How to Date – Back to Basics
If you've been out of the dating scene for any length of time, here's the bad news: things have changed. Now, here's the good news: much of this change is for the better! It's not hard to get back into dating and Dr. Dennis lets a reader know exactly how to get started.
Hey Dr. Dennis – Hi and thank you for your help!
I am single and I have been for 2 years. I’m a 30-year old woman with 2 part-time kids. I am attractive (though somewhat overweight), intelligent and I like to think I'm good company.
Recently, I have had some pretty bad luck in re-entering the dating scene. I've been stood up a couple of times, met a man who did nothing but play games with me, met another man who just took off and stopped talking to me, met another man who fell in love with me way too fast and I just want to be friends with, have had many, many emails messages through a singles site that are ignored or they will just stop talking to me with no explanation or reason, and I even joined a few Meetup groups (Meetup.com) in the area and have been putting myself out there but I just can't seem to meet anyone who is genuine and good. In fact mostly what I've encountered is very negative and discouraging.
I'm also not very good at reading people so that makes things a little more difficult, and I'm not the most social person.
I'm starting to wonder if there's something wrong with me, or if this is typical of the dating game. I'm very saddened by everything that has transpired and I'm discouraged and distraught. I'm wonder if you have any insight on this, any tips I could try, etc., I would greatly appreciate it.
It seems that the single common denominator in all of this is you. Yes, I can tell you very likely what the problem is since the symptomatology is so clear and specific.
First of all, let's do a little inventory, shall we? This is a little painful, but trust me, it's very important so that we have a place to start.
You have two kids and you're a single mother. You're overweight and I'm going to bet you've met at least some of these guys (if not most of them) on the internet. You're probably also using some VERY outdated dating methodologies (I'll get more into this in a minute), and there are probably a bunch of other things going on here I don't yet know. I'll bet you also have some pretty high - and maybe somewhat unreasonable - expectations for the men you date.
Here's the reality: both men and women have something of a "point system" they have to address when they consider dating. Frankly, very few people do that. They decide what they want and simply hope for it to happen. When it doesn't, they look around and wonder why. Worse yet, they never even consider what THEY bring to the table to see if it's even a match for the guys they want to date!
Let's say that you live in a big city; which considering that you're involved with Meetup, I'll bet is true. Big cities create big competition. You have MANY other girls competing for the same "male real estate" that you are. Many of these girls are in shape and may not have kids, are younger and may even be better partners or have better dating/relationship skills than you have.
I'll be the first to tell you that while this is unfair, it's simply the way things are. These issues are significant problems for any single woman in the dating market! Your looks, your availability, your skill sets, and even your age are all your "dating currency". Men look at these things and decide whether or not you're someone on the playing field or not and whether you're short-term material or long-term material. Don't feel too bad however; men have their own "point system" to reach as well.
Knowing (and accepting) this will help you to maximize your ability to market to the "right" guys!
There's another thing at play here you need to understand:
MOST women today are using the wrong play book when it comes to dating. In fact, they are using the same one their mothers and grandmothers used to be successful. The problem is, it's a new millennium with new rules. The old techniques simply no longer work anymore. In fact, they work against you and the very symptoms you described are the same ones I see when women use these worn-out tools.
Obviously this is a very large discussion, so let's go back to basics:
* Your look is one of the most important tools you have in dating. Maximize it! Get in shape and drop the weight. Make sure your hair is "date ready", and by that I mean, no short haircuts! Style magazines tell you these look good - they don't. The vast majority of guys want girls that look like girls - not boys. Thus, grow your hair out - and no wacky colors. Check your make-up and wardrobe and update it if you need to. Another problem with being a mom is that you've likely not kept up with these things.
* You girls continue to propagate the myths that playing "hard to get" gives you value in men's eyes. No, it doesn't. That is a hold-over from a long-gone age! In fact, most guys today don't even understand this game and simply see it as rude and inept. Are you looking to date only rude guys? Of course not - neither are men. Your availability is extremely important! This is one reason why having kids works so hard against you in the dating world. Likewise, not picking up the phone, not returning phone calls, cancelling dates at the last minute and any of the 1001 other little games some of you girls play kills off modern, potential relationships! You've got to be available to the guys you want to date or they'll simply go find someone that IS available - and smarter. Think about this: my readers understand these facts and usually have 2-3 or more phone numbers they're working at any one time. If you don't pick up the phone or return the phone call, guess who gets the date? The next girl in line! Guess who gets the relationship? Yep - same one.
* Don't try to date via technology! This doesn't work either! Texting and email (for example) KILLS relationships! Especially if you're using dating sites, you've got to get to that in-person meeting right away! I'm talking days here - NOT weeks and especially, not multiple emails! If the guy can't/won't or doesn't know he should do this, YOU have to move this into in-person immediately! You don't want him getting impressions of you at a distance that you can never live up to! These form VERY quickly. Don't let them.
* Don't try to hold off sex thinking that makes the relationship better - it doesn't. That is simply artificial manipulation of the relationship that is supposed to be moving forward. I'm not saying to get to it before you're ready, but don't hold it off. Men use sex early on very differently from women. Whereas you use it to bond and creating intimacy, men use it to determine if we WANT TO bond and create intimacy with you! Soon however, that window of opportunity closes and we realize we'll never have that emotional connection with you. We'll still have sex with you, but you'll never have access to our hearts.
* Change your "standards". I'm not saying to date just anyone, but you; like far too many girls in your situation have standards that your own dating currency likely can't afford. You have too many wants and expectations without the ability to return value. Further, if a guy makes even a small mistake, you're ready to cut him loose and move on. That's not good dating strategy. You need to cultivate relationships, not have some perfect, unobtainable one right out of the box.
* Learn how to approach guys yourself and how to set-up dates! Give back to the dating process too! For instance, if you've been out with a guy a couple of times, it's a good idea to invite him over for a meal and some wine or out for something fun. Guys don't want to have to be the only ones investing - nor do you. Guys will quickly lose interest if they don't see something coming back. On the other hand, guys will hang in there far longer than they should or otherwise would if they do!
* Clearly separate dating from friendship. Don't mix the two or throw mixed signals.
* Check your attitude at the door. No guy wants to be around some girl that is judgmental, obnoxious, mean, hateful or angry. We want - and in fact, NEED - to be around women that are sweet, engaged, fun and interesting.
I've given you a lot to think about here. These are the basics and everything builds from there.
Have a love, dating, sex or relationship question? You can write to me or get more information about “Being a Man in a Woman’s World tm” by going to: http://BeingAMan.com. Be sure to check out the new BAM! TV at http://BeingAMan.tv. Follow me on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/cas4w9) and Twitter (http://tinyurl.com/d3pecs).
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Neder is known around the world as a tough, but fair relationship expert, dealing with all sorts of dating, sex and relationship issues from a man's perspective. He has written 14 books ("Being a Man in a Woman's World™" series) and is working on 3 others. He's also written hundreds of articles, answered over 30,000 reader/viewer questions and has been on over a thousand radio and TV shows. "Dr. Dennis" is funny, direct and intuitive and has a unique ability to get right to the heart of the issue.
Do you have a burning question that needs an answer? Are you a man that wants to better experiences with women, or a woman that wants to better understand men? To learn more, go to http://beingaman.com and http://beingaman.tv. You can also follow his micro-blog at: http://twitter.com/dwneder.