Dating Tip #3: Leave the Past Where It Belongs

Dating Tip #3: Leave the Past Where It Belongs

It’s your first date.  You’re excited and nervous at the same time.  It’s all you’ve thought about all week.  Finally, you’re dressed in the perfect first date outfit, which you selected with the help of a trusted friend earlier in the week.  One last check in the mirror before you go, and you must say that you look good.  Your look says, “I’m confident, intelligent, and classy with just the right amount of sexy.”  He’s told you that the dinner reservation is for seven, and there are plans for after dinner drinks at a popular spot nearby.  You’ve got this!  You’re ready to go!

Thirty minutes later, you’re sitting across from him.  It’s noisy with activity all around you, but you barely notice.  You only have eyes for him.  The lights are very low.  This makes you feel extra good because you know how great your make-up looks by candlelight.  The server appears, and he suggests an appetizer and wine that you absolutely love.  He speaks of his week at work.  You listen intently.  Every time you look at him, you get the feeling that he is as into you as much as you are into him.  You don’t even realize how you hang on his every word.  You sip and smile and bite and smile and sip some more.  He sips too, but not as much as you. 

Somewhere between the entrée and dessert, you can’t recall when, the conversation takes a turn from him, his work, and recent happenings to a tour of your past.  Every time you look at him, you get the feeling that he is as into you as much as you are into him.  So you keep talking.  You go on and on about your previous relationships, especially the last one that ended in heartbreak.  At first, he asks questions.  You answer openly, honestly—providing all of the details that matter to you, never pausing, never considering that maybe, just maybe, he doesn’t need to know everything. 

He smiles and nods occasionally.  You continue on, and in the span of just one meal, you spill the contents of your past all over the table, into his lap, and onto the floor. 

The check comes.  He pays.  Then, he politely excuses himself.  When he returns, he explains that after dinner drinks are no longer possible as something unexpected has come up.  You’re disappointed, but you accept his explanation without the slightest understanding of what is going on. 

Days later, you receive no call, no follow-up, and he has not entertained even a single thought of you.  He has checked out and moved on with intimate details of your life that quite frankly, he should not have known. 

Since this was a first meeting, and there were no guarantees of anything beyond it, your past should’ve never found its way in.  In the beginning, sometimes it’s best to remain focused on the present, and leave the past way back there where it belongs. 

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Dating Tip #2: Know Before You Go

Dating Tip #2: Know Before You Go

Tiger’s Eye was right about dating when he said, “…before you join an online dating site, decide what you want to get out of the experience.”

Even if you aren’t using an online dating service, the same advice applies.  You need to know where you are and what you want before you invite someone into your life.  For some, this is obvious and goes without saying.  Maybe you’re lucky enough to not be confused about what’s best for you or disillusioned by the demise of a love affair you were sure was the best thing that ever happened to you or just plain bitter about being alone after a string of sorry relationship experiences.  If this is you, if you are this lucky, well, kudos to you.  You rock!  Date on!  For others, here’s my advice:  get thee to a peaceful place where ye may see thyself clearly. 

Before you go on another date, have an honest conversation with yourself about what you want.  I like to stand in front of my favorite mirror for these intimate moments with myself.  Try it.  Be courageous.  Stand up tall, peer into your eyes, take a big cleansing breath, and ask yourself one question.   

Why am I dating right now?

That’s it. 

So simple. 

Notice that the question is anchored in the present.  This is key.  It’s not about the past.  Leave him back there.  It’s also not about the future.  She stretches so far out in front of us that we are pulled away from the magic of right now.

Pay close attention to the first thoughts that fill your mind.  Don’t force it.  I like to talk out loud to myself during my one-on-ones, but you don’t have to do it this way.  If talking out loud makes you feel too weird or uncomfortable, try writing down whatever comes to you. But first, find that mirror, move in real close, and ask the question.  

Why am I dating right now?

No censoring.

Just let the answer flow.

Once you have it, you’ll have a better sense of how to proceed.  But if by chance you face the mirror, ask the question, and nothing comes, then just go back to Dating Tip #1 until something does. 

Dear Husband–A New Place

Dear Husband–A New Place

Dear Husband,

             While you and the children were away visiting your father for the weekend, I followed my own advice and took myself out on a date.  I had dinner on Saturday evening at one of our favorite restaurants.  Guess which one?

             If you’re wondering what I wore (and I know you are), don’t worry.  I looked fantastic in my dark denim jeans with the back pockets that snap and make things look higher and tighter than they really are.  You know the ones I’m talking about.  If not, I’ll show you later.  You would’ve been thrilled to see me in my red velvet heels. I did my best runway model imitation, minus the long stride.  I mean I tried, but I had to step very carefully to avoid slipping and falling. I’ve grown used to walking arm-in-arm with you and the secure feeling of knowing you won’t let me fall.

              Heads turned when I entered the restaurant alone and asked to be seated.  See, I’ve still got it!  Anyway, I took my seat and looked over the menu even though I already knew exactly what I wanted.  I ordered a glass of the malbec I enjoy so much, but just five ounces this time, not eight, which I usually have when we’re together.

              I received the best service, too.  It seemed like every time I looked up, there was a male server asking if I needed anything or bringing me whatever I’d requested.  There were four servers in all.  I counted!  All the attention was enough to make any woman feel special.  The pasta was tasty.  The atmosphere was comfortable.  I was the perfect date for myself.  Everything was quite lovely, really, but I realized something.  When I take myself out on a date, I don’t need to go to any of our favorite places.  Even though I enjoyed my own company, I was reminded of all our times there.  There I was trying to focus on me, but after 45 minutes or so, I began to wish you were there.  It was only natural, right?  I had to laugh at myself.

               The next time I take myself out on a date, I’ll find a new place.  Oh, don’t go getting jealous.  The more I nurture myself, the better I’ll be for you.

Love,

Your wife

fork

Dating Tip #1: Date Yourself

Dating Tip #1: Date Yourself

If you aren’t interested in dating you, why should anyone else be?

I’m serious.  I know so many people—women and men—who simply can’t be alone.  Their reasons are way too plentiful and complicated to deal with here, and I am not trying to diagnose anyone’s psyche. I understand that being alone can be very difficult, but let’s consider a few things.

If you avoid being alone, you miss the chance to truly focus on yourself.  If you do everything possible to make sure that you are with someone else, it’s unlikely that you have a clear picture of yourself. If you are constantly on the go, you are guaranteed to be out of touch with yourself.  The longer you persist in focusing on everything else and/or everyone else, the longer you will take to truly know yourself.

If you can’t figure out how to enjoy time with yourself, then perhaps you aren’t really ready to date anyone else.  Get to know yourself better on your own.  Be your own date for a little while.

The Real Online Dating Experience Series: Male Case Study #1 (Final Interview)

The Real Online Dating Experience Series: Male Case Study #1 (Final Interview)

marriage

Promises, promises, I sure didn’t keep this one.  I was supposed to finish this series as we entered the new year, but I didn’t. I have no excuses to offer, just the facts.  I just haven’t been as focused on my writing as I needed to be, and sadly, I allowed way too much time to go by.  I can’t make up for it.  I will forge ahead.  So finally…here is the last post in this series.  If this is your first time reading any of the interviews in this series or if you need a quick refresher on what it’s all about, please click here.

Then, read the previous interviews to catch-up.

Previous Interviews:  Male Case Study 1: Interview #1 (Introduction), Female Case Study 1: Interview #1 (Introduction), Male Case Study 2: Interview #1 (Introduction)Female Case Study 2:  Interview #1 (Introduction), Male Case Study 1: Interview #2 (Profile and First Matches), Female Case Study 1:  Interview #2 (Profile and First Matches), Male Case Study 2:  Interview #2–Profile and First Matches), Female Case Study 2:  Interview #2–Profile and First Matches, Male Case Study 1:  Interview #3 (Dating, etc.), Female Case Study 1:  Interview #3 (Dating, etc.), Female Case Study 2:  Interview #3 (Dating, etc.), Female Case Study 1:  Interview #4 (Final Say About Online Dating), Female Case Study 2:  Interview #4 (Final Say About Online Dating)

Male Case Study 1:  Interview #4 (Final Say About Online Dating)

Tiger’s Eye gives it to us straight, ladies!  Read on to learn more.

Q1:  Are you still currently active on any online dating site?  If so, how long have you been doing this?  If not, what happened?  Why not?

Tiger’s Eye:  I’m removed from the dating scene.  Thank God.  Today is February 16, 2013.  I’m more than five years removed from the online dating scene…happily married for over three years to my online match from eHarmony.

Follow-up (Q2):  Wow!  So you’re a success story!  Tell me about it.

Tiger’s Eye:  Let me very quickly take you back to the beginning, a little catch-up here.  Remember I told you about how when I first saw a picture of one of the ladies, a flash of light appeared on my screen?  Well, this young lady eventually became my wife.  I let my two boys see her picture and they asked me if she was old enough for me to date.  [He laughs.  I roll my eyes.]  Well, she’s a sister that’s very charming, very beautiful.  As with other black women, her age is hidden very well.  As I stated earlier, we met online.  She was one of the few women I picked, who did not have her picture available upfront, but her profile mentioned her grandmother and overall it was very interesting and I wanted to get a chance to meet her.  Our communication started off as daily, 9:30 pm conversations by phone.  On the weekends, sometimes we’d talk for hours.  The most interesting thing about her was that she was totally different than any other women I’d met.  Different in that I could tell she was very smart, very intelligent, and she knew exactly what she wanted.  But she sounded really soft and sweet, independent, and I couldn’t wait to see her red hair.  She told me she had red and blonde and brown hair.  After about a month of just talking on the phone, we didn’t do this skyping and face time stuff, texting, we just talked and we talked about any and everything.  We had our first date at my favorite place—Starbucks.  We met at a location in a mall.  I was able to steal my first kiss.  A man deserves at least a kiss after talking to a woman on the phone for over a month. [Oh, whatever!  Men think they deserve too much from women sometimes. It was only a month.]  Our first meet and greet went well.  We extended coffee at Starbucks to lunch at PF Changs (all at the mall).  Afterwards, I walked her to her car.  She left, and I left.  So let’s walk through the process of how me and the women of my dreams came together…After several dates, we had dates I’d never had before.  She opened me up to museum dates, Barnes and Nobles dates, dates on her balcony, dates under the stars, mostly we just hung out.  I was able to be myself.  I even went to a huge fashion show with her.  Hours turned into days and days turned into months.  After a couple of months, she met the boys.  Once she turned them onto this television series called Roswell, she was a hit and the family began.  As our relationship grew, my feelings became stronger.  The boys fell in love with her and they thought they had a mother to be or at least a big sister.   All I can say is it was magical.  After a year, we decided to relocate to Georgia.  We packed up the trucks, packed up the houses, rented them out, and sent the boys to their grandparents.  We said good bye to Texas and hello to Georgia.  As our relationship continued, I asked the boys how they’d feel about me asking her to marry me.  They were fine with it.  So we headed to a jeweler the next weekend and purchased her engagement ring.  By Thanksgiving of 2008, we were engaged.  September 2009, we were married.  Today, the boys are with us and we still go out on dates and enjoy our Starbucks coffee.

Q3:  What are your lessons learned from the online dating experience?

Tiger’s Eye:  Try to take time to learn something about the other person outside of the bedroom. [Okay then.  Is that clear enough for everyone?]  A date is a date. A friend is a friend. A lover is a lover.  Decide very quickly when you meet a person what you want.  Your meet and greet should be a meet and greet, not a long, over night into the morning affair.  Try to remember that the person you’re meeting had a life before they met you. Be very, very, very cautious.  Date with a purpose—date to learn more about yourself.

Q4:   Have you been following the interviews of other participants in this series? If so, what stands out to you.

Tiger’s Eye:  Yes, I have read the interviews, and this is what I’ve gotten from them:  It’s hard to find a match.  Men today are not really looking to be in a long-term relationship. Women are looking to find a mate, a match, and it’s taking years instead of months to find a companion—if they every find one.     

Q5:  What advice do you have for men using online dating sites?

Tiger’s Eye:  First of all, my advice is that before you join an online dating site, decide what you want to get out of the experience.  Are you truly looking for a girlfriend or mate?  What do you want?  Men need to be honest with themselves.  If you’re using online dating as another way to fill up your smart phone, then tell them.  If you’re not looking to be in a committed relationship, tell them.  If you just want to have fun, just put it out there.  Be honest.  Understand that every woman you meet is totally different.  Make sure you’re ready for online dating.  Decide if you want mind over body or body over mind.  What is your preference?  Is it just physical or intellectual?…When friends ask me how it worked for me and my wife, I tell them that I wanted to meet a woman that could communicate well and was open and was happy with herself.  I wanted someone that wanted to continue to grow and get better.  I wanted someone making the same amount of money as me.  She had to have independence, not a lot of debt, and enjoy children.  It worked for me because I was tired of the club and bar dating scene.  I wasn’t looking for a wife.  I just really wanted to meet someone that I could have a good time with and as I stated before, I wasn’t the guy looking to date two and three or four women.  I had two boys, and I had a job.  The key thing is that online dating was the only vehicle that allowed me to meet women that were totally different than women at work, women in my neighborhood.  You really get a chance to broaden your scope and meet people that are out of your circle.  Online dating was a melting pot.

Q6:  What advice do you have for women using online dating sites?

Tiger’s Eye:  Just because it looks good doesn’t mean it is good.  Let’s start there.  Give the relationship time to develop into what you are looking for before you commit.  Don’t drop all of your—how can I say this—whatever you are doing.  Just remember that you had a life before you meet a man.  Life doesn’t begin when you meet a man.  I guess what I’m trying to state here is don’t give up all your values and don’t just drop everything you were doing before just because you meet someone new.  Be honest with yourself when you realize the truth about a man.  Value yourself.  You have to develop a communication flow with the person you are involved with.  You must have open communication, and that takes time to develop.  Women have to understand that men do not like to share information.  [I hate to admit it, but it sure seems to be the truth in most cases.  Why?] They just don’t.  [There has to be a reason.  Why?  He doesn’t really answer my question, but I let it go.  It’s a difficult one.]  You need time to develop communication to get past the unwillingness to share information.  Also, women need to get to a point where they are happy with themselves and enjoy spending time with themselves.  You have to show your own independence to a man.  [Why?]  Because you are the one that wants to be chased.  You don’t want to be chasing him.  Make him be a man.  [I like that answer.  I like it a whole lot.]

 

The Real Online Dating Experience Series: Female Case Study #2 (Final Interview)

The Real Online Dating Experience Series: Female Case Study #2 (Final Interview)

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Revised Special Note:  All final interviews for this series will–if all goes well over the hour–be posted tonight with the exception of Male Case Study #2, Obsidian…(2 of 3 posts)

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted about this topic, but I did promise to finish the series.  If this is your first time reading any of the interviews in this series or if you need a quick refresher on what it’s all about, please click here.

Then, read the previous interviews to catch-up.

Previous Interviews:  Male Case Study 1: Interview #1 (Introduction), Female Case Study 1: Interview #1 (Introduction), Male Case Study 2: Interview #1 (Introduction)Female Case Study 2:  Interview #1 (Introduction), Male Case Study 1: Interview #2 (Profile and First Matches), Female Case Study 1:  Interview #2 (Profile and First Matches), Male Case Study 2:  Interview #2–Profile and First Matches), Female Case Study 2:  Interview #2–Profile and First Matches, Male Case Study 1:  Interview #3 (Dating, etc.), Female Case Study 1:  Interview #3 (Dating, etc.), Female Case Study 2:  Interview #3 (Dating, etc.), Female Case Study 1:  Interview #4 (Final Say About Online Dating)

Female Case Study 2:  Interview #4 (Final Say About Online Dating)

Poppy advises women to be cautious with online dating.   Read on to learn more.

Q1:  Are you still currently active on any online dating site?  If not, what happened?  Why not?

Poppy:  Yes, I am.  I’ve been on the current site [Christian Mingle] for almost two months, but I haven’t been checking stuff for about a couple of weeks.  [Why?  What’s different now?]  I met someone on the site.  So I decided not to continue talking to anyone else.

Q2:  What’s different for you now than when you first started using online dating sites?

Poppy:  For me, I think I have a better understanding of what I’m looking for and what’s out there—the different approaches the male suitors take.  I’m more selective.  I’m more careful when I’m selecting than I was before.

Q3:  What are your lessons learned from the online dating experience?

Poppy:  Even though you chat and communicate, you still have to be very aware and observant and get to know the person through personal contact and conversation.  You can’t be in a rush to find a mate. [Amen!  These things have their own timing.]

 Q4:  Have you been following the interview s of other participants in this series? If so, what stands out to you.

Poppy:  I’ve read some of their responses.  But after the last interview, I didn’t go back to check to see what other people had to say or what else had been written.  It was interesting to see the different perspectives of each person but also to notice the similarities.  For some of the questions you’d ask me, I’d give you an answer and then look at some of the other responses to the same question. Sometimes, it was like an aha moment because I’d read something and then realize I felt the same way…but I didn’t respond the same way at the time.

Q5:  What advice do you have for men using online dating sites?

Poppy:  Be honest.  Be honest with yourself and the people you decide to talk to.  State what you are looking for.  Be cautious.  Be open to communicating.  [Did you find that most men weren’t open to communicating?]  They seemed to be open to communicating whatever they thought the women wanted to hear.  They were limited in sharing information.  As a woman, you might think they are sharing a lot, but to them it’s not that important.  I understand that men and women are different.  As a woman, you have to be very vigilant and cautious.

Q6:  What advice do you have for women using online dating sites?

Poppy:  I think you need to be honest with yourself, what you are looking for, what you are willing to deal with—tolerate.  Be honest in your profile about yourself.  Be cautious.  Just because he looks like he’s honest and handsome and everything, that doesn’t mean that that’s what he is.  Be realistic about what you want and what is presented to you from the people you meet.  I did say be cautious, right?  Don’t meet him in a dark alley.  Finally, make sure that the choices you make are really what you want. Don’t feel any pressure from outside sources.  This could be the guy, a friend, or just society.  That’s want I think.  That’s what I’ve learned, and what I try to follow.

 

 

The Real Online Dating Experience Series: Female Case Study #1 (Final Interview)

The Real Online Dating Experience Series: Female Case Study #1 (Final Interview)

marriage

Special Note:  All final interviews for this series will be posted tonight with the exception of Male Case Study #2, Obsidian…(1 of 3 posts)

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted about this topic, but I did promise to finish the series.  If this is your first time reading any of the interviews in this series or if you need a quick refresher on what it’s all about, please click here.

Then, read the previous interviews to catch-up.

Previous Interviews:  Male Case Study 1: Interview #1 (Introduction), Female Case Study 1: Interview #1 (Introduction), Male Case Study 2: Interview #1 (Introduction)Female Case Study 2:  Interview #1 (Introduction), Male Case Study 1: Interview #2 (Profile and First Matches), Female Case Study 1:  Interview #2 (Profile and First Matches), Male Case Study 2:  Interview #2–Profile and First Matches), Female Case Study 2:  Interview #2–Profile and First Matches, Male Case Study 1:  Interview #3 (Dating, etc.), Female Case Study 1:  Interview #3 (Dating, etc.), Female Case Study 2:  Interview #3 (Dating, etc.)

Female Case Study 1:  Interview #4 (Final Say About Online Dating)

Honeysuckle wraps up her thoughts about online dating in a clear and concise way.

Q1:  Are you still currently active on any online dating site?  If so, how’s it going?  If not, what happened?  Why not?

Honeysuckle:  No.  I killed all accounts because they are…how can I put it…the majority of men I’m finding are playing games, and I guess that’s not what I want anymore.  Not at all.  I met one person that seemed to be sincere, and I’m still seeing that person now.  We agreed to delete our online accounts, but the problem is that this is not the first time I’ve met someone online and agreed to delete my account.  They tell you they want to be exclusive, but they don’t want to let go of their online selections, and it becomes an ultimatum: me or your online account.[I’ve been through it myself.  You never know if the other person will really delete their account or not.  That’s just the way it is.]

Follow-up (Q2):  Since this hasn’t worked well in the past, why did you agree to delete your account this time?

 Honeysuckle:  Because the person I met treated me differently than anyone else in the past.  I felt like he earned my trust.  But…When it came down to deleting his account, he seemed hesitant and wanted to do it on his own.  I had a problem with that.  I felt that he was hiding something from me because it shouldn’t have been a big deal. He took it as me making a demand, but I took it as him showing me that he was sincere.

Follow-up (Q3):  Did he delete it?

Honeysuckle:       He deleted it two days later.  I thought he was messing around.  So with that, I broke it off.  But after some conversations, I had to take a step back to think about everything that had happened up to that point…Him sharing information…Him being there for me.  He even gave me money to help me move.  Not many men would do that.  He should’ve deleted it immediately, but I left my fears and insecurities from past relationships get in the way.  We’re back together now. We’re more aware of each others’ feelings. Now it is one day at a time.

Q4:  What’s different for you now than when you first started using online dating sites?

Honeysuckle:  Oh my goodness, I’ve learned so much.  I’ve learned first that I don’t need a man.  I wanted a man, but I don’t need a man.  Secondly, I guess I’m more self aware.  I thought I was self aware.  I was aware of the things that I was saying and doing but not realizing how it was being taken by a man.  Men and women are so different.  I think I communicate better.  Certain things I realize are best not to share too early.  Finally, I’ve realized if I just hang back, then…I don’t know how to say it…Basically, what’s going to be for me will be, and I don’t have to push it. [Well stated.  I totally agree with this perspective.]

Follow-up (Q5):  What kinds of things shouldn’t be shared too soon?

Honeysuckle:  Too much of your feelings.  Future things.  It’s best to wait until they [men] show you themselves because often times their actions don’t match their words.  When you wait, you’ll know.  If you have to question them, convince them, or explain…that’s too much work.  There is no amount of talking that will convince them that you are the person they want to be with.  I think men know what they want.  A man knows if he wants to go long-term with you in the first—some say three months—I’d say the first couple of months.

Q6:  What are your lessons learned from the online dating experience?

Honeysuckle:  Oh my goodness…I’ve learned that…hopefully this answers the question in a nutshell.  I’ve learned that I don’t want to meet anyone else online.  I just want to meet someone the old-fashioned way.  [She laughs.]  I learned that if they can’t spell in their profile and use basic noun/verb agreement, then we can’t have a conversation.  [Now I laugh.] I can appreciate the fact that you learn more facts in a shorter amount of time online than you do when you meet a person in passing on the street.  However, oftentimes in online dating, I have found that the majority of men are not honest.  I believe it is more stressful than “regular” dating.  You have more of a pool to choose from, but you have a lot of sharks.  Dating is just complicated.  No matter how much or how little effort you put into it, it’s just complicated.  I think men make it more complicated than it has to be.  If men were honest about what they wanted…but I guess the problem may be they just don’t know what they want.  That means they don’t need to be out there.

Follow-up (Q7):  You said that online the majority of men are not honest.  Well, the same can be said when you meet them face-to-face.  What’s the difference?

Honeysuckle:  I think the whole point to online dating is to exchange more information at one time with a person, but because there are so many questions you have to answer in a profile, there are more things to lie about! So at that point, you have to weed through which responses are true and which are false.  It’s like taking a test…that you are unprepared for—a statistics test.  What are the odds that they are telling the truth? [I have no idea.  I was never good at statistics, but I could make an educated guess about the answer to this question based on my personal experiences alone.]

Q8:  Have you been following the interviews of other participants in this series? If so, what stands out to you.

Honeysuckle:  Obsidian stands out to me. When I read his interviews, I could relate to his observations more than the other guy [Tiger’s Eye].  I could see myself having a good conversation about the subject [online dating] with him…not connecting with him or anything, just a good conversation.   [ Hey, Obsidian–Let’s be clear here.  Honeysuckle is NOT trying to make a play for you :)]            

Q9:  What advice do you have for men using online dating sites?

Honeysuckle:  I’m going to be straight-up.  Be a man about it!  Tell the damn truth about what you are looking for.  That’s it.

Q10:  What advice do you have for women using online dating sites?

Honeysuckle:  I have so much I want to say about this, but I’m going to try to keep it short.  If your spidey senses are going off about a guy, listen to them.  Also, if you meet someone online and they really want to get to know you, they will let you know and you won’t have to guess.  The rest is up to you.  That’s it.