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Global Guide to Divorce

Jack Jack the Cat

Dating Post-divorce

Situationship – Being In The Middle Ground When Dating

Do you feel you are neither in the friend zone or in the romantic one? Confused about what is happening in your relationship – or even if you are in one?  You are caught in the middle ground which is called situationship.

What are the signs of situationship?

 Lack of commitment 

It is being in a relationship without commitment. People go out together – even exclusively – and there does not seem to be a future.  Spontaneity is fun. Great to do things on the spur of the moment. It keeps life exciting, unless this is how it is always. These people usually do not make plans ahead of time. Cannot commit to a date next week.  When plans are made for a later time, they often bow out. The future is not mentioned. It is one thing to live in the moment, another to be stuck there., They use the word “sometime.”   “Would you like to go dancing/hiking (whatever) sometime?”  You answer with an enthusiastic “Yes” and nothing is planned.  The future is not discussed.

In regular dating relationships, there is forward movement. Although one person may go at a slower pace, the relationship still progresses. In situationship – it is on standstill.

Lack of commitment shows up in other areas.  It may seem like you both are getting closer: talking in depth about your pasts, career goals and so forth. When you start intimating more contact, they step backwards. It is a dance which they want to lead.  People in situationship do not want to be pinned down. They crave their freedom, yet still have someone they can call when feel like going out. It is a way to avoid closeness which can lead (in their minds) to dating drama.

Inconsistency

What is frustrating is the inconsistency – you may go out several times in one week, and nearly a month, goes by before the next date.  There is no agenda or routine schedule. There is little or no contact between dates. These individuals rarely initiate a text. They can be good at responding., which is easier than generating one. They may answer in minutes and later take days to respond.

You are doing most of the work in this relationship. Phone calls may only be when they have not heard from you in a while and are asking you out at the last minute.  Tone of texts can be flirty or almost rude. Hard to figure out where you stand in this relationship.

Incongruity between body language and words

In situationship where you are is undefined. The verbal may be incongruent with the non-verbal (actions).  Warm kisses on the lips, or even sex, do not go with their behaviour.  They do not go out regularly with you and are silent between dates.  They snuggle with you in booths, give plenty of hugs and kisses and throw in some complements.  This can be refereed to as crumbs. Enough to keep you interested, but not a main course.  They are treating you romantically while saying you are “Just Friends.”

It is confusing when their friends seem to think you are a couple or ask you how long the two of you have been dating.  Hard to answer when not really knowing if this is considered dating. Perhaps you like their friends and are part of the other’s inner circle.

What to do

Have a discussion of your needs and expectations. Express what you are feeling, “I’m into you – very attracted.”  Let them respond, pause as long as it takes to get an answer. In one case, the man’s reply was “I am not ready to take this further.” Yes, vague, but something. She is not sure if that means for this entire decade or for the next few months.  Communication is important in situationship.

When being told you are “just friends” for many months, consider dating again when an opportunity arises. This can help you become less fixated on the situationship which is going nowhere.

Questions to ask yourself

Are you getting anything out of it?

Are you better with or without them?

The answers help determine if you want to enjoy the relationship for what it is or if it is time to move on.  People’s self-worth can be negatively affected, particularly if they feel there is a flaw within themselves. People coming out of a toxic marriage may feel they are not worthy of anything more and accept what is happening. Be aware of your mental health, and if feeling depressed or anxious, think about making an exit. Keep  in mind, you are in a situationship because of the other person, not you. They are fearful, have a traumatic history, attachment disorder, or whatever it is.

One example where it does work out is this. A woman in a situationship with a musician, realized she enjoys going to his gigs and dancing. She has fun going out for pizza periodically in-between times.  She decided to stay with the man, but start dating again. She has had several dates so far, and life is fun and fulfilling for her.  There is no right or wrong answer, it is what ever is best for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Relationship PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Portrait Of Young Shy Couple Sitting On Sofa At Home

Trauma from past relationships affects a current one.  The person may do the hot/cold dance – wanting to get closer, yet afraid of being burned again. Not only is relationship PTSD traumatic for the individual, but also to the other in the relationship. The person with PTSD can be afraid to acknowledge even to themselves, deep feelings – as this has led to heartbreak previously.

UK ‘s National Health Service (NHS) defines PTSD as an “anxiety disorder caused by very stressful or distressing events.” People with PTSD have high levels of stress hormones. When danger is perceived, the body produces adrenaline to trigger the fight or flight reaction. “People with PTSD have been found to continue to produce high amounts of fight or flight hormones even when there is no danger.”

 

How PTSD Manifests

 

In relationships, the person may bolt when things are getting serious. They are okay at the beginning – the Getting To Know You stage. When simple requests/demands are voiced by their dating partner, it can be overwhelming. “Do I stay and face a risk of rejection (whatever the trigger is)?”  This person dances into a relationship, then dances right out again.  Or keeps the partner at an arm’s length.  You might be kept in the friend zone or friends with benefits one without a commitment.

The individual with relationship PTSD can be self-medicating with either drugs, alcohol, cigarettes or all three. This is to numb themselves and tamp down emotions. It feels more comfortable to put up an emotional blockade around themselves. If they are like a zombie, then there is no opening for trauma to sneak in. This is a faulty protection mechanism which is harmful to relationships.  Insomnia is another problem for those with this PTSD. Some get flashbacks whether or not in a new relationship.

A person with dating PTSD is trying to avoid being hurt again. Also tries to avoid repeating patterns which led to the trauma -being left behind and heartbreak. The Lehigh Center for Clinical Research in Allentown, PA, USA states “Avoidance is a common symptom of PTSD. If you avoid communicating with your partner about important matters such as your feelings, because building a wall to protect yourself is easier, then you may be suffering from PTSD from your last toxic relationship.”

One man, Peter, had three traumatic dating relationships in a row and developed PTSD, complete with flashbacks. He opted not to date for 10 years.  He became an alcoholic trying to deal with this trauma. Attending AA meetings gave him support dealing with his life.  Now he is living with a fabulous woman.

 

What to do when dating a survivor of PTSD

  • Go Slowly.
  • Be Patient
  • Learn when to pull back. They may crawl into their cave when the relationship is getting too intense.
  • Give them space.  They not initiate contact for a few weeks.
  • Allow time to build a firm foundation. Then they can begin to trust you bit by bit.

It is a delicate balancing act

Pushing to get closer scares them away. Too little leaves them guessing if you are about to do a runner, which may have led to PTSD from previous relationship. Consider sending a short, to the point text “How is your day going?” or when something notable occurs. “I didn’t get the job” or “My short story won a prize.”  Responding is easier than generating a text.

 

Have a full life

When you are busy, your mind is focused on these activities and less likely to be dwelling on the frustration of this dating relationship. You are more interesting and enticing when you do get together.  They can laugh and wonder what antics/classes/events you are up to next. Your full life gives fuel for conversations.  Taking improv acting classes, having fun at karaoke an d so forth, helps you seem different from previous dating partners where trauma occurred,

You may have to accept their pattern of being there and then backing away. No one can change another person. One can express needs with “I” statements. “I need you to text or call at least once a week.” “I want to get together at least every other week.”

 

Questions to ask yourself

  • Are you getting frustrated with the dance backwards and forwards?
  • Are you getting something out of the relationship?
  • Are the good times outweighing the disappearing act?
  • Are you feeling secure in the relationship?
  • Are you both able to discuss personal history, problems, worries, etc?
  • Are they focused on you when you are speaking?
  • How strongly do you feel about them? In love? Or is it lust or merely a fascination?

Your dating partner is operating from fear. Fear is their reality. They are looking for indications that they may be mistreated again.  You may be able to slowly build trust and have a successful relationship. Communication is imperative.  Give it your all, and then if you need to bail, you know you did everything that you could. There is hope that after a bumpy start, your relationship can be successful.

 

 

 

Guide For Dealing With Tricky Dating Situations After a Break Up Or Divorce

Dating again after divorce can seem like one is back in high school with the drama it can entail. One may have forgotten what it is like to have a crush on someone and hope that they feel the same way too. Or you feel like running in the opposite direction from an individual, when there is zero interest on your part for a date. Do not  feel coerced into going on a date, as you do not owe them anything. Same with going on a date out of pity. You could get tangled up in a mess when trying to break free down the road.

Have some stock phrases ready for turning someone down. When there was a frequent customer at work on the verge of asking me out, I bounced a few ideas off my girlfriends on how to say “no.” Asking me out did not catch me off guard and I turned him down, kindly, but firmly.

If on the fence about going out with someone, have a coffee date. You arrive separately and can talk for two hours if you hit it off, or make a hasty retreat if you do not.  There is less pressure in this casual setting.  Friends who meet people on Tinder revealed that their first date or two are over lattes. One can get a sense of character over the short time span.  A friend was asked out by a well-travelled, intelligent fellow.  They had much in common and he insisted on a coffee get-together the following week. When she explained that she had houseguests to entertain before work, he said since the coffeeshop was next door to her place of employment he would be there waiting. He hoped she could make it. She did not like that he felt her time should be spent with him rather than with her guests. She was glad  to have only had a quick coffee with tis controlling man, instead of a long evening

A painful part of dating is when only one party feels a strong attraction and the other does not. It is a delicate dance whether or not to share that you are attracted to them. The other person may reveal that they also feel a spark. Or they may look like a deer caught in the headlights with a look of fright on their face. When someone states that they want the relationship as friends only, accept it. You are not going to change how they feel about you. It can be tempting to think “Well, if I lose weight/whiten my teeth/ take up tennis (or whatever), they will find me irresistible.”  In this case it is clear that dating is not on the horizon. Think about if you can have a platonic relationship with your crush or if it is better to cut ties and move on.

One may not be aware that they are giving off mixed signals which can be confusing.  An example is, two male friends told me to stop wearing rings on my wedding finger.  When I protested that the jewellery was ethnic looking, they said “yes, up close, but from across a room they look like wedding rings on that finger. That keeps a guy from approaching you. Or you don’t want the men who are only interested in married women.” This goes for men too.  A woman sees the flash of silver or gold on the wedding finger and assumes it is a wedding band.

Potential dates talk and compare notes. My male hairdresser says his female customers routinely complain about going to venues and not getting asked to dance. These women say the first guy or two who approached them to dance was too fat, too skinny, bald etc. so they declined. No one else came near.  Other men notice when women say “no” and leave them alone. Guys tell their buddies that those ladies do not want to be bothered.  Get up and dance with those less than perfect guys so you appear approachable.

I was about to break up with a long-time boyfriend when a guy I worked with asked me out.  I wanted to date him, however was not yet available.  Instead of being truthful about my situation and that that I was interested in dating a bit later, I  said an abrupt “no.”  He never asked again. When single again, a married male buddy confided that this doctor told the rest of them not to ask me out.  Again, word gets around.

Listen to your intuition when someone seems a bit off or a situation does not seem right. Take your time getting to know an individual and dating will go more smoothly.

 

Early Warning Signs Of A Potential Abuser

There are early warning signs that you are in a relationship with a potential abuser. After divorce, one may have joined an online dating site and now has a string of first and second dates. While people put their best foot forward and hide their darker side – it is still possible to catch a glimpse of who that person really is. One may feel it is love at first sight, however if something does not quite seem right, put the brakes on. Trust your gut instinct. Your subconscious is screaming at you to back away when these signs of a potential abuser appear:

  • Are they disrespectful to anyone? While no one agrees completely with another, people can agree to disagree in a respectful way. When a date treats others callously so early in a relationship, this is bound to get worse. This may include name calling or derogatory labels. If women are called obscene terms, hit the road.
  • Are they controlling? They want to plan your social life and dictate whom you may see. They may tell one how to dress or where they can go. They want their dating partner to get their permission to do various activities.
  • Potential abusers excel at using sarcasm with little jabs at others. They may mock what you say. They make “jokes” at your expense and say you are “too sensitive” if you are hurt or object. They are critical and judgemental. There do put downs which may begin in private and progress to belittling you in front of family and friends.
  • They are possessive which may seem flattering at first. One can mistake this for affection, when really it means you are their property. For example, a person may keep their arm permanently attached to you in a group setting. Instead of love, it can be marking their territory. They may call multiple times of day to check up on you.
  • They are jealous of your relationships and may attempt to isolate you from others. In some cases, the person is jealous of their date’s children. They resent the time the parent spends with their kids and competes for attention. These potential abusers want to be the centre of the universe and get upset when forced to share their date.
  • They blame you for their bad mood or blame others for any misfortunes. They cannot handle feedback that points to any mistakes they have made.
  • The biggest sign is that they have violent behaviour which may not necessarily be directed at you. They start with a small action at first, such as throwing a book across the room in rage. It progressively increases in intensity, such as hitting the couch near you, or tossing your possession at something. It is only a matter of time before you become the target of physical abuse. It is so important to get out of this relationship immediately and not listen to any excuses. Leave after the first violent act and not wait until you become the punching bag.

This true case illustrates several points mentioned above. Violet dated a medical student from a fantastic family. Ken appeared to be loving and caring, yet a few things bothered her. He blamed others for his mistakes or said they were wrong when his discrepancies came to light. He belittled Violet in front of others and her mum begged her to leave him. She did not. Right before her trip abroad, Violet asked Ken to drive her to a store to get some cosmetics. He refused –saying he did not want her to look pretty for other men. Then he gave her a prominent hickey on her neck which was very visible.

When Violet returned, Ken put a fist through a door inside her flat. Shortly after that he threw her shoe at the wall, which resulted in a hole. The violence scared her and she realized what would be happening next. Violet realized she had given Ken too many chances and promptly broke up with him. A few years later an acquaintance revealed that Ken married and got divorced the next year. She knew why.

It is easy to fall into the trap of listening to excuses and giving extra chances as Violet did. When any act of violence occurs – no matter how small – end the relationship.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine    thedivorcemagazine.co.uk

 

Online Dating Tips

Online dating has created many happy unions. Sometimes it works out well and other times it fails. The intention of both parties may not be in sync which can derail the success of their first date. Ascertain if the other party seems to be on the same page as you. If you are seeking a new partner – is the other person also, or merely looking for a good time?

Several men in their twenties have clued me in on a point. Young people may not be searching for a committed relationship, but instead are desiring a hook up. They rapidly swipe on the left just by looking at the picture (Tinder). If the photo looks like “that person will put out the first time” then they swipe on the right. Keep this in mind if you are the one receiving the swipes on the left. Do not think of this as rejection, but rather saving you from a date who only wants sex.

A fellow said that one can go through a lot of people’s profiles quickly online and view them superficially. This is particularly done when looking for a short-term fling or an easy conquest. Put some thought into how you are presenting yourself on dating sites. Have a friend check your profile and photo. What you think shows your fun-loving side may be misinterpreted for something more shallow. That is why having another pair of eyes going over your profile and picture is important. You want your profile to reflect the different facets of your personality. If you are wanting a long-term relationship, then be clear about that so people after a one night stand are not contacting you.

Take safety precautions when going out with someone who was met online. Meet in a public place. If the person seems creepy or only wanting a hook up, you can then escape quickly. Consider having a friend phone or text you about forty-five minutes into the date. If things are going badly, you can pretend this is an emergency and make a hasty exit. Do not get in their car when first meeting them or go to somewhere secluded. It is better to error on being too cautious with a new date.

An unfortunate presence in today’s dating world is the date rape drug. Recently in the news, a bartender in the UK noticed a man putting something in his date’s drink. The bartender distracted the guy and quickly switched their cocktails. The man passed out, was taken into police custody and later arrested. The woman was very lucky that an astute bartender noticed, and took action which saved her from a perilous situation.

If the person looks menacing abort the date immediately. Leave quickly and do not worry about being polite, as your safety is more important. My friend and I went to a party with two new dates. We were among the first to arrive and the atmosphere felt strange. We looked around and noticed one room contained wall-to-wall mattresses. Being the only females present, we were concerned about being drugged. We made eye contact with each other and moved towards the front door. Once outside, we sprinted and got away. Trust your gut instinct and act on it.

Contact the dating site later with your concerns of a possibly dangerous person, as often a background check was not performed. If someone is questionable, the site may want to ensure that they are not a criminal to avoid any future problems. There are companies that do a background check on potential dates. This also can be a good idea if something seems fishy about your new partner. They may be married and looking for a bit of fun on the side.

Dating is an adventure and most people are okay, even if they are not your type. If your intuition is screaming that something is amiss, then pay attention.

My article was originally published on Digital Romance  digitalromanceinc.com/

 

Dating Again After a Break Up or Divorce

Consider letting the ink dry first on your divorce decree before jumping into the dating scene. Some guys start dating during divorce and bring old issues into new relationships. Take a breather after your divorce to make sure you are truly over it and ready to move forward. Your ex-wife may be the devil’s love child and you have every right to complain. New dates do not want to hear about her and that is a big turn off. Instead, tell your buddies over a pint about your lucky escape from Hell.

Let people know you are ready to start dating again. They may have a cute cousin to set you up with or do a double date. Going to parties is a great way to meet many women at once and see whom you like. You are relaxed and having fun with others, which makes it easier to approach someone interesting. I know a few couples who met at these gatherings and later got married.

Get involved with networking and joining professional groups at work. Not only do you boost your career, but you expand your connections and get to know fascinating people. Several doctors and lawyers met each other at professional functions and got married. Going to networking luncheons is another way to enlarge your circle of friends. It can be enjoyable to go out with co-workers after work for Happy Hour. Sparks may fly when getting to know them on a more personal level. Several marriages were the result of this at a large hospital where I used to work.

There are many online dating sites. Some vet their potential clients by doing background checks and interviews. With others you have to hope people’s profiles are accurate and their photos are from this decade. This also means you cannot use the photo where you had hair and a trim waistline, if that is no longer the case. Have a friend look over your profile to make sure it is enticing and not a bunch of fiction, as you want to meet someone who shares your interests. Speed dating is becoming more popular as a quick method to meet many at one go. There is a specified amount of time that you talk to each woman. Then after the event you turn in a sheet to the organization saying whom you would like to date. If there are matches, then you and the women are notified of them. There is no rejection on the spot which takes the pressure off you.

Sometimes after a heartbreak it can be difficult to begin dating again. There is no timetable when to start, so do not let friends try and push you into it. If they keep asking about your dates, tell them you will let them know if you become serious about anyone (even if you are not actively dating). There are ways to enjoy female companionship when not ready to date. Volunteer for a charity or cause which ignites your passion. Although several divorced people were not intending to remarry, they did after becoming friends with someone in their animal rescue group. Others joined photography, hiking and other groups and met some great members (platonically and otherwise).

Some people have gone to a movie, play or concert on first dates so they could start to feel more comfortable without having to make a lot of conversation when nervous. The event itself generates things to discuss. Others have found that hiking, walking or being out in nature is relaxing. If feeling stuck or awkward on dates, seeing a dating coach is an option. They can help you come up with strategies for either meeting women or having them want more dates.

Podcast on dating tips  datingcoach.libsyn.com/08-getting-ready-to-date

My article was originally published in  Men’s Divorce   We believe everyone deserves equal treatment in family law, so we strive to educate men on how to protect themselves before, during and after divorce.  mensdivorce.com/?s=wendi+schuller

The Benefits of Practice Dating

There is a way to ease into dating again after a break up or divorce. Get your feet wet before diving in, by doing practice dating. One recently single woman told me that she and her divorced friends found that having a few practice dates made it much easier to feel comfortable entering the dating world. They selected men whom they absolutely did not feel any romantic attraction to, as their dates. Everyone was clear about this and what the purpose was for the date.

Consider practice dating as a dress rehearsal for the real thing – and take it seriously. It gives one the chance to make some mistakes, see what works and what needs improving. Whether it is a West End, Broadway, or children’s school play, they have a practice performance before the public one. This is the idea behind practice dating with a non-threatening opportunity to get some suggestions and encouragement.

Treat it as a real first date and take care to be well groomed and dressed according to the activity – edgy for an art gallery show or more refined for elegant dining. Go through all the motions of a date: do you arrive together or meet at a designated place, how to split expenses, determining the time frame of it. Think ahead about some good topics to discuss. Feedback at the end will include if you monopolized the conversation or shared too intimate details of your life. You are looking for balance.

How does one find someone who understands this get-together is just for practice? Find a friend who is amenable and willing to give brutally frank feedback at the end. One man who was getting back into dating, asked his lesbian friend to give him a critique of his dating behavior. She enlightened him that he hardly gave the other person a chance to jump into the conversation. This was due more to nerves so he had to work on being okay with not trying to plug gaps in the dialogue. Let the other person have time to digest what is being said with some silence.

One of my employers said that several of her divorced friends did practice dating through the organization Rent A Friend. Part of their website is devoted to “Practice Dating” which states “Hire a friend to practice going out with you and give you the feedback you need to improve your dating.” They stress that they are not a dating site or escort service. A website like this one, is another option if you cannot find a person to be your practice date. Her friends only needed between one to three practice dates before they felt relaxed enough to start dating.

Understand that feedback is crucial at the end of a practice date. The point is to learn from it, and not to be defensive. The practice person points out how you come across on date, in order to ensure people will want to see you again. Someone may have an annoying habit that will be a turn-off for another. Examples are: constantly clearing one’s throat when not medically necessary, picking at or biting nails at the table, chewing with an open mouth and more. People can be clueless about these behaviors and a practice date can bring it to an individual’s attention.

Sports require practice to improve one’s ability and dating can be like this too. A footballer is not going to score a goal without practice. A variation is to go on group dates which lesson performance pressure. There are others around the table to keep the conversation going and the mood lively. If feeling that your dating skills are shakey or out of date, consider having a practice date first.

My article was original published on Digital Romance   digitalromanceinc.com/   Publisher of Text Your Ex Back & Text The Romance Back. We teach men and women how to have better relationships.

 

Advantages of Low-Key Dating Post-Divorce

After a breakup of a long-term relationship, one may feel desperate to meet someone.   Dates turn into assessing people for marriage material. Somewhere along the line, the fun of going out for laughs gets thrown out the window. Consider doing what you did back in college – date just to date. Go out with people who share your interests and wicked sense of humor. This is what I call “Low-Key Dating.”

Low-key dating helps one to really be in the moment and enjoy what is happening right then – not be daydreaming about what the future may hold. One young man says that it is easier if you go out without the pressure of a relationship. If a date turns into a relationship, then wonderful, if not, that is okay too. What low-key dating does is to let one be more relaxed and not feel judged. One can have dates with individuals who might not be at the top of the list for marriage. Several folks with different backgrounds and religions dated when newly single again. They were drawn together by common interests and gradually fell in love. Had they been actively seeking a new partner instead of some companionship, these happy unions never would have taken place.

One women said that she was having a dry spell between dates. When questioned further, this was not the case, in fact she was doing low-key dating. She recently had a coffee date with a younger DJ whom she is sometimes a guest on his radio show. She had a series of lunches or coffees with a single former classmate. Since those took place in the patio area at Whole Foods, she did not consider those slightly flirty get-togethers as dates. When I lived in another city for a year, I went to jazz concerts with a nice guy. I insisted on buying my own tickets and he paid for our meal afterwards. This is another example of low-key dating. There was no pressure to make it more than pleasant interludes.

Before you turn down a date because he/she is not “The One” reconsider it. Do something that you both enjoy – a movie, bowling, hiking, street fair and so forth. You two have a great time, good conversation and are staying active instead of moping around. It is interesting meeting different types of people. Broaden your horizon with low-key dates which are informative or amusing. Going out with an accountant helped me to get a better handle on my finances. I dated a medical student when I was in nursing school and we studied together. A friend dated a conditioning coach for a while and received great fitness tips.

You may be friends with a person and setting up a low-key date lessens possible rejection. Going out for lattes or to a get-together are relaxing ways to connect. Several colleagues went on low-key dates and sparks started to ignite when away from the work place. This casual way of dating resulted in discovering they had romantic feelings for each other and there were a few marriages. If these dates only led to deeper friendships, then that would have been good too.

In one case, a man confessed that he had been harboring a crush on a woman for a few years. She explained that she would be moving out of state in a year or two and did not want to get involved with anyone at this time. He agreed to go on platonic dates. She got the vibe that he would try to get her to change her mind or get hurt in the process. This is not the circumstance for low-key dating when the other person wants a lot more than you do. We tend to take life too seriously and low-key dating is a way to lighten up.

My article was originally published on Digital Romance   http://digitalromanceinc.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dating After a Break Up

After a divorce or the breakup of a long-term relationship, it may be tempting to get right back into the dating scene. One may feel lonely and crave companionship, erroneously thinking only a romantic partner can fill this need. The fear of being on one’s own can be the push to flit from relationship to relationship. Consider taking a pause from dating to think things through and regroup. This is the opportunity to do a self-assessment and discover who you really are. Have you been a reflection of your spouse and not clear about what are your own passions, ambitions and interests? Some folks I interviewed, saw themselves as part of a single unit (couple) instead of as a whole entity (person). No wonder after a death or divorce, they felt like a fragment and very lost.

Have a Full Life Before Dating Again

Take the time to be comfortable with your own company and not require a companion 24/7. Guys have told me that some mutual female friends were “too needy” and they quickly parted ways. When someone has a life packed with hobbies, cultural activities and friends, they are captivating to others. When an individual is not waiting around for a date, but rather is hiking the Appalachian Trail or doing a charity bike ride in some far flung locale, this is what is attractive to others. One can have adventures abroad or in their hometown. Yes, mourn the past relationship, acknowledge and process your emotions, then get on with life before entering into a new relationship. When we do not pause between relationships, we can drag old issues into new ones. Look at why you broke up, take responsibility for your part in it, so that you do not repeat the past mistakes.

Patterns with Dates

Look for patterns. If you are having a series of breakups it could be that you are dating the same type of person over and over again. One acquaintance dated mainly biker dudes and wondered why her guys drank and partied so much. Another one dated a few Narcissists and complained about their preoccupation with themselves. Talking to trusted friends can help one see a destructive pattern with their choice of dates. Ask them if your new date also has these undesirable qualities. I know some people who met with dating coaches and were quite pleased with the results. They learned how to accurately access new dates and how to present themselves in the best light. All said it was money well spent. One gains some clarity with their dating situation when getting feedback from a neutral third party.

Join some groups and meet a variety of people that way. There is less pressure of feeling judged when being with others who are focused on the same cause or area of interest. One has camaraderie and can make friends who later become romantic partners. Several of my friends met their second husbands this way.

When someone has a life full of activities, volunteering, travel and more, it makes their online dating profile much more enticing. Potential dates are looking for individuals with shared interests and the more you have in common, the more people will respond to your profile. After divorce, get back into doing fun things, reconnect with others and show how fascinating you are with your intriguing profile on a dating site. It is helpful to have a friend check what you want to post to make sure it sounds interesting. If you have not gone on a date in a decade or so, feel free to have some double dates initially to increase your comfort level. Think of dating as an adventure and the ones that bomb can make a hilarious story.

My article was originally published in Digital Romance digitalromanceinc.com/

Dating Again When Over 45

Getting back into the dating scene after celebrating your 45th birthday can be a bit scary. Whether due to divorce or death, you lost your safety net for going out as part of a couple. Married friends may be out of date with their advice on dating etiquette. Before signing up for various online matchmaking sites, get yourself ready for this new adventure.

Update your image

Enlist a savvy friend for advice on your appearance and to select a few trendy outfits. Department stores have style consultants who can give you a makeover from head to toe. Various studies indicate that people make a judgement about others within thirty seconds and this is largely based on appearance. Make a positive impression on potential partners by good grooming and nice clothes.

Dating trends

Do a little research to see what is expected nowadays when dating. Both genders share the expense of dates, whether splitting the tab down the middle or alternating who is paying when getting together. This point was confusing to older women I interviewed who were dating again. Some sidestep this issue by having men over for wonderful dinners and buying tickets to shows ahead of time. As long as there is give and take in these new relationships, then the burden of paying for things does not fall on one person.

Group dating

Consider being with both genders in a group setting before going out on single dates again. One can be more relaxed when not having to carry on a conversation alone. One feels less judged when with others, than when meeting a date for the first time. MeetUp.com has various activities such as hiking, going to movies, dining out, plus so much more. Being friendly can lead to a possible romantic connection with someone from the group. Some over forties have volunteered in causes that they are passionate about and ended up marrying a fellow member.

Socials

Go to group social gatherings from work, your neighborhood, political party and others that come your way. Some churches have a single’s group. My friend in her sixties is quite active her church’s one and they have a lot of fun things to do, such as movie night. See if where you worship or an organization has a single’s group you could join.

There is a similarity between going to a job interview and starting back into dating. Both require that you put your best foot forward, taken care with your appearance and have positive statements ready about yourself. In both situations you are selling your great qualities whether for a job or a relationship. Have a friend look over your dating profile and initial responses online to potential dates to ensure you are on track. Once you start dating, get some feedback on your interactions. Double date with another couple who can give you some hints on how to improve your dating style and how you come across to others.

Parties are a way to talk to potential dates, whether by themselves or in a group  Please read more   digitalromanceinc.com/mens/dating-after-45-must-read-tips/

 

Going on Dates Again Post-Divorce

Dating again after a divorce has its challenges. One may have done well finding a person online that seems compatible or through an old-fashioned introduction. Now comes the hardest part – making a great first impression and sustaining that throughout the evening. A speech on networking at a Toastmasters International meeting had a lot in common with dating. The audience was surprised that when initially meeting someone, to keep 99% of the conversation on that person. In networking which also pertains to dating, begin with asking about their family and move on to what is their occupation. Ask what are their hobbies and interests, finishing up with inquiring what really matters to them. What gives meaning to their lives, their passion and what makes them tick. People enjoy talking about themselves, and by asking these questions you will be viewed as the most interesting person on the planet. There is now rapport and it is a good time to start revealing fascinating tidbits about yourself.

Bombarding someone with your life story when first meeting them is a turn off. One acquaintance wondered why she rarely got a second date. She did not ask the above mentioned questions and focused the conversation solely on herself. A co-worker told too personal details about her body functions and friends’ sex lives. Have some decorum.

Have a friendly demeanor and be cognizant of your body language. Arms folded across your body can mean “stay away” or as in Martial Arts, a sign of aggression. Nervous habits such as jingling change in your pocket or tapping your foot can be interpreted as impatience. Watch the amount of eye contact. Too little indicates lack of interest and staring can be uncomfortable for the receiver.

Be up-to-date on current news and major sporting events, like the Super Bowl. Be able to have discussions, but try to veer away from religion and politics on a first date. Have some amusing stories about co-workers, travel adventures and so forth ready in case you get tongue-tied or your mind goes blank. Pauses in conversation are okay and not every second has to be filled in by talking. 

It is fine to mention that you are a parent, but hold the cute toddler tales. Let your date know you are a well-rounded adult, not a one dimensional person. This does not only pertain to being a parent, but also when focusing on one aspect of your life. For example. I briefly dated an attorney whose whole existence revolved around his job. When I suggested that we see a film, he said that he did not own any casual clothes and would have to wear trousers from one of his suits. I knew this relationship would not work out, so ended it quickly.

A multi-faceted person is enticing. Having a full life before dating is more attractive to someone than having dating be your life. How to achieve this? Join some groups or clubs – hiking, dancing, conversational foreign language or whatever is your interest. Volunteering and traveling expands your horizons and gives you topics for conversations. Networking and meeting new people avoids appearing desperate to find a new partner. People I knew whose life mission was to get married again, seemed to scare away the very people they were trying to catch.

Look at dating as an adventure with ups and downs. The dates that do not work out can be a hilarious story at your next get-together and you can laugh at your friends’ ones as well. I know people who now have life-long friends when they did not click on a romantic level when dating. Have some fun when getting back into the swing of dating again post-divorce.

 

 

Signs You are Dating a Narcissist

Narcissists can be charming people who are the centre of attention. The spotlight shines on them and it can be enticing to be their date. They crave admiration for their overinflated egos. Something may seem a bit off, but then one thinks,” must be my imagination” since they are the focus of an adoring crowd. Here are some signs your new partner is a Narcissist:

  • Lack of empathy. These individuals do not get how others feel and are unable to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. They do not comprehend another’s viewpoint. They may appear callous and could care less about the plight of people or animals. While they may volunteer or work at a charity, it is because they garnish attention and are in the limelight. It is not because of a desire to make the world a better place. If you are upset or want to discuss a problem, they show no support.
  • Narcissists have an unrealistic sense of importance. The topic of conversation will be about them and their perceived achievements. Some of this is embellished or outright lies whether on a CV or about awards which were never really received. When caught in lies about false accomplishments, they have a plausible cover story or attack the accuser. Narcissists put others down who are perceived competitors, especially when others win awards. They are not team players and can view co-workers as obstacles to their success. See if you can talk about yourself, or if the conversation bounces right back to them.
  • They are social climbers who exploit others to help them move up to more elite social circles. They are rude and dismissive to those who cannot advance their careers or social standing, such as wait staff, sales clerks and so forth. See how staff is treated to get a true picture of someone. They will turn the charm on like a faucet when they desire a perk – airline seat upgrade, discount, prominent table in a restaurant, for example. They may make “jokes” (really insults) about those who seem worthless. They tear others down in order to build themselves up.
  • Their lives are about being seen. Yes it is fun to go to the latest clubs, restaurants and high profile events, however your role is to be arm candy. That gets old. Narcissists can exhibit hostility to those who do not give them the praise and adulation which they think they deserve. When not given the red carpet treatment, they can get nasty and belittle others.

Narcissists may not be that interested in meeting your family and friends. They make a charming first impression and then feel that they did their part. They are not going to be going to your mums for weekly Sunday roasts or chilling out with your gran watching Coronation Street. They will not be helping your parents with DIY projects or doing deeds that do not directly benefit them. They may seem bored or distant when out with your friends.

When dating, there is give and take in relationships.  With a Narcissist as a partner, there is an imbalance with them doing the taking. They may be using you, such as asking for money right away.  If you have a crisis or illness, is your partner a source of compassion and support? If having a problem, can you talk it through with your partner? Are you with someone who can just listen? If no, get some feedback from friends and family.

Cannot tell you how many folks I interviewed who chose not to listen to their friends’ warnings and said they could have avoided getting divorced if they had. If feeling confused, consider talking with a dating or life coach to ensure you are on the right track.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine  www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/

Podcast on narcissists       soundcloud.com/divorcesux/divorcing-a-narcissist-ep009