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Q: Ron and I have been going out every week. We've been on five dates. He seems very interested, but we have barely kissed! He told me that he wants to take it slow because he doesn't want repeat his old pattern of becoming intimate too soon and finding himself in a dead-end relationship.

I know that he is definitely dating others, but otherwise, he's a great catch. Is there anything I can do to move things forward?

A: The good news: He's being honest with you. He's not just looking for sex. He doesn't want to waste time (yours or his) in a relationship that's doomed to failure. He wants to get to know the real you before getting emotionally involved.

One of the most difficult things about dating is that you don't know how it's going to turn out.

The possibilities are endless. You might have great chemistry and live happily ever after...or not. You might have a wonderful date and never see each other again. You might have a humdrum start before you discover that he's the love of your life. Anything could happen.

Ron wouldn't ask you out if he didn't like spending time with you. Rather than being invested in a specific outcome—a romantic relationship—I suggest that you see this as an opportunity to develop a friendship and see where it goes.

Express affection and appreciation when you're with him. Let him know that you enjoy him for who he is, rather than for what kind of relationship he could provide. If he enjoys spending time with you, he's more likely to become involved in a relationship with you.

You should date others and remain open to other possibilities unless he tells you that he wants to be your boyfriend—and you agree. Otherwise, if things remain the same after two or three months, you should back off and enjoy his occasional company.

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Dear Annie, I'm feeling terrible. Ray, my formerly perfect boyfriend, wasn't at all attentive what was important to me on Valentine's Day.

He is usually incredibly thoughtful, loving and present. Until this happened, I thought I'd found the perfect match.

We had to cancel our plans because he was recovering from the flu and had to work. He sent me a card in which he expressed how much he cared for me. That's it. No flowers, gift or romantic dinner.

I was ready with a card, his favorite chocolates and a gift certificate for a romantic afternoon. I feel unloved and disappointed.

I don't want to speak with him or see him. We have a trip coming up this week, but I'm thinking of cancelling it. Elizabeth

What if Valentine's Day didn't have the same significance to him as it does to you?

My guess is that your expectations were out of sync. Each of you expressed your affection for each other in a different way.

You both presented each other with tokens of love on Valentine's Day. He thought that a card with a handwritten message conveyed his feelings. You felt that he wasn't being romantic enough because you felt that his card didn't meet the same standard as your more elaborate gifts.

Most men are incredibly romantic. Romance is a feeling that includes enchantment, intrigue and passion. It's most authentic when it rises spontaneously from the heart.

Romance on demand is not the same thing. What happens between you during the rest of the year is far more important than what ensues on Valentine's Day.

Don't allow your disappointment to create a rift in your almost-perfect, real-life romance. Let him know how much you appreciate the thought and effort he put into writing his sentiments into a card.

If you would prefer to celebrate Valentine's Day differently next year, wait until next January to tell him what you would like him to do to make you feel loved and happy.

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Dear Annie, I'm ready to find love, but I'm not meeting anyone interesting. Where are the best places to meet high-quality men? I don't want to waste my time with the wrong ones. Nora 

Single, available and wonderful men (and women) are almost everywhere. They work, shop and engage in all sorts of activities. Become a dating detective and you'll find them in your day-to-day life. 

Looking for love requires a great deal of courage. You're embarking on an adventure into the unknown. You know that love is your destination—but like all explorers—you have no idea where or when you'll reach the end of your journey. The most important thing is to have faith in the fact that you will get there. The following steps will put you on the right course.

1) Create daily opportunities to meet men or women:

  • Eat lunch out and run errands at busy times.
  • Use online dating sites to meet people.
  • Attend Meet-Ups and singles events a couple of times a week.

2) Have a friendly demeanor. (If it doesn't feel natural, then try to imitate the friendliest person you know.)

  • Smile, make eye contact and say hello to strangers.
  • Chat with those around you. If you resolve to be friendly with everyone, it will be easier to talk with those of the opposite sex.
  • Strike up conversations by asking men or women for opinions, help or directions.

3) Take chances! Spend a little time getting to know new people.

  • If you're a woman:
    • Give him a chance to ask you out. Smile and allow for some silence during your interaction. Most men won't interrupt you in order to ask for a date.
    • Be open to possibilities, and just say yes if he asks you out, but you're not sure if you want to go. 
  • If you're a man:
    • Ask her for her phone number.
    • Suggest that you continue your conversation over drinks or coffee.

The most successful explorers focus on the positive. As with any adventure into the unknown, it's possible that you may take a couple of detours that don't pan out. These aren't failures; they are part of your journey that will ultimately lead you to a great love life.

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There is only one reason that you should use an online dating site: Your day-to-day life isn't providing you with the opportunity to meet interesting people to date.

Since 35% of all relationships originate online, it makes sense to use it as an opportunity to find romance. If you use in addition to other ways to meet others, you'll vastly increase your possibilities of finding The One.

After you make the decision to go online, the next step is to choose a dating site that meets your needs.

First, decide which kind of site makes sense for you. There are three types of dating sites: mainstream, matchmaking and niche.

  • Mainstream sites, such as match.com, OK Cupid and Plenty of Fish, attract a large, diverse group of members. The male to female ratio is usually fairly balanced, which gives you a good chance to meet your match.
  • Matchmaking sites, such as Chemistry.com and eHarmony use a formula that decides who you should meet online. They base their matches on answers to quizzes you take when you sign up. More women than men tend to use these sites. People who are on these sites are more likely to be serious about finding a serious relationship.
  • There are thousands of niche sites, such as JDate, DateMyPet and AsianPeopleMeet, which are based on common values, demographics or interests. While these sites have a smaller population, you're more likely to have something in common with everyone who uses the site.

According to a research published in the New York Times earlier this year, the odds of meeting someone who is a good match are about the same on mainstream and matchmaking sites.

Before you pay for a dating site explore what it has to offer. This should be free. Create a user name (usually 16 characters or less), sign up and search for age-appropriate candidates who live within a reasonable distance. Sort them by last activity date, so that you can see how many are currently using the site. Don't pay to join unless there are many active users.

There are lots of ways to make online dating easier. In my next article, I'll give you tips so you can make your online profile stand out.

If you want help making sense of online dating, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  about dating coaching.

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Dear Annie, How do you know if you should reply to a text? I went out with a man who I met at a Meetup function. A couple of days later, he texted me and asked for a date on Saturday evening. I'm not crazy about being asked for a date via text messaging, but I told him that I would have loved to go.

Today I got a text that said, "Hi Nikki." I didn't answer because we had already planned our date, so I didn't think it required a response. Was that the correct thing to do?

This made me wonder whether he's confident with women. After all, I accepted the date, so that should be good enough. Nikki

Many men believe that it's OK to set up a date via text. If you prefer that he calls, wait until the next time he texts you. Answer briefly and say how you prefer to communicate. "I'd love it if we could talk on the phone." He'll call if he's interested in making you happy.

When you don't respond to a man who is reaching out, it undermines his confidence. He's likely to interpret your silence as, "I'm not interested in you." He'll probably distance himself. He may even think that you might not want to see him.

Think of it this way: What if you were out and bumped into an acquaintance who didn't reply when you said "Hi?" If you're like most people, you're likely to feel snubbed. You'd probably be reluctant to pursue a friendship with someone who doesn't acknowledge you. Men aren't so different in this regard. Most feel hurt when they are ignored.

If you go by the rule of, "responding to a man's communications (texts, calls, emails) in a timely (but not urgent) manner and keep it friendly, fun and upbeat," chances are that he'll appreciate your friendliness and feel more comfortable moving closer.

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Dear Annie, I like to spice up my sex life by wearing silky women's underwear, including a garter belt and stockings––it's a huge turn on for me. I'm crazy about my current girlfriend, but I fear that she may be turned off when she discovers my penchant for dressing in lingerie. How long should I wait before revealing my kinky side? Aaron

It's best to wait until you establish a strong, trusting and intimate connection before disclosing any intimate secret that causes you to feel vulnerable. Hold off until you are sure that she truly likes you, knows who you are and is invested in meeting some of your needs.

Both of you are likely to feel more comfortable if you're at a point in your relationship where you've agreed to listen to whatever the other has to say with an open mind. It's easier to broach a sensitive topic of any kind when you know that either of you can accept an answer of "No" or "I need to think about it," so that you are able to talk and ask questions in a non-judgmental manner.

Set the stage well in advance. Start with fun, playful baby steps after you've known each other for a few months. Check out her reaction when you make off-hand humorous remarks that casually relate to fetishes, such as, "I'm a bad boy," or, "I was thinking about how you'd look in black leather lingerie."

It's probably best if you avoid bringing up the subject over dinner, because one of you is likely to be distracted. Refrain from initiating a conversation during the throes of passion as well, when your feelings are at the forefront. Instead, initiate your discussion during a private, relaxed moment when you're being affectionate and have some time to focus and connect with each other.

Your partner is most likely to accept your kinks if you wait to reveal them until after you've established intimacy and trust in your relationship.

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Sex, relationships and chemistry 

Has this ever happened to you? You're dating someone special. The two of you have amazing, magical chemistry. You can't wait to make love because that's going to make it even better. And, it does—for a while––until things get complicated.

Sex changes everything 

The way you relate to each other usually changes after you become sexually intimate. You and your lover may have different post-sex expectations. Perhaps one of you assumes that you'll become more emotionally intimate, become automatically exclusive, or see each other more often. The better you know each other, the easier it is to resolve out-of-sync expecations.

Rather than continuing to discover ways that you connect emotionally, sex is likely to become the main focus of your dates. Poweful chemicals released by sexual activity tend to blind you to your lover's faults for up to 18 months.
Unless you're looking for something purely casual, wait to make love until you know that both of you are exploring the same sort of relationship.

Create a sense of romantic seduction as you say no

Most men (and women) respond best if you're kind, honest and playful. Send a message that, while sexual intimacy isn't OK yet, you're excitedly looking forward to sleeping together when the time is right.

Never tell your date that you won't make love until you've been dating for a specific period of time. That takes all of the fun out of slow seduction—which usually builds up a delicious, erotic and romantic anticipation as you get to know each other.

Express affectionate feelings as you set your boundaries. Deliver your message with a smile and a friendly, flirtatious tone of voice. Say something like this:
"I love touching you. It feels fantastic. But, I need to take things slowly. I can't wait until I'm ready to be more romantic. I love our chemistry. You're amazing."

Keep smiling, back off physically and playfully start a lighthearted conversation. The key is to discourage more intimate contact without accusing your date of acting poorly or inappropriately.

Give your date positive attention, express affection, and signal that there is a real possibility that you'll make love sometime soon. If your date is only pursuing you for a sexual relationship, that may be the end of it. But if he (or she) is interested in developing a relationship, it will continue to grow.

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Dear Annie, I hardly ever get a second date. When I ask why, most men tell me that they don't feel any chemistry with me. Is there anything I can do to turn that around? Cecile

Positive energy is the best fuel for igniting chemistry!

While chemistry tends to ignite differently for men and women, almost everyone feels more drawn to someone who is confident, friendly and smiling.

One study discovered that most men rate a woman who smiles and makes eye contact as being one point (on a scale of one to ten) more attractive than the same woman who doesn't smile and is looking away. That could make the difference between a man deciding that "There is no chemistry" versus "Maybe we've got something here."

A man's instinct often causes him to see any woman as either a) his type or b) not his type. Ladies: if you're not his type, there isn't much you can do to create chemistry. But if you are, there is a lot you can do to make your interaction with him really sizzle.

A women's instinct causes her to scrutinize a man more closely before she's likely to feel chemistry. While some women feel it right away, it takes others days, weeks or months before "something about him" triggers an intense feeling of chemistry. So, if you're a woman and you're enjoying a man's company––but not seeing fireworks––give the relationship time to develop.

Both men and women can enhance chemistry by:

  1. Being playful—friendly, flirty teasing and laughing.
  2. Conveying a confident, happy and upbeat attitude.
  3. Expressing genuine romantic interest in the other person.
  4. Creating a sense of mystery: Move closer for a while, then back off a little in order to provide the other person with some breathing space and a sense of anticipation.
  5. Giving sincere compliments and expressing appreciation for everything your date provides, including fun, time and attention.
  6. Turning your cell phone off and focus your full attention on your date.
  7. Understanding that both men and women are visual. Colorful clothing, especially red, attracts more romantic interest than neutral colors, such as gray, black or white.

You'll increase your opportunities for romance if you consistently practice these chemistry enhancing approaches. Your ability to spark chemistry is a big factor in determining whether you get locked into the friend zone...or embark upon the road to romance.

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Dear Annie, I met Bill online. We have so much in common that our first date lasted for several hours. He called me that evening.

We drove down the coast, hiked and picnicked on our second date. I had a wonderful time. The next day, he sent a text thanking me for a fantastic date.

I haven’t heard from him in the last couple of days and I am not sure what to do.

Should I send him an email? I could attach some photos I took on our hike. Or, should I call to thank him?

I don’t know why he hasn’t set up another date, and wonder if he ever will. Melody

You’re experiencing time-warp phenomena. Normally, two days go by quickly. However, your interest in Bill is giving you the impression that time is passing by more slowly than usual.

Don’t buy into the myth that a man isn’t interested if he doesn’t call within 48 hours. Almost all of my male clients have been visibly shocked to discover that many women believe this story.

Don’t do anything. He’ll call if he wants to see you again. You don’t know him well enough to understand why he hasn’t contacted you since his text.

Your fears are telling you that he’s no longer interested, but that’s only one possibility. Maybe he’s too busy at work. Perhaps he’s sick. He may have prior commitments with friends, family or activities. Or, it could be any one of dozens of other reasons.

Your call or email may backfire if he feels guilty about not contacting you soon enough. He could interpret it as a message that you are desperate for another date or that you’re drama prone.

Reply to his text and thank him for a fabulous date if you already haven’t done so. Anything more is escalating the hierarchy of communication. Reply to a text with a text, an email with an email, and return a phone call with a phone call until you are in a solid relationship.

In the meantime, avoid focusing on Bill. Contact other men online. Do something fun with your friends. Distract yourself with an activity that requires your full attention, such as a movie or sports event.

Bill told you that he enjoyed your company soon after your date. You’re likely to see more of him if you relax, pursue other interests and allow him to contact you on his own timeline.

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Dear Annie, I'm Italian––and you know what that means––I'm a great kisser!

I've been on five dates with Susan, who is a lovely woman. But, rather than allowing me to give her a passionate kiss, she just puckers up.

I'm not sure how to interpret this. Have I lost my touch? Is she afraid of where it might lead? Or––worse––is she just not that into me? Fabrizio

Susan, like many women, may see kissing as a means of expressing affection as well as passion. If this is the case, her kisses will grow more passionate as she feels a greater sense of emotional attachment to you.

Kissing isn't just about technique. It's a form of romantic communication. If you want to inspire her to enjoy passionate kissing, I suggest that you adjust your style to accommodate her response.

When Susan puckers up, she's sending you a message that she isn't ready for more romantic and intimate kisses. If you attempt to give her a passionate kiss in response, you're likely to turn her off.

You'll get further if you respond to a little kiss with more of the same. Take a break and talk. Kiss her some more. Retreat when she backs off. Continue kissing after a little more conversation.

Take your time and slowly, slowly work up to a passionate kiss. She's likely to be more responsive if you give her time to warm up, demonstrating that you're sensitive to her needs. Great kissing only takes place when both of you are truly in sync.

If she continues to resist your advances, initiate a conversation about your connection. Ask what you can do to kiss her the way she would like to be kissed. Discuss what each of you wants in the near future. That's the only way that you'll discover if she wants to continue to get to know you more intimately.

Creating chemistry with kissing—as with any other kind of physical connection––is all about synchronizing the give and take between the two of you.

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Dear Annie, I'm serious about finding lasting love with someone who wants marriage and a family. I'm a professional woman in my mid-thirties. Every time I meet a man who suits my criteria, he turns out to be emotionally unavailable. Where can I meet a professional, ethical, loving man who wants to be in a relationship? Alexis

Like most women, the vast majority of men desire a loving, loyal, committed relationship with someone who is compatible, easy to be with and emotionally and sexually satisfying. In other words, he's also looking for a good match.

The top five ways couples meet, listed from most to least popular are:

  1. Through friends and acquaintances: He may be hiding in plain sight, disguised as a friend, acquaintance or a friend of a friend.
    • Tell everyone you encounter that you welcome introductions to age-appropriate, professional single men.
  2. Online dating sites: They provide the opportunity to meet men you wouldn't ordinarily encounter in real life.
    • Use wonderful photos and write a great profile which reflects the real you.
  3. Classes, school or work: If you sign up for a class, contact the instructor beforehand and ask about the ratio of men to women in your age group who are likely to attend.
    • Guys tend to like challenging topics, such as finance, sports or strategy games like chess.
  4. Singles events, parties and bars: These are socially focused activities and those attending are usually open to meeting others.
    • Attend one of these weekly. Your goal should be to introduce yourself to at least three men each time.
  5. Random meetings: Go out every day whenever possible.
    • Pay attention to people nearby, keep a smile on your face and pods out of your ears. Make eye contact with and say hello to strangers.

In order to accelerate your search, assume the role of "Dating Detective." Put on your imaginary Sherlock Holmes hat, have an open mind, and explore the possibilities.

Accept that you can't anticipate when or where you'll meet Mr. Right, what he'll look like, or how quickly you'll know that he is The One. Commit to enjoy becoming acquainted with a variety of men.

Express a friendly attitude and interact with several people whenever you're out and about. The best opening line when you meet someone in-person is oftem the simplest: "Hello, my name is..."

Romantic relationships can start anywhere, except in your living room—unless you're throwing a party. If you set a goal to use each of the Top 5 Ways to Meet People every week, you're likely to uncover love where you least expect it.

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If Online Dating isn't a component of your dating strategy, you're missing out on a great opportunity. New research shows that more than a third of those who married between 2005 and 2012 met online.

Most of them probably encountered frustration and obstacles along the way. But, they persevered and won the love that they desired.

Take the pressure off and enjoy the journey to lasting love

When you see "Online Dating," it's likely to set an expectation that you'll find your soulmate quickly and easily. If that doesn't happen according to your plan, you may become discouraged and quit.

Rather than giving up the chance to meet someone wonderful, it's best if you take the pressure off and approach it with a different attitude.

Look at online dating as another way to meet possible romantic partners. Maybe you'll click, maybe not. In my opinion, we should call it "Online Opportunities to Meet Others who Might be Interested in Joining you in a Romantic Relationship."

Online dating is a great dating tool if you:

  • Use it as one of several ways to meet people. Don't use it as a substitute for other ways of meeting.
  • Don't take online rejection personally—after all, you haven't even met each other.
  • Use a timer to help you limit your time online: twenty to thirty minutes a day should give you the opportunity to reply to emails and look at your matches and who's viewed you. If no one has contacted you, send out a couple of short emails.
  • Don't waste time wondering why someone who is inappropriate contacted you. Delete the email, wink, etc. and block them from search.
  • Meet in-person after a couple of email exchanges. You'll discover more in a 20-minute date than you will in dozens of emails.
  • Accept that photos posted online rarely represent anyone accurately. Some look better and others look worse.
  • Don't expect instant results. Some find love online after a few dates; others need to meet many people before they find someone who is a good fit.

Online dating works best when it introduces you to those who you wouldn't otherwise encounter. It gives you the opportunity to meet in-person and get a clearer sense of each other's romantic potential.

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Dear Annie, I'm determined to find Mr. Right. I'm putting myself out there to meet men, but I never find one who is a good fit. It's incredibly discouraging.

When I go on a date, I try to look my best and have a positive outlook. But at this point, I feel that it's pretty hopeless. It's hard to keep up my spirits.

Dating has become a real chore. Is there any way to make it more enjoyable? Roxanne

What if you saw each date as an opportunity to enjoy an activity while you're become acquainted with someone? It's almost impossible to connect, relax and have fun if you're scrutinizing your date to see if he might be "The One."

Make it your goal to provide whatever it takes to have an interesting and fun date. Create a positive aura by setting an intention to enjoy your time together. Your attitude can make the difference between a ho-hum date and a fun experience.

  1. Create a heightened sense of attraction by smiling, appreciating the positive and using your sense of humor. This creates the likelihood that both of you will become more relaxed. You'll be far more likely to have the opportunity to get into a great relationship if you're fun, romantic and playful.
  2. Behave as if you're the host of a party. Make an effort to help your date feel relaxed, welcome and comfortable.
  3. Ask open-ended questions so that you can discover what makes him tick.
  4. Smile at every opportunity. Smiling has a way of making you more attractive, happier and increasing your confidence.
  5. Use your unique sense humor whenever possible—if you can make your date laugh, you're both apt to feel more at ease.

Don't worry about leading your date on. If it goes well, but you're not interested, you will have succeeded in creating a positive experience. It doesn't obligate you to accept another date.

In my experience, this kind of dating often creates a powerful attraction, which leads to great opportunities for love and friendship.

************************

Congratulations to C and S on their marriage this week!  She was practicing these dating principals when they met. It gets even better!

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Dear Annie, Shouldn't women arrive five to ten minutes late for a date? Isn't it true that if a woman is too available a man will quickly loose interest? Becky

The first rule of successfully playing hard to get is to practice good manners. This includes arriving on time and promptly returning calls, emails and texts.

When you show up late, you leave him with the impression that you aren't interested enough to respect his time. Often, men who are seeking a relationship place a high value on whether a woman is considerate of others.

Behaviors that signal that you are too available:

  • Asking a man out.
  • Initiating a call, text or email unless you are replying to a message.
    • It doesn't matter if you have tickets to something he would love, an article that would interest him, or just want to find out if he's OK. Wait to share these sorts of things until he contacts you.
  • Accepting last-minute dates. Make plans as usual. Don't break dates with friends in order to see him.

Effective, respectful ways of playing hard to get:

  • Don't initiate contact, but respond promptly to emails, texts and calls.
  • Express interest, praise and appreciation when you're with him, then allow him to make the next move. Don't ask him "where is this relationship going?"
  • Wait until you're sure that you're in a relationship––probably six to ten or more dates––before you have sex.

How you play hard-to-get can make-or-break your chances of getting another date.

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Handling Online Dating Dishonesty 

Dear Annie, I'm done with online dating! I'm fed up with lies and fake photos on online dating sites. After all, if you meet in person, your date will eventually discover the truth and see you for the liar you really are. Noreen

I suggest that you take a break from online dating and see if you can meet men elsewhere.

I believe that profiles should be truthfully written. However, when it comes to writing their own profiles, many people disagee.

If you decide to give online dating another chance, I suggest that you accept that about 80% of online daters misrepresent themselves in one way or another. However, it's also important to realize that most people who aren't completely truthful mean no harm. Give those men another chance, because most of them are otherwise generally honest people.

Why people misrepresent themselves online 

Online dating is a mystery to most people. Let's face it: no one is born knowing how to use the Internet to find love. If you're like most people, you probably feel awkward describing yourself to strangers.

Composing an online dating profile is daunting for almost everyone. Even when you do your best, it's simply not possible to describe yourself as others see you. That goes double when you are trying to appeal to those of the opposite sex.

Online dating deception 

1) Social lies: The most common online dating lies are: age, height, income, profession and body type.

People justify social lies because if you meet at a party, you wouldn't know someone's income, age or profession before introducing yourself. Many people can't guess someone's height within an inch or two. Body type is in the eye of the beholder: what exactly does "about average" mean, anyway?

2) Photos: Most people judge others on their photos. While photos should be current and accurately reflect how someone looks, some are outdated or Photo-shopped.

My client, Linda, describes it best: "When you meet people from an online dating site, they never look like their photos. Some look better, others look worse."

3) Profile content: If you're like many others, you might seek profile-writing guidance by reading profiles of people who are similar to you.

After comparing yourself to others, you may feel overwhelmed by the competition. You might even feel that your normal life is a little mundane. If you're like most people, you go to work and return home to relax in the evening and weekends.

Most people describe themselves with adjectives, which can easily be misconstrued. For example "independent" can mean any of the following: financially independent, able to enjoy being on their own, doesn't want a committed relationship, wants a committed relationship where they do things separately, etc.

When you write your profile, it's natural that you would want to represent your best self. You're most likely to think of everything wonderful that you've ever done, or might want to do, then put it in your profile.

If your date has oversold himself 

Get to know your him. Give him a break. After all, if you had originally met in-person, you would get to know your date without seeing a written self-description.

Most likely, your date's reasons for misrepresenting himself are among those I mentioned above. Forgiveness is a very attractive quality. If you enjoy your date's company, just pay attention to his honesty in the future.

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Make the most of your first dates

Often a first date becomes relationship interview. This can happen when participants field questions such as "How long have you been divorced?", "You're so attractive. Why are you still single?" and "Why haven't you ever been married?"

This line of questioning is more likely to lead to defensiveness rather than romance. You're apt to nip romance in the bud if you treat a first date as a make-it or break-it challenge.

You'll have a greater chance for love if you see a date as an opportunity to create a friendship that might blossom into romance. Embracing this attitude is likely to enable both of you to relax, learn interesting things about each other and potentially create a good bond between yourselves.

Do:

  1. If you have introduced yourselves to each other online, refresh your memory and review your date's profile beforehand.
  2. Think of conversational topics before your date.  If you ask open-ended questions, you'll learn more about each other and probably avoid most awkward silences. 
  3. Look for your date's positive attributes. Express appreciation and admiration whenever you have the chance.
  4. Keep it short: no more than an hour or so. If you're both interested, you'll have the opportunity to enjoy each other's company on a second date.
  5. Offer to pay. It's a sign of generosity: emotional and otherwise. If you're a woman and, like most men, he insists on paying, it's imperative that you accept his offer with appreciation and thanks. (Women: If you never want to see your date again, insist on paying your way.)

 

Don't:

  1. Talk about your relationship history. If your date insists, just say that you are over your last relationship and ready to move on with your life, and that you'll be happy to share more details as you become better acquainted.
  2. Evaluate your date as a potential mate. You can't tell if you're compatible after a first date.
  3. Talk about dating—it's just not romantic!
  4. Bring up your problems: discussing personal difficulties can be off-putting for many people.
  5. Discuss what you want in a relationship. If you're simpatico with each other, go on several dates and pay attention, you'll soon discover if your goals are similar.

If you treat each first date as a positive exploration of a possible romance, your attitude will bring you more opportunities to find love.

Click here to discover Eight Ways to Kill Your Chance for a Second Date.

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First date awkwardness is often fueled by the pressure created by the "First Date Myth." According to which, you may want great chemistry combined with interesting and easy-flowing conversation. It may have been a long time since you have felt strongly attracted to someone. All this anxiety can be further compounded by the hope that, maybe, you're finally going to meet "The One," or the fear that if the date doesn't go well, it could mean that there is no hope left for you in finding the right person.

Contrary to the myth, attraction simply gives you the opportunity to explore possibilities. And only time and experience will reveal if someone is right for you. Here are four ways to minimize awkwardness and get the most out of a first date:

1 – Adopt a New Attitude:

  • Rather than trying to figure out if your date is "The One," aim to discover whether you enjoy each other's company. If you do, you'll have plenty of time to discover more on subsequent dates.
  • You'll also feel more confident on a date if you act as though you're the host of a party and your only job is to make your guests feel comfortable.

 

2 - Be Prepared:

  • You'll feel more confident if you plan plenty of time to look your best. Allow for traffic so that you're sure to be on time.
  • It's likely that both of you will make a mistake or two: don't stress about them. Mistakes are a great way to show your sense of humor. And if you're silly and are able make light of them, you'll come across as charming.

 

3 – Go into it with a fun, flirty, and playful attitude:

  • Ask lighthearted questions. This is not the time to bare your soul. Pay attention to your date, not to your phone.
  • If all goes well, you'll discover all you want to know after a few more dates.
  • Keep your initial time commitment to a minimum. You're not obligated to stay if things aren't going well. You can actually avoid additional awkwardness if you tactfully say goodbye.

 

You're likely to feel more comfortable if you put less dating pressure on yourself and accept that first date awkwardness is par for the course. Just remember that you're getting to know someone new and seeing where it goes.

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If you're not meeting anyone, give online dating another try. It's a treasure hunt! Many "quality" men and women are sincerely looking for love online--and it's up to you to find your best match.

Post your very best photos and a profile that genuinely describes you in a positive light.

Go in with the attitude that you're simply exploring opportunities: but that you won't know if someone is interesting until you meet him or her in person.

  • Online dating is a great way to increase your odds of finding a romantic partner. It gives you the opportunity to get to know people who you wouldn't ordinarily meet.
  • Through online dating you will be able to get a little background information that you might not have been able to get if you had just met in-person. You can tell a lot about someone by what they say about other things, such as their hobbies, politics and career.
  • Twenty-five percent of all relationships begin as a result of meeting online.

Online dating is a great addition to the other opportunities that you may have to meet people. 

If you want to minimize online dating frustration, click here to discover "Three Essential Things You Can Do to Find Your Match Online."

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"Quality" men and women are everywhere. However in order to discover them, you'll need to do some detective work.

Becoming acquainted is the only way to tell if someone is single, available and possibly a good match for you. A "quality" man will make it through all of the following steps. If he doesn't, say goodbye and walk away; he's not worth a second thought.

1) Determine that he or she looks normal to you. A man needn't look great because attraction usually changes as a woman gets to know a man.

2) Important! The way a man may be dressed doesn't necessarily signify his generosity or wealth. Some men of great wealth don't want to flaunt it with expensive clothing or cars, yet they treat women very well.

3) Confidently introduce yourself and ask how his or her week is going. If he or she responds in a negative manner, say "Next!" Congratulate yourself for being brave.

4) Engage in a short, casual conversation without asking about his or her job or relationship status. Good questions are "What brings you here?" or "How did you decide to...?"

5) Women: If he asks you out, playfully ask him if there is anyone in his life who would mind it if he goes on a date, as there is no point in dating someone who is already "taken." Pay attention to his answer. If it's vague, move on.

If you're looking for love, exploring different possibilities is likely to be a far better use of your time than hoping that you'll recognize "The One" at first sight.

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Money and Dating

Dating is about creating the possibility of romance, connection and the potential for lasting love. Nothing takes the romance out of it more quickly than behaving as if were a business transaction or a meeting with a friend. Honoring the traditions of courtship helps to set the stage for passion and romance.

First dates are usually fraught with anxiety. The most common worries are whether your date will enjoy your company, if the conversation will flow easily and if there will be an opportunity for a second date. The most awkward feeling is often the uncertainty that can arise when the check arrives.

A man may want to pay and worry that if he does so, his date might be offended. Alternatively, he may feel that she has the right and obligation to pay her share.

A woman often believes that his paying for a date is a sign of his generosity; both financially and emotionally. She may also feel anxious if she doesn't offer to pay.

Using the following strategies will help you to keep the romance in dating

Paying For First dates:

  • Men: Don't arrange a pricey first date if this is your first meeting. Save that for later, as you're getting to know each other better.
  • Insist on paying for both of you unless she absolutely won't allow it. If she offers, let her know that it's your privilege to take care of the bill.
  • Women: Offer to pay your share. If he declines your offer, thank him for his generosity.
  • If you don't want to see him again, insist on paying your share. After all, his generosity is a romantic gesture and you shouldn't accept it if you're not interested. It can send the wrong message.
  • Everyone: Never, ever pick the bill apart, dividing it into who ate/drank what. If it's noticeably off-balance, the person whose share is more expensive should offer to pay more or it signals his or her willingness to take advantage of others.

Paying for Dates Before You're in a Relationship:

  • The person who asks should offer to pay.
  • The other person should offer, and expect, to chip in.
    • For example: A man asks a woman out. He pays for the main event. She offers to provide dessert and/or drinks.
    • Another example: He's paid for two or three dates. At that point, she insists on treating him or preparing a home-cooked meal.
  • Men: don't interpret an invitation to dinner as an implied invitation to her bed. Dinner and sex are two different things.

Paying for Dates When You're in a Relationship

  • As you enter into a relationship, it's important to have a frank discussion about how each of you expects to share expenses. In the long run, it's vital that your attitudes about money are compatible. 
  • Some men enjoy paying for everything throughout the course of a relationship, regardless of how much the woman makes. In that case, it's best that she provide special treats, such as home-cooked meals, drinks or desserts, on a regular basis.
  • Some couples split expenses or divide them according to each other's income. Others play it by ear.
  • It's all about what feels fair and comfortable to both of you. The important thing is that you're both honest about what you want. There is no right or wrong way to do it as long as you're up-front about it.

The most important thing to remember is that when your date pays your way, immediately express gratitude and appreciation--and repeat your thanks at the end of the date. It may sound obvious, but I hear an increasing amount of complaints about not being thanked. Nothing kills a romance faster than lack of gratitude.

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