Wednesday, November 30, 2016

6 RULES OF THUMB FOR DATING IN MIDLIFE

As a coach who specializes in helping singles over 40 have more success with dating, I've recently noticed that at least 40% of my clients are 60 or older. They fall into 3 groups:

1) long-time post-divorce daters who are tired, jaded, or in need of new dating strategies
2) widows/widowers who, after long happy marriages, aren't sure how to begin dating again
3) men and women who've gotten so comfortable being alone that they're not sure they have the desire or ability to be in a close relationship with someone again yet feel the need for companionship

No matter which group they're in, I can help them sort out their feelings, boost their confidence, find places to meet singles their age, and approach dating in a more positive way. I encourage them to follow these 6 rules of thumb for midlife dating:


Love yourself completely: Get comfortable with who you are—your age, your body, your preferences, your beliefs. This will enable you to be confident telling those you date what you believe, what you want, and what you need. Confidence is 70% of the success formula for dating.



Get clear on your “Partner Vision” of the most-compatible person for you. Be specific! Write down your top 5 “must have” traits, 15 strong preferences & 5 “cherry on top” traits that would be nice to have but not absolutely necessary. Put this list in your bedside table to read each night and in your handbag or briefcase to carry with you wherever you go.



Use all 3 methods for meeting new people: singles groups, hobby/Meetup groups, and online dating. There are over-60 single people in all 3 places.



Don’t settle: Hold out for all of what you want—not just 50% or 60%. Be willing to drive people away in the dating world by being authentically yourself. Don’t pretend to be something you think others want. Dating is a screening process that brings you closer and closer to the most compatible partner for YOU.



Employ the 4 P’s of dating success: Positive attitude, Proactivity, Persistence, and Patience.



Create a happy life: “If you’re looking for the love of your life, STOP! He/she will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love.” – David Steele, Founder of the Relationship Coaching Institute and Author of Conscious Dating

How about you? Are you over 60 and ready to date but not finding compatible people? If you're sticking to these 6 rules of thumb but still having no luck, you may need some extra moral support or new ideas to jump-start your dating life. If so, give me a call. That's my specialty, and I'd love to help!



Friday, November 18, 2016

Facebook Can Hinder Healing From a Breakup

I bet you know someone who reconnected with an "old flame" via Facebook and went on to start dating. This can happen when both people are single and available.

You might also know someone who wasn't single but who still reconnected with an old flame on Facebook and started an emotional affair that led to problems in his or her marriage, or even divorce.

However, you may not know someone like my 60-something female client who reconnected with an old flame via Facebook, had a wonderful 2-year relationship, got rejected by him when he started seeing a much younger woman, and then couldn't recover from the breakup because she was unable to stop herself from checking his status on Facebook. 

Seeing photos of him with the new girlfriend caused extra pain just when my client was beginning to get over him. Yet, it was impossible for her to put distance between herself and him by staying off Facebook while she was grieving the loss. She inadvertently kept reopening the wound and thus sabotaging her much-needed healing process.

Why? Is Facebook THAT addictive? Is "snooping" on old "friends" too hard to resist? Why couldn't this client just "unfriend" the person so she could disengage from him and get on with her life?

I understand. Curiosity can get the best of you. It's hard to resist checking Facebook to find out what people are up to. I remember giving into the urge to check the page of someone I broke up with years ago too, even though I initiated the breakup. I was curious. But a few days later, realizing that doing that only reminded me of him and hindered me from healing and moving forward, I unfriended him and never looked back.

I advised my client to promise herself she would take a long break from Facebook, ask a good friend to hold her accountable for that promise, and also give me a progress report on how she was doing with it. I also recommended a grief counselor to help her recover from the loss and make a healthy fresh start in life.

How about you? Has Facebook been a help or a hindrance to you in the dating world? I'd love to hear your story and/or moral support you if you're finding it a hindrance.



 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Where Are All the Good Single Men?

I hear this question all the time from my women clients. They bemoan the fact that "all the good ones are taken" or "the ones I'm interested in aren't interested in me."

Plus, since I work mostly with over-50 clients, they tell me they don't know where to go to cross paths with nice, stable, commitment-type single men in that age group.

My job as a dating coach is to guide them to places where such men might be.

I tell clients there are 3 places to meet the type of men they seek:
1) Singles groups/activities
2) Online dating sites
3) Hobby organizations/clubs/classes

An e-book I recently came across delves deeper into this topic and gives single women some great suggestions. The book is How to Find a Quality Guy Without Going on 200 Dates by Marni Battista, CEO of Dating With Dignity (www.datingwithdignity.com). In it, Battista outlines 33 ways to find "handsome, successful, relationship-ready men" and breaks the list into 4 categories:
1) Ambitious men
2) Sensitive/spiritual/self-aware men
3) Adventurous men
4) International men & men who love to travel

Here are some of the ideas Battista offers for finding each type of quality guy:

Ambitious - Real estate seminars, country clubs, sailing clubs, charity events, upscale steak houses, entrepreneur associations

Sensitive/spiritual/self-aware - Personal development seminars, yoga retreats, Amnesty International events, art classes, art openings & galleries, musical performances, university on-campus lectures or performances, bookstores, author signings, poetry readings

Adventurous - Motorcycle lessons, scooter rental locations, rock climbing lessons/gyms, adventure trips, cycling trips, hiking clubs, triathlon clubs, camping groups, skydiving schools

International/love to travel - Brazilian wine-tasting event, salsa dancing, monthly meeting at a local embassy, Meetup groups for people of a certain origin, foreign language classes

I highly recommend trying any or all of these possibilities. If you need more ideas for local places in the Delaware Valley of PA & NJ, let me know. I have a list of places where singles mingle and can steer you to activities and clubs in this area where these 4 types of men would be. Don't hesitate to reach out...I'd love to help!




Friday, October 7, 2016

How Open Is YOUR Heart?

"Are you really ready for dating? Is your heart available to open to someone new?"

These are the questions I ask clients when they come to me for dating coaching. Often, shortly after a breakup, divorce, or loss of a spouse, they'll seek my help with getting back into dating. But at least half of them can't answer "yes" to these important questions.

They may feel ready to start meeting people, which could be true. They're curious about "what's out there" and  might be able to put "a toe in the water" of the dating world to see who's available. But many of them are NOT really ready to seriously date someone. There are many reasons for this:

1) They think they're healed from the past but don't realize they're still emotionally attached to their last partner (including a deceased wife/husband).
2) They're too busy with their job, kids, friends, house projects, volunteer work, and other commitments to carve out time to search for, much less build a new relationship.
3) They haven't taken the time to grieve the loss of their last partner, which is necessary in order to open their heart to someone new.
4) They're lonely and bored, looking for a relationship to fill a hole in their lives, but don't have much to offer a partner because their self-esteem is low.
5) Past breakups have robbed them of the self-confidence they need in order to present themselves in the dating world as "a good catch".
6) They have leftover anger, resentment, or fear from previous relationships, which they need to release in order to start dating with a healthy, happy heart.
7) They're not that interested in or willing to put forth the effort and commitment necessary to build a strong partnership because their natural tendency is to be a loner.

I've seen all these situations and more in my past dating life and in stories that clients and friends tell me. And none of these situations lead to success in dating.

Instead, what DOES work is to do the necessary preparation to be truly ready to date with an open heart. This means doing the opposite of the 7 things above:
1) Heal your past so you are emotionally available.
2) Reorganize your life priorities to free up time for the dating search, for actual dating, and for relationship building.
3) Come to terms with and find peace regarding the loss of a long-time relationship by seeing a grief counselor.
4) Fill your life with fun and interesting activities to get back in touch with your desires and to rebuild your self-esteem.
5) Focus on the present and future instead of the past so you can reconnect with yourself and then move forward with confidence.
6) See a therapist to resolve anger or fear issues so you're in a happier, healthier place psychologically and emotionally.
7) Get honest with yourself about whether you truly want to build a partnership or whether you're a free spirit who'd be happier on your own.

I can offer you resources and moral support to do all 7 of these things. Please reach out to me if you want to get ready for and eventually succeed at healthy dating. I'd love to help!


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Avoiding Insincere People (Scammers) Online

Have you ever gotten an email from someone on an Internet dating site that sounded too good to be true? Where the person seemed SO into you SO quickly that it was almost unbelievable? If so, you've probably run into a scammer. And it IS too good to be true because it's not.

I'm usually very positive about online dating (because I've had the good fortune to meet several wonderful men that way), so I don't focus much on this problem when I'm coaching people looking for love. But recently one of my over-60 widowed clients ran into a scammer, so I wanted to discuss the "warning signs" to look for so you can avoid these folks.

A scammer is a person who pretends to like you and your profile but then turns out NOT to have any interest in getting to know you or date you. Sometimes, it is an unethical person playing on your heartstrings in order to later ask for money. Other times, it's someone seeking an American wife or husband in order to get asylum in the U.S. for any number of reasons. 

Sadly, these people will take the time and effort to create a dating profile for the sole purpose of trolling online sites looking for "easy marks" they can try to take advantage of in some way. It's despicable, but it happens. Here's what to look for to make your online experience more pleasant and fruitful (so you can screen out the wrong people and free up time to find the right one). A scammer will often:

1. Write long, flowery emails filled with what sound like heartfelt compliments about very specific traits or preferences you mentioned in your profile
2. Send more emails than others you've corresponded with, even multiple times a day
3. Say he or she is just like you in certain ways that are meaningful to you, based on what you included in your profile. For example, he or she will claim to share your exact beliefs related to religion or spirituality and/or sound very impressed by your spiritual outlook.
4. Tell a sad story sure to elicit sympathy from you. For example, the man who scammed my client said he lost his spouse too, and she died in childbirth.
5. Be vague or evasive about his or her life or background. For instance, the man who scammed my client didn't list on his profile the town he lived in, the age of his kids, or what kind of job he had (which he said took him out of the country often on "business")...and kept dodging her questions when she asked about these details.
6. Ignore the age or distance parameters you listed in your profile. For example, the man who scammed by client was 5 years younger than her and more than an hour away (it's rare for men to seek older women, especially those who live a long distance away). He didn't seem to notice the age she listed for her ideal match.

Those are just a few of the many red flags. Your intuition will certainly alert you to many others. Listen to it! Don't ignore any feelings of discomfort or suspicion that come up when emailing on dating sites. If something feels strange about what the other person is or isn't sharing with you, stop communicating. Just don't answer his or her emails.

If the person persists, block future emails (easily done on most of the dating sites). Then, move on.

You can reduce the chances of being scammed by taking the initiative to write to matches yourself. YOU write to the people whose profiles appeal to you. That's how I met all the men I dated. If you sit and wait for others to contact you, there's more of a chance you could be chosen by a potential scammer. So I recommend you:
1. Do the searching yourself.
2. Don't believe everything prospects write in an email, especially if someone who doesn't know you gushes with many personal compliments.
3. Have a healthy dose of skepticism about everyone who contacts you until you learn more about him or her.

Armed with this info, I'm sure your online dating experiences will be better. Please contact me if you're still cautious and need some moral support before you proceed. Online dating is a GREAT tool if you know how to use it well! :-)

Thursday, June 30, 2016

The 4 Most-Important Strategies for Successful Dating Online After Divorce



I’m an over-60 woman, amicably divorced twice, who found love three times via online dating in the 17 years after my 16-year first marriage ended. 

My friends always tell me they knew I’d find the right man for me after divorce because of 4 primary strategies I used with Internet dating:
11. I stayed positive (never got negative about men, even when less-than-desirable ones wrote me emails)
22. I truly believed in myself & my chances of finding love (never let “meet & greet” get-togethers that didn’t work out affect my self-opinion or confidence)
33. I initiated email contact (never let fear or outdated dating traditions hinder me from reaching out to men I felt were good matches for me—something many women online are hesitant to do)
44. I persevered (never got discouraged or gave up looking, even at times when the process challenged my sense of hopefulness)

I married my first husband at age 25 and divorced at 41 after raising two children and running a business together. I dated a variety of men over the next 8 years and then, at age 50, met a great guy through an online dating site who, almost a year to the day we met, became my second husband. 

Our marriage ended after 7 years (when I was 58), but we remained friends and still are today. Then, 4 months later, I began dating a very close match (who I also met online), and we were together almost 2 years. Finally, 8 months after I broke that off, I met the love of my life on PlentyofFish.com…and our relationship grows deeper every day. We've been together almost 17 months. We're both 62.

I'm convinced that this type of success is possible for anyone who puts in the time and effort to use the online dating tool to maximum advantage. I counsel people in how to do that and would love to help YOU! No matter what your age or relationship history.

Let's talk...and brainstorm about dating strategies to attract love into YOUR life. What are you waiting for?


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Survival Tips for Women Dating Online

Are you in the midst of or thinking about trying online dating? If so, I've been there. Over a year ago, I found my current partner (the love of my life!) that way, and I can and do offer plenty of helpful tips (on this website & in my book "How I Met My Second Husband Online at Age 50") to make online dating an easier, more enjoyable, and ultimately successful experience.

My favorite personal empowerment expert for women (Mama Gena, aka Regena Thomashauer) also has some tips. She recently wrote an article about surviving Tinder and succeeding with online dating. I highly recommend it: 

https://www.mamagenas.com/how-to-survive-tinder/ 

Mama Gena is a 50-something divorced woman and author of several excellent books. The tips she gives for online dating are:
1) When you're starting out, don't do it alone. Ask friends for help.
2) If it's not a "hell, yes!" -- it's a "hell, no!" Trust your intuition; be discerning; don't settle.
3) Occasionally say yes to someone you normally wouldn't pick, just to see how the dialogue goes. Experiment by stepping outside your usual box.
4) Do a pre-interview & check in with your girlfriend afterwards.
5) Use the opportunity to speak your truth; it's good practice for requesting what you want and need in dating & relationships.
6) Whatever you do, don't put him in the "husband suit". Stay in the moment & just enjoy dating.
7) Have fun. Really. If you aren't having fun, get off line.

I can personally vouch for the wisdom found in these tips:
1) Ask friends for help--Having female and/or male friends assist with writing your profile and choosing people to email is smart. People who know you well can remind you of your best traits (to list in your write-up) and give you honest feedback on the photos you should post and the people you should contact. Plus, your guy friends can give input on how your profile sounds to its intended readers. I asked several male friends to help and benefited greatly from hearing the man's point of view.
2) Trust your intuition--This is super-important! If a man's profile, photo, voice on the phone, or in-person mannerisms give you a weird feeling, let him go. Continue searching. Your intuition is always right; don't ignore it. It will lead you to men who are kind, healthy, successful, and sincerely interested in you...and away from those who aren't.
3) Experiment by stepping "outside your box"--This is wise because it expands your dating pool...and can lead to some fun adventures. Dating men with unusual jobs, men who aren't your usual "type," or men much younger than you (just as a few examples) can teach you a lot about your desires and help you to learn to trust your judgment.
4) Pre-interview a man on the phone or Skype before meeting--I always did this and highly recommend not skipping this step. Even a 10-minute call tells you a lot about his conversation style, sense of humor, and listening skills...AND how interested he is in learning about you (based on whether he asks questions or not). It's also a good idea to tell your girlfriend about how the call went so she can offer honest feedback about whether he sounds like a good match for you or not.
5) See it as a chance to practice speaking your truth--The entire online dating process is an excellent opportunity to hone your skills in being radically honest with the men you meet--about what you like and don't like about their dating M.O. It also helps you get honest with yourself about what dating behaviors do or don't appeal to you.
6) Don't put him in the "husband suit"--It's best to stay focused on the present rather than letting your mind drift into the future. A man doesn't want to feel like you have an "agenda" or he is being manipulated. "Future thinking" takes your attention away from your enjoyment of being with him in the "now" and being a good listener during the "getting-to-know-you" stage of dating. As a result, the fun vaporizes..and he stops calling you back.
7) Have fun or get off line--Dating is about meeting new people to have fun with. If you're not enjoying the process, stop swiping on Tinder or quit the dating site you're on. There's nothing more attractive than a woman enjoying herself, so, if you're not, try some other dating strategies or venues. 

I took all of these tips to heart when I was dating and had a lot of fun on the path to meeting the right man for me. Try them yourself and let me know what happens. Happy Dating!



Thursday, May 5, 2016

Dating Books I Recommend

Wow! Hard to believe it's been over 3 months since I've blogged. My apologies! I admit..the main reason I haven't carved out time to blog is that I've been having too much fun dating. In February 2015, I took my own advice about online dating and met a fantastic match on the site Plenty of Fish, and it's been an amazing, fantastic ride of romance and love.

The ironic part is I used to discourage clients from using that site because it was free. "You get what you pay for" is what I used to say. But then, one day in late 2014, I decided to see for myself why POF was growing in numbers and popularity. So I signed up and posted a profile. I was soon communicating with dozens of men and, within 6 weeks, had met the active, kind, communicative, successful, sexy, romantic guy I'm now seeing several times a week. 

I've never been with a man who's so right for me. And I've never felt so loved, heard, and understood. Not to mention having ALL 4 types of compatibility--emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and physical. That has never happened for me, and it is phenomenal! You feel closer, more connected, and more comfortable with each other than you ever dreamed possible. Things just flow.

How did I get to this place? By doing the personal growth work I needed to do so I'd BE who I wanted to attract--centered, happy, peaceful, self-loving, and self-confident--rather than needy, people pleasing, and addicted to others' acceptance as I had been for years (resulting, of course, in unhealthy relationships that ultimately failed).

Here are the books that helped me grow into the self-actualized woman I am now. I recommend doing all the exercises in each of them. Enjoy!
1. Calling in the One: 7 weeks to attract the love of your life by Katherine Woodward Thomas
2. The Soulmate Secret: Manifest the love of your life with the law of attraction by Arielle Ford 
3. Mama Gena's School of Womanly Arts: Using the power of pleasure to have your way with the world by Regena Thomashauer 
4. Imagine a Woman in Love With Herself by Patricia Lynn Reilly 
5. Marry Yourself First: Saying "I do" to a life of passion, power & purpose by Ken Donaldson
4. Spiritual Divorce: Divorce as a catalyst for an extraordinary life by Debbie Ford 

Happy reading...and happy dating! Let me know what you discover about your issues and dating patterns and how things improve after you read these books.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

You HAVE to meet in person to find your best match

"Too many people spend way too much time doing the online part of online dating rather than the dating part." 

So says comedian/author Aziz Ansari in his 2015 book Modern Romance--an amusing, well-researched look at 21st century dating, both online and off. I totally agree! 

Most of my clients spend far more hours in front of their computers than they do going out for in-person meetings with prospects. Many waste loads of time replying to emails or "winks" from non-matches or engaging in endless back-and-forth correspondence with folks who have no interest in talking on the phone or meeting. And then they complain about how time-consuming and non-productive Internet dating is.

             The problem isn't online dating. It's the way they're approaching it.

The approach I recommend is to sit at the computer only to search for and write initial emails to good matches (or reply to people who actually write you a full email rather than a wink)...and to exchange just a couple of emails before having a phone call (which you'll use to screen people to determine if you want to set up a face to face). 

On this topic, one quote from Ansari's book is spot on, in my opinion. It's from biological anthropologist and Match.com adviser Helen Fisher. When talking about the "scientific algorithms" many dating sites use to match people, Fisher says:

"A face-to-face meeting is the only way to determine whether you have a future with someone. The human brain is the best algorithm. There's not a dating service on this planet that can do what the human brain can do in terms of finding the right person."

Well said!! Because of this, Fisher recommends and I do too: 
 - Avoid reading too much into any given profile or email you receive
 - Resist the temptation to start long online exchanges before a first meeting
 - Set up an in-person coffee date as soon as possible after the initial email

This way, you won't burn out sitting at your computer, twiddling your thumbs waiting for replies that don't come, and getting disgusted with the whole process (as many of my clients say they are). 

If someone doesn't respond within a couple days, move on to other folks on that site or try a new site. Keep at it, day after day, week after week, sending at least 5-10 persuasive, personalized emails a week, and you're bound to find some people as ready and willing as you are to take things beyond the virtual digital world so you two can meet in person and let the human brain (and your intuition) do their magic. You'll never know if there's a "spark" until you meet. Period.

Try this technique for just 2 weeks and write to tell me how it goes. I'm betting you'll be sitting at a coffee shop across from a great guy or girl sooner than you ever thought possible! GO FOR IT!!
P.S. If you need some moral support to get started, email or call me (gayle@datingsuccesscoaching.com or 215-489-0225). I'll be rooting for you!!