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Using Research To Better Your Dating Odds

There many ways to learn how to date: read a book, talk to an expert, chat with your friends, go online. But what about the social research being done that shows us what we're doing, and how to benefit from it?

Dating Spotlight10

What Do You Consider a First Date?

Wednesday April 23, 2014

"Are we on a first date?" whispered my client quietly into the phone, as I imagined her crouching in a busy bar's bathroom stall, calling me.

"What do you mean, are you on a date? Did he ask you?" I inquired back, matching her tone and volume.

I was met with silence for a few seconds, and then, heard a puzzled, "I don't know. Maybe? He asked if I wanted to go for a drink."

The same week, I counseled a friend about what she thought was a dating relationship. She shared:

"We've talked every day since we met about two months ago, hang out at least once a week, been intimate, he even said 'I love you'. Yet the other day, he told me we're just friends? That if we were together, he would have used the word 'date' and taken me out to dinner or something."

In both cases, my answer was the same: "I think you're on something other than a date." After the initial upset, I explained myself.

I define dating as intention, meaning, whatever the intention of the two parties involved, determines the labeling of the interaction.

So in the cases of these two ladies, you'd think the intention was there, correct? Unfortunately, no, because the intention was only clear to the women, and not to the people they were spending time with. If either of them had asked, "Is this a date?" they (hopefully) would have gotten an answer, and could have decided from there what they wanted to do next. Instead, they both chose to ask me, instead of the person they were sitting across the table from.

Now, I'm just as much a culprit here as anyone. I've lived both of these situations as well, and it's infinitely easier to give advice than to put it into practice. Still, there comes a point when we all have to own our own stuff, and in doing so, choose love for ourselves over the fearfulness someone may respond in a less-than-desirable manner.

Therefore, if someone in a bar, on a dating site, or through friends asks you, "Want to hang out sometime?" or, "Can we go for a drink?" answer as you see appropriate, yet assume it's as friends only. If you're interested in more, playfully ask. "Are you asking me out on a date?"

What do you think, dear readers? How do you know if you're on a first date or not? Do you find it difficult to ask if you are, and if so, why?

Related: Picking a First Date Location, My First Date, What To Do on a First Date.

Does Love Really Last?

Monday March 31, 2014

I've recently found myself fascinated with the concept of everlasting romantic love - although just writing that term makes me sound like a sappy single, instead of one truly dedicated to researching and determining if love shared throughout a lifetime really does (or can) exist. There's a lot of research surrounding the topic from a variety of viewpoints, and I've done my best to summarize it here. (see: Does Love Last?)

I can read until I'm blue in the face while the statistics swirl about in my head, and still feel confuddled as to what's what. I hope that I've been able to shed (a bit) of light on the subject in the aforementioned article, however I'd still like to hear from you, my dear readers. Do you believe that romantic love can last a lifetime? Why or why not?

Related: Can We Fall in Love Again?, Will Our Relationship Last? Quiz, The Brain in Love, How To Know If You're Falling in Love.

Research Shows What Tactics To Use To Meet Someone Special

Thursday March 27, 2014

A few years ago the magazine Scientific American Mind discussed how we meet someone we marry, live with, or partner with (either short term or long term). Interestingly, some dating statistics presented in the article provided variations between the different relationship statuses and how we meet, and showed that it wasn't that different depending on how committed we were: the majority in all four scenarios meet through friends most of the time, with self-introduction and family members falling suit. Of course there were some predictable variations - such as short-term partnerships (i.e. casual relationships) meeting through self-introduction the most and family members the least - but I found the study results interesting.

In the article, writers Nicholas A. Christakis and James H. Fowler tackle the seemingly debate-ridden stance that meeting the love of our lives has less to do with randomness and chance, and more to do with social networks than anything else. Out goes the romantic notion that a 'happy accident' or fate pulling people together such as in many a romantic comedy. No, the stats are quite clear: if you want to find someone to partner up with, no matter what kind of relationship you are looking for, use your social networks.

But how about you? How did you meet your current, or last partner? Take the poll and let me know.

Christakis, N.A., & Fowler, J. H. (2009, November/December). Love the one you're with. Scientific American Mind, 20(6), 48-55.

What Falls By The Wayside When You Start a New Relationship?

Thursday March 27, 2014

There are a number of friends in my personal circle whom I know, without them having to say a word, when they've started a new relationship. Why? Because suddenly I stop hearing from them, or they cancel plans more often than not.

What about you? Do your friendships change when you start a new relationship? And what do you do if a friend of yours suddenly goes AWOL because they've too wrapped up in New Relationship Energy?

Discuss in my forum

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