We might try to build the perfect lover. ( Building the Perfect Lover: 13 Touch Points On the Path to Relationship) We try to call them in with varying degrees of success. And we give it a shot until we know we are not with the nurturing and available lover we are looking for. What can we do to shorten the misfires and enhance the good stuff?
Cultivating the Lover You Deserve
There are many ways to go fishing for your next lover. Online dating has pros and cons. The biggest pros are this:
- A huge pool of potential partners
- Exploring your tastes from the couch
- Low-risk browsing and engagement
- Putting your YES and NO list together
- Building your own profile (Wants, Needs, NO-WAYs)
But, online dating can cause a lot of distractions. Useless activity that seems like your “dating” but what you are doing is window shopping. To get an actual date you’ve got to reach out to the people you’re semi-interested in (as a woman) or really interested in (as a man) and make that first impression connection. Be witty, but not too witty. Be cute but not creepy. Be intriguing without being clever or intrusive. The best bet: mention something they talk about in THEIR profile. What would you like about their ideas? How do you fit into their fantasy dating relationship?
Establishing Trust and Desire
The next step is to go slow. There’s no hurry. And the more you hurry, or accept a hurried connection from another person, the more you’re getting the first RED FLAG of online dating. Too fast, too easy, too persistent. If they are really after you, look more closely at their profile. Check some data points. Go for the phone call before you meet them. Put a caution flag around anyone in online dating that seems too hot to trot. Or too gorgeous. Or too good to be true. There is a lot of BS out there. Beware when things are too easy.
Healthy skepticism is a good idea. A lot of what men and women are putting out on Bumble and Match.com are smoke screens. It’s an illusion when we can put forward an amazing photo, like the best photo ever taken of us (regardless if it was 10-years ago). But those photos are not an accurate representation of who we are going to meet when we lock eyes for the first time. Make sure you are telling the truth in both your photos and your profile text.
Once you’ve established a mutual desire to meet, take it easy in the ramp towards that first meeting. Too much texting, AFTER the date has been established is a warning sign. Once the date is planned, chill out. You’ve gotten to LEVEL 2. Allow the natural anticipatory joy to take its course.
Then close to go time, it’s okay to DM your phone number (Unless you’ve already had the mandatory phone call, you have, right?) and say it’s for backup in case something comes up. Don’t press to hard on this initial meeting. Don’t set your expectations too high. Just be yourself. Dress like yourself. Meet somewhere you might be going along. Coffee or a walk are the two best modes for first dates. I had one first date on a tennis court, that was awesome. And while we didn’t date, we did play some groovy tennis for a few weeks, before she got bored of me.
As your date goes forward, be as clear and honest as you can. If it’s a NO, don’t stretch the date out. Just cut it off. Don’t lead each other along. Don’t say, “I’ll call you,” when you know you will not. Just be clear.
If things go well, there won’t be an awkward “so where are we” moment. Both of you will be chomping at the bit for “whats’ next.” That’s a good sign. Again, caution, go slow. I’ve blown several YES dates by being too happy and reaching out too soon after the first date. Just like the quiet before the first date, there should be a moment of silence after the positive first date as well. Give you both some room to breathe and think about each other. Go back, look at their profile. Did everything match up? Were they as interesting as you thought they were going to be? If yes, go for the all-important second date.
Lovers in the Morning
The thrill of getting to a second date… Well, don’t blow it. Just be cool. Don’t lead too fast or too far. Take your signals from your date. Listen intently for emotional intelligence. Are they telling stories about past relationships, or future ideas, or work, or working out? What are *they* interested in talking about? Don’t lead to hard. Let them lead the conversation and pay attention to where it goes.
What you are hoping for, is the next series of steps that leads to that first morning after. Lovers! You have arrived. You’ve gotten to STAGE 3. Dating. Relating. Aligning syles and energies. Coordinating schedules. Planning date nights. All the amazing stuff that comes from finding a new interested and authentic partner. This is what your goal is. Get to the real relationship stuff. Don’t waste time on casual dates if what you want is a relationship. Don’t have casual sex if what you want is a long-term partnership. Put your priority on getting THIS ONE RELATIONSHIP RIGHT. You only need one.
Snap Back Quickly with Radical Honesty
If you’re honest the entire time, you’re going to have some misses. And when you notice a miss, you’ve got to be transparent. Is it a disconnect? Is it a miscommunication? Or is it a red flag? Once you’ve decided to move on, please tell the other person. Don’t leave them hanging on. Don’t use them for sex. Don’t pretend that things are great when you are browsing Bumble again for your next date. Just be honest.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t think this is a long-term fit for me. I wish you the best. Bye.” It’s that easy.
Relentless Pursuit of the Perfect “Good Morning”
When you have a partner who values you from the moment they wake up in the morning it looks something like this. “Hi honey, just thinking of you. How’s your coffee?” No, it’s not routine, it doesn’t have to happen every single morning, but hey, let the person you love know you love them. All the time. Frequently text them love notes. We all want warm fuzzies. Give them out freely. The same way you give out friendly touches, friendly words, and friendly flirts.
And when it fails, and you’ve put 100% of your focus into the process, you will not have a hard time resetting. We did it 100%. And it was a MISS. Move on. Reset. Regather your priorities list. Check-in with what went wrong. And load up your profile with some new and current photos. Then get back out there on those “hello dates” until you find the ULTIMATE YES.
I’m still looking, but I’m INSIDE a 100% connection right now, so we’ll see how it goes.
The Dating a Divorced Dad series continues:
- What the Single Dad Wants – 9 Months Later (an update)
- The Three Essential Elements of Love
- In Relationship with a Divorced Dad: Ground Rules
SingleDad In Love, Again
- Dating a Divorced Dad – Version 2.0 Updated
New Dating Strategy:
- Action Not Intention Will Determine How Long I’m Single
- Offline Dating: Setting Intentions and Actions in Real Life
- Getting Good At Blameless Breakups
- Why Online Dating is a Distraction and Not a Solution
- The 6-Step Relationship Strategy
Here are a few of my books on Amazon:
- Single Dad Seeks: Dating Again After Divorce: Advice and Strategies on Learning How to be Loved Again
- Fall of the House of Dad: My journey through divorce, from loss to joy, again and again
- A Good Dad’s Guide to Divorce: One father’s quest to stay connected with his children
- The Sex Index: Getting Our Love Languages Right in the Bedroom
- Here Comes the Darkness: Surviving and Thriving After a Mental Illness Diagnosis
- The Third Glass: When Drinking Becomes an Issue
- The Storm Before the Divorce: When One Parent Wants Out, That’s the End
- Dating 2.0: Aiming for the Love of Your Life