Saturday, November 29, 2014

20 Dating Tidbits Worth Knowing

A recent article by Your Tango summarized the 20 things you learn about dating in your twenties. Curiosity had me flipping through the slide show to determine if I knew these things. Surprisingly, some of them I found out rather recently. Why is that?

People over forty usually got married in their early twenties and often to their high school sweetie. They had very few relationships or dating experiences to serve as a knowledge base. That’s why the dating world is difficult for the mature adult. Single is not something they know. There’s all kinds of rules and expected behaviors. It would be useful to review them.

1.       People in bars are looking for sex, not relationships, and certainly not marriage. (I always suspected this despite all the movies and sitcoms that have the heroine meeting her happily ever after in a drinking establishment, usually the bartender.)

2.       Games don’t work. It doesn’t mean people don’t play them. Some may remember a book called The Rules. This slender book gave info on how to catch Mr. Right. Ironically, it did work sometimes. This, of course, confuses the issue. Games, like lies, eventually get you in a mess of trouble.

3.       You deserve someone who makes you happy. Someone who wants to and does thoughtful things for you. It took me forever to learn this one. My attempts to earn thoughtful behavior failed. Happiness only came after I picked a different type of man.

4.       If there’s no chemistry right away, don’t waste your time.  Whoa! Wait a minute, I disagree. Many a woman has been on fire for a bad boy only to be disgusted by his shallowness days later. On the other hand, people grow up together and fall in love years later. Sure, a person can rationalize why he or she should like someone, which isn’t chemistry, but pure, unadulterated desperation.

5.       Drunk sex sucks. Regret isn’t so great either.

6.       Being someone you’re not is an unending game. Realize that if a person doesn’t think you’re awesome as your authentic self then you don’t need him or her in your life. (Late lesson for me.)  You do have to present the real you immediately.

7.       Save time for you. Too often people become a couple and shelf their friends and interests. Bad deal because eventually resentment sets in over the behavior, even if the partner never requested it.

8.       Invest in the past, cancel the future. People who expect their dates to act like previous dates will have issues with ever getting to the second date. It involves being vulnerable. You can’t compare all men to your abusive ex. On the other hand, if your date is bad-tempered now it will only get worse with time.

9.       Expensive gifts don’t mean squat. As teens, we wanted gifts as a badge of desirability. One man could buy a Mercedes w/o blinking an eye, but it doesn’t equate love or even indicate exclusivity.

10.   Social Media is a relationship killer. Don’t air your grievance aired online. When you do, sides occur, and it grows into a feud.

11.   Oversharing confuses the issue. This happens when you decide to trot out every argument between you and your sweetie to a jury of your peers. Yes, they’ll take your side, making you wonder why you even put up with the jerk.

12.   Respect yourself. People take their cue from you as far as how to treat you.

13.   Dinner & a movie won’t cut it for every date. Eventually one or both of you will decide the relationship is boring and break it off. What you were doing was what was boring. Mix it up, challenge yourself to try new things. Throw in a street festival, dancing, pottery class or two.

14.   Date nights are a must. Now that you’re a couple you have to schedule in us time.

15.   Breakups suck. What’s worse is living with an abusive, apathetic jerk.

16.   Lower Your Expectations. If you’re on the lookout for Prince Charming, he hasn’t been on the radar since the 17th century. He never was since he’s fictional.

17.   Being single is better than being yoked w/a weirdo, player, or an okay for right now guy. Singleness looks better and better sometimes.

18.   Sex isn’t good if you can’t ask for what you want.  Don’t wait a year or two before bringing it up.

19.   Be the bold one. Shy guys might love to go out with you, but they need help. My sweetie was convinced I wasn’t interested because I didn’t give him the signal. I still don’t know what the signal was.

20.   The guy who won’t commit, won’t. Quit wasting time on grooming someone to get them ready to commit. That’s why previously married men are better than never married men in date ability. Their track record demonstrates they will commit. Sometimes, they just won’t connect with you. Accept it and move on.

I’ll be honest and say I didn’t learn at least four of these until the last couple of years. Now days, people stay single longer and date more, which gives them more experiences and reflective periods. They often make their initial commitments at a much later age. It’s not too surprising couples who married young break up as they grow into different people. There is also the phenomenon of grandma and grandpa parting ways because people live longer. In the end, millions of single people are clueless when it comes to dating.

Here’s a few they missed.

Don’t date people for potential or the possibility you can change or train them. Bad deal, people don’t change. 

Rude or bad behavior is exactly that. Don’t make excuses such as a hard day, tired, or drunk. Everyone is capable of trotting out good behavior; failure to do so shows you’re not valued.

Look beyond the exterior. People try to pigeonhole by appearances alone without getting to know a person. People often miss their soul mate because he or she was not in the current popular package.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Dating Grades

Ever felt like your date graded you?  A new app may result in you getting a passing grade to get a date. This new app is called The Grade. Women or men can run a dating profile through it. It uses algorithms to determine a grade.

It grades on:
·         Popularity- how many people have liked the profile or responded to it. (Sounds like high school all over again.)
·   The Message-it measures grammar, construction, and appropriateness. The vulgar candidate strikes out big time. The person willing to employ spell check or Edit Minion should do well.
·         If you earn an F, you’re gone.
·         A C grade will net you some helpful hints, rather like a wingman.

This App isn’t out yet. Would it be fair?  Most people should be able to read a profile and decide if the message is good or not. Same with popularity, it isn’t hard to figure a handsome, articulate man would be popular. The hints might be helpful.

The upside is it can scroll through profiles to pick out the best candidates. This would be helpful, especially since many people are relying on personal assistants in the online hunt for a date.  Is this all part of the hunt for the perfect person? Often people have more things they don’t want in a date than traits they do want. Are you finding reasons not to go out with someone? Often they’re legitimate and even instinctual. Are you even dating because you think you’re supposed to? It’s something to consider. Is The Grade a good app or another opportunity to shirk the responsibility of vetting your own dates?

If The Grade passed or even gave a sociopath high marks would it be liable? Con men or women always know what to say and how to say it. Would an app guard you against this? If someone appears to be too good to be true, then common sense tells you  he or she isn't honest or real. Would an app know this this or reward the profile with an A? 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Holiday Dating Expectations

Who hasn’t seen one of those sappy holiday movies where the woman rents a man to go home with her for the holidays? Sometimes it is a friend, straight or gay, who plays the part. The message is it’s not okay to be single during the holidays, but it is okay to lie about being in a relationship. Some people reason parents bring it on themselves since they act like being single is a disease, a terminal one.

Males you're currently dating become busy or hard to reach. What’s up with this? Holidays are the measuring stick of dating. The diamond ads show up this time of year declaring only an expensive gift shows love. Television shows feature people going home for the holidays. Singles return home for the holidays because of tradition and guilt including the prediction that it will be some relative’s last holiday. In the end, it’s a fancy meal free. It sounds like the right thing to do. What could go wrong, besides the burgeoning relationship missing in action?

There’s the possibility of a sibling accusing you of being too picky and difficult as the reason you’re not married. Rather than argue, try smiling and agreeing. This takes the poison out of the barb. You should be particular. Explain, if you must, that you’re not living a miserable life surrounded by cats. (This rebuttal won’t serve if you have two or more cats in your home.)

One relative, usually elderly, whose social boundaries are non-existent, will voice the opinion that you don’t even like the opposite sex. If true, this might be the perfect time to come out.  If not true, it might serve to say nothing and let them wonder.

Too often people use marriage as a physical manifestation of relationship success. It isn’t. Plenty of men and women are in dysfunctional marriages.  One reason they stay in these miserable unions is this outdated perception.

Keep in mind; marriage’s original purpose was to keep a family unit together insuring the health of the offspring. Men being visual creatures often wandered off after impregnating a woman. Some religions recognized this tendency and made sure to include the possibility of several wives. Love, happiness, and the simple joy of doing things together usually never entered the picture.

A woman who married well, which translated to money, power, and good connections, was a success. A man who married settled down.  Arranged marriages were to make the best deal for the family, not just the individuals getting married. Marriage also provided an income for the wife who did not work outside the home.

These reasons aren’t pertinent today, but your family still acts as if they are. You have a couple of options. Change the subject. Bring a friend, not necessarily a faux date, but someone to take the spotlight off you. Don’t go, but do something you want to do instead. The last idea is controversial, but plenty of singles host their own celebration to avoid questioning worthy of the Spanish Inquisition.

As for the guy who vanished on you, don’t be too hard on him. He knows an invitation to a family dinner is usually one-step away from a proposal or that’s how your family might view it. Holidays bring romantic expectations with them too, usually of rings in small boxes positioned under a twinkling tree. It isn’t that he doesn’t care for you, but is unsure where the relationship is going. Spending the holidays together can be a big deal. We all have a variety of holiday obligations from work parties to children activities. It’s okay to take a holiday vacation from one another if you’re dating.

Honesty helps too. Relationships unravel during the holiday seasons because of unrealistic expectations. Been there, done that. Don’t expect your holidays to resemble any Christmas-themed movies. Dates do not show up in a horse-drawn sleigh for a romantic ride through the fresh fallen snow.

Be realistic. Don’t do what you don’t want to do because of obligation. Tell yourself before a family visit, your opinion is the only one that matters. Some of you are fortunate to have families who do not pry into you love life and offer unsolicited advice. Lucky you.

As for the person you only dated a few times, do not expect a holiday blowout. A small gift or card is the best route to go.  A whimsical gift is the safer route. My sweetie and I spent our first Christmas apart due to family obligations, but we did call one another.

Don’t wait around for the big date invite to do something over the holidays. You can be the instigator. Have single friends, invite them over for a night of movies, games, and finger foods. Too many people sit around waiting for life to happen to them. Decide what you want the holidays to include and take action; nothing that relies on anyone else to make it happen. Happy Holidays.

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Dating Dollar

Romantic Fondue Meal

Dating is expensive if you don’t believe me. Ask someone who invested in finding The One. You can usually recognize the newly divorced because they sport trendy clothes, a new haircut, and possibly a tan courtesy of a tanning salon. The list goes on as far as physical enhancements both men and women can make to their appearance. None of this is free.

You can gussy yourself up all you want and nothing may come of it, except an outflow of cash. How do you get the most value out of your dating dollar?

·         A fancy car won’t do it. Women seldom date a man for his car despite what the car salesman tells you. A clean ride in good repair should do the trick. If it doesn’t, then she’s not interested in you.

·         Know your online dating services. Scandal-ridden smaller firms are guilty of faking profiles to fool potential clients.

·         In this case, you often get what you pay for. Free dating sites appeal to people wanting to hook up or those already in a relationship testing the waters.

·         It isn’t feasible to hang out every weekend at your local watering hole either. Are you seriously hoping to spend money on expensive cocktails and snacks in hope, Mr. or Miss. Right will sashay by. Even if they did, you couldn’t hear them over the live music.

·         It is good to avoid the meat market and pursue an interest such as hiking, bicycling, or even volunteering at the animal shelter. Suddenly, every encounter isn’t a big deal and it is a more organic way of meeting people.

·         Take a part-time job that appeals to you. This helps create a nest egg and give you more opportunity to encounter people. Consider the clientele before applying. Working in women’s fashion will not introduce you to many single men.

·         As a man, you have to spend money to prove you’re serious.  Most women don’t take a man seriously, if he doesn’t pay for the first date. It doesn’t have to be an expensive date either. The reasoning behind this indicates interest. Some men complain they aren't that interested; it shows.

·         After about three dates, a woman should offer to defray costs by fixing a meal or offering to buy refreshments at the movie. You could alternate paying for dates too.

·         Don’t be taken in by online ads that offer to give you dating secrets. Often the advice is common sense and sometimes it is downright stupid. The only thing it is good for is separating people from their money.

·         The best bet for your dating dollar is restraint. If you want to try online dating, then go with one reputable site. Sign up for a limited time between 3-6 months. Every site will hint it will take a least a year. It won’t take a year to find out the company isn’t flush with folks you want to meet.

·         Don’t buy a new wardrobe. Two or three outfits will work for a while, and then you can gradually add to it.

·         Don’t overwhelm your newfound sweetie with gifts. Not only is this expensive, but it will come off as needy. How will you feel when he or she takes off? You’ll feel a great deal worse if you spend a bundle on celebrating a month of dating.

·         Don’t get in the habit of paying your date’s bills or letting him move in until he gets on his feet. This doesn’t create a balanced relationship. Instead, it stirs up resentment on both sides. In the end, you have an adult who can’t take care of him or herself and the person who enables it.

·         Everyone wants to impress their date, but don’t pull out all the stops on date one, two, three, or four. One gentleman ordered a limo for his first date. They arrived at an exclusive restaurant. His actions charmed his date, but she expected similar behavior all the time. When she didn’t get it, she called him cheap.

·         Dating works out better if it is low stress. It is hard to be stress free, when you realized your date’s selection of  an overpriced bottle of wine means the heating bill payment will be late.

·         If you’re on a date, choose meals, movies, activities with consideration. It shows good manners and you’ll be glad you did, especially if your date specifies separate bills.

The dating dollar should have a budget just like all the other fixed expenses in your life. It will keep you from blowing everything in an attempt to capture love. It will also make dating less all consuming and more fun.