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Why She Can't Find a Man Who Wants a Long-Term Commitment

Man leaving woman in bedDear Annie, I’m sick and tired of dating men who just want to go from one woman to the next. I don’t want to waste my time and risk heartbreak by becoming involved with players.

I’ve even made it a policy not to go a second date unless I know that a man has assured me that he’s looking for a serious, long-term commitment. Yet, I can’t seem to find a relationship that lasts for more than three or four months.

My last boyfriend, David, told me that marriage was his ultimate goal. I was convinced that he could be “The One." Our chemistry was off the charts, both in and out of bed.

We enjoyed doing the same things, had delightful conversations and always had a wonderfully romantic time together. He started backing off after a couple of months and ended it a few weeks later. I was devastated.

Why can’t I find a man who doesn’t leave when it gets serious? Sue

The problem starts when you sleep with a man and assume that both of you are moving towards a long-term relationship. Yet, chemistry just means that you're sexually attracted to each other. It doesn't mean there is actually a future.

A man who tells you that he wants a long-term commitment is probably telling you the truth. What he doesn’t know early on is whether you’re the woman in whom he wants to invest his future.

Most single men desire a loving, loyal, committed relationship with an attractive, compatible, affectionate woman who appreciates, loves and accepts him.

Unlike many women, some men who are seeking a long-term connection find it easy to engage in a romantic, chemistry-fueled relationship with “Ms. Right for Right Now,” while being on the lookout for the long-term “Ms. Right.”

These men often signal that you’re not “The One” by sending mixed messages. He may tell you that you’re special, but he won’t say that he’s your boyfriend. You may spend a passionate weekend together and not hear from him for days. He’ll may avoid telling you where you stand or where he thinks/believes? your relationship is going.

Uncertainty fuels chemistry and infatuation, which can make you even more determined to win him over. To further complicate matters, the chemicals of love and sex can easily blind you to what is really happening.

Oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone,” is a chemical secreted by your pituitary gland when your nipples are stimulated and when you have an orgasm. It provides you with strong feelings of attachment to the person who provided that stimulation.

What of the tricky things about oxytocin is that estrogen enhances its effects, which means that, as a woman you’re more likely to deeply bond because of sexual activity. Testosterone mitigates oxytocin’s effects, providing many men with the ability to enjoy casual sexual encounters without becoming attached to the people with whom they experienced them.

Infatuation also causes high levels of dopamine in men and women. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain's reward and pleasure centers.
It gives you that highly energized feeling of being infatuated.

These chemicals often cause you to become involved before you’ve gotten to know each other. They usually cause you to potentially believe in an idealized version of the person you’re dating so that you focus on his positive side. You’re likely to make excuses for any behavior that doesn’t work.

If all you want is a casual sexual encounter and you're OK with it ending abruptly or you don’t mind seeing each other intermittently, there is no reason not to become sexually involved before you know where a your relationship is going.

However, if you're serious about seeking a long-term relationship or you always get emotionally involved with the men that you sleep with, don’t sleep with a man until you are sure of his intentions, values and long-term goals. Pay attention to his words, actions and how he treats you, rather than believing in the illusions of chemistry.

Rather than refusing a second date with a man unless he says that he’s interested in seeking a long-term committed relationship, you could continue to get to become acquainted with him in a friendly, flirty way while resisting the pull of chemistry until you’re sure that you both want the same thing.

A man who is only interested in dating a variety of women won’t stick around. A man who wants a future with you will hang in there. Keep an open mind and continue to date others until you know what you both want to do/how you want to proceed/move forward.

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Why her Relationship Broke Up When she Told him What she Needed

Difficult conversationDear Annie, Rob and I had a wonderful, romantic relationship. I have had a history of scaring men away by being too needy. This time I played it cool and didn’t let him know that his unpredictability was making me feel uneasy and insecure.

He seemed to need a lot of alone time. He was private about a great deal of his life and hadn’t yet introduced me to his friends. I know he cared for me, but his job and other obligations kept him so busy that I rarely knew when we’d see each other.

I sometimes had to wait until the last minute before I knew when we were meeting for a date. I understand that a man may want to spend time on his own. I always wanted to know his plans before organizing my weekend because I didn’t want to miss opportunities to spend time together.

After three months I finally felt that our relationship was established enough for me to feel safe telling him him what I really needed.

The next thing I knew, he told me that he didn’t want to see me any more because we didn’t want the same thing. He said that he wasn’t ready for a serious commitment and I haven’t heard from him since.

I couldn’t believe it! I finally trusted him enough to tell him what was truly important to me and it scared him so much that he broke it off. I told him that things could stay the same so we could stay together, but he said no. I wish I hadn’t said anything.

What I can do to get him back? How long do I need to date someone before I can tell him what I need to be in a relationship? Betty

You can’t do anything to get him back. If he wants to reconsider, he will let you know. In the meantime, move on. Doing things like making excuses to see him, begging him to reconsider or asking his friends about him are likely to increase the odds that he will never return.

I doubt that your confession scared him away. If he had been interested in a serious relationship, he would be happy to provide you with what was important to you. While he was enjoying your company, he it sounds as if he wasn’t ready to commit to the kind of relationship you wanted.

When you first start dating someone, all you know is that you’re experiencing mutual attraction. Each of you is exploring how you feel about the other. You don’t know what either of you wants or if your values and long-term goals are aligned, so it’s best to go on a few casual dates in order to get to know each other before you get involved.

As you’re getting acquainted I recommend gradually letting a guy know what you need in order for him to be your boyfriend. In fact, one of the ways to tell whether a man is serious about you is how he responds when you tell him what is important to you. If he’s not taking action to show you that he wants to make you happy, it’s a sign that he’s only interested in a casual, fun connection.

If he sees you as a woman with whom he has long-term relationship potential, he will make you a priority. Otherwise, he will continue to live his life and fit you in when it’s convenient.

If you're facing this kind of problem, you'll discover how to date the smart way in next month's Making Sense of Dating Group. Click here for details.

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What to do When You Can't Meet Anyone Worth Dating

Frustrated single womanDo you ever feel that you can’t get your dating life started despite all of your efforts? Are you not meeting anyone who is even remotely datable? In that case, you can probably sympathize with Ellen, whose frustration is evident:

“How and where do I meet single men? I have been single for 8 years. I am a working professional who isn't too ugly. Every event I attend for singles is full of women. The few men who are in attendance are usually not what I would call ‘dating material.’“

“I have scoured the dating websites and decided that online dating is not for me. Where can I go to meet men? Are there any organizations or matchmakers that you can recommend?”

Unfortunately, there is no one place where you can guarantee that you can meet single, available men who are husband or long-term prospects. But, the good news is that high quality men who want to be in a relationship turn up in all sorts of places.

Are these things getting in your way?

The three main difficulties that occur in the midlife dating process are as follows:
• You can't tell if someone is a quality potential partner just by looking. You have to engage in at least one conversation with him--and since more than 50% of people are shy with strangers, you'll get a better idea if you have more than one conversation.
• Women often forget how to signal that they're available, so men don't ask them out.
• Believing that there are no available men becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: Once you convince yourself that there are no dateable men who want to be in a relationship, you are far less likely to meet one. Your disbelief in their potential actually pushes them away.

When you go out, become a detective with a positive, fun and friendly attitude. Explore possibilities and plan to chat with several men casually and see where it goes.

While doing so, maintain strong boundaries. Be judicious in allowing physical closeness until a man has demonstrated--with actions and words--that he’s interested in being your boyfriend.

Singles Events

Regarding singles events: I have professionally attended over 50 singles events in the last nine years. Most of them are not 100% gender balanced over the whole event. I've been to events where there were far more men than women, as well as the opposite.

Often, there are more men than women when the event is just starting. So, play with your timing. If you always come in the middle of the event, arrive in the beginning. If you always arrive early, stay late. You just can't tell who will be there in advance, so it pays to go.

Online Dating

More than 35% of all relationships begin online. Many successful, ethical and relationship-seeking men use dating sites. No one is born knowing how to date online, so I suggest you learn how to do so. (My coaching is one of the ways you can do so.) If you don’t skillfully take advantage of online dating you will reduce your chances of meeting someone fabulous.


Regarding matchmakers: If you use a matchmaker, be sure to check out reviews on Yelp and other review sites. If a matchmaker or coach tries to pressure you into buying services immediately because of prices going up and limited availability, insist on taking your time. Ask for at least two references. Then go home and talk with references and read reviews before you commit.

As you meet and interact with more men, you’re likely to discover that some are far more datable than you’d originally thought.

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Guide to Successful Speed Dating

Flirty dateIf you want to meet single available men or women, speed dating provides a great opportunity to chat one-on-one with others who are looking for love and romance.

This is how it works: You will have some time for socializing before the speed dating portion of the event starts, so plan to arrive early, get a drink and give yourself a chance to warm up and meet other participants beforehand.

Once things get rolling, you’re likely to meet eight to fifteen people. You’ll have about five minutes to chat with each one before a timer sounds and the men then move on to chat with the next woman.

You’ll be encouraged to take short notes and indicate whether you want to see each participant again. If there is mutual interest in moving forward, you’ll both be notified.

Success at speed dating relies on your skill at creating a good first impression. Since you can barely get to know anyone in such a short time, give yourself the opportunity to get to a first date, where you can become better acquainted.

The top things that impress others are confidence, friendliness and appearance.

Increase your morale by taking the time to pay attention to your appearance before the event. Investing in good grooming and well fitting clothes will pay off in the long run.

Your smile is your biggest ally, as it increases your attractiveness and gives you a warm and self-assured demeanor. Express your friendliness by demonstrating a genuine interest in everyone you meet.

Refrain from taking inventory of your conversational partners’ assets by asking what they do for a living, what kind of relationship they’re looking for or where they live. Instead, find out what brings them pleasure in their lives.

Ask what they enjoy doing in their spare time, where they plan to vacation or what most interests them. Once you have the answer to one of those questions, ask what inspired them to make that choice. Your positive attitude will go a long way towards creating a fun time for everyone you meet.

Avoid topics that lead to the friend-zone or, worse yet, to the no-way-I-want-to-ever-see-you-again-zone. Resist the temptation to criticize anything about the opposite sex or the event. Avoid talking about any problems such as family, work or personal. Obviously don’t discuss dating, death or sex.

Have a topic in your pocket, such as holiday plans or sports, to use as a conversation-changer in case someone asks a question that makes you feel uncomfortable. Give a short, vague reply and say you’ll elaborate when you know each other better. Then change the subject. Click here for more tips on how to handle awkward speed dating questions.

Speed Dating is most successful if you go in with the expectation that you’re going to have fun and enjoy the opportunity to meet lots of very different people. I suggest that you say yes to seeing someone again if they are remotely interesting—in other words, if you could see yourself spending an hour getting to know that person better sometime in the future.

If you go in expecting to find true love...well, you’re likely to be disappointed. And, it won’t be because your true love isn’t there, but because it’s almost impossible to tell if someone is right for you after a five-minute conversation.

Here are the facts: According to anthropologist, Helen Fisher, who provides studies about love for Match.com and the Kinsey Institute studies, only five percent of all marriages start out as love at first sight. So, expecting that you will know if someone is a potential mate when you first meet is like expecting that you will make money on a stock that only has a five percent chance of a return.

And, despite rumors that people—especially men—will only fall in love with someone who is their physical type, it turns out that 33 percent of men and 43 percent of women answered yes when asked if they had ever fallen in love with someone they did not initially find attractive.

So, when you receive your matches several days later, be sure to reach out and connect with each other. You just never know where it may lead.

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How to Revamp Dating Patterns: Interview with Dr. Jackie Black

Romantic date sunsetI appeared on Dr. Jackie Black’s radio show in August to speak about successful ways to approach dating in midlife. She is an internationally recognized author and “Couples in Trouble Relationship Expert,” who interviewed me in order to provide her soon-to-be-single listeners with advice on how to move forward after a break up.

If you listen to this interview, you will hear us discuss the following topics:

  • How (and where) to meet interesting, available single men and women
  • Ways you can recognize and recalibrate the signals that you’re sending out, so that you appear confident and approachable
  • Classy ways to flirt successfully 
  • What to do if you don’t want to get asked out
  • Best ways to meet online
  • How initial attraction often fails as a predictor of relationship success
  • Fundamental differences in how men and women bond and express their feelings differently
  • Confidently recognizing and responding to the various phases of dating
  • The differences in how men and women approach dating and relationships 
  • Essential approaches to moving into intimacy and sex so that you get your needs met
  • Ways to deal with uncertainty as you’re becoming sexually involved

Our conversation offered down-to-earth advice for men and women who want to date in order to forge a successful relationship. Click here to listen to our interview. You can download it and listen to it on your phone or mp3 player.

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10 Email Mistakes that Guarantee an Empty Inbox

Reading Most Online Dating EmailDo you ever feel discouraged when your dating site emails go unanswered? Maybe you’re simply sending the wrong message. Taking the time to write compelling and personalized emails vastly increases your chances of finding love online. That introductory email is your first, and often only, chance of impressing someone you would like to meet. What impresses people might surprise you...

According to a 2013 Snap Interactive study, based on analytics from their dating website, Are You Interested. a woman who sends a message to a man her own age has a 17.5% likelihood of receiving a response, while a man sending a message to a woman his age has only a 4 percent likelihood of receiving a reply.

While these statistics sound dire, they don’t take the qualitative differences of various types of emails into account. You’re far more likely to receive a reply from someone when you can demonstrate that you’re paying attention to the content of that person’s profile.

I recently signed up on an online dating site and in the first 24 hours, I received over 100 emails, most of which I promptly discarded.

My reasons for doing so have nothing to do with my being a too-picky dating coach. In fact, I understand that most people don’t have the benefit of working with a professional who can make sure that everything looks good. I usually overlook a misspelled word or two or occasional poor grammar.

Let’s walk through my screening process, which is typical—almost instinctive––for many women. You’ll see what you can do to create emails that beg a reply so that you don’t continue to waste time and energy sending out emails that almost guarantee an empty inbox.

These are the top ten reasons, in no particular order, why I didn’t respond to various types of emails (quotes from which are in italics).

1: Geography
You’re too far away. It’s clear that you didn’t look at my profile and notice that, like most people, I’m looking for someone nearby. I received emails from men who were thousands of miles away.

  • I don’t care about distance...” Distance is a deal breaker for me. I won’t even read the email.
  • I’m visiting San Francisco next month.” Sorry, I’m not interested in playing tour guide to someone I’ve never met.
  • I'm actually relocating to CA next month once...” Get back to me when you’re actually living here. This is a big state and if you’re not nearby, I’m not interested.

Success tip: Your chances of success are far better if the profile writer is looking for someone who fits your description. But, if the profile says that the writer is looking for someone who lives 10 miles away, and you live a couple of miles further, by all means take a shot at it.

2: Brevity
You haven’t made the effort to write more than a few words. At least a third of the emails I received contained less than three words: “Hi,” “Hello” and “Good morning.” This type emails rarely elicits a reply.

Success tip: Start a conversation. Read my profile and ask me about something we have in common.

3: Overt lust:
You’re just into my looks. If I’m going to reply to your email, I want you to appreciate other things that we have in common.

  • I'm sure today must be a very good day for me to have seen a profile of a beautiful queen like you.” Seriously??!!
  • Gorgeous!” The combination of overt lust and brevity almost guarantee that your inbox will remain empty. 
  • You have such a uniquely arousing appearance.” Oh, yuck! Let’s not go there...ever!

Success tip: Don’t lead with someone’s looks. Talk about some other part of the profile that appeals to you.

4: It’s clear that you didn’t read my profile.

  • We have a lot in common.“ What would that be?
  • I will like to know more about you.” Like what?

Success Tip: Find something specific that interests you in my profile and ask for more details.

5: You are telling me one fact about yourself and nothing more.

  • I am new.” Tell me more.
  • I am widowed.” And...?
  • I saw your profile.” That's stating the obvious.

Success Tip: Give the person you’re writing to a reason to write back. It’s difficult for most people to reply to these kinds of comments.

6: You are calling me by pet names and we’ve never even met. Ugh. Phrases like “Good day Princess;” “Hello Angel,” or “Hello my lady” send most women straight to the delete button.

Success Tip: Wait until you’re in a relationship before using terms of endearment.

7: Big age difference. Like most women, I’m not looking for a relationship with a man who is a decade or more my junior or senior. This isn’t always true for men—just make sure you’re within his requested age limits.

  • You remind me a little of my aunt in your photo mmm.” Oh, dear...

Success Tip: Your chances for success are better when you email someone in your own age range. The Snap Interactive study shows that your odds of getting a response vastly decrease when you contact someone with an age difference of over 10 years.

8: Wearing your baggage on your sleeve:

  • You don't seem crazy which is always a plus.”
  • You seem like one of the few honest women I’ve seen here.”

Success Tip: Talk about your positive experiences. You can’t tell if someone is crazy or honest by reading a profile.

9: Cheesy pick up lines don’t work.

  • Hi, Are you a magician? I was hooked for minutes staring at your profile.”
  • My name's Jason, but if you have an ex-boyfriend or a brother named Jason then don't worry, you can just call me Not-Jason. Problem solved.” Thanks for the laugh, but I’ll pass.

Success tip: Show genuine interest by giving a compliment about something in the profile. Say something authentic about yourself. Ask a question to make it easy to pick up the conversation in a reply.

10: Your email smells like it’s fraudulent.

  • hello , how are you doing today ,i view your profile today and i will like to know more about...
  • You have a great smile.I enjoyed your profile.My email is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. it will be best if you contact me there.
  • I really don't care about the age, race, looks and distance difference. I'm here for the inner love from the heart. Can you send me a text at (555) 555-5555 so we can continue our conversation. let see what happen?

Success tip: According to RomanceScams.org, signs of online dating email fraud include the following:

  • Misplaced punctuation and poor use of colloquial language.
  • Immediately requesting that further email or text communication be done away from the dating site.
  • Speaking of love when you haven’t met in person.

The following is an example of an email that I was happy to reply to. It was short, friendly and respectful: “I really like the profile you wrote. You sound like an open and engaged person who shares many of my interests.” He made it easy for me to continue our conversation by following up with a couple of examples and asking a question related to topics I mentioned in my profile. "I love to explore the city, get a real kick out of adventures on public transit and am taking dance lessons. Have you ever gone dancing at the Presidio Yacht Club, near Sausalito?

Most women and many men won’t answer your email unless it demonstrates that you have read their profile. If you jot down a few notes about your prospect’s interests as you’re reading, you’ll be well on your way to crafting an email that is likely to inspire a response.


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10 Tips for a Fabulous First Date

First date over drinksDo too many of your first dates go nowhere? It's frustrating when you meet someone attractive and interesting, but can't seem get to a second or third date. Making the most of a first date is one of the most important steps towards a great love life.

How you experience a first date often depends on whether you’re on an old-fashioned date or a first-meeting/blind date: let me explain.

An old-fashioned first date is one after you’ve previously met in-person and chosen to further explore the possibility of a romantic relationship. You likely feel a spark of attraction and are familiar with your date’s appearance, so you’ll tend to focus on discovering commonalities and points of connection.

A first-meeting/blind first date is one where you’ve met online or have been fixed up with a stranger recommended by a friend. You probably know a little bit about your first-date partner, but have no idea whether you’ll click when you meet in-person.

When you first meet, you’ll probably temporarily focus on whether you are attracted to your date’s appearance. Since most people don’t look exactly like their photos—which can only capture an instant in time—you have the added burden of adjusting to the reality of your date’s appearance as you start to get to know each other.

No matter how you have become acquainted, the best first dates happen when you resolve to enjoy the adventure of getting to know someone new.

Fortunately, most modern daters don’t expect fancy expensive, first-date dinners. The best first date ideas include drinks and light food: lunch, light dinner, or happy hour fare. Other great first date activities include walks through a city neighborhood or park, attending galleries or checking out museum exhibits. Other fun first date activities include perusing farmer’s markets, local events or festivals. Think easily affordable, with a low noise level that won’t impede conversation.

Here are a few tips that will help you to make the most of your first date.

Before your date:

1. Dress to impress. Wear clothes that fit you well and are a half-step up from those you would ordinarily wear. Look in the mirror—front and back—before you leave the house. Is your outfit clean and well coordinated? Make sure that you can stretch, walk and sit without your becoming rumpled or showing an inappropriate amount of skin.

2. Do your homework. Nothing kills a budding romance faster than forgetting personal details. If you met online, review your date’s profile and recent emails before you meet.

3. Think about conversational topics to keep the ball rolling. Catch up with the news, so you're abreast of what's happening in the world. Be prepared to discuss favorite local spots, travel—trips taken or planned—or upcoming cultural events. Plan to share some of your passions and fun stories, and ask your date about the same.

While you're on your date:

4. Keep the conversation light. Discover and celebrate what you have in common. Discuss what brings each of you joy, where each of your travels have taken you and where you want to go next. Share stories about positive experiences and adventures.

While you’ll probably want to get to know your date on a personal level, avoid discussing dating, relationships and exes until you know each other better. The same goes for personal problems, finances and illness.

Avoid allowing discussions about controversial topics to escalate into an argument. If you discuss business at all, do so briefly; otherwise your date could deteriorate into a networking experience.

5. Be optimistic, friendly and flirtatious. After all, this is a potential romance. Smile, and keep it light and flirtatious, upbeat and positive. Be sure to ask questions and explore what makes your date tick.

6. Focus on discovering whether you enjoy your date’s company. Most people can’t assess true romantic potential after just one meeting. Chemistry often develops over time. If your date is nervous, shy or awkward, go for a second date, when you’ll both be more relaxed.

7. Don’t pull out your checklist. Gradual discovery feels more romantic than a barrage of questions. If a relationship begins to develop, you’ll have plenty of time to address unanswered questions during your third or fourth dates.

8. Keep your baggage stowed in the overhead compartment. Your date is not your therapist. If asked about your dating history or recent relationships, say that it didn’t work out and you parted ways. Then change the subject. It’s OK to say that you’re not ready to discuss a topic until you know each other better.

9. Pay attention to your date’s body language. Many people are wary of hugging or kissing someone when they first meet, but welcome warmth and friendliness. If your date’s body language remains closed throughout the date, say good-bye with a touch on the arm. If it’s neutral, end with a quick kiss on the cheek or a brief hug. Often, people are more open on a second date. Save passionate kisses, making out and bumping and grinding for later.

10. Keep it short, even if you’re having a great time. You’re more likely to get a second date if you limit the first one to 30 minutes to an hour—especially if this is your first, in-person meeting. Leave graciously with a smile and a friendly touch. If you'd like to see your date again, say that you had a wonderful time and wish you didn’t have to leave. Be sure to express appreciation for the opportunity to meet.

If you follow these guidelines, you will be likely to discover more possibilities for romance. Rather than analyzing your date’s long-term romantic potential, remove the pressure by being yourself, having fun, and enjoying the process of getting to know someone new.

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Who Should Pay for a Date?

Man Pay For DateThe arrival of the bill can interrupt the flow of even the most mutually enjoyable first date. Together, you and your date—someone you barely know––have to navigate how to handle this tricky, often unspoken joint decision of who pays for a date.

Sometimes, the check sits on the table for ages, feeling like an increasing intrusion into a your conversation and begs for resolution. It would be easy if there were a universally accepted way to handle the bill. But it’s more confusing than that.

The first few dates are a unique part of any relationship. While they might influence the tone for the future, this stage is all about courtship. It’s about wooing, getting to know one another and deciding if you like each other enough to continue learning about each other.

How you choose to take care of the check should reflect that you’re in a courtship phase. Because you know so little about each other, each little thing you do carries more weight than it will later on when it’s just a small piece of a bigger picture. At this stage, your date is likely to perceive how you handle the bill as emblematic of your generosity in other areas of life.

It’s too early to make assumptions about who makes a higher salary or how finances will likely be shared should you enter into a long-term relationship. While many women look more favorably on a man who pays for a date, few actually want to be continually “taken care of” by a man.

The question of who pays is basically left up to the opinions and life experiences of each dater, which can be a recipe for confusion and misunderstanding. People often ask themselves the following questions:

  • Should I go along with traditional etiquette, which states that the person who does the inviting should pay?
  • Should the man always treat?
  • Should we split the tab in order to keep things balanced?

The simple answer is that the person who does the inviting should pay. Since the man is usually the traditional pursuer who asks the woman out, he should offer to pay. It’s a romantic gesture, which signals that he values her and is willing to be generous towards her.

However, once the man picks up the check, a wise woman will signal her generosity by indicating that she’s amenable to paying her share. She’ll go through her purse, pull out her wallet and ask how he wishes to proceed.

Guys—if you’re interested in her, thank her and decline her offer. Take the opportunity to flirtatiously tell her that the pleasure of her company makes it impossible for you to consider such a thing. You could indicate that you want to see her again by telling her that you’ll let her pay “next time.”

What if the first date was a big flop? A woman should insist on paying her share if she has decided that she doesn’t want to see him again. By not accepting his generosity, she sends the message that she is holding back. A man should consider that this most likely conveys the woman’s indifference toward him.

Once you’ve gotten past the first few dates, it’s time to shift to a more modern perspective. Even though you’re probably still in courtship mode, you’re likely starting to set a rhythm together. By this time, both of you should demonstrate your willingness to be a potential partner by offering to reciprocate.

If you’re a woman, plan to treat a guy to a post-dinner drink, bring him cookies or wine when you meet, or invite him to a home-cooked meal by the fourth date. Otherwise, he may get the idea that you want to be taken care of.

As you move into a relationship, your ability to negotiate who pays is a good way to forecast how well you’ll be able to handle the number one issue that drives couples apart: money! 

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Why Bringing a Friend on a Date is a Big Mistake

First Date With Her BFFHave you ever brought your friend along on a first or second date? It might seem like a good idea. After all, isn’t it better to have two sets of eyes and ears paying attention to the pros and cons of a potential suitor?

It would make sense if we were in a culture where chaperones keep a watchful eye over a slowly brewing courtship. But, in a world where women are expected to be independent and make their own decisions, it sends a very different message. Let’s look at it from a guy’s point of view. 

Ken is a handsome, successful, professional man in his mid-forties. I was surprised to hear that Susan, a woman who he met online, brought her married friend to their first date.

He laughingly commented that he didn’t feel like he was on a real date. Instead, he felt like a commodity, knowing that his every move was about to be inspected, evaluated and dissected by two women he’d just met.

Ken happens to be one of the good guys. He’s intelligent, thoughtful and ethical. 

He makes good money. He takes care to plan dates in popular venues located in safe neighborhoods.

He is seeking a long-term, committed relationship with a compatible woman. He even invested in my coaching services because he’s determined to do things right this time around.

He’s looking for a self-assured, emotionally healthy woman who is open to connecting on an emotional, intellectual and romantic basis. Like most men, he enjoys the fun and flirtatious nature of courtship.

He found it almost impossible to woo Susan when a first date became a threesome. Rather than risking offending Susan’s friend, he took romance and courtship off the table. He couldn’t see a way to pursue her while meeting his obligation to be socially engaging with her friend.

Ken thought about asking Susan for a second date. He felt attracted to her and liked her personality. But he questioned what might be going on under the surface that would cause her to feel compelled to bring a friend on their date.

He reasoned that Susan might not be able to trust her own judgments and perceptions. Did it mean that she was insecure, distrustful or unavailable? He wondered whether she had the ability to authentically express her desires and make her own romantic decisions.

Susan would be better off if she realized that dating is a process that includes quite a bit of uncertainty. Even her best friend can’t possibly sense all of the nuances that she needs in a romantic partner. That’s up to Susan to figure out over time.

While the idea of being able to tell whether someone is right for you after just one date is appealing, it’s not realistic. A first date is just a time to meet someone and see if they’re interesting enough to meet again.

Susan needs to learn to trust the process and take things slowly. She needs to practice saying things like, “I’m not sure, yet,” “I’m not ready,” or “I need to think about it,” when she isn’t certain how to proceed.

In the end, Ken decided that he was going to pass on Susan and look for someone who is open to taking the emotional risks needed to move into a authentic relationship.

When you’re looking for love, you’re seeking a heart-to-heart connection with someone. If you bring another person along or introduce your date to your friends or relatives on the first few dates, you’re turning a potentially romantic situation into a social event.

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10 Things you Need to Know About Dating After A Break Up

Starting OverUnless you're one of the lucky few, dating after a break up can make you feel vulnerable in a way that you haven't felt for years.

Until recently, you've enjoyed the stability of being in a romantic partnership. Now you're experiencing the ambiguity of not knowing when, where or if you'll meet someone worthwhile. One of your goals should be discovering how to be comfortable both being single and dating again.

The good news is that you're presumably wiser than before. You've probably learned from your past relationship. You've got a fairly good idea about what worked well and what went wrong. You've probably thought about what you want––and what you won't tolerate––in your next relationship. It's likely that you're determined to do things differently in order to avoid repeating past mistakes.

How to start dating again

If you're like most people in your situation, you may wonder how you fit in to the dating scene now that you're older. You may want to know how to date more efficiently so that you're not wasting your time in the wrong places with the wrong people.

This is what you need to know to lay the groundwork for effective and fun dating that is likely to lead to a great, lasting relationship.

1. You are definitely not too old to find love. You're just older than you were last time. Like you, single people in your age range tend to have the wisdom of experience. Men are more interested in a woman's personality. Women are less prone to drama. Many people are still attracted to youthful energy, passion and optimism, which can be displayed at any age.

People of all ages date, fall in love and get into long term, committed relationships and marriages. Wanting to be loved is a primal, human desire and it doesn't go away as we age.

2. Be friendly and outgoing towards everyone. Single people are everywhere and you're more likely to find them when you're fostering connections and friendships.

Use technology to your advantage. Research effective ways to online date and learn how to best use the sites that you are on. Remember that no one was born knowing how to meet people by using online dating sites.

3. Dating behaviors have changed a great deal over the years, so forgive mistakes and misunderstandings. Some people have never dated. They met their exes through friends, work or school and got together in a less formal way.

4. Attraction is simply an opportunity to get to know someone better. It is not a sign that the person to whom you're attracted is "The One."

5. You can't tell how things will turn out after just one date. If you think you can, you are telling yourself a story. Continue dating several people until you find someone simpatico who is equally excited about the prospect of forging a relationship. Take time get to know the person who most interests you, as well as several others before committing to one person. Before you agree to be a couple, don't waste your time by committing to someone who only sees you as one of several options.

6. Courtship requires different skills than growing and maintaining a relationship. Don't assume that someone who is a great date will also be a great mate.

7. Dating isn't efficient. It's about getting to know people and discovering whether you care for each other and if your values, goals and personalities are in alignment. You can't tell if someone is right for the long haul until you've known each other for an extended period of time.

8. Everyone has baggage. It's your job to be accountable for yours. Wait until you've gone out several times before gradually revealing personal details about your life and relationships.

Don't allow your date's baggage to become your problem. You're seeking a potential partner, not a therapy project.

9. Many people date because they are seeking a relationship, but part of dating is discovering if the person you're seeing wants one with you.

10. Some people are dating because they are seeking no-strings-attached companionship. They only want a play-pal or a friend-with-benefits. Most will casually mention it as you're getting acquainted. If you continue to see them after they've told you they aren't interested in a real relationship, they will assume that you are also looking for something casual.

It helps if you see your return to dating as an adventure. You don't know whom you'll meet, but if you adjust and embrace your new situation, it's sure to be entertaining and ultimately rewarding.

If you're interested in jump-starting your dating life, check out my online Making Sense of Dating Group, starting on June 24. Click here for details

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Master the Art of Flirting if you want to Meet Someone Special

Flirting At WorkYou may have had the deflating experience of encountering an attractive stranger, but having been too tongue-tied to talk, let alone flirt with him or her. You may have stewed about what you should have done or said. Perhaps you perused the "Missed Connections" ads in the hope that the other person was similarly intrigued.

If you feel awkward, shy or just plain terrified when you get the opportunity to connect with an attractive stranger, gather up some courage and resolve to improve your flirting skills. It doesn't matter how many wonderful, eligible people are nearby if you can't connect via a lighthearted, fun conversation.

Flirting is about creating rapport with others by acting confident, upbeat and interested. It involves briefly, playfully connecting with someone with the intention of getting to know that person a tiny bit better. Flirting works best if your only goal is to introduce yourself in a positive and light-handed way and see what happens next.

If you're a woman, it's OK to initiate a flirty conversation. Most men are flattered and intrigued when a woman says hello. You'll probably make his day!

If you're like most people, you'll need to muster some courage before flirting, because you can't know what will happen next. You may need to overcome your fear of negative consequences so that you can believe in the possibility of making a great connection and feel comfortable no matter what happens.

One of the best ways to allay these fears is to practice light flirting with almost everyone you encounter. Make a little eye contact, smile and say hello. The more practice you get, the easier it will be. As you become more at ease, your increased confidence will boost your chances of success when you run into someone you really want to get to know.

It's far easier to flirt if you know how to confidently respond to the possibly awkward consequences of approaching someone in a flirtatious manner.

Worrying that you might flirt with an undesirable person or send the wrong message is a great way to rationalize your never meeting anyone worthwhile. You just need to learn how to gracefully leave a coquettish conversation.

Give yourself permission to go at any time. Don't make the mistake of believing that you need to stay until the other person is ready to stop talking. Simply say something like, "It's been nice chatting. I have to go now." Then, say goodbye or wish them a nice day and go on your way.

If you discover that you're flirting with someone who is in a relationship, smile, say something positive, for example "That's great!" and ask how they met. If a significant other shows up mid-conversation, he or she is unlikely to feel discomfort when you're enjoying the story of their first encounter. Tell them they look great together as you exit.

Accept that some people will ignore your attempts at flirtation. Even the hottest among us don't succeed every time. It doesn't mean that you're a failure, unattractive or unworthy. It just means that others aren't responding for reasons that are unknown to you.

Once you've made it through light flirting and said hello, start chatting by introducing yourself by your first name and asking how the other person's day is going. Keep smiling and follow up with a compliment, question or comment.

  • Compliment what he or she is wearing, carrying or driving and ask a question about it. You're better off if you admire the person's taste rather than their looks. For example, "I love your scarf! The color is really flattering. Where did you get it?"
  • Ask for directions, what they think of something nearby or about a comment that you overheard. For example, if you're within sight of the Golden Gate Bridge you could ask, "I'm looking for a great place to get a good photo of the bridge. Where do you think I could get a great shot?"
  • Make a comment about something and ask what they think. For example, when you're in line at a café you might say, "These sandwiches all look delicious. I usually have the chicken, but today I want to try something different. What do you recommend?"

If you want to find love the most important thing that you can do is to open yourself to more possibilities. Your flair for flirting is what matters most when you have the opportunity to meet single men or women.

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Why a Woman Gives a Guy Her Number but Never Answers his Calls

Waiting For Her CallDear Annie, I called Kay the day after we met at a singles event. I left a friendly message, which included my number and said that I was looking forward to hearing from her. She never returned my call.

I don't know if I should call again. Sometimes a woman is so busy that she can forget to call. Other times it means that she doesn't want to talk to me.

This isn't the first time that this has happened. Why would a woman give me her number unless she wants to get to know me better? It is not fair for a woman to inconvenience a man just because she doesn't have the courage to say she isn't interested. I put myself on the line to ask for her number. She should be courteous enough to give me an honest answer.

I, like most men who have anything on the ball, would prefer to move on and pursue someone else if a particular woman isn't interested. Dave

Misunderstandings often arise around exchanging contact information. Men ask women for numbers. Some move forward and call promptly. Others don't. Some women are thrilled when a particular man asks for their info. Others give out their number and later wish they hadn't. Some give men a phony number and others wait for the call that never comes.

Some women don't know how to graciously say no when a man asks for her number. Many have had the unpleasant, intimidating experience of being pressured to share contact information after declining to do so. So, a woman who fears a potential confrontation might give you her number to just to avoid unpleasantness.

Women tend to take more time than men to make up their minds about whether they want to follow up with someone. A woman may feel that she has to decide whether a man is good relationship material before moving forward. In that case, she might give out her number so that her indecision won't cost her the opportunity to move forward in the future.

While there are several reasons why a woman who is ambivalent or uninterested might give you her number, they are not good excuses for her not returning your call and letting you know that she's not available.

Here are some ways that men and women can better understand each other when it comes to the tricky question of how to handle sharing and following up on contact information.


  • Learn to politely decline a man's request for your number. You could say, "Thanks for asking, but I'm not available." Then, smile and walk away.
  • If you're not sure whether you want to get to know him better, share your email address or ask him for his card or contact info.
  • If a man doesn't honor how you wish to share your information, it's a red flag as it is likely to reflect the likelihood of him not being able to respect your needs in the future.
  • Remember that a man asks you for your number because he's interested in getting to know you better. That's all. You don't need to say yes to an offer of a date. You don't need to touch him, kiss him or sleep with him. You don't need to know if he's "The One." If you hear from him, take the opportunity to become better acquainted.
  • Getting-to-know-you phone calls are a lot easier if you keep them short: 15 to 20 minutes is long enough to have a friendly chat and potentially arrange a date.


  • If a woman responds to your request for a number by asking for your information without sharing hers, tell her that you'd love to hear from her, but that you'll understand whatever she decides to do.
  • Ask whether she prefers to be contacted by text, phone call or email. Many women get frustrated when their preferred method of communication isn't used, but are reluctant to tell a guy which is the best for her.
  • If she doesn't return your first call, leave a message saying that you'll contact her the next day if you haven't heard from her. 
  • If she doesn't return your second call, leave a similar message saying that you'll get back to her later in the week.
  • If you don't get a response after a few days, call her for a third and final time. Let her know you won't be calling again in a clear and friendly way. "Hi Kay, this is Dave again. I really enjoyed our conversation the other night, which is why I've been trying to reach you. But this is the last time that I'll call unless I hear from you. Otherwise, I'll assume that you're sending me the message that you're not interested in our getting to know each other. In either case, I hope you're having a great week."

Following up after you've met someone new can make even the most experienced dater feel unsure and vulnerable, but it's the only way to begin to discover if the person who intrigues you might be a good match. The best way to do so is to act in a kind, respectful and gently honest manner.

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How to Thank Your Date when You're not Sure What's Next

Email RejectionDear Annie, What do men think when they get a thank you note after a date? I enjoyed a pleasant first date with Jason from OK Cupid. He said nothing about seeing each other again, which was fine with me. I would have said yes if he asked me for a second date, but was comfortable with it going either way.

In the spirit of being polite and courteous, I sent him an email thanking him for meeting me. I did not mention anything about the possibility of a future date. He replied that he hadn't felt a romantic connection and wished me well.

I'm highly annoyed that my thank you note was misconstrued as an overture. I don't need a man to inform me that he isn't interested. I find it much more palatable if a guy just says, "Nice to meet you as well," and then doesn't initiate any further contact.

Would it have been better if I didn't send a thank you note, especially if men misinterpret them as a subtle message about wanting another date: which is not my intention? Karen

This is the thing about online dating: You don't know how you or the other person is going to feel or react after you have met in person.

It's easy when you are in sync with each others' feelings and approach to dating. Perhaps both of you are so attracted to each other that your next date is immediately agreed upon before you part ways. Or, it could be obvious that there is no mutual appeal, so nothing transpires after your initial meeting.

Most of the time, it's more awkward. You're out with a stranger whose assumptions and intentions are unclear to you. Each of you likely operates under entirely different dating tactics, unspoken rules and expectations.

To top it off, most people are uncomfortable about rejection, whether they are struggling through the discomfort at the thought of hurting someone's feelings, or the pain of being brushed off. There is no correct protocol that satisfies everyone, yet many women have strongly held, often contradictory, beliefs about how a man should let them down after a first or second date that was going nowhere.

Some women want to know where things are going after just one or two dates. Perhaps they decide that they really like a guy and want to move forward. They may reach out via phone calls, texts or notes and are likely to feel frustrated and angry if they haven't heard from him.

Others, like you, are more comfortable assuming that a man who is interested will follow up and that others will drop by the wayside without saying a word. But, after just one date, a guy has no way of knowing what kind of communication is best for you.

Jason, like most guys, was probably completely in the dark about the best way to let you know that he wasn't interested. If he's like most men who have been dating for even a short while, a woman has most likely contacted him after he decided not to move forward after a date, and asked him questions like, "What happened? How come you didn't tell me...?" She may have said that she thought "We had an amazing connection," or "Why didn't it work out between us?"

I've even had some comments on blogs from other coaches who say that it's imperative that a man verbally communicate his intentions to move forward--or not--after a first date. 

Many guys don't know how to interpret a post-date thank you email because women send them for different reasons. Some are angling to get another date, while others are sending a sincere thank you. But don't let that stop you from sending them, as lots of men believe that not receiving a message of thanks after a date means that a woman is rude or thoughtless.

Jason probably decided to err on the side of full disclosure. His response to your thank you note was probably intended as a sincere, kind way to spare you the pain of not knowing where things were headed. He didn't do anything wrong, he just guessed that you might be a women who wanted an answer.

I'm all for writing a quick thank you note for what a date has provided, especially if he has gone out of his way by meeting you in your neighborhood or paying for a drink, meal or treat. After all, it's better to deal with the temporary annoying sting of a guy telling you what you already know, which may be that he's not interested, than to have him shut off further possibilities because he believes that you are rude. It's better to walk away with dignity.

Aside from enthusiastically thanking your date in person, there is no one right way to deal with the situation you're talking about. I suggest that you accept that the different ways that men handle receiving thank you notes is just part of the dating process. Have compassion for the guys who have to shoot blindly while guessing what works best for each woman they meet.

Recent Comments
Guest — Robin
I think it depends too, on when you send the thank you note. If the note is sent the next morning, "thanks for dinner, I enjoyed ... Read More
Thursday, 26 March 2015 11:11 PM
Annie Gleason
Great point!
Thursday, 26 March 2015 11:11 PM
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How Your Dating Must-Haves Could Be Undermining Your Happiness

Dating ChecklistDear Annie, What do I need to do in order to meet a high-quality man? I've been on more than a hundred first dates in the last couple of years and haven't met one man who is a good match. I'm very attractive at 48, and look much younger than my age.

I try to give men who are interested in me a chance, but I've yet to feel chemistry with them. On the rare occasion that I meet someone to whom I'm attracted, he disappears and I never hear from him again.

I took a good look at my failed relationships so that I'm aware of what didn't work in the past. I have made a list of all of the essential qualities that I require in my next mate. The next time I fall in love, I think that I deserve to be in a relationship with a man who will meet my needs.

When I tell my friends how difficult it is to meet the right kind of guy, they say that I'm too picky, but I'm the one who has to live with my choices. Louise

Knowing what you're looking for in a relationship is important. However, there are some things that are better left to serendipity.

Love and partnership is about having a heart-to-heart connection with someone simpatico who shares your values and long-term goals. A good relationship includes things like quality time, commitment and sharing. But other things on your must-have list are not essential for a rewarding, loving relationship. 

For example, many women in urban areas will only consider becoming involved with a professional man with a college degree who makes around $100,000 a year, is over six-feet tall and loves to travel.

On the surface, this doesn't sound too unreasonable, but realistically you are shrinking your dating pool to a point where you're using superficial criteria to rule out a huge number of men who are potentially great partners.

Would you want to miss out on experiencing the love of your life because he's a retail business owner, a working actor or a teacher? Or because he makes around $50,000 annually, but has other assets that make for a financially comfortable life?

According to this recent article in the Huffington Post, less than 27 percent of Americans earn more than 50K annually. Only nine percent of Americans earn over $100k a year.

You, like the majority of women in the US, are looking for a man who is over six feet tall. But only about fourteen percent of men meet that requirement. Needless to say, those men can afford to be choosier because they have many more opportunities for romance than a guy who is shorter.

Since the average height of a man in the US is 5'9", you are severely limiting your dating pool before you start taking critically important things like character, compatibility and common relationship goals into account.

If you're only comfortable dating someone taller, you'll vastly increase your odds of meeting the right guy if you go for a man who is at least couple of inches taller than you.

If you believe that not having a college degree means that a guy is less intelligent, ambitious and able to see things throught than those with baccalaureates, you're mistaken.

Would you pass up an opportunity to connect with someone like Steve Jobs, Richard Branson or Steve Martin? This long list of famous and/or wealthy college dropouts includes actors, kings of industry (many of whom are billionaires) and technology, and other men of all professional stripes.

There are many ambitious, intelligent, successful men who don't have college degrees who are looking for love. Some are duds—just like some who hold degrees. Ruling out men who don't have degrees is a great way to needlessly lessen your chances for finding love.

The most important things on your list are those that reflect his personality and his character. Pay attention to how he treats you, whether you're together or apart. Is he attentive, thoughtful and respectful? Do you enjoy each other's company? Is he honest and generous in his dealings with the world at large?

Your list will be most useful to you if you prioritize it by sorting it into qualities that you absolutely must have and those that would be nice, but that aren't necessary to sustain a loving, long-term relationship.


Recent Comments
Guest — Jim
Hi Annie! You make some very good points! And I like your giving statistics, too! Because that may enlighten these "picky" women w... Read More
Sunday, 01 March 2015 11:11 PM
Guest — Donni
I love this article, simple but very informative. As a matchmaker, I am always dealing with these laundry lists or requirements...... Read More
Wednesday, 04 March 2015 9:09 PM
Guest — MB
Anne, you made dangerous assumptions about Louise and you need to apologize to her. You know very little about Louise and yet, yo... Read More
Saturday, 14 March 2015 9:09 PM
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6 Ways to Get Over a Breakup

Begging Her To ReconsiderDear Annie, Sylvia broke up with me after we dated for three months because I was moving forward too quickly. I didn't handle it well.

I still have strong feelings for her, but she ignores my texts, emails and calls. What can I do to win her back? Sam

The ball is in her court. You've communicated that you want to get back together and she has chosen not to respond. It may sound counterintuitive, bur your best bet is to respect Sylvia's wishes to be apart.

You can send her one final email saying that, although you wish things were different, this will be the last time you'll be in touch. Ask her to contact you if she changes her mind in the future. Refrain from asking her to take you back. Just wish her the best.

After that, begin to move forward with your life, confident in the knowledge that she will get in touch if she changes her mind. Be gentle with yourself. Your new challenge is to move past your heartbreak.

Give yourself permission to grieve for a while. This is also a good time to assess what you have to offer, what you realistically would like to do differently and what you need from your next relationship.

You don't need to take full responsibility for your breakup. Look at dating as a test drive, the object of which is to discover if the two of you are compatible. If you had been a good match, your ex would have been happy with your forward momentum.

It may alleviate part of your sense of failure if you realize that most dating relationships don't last. The most common time for a break up is after the first date. After that it's the third date. Of the remaining relationships, many don't last past three months. Six months, nine months and one year are also times that couples are at higher risk for breakups.

If you see these times as opportunities to discover whether you and the person you're dating are on the same page, it will help you to understand that you're not solely to blame for your relationship's demise.

You will recover more quickly if you realize that you're the only one who can bring closure to your past. The first, painful but necessary step, is to remove all traces of your ex from your life.

  1. Rearrange your home so that you're not reminded of your ex every time you walk in the door. Reposition your furniture. Add decorative touches, such as colorful throws or pillows. Update your bedroom as quickly as possible, and replace sheets, bedding and any décor that reminds you of your ex.
  2. Eradicate all evidence of your relationship. Erase your ex's number from your phone. Delete electronic information, photos and emails. Discard gifts, cards and mementos. If you can't bear to let go of these things forever, burn electronic data onto a DVD, box it up with other gifts and mementos and ask a good friend to store it for you. Extract a promise that you won't be allowed to retrieve the box for at least two years.
  3. Don't exacerbate your pain by continuing to be connected over social media. Un-friend her! Watching an ex go on with her life can be a painful reminder of what you once had together.
  4. Get your endorphins pumping by exercising regularly. Take a physical activity class, such as Tai Kwon Do, ballroom dancing or golf. Steer clear of junk food. Not only will healthy habits help you to feel better, you're likely to be happier with your body.
  5. Update your wardrobe so that you aren't reminded of her every time you get dressed. You'll feel more confident if you look good when you leave the house.
  6. Reconnect with friends. Invite them to share activities with you, whether it's watching or participating in sports, going to a movie or just hanging out. Remember to refrain from talking about your ex.

Recovering from a breakup is likely to be easier if you take time to experience your feelings, create closure and move forward in your life. Whether your ex returns or you find someone new, you'll be better able to be fully present when the next opportunity for love comes along.

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How to Write an Online Profile to Attract the Right One

Writing Online ProfileDear Annie, I decided to revamp my online dating profile because it attracts too many losers. What should I do in order to make it appeal to the right kind of people? I've thought of modeling it on other profiles, but I don't know how to tell which ones are successful. Lynn

An online dating profile is just an advertisement that is designed to inspire others to explore the possibility of meeting you in person. Your profile should include good photos and upbeat, true-to-life descriptions.

When you write your profile, talk about the things that make you unique. Rather than using generic adjectives, describe yourself in one or two sentence stories. This shows that you're confident and authentic. Don't worry about people not liking what you write. Your job is to appeal to the kind of person who is likely to be a good match.

Your profile should include the kind of topics you'd share at a casual gathering. A good profile will give readers enough information so that it's easy to start a conversation by sending an email with questions and comments.

Your profile will be even more successful if you use these tips:


  • Use words that express feelings when you describe yourself: Don't list your interests; for example, "I like sailing, Salsa dancing and trying new restaurants." Instead, use sentences like these to give readers a sense of your personality: "I love the feeling of the wind, water and sun when I'm sailing," or "I adore moving to the rhythm of Salsa music, " or "I delight in discovering unusual flavor combinations when I try new restaurants."
  • Write from a positive point of view: Talk about what is working in your life. People are attracted to others who can make them feel good. Wait until after you meet, but before you become involved, to discuss any challenges that you're experiencing.
  • Express your sense of humor: If you can make someone laugh, they are more likely to reach out to you. Don't worry that you won't be funny, as everyone expresses humor differently.
  • Describe the kind of relationship you're looking for in one or two sentences: Do you want a friendship that might lead to romance sometime in the future? Are you interested in marriage and children or a long-term relationship? Mention it in your profile, but don't get too far into the details.
  • Answer all of the dating site's questions: You never know what will inspire someone to email you.


  • Daydream about your perfect relationship on your profile: No one can tell what a relationship with someone who they haven't met might be like. If your profile is only about the kind of relationship you want, it's impossible to comment on it in an email without sounding awkward. Who wants to write an email to a stranger that says, "Like you, I want a relationship with clear communication, lots of love and appreciation. How about meeting for coffee?"
  • Use adjectives: For example, everyone's definition of "independent" is different. Do you mean financially independent? If you're talking about independence in the context of a relationship, are you saying that you like to have time to do some things separately or that you live separate lives and see each other for a few days each week or month? Or do you define it as something else? Be clear about what you mean by describing it in a sentence or two.
  • Use these tired, frequently found phrases: Loves to laugh, lives life to the fullest, equally at ease in jeans or tux/cocktail dress, work hard and play harder, partner in crime, or any phrase that includes the word "drama."
  • Write about what you don't want: This often turns off the kind of people you're looking for. It's also not effective. Writing the phrase, "No alcoholics or drug addicts," is not going to stop them from contacting you. It's up to you to check out everyone you date as you get to know each other.
  • Post a profile without current photos: Like it or not, online dating is a visual medium. Post photos that feature you at your best. Don't try to attract people by posting old photos or ones that don't represent your body type and age.

A profile that uses feeling words to describe who you are in a fun, friendly, conversational way is bound to attract more compatible users. But, don't worry if your profile attracts some of the wrong people. You can't control who responds to you. Simply ignore, delete and block those users.

If you want professional help creating a profile, click here for more info.

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What to do When He Won’t Commit

WomanPursuingUnavailableManDear Annie, How do you change a man who is commitment-phobic? I'm in love with Jason, who embodies everything I've ever wanted. We've been together for almost three months. We have fabulous chemistry and a magical connection. Each date is like a fantasy come true. I think that he is "The One," except for one thing. He says that he doesn't want a serious commitment. How can I show him that I'm a great catch without scaring him away? Patricia

If you've been dating for over two months, Jason is aware of what kind of a catch you are. But even though he knows you fairly well, he has told you that he's not interested in a sincere commitment. So he's being honest with you, and you should take him seriously.

He is probably aware that you are committed to him, even though he's not interested in reciprocating. He most likely feels that he is being ethical because he's communicating his truth without any disclaimers, and that what you do with that information is up to you.

Jason's actions and words about commitment are all you need to know about what to expect from him. He feels no need to move your relationship forward. After all, he can avail himself of your company whenever he wants to see you. He gets the benefit of your doing your best to please him.

Any efforts you make to in order for him to change his mind are extremely unlikely to be effective. After all, you want to be with him because of the way that you feel rather than the way you think. If you want your relationship to move forward, he needs to feel inspired to reciprocate your feelings. Showing him that you're a great girlfriend is not a good strategy to make him want to commit to you.

It's likely that Jason has a good reason for not wanting to be in a seriously committed relationship. He may not feel ready to settle down with one woman. It's possible that there are things that are important for him to accomplish before he's willing to provide the attention and care that he believes are important to nourish his vision of a strong relationship. Or he may like you a lot, but for some reason feel that you're not a potential long-term partner.

It's highly unlikely that he will reconsider if you continue with your current arrangement. As perfect as Jason seems, if he's not interested in a committed relationship, he's not going to make you happy in the long run.

Your best chance of motivating a change in Jason's feelings is to show him that you're a strong woman who isn't willing to compromise by waiting around and hoping that a long-shot dream comes true. Tell him that you are sorry that he's not ready for the type of relationship that would ultimately make you happy. Let him know how you feel around him, and your regret that your affair must end.

Walk away. Disconnect completely. Use as much willpower as you can muster and resist the temptation to contact him. There is a good chance that you won't hear from him, which means you made the right decision because he was probably sure that a break up was inevitable. Although he enjoyed your company, it was only a matter of time.

If he gets in touch with you, tell him that you are moving on with your life and that going back to the way things were will just hold you back. Do whatever it takes to refocus your attention towards a different future.

If he persists, say that you're not willing to compromise your standards; you want a commitment with the goal of it leading towards a long-term relationship. Before you get involved again, test his intentions by starting as friends and casually dating each other over several weeks before becoming emotionally and physically intimate. 

Like the vast majority of men who say that they don't want a commitment, Jason is sending you an unwavering message. As long as you're willing to continue doing your best for him in the hopes that he will commit, things won't change. Your best bet is to walk away and get involved with someone who really wants to be in a committed relationship with you.

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Guest — Vickie
Three months? Are you serious? That is barely enough time to get to know a person at all. How can this woman be sure he is "the on... Read More
Friday, 06 February 2015 2:02 AM
Guest — Steve Horsmon
I agree with Vicky in this specific case. 3 months is WAY too soon to be putting this kind of pressure on each other. But, I thi... Read More
Friday, 06 February 2015 6:06 PM
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How to Meet Someone Special on the Street

Pretty woman waits for busDear Annie, I've been exchanging smiles and hellos with an attractive young woman, who I usually see jogging past my bus stop on my daily workout.

I would love to get to know her, but I'm not sure how to arrange it. I think that she lives a couple of blocks from me, but I don't even know her name, let alone her address or phone number.

I wish she could see me in dress clothes instead of my morning jogging clothes. How can I "coincidentally" bump into her without seeming too obvious? What would be the best strategy with which to approach her? Claude

Any time you introduce yourself to someone new, you are simply exploring possibilities. You can't possibly predict what the outcome will be. Because so much about a stranger is unknown, your best bet is to proceed as a if you are a detective who makes use of clues and signals to guide you as you move forward.

You say she's an "attractive young woman," so I'm going to assume that she's significantly younger than you. If that's the case, she might feel comfortable smiling and returning your hellos because she perceives you as a friendly older—read fatherly—guy.

Don't assume that a woman is interested in you just because she smiles and exchanges hellos with you. She may simply be a happy person who is friendly with everyone around her. On the other hand, she might be thrilled to finally have a chance to meet you. It's up to you to discover if she might be open to your advances.

All you need to do is temporarily alter your morning routine. Dress in business clothes and wait for the bus at the same time that you usually see her. Plan to ride the bus for a few minutes, disembark and return to the original stop.

Since you're already familiar with each other, it shouldn't be too much of a stretch to go from smiles and hellos to introductions. You'll appear more confident if you smile and don't shy away from eye contact with her.

Check to see if she's wearing a wedding band or engagement ring on her left hand while you're introducing yourself. Ask her how her day is going. Listen carefully to her answer, as you may learn everything you need to know from her reply.

If she mentions a husband or boyfriend, continue the conversation with small talk about your neighborhood, the weather or the reliability of bus schedules, for example. If she talks about her kids, ask a benign question about her husband, perhaps about how long she and her husband have lived in the neighborhood. You'll quickly find out if she's single and possibly available.

You can tell her why your morning routine is different that day. Mention that, although you routinely jog by, you happen to be waiting for the bus because of an unusually timed important meeting. She doesn't need to know that the object of your meeting is to make her acquaintance.

Take it slowly. Women tend to need time to warm up to a man they have just met. If you have a light and playful attitude, she'll be more likely to relax and enjoy your company.

If she seems to be single, available and engaged in conversing with you, ask her where she likes to hang out nearby. Tell her about one of your favorite neighborhood spots or activities. If she seems interested, offer to accompany her there in the near future. If she appears ambivalent, you can hand her one of your cards and tell her you'd like to stay in touch.

Whether she wants to get to know you better or prefers to move on, you'll both save face if you end your conversation on a polite and dignified note by telling her that you're delighted to have met her.

You'll greatly increase your opportunities to find love if you plan to meet women with the goal of simply exploring whether there is a possible point of connection between you two. If you're like most people, you'll be more confident and appealing if you don't have the pressure of feeling as if you failed if you don't achieve the result for which you were hoping.

Recent Comments
Guest — Orlando La Rosa
This is all well and good, but what does one do when one is too petrified to say anything. Don't say that all anyone has to do to ... Read More
Friday, 23 January 2015 6:06 PM
Guest — Adam
Hi Annie,It's interesting how many times my shyness kept me from approaching an attractive woman and each time I would wonder, som... Read More
Friday, 23 January 2015 8:08 PM
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The Art of Rating Possible Red Flags

She Might Be Too PickyDear Annie, It seems like everyone I meet online has some sort of red flag. My friends think I'm being too picky. However I would like your opinion.

Should I avoid a fifty-plus-year-old man whose profile features his recent pictures at Burning Man?

What do you think of a man who lives forty miles away, but does not offer to go out with me closer to my home for our first meeting?

What kind of man would spend the first fifteen minutes going through a verbal resume on a first date?

What if a man gets so physically affectionate that he's behaving as if you've been dating for a long time when you're on a first or second date?

What do you think about a man who talks about dating a super-hot woman who had a "smoking hot body," before mentioning that he lost interest immediately after she said that she didn't care much for kids? Laura

It's wise to have different standards when you're meeting men online than you will after you meet them in person. As anyone who has met people through online dating knows, someone can seem very different in a dating profile than they do in real life.

The wonderful thing about online dating is that it provides opportunities to meet people you would otherwise never encounter in your regular life. Even if you exchange lots of emails, texts or phone calls, you can't really tell if you'd like someone enough to become better acquainted until you meet in person, which I recommend you do as quickly as possible.

When you're on an online dating site, your primary intent should be to connect with men you might like should you be able to meet in-person. I suggest that you cast as wide a net as possible so that you have the opportunity to meet as many men as you can.

Not all men are great profile writers, and many online photos aren't the best, so I suggest that you be open to meeting men who move things forward and are reasonably interesting, friendly and respectful. The main red flag to watch for is someone whose online presence is fraudulent

Once you start planning to meet in person and going on dates, you'll get a much better sense of how a man thinks and behaves. This is the point that you can get more discerning as you begin to discover how he treats you and whether you enjoy each others' energy and personalities.

While you're online, be open to communicating with the guy who posted photos of himself at Burning Man. After all, if you met him at a party, you might not know about that part of his life, so it wouldn't influence whether or not you found him interesting. Unless you would break up with someone who you really like because of his participation in an activity, don't rule it out when you're dating online.

While you're planning a first date, pay attention to whether he's courteous, considerate and flexible. For example, the guy who lives forty miles away and is not willing to meet you on your own territory is sending you a message that he is not willing to date or meet you unless it's on his terms. He's doing you a favor by showing you how he operates. Tell him you're not interested unless you want to date someone who won't take your needs into consideration.

When you're on a first date, give the a guy a break. Unless he's had a lot of practice, meaning he's gone one lots of dates, he's likely to feel awkward and nervous. Be open to seeing most guys a second time, as it's much easier for most men to relax and be themselves on a second or third date.

Some men try to cover up their shyness by talking a lot. If a guy is very attracted to you, he's going to do whatever it takes to impress you. The man who did nothing but talk about his resume for the first fifteen minutes of your date was probably hoping that you would admire his credentials.

If you told the man who was touching you too much that it made you feel uncomfortable, and he persisted, that's a red flag. Ditto for the guy who was talking about the "smoking hot body." Most men are aware that it's inappropriate to discuss their physical attraction to another woman while they are on a date.

When a man doesn't change behavior and that causes you to feel uneasy, it's a sign of disrespect, which is a characteristic that has no place in a healthy relationship.

When you're dating in-person, it makes sense to watch for behaviors that could signal red flags. But, when you're looking for people to meet online, look for opportunities to meet men who might make great mates, whether or not they have online dating savvy.

You can read my article about how to spot a fraudulent email here.

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5 Ways to Date Smarter in 2015

Dreaming of LoveDear Annie, I'm fed up with dating. I don't seem to have much trouble attracting men—but I can't find a good one. Unfortunately, I end up dating one loser after another.

I really want to get off the dating merry-go-round and find someone to marry. Would you have any suggestions? Sandie

Dating tends to be more relaxed and successful when both of you take some time to get to know each other before getting involved.

If you're like most people, you will decide whether someone is a potential partner after having gone out only once or twice. When you make that kind of a decision so quickly, you're committed to a tenuous relationship because neither of you have had the opportunity to discover the other person in a natural, low-pressure way.

Most first dates are fraught with anxiety because each person is trying to impress the other. You're likely to get a much better chance to become acquainted on second and third dates because both of you are likely to be more relaxed with each other by then.

You don't know what you're getting into when you become involved someone shortly after you've met. Deciding that someone is a romantic possibility after one meeting can lead you on a dating roller coaster that is built solely on instant chemistry.

I don't have anything against chemistry. It's an important component of a long-term relationship, and women often feel it after they have gotten to know a guy for w while. But many other things predict future compatibility; for example, how you treat each other, how you resolve differences and whether your relationship goals are aligned.

You can't tell if a man might be right for you if all you know about him is that you're physically attracted. Strong chemistry tends to trigger excitement, fantasies and projection that most likely has nothing to do with who he is. This causes you to feel that the man you're falling for has all the attributes of your ideal man.

On a broader perspective, your tried-and-true dating patterns have not been working. As Einstein purportedly said, "The definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over and expecting different results." So, if you want to find love, resolve to use the following tips to start dating differently in 2015.

1 - Treat first and second dates as opportunities to get to know men rather than as possible romantic encounters. Don't assess his relationship potential when you get home. Instead, ask yourself if you enjoyed the date enough to meet again. If you're "not feeling it" after six or seven dates, agree to part as friends. It's best to refrain from deciding whether someone is a romantic possibility until you've really gotten to know him.

2 - Start dating people who are not your "type." If you've been unsuccessfully dating men who are your "type," accept the fact that it's not a working as a way to determine if a man is a candidate for a good relationship. Be open to possibilities and date guys who are different than those you've gone out with in the past. You don't have to go on a second date with someone who bores you to death.

3 - Modify your list of requirements. (Most people tend to ignore their lists when they meet someone who makes them feel romantic.) The ideal man does not exist. The most important thing is how a man makes you feel, not how tall he is or how much money he makes. Is he kind, honorable and trustworthy? Does he make you feel safe, valued and respected? Do you have similar goals?

4 – Be easy on yourself and your date. Accept the fact most mistakes and misunderstandings don't result from malice, but from good intentions and communications gone wrong. They're bound to happen in any relationship. The important thing is how you handle them.

5 – Walk away from those who don't treat you well. If he tells you that he's not ready for a serious commitment, don't stick around hoping that things will change. If you can't count on him to show up when he says he will, or if he only calls to make a date with you later the same night, things are not likely to improve. Leave the relationship with kindness and an intact sense of self-respect.

You're much more likely to find love if you stay focused in the present––keep your ideal man out of it––and get to know each other as people before becoming emotionally involved.

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Guest — Mark
Although dealing with logistics is one of her least favorite parts of the job, she knew it had to be done, and boy was she glad th... Read More
Tuesday, 27 January 2015 1:01 PM
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