Ruby wrote me the other day asking me why the guy she's been dating the past few months won't be her boyfriend. It's a difficult question for me to answer, because there are so many variables. Still, it's a question that many women ask, although it usually comes across like this:
- Why doesn't he love me?
- Why won't he stop dating other women?
- He's acting like we are in a relationship, but refuses to call me his girlfriend.
- Every time I ask him about our relationship status, he avoids me or gets angry.
- Why am I not good enough for him?
Seriously, those comments and questions are culled from recent dating advice emails I've received. They all sound pretty heartbreaking - and needy. Perhaps those who have written in will see them, and be able to see just how those words come across in print.. because surely the guys they are dating know it, or at the very least feel it.
But for those who still don't understand why the dudes they're hanging out with don't want a relationship, maybe a poll will help. Why do you think men say they don't want to be in a relationship? Feel free to choose more than one answer, or add your own thoughts in the comments.
For those of you with whom a poll doesn't help (and believe me, I get it!) here's my answer to this tricky, sensitive reader question: Why Doesn't He Want To Be My Boyfriend?
Diane asks: "I have been chatting with this one guy for over two months now. I have hinted, and came straight out about meeting for a drink, and he always uses his sense of humor to get out of it. Should I keep chatting or just say later alligator? I even gave him my cell phone, and he does not call, but emails me everyday. Help?"
Diane, I'm really surprised that you've kept hanging on this long without a date, so let's come at this from a different perspective. If you meet a guy and you're interested in getting to know him better, can you think of any logical and reasonable reason why you'd put them off for two months?
Of course you couldn't, because you wouldn't. So why would you read into someone else's behavior any differently? Now, I wouldn't go and tell the guy something rude or upsetting like you've suggested. In fact, I suggest investing nothing else into this man. Don't chat with him, don't reply to his emails (set up a filter to throw them in the trash immediately if it helps), and don't spend one more second wondering why he won't go on a first date with you. Focus your energies elsewhere, and soon enough you'll meet a guy who is as eager and excited to meet the amazingness that is you, as you are him.
But, dear readers, what do you think? Have you been on either side of this situation, and what did you do?
It sounds like something straight out of the Jim Carey movie, "Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind," however this is something other than fiction. As reported in the April 2012 edition of Psychology Today, there's considerable evidence showing that memories can be erased.
From drugs that specifically target certain memories, to behavioral changes that help sufferers to cope with traumatic past experiences, to "disarmed" viruses that focus on derailing the neural networks holding negative associations, there's a whole host of new procedures, experiments and treatments currently under review. But is it ethical, and if so, would people actually chose to erase their painful pasts?
For me personally, my memories are a huge part of who I am, and even if some are negative, I want to keep them. I've grown, learned and created so much during trying times, and that's separate from the fact that I've written my best work about or during particularly challenging life events. It's rarely easy, and I've definitely needed help to get through my difficult times, yet that doesn't mean I'd change, erase, or otherwise alter them.
But, what about you? If you had the opportunity, would you choose to erase the memories of a difficult breakup, abusive relationship, or other negative dating experience that you'd rather not have experienced? Why or why not?
Source: Chant, I. (2012, March/April). Wiping the slate: Is playing with memory humane - or is it just plain wrong?. Psychology Today, 45(2), 14.
Just this morning, I received a concerned email from a reader. In it, she asks:
"I have a sensitive question regarding cell phone usage, as there are children in my home. Can a person get messages from one of these mobile dating things if someone doesn't sign up/or leave that particular cell number? I had one from speak-live.com which transfers into a sex website (porn pics, etc.) and I never have been on one of these in my life! My boyfriend, on the other hand, has in the past. I am afraid my boyfriend is lying to me."
My first reaction was to ask the reader for more information to clarify her situation. From what I can understand, her and her partner share a cell phone, and she's getting text messages from an adult dating site, asking her to join, sign up, or visit. I'm answering the question with this assumption in mind, and hopefully I've heard her clearly.
Therefore, to answer: what you've received is most likely spam. A quick search for speak-live.com found that they've used several Florida-based Google Voice phone numbers to spam random cell numbers with the message, "Hi I put a pic on my page on speak-live.com just sign in and check it out ;-)". Could it have come from your boyfriend's former adult dating site use? It's possible, yet more likely that your cell number got thrown into some database somewhere (similar to emailed internet dating scams), and used as the spammer came across it.
I strongly suggest focusing on a solution to this issue, instead of thinking about what your boyfriend did in the past. In this case, that might include getting the speak-live.com number blocked, having a quick discussion with your partner to let him know what's happened (and showing him this blog post), and finding the positives in the situation - such as you finding the text before the kids did.
So, dear readers, what do you think? Has your cell phone ever been spammed by an adult dating site, and you were unable to figure out how they got your number? What would you do if this was your cell phone?
I've had a few folks ask me variations of this question of late, so I thought it was high time (excuse the pun) to discuss it here. When someone you're dating, or, someone you're talking to via an online dating site, mentions that they're "420 friendly," what do you say? Does it matter to you?
For some folks, it's a non-issue. I've talked to many who don't see smoking marijuana as a problem, or who would rather date a person who already approves of their choice. In my neck of the woods, '420' commonly appears in dating site profiles, and I've had quite a few folks tell me they're uninterested in dating unless their potential partner is a pot smoker, activist, or at the very least, tolerant of it's occasional use.
I'm not going to get into the ethics or legal aspects of marijuana use, as there are others with infinitely more expertise in the field than I. (See: What Does 420 Mean?, Why Marijuana is Illegal, and Marijuana Facts.) What I will say however is this: marijuana use, like smoking, drinking, religion, children, and politics, are all deal-breaking topics for many singles. Whether you live in an area where marijuana is legal or not, it's eventually a discussion many of us will have at some point in time - again, depending on where you live, sometimes it's a conversation that will occur more than others.
What do you think, dear readers? Is smoking marijuana a deal breaker for you? Do you mention anything 420-related in your online dating profile? Does it matter to you if your date is open to marijuana use, or dead set against it?
"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?
For the past few days I've researched and wrote some content about Ashley Madison, the dating site that offers it's users an 'affair guarantee'. Basically anyone whose coupled up can sign up for their service, and if you follow a strict set of guidelines, you'll receive your money back if you don't find what you're after in six months.
By writing this content, I'm not saying I support cheaters. Let's be clear: I don't. But whether I support or condone websites that offer cheaters a means to and end, the fact is, these sites exist because there's demand, and I get a lot of emails on the topic every month. Writing about it makes me curious... and if you look at the current poll results, you'll understand why.
Poll: Would you feel a temptation to cheat if there was no way anyone would find out?
So, would you cheat? Under what circumstances, if any? Have you before? If so, would you again?
Have you ever had a date that was so fantastic, so perfect, that you were on cloud nine for days (or even weeks) on end - just to have the other participant disappear? I know I have, and I've heard more than a few folks of late both asking for dating advice and posting in the dating forums about this very topic. I find the disappearing date phenomena seems to come in waves, in that I get a lot of questions about the topic around the same time every year.
Its not an easy question to answer either, i.e. "Why didn't he call me back?" or some variation thereof. There are so many variables to the question - how long have you been dating, did anything weird happen on your date, do you know if there is any behavioral history along these lines, have you been intimate - that there is no one-answer-fits all. But what I can say is this: there is always a reason why someone doesn't call back after a great date, and it likely has little to do with you.
Rachel Greenwald has written an excellent book the topic called, "Why He Didn't Call You Back: 1000 Guys Reveal What They Really Thought About You After Your Date." The book isn't just for women trying to understand why her date disappeared though, as there is a chapter that outlines women's top five dating deal breakers too. But the meat of the book discusses the main reasons why a guy won't call you back - even if things seemed amazing during the date - and how to prevent the same thing happening over and over again to you. Are the pointers surprising? Definitely. Will some women find the comments shared by some of the men quoted in the book abrasive? Without question. But if you've struggled with disappearing date syndrome in your life of late, its a book I highly recommend.
I should note however that I did read some of the chapter headings to a male friend of mine, who promptly said, "That's common sense for any guy. Trust me." So, if you can't get a copy of the book for whatever reason, ask your male friends about their biggest turn offs on a date, and why they wouldn't call a guy back.
But what about you? Have you ever not called someone back after a seemingly good date? Why? Or if you've been the one waiting for the call back that never came to be, how did you deal with it?
SpeedDate polled their users (of which 571 responded), asking the gents if they had a bromance, and the gals if they'd mind if their guy had a bromance while dating them. 14% of the men said they'd had or were having a bromance, almost half (47%) felt they had close friendships but they weren't that close, and the remainder (37%) were completely against the concept, stating they were purely romantics, not "bromantics". As for the ladies? Almost half (45%) didn't see an issue with their partner having a close same-sex friendships, 32% thought it would be okay but a tad weird, but almost a quarter (23%) were opposed to the idea, wanting all of their partner's romantic intentions focused on them.
What about you? Have you had a bromance? Has it affected your dating relationship? Would you date someone who was having a bromance? Why or why not?
Lindsay asks, "My guy and I have been dating over a year. We've had our rocky times and our good ones, but all in all its been pretty amazing. Recently however I found out he was meeting other women on dating sites and even kissed one of them. When I asked him what was going on, he said that he felt he wasn't wired for monogamy. He didn't want to hurt me, so he was relieved that it was all out in the open. He asked if I would consider an open relationship, where we both date other people but still stay together. He says he cares for me very much, and how he feels isn't a reflection on me. He also said he doesn't want to lose me, but he was scared I'd reject him for who he is.
I'm hurt that he lied to me, and I'm confused about my role. Isn't this moving backwards to a casual relationship? I really care about this man, but I'm so confused. Help?"
I'm hurt that he lied to me, and I'm confused about my role. Isn't this moving backwards to a casual relationship? I really care about this man, but I'm so confused. Help?"
Well Lindsay, there are two ways to look at your situation. You can either consider your guy's request for an open relationship (learning more about what it means, and whether or not its something you can do) or you can say its not something for you and go your separate ways. Of course, that's easier said than done after a year or more of dating.
Let me first say that an open relationship is very different than polyamory. I realize that you haven't mentioned this in your question, but bear with me for a second. Polyamory is the concept that we can love more than one person romantically, and at the same time. In my experience, most polyamorous relationships are open and everyone is aware of the other loves or partners, and there is a feeling of inclusiveness. Open relationships on the other hand can be polyamorous, but I find the term usually refers to more of a 'don't ask, don't tell' sort of policy, where both parties date other people with the other's knowledge. Open relationships are just that - open - so each person can really do as they please without having to answer to anyone else.
Now, that's just my interpretation. Surely other readers will chime in and share their thoughts. But what I will say is that in my experience, polyamory is focused on love and affection, whereas open relationships are more come what may type experiences. I've also found that folks in poly relationships seem to communicate at a much higher level with their partners (out of necessity) whereas people in open relationships don't seem to share as much with regards to the status of where things are with other folks.
The reason why I'm sharing this information with you is because I want you to know you have more than just two choices: leave or stay. You can also negotiate with your partner to redefine what you have so that the relationship works for both of you. I can't tell if you're open to this type of situation, and frankly, it's a difficult road for even the most stable of relationships. But it is an option, and one worth discussing when things have cooled down a bit.
For now, I'd suggest thinking about whether or not your guy's actions are something you can forgive - or at the very least understand. I'm not condoning his behavior, because I don't believe that lying is ever an answer. But I do believe that his actions have opened up a level of communication and honesty that the two of you probably haven't shared before, and it might be an opportunity for growth for both of you. And since you wouldn't be asking the question if you weren't considering (even a little bit) his proposal, I have to assume you're willing to negotiate. So with that in mind, I'd recommend first discussing with him the dishonesty aspect, and seeing if its a long term issue or a one-off event. Then I'd move into what you both see an open relationship as, what you need out of it, what can be negotiated and what are deal breakers.
I'd also recommend that you speak with a counselor about your feelings, independently of your partner, and take some time to look at what you need from a partner, and whether or not your guy can, or is willing to give that to you. Finally, I'd take some time to nurture and be gentle with yourself, and give yourself some space and time to think without too much pressure from anyone.
In the dating forums, EAM_at_44 wants to know: "I am 44, divorced almost 2 years, a working mom of 3. I started dating a few months ago using an online service to meet men because otherwise I don't know when I would have the time to meet new people. I have gone out with 4 men as a result of screening them by email and phone first. All 4 of them were great at the start but a few weeks into dating it's like they looked like the same people but didn't act the same. I feel like I'm wasting a lot of time. Some people might be able to weed through them faster but I can only date once a week when my sitter is available and once a month I get a whole weekend when my ex has the kids so I feel like I'm putting a lot of time into each man just to get a bad surprise a month or 2 in to each effort. Suggestions?"
As a starter, I would suggest to EAM_at_44 to book a spot in speed dating event during her next scheduled bout time alone. This way she can meet a lot of people in a small amount of time, without having to weed through a larger number of potentially interesting people. (see: What Is Speed Dating, How To Speed Date and reviews of some of the major speed dating companies for more information).
I'd also recommend looking at dating a bit differently than you have up until now. From your post, I get the impression that you want a relationship NOW, and don't have or want to spend the time to let something fully evolve into whatever it's going to be. As a single parent myself, I understand completely. There's only so much time in a day, and when you're parenting full time and solo, it doesn't leave a lot of time for your own personal, adult relationships.
So here's what I suggest: think of this initial stage of dating as something fun and lighthearted. A chance to get to do the things you've always wanted to, but couldn't, or a way to meet new folks where you *may* share interests, but likely won't - and that's okay. Because the kind of dating I'm suggesting isn't putting out the intention of, "Don't waste my time, I'm in it to win it!" but rather, "I'm happy with my life, and would love to share it with someone special. Is that you? Maybe, but let's go do something fantastic that I've always wanted to try, and if you're that person, great. If not, I thank you for the time you did invest in getting to know me, and best of luck."
Hopefully, you can see the shift in what I'm saying. Instead of putting all this pressure on your date to be something or someone, instead, just get to know the person in a fun, interesting way, doing something you wanted to do anyway. If you enjoy their company, say so, and if you realize after one or two dates that it's just not feeling the way you want it to, say that pleasantly as well. No harm, no foul, because you still checked off something from your bucket list AND met someone cool in the process. They might not be your mate, but they're still a unique individual nonetheless.
What do you think? For those of you who are single parents and dating, I'd love it if you shared what has worked for you and your family.
chrissy723 asks: I've been dating my boyfriend for 7 months now but lately things have changed. A week ago or so my car broke down, so I asked him to pick me up from work. He asked me to find someone else because if he picked me up he'd be tired. Then, yesterday my boyfriend accused me of being snoopy because I was checking out his brand new PDA - something totally out of character for him to buy, considering what a miser he is. All I wanted to do was look at the features, but he took it the wrong way. What really upset me though was when my boyfriend asked me to take my things with me whenever I leave his place, because he feels like I'm trying to move in. Is he sending me a message that I'm not seeing, or does he merely want some time and space?
My quick take on chrissy723's question? It sounds like there is a lack of respect in your relationship - on both sides of the equation. If this man thinks you are in a committed relationship and not merely dating, then sure, you should be able to leave a few things at his house without too much worry... but having a suitcase of stuff there might turn off some more sensitive folks, which may include your gent. And what about his being too tired? Well, it happens. Yes it would have been nice if he picked you up, but he's clearly telling you he wasn't able or willing. Pushing it here isn't the best of ideas either, because what you're saying is you're dependent on the guy, and few folks find that attractive.
Which then leads me to your 'snooping' on his PDA - to which I agree with him. Ask first if you want to look at his PDA. Don't just pick it up and start perusing. Now he may have something to hide, and I'm sure some readers of this blog will chime and say he's cheating on you because he wasn't comfy with you looking at his contact list. Me? I believe that asking before looking at something so personal is what really matters here.
So. Does your man want time, space, or a break from your relationship? You don't say how serious things have been during the seven months you've been dating, which makes providing a conclusive answer a tad challenging. But if he is your boyfriend (read: committed to one another and not dating anyone else), then it may be time to talk about what's going on. He may be feeling pressured by you to move things farther than he's ready, and his reactions are his only means of telling you. Or, he's not as committed to the relationship as you are, may be having second thoughts, and could even be doing the elastic band maneuver I like to call the 'pull-back', where many men remove themselves slightly from a relationship to see what their partner does. A test if you will, both to assure them of their continued independence as well a means with which to determine if moving forward with the relationship is merited.
That's my take. What do you think?
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.
barkingdog69 in the dating forum wants to know, "I am currently not working, but am in between jobs, and looking. I've been wanting to do the online dating thing for some time now. I believe that to be the best vehicle for finding someone, but I don't think any woman would be interested in a guy without a job. So I have been holding out till I can secure a job. This is tough though because I am lonely and tired of not being in a relationship. Should I post the ad anyway taking the slim chance that there is a lady that would respond, or should I continue to hold out until I am employed (whenever that may be)?"
So readers, what do you think? I've added my two cents already. (see: Should I Date When I Don't Have a Job?) Would you try to meet someone if you didn't have a job, or would you date someone who was jobless? For those who have been in this position (single and without employment) what did you do?
Do you have a difficult or frustrating dating question? Then fill out the dating advice submission form to have your question answered here.
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.
xlanlfc asks, "I have a friend who I have gone out and done things with (as friends) for about five years. I have a huge crush on her and think we are very compatible. I'm ready to take this relationship to the next level. Why haven't I hit on her before? She is a little overweight. Don't bother me none, but my friends, well, they might think differently. So I haven't hit on her. But I'm over that now. If they don't like it, tough, because I really really like her. I'm ready. So what's the problem? I haven't hit on her in the five years we have been hanging out. I just don't know how to proceed."
What do you think? Any suggestions for this 44-year-old single parent?
Do you have a difficult or frustrating dating question? Then fill out the dating advice submission form to have your question answered here.
cptrainer1 asks: I met this guy on the bus. We both were riding it to work each day for months, and one day he decided to finally talk to me. He got my number, and invited me to see his band play. He then called me a number of times after just to talk. I was not sure if he saw me as a friend or a potential mate. He stopped calling 2 weeks ago.
I'm not sure why, and we never had an official date or sexual contact. He tried to invite himself over to my house twice, but each time I was busy or he was busy. The last time we talked he had me watch a movie he suggested.
Anyway, he told me to call him after the movie was over, to tell him what I thought, so I did. He did not answer or call back. Then almost a week later I called again, and he did not answer or call back. He also got his car fixed so he does not take the bus to work anymore - but he did let me know that ahead of time. Why did he stop calling?
Do you have a difficult or frustrating dating question? Then fill out the dating advice submission form for potential inclusion here.
A reader recently asked, "I've been single for a while now, have joined quite a few free dating sites, and I either get matches by people from the states (I live in Ontario, Canada) or from guys that are not in my age range. Or not even anything I would like. Or on the other hand, if I send a message to somebody, they don't reply back. What am I doing wrong?"
I think there are four main reasons why this lady has not received any responses to her dating profile that she finds acceptable, and have answered them in great detail already. (see: Why Am I Not Getting Any Responses To My Dating Profile?) Do you think I've missed any, or have further ideas and suggestions?
Do you have a difficult or frustrating dating question? Then fill out the dating advice submission form to have your question answered here.
Women have Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider's The Rules, with dating rules are clearly spelled out explaining what a woman can do to net herself a marriage-minded man. Men, on the other hand, have The Game by Neil Strauss, a tell-all tome about pickup artists and how any man can have the woman of his dreams.
Personally, I found both of these takes on dating mildly offensive. Of course there are rules when it comes to dating and relating, and those who follow them have a higher-than-average chance of succeeding (depending on your definition of success). But do we need to buy into stereotypes to find someone?
This is why I think there need to be new dating rules put into place for all singles to agree to, no matter what their sexual orientation, dating strategy or long-term goals. Dating is dating, and it behooves us all to abide by some simple yet straightforward rules, don't you think?
I've already come up with dating rules to meet someone new, and am working on dating rules that are more general in nature - but would love your opinion. Tell me: what you think the rules of dating should be?
Chloe asks: "I'm 18 and my boyfriend is 31. He's ready to start a family with me, but I feel like I'm too young to even start thinking about having kids. I'm flattered that he wants me as the mother of his children but the thought scares me too. He's the only guy I've ever dated, and I really care about him a lot. How do I tell him I'm not ready for kids without him breaking up with me over it?"
What concerns me most about your question Chloe is the older man aspect of your equation. You probably already know, but dating someone who is thirteen years older than you at this stage of your life is a challenge at the best of times. He's ready to settle down and you aren't. He's already learned how to be independent and live as an adult, whereas you're just getting started - and may still be finishing high school. Basically, your goals and aspirations aren't going to jive with your boyfriends'.
This might be difficult to hear, and I realize its not what you're asking, but you need to tell him that you're not ready to have kids yet and prepare yourself for the relationship ending because of it. This isn't your time to start a family, and from what you've said, that won't change anytime soon. If he's dead set on having kids ASAP, then it might be best for both of you if things ended now.
Long distance relationships seem to be a theme among my closest and dearest: my sister's husband is a military man, a good friend has a movie producer for a partner, and my Dad was a truck driver.
In each of these relationships, both partners have struggled (at times) to keep the love alive. It's difficult to stay connected sometimes to someone who lives mere minutes away, much less a partner who is stationed overseas or works remotely. Yet people in long distance relationships do it every single day. Some even manage to have "dates" together, which I find admirable.
Have you been in a long distance relationship? How have you managed to keep the love alive?
Related Content: Date Ideas for Long Distance Relationships
An interesting post in the dating forum by contactable asks: "Has anyone tried group dating like the ones they have in Japan, gokon it's called? Where someone brings their single friends to meet with other single friend and his/her friends? If you have tried it, did you think it is better than one - one dating? What was your experience like?"
I wasn't familiar with the term gokon until contactable asked, but I've definitely done the group dating thing: murder mystery parties, singles dinner parties, blind dates, single volunteers, singles social clubs, you name it. I've also suggested group dating to several clients and readers, with some surprising successes.
Have you ever tried gokan, or any other form of group dating? What did you enjoy about it? Would you recommend it? Why or why not?
A few recent emails have asked me what kind of Valentine gifts readers could buy for their partner at the last minute - either because they'd completely forgotten about the event, really had no clue what to do and waited until the last minute, or had just started a relationship and weren't sure if they should get their new partner something special.
For those in the forgetful camp, I've created a small but fun list of last minute valentine gifts, most of which are inexpensive. I've also tried to include a few on the list that were appropriate for newer couplings as well as more seasoned partnerships. I'd also recommend taking a peek at my first date gift ideas for those new to each other - everything on the list is inexpensive, fun, and lighthearted enough to share early on, while still providing ample opportunity for romance and/or get-to-know-you conversations.
Do you have any suggestions for last minute valentine gifts, or has your partner ever surprised you with something truly magical that probably didn't take a lot of time to set up?
More last minute valentine gift ideas:
- Flower Gifts - why last minute? Because they deliver!
- Valentines Day Chocolatesmost of these only have another day to ship, so you may want to order right now if you'd like it in time.
- Plant A Tree Gift - Self explanatory probably; you purchase a tree on behalf of your partner virtually, and the tree is named after them in their honor. Or, you could go to a nursery and purchase a small tree and plant it together as a symbol of your love growing for one another.
- Romantic Valentine Ideas - Everything on this list is something you can create with a day's notice or less.
- Romantic Dinner for Two - I like pairing this one with the dinner and a movie date idea personally, but you could just go all out making dinner instead.
- Romantic Text Messages - Honestly, there's no reason why you can't use your cell phone to create romance with your partner. Maybe a lovey scavenger hunt, or a series of short, cute love quotes throughout the day?
- You Light Up My Life Romantic Idea - Quick, simple, and only as far away as the dollar or toy store.
How important is Valentine's Day to you? The answer to that might determine if you're morose about being alone or happy about celebrating Valentine's Day single.
But what if instead, those who are still single/single again amongst us, decided to claim Valentine's Day as our own? As a day to celebrate love in all of its forms, including most importantly the ability to love oneself - no matter how we feel about February 14th?
So say instead of looking at the cheap Valentine's Day ideas that I've written from the perspective as a person part of a couple, you look at the suggestions instead as a single person pampering themselves like no one else can. Maybe all you want to do is curl up with a good book and a mug of cold beer - why not take advantage, avoid the Valentine's Day crowd, and plan for it? Or maybe being social is more your thing - so why not throw a Valentine's Day costume party for all of your single friends?
Are you single this Valentine's Day? What do you plan on doing, if anything? When single, do you celebrate St. Valentine's Day? To choose an answer, click on the appropriate link, or if you feel I've missed something please feel free to share your comments.
I'm curious. How many people really aren't prepared for Valentine's Day? And how many single people shun the holiday completely? Vote now in the poll below by clicking on the link you choose.
With only six days to go, I'm getting a lot of questions about St. Valentine's Day. Where should we go? What should we do? What do I do with a gift that I bought in anticipation for February 14th now that we broke up? How do I honor a day of love when I'm not feeling very loving or lovable? And the most asked question of late: How do I meet someone before St. Valentine's Day?
Because of (and to answer) these questions, I'll be blogging lots on the topic in the next few days. For now however, I've posted a What To Do For St. Valentine's Day index. Have I missed anything? Let me know in the comments.
gs780.8 asks: "Last year I screwed up big on Valentines Day, so it goes without saying that this year has to be flawless. I have been seeing my girlfriend for nearly three years. We have been having a rough time lately, so I want to show her how much she means to me. I have up to $500 to spend, and I have booked the 15th off work for her without her knowing. She has school on the 14th until 5pm. That I am not going to mess with because it is important. PLEASE help... Please. I need suggestions!"
With Valentine's Day creeping nearer, I thought I'd focus the next few weeks on the lovers holiday, and what it means for both dating singles and couples. Today I'm doing a quick run through of love throughout time, and how some of the ideas attached to February 14th came to be regular everyday conversations.
- Immortal Love Legends from the About.com Guide to Hinduism: If you aren't familiar with Hinduism, one of its basic foundations is a series of love stories that are both breathtaking and awe-inspiring. If you're wanting for some love stories that'll inspire and teach, this is the place to start.
- Love Goddesses from the About.com Guide to Ancient History: Some of the more well-known Goddesses are covered in this series including Aphrodite and Venus - but what about Isis or Freya? And then of course there is the God of love, Cupid, of whom Valentine's Day revolves around (depending on your version of how Valentine's Day came to be).
- Love Magic from the About.com Guide to Paganism and Wicca: Are love spells considered ok in the Wiccan community? The ethics of love magic is still debated amongst those who practice the religion, but if you'd like a primer on what they are and how they came to be you'll find what you need here.
- Feng Shui For Love Relationships: Developed over 3,000 years ago in Asia, Feng Shui is another way view love and relationships throughout history and how we've adapted over the years to pursue romantic interests.
- Romance Through The Ages from the About.com Guide to Genealogy: Dating and courtship has come a long way since ancient and medieval times, and a fascinating path its been. Tie that into the history of Valentine's Day and you've got quite the love story.
Rani asks: My best friend got me and her childhood friend to start talking, but he lives 6 hours away from me and I've never met him. He told her initially he's not looking for a girlfriend, which was cool because I figured we could be friends. We talked for hours on the phone. For 4 months we were close. Then he started saying things like, I can't wait to see you, you're so interesting, you're my best friend. That got me really excited, and I thought maybe he meant as more than just friends.
I'd planned to meet him at a wedding near his place as a friend of mine had invited me. I told him about it, but then on the advice of my friends started playing games and told him I wanted to meet him, and then told him I didn't... I was all over the map. And then I read He's Just Not That Into You, which got me really depressed. This girl in the book said, "I got empowered and I said I don't need to talk to you anymore," so that night I texted him confessing that I was into him and that it sucks when the guy your into doesn't like you back. For 2-3 weeks after that he didn't call.
I contacted him to see what was up because I got impatient, and he told me he was sorry for everything but just wanted to be friends. So we talked for two hours, and he said he might be coming with my brother to visit soon but, "Don't go all nuts on me if I don't". I told him I'm cool - and I want to SHOW him that I'm cool. I regret playing games with this guy and really want to see him more than anything in the world. Do you think I can get him back, or is he always going to think of me as the crazy girl?
Oh Rani, I do feel for you. I get a lot of these kinds of emails every week, the "I acted crazy now how do I fix it?" kind of requests. Unfortunately, there isn't much I can suggest to you that you'll want to hear. If the two of you had been in a relationship for six months? My answer might be different, but not by much.
My advice is to take a huge step back from this guy. He's already got it in his head he's not into you like that, and with a six hour difference between where the two of you live, I doubt that will change. Plus, with your admitted 'crazy girl' antics, it makes anything romantic that much harder.
I understand that you feel this guy is worth it, but there are many people in this world that you'll meet throughout your travels that will wow you. I think its time to take a step back and really get over this guy - get over a relationship that was nothing more than a friendship, because at no point did you ever meet, nor did he say he was into you - and start living your life for YOU. What struck me the most in your question was all of the maneuvering you were trying to do - from seeing him in the first place, to arranging to meet after the whole blow up so he'd see you weren't crazy. It's time to take a break from this guy and start doing things for YOU. Forget if he'll be somewhere or not. Forget trying to arrange your schedules. Forget about even interacting with the guy until you honestly feel like you can be just friends.
It's time to take your power back. Focus on getting yourself to a place of happiness with or without a guy and work on cultivating your self esteem. Spend some time mourning the relationship that could have been, kick the relationship bad habits, and make sure you've figured out some boundaries for yourself for the next time someone you like comes along. Then, be your amazing, feel good self - and you won't feel the need to play games to get a guy, because they'll be flocking to get YOUR attention.
If you or your sweetie have been dropping hints this year to go somewhere special this Valentine's Day, now is the time to plan and book your romantic getaway - or a staycation if the idea suits your pocketbook or work requirements more. Some ideas:
- Valentines Day Getaway Packages in the Western US
- Southwest US Valentine Getaways
- Island Valentine Vacations
- Valentines Day Cruises
- Buy some massage oils or bars (Buy Direct) and make a night of working through a whole book devoted to the subject together, such as Sensual Massage Made Simple (Buy Direct).
- Gather together the fixings for each of your favorite sundae toppings, and then have fun making the ultimate masterpiece for each other instead of doing it yourself.
- Play a couples game together, letting the winner choose his or her prize beforehand. Perhaps breakfast in bed, or a fantasy lived out? Its your choice.
- Ladies, there are a great many Valentine's Day costumes to dress up in, or both of you could dress up and play out some of your more original or unique daydreams with your partner. (For costume ideas, try the Halloween Costumes for Couples or Singles articles - some of the singles options are particular sexy and appropriate).
Are you going away this Valentine's Day, or stay at home and spend some quality time with the person you're dating?
Linds asks: "I was in a relationship with a guy 14 years younger than me - I'm 37 and he's 23. He adored me, the sex life was great and he was the one who was always saying he loved me and that he wanted to be with me forever. I also have a 6 year old boy but he felt that wasn't a problem.
Suddenly, four months into the relationship he started saying that he wasn't good enough for me that he wasn't good at relationships. Of course he still loved me and it was nothing to do with my wee boy, although he did state he was not ready to be a family. Interestingly, I have never mentioned us being a family and was certainly not looking for it, although I had always stated that I came as a package with my son an my son always came first. He said that was never a problem and went so far as to praise me as a mum.
Anyway. Now wants us to see each other but with no commitment and no relationship - although there would still be sex. Neither of us would see anyone else but if someone came along for me he wouldn't stand in my way. I don't know what to do because I do love him deeply and thought we might have a future but never mentioned it to him. What do I do?"
Linds, I think this might be a situation of too much, too soon. Four months isn't a long time to be in a relationship, much less "love him deeply" or have your six-year-old involved. What it IS time for however is for both of you to review the relationship and see if it has legs - meaning, if it can go the distance. The 4-6 month mark is about where most folks start thinking about this.
This might sound harsh, but it sounds like your relationship has run its course. Your ex-boyfriend has thought about what's next, and he's made it clear he's not ready to be a family man and only wants a casual sex (yet committed) relationship with you now. Thing is, you can't go back, and it isn't your fault that he has realized (quite suddenly) that its not the life he's ready for.
My recommendation? Don't agree to his terms. You want a relationship - and there's nothing wrong with that. But right now, he doesn't. Let him know that you'll think of your time together fondly, but that a casual sex relationship isn't something you are ready for at this time in YOUR life. Then, break contact with him for a bit. Take some time to mourn what you had, learn from the breakup, and find some new ways to make yourself feel good. Then, in a month or two - if the relationship was only a few months old anyway - its time to brush yourself off and start dating again. Try reading Love in 90 Days (conservative thinking but a ton of fun) or The Four Man Plan (could offend some readers but refreshing and practical) for concrete ideas and tactics to get you back on your dating feet again.
... or so says a study shared in the Journal of Marriage and Family, as reported by Science News. Almost all of the participants in the study (96%!) were found to have "strong distrust" of the opposite sex, yet when asked about their current relationship, they stated it was of a "trusting" nature. As well, the distrust of said men didn't stop these low income women from entering into romantic, long term relationships.
I have to say that reading this study made me pause, as did the friends I shared it with. The actual information didn't surprise any of us. Rather, the percentage of women is what was frightening. Do virtually all lower income women find men untrustworthy? And if so, why are they entering into relationships with essentially the same gender they have obvious unresolved issues with?
The study went on to say that because of this mismatched trust (feeling distrustful of men in general but stating that their current relationship was trustworthy) put the women who were a part of the study at further risk for unhealthy relationships, basically doing whatever they had to to give their partner the benefit of the doubt.
What do you think about the findings of this study? What would you suggest to low income moms, or the men who date them, in response to this study?
Related: When Not To Date
A handful of reader questions of late have focused on sex: when to have it, what frequency is normal, and what to do if one partner isn't into it. Coupled with some recent research study findings that women are seeking more casual dating relationships, and
Take the poll and let me know, but I'm also curious to hear your reasoning. Why do you wait or take the plunge early on? Does it depend on the relationship or the person you're dating? Has it evolved as you've gotten older, and is that evolution because of mere chronology, societal/peer pressure, or something else entirely?
Do you have any dating-related New Years resolutions this year? I've solicited singles, couples and experts for their views and ideas, creating two New Years resolution lists that I think will be helpful to a lot of readers:
A couple of the suggestions - such as 39-year-old Megan Reese's of creating a 'Man Plan' for her dating life - are extensive yet focused, while others are simple shifts in one's worldview to improve either the relationships we are attracting, or those we already have. And then there is a whole other level of New Years resolution, and I've found one that is so above and beyond the norm (but fascinating!) that it deserved more than just a quick quip in an article.
The first comes from best selling authors and challenge creators Pastor Kerry Shook and his wife Chris. Their book, One Month to Live, suggest that those wanting a dramatic shift in their lives just need to think about what they'd do if they only had thirty days left. From one of their press releases:
"Arguably, resolutions fail because there's no sense of urgency. With a whole year ahead to reach the goal, it's easy to relegate it to the back burner or forget about it altogether. Indeed, in one study nearly 40 percent of respondents cite having too many other things to do as the reason for breaking their resolutions. But what if instead of just making resolutions you acted as if you had only 30 days to live and to really make a difference in your life?"
What about you? Have you ever gone to extreme lengths to find a date? Would you? Have you resolved to improve about your dating life or relationship for 2013?