People are often on their very best behavior for much of the first phase of dating. Playing “Prince” or “Princess Charming,” making romantic gestures, acting affectionate, and using their very best manners. It’s easy to hide mood swings, flaws and ticks when you aren’t living together or experiencing all of the normal day-to-day doldrums of life without an escape hatch.
When you’re dating, and you have a terrible day at work, or traffic was a beast, or a customer service rep wasn’t helpful after being on hold for an hour, you typically have the chance to decompress before seeing the special person you’re dating. The luster of the relationship hasn’t dulled and your excitement over the possibility of a future together means you are going to put on a happy face, try to enjoy yourself and leave the ugly day behind.
But that’s not reality.
In fact, it would behoove you to keep it real after a month or so of dating to see how you both deal with times of stress, and how you handle each other when one of you is moody and stubborn. It is not realistic to always be charming; no one is that smooth all the time. Everyone has their issues and if you can’t figure out how to be on the same team and deal with them together, then you may need to find a different partner.
- What do I have to do to get a date?
- All my friends are getting married and having kids, and leaving me behind.
- I’m never going to get married at this point.
These are only some of the Facebook status updates I’ve read within the past few weeks. Word to the wise — posting these types of updates is not going to help you find a date. Your friends will be sympathetic, but probably won’t want to set you up given your current state of self-despair mode. Nobody likes a pity party. Keep your dirty laundry off your social media profiles; simply vent to your close friends instead and then move on. You will find someone, but dating is a state of mind and you need to keep it positive in public.
A recent article in The New York Times “Modern Love” column titled The Hard Won Lessons of the Solitary Years resonated with me. Although there are lessons that we learn while IN relationships, there are also many lessons we learn the older we are as singles. Which is why it always bothered me when my coupled up counterparts would speak to me in a condescending way about things that I “wouldn’t understand” because I wasn’t married or in a relationship at the time.
What I found ironic though is that I was learning life lessons as an independent woman that would go on to benefit me later. There’s no right or wrong answer to what age is best for getting married; everyone has their own path, but in the meantime we should be cognizant of the way we speak to our friends who are on a different path and make sure we are respectful. Everyone learns their own hard fought lessons on their own time and we never know what someone is going through, it’s best to appreciate what they bring to the table — a perspective that comes from being in a different stage of life than ours.
A friend of mine was very excited about her newest JDate and took two hours to get ready, called me on the way for a pep talk and had high hopes. About three hours later I received a perplexed phone call from her. Her date didn’t have any hands. No prosthetics either. He was more than able to eat and drink and of course his physical disability had nothing to do with the great conversation — or the lack of chemistry — but she was also perturbed that he hadn’t mentioned it earlier because she was in shock. Nor did he address it during dinner and she didn’t feel comfortable doing so either. Even so, she was able to put that aside and enjoy the date and was disappointed when she didn’t feel anything romantic towards him. Yet, she was perplexed about why he wouldn’t have disclosed such an obvious physical disability ahead of time and asked me if that was wrong of her to feel that way.
Although I don’t necessarily think her date needed to write about it in his JDate profile, he could have broached the topic in their emails simply by saying that he has a physical disability which doesn’t hold him back from living a normal life but that he doesn’t want her to be surprised upon arrival. And he absolutely should have addressed it immediately upon meeting her as it becomes the elephant in the room otherwise. It doesn’t need to become a focal point, he should have just said something along the lines of “clearly I don’t have hands, this is why and what happened and how I operate” and let her ask a question or two and then move on. The same would go for a glass eye or a prosthetic leg or anything else that is visually obvious because although it is not a lie to not disclose it ahead of time, it is omitting something important. Of course there are mental disabilities that people don’t have to disclose and can keep under wraps but that’s another post which would be 10x as long!
I’m getting tired of women not returning calls. What do I do?
Dear Dead Ringer,
Keep calling. But first, analyze what you are saying and how you are saying it to see if perhaps you are being too aggressive or too much of a pushover. Are you saying too much? Too little? Have some sort of script ready, one for if the prospect answers and one for the voicemail. It shouldn’t sound too rehearsed but you need something to keep you on track. A phone call should last about 10 minutes and consist of you asking the girl out on a date. A message should simply state who you are, a quick reminder of who you are (example: …this is Mike from JDate…) and your phone number as well as a short but sweet farewell (I’m looking forward to hearing back from you soon). People get nervous when they are making their first phone call which is why people often go off on tangents. having a framework to follow will help you have confidence calling and that confidence will come through in your voice. And don’t abuse the phone. Call once and if you get the voicemail or she answers but can’t talk at the moment, then go ahead and try again if you don’t hear back after 2 days, but don’t call again after that. Twice is nice. In this circumstance the third time is not the charm, it’s overkill. So when I said keep calling at the beginning of my response I meant keep calling different women. The fact that you’re getting the phone number is a testament unto itself as that’s often the hardest part!
I have no idea what I am doing wrong on JDate. I am a handsome, successful 27-year-old and I think I am just not able to convey that in my profile. I have really tried JDate: I’ve literally sent out a couple hundred messages and gotten very few responses. I don’t know what I am doing wrong could definitely could use some help.
Dear Mr. Handsome,
First off, you don’t necessarily want to convey that you are successful because you don’t want women showing interest in you based on your riches. And you don’t have to write about how handsome you are — your pictures should do the trick for you as long as you have good photos. My concern when I read “a couple hundred messages” is that you may be sending copy & paste emails — NEVER DO THIS! Make sure your emails are written specifically for that prospect. My other concern about so many emails sent is that your preferences may not be narrow enough and therefore you are sending emails to women who clearly would not be interested in you for whatever reasons. So make sure your profile is not obnoxious about how successful you are, make sure your photos are good, write charming emails, and narrow down your preferences slightly to be more realistic. Don’t give up. The odds are in your favor whether it feels like it or not!
“All my friends are engaged,” she said to me as if I haven’t heard that one before. “What am I supposed to do?”
I thought she meant gift-wise, so I instructed her on the types of gifts you should purchase for a couple, depending on where they are in their wedding timeline. But then, unexpectedly, she started shaking her head at me.
“No, no,” she said. “I mean how am I supposed to feel.”
When you see that all your friends are in long-lasting relationships, and the rings start magically growing on their fingers, it’s common to feel a bit jealous or internally sad. But it’s important to remember a few things.
- Do: Try to be happy for them. If they are a good friend of yours, this won’t be something you will have to try hard to do. It’s important to push away any negative personal feelings you have for the moment and instead congratulate them. Remember, this is not about you — this is about them.
- Don’t: There’s no need to compare yourself to them — or anyone. Everyone’s life moves at a different speed and you should never compare and contrast. Don’t ask yourself why you’re still single, or if there’s something wrong with you.
Learn about Jen Glantz’s new book, ALL MY FRIENDS ARE ENGAGED.
under Online Dating
Is it okay to write “Only respond if you like kids” upfront in your profile? Many men say they are “anti-child support.” And I, like many women, am for child support reform.
Dear Child Supporter,
I don’t think it’s necessary to be so blunt, but you can convey your desire in many other subtle, yet firm ways. Simply stating that you have kids will eliminate many prospects who don’t want to date a woman with children.
For the others who think it’s not a problem, but clearly aren’t going to be supportive co or step-parents, then make sure you mention — in just one sentence — about your love for your children or your desire to have children. I caution people not to discuss their divorces or children too much as you want someone to date YOU first and foremost, and to get to know YOU outside of your other roles in life.
A blogger from The Times of Israel recently posted an article called “15 Women Hotter Than Bar Refaeli.” It listed women such as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Prime Minister Golda Meir and comedian Sarah Silverman. The point of the article is to show that what makes a woman “hot” is not just a gorgeous face or a sexy body, but brains and the ability to use them.
Looks are subjective; everyone has their own idea of what is sexy and what (or who) they are attracted to. However, brains, intelligence and ingenuity cannot be faked (at least not for long). You are going to click on someone’s profile because you’re attracted to their profile photo, but you’re going to continue being interested based on what’s beneath — so put more effort into getting to know your prospects before you determine that you are or are not interested.
I read somewhere recently that the beginning of a relationship should feel like a honeymoon period. Meaning there should be very little things that need to be worked out and absolutely no fighting. If someone comes at you with a negative attitude or starts an argument with you while you’re still in the “courting” phase, consider something to be very wrong.
- Do: Approach situations calmly and with your head on straight. When someone says something to you that makes you upset, wait before responding and never respond back attacking them. Remember, this is someone who is supposed to make you happy and feel safe and secure. If they are starting fights with you, especially early on, things won’t get better later on.
- Don’t: Feel obligated to give someone a second or a third or a fourth chance if they keep on starting fights with you or disagreeing with you. Stand up for what you believe in and don’t sacrifice your comfort level.