Shopping for women (or men) online

Joel: I know, I know, “shop for women” is… off putting. But that’s the best term I can think of. (Your suggestions welcome.) Point being… I look for certain things and I suspect most men do. Crafting your online profile so it creates appeal for the REAL you is one element that will help you succeed.

For me, a major factor is cheerfulness. Does her text and photos convey a happy person? That certainly includes smiling photos. I remember a few that actually looked like the woman was scowling, even angry. I wondered why she posted it.

I also look for women who have pictures of themselves in ordinary situations, without makeup, in casual clothes, exercise clothes (yoga pants welcome!), gardening…. whatever. I conclude a woman who posts unbeautiful pictures has confidence and is happy with herself. What will you post to convey that about yourself?

Christine: I think shopping is the perfect term! In fact, I’ve often said to female clients: Think about looking for and interviewing potential dates (especially when using online dating) as “shopping for men”.

And here’s why:

  • Shopping is often a pleasurable activity for women.
  • Shopping often feels leisurely and calm.
  • Shopping means we have lots of choices.
  • Shopping includes trying out a variety of options so we can compare and contrast to see exactly how we feel about each one.
  • And finally, each of these elements is a good way to bring our authentic selves along (which is essential for successful dating).
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What does it mean?

As I peruse online dating profiles some things women say puzzle me. Like one profile for a very appealing woman says “I love life.”
Eh?
Granted I’ve been accused of being too much in my head which I finally figured out means I analyze too much. Maybe I should just skip this sentence “I love life.”
But I can’t. Who doesn’t love living, considering the alternative…
I guess this woman is saying she’s happy which to me is very important. Does she look happy in her photos? This one definitely does. She’s smiling and in happy situations. Very appealing.
I like her. Maybe it’ because she loves life.

Age differences make a difference in dating

Not a date but

Not a date but “The Graduate” illustrates age differences and difficulties in a relationship

Joel: When shopping on Match.com I searched for women within five years of my age. I thought we would be interested in the same things and have similar experiences. Maybe the music we love. Once I met a woman, we went out, I liked her and found out she was 10 years younger. I told her I worried about that. She said, “It’s always the older person who says that. I don’t care.”

Yeah, but… when I’m 80 she might feel differently. More importantly, will we have similar life experiences?

I’ve seen May-December couples who are happy so I’m sure it can work. But seems to me, especially since we get more and more locked in and resistant to change as we age, that closer in age is easier. I see many women post in their online profiles that they want a man their age or younger. When I asked women about that, they said it could be sex. “A lot of you old guys aren’t interested,” she said. Others said many men are couch potatoes.

The idea that resonated with me was that many women have been caretakers… children, an aging or sick husband, parents… they just don’t want to take care of anyone anymore. I get that, but it cuts both ways. You could be the one NEEDING care and that young guy would bolt when you tell him you have breast cancer.

Christine: Oh this is such a great subject Joel. Both the men and women I speak to in my practice often say they want to date someone their age or younger for the reasons you mentioned. In the past I used to hear “There are only jerky people using online dating.” And I’d say, “Gosh you don’t seem like a jerky person and you’re using online dating so there must be at least a few others like you. Don’t you think?” This often stopped them in their tracks. I’ve now found myself saying the same thing about the “age/health/activity level” that drive the comments about wanting to date someone younger.

My suggestion is if you’re active, don’t look or act your age and are using online dating it stands to reason there are more like you online. And if you’re not meeting people like you (and are instead meeting just the opposite) then consider what about you is attracting them or being attracted to them. Is it what you’ve written or not written in your profile? Is it the questions you ask or don’t ask during your initial communication with them? Try making some of these changes and see if you start meeting a different type of person online.

Also, don’t just depend on online dating. Get out and participate in activities that fit your lifestyle so you’ll be surrounded by “your kind of people doing you kinds of things.” (See Joel’s posting “Take A Hike“.)

I have dated men 10 years older and 10 years younger and I didn’t find either satisfying. There were always elements that are important to me missing because of the age difference. Even though sex was great with the men who were 10  years younger I got tired of having to explain my jokes that included themes they couldn’t relate to. When I dated men who were 10 years older we usually had very different goals for our futures. When I met and married my deceased husband one of the many things that was appealing to both of us was the two-year difference in our ages.

Recovering from a break-up is like recovering from a death

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Getting over a relationship will take longer than you think

Joel: Recovering from a relationship can take a long time and some people never get over it, lapsing into discouraged apathy or bitterness. I fell in love with a woman, knew her for two years and we parted at her request. It was four and half years before I didn’t think about her and pine for her every day. I did some research and realized I was working through – and HAD to work through – the stages of grief.

All I can say is, you have to let time do its work and it will take longer than you expect, longer than it should and waaaaay longer than your family and friends think it should. Don’t let them criticize you for your grieving process.

Christine: Don’t rush your process or let anyone else rush you. No one but YOU knows how you feel, and you will know when you feel differently. The ending of a relationship can often feel like a death (even when someone doesn’t actually die). A process I’ve personally used to help myself through this grieving process (which was created by Harville Hendrix) is to:

  • First write down all the good things/times/memories you had with the person that you feel grief about because you’re no longer with them. Write a thank you for each memory and finally a good-bye to let each go.
  • Second write down all the “future things” you feel grief about because you’d hoped and now can’t experience them. And say good-bye to them as well.

How to attract a man…

Joel: Doing things you like in places you like is a good way to find a compatible partner. I would be attracted to a woman reading a book if she looked around from time to time so that I could catch her eye… if you like books and want to attract men who do, maybe coffee in a bookstore will screen in the right kind… worst case, you finish a good book…

Christine: Such great advice Joel for a single person to go to places where they like the activities. I often suggest joining a specific meet-up walking/hiking group in the local area to many of the singles I work with. These groups usually have about the same number of men and women (unusual and very good for a singles outing). Also, there are usually a variety of “skill” levels. And one of the lovely things the women have found is no matter how fast or slow they walk there are usually one or two men who will set their pace to walk with them. Benefits – good practice talking to new men, potential to meet a new woman friend to go places with, and great exercise. There’s often a potluck meal after the walk/hike so more time for interesting conversation.

How can you know if the man you’re dating is telling the truth?

Joel: Accept what they say at face value until it matters.

For example: He says he has a job. He says he is single.

These only matter when you think you see possibilities and want to continue deepening the relationship.

You can say something like “I read a lot about men who meet women online and they aren’t what they seem. I’d like to pick you up where you live and get tour of your house before our next date.”

Anything other than yes is a warning sign. Could be lots of things including a wife or hoarding.

In that same conversation you could say, what is the name of the company you work for and where is your workplace? Who can I call to confirm you actually work there?

When you get this information, look up the company online and call the posted number and ask for your prospect. Then call back and ask for the other names. There may be some other ways, but you don’t want to date someone more than three times only to find they live under a bridge.

In response, your man may ask for you to verify your information. Tell him if all is as it seems, you will do that, but the risk for women is greater so this has to be done in order.

If he’s not willing, terminate.

Christine: Pay attention to your instincts. You know… that feeling in your stomach that says something like:

  • Nervous danger. “Something isn’t right.”
  • “I’m concerned.”
  • “I just have a feeling.”
  • “Stop now; do not pass go.”

The two biggest reasons we don’t pay attention to our instincts are:

  1. Chemistry. If we feel a huge amount of chemistry in the beginning we ignore our instincts.
  2. Past history. We didn’t pay attention to our instincts in the past and went out with people who weren’t right for us, then inaccurately blamed what happened on our instincts.

Take a moment and think back to your past dates/relationships that turned out badly. I think you’ll see your true instincts tried to warn you. They were actually accurate.

Your instinct is a superpower. Use it.

Send your questions as an email or comment now.

Christine and Joel on dating for singles over 50

christineframe-bWe’re veterans in the world of dating and mating in midlife. Our goal is to help you navigate a safe and sensible path through the minefields of singlehood and find a loving partner.

Christine has been a relationship coach for over 8 years. She was single for 20 years and exactly where you are now, wishing you could meet someone special. After a few failures, she created a process that helped her attract the type of men she wanted and this led her to meet and marry the man of her dreams. Now, as a widow, she finds herself continuing to grow through beautiful memories along with periods of grief. As she coaches her clients, she’s beginning to wonder about future dating and what it might look like this time.joelportrait1-sm

Joel was married for 27 years and has two adult children and one grandchild. He stumbled and wandered through the minefields of dating for 12 years accumulating volumes of wisdom from trial and error. He’s writing a book about these experiences which he’s confident will be a bestseller, if ever finishes it.

We’d love to get your questions, observations and experiences in hopes of helping others avoid mistakes and succeed in their quest for love. We’ll offer our thoughts with the caveat that everyone has to find their own path and make their own decisions.