Questions? 888.282.9777
Questions? 888.282.9777

Haunted – Burying the ghosts of lost love

Late at night, as you read quietly, before you fall off to sleep…

During a busy afternoon as you run through a crowd, hurrying back to your office or home….

Sitting in a movie theater, a restaurant or waiting for the light to turn…

A sudden thought or image rises within you. It can come as a small nagging feeling or as a wave of emotion that threatens to overwhelm and drown you in the grief of a memory. Either way it’s clear; here comes his/her ghost again.

For those who are haunted by a past relationship, the instinctive response is often to run away from these feelings or to pretend they just aren’t there. It is also not uncommon to react by setting your system on “anger mode” and seeing everything and everyone in a negative light. Shutting down all ability to handle even the simple routine tasks of daily life is another response, and one that signals depression. This one needs to be addressed quickly, as it can leave a trail of destruction in it’s path.

These defense mechanisms are employed as a way of coping and to “get through the day.” However, when these responses become prolonged and ingrained, we can get stuck in the grieving process that accompanies loss. This is where the ghosts come in.

All loss, especially the absence of someone with whom we were intimate, results in sadness, anger, denial, fear, depression and guilt. These feelings are normal. However, how we respond to them will make the difference in how well we recover and move on to a new and healthy life.

In order to work through the grief and finally lay those ghosts to rest, you may need some help with the important do’s and don’ts of grieving. The following is a basic primer to get you started.

Things To Do:

Acknowledge Feelings

Denial can provide a very short-term way to cope with loss, but will compound the bottling up of destructive feelings that need to find a healthy outlet for expression.

Allowing yourself to feel, helps you to understand that what you are feeling is normal and therefore, you are not “crazy” or alone. It also opens the way to learning how to cope and move towards a positive resolution. Over time you will learn that feelings won’t kill you, and that you are strong and able to confront them and move on.

Express Anger Safely and Productively

Fear of our own anger is normal. This is why we have so much difficulty expressing it to others. We imbue it with a power that is beyond our control and something that can only be destructive.

Therefore, we stuff everything inside. Pressure builds and we explode, and out comes the “anger monster”; a creation of our own inability to deal with anger when it is at a lower, more manageable level.

There are safe ways to express these feelings. Crying, talking to friends, writing down the feelings and even engaging in some physically demanding labor are all healthy ways to release your anger.

Take Care Of Yourself

This seems to be one of the things we most neglect when loss strikes. Not caring for even basic needs is one of the faces of grief. It can also be a sign of a dangerous depression. Therefore, it has to be a priority.

Basic needs are what usually require attention. These include: adequate sleep, eating right, taking care of minimal household and financial responsibilities and attention to personal grooming.

In addition, exercise not only provides a great outlet for stress, it has been proven in clinical trials to be effective in lessening depression in a significant number of people. Regular exercise can also offer assistance to those who have difficulty sleeping and heightens self-esteem.

Build and Strengthen Social Supports

A strong social support system is always important. During a time of extremes loss, it is vital to recovery.

Do you have good, supportive friends? Do they have time and energy that they can offer to you during this period of grieving?

What about religious ties? A church, temple or other community of like-minded believers?

Do you have good support from any family members?

What about organizations that you have participated in and given your time and energy to? Can they now give something back to you?

These are a few of the supports that you can turn to. Make sure you PLAN well for weekends, holidays and other significant days. Let people know you want to get together and that you want to get out regularly and stay active and involved. This allows others to offer their support and remember to include you in group activities, etc.

Give Yourself Time

Getting over the loss of someone you love takes time. It is a process. It doesn’t take “forever.” You will move on and recover. But beware of that feeling that is often expressed of “I don’t know what’s wrong with me, it’s been months and I’m still not over it.”

The months SEEM like forever, but you know they are a relatively short period of time. You need to give yourself that time or run the strong risk of getting stuck for (perhaps years) in the quicksand of grief.

Set Realistic Goals

This is a time to prioritize and decide what you most want and need and to make a realistic plan for achieving it.

Goals will keep you focused and on-track. They will provide a compass as you navigate your way to a new life. They will help you to achieve success and to boost your self-esteem. This achievement will help you to feel strong and capable of beginning a new life.

Things To Avoid

When enveloped in grief and loss, we have to be careful not to respond in dysfunctional ways. Some classic examples of poor coping behaviors include:

  • overuse of alcohol
  • use of illegal drugs
  • ignoring signs of serious depression
  • sexual acting out
  • recklessness with finances
  • ignoring basic safety and placing self in risky situations

These are all the result of low self-esteem, guilt and feelings of hopelessness. With good supports and the utilization of healthy ways to express feelings, you will be at far less risk of using these self-injurious behaviors.

Remember, we must be willing to accept grief as a possible price of experiencing love. Many, many people have gone through the process of loss and despair and come out strong, whole and ready for a new life. Along the way, they often come to know themselves better and to understand what they most need and want from their relationships. Armed with this new experience and knowledge they are then ready to form new, healthy and lasting relationships.

New life with online dating ? 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!

Do it and they will come – Pursuing new adventures to find Mr/Ms right

Are you tired of the whole dating scene? Have you spent many hours (years) going to parties and events with the hope of meeting compatible and available singles? If so, now may be time to think about doing something different. Really different.

After all, we tend to move about socially in the same close-knit circles. The same guys/women at a friend’s party or at the functions held by our church or synagogue. Even the happy hour crowd can become all too familiar. Don’t despair. There are lots of new and exciting ways to meet people if you are willing to do a little local research and are game for some new adventures.

Before I get into the specifics, I need to emphasize the importance of having a basic plan. Primarily this involves a budget for time and money investment. It also requires that you really think about what would meet YOUR needs, as you get ready to commit to some new leisure activities and interests.

A good way to start is to spend a little time thinking about those things you always wanted to try or to learn about. For instance, have you had a desire to try hiking, biking, swimming or other athletic pursuits? What about something a little more exotic like caving, skydiving or scuba? Perhaps cultural pursuits are more to your liking, but you don’t know anyone you can share these with. If so, you may feel uncomfortable or just not interested in going out and doing them alone.

With some ideas in mind, (or maybe no specific list), you are ready to begin to gather information about local available resources.

Major metropolitan areas are rich in singles events. These are hosted by for profit companies as well as singles groups/clubs that are affiliated with religious and other private organizations. You can begin your search by looking through local newspapers and checking out the listings with you county, city or community center. A web search is also a great way to gather information. Just use keywords that include singles, activities, events, and the name of your local metropolitan area. If you live in an outer, less populated area, don’t give up. Look into what is available in the nearest large city. Also, note the trips for singles that allow you to meet people from around the country.

Once you have identified regional and local groups and organizations, begin to go through all their listings. Be open to hearing/reading about everything that is available. This process can give you a lot of ideas and will let you know what all your choices are. The list can be almost overwhelming! Many singles are searching for new adventures and this has led to an explosion of activities and events being offered.

The following is a “rough” list of what you may find:

  • Sports – volleyball, basketball, tennis, golf, sailing, horseback riding, and sports leagues for a number of team sports
  • Athletic – hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking, white water rafting, camping, walking groups
  • Exotic athletic events – scuba, caving, skydiving, mountain climbing, hang gliding, paintballing
  • New Skill Learning – pistol-shooting classes
  • Cultural – museum tours, theatre, ballet, symphony, opera
  • Social – scavenger hunts, wine tasting at vineyards, group dinners

After you have made your picks, check to see that you can work them into your schedule and budget. Remember, as you make your final selection(s), that this is supposed to be FUN for you. Choose something that you believe you would enjoy and that would be basically within your ability to participate in. (i.e.) If you are terrified of heights, avoid skydiving.

Keep in mind that challenging athletic pursuits tend to bring out the (true) best and worst sides of us all. Not only will you give yourself an experience that can help you develop greater confidence and self-esteem, you will also learn more about yourself and how you relate to others. This will be true of the other participants as well. Therefore, you will get a much more candid snapshot of the singles you meet during these activities/events. You will also maximize your opportunity to meet like-minded singles, who share at least one of your interests.

So, pull some of those old dreams or recent fantasies out of mothballs. Let yourself play. Along the way you just may find a new favorite passion, a great friend or new 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!

The friend Crush – Is this love or friendship?

He’s your good friend. She’s your best confidant. You have known each other for a few years and have shared meals, movies, hobbies and vacations. You have confided to each other about your latest love interest and turned to one another for support when the relationship(s) failed. You can’t imagine life without your good friend.

But for a while….

You’ve felt jealous of his dates. You’ve been overprotective of her since she has been seeing the jerk. You’ve been having very strong feelings of attraction and a desire for something more than friendship. Could it be that your feelings for him/her have grown into something more? If so, your relationship may have developed into a “friend crush.”

You don’t know what to do. You know you want to continue spending time together- more time. But it’s getting hard. You fantasize about having more with this person and are beginning to feel like a jealous would-be partner. Do you pretend everything is the same? Do you start distancing yourself- hoping your feelings will go back to the way they were? Do you actually TALK directly and honestly with your friend about how you feel?

What will happen to the relationship if you make the WRONG choice?

Just as all people are unique, so are the characteristics of their relationships with others. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this increasingly common dilemma. So, let’s take a look at your options. You can:

  • ignore your feelings, keep your boundaries in check and pretend everything is status quo.
    In order to choose this option, you must be able to deny your feelings so well that even you don’t know what they are. You will also have to continue being comfortable on the sidelines while someone else has the relationship with this person that you desire. You will most likely be asked what you think of this or that person and be expected to be happy and supportive of your friend when they meet the right someone for them. In return for all this, you will still have your friend.
  • begin to spend less time with your friend (crush) while seeking out new friendships to pursue and strengthen.
    This option will most likely cause confusion and hurt on the part of your friend who will wonder what happened. They may be understanding and accepting of your need to spread your wings and support you in doing what you need to do. Either way, you will see less of them and your relationship can weaken and perhaps disappear altogether as they move on with new people. If you can distance yourself for a while and no longer feel the romantic butterflies, you can always give them a call and may be able to pick up somewhere near where you left off.
  • continue the relationship with your own hidden agendas – a desire for romantic intimacy and the hope that the person will realize that they feel the same way.
    If they become involved with someone else in the meantime, you can work to sabotage their new relationship or you can leave them wondering where all your anger and hurt feelings are coming from. You can spend a lot of time and energy handling it this way, without anything to show for your efforts but the loss of a good friend.
  • have an open and honest discussion with your friend regarding your new feelings for them.
    This is the choice that seems to be the hardest for folks to make. Often what I hear from people in this position is that they fear “ruining the friendship” if they discuss their feelings honestly. While this is a very understandable concern, it isn’t well thought out. It is emotional, not rational. Look again at the other options. Every one will bring about a change in your current friendship.


Once your feelings have changed, so does the relationship. Ignoring them, hiding them or distancing yourself will lessen your closeness and the positive dynamics that flow between good friends. You can’t go back. You need to decide how you want to move forward or if this is an option for you. It is also possible in choosing this option that you will learn that they have similar feelings for you that they were afraid to reveal. Therefore choosing this option could result in romance and a love relationship based on true friendship.

Intimacy exists in all close relationships. It is the ability to be completely open and vulnerable to another without fear of harm or rejection. So, by definition, we cannot be intimate with another while hiding or denying our true feelings and needs to them.

The choice will always be yours. Choosing wisely is about really knowing the options, the consequences they bring and what will be best for you and your friend.

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!

Am I being too picky?

As a matchmaker and dating expert, the biggest frustration I have is watching GREAT people overlook other GREAT people for what are in my estimation…superficial reasons.

Here’s a fun little test that will reveal to you the answer to the question, “Am I being too picky?” Take a look at the last 10 to 20 ‘Candidates’ who’ve crossed your path. People you’ve dated, people you’ve selected through an online service, or just people you’ve met through your world whom you found interesting, attractive, and date-worthy. Go ahead – make the list. And start keeping this list and adding to it into the future. Every person you find date-worthy…write his name on your list.

Secondly, note by that person’s name if he/she was also interested in YOU. Did this person pursue you? Was he/she attracted to you? Did this candidate “go for” you? OK, here’s the tough part. Now you’ve got to do the math. I say, if the percentage of people on your “hot list” who also go for YOU is greater than 50%, then YIPPEE, you’re on track. If, however, a small percentage of your targeted candidates are interested in and attracted to you, then…we’ve got a problem. Tough as it is to accept, if the math shows you that less than 25% of your targeted date-worthy candidates are also interested in you, then it’s possible, um, well, likely actually that you’re being too picky. What to do about it?

You’ve got two choices: 1) Do some serious strategic and proactive marketing to better your chances in our highly competitive romantic culture (join dating services and singles clubs and be proactive, develop your flirting skills, meet lots and lots of people.) 2) Re-evaluate how you are doing your selecting, wrestle with and broaden your search criteria. A general rule of thumb to follow is – if you’re not averaging a better than 50% “Yes Factor” for the men or women you’re targeting, then you’re being too selective and limiting yourself too much to be able to expect success. Homework assignment: Make your long list of the criteria you’re seeking in your mate.

Go ahead, brainstorm, and have some fun with it. Then take a long walk and come back to that list. Isolate the Top Three Critical Criteria. Tough? You bet, but so important. Keep this short list handy, and notice that as you go through the dating process it might just change on you. If the guy/gal you’re considering has all three of your Top Three Critical Criteria, then I say, when in doubt, GO FOR IT. Meet this new person. Still in doubt? Meet again. Still don’t know?

Meet one more time. We gals have the ability to fall in love over time, for the right reasons. If the CRITICAL stuff lines up, then I’d suggest (and so would your mama) saying Yes to meeting and exploring the possibilities with those who meet your critical criteria. That magical thing called human bonding doesn’t even begin to show up until date number three. Be willing to stretch on the issues of lesser importance (height, hair issues, age, income, etc.

Keep the heart and the eyes open, or heck, blindfold yourself! I often wonder if sightless singles have an advantage in today’s media crazed world. And be willing to be surprised as to whom He or She just might turn out to be!

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

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

What to Look for When Reading a Bio

When you first start browsing the profiles on a dating site, you might well feel spoiled for choice. There are so many singles in your area, in your age group, in your list of potential partners.

Look a little closer though and the picture becomes a little more blurry. After a while, everyone starts to look the same.

One dark, fuzzy picture looks just like another dark, fuzzy picture.

One vacation snap looks like another vacation snap.

And one person who likes to watch movies and listen to music, dress up and dress down, go out and stay in starts to sound like… well, everyone you’ve ever met.

Finding love online means not just reading a lot of profiles but reading between the lines of a lot of profiles.

As always, that starts with the picture. When you look at the photo, ask yourself how much effort went into uploading that image. A poor, unfocused picture might well mean that they’re not serious about finding someone — that they’re not prepared to make an effort to make a good impression.

What does that tell you about the sort of date you can expect with them?

Look too beyond the adjectives in the description, and focus instead on what the person actually likes to do in their spare time. Everyone says they’re passionate, loyal and fun-loving. But if you can discover what they’re passionate about, what loyalty actually means to them and what they find fun, you’ll have a great idea of what life with that person will actually be like.

It might take you an email or two to get that information but even if the profile doesn’t tell you everything you need to know, it can tell you what questions to ask to find out.

Successful online dating is all about standing out from the crowd with a profile that creates an impression, attracts looks and shows you care. At LookBetterOnline, we help online singles create profiles that get results. Order your package from just $197 here.

Ten best ways to fail miserably at CyberRomance

Are you making those mistakes when dating online?

Are you making those mistakes when dating online?

1. Passivity. Just put your profile on a dating site and then do nothing. The older you are (over 35, especially for women), the gender you are (Men under 40, women over 40), the more obstacles you have that effect your marketability (too tall, too short, too heavy, not attractive enough, not enough hair, etc), the less likely it will be that your ideal someone will get in touch with you first.

2. Rudeness. Don’t answer emails of people who don’t meet your exact criteria. And if you do answer, do not be kind and/or polite in saying “no.”

3. Lying. About your age. About your marital status. About what you look like. The best way? Post an old photo or one that grossly exaggerates your looks.

4. Laziness. Rather than once a day, check your email only when you feel like it. Take your time replying to emails. Do not allow for time for thoughtful responses to potential Sweethearts. Don’t print off their profiles and emails. Don’t make any effort to remember their names or details of their lives.

5. Generalizations. Think and say and of the following as often as possible: “There are no good men out there. All men are interested in is one thing. All women want is a fat wallet. All the good ones are married. All the good ones are gay.” If that’s what you are looking for, that is what you will find.

6. Rigidity. Decide what you must have and be totally unwilling to change or deviate from perfection. Refuse to consider relocating. Insist on changing nothing in your life and that potential Sweethearts totally accommodate to you.

7. Negativity. Crab about the opposite sex or your ex-partner. Be gloomy, nasty, or critical. Complain about the restaurant, the waiter, the food, the weather. Reject and/or argue about every subject your partner brings up. Criticize anything he or she tries to do to please you.

8. Perfectionism. Put off looking for a Sweetheart until you lose ten pounds, get yourself in better shape, fix up your apartment, get a new job, or have your nose fixed. Insist that he or she be perfect, too, and reject anyone who is not.

9. Be unrealistic about what you have to offer and what you can expect in exchange. Overestimate what you can expect in a partner, for instance, somebody rich to rescue you from your own poor financial planning. Or only look for “arm candy,” a pretty or handsome other that will reflect positively on you — you hope. Or underestimate your personal assets, like kindness and stability, or his — loyalty and perseverance.

10. Ambivalence. Don’t get absolutely clear that having a life partner has top priority in your life. Have reservations about how much you are willing to reasonably do. Say that you want a relationship, but act as if you don’t. Thoroughly mix your messages and confuse everyone around you about your intent. Makes sure that nothing changes, and nothing will.

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

A shortage of single women?

The demographics have flipped, and single women are now in demand.

“How lovely to hear!” say the women, who remember too well growing up in the shadow of the 1986 Newsweek article that warned that a 40 year old female college grad had a better chance of getting hit by a terrorist than she did of marrying…

“But…but…how could this be?” say the dumbfounded 40-something men – the guys who opted to postpone marriage, who spent early adulthood chumming with their guy pals, in a dating frenzy, or in a series of non-committal relationships. Many of these men are now ready for the real thing… and are getting a rude wake-up call.

“There’s a new biological clock out there – the one ticking inside bachelors”, claims the article.

Hmmmm. Let’s ponder the statistics… back in the 1980’s, sites the Wall Street Journal, “there were about 1.3 women for every eligible man from 35 to 44. The odds were even better for the narrower group of men in their late 30s dating women in their early 30s: Almost two women for every single man.” Cockiness-inspiring odds, wouldn’t you say? The guys must have been happy.

But…now the shift. From 1955 to 1973 the birthrate dropped 40%. That means fewer girls were born, and given that American men have tended to prefer dating younger women, we begin to see the statistical problem. The Census Bureau’s Current Population Surveys show that “the percentage of 35- 44-year old bachelors almost tripled from 1980 to 2000.” Census reports indicate further that “by 2010 men in their late 30s and early 40s will outnumber women five to 10 years younger by two to one… and within nine years, there will be one woman that’s 30 to 34 for every two men 35 to 44, according to one set of projections by the U.S. Census.”

“OUCH!” Say the men.

So what’s going on out there as a result? Well, men are increasingly turning to personal ads and dating services – not that their odds are good there either – dating service membership bases have traditionally been male dominant, and with the demographic shift we now see shrinking pools of female advertisers in the newspaper personals and in dating service memberships. And, reports the WSJ, “Other men are going where experts say they need to – older women. When polled its members earlier this year, the company discovered that its average male client is now willing to date a woman three years his senior, up from two a few years ago. At It’s Just Lunch, men 35 to 43 are now asking to date women 36 to 40 – up about four years from a decade ago.”

So, what does Cupid’s Coach have to say about all this? Gentlemen…start your engines! For those men who are rigid in their preference for a younger woman, it’s going to be competitive. If you mean to be successful in your love search, you’d better have a strategic marketing plan, you’ll be wise to get a realistic assessment of your ‘Romantic Market Value’ and you’ll be sharpening your edge by broadening your scope.

Help is here, though. Book a session with me. Best way I know to jump start your love life and better your odds. And more good news – Cupid’s Coach was built by women for women – they’re flocking to us (80% by invitation and referral) and our Client base is, well, 60% female. You’re in good hands!

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 Real Secret To Successful Online Dating

Online dating

It’s no surprise that the people who find happiness always seem to be the people who had most of it to begin with.

It’s been a while since dating sites were used only by the desperate and the terminally shy. These days, singles see them as a giant opportunity to find a partner. It’s simple. It’s fun. It’s convenient.

And it gets results… so why bother with the old fashioned ways? Most passes just seem to get rejected, blind dates are about as enjoyable as a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, and all the good ones seem to have gone online anyway.

It sounds like a reasonable approach to online dating, and it’s one adopted frequently by recent divorcees who have been out of the dating game for a while and simply don’t get to meet singles at dinner parties.

It’s also an approach that’s likely to end in failure.

The real secret to online dating is that it works best when you use it as just one method of meeting people.

You still have to find a way of starting a conversation with strangers you find attractive. If a friend says that she knows someone who would be perfect for you, you still have to swallow hard and agree to meet them.

And you still have to believe that your singlehood could end at absolutely any minute because there are plenty of good people still out there, and hoping to meet someone just like you.

There are two reasons that dating sites work best when combined with other methods of finding love.

The first is that it means you’re not desperate. Your profile won’t look over-keen, your emails won’t make it clear that you really, really hope they write back, and you’ll make better judgments about the people you want to contact.

When you feel there are plenty of opportunities offline too, you’ll be pickier about the people you see online, and you’ll increase the odds that the people you do meet will be people you’ll want to meet again.

The second reason though is that you’ll be happier. You’ll have a positive attitude towards dating as a whole. You’ll develop an active social life and you’ll see online dating for what it should be: a fun experience that could lead to so much more, not the solution to a never-ending problem.

It’s no surprise that the people who find happiness always seem to be the people who had most of it to begin with. Make sure that you can be happy without online dating, and you’ll find that your website will make you even happier still.

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.

A professional profile writer will look at your profile, tell you what works, what doesn’t… and give you some practical tips to make improvements.

You’ll still have to make the changes yourself but you’ll end up with a profile that’s improved, effective… and all you.

Ask for a Profile Review here.


Making Your Date Work

Once your profile has done its bit, the emails have been exchanged and the interest sparked, the next step is almost scripted: dinner, candlelight… and an awkward conversation with a complete stranger.

While dinner dates are standard, they’re actually a pretty awful way for two people to get to know each other. Look back at your most successful relationships and you’ll probably find that very few of them involved getting to know someone over soup and wine. You might have worked together on projects or met through a common interest or a mutual mate. It was the friendship that turned into a relationship rather than an attempt to start a relationship with someone who was not yet even a friend.

And that’s the key to making a date work.

Forget about using a date to kickstart a new relationship. Don’t even think of it as a way to find out how much you have in common.

Think of it instead as a way to figure out whether you have the sort of chemistry that makes beautiful friendships. If that chemistry is there, if you laugh at each other’s jokes and enjoy the conversation, the rest could well follow.

The way to look for that chemistry is to keep the date informal. Romantic dinners bring too much pressure, but a daytime coffee and cake can be a much better way to let the chat flow easily, without wishing you were at home with your favorite TV show and a mug of cocoa.

And doing things together is a much more natural first step than a face-to-face interview. Trips to museums, street fairs and galleries will give you something to talk about if the conversation dries up, and are much more likely to make your time together memorable.

The best approach is to invite your date to join you in an activity you wanted to do anyway. If you’re planning to visit the farmers’ market on Sunday, then meeting someone there will add a bonus to your tomatoes and cucumbers.

And if the date doesn’t work, at least your salad will.

And remember that 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!

It’s history

Over the years, singles have asked me if they should disclose their relationship history with their dating partners. While some of this information may be important for a potential partner to know, there are a few guidelines that I recommend before deciding to “bare all.”

Dear Dr. Love Coach, I am about to propose to a woman I’ve known for 15 years. We were friends in college, married other people, but now both of us are divorced. What I’m wondering is this — Is it proper for me to ask about her past relationships and/or sex life ? If so, what types of questions are okay? George

Dear George, I’m a little surprised that you’re asking for permission to inquire into your girlfriend’s relationship history this late in the game. My question to you is this — What difference would it make if you had this information? My hope is that the answer would be “not much.” So is it “proper” for you to ask about her past relationships and/or sex life? At this point, I’d have to say “no,” yet with a caveat.

Before you propose, you can ask her if there is anything in her relationship history, or something that she learned in a previous relationship, that she thinks would be important for you to know. An example might be, “Well, my previous husband refused to help around the house which was a big source of arguments between us. So I need you to know that making the effort to keep things tidy is very important to me.”

Basically, the focus needs to be on sharing historical information that would have potential relevance in your current relationship. I get concerned when I hear about singles engaging in long conversations with a potential dating partner about what led to the destruction of their previous relationships. And sometimes they haven’t even met yet!

When singles talk about their past relationship failures, they shift the focus off of building a present, and possibily even a future, with another person. Instead, the focus can shift to seeing your dating partner as someone who is inherently rejectable. In a previous article, “Decisions, Decisions, Decisions,” I stressed the importance of remaining vigilant while dating to NOT talk about past relationship failures.

But if you do feel the need to disclose aspects of your relationship history, then you should do so by emphasizing what you learned, not just about yourself, but about the kind of relationship you ultimately want.

Asking for a sexual history though is a bit more complicated. I think it’s best to be sure that both of you get tested not just for any sexually transmitted diseases, but for genetically transmitted diseases as well. The results should provide you with enough relevant information to spark a conversation about moving the relationship forward, or not.

If you have been dating “consciously” all along, then you probably have already listened carefully to what your dating partner has said, and paid close attention to her many behaviors, to have determined that she is a good candidate for your life partner. Remember though, people do grow and change over time. The decision to propose should ideally be based on the knowledge that you’ve accumulated while in an exclusive relationship. Giving more credence to historical information will not necessarily move you forward — it will just keep you in the past.

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