Love Has No Labels

I know I’m a day late (it’s July 5th) in posting about Patriotism, but since this is a different approach to the traditional “patriot” reference, I thought it would probably be OK with you if I was a little outside the box. I’m usually there anyway.

I saw a post on a friend’s Facebook page from yesterday and it moved me. It was John Cena (the WWE star turned actor who looks like a bigger version of Mark Wahlberg) walking down a typical city street that looked like it could be just about anywhere, talking about “patriotism” and what it truly means to be an American. Now I know not everyone shares the same views that I do that love is love and everyone has the right to find love in their life, no matter what preferences they have – but you really can’t ignore the statistics about what the “average American” is.

So instead of trying to rephrase what Mr. Cena said so eloquently, I’ll just let you watch for yourself.

I hope you had an amazing 4th of July holiday and that you stayed safe, and I hope that this video helps expand your heart and acceptance for ALL of the Americans out there, regardless of your own beliefs. As the video states, love has no labels.

Can Summer Love Work?

Summer Love

Every time I hear the phrase “Summer Love” I instantly think of the movie “Grease”. (And of course the song of the same name is cycling through my head as I write this.) It begs the question, “Is ‘summer love’ really something to be romanticized about? What happens AFTER summer?

Back in June of 1999, I met a guy. It was summer and I was home, staying with my parents before heading back to college 3 hours away. We went on a few dates and I realized that it might just turn into something… but I had registered for Fall classes already. We dated over the summer, and when it came time to decide what to do in the Fall, I decided – well, WE decided – it was more than just “summer love”. I canceled my classes and stayed in my hometown, registering late there instead for Fall semester. What happened? We ended up getting married and having two kids. We’re divorced now, (sorry to ruin the fairy tale) but that “summer love” turned into more than summer love.

I’m not someone who really believes in flings and one-night-stands, so the whole concept of a short-term, seasonal romance doesn’t appeal to me. BUT – from personal experience – I know that it can turn into something more. My fear with any kind of non-committal, shorter-term relationship is that both people don’t feel the same – one person wants it to continue, and the other feels the “fling” has served it’s purpose and they’re ready to move on. In closing, I guess if you can take the outcome, whatever it may be, and you’re OK with potential seasonal love, give it a go! If lines aren’t clear and you don’t think you can take the outcome if it’s not what you want, either have “the talk” earlier rather than later or just walk away before you become too heavily invested.

Great Expectations

It’s time for the big date! The FIRST date. Immediately, the expectations start rolling in. It should be interesting, to get to know someone new, right? You should be able to tell on Date #1 whether or not they’re worth (and deserving of) your time, right? You would think that after spending an ENTIRE meal with someone you’d know whether or not they’re “marriage material”, right?

Wrong. Wrong. And wrong.

Having expectations for a first date is sure-fire way to ensure dating disaster. How can you place so much pressure on one interaction with someone brand new? Can you REALLY tell from one date whether or not you are going to walk down the aisle with someone? No. And to think that will ultimately end many really, really good potential relationships before they have the chance to start.

Next time you have a first date, let this be what guides you, and your decision whether or not to go on a second date:

Did you enjoy yourself enough to want to repeat it?

That’s it. No giant secret recipe or long list of tips. Just that. Beyond that, you could also ask yourself if you were intrigued – even a little bit – in getting to know them a little better? Remember that, like a job interview, not everyone “interviews” well. They could be nervous, or quiet at first, or intimidated… or exhausted, or had a bad day. Don’t dismiss someone just because it wasn’t mind-blowing and Earth-shattering. If it wasn’t horrible, do it again! THEN you can make a more informed decision, based on more than one experience.

Who knows – that person you almost didn’t see again could end up being the best thing that ever happened to you!

Hot or Not?

I spoke to a young lady the other day who has really only done online dating. She broke my heart, and hopefully she breaks yours too.

She told me that she’s ugly. Fat. Unattractive. And single, of course… she doesn’t know what else to do, other than to try online dating. She said that she has done the best with her profile and photos that she can, but that she knows she isn’t desirable at all… yet she’s still hoping. She recently added this line to her profile, all in caps: “PLEASE STOP RATING ME AS NOT HOT. I KNOW I’M UGLY, PLEASE STOP TELLING ME THAT I AM.”

So….. did that break your heart too? I don’t get it.

I ask myself how people can be so cruel when I see horrible things in the news, or someone posts some disgusting (and I emphasize UNWELCOMED) video of child or animal abuse. But on a dating site? Why the need to judge others? People do that silently, in their head, already – why can’t it just stay there? OK, if you’re super hot, to have a million members of the opposite sex tell you that you’re hot is awesome. I get it. But what if you’re not? Do you really need to be told? To be rated? To consistently and constantly have your self-esteem crushed?

And what made these website/company owners decide this was something beneficial to ANYONE? We have a responsibility to all human-kind to be just that – KIND. In a world that’s constantly tearing people down, do you really think it’s of benefit to add to this when someone is at their most vulnerable, single and looking for love? Looking for acceptance?

Ugh. End of vent, I guess. Just do me favor – next time you are ready to push the “NOT HOT” button, think about how it would make you feel to have your self-doubt and perceived inadequacies shoved in your face by a complete stranger who has seen one photo of you. Don’t do it. Just don’t.

Leave it to Fate?

I’ve always thought that “fate” would bring things and people into your life when it’s supposed to. I still think that. So how does my job work then, if fate is what matters – not my ability to find matches for my clients? I’ve asked myself that same question, and here’s what I’ve come up with:

I think that my effort – and matchmaking in general – is valuable because it creates the opportunity to connect with people that you wouldn’t otherwise connect with. We’re a gateway – conduit. We are to singles what Amazon is to shopaholics! Without trying to over-emphasize or amplify this profession for more than it really is, it truly is way for people to meet when they never would have met otherwise.

I often need to remember my own story when I start to question this. I met my amazing husband online back in 2007 (when online dating was a little better off than it is now). He was in California, I was in Montana. There was NO other way we would have met. That website was our conduit of fate.

So whether I’m writing this to convince you or myself that I’m a conduit of fate, I’m not sure. But I am sure now that I’m helping fate, not getting in its way. Your connection could come in the form of a missed flight, a mutual friend, the help of a stranger, or even from a matchmaker. Open your mind – and your heart – to the possibility of love from anywhere! Maybe you’re even reading this blog for a reason!!

Desperation is NOT Sexy

I know, I know – it’s been awhile since you went on a date. Or at least a GOOD date… one with promise. You want so desperately for it to go well, so you talk about alllll those things that are soooo important to you. You want a loving relationship, with someone who understands you. You want to be equal partners. You want a family – lots of kids – a dog, maybe two, maybe a cat – and a house with a white picket fence. Across the table, your date smiles and nods – things are going GREAT!! Obviously THIS is the one…

Time to plan a second date. You call, or text, the same night to work on another date. You don’t hear anything… that night, or the next day, or the next. You start to panic. You can’t lose this one – things were SO perfect!! So you text some more, call some more, and some more and some more… Nothing. Why? What happened?

You may have come across as a little too desperate. The combination of the over-excitement regarding your future together and the way-too-enthusiastic contact and planning attempt afterwards was way too much. I’m not a proponent for games, or playing hard to get, but it’s obvious that there is a not-so-fine line between “hard to get” and normal.

So what do you do next time to avoid seeming desperate? Resist the urge to over-share, over-dream, over-predict. Don’t talk so much about what you want in a relationship that you freak your date out. When you paint a clear picture of what you want, do you think that that’s something someone else feels they could live up to? That’s a lot of pressure, even for someone you’ve been dating awhile – so imagine what pressure someone you just met would feel.

Resist the urge to push to plan the next date RIGHT away. If you didn’t plan it together during the date, or at the end of the date, give it a day or two. There’s nothing wrong with texting or calling after the date to say thank you, and that you had a great time, but don’t push to plan unless they bring it up.

Just remember that desperate is like relationship repellant. It’s the best way to make someone run the other way!

No One Wants to See That!

OK everyone, I know that there a million articles and blogs and books that talk about the best pictures to post as your profile picture in your online dating profiles. I’m going to do you a giant favor and tell you about the WORST pictures you could post. Why? Because I just feel like some of you still might not know.

Guys – put your shirt on. Even if you look like God himself sculpted you out of clay, don’t use a shirtless photo for your profile picture. It makes women think “Geez, he must be really full of himself.” And THAT is a big turn-off. And if you don’t look like a sculpture, definitely don’t post a shirtless photo. That just ruins it for us – and for you – because if we judge you based on your less-than-stellar physique, we’ll never take the time to get to know you.

Girls – enough of the kissy faces and cleavage shots. Seriously. What are you trying to say? Who are you trying to attract? If you’re just out for the one-night-stands, by all means, keep posting the fish lips and the busty angles. But if you’re looking for a serious relationship, just stop.

Everyone – pay attention to what else is in your picture. What does it say about you? Is your bedroom or bathroom a mess? Or can you see products you use in the photo? Could someone make assumptions based off of the hygiene products or the medications they see? What about all those self-help books? Or the almost-gone bottle of rum?

Here are some more “no-no” general tips for everyone:

  • Old pics – Post current photos only. What’s the point of going through all the trouble of getting to know someone, only to show up and be something completely NOT what they’re expecting? Trust me, you’re not going to “wow” them with your mad date skills if you look like a 10-year-older version of the person they wanted to meet.
  • Group pics – Which one are you? Is someone supposed to date all of you? What if they think you’re someone else in the photo and aren’t attracted at all? Or attracted to someone NOT YOU in the photo? Next!!!
  • With kids (that aren’t yours) – OK, if you have kids and you’re looking for someone who ALSO has kids, you could potentially use a picture with them for your profile pic (although I honestly don’t recommend it, for many reasons). BUT don’t use a picture with someone else’s kids. I know you love your nieces and nephews, and you want to show what an awesome parent you’re going to make someday, but everyone who sees your photo is going to assume the kids are yours, and they’ll bypass you (unless they’re looking for that).
  • Can’t see your face – Lose the sunglasses, the hat, the glare, the distance… if we can’t see your face, there’s not a great chance we’re going to want to see more.

You’re welcome.

Self-Love in 2016

This year, I want you to fall in love.

With yourself.

When you come in to a new relationship, the best gift you can give your partner is a healthy you. And the best gift your new partner can give you is a healthy them. There’s no need for me to write a long, drawn-out blog about this, because the idea and the goal are pretty straightforward.

Find something that makes you happy and causes you to fall in love with you and who you truly are. You might be surprised at how easily love finds you – or grows in your life – once you love yourself the way you want someone else to love you.

Happy 2016, dear friends!!

Gratitude Isn’t a Secret Anymore

One of my favorite quotes is about how, when you are grateful for what you have, you will have more to be grateful for. I truly believe that.

So wherever you are in your path for love – single, dating, married, widowed, divorced – be grateful. It may be hard in the present moment to understand why things have happened the way they’ve happened, but someday you will.

Find the good in where you are. Once you find that, more to be grateful for will come up. And more, and more. If you can get in the habit of feeling gratitude, you will slowly watch your life change, and improve.

When I was newly 21, I was living in a place where I only knew my roommates. I missed my family, I missed my home, I missed my friends. I didn’t love my job. I wanted to go back to school. My boyfriend – who wasn’t the greatest, by the way, lived in another state. My roommate at the time suggested I try one of Oprah’s little tricks, to keep a Gratitude Journal. Every night, you were supposed to write at least 10 things that you are grateful for in that day. Seems like a chore, does it? It was.

At first.

But very quickly I found that 10 things was easy. Most nights I’d write 20 or more things down. I started waking up the next day happy, and noticing things that happened throughout the day to be grateful for.

So as we embrace Thanksgiving Day, take that “attitude of gratitude” and apply it to your every-day life.

Once a Cheater…

So you met your significant other while they were in a relationship with someone else… no biggie – YOU’RE their soul mate, not their ex. Right?

Right????

Maybe. Maybe not. The old adage is true – once a cheater, always a cheater. Well, maybe not ALWAYS, but if they were dating someone else when the two of you met, there’s a higher probability that they have a wandering eye.

Is there hope? Yes, there is. To find out how much, reflect on how they acted and what they did when they met you. Did they lie and say they were single? Did they cheat on their then-partner with you? Did they sneak around for awhile before either getting caught or breaking up with their then-partner? If so, odds are not in your favor. It would be very easy for them to do it again, because those behaviors and decisions are typical for someone who will cheat repetitively. They see the grass as always being greener on the other side, yet they’re so worried about rejection that they hold on to their current person until they’re sure they have a replacement. OR, even worse, they don’t have a moral issue with cheating and only break up with their then-partner because they got caught, or because you gave them an ultimatum.

Where the hope comes in is if they handled the situation in a different way than that. Did they disclose that they were dating someone else? Did they try not to flirt with you because they were dating someone else, even though the chemistry between you two was undeniable? Did they resist the temptation to cheat on their then-partner? And did they break it off with their then-partner before pursuing a relationship (or physical relations) with you? If so, their moral compass is in-check, and there’s hope that he won’t do the same thing to you with someone else. Whew!