I am at present casually dating 3 women, who are gorgeous INSIDE and beautiful on the outside. I have not had any sexual relations with any of these women (and I don’t mean that in the Clinton sense). I have gone on 2 dates with each of them. Of the three, 1 really has my attention, let’s call her Time To Run (for some reason, I remember women by song names, and that song, is I think, befitting). Her and I have been on a couple of dates and have known each other for several years. I think out of the women I’m currently seeing, there is the highest chance of a healthy long term relationship with her blossoming from our current courting. Time to Run and I have many common interests, including theatre.
I asked Time to Run to a play I’ve been eager to see all year, and as my luck would have it, she already has tickets. So like the Stones said, “What to do, I really don’t know, I really don’t know what to do.”
I don’t wish to invite a male friend, perhaps I have poor social conceptions, but I enjoy going to see a show with a lovely woman, I think the theatre is an intimate and romantic venue and not the best place for me and a male friend. I don’t wish to take my mother because well, I don’t think this a play for her and my sister has already seen it. So I guess I have a few options and I’m sure there are others I’m missing or ideas I’ve not considered, your vast wealth of knowledge and experience is greatly appreciated.
My options as I see them and the pros and cons of each:
Toronto Business Owner, 29
Toronto Business Owner,
First of all I would like to commend/compliment you on a few things:
1) Your sense of romanticism
2) Your use of, and focus on, intimacy
3) Your ability to express yourself
4) The time, thought and consideration for other people’s feelings that you have put into this dilemma
5) Your honesty – with yourself, and with me
Here are my suggested options:
1) Similar to your #3, call the box office, post the tickets on Facebook/Kijiji/Craigslist/etc. and see if you can secure tickets for another evening. That is assuming that TOT is going to want to see the play again, and with you.
2) Take one of the other two women you are dating with the following caveat: that you have a discussion with TOT beforehand to share your plans with her so that there are no surprises. You do not owe her an explanation as you two have not yet established exclusivity and while she may be disappointed/surprised/hurt to learn that you have been seeing other people, part of what makes serial daters successful is their transparency, honesty and authenticity. There is nothing wrong with dating multiple women at the same time – in fact, I encourage it (as long as you’re only being physically intimate with one of them – otherwise you’re just a douche bag) – but it’s better that all three women know upfront that they are – for now – not the only one. Who knows? Maybe after experiencing what you deem to be a romantic and intimate evening, the woman you take with you may move to the “top of your list” by pleasantly surprising you through her appreciation for and approach to the theatre. Dating is a journey and should be rife with experimentation, spontaneity and pleasant little surprises along the way.
3) Go to the play alone. I know it’s something you want to share with a beautiful woman, however, doing social activities solo is character building and when you’re alone, open and doing something you genuinely enjoy, the possibilities for new opportunities, experiences and outcomes are endless. What if an equally beautiful woman – a stranger – ends up with the second ticket that you presumably have sold to a stranger or friend of a friend of a friend?
4) Bold move: ask TOT if you can sit with her and her family. J
Let us know what you decide and how it goes! Remember – there is no “right” answer. You have to do what you’re comfortable with, what you can live with and what feels good for you. Whatever you decide, there will be “consequences” but they don’t always have to be of the negative variety.
A big question is always “Who pays?”. For my thoughts on this, please see one of my earlier blog posts: http://www.sittinginatree.com/to-pay-or-not-to-pay/
Are there any topics that are taboo to discuss on a first date? Some might answer: “Yes, do NOT discuss religion, politics or past relationships on a first date”. There are many reasons why this is the general rule, however, as you may know – I believe rules are made to be broken, and do not really have a place when it comes to matters of the heart.
1) Ask your date if they’re interested in sharing before ordering anything. Sharing can be fun, flirtatious, sensual or just a simple way to break the ice.
2) If you’re getting the “vibe” and feel like being playful – feed your date a bite off your plate. If done casually and naturally, this can be a huge turn-on.
First Date Kiss – To Have or Not to Have?
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again (thanks for the quote Ferris Bueller) – I do not believe in “rules” when it comes to dating and relationships. Kissing is a wonderful and beautiful thing, and a great way to determine whether physical chemistry exists. If the moment is right, and it feels good, do it. If you prefer to wait until you know the person better, then wait. When it comes to being physical, it should always be about your comfort level.
Idea # 1:
Grab a frisbee and hit a park. Unless you’re part of an Ultimate Frisbee league, chances are the last time you threw around a Frisbee was as a kid. It’s a great way to enjoy a nice day while getting to know someone over a casual activity to break the ice or as a family/couple activity. The last time I played Frisbee, I was in my early 20s. I was visiting some friends at McMaster University (my brief alma mater) in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and was taken to this paradise on earth (Webster’s Falls) that I had never known existed so close to the urban centers it’s hidden among.
Idea # 2:
Go ziplining. You don’t need to be on a cruise or in Costa Rica to enjoy the adrenaline rush and sense of adventure ziplining provides. If you do some research you should be able to find a location closer to you than you might’ve thought.
Idea # 3:
Patio hop, on foot or by public transportation. Each of you pick two patios you’ve never been to, write them on individual pieces of paper, fold them up, put them in your pocket/purse and select one new destination every hour (or every drink or whenever the mood strikes). It keeps the date unpredictable and ensures a degree of spontaneity.
Idea # 4:
When was the last time you picked up a racquet? Borrow one from a friend or dust off your own and hit a public tennis court (or your country club if you’re a member). Sharing a physical activity with a date is another great way to break the ice and if the activity is not your forté, it can elevate the entertainment value (because, if you’re like me – a little clumsy, and don’t take yourself too seriously – you may provide some comedic relief).
Idea # 5:
Go on a hike. If one or both of you have pets, children or both, it’s a great group activity that gives you the opportunity to explore your own environment, get some exercise, breathe in the great outdoors while still being able to engage in conversation (assuming the hike is moderate enough that you can climb and still talk at the same time).
It’s almost time for amusement parks to open up for their season. Great date spot. Go on a rollercoaster ride. Apparently anything that gets the adrenaline going helps to create sexual chemistry. Give it a try!
Game # 1:
Challenge your single friends to see who can go on the most dates in one month…BUT…the “catch” is that the date doesn’t count if the person doesn’t want to see you for a second date. If you and your friends are “game”…you can get creative with how the “winner” is rewarded.
Game # 2:
Challenge yourself to get five strangers of the opposite sex to engage you in conversation by the end of the week, in random places – like the grocery store, the bank, stuck in traffic, etc. If phone numbers are exchanged, great…but tell yourself you’d be satisfied with even the exchange of a smile or two.
Game # 3:
Instant message five people who you wouldn’t normally engage with, on a dating or social media site of your choice. I dare you.
Game # 4:
After your next date, write a review (like a movie review) – in the third person. Share the review with your date and see if they agree (good, bad or ugly).
Game # 5:
See how long you can go without approaching a person of the opposite sex for the purposes of dating them.
While these “games” may seem trivial, pointless, or otherwise unproductive – what have you got to lose? Remember Einstein’s definition of insanity (doing the same thing over again and expecting a different outcome) and ask yourself if what you’re already doing is working for you?]]>
You’re a woman. You’ve gone on a date with a man. You like him. You had a good time. He paid for the date – you want to thank him…again. It’s the day after the date. Is it OK for you to message him? As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, men like to chase. Even progressive, modern men. Even if they don’t realize it. So, my preference is to let him chase. Many women can find this difficult because they are not in control of the outcome.
You’re a man. You’ve gone on a date with a woman. You like her but you’re not sure if she likes you. You want to ask her out again. How long should you “wait” to do so?
OK, now let’s say you are either a man or a woman. You’ve decided to ask for a second date. Should you do so by telephone, text, BBM or e-mail?
While I am, admittedly, the worst phone person ever (i.e. I hate talking on the phone), I am a sucker for tradition. I think there is something to be said for picking up the phone and asking for a date the old-fashioned way, especially with all of the other options available. It shows interest and requires a slight effort – on both parts.]]>
As recently as when the baby boomer generation was dating there were universally understood “rules” and etiquette around dating, courtship and marriage. Whether one followed those rules was their choice, however, they likely knew what they were. Today – with the advent of technology, the feminist movement, blurred gender roles and expectations, alternative forms of “relationship” and a host of other societal factors – there do not seem to be universal rules to follow. There is a lot of confusion in the world of dating and the daters I know are often seeking guidance.
I believe that anything goes these days. Women are far more independent than they were even 15 years ago and, as a result, are more confident going after what they want…including men.
Once a date has been arranged – who plans where to go, what to do?
Some people believe that whoever did the inviting should do the planning. Some people think that it should always be the man. There is no right or wrong. Each dater has their own set of values and expectations and the key is in communicating those. I have seen two dates (in the last month alone) go off the rails because of the way the plans were handled…or not handled.
I’m not a big fan of universal rules when it comes to dating. I think that what’s most important is that the people involved are comfortable and are able to act somewhat naturally. With that said, many active daters use the first meeting as an opportunity to assess physical chemistry and, therefore, like to have an “out” in case they’re not attracted to their date.
When going out on a first date should the man offer to pick the woman up at home? Should the woman let him?
I have had female clients go into a first date already with a bad taste in their mouth because the man did not offer to pick them up. I have had female clients ask me what was wrong with the men who did offer to pick them up and I’ve had confused male clients ask me what the proper etiquette is.]]>
Lesson # 1: Your gut is your guide.
Listen to it. It exists for a reason and serves a purpose. Had I listened to my gut – my internal and moral compass – I wouldn’t have married the person I did. Don’t get me wrong. I do not regret my decision to marry the person I did, loved him very much at the time, and took my wedding vows very seriously but, in hindsight, I knew something was wrong, almost from the beginning, and too often I hear the same story from others…that they knew – as they walked down the aisle – that something wasn’t right.
When something isn’t sitting right inside you, when you have an “icky” yet indescribable feeling, when there is a discomfort or pit in your stomach that you can’t quite pin down…that’s your gut and it’s talking to you. Listen to it. A brilliant woman I once had the pleasure of working with during my healing journey said simply: If it feels yucky, then it’s yucky.
Lesson # 2: Compatibility trumps chemistry.
Although it’s that elusive “chemistry” that most of us seem to be chasing, it’s not usually what forms the foundation of a healthy and sustainable relationship. Chemistry might bridge the gap from strangers to lovers but it’s not the glue that keeps couples together…compatibility is. When you’re compatible it means that you share similar values, morals, parenting styles, lifestyles and relationship goals (to name a few).
When you resent someone for their actions (or lack of) it should be an alert to yourself that you have unresolved feelings which require processing and follow through.]]>
Since I do not believe that there is a place for hard and fast rules in dating and, specifically, in love…here are some guidelines. These are suggestions, and are not meant to be an exhaustive or comprehensive list.
Unlike an earlier post “How to be More Successful in Dating” (http://www.sittinginatree.com/how-to-be-more-successful-in-dating/), this post is more of a “beginner’s guide to dating”…for those who are just getting started…for the first time, or for the first time in a long time.
Guideline # 1: Don’t have too many/any dating rules
The more open you are, or – put another way…the less rigid you are, the more you avail yourself to possibilities, opportunities, surprises, and even perhaps…miracles.
In my mind, “rules” and “boundaries” are different. An example of a rule might be: A man must phone me before Wednesday in order for me to accept a date for Saturday night (borrowed from the popular dating guide from the 90s – aptly entitled “The Rules”). An example of a boundary might be: I will not tolerate any rude behaviour from any date under any circumstances.
Guideline # 2: Revisit your definition of the word “date” and consider modifying it
If you’re willing to relax your idea of what constitutes a date to include virtually any interaction you might have with the opposite sex (or same sex if you are gay, or open to practicing your interpersonal and flirting skills with anyone), you increase the number of opportunities you have to connect with someone else and decrease the disproportionate amount of pressure most of us put on each individual date (in the traditional sense).
Being open to conversation, non-verbal exchanges, flirting and the unexpected – wherever you are, and whoever you’re with – is a way to “date” more often and to have it be a much more fulfilling endeavour. Try it! What do you have to lose?
Guideline # 3: Be sure you are happy with you
I mentioned in my “To Pay Or Not To Pay” blog (http://www.sittinginatree.com/to-pay-or-not-to-pay/) that it’s important to Know Thyself. While that self-awareness is instrumental in dating, and more broadly, in “life”, it should extend to loving yourself too (in other words – you can know yourself really well and still not love yourself – we want you to have both). It is very difficult to be successful in dating and to attract the right partner for you when you don’t feel good about your offering. It’s like a salesperson trying to sell a product they don’t really believe in.
Guideline # 4: Make Sure Your Decisions Support Your Goals
If you’re looking for a committed, monogamous relationship then do not agree to a casual relationship with anyone, hoping it’ll turn into something else or thinking that it’ll help pass the time until Mr. /Ms. Right comes along. If you only want a no-strings-attached arrangement, don’t try to be in a relationship because that’s what someone else wants. In other words – accept that being alone is far better than being in an arrangement that doesn’t fulfill your needs. In order to do that, you have to know what you need. I posted on one of my FB pages recently (https://www.facebook.com/OriginalThoughtsByStacieIkka):
If you don’t know what you need, you can’t ask for it. If you can’t ask for it, then you’re probably not going to get it.
Guideline # 5: Have fun!
While dating – for many – is a means to an end, it is much more enjoyable when it’s viewed as a journey unto itself. An adventure, full of spontaneity, surprises and fulfillment. When you see it as a chore, it’ll inevitably feel like one.
If you are genuinely having fun with your dating, you will automatically attract more options into your life. “Fun” is sexy, attractive, alluring and self-fulfilling.
Consideration #1: To communicate or not to communicate
Whether you’ve gone out on one date or three (or perhaps you haven’t even made it to the first date but have had some form of communication) it is always difficult to know how to proceed when you decide you no longer wish to pursue someone romantically.
Men get a bad rep for being “assholes” when they don’t call or text and seemingly “disappear”, however, women are just as guilty of doing the same. The difference is – most men don’t sit around talking about it with their buddies, so it doesn’t seem to be as well-documented.
In most cases, the Houdini act is one’s attempt at not hurting the other person’s feelings…there is rarely any malice behind it (although the women I’ve spoken with – and some men – allow their imaginations to think otherwise). Often, too, it has nothing to do with YOU and everything to do with THEM. Never profess to know what is going on in someone else’s life.
While I don’t believe in dating “rules”, per se, I do believe that communicating – something – is better than no communication at all.
Consideration #2: What form of communication to use
I’m an old-fashioned kinda of gal (while simultaneously being a texting whore – I’m a bit of a walking contradiction)…so I always prefer the phone (or face-to-face) for important conversations. That said, it really depends on how long you’ve been seeing this person and what the nature of your communication has been like – i.e. what precedents have already been set?
The general “rule of thumb” – bearing in mind that I don’t typically subscribe to rules – to be used as a guideline only, is as follows:
Zero to two dates: text or e-mail is fine
Two to four dates: E-mail or phone
Five dates or more: Phone or face-to-face
Consideration # 3: To be honest or to spare feelings (often – but not always – mutually exclusive)
I strongly believe – whether in dating, or otherwise – that honesty is the best policy and that the worst truth is better than the best lie. How many times have you gone on a date with someone who you were interested in, never to hear back from them again? Or, to have them feed you what you know to be b.s. lines, like “It’s not you, it’s me”, “I’m just really busy with work right now”, “I’m not ready for a relationship”, “I’ll call you soon – when *everything* calms down a bit”…and the list goes on. Even if it were to sting a little bit, wouldn’t you have preferred to know the actual reason why? What if that feedback could help you improve your dating success with other suitors?
I coach and encourage my clients to tell the truth – sometimes including brutal, yet well-packaged, honesty. If you don’t want to see the person again because you found that the conversation was lacking – tell them that. It is all in the delivery. Not everyone will appreciate your candor or feedback, however, MANY will, and those people will go on to become better, more informed and more successful daters. Think of it as contributing to the greater good of increasing the frequency and volume with which romantic connections are formed.
If we all keep running around sugar-coating and sparing feelings, nobody in the dating community learns anything – about themselves, the process, or others’ perception of them. Instead, we keep sending each other back into the dating pool thinking “well, it had nothing to do with me…obviously THEIR LOSS”…which might be true, but we are not doing each other (the collective dating community) any favours.
Please go to www.sittinginatree.com and read the blog called “Match Made On Palmerston Avenue”. It is meant to be a good example of how the smallest detail could send a potential love connection off the rails and how the benefit of perspective, insight, having an open mind, and even enlisting the help of an objective, experienced third party, can salvage potentially lost/missed opportunities.
Consideration #4: What to say and how to say it
What to say: the truth.
How to say it: diplomatically.
That is the simplest approach.
Whatever you do though – please do not say: “I just didn’t feel any chemistry”. While that might be true, it’s the biggest cop-out and doesn’t help anyone. Before you decide to stop seeing someone, get real with yourself. Figure out the actual reason. If you’re not physically attracted to them, tell them that, nicely. It is likely something they have felt toward other people they’ve dated, so it’s something they can relate to while being less vague than “no chemistry”. Nobody likes to hear that someone else finds them less than attractive, but – over time, if not immediately – it’s something most of us can get our heads around.
If you felt the conversation was awkward…say so. If you were put-off by the fact that they were late, or cancelled twice, or whatever the case may be – say so.
Whatever you say – in order to remain diplomatic, here are some general tips:
1) Use “I” rather than “you” whenever possible
2) Maintain their self-esteem. For example, instead of saying: I thought it was rude that you expected me to split the cheque with you and found you to be quite cheap, say: I’m sure that you have the ability to be generous but I was not prepared to share the bill and was caught off guard. In other words, try to avoid any character assassination and focus solely on the particular circumstances, rather than the person.
3) Share accountability where appropriate. So, instead of saying: You didn’t really talk that much and I felt like I had to keep the conversation going, say: I know first dates are often uncomfortable, and I was nervous too (if you were) so I found the conversation difficult to maintain and would’ve found it helpful if you had made more of an effort to initiate conversation or contribute more than one-word answers.
4) Compliment them/say something positive (only if you can do so while being genuine). For example, in closing, say something like: I did enjoy our time together. I particularly liked the story you told me about __________, or the part of the evening where we ______________ and would definitely recommend you to a friend (if you would)…I just don’t believe that we’re a match, and that’s OK. That is the purpose of dating. I wish you well and thanks again for a lovely evening/day/few dates/etc.
Consideration # 5: What to expect in response
b) A simple “Thank you, I had a nice time too”…which is usually an indication that the feeling was mutual, and is the classiest response
c) “Thank you, I had a nice time too and was feeling the same way”. Mutual. Classy. Honest.
d) An expression of disappointment with a subtle plea for another chance. This is where people may surprise you, or where you may consider opening your mind a bit more, enough to give them another chance.
e) Anger. Where/if this is the response – remember that this is their issue, not yours – especially if you followed the tips on how to package the message with diplomacy, tact and sensitivity. In these cases, just be thankful that you dodged a bullet.
Misrouted or misdirected e-mails. I wonder how many times someone has sent a message intended for their lover/mistress…to their spouse…in error.
Ever hear any stories that would fall into this category??? We would love to hear them.
Technology Mishap # 2:
Undelivered text or BBM.
This happens to me on a regular basis. A BBM is not delivered. I presume the person is on the phone. Hours go by. Message still undelivered. OK, so the person has turned their phone off. But why, I wonder?!? And the imagination takes over…
Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever sent a message that the recipient claimed to never have received? It happens. Trust me.
Technology Mishap # 3:
Facebook. How Facebook fits into this category could be a blog topic unto itself. Anything from an ex creeping your new beau’s wall and “pissing” all over it to mark their proverbial territory, to wondering why your partner has just added, or been added by, a certain individual, to losing quality time in your relationship to independent Facebook activity, to affairs beginning as a result of connecting with an old flame on Facebook, and the list goes on.
Anyone have any first hand stories about how Facebook has spoiled their fun, or more seriously…ruined their relationship?
Technology Mishap # 4:
Lost cell phone.
I wonder how many times two people have met for the first time with all of the promise of a budding relationship, one puts the other’s number in their phone, only to then lose said phone, with no way to retrieve their new love’s phone number. It’s not like anyone remembers actual phone numbers anymore…and so many people date without knowing the last name of the person they’re dating (at the beginning). Unfortunately, I have heard this story more than once.
Technology Mishap # 5:
Lack of personal connection.
My friend, Abby, summed it up best in a private message exchange:
Abby: Technology – as much as I love it – is impacting so much of our lives it’s ridiculous. I don’t sit on the subway or walk down the street one day where I don’t see at least half the people zoned out on their phones or ipods. We’re going into hibernation with ourselves! It’s sad, we’re all incredibly disconnected.]]>