Modern birth control changed bonding relationships profoundly.  Universal internet connections to practically everyone in the world has been another game changer.  For many of us our beliefs and expectations about relationships has lagged behind the reality of modern relationships.

familyBefore Birth Control (BBC)
In the times before modern birth control intimate relationships between men and women normally produced babies. Mothers nursed infants and cared for the kids and the nest.  Men worked outside the home. Couples exhausted the remainder of their youth and all their middle age raising their families.  Mostly, couples bonded for life. Religions and laws supported this lifestyle.  Couples committed to the relationship once and then made it work as best they could “til death do you part.” Divorce was rarely an acceptable choice. It wasn’t a perfect arrangement, but it lasted centuries.

After Birth Control (ABC)6155_O'Connor_Sandra Day O'Connor being sworn in as US Supreme Court Justice, 1981_with credit_Collection of the Supreme Court_crop2
Birth control affects women more profoundly than men. For men, birth control has allowed the control of taking on the responsibilities of being a provider for a family under the old family model.  For women, it meant they could have relationships and at the same time  be a provider.  Women are no longer expected to be limited to the role of “barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.”

Fluidity of Relationships
Divorce – Since women started entering the career world divorce rates have skyrocketed.  In the BBC way of thinking this has been a shocking reality, but in the ABC world it’s not really so negative. While there are substantial negatives to divorce, particularly with children, divorce is more manageable when both spouses can work and support themselves, as is often the case today. Divorce also allows escape from bad marriages.  The old stigma of divorce is melting away.

Unmarried or late marriages – Statistics show a great increase in men and women who are choosing to remain unmarried or postpone marriage. With birth control they can have careers and relationships without the challenges of raising kids.

Child Care – Career women who wanted children but didn’t want to abandon their careers created a need for child care to take care of their precious little ones during working hours.  Some husbands split or assume all the responsibility for work time child care. Though sometimes reluctantly,  many husbands today are sharing other domestic chores more equally with their wives.

Internet Dating and App Dating
The ease of finding a compatible mate is remarkable when compared to the profoundly limited choices of just a decade or two ago. It’s fast, easy and cheap.

Uncommitted? Relationships
Are humans naturally monogamous?

Is a lifetime commitment the goal of bonded relationships?

When is divorce the right answer for a marriage?

Are religious ideas of marriage keeping up with changing science and cultures?

How do overpopulation and lower mortality rates relate to making families?

Are expectations of having a home like Beaver, or even Bart, becoming obsolete?

If you can answer these questions with intelligence and sensitivity, you need to have a voice that is heard.  For many people the answers to these questions have changes radically over the past few decades.  Our observation is that marriage age people today generally have very different thoughts about marriage than their parents.

 

 

We all hate to be wrong, but in reality we are wrong often.  We just don’t want to admit it to ourselves or others.  That holds us back from successful dating.  When we can admit we were wrong, we can learn from our experiences.

mr_handSchool taught us wrongly
In school getting a wrong answer generally meant you were either not very smart or you didn’t work hard enough.  Either way, you were not enough, inadequate, and that’s a feeling we try to avoid. We tend to carry this way of thinking into all matters of our lives, and that may be our biggest mistake.  We should be able to be wrong without shame.

heatseekerHeat seeking missile
The simple but effective intelligence of heat seeking missiles comes from the ability to know when it is wrong. It changes course regularly to find its moving target. When its heat sensor says that any move has resulted in less heat, the missile knows it’s wrong and its guidance system moves away from the cool and back toward the heat. Simple but effective.

Be a match seeking missile
Missiles learn a simple lesson from being wrong, how to correct themselves. If you are going off course and not finding a match, correct that.  It’s simple. (not really)

Missiles feel no shame from being wrong.  Don’t get hung up on your so-called “failures.”  You can call them your “direction corrections” instead.   Expect that direction corrections will be an important part of your dating process. Recognized mistakes are not just excusable, they are desirable!

Missiles make many corrections before finding their target. Your chances of finding the right person increase dramatically if you are willing to cull through a wide group of wrong people.  If your match-seeking sensor is on, you’ll learn something with each wrong move.

“Your best teacher is your last mistake”    Ralph Nader

So, get out there, make some mistakes, learn some things, and find your target!

No one knows you as well as you know yourself (presuming basic mental health). You know where you’ve been, what you’ve done, how you feel about things, what you dream about, etc. elizabethanYet, we all find it challenging to classify ourselves into personality types with confidence.

Know Yourself
As you get involved in the dating game there are definite benefits to knowing generally what kind of person you are.
Know what you are offering
Not everyone wants the same things from a mate.  Haven’t you noticed that with some happy couples one is a talker and the other tends to be less talkative. The less talkative one probably likes it that the talker brings that to the table. Do you like to touch? Listen? Debate? Cook?

Know what you want
Do you want someone to exercise with you? Or to leave you alone while you exercise?  How much time do you want to be alone, with your mate, or with friends? Do you want your mate to structure your vacations for you? Do you want to do it? Do you like unstructured vacations?

distortedjpgHow to learn about yourself
Sorry, but while introspection is helpful, it will rarely give you a clear picture of yourself. We all have biases about ourselves that make it difficult to see ourselves. You are trying to get past that cloudy thinking, not accentuate it.

Counseling
Counseling can be a great way to learn about yourself. Sure, it takes time and money, but a good counselor (not one who just tells you what feels good) can open your eyes to see yourself in amazing ways.

Personality Systems
An easy way to start seeing yourself better is personality test like the Myers-Briggs 16 personality types.  Google “personality test” and you will find a bunch.  Some folks like the Enneagram personality typing scheme.  Look for yourself.

baby_in_mirrorDon’t be Afraid to See Yourself
You are who you are, warts and all.  You are an amazing product of nature and nurture; a complex, wonderful human being. The more you know about yourself, the more you can appreciate yourself.

You would think that the number one “Deal Breaker” for dating would be something that we can’t easily control, but that is not the case. You might think it is something people commonly lie about in their online profiles, but that is not the case.

Messy

Messy  Sloppy  Dirty  Disheveled  Grubby  Grimy  Unclean  Soiled  Stained  Smelly  Unsightly  Bedraggled
Bad personal appearance, messy car, and cluttered home are cited as the number one dating turnoffs.  Both men and women do it, and both men and women are turned off by it.

Why so messy?
Everyone knows being sloppy will hurt their chances, but people do it anyway. Dates show up unbathed (and smelly).  Dates wear obviously dirty clothes. Cars have piles of trash from years of accumulation.  If you want to lose at the dating game, being a slob is a fine game plan.  It’s proven to turn off dates.

Do the work – Get the rewards
Anyone can be clean. It just takes a little effort. Forget the excuses.  Everyone knows that being messy just means you aren’t willing to make the effort, and that unwillingness is a strong statement of disrespect for your date.  We are sensual creatures. We are attracted or repelled by what our senses encounter.  Make your sights, sounds, and smells attractive on your dates. (You may then be able to offer touch and taste later)

“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”    Benjamin Franklin

People clean up wellsharp-dressed
It’s amazing how much better people can look when they try! Nice clean clothes, a haircut and a reasonable amount of grooming go a looooooong way.  Ever had an old car detailed?  It will amaze you how nice an old car can look. Good posture? Why not.

“Accept me the way I am” is nonsense
We’ve heard people say they don’t think they should appear different on a date than they normally appear. That logic is flawed. There are only two conclusions to be had from that approach:  1) the date is not a significant event that requires special effort or 2) this is the absolute best the person can do.  People usually shave, bathe, and put on nice clothes for a wedding or job interview.  Why not for a date?  Telling your dates that they are unimportant won’t help you.

Packaging
One of the reasons Apple is the most valuable company in the world is their great packaging.  Their gear looks cool. Other companies have learned that too.  Appearances matter.   Ever noticed how much effort goes into a perfume bottle?  Champagne labels?

Number Two Deal Breaker?
Laziness!  Are you seeing a pattern?

Hi, I’m a lazy slob.  What about a second date?

Win the online dating game by doing it better!

bearRule # 1 – Keep ahead of the others
You know the old joke about the guy stopping to put on his running shoes while a bear is chasing him and his buddy. The buddy asks “Do you really think those shoes will help you outrun a bear?”  His calm response is “I don’t need to outrun the bear, I just need to outrun you.”

The same logic holds true for dating online. Be better than your competition and you win, you get the attention.  Thank your lucky stars that most dating profiles are not very well done.  So, tie on your  running shoes and polish your profile to look better than the other ones.

Rule # 2 – Know what your “buyer” wantsbananas2
Which banana gets picked first?  It all depends on what the buyer wants from the banana.  Over-ripe bananas sell well for making banana bread.  Some people can’t put up with any brown specks.  Others want really green bananas to eat much later.  Someone may want just one that is perfectly ripe to eat in the parking lot.

Who’s your buyer?  What is it about you that your date wants?  When you can answer those questions, you can properly show off your assets and attract the attention you want.  Lets say you want a date who will appreciate your stability. You may want to mention that you’ve been following your hobby since you were a teen or that you’ve been elected to the position of treasurer in an organization for xx years in a row.  Facts speak much louder than the common simple brag statements like “I’m a dependable person” or ” My friends say I’m ……”
bad-appleRule # 3 – Know what your “buyer” doesn’t want
Some profiles are rotten apples.  No one in their right mind would pursue those people based on their profiles. If you’ve seen a few profiles then you will likely have noticed the rotten apples.

There are also some better approaches to improve good profiles. One thing people do all the time is say they are looking for someone who is honest.  We wonder if that distinguishes them from the people who are searching for dishonest dates?  Displaying a strong need for honesty is code for “I’ve been burned by a no-good lying ……”  It’s better not to disclose that early on.  Avoid the negative in your profile.  You may be justifiably bitter about your last relationship, but it doesn’t sell well. Also, most people are nervous about dating, but don’t say things like “I can’t believe I am doing this.”  You are doing it, so everyone believes it.  At least pretend to be confident.  It’s attractive.  Additionally, avoid nonsense. Saying things like “I like people” just makes potential dates think “Huh? Doesn’t everybody?”  Display your smarts.

Your online profile is like a tapestry of who you are.  Weave it with skill and care, and it will attract attention, desire, and collectors.

swift-silvertails-passing“SWIFT SILVERTAILS PASSING” by Ulrika Leander

So maybe your first attempt won’t quite be a masterpiece like Ulrika produces, but you can weave an image of yourself that is cohesive, coherent, and very appealing.

Design it
Your dating profile is an image of you that you have decided to present to the world.  Isn’t that worth composing well?  We are regularly amazed when incredibly fine people present profiles that make them look like clods of dirt. Maybe consider your first attempt at drafting your profile to be a “rough sketch.”   Re-read what you did and start to better develop the idea of who you are and how you can best be presented. Maybe crumple up a few drafts and file them in the recycling.  We’re willing to bet big money that Ulrika didn’t just sit down and start weaving with the vague idea that a flock of birds would look pretty cool flying through a forest of trees.

Weave it
It’s work. Creative work? Yes. Rewarding work? Yes. But nonetheless, work.  Invest the necessary time and energy into what may ultimately be one of the most important things that you do in your whole life. What if you were offered the deal of having a great mate for the rest of your life in exchange for a dozen or so hours of work creating your profile tapestry?  If you’re too busy watching TV to take that deal, it’s probably best that you just keep on watching Cheers reruns.

Get help if you need it. Would you fix the brakes on your car yourself without knowing how?

Profile bonus
Unlike woven tapestries, you can rewrite your profile to improve it at any time.  If it ain’t working, fix it.  You can and will learn what works and what doesn’t. Apply that knowledge.

Be a masterpiece!

You only have one chance to make a first impression!

We encourage you to take the time and make the effort to deliver the first impression that works best for you.

Put your best foot forward = to act or appear your best; to try to make a good impression

To Act and Appear Your Best Online
The first goal of your online profile and pictures is to catch the attention of dates who are good matches for you.  After you catch their attention, your online presence needs to create sufficient interest in you to make dating likely.

Rule # 1 – Appeal to universal desires
Unless you are one of those rare people looking for something “peculiar” in a relationship (shades of whatever), count on the fact that most people are looking for the same normal things in a relationship.  Not many daters are looking to avoid people who are “nice” and “interesting” and “happy” and “healthy” and “honest” and….

Rule # 2 – Avoid unnecessary turn-offs
Sometimes trivial things detract from your image. Skip displaying information that is irrelevant to you. For example, including your astrological sign may give someone the impression that you are an astrology true believer.  That may be an unnecessary turn-off to some people.  over-accessorizedThere is a tendency to believe that the more you put in your profile, the more likely you will attract a date.  Not true.  Show what is important to you.

Rule # 3 – Keep the “your” in your best
If you are creating an attractive image that is not you, that is not likely to benefit you in the long run.  On the other hand, get past the generic descriptors when describing yourself.  Maybe sit down with a friend and “brainstorm” what makes you special.  Sometimes others see us more clearly than we do.

Rule # 4 – Don’t try to hide the obvious
Research has proven that being open about your obvious characteristics you may believe are  “negatives” works much better than trying to hide them.  For example, if you think you are too short to be attractive, it’s better to show you are comfortable with your height than to initially appear to be hiding your height.  People are attracted to confidence.  Don’t make your insecurities (we all have them) the focus of their attention.  If your profile seems to say “Yes, I’m 5′ X”. I’m good with it.”  you defuse the issue.  More often than not, what you think is your big “negative” is not nearly as big a deal to potential dates.

Pay attention to your sources of advice!

“No enemy is worse than bad advice.”   Sophocles

keep-calm-and-follow-the-moneyWhat is their Motive?
If your source of advice is a commercial enterprise, how do they make their money?  Ask yourself “Is this advice being given because they want my dating to succeed?”

Click Bait
Many web sites make their money through the advertising on the site.  Every time someone clicks onto their site they make a little money from their advertisers.  If a site claims something like “The TOP 5 SECRETS to finding EVERLASTING LOVE” and their web pages are plastered with ads, can you guess what they are up to?   Do they care about you or your click?  If the claim is too good to be true, well….

Books
Granted, people generally write books to make money.  They also spend a lot of time writing, and, if the book comes from a big publisher, there has likely been some intelligent editing. We’ve read quite a few books on dating. Some are relatively worthless. Some offer real help. Some we disagree with entirely.  The good thing about buying from bookstores is that you can thumb through the book to see if you like what is being said.  Amazon has reviews that may be helpful, but we’ve purchased some well-reviewed books that were ludicrously bad.  Hey, at least we got a laugh.

Dating Websites
There are some excellent dating websites out there. We are really glad we were able to attract each other through match.com.  While we see no reason to believe the dating websites don’t want to help make matches, they make more money the longer you pay to have their service.  Hmmm, there seems to be a conflict.helping

Who Cares?
We believe there are many good people in this world who care about the well-being of others. Keep your eyes open wide (and your hand on your wallet) and look for the caring people who want to help you.

Find your Own Way using Directions
Recognize that you can figure out this dating challenge.  Also, recognize that it’s smart to find help.  You can drive from NYC to LA without a map, but it’s not such a bad idea to use one.  On the other hand, a map won’t get you there, you still must get behind the wheel (and pay for the gas).


The title is a famous marketing statement made popular in the 1930’s. It’s based on a simple progression that takes place in the human mind:

DESIRE    ATTRACTION    SATISFACTION

Desire for Steak
Steaks sell because of a powerful recurring desire, hunger.  That’s not the only desire though.  There is something about grilled meat that really turns on most people (no offense intended to our vegetarian and vegan friends).  Maybe it’s the memory of the satisfaction of eating a hot, juicy, and tender steak.

Sell the Sizzlesizzle
Sizzle is stimulating. It creates an eagerness for the steak. We all know that instant appetite we feel when we smell baking bread or grilling meat.  It’s a primal instinct of desire. We can choose whether or not to pursue the desired thing, but we don’t choose the attraction.  The attraction works at a subconscious level.  We may need to be in the right mood to be susceptible to the attraction, but it works on us whether we want it to or not.

Deliver the Steak
Unless you don’t care about the customer, you have to deliver what the sizzle promised. You have to meet expectations or there will be disappointment.  Satisfaction will bring them back for more.

Dating Desires
To understand your sizzle you must first understand the desires that you may choose to satisfy. OK, everybody’s mind jumps to the desire for sex.  While that is often a powerful desire and should not be overlooked when considering your sizzle, it is not necessarily the most powerful desire your potential date may have.  It is surely not the only desire.  The desire for companionship is strong.  What about the desire for appreciation?  Happiness.  Romance. Giving. Touch. Safety. The list for what people want from the person they hang with goes on and on.

Dating Sizzle
Like a steak’s sizzle, your dating sizzle comes from the highly attractive attributes of what satisfies the desires.  Eating satisfies hunger.  The sights, sounds, and, smells of a steak cooking are the attractions.  The desire for steak is relatively simple compared to dating desires.  You will have to work harder at being creative to discover your dating sizzle.  The desire for sex is often believed to be one of the simpler desires and therefore one of the easier ones to produce sizzle. Sizzles for the companionship desire are more challenging. Those sizzles are even more challenging if you try to create sizzle with written words; for example, “long walks on the beach” or “cuddling together on the sofa” or “attending the opera together.”  candlelit

Pictures can sizzle way more than written words (unless you are Shakespeare). Humans can be powerfully stimulated by images. This is why advertising uses images.  There is a big difference between writing “I love candlelit dinners for two” and this image. Your dating profile pictures are very important to creating your sizzle.

What you do on a date has great potential to sizzle. Your packaging can sizzle. Dressing attractively, being nicely groomed, and wearing a nice fragrance (even though every carnivore loves the smell of bacon, we don’t recommend it) can stimulate a multitude of desires. A kind word can be powerful, not to mention a smile or laugh.  You may not be able to give your date a lifetime of love on your first date, but you can give them the expectation that you might be the source of such love.  Did we mention the excellent sizzle of eye contact held just a little longer than normal?

Dating Satisfaction
Only create the high expectations that you want to live up to.  It may be tempting to offer what you won’t deliver, but it’s obviously a doomed enterprise. Know what you will be delivering before you sell the sizzle.  The good thing is that most people want what most other people can satisfy. If someone desires companionship, it’s not too hard to find someone else who wants the same thing. If your date desires appreciation, is it so hard to say “mmmmm, this is good” when you eat your date’s cooking?  Deliver the goods your sizzle sold and you have the makings of a great relationship.  Sizzle gets them in the door, but satisfaction keeps them coming back for more.

Sell the sizzle – deliver the steak!

All I really know about dating, I learned from the poker table?

Poker_handLook at your cards
That seems obvious.  You don’t want the disadvantage of not knowing how good or bad your hand is.  The same holds true for what you bring to the dating table.  Have you taken a clear look at your strengths and weaknesses?   Sometimes we think we are just like most everyone else, but that is not true.  Some people downplay their strengths and over-emphasize their weaknesses.  Others do just the opposite. Finding reality is what you want.  Your cards are no better or worse than the reality of them.

Play your hand well
Use your strengths to your advantage and don’t let your weaknesses hold you back.  In the hand above the 2 of hearts is insignificant. How to play the three 5s is what this hand is all about.  Say you are a great cook, but you aren’t interested in sports.  Look for someone who loves your cooking and could not care less about your detachment from sports.

Be observant
If you know your hand, you are half way there.  After that you need to get an idea of what cards are across the table. It’s not easy to know the other person’s hand, but it’s impossible if you are not paying attention.  You know all too well that well-practiced bluffs can fool you. On the other hand, amateur players may not even know how good or bad their hand is.  The longer you play with someone, the better idea you will have of how that player plays.

Calling your bluff
You can pretend to have assets that you don’t actually have.  In poker you may win when your competitor believes your bluff and folds never knowing for sure whether you were bluffing or not.  That is not the way dating works (hopefully!).  In dating your bluff will always be revealed if you stay in the game long enough. If it a big bluff, you are likely to lose.

Know when to fold ’empoker
If the chances of this hand (date) being a winner has really bad odds, it’s time to back out and wait for the next hand.  There will always be another hand to play.  If you are willing to take the risk of playing against long odds,  you are going to have to get used to losing a lot. Play hands that you have a good chance of winning.

You too can be the King or Queen of Hearts!