Several years ago I dated a man who told me that he'd had a run in with genital warts. He told me early on in our interaction, and assured me that it had been taken care of. He also had a clean bill of health, and wanted to know if I'd go with him to the STD clinic to get tested.
Compare that experience to a male client of mine, who recently told me that the woman he's been dating for three months just advised him - in the heat of the moment - that her previous boyfriend had given her herpes. They are now in discussions about what to do next, although the gent went to the doctor to discuss it and was told, "It's not a big deal, more than 60% of people have the herpes virus, they just don't know it."
Horror stories abound on this topic, and my intention is far from fear-mongering. Rather, I'm curious as to what is okay and what isn't for someone with an STD when it comes to dating. Have you dated someone that has one, and it wasn't a big deal? Or was it a deal breaker? Are you someone with an STD who hasn't had a problem telling people, or has it been a difficult experience? How did it change your perception of dating, or how you've dated?
Related: My Partner Has HPV... Now What?, Dating With Herpes, STD Dating Sites, Free STD Dating Sites, Ten Reasons Your Partner May Not Have Told You About Their STD, and Should I Tell My Date I Get Cold Sores?
Michelle asks: I met a guy at a bar about two weeks ago. We exchanged numbers when we first met and he called me the next day to set up a double date a few days later. That went well, so we spent some time together at my place a few days after that. He then asked if I wanted to go out to lunch in a few days (which we are tomorrow). However, I'm not sure if he wants to date me or just be friends (we've kissed only once, and I was the one that made the move). He is shy and it is difficult to read him. He is a great guy and I want to date him, but how can I tell if he feels the same way? Or could I just be impatient? I've only known this guy two weeks now.
Bonny's answer: From what you've shared Michelle, I'd say that the two of you are dating already. (See The Definition of Dating for more about my take on why, and what I believe dating is today). You are spending time together to get to know one another better, and you both continue to instigate contact. Sure, you made the first move and kissed him, but what's to say he wouldn't have if you hadn't? And frankly, if someone doesn't want to kiss you, they won't.
I'd stop trying to push things further ahead then they need to be. Things sound great so far, and progressing in a way that many women wish the early stages of a relationship would. If in a week or two things haven't moved towards a discussion along these lines and you are still hanging out once or twice a week, I'd broach the subject gently, thoughtfully and playfully. "Is this a date? Because I'd like to think it is," with a twinkle in your eye might work, but let your own imagination and personality shine though. Then, let him answer at his own speed, and without pressure. If he decides the two of you aren't on the same page, you can start looking for someone else you'd like to date that suits your relationship needs.
What say you, dear readers? Do you think Michelle is being impatient? Does he like her as a friend or more?
Peach asks: "The other night my boyfriend started joking around about having a threesome with me. I laughed and told him sarcastically why not but I was joking too and I thought he knew that. Now he won't stop talking about it, asking me if I find this woman or that woman attractive and so forth. I have no idea how to tell him it's never gonna happen now. Help?"
Bonny's answer: You've run up against a definite difference between how men and women communicate. Without getting too stereotypical, let me say that when most men 'joke' about a threesome, they aren't joking. They're testing you to see if you're able, willing and/or interested.
This isn't to say that every guy wants a threesome with his girlfriend or partner. Some do, some don't. Some just like the idea that they might have one, or want to fantasize with their lover about the possibility. If he's truly joking around and has no intention of trying to make the idea a reality, only then would I say have some fun and play along. He knows that the majority of heterosexual women aren't into threesomes; he just wants you to support his fantasy.
Having said that, your guy has started to take further steps towards making the dream a reality. If you're truly not interested at all in sharing him sexually with another woman, then it's time for some firmness. There's no beating around the bush here. The next time he brings up anything threesome-related, let him know in no uncertain terms you're not interested. Pause, look him in the eye, maybe even touch his arm gently, and say, "I know you're really excited about the idea of a threesome, but nothing in this world could convince me it's something I want. I don't mind hearing about your fantasies or even getting a bit playful with them, but a threesome will never be anything but imaginary for me." Cater the words to suit your personality and situation, but make the message the same. He'll stop asking you or pushing for answers, even if he doesn't stop thinking about it.
What say you, dear readers? What would you say if you were Peaches? Have you been in this, or a similar situation? What did you do?
There haven't been a lot of studies performed about the love at first sight phenomena, yet countless books have been written on the subject. I oftentimes feel surrounded by couples who feel their unions were decided upon exceptionally early into their relationships. eHarmony commercials tout married folks who openly state they "just knew" when they met that they'd get married, Arielle Ford's The Soulmate Secret pretty much relies on the concept to sell its premise, and one of my siblings recently celebrated her eighth year anniversary with the man she married three months after their first date.
As for me? I'd like to think that love at first sight is possible. There is an innate romanticism attached to the thought of meeting someone and having them hitting enough emotional triggers immediately to just know. Now, Have I ever had it happen? Not the love bit, but I've met three folks over a span of twenty years where I just knew they'd be a huge part of my evolution as a person; I just wasn't sure how initially. One became a great friend, another a very emotionally charged but short lived relationship (although we still stay in touch), and one recent, and still playing out. Not one have told I love them, although admittedly love all three very much. And thus, in my head, no love at first sight for me. A strong hunch, and a driving need to get to know someone better? Definitely.
But what about you? Do you believe in love at first sight? Why or why not?
The movie the Ghosts of Girlfriends Past got me thinking - namely, about people I or my clients have dated but, for whatever reason, things didn't work out.
It seems those longing or thinking about a person they've crossed paths with is the minority, according to SpeedDate.com, who polled their users in 2011 about the one who got away, and whether or not they'd want to reconnect again. Although 65% of the respondents stated they did have someone who got away, only 29% would want to make contact again to see if they could date once more. Just over 5300 people responded to the poll.
But what about you? Do you have someone that got away? What happened? Would you make contact with them again? Why or why not?
Unusual findings from a Brazillian research study confirmed what many of us already know: alcohol affects how attractive we view members of the opposite sex, and more alcohol we injest, the more attractive we find other people. But this phenomena seems to effect men more, and longer.
The researchers used facial symmetry to determine how attractive the men found their female partners, and easily determined that more alcohol equaled less ability to determine symmetry. This would explain why men will sometimes pick up women they normally wouldn't find attractive when drinking with friends in a bar.
But another study undertaken also in 2008 found that the beer goggle effect wore off with female drinkers by the morning after, whereas men were still seeing their partners from the night before - and any person of the opposite sex - in a more favorable light.
Source: Svoboda, Elizabeth. 2009. "Her Body on Booze." Men's Health (10544836) 24, no. 4: 104-106. Consumer Health Complete.
UglySchmucks. Date For Change. Military Hotspot. Millionaire Cougar. What do these dating sites all have in common? All were submitted to About.com's dating site database in the past few months, and all provide some form of matchmaking services to a niche group of single people.
I'm amazed by the inventiveness, yet sometimes wonder if there's enough of a market to promote these kinds of hyper-specialized dating sites, especially if they aren't free. In my Online Dating How-To, I suggest signing up with at least one dating site that offers a large database of other singles, plus maybe one or two niche sites (depending on whether they're free or not). I'm not saying you want to spend $60+ a month on dating site subscriptions, but rather focus on the kinds of places that will net you the highest quality matches for whatever kind of relationship you're after. For some, that might include a host of highly targeted dating sites... but I'm curious: how many of you use these kinds of sites, and have you had any luck meeting someone from them?
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 time alone. This way she can meet a lot of people quickly, 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 leaves little time for a romantic relationship.
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 I hope we both find that special someone soon."
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.
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, and 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. Still, 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 all involved. 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 it's 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 romantic relationship, 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.
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?
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 in a long-term partnership where you've agreed to only be romantically involved with one another, unless you're polyamorous, which is a whole other topic entirely), 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?
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?
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?
"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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
When dating someone new, what's your primary motivation?
After reading a quick clip in Bernice Kanner's book, Are You Normal? (Buy Direct), I learned that the majority of men (42%) and women (51%) date to 'establish a relationship', whereas 33% of men and 29% of women date to 'have a good time'.
I couldn't find the origin of the statistics quoted unfortunately; I'm still looking. Since the book was published in 2004, I'm assuming the research is a bit dated now - so now I'm even more curious as to what the point of dating is for people today. Take the poll and let me know - why do you date?
Sarah asks: "I have been dating a great guy for a little over 5 months. We are both in our 20's. He has a very demanding job and is extremely busy, while I am a college student with a much more flexible schedule. Our sex life has always been great - we have awesome bedroom chemistry, and it has always been an enjoyable, zesty enterprise for us both. However, he decided to stop drinking for a month - he felt like he was doing it too much. He has lost all interest in sex - we haven't done it in about a month. He says it is because his emotions and thoughts are all changing and becoming clearer because he has stopped drinking. Also, he is on antidepressants, and I have read that they can decrease libido. He is still very affectionate - we cuddle every night we are together, hold hands and kiss. I asked him if I had put on weight or anything since we started dating, and he insists that I have nothing to do with his lack of libido. Does this seem plausible? If this is a temporary thing, it is definitely worth it for me to wait it out and be patient and give him time, because he is a great person. I just want to know if the reasons he gave me for this seem legitimate. How long is too long without sex, especially in a new-ish relationship between young people?"
First off, kudos to your boyfriend for realizing he had a problem and doing something about it. It couldn't have been easy asking for help, and I applaud his willingness to seek treatment. As I've gotten older I've realized that a partner who can admit when they've got a serious problem and do something about it is a rare gem indeed. Sure, he's in the early stages of the process, but it's a good start.
As for the questions about your sexual frequency, many anti-depressants decrease a person's libido (see: The Sexual Side Effects of Antidepressants or this poll, in which 88% of readers say yes they experienced sexual side effects). There are ways to mitigate this issue; your boyfriend needs to speak with his doctor about his options.
In the meantime, I highly recommend reading When Someone You Love Is Depressed by Drs. Lauren Rosen and Xavier Amador (Buy Direct) or About.com's Guide to Depression, who has written about the topic extensively (10 Tips for Coping With Depression in a Relationship, What To Do When Someone You Love Is Depressed). Its a difficult thing to date someone who is depressed, so you'll need as much support as you can get (as will he!) during this difficult time. I also recommend, if you can, to talk to a mental health professional yourself about how you're feeling.
Don't forget however that sexual frequency decreases in most relationships when the initial honeymoon phase wears off - usually somewhere around three months to two years. This is normal and to be expected. No one could continue the initial rush of sexual frenzy or excitement of getting to know someone new forever; some studies are even likening falling in love to certain forms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder - see Daniel Amen's The Brain In Love (Buy Direct) for more on this topic. It's a heady thing being in someone's company constantly, having lots of great sex, and connecting deeply with your partner - but after a while, the body can start to fight back and say, "Okay, back to work! Let's find a more healthy balance." From that little you've shared, it sounds like your boyfriend is trying to do exactly that. Is it temporary? There's no way to tell really, but I'll hazard this is just one step along a long evolutionary path, with its length determined by the longevity of your relationship.
So what can you do? I suggest you stop asking him if you've gained weight and/or if you are attractive to him anymore. By asking you are both reminding him that he's not satisfying you and thus not making you happy, as well as using negative self-talk to put yourself down. Of *course* you're still attractive and desirable! That hasn't changed in the five months you've been dating. The issue here is something much greater than you, and can't be taken personally. Can you start looking at your sex life as something that will constantly evolve and yet still be completely normal? Can you learn more about depression and how it affects your partner? Do you want to continue dating a man that is going through a major upheaval in his life, and support him through the unpredictable process? Those are your questions to answer, and no one but you can decide what's best for you.
Have you ever wanted to create an online dating profile that attracted exactly the kind of member you were looking to meet, yet struggled to find the 'right' way to show off your amazingness? Most of us have, and many will enlist the help of a profile writing expert to assist with choosing the right words, images and feel. There has to be an easier way though, right? I mean, if my Android phone can automatically tell me I should expect a package today (from an email that I received three days ago, with only the tracking number to go on), my phone, email and/or search engine should be able to tell me how to best present myself to other singles out there.
A few companies have attempted to assist singles looking for love, lust, or something in between with a variety of metrics-based online tools that focus on the profile creation stage. OkCupid was the first (that I know of) with MyBestFace, where registered members of OkCupid can submit photos for review by other members, eventually spitting out a list of what worked and what didn't (as well as for what kinds of people and their basic demographics) once you've done the same for about 15 minutes' -worth of profiles yourself. It's a great, free program (other than an investment of your time) however it only focuses on your profile picture, and completely ignores what you're actually, you know, saying.
This is where Plumer steps in, an app-in-progress that hopes to change the confusion surrounding what to say, how to say it, and which pictures to use on your online dating profiles through concrete testing and statistics. Plumer, a name inspired by some birds' attempts at a mating call through re-arranging their feathers, wants to "remove a huge pain point" for new online daters through their system, and they're rushing to get it out singles just like you.
Why the rush, and why am I writing about an app that's still in the works? Here's where Plumer's story gets interesting: the developers are currently (until 9AM PST March 5, 2014) on a StartupBus, coding, planning and optimizing as fast as they can, while other teams on the same bus try to out-maneuver each other for entrepreneurial success. Each team has only 72 hours on the bus to create, flesh out, and get their business up and running, and everything is shared live-time on the web - a bit shaky I must admit, yet wildly fascinating and definitely worth a look if you're entrepreneurial, or at the very least curious. Check out StartupBus.com for the North American teams, buses and projects.
Plumer is currently accepting Beta testers (until their time runs out tomorrow morning) for the project; if you'd like to get involved, or want more information, check them out here.
Although the research is a few years old, and the information geared towards first emails, I think this information bears repeating to anyone using online dating sites to meet people: when crafting a dating email, avoid the use of netspeak - unless you're laughing.
Why? OkCupid decided to look into what kinds of emails their members replied to most. They gleaned lots of tangible, relevant information from a sampling of 500,000 first contact dating emails, some of which was surprising, like:
- A unique salutation (such as 'yo' or 'howdy') fared better than the standard 'hello', or 'hi';
- Use the word 'pretty' as an adverb (i.e. pretty sure) rather than an adjective (i.e. you're pretty) for a higher number of replies; and
- Avoid comments that refer to the other person's physical appearance, even if you're complimenting them, for a higher response rate.
see: What To Say In a First Message for the original data.
There were a few tidbits that made me sigh with relief however. Notably, the use of textspeak garnered significantly less email responses (ur instead of your, wat as opposed to what, etc.). Yet 'lol' or 'haha' are acceptable, and might even increase your online dating responses.
So, what do you think? When you receive a dating email riddled with textspeak, do you reply? Do you send emails that compliment the other person? Has it made any difference with regards to the number of replies received?
Have you ever had a date that you knew you'd never forget, no matter what happened with the relationship? One that took your breath away, one that made you giggle, or one that just plain made you feel great?
I've heard some dating disaster doozies, and a lot of love stories that made my heart swell. But what I'm after are those dates that will go down in your personal history as one of the best dates of all time - and I'd love to know why said date was so amazing. Did you share great chemistry, or did the words just flow like with no one else? Was it a first date, or was it with someone you'd been dating for years? Were any intimacies exchanged, or was it more lighthearted and and carefree? Did you share your first kiss on the date, or did you do something else - or nothing at all?
I'd like to collect a huge database of the best dates ever, so that other singles and dating couples can read through the list, get inspired, try some of the great date ideas themselves, and report back how their amazing date fared. So don't be shy and share your good date stories - and maybe even win the reader story of the week.
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.
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? 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.
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.
Looking to add a bit of romance to your dating relationship? Why not try one of these suggestions to spruce things up a bit?
Date Ideas in General
- Putting the Romance Back in Your Dates
- Inexpensive Date Ideas
- Creative Date Ideas
- Date Ideas by Sun Sign
- Fun Date Ideas
- Science Dating Ideas
- Dinner and a Movie Dates
- Seduce Your Long Term Relationship Partner
- Totally Free Date Ideas
- Most Romantic Dates in LA
- Indy's Top Romantic Date Ideas
- Valentine's Day in Atlanta
- Best Romantic Dates in Brooklyn
- Finding Romance in Little Rock
- Valentine's Day Date Ideas in Oklahoma City
- Most Romantic Restaurants in Hunstville
- Best Dates in the Washington, DC Area
- Romantic Places in Phoenix and Scottsdale
- A Month of Dates With Your Spouse
- First Date Ideas for Seniors
- Have the Perfect First Date
- Empty Nester Date Ideas
- Date Ideas for Long Distance Relationships
I'd love to hear about your most memorable, romantic date, and what it took to plan it. Simple or complex, quick or a weekend-long, share your dates, your stories, and your successes.
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
And what about those of you staying home this Valentine's Day? I've got a host of cheap Valentine's Day ideas compiled already, as well as a list of romantic Valentines Day ideas. Some of my favorites:
- 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?
If you're anything like me, you'll spend a romantic night curled up with a good movie, book, and/or soundtrack and making something delectable to eat. I'll talk about what sort of romantic foods to delve into another day, but today - let's talk about what to read, watch and listen to. Romantic Films
- Dinner and a Movie Date Ideas
- Best Date Movies of All Time
- Top Romantic Movies - from our Guide to Home Video
- AFI's Top Love Stories - from our Guide to Movies
- Classic Romantic Movies - from our Guide to Classic Film
- Top Indie Romantic Films - from our Guide to World Film
- Romantic Idea - Book Hijack
- Romance Classics - by our Guide to Classic Literature
- Love Quotes - from our Guide to Quotations
- Immortal Love Legends - from our Guide to Hinduism
- Top Anime Love Stories - from our Guide to Anime
- Top Latin Romantic Albums - from our Guide to Latin Music
- Classical Music of Romance - from our Guide to Classical Music
- Top 100 Country Music Love Songs Of All Time - by our Guide to Country Music
- Top 10 Love Song CDs - by our Guide to Oldies Music
- Top 100 Love Songs - from our Guide to Top 40
- Top 10 Christian Love Songs - by our Guide to Christian Music
I'm far from a huge Valentine's Day person, I'll admit. Yet the year that the guy I was dating at the time made me both a gift (a photo book) and dinner (a luxurious all-out affair) is one that I'll never, ever forget. So if you're the crafty type who wants to make something special for your sweetie - or hey, even for yourself if you're single - then some of my fellow Guides here at About.com have the digs:
Valentine's Day Knitting Projects
My favorite? The 'hugs and kisses' XOXO scarf, which I've knit a few times myself.
Beaded Safety Pin Patterns
Maybe for the younger set; still fun nonetheless.
DIY Sexy Valentine's Day Gifts
A whole host of fun, exciting and very sexy ideas to make for your partner.
Valentine's Day Quilts
Ok, you might not have time to make a whole quilt before February 14th, but maybe you do if you start now? Quilters, you'll have to chime in on this one.
Valentine's Day Soap Projects
Ooh, yummy. Ok I think I might have to try a few of these myself. Not for my partner. No, no. For myself! Hm, or maybe I'll try making these cocoa butter massage bars instead.
Fabric Heart Treat Bag
From About.com's Expert to Sewing, a cute little bag to make that could hold something small but significant.
Valentine's Day Painting Projects
Wow, there's a huge list of ideas and projects to choose from here, most of which are perfect for beginners.
Valentine's Day Jewelry Making Projects
A three page list of jewelry projects, mostly for women, that are skewed from beginners to advanced levels.
Draw a Manga Valentine's Day Card
Unusual and perfect for the manga-lover in your life.
Crocheted Valentine's Day Arrangement
With a few flowers from your garden, this would make a lovely gift.
Free Bead Patterns for Valentine's Day
A handful of cute, small projects from the Guide to Beadwork.
Inexpensive and easy enough for anyone to do, you can use the list of ideas presented here or make your own. Make Your Own Valentine's Day Cards
So much more personal when you do it yourself, with the help of some ink and stamps.
Create a Romantic Presentation
Alright, so it's a bit of a stretch from crafty, however it is DIY. Use Powerpoint to make your partner a Valentine's Day -themed presentation with the tips and tricks suggested here.
This is Day Three of the 30 Days of Romance. For an explanation and to start your journey, take a peek at Day One.
While talking to someone about this column earlier in the evening, they made a valid point: "Love letters and notes. It's sad to see electronics taking away the use of letters and notes".
When's the last time you wrote a love letter with paper and pen to your sweetie, or even to yourself? Have you ever written a letter of appreciation to a family member, dear friend, or even a stranger? Today's romantic gestures involve old-fashioned, hand-written notes bursting with affection, gratitude and adoration for singles and couples alike.
I once attended a singles event where everyone wore a number, and they had a corresponding envelope hanging on the wall. Little pieces of paper and pencils were strewn about the space for people to write notes to one another. Once you finished writing your note, you gave it to a staffer to put in the proper envelope, and then picked up your own notes. I spent most of my night trying to write a note to everyone at that event - more than 400 people - with something random, appreciative and loving shared inside. I failed to get to everyone, however I did meet a lot of people that evening and received more than 300 messages myself. I kept them all, many of them really lovely, and took a picture to remind myself that the love I shared came back to me in spades. How can you do something similar in your own life today?
- Hand write a letter of appreciation to someone you love, and send it to them via snail mail, anonymously;
- Send yourself a love letter;
- Write love notes to yourself and/or your partner all over the house in unexpected places: on each individual egg in the carton, on a piece of parchment paper still on the roll, as a bookmark.. you get the idea. Get even more creative and use soap to write the love note on the bathroom mirror, or use Rolaids to write on a wall (both will appear unexpectedly!);
- Buy yourself a book of love poetry, and make a commitment to read one poem every night before bed, or upon arising each morning;
- Handwrite a love note and turn it into a jigsaw puzzle. Hide the pieces all over the house, or mail each piece individually to your partner;
- Buy small things that represent something sexy and/or sensual, write a note on or with them saying how hot you are for them, and either leave them around the house, or snail mail the gifts to your partner. Some ideas: hot sauce, instant hand warmers, cinnamon hearts, sexy lingerie, a candle, tea - bonus points on the last one if it's a spicy chai (Buy Direct);
- Write a love letter and cut it up into bite-sized pieces. Then, hide a note in every room in the house;
- Pick out some of your favorite romantic quotes and have them printed out on your own cards (Buy Direct) or hit the local greeting card store and buy out all of the cards you love. Put one on your love's bedside table for them to find every morning, or somewhere else they're sure to see them, every day, for the next 30 days.
When is the last time you wrote a letter to the person you're dating to share just how much you care? Have you ever written a letter of gratitude to yourself, a stranger, a loved one? How did it make you feel? Do you have any other suggestions for writing love letters, to celebrate the romance in your life?
This is Day Two of the 30 Days of Romance. For an explanation and to start your journey, take a peek at Day One.
Yes, as the saying goes, "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach". I've even got a picture on my phone somewhere of a sand sculpture depicting just that. Really though, many cultures feel that love is shared through food, and with both men and women alike. Singles and couples can also use any today's romantic suggestions to increase the love in their lives with a bit of flare and creativity.
- Vary your routine with a unique dinner and a movie date night;
- Cook a meal replete with known, nutritionally-based aphrodisiacs or superfoods that enhance your sex life;
- Buy yourself a cookbook meant for lovers, and try out a recipe once a week;
- Have a competition with your partner, your friends, or just yourself, to find the most romantic restaurant in town. Explore different options as your pocketbook allows, either on a daily, weekly or monthly basis;
- Buy yourself, or your partner, a small kitchen-related gift;
- Try cooking something outside of your comfort zone, such as wild game, bbq, or local foods, or try a new-to-you cuisine such as Thai, Spanish, Morrocan, Korean, Dutch or Australian.
- Make everything for the day, week, or month, have something heart-shaped or red in/on it, such as dusting your french toast with heart-shaped icing sugar, making heart-shaped ice cubes, putting any condiments on your plate in heart shapes (or spelling out I Love You), and other heart-shaped foods.
How do you use food to show your love? What's touched your heart as a romantic gesture from a partner, friend, or even a gift you gave yourself, that was food-related?