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Global Guide to Divorce

Jack Jack the Cat

Successful dating

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tips For Making A Long-Distance Dating Relationship Work

Long-distance dating relationships can be challenging. Easier to keep the passion high when you can call up your partner and say “Hey, come right over.”  Long-distance requires planning, not spontaneity.  Many people who have been through these types of relationships, say it was worth the separation. Being sure of each other’s commitment got them through this period.

Long-distance take extra effort to keep them alive. One person might be doing more in the reaching out and this can become frustrating. Logistics have to be factored in, who is travelling and who is not. It is one thing when in the same locale, to decide who pays. Quite another when getting together requires serious money.  An example is Harry, who moved and had a six-year long-distance relationship. He resented paying 100% of transportation costs for them both. No give and take financially. Eventually Harry thought about how in other areas of their relationship he was his doing most of the work. Although relationships are rarely 50-50, there has to be somewhat of a balance.

People in long-distance relationships mention how getting together in short bursts is more like being in Disneyland. Fantasy vs reality. It is like being on a holiday, doing fun activities. While this may be fine for some, others want a relationship on a deeper level.

People brought up that they missed or ignored red flags in a long-distance relationship. They concentrated on having fun instead. They dealt with the cracks when these could no longer be ignored.  A local relationship could have been patched up or ended sooner. Nip problems in the bud before they get huge. Your partner is not a mind reader, so bring them up.

The Pros

Distance allows commitment to be gradual. One is more conscious of it and makes a choice instead of falling into it. You decide to be a couple and less likely to take the other person for granted. When dating in town, one can fall into a pattern. On Friday night we do this, on Sunday we go out for brunch. When living in different locales, one is not in a predictable schedule or rut.

Being apart forces one to build a stable foundation. The relationship may be moving at a slower pace. One man said there are less triggers to get to him in his long-distance relationship as are in past local ones.  He also said that they met on different levels before initiating physical intimacy.  One was getting to know each other spiritually. They did not jump into bed right away, as what happens when dating locally. He feels they really got to know each other first before having sex.

Tips for making it work

Communication is imperative. Be conscious of word choice. Are they expressing your intention and exact emotion?  Easier to give a more ambiguous communication when not done in person. Emails and texting can seem blunt without vocal quality.

Be aware of your own emotions

Other emotions can come through subconsciously with communication such as hostility or resentment.  If you are angry, disappointed, then express them using “I” statements. “I feel hurt when you take several days to answer a text.”  Be direct and not sarcastic.

Keep in touch, even if a quick text “Thinking of you. Hope your day is great.”

If becoming serious, discuss where to live together. A US man with a girlfriend in Norway, advises finding neutral territory to settle. They are looking for a city which fits both of their needs. Others may want to move to a place where one of them lives, especially if that person has children. Some couples live in different loculations indefinitely and spend time blocks together. One couple does six weeks together and six weeks apart. This is working fine. Discuss if there is a time table for when living together. Or, if commuting is desirable for you both.

Flexibility is a plus in a long-distance relationship

Here is an example with a happy ending. Matthew and Elizabeth became a couple when they attended university. Matthew went on to law school and Elizabeth studied to be an ophthalmologist in different cities. She had internships in various places during the summer months when Matthew did not have law school. He stayed with her during that time for three years. Elizabeth managed to get one in Matthew’s hometown. They got together at other times during the year.  The long-distance part of their relationship for lasted three years. They are blissfully married with two children. When a couple is committed to make it work, it can.

 

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/

Group Dating – How It Works

After a hiatus of a few decades – it is challenging to jump back into the dating scene post-divorce. Dating expectations have changed and our svelte figures have morphed into middle-aged bodies. There are a plethora of options in meeting potential mates which can be a bit overwhelming. What is a simple way to dip your toe into the dating pool without totally plunging in? Group Dating.

Group dating is a recent global trend that makes it less daunting to meet new people. Conversing in a group setting takes the pressure off feeling being judged. Remember the laughs back in high school and college when you went out in a mixed group? It was enjoyable whether or not you ended up with someone. Group dating is the grown-up equivalent of this activity.

In London and spreading elsewhere, there is “Six Dinners Later.” After getting on the site’s guest list, a profile is uploaded. This is a fun one which includes favorite dishes and who would be an ideal dinner companion. Then one waits until invited to a dinner party by another member at his or her house for potluck. There are three members of each gender at these gatherings. The next step is that one gives a dinner party at their place and includes the former host. You would pick four others from the site to attend. After one attends these “six dinners” they will have met 25 people. This gives the chance to meet new pals as well as potential dates.

In the US a variation on this theme of group dating is “Grouper.” One does a short profile on this dating site and Grouper also checks Facebook to ensure compatible matches for get-togethers. Two people are matched up and they each bring two single friends along with them. This is a little different from “Six Dinners Later” where you totally do not know anyone. The six people are contacted with a date, place and time. A fee is collected that covers the first round of drinks. Sometimes the whole bar will be reserved for “Grouper” members and the host will bring people to the correct tables. Having two buddies with you makes for a fun night whether there are fireworks or not.

In the Atlanta area, Singles for Service is a free dating site that combines community service projects with dating. This gives people a way to see other’s more authentic selves when they are helping others. It also serves to enable singles to meet other singles with a similar area of interest. Singles for Service claims to bring “quality singles together.”

MeetUp.com is an international organization with various groups, including singles’ ones. Other groups are according to special interests, such as hiking. Even if not in a specific single’s group, one can meet many fascinating people in the other ones. The MeetUp.com group I am in, gets together for coffees, lectures and so many other activities.

Churches and synagogues often have a single’s group, although may have a wider age span. My divorced friend is quite active in her church’s single group. Cities sometimes have activities and festivals particularly geared to singles and not families. Mine had “Rally in the Alley” which took place in a long alley between sky scrapers. There were live bands and beer on Friday afternoons during the summers.

These examples give you a place to start to see if there are any group dating sites in your community. I worked in a large hospital and we posted where we were going after work so that others could join us. It really is easier to ease into the dating scene from the security of a group.