Some dating thoughs that mingle mine and those from this part funny, sometimes irreverent, and often spot on book about dating, "Dating Makes You Want to Die: But You Have to Do It Anyway" by Daniel Holloway & Dorothy Robinson. The title itself gets you to open the book, but the snark and the truth keep you reading.
- Being single is okay when you're supposed to be single--in your twenties. Getting out from under parents, going to college, the military, or starting a full-time real job is just the beginning. The time for finding love and settling down and getting married is still in the twenties and has only increased a couple of years in the past thirty years.
- It's less okay when you're in your thirties because you realize everyone else is not single anymore. Your friends won't stay out late anymore and you find yourself the 3rd or 5th at every get together. You notice the conversation is about baby food, or diaper delivery.
- It's definitely not okay in your forties where all your old friends are a distant memory and all you get is suspicious glances from other 40-year-olds pushing miniature plastic race cars around in the grocery store while you're humming along with just a basket; or worse yet with a jug of milk in one hand a magazine in the other.
- Kidding of course, but anytime you swim upstream from cultural norms you'll start to feel uncomfortable. And the cultural norm is to be married. But that doesn't mean its wrong. 43% of all American adults are currently single. 22% of all American adults will never marry. 78% of all American adults will get married. 25% all American adults will divorce at least once (which is about 33% of all married adults). There are nearly 200 million adults in the US; so get dating!
- Eyes - catch someone looking at you? If you are interested, hold their gaze briefly and smile. Let them know you're interested too.
- Touching - If someone is comfortable enough to touch, they like you at least a little. It takes time and trust to shrink personal space, but a touch is a good sign.
- Laughing - This also means good. If someone is laughing at your jokes--they're into you.
WARNING SIGNS THAT FIRST CONTACT ISN'T GOING WELL
- Your at party and they end the conversation. Not a good sign, but you can wait and try again later. If it happens again, they're not interested.
- They drift away while at a gathering - this may mean they have to attend to other friends/family. But if they never return, they're not interested.
- They won't give out their phone number. People give out their phone number to people they like. If you don't get their number, they don't like you.
EYE TO EYE
- Restaurant not coffee. Unless it's an online dating contact, no coffee first dates. Coffee isn't dating, it's seeing if he's a serial killer. And yes, you're the man and you're buying. Get over it.
- Culture is changing, but not completely; and not before you get too old that dating won't matter anymore--meaning for the next 50 years at least. So just accept that the polite and mature thing is to pick up the tab on the first date if you're the man.
WHERE TO FIND A DATE
- Friend's parties. You know your friend and they know you. Trust they'll have a good mix and that you might get to know someone new.
- After work. If your work mates have nothing better to do than to hang out after work, then you can be sure they are (mostly) single. Coffee, a beer, or ice tea; finding singles at work is a place to start. You often will find singles from other employers hanging out at these water holes as well.
- Sports. Church leagues, work leagues, community leagues. Bowling, golf, softball, pool. There are other singles there and you're all doing something fun.
- Weddings. Obvious isn't it? Everyone looks nice, a party is about to begin, and lots of other singles there too.
- Night School. Grad school, community college, extension classes at your old high school. All of these are putting similar people together with similar interests. Some are single. See after work for more clues.
- Blind dates. Being Zen is helpful on these excursions; want nothing be in the moment, desire is an illusion. With this in mind, you might be pleasantly surprised.
- Internet. There are two big areas here. Meetup and dating networks. Meetup.com is a wonderful site that promotes people getting together offline by using the Internet to find one another. The Toledo area has many Meetup groups that have a wide range of interests. Some are focused on singles and having fun. It is not a dating site, but you can join groups with structured activities with the goal of having fun. That's a start.
- Online Dating. This can range from Craigslist that has no structure or oversight where even illegal activities are advertised to eHarmony where the procedure is tightly controlled, hundreds of questions to be answered, and marriage must be your goal.
- Fee-based sites/do-it-yourself. Match is the granddaddy of these types of sites. The idea behind pay sites is that at least those serious about getting a date are willing to pay. You sort through the profiles on your own.
- Fee-based sites/we-do-all-the-work-for-you sites. Chemistry and eHarmony are the big players here. They use psychological instruments to place you in categories and match you up with those who are similar. Chemestry.com uses the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and eHarmony is secretive about their own proprietary version. You should know that eHarmony has struggled to give gays and lesbians a chance at their system. They've agreed to have a separate site that they will now link to eharmony site.
- Free Sites. OKCupid and Plenty of Fish are a couple of the better known sites. The fear is that it's the wild west, but even Match.com was involved in a federal lawsuit so buyer beware free or not.
AFTER A FEW DATES
- Some decisions will have to be made.
- First up you'll need to start dropping barriers. Maybe your childhood, or college days. You're not getting closer unless you know more about each other. But this shouldn't be a confessional or a therapy session. Revealing you troubled past or dark fears may be a bit too much right now.
- Avoid talking about dysfunctional relatives, or your parent's marital problems.
- Ex-talk is dangerous. Avoid if you can. Move the conversation to something you'll both enjoy and won't regret later.
- Your date may really want to hear about your ex's, but it'll be like slowing down to look at a car wreak. They'll know they shouldn't, but they can't help it. And now they'll never get those images out of their mind.
- If you've gotten this far, it means you have a bit more than superficial interest. And they seem to be feeling it too.
FROM "YOU & ME TO "WE & US"
- So without realizing it you've become a couple in a relationship. If you're washing their dishes or spakiling a hole in the bathroom wall; you;ve reached that point. If you didn't know it you will when they intorduce you as their girlfriend/boyfriend. Be prepared.
- Meeting the parents. Remember, their parents know more about your partner than you do and are just happy they're happy
SIGNS YOUR RELATIONSHIP ISN'T HEADING FOR MARRIAGE
- You don't touch anymore.
- Texting and phone calls dwindle.
- You're fighting--a lot.
- If you’re thinking of marriage, the engaement is as good as it gets. It will only get harder with marriage, work, children, and all the responsibilities of life together. So if you’re struggling, see someone who can help you lean ways to communicate, fight fair, and problem solve. If that doesn't work, be careful about your next step in the relationship.
- Know when to call it quits. Be prepared to end it before you tie the knot and you'll save yourself a bigger struggle later on.
- Have a little class when you break up. First tell them. Don't let them slowly twist in the wind of your dissatisfaction and feigned interest in them. If it's over for you, then end it. It requires the courage of a Roman Legion, but do it.
- Tell them in person. Give yourself a few days apart before you do this. Do not end the relationship in either of your apartments. Or in a place where you can't gracefully get up if things become ugly, and walk out and exit safely.
- No one wants to go through the agony of breaking up, but if you are going to date, you will. You recognize you'll need time to hurt and make sure you get the support you need and then move on as best you can.
Be sure to check out, "Dating Makes You Want to Die: But You Have to Do It Anyway" by Daniel Holloway & Dorothy Robinson for more on dating and suriving as a single at any age!
Where has dating taken you so far in 2012?