn’t a healthy situation.

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!

Hooking up vs lasting love – It’s your choice

“hooking up”

“friends with benefits”

“booty call”

These terms have become all too familiar in today’s dating world. Are they words that you can relate to? Have you lived them in some way? If so, how have you felt about the experience(s) both during and after? Chances are that you have mixed feelings at best. Depending on your age and sex, you may give a somewhat different response to this question. Whatever your answer, a close look at this “dating experience” that impacts so many singles in so many ways may be useful to you as you think about what your long-term relationship goals are and what you REALLY want from a relationship.

So what exactly do these terms mean?

“Hooking up” is getting together for sex. There is generally no formal “date” involved.

“Friends with benefits” usually refers to two people who are “friends” who also have sex together. Again, there’s a distinction between what they share and “dating.”

“Booty call” usually describes the act of a man (woman) calling up another person to come over for sex. The sex doesn’t follow dinner, a movie or other “quality” time together, getting to really know each other. It’s physical.

Do you define this activity (even loosely) as dating? Has this become a new intimacy for some or many of you? If so, it’s important to look at how/if it meets your needs and if it aligns with your basic values and relationship wants and goals.

Begin by asking yourself some core questions, such as:

  • Am I comfortable with intimacy?
  • Am I comfortable with a purely physical relationship?
  • Am I able to be physically involved with someone while remaining emotionally detached?
  • How do I feel about myself when I engage in this behavior?
  • Am I doing this to please someone or win his or her affection?
  • Is monogamy and marriage my goal?

If your answers reflect discordance between how you feel and what you do, it would be helpful to understand the reasons behind your behavior. Do any of these sound familiar?

  • “It’s convenient”
  • “It’s easy”
  • “It’s safe”
  • “It requires no commitment on my part”

In addition to these explanations, some singles express a belief that “everyone does it” or “it’s expected.” Therefore, they often report engaging in it, but not feeling really ok or satisfied afterwards. Others use it as a substitute for real intimacy, referencing their difficulties in meeting and dating in general.

Then there are the people who have sex hoping it will lead to love. This too is a desire for intimacy that can lead to sadness and disappointment and the possibility of contacting a dangerous and life-altering infection. It reminds me of the line in a song, “if I can love you good enough on the outside to make you feel it on the inside, then maybe you will stay…”

Once you have determined what you really want from a relationship you can begin to make clear, thought out choices that will open the path that points in the direction you wish to go. Until you do so, you face the possibility of more disappointing and short-lived encounters that leave you feeling more alone and less hopeful about the possibility for lasting happy love.

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!

How to Find Love During a Dateless Weekend

It’s easy to rationalize being single. When you have to hold down a full-time job, who has time to go out on dates? When you’re seeing the same friends every week — and you already know their friends — how can you meet someone new? When you have children, how can you fit evenings in clubs and afternoons at barbeques around PTA meetings and soccer games?

Those are the sorts of questions you ask yourself as you settle into another Saturday night with your old friends instead of your new best friend.

But if you spent your last weekend without a date, you can use that experience to make sure your next weekend doesn’t go to waste.

A date-free weekend is the best time to start an online relationship.

You can send winks. You can write emails. And you can even chat online with other singles who also happen to find themselves dining partner-challenged on a Saturday night.

But try dividing the weekend into two. Spend Saturday sending out your messages but use a do-nothing Friday night to spruce up your profile so that those messages get results. Check your description to make sure that it says not just who you are but what you do. Add wit and personality so that readers will understand what a chat with you will be like. And ask questions to make it easy for interested people to write back.

Most importantly, ask yourself whether your picture shows you as you would look if you were heading out for a date… or planning an evening in front of the television. If it doesn’t show you at your best, take the effort to replace it before you spend an hour or two on Saturday making your moves.

Getting all of that right can be a little tricky, so it’s worth looking at how our packages can get your profile ready for some online dating. From just $197, you could have a set of great pictures or a perfectly written profile that could help to make sure that your next weekend is a little more interesting than your last one.