Dating Made Easy: Your Guide To Dating Smart


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Susan Winter

You'll meet people. Oddly, I'm a very social person. Why was I cutting myself off from the world? My reasoning was this: If I don't do anything, don't "get out there," nothing bad will happen. As in no disappointment, no heartbreak.

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There's one problem with this line of thinking. Yes, if you don't do anything, nothing bad happens. However, nothing good happens, either. Nothing happens. So, seven years after my husband's death, I took the plunge. I signed up for online dating and even went to a speed dating session at a local bar. I approached online dating very seriously, enlisting help from close friends for my profile.

It needed a dash of wit, a sprinkling of sass and an attractive photo. But not too much wit, and not too much sass. As for the photo: There's no such thing as too attractive. After everything posted, I got a flood of responses from men. Not because I'm an exceptional catch, but because those who've been on the sites for a while tend to pounce on a new candidate. There were men who lived in other states and countries. I can't afford to see you.

And Skype relationships are pretty two-dimensional. Men who mentioned sexual details in their profiles. Yes, we get that sex is important, even in middle age. But this is just too much information! Men who were grammatically challenged.

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Either I'm not worth a coherent sentence or you are unable to compose one. My first online date was at a nearby bar. I rushed home from work, put on a new outfit, makeup and perfume, and left the house looking and feeling like a million bucks. I walked into the bar where my date was sitting. Instantly, I could tell he wasn't interested. Not that I was, either. But since then, I always arrive earlier than the man on a first date to check out, rather than be checked out. The whole thing went downhill from there.

My date spent an hour talking about what a long day he'd had, his allergies, and even checking out attractive women who walked by. I was no longer a six-sigma outlier impoverished nerd in a high school of rich cool kids, but rather a nerd of middle rank in a whole school of nerds. In fact, at Harvard, since almost everyone was smart, and nerd is usually the label normal people apply to smart people to feel better about themselves, you could say Harvard had no nerds at all.

In the same way that, say, amongst NBA players, nobody thinks of anyone as tall. This, of course, was a grand opportunity for reinvention. College: a pricey way to acquire basic social skills. So I started going to parties and talking to everyone. Poisoning oneself with ethanol seemed to be part of the procedure, which I was definitely not down for.

But at least I was in the arena, making friends. I even learned to dance and got reasonably good at it. Baby steps, yo. With new skills and new horizons opened, and new question would arise: how can I turn a girl who happens to be my friend into a girlfriend? You just throw him a book, and he wrestles it down, and digests its contents into mental tools he can use. Or even where to go to figure out how to kiss a girl. Should I call my parents? Ask my older sister? Is there even a book for this kind of thing somewhere in Widener Library? Naaah, might as well give up. The craziest thing is that I was not alone in my cluelessness.

And for that one date every four months, the entire campus would go into a tizzy. How do you ask a girl out? No Harvard class for that, alas. No counselors, either. Yeah, the book for men was first. But I digress. In spite of my lack of skill, lightning did eventually strike, and I finally had a girlfriend in my third year of college. Except — not entirely. We both had strange notions about what should and should not happen before marriage, so we technically never had sex. That would come later.

All puns fully intended. At this point, I was the Marginally Competent Guy. I was interesting and witty enough, and maybe even fun to be around. I found out the hard way that that last part is actually pretty tricky, involving a whole new sets of skills I did not possess, as chronicled in gory detail in my article How to Get Over a Breakup: Professional Edition.

Getting him will be similar to the Phase 2 guy, perhaps with a little less hand-holding. If you give him attention, he will usually take initiative and ask you out. He will have more options than the Phase 2 guy, but not by much, since his system for meeting women is luck-based, not skill-based. Although some women are loath to admit this, things like aggression and success with other women are what subconsciously make men more attractive to their partners.

After college, I went to medical school, where my social skills found another practice arena. Once again, no one knew of my prior life, so I could even attempt to be cool! I joined the university ski team and started partying in earnest, including drinking gulp. I was getting better at talking to women, and had gained some notoriety for getting a lot of phone numbers from them.

But unbeknownst to the observers, not a whole lot was actually happening afterwards. Without making any kind of move. What move was I supposed to make? This boy clearly had a long way to go. Finally, in my second year, I met a girl who would become my first real girlfriend. She rightly challenged the irrationality of my idea to stay a virgin till marriage, and proceeded to have her wicked way with me, bless her heart.

And I realized that although sex was tons of fun, I had built it up to be a much bigger thing than it really was. Religion can really mess with your head, and not in good ways. But then something interesting happened towards the end of medical school. A younger friend told me about some interesting material he had found on the internet, which like my friend, was in its adolescence.

It was about talking to women. I read it. It was eye-opening, revelatory, paradigm-smashing, world-expanding stuff. It told me exactly what I had been doing wrong around women my entire life e. After med school, I moved back to Boston and started to implement my new skills. They worked shockingly well. Overnight, I went from kissing a girl approximately every other time a meteorite hit me, to doing it on a weekly basis. And then an eveningly basis. Every time I went out, I could potentially stir up some magic, and suddenly find myself in the Makeout Zone.

I went from perennially having no girlfriend, to having too many — sometimes as many as 4 at at time not that I ever called them my girlfriends. I still had zero skills in the relationship maintenance zone, but I was frankly having too much fun to care. Finally, after decades of deprivation, I could have women in my life, in my bed, on my terms! And make up for all that sex I never had. For now, I had newfound power and therefore, choice.

Because I had choice, I did not have to put up with subpar treatment. Nor did I have to settle for the first woman who would give me attention. Instead of being a spectator to my own life, and a beggar to chance, I could reliably arouse the interest of a woman of interest and make something happen.


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That was big. Unlike the guys from the prior phases, the Phase 4 guy has skill, choice and will. He has enough choice such that he can go for what he wants , not just what fortune throws his way. So to get him, you must first be his type, which is not entirely in your control. And then you must play the game better than him. You do that by being the buyer, not the seller, while still being your amazingly kind self. You have high standards but still treat him better than anyone has ever treated him.

Feisty but nice. Which is why I wrote a whole page book on how to do it. Upside of the Phase 4 guy: Because other women find him attractive, there will be some dynamic tension in your relationship which will keep you attracted to him. And Phase 4 guys also tend to be generally more interesting, dynamic, powerful people. With anybody. And because he has more-than-average choice and power with women, he could still get bored and wander off, even if you two do get along and you do everything right.

He may also just hook up with someone else for kicks. But, just like a well-known side effect of life is death, a well-known side-effect of having many relationships is having many breakups. And breakups are a little bit like getting dental work: sometimes necessary, never pleasant.

But they all suck, and each leaves enough of a bitter aftertaste to make chasing down the next Bright Shiny Object of Desire slightly less appetizing. Why even bother? The guy eventually scrapes himself off the floor with the spatula of self-respect, and starts looking for love again. And — he succeeds! But if a guy lacks resources for resiliency, he could end up becoming a permanent resident of this purgatory. How to get the Phase 4. So you can redeem his faith in women, and love, and by extension, all of humanity and the universe?

So please: let the guy do his own healing and figure himself out enough such that he seeks you out on your own merit, and not just as the closest tear-absorbent pillow. He wants to spend lots of time with you! Which is one of the big points of having relationships, if not the point. What if no one is the answer? But is that what I want? In the Wisdom phase, the guy is able to step back from his own thoughts, instincts and unconscious drives, and ask himself: Is that really good for me?

Or is it just the ancient software speaking? In this phase, instead of being disillusioned, the guy becomes free of illusion. How can I best serve the world? And would being with this woman catalyze my ability to serve or hamper it? They somehow turn the women he meets into The Answer, over and over again, with no supporting evidence. But now he can see those lust-bunnies for what they are: not real. Special effects. Super-convincing, and even entertaining at times.

But not real. So he starts looking for substance. He starts looking for depth. He starts looking for partners who are on a mission similar to his own. But solitude suits him just fine. And be a Phase 5 woman yourself. Then, there just might be a fit. Upside: By the time he reaches Phase 5, a guy has most of his shit sorted out and is ready to relate to another human being in a meaningful way. This could be a really good start. Most relationships end because either the partners are at different life phases or grow at different rates. A guy who just plain refuses to fight?

Or to save you? Or to get jealous? Can you be interdependent without being codependent? How well have you worked out your own shit? Careful what you wish for. But the scientist in me yearns for completeness, so I present to you Transcendent Man. Cars driving by! That billboard over there! Everything is just delightful. And so are people! Every one of them is a manifestation of the divine, so perfect in their operating, such a once-in-the-existence-of-the-universe event, that the opportunity to hang out with any of them is simply delightful.

Of course, that is the absolute truth: everything is miraculous all the time, should we have eyes to see. If everything is delightful all the time, where do you fit in? But does he even want you? A relationship with a Phase 6 guy could be novel and invigorating. It could even be a rapid accelerator to your own spiritual growth. An awakened person by definition has few attachments, if any.

But if you do, just be curious about him and keep asking questions. So use them! They will make your love life easier. Hell, no person or thing is The Answer. If there is such a thing as The Answer, it has to come from within. Meditate, yo.

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Every relationship has upsides and downsides. Even the most evolved man can be a significant pain in the ass, not in spite of being evolved but because of it. You can get yourself twisted in knots trying to interpret every move a guy makes so you can get the upper hand. Or you can just be genuinely interested in getting to know him better. I present that the latter approach is easier and more fun. Did you find this article useful? Then please share it with single or non-single friends who would benefit from it!

And if you have any insights and experiences of your own about the Phases of the Guy, please leave a comment and share with the rest of us! Although most of the stuff I wrote that long ago has become too cringeworthy for me to read, this book is mostly okay. Finland is big on berries, and has an abundance of wild blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cloudberries, lingonberries, hinkleberries and floinkenberries. Okay, so maybe I made up the last two, but the rest are real and tasty. Vendor A: pretty solid berries but starting to look a little tired, 4 euros Vendor B: big juicy bright superfresh berries, 3 euros Vendor C: big juicy bright superfresh berries, 5 euros.

So—which one should Dr Ali choose? You know what you want, and you pick the best option. You arrive at Vendor A. Hey, look, berries! They look a little worse for wear, but overall not bad. No way! It must be my lucky day! Will you pleeeez take my money? Do you see how much nonsense that makes? And yet, that is exactly how most people approach the relationship market.


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I make mad money! I give body-melting massages with hot chestnut oil! Choose meeee! But in the end, the best salesperson in the world has less power than even the least skilled buyer. The science of game theory guarantees it. Because the buyer has choice. And choice in the marketplace is power.

How do you practice being the buyer in the dating world? By being playfully discriminating. Pretty pleez? So if you are that rare person who has the presence of mind to adopt the subtle shift in perspective to become the buyer, you will win more often. It does not cost anything to assume the buyer stance. And yet, it will make you more attractive than all of those external interventions.

In The Tao of Dating , I call this the picky buyer stance. And while I want you to be picky, I also want you to remain compassionate and kind. But you will never do that, because you will remain your playful, fun, kind self. The point is to keep your heart and mind open while conveying that you have standards. The picky buyer stance is especially important to remember when meeting people online. This is because an online profile is basically an advertisement, which is by definition what people utilize to sell things.

Once you receive some messages from interested parties, then you can go back to being the picky buyer. Being the buyer vs the seller feeds directly into the next principle, which may not only be the most important principle for dating, but also for lifelong happiness and fulfillment. Will any guy want to go out with a woman with young children?

Has he lost interest? What should I do? Also: Enough for what? The changing whims of culture and fashion? Your own pointlessly harsh standards? How terrible! There are multi-billion dollar industries arrayed to make us feel terrible about ourselves: TV, movies, cosmetics, advertising, exercise, diet. Making us feel bad about ourselves is how people sell us stuff. Luckily, there are remedies. Then, for a permanent solution, do these three things:.

The hair will have a bad day. The outfit will go out of style. Trying to be enough is a game you cannot win. It is temporary power at best, because it can be taken away from you. You have the power to elevate those around you, appreciate them genuinely, and make them feel like a billion bucks:. The power to elevate others is power that cannot be taken away from you. You can do it anytime, anywhere. And because of the hypersocial human brain, when you make other people feel good, you feel good.

And when you feel good, you glow, and people want to be around you. To implement this into your life, start by setting a goal of giving one more compliment per day than you were before. For most of us, that adds up to one compliment per day. The bus driver, the receptionist, an old friend, your partner—everyone is eligible. Another interesting thing happens when you make being of service a part of your identity. Your mere presence will want them to be a better man! Imagine your 7-year old nephew breaks a plate. Self-kindness means being as nice to yourself as you would be to the 7yr old nephew.

Recognize our common humanity. Everyone screws up. We cannot ignore our pain and feel compassion for it at the same time. Acknowledge it, feel it, and let it pass. One of the foundational tenets of Buddhist philosophy and all mystical traditions is to get rid of your sense of self entirely. If there is no you, then nobody can belittle you, insult you, betray you, or break your heart. No self, no problem! One path is to meditate. A lot. And while you meditate, you take one step back from your own thoughts and feelings so you can stop identifying with them.

Instead, you identify with the pure consciousness behind those thoughts or feelings. Think of your consciousness as the TV screen, with your thoughts the programs showing on it. You are the TV screen, not the programs. Eventually, the state of dis-identifying from your thoughts goes from being a state to becoming a trait.

That said, you can begin the practice of dis-identification by meditating. And you can begin with just 2 minutes a day. Apps like Calm, Headspace, and Waking Up are excellent ways to ease yourself into it. The second thing that struck me about the letters was that they almost never contained a real question. And until you tell me what you want—some kind of desirable outcome—I have no basis to dispense advice, dubious or sage. There are some general guidelines, of course. Hang out with people who bring out your best self and catalyze your growth.

Only date people who are actually single and available. For example, sometimes what you really want is not a relationship with a hotshot who has repeatedly signaled his unavailability with poor communication and a busy schedule, but something simple and more reliable. Sometimes you just want a fun fling, not something serious. Last thing you want is to spend lots of time and effort attaining a lofty but ultimately wrong goal. On the other hand, things like growth and fulfillment are directional goals. Work on yourself. Learning to be alone without being lonely is one of the cornerstone skills of relationship.

The principles I just described are simple to grasp. One of the most hopeful aspects of human existence is neuroplasticity. You can learn new ways of doing things. Make a game out of it. That should help clarify the values you hold dear, which is a signpost to what you want in your life.

I hope you find a way to implement these principles into your life. To further explore some of the principles I discuss in the article, here are some useful resources:. One of the best books ever written on meditation and living at peace with oneself. Great antidote to feelings of not-enoughness. Neuroplasticity is real and applies to everyone, including you right now.

Some tremendously inspiring stories in here. If you are a fan of yoga, meditation and dance and can free your schedule for the first week of August, I highly recommend the Magnesia Festival. Dating can be plenty challenging as it is without committing unforced errors. Here are some simple ways you can get out of the way of your own success:. Two ideas: First, limit the amount of more…. Hey there, ladies! Turns out that almost every woman has had some kind of experience with bad boys, not all of them healthy.

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Thanks for opening my eyes. Time to take out the trash! This post really hit me. So you're going on vacation, and that means it's time to close out of Tinder , Bumble, OkCupid, Hinge, and all your other dating apps , right? Not necessarily. While using dating apps on vacation might seem silly, since you'll only be wherever you're traveling for a short time, it can actually be an amazing way to meet new friends , go on an amazing date, or have some really hot casual sex , if that's what you're into. Online dating coach Julie Spira has one client who often gets free tickets to concerts through work.

So, when she's traveling, she'll update her dating apps to say that she's going to see so-and-so play and has an extra ticket, if anyone wants to claim it. They'll go out for coffee or go out for dinner before the show. Sometimes, it turns romantic, but even when it doesn't, she meets a new friend.

Dating Made Easy: Your Guide To Dating Smart Dating Made Easy: Your Guide To Dating Smart
Dating Made Easy: Your Guide To Dating Smart Dating Made Easy: Your Guide To Dating Smart
Dating Made Easy: Your Guide To Dating Smart Dating Made Easy: Your Guide To Dating Smart
Dating Made Easy: Your Guide To Dating Smart Dating Made Easy: Your Guide To Dating Smart
Dating Made Easy: Your Guide To Dating Smart Dating Made Easy: Your Guide To Dating Smart
Dating Made Easy: Your Guide To Dating Smart Dating Made Easy: Your Guide To Dating Smart
Dating Made Easy: Your Guide To Dating Smart Dating Made Easy: Your Guide To Dating Smart
Dating Made Easy: Your Guide To Dating Smart Dating Made Easy: Your Guide To Dating Smart

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