Monday, 18 May 2009

5 Ways to Improve Your Dating Experiences

Dating can be a very frustrating experience. I'd like to
share with you some dating advice for men and women that
could jumpstart your next date!

Don't you wish you could go onto your favorite online
dating website and punch in all the characteristics and
qualities of your ideal mate and then, abracadabra that
person appears custom made for you?

If you are smart and focused, dreams can come true. First,
you need to figure out the information that you would need
to input into that computer.

1. You must be honest with yourself and know yourself well.

Consider what your values are while you sit in a nice,
quiet place. Values are what you treasure – they are the
things that are really important to you. Reflect upon your
peak experiences in your life. What made them peak
experiences? For example, I love skiing where I am
enjoying the beautiful pristine nature and having the
feeling of flying down the slopes. My values here are
nature and the feeling of freedom.

Another peak experience is giving my husband his recent
birthday party. I sent out festive invitations, picked a
fabulous restaurant, all our close friends were with us,
and my husband was thrilled. The party was a hit! From
this, you can see my values are accomplishing something out
of the ordinary, being with our close friends and my
husband's happiness.

To know yourself well, you also need to get a firm handle
of what goals you have in life. What do you want to
accomplish in the next year? The next three years? What's
your 10 year plan? If you had all the money in the world
and nothing to stop you (i.e., any family obligations you
may currently have), what would you want to do? What's your
top 20 list of the things you would like to do most in the
next 10 years?

Why consider all these relationship questions? The reason
this is important, is that you want to choose to date
people who have similar values as yourself. Also, if you
have a life goal that is in conflict with the person that
you are dating, this may be a deal breaker. For instance,
one of my clients loved the New York area and wanted to
live there. The woman he met through an online dating
website lived in the Boston area and wanted to remain there
with her family and friends. Although there was an
attraction, the relationship did not work out because they
had different goals on where they wanted to live. The
worst situation is to be dating a person for a couple of
months before discovering that your goals are totally
opposite. For instance, a big dividing point in dating is
whether or not you want children. This is a common
relationship issue among those who are in the single parent
dating category. I had a client who desperately wanted
children and dated a guy for several months before finding
out he was adamant against having any more children. He
was divorced with two children. He didn't want anymore
responsibility. She had already fallen in love with him.
It was a difficult choice for her, but she had to break up
because she knew her goal was to have her own family.

2. Know what your true "must haves" are for a relationship.

Make a list of the things you must have in a relationship.
It's okay if your list is 5 items long or 30. It's your
list. It may be wise to question whether your
non-negotiable is truly non-negotiable or just a want or
desire. For instance, some of my "must haves" for a
partner were he had to be a non-smoker, had to like (love?)
cats, had to be the same religion as I, to have no
addictions (alcohol or drugs), and have a steady job and is
financially responsible and would support me in my
endeavors. Some of my desires were, it would be great if
he played tennis, enjoy cultural activities, likes the
beach and lived in the DC area. However, I could
compromise and live without the last group or find other
people to enjoy these things with.

By knowing your "must haves", you will be able to skip over
dating people who do not meet your real needs. This will
save you time and heartache in the long run.

3. Choose wisely the people you date

Based upon the above knowledge you have gained about your
value, needs and wants, it best serves you to decide
carefully to choose with whom you spend your time. It is
also important to be open to date people who seem like they
would be a good match who may not totally "wow" you at
first. Some relationships are like smoldering fires and
they grow hotter and brighter with time. In contrast,
those relationships that are like bonfires at first, may be
based on lust and don't usually last very long.

Actually, there have been studies that have shown that
women on their first date with a guy may not have been
crazy about their dates, but for some reason decided to
give the guy a second chance. Many of these women did
actually marry the guy!*

Do pay attention to your internal warning signal or your
whacko alarm! If something doesn't seem right when talking
to the person over the phone, or by your email
interactions, then don't pursue it. Your instincts are
usually on target.

When you meet someone where your values mesh, then there is
a feeling of familiarity. It feels comfortable and you
find that you understand each other well. Then add on the
same life goals, and shazam! The relationship will just
click. It's that simple. Don't waste your time with cute,
but inappropriate people unless your time is of little
value to you. Choose your dates wisely, and you will have
a more enjoyable and hopefully successful dating experience.

4. Be the most attractive you!

Next we're going to talk about your image. Your image
matters. According to my research, sloppiness and poor
grooming are the top dating turnoffs. Therefore, it is
important to make yourself the most attractive person that
you can. No matter what you have to work with, one may be
able improve with regards to hair, grooming, clothes and
weight. Actually, several of my heavy clients that have
gotten married. They are able to carry their weight, they
have beautiful faces and dress to make the most of their
shape. Here are my suggestions:

- Exercise and workout several times a week. Use a trainer
if you need discipline or find a workout buddy.
- If weight is an issue for you, then find a diet or a diet
program that is easy for you to stick to. You may want to
consult a nutritionist.
- Get a makeover! Hair and makeup for women and hair and
grooming for men. Find your own Fab-Five!
- Have your wardrobe reviewed by a friend with good taste
or a wardrobe consultant. Women, you don't want to look
too frumpy or too trampy. Strive for simple elegance.
Some dating advice for women is to remember, a man wants
someone they feel comfortable bringing home to meet Mom.
Men, you just need to look neat, be well-groomed and
dressed in something nicer than a rumpled tee-shirt and
jeans!

5. Keep your relationship expectations realistic!

Nothing will scare someone off faster than to start talking
about weddings and family stuff too soon! However, don't be
afraid to communicate what you are looking for in
generalities. For instance you may say, "I'm looking for a
relationship that will lead to marriage." If that
statement scares away your date, then, so be it! The right
person will say, "I want this for myself too and I am
looking forward to getting to know you better". The only
expectation placed on the relationship is the one of
getting to know one another better.

It's better to have a pleasant surprise of everything
working out than to be disappointed by out of proportion
expectations.

If you implement these five steps, you will see an
improvement in your dating experience. At least, you will
be pointing yourself in the right direction. Remember, no
matter how frustrating dating may seem, it is important to
keep a positive attitude about both yourself and dating.

Happy dating!

About the Author:

Amy Schoen, MBA, CPCC is a certified professional life
coach and dating-relationship expert who specializes in
helping singles to attract the right romantic relationship
into their lives, author of "Motivated to Marry™-Now There
is a Better Method for Dating and Relationships!" and
speaks nationally to groups on the topic of dating and
relationships" For down to earth dating tips for men and
women subscribe to her popular monthly ezine and
tele-classes at: http://www.heartmindconnection.com