Monthly Archives: November 2012

Oh, behave! Should you connect with someone new while on a date?

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File photo.
 

Modern dating is full of etiquette land mines, from appropriate texting to when to “friend” request. But here is one I am most curious about since available single people are rare in the “middle” age bracket: What is the etiquette for connecting with someone else when out on a date?

The situation:

You are at a party with a date with whom you have not yet committed to a singular relationship (we used to call that status “going steady”). You meet an attractive, available person with whom you have much in common and you would like to get to know better. Should you:

A. Give them your number and ask them to call you? After all, good prospects are scarce.

B. Wait for them to ask for your contact information and give it freely? They made the first move. Obviously they are interested.

C. Neither give nor receive contact information? Behave! You are out on a date after all.

D. Get their contact information later from the host or a mutual friend? This discrete tact saves face for you and your date while allowing you a way to pursue something interesting.

Given the lack of information available online on this particular subject, I consulted the next best source of information at hand—my Facebook friends—and got some pretty hilarious answers . One likened the situation to U.S. international relations and bridge-burning, using a supply and demand model. Another suggested that cuteness and winking would smooth over any bad feelings on the date’s part and entice the third party. Several responses concerned defining the “dating” relationship and gave answers based on the level of involvement—the more involved you are with the “date,” the less passing out of contact info you should be doing. But my favorite response was this: Take a cue from Frank Sinatra’s song list (not his personal life) and listen to the lyrics of “Luck be a Lady Tonight.” I think my friend meant this stanza in particular:

A lady never flirts with strangers
She’d have a heart, she’d be nice
A lady doesn’t wander all over the room
And blow on some other guy’s dice

I have to agree. The way one behaves in public speaks volumes regarding their character. Plus, if dating is an audition for a long term relationship then loyalty is an important character trait. I would be offended if my date gave out contact information to another woman for personal reasons (business is another matter). It shows a lack of respect. If I am out with a guy and we are just friends and we both have a clear understanding of that, then I would explain that to any potential dating material before I gave him my contact information. If the date and I are not exclusively dating, I would totally get the third party’s information from the host(ess) later.

It seems to me the better behaved one is, the better chance of attracting a nice person in the long run.

THE INFLUENCE FOR THIS POST:

Of course this blogpost was instigated by an actual event in my life.  I was at an all day event with a large group of people, some who were coupled but also several single people.  There was one single guy who seemed to be interested in hitting on every single single woman there.  Though I was probably old enough to be his mother (albeit very young mother but still possible) once he determined that I was single but on a date, he spent some considerable time trying to convince me that I should not be with the man with whom I came to the event.  I thought this was amusing but thought he was simply bored of trying to score with the younger single ladies.

At one point he was seated next to me as someone decided to snap a group photo – my date seated on my other side. We all turned so our backs were table side and the guy in question put his arm behind me on the table, my arm went behind my date and my dates arms were at his front, his hands in his own lap.  After a few minutes I felt someone caressing my hand.  I noticed that my dates hands were still in his lap and realized the it was the other guy.  To send the right message without embarrassing anyone or causing a scene, I moved my arm, leaned into my date and gave him a kiss on the cheek.  Desperate single guy left me alone after that but I started thinking about the appropriateness of hitting on someone on a date.  So there you have it.

COMING SOON:

What to do when you are alone for the Holidays and another segment of: MEN TO AVOID.

Thanks for reading!

Mary

 

The Dating Conundrum of the Codependent

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I have been thinking a lot about my last blog post (click here to see it) especially since I have been reading a great book by Melody Beattie titled, Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself.  You may be one of the lucky few people who live in the United States of America who is free of codependency and therefore this post may bore you to pieces but for the other 99% of us (and I mean that in the best way possible) this could be relevant.

I was married to a confirmed alcoholic for 12 years so I know I have codependent tendencies. Some of those traits were apparent in my last post about how I obsess over relationships.  But now, thanks to Beattie’s book I can articulate the most important factor that prevents me from finding the functional relationship that for which I long (other than shear scarcity of available men).

Here it is:

I am trapped in fear.

I am fearful that I will run from a relationship that could work while also being fearful of staying too long in a relationship that doesn’t work.

As one might imagine, it is difficult to make any sort of movement towards love when one is constantly anxious, continuously analyzing the situation in regards to staying or going.

I am working on being more discerning in order to avoid getting into relationships that have little chance of working out so maybe I am getting better-  at least better at taking care of myself.

And here is the good news:  If each guy I date teaches me something new about what I need to look for (or what I need to avoid) in a long-term mate, I am destined to end up in a fantastic relationship simply by numbers.  In other words- I should be an expert at weeding out the bad prospects before long speeding up the process to finding a great guy.

I already feel I have made loads of progress. 🙂

Beattie offers these words of encouragement:

“We may want and need love, but we don’t need destructive love.  And when we believe that, our message will come across clearly.”

Learning Functionality: Learning What is OK and What is Not in a Relatioinship

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(To be read with “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by the Clash as proper background music.)

One huge problem with coming from a dysfunctional family is lacking a roadmap for having a functional relationship. Certainly, I have functional relationships with friends and even most of my family members (now), but when it comes to a long-term partner, I am absolutely clue-LESS.

To make matters worse, I grew up in the theatre with a bunch of entertaining yet extraverted exhibitionists, which means I also lack a sense of normal social boundaries. As a result of my background, I experience a lot of angst when it comes to determining what is acceptable behavior in a man (and myself) and what is not.

This condition is akin to driving on a strange road in extremely thick fog—it is scary and there are no points of reference to help navigate. Since my goal is to have a successful, functional long-term relationship, learning what is acceptable and what is not, is critical.

In other words, what most women may understand as unacceptable in a man quite quickly, I have to analyze for a long time, which includes consulting about 10 different people before I can decide A) if the behavior is indeed unacceptable/acceptable, B) whether or not said behavior is a deal-breaker and C) is the problem really with me rather than him?

Say I have met a nice-looking, passably intelligent, reasonably employed guy who’s house is a total mess (as in dishes in the sink for weeks, papers, tools, and clothes piled everywhere in a layer of dust bunnies and grit).* I, on the other hand, a visually oriented person, need things to be tidy and reasonably clean. I will obsess—possibly for weeks—over this point from 12 different angles ranging from basic hygiene issues to deep psychological implications before deciding if I should keep this man in my life or let him go.

I will also spend a lot of time second guessing myself. Am I hijacking what could possibly be a wonderful opportunity? Am I settling for something less than I deserve? Will the benefits of being with this person outweigh this issue in the long run or will it cause an irreparable rift? Is this issue really all that important?

It is nerve-wracking.

The benefits to all this (possibly) over-thinking is that when I make the decision to 86 a relationship, I am sure that it is the right thing to do and I can do it calmly without reserve, allowing for as gentle a break-up as possible. The downside is I spend way too much energy on an issue that most people could figure out in a fraction of the time.

At least I am trying to get it right.

*Disclaimer: This scenario is based on many men I have dated (or married) over the years and does not reflect any one in particular.

Bonus: Click here for an article I found on examiner.com about making good decisions.