Sunday, February 6, 2022

Happy Dating

I should start by stating upfront that I am not a great dater- no really! I'm only jumping into share this topic because we're in love month and I have learned a lot about what not to do when you're single. So take this all with a caution that I really have no idea what I'm talking about ⚠️

Ok, that said... let me share my 2022 dating philosophy: 
It's a numbers game, try on your non-types and make sure to have some fun!
I've spent a good deal of my adult life in longterm relationships so when I found myself single four years ago the first thing I did was heal myself from what was not a great end to a heartbreaking loveaffair. Therapy. Reading. Then when I was ready I got cajoled into online dating which I had always sworn was so not me. Well, especially now, if you want to date and expect to get your best options you need be open to sample what's available online. And since this was new territory I sought some expertise and started following some pros-- my favs are:

I also pulled off the shelf my pal Amy's fantastic book: Meeting Your Half-Orange. This little nugget alone changed my dating mindset:

Basically, we need to think of dating as a Match Game- if you don't flip over your love-monkey πŸ΅πŸ’› nothing's wrong... you're just not looking for an elephant. 

When I began to think of it that way I realized it's not a bad thing to meet and release those that are not a match, it's just one person closer to the one that will be. 

For years I had told my single friends that were dating that you need to meet at least 20 people before you'll find one you'll really like. Ha! Easy to advise, hard to do when it was my turn. It's exhausting to connect with lots of people that aren't your person. And in these pandemic-y politically charged times it's also a little scary as well. So here are my best tips thus far:
  • Join Bumble to start. Lifetime membership is $230 and worth the cost because I've found it's the highest quality easiest to manage site. The filters alone are worth it.
  • Crushes: Author Gretchen Rubin shared a friend's philosophy that it is always better to have more than one crush at a time so you're not needy and don't get overly-invested too soon. I think 3 crushes is ideal πŸ˜‰
  • Screeners: Trust me I hate that this is necessary but I do ask people three questions before I agree to date them: 
      • Are you vax'd? 
      • Did you vote for Trump?
      • Do you believe in the literal word of the Bible?
Yes, I'm open to meeting people of differing opinions but I've found these are values-dealbreakers for me and I had to implement them after several run-ins with anti-vax-Trumpers who feel if only I believed in a talking snake we would be perfect together 😳Again, this is why paying extra for filtering is SO worth it!
  • Pre-Meet: I am a big fan of a call or video chat before you agree to meet up for a face-to-face date. Saves you the time, energy and disappointment of an awkward encounter. I've found if they don't want to speak before you meet there is probably a good reason (if you know what I mean).
  • Good Karma: Dating's hard for everyone. So the least we owe each other is to be kind. For me when I know someone is not my match I try and send them off with some compliments and if possible the reason I am wishing them well and unmatching. 
    • It doesn't always go this nicely but that's my goal. Had to move on from cute-Ken because though he wasn't anti-vax he hadn't gotten his by late summer and that was not going to work for me. Even though he had his solid rationale (and a minor in microbiology), I couldn't get over his reasoning so I sent him the kindest note I could explaining why. I think it's the least we can do for each other. 
    • The other thing I've discovered is people pop back up on other sites or in real life (like at a friend's birthday party 😬) so don't ghost or be jerky unless they really deserve it. 
  • Try Them On: My sister thinks I have a type- she's not wrong mind you- but I have gone off type before. Actually way way off type, but that didn't work out so great so I was back to looking for what I thought I wanted when I got a like from a guy who I had already passed on. But when he showed back up again I gave him a chance and sent him a rather playfully sarcastic note about how I didn't think we were a match but was I missing something?
He sent back a funny confident reply that had me amused and intrigued... and yada yada yada... a few days later gave me one of the best kisses I've ever had! So, though he didn't match my image of what I wanted he was definitely worth the try-on.
  • Modify the List: My friend Diane tells of how she got serious about what she was looking for and made a map of the qualities she wanted and then her Dave appeared. Which is a great story and start. But I've learned now that I'm older different things are more important than even a few years ago: kindness, calm, self-awareness. I'd rather have a person who loves what he does then shows off what he has; cares about listening to me and creating together how we want things to go; that gets why his previous relationship wasn't his last and can own his part in it. That's sexy as hell to me now!! 
Today I care less about his looks and more about how it feels when our legs touch while deep in conversation; he can be shorter if he's got a huge heart; and if he's working out some large challenges but has great communication skills, watch out I'm a goner 😍

Ok, so a few other small random tidbits:
  • Guys say they like humor and are "fluent in sarcasm" but don't test this notion until you meet them and make sure they're at least as funny as you are. Learned this the hard way (sorry, CL πŸ˜•).
  • Text only in the first 48hours then meet or at least talk before more texting. It's really easy to be misinterepted and have things go off the rails or acquire a texting-buddy which is not good for moving things along.
  • Dating is suppose to be fun... so get a few cute outfits, have some light stories you can share if you get nervous, and remember if it doesn't feel fun you never have to see them again... and if does, YAY you might get to see them again!
  • We never know what someone is looking for so just be you and if you're not their person that's great you now have another card turned over and one less non-monkey to worry about.
  • If you're joining an online site make sure you have a friend take some new flattering pics of you. Don't cut your ex out of old pics or use ones that don't look recent. If we're friends, I'll even do them for you. You deserve to go in with the best snapshot of what you have to offer -- of course, no false-advertising but certainly don't sell yourself short either!
When I mapped out 2022 and got to the [Love] category I created that I would connect with 50 possibilities this year. Match and release, meet and make out, or maybe fall madly in love? 
Who knows... but I wanted to up my game and take more chances and lean into a Happy Happy lovelife. 

I am better this year at dating than I've ever been. I'm finally having a good time with it. And I don't know how things will be by yearend but I know happiness and Joy can be fun with a sprinkle of lust and love mixed in. So I hope you have love in your life in all forms... and if you're single come try out some Happy Dating with me-- why not? 
Love is a lovely way to Happy 😊

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