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Looking for love?

The complaint is well known: women meet men who want to have sex right away, even on the first date. How can a woman get a man to wait until she knows him better?

There are a few ways that this issue can be addressed, so I will be making two points: one will pertain to how a woman presents herself and behaves on a date, which is addressed specifically to women. In the second point I will address the sex and dating issue directly, which will be of benefit to women as well as men.

When I hear women complain that the only thing that men are interested in is sex, I try to get them to look at themselves first before casting all of the blame on men. For example, if you are dating online, what is the message that your profile conveys about you? Let’s start with your pictures: do you look smartly attractive in a variety of poses, or do your pictures instead exude sex with a “come hither” look? In your profile, how do you describe yourself, the men who interest you, and your ideal date? If it contains too many references to romance, this can be confused with wanting sex.

Before - After

Before – After

So be sure that your profile makes you sound appealing while simultaneously showing you as a woman of substance who is looking for a solid guy.

How do you behave while on the first date? It’s important that you act in a friendly, but not too flirtatious manner. Make sure that you are wearing attractive (but not too sexy) clothes and that your shade of lipstick doesn’t shout out “kiss me!” A man will respond to your lead if you start to touch him, so make sure that your gestures are meant to be friendly, not ones that would convey an interest in being grabbed and hotly pursued.

Even if a woman passes her own assessment of the cues and clues that she communicates, it’s important to remember just how powerful sex hormones can be. Since there is a natural biological basis to chemistry and attraction, it will call out to be gratified. Instead of going for instant gratification, I suggest that singles channel their experience of chemistry to concentrate on learning more about their dating partner-to determine if you share a similar life path, and see if s/he has the necessary enduring qualities essential for a creating a committed relationship. This kind of learning is best accomplished when you spend your time together asking questions, listening to answers, and paying attention to behaviors.

But what happens if you and your dating partner end up in “lip lock” and are headed towards the bedroom? Sure, you might “learn” a lot about each other, but not with the same objectivity had you kept your clothes on. So it’s important that you and your dating partner have the same answer to this question– what are you looking for in a relationship? Are you looking for love, or are you looking for sex?

If you are a man or a woman honestly searching for a life partner relationship, then this should not be a difficult question to answer. Many psychological and sociological studies have found that when people experience instant chemistry, and then act on it quickly by engaging in sex, there is a higher chance that the relationship will “crash & burn,” instead of becoming a lasting and loving partnership.

Relationships that last might have a strong chemical component in the beginning, and this can be a good thing! However, it’s not necessarily the only essential ingredient for creating a long-term relationship. Growing together has to “take root” in something more than chemistry since attraction, being biochemically based, can wax and wane. And experiencing chemistry with someone does not guarantee anything whatsoever in the future. Look instead to develop a friendship based in similar interests, values, priorities and life goals. These are the qualities that will contribute to creating a loving relationship that lasts.

“I was looking for love in all the wrong places. Looking for love in too many faces. Searching their eyes, looking for traces of what I’m dreaming of. Hoping to find a friend and a lover, I’ll bless the day I discover another heart, looking for love.” “Looking for Love,” song lyrics by Johnny Lee.

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!

Flexibility — The Key To A Working Relationship

If you think that finding the love of your life online has its challenges, wait until you’ve found it.

You still have to turn that success into a lifelong relationship — the sort that gets warmer as the years roll on.

The key to making that relationship work is flexibility: understanding when and how to compromise so that in addition to being two individuals, you also act as one united, relatively trouble-free couple.

The art of compromise starts with understanding your red lines. You need to know where you can never compromise — and recognize that everything else is up for negotiation.

Children, for example, will always come first. If you’re raising a child, anyone you consider dating will have to understand that your child is your priority. You won’t be able to shoot off for a romantic weekend at a moment’s notice. Weekends are as likely to involve trips to the zoo as often as strolls through museums and even a quiet night in with a DVD could start with three’s a crowd.

Children aren’t negotiable. But lifestyles are. If a guy has to see his favorite football team every weekend, that’s not a reason to fight. It’s an opportunity for his partner to get together with her girlfriends, go shopping or hit the gym.

If one partner is a vegetarian and the other serious about steak, that’s not a reason to say you’re incompatible. It just means you’ll be making eyes at each other over different plates.

And if one partner enjoys camping in the woods while the other prefers camping it up in a nightclub, that doesn’t mean you’ve got nothing in common. It just means you have to be open to new experiences, look for something you enjoy in an activity you wouldn’t normally do… and look forward to the payback.

But that doesn’t mean you should be keeping score. Negotiation in a relationship isn’t about calculating what you’re getting; it’s about both partners competing to give the most.

If that’s the attitude used by both partners in the relationship, you’ll find that the negotiating comes easily — and the relationship lasts forever.

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!

So you want them to see your inner beauty?

I detest having my picture taken so when it came time to put a picture on my profile I used two that I already had scanned in. This way, I reasoned, I didn’t have to pose for a new one. One of the pictures was my black and white health club ID (taken from a table top camera ? the angle of which made my nose look huge) and the other one was of me in a baseball hat taken from quite a distance away (so you really couldn’t see my face) and so small that there was no way you could blow it up and get a good look at me. When I showed my mom the two pictures she stared at them for a minute and then said, “So you want these guys to see your INNER beauty?”

Profiles with pictures get read and reviewed many more times than profiles without them. It may seem like a superficial thing at first, but most times you will scan through pictures to see which ones you are attracted to before you even read their profile. Pictures give you a sense of who the person is, and not just what they look like. With a picture you can get a “vibe” about the person, get a feel for if they are silly or serious, if they are a neat dresser or an outright slob.

Posting a picture on your profile is an important step, so don’t skip it. I would also recommend waiting until your picture is physically posted on the site before you start emailing people yourself. There are several reasons for this.

First of all, if you’re new to the online dating scene, you will immediately become more comfortable when you see pictures of others who are using the site as well. It gives you a sense that you are not alone in wanting to e-date. You’ll also get an idea of what types of people are out there to meet. While a picture is just a first step, an initial scan of potential dates should immediately put you at ease. You will likely find that the pictures on the site are of regular, seemingly nice, normal people ? like yourself. The first time one of my friends sent me a link to an online dating site I was struck by how many of the guys seemed like people I might meet anywhere. While this is exactly the case, the first time you are using the Internet to date it might seem odd that there are actual regular people behind those smiling photos.

Now, I’m in no way suggesting that you judge a person by his photo alone. My reason for bringing up the picture part of the process is that if seeing the photos of potential dates will put you at ease then that same line of thinking will apply to someone viewing your photo. Imagine reading a profile of someone that seems great, but has no photo. Doesn’t it put you off a bit? Doesn’t it make you feel as if that person is trying to hide something? Of course, that same thing will apply to your profile. Don’t think that someone is going to ask you out by picture alone, but give them the best presentation of yourself by including something they can visualize as they read about you.

Now, having said that, of course it goes without saying that you can’t judge someone by picture alone. But I’ll say this anyway. Use the pictures on someone’s profile as yet another method of finding out about them. They’ll help you get a feel for the person, and in Internet dating this is very important.

One of the emails I received was from a guy that seemed to have a great personality with his emails, but his pictures were not of someone I immediately found attractive. His hair looked fuzzy, he didn’t smile very wide, and he looked much older than his 30 years. Still, he looked like a regular, sweet guy, and he was very polite and funny via email. When we finally exchanged phone numbers he always called exactly when he said he would.

When we finally agreed to meet, I was surprised to find a great looking man in front of me. I was immediately attracted to him. The hair that looked so fuzzy on his picture actually had a nice curl that was shaped in a great cut. In person his smile was sincere and engaging. After spending some time with him I found that his sense of humor was terrific, and that slight smile would often come across as a very cute smirk. In person he looked exactly the age he was, and acted like a gracious and charming guy. We went out for quite a while, and although in the end he wasn’t the right one for me, I wished him the best and think of him fondly. And so it goes, pictures have a certain importance that goes along with the total package you will present to someone.

For the photo you will use on your profile, I would recommend having a friend take a picture of you with the intention of using it especially for your online account. If you don’t have the ability to get a digital picture taken many sites will scan a picture in for you; all you have to do is send it to them. Remember to smile, wear clothes you would normally wear (don’t dress up in an evening gown or a suit if you are normally a tee shirt and jeans person), and make sure the picture is a good likeness. You want to give the viewer a sense of who you are, and also give them a way to easily recognize you if you both decide to meet.

Pictures are an easy way to let someone know exactly what you might be like, so don’t even think about not putting a picture on your profile. I came across some people that wouldn’t put their picture on their profile but gave it “upon request.” This gives the impression that you are too good to put your photo out there, even though you yourself are probably emailing people with photos. I received a couple emails from guys that wanted to know all about me but didn’t have a photo on their profile. I told them that since they could see my pictures (albeit my bad ones) it was only fair that I should see theirs. Someone hiding their photos to me indicates they are hiding from something in general.

Make sure any photo you use is of just you and you alone. I noticed men more than women seemed to have photos with other people in them, and then would say something in the profile like, “I’m the guy in the middle.” One of the guys I corresponded with for a while had a picture with him and his entire family. He pointed out which one he was but I also found my eye wandering to the guy next to him ? his extremely handsome brother. Don’t make a viewer work to figure out which one you are.

Along the same line, do not just take a picture of you and your ex, cut your ex out, and post that as your profile photo. I came across several guys that had a wonderful picture of them happy and smiling and some lovely feminine arm cut out from around them. Tacky. On several cropped photos you could see the remnants of blonde hair from the female that had been cut out of the picture, and outfits that suggested a wedding or other type of special event. One guy even said the picture was of him and an ex but since they were great friends now he thought it was okay to keep the picture of them together in tact. This gave me the impression that if he can’t even separate himself in a photo how can he do that in a relationship. No matter how great you look in all those photos with your ex, don’t use them as your introduction to what could be a potential mate. Have a new picture taken of who you are now, when you’re ready to meet someone new.

Posting your picture with someone else is a bad idea in general, even if the person isn’t someone you used to date. One guy I came across posted a photo with him and three other female friends. This gave me the impression that he had only female friends (and therefore something was wrong with him), he was gay (and hadn’t figured that out yet), he couldn’t get along with guys (and so there was something wrong with him), or that he just couldn’t smile unless surrounded by breasts (and again, something was probably wrong with him.) Internet dating can lend itself to enough questions you might wonder about someone before you meet them, don’t add to it by complicating the present situation if you don’t need to. Keep all friends out of the photo ? no matter who they are.

Some guys I knew put a picture of themselves and a friend’s kid. Another bad idea. Hey, we get that you are trying to show the world how super cool you are and that you love kids, but posing with them just seems too obvious and desperate. Even if you have kids I wouldn’t recommend placing them in the photo with you. There will be plenty of time to have a new flame get acquainted with your children, don’t put them on display in your profile. Even when you’re just proud of your kids and want to show them off – don’t place them in the in the picture with you.

While I don’t have kids yet myself I was very open to dating someone that did. Still, one guy I dated had four very young kids, and while he mentioned this in his emails he did not put them all in the picture. I was glad he didn’t. I could not imagine me scanning through profiles and seeing him and all four kids in one photo. This would have admittedly put me off a bit, and I think I would have been intimidated by even the thought of dating someone with that many young ones. After we dated a while I got a chance to meet all of them, and found them all quite wonderful. He allowed me to get comfortable in our relationship first before even thinking about the prospect of becoming an instant step-mom to such a large brood.

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 lie detecting

Did you know that Online Dating is the top moneymaker on the Web?

Chances are good that if you are single, you have joined a site or two yourself.  If so, you’ve probably asked my CyberRomance clients’ top question too:

“How can I tell if they are lying?”  Lot’s of ways!  Here goes:

First off, much of “the problem” of Internet lying is media overhype.  What kind of interest would there be in a story about all the honest people who are on the Net?

But of course some people do lie, and being concerned about who is and who isn’t lying makes a heck of a lot of sense.

Reasons people lie:

  • To avoid conflict.
  • To avoid the consequences of their behavior.
  • To postpone having to make changes in lifestyle.
  • To hide something they did or did not do.
  • To avoid rejection.
  • To be in control of a situation.
  • To avoid being embarrassed.
  • To make themselves appear more successful, good, or talented than they really are.

All make terrific reasons for people to lie online.

How to detect lying:

A truthful person will be “congruent.”    That means that all the information they give out — their words, body language, they way they live and dress, everything — fits together and contains no contradictions.  People who lie will be incongruent in some way.

Here’s what to watch out for:

1. How they use words: written, on the phone, or in person —

  • Talking faster or slower.
  • Changes in voice pitch.
  • Taking charge of conversation, attempts to distract you.
  • Continual denying of accusations.
  • Unusual voice fluctuations, word choice, sentence structure.
  • Stalling the conversation by repetitive use of pauses and comments like “um” or “you know.”
  • Lack of use of contractions.
  • Prefers emphasizing “not” when talking.
  • Being extremely defensive.
  • Saying “Trust me.”

2. How they behave or the attitudes they exhibit:

  • Being hesitant.
  • Nervous laughter.
  • Smugness.
  • Uncommon calmness.
  • Providing more information and specifics than is necessary or was asked for.
  • Inconsistencies in what is being shared.

3. In-person behavior clues:

  • Touching chin, covering the mouth, or rubbing brows.
  • Crossed arms or legs.
  • Pupils narrow.
  • Playing with hair.
  • Body language and facial expressions don’t match what is being said such as saying “no”, but nodding head up and down.
  • Avoidance of eye contact, eyes glancing to the right, staring past you or down, or turning away from you while
  • They are talking.
  • Rigid or fidgeting.
  • Slouching posture.
  • Unnatural or limited arm and hand movements.
  • Partial shrug.
  • Lack of finger pointing.
  • May place a barrier such as a desk or chair in front of self.
  • Sweating, even if it isn’t a warm day.
  • Saying “no” several times.

4. Your own inner cues:

  • You sense something is not right.
  • Explanations do not feel enough for you.
  • You feel confused, you find yourself squinting or angling your head.
  • You feel a block or a wall between you and the other.

In Internet dating, or any kind of dating for that matter, keep your anxiety down, your head attached, and LISTEN to everything your date tells you in every way. People tell you about themselves constantly, from the very first second of contact. You have to be willing to hear it. Not only do they tell you by what they do say, they tell you by what they don’t say.

Many of these cues can come from simple distraction or nervousness, not deceit. New daters have plenty of reasons to be anxious. Signs of lying differ from one person to another. Don’t let your own nervousness force a jump to wrong conclusions. Give your date a break and take some time.

Often, Cyber daters move too quickly to the phone and/or a face to face meeting. Gone is the golden opportunity to safely ask questions and study answers slowly and over time. Vastly increased are tension and anxiety, which complicate clear thinking and judgment.

With online dating, you have a tremendous advantage over meeting immediately flesh-to-flesh: You have a written record of what the other tells you. Make use of it! Take your time and get to know your potential Sweetheart the old-fashioned way — through writing!

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!

5 Internet safety tips

Let these safety tips guide you through email, phone and live contacts

Let these safety tips guide you through email, phone and live contacts

While Internet dating can open many doors for daters, you need to be smart and safe when meeting people online. Use these 5 Net SMART safety tips to protect your privacy. Based on interviews with hundreds of active internet daters for my dating book, SMART Man Hunting (http://www.smartmanhunting.com), I developed these guidelines for you.

In addition to these interviews, I personally tested 7 online dating sites, ended up with 4-7 dates/week and found my guy through an online matchmaker. You can also find love online.

When you search for love online, you need to be careful because not everyone has the same value systems. Be cautious when dealing with strangers and take precautions to shield your privacy at all costs.

While the flood of emails that you will receive from Internet dating can be a great ego boost, let these safety tips guide you through email, phone and live contacts.

1. Be Anonymous When Emailing

When you set up your Internet dating profile, matchmaking web sites will give you an account that allows you to stay anonymous. Avoid using anything that could identify you when you select your username or email address.

Set up an email account that is fun and anonymous. For example, if you have an email with your name in it, then do not use this account for online dating. Just figure out any kind of fictitious name or “handle.” If you’d like, you can use an email address that reveals something about yourself such as a hobby or personal trivia. For example, my email address was tied to my interest in sailing (ex. pacificsails@hotmail.com). One of my male candidates used “greeneyes” as his username, which helped him stand out in the crowd.

2. Take a Second Look at the Photos

If you are suspicious about the age of a photo that you see on an Internet dating profile, you might want to ask the person for a recent photo. Check out the response and you might just be surprised by what comes back.

One of my dating coaching clients recently sent me two photos of a woman he met online with very different current versus profile photos. He was smart to ask for a recent photo.

I also interviewed a woman for SMART Man Hunting who had a surprising lunch with a guy who did not look anything like his profile photograph. The online photo made him look around 35 with dark hair, and when she went on the date, the guy was completely gray and closer to 50-years-old. You want to avoid this situation if possible.

3. SMART Phone Contact

After several safe email exchanges, you can cautiously move to the next Internet courtship level. Arrange time to speak on the phone and see if the conversation flows or is a struggle.

Because you are still dealing with a virtual stranger, you should use safety guidelines for connecting on the phone. First, if you are a woman, ask for the guy’s phone number and use Caller ID blocking (*67) when you call him so that your phone number is not revealed. You can even use Caller ID blocking on most cell phones so always try using *67 when placing first calls.

If you get to the point where you are comfortable giving out your phone number, use a cell phone or alternate number to your home phone. If someone is really creepy and has your home or work phone number, they can search for your address online using whitepages.com.

Trust your gut instincts when you talk to someone on the phone. If someone makes you feel the least bit uneasy or puts you off in any way, just say Next. It won’t get better if you meet in person. Remember there are plenty of other candidates out there. Next….

4. Continue to Put “Safety First” When Making Live Contact

When you decide to meet in person, pick a public place and make sure you are familiar with the area before you agree to the location (I skipped this research step and ended up meeting a guy in a restaurant that is in a Los Angeles gang neighborhood because I did not know the area – that mistake did not happen twice).

While you want to relax and have fun on your first date, you still need to play it safe. Meet your potential match at the rendezvous location–never rely on someone you don’t know for a ride. Don’t even accept a ride home even when you feel as though your date is on the up and up. If you drove, you also want to avoid allowing them to walk you to your car. It’s best to even keep the make, model and license plate of your car a secret.

My favorite meeting place is a local coffee shop, but not one too close to your home. If you schedule a lunch or dinner date, use valet parking when possible so that the candidate, who is primarily a stranger at this stage, cannot follow you to your car when you leave.

As a back-up plan, you may also want to give your date details (time, date and location) to a friend. If you are nervous, ask a friend to call you on your cell phone to check-in during the date.

Lastly, hold your cards close to your chest. Be careful about the amount of information you share during these first meetings and phone calls. Never give out your last name or address until you are comfortable with someone’s character.

5. Consider Background Checks

If you are curious, there are many ways to find out more about your potential mates. Internet search vehicles can help you find out details about candidates prior to meetings.

By searching on someone’s name online, you can easily gather information about their background. For example, if you use Google.com, you might find out about their educational degrees, work history, and personal information (I found out about someone’s marriage history and read a strange Valentine online from a guy’s ex-wife that made me think twice).

You can also click on the “Groups” button to learn more about their interests or check genealogy sites for family history. And if you get serious with someone you meet online, you can even go to the extreme of hiring a professional investigator to check out their history more thoroughly.

You can make love happen online and protect your privacy. You are playing the dating numbers game and the odds are in your favor that you will find your match. Be smart, safe and trust your gut instincts when dating online.

For more information about Internet dating tips or for coaching, check out Liz’s SMART Dating Packages on LookBetterOnline.com or pick up a copy of SMART Man Hunting (http://www.smartmanhunting.com)

Happy Hunting!

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!

Wanting a relationship is not the same as being desperate

It was the same discussion that we’d had several times before. I sat down with my friend as her two kids jumped up and down, excited that I had come to visit. While I played with the kids I told her honestly that I hoped someday I could find what she had, a husband that loved her and a beautiful family. Instead of understanding, she told me that I’d find that someday and why didn’t I just be happy to be single. She wished she could be single again, she said. She got married when she was 25, and met her husband several years before that, and remembered her freewheeling single days fondly. Of course, she was a single girl in her 20s, I reminded her. She couldn’t know how I felt because it was a different thing to be dating in your 30s and beyond. When I told her this she rolled her eyes, and said, “You don’t need a man to be happy.”

I have always been an extremely busy and independent woman and was constantly involved in a multitude of activities? so why didn’t I meet the right guy then?

Well I did meet lots of guys over the years. And I did meet them in all the usual places: at work, at church, through friends, and yes, in bars. I dated often enough and had several serious relationships over the years. But for whatever reason none of the people I dated were “the one,” or to put it in a less romantic tone, none of them were simply right for me. Sure, the majority of them were nice, sweet, good people ? I think of many of them fondly and hope they found someone great that they could build a life with.

But as the years went on it was obvious that I wasn’t going to meet my dream man using the methods all my friends used to meet theirs. In fact, while my friends had sympathy that I hadn’t found the right guy yet, I doubted that many of them could actually relate to what it’s like to be a single in your 30s. Many of my friends met their significant others during college or in the years shortly after. They met tons of people during that time when all of us met lots of people ? when we’d just always be in a big group and meeting someone new was common, frequent, and no big deal.

But when you get a bit older, suddenly meeting someone is a bigger deal. For the most part you don’t just hang out in groups like you did before and if you do the majority of people in the group are usually already hooked up with someone else. Even if you’re not looking for marriage right away, dating isn’t as casual in your 30s as it as in your 20s.

When you are in your 20s and you date a guy for a few years to “see where things go” it’s no big deal when you break up because there’s usually another guy right around the corner. But when you’re in your 30s, you’re more discriminating. Besides that, there seems to be more misconceptions and baggage that we take with each new year of our life and into each new relationship. And when you start hitting your 30s, both men and women look at dating as a very different thing. There’s a societal joke that men are trying to hold off finding the right person for as long as they can and women are speeding up every day to find them. Of course, I don’t believe in that, I think both men and woman want to find someone to share their life with ? but you need to not only find the right person but find them at the right time in your life. I was never a girl that was in a rush to get married, and never thought I’d meet someone and marry them within a year. But when you find the right person, sometimes your preconceived notions go out the window.

If you, too, feel you’re in a position where some of your friends don’t seem to quite understand your situation, take heart. One or two of mine didn’t either. Oh sure, they were as supportive as they could be, but when someone meets their husband when they’re 22 how understanding can they really be when you’re 30-something and you’re telling them you’d like a relationship? I was ready to meet someone and settle down at the time most of my friends had been married for years. While I agreed with the particular friend that told me I didn’t need a man to be happy I found it ironic that she’d say that having never been without a relationship.

I didn’t get married until I was 37, and I spent my single years very happy. I’ve always made the most of my life and my circumstances. But if you also have a friend that poo poo’s your desire for a relationship; take it with a grain of salt. One friend of mine got married, had kids, and then suddenly decided it’d be great to be single again. Those types of people are not going to understand the situation you are in, they’ve never lived their life with the possibility of ending it completely alone. Their idea of being alone harks back to their single years when they were in their 20s and didn’t have a date for a few weeks. Even then they probably had a big group of pals to hang with and were never, really, truly alone. They aren’t going to get it. So cut your friends some slack.

And if you’re a hard working single adult you know something else. Your employer probably isn’t going to understand it, either. I’ve worked for a multitude of organizations over the years and the one commonality they had was an inability to understand the single life. There is a perception that all us singles are carefree and can therefore work more hours than our married counterparts. We don’t have kids, so then we don’t have real responsibilities. Right? If there is choice between you working late and your married coworker who has to pick the kids up from daycare, who is going to get the short end?

While the married folks of this world may think that’s only right, I disagree. Again, I think this misconception comes from our coworker’s single years. They remember the girl’s nights or hanging out with the guys for drinks after work, so they’ve convinced themselves that’s what we are doing after work too. If they could live your life for a single day, they’d know what it’s like to work longer than someone else because you are single and don’t have to be home at a certain time, and then to come home alone and have it be too late to even enjoy a nice dinner by yourself.

People seem to misjudge the singles in their 30s and beyond. Many of us have serious obligations; some of us care for parents or grandparents simply because our married siblings don’t have time because they’ve started a new life. This can make you feel very lonely and misunderstood.

While my friends on the whole were sympathetic to my situation, I doubt they completely understood it. Your friends and your employer may not understand your current situation and wants for your life, but I do. I was right where you are. I get it and that’s why I wrote this book.

It is during these times when singles can suddenly feel as if they have to reveal more about their single life than they’d wanted. When our employer asks us to work late or take that overnight trip because our married coworker has their kids to take care of (or to translate, has a life and you don’t) we are made to feel that much more as a misfit of society.

I began to realize that to take charge of my single life, whether I eventually met the right person or not, meant that I would need to defend my free time as stringently as the marrieds I worked with. As a single person I took care of a serious family situation at one point ? moving home with my mom and helping to take care of my grandparents. I raced home to make dinners and spent my off hours with family business. Yet when I told my employer I had to leave at my normal time because I had obligations, he looked at me like I was whining. Suzie had kids to pick up, he’d say, or Joe had his family to go home to. Even with having family obligations of my own my employer viewed me as someone that could sacrifice my life for the good of the company. It was an unwritten rule that when you are married you have something bigger than your job to get home to. Employers seem to understand this. What they don’t understand is when you’re single and you say you’ve got to go simply because you want to live your life.

I say the first step in successful Internet dating is to reclaim your personal life. If your friends give you less than a sympathetic ear because you haven’t met someone or your employer expects you to give your job a bit more than your married coworker just because, stand up for your personal life and be stringent about it. Tell your employer no when he asks you to work late and be set upon it.

When I started Internet dating I worked at least 60 hours a week for an employer who thought my free time was the same as company time. In addition to putting in long hours at work I went to school full-time, but each time there was a big project due and “someone” had to put in the extra time, it came down to me. Even if my boss did spend a few hours extra in the office, he’d view it as time away from the tension at home, not as time away from his life. Inevitably, I spent more time in the office than anyone else. This was both my employer’s fault and my own. Since I was single for so long I also bought into the myth that my time was less important.

This is a point that singles and married people will no doubt argue for decades. As someone that was single for years and is now married, I can tell you first hand that my life as a singleton was just as important as my life now. This is an inequity that singletons need to help their employers change.

The fact remains that if you’re single you don’t need to explain where you’re going when you say you can’t work late or can’t take that overnight trip. If you’re employer balks, find a new one. Eventually they will get it.

In my very early days of Internet dating I approached it as a side job. It was something I did if I “had time.” But the fact remained that with a job that took up 60 or so hours a week, and school that took up another 20, I didn’t have the time. The first couple dates I had were always put on notice, I set up a date with someone only with the understanding that I might have to cancel at the last minute. This made me sound self-absorbed and flighty ? except I didn’t realize it right away.

It wasn’t until one date that I finally got it, and changed my tactics from then on. I had gone on quite a few Internet dates, and yet didn’t quite have what I would call a “system” down yet. I did it sporadically and when I felt I had time. Looking back, I’m certain that my distractedness carried over onto some of the dates.

I had been corresponding with one guy for quite a few weeks, but we couldn’t seem to find a time to meet. That is, I couldn’t seem to find time to squeeze this guy into my busy schedule. We would set up times to meet, and then inevitably I would have to cancel at the last minute. I had great excuses each time ? I had a work project that had just come in and my boss now expected me to give up my weekend to finish it, then because of the project I needed the rest of my free time to work on a paper for school, etc. This guy would simply laugh each time, saying, “You are just one busy girl, aren’t ya?”

Finally, I agreed to meet him for a quick cup of coffee. I told him ahead of time that I was super busy that day and might even have to cancel at the last minute. He merely said, “So what else is new?”

At the coffee shop I hurried in, greeted him quickly, and then ran to order my drink. I sat down breathless and exhausted, and finally said, “Hi, nice to meet you.” This guy was amused at my behavior. He told me point blank that the only reason he’d stuck around for the last few weeks is because he just had to meet this girl that was so busy and important. When our conversation turned to him, I found out he ran his own company, took frequent business trips, and had a pair of teenage daughters to take care of. He was more than successful, and busy, in his own right. Despite having an equal number of obligations as me, he was determined to meet someone special and was willing to spend the time to do it.

I came away from our meeting with a new sense of purpose. I finally saw that my work life was wreaking havoc on my ability to just plain have a life. And more than that, I realized if I didn’t make the necessary changes now I would probably be in the same position ten or twenty years from now ? with a great career but not much else.

Now I’m not saying that you should abandon your career or other interests in pursuit of dating and meeting someone special. I’m saying that if you’ve spent a lot of years wondering why you haven’t met someone yet; take a look at your life. Picture someone great walking through the door today and determine if you’ve got the room to have him or her in your life. If you don’t, change the way you are handing things. Maybe you don’t need to spend so much time at work and be such a perfectionist with cleaning your house, for example.

First of all, don’t let anyone in your life make you feel bad for wanting to be happy. Sure, there are people in this world that jump into relationships too quickly. I know of equal numbers of men and women that can’t seem to be happy unless they are “with someone.” To these people I say, spend some time alone. Lots of it. Figure out what you want, what you like, and then (and only then) start to date someone.

What I’m talking about is the rest of us. The people who are not willing to jump into or hang on to a relationship that isn’t quite right for us. We don’t want to meet someone because we can’t be alone; we want a relationship because sharing our lives with someone would be a great complement to the rest of the world we have built for ourselves. We want someone special, not just someone for right now.

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 Secrets of a Successful Profile

It’s supposed to happen quickly. You should be able to join a dating site, shoot out a few winks, follow them up with some emails and in no time at all find yourself sipping cocktails with someone who makes you go “hmm, I like the look of them…”

In practice though, it’s never that simple. Online dating is exactly like offline dating… but with a greater number of people and a wider variety of options. You still have to put in effort. You still have to look the part. You still have to smile, dress up and make people laugh.

But online, you have to do it all before you even meet.

That’s the part that dating sites tend to neglect. They assume you know that dating is all about first impressions, looks and personality.

But they also assume you know how to express those things online.

The truth is that making a good first impression across the Web requires some very special skills.

It requires a photograph that doesn’t just show you, but one that shows you at your best. Your features have to be clear, your look has to be appealing and your appearance has to be relaxed and inviting. A snapshot won’t cut it — any more than wearing jogging pants and a t-shirt will cut it at a party — and neither will an old vacation photo. It’s possible that you might have a good, usable photograph stashed away somewhere on your hard drive but in general few people do have one. They just have photos that make do.

That’s the difference between meeting someone wearing the first thing you picked up off the bedroom floor, and meeting someone wearing your best outfit, while feeling confident and relaxed.

It’s the difference between being just another fuzzy-looking online single and being clearly an attractive partner and an excellent date.

It’s the difference between spending months writing emails or waiting for responses, and receiving plenty of replies and dates as early as this weekend.

LookBetterOnline was created to give singles the most important tool they need to find love online fast: a look that truly reflects them. For as little as $197, we can give you a complete set of pictures designed specifically for dating sites and save you months of fruitless searching. Take look here to find a photographer in your area today, and give yourself a profile that gets results.

What To Expect On A First Date

The real test of a dating site isn’t the number of messages you get or the beauty of your essay. It’s the dates and the face-to-face meetings. You might both have been whizzes at email and talked easily on the phone but it’s only when you’re together, across the same table, that you can get a feel for whether you can keep the conversation — and the company — going for years.

Often though, the first date is a disappointment. After a two or three-week build-up, you can expect to hit it off right away, to be chatting for hours and to assume that you’ll want the first date to last forever.

It doesn’t always work that way. In fact, it rarely works that way. It’s more usual to wonder how the person sitting in front of you managed to look so good online and so bad in the flesh, how they could be so eloquent in an email and so tongue-tied in person… and how you can get out of there fast as a flash without being rude.

The first way to avoid to avoid disappointing first dates is to lower your expectations. Assume that the picture you see on a profile is going to be flattering — the fact that someone can look that good doesn’t mean they will look that good. Meeting someone you’ve found on a dating site isn’t a blind date but you’re not going in with 20/20 vision either. Expect to be surprised… and be open-minded about what you see.

It’s also a good idea to prepare. That means more than pulling on some fancy clothes and splashing on the scent. It means thinking of a few conversation starters for the times when the talk breaks down. Go over the person’s profile and look for things you’d like to know more about: what did they do in Tahiti? Why did they choose to become a patent lawyer? How was growing up in Bogsville, Iowa?

And finally, prepare your escape. Book a call from a friend, practice your fake migraine, think about the early meeting you have in the morning. If all goes well, you won’t have to use it, but you should never go into a first date without a good excuse already lined up that can stop a bad night lasting forever.

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!

CyberCheapskates and net gold diggers

The ONLY people on these online dating sites who are emailing anyone are the ones who have paid!

The ONLY people on these online dating sites who are emailing anyone are the ones who have paid!

Did you know that  Match.com has around twelve million members, but only a million or so of those listed have paid their dues?

The most asked questions from Romance Clients?  “Why don’t they answer my emails?”  Well, first off, you don’t know and never will.  But it’s a pretty good guess is that this guy or lady is cheap.

If you have had much experience as an Internet dater, you’ve undoubtedly had the experience of putting out first email contacts to prospective Sweetheart and then gotten no answer back.  A response rate of 30% to first emails is considered good!

On Match.com as well as many of the other Internet dating sites, you can post a profile for free, but you have to pay to email other listers or respond to emails sent to you.

You can’t tell the payers from the freeloaders.  And people who aren’t paid members can’t email, either to contact you first, or to answer when you write.  That means that a very high percentage of those people you are carefully looking over are too cheap to pay less than a dollar a day to be able to email you!

Maybe that’s a lot of what’s behind the 30% who do get back to you.  They’re the only ones who are paid up!

Though I live now in Mississippi with my new husband Drew, I’m from Maine.  I still own a house there on a beautiful island in the mid-coast area, so I get back to visit once or twice a year.  Every spring, after the snow melts, all the debris that has accumulated over the winter along the roadsides gets exposed to the light of day.  And along with tulips and daffodils, up spring the “For Sale” signs.

For years I wondered about why so many houses came up for sale every spring.  Every other house seems to be on the market.

Finally, someone explained to me that lots of folks just put out those “For Sale” signs sort of for sport.  All the locals know that summer people are heading this way, and those “city folks” have very distorted ideas about fair property values.  So the sport is to put out a “For Sale” sign, ask a very inflated price, and see if anyone will bite.  If you’re lucky and catch a rich one, you just may be able to fund your retirement.  Otherwise, life goes on, you get to stay in your house, and then try again next year.  Sounds like a form of digging for gold to me.

Believe it or not, lots of people who are listed on dating sites are doing just that:  They put out their “For Sale” sign with their profile and look like they are seriously “in the market” for a Sweetheart.  Really, they have a way over-inflated idea of what they can get and are waiting to see if some fool will bite.  These folks have stuck out their “For Sale” sign, but they aren’t seriously looking.  Except for the jackpot.

In the Internet dating world, this is deceptive advertising in the worse way, because the reader has no way of knowing if the profiler they are interested in is really serious and a paid-up member or not.  The ONLY people on these online dating sites who are emailing anyone are the ones who have paid!  All the others are freeloading teases.

If you are considering CyberRomance or are already posted on a site or two, pay your dues like a grown-up.  Do your part to contribute to the energy and integrity of this wonderful resource for singles.  If there’s a time to “put your money where your mouth is,” this is it.  If you’re serious, pay up. If you’re not serious, stay out of the game.

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 Lord ©  All Rights Reserved

Become a babe magnet without surgery or drugs!

“I’d like to find a partner who dances.  Do you?” my profile on Match.com asked.  My now-husband Drew emailed that he was willing to take lessons, and that was enough for me.  Non-dancer Drew’s courage to put himself out on the dance floor and to show in lesson after lesson his amateur status was truly impressive.  We took private dance instruction for a year before our wedding, and as a result, got around the dance floor quite gracefully at our
reception.

Women are dying to dance.  Any man who can ask a woman to dance, then take charge of what happens on the floor and move relatively smoothly to music, has enormous appeal.  Fat or skinny, short, tall, or not even close to attractive, even old, old, old, a man who is comfortable on the dance floor has his pick of the ladies.

For whatever the reason, dancing intoxicates.  Especially women.

Few men can really dance, and those guys are on the floorconstantly.  Some men think they can dance and do get up, ask the ladies, and have fun.  But at least half the men sit or stand uncomfortably on the sidelines with all the women who wish to be on the dance floor.

We women don’t get to dance nearly as much as we’d like to, even the ladies who are good dancers.  There aren’t enough dancing men to go around. You can almost feel the yearning, the sadness, and the disappointment in those women and between those non-dancing couples.  And the non-dancing guys?  Pathetic.

I personally know three women close to my age who met their now – spouses on the dance floor, and those ladies were great catches! Gentlemen and ladies, there’s a message here.

Guys:

  1. Take lessons and learn how to dance.  Leading well takes skill, but if Drew could learn how, so can you.
  2. Go to dances.
  3. Ask women to dance.  Lots of women.  They’ll love it.  Even if you aren’t so good, they’ll appreciate your efforts.

Dance lessons themselves are good places to meet women, and most dance studios have regular parties for their students to practice what they have learned.

Ladies:

  1. Take dancing lessons yourself and learn how to follow.  Here I was, 50 years old, thinking I loved to dance, and I had no idea how to do the woman’s part!  Following takes skill!  You have to figure out what your partner has in mind for you to do in a split second, and then actually do it, all while dancing backwards.
  2. Buy yourself some real ballroom dancing shoes, maybe with high heels.  Believe it or not, those shoes are comfortable. They have to be.  Not only do they look very sexy, they stay on your feet!
  3. Hang out at dances, too, if you like to dance.  Single guys go to dances.

If you are connected to a dance studio, other single women will be at their parties as well as the studio instructors and male students, so you will know people.  Dance parties are safe and comfortable for single women.

Guys — nothing enhances as man’s romantic marketability more than becoming a decent dancer.  Learning to dance is cost

efficient and relatively painless.  No surgery or blood loss, no sweaty hours at the gym, no personality makeovers needed. Just dance lessons.

What’s stopping you?  Look up the dance studio nearest you and make that call!  You’ll become a dancing babe magnet!

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 Lord © 2004 All Rights Reserved