Dating Goddess has moved

Posted December 3, 2007 by Dating Goddess
Categories: Dating after 40

I have now moved my blog to my own site http://www.DatingGoddess.com. For some of you this may be transparent, as I’ve had this URL redirected to the WordPress host for a long time. But in case you haven’t saved it as the above URL, please do so. Or better yet, subscribe via RSS or get each posting via email through the FeedBlitz link on the left.

In response to Elena’s question:

I’ve noticed that you’ve been posting less frequently. This isn’t a criticism, just an observation. Is the new relationship taking up more of your time or have you decided to reduce the frequency of posts? It’s incredible that you’ve been able to post daily for more than two years so if you’ve decided to ramp down, it would be totally understandable. Just curious.

My original purpose of blogging was to create the manuscript that is now in my literary agent’s hands and is being pitched to publishers. But I got a little carried away and continued daily postings for nearly 2 years! I now have enough content for several books. But I have decided to cut to about every other day so I would feel the pressure to “just write about anything.” While it worked for Seinfield to have a show about nothing, I want to offer you insightful or amusing content.

Also, since I’ve been traveling more — a week at Thanksgiving and I’ll be gone 5 days this week, plus I’ll be gone to India and Singapore for all of January. It’s harder to find time to write and sometimes to find an Internet connection. In January I’m not sure how often I’ll be able to post — or have anything interesting to comment on. I may post some observations during my travels, and ask your tolerance that the postings may not be dating related. But who knows, maybe I’ll have a date or two while I’m gone!

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The man-sieve

Posted December 1, 2007 by Dating Goddess
Categories: Dating after 40, Who are you and what do you want?

Unless you live in a remote area, there are eligible, age-appropriate single men all around you. You have developed a filter for either attracting them or not, or accepting or rejecting date requests.

sieveBefore you began dating you may have said, “I don’t really know what I want, so I’ll go out with anyone who asks.” Your “man-sieve” has small holes and catches many men.

Or you set abundant criteria a man must meet before you’ll consider going out with him. Your man-sieve is loosely meshed, with large holes, allowing all but a very few to pass through.

As you date a few men, you adjust the man strainer. If you meet too many men who don’t meet your minimum criteria, you loosen your sieve so more fall through, only allowing the ones who are a likely match to be caught.

Or if you find nearly no one meets your expectations, you realize you are being unrealistic and you allow a few more to be caught. Maybe rather than insisting a man be 6′ tall you go out with 5-foot-11 or 5-foot-10 ones. Or rather than turning down anyone who doesn’t have a 4-year college degree, you look for intelligence, articulateness, and worldliness, even though he left Harvard mid-way, à la Bill Gates.

Have you examined your man-sieve lately? We often do so after a particularly odious date — “I’ve got to develop better criteria for who I’ll go out with.” Eventually you come upon a good mix of must-haves with nice-to-haves. You refine your filter so you are only going out with men who are good potential matches.

What have you noticed about how you’ve adjusted your man sieve over time? Have you tightened or loosened your criteria — or perhaps some of both?

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Noticing what’s positively eliminated

Posted November 30, 2007 by Dating Goddess
Categories: Dating after 40, Second dates and beyond

In relationships — even dating relationships — you often discover behaviors in the other that drive you batty. These behaviors aren’t deal breakers, just minor annoyances. So you non-judgmentally share your irritation with your guy and ask him if he would be willing to work on reducing this. He is accommodating, apologizes for it whatever it is that irks you, and says he’ll work on it.

Let’s say his irksome behavior is poking you in the ribs when he’s teasing you about something. You don’t really mind the teasing, but it’s the poking that smarts a bit, so you tell him. He agrees to be more conscious and stop doing it.

A few days pass. He says something teasingly. No poke. But you don’t notice the absence. The next day he teases you, along with a poke. “You did it again. I told you to stop poking me!” He apologizes and says he’s working on it. Another day, another teasing; no poke. And another. The next one is a teasing/poking combo.

“You must not care that this irritates me because you’re still doing it!”

“I’m sorry. I’ve been really working on this. It’s an old habit we’ve done in my family for decades. It will take a little time for me to undo it.”

You haven’t noticed what’s missing — the poke. You only notice when it’s still present, not the times it’s absent.

This is human nature. Congratulations. You’re part of the human race.

The hard part with any requested behavior change is noticing progress when that improvement is actually the absence of something. It’s hard to notice when something is no longer there. Unless you’re really conscious.

swear wordsI remember many years ago deciding to severely limit my cursing, which previously had been liberal. My ex and I had discussed how it sounded unprofessional and unladylike when I would let loose a curse word, when a non-curse word would suffice. At first it sounded a little silly to say “drat,” “darn,” and “sugar” instead of the more profane versions, but I made a huge effort to utter these. However, an expletive would occasionally leak out and my ex would hear it. He didn’t notice that I’d eliminated 90% of my cussing, and only heard the few swear words and thought I hadn’t made much progress.

So when you ask your guy to make a shift to eliminate some vexing behavior, be sure you notice the progress. Sometimes absence is progress.

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Does he know what turns you on?

Posted November 29, 2007 by Dating Goddess
Categories: Dating after 40, Sex: A Dating Midlife Woman’s Guide

Does the guy you’re dating know what turns you on? Or does he make assumptions based on what turns him on?

naked yogaToday I received a bawdy video emailed from an old beau turned friend. It was clips of naked, buxom women playing various sports — gymnastics, calisthenics, etc. He thought it would turn me on.

I said, “It’s a guy video.”

“What do you mean?”

“Most of the women I know aren’t turned on by naked women.”

“What turns them on?”

“Naked MEN! Good looking ones!”

Now wouldn’t you think a 55-year-old man would know this, considering he was married for 10 years and has had many subsequent girlfriends in the last 20 years? Or did he go with women who were turned on by naked women? Or these past gals didn’t tell him this didn’t do it for them?

I think the lesson here is to not be afraid to tell your guy what gets you going — and what doesn’t. The latter needs to be delivered gently, not angrily or condescendingly. But guy pals tell us over and over — men need clear instructions. They don’t notice hints well. So let him know! You will both be much happier.

(I know you’re thinking, “Does this explain why he’s an ex-beau?”)

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Being played by a pathological liar

Posted November 27, 2007 by Dating Goddess
Categories: Dating after 40, Second dates and beyond

I think of myself as a good judge of character. I usually trust my gut and can often feel when something isn’t right. If something doesn’t make sense, I question it. While I generally trust people and look for the good in them, I am also skeptical. I am not easily fooled.

But he did it. He spun plausible stories, so even when his explanations were a tad over the top they seemed believable. He even admitted things sounded crazy. His voice was so convincing, I decided he would have to be a very good actor if what he was telling me wasn’t true.

He was. It turned out he was a practiced liar. So much so, his family members repeatedly encouraged him to get psychological help.

How do I know? After talking to him daily for nearly a month, going out on a few dates and his expressing his deep connection to me, I didn’t hear from him for a few weeks. The last time we spoke he said he’d call me back in an hour. He didn’t. I became concerned about him. A week before that last conversation, he’d totaled his car and was in the hospital for a few days. I was worried that he might have had a complication and was back in the hospital.

I left him a few voice mails and emails trying to see if he was okay. When I didn’t hear back, I imagined him in a hospital bed. I knew where his sister worked, so finally braved calling her to see if he was all right. She was sympathetic and helpful.

“My brother is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. But he is not all that he has led you to believe.”

“What do you mean?”

“He embellishes and fabricates.”

“He lies?” I wasn’t surprised, just wanted to confirm.

“Yes.”

We went through the things he had told me. Some were true, others weren’t, and some she wasn’t sure about. Yes, he owned a Lexus as he told me, but she didn’t know about the other car he supposedly rolled. She hadn’t heard he had been in accident in the last month, even though they talked just last week. She confirmed he wasn’t married and didn’t have a girlfriend. When I asked what he really did for a living, she said what he told me is what he had told their mother, but they weren’t really sure. Yes, the story he shared about his past girlfriend was true. But the cousin he told me died in his arms was still alive. And she had no knowledge of his being offered or taking a job out of state.

He is really eleven years younger than he told me. Instead of his being seven years older than she, he is really three.

I shared with her, “I found a listing on the Internet in his name in his town for a driver’s license suspension in 2004. He denied it was him.”

“That was him.”

“Odd thing to lie about.”

The things he lied about were strange. People usually lie to get out of something and/or to present themselves as someone they aren’t. So why would he lie about his cousin’s death and the age difference between him and his sister? I can see why he might lie about the job, but he spun an elaborate tale about that.

“My mother, father and I have all told him he needs to get psychological help for his lying. He hasn’t sought any. He learned to lie at an early age as a way to survive in our tough childhood neighborhood. Now there’s no reason to lie, but he still does it. We don’t know if he’s bored and this makes life more interesting, or why he does it. We don’t believe most of what he tells us until we have proof.”

While I felt foolish to be duped, I was actually relieved to get answers. I like mystery movies and when the riddle isn’t solved cogently, it’s unsettling. My feelings for this man had dissipated but I wanted to close the book having some questions resolved. Don’t we wish every man who says or does something that doesn’t make sense had such a forthcoming sister to tell us the truth?

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What kind of tree are you?

Posted November 25, 2007 by Dating Goddess
Categories: Dating after 40

Spending six days over the holiday with a two-decade-married couple gave me ample opportunity to watch their relationship up close for days on end. Usually when we visit friends or relatives we spend from several hours to a few days with them. When others are around, most of us are on our best behavior. Only after sufficient time do true behaviors and patterns emerge.

I felt a mix of friend, confidant, and behavioral scientist watching their patterns displayed in everyday activities. So when the woman shared some of their hiccups, I began to see where the breakdowns occurred.

A recurring event transpired when one of them suggested doing something his/her way and the other expressed, in an irritated tone, the desire to do it another way. They both sounded irked until one of them acquiesced. The acquiescer, though, showed his/her annoyance, but out of view or ear shot of the other.

So the dance continued. These are both highly intelligent people who have worked on their relationship. But they continued to repeat patterns of “My way is best” until one gave in. And they wondered why there was resentment.

Finally, near the end of my stay, unable to keep quiet any longer, I spoke up. “You two are both capable, competent and good problem solvers. You seem to get annoyed when the other doesn’t see the wisdom of your way of doing something. Rather than realizing that the best solution could be a combination of your ideas, or that either of your fixes would work just fine, you make the other wrong.

oak tree“Think of each other like a tree. No, I’m not going all Barbara Walters here — ‘If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?’ But let’s say you (the guy) is an oak tree. What is great about oaks? They are strong, majestic, and provide acorns which feed wild life. But they aren’t very flexible and would not ride out a hurricane very well.

palm tree“And you (the woman) is like a palm. What is great about palms? They bend in high winds, provide shade from the heat, and create dates or coconuts. But palms survive only in tropical or subtropical weather, so the environment has to be just right to thrive.

“You two go about your life together getting upset that the other doesn’t operate like you do. The oak gets upset that the palm is so wishy-washy (flexible) and that her seeds (coconuts) are so big they smash the acorns to bits when they fall. The palm is irritated that the oak is so rigid and his seeds are so tiny you can’t find them.

“If you would just step back and appreciate what each of you bring to the party. How each of you is magnificent in your own way, and encourage each other to be more of what you naturally contribute to the relationship. Embrace it and strategically utilize each others’ strengths rather than constantly wishing the other were more like you. I think you’d have more peace and love in your relationship, which is what you say you want.”

I left shortly after this discussion, so don’t know if it made any impact or not. Perhaps this can be a reminder for all of us to appreciate the different strengths each partner brings to the relationship, rather than wishing s/he were more like us.

Have you had success appreciating and embracing your partner’s differences rather than condemning them? If so, share how you did this.

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The downsides of always getting your way

Posted November 23, 2007 by Dating Goddess
Categories: Dating after 40

We’ve discussed how a mature, sane man generally wants to make you happy. But how can always getting what you want make you unhappy? A fellow strong woman and I were discussing this recently.

“While I appreciate that my man is interested in making me happy, sometimes it can be a weight,” she shared.

“In what way?” I queried.

“If he’s not willing to speak up about what he wants, then I feel I need to take into consideration what I think he would like before deciding something. So if he asks me what movie I want to see, I could choose a chick flick, but know he wouldn’t be thrilled. So I choose one that may not be at the top of my list, but know he’s more likely to enjoy.”

“That just seems considerate. Why is that a problem?”

“Because I’m not then being exposed to movies that he might suggest and I wouldn’t have thought of. Instead of broadening my options, I’m limited to only what I think of or know about.

“Also, a relationship should be 50/50. I want to give him what he wants equally. By his not thinking about what he wants and sharing it, I’m not really getting to know his true desires. If he constantly puts my preferences above his, he’s hiding from me.”

“I can see that. Also, I’ve found when someone acquiesces too much, it is tedious to always make the decisions. I used to ski with a woman who would never make a decision about which runs we should take. ‘Whatever you want,’ she’d say. I noticed how much work it was to decide the runs that I knew she could handle. Finally, I said, ‘You pick the runs in the morning and I’ll choose them for the afternoon.’ It felt much more balanced that way.”

“Yes, you’re then not feeling responsible for them.”

“Exactly.”

What downsides have you found to always getting your way?

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