Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Simplify Your Partner "Requirements" & You'll Date More

More than a decade ago, a female friend and I were theorizing about why we weren't meeting our type of men in the dating world and wondered if maybe our lists of  "must-have" traits might be too long. So, instead, we each came up with 2- to 3-word lists to describe our best match. Mine was "funny, happy, sexy"; and hers was "interesting and interested."

Though I still like and use my short list, I like hers a lot too. Here's what it means to me:

 - A man is interesting if he has a fun life, likes to do a variety of things, has some notable talents, has been to some cool places and wants to travel more, can converse intelligently about a variety of topics (such as psychology, history, the arts and/or current events), is curious about the world, is passionate about at least 1 or 2 things, has aspirations and dreams for the future, and enjoys learning new things.

 - I know a man is interested when he asks questions about my kids, my work, and my experiences...when he probes deeper about stories I tell...when he makes good eye contact while I'm speaking...when he remembers stuff I said last time we were together...when he starts doing nice things for me in the first few weeks of dating...when he introduces me to his family in the first couple months and asks to meet my kids too...when he regularly gives me sincere compliments...when he keeps in good touch between dates...and when he asks me for the next date before the current one is over.

Fortunately, the man I'm dating now is both interesting and interested. And that feels really good--especially since, sadly, I've gone out with several men in the past who weren't that interesting and definitely weren't really interested.

Why, then, you might ask, would I continue to date them? For the same 4 reasons a lot of other women would do the same thing:

1) giving him the benefit of the doubt hoping things would improve

2) doubting whether I'd be able to find anyone better

3) lacking the confidence to break it off for fear of hurting his feelings

4) not feeling deserving of getting what I really want

Now I know that none of these are good reasons to continue dating someone who doesn't have just the 2 or 3 traits that are most important to me in a partner. If he's not interesting enough to keep me mentally stimulated and interested enough to pursue me, I'm wasting my time and his by staying rather than moving on.

I now understand that, before I met the man I'm seeing now, I had simplified my "list" enough that it'd be likely a decent number of men would meet the parameters... meaning the chances were good I'd be able to date a lot more and, ultimately, meet a really close match. By zeroing in on a few key requirements, I made sure I didn't "screen out" a lot of good prospects but also that I didn't settle for guys who weren't close enough to what I desire.

How about you? Have you found it hard to narrow down your list to a few core traits? If so, let me know. I'd be happy to help you do that. If not, I'd love to hear what's on your list. Please post a comment to share that with me and your fellow daters. Thanks!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Be Your True Self to Attract Your Best Match

When I was in my early 40s, newly divorced and dating, I made a lot of mistakes. I tried to "earn love" by doing things for the man all the time, disrespected myself by having sex too soon, and didn't speak up about my needs and desires. But the biggest mistake of all was becoming a "chameleon"--trying to be what I thought the man wanted rather than who I really was.

In other words, I was inauthentic and not true to myself. Not surprising then that I lost my identity in a few relationships and/or experienced little emotional intimacy in others. Those men had fallen in love with a facsimile of me, not the real me. I was afraid to show them that self, with all my flaws, quirks, and idiosyncrasies. I didn't think they'd like me if they knew those things about me.

Now--nearly 20 years later--I know better.

Finally, I've grown enough in self-love, self-respect, and self-acceptance to present myself warts and all. In the 9 months I've been dating since ending my last relationship, I've gotten a lot more comfortable showing men my many facets--positive and negative, admirable and embarrassing, mainstream and offbeat...sometimes even what others might call "strange."

For example, I've noticed that, often on the first meeting with an online dating prospect, I talk about my many "metaphysical" experiences, before I even know if the guy is open to the possibility of such things. I launch into stories from my life about my encounters with ghosts, energy healers, mediums, psychics, and past life regressionists. I have such a passion for and excitement about the emotional and psychological healing such encounters have brought me...I just can't stop talking about them. Plus, I'm fascinated by the idea of other realms and levels of consciousness beyond what we experience on earth (ie, the spiritual plane).

If the man is intrigued by my stories and seems to want to know more, I feel an instant connection with him--like a kindred spirit. And, of course, if he doesn't run in the other direction and actually asks to see me again, I figure he's willing to accept me the way I am. There could even be a chance for us to develop a relationship.

When I tell those stories, I'm me being authentically me. And it feels good to do that, without editing myself or biting my tongue for fear the other person will judge me as weird. It's also an entree into talking about spirituality, grieving losses, and other deeper topics that help us learn lots more about each other in the getting-to-know-you stage of dating.

Though I haven't consciously decided to tell my stories as a way of feeling someone out early on, I've recently realized this IS sort of a screening tool that I may be unconsciously guided to use. A man who's open to talking about Reiki, communicating with loved ones on "the other side," and how past lives affect this lifetime is "more spiritual than religious" (as the dating sites say) and more my type. Even though I was raised Catholic and then left that church, I'm fine dating a churchgoing man with good values who is also open to learning about other faiths and spiritual traditions/practices--because that's how I am.

How about you? Are you able to be authentically yourself when you first meet a dating prospect? Or do you carefully avoid topics--like religion, politics, or your own quirks--that might reveal things about you that you fear others will judge and/or reject you for? I say let them reject you. They weren't your type anyways. By being completely true to yourself and showing up as the real you, you'll ultimately attract someone who IS your type!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Negativity Is Poison in the Dating World

In my coaching practice, with single friends, and on singles Facebook sites, I've noticed an uptick lately in negative attitudes and comments, especially about online dating. And it's starting to get to me. These folks don't realize that what they're saying about cyberdating is:
1. Counterproductive (i.e., not likely to attract a partner to them) and
2. Not true overall (but rather isolated incidents from their personal experience)

Badmouthing something never improves it. And complaining about experiences online does nothing to attract better dating prospects. Both behaviors just label the person who does them as negative and critical (not someone a positive, kind, respectful, emotionally available man or woman would be interested in dating).

Sure, we all want to vent sometimes to release our frustration. Unfortunately, these jaded, pessimistic, victim-type people don't understand the two main principles of the Law of Attraction:
                                WHAT YOU FOCUS ON EXPANDS. 
                                         LIKE ATTRACTS LIKE.

So, when they focus on or talk a lot about the bad experiences or less-than-ideal people they've met through the Internet, they're setting the stage to attract more bad experiences and people. And, when they're negative about dating, they attract others who are negative. And, of course, two negatives don't make a positive. 

What shocks me most is how mean some people are. They say nasty things about the opposite sex and seem to have no compassion for others' struggles in life and in the dating world. Classic examples are men labeling women as "head cases" and women labeling men as "cold and unemotional". As we all know, these are gross over-generalizations.

Yes, we've all had "dates from hell" with total mismatches or people lacking social skills. But that's no reason to get down on the entire other gender or on the larger online dating arena.

I have a completely different view, and here's why:

Online dating has worked very well for me: I met my 2nd husband, the man I dated for 2 years in 2012-2013, and the wonderful man I'm seeing now on different dating sites. And, over the years, I met a bunch of other very nice guys on those sites too. Sure, there were a few odd people and disappointing experiences along the way, but that wouldn't cause me to dismiss online dating as a waste of time or to label the majority of online prospects as "losers" (a term I hear a lot from disgruntled online daters). 

On the contrary: I truly believe it's the easiest, most efficient, most effective tool for meeting singles over 50. And I believe that the folks who haven't had any luck with it either aren't using it correctly or are coming to it with attitudes that undermine their chances for success.

I've had relationships with online dates that lasted from a month to 7 years. And I truly believe I'm close to finding the relationship that will last the rest of my life. You can too--IF you stay positive and nonjudgmental--and accept that online dating is just a tool to cross paths with people. And the lion's share of those on the sites are caring, interesting singles looking for and deserving of love--just like you.

Somebody that one negative person calls a "loser" could be a winner in someone else's eyes. It's all about attitude. There's power in positivity!