Thursday, August 23, 2018

Curiosity Is Crucial in the Dating World

I recently read a book by Hollywood producer Brian Grazer called A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life. The book's point is that curiosity is a valuable tool for learning about people and the world...and for making life richer and more interesting.

In the book, Grazer discusses how he had "curiosity conversations" when assembling the cast and crew for the many TV shows and films he produced over the years. Asking people to talk about things related to their background or experiences that piqued his natural curiosity usually resulted in more in-depth information and insights than typical interviewing techniques.

I firmly believe the same is true in the dating world. I'm a naturally curious person myself, and I usually ask a lot of questions when I first meet people--and later too--because I'm truly interested in learning more about their life, outlook, philosophies, etc. When I was unattached and crossing paths with new men all the time through online dating sites or at meetup groups or singles activities, it was fun learning about them. And the way I did that was by asking for more detail about whatever they were talking about.

Most of the time, that facilitated great two-way dialogues in which we each asked questions  and learned some fascinating things about each other. I really love it when someone is curious enough about me to ask follow-up questions about whatever we're discussing.

But there's a fine line between being curious and being "nosy". Some people find it intrusive if you ask too many questions. They might feel their privacy is being violated. They might not feel comfortable talking about themselves. Or they might wonder why you want to know all those things about them. In general, the latter group of people aren't naturally curious themselves--which is why they can't relate to your desire to know more.

In the early stages of meeting and dating people, women are often the ones who ask most of the questions. It's their nature to use conversation to build intimacy. Not so much with men. They talk more to convey information. I've heard men complain that women asked so many questions at a first meeting that they felt like they were on a job interview or being "interrogated." 

Sure, some women use the first meeting to gather the vital "stats" they want on a man about his profession, relationship status, living situation, financial security, etc. And I can understand why some men think women are prying and maybe even "gold-digging." But, more often than not, a woman is just trying to find out how compatible she might be with a certain man...how similar they might be in world view, lifestyle, interests, and values. 

That was certainly my intent when I asked new guys more than just a couple questions. To me, it's a fun adventure to learn what makes people tick and what hearing their stories can teach me about my own life.

How about you? Are you a naturally curious person? And do you think that makes it easier to have easy-flowing, fun conversations when you're meeting new people in life and/or in the dating world? I'd love to hear your views! Drop me a note at gayle@datingsuccesscoaching.com.  


Monday, August 6, 2018

Why People Hesitate to Start Dating Again

Have you been newly single for a while after divorce or widowhood and promising yourself you'd get proactive about dating?  Yet you procrastinate? Have you thought about what might be holding you back?

I can't count the number of people who call me saying they're interested in having me help them start dating again and then don't return my phone call. They say they want moral support or guidance about navigating the online dating process or figuring out other ways to meet people for dating, so I ask them to name a convenient time for a coaching session. But they don't reply.

I usually follow up to see if they're still interested but hear a myriad of reasons why they're not going to take the next step. These include:

"Things are so hectic now with my job and caring for my parents. I don't have time to think about dating."

"I tried a couple of dating sites, had a few dates, and then realized I wasn't ready."

"It sounds like too much work. I'd rather just meet someone organically in my daily life."

In my experience, what's really going on when people use these excuses about not entering the dating world is a 4-letter word: FEAR. 

In the first case, the person fears the unknown, not having yet ventured back into dating. In the second case, the person fears leading someone on or getting entangled with someone who IS ready for dating when he/she isn't. And, in the third case, the person is afraid to expend time and energy with no guarantee of a positive outcome.

But even more deeply buried in all 3 cases is often the fear of putting themselves out there, feeling vulnerable, and facing possible rejection. There's no shame in that. Everyone who re-enters the dating world is afraid nobody will like them...or fears they won't meet anyone who'd be their type. It can definitely be scary to start all over again when you're older with something you haven't done since you were young.

Just like those who go back to school after a long hiatus or those who start a new business after being laid off from a job, those who re-enter the dating world after decades of being married feel nervous and unsure of themselves. They're clueless about what they'll encounter, how to act, what the new etiquette is, etc. And I understand that completely. I was in their shoes in 1995 when my first marriage ended after 16 years, and I had no idea where to begin searching for dating prospects.

I wish I'd known back then there was such a thing as a dating coach--someone to hold my hand and advise me on what avenues and approaches were best for me to find like-minded men for dating. Instead, I stumbled along going to singles events for a couple years--and dated various guys without first stopping to assess whether they were a good match for me. I made a lot of mistakes, kissed a few frogs, and learned the ins and outs of successful dating the hard way.

I can save you the time and anguish of having to go through that. I can help you create a strategy for dating success that really works. If fear has been standing in your way, I can help you overcome it, take action, and meet some nice potential partners. Let's talk soon! 

gayle@datingsuccesscoaching.com or 267-245-3023.


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Must-Do's for Dating After Divorce or Widowhood

Recently, another consultant asked me to name my 3 Best Practices for dating after divorce or widowhood. Good question!

It's hard to narrow it down to just 3, so I share 4 tips below. My many years of post-divorce dating experience coupled with the coaching I've done for divorced and widowed people over the last 16 years has clearly shown me that these are the Must-Do's for success with dating in later life:

1) BE who you want to attract. This means doing the emotional and psychological healing that's necessary after the loss of your spouse or marriage. Take the time you need to feel happy and whole again. Do the personal growth needed to foster in yourself the qualities you're seeking in a partner. 

The Law of Attraction says "like attracts like", so it's vitally important not to skip this step. Unfortunately, many of the people who come to me for dating counseling haven't done this yet. And then they wonder why they're attracting "the walking wounded." Call or email me for assistance with this step if you're struggling. I'll start by recommending you read and do all the exercises in the book Calling in "The One": 7 weeks to attract the love of your life by Katherine Woodward Thomas. It helped me attract my true love at age 61. (Ask me about that story--I really enjoy sharing it!)

2) Be proactive in your search for dating prospects. Use every means at your disposal to cross paths with like-minded singles your age--from singles activities...to hobby groups on www.meetup.com and elsewhere...to online dating. Do all 3 things as much as possible. 
- Get out to try new activities or groups at least twice a month. 
- Promise yourself you'll try a new hobby group or rekindle an old hobby as a way to meet new people. 
- Switch online dating sites often if you're not finding enough people to email on one site. 

Don't stop looking! You can take a breather if needed but get back out there as soon as you can! Your true love is unlikely to show up at your door while you're sitting at home or procrastinating about joining an online dating site.

3) Stay positive, persistent, and patient as you search. This means believing there's someone out there just for you; sticking with your search and not giving up no matter what disappointments you experience along the way; and taking the time you need to navigate the dating "journey" without rushing or being impulsive.

4) Don't settle! As we age beyond 50 or 60 or 70, many of us singles may be inclined to think that time is running out for finding the right person. Sometimes, we compromise our values too much or give people too much benefit of the doubt because we're afraid we're getting too old to attract new people...so we have to settle for whatever we can find. Not true! Only by holding out for what you really want will you find the match you desire and deserve. Call me if you're tempted to settle for second best. I'll help you create new strategies for finding THE best partner for you!



Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Let Both Your Heart AND Head Help You Choose Dates

Recently, a 64-year-old female client called me for advice about a man she'd met who was caring, considerate, affectionate, family-oriented, expressive, and possessing many of the other qualities that were important to her in a partner. The problem? At age 65, he had no retirement savings, lived in a small apartment (which he was evasive about inviting her to see), and admitted he was still suffering with the depression that had plagued him for years.

Though this lady was very attracted to him and had much in common with him, she was hesitating to get involved because she'd been hoping to meet someone more equal to her in terms of lifestyle, financial security, stability, and having a sense of direction in life. And this guy wasn't that someone.

She grappled for weeks with the fact that she felt like she was falling in love with the man because he was treating her so nice, saying sweet things, and wanting to spend lots of times with her. She was loving every minute of it because she was lonely and anxious to meet a man to love. 

My advice was for her to slow down, think things through, listen to her intuition, and look at her "Partner Vision" list to see how many of the qualities she desired were embodied in this man. 
The result was:
1)  Her intuition told her she wasn't comfortable with his living and financial situation because she feared he might become dependent on her.
2) He only had about half the qualities she desired in a life partner, along with a couple of "red flags" she couldn't overlook, such as his depression (which nearly resulted in suicide) and an abusive father in his past.
3) When she thought it through carefully, she realized she was giving him too much benefit of the doubt in terms of his shortcomings.
4) She ultimately decided to end the relationship with him at the 3-month point, even though it broke her heart to do so because she was already emotionally and physically connected to him.

The ultimate lesson for this client was that, when seeking dating partners in later life, our inner wisdom plays a very big role. We really DO know what we want and what's most compatible with us. So, even if someone sweeps us off our feet in terms of sweetness and sex, we will ultimately decide to be practical and smart. 

Over the years, life has taught those of us older than 50 what can go wrong when we make rash, impulsive decisions. We're older and wiser now and not as willing to "settle" for people or things that don't mesh with the life we've spent so much time and energy building. 

This client realized that she was letting her heart talk louder than her head. And I was able to help her remove her rose-colored glasses and be more rational about the situation so she could make a clear-headed decision going forward. 

It's hard for me--a die-hard romantic--to do that because I know how wonderful it feels when you meet someone special who feels like "the one" and tells you everything you've always wanted to hear. But I also know how much pain can result when you get too deeply involved with someone who's totally wrong for you--and how hard it is to go your separate ways when there's been an emotional and physical attachment. 

If you need a "sounding board" or seasoned adviser as you navigate the sometimes-tricky world of dating and relationships, drop me an email or call. I'd love to support you in following BOTH your heart and your head so you can find what you really want and deserve!

gayle@datingsuccesscoaching.com  or  267-245-3023  

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Avoid "Going Too Fast" With Dating

Often, my women clients tell me they think a man is "going too fast" with the dating process after he first meets her. In many cases, this means he's trying to be sexual with her before she's ready. In other cases, he's saying he loves her after only being with her a few times.

In both cases, it can be uncomfortable and confusing for the woman and, most of the time, it's counterproductive to the process of building a serious, long-term relationship. Here's why:

1. There's confusion about having sex versus making love.
Once a woman gets physically intimate with a man, she often justifies her behavior (which she often feels guilty about) by telling herself she has feelings for him or is even falling in love with him--which, of course, isn't true if she's only known him a short time. It's either infatuation or lust. That's all.

The woman may even tell the man she loves him, which gives him mixed signals if just hours or days before she was saying no to sex. A woman who hops into bed before she feels a true emotional connection with a man winds up confused about how to proceed with the getting-to-know you process and usually second-guessing herself--neither of which helps the relationship unfold naturally.

2. Emotional/hormonal reactions replace rational responses.
A woman who lets her hormones make her relationship decisions early on is setting herself up for problems down the road. After a man has been sexual with her, there's no turning back. It's going to be difficult to say no and hold him off on every subsequent date while her emotions catch up. The natural courting and wooing process during dating is derailed. They've skipped the stage (usually a month or two) in which she gradually warms up to him as he earns her trust and helps her feel safe with him. They wind up in bed together on every date from now on because it's hard for her to explain to him why she now wants to go backward and "take things slow." Again, she's giving mixed signals. And, worst of all, she's not making clear-headed, smart decisions about the potential for a partnership because she's blinded by lust.

I know that feeling because I had lust blindness right after my first divorce. It was the classic rebound relationship. I was so starved for affection and physical intimacy after a long "dry spell" at the end of my marriage that I got quickly involved with someone who wasn't even close to a good match for me. The sex was a 10, but our compatibility was about a 2. 

3. Things get complicated too early. 
After things have unfolded as described above, the two people now have to talk about some pretty complicated issues--possibly well before they feel totally at ease opening up with each other. Instead of enjoying the lighthearted, fun dating journey of spending time together laughing and learning about each other's interests, sense of humor, families, upbringing, career, preferences, friends, etc., they need to get serious. They need to talk about sexual history, emotions, values, etc. in order to reach agreement about what comes next. It can be too much too soon--too heavy for a budding new relationship.

When I began dating my current partner 3 years ago, I was attracted to him from the very first meeting. But I'd learned from my past relationships that sex too early distracted me from focusing on learning important things about a guy that helped me decide whether we'd be a good couple over the long term (things such as his stability, personality, values, world view, sense of humor, moods, stresses, the way he treated his children/family of origin/friends, money management skills, and more).

So I vowed to wait 2-3 months before getting physical...and to use that time to let the relationship grow naturally into a sweet emotional and psychological connection. It did. And at the 9-week point, I felt close enough to him and trusting and safe enough with him to be ready for lovemaking (not just having sex). It was a smart move. Our relationship grows stronger every day, and our sex life is wonderful.

How about you? Do you try to let your relationships evolve and strengthen organically? Or do you sometimes go too fast and face problems as a result? I'd love to hear your story and to help if you need it. Drop me a note at
gayle@datingsuccesscoaching.com.

 

Monday, February 19, 2018

What Is "Inappropriate" in an Online Dating Email?

Recently, an attendee at a presentation I gave about success tips for online dating after 50 told a story of the many inappropriate and sexually suggestive emails she received from men first contacting her on an online dating site. She asked if I thought the reason these men offered to "give her a massage" or "bring a bottle of wine" over to her house was because she was 5 feet tall and petite.

I said that was probably part of it, since many men are attracted to small women. But, unfortunately, that's only part of the reason. In truth, some men just don't realize how they come across to women reading their emails.

They don't understand that such suggestions to someone they've never met are inappropriate. They don't realize that they're perceived by the woman not as romantic or sensual but as "creepy" and, ultimately, very unattractive.

In other words, what some men think will impress women definitely doesn't. I don't know one woman who would take a complete stranger up on such a suggestion. Not one.

Sure, after a woman has been dating a man for a few months and has grown to like him, she might be open to having him over for dinner and letting him bring the wine. And, yes, after a woman has shown she's interested in physical intimacy with a guy, she'd be OK with accepting a massage. But doing either of those things before she feels connected to and able to trust the man is highly unlikely.

A man who tells a new woman of his skills as a masseuse is saying, in effect, he can't wait to undress her. And a man who wants to bring a bottle of wine to her home before he's been invited there is perceived by the woman as someone who wants to get her drunk so she lets down her guard with him.

In either case, the "ew" factor is very big, and his chances of success are very small. But this lady at my presentation told me that dozens of men kept using such an approach. And that made her want to get off the dating site as fast as she could.

The moral of the story: men who are too sexual--even just verbally--too soon are a turnoff to most women (except those just looking for a "hookup", which is NOT most women). Singles seeking that should use the dating sites especially designed for casual daters seeking sexual partners--NOT the mainstream sites designed for people seeking long-term relationships.

My advice to any woman who receives such emails is simple: DELETE. Don't reply to these men. Delete their emails and move on. Write your own emails to the men YOU like. And leave the stalkers behind.

How about you? Have you had experiences similar to this? If so, drop me a line. I'd love to hear your story and help in any way I can.

 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

BE YOUR OWN VALENTINE!

If you're single and dreading Valentine's Day, you're not alone. You just want the day celebrating couples and romantic love to be over. 

I get it. I experienced many Valentine's Days without a lover in my life over the years--before marriage, while single after my divorces, and even while in a serious relationship. 

In those cases, yes, my partner was physically in the picture on February 14, but he wasn't "present" with me emotionally or psychologically because of a rough patch in our relationship and/or an erosion of the romantic connection we used to have.

That's the saddest situation of all...sadder than having no partner at all because you don't feel especially romantic about the "special someone" in your life.  As a result, there were times when the day for romance slipped by without much of a celebration.

Other times, my partner and I weren't on the same page about the holiday's importance. Not everyone is the "romantic fool" that I am. Not everyone sees Valentine's Day as special. It took me a while to adjust to that fact. But, once I did, I learned a valuable life lesson: how to be my own Valentine.

Even if my partner and I weren't feeling especially amorous, I learned I could celebrate love anyways. I could focus and take action on loving and cherishing myself...and create a day that made me feel loved.

I learned how to surround myself with people or pets who loved me. I did extra-special things for myself like scheduling a massage or taking the day off work and spending it in nature.

I also learned to have no expectations about Valentine's Day. If my partner didn't mention marking the occasion, I suggested going out to do something I knew I would love. Or, if my partner preferred staying home, I'd request a "Mutual Massage Night" or ask him to bring home my favorite sinful dessert.

Since my top 2 "love languages" (see my earlier blog on that topic from October 14, 2015) are Terms of Endearment and Affectionate Touch, I'd make sure my partner knew how much I appreciate a heartfelt card and time to cuddle. And then I'd have the lovely Valentine's evening I desired.

One of the most self-loving things you can do is express your desires to your partner. So Valentine's Day gave me an opportunity to practice that skill--and experience the pleasure of receiving what I asked for. Those without a partner can practice self-love by planning a fun activity with a dearly loved friend or relative.

How about you? How do you plan to celebrate love and to please yourself this Valentine's Day? Drop me a note to share your thoughts! gayle@datingsuccesscoaching.com 

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

What Turns Women Off in the Dating World?

Here is the follow-up I promised to my earlier blog about what turns men off. Here is what turns women off on a first date:

1. Being rude to wait staff or others
2. Tuning out while she's speaking
3. Talking too much about himself without asking questions about her
4. Bad hygiene (long, dirty fingernails; need for deodorant; dirty, ill-fitting clothes)
5. Insecure personality/lack of confidence
6. Bad shoes
7. Referring to women as "females"
8. Being late
9. Ignoring her jokes
10. Constantly interrupting her
11. Telling her she's "not like other women"
12. Being cocky or arrogrant
13. Being unmannerly
14. Talking over-enthusiastically about a sport or team she doesn't share an interest in
15. Being fidgety
16. Narcissism
17. Looking too often at his phone
18. Being oblivious to her reactions to what he's saying

After reading these 2 lists, it's obvious that many of the same things turn off both men and women -- things such as lateness, bad hygiene, lack of confidence, and looking too often at your phone. You should definitely put attention on those areas when going out for the first time with someone.

A couple more things that both my male and female clients tell me are turn-offs at a first meeting are:
- making any kind of sexual references 
- talking negatively about ex-partners or past relationships

But what the 2 lists also show me is that common courtesy, respect, active listening, and making a sincere effort to show an interest in learning about the other person are really important too.

How about you? Have anything you want to add to either list? I'd love to hear your input! 
gayle@datingsuccesscoaching.com 
 

 

Monday, January 22, 2018

What Turns Men Off in the Dating World?

I saw an article recently that listed 19 things that turn men off on a first date with a new woman. They are:
1. Checking her phone too often
2. Talking too much
3. Checking out her appearance too much
4. Being too sexy (ie, showing too much cleavage)
5. Seeking too much attention
6. Asking too many questions (ie, interrogating him)
7. Being too controlling
8. Telling stories that indicate too much drama in her life
9. Flirting with other guys during the date
10. Talking about her ex
11. Being disingenuous or phony in some way
12. Bad hygiene
13. Arrogance or over-confidence
14. Rudeness or being late for the date
15. Coldness
16. Having no life goals
17. Giving mixed signals
18. Using bad language
19. Acting disinterested or being curt (with 1-word answers to questions)

I'm sure many of these things would be turn-offs for women as well. I'll follow up with the biggest turn-offs for the ladies in my next blog. Stay tuned! 

Monday, January 15, 2018

A Fresh New Attitude About Dating for 2018

If there's one thing I've learned about dating--and LIFE--in my 64 years, it's that ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING. A positive attitude is the #1 factor for success in everything we try to do, including dating.

If you've been struggling to succeed in finding a compatible person to date, now is the time for an attitude shift--which means you need to check in with yourself by asking questions like this:

Do I really believe there is someone out there who's just right for me...and that I'll eventually be successful in finding that person?

Do I feel confident that I'm a "good catch"--somebody with a lot to offer a potential partner? (Or have I let past dating disappointments damage my self-esteem?)

Am I willing to invest a fair amount of time and energy into searching for a partner? (Or is my life too busy and complicated for me to carve out time for this?)

Do I have a positive view of the opposite sex and the dating world in general? (Or are lingering hurts, anger, or trust issues making me feel more negative than positive?)

Be really honest.

If you can't answer "yes" to all 4 questions, you have some prep to do before entering the dating world. And I specialize in helping single, divorced, and widowed people do that prep.

With my support and direction, you can develop a whole new perspective about the dating process and the approaches and strategies that will work best for you.

Every single person is unique. The widow or widower who lost a spouse after a decades-long happy marriage comes to me with a far different attitude than the divorced person who was cheated on. The former wants to find someone as similar to the spouse as possible and is excited about finding love and happiness again, while the latter is cautious and unsure about finding a trustworthy new person and desires someone as different as possible from the spouse.

Usually, the widowed person with the positive attitude will have an easier time in the dating world than the wary divorced person with a less-positive attitude. But that doesn't mean the latter can't change his or her attitude and start seeing things in a new light--generating hope and optimism based on a changed perspective.

This often happens after a couple of pleasurable dating experiences with nice people. And, since I always encourage my clients to be consistently proactive about seeking out places and ways to meet new people, those good dating experiences can begin happening pretty quickly. The more "practice dating" he or she does (without an "agenda" or any sense of urgency), the better.

During the "practice dating" journey going out with several different types of people, clients learn a lot about themselves, the opposite sex, and relationships. And, most importantly, they get more and more clear on their "partner vision," better able to screen out incompatible matches, and more confident in their ability to be a successful dater.

Now, THAT'S a great attitude to have as you start fresh with your dating adventures in the new year! I look forward to supporting you with that!
gayle@datingsuccesscoaching.com