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Global Guide to Divorce

Jack Jack the Cat

DATING

Tips For Going On A First Date Post-Divorce

Going on a first date 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.

Ask Your Date Questions About Them

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.

Reveal A little At A Time

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.

Be Aware Of Your Body Language

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.

Have Conversations Topics Ready

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.  Please read more    www.divorcemag.com/blog/tips-for-first-date-after-divorce/

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

 

Top Ten Concerns That Divorcees Have about Dating Again

The time will come when you might want to consider dating again after your divorce.  It may seem a bit of a leap into the unknown and it’s not unusual to feel worried. We asked divorcees what things most worried them about dating after their break-up, and there was quite a range:  from worries about sex, to finding a someone who will love their dog!
Here were the 10 most common.
1. Am I ready? 
Well done! It’s good that you are asking yourself this question. Only you can really decide, but bear in mind that you can just try a date and if it doesn’t feel right, you can stop again.
2. I don’t know if I’ll remember how to date!
There’s no right or wrong way (within reason). A date is just an opportunity for you to be yourself with someone else. Your date can expect no more of you.
3. I’ve never done online dating
It may feel like a scary way of doing things – or something you are eager to have a go at. Give it a whirl, trying to keep hold of your common sense and enthusiasm – nothing ventured, nothing gained.
4. I’m the wrong side of 40, I need to find someone quick…
Try not to rush things.  Do you know what you want in a date or a relationship, and what you need to be happy?  Taking time to think about what you need will help you find a partner who is a good match.
5. All the good people are taken – only the crazies are left!
This is NOT true! Although you could say we all have our crazy moments!  Lots of people are starting again for all sorts of acceptable and common and NORMAL reasons. And if you are on the market again, why not someone like you?
6. I’m scared of rejection
If you are feeling very fragile, take some time before you start dating, particularly online dating, which can require a bit of a thick skin. Ask a suitable friend, family member or therapist to support you in building up your self-esteem.
7. No one will want me. I don’t like the way I look, why would anyone else?
Many people feel less confident in their bodies or looks than they once did post divorce. This has knock on affects on their sexual confidence.
Try not to date until you feel confident and desirable – work on your self-esteem before you hop into bed with someone.  Remember you probably fancy people for qualities other than
their appearance – it’s the whole package. Make sure you remember everything that you have to offer.
8. Will I have to have sex on the first date?
It’s a common misconception that you are expected to have sex on the first date.  NOT TRUE!  You should only have sex when you want to and feel comfortable – ‘make friends before you make love’.
9. Dating makes me miss my ex
This is a not uncommon, especially if you meet someone who you don’t click with.  Make a list of why your ex was not suitable for you and a list of what you are looking for. This should help you to focus on why you should move forward instead of looking backwards.
10. How will my children take it?
Make sure that you allow your children enough time to grieve and adapt to your new situation. Before you introduce your children to a new partner, wait a sensible amount of time to understand and trust the person you are dating.
Authors of this article, Lucy Davis and Isabelle Hung, run  The Divorce Club  www.divorceclub.com     an online support network for people going through divorce and separation.     Wendi’s Note: The Divorce Club in London is a great way to meet others who are going through similar experiences. Wisdom and laughter are shared at Lucy’s get-togethers through this MeetUp.com group.

You Could Be Hindering Your Teen’s Dating

you could be hindering your teen's dating potential     You Could Be Hindering Your Teen’s Dating Potential  

While some parents may be hindering their teen’s dating potential, I don’t necessarily think it is a bad thing. I am not advocating for overly strict parenting where you don’t allow your teen to date at all, but there are some important precautions I think all parents should consider when their teen starts dating…
Set Clear Curfews

Not too long ago, my teenage son took a more serious interest in girls. He became interested in spending time with girls outside of school for dating purposes or “hanging out” as he calls it. So he wanted to renegotiate his curfew. His curfew changed when he moved from middle school to high school but hasn’t been updated since. I saw no need to change it, as he could stay out until 9:30 pm Sunday – Thursday and 11:30 pm Friday – Saturday. 

He decided to challenge this when out on a group date and came home at midnight on a Saturday. While he tried to argue he was only a half-hour late, he knew the consequence for breaking curfew was a week of grounding with a week added for each curfew-breaking offense.

Tips for parents who want to curtail bad teen dating habits by setting a curfew:

  • Set clear curfew rules.
  • Set reasonable and relatable consequences for breaking these rules.
  • Follow through with punishment or curfew breaking will be a regular thing.Teen Date Nights and Money

Part of teaching your teen how to date responsibly is teaching your teen how to deal with their personal finances. The sooner your child understands basic savings and financial planning, the better equipped they will be later in life.

My teen son knows I won’t play the money tree, being a backup when his personal funds are running low. When he takes a girl out on a date, he has to think creatively and within a budget. Sometimes that just means a movie night at home with some popcorn, which helps me keep an eye on the dating couple.

I have found this has made my son more responsible overall. If there are activities and dates he would like to go on, he has to plan them in advance and secure the finances to do so. He has felt the sting of not having enough money to take a girl out that he likes and it’s a good reminder for him to manage his finances responsibly to obtain the things he wants. I also like to think that by not offering to pay for his extravagant dates, he thinks of creative, less expensive dates and therefor doesn’t rely on flash or funds as a crutch for getting to know girls.  

Everyone On Same Dating Page   

Not only does your teen need to be on the same page with any rules you set up but so does your parenting partner. This can be tricky for co-parents who are divorced but is possible when working with clear communication.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson  enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative designs. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn

 

 

New Trend for Second Marriages

There is a new trend after divorce when getting remarried, which is each person keeps their own home. Some divorced folks whose subsequent marriages are in their second decade or so, claim living apart is their secret to marital satisfaction. Keep in mind, these are people who do not have a child together who would be shuttled back and forth between two places. These couples are childless or have offspring who have flown the nest. Why is this occurring?

In one case, a couple could not decide which location to live in. Although neither had nine-to-five jobs, they had work commitments tied to their residences. He free-lanced in London and she was an artist near Cornwall who painted exquisite landscapes. They felt that they had loads of time to decide where to live which turned out to be the key to making this work. He spends long weekends enjoying the bucolic countryside around her cottage and she likes the excitement of a few days in London. They use their time apart for some solitude or getting together with local friends. What surprised these two was that they had already hit upon the solution – to continue their current lifestyle permanently . When together, they are very focused on each other. How does living in separate households work?

  • Are you both independent types who crave alone time or do not want someone around 24/7, no matter how much you are in love? One couple who each have been divorced, are both in education. He is on the faculty of a college and she is a therapist in a primary school. They live nearby in their own houses and have been together for nine years. She states that they would “Drive each other crazy” if they ever lived under the same roof.
  • Logistically is it better to have your separate places? This may be due to having to be near elderly parents or a family member with a terminal condition. Another example is when job commitments are in different places and each wants to keep their house.
  • It may be temporary, such as when someone has a job contract that will be finished in several months. A divorced woman with a beloved elderly cat married a divorced man who has a severe allergy to them. The cat was not going to be around much longer. She was at her condo every day to feed and be with the cat, sometimes spending the night, particularly at the end. Her husband told me that he has such respect for his wife. They knew this was a temporary set-up and the cat died six months after their marriage. This woman has no regrets since her eighteen-year-old companion lived out his final days in a familiar place.
  • Maybe one is a big city person and the other loves farm life or living in the countryside. This does not have to be an either-or situation. Living separately part-time and commuting to be with each is doable. It helps when the couple’s places are an easy drive or linked by good public transportation.
  • Two opposites may attract, yet not be able to live day-to-day with each other. A divorced woman wed a military man who was a widower. He had been married for fifty years and was used to things being done in a certain way, plus has quirks from his time in the military (extreme neatness). She is a creative artist who is oblivious to a mess and is attached to her tiny home. He bought a condo a block away and so far, this situation is working out for them.

Families may not mix well. I asked my divorced friend what was the happiness secret for her subsequent marriage which lasted twenty years. She replied “Because we each had our separate houses.” Please read more   www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/new-trend-in-life-after-divorce/

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 synch 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.

 

Flirting – The Dos and Don’ts

Flirting can put a spring in your step and a smile on your face. Flirting is an innocent interaction that lets people realize that both find the other attractive, without an agenda. The Merriam-Webster definition is “To behave amorously without serous intent.” There is no promise of intimacy or anything else. Europeans often have a more relaxed attitude about this. Some Americans that I interviewed for this article, seemed to think flirting was a prelude to a sexual encounter. I had a short flirtation while in the queue at a post office in London. The parting wink was lovely too. More often I have these flirtatious moments in France or Italy. Be open to them when at home or on the road.

What are the parameters? Are you in a safe place (public)? Are you where one of you has to stay put (like on a city bus or behind a counter)? No overt sexual remarks or references to body parts (breasts) are made. You both feel comfortable with the interaction. There is a café where the staff are also writers, singers, therapist and so forth. I flirt shamelessly with one guy who works there and is quite charming . We laugh a lot. Would we ever go out? No way. The bonus is I take more care with my appearance when I am out and about – which is beneficial when running into colleagues and potential buyers for my book.

Flirting with someone at a bar or club can be an invitation to something more. Flirting at a party can be iffy. You are amongst people, yet the other individual may think that they will get lucky. There is a balance of power between equals – not a boss and subordinate engaging in this activity. Be careful of being flirtatious at your workplace as you do not want to be accused of sexual harassment.

Having boundaries of what is acceptable and what is not, is important. Here is an example. On a Nile Cruise in Egypt, sometimes the manager would help out at the front desk during the busy times. When he handed me my key, he often said “That is my cabin too.” I laughed, said something, knowing it was just in fun. This was mild flirting. A young staff member must have overheard this and one morning he called me “Baby.” I firmly put him in his place and told him I was a mother of two sons. I matter of factly changed the conversation to what sights I would be seeing that day. He got the picture and was respectful the rest of the time. Had he not been, I would have spelled it out to him in a stronger manner. I enforced my boundaries.

Flirting may be between individuals of vastly different ages. I took my nineteen-month-old and five-year-old sons to a resort in the Caribbean. An American soap opera was being filmed there and my toddler was entranced. The gorgeous star came over to him between scenes told him he was such a big boy and oh so handsome, etc. My son gave it right back to her in his limited vocabulary and was in a great mood all day. The camera man told me that the actress was the biggest flirt and she did not care what the age was of her male target. The bonus was when we came back home, my toddler told me he was a big boy and no longer needed diapers. He potty trained himself in one day and did not have any bed wetting or accidents.

A seventy-year-old woman bristled when I asked her if she did any flirting. She denied any, saying that was what her ex did when he was having an affair. I was surprised a week later when I got her phone call, “Oh Wendi, I thought about your question on flirting. I had the best time doing a little bit this afternoon.” Now I get periodic updates on this new activity. She is bubbly and enjoying this innocent pastime.  Consider giving flirting a go.

Originally  published on Digital Romance

 

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 a Narcissist – Part 2

After being out of the dating pool for a decade or so, post-divorce it can be tempting to give an individual the benefit of doubt for erratic behaviour. One may wonder if things have changed in the dating world, or is it just them. It can be difficult to ascertain when a new partner has a personality disorder. Whether a person is a full-blown clinically diagnosed Narcissist – or shares a few of those traits – there are clues that someone is bad news.

  • If there are problems in your relationship, are they willing to work on them? Narcissists do not seek out therapy since it is the other person’s fault that the relationship is deteriorating. Narcissists may begin therapy when pressured, but drop out fairly quickly. They do not want to see their flaws or contribution to a floundering relationship. They are not going to exert any effort for a change nor try to understand your viewpoint and needs.
  • Sense of entitlement. Narcissists feel they deserve special treatment – the best restaurant table, hotel upgrade to a suite, place of honour and so forth. They want special consideration from others and bask in adoration. Narcissists will trample on family and friends to save face or get what they want. They are very in to materialism.
  • Narcissists perceive themselves as experts. You name it – they will know all there is on that subject. A young woman received her degree in philosophy, yet a narcissistic man working in security initiated a discussion to show off his brilliance. Although he was clearly off the mark on a philosopher, he bragged about winning the “debate.” He regularly spouts nonsense to the staff and gets belligerent when facts conflict with his views. Watch out if your new beau is Mr. Know-It-All or your girlfriend always has to be right. They get furious when others disagree with them or catch their discrepancies.
  • Is your new partner extremely competitive with you – even when your careers are vastly different? Narcissists crave fame and do not tolerate you sharing their spotlight. When a partner moves up the career ladder, garnishes praise or wins professional awards, this can be threatening to a Narcissist. They want the attention with a date in the background. One may be on the receiving end of putdowns concerning their abilities and stating achievements are due to luck. I sometimes socialized with an acquaintance, who was an excellent nurse, and with her husband. He would criticise her and this was awkward for the rest of us. After their divorce, Clare stated that her ex was a Narcissist and she had reached the breaking point. Disrespect towards you is a red flag that this is not a healthy relationship.

Narcissists want power over others. They are the puppeteers who pull the strings so others do their bidding.  Your new date is controlling which can initially be mistaken for seemingly to be in love. The old Rolling Stones’ song “Under my Thumb” describes this controlling behaviour and lack of a cooperative partnership.

Narcissists attempt to steal centre stage from others. For example, when a person told a joke or humorous story, one Narcissist would quickly add his sentence to the end of it, right before people started laughing. His lame one-liner was not relevant to what the jokester had previously said.  We were not fooled and were not laughing over the Narcissist’s addition. A Narcissistic date may try to top your or other people’s adventures in a conversation. They have to come out on top.

Relationships are not exactly 50/50, but if yours is 90/10 in their favour, then something is amiss. Are your needs and desires being lost in the background while their every whim is being met?  Remember, a relationship does not consist of a dictator and follower. If yours is beginning to feel that way, then talk it over with a trusted friend or professional.

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

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