Myths that Keep Us from Love

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Myths that Keep Us from Love

There’s lots of dating advice out there that while the speaker’s intent is sincere, the message is actually an obstacle rather than a way forward. There are myths that keep us from love rather than helping us find it. The first myth is playing it cool. Conventional wisdom goes that you shouldn’t let on how interested you are in a person, or else they may find you desperate or needy. This isn’t true at all.

Our belief in playing hard to get shouldn’t be absolute. You can use it if the person you are after is emotionally unavailable. Otherwise, be nice and open. Who doesn’t want those qualities in a relationship? If they reciprocate then this might be the person you are looking for. But they should at least respect these qualities. If playing it cool works for you that’s great. But if you aren’t really that type, or haven’t tried it, you’ll flub it. So be yourself. Feel it out and act accordingly. Make sure you draw boundaries. Don’t get taken advantage of. But if someone is frightened off by openness than they weren’t ready for a relationship to begin with. And if that’s what you’re looking for, thank your lucky stars and move on.

We are often told that all we need is a little self-confidence. Confidence is great if mixed with some modesty. But projecting cool and confident can make you look like a superficial snob, or an egotistical jerk. Its better if you let your date know about your shyness, anxiety, or other issues. You don’t have to lay them all out before them. But just be who you are. Own yourself, including your faults. If you have come to terms with your shortcomings, why not show your date this? Anyone who is worthwhile will recognize it and see it as a great asset. If you’re nervous on a date just be honest and say that you’re nervous. You’re date will probably think it’s cute. If they’re worth your time they’ll try to get you to relax. Even admitting it will help you to relax. And then if they’re helping you, all of a sudden you two are jiving, and isn’t that what a date’s all about? Be as cool, witty and charming as you normally are. You can amp it up a little bit. But don’t portray a false confidence. It almost always falls flat.

Lastly, the numbers game is a myth that should be debunked. Many people believe that with the power of the internet, they can go on a ton of dates and will, out of the mass of people they’ve encountered, unearth the one they’ve been looking for. The exact opposite is true. You will feel a kind of dating fatigue after so many dates. People will start to look the same. You will feel numb, give your date less of a chance and be less willing to connect. It will actually get in the way. Strive for quality over quantity. Only respond or date people you have things in common with. The more in common the better the date. With these myths debunked, consider your love life simplified. For more dating advice read, Is This The One?-Insightful Dates for Finding the Love of Your Life by Stephen Arterburn.

Finding the Right Person

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Finding the Right Person

Dating around is great. You get to meet so many different people, see your real likes and dislikes, and have so many romantic adventures. But there comes a time in almost everyone’s life, from the love bug who just hasn’t found the one to the player who is tired of the game, when it’s time to settle down and find love. Here are some strategies to help in finding the right person. First, you need to change your mindset completely. Most people date willy-nilly, pushed by the winds of fate to this person or to that. But this will be a conscious effort. It’s like looking for a job, the important part is meeting people and networking until what you’re looking for rises to the surface.

Now that you are in the proper mindset, don’t set out alone. Elicit the help of your friends. Who knows you better than them? You’ll want similar qualities to who they are, and they’ll know you so well that they’ll be great help. Send out a BOLO or Be On the Lookout. In other words have your friends and even family, if you are comfortable, on the alert for singles that match your criteria. It’s much easier when you have a whole legion of matchmakers at your side. You don’t have to sound desperate. Just tell them you haven’t met anyone you like lately and so you’re changing tactics. They know what you like so it should be easy. And offer to do the same for your single friends too. It makes it more like a singles exchange.

Take a look around. Sometimes people are emotionally involved with someone already, but they’ve written that person off for one reason or another. Do you have a friend or a coworker that you love to chat with? Do you guys share intimate details of you lives? Do you even have a pact that you’ll end up together if you or they never find anyone else? If you can picture yourself kissing this person than you are already into them. Shake off the denial. Have a talk with others that have seen you interact. And then why not hang out, flirt a little and slowly see if there’s any interest in taking things a bit further. You can always have some wine, and tell them it was the wine talking. A good friend would excuse and forget a little faux paus. But if it does work out you’ll have the right person for you, and they were in your midst all along. How funny and cute.

Attend social occasions, even if you don’t feel like it. Pump yourself up, slap a smile on and go out and mingle. You never know who you are going to meet. Too many singles have a negative attitude about social functions and don’t go, missing an opportunity to meet someone new. Or you might meet someone who knows someone perfect for you. So no social occasion is ever a waste. Look out for singles events in your area. Take up a new hobby that’s social; a sports team, book club, writers or artists club, whatever you fancy. And try internet dating. You’ll land the one soon and have a whole lot of fun in the process. For more advice read, Calling in “The One”: 7 Weeks to Attract the Love of Your Life by Katherine Woodward Thomas.

How to Write a Great First Message

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How to Write a Great First Message

Online dating seems to be the way a lot of people get together nowadays. Make a profile, upload some pictures and off you go. It’s a great tool and for some a fun way to spend a couple of hours searching and considering. But when there’s one profile you keep returning to, or someone who you just can’t wait to know more about, it comes time to message them. Some of us just freeze up. What do you say? There are others who aren’t intimidated but keep sending out messages and never get a response. So what’s the best approach? What can you do to make that first message great?  The first step is to actually write something. Don’t abbreviate or use internet lingo, use proper English. Double check your grammar and spelling. Daters on these sites want someone savvy and sophisticated, not a Neanderthal typing with hairy knuckles. Next, watch the physical compliments, especially guys contacting gals. Most women like to be told in person that they are beautiful or gorgeous, but online they want to know that you took the time to read their profile, and found something in there that attracted you. They want someone who is interested in who they are, not just their looks.

Just like everywhere else, there’s competition online. Beyond that, you don’t want to seem a flat, uninteresting dullard. Why not use a greeting that shows who you are? If you are both Star Trek fans, type them a Vulcan salutation. If you both like country music, hit them with a “Howdy.” Even if you just go for a “Hey there” it’s better than just a hello. A line from a movie you both like might work. Strike a casual tone however. Too formal and you might come off as a stick in the mud. Now include what you liked about the person’s profile, and what attracted you to them. What do you both have in common? Spend some time reading their profile and thinking about what would appeal to him or her. Do they like the same books, movies or music as you? Are they a fan of the same sports team? Are they vegan? Do they practice yoga? Do they have six dogs, seven birds and a tank full of man eating piranha just like you? The more things you have in common, the more things you have to talk about and hopefully, the better a match you will make. Use your commonalities to get the conversation rolling. Don’t be afraid to challenge them a little. Ask a question.  Posit a theory or give them some insight that most people fail to notice. Bring up something they might not know like a certain band they might like, a book that would blow their mind or a great little restaurant tucked away in a corner of their neighborhood. The more interesting, the more they’ll want to message you back.

Talk about yourself, but don’t brag. Be humble. Arrogance is a turnoff. You don’t have to write an enormous amount. A paragraph or two will suffice. Be yourself. Don’t be weird unless the person you are messaging has already shown an affinity for your type of weirdness. Can you be relaxed and funny? Go for it. Not sure how it will come off? Then just be upbeat. If you still aren’t getting responses check your selection process. If your search filter includes the words “Ivy League” while you barely finished high school, you might want to rethink that. Make sure the person you are messaging would find it reasonable to date you and vice versa. If you are only going on classic chiseled features, the perfect body, a prestigious career and high salary when you spend your days shouting “You want fries with that?” you may be setting yourself up for a fall. Lastly, be sure to be nice. Sometimes we try to elicit a certain response with something witty and acerbic but come off as mean or bitter. Keep things positive and G-rated, at least at first. For more tips on making your online dating a success read, Love at First Click: The Ultimate Guide to Online Dating by Laurie Davis.

Why do we Fall in Love?

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Why do we Fall in Love?

Have you ever wondered how much of love is biology and how much is psychology? If you’ve ever wondered if chemistry just happens or can be created, if love at first sight is real and all other things about love, you are living in a wondrous time. Why do we fall in love? Science has some answers. There are three different systems in the brain, that when brought together spell the emotional and biological phenomenon we call love. First is the sex drive created to ensure the perpetuation of our species. The feeling of romantic love helps you focus on one person making sure you don’t waste any time or energy. The last part is the comfort and security you feel when with a long term partner, giving you time to raise children together.

Love feels fantastic because the pleasure centers of the brain are activated when we fall for someone. Dopamine, the chemical that makes you feel euphoric, enthralled, and sleepless mirrors other experiences, such as being high on cocaine. Love at first sight does occur, though more to men than to women. Men are visual creatures. Whereas women fall in love in terms of who a person is, their charm, status or power rather than their physicality. Love at first sight may be an evolutionary advantage, producing offspring in a short amount of time rather than the long, drawn out process we go through today with society as our backdrop.

Timing of course is just as important in falling in love as it is with everything else in life. If you’re too busy with work or focusing on your responsibilities you may not notice the perfect person for you, when they’re just inches away. But with a little free time and the right mindset, a sort of openness, not necessarily looking for it, love can hit you like a lightning bolt. If you want someone to fall in love with you, do exciting things together with them. This releases dopamine and norepinephrine into the brain, mimicking romantic love. There is a difference between love and lust. You can feel love for one person. But lust dissipates after sex. And you can feel attracted to someone without being compatible, or jealous if they are into someone else.

How do you keep the spark alive? By trying new and exciting things together, and doing the things you did when you were first dating. Perhaps someday all of our questions on love will be explained. Will that kill the romance? Or will it give us a finer appreciation of the nuances of love? Only time and intrepid scientists will give us the answers. For more on this topic read, Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love by Helen Fisher.

How to Stop Pushing Nice Guys Away and Picking Jerks Instead

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How to Stop Pushing Nice Guys Away and Picking Jerks Instead

Speak to a lot of single women of a certain age and they’ll tell you that there are no quality men out there. Some are over-developed man children, they say. Others are sad and sorry pushovers, nice guys who have no passion in life and so stir none in them. Then there are the jerks that seem nice at first but play games, ignore needs, act callously, are distant, disrespectful and drop them without a second thought. So is this an actual social paradigm in the modern world, a list of excuses for broken hearts or a lashing out of the scorned and unlucky in love? Dr. Jeremy Nicholson is a social and personality psychologist who studies relationships. He posits that women’s evolutionary selves and the box our modern society tries to place them in are at odds, placing women in what he calls a “double-bind.” To find out more about what he says and what women can do about it, you need to know about Dr. Helen Fisher. She is an evolutionary anthropologist at Rutgers University. Dr. Fisher says there are three kinds of love: lust, attachment—managing the home, parenting and so on, and attraction, which is what we feel when we like someone and wish to pursue a relationship with them.

For each person, these are different. We’re all like weirdly shaped puzzle pieces trying to find the right fit. Though we are supposed to get all three from one person, sometimes we are attracted to one, lusting after another and still only feel comfortable with the third. Each of these three feelings that we blend together and call love start from different needs. Though you may get all three from the same person, Dr. Fisher argues that the needs themselves are very different. For most women these feelings just happen. But if they look deeper they would notice that there are certain features or cues put out by a partner that makes her attracted to him. These include physique, resources such as income, social status, stability, intelligence, conscientiousness and ambition. In society today, however, a woman needs to be many things to be deemed worthy. She has to be good at her job, her relationship, look beautiful, have a great attitude and raise stunning children. That’s a tall order. To do so she’ll have to be smart, industrious, assertive and motivated. These women, in order to have a mate that fits into her plans, must be agreeable, supportive, cooperative, and so on. Yet, by an evolutionary standpoint, these are not the men who are high in status. Those are often disagreeable. They don’t cooperate and they aren’t supportive. So those men who are culturally desirable aren’t desirable from an evolutionary perspective.

What strategies can a woman employ then to successfully traverse this complex landscape of the heart? Nicholson suggests selecting one of four successful strategies. The first is coming to love in the role of the leader. The businesswoman can also be the superheroine or the dominatrix. She can lead the nice guy to the right places and enjoy the ride. The second is holding off and finding the right guy. Here she will follow him and enjoy his attractive, strong leadership qualities, but will select a mate who also has a kind heart and keeps her wants, needs and desires in highest regard. Next, there is mixed dating. This is having one male partner for the household affairs and partnership, while another is for sexual rendezvouses. This could be an illicit affair, an ethical, polyamorous relationship or something in between. Lastly, there is sharing, balance, communication and compromise. Each person is in charge of their own set duties and the couple works everything out together. Good communication and a solid foundation to work from are key. For more on that state of human affection read, Why We Love by Helen Fisher.