Saturday, December 27, 2008
So, I met the new guy, Terry, at a coffee shop and he is very kind and sweet too, like Danny. They even look a bit alike!
Terry and I laughed through the whole meeting, sharing similar childhood memories. I gave him a nice hug at the end of our meeting and he said he was hoping for that, so I think I will be seeing him again.
He called a couple of days later and we did a LOT of laughing on the phone. He seems to bring out the funny bone in me. And we scheduled a second date.
So, I guess I am officially "juggling." I have to keep reminding myself that I don't need to choose between these two just yet and that I can even add others to the mix, if that happens.
And it doesn't matter to me if they are juggling me too. Even if they tell me they are not, I am not allowing that to cause me to feel guilty.
Of course if it comes up, I will be honest and explain my dating plan. As I see it, until I decide to be exclusive with any guy, it doesn't matter what they decide. And there won't be any notion of becoming intimate until we DO both decide to be exclusive.
And right now, I have no clue who that could be with, but when it happens it will be with a guy I have taken the time to get to know.
I think I could learn to like this juggling stage : )
BTW, I am still a little baffled about how soon to share how much with a guy. Danny has offered several times to come over and help me to unpack, but I have explained to him that that would be too intimate at this stage of relationship for me and I know better than to invite a man over for any extended period too soon, especially to help me rummage through my things.
Besides, he would see the stack of printed out profiles sitting next to my computer! lol
That’s a great feeling isn’t it? Having two wonderful prospects- imagine all the positive possibilities!
All of that laughter with Terry is a very good sign indeed. Getting each other’s sense of humor so early on is always a good sign of compatibility. After all, eventually, you want your life together to be filled with fun!
And sure, in the “getting to know you, friendly stage” there is never any need to choose. Choosing happens gradually over time as you get to know people and it becomes clear who your feelings are growing for, who you want to spend more time with, above anyone else.
Usually, it happens naturally, and the choice makes itself clear!
And as you mention, it’s important that the choice for exclusivity is mutual. If it’s not mutual, then neither of you should go down that path alone, at least for very long!
I can tell you are getting clearer and clearer about how you want the process of dating to work for you. You are getting to the point of standing in your truth- even if others do not always agree!
Life needs to be about what is for your Highest Good, first, rather than changing it based on what every new person thinks or wants. That is an empowering place to be! Yea!
I also like that you’ve resisted the urge to get some manly help unpacking! That is pretty intimate for after 1 or 2 dates.
You want your new home to be a haven, so inviting someone in so soon, before you’ve created your sacred space, could spell trouble.
You want that space to be all yours, rather than creating memories of it that include someone else. Memories that stick around a long time after you figure out that the someone isn’t right for you!
Inching forward, date by date, embracing with curiosity, the natural unfolding of budding attraction. It’s an adventure!
Friday, December 26, 2008
I had my second date with Danny. We met (my idea) at a small upscale mall to eat and walk around and enjoy the lights and atmosphere. We ended up at the Barnes and Noble and that proved to be a WONDERFUL place to spend another hour.
He bought two books that I said I thought were very good: IF THE BUDDHA WERE IN RELATIONSHIP by Charlotte Kasl and LOVING WHAT IS by Byron Katie.......and he bought another about understanding women.
When we peeked at THE SECRET, he said it was that book that brought me into his life. I just smiled.
It was a very nice and loving evening indeed. He sure is doing and saying everything right, and I notice how we both become more relaxed when we are together. Yep, very nice indeed.
Thankfully, Danny was very receptive to taking things slow and forming a friendship and we talked quite a bit about that.
He wanted to know how many times I thought it would be good to get together if we were dating. I said I thought about 1-2 times a week would be good at first, and he agreed.
I DID tell him that I intend to meet a couple of the guys I have been talking to, and he seemed fine with that. I will be happy to answer truthfully any questions he may have about it, if he does.
I remember one guy who I met a few years ago. He was juggling and planned to meet about ten women, and then make a decision. I liked him a lot and was hoping to be the chosen one. I felt a bit hurt when I was not but I really respected him for being honest with me. And I think that I was second in line, and that is not so bad out of ten!
We had some nice things in common, but he WAS a little old for me being about 9 years older so I figure it was all meant to be just as it happened
More juggling to do, I’ve got a date with another new guy coming up soon, Terry. Plus, I have two more guys online who are also interesting and interested in getting together soon.
I realized that I have done plenty of juggling BEFORE meeting in person. But I always just figured upon meeting that I had to make a YES/NO decision about each one. Now, I sure do like the notion of being able to take my time to get to know each one a bit better, if some chemistry is there. Yep, life is good!! This is working for me so far and I thank you for your wisdom!!
So glad to hear the second date went swell and that he seems to be willing to “get with the program” by slowing down a bit!
I think you can tell a ton about a person by the kind of books they read- in fact, spending time at a book store early on is a fantastic date for that very reason!
So from Danny’s 3 selections, I’m very impressed!! Interested in self-growth, spirituality, and relationships- doesn’t get much better than that! All green lights so far!
I’m glad you are feeling more relaxed about juggling and the process of getting to know people on a more friendly level- there is no rush and no need to figure things out. Time always tells! Usually sooner than we would like it to anyway!
Glad you gave Danny the idea of 1-2x a week in the beginning! That’s right on target. There are several aspects to consider when you plan on going slow, so I’m including them below for your consideration.
5 Go Slow Zone Strategies
In the beginning (typically the first month or so), it helps to follow some general guidelines.
1. DO: A date once a week
DON’T: Spend all weekend together
2. DO: A couple of emails a week
DON’T: Email several times daily
3. DO: A phone call during the week to make plans or touch base
DON’T: Talk on the phone every day
4. DO: Keep up with your hobbies and interests
DON’T: Immediately invite them to become a constant companion in all of your favorite pursuits (If it doesn’t work out, your favorite activity will now be a painful reminder of them!)
5. DO: Keep seeing your friends, separately from your new love interest
DON’T: Start spending less time with your friends- your friends are forever, this person only has “potential”
All of these strategies are designed to invite someone into your life, gradually.
By doing it slowly but surely, you lessen the risk of becoming overly emotionally dependent on someone you don’t even know yet!
Think of it as both of you earning the right to step further into each others’ hearts, to further explore the territory of You.
Let me know how it goes in the Slow Zone!
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
So, I’ve been thinking about everything, and I think I just figured out the best dating steps to take.
1. First, find someone where there is mutual interest in each other. And mutual interests that might be shared. And common values. And ultimately looking for the same sort of relationship.
2. Then meet for coffee or dinner, to see if there is any in-person chemistry.And then most people go from here to physical intimacy.
This is where I have been failing, I think!
3. The next step would be to see if you can develop a true friendship with this person, complete with a bit of flirting of course to keep that chemistry alive, but at bay.
A friendship filled with MANY assorted shared activities. And once you have found many activities (OTHER than sex) that you enjoy doing together...and you STILL really thoroughly enjoy each other's company...
4. THEN, and only then, will you be ready to become more intimate. And to begin sharing quiet nights together at home in front of the TV watching a movie or whatever. Those things that tend to lead to romantic involvement.
Yep, THIS IS MY PLAN.
And I think that I can continue to "juggle" up to step 4. Or, maybe sometime during step 3, we would decide to become mutually exclusive.
So great for you! So nice when it finally all comes together and makes sense to you.
I am in total and complete agreement. I think you hit the nail on the head- that a viable, long-term romance is truly sustained by friendship!
Since most people zoom into bed, they never discover if they can be good friends, till after they tumble out of bed into the real world.
By postponing the more intimate parts of getting to know each other, you are actually giving yourselves time to truly bond on what matters- WHO you are- NOT how great in bed you might be.
Then, when you finally choose to become sexually involved, you really have built up a lovely anticipation, a greater desire, and a chemistry that’s based on more than the superficial aspects.
All of that translates into some seriously hot sparks in the bedroom.
The bonus of all of that:
It will be so much more than sweaty bodies- it will be about giving the gift of WHO you are to each other- something you can never do when you jump into bed too soon.
At that point- it’s so much more meaningful, making it so much more memorable! And usually, so much more pleasurable!
I’m glad this piece of the puzzle finally fits just right for you. I’m looking forward to seeing how this new game plan pans out for you!
Monday, December 22, 2008
YOUR ADVICE IS SOOOOO GREAT!!!!!
I will re-read this as many times as I need to over the next few weeks. And now, back to juggling : )
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!
I can do this. YES I CAN!! And what fun it can be!
I always love your enthusiasm! That's what makes you so much fun to work with!
That, and you actually take all of the information, think about it, and apply it to your life, making dating a grand adventure.
I'm so glad we are taking this exciting journey together!
I can't wait to see what happens next!
Seems like you will at least have a date for New Year's!
Talked with Danny on the phone and we determined the day for our next date BUT...He is suggesting that he come over here.
What do I say to him? Do I just say that I am not ready for that yet? Do I say I would prefer to have a certain number of dates first, without going to each other's homes? And how many would that be, to give us a chance to get to know each other?
I think that I can learn a lot about a person by seeing where he lives. Would it be okay for me to suggest that I stop by his house on our way to dinner? And drive separately? This would only be our second date.
I really think I need to keep things cool and slow ESPECIALLY since he seems to be wanting to rush things along. I think I will compose some sort of careful "boundaries" email to him tomorrow.
Yes, I need to set some boundaries, and keep them clear, and stick to them. Yes, I really want to stay focused in what is real, and not what either of us may be fantasizing. And THANKS for your suggestion to "watch what I am thinking too".
There is one other guy who I have been talking to, who I find quite interesting as well, and in the name of "juggling" I would really like to meet him too. Now Danny is pretty sure that he ONLY wants to see me, and no one else, so how do I let him know that I am still interested in meeting this other guy, or do I actually need to do that.
Could I just make plans to meet the other guy and just not be available to see Danny that night? What am I obligated to tell Danny at this point in a relationship?
I am still well aware that there might be some big deal breaker that shows up, and I DO want to be careful not to move things along too quickly.
THANKS SO MUCH!!!
Yes, some boundaries would be good!
I don’t think I’d do that via email though. Consider this instead: Sometimes you don't have to spell them out in bold language- especially right in the beginning like that it could be off putting- YOU just have to maintain the boundaries from your end!
So, going to either of your houses on a second date is not wise- especially if he is rushing. You can just suggest a different place to meet (“I have a great idea, why don't we...”) and if he asks- you can just say you "like to save that for later."
Sure, I agree- you can learn about him by checking out his place- but I'd wait another couple of dates, even on that. Why put that pressure on yourself? No rush.
When to go to his place, really depends on your own abilities to maintain the physical boundaries with all that chemistry! If you know you tend to be weak-willed and too easily give in to desire, then you wait longer- and keep meeting in public places!!!
I do like your idea of starting that process by just popping in and out of his house, or just picking each other up- not staying- that means less chance of ending up in a horizontal position!
Now- another thing to consider: how on earth can Danny KNOW he only wants to see you when he's only met you once!!! What does that tell you about him???
At this point in your acquaintance- and that's all it really is- you don't have any obligation to tell him anything really.
You've already broached the topic of juggling with him, right? He knows where you stand on it.
Until you've gone out at least 4-5 times or more, it's not even a relevant concern. I mean, at this point- you aren't yet "friends"!
You don't have to tell him anything more- in fact, if he's uncomfortable with it, I just wouldn't say anything more- right now. You just go about your business like normal, making dates, living your own life.
While I encourage transparent dating- think about it this way:
Your life is NOT AN OPEN BOOK for him , yet.
Right now, he is just getting introduced to a chapter at a time- not whole chucks of it! He has no right to read through the entire thing on the first sitting. He has to prove he is worthy of getting to the juicy parts!
Be like a fine novel, enjoyed a chapter at a time.
Let me know how it goes!
Sunday, December 21, 2008
I met Danny for the first time and IT WAS WONDERFUL!!!
He has taken himself off the online dating sites. I will probably do the same too, soon. It was by far the best first meeting with a man in a VERY, VERY, VERY long time for me.
And we did quite a bit of email exchanging before meeting so we know that we have a lot in common and are looking for the same things from relationship.
He has been divorced for two years and has dated very briefly, two other women. He has a 15 year old daughter still living at home, so that could be interesting but he claims she is encouraging him to date.
Yep, I guess it pays to just KNOW the right person will show up soon. I am VERY excited about Danny but remembering all that you have said and playing it cool, except for a bit of friendly teasing. I plan to wait for a few more dates before inviting him here. There is no rush and this is such a fun time to be "growing" the desire and anticipation, right?
Please tell me more about why it is so important to take things slowly, and not rush into the physical, even when there is a LOT of physical chemistry. Lisa
So glad to hear that your date went as well as hoped! I know nothing is more exciting than meeting someone you think has potential, especially after a dry spell.
But as you know, the only safe way to date is to go SLOW!
Going too fast, falling head over heels, before you even KNOW who you are falling for, is dangerous.
In fact, I’d say Moving Too Fast is the number one mistake singles make!
Hearts get broken every day because we get ahead of ourselves, fantasizing about the ideal image of a man, when we hardly know any of the reality of that man.
We see that a couple things line up, get excited, then plug the rest of what we want to be true into our growing fantasy about who he COULD be.
That’s why it’s important to go slow- 9 out of 10 times we get to 1 month, 3 months, and we are surprised to find that this person isn’t at all what we were hoping for. Then with another aching heart we go back to the drawing table.
Your heart doesn’t have to ache so much if you don’t get overly emotionally invested in someone before they’ve proven they are worth giving your heart and mind to.
And leaping prematurely into bed in response to that chemical attraction is the worst possible way to rashly heighten that emotional connection- before you even know if you actually LIKE him all that much!
Getting physical and having sex too soon is a super bad idea for woman because oxytocin gets released.
Known as the “cuddle hormone,” it actually makes you feel more bonded and attached to this guy- so you better make sure as heck that he’s a guy you actually want to feel bonded to- otherwise, it’ll make it tough to walk away from a situation that needs to be walked away from.
Bottom line: Sex increases your expectations, heightens your emotional involvement, and seriously reduces your ability to be objective about who this person really is!
None of these things are helpful in the beginning of a budding attraction. It leads to all sorts of foolish decision making that you most often regret later!
So yes- hold your horses- both the physical and mental ones.
You want to go slow physically, but also be aware of what you are saying even in your head! What you say to yourself, the picture you are building up in your mind- is even more important than what you say and do with the other person!!
Try not to build up anything in your mind.
As you said- now is the time to simply relax, sit back, and enjoy the delicious process of watching a new attraction unfold. And especially, don’t jump to any conclusions about him being the perfect soulmate after one date!
PS- Don't take your profile down any time soon!
Friday, December 19, 2008
So, I got back online and I have many guys interested just now. I’m definitely in the "juggling" phase!
Some guys are not so sure about me wanting to still see others. And I need to make it clear that if and when I feel a strong enough connection with them, that then, and only then, will I consider becoming exclusive.
This guy Danny who I have been talking with online and on phone with now for a week thinks we are a match made in heaven. And he is ready to take his profile off of Match.
AND WE HAVEN'T EVEN MET IN PERSON YET!!!!
What do I say to HIM?
How do I explain that I want to "juggle" and what that is??
It sounds so noble when a guy says he only dates one person at a time. And I somehow feel devious to want to be meeting several just now, even though I am very open with everyone about it.
Glad to hear that things are moving ahead and there are some exciting prospects!
It’s interesting that the double standard seems alive and well: if a man only wants to date one person, we think he’s noble- but we EXPECT the woman to only date one person!!!
I think we can throw that baby out with the bathwater- because it just isn’t helpful.
As long as you are being forthright with your intentions- which you are- there is absolutely no reason to feel devious!!
So give yourself renewed permission to “juggle”. It is absolutely the ONLY way to date online.
Readers: If you are new to Dr. Jenn-speak, juggling is when you are getting to know more than one person at a time. Essentially, it’s dating more than one person until such a time that you decide you’d like to be exclusive with someone.
It’s the most effective and efficient way to date online because people you are interested in just up and disappear all the time, at all stages of the process online.
If you’re really serious about finding a great partner, it just doesn’t make sense to put all of your eggs in one very shaky basket!
So, yes, just reassure this new beau with something like this:
“The Juggling Talk”
“I like to have everything out on the table, so just so you know, I’m meeting lots of different folks from online these days. I’m really looking for that special person who sets my heart afire. And when I find him, I’ll be totally ready to see only him. But in the meantime, I think it makes sense to take it slow and get to know each other, and see how everything goes.”
That’s what I call Transparent Dating- making your clear intentions so that everyone knows what page you are on. That is also the best way to date!
About him wanting to take his profile offline before you have even met- well, let me say I’m glad you put that in bold- because I can tell you know that’s crazy talk!!!!
What he is saying is that he IS willing to put all of his eggs in a basket he hasn’t even met. Now, that’s just not prudent, right?!
Because as we all know, chemistry has a very common way of evaporating right in front of your eyes the moment you meet in person! Even if, you’ve totally delighted each other via email and the phone!
So, taking your profile done now is premature, and well, it would be foolish!
Of course you don’t have to tell HIM that- he has the right to do what he wants.
But that certainly does not mean you should feel pressured to do the same!
Instead, try a little something like this, always deliver news like this in a Sandwich fashion (positive-negative-positive):
“I’m really flattered that you like me enough to consider taking down your profile. I’m really enjoying you too. (positives)
“Of course, feel free to do what feels right to you, but I only take down my profile when a guy and I have decided to date each other exclusively. You know, when things are going really well and we’re ready to take the next step.” (negative)
“It would be great if that happens for us. I’m really looking forward to getting to know you some more and seeing how it goes!” (positive)
With these two types of statements on the tip of your tongue, you’ll get great at negotiating some of the tougher terrain of online dating, with grace!
Good luck taking them for a spin and let me know how it goes!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Yesterday was my birthday so and I thought I would invite Mr. Architect out to have company and just test the waters there again.
And I came away with the same conclusion....that although he is sweet and kind and I admire him greatly, he is NOT the guy for me.
I am not sure exactly why. It is mostly a "knowing.” And learning again that he is not the "one" for me. It did serve to get me back on the dating sites.
Well, it seems like you are in good company! So many people go back to test the water out- to be sure!
And 95% of them come back with the same answer you found: It’s not right!
And all this up and down, back and forth, hope fired up then extinguished, can be uncomfortable for both people!
That’s why I recommend that people make up their mind once and make a clean break.
Before you go, test out any remaining hypotheses that this could be The One. Whatever things concern you, try to gather more data so you can say firmly, “I know this isn’t right for me.” That helps keep you from needing to go back!
That way there is one break up, not several!
Even if they are not technically real, big breakups!
So, I liked that you listened to your gut here. Sometimes, everything looks so good on paper- but your gut will tell you if it’s wise to proceed. And you’ve been listening.
The more you listen, the more accurate and more quick, those gut assessments become!
So- as you know- when we close one door to open another, it is our custom to stop and ponder: What were the gifts and lessons we offered each other? What did I learn that will make me a better person next time around?
Would love for you to share some thoughts!
PS- Happy Birthday!!!
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
After the move and one week at my new job, I am finally feeling my energy return. And finally feeling like once again putting myself out there to date.
I posted my profile on THREE different online dating sites today…and actually subscribed to CHEMISTRY.com.
Chemistry seems like the more "serious daters" division of MATCH.com. By that I mean it seems to focus on people who are seriously looking for real committed long term relationships........unlike what seems to be the case on either Match.com or yahoo personals.
I have already been winked at by a couple of guys on MATCH........but it usually takes a few days to get the profiles approved and noticed.
So, with renewed enthusiasm and excitement...and all of your advice planted in my head, I officially enter into the "juggling" phase of dating. (that is if I can find more than one guy to "juggle" : )
I just KNOW that this is the year (2009) that it is going to "happen" for me. Horoscope concurs. Away we go!!!!!!
Welcome back! I’m glad you are rested and ready to go. And with such enthusiasm!
Stoking the fires of optimism, enthusiasm, and positive expectation- that “I just KNOW”- is the type of vibe that will best serve you.
In fact, dear readers, it is the secret key to attraction: When you expect love, and keep the doors wide open to love, love has a way of sauntering right on in!
I like that you hopped right back in the game by getting on 3 different online dating sites.
Diversification of interests works in the financial world- and it’s smart in dating too. With a finger in a few pots- you don’t get as impatient waiting for one to boil.
It’s also wise to match up your goal, here, a long term relationship, with what the site’s specialty is.
In this case, Match.com Chemistry is a wise choice, because, yes, it’s members should be more serious than regular Match members!
So, onward and upward!
If you have online dating questions, let me know as you go!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Obviously that's one of the most important questions in dating, huh!
How do I decide when there is just too much to deal with in a particular relationship and thus make the decision to move on and look elsewhere?
And of course, as in most of life's greatest mysteries, there is no simple answer!
When we get stuck in our heads, it becomes about he's this and he’s not that. He's got 13 out of 20 versus 19 out of 20 qualities I'm looking for... We can go round and round, trying to figure out “what’s right.”
But there is a simple beacon you can tune into to get pretty clear guidance: Your heart and Your Gut.
Because in the end, it's more about how you feel with a person in your life.
As a general rule, in a newly developing relationship, you should be feeling good at least 85% of the time.
There can be some bumps and bruises along the way as you learn to accommodate each other, but overall, you should feel GREAT when you are with this person AND when you THINK about this person.
You don’t need to overanalyze it either. You just check in with your heart and your gut.
6 Steps to Learning to Listen to Your Heart and Gut
1. At a calm and private time, sit down, close your eyes, and let your mind chatter quiet down.
2. Once your thoughts are mostly still, with eyes still closed, bring an image of your partner to mind. Just a general image of them.
3. Then, notice, where in your body is your attention drawn? What do you notice in your heart area? What sensations do you feel in the stomach region?
Stay with it for a moment and really get clear about what you notice.
4. Then ask a question: Is this person the right one for me? And again, notice your body’s response.
Do you feel lightness, expansion, peace, warmth? Or is there tightness, coolness, constriction, or nervousness?
5. Keep tuning into your heart and stomach areas, and just be open to the message your body has to share with you.
6. Then act on the message your body has for you!
It’s been waiting along time to share this information with you.
Remember, the head can play all sorts of gymnastic games, trying to convince us that something is right.
But the body never lies.
Start practicing tuning into your body.
Try it with work issues, family spats, friendship situations. Any dilemma that crops up. And soon, it will become second nature.
Your body (not your mind), is your soul’s compass.
And with it’s guidance- you will never be steered wrong.
You’ll always know what’s truly right for you.
What signs does your body give you when someone isn't right for you?
Monday, November 17, 2008
So dating's been on the back burner for a bit.
I thought it was going well with the guy I was dating, but with all of these other things on my mind, it gave me some space to really check in and see how I felt.
And it seems like it feels right to take a break from him.
I'm having trouble getting past a certain medical condition he has which would affect how we relate and the fact that he's the sole caregiver of a teenage son! I see now how that could put a great deal of stress on a budding relationship.
I feel like I am fully ready to accept quite a lot in relationship.......but not THAT much, right from the start. Of course, it would be different I suppose if it were someone I had become really fond of, attached to, and in love with...
But since it was not to that stage, it seems best to cut it off for now.
So.....I guess it is back to the drawing board for me.
A question: As a single person who is dating, how do I decide when there is just too much to deal with in a particular relationship and thus make the decision to move on and look elsewhere?
Monday, October 27, 2008
Not that I advocate playing games, but holding back just a little, tinsy-tiny bit can have positive effect on a guy. It gives him the space to pursue you.
Which is evolutionarily wired into his man brain. Been that way for eons. No point in trying to work against that, eh?
Work with it, and let him come to you….with flowers AND chocolate!
And what to do next??
You are right on, here.
It’s SO easy once it starts to look like it’s going well, to pounce on the situation and get over-eager.
But, that’s a BIG mistake!
Because if you start pursuing a man, his hard wired instincts will make him turn around and run.
Think about it, if a tiger turns his attention on him, what’s a man to do? RUN!
But if the tiger is not paying much attention to him, and the man is hungry, what’ll he do? Creep up on the tiger, and have him for dinner (think lots of sweet nibbling).
Ok, maybe that’s a weird analogy, but you know what I mean!
So, even when the tide is turning with a new love interest and it seems like it’s heading in the right direction, keep your attention on your own life (not obsessively on him), and on being happy.
That’s when your easy going, glowing, centered, joie de vivre, will have him coming back for more, and more!
Readers: Please share- when has a little holding back helped or harmed a developing attraction?
Saturday, October 25, 2008
He too claims to have had a VERY wonderful day yesterday.
He just called to say good night and to say he was thinking about me all day.
I am still listening to your advice about following his lead.
And it sure does seem to be working to keep him moving in my direction!
I have been dating for a long time, and this is the first time that a man brought me BOTH flowers AND chocolates on a third date!!
It actually surprised me and I had to shake my head several times and tell myself that he IS interested and not just being polite!
Even his kiss on the bridge took me totally by surprise.
I guess I have just gone through the motions of getting ready for a date so many many times only to have them turn out bad that I could hardly believe that this one could be so good.
I guess just more of the same...stay busy with my regular life, yet be ready to tune in when love or attention comes my way, right?
Friday, October 24, 2008
First things first... what all this “emotional availability” stuff boils down to is this:
How much closeness do you prefer in a relationship?
I call it Comfort with Closeness.
Some people actually like to be like ships passing in the night, others want to be joined at the hip.
It doesn’t matter which you are, but here’s the straight talk.
You absolutely HAVE TO find someone who is a good match on this continuum from distant to close.
This isn’t a negotiable.
Otherwise you get the whole: “You pursue them, They distance from you” cycle which has been written about so much I could up my entire library on the subject.
Bottom line: When it’s a mismatch, it sucks. Hard. Painfully so.
And don’t think you’ll change this about someone.
Oh, no, no, no!
This puppy rarely budges because it’s a personality characteristic that you developed from the time you were a wee one, by modeling what happened at home.
So get this right, and get it right from the start. There’s no use wasting previous time, effort, and emotion on someone whose idea of what closeness should look like isn’t the same as yours.
How To Tell?
Ok, on to how to judge this about someone.
This Comfort with Closeness thing has 5 dimensions and you can start picking up on them right from the first date.
Below are the 5 areas and some ways to judge them, in yourself and others.
1. Mental Space- This is how much you think about your partner
- Are they preoccupied with you? Obsessed by thoughts of you? Constantly fantasizing about you?
- They say, “Oh I wanted to remember to tell you about…”
- They say, “Oh I saw something that reminded me of you today”
- They say, “Oh, I knew you would like this thing I saw, heard, etc”
- They email you articles or links they think you would like.
- You think about them every few minutes.
- They mention things in the future you might do together.
- The remember things you’ve told them, and ask about them later.
2. Time – How much time you want to spend together
- They always make time to see you, even if they are busy.
- They want to spend almost every weekend night together.
- They are happy to be together even if you can’t focus on each other (you’ve got work to do).
- They want to spend all weekend with you.
- They call, email, or text all the time.
3. Affection- How much verbal and physical affection you prefer
- They often give you compliments
- They touch you frequently
- They are quick to give a hug
- They love to cuddle
- They easily or often say they like, love, adore you
- They make you feel appreciated by actions and words
- You have sweet nicknames for each other
- You like to hold hands or have other PDA’s out in public
- You get lots of kisses
- They offer verbal support and encouragement
4. Independence- How much you like to keep your life separate, or how much space you need.
(Here the examples are more on the distant side)
- They often need space.
- They prefer to keep their friends separate.
- They like to do their hobbies without you.
- It’s hard to get to know them- you feel a wall.
- They hold back on personal information.
- They aren’t eager to introduce you to friends or family.
- They need plenty of alone time.
5. Teamwork- how much of a “we” you prefer to be
- They often say “we”
- You feel like a team
- You make decision together, they ask for your input on choices to be made
- You are more interdependent than dependent or independent
- You turn to your partner to share your day first
- You ask for your partner’s opinions and input on issues and concerns
- You feel like you can face the world together
- You feel like you belong to each other
- You turn to your partner for support and sharing feelings.
- You share money and expenses.
Start paying attention to all of these factors and you’ll get a good sense of how emotionally available someone is.
Get to know what your preferences are first, then compare that to your new dates. Again, give it some time to ramp up over a month or two.
When you sense a mismatch, collect more information over time, and make a decision- don’t let it sit and fester until you become immobilized and can’t walk away.
If I could pick the most important compatibility factor, this is it!
So it pays to be on alert.
What signs do you use to gauge someone’s emotional availability?
Thursday, October 23, 2008
These are all great questions.
And let me tell you, you’ve hit the nail on the head!
Is it important to find a guy who is emotionally available?
It’s by far the most important factor when picking a mate.
Have you ever heard a woman complain: “Man, my husband is just so emotionally available. He’s so open and supportive, warm and thoughtful. I can’t stand it!”
But therapists get rich (ok, maybe not rich) by seeing scores of couples where the woman complains that her guy is always in his man cave, unavailable to talk, to be close, to touch.
So, emotional availability is one of the first factors you need to assess.
To answer your question, it’s normal to take a while for people to warm up in a new dating relationships. I’d give it 1-2 months to get a better read on someone’s true availability.
If your idea of emotional availability doesn’t match theirs by month 3? Outta there. It ain’t gonna change.
And as to your other question about whether more accomplished career guys seem to be less emotionally available?
Well, there are plenty of really successful guys who are also emotionally available.
But, let’s be honest…many guys who have been single forever, and have focused a ton on their careers, are well, just a tad bit distant. Just think of the time alone- success usually means much less personal time.
They’ve chosen a priority and love wasn’t it.
So, even if they really want to be present, they haven’t had much practice and those habits can be hard to break.
Stay tuned. More next time on how to assess a person’s emotional availability!
Well, readers what’s your take on Lisa’s questions here? Would love to hear!
Have you heard this before, and can you speak to it?
Is it important to find a guy who is emotionally available........or does that usually take a good deal of time to happen, and how much time?
I was in a long marriage where the guy was NOT emotionally available......and I don't want THAT to happen again.
How long does a woman have to wait to see if a guy will be able to open up?
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Man, that sounds depressing!
What exactly brought that on?
I mean, I guess you are right...hardly anyone makes a decision that they think will end in self destruction.
Umm, well, wait a minute...I can think of many singles who make lots of decisions that are not in their best interest! At least not logically!
But anyway, the way you put it sounds so depressing. Maybe we could say that people are always looking out for number one, but to improve their lives, to grow, to change, because they hold a vision of tomorrow that is better than today.
At least that's what I hope for!
But, yes, many people do get stuck in "preservation" mode, instead of "growth" mode.
And that's the kiss of death when trying to find the perfect partner.
You've got to break out of old molds, discard old patterns, and embrace new ways of being in the world and in relationships.
Only then can the story finally have a happy ending!
Readers: What do you think- are the people you meet stuck in self preservation or are they flowing in self-growth???
And that is....self preservation....and what they think is best for them (and perhaps their loved ones too) at the time or for the future.
And I think that this is the case whether they feel they are needing reduced stress, more money, more excitement, a purpose in life, or whatever.
Anyway....that's my insight of the day!
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
So, Table for Two is essentially a matchmaking service. They meet you, chat with you about who you are looking for, then set you up with hand-picked dates.
I think using a matchmaker is GREAT under some conditions.
It’s a great option, if you are too busy to meet quality people, if you are burned out on online dating, if you just can’t find the right type of partner.
Hey- they do all the work, you just show up. That’s a decent deal.
But, it’s usually more expensive than most people can afford. That’s it’s main draw back.
The other main drawback?
Although I’ve worked with some great matchmakers- not all are created equal!
So it’s critical to check references with past clients, to make sure you’ll get what you pay for.
Ask to speak with clients who they have been both successful and unsuccessful with to see what they have to say about the service, BEFORE you commit.
I can’t make that point more boldly. Check references!
The bottom line?
Here’s my main philosophy when it comes to dating to find your soulmate:
ANYTHING is worth trying, once.
Your soulmate could be patiently waiting for you anywhere:
At the next speed dating event,
On that park bench over there,
Sitting at your favorite coffee shop,
Standing in your favorite section of the book store,
At a singles dance,
or another client of Table for Two waiting to be set up with you.
The important thing is to remain open to every opportunity that comes your way.
Then make the most of it, by acting on it.
Take a deep breath, and take a moment to check in with your gut. “Gut (or heart), what do you think I should do?”
If you get a green light, go ahead. It’s hardly ever a mistake to try.
As long as you keep dating with the positive expectation that your soulmate is out there and will be coming into your life, then everything you do will take you one step closer to finding him.
Even if you don’t meet him through Table for Two, you no doubt will learn some very important lessons through the experience that will bring you closer to finding true love.
That’s what makes it an adventure.
So, go for it!
Or at least have the free consultation and then check your gut, your bank account, and references, first!
Readers: Have you had positive or negative experiences with matchmakers? Would you use them again?
They offer a free 30 minute consultation, so I may go in to check it out, especially since this is the stage that I can be checking LOTS of folks out.
And I am just too burned out on the online sites that seem to have so many guys just looking for casual relationships........and I hate all I have to go through to figure that out.
I think that with TABLE FOR TWO, they figure that out for me ahead of time, so I will only meet guys interested in what I am interested in.
What do you think?
Monday, October 13, 2008
Smart Tips For Testing Out a Long-Distance On-Line Romance
1. Get to a live, in-person meeting as soon as it is realistically possible. (Not 6 months later.)
2. Set up the first visit at one of your hometowns. You want to get as realistic a picture as possible right from the beginning.
3. Go for a 2-3 day stay if possible. Try a range of activities, see their home, meet their friends, go along on errands. All of this will help you get a better sense of the
4. The next visit, meet at the other person’s hometown.
5. If you can’t meet at least one a month, it’s probably not worthy trying- it will take too long to even see if you are compatible in real life. Remember, talk is cheap. Action is real.
6. You’ll definitely need to spend longer periods together to determine if you should even consider moving to the same location. Try a couple week long vacations, again in the hometowns.
7. Always, always, always address concerns and red flag issues as soon as they crop up. You can’t afford to wait and see in this type of situation.
8. If it ever doesn’t feel right in your gut, it’s time to cut it off and move on to more promising, and closer options.
Readers: What other advice do you have about making an online, long-distance romance successful?
It’s so risky to meet someone on-line from a different state, for so many reasons.
1). As you discovered, they may not even be WHO they say they are. It sucks, but there are unsavory people out there. They may be lying about their age, martial status, appearance, employment, even their gender! Or worse, they may try to scam you out of money- a far too common occurrence.
2). But even if they are who they say, another issue is that you typically spend a LOT of time and energy on the phone and email, before you ever met. You can WASTE months getting to know someone, then when you finally meet, you discover that the chemistry evaporates, physically and emotionally.
3). Even if you do meet and enjoy each other, if you continue a long distance affair mostly via phone, with only occasional visits- what you are constructing is a VIRTUAL relationship. A connection that exists mostly in your mind. You don’t get to see how each other really behaves in real life.
You only get a tiny selection of who they are. And worse, with only occasional visits, when you do rendezvous, you get only a honeymoon type of effect, with all that built up anticipation and excitement- you share only care-free, happy times focused only on each other- hardly what a real relationship is like.
The bottom line of this is that you don’t get a true sense of what it would really be like to have this person in your life on a daily basis. It’s more fantasy than reality.
4. Even if you make it past all of this, someone is going to have to move eventually, and completely up-end their life, for what will still be a big risk. Often when you go to live together, after your fairy tale long-distance romance, it falls apart, in the stark light of reality.
Am I saying it could never work out? Am I saying you should never try to date long distance?
No- of course not. On rare occasions, it’s possible to find your soulmate on-line half a country away, and make it work.
But as you can see, the risks are high, the likelihood of a happy ending, pretty tiny.
Even then, it will be expensive! Add up all of the travel costs, phone bills, and that heart aching longing!
Is it worth it? Only you can decide!
Readers: Have your long-distance, online romances had a happy ending?
Did just get a call from Gary in California and the more we talk, the more we learn we have a LOT in common.
He even hinted tonight at coming here to meet me...and exploring possibilities.....if we like each other.
We are both sort of free spirits....both into healthy eating and living......but I am deathly afraid of doing the long distance thing........after a bad experience with it earlier this year.
Still.......I am just not finding men who think like I do, here in MN. The only things keeping me here are my kids, grand kids, and the possibility of getting back into product design.
Talk to me a bit about ways to possibly make the distance thing work.
Would it be best if one of us spends time where the other is........to get to know each other?
Since we are both so foot loose and fancy free........how about if we decide together to go somewhere totally new.......for a bit, and see what we can build..........with plenty of apart time to start.
Any advice would be helpful!!!!
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
You are being a savvy single- that’s for sure!!!
And no, you should NOT have given him more of a chance.
His behavior is speaking loud and clear: “I’m NOT ready for a real relationship.”
And since that’s what you want, you move on, no time to waste here.
Because you’re definitely right: It sounds like this man is not really emotionally available and thus, not truly ready to be dating (at least seriously).
AND you noticed three huge red flags that tell you so: He’s still using “we”, he talks a lot about this wife, and he admits to thinking a lot about her.
All of these things give you an idea of how much MENTAL SPACE his wife still has in his brain. And in this case- there is no room left for you to be on his mind!
In fact, I think assessing mental space and these 3 signs are a great way to tell if someone is ready to date again.
Plus one more thing: Do they seem needy and clingy? Many people who have lost a spouse haven’t really stood on their own two feet for quite some time and they long for their needs to be met. When they meet someone, they come on too strong and you feel overwhelmed by them. Big Red Flag.
Signs that Someone is Ready to Date After a Loss:
How much do they use we?
How much does the partner come up in conversation?
How much do they still think about them (it’s ok to ask about this!)?
How needy and clingy are they?
Just check in on those four things and see what your gut tells you about it.
Any special guidelines for someone who’s spouse has died?
You know, in general it’s similar. But I do think there is something that is different if you have lost your spouse versus broke up with an ex.
If you have been married to someone for a long time, it’s normal to still talk and think about them. It’s normal for a large part of your identity to have been wrapped up in the past relationship.
It does take time for these things to shift.
And in the meantime, it does make sense to honor their partnership.
It was important to them, and you can show that relationship it’s proper respect. Occasional stories or thoughts are ok- it’s natural.
But these should decrease over time as the person develops a more separate identity.
If it happens more than you are comfortable with, or you feel like you are in a 3 way relationship- it’s a sign that you may not be a good match, at this time.
How long does it take?
The time it takes to grieve a loss and really be ready for a serious relationship varies widely due to circumstances and individuals.
In general, if someone has been married for awhile it isn’t unusual for it to take up to 2 years (or more) to really be emotionally available.
You really need to assess such things on a case by case basis, with the keys mentioned above!
Smart radar- it’s important to catch these things early and NOT ignore them, but realize that they would take you down a very different path than the one you want to be on to find your soulmate!
Readers: What others signs have you noticed that tell you that a widow(er) isn't ready to get serious?
After about 3-4 email exchanges back and forth I noticed that he talked a lot about "we" meaning he and his former wife.
"We" have this and "we" do that........and it occurred to me that he has likely not fully grieved his loss.
His wife died two years ago......and he has just started to date.........and is looking to meet LOTS of women.
So we exchanged a few more emails, and the more we wrote the clearer it became that he truly is NOT at the same dating stage that I am at.
So, I was very honest with him and told him I thought it was very good that he was getting started, but from my own experiences I felt he would want to meet many people to get a feel for what sort of person he wanted. I told him I had been through that stage years ago.......and because of our very different places on the dating scene.......I wished him well.........and he hasn't written back.
He really felt he was ready to be dating, but also said he thought about his former wife almost all the time.
I’ve had this experience a couple of times before, dating guys who had lost their wives........and the guy sees nothing wrong with including his wife a LOT in the conversations..........what she would have liked etc.......and it makes me feel like an intruder into their life.
Should I have given him more of a chance?
How can I best tell when a guy really IS ready and available to date?
Are there any special rules or guidelines for dating widowers?
How long DOES it usually take for a man to move on.......and let go of so many of the memories, and make room in his life for someone new?
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
To be grateful that I was so good at learning soon if the guy is on "my" relationship track........and wants the sort of future I want.
I am finding that on Match (and yahoo personals) there are lots of guys who just want a casual relationship...with frequent get-togethers, but no future of living together or marriage or building a life together. The more permanent relationship style guys seem to be on the more expensive sites.......such as Perfect Match and eHarmony and Great Expectations.
That is how it seems to me at least.
That is exactly the point, to enjoy the process, but get better and better at NOT wasting time, energy, and emotion on the wrong people.
So the question is:
What are the lessons learned this time around? What is there to be grateful for? What gifts did you offer each other during the time you spent together?
Start a Gratitude Lesson Book, where you write down all of the lessons and gifts that each new interaction with dating partners offers you.
No matter how negative it seems, flip it to it’s positive and express your gratitude for the opportunity to learn it.
By writing it down and reviewing it, you will avoid having to learn it again- hopefully!!!!
And remember, no dating interaction is too small to score an entry. One call, an email, a date. If you had an emotional reaction to it, include it in your book.
So, actually, this is all a WIN for you- onward and upward!
To Our Readers: What was your latest lesson or gift?
He wrote back a lovely email saying that we did have different goals and wished me luck.
So, at least I now know about THIS one.
I doubt the outcome would have been any different if I had handled it differently.
I know that in the past it has often taken me 3-6 months to find out that the guy does not want the same things from relationship that I want!!
So I would say that figuring it out in only two dates is a pretty nice improvement.
Your question: When guys say those things, I very much believe them.
That is not the time to think you can change someone!
Very occasionally someone will change their mind, but it is unlikely in someone who is past his 20’s. He’s been around the block enough times to know!
So you are right- ignoring it wouldn’t be smart!
And just deleting him may be premature.
I would do JUST as you said- let him make the next step- if he chooses to- then address it on the next date or phone call, whichever you are comfortable with.
It would be a mistake to allow yourself to enjoy him too much or get emotionally invested in him if he doesn't want to end up in the same place as you.
Mismatched visions for the future are a definite deal breaker!
So I'd clarify it with him soon! And you can do that by talking about what your vision of the future is and asking for his comments.
To our readers: I’d be curious to know, have you ever *successfully* changed a man or woman’s mind about the level of commitment they wanted for the long term? Please comment.
Monday, October 6, 2008
It felt nice to be with him and I like his calm demeanor and the ways he thinks.....and it was a good balance of questions and answers.
One thing that just came up in conversation is that he would never want to be married again, or live together, which is obviously my goal.
Since we were about to leave, I didn't question that further.......nor did I know HOW to question it further.
On the way home I was wondering if, because of that comment.........Do I
A) stay and hope I can convince him to change his mind someday (if all else works out and we become "attached"
B) ask him more about it soon or
C) politely tell him that we are not looking for the same things from relationship, so it won't work for me, and DELETE him??
I decided I would wait to see if he makes the first move to contact me this time, and soon bring it up to discuss further.
I think he could be a very decent guy and that he just had a couple of bad relationships in his life.
I get the feeling that he MIGHT be available for a deep meaningful relationship.......but he sure did seem pretty sure about never wanting that much compromise in his life again.
Your feedback on how to handle the early talk about whether a guy would ever live with or marry a woman would be helpful, please!
I call dating more than one person JUGGLING.
And juggle you must if you want to find your soulmate.
Because people disappear all the time while dating, so if you are getting to know more than one person at a time, it won’t be a big deal.
Dating is in part, a numbers game.Plus, it helps you go slow and not get overly attached to any one person too soon.
It’s simply the most efficient and effective way to find your soulmate.
So partly, you handle it by realizing that you’re doing what is best for you and that your date is most likely doing it TOO!
AND, be honest about your dating style, from the beginning, to avoid any awkwardness later on.
Just drop a little something into an early conversation like,
"I'm looking forward to getting to know you. And just in case you’re
wondering, I’m getting to know a couple of people right now, because I'm really looking for the right person for me. But when the right person comes along, I’m ready to focus on them."
Date with integrity by being clear with your intentions.
If everyone was equally honest, imagine how much more enjoyable dating would be!
Barry hasn't really written much since our first meeting ten days ago, and since then I have been writing more to Derrick.
How do I deal with these strange feelings that I am "dating" more than one guy at a time?
What can I tell myself to make it feel "okay."
I KNOW that it is, since I am not sleeping with either......and don't plan to for quite some time, and tonight doesn't feel so odd.
But I think if I were to get up to the fourth and fifth date....with each...that then I may have some real trouble with it, like it won't feel like I am being honest with each.
How do I deal with THAT? (or maybe by then a choice would be clear??)
I have profiles on three different online dating sites...and they seem to keep me busy with dates.
The problem seems to be turning any of these dates into an actual relationship!
Currently, I'm exchanging emails with about four different guys. And recently, I’ve just met two others for a first date.
That’s it for now, but it’s always changing!
You are welcome!
Just so you know, your reaction is totally normal. People find it overwhelming, emotional, even somewhat upsetting because they are reviewing things they had hoped they left in the past.
But ultimatly, they find it a relief because now they have a more complete understanding and a sense of direction and purpose. So you're right on track!!
Let's paint together (what a lovely metaphor of yours), you don't have to go it alone!
Power on, an amazing man awaits you!
But I think I learned more about myself today than I ever knew.
So much makes so much more sense. I need a couple of days to absorb and process the info from today. It was pretty heavy.
And I find myself close to tears at times........but mostly happy tears, knowing that there IS something more to love, and to being in love than I have ever known or experienced.
The Inventory feedback made me realize how my childhood played a role in the ways that I relate to men.
I learned that I tend to run off and be by myself when things start to go bad, instead of staying to "face the music." It also helped me to see the ways that I might have contributed to causing the relationship to suffer instead of doing things that might instead bring us closer.
I grew up in a family of eight children and my parents never seemed to have the time for each of us that was needed, especially at critical times during my developing stages.
And therefore I tend to seek out guys who I subconsciously think will give me what my parents did not. But they don’t!
Instead I can learn to give that love to myself, and thus be open to receiving a more wholesome and healthy relationship with a guy.
I know that I am strong enough to open up to a beautiful connection. And thus attract it to me as well. I am ready to paint this picture.........and bring it to life.
THANK YOU SO MUCH !!!
From that, we can usually determine 5 or more primary growth areas - or areas to tend to as you move forward with dating. They are the relationship habits that aren't working any more that we replace with new ways of being that will attract your soulmate.
"ARRGGHHH! But NOT my childhood!"
I sometimes hear that, but we start at your beginning because your early family experiences create your relationship map- the way you tend to habitually interact with yourself, others, and the world. And from those childhood experiences, can usually discover the origins of the patterns that are holding you back.
When you know where something came from, and see how it's played out all your life, it becomes more easy to recognize, and then change.
It opens the door to hope.
Plus things start to make a heck of a lot more sense: "OH, THAT's why I do THAT!"
So, let's see what Lisa and I learned when we delved back into her past for a little bit...
The whole point of dating coaching is to identify the patterns that keep you from creating the love you deserve, so you can break those habits. And adopt new, positive attitudes and behaviors that lead to attracting your ideal partner.
By making better choices over time, you create the space for a wonderful partner to arrive.
It's all about giving you the personal insight into how you work, the knowledge about how great relationships are built, and the skills needed to make it all come together into a love that lasts.
When you've been dating a while and nothing is working, it's easy to get frustrated, disappointed, and even bitter. But rather than give up, a smart single will seek out help.
That's where I come in, with an objective viewpoint, honest feedback, and positive motivation, I help keep you on track toward your goal, finding real love. The kind of love that makes your heart sing and that lasts a lifetime.
I'm excited to be working with Lisa because she has all of the qualities of a great coaching client. She's eager to find a great man, she's in touch with her thoughts and feelings, she's open to feedback, and she's willing to give new things a try.
With all that on board, it's only a matter of time until a wonderful man enters her life.
So, let's get started!