Tag: dating issues

Reading Between the Lines in a Relationship

Reading Between the Lines in a Relatinship

Reading through the personal ads can be a skill, an art in its own. You may find that skimming through the personal ads has become your latest habit, searching for the person that meets your profile needs and desires but without success.

Have you been looking for love but in the wrong profiles, or are you searching for more that is not written in the lines of a personal ad? If you read more into a personal ad than what is actually written in the profile and in the pages of the personal classifieds, you may find yourself conversing or dating a person that does not have the same personal dating ideas as you or the same objective in a relationship which puts you back at the beginning of the process again.

You already know that the listings in the personal section are from people just like you, people who want to meet someone special to fit into their life so starting with the personal ads is a great way to meet someone. However, maybe you are reading the profile of someone wanting to find just a friend, or maybe the profile you are reading is someone that is also hinting towards a search for love in a relationship. You need to be a distinctive reader.

The odds are in your favor when searching the personal ads for in finding a companion or lover. You already know that if the profiles you are reading are not seeking some type of friendship or relationship, they would not have created a profile for others to review. However, the steps in deciding who you will make contact with can be one of the most difficult in your search.

Your journey reading the personal classified section will require you to look within yourself to discover what type of relationship you are truly in search of. Are you searching for a friend, for a lover, or are you searching for a true lifetime commitment? Whatever category you place yourself in, choose the replies and profiles that meet your standards in your search for a relationship helping you narrow your search, which will make the personals much easier to sort through. If you would sit in front of your computer and continue reading all of the personal ads presented, you may find yourself overwhelmed with information and choices to be made. Narrowing your criteria and the idea of what type of relationship you are searching for creates the best results.

If you are searching for a friend or companion only through the personal ads, start with profiles that state this specifically. In discussing profiles of those who are not looking for a serious relationship, you may find the following phrases used: ‘want to have a good time’,’ not looking for a relationship’ and ‘not willing to give my heart away’, ‘just want to spend some time with you’ or ‘seeking another with a great listening ear’. There are various words used expressing friendship, companionship and those just looking to date. Use these expressions and words to help you sort through the personal ads narrowing your decision among the many people listed.

Profiles of people searching for friendship use words that stick out like: ‘looking for fun’, ‘friendship’, ‘no commitments’, ‘companion wanted’, ‘only looking for a good time’, ‘need help in building my confidence’, ‘I want to roller blade in the park all day’, finding words that express fun and friendship stating no commitments or relationship will help you sort through the profiles you are reading.

Are you in search of that someone special to be more than just friends are? Learn to read more into the written words. Find descriptions such as ‘looking for love’, ‘searching for that someone special’, ‘more than friends’, ‘quiet and cozy’, ‘easy going and lovable’, ‘special times’, ‘treasured moments’, and words similar to ‘lovable’.

So what about your profile, read over the words again. Does the profile really express your thoughts about a relationship, what type of relationship you are seeking and whom you are expecting to meet using the personal classifieds? Deciding what type of person you are searching for, what qualities you desire, and how far you want the relationship to mature are steps in realizing you are taking the right direction for meeting that someone special through the classifieds. Clarify your words, express your real thoughts and ideas about who you are seeking clearly which will aid those that are reading your profile connect easily with you.

Matching your personality and the relationship you are seeking with the personal profile or description of another person that is seeking similar relationships can be tough but using your feelings of what you want from a relationship as a basis when reading and sorting through the personals is a great beginning.

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Seven things to keep in mind on next dating

Seven things to keep in mind on next dating

Let’s face it, when it comes to meeting the next Mr or Ms Right, we could all do with a little help. Here are seven things to keep in mind next time you’re out on a date.

1. Don’t forget your manners

Without getting too Sir Lancelot about things, a little etiquette goes a long way. If she looks nice, tell her that. Maybe open the door as she walks through, or offer your arm as she steps down from the curb – but play it by ear and don’t go too overboard. Also, make sure you remember her eye colour (trust us on this one) and when you’re comfortable, maybe test the waters by leaning in a little closer as she speaks – if she backs away, well, it’s probably not going well.

2. Be confident

Everyone’s nervous on a first date, but there’s nothing more attractive than a bit of self-confidence. When it comes to conversation, stay in your comfort zone by coming up with a few topics that you can talk about easily so you’re not out of your depth too early. But it’s a delicate balance – no one wants to be the guy who bangs on about his comic book collection all night, or what a pro his is on the bench press. If in doubt, ask your date about themselves and go from there.

It sounds simple, but choosing someone with similar interests is a big plus. If you like nothing better than watching the footy over a few beers – and they hate sports with a passion – it’s probably not going to work out. Just be yourself and don’t try to force it.

Seven things to keep in mind on next dating

3. Offer to pay

If it’s a first date, it won’t do you any harm to pay – or at least offer. Quibbling with who should pick up the bill is a bad look and it’s hardly going to give the best first impression. Then again, remember it’s not the 1950s anymore, so it’s perfectly fine to level the score a bit if you end up seeing each other regularly.

4. Keep it casual

Drinks are fine for a first date. After all, no one wants to sit through the seven-course degustation with someone you’ve only just met – especially if you both realise it’s not going to work after the entrees appear. Also, if it’s a first outing, maybe head to a bar you’ve been to before – you’ll at least know your way there, and it’s one less thing you have to worry about. But avoid just heading to your local watering hole – it’s obvious if you’ve chosen somewhere that’s just around the corner from your pad. Try for something that’s convenient for both of you to get to.

It’s perfectly ok to keep first or second dates to weeknights, but anything after the third outing together should be at the weekend. Otherwise, they’re going to wonder what you’re doing that’s so much more interesting than them. Or, worse, who.

5. Be prepared

Your first date is a great opportunity to show her what you’re made of. And trust us, first impressions count for a lot. If you look like you’ve just stepped out of bed, your date is going to think you don’t really care. Get your hair cut, maybe invest in a new outfit, and check your teeth and nails are looking presentable. Plan to arrive a little early, so you’re not flustered when you walk in the door and you’ve got a bit of time to give yourself the quick once-over in the bathroom mirror.

When it comes time to order, play it fairly safe by avoiding anything you’ve never tried before or that’s tricky to eat. As a general rule, if it involves a bib, best to steer well clear. If you’re no wine boffin, go with the most recent vintage white, or drink pinot if you want red because it suits more food than not.

6. Get a second opinion

If you’re a little clueless or just want to make sure you’re on the right track, don’t be afraid to ask your friends for a few pointers. See what they think of the outfit you’re planning to wear, or the venue you want to take your date to. It might mean you end up dodging the restaurant that gave your mate gastro last week, or that you avoid wearing that shirt all your friends hate. You know the one.

7. Eyes in front

Remember, when you’re on a date with someone, they should the centre of attention. Ask them about themselves and pay attention to their answers. And don’t try to get a sneaky look at your watch or phone – and that blonde sitting at the bar who you just checked out? Yep, they saw that, too.

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Why is online dating so hard for men?

Why is online dating so hard for men?

Jonathan asks: “I’ve been trying to meet women online for the past few months with zero luck, and my friends have said similar things. Contact a girl, and you’re lucky if you get a response, much less a nice one. I don’t get it. I thought online dating was supposed to save me time. Why is this so hard?”

I wish this were an easy answer Jonathan, because your question rings true for many of the men I’ve worked with in the past few years, as well as friends and even dates who have asked me a similar question. In my opinion, the answer is a complex one, and I’m unsure if explaining it in great detail it’ll make a difference with what you’re really after: meeting more women, or perhaps just meeting The Woman of Your Dreams. With that in mind, I’ll only go into the why’s briefly, and try to spend more time on the how’s (what you can do to increase your responses).

Things To Consider When Dating Online

Few people realize that most dating sites keep all users listed indefinitely, and some refuse to purge their database of old members, even if said former members have found love and deactivated their account.

While you can read the Dating Site Fine Print of any individual company you sign up with to find out, I’d just assume the site you’re with does this. As well, most of the up-and-coming and/or popular dating sites will either pay folks to chat with members, fluff the numbers a bit with fake profiles, or both. I’ve come across numbers as high as 30% where the people listed, for whatever reason, weren’t actually available to meet – so this is a factor to take into account.

Next up, women get a lot of messages, depending on their age and demographic. When I sign up at a dating site to review it, I often get hundreds of messages in the first few days. I should note I’m a bit older than the average, highly-desirable range for ladies of 29-35, so younger women may get even more. My advice with this point? Avoid the newest signups because they’re likely inundated with messages anyway, and if you can, see if anyone over 35 appeals to you in your searches – heterosexual women between 35-45 get fewer messages than any other age range according to OkCupid.

When there’s a lot of competition for a woman’s attention, they have to filter whom they want to respond to right off the bat. What many women do (including myself) is look at a person’s profile before they read the message. As an example, if I’m using OkCupid, I first look at the pictures (do I find this person physically attractive at all?), then their basic demographic information (kids? age? location? religion?) and then any of the questions we’ve both answered that we strongly disagree on. (For more on this topic, take a peek at Hacking OkCupid To Your Advantage). If anything on there is a strong no for me, I might still read their email (if it’s more than a, “Hey! You’re cute,”) although I’m more likely to either delete (if I have a lot of messages waiting), or politely say we’re after different things and wish them the very best in their search.

What Does This All Mean For You?

Well, you need a fantastic profile that really showcases your strengths, attractiveness and wants in a partnership or relationship (be it casual or long term – the process is the same). Your pictures are a whole conversation in and of itself, so all I say here is: make sure they’re very recent (last 3-6 months), they showcase your face as well as you doing something that you love, and that they show you off at your happiest. (For more help, try 4 Reasons Why Your Online Dating Profile Isn’t Working, and Why You’re Not Getting Responses). The words you use – depending on the site you’re on – will also help tremendously with the results you get. See How To Write a Dating Profile for comprehensive help, or ask me for Free Dating Profile Help.

Some other suggestions? Know what you want your final outcome from online dating to feel like before you start anything, make sure you’re 100% accurate and honest with everything you share and do, and make a point when you do email a woman of commenting (respectfully) on whatever drew you to message her in a bit of detail.

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Should you stay friends with your ex?

Should you stay friends with your ex?

In our age of social media, it can be easier than ever to stay in touch with your ex, long after you break up. Heck, I still regularly converse with guys I dated back in high school over Facebook. But what about a real life friendship with an ex from not so long ago? After all, you still have a lot in common — and still travel in the same circles, meaning you’re going to run into him regardless. Is it okay to stay friends? Or are you just setting yourself up for future disaster?

“Running in the same circles and having things in common does not always equate with friendship,” they say. “Remain amicable whenever possible but re-define the relationship so there is no confusion about how you will interact. We recommend staying away from intimate encounters and sharing personal information to avoid any confusion or bad feelings.”

And that means setting boundaries from the beginning so you’ll be sure to retain a healthy friendship and resist the temptation to backslide into that unhealthy relationship.

“Be friendly but not transparent to avoid any sense of false intimacy,” they suggest. “Maintain a distant relationship and stay away from late night phone calls, excessive communication, or cute texting. Avoid anything you used to do when you were a couple.”

Of course once you start dating someone new, expect a wrench to be thrown in the so-called friendship. Especially if your new significant other starts feeling threatened–and you start feeling divided loyalties.

“Your new loyalty is to your current relationship so it’s important to respect your new partner’s wishes,” insist Pescosolido and Brosh. “If they are feeling insecure than maybe it’s time to check in on the appropriateness of your relationship with your ex. If you’re doing it right, a new significant other shouldn’t feel threatened (unless they are extremely insecure). Your ex should understand.”

But what if it’s you who’s feeling threatened, by your ex’s new girl? And you find you can’t stop feeling those pangs of jealousy every time he chooses her over you?

“That’s a trigger and a big red flag that you need to get some professional help to move on,” say the Divorce Detox founders. “You might also want to consider the possibility that you are keeping your ex in your life because you still have hope of a reconciliation. A new partner is a sign that he has moved on….and you should, too. Keep this information to yourself and get professional help. This is your problem, not his.”

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Real-life holiday horror stories for daters

Real-life holiday horror stories for daters

Confusion reigns for couples when one is caught double dipping or forgets to bring a gift.

If misery does love company (or if you just need a jolt of laughter), check out this list of five outrageous holiday gaffes — and get some tips for recovering in case you commit them, too.

And just as a point of reference, in my family, the gaffe of the century occurred when my date — someone I’d been seeing a few months — came over a few days before Christmas. We were all drinking eggnog, and he kept offering to fill empty glasses. We thought he was being mannerly. It wasn’t until he passed out in the bathroom that we surmised he’d been adding a splash of something extra to his cup each time he went to refill anyone else’s glass. You better believe he learned his lesson, and that was the end of his nog consumption that holiday season.

Holiday gaffe: Not presenting a gift to your host

Heather Penney of Boston, MA had just started dating someone before the holidays. “When I went over on Christmas Eve, his parents had gotten me a little gift. Nothing big, but I hadn’t brought them anything. His mom called me out for it! She said something like, ‘Oh, I’m sorry for getting you something. I assumed you two were in the type of relationship where you would do the same.’”

Tip: If you’re a guest, always take something — even if it’s just extra napkins. The gesture is more important than the gift itself.

Holiday gaffe: Mis-labeling presents after wrapping them

Here’s another reason why gift-wrapping shouldn’t be saved till the last minute. Mark Johnson of Federal Way, WA, admits he isn’t the most organized guy. “I was in a super-rush before the holidays and quickly wrapped presents for the woman I was dating and her parents,” he recalls. “I’d gotten her a gift certificate to a fancy lingerie store and bought her parents gift cards from their favorite stores. Unfortunately, I put the wrong card on the presents, so she got a card from a tackle shop while her mom got the gift I chose for her. At least her dad didn’t mind his card from the bookstore.”

Tip: “Ever since that day, I’ve wrapped presents and put the cards on immediately,” Johnson notes. (Identifying gifts properly becomes especially important, we note, when lingerie is involved.)

Holiday gaffe: Planning a holiday dinner without accounting for your guests’ dietary restrictions

“My sweetie’s parents announced they’d be making an impromptu visit — the same night as my annual holiday dinner party,” recalls Dana Charley of Baltimore, MD. “There’s always room at my table, so I invited them to attend.” Too bad no one mentioned that the parents in question didn’t eat pork for religious reasons. “Imagine my horror (and theirs) when they saw me getting ready to bring out pork loin. Luckily, I had a couple of filets in the freezer and dinner was only served 30 minutes late.”

Tip: “From now on,” Charley says, “I always ask about dietary restrictions before guests come over!” And if you or your relatives are the ones with the dietary restrictions — by all means, speak up.

Holiday gaffe: Condemning seasonal traditions around your date

A lively debate is one thing… getting up on a soapbox is another, as Wylecia Roberts of Atlanta, GA found out. She thinks that Christmas is an overrated holiday, and that belief got her into some hot water a few years back. “I was ranting against the commercialization of Christmas, railing against people who lavish tons of gifts on their families and friends,” Roberts recalls. “The guy I was dating got really quiet; when I asked what was wrong, he told me I’d just described how his family celebrates Christmas — and that it was his favorite holiday.”

Tip: “My Grandma was right,” Roberts asserts. “Never talk about religion or religious observances!” — especially if you have a strong and/or negative opinion about them without knowing how your date feels first. Holidays just aren’t the right time to air those beliefs.

Holiday gaffe: Not using proper etiquette / table manners at parties

You might want to be on your best behavior — especially when it comes to your table manners — during this time. “I thought people only cared about this on TV shows, but I got caught double-dipping at my date’s holiday party… and she flipped,” says Darwin Hatfield of Chicago, IL. “She threw out the dip and apologized to her friends. I decided it was time to leave — both the party and the relationship.”

Tip: OK, so Hatfield’s girlfriend perhaps had an unnaturally strong reaction to his behavior. But that said, you can’t go wrong by being overly cautious about your table manners. Never re-dip after you take a bite; Don’t reach right across the table to get at those biscuits without asking others to pass them to you first. And commenting that you’re so full you could burst after a big holiday meal probably won’t win you brownie points, either.

Learn from these people’s miscues, and hopefully, you’ll avoid making any embarrassing mistakes during your holiday interactions. Here’s to a season full of harmony and good cheer this year!

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Girl’s Guide to Dating an Immortal Vampire

Girl's Guide to Dating an Immortal Vampire

Topping the bestseller’s lists, taking over our TVs, breaking box office records – immortals are so hot right now. But like with any new relationship, there are pros and cons for each, so whether you’re Team Vampire or Team Werewolf, GLAMOUR.com has compiled the essential guide to surviving dating outside your species, just in case you bag yourself an Edward or Jacob…

Dating a Vampire

Like your relationships with more bite? Well, you’re surely aware that this pairing comes with some inherent problems. Yes, it has that irresistible ‘Twilight’ appeal to it – and who wouldn’t want their very own Edward Cullen – but dating the undead isn’t all plain sailing and serenading…

1. ‘Garlic breath’ now takes on a whole new meaning. Gorge on bread sticks and stodgy pasta while you can ’cause Italian is now off the menu. For good.

2. Forget romantic sunsets. Any hint of a rose-tinted sky and your new fella is likely to burst into flames, or blind you with his twinkly skin depending on which legend you believe.

3. Kiss goodbye to your tan, because sunny days spent frolicking on the beach are as dead as your pasty-skinned boyfriend. Luckily for us, the WAG look is so over…

4. Learn to get by on a lot less sleep. Your vamp master is nocturnal, so midnight rendezvous’ will become the norm. Cease dead-locking your bedroom window and invest in some under-eye concealer, pronto.

5. Oh – and probably the most vital of all – make sure he’s of the ‘vegetarian’ persuasion. Sure, boyfriends can be draining in any situation but, in this case, especially so.

Girl's Guide to Dating an Immortal Vampire

Dating a Werewolf

If the sculpted, pallid type just doesn’t float your boat, then maybe you’re more of a ‘wolf man’ fan? But bear in mind, they don’t all look like Jacob Black! Abide by our careful rules of werewolf dating, or things could get hairy…

1. Point him towards hair removal cream. Granted, he wont have a full, glossy coat 24/7, but hairy wrists, a back you can braid and sideburns to rival Wolverine are inevitable, and whilst we don’t mind a bit of manly chest hair, no gal wants to date her dog.

2. Learn to love his friends, because they’ll be around. A lot. Weres are far from loners – they roam in packs, so keep the fridge well stocked, the XBox controllers charged and expect a lot of ‘boys’ nights.

3. Kiss goodbye to your silver jewellery. Unless you want to kiss goodbye to your new fella, that is. From now on, tell him it’s strictly gold or platinum (shame). After all, you’re only thinking of him…

4. Like long, romantic walks? Great, but be sure to leave the leash at home – you’ll only upset him – and steer clear of lamp-posts.

5. Brush up on your moon astronomy. Your dating calendar should now reflect lunar activity. Why? No one wants their date to suddenly rush out of dinner (stripping as they go and leaving you with the bill) to find the nearest hillside and howl at that bad moon a’ rising.

And there you have it. Our guide to tackling the tricky terrain of dating an immortal. Good luck and despite the drama, if they’re anything like Edward or Jacob, we cant help but envy you!

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4 simple steps to meeting someone

4 simple steps to meeting someone

You know the type: the average-looking guy who can meet someone new while out buying light bulbs, or the rather plain Jane who comes home from a dental appointment with the name and number of a potential suitor. We set out to discover just what makes these people so adept at meeting others so you can try their best pick-up tips. Here are the four steps to follow when you see someone you’d like to meet and get to know better.

Step 1: Smile and wave

Don’t be afraid to use gestures that say, “I’d like to chat with you” — whether that means a smile, a nod, a wave or just eyebrows raised in expectation. Laura Lewis, 27, from River Falls, WI, recently spent much of her lunch hour in a long line at a bank. But instead of getting annoyed, she got a number from the cute guy standing behind her. “We were checking each other out the whole time we stood there,” she explains, “and just as I finished at the teller, I gave him a big, big smile. He gave me a cute little ‘hi there’ wave, so I busied myself rearranging my wallet until he was free to talk.”

How to practice it: Even though it may seem bold, smiling at strangers is the top way to let them know it’s safe to break through. Try it on everyone and anyone: the bored workers at the post office, a harried mother in front of you at the checkout aisle, or even the toddler sitting in her cart. As you get used to being a smiler, you’ll start doing it naturally — including at the people you most want to meet.

Step 2: Be the one who speaks first

Anyone can talk back to someone, but real people-meeters know the trick is starting a chat out of the blue. Susan RoAne, author of How to Create Your Own Luck and What Do I Say Next?, says the secret lies in seeing the world around you as full of opportunities to talk versus waiting to be addressed by someone else.

How to do it: In order to break the ice with people you want to date, it helps to start with people you’d normally never speak to — say, the married guy in another department at work or a grandma at the bus stop. Since you’re not worried about whether they’ll shoot you down, you can truly be yourself and get used to talking to perfect strangers. “You have to get comfortable doing it, or you’ll hesitate when you see someone in particular who you want to talk to,” says RoAne. “If you have to think about what to say or feel self-conscious, you’ll hesitate and the moment will be gone.”

Step 3: Work your chit-chat charm

OK, what the heck should you talk about? The experts advise finding something that you two share — that could easily be something in your environment, like the weather or the huge new billboard that went up across the street. Or it could be something in the world around you, like a big verdict that was announced on the news earlier in the day or the fact that the next day is officially the longest day of the year.

How to practice it: Work on having an opinion or asking for the other person’s view of things rather than just throwing a remark out there. So if you’re in the cereal aisle, don’t mutter to yourself, “Wow, expensive…” Turn to the object of your affection and say, “Wow, can you believe it? Almost six dollars for this! Is it just this brand or are they all so pricey?” Similarly, if you’re in line for lunch and the folks behind the deli counter are taking their time, don’t just say, “Gee, this line is moving so slowly.” Instead, try to get some playful banter going by saying, “I’ll bet you a little bag of chips that we’re not out of here by 1 p.m.” The idea is to open the door to a chat rather than just tossing out an observation.

Step 4: Then… stop talking!

Bill Keith, 29, from Hudson, OH, has a knack for charming everyone around him. He says his secret is knowing when to stop yapping and start listening. “People aren’t used to having other people really listen to them, so that’s how I win a lot of people over,” he says. So whether he’s remarking about an old Madonna song that just came on the supermarket muzak (which is how he met his best friend) or asking someone at Starbucks which shaker has cocoa and which has cinnamon and whether really makes a difference, Keith opens the door to a chat and then shuts his mouth. His new acquaintance walks away feeling connected since Keith lavished on some personal attention.

How to practice it: Next time you start a conversation, make an effort to ask the person you’re chatting with at least three questions before making another observation of your own. That will get you in the groove of letting the other person open up to you… and it shows your level of appreciation for what someone else has to say. And when people feel appreciated, chances are, they’ll want to continue that conversation.

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Six myths about single people

Six myths about single people

Unmarried guys aren’t commitment-phobes, and single women aren’t clingy, a big survey finds.

Rule 1: Approach single men with fresh eyes

Somehow, this new study could be subtitled: “In defense of the American single male.” Simple guy, who long ago acquired a set-up for the commitment-phobic and romantic, jaded, are obviously misunderstood. The survey shows clearly: do not buy into these myths. Men fall in love faster, are more willing to have children for the first time (24% vs. 15%), and when it comes to love, feel just as intensely as women. The most surprising thing about men can be this: “More men than women would marry a partner, they were not sexually attracted to,” says anthropologist Helen Fisher renowned biological. Shared interests and the family are more important.”

Rule 2: Stop thinking that single women are sticky and dependent

Many single men who fear that women will threaten their independence sticky. Guess what? Study results reveal that – every age group – women in a relationship are more likely than men to hold tight to their own interests, personal space, bank accounts, regular evenings with their girlfriends, and separate vacations . So relax, folks. It seems that we are the ones who should worry about being too needy.

Rule 3: Join the crowd and expand your dating pool

Prejudice is in decline and single dates are more open to different races and religions. A relatively small percentage of men (20%) and women (29%) consider it “very important” or a “must have” to find someone who shares their ethnic origins, even as fewer men (17%) and women (28%) are particularly looking for partners who share their religious beliefs. “Being part of the future,” says Dr. Fisher. “It is clear that others toss their ideas past the right partner.” For many singles, knowing that the tides turn can free you to broaden your pool of prospects, too.

Rule 4: Whoa, slow down! Do not rush to judgments about your date

I have nothing against the lucky few who have known love at first sight. But what about the rest of us who are not immediately shot by Cupid’s arrow? We are used to release a first date and knows no fireworks on July 4th, we are told we should have. Research suggests that success comes if you’re not so quick to throw in the towel. So why not slow down time and give your next date a second chance? “Perhaps the most important finding is that 35% of these people fell in love with someone they do not interest them first,” says Fisher. In this subset of people, “rose from 71% in the attraction through long conversations, common interests, or both.”

Rule 5: Embrace dating as you get older

The conventional wisdom is that the success and pleasure are dating like a milk carton. They come with an expiration date. According to this new study, only 65 + the ratio of the highest level of happiness over the last 12 months combined with less stress in their single status. So relax, be simple, older, and dating. It appears that your love life on the road is better than you think.

Article 6: Disavow obsolete dating obstacles

Remember all the traditional reasons why you were not supposed to date someone? It is not present. It’s not that. The results indicate that single people are increasingly denying what were once considered romantic obstacles.

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How to move past the ‘just friends’ stage

How to move past the 'just friends' stage

Consider this five-step plan if you’re looking to take a relationship to the next level.

Pretty much everyone has had a close friend who’s fantastic, funny, always there when you need a sympathetic ear… and who also makes our heart do little flips and wonder “What if…?” True, anyone who’s watched a Hollywood rom-com knows that getting passionate with a pal is a tricky endeavor. But if it works, it’s also totally romantic. So if your buddy’s been on your mind all too often of late and you want to see if you can be more than just friends, read on for some step-by-step advice from relationship experts and real people on how to proceed without losing your dignity — or the friendship.

Step 1: Look before you leap

The most important thing you should do before you act is this: think! You absolutely might be on the verge of something wonderful, but then again, it could be a fleeting moment of loneliness or lust that leads you astray. “I have had a few friendships that could have been something more at one time, but I always try to let that first impulse pass,” says Jennifer of Brooklyn, NY. “If it is meant to be, that feeling will happen again. If it was a passing fancy, then there will be no awkward conversation over what happened ‘that night.’”

While waiting for repeated waves of more-than-friendly feelings is a wise idea, you should also ask yourself this: Why haven’t you dated this person before? “Sometimes it’s simply because you met when one of you was involved in a relationship or something else equally distracting, like writing a doctoral dissertation, caring for an older parent or whatever life puts on your plate,” says Joni Mantell, a psychotherapist and relationship coach in New York City. If that was the case and the hurdle has since disappeared, then it might be the right time to redefine your relationship. If, on the other hand, you two have had windows of opportunity to get closer in the past and passed them up, then maybe it was for good reason.

The bottom line is, figuring out what’s triggered your change of heart is crucial. “It might be because your friend comes through for you in a crisis like no one in your life ever has, and this makes you realize how special this person is to you,” says Mantell. If that’s the case, does that necessarily mean a romantic relationship is in the cards? Another possibility is that you have given some thought to your patterns in relationships (in therapy, or by yourself), and you realize you would rather date a “nice” man or woman instead of the more exciting, dangerous prospects you were pursuing before. “In other words, you are growing up and letting go of old baggage,” says Mantell. That’s a good reason to seriously consider giving this a shot.

Step 2: Test the waters

So you’ve decided that your emotions are the real deal… but what about your friend’s feelings? Are you two on the same page, or is the object of your affection blissfully unaware that you two could click romantically? To determine the answer, ask yourself these questions: Are you the first person he or she shares good (or bad) news with, and vice versa? Is this person jealous or critical of your dates and previous partners? Is your friend possessive about spending time with you alone rather than while along with others? Does he or she compliment you as a date would (i.e., “You look beautiful in that dress” or “Man, you’re looking handsome today”)? Is the amount of time you spend together increasing? A “yes” response to several of these questions could mean the attraction is indeed mutual.

You can also try dropping hints, which can not only help you gauge the person’s reaction — it also plants a mental seed in case he or she hasn’t yet entertained the thought of coupledom with you for a partner. Laurie Puhn, J.D., author of Instant Persuasion: How To Change Your Words And Change Your Life, suggests trying something like: “You know, I date… but none of the people I go out with really compare to you,” or “I was talking to Jane the other night and when she bumped into us she thought we were on a date. Isn’t that funny?” “If the other person says something like ‘Yeah, I was thinking that, too. It does seem like we’re dating,’ or if he or she smiles, it’s a good reaction,” says Puhn. If the person looks uncomfortable or changes the topic, that’s not a good sign — but since your comment was so innocuous, it should easily blow over quickly.

Step 3: Make your move

You’re pretty sure the sparks are there on both sides… now what? Should you lunge in for a lip-lock the next time you’re together and pray your pal doesn’t recoil in horror? Understandably, that prospect can be terrifying — so consider a more subtle move, like taking his or her arm or reaching for a hand during a movie or while walking around together. It’s so innocent that the person won’t likely pull away, and it’ll help your pal get more comfortable with getting closer. “You may have been thinking about this for a year, but your friend may have only been trying to process the idea for 30 minutes,” says Puhn. “Remember that everything in this transition can’t happen in one evening!”

Bashful types might also consider this stealthy move: “Say, ‘I wonder what it would be like if we were dating,’” suggests Mantell. “This style of musing and imagining is good for a safe but playful start, which could lead to a kiss or a conversation about you two dating at the very least.” If he or she does say “Let’s just be friends,” Mantell suggests that you be ready to provide reassurance that it’s OK with you. But recognize that there is always the possibility things may be weird after that. If you decide you can still hang out together, you can alleviate your buddy’s discomfort (and your own) by talking about other people you’re interested in, whether that’s some new coworker or a cutie you saw online.

Step 4: Steam things up

It happened; you two are kissing! While it might be nice to think that you’ll click instantly since you know each other so well, familiarity also can work against you. “The first contact might be awkward,” says Mantell. “Our society is more accustomed to romances built on pure fantasy, and that is harder to do with a friend.” Mantell urges that transitioning couples shouldn’t give up right away if the chemistry is off. “Acknowledge the uneasiness, make a joke by saying something like, ‘Well, we know each other too well to be relaxed.’” Another option is to promise each other you’ll go really slowly until you get used to this new way of interacting.

One major caveat: while sharing a kiss doesn’t have to mean you two are officially an item, the fact that you’re already so close as friends can raise your romantic expectations. So whether you’re interested in pursuing a serious relationship with this person or just out to satisfy your curiosity and keep things casual, it’s crucial that you communicate your expectations and hopes — and have a handle on the other person’s — before getting too hot and heavy. Just say, “I’m really attracted to you, but want to make sure we’re on the same page so nobody’s feelings get hurt…” and explain your stance from there. You two may forge ahead even if you don’t see eye-to-eye, but at least it’s on the table. Everyone you start dating deserves that much, but friends especially do, don’t you think?

Step 5: Announce your new status

If you two do seem to be hitting it off, you may wonder whether to make your budding relationship public — after all, you may be excited, worried, or otherwise dying to talk about it with someone other than the pal you have feelings for! But breaking the news also requires some caution. The rule of thumb here is to find out how your new amour feels about it and always defer to the wishes of the more private party. Keep in mind that as soon as you involve other friends and family, there will be more pressure on your evolving relationship — so it’s OK to give yourselves time to adjust.

Also keep in mind that there’s a difference between keeping your relationship private and keeping it a secret. In other words, you may want to let certain people in on the news — especially those who feel close to you both. Those are the people who might feel deceived or left out if they learn your coupled-up status later on. In those instances, one of you (both people doing the talking may feel like you’re ganging up on the person) should take that individual aside and say, “You know how John/Jane and I hang out all the time? We kind of both realized that we liked each other, and now we’re dating.” Answer hsi or her questions, but keep in mind that you shouldn’t spill all the details; when in doubt, ask yourself: “Would I talk about that if my new partner were in this room?” If the answer is no, keep your lip zipped.

Also recognize that while you may try to be discreet, people will probably start getting an inkling that something has shifted — and it can be damaging to deny it, says Joyce Catlett, coauthor of Fear of Intimacy. “Don’t try to hide the status of your new relationship by holding back physical expressions of your tenderness and affection when other people are around,” says Catlett. “Protecting yourself this way can have negative consequences and can make you feel more self-conscious or awkward, even during those times when the two of you are alone.” The bottom line is, you and your pal-turned-partner should be ecstatic that you’ve found a soul mate so close to home. Who cares if you’re fodder for the gossip mill for awhile?

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The right way to flatter your date

The right way to flatter your date

Clichés and generic compliments won’t do much to impress that special someone.

Sure, being good-looking and charming will certainly make you more of a catch. But there’s an even more crucial component to attracting others that’s so simple we almost feel weird saying it: make your date feel good-looking and charming. Do that, and trust us… this person will be back for more.

In a day and age when the romantic options out there are seemingly endless, it’s easy to feel like you are just a number. Prove you think the cutie sitting across from you is one of a kind, though, and it can make a huge difference. But how do you make someone feel, well, special? It’s not as hard as you think — just try these six tips and watch your love interest light up.

Get specific with your praise

Since daters often feel like they’re just one amongst a parade of people having coffee with you, demonstrate some genuine interest in the next one you meet to help erase that fear. “We studied the relationship between reciprocity and romance and found that if someone thinks you’re attracted to him or her, it increases that person’s attraction to you,” says Eli Finkel, Ph.D., a psychology professor at Northwestern University.

On the other hand, “If someone’s attracted to you but getting the sense that you’re attracted to lots of other people, he or she will tend to dislike you.” The upshot? Prove you’re picky (and that this person fits your high criteria). Then you’re well on your way to making this potential amour pick you, too. Reread his or her profile right before you meet up and tell your date exactly why it stood out from the rest and what you noticed first. And nix any mentions of past bad dates or other negative experiences, which can make it inadvertently seem like you’ll give anyone the time of day.

Create insider info between the two of you

You don’t have to be old friends to cultivate a comfortable rapport with someone. “Make references to things you’ve discussed or emailed about,” says dating coach Annie Dennison, Ph.D. “It creates a sense of intimacy and shows your date you’re really listening.” To really drive home that you find your date fascinating, ask for more information on details he or she mentioned in passing (“I know you like Jay-Z. Which album of his do you think I should download?”). Or tie together stories (yours or your date’s) with a follow-up line like, “Wow, that reminds me of what you were telling me about your trip to Costa Rica/your overbearing boss/football obsession.”

Congratulate your date

If you want your sweetie to really beam, show you’re impressed by a feat that he or she is especially proud of. “We did a study and found that when people told others about something good that happened to them and the person responded positively, it improved the whole experience,” Shelly Gable, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. So don’t just say “Cool!” when your date mentions a win like getting into grad school, finishing a 10K, or just getting an amazing deal at an outlet store. Get into it and ask what he felt when he got the news, how she reacted, which person he told first, or how long she’d been hoping for it to happen. Answering the questions will let your date relive some of the excitement — and associate you with an unexpectedly happy buzz.

Compliment qualities that are unrelated to looks

When you admire a not-so-obvious trait that your date has, it makes you seem super-insightful. An easy place to start is by connecting his or her job to a quality you appreciate. Tell an accountant that you’re always especially envious of detail-oriented people; tell a teacher you’re in awe of those who can motivate others. If you like what your date is wearing or how this person decorated his or her home, “don’t compliment the ‘thing’ — anyone can buy a thing — but call out what it says about him or her,” says Susan Rabin, author of Lucky in Love. Instead of the tie itself, praise the person’s individual style; instead of muttering “nice couch,” say you’re wowed by people who have an eye for color and design.

Emphasize your date’s name in your verbal responses

When someone shares an anecdote, most of us fall back on interjections like “Unh-UH!” or “Wow, that’s crazy!” The problem is, those encouragements also sound like clichés — especially once you’ve used them several times in one evening. A better way to punctuate your partner’s story? “Use his or her name,” says Dennison. Hearing a specific name — whether it’s “Wow, Sheila, you’re so brave!” or “Way to go, Jeremy, I’m impressed!” — will make dates think you really get what’s so “them” about the tale they just told, which is way more flattering than wondering if you were listening at all.

Playfully tease your date

If you saw The Departed, you probably remember the scene when Matt Damon asks his date something like: “What makes you think I want a second date with you?” — then bursts out laughing. It turns out those childhood playground tormentors (“Ewww, you have cooties!”) were onto something. “Thinking someone is attracted to you is great, but our research also suggests that not being sure about it actually heightens the excitement,” says grad student Paul Eastwick, Finkel’s research partner at the Northwestern Relationships Lab.

Hearing that kind of rejection can spike feelings of anxiety — then fill you with relief when you realize it was a gag. So if you’re sure your date has a good sense of humor, give him or her a little ribbing first: “Oh no, you’re an Aquarius? Shoot, I have a rule about that.” Not only do you get to have an instant inside joke, it sends a subtle message that you’re into your date enough to be comfortable joking about it. Just make sure you don’t tease about something the person’s sensitive about — that’s not flirting; that’s an insult.

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