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).

Sending wishes to you for a New Year full of wonderful relationships

Words from Christine…

My message today isn’t about New Year’s resolutions. It’s about truly focusing on what would make you happy and then taking small steps each day toward that happiness.

I believe people can make a list that will guide them towards this goal. If you’re not sure how to begin your list, I’ve included some ideas below that have worked well for my clients (and for me).

First of all, here are the top three traits women look for in a man: honesty, reliability, and his ability to communicate. In addition to these you might consider:

  • I can “be myself” when I’m with him.
  • I like how I feel when I’m around him.
  • He makes it obvious that my happiness and well-being are important to him.
  • He knows the difference between conversations and confrontations.
  • He is willing to make compromises.
  • He is warm and loving.
  • He makes me laugh.
  • He likes including me in other parts of his life.

Which of these “jump out” for you? If you get stuck making your list, ask a close friend to help – someone who knows your strengths and weaknesses well. Let the list be a “living” thing. Pull it out often to see if it still fits.

You’re on your way to proactively creating happiness for yourself in the New Year. If you’d like to share your list with us, we’d love to see it!

Ways for singles to beat the holiday doldrums

Words from Christine…

Are you single and…

  • Your family lives far away?
  • This isn’t your year to have the children?
  • Your ex got custody of the “friends” you shared when you were together?
  • You want to do something different this season?

Are you feeling jolly or humbug about the holidays? Being single during December can pose challenges that you don’t have to think about during other times in the year. People who are newly single may struggle as they try to figure out what to do when there isn’t a built-in place to go for the holidays.

I was single a long time between my two marriages, so I needed to keep coming up with activities to keep the holiday doldrums away. I found that being proactive not only guaranteed I’d have something to do, it also gave me something to look forward to. During these times, I found a variety of things helpful, such as:

Find other singles who don’t have holiday plans, and ask them to invite their singles friends, too. Perhaps you could have a potluck dinner and movie. How about watching White Christmas?

Organize a caroling event in your neighborhood.

Visit neighborhood lights. Your local newspaper or city hall will list those neighborhoods who pull out all the stops in holiday decorating. You can go alone or assemble a group of friends and drive (or walk) through these streets. The neighborhoods often have music playing and some even hand out cookies and candy canes – your evening can become quite festive!

Attend services at your local house of worship on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

Visit the animals at your local shelter. It gives attention and love to the animals, and your heart will be filled with warmth and happiness through this connection.

Give back to the community:

  • Many charities (fire and police department, scouting organizations, churches, etc.) ask for gift donations for children. They need volunteers to sort and wrap these.
  • Soup kitchens always need volunteers. In my area, the kitchens are closed on Christmas Day, but need volunteers before and after Christmas Day.
  • Hospital visits can be heartwarming – for both the patients and yourself. I have a friend who does this on a regular basis. Once a month she puts glitter on her face, grabs her magic wand and a bag of goodies (hairbands, friendship bracelets, matchbox cars, etc.) and goes to the children’s hospital to bring cheer to sick children.

What treasure is out there, just waiting to bring you warmth and fulfillment this holiday season? Let us know what you discover… we’d love to hear your stories!

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.”
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.

List what you want from your loving partner

Joel: In response to a Facebook Friend who posted a list of attributes of a “Gentleman,” I posted this –
Glad to see this issue raised. I once listened to a woman in a singles group as she listed the (fairy tale) attributes of her ideal man.
When she finished, I asked, OK, so what do you bring to the table for him? After a long, long silence, she said, “Respect. I will respect him.”
To which I said, “Sorry, can’t use that. What behaviors and specific acts will you engage in to DEMONSTRATE your love; i.e., the kinds of things you listed that you know you want him to actually do for you, e.g. open the car door, etc.” (Please respond and you get extra points if you can use i.e. and e.g. in the same sentence, correctly!)

This is especially important for women looking for a mate so they can define limits and understand love is a two-way street, give and take, and, at best, giving more than you take… If you have a list of things you want from a man, put beside each item what you will actually DO for him to reciprocate.

Mind you, I like lists of things a woman wants. I have been and remain not naturally or instinctively sensitive in these matters. A woman I should have loved once, after a major fail, gave me a list she called “Minimum Expectations For Valentine’s Day.”

The next year I delivered. So… lists are good, just make sure you understand reciprocity.

If you don’t get this concept, check out “The Five Love Languages.”


Are You Ready To Look For Love?

Now that we’ve passed through being thankful and grateful, let’s turn our attention to the new year and new love… before you set dating and mating goals for the new year, consider this: Is there a negative trait all your past relationships have in common?

Christine: In my case, all the men I dated in the past made quite a bit of money, had no money in the bank and were also in major debt. I realized because this had been my experience with my father and my ex-husband; I expected all men to be like this, this type of man felt familiar, I believed this was the type of man I deserved.

As I continued my healing the men across the table from me finally made money, had money in the bank and weren’t in debt.

If you continue to meet people with the same traits you don’t want, you might be wise to avoid meeting new people until you heal your own wounds and unpack your emotional baggage from past relationships.

Joel: LOL This is a key question people need to ask when assessing what to do next, especially if they’ve been through unsuccessful relationships. How many times have we seen people engage in serial catastrophes? Once you’ve identified the traits that just won’t work for you, the challenge is to assess a prospective partner as quickly as possible.

I used to put in my online profile things that are obvious deal breakers, like smoking. The sort of financial issues you are describing are much harder to get to. Many people consciously and unconsciously present themselves as something they are not. It’s a challenge to ask penetrating questions when you are just exploring a relationship, but you can say things like “I’m financially secure and need you to be as well.”

If that feels awkward, just think how awkward you will feel to find out your prospective mate is broke and in debt after you’ve been sleeping with him for a while. There’s nothing wrong with gentle candor.

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 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.