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Dating Next: Quit Swiping and Get Out There

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We are all looking for the same thing. Turns out, I had it all wrong. Both women and men are after the same thing. We’re attracted to the same things. And ultimately, we have all got to become more like the person we are hoping to find. Fitter. Happier. Well presented and well kept.

There Are Three Kinds of People

At our age, people are:

  1. Uberfit or thin
  2. Huge
  3. Somewhere on the spectrum between either of the first two

The biggest difference, in my experience of 11-years of dating, post-divorce, is how much attention each of us has spent keeping our bodies and minds in shape. For me, today, I’m still packing my Covid-20, but I’m working on it. And my fitness is good. I may be fat-ish, but I’m also fit.

And beyond body mass index and hotness, happiness is by far the most powerful attractant. If someone has done a moderate amount of work staying in shape, keeping up their youthful routines, then their inner joy becomes the YES-factor.

Let’s Talk Again About Who We Are Seeking

  • Someone who is compatible with our lifestyle and normal daily cadence
  • Fitness or sports are not an obsession, but we’re both active
  • An inner glow, happiness, confidence, a mission
  • Has enough experience negotiating relationships to qualify as emotionally intelligent
  • Finds delight in being our partner, and works to find the time and energy to be tougher
  • Is sufficiently comfortable in their own skin (emotionally, sexually, and spiritually)
  • A smile that translates every word into the language of joy
  • Feels the connection with us

 If We Are After Someone Like Us

It is important to stay within your weight class. One of the biggest disconnects OK Cupid found in their dating study was people trying to date one or two levels above their own hotness. Now, I’m not sure who set the gauge, but hotness is very subjective. What I think is hot may not correlate with your idea. The smile that ignites my imagination may not follow cosmetic perfection. My idea of a 9 is probably different from yours. But here’s what we can acknowledge. If I’m a solid 7.5 and I’m only interested in dating 9.5s who are 5 – 10 years younger than me, well… We’ve got a mismatch right there. I’m not saying this is my ambition. Quite the opposite, actually.

It is clear, however, that most of us want a partner who is outside of our hotness or weight class. It is easy to observe in our own browsing. As I look online for a potential, I pass on most 9 – 9.5s. I don’t know what number I am, but I know those women are probably overwhelmed with propositions. My 1000-watt smile isn’t going to hide my extra baggage. That’s for my sparkling personality to do. And, of course, online there are only the photos and the profile to go by. I don’t have a second chance to make a first impression online. And if my photos are mediocre, my smart and funny profile is not going to help.

I am amazed when I swipe around a bit, just for research, at some of the photos people are presenting themselves with. There are a lot of moments where I can’t help but exclaim, “What the heck were they thinking?” Maybe their goal is not to find a date. Maybe it’s to scare off any potential suitors. But please, people, NO MORE BATHROOM MIRROR PHOTOS. Internal car selfies are okay. However, it’s a great idea to get a friend to take your full-body shot. You do know you need a full-body shot, right?

If We Are Shopping for a Lover

If online dating is in fact a matching and mating service, we’d be best served to put some thought into our photos. We’d have recent, non-glamour-shot, photos. We’d skip the “margarita time” shots, the “I’m about to get on a private jet” or “into my Ferrari” shots.  And we’d definitely curate the crappy photos OUT of our profile. Still, there they are. “Ouch.” It’s my first reaction. My second is, “Bless their heart.”

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Get fit
  • Get happy
  • Take some sweet photos
  • And forget about online dating altogether

You Are Not Looking In the Right Place

Match, Bumble, Tinder, and OK Cupid are not gateways into your next relationship. They are good for building up your preferences. You can learn a lot by writing your “here’s what I’m bringing to the party” and “here’s what I’m looking for you to bring” biographical data. And browsing can give you a quick refresher course in what you LOVE, LIKE, and HATE. It’s pretty obvious after a few minutes that I don’t go for women with drinks in their hands. And I’m not a big fan of women who lead with a boob-first shot. If that’s the best thing you are offering me, I’m not buying.

What do you think is your best quality? What’s the thing that’s going to draw a partner to you? The right partner? What activities do you want to do with your partner? What are you doing with them on Saturday night? What are you going to do together on Sunday? These are the real determining factors in relationship-building. What you DO with your partner is often as important as what you say to them, or what you like about their looks. What do you want to DO with your lover? Let’s start there.

My next book on dating is called “Let’s Meet Out There, Okay?” and it’s not about online anything. My point is this: get yourself into the best shape you can. Get yourself out there in the real world doing what you love. And then be observant, charming, and available. Why would you stay in a marginal relationship for an extra month? You’re passing up on all the opportunities that come from being available.

Let’s begin looking offline for our partners. At the tennis club. At a golf tournament. Our kid’s swim meets or soccer practices. Where you find love might surprise you. When you meet in the real world for the first time, there will be no swiping, there will be no filter to fix the wrinkles, there will be no photo angle that hides your extra baggage. When you meet in the real world, doing something fun, you’ll be better able to assess the full package of the other person, without the “online swipe” bias.

Quit swiping and get out there.


John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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