Should I Take A Break From Dating?

As someone who helps people find dates and meet the people they are meant to be with, my (rather biased) short answer to this question would be “Absolutely not! Date On, my friend!” However, as tempting as it is to throw this answer out, the reality is that some of us may actually be better off hitting the proverbial pause button and taking a time out. Whether it be for psychological reasons, reasons relating to work and business, or the fact that we just haven’t quite gotten over our exes yet, there are some real, legit reasons to scale back our dating pursuits, at least for the short term. Today we’re going to look at a few of those top reasons. Starting with:

Reason #1- You just got divorced/broke up/ended a long term relationship

This is a very common occurrence that has happened to the best of us at least once in the course of our lives. We thought we met the person of our dreams. We made plans; we thought about marriage, a house, kids, Golden Retrievers, the whole nine. We may have actually gotten married and had all that. Now that the routine of day to day family life has set in, we have slowly begun to realize that we are living a life of quiet desperation, and we’re looking for a way out. Or, conversely, we met someone who simply drove us fucking wild. We met, and there was instant chemistry. We had wild, passionate sex every night, we may have experimented with new and interesting positions, and now we’re thinking of taking it to the next level, beyond just sex. Whatever the situation, sometimes things don’t work out, and that can leave us feeling emotionally destroyed, like a sudden typhoon that sweeps in and destroys all that we have built in an instant. 

When we finally face the fact that we’re alone again, our first instinct is to go out and find someone else. Find a new partner to fill the emotional void that our ex has left behind. On the surface of things, this seems logical. After all, the goal here is to feel better, and eliminate the pain of our breakup, so why not just go out and find someone to take that pain away? The problem though, is that at its core, this is a selfish act. You are allowing yourself to potentially rush in to a new relationship blindly, in order to find an emotional bandage to stop the proverbial bleeding. However, we need to keep in mind that relationships are about the feelings and well being of multiple, real human beings. When we rush into things and try to skip all the necessary steps of getting to know the other person, finding out about their idiosyncrasies, their likes and dislikes, and their core values, we are setting ourselves up for further disappointment when this new partnership ultimately ends up not working out also. 

Like it or not, when we exit from a particularly long and emotionally fulfilling relationship, we can’t expect to erase the pain immediately by selecting a new partner without allowing ourselves to let things develop organically. The only way to maximize our chances for a future successful relationship is to allow ourselves to sit with the pain of our ex, regardless of how uncomfortable it makes us, and work through the grief, letting it pass through us, just like any other physical illness. Once it’s gone, and you can think clearly and rationally again, you will be able to approach dating with a much clearer head, and you won’t have the tendency to select the first warm body that shows you interest. 

Reason #2: You continuously select the wrong people, and you don’t know why

Attraction is not a choice. At a base level, we can’t help who we’re attracted to. When we see a  body and a face that we like, most of us don’t analyze why, or think about the mechanism behind it, we just allow ourselves to be turned on and go with it. Humans are animals, so naturally it follows that we maintain a great deal of our animal desires and drives, especially when it comes to mating. However, humans also have another level of psychological and mental complexity beyond the instinctual baseline, and this is where things end up getting complicated. Oftentimes, we will base our decisions on who we date primarily at a physical level. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, in fact I argue that these desires MUST be satisfied in order for a relationship to be truly complete and whole. However, when we set out on a quest to find the perfect set of traits in a potential partner we often forget to look for common values.  When we prioritize one area, in most cases the physical, so much that we neglect to consider the other person’s values, this is when things get out of balance. It’s why we hear so many examples of men complaining about how, even though he’s attracted to his girlfriend physically, he’s inherently unsatisfied because of the way she treats him. It’s why we hear so many cases of women saying how they were instantly swept off their feet by the “alpha” bad boy, yet after an amazing night of wild sex, he still has yet to call her back. If you don’t screen potential partners for common values, then you will always run the risk of ending up in the same types of dead-end relationships that you had in the past. 

Reason #3: You (Still) Don’t Have Your Shit Together

Many of us feel that once we have found our partners, then life itself will instantly become exciting and exhilarating. It doesn’t matter how much we are struggling in other areas, or how far we are from living our purpose and doing what we love, the moment our prince or princess comes along, all is right with the world. Sadly, though, this is hardly the case. Many of us get so caught up with dating, meeting potential partners, and getting approval from the opposite sex, that it becomes our purpose, at the expense of most everything else. This is a trap we need to avoid at all costs. When we choose to prioritize dating and sex over everything else, we become clingy, needy and un-confident, constantly over-analyzing, comparing, wondering, and doing all sorts of not-so-sexy behaviors. Not only does this distract us from our true purpose and calling in life, but it makes us appear as a much weaker and less confident version of ourselves. 

What this all comes down to is that we are focusing on getting validation from outside ourselves vs. getting it from within. When we are “chasing girls” or “reeling in guys” we are almost always approaching it from the position of searching for validation in some way. We are placing ourselves in the position of “the pursuer,” and this makes it much harder to showcase our strong, confident selves. When we learn to receive validation from within ourselves, we are no longer concerned with pursuing, because we are finding ways to feel good about ourselves regardless of outside approval. How can we learn to validate ourselves internally? The easiest and best way to do this is to “do you.” Be unapologetically yourself, and go after what you want in life. Spend some time with yourself, and figure out exactly what it is you want out of life. Think about your career, your finances, your hobbies, your interests, your hopes, your dreams. Think about all of the impact that you can make in this world without the external approval of the opposite sex. Figure out how to make that impact and then go do it. When you start to make headway with your pursuits and your passions, you will naturally start to feel better about yourself, and the opinions of others won’t matter as much, because you now have experiences that are showing the world that you’ve got a lot of value and worth. Nobody will be able to take that from you. 

When you think about it, the idea of self-validation can be applied to all three examples above. When you are able to fit your own cup, you become less needy, less desperate and infinitely sexier. Most importantly, you are not relying on someone else in order to feel worthy and good about yourself. Ironically, once you make this shift, this is when you’re going to start seeing members the opposite sex taking longer and more frequent glances in your direction.

-M

Being Yourself vs. Being an “Ideal”

It’s one of the biggest issues we face when deciding to learn how to attract more dates and partners into our lives. Should I just “be myself,” faults and all, or should I attempt to conform to some sort of perfect societal ideal, and in the process, perhaps give up a bit of my core personality and construct a patently false image for the benefit of others? 

In reality, I myself have struggled with this issue for a good portion of my adult life. I have tried both ways. When I was told by my friends, parents, teachers and coaches to just “be myself,” nothing seemed to work. My peculiar sense of humor, blunt communication style, idiosyncrasies and outside-the-mainstream interests did not exactly leave a lot of women with that special tingling feeling. So then I tried the opposite approach. The classic “Fake It till You Make It” philosophy. I studied books, PUA materials, and I even went and received coaching on how to “Be The Man That All Women Want.” While adopting this approach certainly provided a situational confidence boost and some quick results in the shortest of terms,  after three years of faking it, I had nowhere near “made it.” I still wasn’t attracting the kind of partner I was hoping for, and furthermore, I discovered that people weren’t all that gullible. It turns out, people are actually pretty good at spotting someone who is putting on an act. The women I was dating could sense the incongruence between what I was trying to show the world, and what I actually was. The results were not great, to put it bluntly.

Have you ever found yourself in a similar predicament? You may be wondering to yourself, “If being myself doesn’t work, and being someone else doesn’t work, then what the hell WILL work?” I feel your pain and understand your struggle. The short answer to your question is that you have to be willing to do a little bit of both. In order to do this however, you have to know yourself at a fundamental level. This is a major issue for a lot of us. We DON’T really know who we are, we haven’t spent enough time with ourselves, in a state of introspection, to discover the types of people we are and what we really want out of life. Because of this, the advice of “being yourself” becomes nonsensical on its face, because how can you be yourself when you don’t even know who you are? In today’s post, I’m going to go over the values of remaining true and steadfast to your principles, as well as the value of making adjustments and lifestyle changes so that we can maximize our chances of success. Finally, I’m going to go over some methods we can use to help us figure out who we really are at our core, and then bring that core of ourselves out for the world to see.

Authenticity is Essential

I know you’ve seen these guys before: The dudes who are constantly “peacocking” themselves trying to “Demonstrate High Value” and put forward the illusion that they are greater and more important than they are. They lie about their income, their position in their companies. They dress like Don Draper when their personality is more like Mick Jagger, and tell tall tales about how much they bench press. Most of the time, the way these guys come across when they build themselves up is so obviously inauthentic, most people with even a rudimentary level of social awareness can see through it. If you think about it, one can hardly blame these guys. After all, if you look at most PUA related advice columns and books, most of them champion the idea of being a human chameleon, constantly changing yourself, your personality, and your style to fit the whims of what the opposite sex is looking for. The problem with this blueprint is that it encourages people to portray themselves as someone who is definitely not them. It’s perfectly fine to fake certain mannerisms and behaviors in the short term, but the problem is that deep down, underneath the facade, the true core of who you are is still there. If you give it enough time, the real you WILL show itself, and it WILL exist in opposition to the person you were trying to manufacture, and that will create confusion, lost attraction, and maybe even in extreme cases, anger amongst the people you’re trying to date. Not to mention that trying to maintain a phony persona is exhausting. You may be able to get short term sex from taking this approach, but you can forget about getting anywhere near a  long term relationship, unless your potential partner is socially clueless. If you’re going for a long term relationship, and doubly so if you’re looking for marriage, you MUST present your authentic self to stand a chance. If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything. Figure out who “yourself” really is, identify and nurture the strengths that come along with that, and proudly put that on display. Doing this will allow the right people to come into your life naturally and organically, no games and false personas needed. 

But, isn’t changing a good thing?

Looking back at the last section, you might think that I feel the case is closed. “Just Be Yourself” wins it. No need to make any adjustments, or better yourself. Just be authentically you at all times, and you’re set. 

Nope! 

Just because you are now able to discover your true self, doesn’t necessarily mean that that self is the most attractive version it could be. I like to think that there is always something that we can be doing to improve our presentation and personality, even if it’s something minor. Sometimes, for some of us, being more attractive means cleaning up our physical appearance. For example, if we aren’t doing all we can to maintain our hygiene, dressing in well fitted clothes, or finding a style that is congruent with our personality, then those are things we may want to make more of a commitment to. Some issues lie more with our personality and behavioral traits. It’s going to be really difficult to maintain relationships and a strong social circle if you are always operating from a space of negativity. Constantly complaining about how life sucks and is unfair, or how “the system” is constantly screwing you over tends to get really old, really fast. Acting like a dick because you think you’re being a “Billy Bad Ass” might attract a flock of insecure boot-lickers, but it’s not likely to win you many genuine friends, or awesome relationships with quality partners. In addition to these, you need to factor your lifestyle in to the equation as well. If you’re idea of a typical day off is 12 straight hours of Netflix bingeing while eating a whole bag of tortilla chips in one sitting, how can you honestly be surprised about not being able to meet anyone? 

Yes, being yourself is important, there’s no denying that,  but not to the extent that it’s going to limit, or possibly even eliminate, the chances of you finding kick ass dates and partners.

So , Where Does That Leave Us?

If we are actively looking for dates, and we’re struggling with the notion of how much we should or shouldn’t change in order to find the right partner, the best course of action is to really spend some time with yourself, analyze and plot out exactly who we are. Do an honest assessment of you, warts and all. Take out a sheet of paper and make a chart. On it, label one column “Physical” and another “Personality/Character.” Next, make several rows. One row should be “Positives” and the other “Negatives.” Try to think of the top ten traits for each section and write them in the spaces. Below the chart, make a list of five ways in which you could maximize the positive strengths that you have, for physical and personality. Next, take a long, hard look at the negatives in each column. Which ones are the ones you feel are truly holding you back in finding the right partner? Which ones are just ones that you like, but others may have an issue with? For the ones that YOU feel are holding you back, write down a list of 3-5 ways in which we could change or eliminate those negatives, and then formulate an action plan for you to get to work. By doing this, you will be able to pinpoint the serious issues, without having to compromise the best parts of you, and become someone who is wholly incompatible with who you are. You will strike a balance between the best of both worlds. 

Good luck!

-M

Your Mindset Determines Your Results in Dating

In my time as a Dating and Life Coach, I have met, worked with, and conversed with many daters, both male and female. Many have gone on to be successful in their dating life, meeting that special someone or going on many great dates with awesome people. Others have struggled, however. Lately I have been thinking more and more about what truly separates those who are successful in dating and those who aren’t. What, if anything, represents a common thread for all those who can and should be successful, but aren’t? Based on my observations and in-depth analysis of the people whom I’ve met and coached, the main issue holding these people back is their negative, limiting mindset.  It’s easy to spot these people: They are always complaining, bitching, talking about how “all women suck” and that “all guys are dogs.” They harp on and on about the dating process as a whole, saying that it’s “pointless” and that nothing they can do will be able to fix their problems, because their problems always come down to “bad genetics,” so why try to fix something that cannot be fixed (most of their issues CAN be fixed, however, and have nothing to do with “genetics.”) Due to their negative attitudes, they approach and initiate less conversation, when they do speak, they hardly ever bring anything positive or interesting to the conversation, and as a result, they go on fewer dates, and have fewer long-term relationships. It’s almost as if it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Your beliefs about dating, yourself, and fellow daters in general will have a profound effect on how you interact with the world. When put like this, it sounds pretty logical, but let’s take a more in depth look at why this is true.

“Whether You Think You Can, or Whether You Think You Can’t, You’re Right.” -Henry Ford

People with a negative attitude towards dating expect the worst to happen every time. Unfortunately for them, that is exactly what they get. But why? Pessimists are always looking for the problems, the shortcomings and the worst-case scenarios. There’s nothing inherently wrong with pointing out the downsides-after all, throughout history pessimists have been a huge help to humanity by helping us avert dangers that we may not have noticed if we had been a species of Pollyannas. However, when it comes to the subject of improving oneself, pessimism often backfires on us. It can be a saboteur, silently robbing us of the energy and desire to make the necessary changes in our lives. Pessimistic daters will reach out to fewer prospects online, they will hardly approach anyone at all in a social setting (even if they want to), and will generally put in the minimum amount of effort needed to secure a date. They do this because they have over-analyzed each and every negative situation in their heads and have replayed it countless times. Somehow, they “know” what will happen to them, even when it hasn’t happened yet. So, they don’t even try. Why put yourself through the torture and agony of being rejected by that pretty girl at the bar when it’s just so much easier to keep staring at her and admiring her from a distance? In addition, pessimists tend to take longer to recover from a rejection, so it will subsequently take them longer to “get back in the game” and try again. As a result of all this, they tend to become socially passive people overall. They don’t go out as much, they don’t speak to as many people in general, and when they do, they often make frequent social gaffes due to their lack of practice. Form there, they come down hard on themselves, and go back into their isolation and wait even longer to come back out and try again. You see how this is all connected, and a self-fulfilling prophecy? It all started from having a less favorable view of dating (and to a lesser extent, socializing in general) than other people.

But what about the Optimists? How do they do things differently? Optimists tend to have more social resiliency than pessimists. If they experience a rejection or a setback, they will do a better job of “shrugging it off” and putting themselves out there again. This does not mean that optimists are blind and do not experience bad dates and bad interactions with the opposite sex, they just don’t let those bad experiences consume them, and they keep trying in spite of them. Furthermore, since they tend to have a more favorable view of dating (and humanity in general), they will have no problem putting themselves out there more, and reaching out to more potential partners,  thereby increasing their odds of finding a good match for them. Another key difference is that optimists tend to believe that most problems have clear and defined solutions, rather than viewing a problem as an irreversible and permanent issue, as pessimists tend to do. If optimists encounter a recurring problem in their dating lives, their first thought tends to be, “How can I fix this? How can I make this better so that it won’t affect me on future dates?” Pessimists tend to respond by taking the attitude of, “Well, this is just how things are for me. I’m unlucky, I can’t change it.” Optimists tend to be more solution focused, rather than feeling like there is nothing they can do.

Developing a More Positive Attitude

“But, why should I be more positive? I always get the short end of the stick, so what’s the use in believing that things will be better?” Back in my more pessimistic younger days, I could completely sympathize with people who talked like this. Hell, I did talk like this, and quite often! On the surface, the quote seems to make sense, if all you’ve gotten in life up to now is shit sandwich after shit sandwich, why should you all of a sudden expect a filet mignon? The issue here is with the idea that a positive attitude comes from having prior success, and not the other way around. In actuality, a positive attitude can be developed without prior success, and this can be huge in turning around your fortunes. This is not some hocus-pocus new age Secret stuff either, this is actual science here (links at the bottom, of course!).

If you want to change your results, you need to take on a more helpful attitude. How exactly can we do this, though? There are a number of things you can do to help you. Firstly, one needs to learn to be more grateful for the small, incremental victories we have achieved in our dating journey. If you’re 35 years old and goal is to find your special someone and get married and have kids, and up until the time you decided to make a concerted effort, you’ve only been on a handful of dates in your life, look at the positive side of things. Since making the attempt to get better at meeting people, you have been on more dates than you had been on in the previous 3 decades of your life, and through meeting these dates, you are finding out more and more about the type of person you want to be with, what is working well for you, and what isn’t. You are constantly gathering data which you can use to improve your prospects in the future. That is a reason to celebrate.

Something else you can do to develop a more positive dating outlook is to look at things from a different angle, what we call reframing. Let’s take a 30 year old guy who has recently lost all of his hair ( No, this is NOT a personal story)! Remember, pessimists tend to look at dating mishaps as something that is unchanging and permanent, something that cannot be improved upon or changed. In this case, our folically-challenged pessimist believes that ALL potential partners will be turned off by the fact that he’s bald, and there’s nothing that can be done. Optimists will understand that yes, there will be a specific subset of women who will be turned off by bald guys, but that is hardly the case for EVERY woman. In fact, ( and yes, I know this personally) ,plenty of women find bald guys to not just be attractive, but they in fact strongly prefer them to guys with full manes. So, our optimistic bald dater will no doubt suffer some rejection due to his  having a chrome-dome, but he will not be fazed. Instead, he will get right back in there and search for those specific women who admire his look, because he knows they’re out there.

However, the underlying issue that needs to be there in the first place is the core belief that success is possible in the first place. Just because you may fail on some dates with some people, does not mean that you will fail with everybody. When you start looking at people as unique individuals instead of one big collective Borg-like mass of uniformity and conformity, the more your attitude towards humans will brighten, and the more opportunities you will find to make unique, powerful connections.

Go out there and viewing things differently. Don’t  let your dour attitude on dating and the opposite sex continue to sabotage your love live. Learn to overcome your own mental obstacles and watch your potential to find meaningful connections grow.

Until next time.

-M

 

Further Information:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/5-scientific-studies-prove-power-positive-thinking-mark-guidi/

https://www.spring.org.uk/2009/08/the-acceptance-prophesy-how-you-control-who-likes-you.php

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/positive-thinking/art-20043950

The Alpha Male (Part 2 of 2) Myths, Misconceptions and Solutions

This post will be a bit more academic and philosophical in nature. Previously , I had talked about the concept of the Alpha male, what it means in the popular culture, and whether or not it even exists (Spoiler: it does, but it might not be what you thought). In this post, I want to go into a bit more depth on the subject, and explain how the whole “Alpha male” thing got started in this first place, the misconceptions behind the term, and  how we might be able to move past the misnomer and forge a newer, more accurate, more complete definition of the term.

So, Where Did This All Get Started?

The idea of the “Alpha Male” entered the collective consciousness in 1947, after a zoologist named Rudolph Schenkel completed and wrote about studies that he had performed with wolf packs in captivity. Schenkel studied many different captive wolf packs over the course of 15 years, and one common theme that he had noticed is that there were clear dominance hierarchies in the packs, with one particular male, the alpha, leading the pack and ruling over the females and the lesser males. These studies were closely followed up by other studies by various scientists, most famously L. David Mech’s studies in the 1970s. Mech would be the one to introduce the “Alpha Male” term as we know it today into the literature.

So popular and ground breaking were these studies and papers that many people invoked the usage of the term into human related hierarchies not too long after. However, there was a fundamental problem with this whole concept: It was bogus, at least, as it related to wolves. The previous studies only looked at wolves in captivity. They completely ignored wolves in the wild. When follow-up studies were conducted by scientists in subsequent years, they found that with wild wolves, the hierarchies were completely different. Wolf sociology was found to be much more egalitarian out in the wild, where more space and more resources meant less pressure on the individual packs.  Sure, there were powerful male leaders, but they were not the aggressive, domineering tyrants that were throwing their weight around like the ones in captivity. So different were these follow-up studies that Mech actually had to recant his original conclusions in a 1999 follow-up piece to his original work. Despite this new revelation, the “alpha male” term as well as the original description of it was still being used more than ever when applied to human beings.

But….What About Apes?

A huge part of the reason why the original description of alpha males lingered on after the follow-up wolf studies was because of other subsequent studies done on great apes, particularly chimpanzees, one of our closest genetic relatives. Study after study done with these animals confirms that chimp society is quite unilateral, unequal, and zero-sum. Since chimpanzees are the closest genetic relative to humans, and since chimps engage in strict dominance hierarchies with the lone alpha male on top, ruling his kingdom, then humans surely must also have similar natural tendencies, since we observe so many similar behaviors in human beings today. So the prevailing wisdom goes, at least. The alpha male concept as applied to humans was not fully popularized until 1982, with the release of Chimpanzee Politics by Franz De Waal.

At first glance, without digging too deep into the issue, the observations of chimps and humans make a great deal of sense. The idea of the alpha male human, the big, broad, brash, swaggering rebel who takes what he wants and who’s all outta fucks to give, has been part of our society at least since recorded history, so being able to ascribe an actual label to these guys is quite convenient. Add to that, most humans are greatly swayed and influenced by displays of dominance, power and confidence. How many guys have watched a James Bond movie and have not felt, at least for a few minutes, that if we could be him, life would be totally badass? How many guys would love to be the guy who has a mountain of “fuck you” money, and use it to show off our latest assets and acquisitions, making the common plebeians insanely jealous? How many of us are guilty of listening and responding more positively to a message when it’s delivered by a tall, broad, deep voiced man vs. a short guy with a high-pitched voice and skinny limbs who delivers the exact same message? Does anyone remember the Saturday Night Live sketch with Tom Brady? “Be attractive…..don’t be unattractive.” Yeah. We as a species tend to look upon such people in awe and majesty. After all, they’re just so much better than us. If we take all of these examples from the real world and put them all together, the evidence looks pretty solid that universal human alpha males do in fact exist.

What if it’s still all BS?

The above section does not take into account the many studies and real world observations that run contrary to this, however. Despite the fact that we are most closely related genetically to chimpanzees, the simple fact remains that…..we are not chimps. In fact, many studies have recently reported that humans may be more closely related to another subspecies of chimp, the Bonobo. Bonobos are a much more egalitarian, less autocratic version of a chimp, where resources, food and yes, even sex, are more equally distributed than they are amongst their common chimp cousins. Studies of the human anatomy, from the sizes and positioning of sex organs, to the comparatively small differences in body sizes between males and females, indicate a point origin for humans that points to a far more egalitarian, resource sharing and peaceful existence than what we have been originally led to believe. The book Sex at Dawn, a recommended read for anyone who visits this blog, outlines that throughout 99% of humanity’s history, we lived as hunter-gatherers. Since we did not own land and did not have governments, rules, and restrictions, we did not have the same kinds of artificial pressures being put on us that we have now. Because of that, we lived a much more laid back, shared, and egalitarian lifestyle. Apparently, this is what real “human nature” is. Well, at least 99% anyway.

But what about today? Well, one can make the case that even now, with our modern amenities, rules, laws and customs, the universal alpha male still doesn’t make much sense. The big reason for this, as discussed in the last entry on the subject, is that human society today is so complex and varied, that it’s not really possible for one to be an “all around” alpha male. Donald Trump may be President of the United States, but he’s not going to fare well if he wants to become a male model. Placed in that environment, even when he was in his physical prime, he would get laughed off the stage. The star of your local NBA team may be dominating on the court, but if you ask him to make a scientific presentation amongst the world’s leading experts, he might not be as well received among that social circle. “But, but… the NBA is more important than the Scientific Community!” you may fire back. Firstly, shame on you! Secondly, yeah, maybe in America in 2018. But it’s surely not the same in many other parts of the world nor will it always be at different points in time. You see, because of our large numbers, cultural preferences, geographical and linguistic diversity, among many other things, our global society is far too nuanced and complex for a single alpha male to be universally revered, feared and respected.

Knowing this, how do we become an “alpha” then? Simple, find what it is that gives you passion, strength, what gets you out of bed in the morning. Once you discover that, become the very best at it that you can. By raising your standards, committing to excellence, and networking with a strong team, you will naturally end up being the leader of your own pack.

-M

 

 

 

I’m an Introverted Guy: Am I Screwed in Dating?

I confess…I’m an introvert. As such, I need a lot of things: I need at least 2 hours of “me” time for every 1 hour I spend socializing. When I do socialize, it had better be in a relatively quiet, laid back bar, lounge or other venue that has a relaxed ambience, and not some noisy club with blaring house or techno music so loud, you can’t hear yourself speak. When making plans, I need to work out when and where things will happen, and of course, the aforementioned “me” time needs to be accounted for in those plans as well.

When referring to the type of person just described, you might think that it would be crazy to expect someone like that to be a successful dater. After all, dating is hard enough, even when your personality does fit within the commonly accepted high levels of extraversion,  gregariousness, cheerfulness, and spontaneity. But what if those words don’t describe you? What if you’re someone who is a bit more reserved, a bit quieter, a bit more methodical with your life? Is that it, then? Are you completely screwed out of having a successful dating life? Should we just accept our fate and sit around our apartments, collecting dust (and cats), playing video games/binge watching Netflix/reading/daydreaming for the rest of our lives?

While at first it can seem doubly tough for introverts to be successful at dating, due to significantly lower levels of social energy seemingly required to have a fun date, it does not mean that introverts are necessarily destined to be dateless hermits. On the contrary, introverts can oftentimes make for the best potential dates of all, provided that a) the introvert knows their strengths and who they are as a person and b) are willing to be flexible and adaptable around certain social expectations while dating. In this post, I will show you how introverts can take control of their dating destiny and dominate the dating market, regardless of whether or not society at large often paints our personality types in a less than flattering light. Let’s go!

  1. NEVER Apologize for Who You Are

Oftentimes when I speak to some of my newer introverted clients about what they expect their dating experiences to be like, they often tell me that they feel they must change who they are fundamentally, in order to seem more extroverted, boisterous, and outgoing than they truly are. After all, the messages these men get from society is that introverted guys are somehow “boring,” with no energy, nothing really important to say, and that they do nothing but sit in their rooms all day. While it’s true that there are some pretty dull guys out there, it would be a mistake to think that introverted men somehow have a monopoly on being uninteresting. I have seen (and you probably have too) plenty of examples of loud, obnoxious, extroverted guys who may seem charming and fascinating at first glance, but when you try to dig deeper, you find a whole lot of nothing. Conversely, some of the most interesting people on Earth are of the more introverted persuasion. I don’t think anybody will accuse Michael Jordan, President Obama, or Elon Musk (who many call the “Real Life Iron Man”) of being “boring.” The point is, if you are healthy, have a decent job, keep fit, take care of your fashion, grooming and appearance, have hobbies, and actually do get out of your house more than 3-4 times per week, then you are no less interesting than the majority of guys out there today. If you have goals and desires and are working toward living your best life, striving to get more out of your limited time on this planet, you are by default more interesting than most, because you now have reasons to live that don’t only include counting down the clock on the work week until 5PM Friday so you can spend the weekend in bed catching up on Stranger Things (not that there’s anything wrong with that show). None of these qualities have any bearing on whether or not you tend towards extraversion or introversion.

Furthermore, by feeling that you are inadequate because of how you choose to utilize your social energy, and by feeling that you have to change that in order to be more socially acceptable, you are, in essence coming across as inauthentic on your dates. Women are experts at sensing when a man is not being his true self, and let me tell you that women, particularly ones of high value, hate that. After all, if the guy she is meeting is being spurious about this, what else could he be deceiving her about? Authenticity is a quality that is grossly underrated in human interaction. If you’re introverted, don’t succumb to the pressure to be an extrovert. Embrace who you are, work within your strengths, and don’t apologize for it. You can learn better social skills, you can learn the right body language, you can learn to become funnier, but how you manage your social energy is largely hard-wired and, according to many studies, not possible to change to any significant degree. If you’re struggling with coming to terms with being an introvert, then I suggest reading the “Bible” of the subject, Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts In a World That Can’t Stop Talking. If you don’t have time for reading, then go to YouTube and listen to her TED talk, it’s well worth the 15 minutes. Her book was an incredible resource that helped me come to terms with and embrace my personality and behaviors, and as a result, helped me tremendously with my own dating life.

2) Don’t Become a Hermit- Mingle, in Moderation Of Course

Introverts like me tend to zero in on the nearest corner of the room, snack table, or balcony when going to a party. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, in fact, it’s a whole lot better, socially speaking, than not going at all and staying home. The mistake with parties is that we tend to think we need to stay there the whole time and interact with every single person there. Leave that task to the extroverts. One thing that I’ve always done to make big parties more bearable is to have a target goal in mind, for example, talking to three or four people there during the first hour, and then politely excusing myself to leave. Doing this gives you the best of both worlds: For one, you’re not acting like a standoffish blowhard by not showing up, yet at the same time, you are partying on your terms by engaging with a few key people and then leaving at an acceptable time. I have found that in my life, no one has ever given me a hard time for doing this, as long as I showed up, was visible, and interacted with people.

3) Be Open to Conversations in Unlikely Places

One thing that held me back quite a bit before going on my self-development journey was when I would go about my day acting completely oblivious to the people and activities going on around me. After all,I would tell myself, I am out here for a specific purpose. I’m going shopping/getting food/taking the subway or bus, and I’m not here to waste time in pointless conversation talking to anyone. At one point in my 20s, I was so caught up in my desire to not be disturbed that I would put in my earphones and listen to music whenever I would go out, partly because I liked my music, but also because I didn’t want any strangers coming up to me to start randomly chit-chatting with me. I had “better things to do.” Fortunately, I have since come to realize just how foolish this was, and how many opportunities, including opportunities for potential dates, that I missed because I was so stuck in my own head and attached to my own story. By being a little bit more receptive to the talking, conversation, and the mere presence of the people around me, I have since gained many more opportunities, for both business-related ventures as well as dating. The next time you see someone who you find attractive in a coffee shop, subway, convenience store, grocery store, etc, try starting conversation with them. It will help to push you outside your comfort zone, and also help you to flex those social muscles with people you find interesting. I have had several very strong dating prospects come from these chance encounters in these seemingly random places. It’s simple logic: The more open you are to opportunities, the more opportunities you’ll recognize, and the more opportunities you’ll ultimately get!

4) Focus on Building Your Social Circle Through Hobbies/Interests and Everything You Do 

I will be doing plenty more entries on this topic, because in my personal view, developing, nurturing and expanding your social circle organically is hands down the most sure-fire way to bring the quality and the types of women you are seeking into your life. Whatever hobbies you enjoy, whatever games, books, sports, and activities you love to do, whatever fuels your passion in your job or career, take those things and “social-ize” them. Find a group, a Meetup, a club or an organization related to your interests, attend the meetings, hell, organize the meetings, get active and participate. Since these things are things you enjoy and are passionate about, you should have no problems, even as an introvert, with opening up and speaking to what you love. Chances are, there are females out there who share those interests of yours, and they will be at these events as well. Talk to everyone, build up your network, and use people in that network to introduce you to more people, etc, etc. rinse and repeat. You don’t have to be a boisterous extrovert in order to take advantage of this. Think of it more as a targeted search to do more socializing with people who will help fill your cup, a mission to find your tribe. Chances are you will meet a lot of compatible women in that tribe as well.

Practice with these the next time you are thinking about dating or finding people to date. As always, I hope you have found value from this post, and of course, I will re-visit this topic in future posts to give additional strategies and techniques for how introverts can take charge of their dating lives.

Peace,

-M

Are you an Introverted Man who is having trouble dating and forming relationships? Now that you know it’s possible to be a successful introverted dater, why not learn to unleash your full potential. Contact me at: michael.allen2123@gmail.com to schedule a free coaching session!

The Alpha Male- Part 1 of 2: Does it Exist, and What Does it Even Mean?

When I first set off on my journey to improve my dating life and to understand the underlying principles of social dynamics, one concept that always seemed to come up in whatever forum, blog, article, book or video that I consumed was the concept of the “Alpha Male” and how this idealized paragon of pure testosterone and brass-balled masculinity was supposed to act. No matter who was authoring the piece or post, the general concepts were always the same; in order to be an “Alpha,” you had to both look and act the part. Appearance wise, you had to be on par with an elite level professional athlete or male model, that at least, goes without saying. Behaviorally speaking, definitions tended to vary, but the vast majority of them talk about being aggressive, domineering, almost Machiavellian in outlook, borderline narcissistic, taking things for yourself, and overall, acting like what people is most non-romantic and non-sexual interactions would call an asshole. After all, the popular narrative in online forums goes, all women love “bad boys,” the ones who don’t call, don’t text, don’t care. “Nice guys” who do not act like this are automatically relegated to the friend zone at best, and outright ignored at worst. Therefore, if you learn how to be an overbearing, loud, obnoxious prick, you too can get the girl of your dreams (or many girls at once, whatever you like), and you’ll never have to worry about being lonely or unwanted ever again. In addition to being the dominant paradigm on men’s dating forums and men’s advice articles, this is also the narrative that many of the PUA-related products will try to sell you on. Become the Alpha, the Bad Boy, and any “HB10” will be yours with the snap of your fingers.

It’s an attractive and seductive piece of marketing:  Just learn a few techniques, behaviors, dress a certain way, and you’ll be sleeping with supermodels and partying with celebrities in no time at all. The only problem is: The real world doesn’t work that way. As a disclaimer, I’m not saying that working on yourself, your dress sense, your attitude, and your behavior is a waste of time or a bad idea, quite the contrary. I always encourage my clients to become the best version of themselves that they can be, they’re not going to attract their ideal women if they don’t! The two main issues I have with this paradigm are:

  1. The idea that there is only one, extremely narrow and exclusive view on what an “Alpha” is, and
  2. You will get loads of girls by learning to take on the asshole or bad boy attitude.

 

So, What Exactly is an “Alpha?”

As stated above, the general consensus is that an alpha is typically someone who is:

-Aggressive

-Always getting his way

-Never “giving up value” to anyone in his group

– The most authoritative speaker

– The one who always makes the final decisions

– The one who is constantly ‘taking the lead”

While there is nothing wrong with aspiring to be the type of man described here, it would help us to at least consider the following situations:

  • Is the broke, out of work musician with the bad boy persona who sleeps with many women more “alpha” than the seven-figure a year corporate executive who is completely devoted to one woman and his kids?
  • If that same corporate executive loses his job and income, is he still alpha?
  • A professional football player lets his wife decide where to go out to eat, and then while at the restaurant, he holds his wife’s purse for her and pulls out her chair. Is this man somehow less alpha because he’s apparently “pussywhipped?”
  • If an overweight, balding, out of shape guy happens to be a powerful CEO who manages and leads 500 people, is he more alpha than a “hot” guy who works a menial job for minimum wage?
  • Is the dude who looks like Comic Shop Guy from The Simpsons an alpha because he’s the highest ranking and most respected member of his social group that consists mostly of other nerds, several of whom are women he’s attracted to?

You can see that the waters can become quite a bit murky when you steer away from broad stereotypes and zoom in the proverbial microscope to start to see the real personal individual differences and idiosyncrasies that maneuver most real people away from simple broad brush labeling. The major problem here is, once again, that human beings tend to submit to binary, black and white thinking when it comes to “alpha-ness.” You are either a raging ball of pure (traditional) masculinity, pushing people out of the way, talking down to others, acting like an asshole, while taking any woman you want (up to and including the girlfriend or wife of another man), or you are otherwise a complete “beta” who is destined to be crushed under the heel of the almighty alphas, and you will never know the scent of a woman for the rest of your born days. Unfortunately, when you read online forums and commentaries, as well as listening to people offline in the “real world,” many men actually do take this view seriously.

For me, I don’t see this way of thinking being borne out in the real world. Just taking a look around a large city such as New York on a typical day, I see plenty of examples of men of all types , whether they fit the traditional “alpha” mold or not, who are often out with their girlfriends and wives. Not only that, but from my own personal observations (I love to people watch), not looking, acting or carrying yourself like the popular definition of “alpha” has little bearing on the level of attractiveness of their partners. The fact is, you can’t chalk everything up to a simple formula, because there is no formula. The hot chick in the sexy dress who you’d think would be going after the professional athlete at first glance, might actually find that cute physicist to be just her type. The pretty, yet quiet librarian might find the loud, assertive executive to really turn her on. Women are not a one-size-fits-all single-minded entity who all want exactly the same things. If they did, you wouldn’t be seeing women out with different types of men, literally every guy who had a girlfriend would have the exact same characteristics.

So, does this mean that Alpha’s don’t exist? Well, I wouldn’t be so quick to say that. I definitely think that they do exist, but the actual definition of this is much broader than people tend to think. For me, an alpha is someone who is anyone who is secure in themselves, knows what they want, and takes steps to maximize their lives, in whatever fields, interests, hobbies or jobs that give them the most pleasure. it doesn’t matter if your goal is to dominate in the corporate setting, excel on the playing field, write the next great American novel, produce the next hit platinum album, or become teacher of the year. An alpha is someone who strives for excellence in what they do. It has nothing to do with being domineering, stepping on others, treating people poorly, or any of that. Furthermore, when you are acting like a true alpha by living your purpose and doing your thing, it tends to lead you towards meeting the right kinds of women, anyway.

Do Alphas exist? Yes, but it is up to you to decide what it is and what that looks like.

Part 2 is coming soon, where I’ll discuss the common myths around “alphas” and how the misunderstandings surrounding the term spread, and what we can do to overcome them. 

 

-M

Dating Self Development Principle #1- You Attract What You Are

Every now and then, I’ll have a client or potential client approach me and say, “OK. I’m looking for a girl who is fit, in shape, eats right, is adventurous, is caring, giving, driven, smart, and entrepreneurial.” I’ll also have women mention the type of guys they’re looking for: “He must be tall, in good shape, have a full head of hair, work out every day, make six figures or more, be sweet and caring yet a badass (and know exactly when to be which), and be funny all the time.”

It’s only natural that this is the ideal that many men and women aspire to when choosing their partners. Looking at society through a wider lens with TV, movies, advertisements, our parents, our friends, and anyone or anything else regularly bringing up the topic of romance, we are constantly being exposed to the notion that people with these traits are the most desirable. Even when we take away the factors of the media and TV, there’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting a partner like this. For women, I totally get why wealthy, tall, assertive, washboard ab-sporting guys are seen as the most attractive. For men, it’s completely natural to want a woman who looks good, takes care of herself, and who is kind.  The issues arise when we fail to fully consider the other side of the equation- what it is we actually bring to the table.

I gave the example in an earlier post of how a guy who’s out of shape, lazy, unmotivated, broke, and who sits on the couch all day scarfing down Doritos while watching TV cannot realistically expect to attract a fitness model or someone who looks like they stepped out of a Victoria’s Secret catalog. Likewise, a woman who does not take care of herself, lacks ambition, dresses poorly, is rude, lacks conversational skills, and holes herself up inside her apartment all day cannot expect a Hollywood A-lister, a CEO or a professional athlete to just show up at her door. Why, though? “I thought you said it wasn’t all about looks!” you might respond. “Shouldn’t it be all about who you are on the inside? Your personality? What about values? If we have the same values, shouldn’t that entitle me to a fair shot at a top of the line guy/girl?”

The major issue here stems from the fact that a great many of us engage in a very binary, black-and-white thought pattern when it comes to the whole looks vs. personality debate. We have whole groups of online commenters, even whole online communities, devoted to the idea that looks and physical traits are everything in determining attraction, and that literally nothing else matters. On the other extreme, you have groups and communities based around the idea that looks don’t matter at all, and that an ugly, broke, humorless guy can “score” with a super hot model if he just knows the right things to say and has the right “lines,” or that an unfashionable, unkempt, uninteresting, unmotivated woman can attract a high-powered CEO or an NBA all-star. Neither of these extremes is the be all, end all, however. The truth, as is usually the case with dichotomies, lies somewhere in the middle.

Like it or not, the dating landscape of 2018 is indeed a marketplace, with the basic laws of supply and demand overseeing its workings like the proverbial Big Brother. People approach dating in this age with an attitude of “What’s the best deal I can get?” Both men and women are looking to match up with partners of equal value, not solely based on looks, but even more importantly, in terms of mutual shared values, interests, and personality traits. The out of shape unmotivated guy may complain that it’s his look that’s the reason why the fitness model with 1,000  steamy Instagram photos didn’t return his message. While that may certainly be part of the story, is it the whole story, though? Think about the vastly different lifestyles these two people live. The fitness model is constantly working out, taking care of herself, eating right and watching literally every morsel of food she is putting in her body. Her entire ability to generate income is closely tied to how she looks, so you can believe that most of her waking activities are going to be centered around maintaining her body in an optimal state. The couch surfing guy? While he may be a superstar in his office, his non-work activities, values and interests are likely  nowhere near in the same ballpark as that of the fitness model. It’s clear that he does not value his body and appearance the same way she does. If he did, he would be taking better care of it than he currently does. Ironically, the extra attention he pays to it will help him to cultivate a better physical appearance for him. In addition, his commitment to staying in shape will now compliment the model’s commitment to fitness and lifestyle, which will greatly increase the probability that she will find him attractive, and that these two will get ultimately get along. So, can we really say that the incompatibility is a looks thing, or is that just a symptom of an even more underlying  core value difference between the two of them? Ditto for the high-powered male CEO and the depressed, unkempt female recluse.

The underlying thing that we have to remember when looking to attract a specific type of mate is that you need to be able to match your potential mate in terms of the qualities and values that they bring to the table. If you look at yourself in the mirror, and you cannot realistically say that you can do this, then you need to figure out what it is that you need to modify in your life, in terms of habits, physical appearance, lifestyle, fashion, or whatever else, and make the necessary changes which will help you to better attract that type of mate. If you’re a rude, lazy, out of shape, and negative, then I hate to have to tell you,  then that is exactly what you will attract into your life in terms of the opposite sex. If you’re poor, get a better job. If you’re overweight and hate it, develop a solid workout plan and stick to it. If you’re negative and rude, work on changing your outlook on life and treat people with more respect. Attracting the best people into your life is as much a matter of general self-development as it is about knowing where to look and what to say to them. Make the necessary changes. You don’t have to change who you are at the core. Just present yourself in the best way possible. After all, you attract what you are.

 

Later,

 

M

Are you Settling? 5 Signs You May Need a Relationship Re-Think

Oftentimes, when we meet a super hot girl or an amazing guy, we feel the instant chemistry, the animal attraction that inexplicably draws us to them, and in that moment, nothing else matters. Our biology is doing the talking, and we are all too keen to listen. How many times have you started a short or long-term relationship with someone because you felt an intense attraction to them, only to find out later, after being with them for a while, that they just can’t meet your needs in one or more crucial areas? How many times have you decided to stay in these relationships, even after realizing that you are not happy, because you don’t want to be alone or because you’re afraid of putting yourself out there again and starting from square one? Have you ever left a marriage or multi-year relationship, and were so eager to be in a relationship again, that you jumped right in with the first person who showed you interest? Its unfortunate, but with many people we meet, we can’t (or in many cases, simply won’t) realize early on that this person is just not right for us. Sometimes the red flags in relationships are very subtle and difficult to see at first, and they only creep up many months or even years into a relationship. Whatever the case, if you feel that you are noticing the following 5 signs, it might be time for you to give some serious thought as to how, or if, you want to move forward with your partner. Let’s take a look:

Sign #1- You Are Prone to Getting Into a Relationship With the First Person Who Comes Along

I find this to be especially true of people who recently got out of a marriage or long multi-year relationship, although it is not exclusive to them. These people are so eager to get back in the game and find someone new, that they become quick to settle in to a new romance with the first person who shows them interest. Whether this person comes along as a result of a dating app, a Meetup group, school or work, the fact that this person is available, interested, and reasonably good-looking is enough to warrant making a move towards boyfriend/girlfriend status. While this person may check many of the more surface level boxes that you have, you need to be cautious and wary of jumping right in. Be sure to take some time to actually get to know this person, what their likes and dislikes are, how their values match up to yours, and how you can realistically see yourself fitting into this person’s life months or years down the road. Take some time before declaring that you two are an item.

One reason why this is so common is that for many people, we tend to focus all our energies on this first person who seems right for us that we ignore other potential candidates who might be even more of a good match for us. To avoid being needy and attaching too much outcome to one particular person, it is a sound dating strategy to instead date multiple people at once, at least for a while, until you can determine with confidence who best fits your vision of an ideal relationship. By doing this, you won’t be putting so much stock into one person too early on, and if you find that things don’t work out with the one you originally thought was best, you still have other options who could end up being just as good or better for you than who you originally had in mind. So make full use of those dating apps, your social circle, and even talking to random people you meet out and about. Use all avenues that you have available. Be comfortable with keeping your options open, and it won’t feel like such a let down when once candidate you like doesn’t actually work out.

 

Sign #2- You Accept Too Many Deal Breakers

Back in one of my first posts on the blog, I wrote about how you can go about finding your ideal partner. One way to do that was to make a list with several columns, with one of those columns being “must haves” and another being “must not haves.”  For each of those columns, you should put no more than 5 items there, so that your top-choice mates do not become overly difficult to find. It is imperative that when searching for a partner who will excite, stimulate, and ultimately satisfy us, that we do not compromise on any of the items that we put down in those two columns. For example, if you’re searching for a quality girlfriend, and you put down, “she must be a non-smoker,” then you need to absolutely plant your flag and not compromise on that. Too often, however, I see guys who will end up saying to themselves, “OK, well, she’s got 4 out of 5 must haves, but she smokes. Even though that sucks, she’s still got the other 4, so I guess that’s good enough for me.” Not surprisingly, several months later, I find out that the guy in question broke up with his girlfriend, because the last must have that wasn’t there became too much of an issue, and he reached the point where he could no longer accept it. The point to remember here is that even though we might think that skimping on one of our deal breakers won’t be such a big deal (and at first it might not be, which makes it all the more insidious), in time it will come back to play a negative role in the relationship. So if you’ve made the commitment to draw a line in the sand about your deal breakers, don’t decide to go back on them if they’re that important to you. Even if you are getting the feeling that not enough people have all 5 of them, you need to ask: Would you rather be alone for a while longer, to would you rather get into another relationship where you know that eventually you will be unhappy and miserable?

Sign #3- You’re Not Actually Attracted to Them Physically

Despite the messages we often receive from the media that tell us that looks and other surface level features shouldn’t be important, and that it’s “what’s on the inside that counts,” make no mistake: Physical attraction matters. After all, this is a romantic relationship you’re entering into, not another platonic friendship. To be in a romantic relationship implies, *ahem*, getting “physical” with your partner every now and then (more often than that, preferably). If your primal sexual desires are not being ignited within the presence of your partner, then you are going to need to face the genuine reality that this WILL be a serious issue in your relationship going forward.

I think a lot of people’s hang ups on physical attraction (at least in the United States) stem from the more puritanical roots of many cultural characteristics of our society. Many of the more traditional minded among us still view openly talking about the concept of sex, the sex act itself, and biological attraction as being crass, vulgar, inappropriate, and something that should only be discussed privately among partners. Some of us will even judge people who do talk about such topics in an open forum as being “not far above animals” (Yes, I actually heard this once). Partly because of these stigmas, and also due to how some people were raised, they learned very quickly to downplay their sexual preferences and desires as secondary or even tertiary traits that they look for in a partner, to the point that some now won’t even consider these as important, partly out of a fear of being labeled “shallow.” Many of these people have since gone on to form relationships with people whom they have a lot in common with, but whom they do not find sexually attractive. Despite having plenty in common emotionally and personality-wise with their partners, deep inside they are still quite frustrated that they cannot feel the desire to get intimate with their partners, and some have even gone years without sex, yet they stay because they do not want to be labeled as “superficial” if they decide to end their relationship and seek someone who they do want to share intimacy with. If you are finding this to be the case in your relationship, then I strongly suggest taking a closer look and determining whether staying in your current situation is worth it. There is nothing wrong with wanting and expecting to be turned on physically by your girlfriend or boyfriend. If you are not feeling that desire, you might need to do both yourself and your partner a favor and look elsewhere.

Sign #4- You Change Yourself to Fit Their Interests and Whims

Story time: I once had a male client, I’ll call him Charlie, who told me that when he started seeing his current girlfriend, he was as happy as could be.  His girlfriend, who I’ll refer to here as Annette, was enthusiastic, full of energy, funny, attentive, had frequent sex, and always made time for him and their relationship. However, after a while, once they moved in together, things changed. Annette started criticizing Charlie over his hobbies and interests. She would come in the room while he was watching basketball, grab the remote and turn off the TV, often without saying a word. She would complain when he wanted to go out and do something fun on the weekends, while she wanted to stay in. Charlie would silently get upset and frustrated when he would listen to her belittle and verbally cut down waiters and taxi drivers for making minor errors. He was increasingly becoming more and more unhappy in the relationship, yet he decided to stay, because, in his own words, “I thought I loved her. I still thought she was hot. I thought…. I hoped, that it was all a phase she was going through and that she’d eventually snap out of it. It only continued to get worse.”

A big part of the reason why things got worse is that Charlie became so desperate to hold on to Annette and continue to gain her approval, that he actually changed aspects of his core makeup as a person so that he could fit the kind of archetype he imagined Annette wanted. He stopped watching basketball, one of his favorite pastimes, and started joining  Annette to watch reality TV shows.

“I watched all her shows with her. Deep down, I couldn’t stand all of them, but I did it because I thought it would help bring me closer to Annette. I spent my weekends going to art museums and taking walks in the park, because that’s what she liked. I wanted to tell her that for just one weekend, let’s go for a hike, or to a Nets game. Let’s leave the city and go somewhere new, but I didn’t do it, because I knew she’d never go for it. I just didn’t get it….We started off so great, we had such good chemistry in our first couple of months, I was trying to do everything to rekindle that. “

The problem here is that we have a case of someone who fell so hard for someone else, that in the effort to keep that memory of the initial good times alive, Charlie decided he had to make changes to his own lifestyle and interests to better suit what he thought Annette wanted. Keep in mind, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to make changes, overhaul your lifestyle, and become a better person. In fact I encourage this in most of my clients. However, a key distinction needs to be drawn here- If you want to change yourself and your lifestyle, you need to be fully 100% on board with it, and the ultimate decision to do so needs to come from within you, not because you are feeling pressure form someone else to change. Furthermore, the benefits you want to get from it need to benefit you first and foremost. If you are making the changes because you want to make them for yourself, go for it. If you are doing so because someone else is unduly pressuring you into doing it, you don’t actually want to do it, and you feel like you need to do it to appease them, then perhaps that’s not the best way to go about it. Example: becoming a vegan because you want to experience the health benefits vs. becoming a vegan because your partner is telling/bullying/forcing you to do so.

Sign #5- You Are Always Longing for Others While You Are In a Relationship

It’s inevitable- even when we’re on fire and perfectly happy with our current relationship, every now and then, someone else is going to come along and make us simply go, “Damn!” While it’s perfectly acceptable to find other people hot while you’re in a serious relationship, the problems start to surface when you are constantly comparing these people more favorably to your own partner in your mind, and even worse, when you start seriously contemplating making legit moves towards getting with these people. If you find that this is happening even once, let alone multiple times throughout the course of your relationship, you need to seriously consider exiting, both for your sake and your partner’s. While its fine to check out and drink in other people’s beauty and charm from a distance, at the end of the day, your should ideally strive to see your partner as the most attractive and desirable option you have. If this is not the case, then you may need to keep searching until you find someone who does fit that description.

Conclusion

Dating is hard. Dating in the hopes of finding a quality partner to enter a serious long-term relationship with is even harder. With so many things that we’re looking for in a partner, how do we know which things to look for and which things to compromise on? How do we know when we’re truly settling, and when we’re just being unfair? Only you can answer that, and you will really need to look closely at what your key deal breakers are and are not. If you can keep yourself to 5 deal breakers, and be able to compromise on the rest, you will find that the issue of settling will largely take care of itself. Part of the issue happens when we do not prioritize and simply make a list of all 20-25 things that we want and label them all as “deal breakers.” Learn to understand what your core values are, and base your selection criteria around those key things. You should find that  the process makes a lot more sense.

-M

The “I’m too (Fill In The Blank) to Date” Series, Part 2- Age

Just a little over a century ago, in 1900, the average human life expectancy hovered just over the age of 40 for men, and around 45 for women. Back then, you could reasonably expect to get married right when you finished school, have a few kids, and look forward to around 20-25 solid years of marriage before you and your partner rode off into the proverbial sunset. Even though divorce did exist back then, since life was so short, most people didn’t have to worry about the possibility of “growing tired” of their partners, or falling out of love, since 1) Far fewer marriages in 1900 were based around love, but for more economic and status based reasons (some say this still happens a lot in our modern society, but that’s a subject for a different post), and 2) There simply wasn’t as much time for that to happen.

In 2018, our average life expectancy has nearly doubled, and the vast majority of our marriages are based around how strong our emotional, chemical and hormonal based feelings are when we’re around our partners. People getting married at the average age of 29 for men and 27 for women can expect to be married for an average of 48 years in Western countries, if they take the “till death do us part” of the marriage vows seriously. For many, this amount of time is too great to fathom, as it leaves loads of time for unexpected changes in both one’s overall personality and outlook on life, as well as one’s individual tastes. Add on the fact that, when you base your long-term relationships and marriages primarily on chemical attraction, you run the risk of having that change fairly quickly after marriage. When couples realize that they don’t want to be together anymore because they “don’t feel the sparks,” and they still have 40 or so years in which to live, it should come as no surprise that you will eventually see a massive, unprecedented trend of newly single people popping up in their late 30s, 40’s and 50’s, many of whom are looking to find romance again. If people are realizing that the partners they originally got hitched to are no good for them, and they want to get out of an unhappy marriage and start over, shouldn’t that be a good thing? Shouldn’t we be praising these people for their heightened self-awareness and the desire to ultimately be happier in life? What about the people who choose to be single until a more advanced age, because they want to make absolutely sure that they find the right partner? Shouldn’t they also be praised for their foresight and  unwavering commitment to finding someone who shares their values?

The reality is that in many respects, society is not prepared for this “new normal” of newly single middle-aged people. Despite our increased life expectancy and increased health span (50 today on average is significantly kinder to us than it was fifty years ago), we still view the ideal time to find a partner, get married for life, and settle down to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 25-30. With media images, advertisements, friends and family reinforcing the idea that finding love and romance is a game reserved only for the young, and that being single past a certain age makes one an “old maid,” “confirmed bachelor, or “X-year-old Virgin,” why should we be surprised that there is a bit of trepidation and hesitancy from older people who are looking to date? Is there really a maximum age for dating, beyond which just looks plain silly, sad, and pathetic? Should single or divorced people past a certain age simply settle for the idea that love and romance are just not for them, and learn to accept the notion of being alone forever?

In my personal view, there is no ceiling on age when it comes to romance. The biggest determiner as to whether or not you will be a successful dater in your later years is you, not any arbitrary societal expectations or “rules.” Take my own life, for example. As of July 10th, 2018, I am just under 3 years away from turning 40.  Talking to many of my old high school and college classmates who are still single recently, it’s interesting to hear how they are all handling the realization that they are about to undergo another crucial decade change fairly soon. When asking them how they felt about it, roughly half of them viewed the inevitable with a sense of dread and fear, worrying about the decreased energy,  fading sexual vitality, hair loss, fading looks, and fewer romantic prospects. The other half of my age cohort looks at this upcoming event either in a neutral tone, or even as a positive. Some of them look forward to age 40, where they expect to have more money, an advanced career, more free time to spend with their partners and friends, more vacations,  more opportunities to give back to others, and to do the kinds of things they have always wanted to do, both professionally and personally. Something that I’ve noticed with the latter category of my peers, is that those who seem more upbeat about turning 40 are generally happier people overall. They tend to be smiling more, friendlier, they are more willing to give of themselves, and generally are not bothered by the small, minor setbacks of life.  Not surprisingly, these are the people who are the most successful in the romantic arena, often having multiple dates per week, and some have entered in to successful long-term relationships. Contrast this with the other group of my peers, whose negative attitude about getting older seems to overlap with a more negative, cynical belief about life in general. These people tend not to trust others as much, are less likely to help out, and they do not have as favorable an outlook on the simple pleasures of day-to-day life as others do. Again, no much surprise here, these people’s romantic lives are a proverbial desert at this point in time. Perhaps there is something to this? Perhaps there is something to the idea that your attitude about getting older is related to your attitude and outlook about life in general, and that this will ultimately have an effect on your single-dom?  Maybe. I’m not a social scientist, and the only data I have is with my own circle of friends and acquaintances. Regardless, I think there is a strong correlation to your attitude about getting older and your ability to date successfully. If you believe your age will be a problem, then others are more likely to believe so, too.

Consider also, the idea that the older you are, the wiser you are, about dating as well as in general. When you hit 40 (or 45, or 50), you will most likely have a lifetime of past relationships (even marriages) that did not work out. Wise people will analyze those past relationships and learn from any mistakes made. If you do, and you can avoid repeated errors, you will be in much better place to have a fulfilling relationship with the right person.

What about dating someone with a significant age gap? If you are in your 40’s or 50’s, it may be harder to find suitable people your age to date, as many of them will be in marriages or otherwise not available to date. It may be that your best choice is to date someone outside of your age bracket, either younger, or older. Many people have a problem with others dating outside of their age bracket, but I encourage people to be a bit more open-minded. At the end of the day, what we ultimately need to look for are shared values, not necessarily similar quantifiable numbers (like age or height). If it turns out that the person you have the most shared values with is someone 10 or more years younger, than why would you want to throw something potentially great away because of time spent on the Earth? This works also for someone 10 years older, too. Find someone with the most similar values to yours, and your life will be more fulfilled, regardless of age.

I plan to release more posts related to dating and romance at an advanced age very soon.  As usual, I hope you have found these insights helpful.

Till next time.

-M

 

The Importance of Being Fashionable for Men

Fashion? Isn’t that something that chicks are into?”

It’s unfortunate, but the above quote pretty much sums up the traditional attitude that the American culture has had about fashion as it relates to men. On the surface, one can hardly blame men who have grown up in recent times. After all, we’re talking about a period where the popular culture and media narratives have continually presented the iconic American male outfit as a plain T-shirt and jeans. We’re talking about a business climate where the unmistakable trend over the past half century has been to dress more and more casually. I remember the last corporate job I worked for. Most of the men paid little to no attention to how they dressed. Stonewashed dad jeans, untucked collared shirts hanging down to the lower thighs, and gym sneakers adorned the offices and cubicles of this 45-year-old company, where the standard dress code used to be a full-on business suit , polished shoes, cuff links, and (gasp), even a tie not too long ago. With all the messages that both businesses and individuals send us men about fashion becoming more and more irrelevant, we might be able to forgive many for succumbing to the easier, effortless, more comfortable options.

However, the people sending those utilitarian messages are probably not thinking in the moment about how you appear to the opposite sex. They may have temporarily forgotten the statistic being bandied about on countless studies, the one that says that people will make snap judgments about your appearance in the first several seconds of meeting you, and that the information presented in those precious seconds will be almost entirely based around how you look. Once that critical first impression is made, it becomes anywhere from extremely difficult to hopelessly impossible to alter.  This means that before you even get a chance to charm everyone with your killer personality and clever wit, you are already possibly being placed in the “I don’t want to know you” category, unnecessarily sabotaging your chances of getting to know a really amazing woman.

The fact is, you never know when you are going to run into the woman of your dreams. You might think it’s going to be at the next big cocktail party you’re being invited to, but it could just as easily be when you’re going to the grocery store or the convenience store for a quick snack, and you didn’t think you needed to wear anything special, so you just put on your coffee stained  t-shirt, sweatpants and flip-flops, hoping to get “in and out” without anyone noticing. But, if an attractive woman is there, then she will notice, and she will be harshly judging you based on your lackluster fashion choices for those 15 minutes. So why take the chance of throwing away what could be an awesome first impression? Why not focus on maximizing your style no matter what situation you are in? Today, we’re going to look at why it pays to tend to your fashion at all times, and the amazing benefits it gives both you and the women you interact with.

How Dressing Your Best Affects Your own Self Belief and Self Image

The quickest and most noticeable benefit of paying attention to your fashion is the huge confidence boost it gives you. Studies have shown time and time again, that if you dress a certain way, then subconsciously, you will start to act a certain way. This means if you dress in a fancy suit every day, then you’re going to start acting, and ultimately believing that you can play the part of a successful captain of industry. Conversely, if you put no effort in, and dress like you just got out of bed, your confidence and mindset will begin to conform to those stereotypes associated with that type of person as well. Such is the power that clothes bring to us. Once our confidence and our sense of competence increases from wearing the right clothes, it will produce a ripple effect that will spread out and touch every area of our lives. Our interactions with others will become more positive, and we will of course, be considered much more favorably by women, who on average, rank a good sense of style highly on their list of desirable male traits, even more than having lots of money, depending on which source you believe. This will then create a positive feedback loop, where being looked on more favorably by women will create more confidence, which will create more attraction, which will create more confidence, etc.

How Dressing Your Best Affects the Women Around You

Human beings are visual creatures. Research has shown that people respond and react to visual cues between 3 and 5 times stronger than auditory cues. This means that how you are presenting yourself visually will make a huge impression on any woman you meet, much more so than what you say (at least during those first few critical moments when meeting them). When a woman sees that a man has put effort into his appearance and his dress, it signals to her several things. Firstly, it shows her that he is a man who pays attention to detail. It also shows that he values his overall well-being and his own personal brand, and that he values himself highly enough to warrant putting in the effort to look his best. This creates a doubly positive impression where she is both impressed with how he appears on the outside, as well as with his confidence and self assuredness on the inside. Women also associate well dressed men with authority, competence, and high social status, all qualities that are extremely attractive.  Finally, dressing well signals to a woman that the man she is seeing has his life in order and is well-adjusted. Both consciously as unconsciously, a woman will see a sharp dressed man as much less likely to be a crazy psychopath than one who looks like an unshaven, unkempt homeless person. Makes sense.

So, Now What?

So what exactly does “dressing well” mean? Does it mean that we have to wear a suit everywhere we go, even if it’s just a quick 15 minute trip to 7-Eleven? Of course not. Wearing a suit is powerful and sexy, but there is a time and a place for it. When it comes to dressing well at all times and for all situations, it helps to remember what not to wear as much as what to wear. You can wear t-shirts, jeans, shorts, polo shirts, etc when you are not in a formal setting, as long as the clothes fit properly and are not oversized, and that the colors and styles match your natural tones. We will talk more about specific fashion tips in future installments, as well as the all important fashion don’ts. For now, I hope this has been helpful in remembering just why fashion and style should be an important consideration in your dating life.

Cheers!

-M