How Can You Make Dating Easier?

Name: DC Dater | | Location: Washington , DC |Question: What do you suggest for people who aren’t having any luck dating in their 30’s? I’ve heard many people say you have to “attract” the right type of people but how exactly do you do that? How do you find the balance between being open minded and not settling for less than what you want and feel you deserve? |Age: 34

What you need to do, before anything else, is accept some very basic dating realities.

1. People can and often do change their mind inexplicably and without warning or reason. – Nowhere is this more common than online dating. You can have an amazing first date. Like, fireworks and chemistry and the whole shebang. They could go out with someone the next night or a few nights later and feel more comfortable or attracted to that person and you never hear from them again. Face it. If social media has affected dating in any way, it’s that it has made us fickle.

2.Often times our perceptions are not reality – You think you had a great date. You think there’s chemistry. You think you have  a lot in common. When you go to that place in your head, you are more likely to convince yourself that the person you are out with feels the exact same way. More often than not, whatever they’re feeling isn’t authentic or genuine or remotely close to what you are feeling.  You have one good date? Great. Go out on another. With someone else. Occupy yourself. Manage how often you reflect on the events of the date. Most importantly, don’t gab about it to your friends or online.

3. There is no such thing as having sex too soon. There’s only having sex too soon with the wrong person. And everybody has done that. A lot. - Both sex and dating are a crapshoot. You have no idea how things will play out the next day. The only thing you can control is who you choose to sleep with and how you react and handle things afterwards. So focus on that.

4. Sex is not some sort of Holy Grail. – It’s not. Do not blow sex, when you have sex or sexual compatibility out of proportion until it’s absolutely necessary. Don’t want to have sex? Don’t put yourself in a position (hah!) where it’s an obvious option. Also don’t assume that a lack of sexual compatibility the first few times means you won’t be compatible. If you’re someone who insists upon a lover being more or equally experienced as you and you lose interest quickly, I’m betting it’s not the sex that’s the real issue. Most people can learn. It’s sex. It’s not rocket science. You put that thing in there, you flip around a bit, put an ankle there and a tongue there. If the attraction is there, you can make it work. If the attraction was only meh to begin with, then why are you sleeping with them?

5. Everybody Lies – Seriously, I don’t even understand how this is a debate. People will lie to get what they want. Or they will lie to spare your feelings or to avoid an awkward conversation. If you flip out every time someone says one thing to you on a date and then sends you that Dear John/Jane email the next day, then stop dating because you’re going to have an aneurysm.

6. The manner in which someone chooses to communicate is not necessarily indicative of how interested they are – Learn it. Live it. Love it. Texting is the new phone call.Stop with the squawking about wanting someone you barely know to call you “so you can hear how they respond.” You’re not important enough after one or two dates for someone to stray from how they normally behave. Just because they don’t call doesn’t mean they don’t like you.

7. A first date is merely a test drive – Don’t expect people to pull out all the stops. You can hope for manners and courtesy. But don’t expect someone to plan some grand evening after pouring through your profile to learn the types of food you like or activities you enjoy. It’s the first date.

8. Curiosity kills the cat - Whenever I hear someone say that they went out with someone “because they were curious” that usually means “I knew they were wrong for me, but they were hot.” And those scenarios work out to that person’s advantage. There’s nothing wrong with going out with someone because they are really, really good looking. Just say that and admit to yourself that is your motivating factor. At least then you might have a pleasant evening. What you won’t be is disappointed because they didn’t call you again.

9. There are leagues - Stop it. Yes, there are. We’re normally drawn to what is familiar to us or to someone we feel bolsters or matches the image we perceive we have.  Some of us are never going to get the hot bartender or person with model good looks. Nothing is impossible, and you should never NOT try. Just understand that the odds are probably against you.

10. You are not as much of a catch as you think you are – It’s good to have healthy self-esteem and to like yourself. But when I hear people talk about bad dates and their friends go “His/Her loss!” and “You can do better!” most of the time I shake my head and say to myself, “No it’s not and no you can’t.” People who constantly say things like this are compensating for something. They’re not really talking to the other person. They’re talking to themselves. If you need that kind of reassurance then that’s probably because you know, on some level, that there’s something about you that is keeping people away. Rather than spend your time in fantasyland with the other Sex & The City galpals, figure out what that is.

11. The smart people “settle” - I’m telling you right now that if people tell you you’re too picky, you probably are. I’d LOVE  to do the rah rah cheer that many women do for each other nowadays. But I refuse.. Sick of it. Sick of hearing about how everyone would rather be alone than with the wrong person. It’s a bullshit excuse that women say to each other and themselves to make themselves feel better. We all settle. We all stray from that laminated list of preferences and standards we write for ourselves, a list that gets longer and longer as we get older. All that stuff, all those must haves? They’re just excuses to stay single.

As far attracting the right “type ” of person, the issue isn’t so much who we attract but to whom we are attracted.

Depending on your environment and history, you may end up pre-disposed to be attracted a specific type of person.  Like, say, you had a disapproving father. Often times we re-enact the relationships we had with our parents or with people we dated when we were younger in an attempt to rectify where we went “wrong.”

If you’re finding that you keep dating different variations of the same person over and over again, and those relationships didn’t turn out well (not because they ended but because they were unhealthy in some way) then you need to pinpoint the characteristics about those people that they had in common or that drew you to them in the first place. Listen, you can’t help who you’re attracted to. But you can certainly learn to control your impulses. It sucks but you’ll be better off. What’s needed is discipline. That’s a hard thing to build but it’s crucial if you want to stay away from people who aren’t good for you. You’re going to weaken from time to time. That’s okay. Just don’t make a habit of it.

Once you figure out what things to avoid, you’ve won half the battle. Now you focus on the things that really matter. The clearer the picture you have of what’s important, the more likely it will be that you start being attracted to different people.It’s all about getting out of your own way.

Finally, to answer your last question, you don’t “deserve” anybody or anything. That kind of thinking right there will blow any chances you may have of finding the right person for you. That’s entitlement, and it never works in our favor. You can want, you can hope, but you should never expect. Because even if you get that dream person, I guarantee you that relationship will end up not being what you thought it would be.

There is no middle of the road here. There’s just open minded. Which isn’t to say you should go out with anybody who asks. It’s okay to want them to be together and attractive and that you want to be attracted to them. Once you get in to that mind frame of thinking that you might be settling, you’re kind of doomed. Because that’s not how you should be thinking. You should be thinking, “Why not? I’ve had a pleasant conversation with them. They seem nice. I’m not running away screaming. What the hell?”


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30 Responses to “How Can You Make Dating Easier?”

  1. Joe Says:

    I have a pedantic issue with Everyone Lies. There is a difference between people telling absolute whoppers and people being vague or misdirecting to spare feelings. The first is a huge red flag, lots of the latter are as well, but a few are not. One way to avoid this is to not set yourself up for it! Don’t ask a question if you don’t want an honest answer.

    I’d also add two things:

    Distinguish between what you think you want and what you really want. This requires some brutally honest introspection. This is very related to yesterday’s post. For example, if you don’t want to go dancing every night, don’t date someone who does.

    In connection with this; looks do matter. Don’t fool yourself into thinking they don’t. At the same time, know what look YOU like, not your friends or anyone else. Your preferences will sometimes be extremely non-politically correct and people may get hysterical if you mention them. That doesn’t make them wrong.

    HOWEVER, you have to be realistic. If you like only natural red heads who are 5-6 and love camping, understand that your pool will tiny. Which is fine, but don’t complain about not finding a match.

    • Mandy Says:

      I totally agree about taking time to distinguish between what you want and what you think you want. I’ve usually phrased it as “what you need” vs. “what you want”, but it gets at the same thing. For example, if you spend your evenings at home on the couch, or at a local bar or restaurant, and maybe go on vacation to a tourist trap once every year or two….then why are you looking for a guy who likes to travel? If you want to travel, then go travel. But don’t expect some guy to come into your life and magically make it what you think you want your life to be. If you want your life to be different, make it different yourself, don’t expect a partner to fall so hard for you that he wants to take you into his fold, even though you know absolutely nothing about it. Travel was just an example, it can be anything, even money. If you want extravagant dinners and gifts, then make enough money for them. Don’t expect a rich guy to come give it all to you.

      • Andrew Says:

        People tend to imagine themselves to be: “how they would like to be” as opposed to how they really are. And I am not letting myself off the hook. Guilty as charged. The only temporary cure is that figurative constant hard look in the mirror.

        Re. Medacity and “all is fair in love and war” type thinking: We have to be ready to accept back what we put out there. If you want to be picky, stop complaining about the other gender beign picky. If you continually stretch the truth, don’t get mad when you are on the receiving end.

        Re. This settling thing. People have the wrong idea. We always settle, so stop framing the concept in such an unappealing light. Even if you met the hottest guy, who was loaded, there is going to be somethong that rubs you wrong. We all put on blinders at some point re. those slight imperfections; that’s how we fall in love. Material qualities such as looks, money, prestige job, and affiliations seem to rule the day. Personality qualities such as kind, attentive, caring and intelligent, seem to take a back seat. We really do it to ourselves, and we need to stop. It’s nice to put all that wonderful stuff in the what you seek part of your dating profile, but really inauthentic when you pick the hot guy or girl, who falls terribly short on those measures; all the while ignoring the people who really do measure up.

  2. Angeline Says:

    I’d like to add that the best way to make dating easier is to not make it the focus of your life. Then every up or down moment will seem much larger than it is. Make your life into something that you are happy with. Make it something that other people want to be a part of.

  3. Trouble Says:

    This is a brilliant post, Moxie. I hope the OP reads it and pays attention, with particular emphasis on the piece about settling.

    And, in regards to what Angeline added…don’t allow yourself to get emotionally attached until you know that the person is also getting attached to you. Don’t start fantasizing about what could be with that person, look at what is right in front of you. Pay attention to the good, the bad, the not so good, the not so bad. Focus on having fun and watching how the person acts in different circumstances, and with different types of people. Don’t get your head turned too quickly by the guys who are super attractive with great resumes and smooth personalities. Everyone has flaws, even the people who look good on the surface. Keep your wits about you.

  4. r Says:

    Moxie, Thank you for posting this. I found it honest, realistic, and enlightening.

  5. Mandy Says:

    I have friends that have all of these mental lists about what they want in a guy. Tall, financially stable, white-collar job, graduate school, etc. They don’t think they should have to “settle for less”. I think this is ridiculous. I think everyone should have a list of what they want in a guy (or girl), but the list should be made up of things like “tries to make me happy”, “makes me laugh”, “can spend an entire weekend with me, and I’m not sick of him”, etc. Also, instead of requiring a man to have a lot of money and a fantastic education, you should require the guy to be intellectually challenging and stimulating to you, and to be motivated in his career, and to be able to accompany you to your work functions without embarrassing himself. Those traits could be found in a guy who worked his way up through construction to own the company without a college degree, who just really likes to read, for example.

    • Angeline Says:

      This needs to be posted on every dating website! Perfect.

    • Kurt Says:

      Your friends who are very demanding need to realize that they are going to have to bring a lot to the table themselves because the type of guys they want are also highly valued by other women who might be hotter than they are.

  6. myself Says:

    So true about knowing what you want. And what you need.

    Doesn’t really make dating any easier though, to me at least, but I really don’t think I’m made for it at all.

    I really think a great deal of women have super unrealistic expectations. A friend of mine, now over 40, absolutely insisted on a man being taller then her (in Montreal at 5’10” that’s a tough one, lion’s share of the dating pool is 5’9″ & under here). Finally after months or years of harping on her to ignore that requirement, she finally did & is dating a super fantastic dude & I couldn’t be more pleased that she finally listened to our pleas about the height requirement.

    Personally, my requirements are few. Must be employed & self-sufficient, can put up with me & I can put up with him, and Ness to be attractive to me. I’ve been accused of dating under my “league” because I have very quirky taste in looks, so no issues there. I’ve had to relax my no kid policy due to age, not that I’m too thrilled about that as I’m not find, so time will tell on that one.(current interest has a child. Eek!). Jobs, cars, white over blue collar jobs, sorry, that’s not going to keep me warm at night.

  7. Joe Says:

    Step1: forget your standards and dating below you. People are over confidant and think they are better than they really are.

    Step 2: give a girl at least two dates. Everyone has a bad day.

    Step 3: really try to make a relationship work. Breakup with her if there is something fudamentally wrong and you found someone better. There is always someone better in some way.

    Repeat 1-3 as necessary

  8. Paula Says:

    Seriously, I can’t understand why, if you want to make this point, it’s so difficult to say “Not everyone tells the truth.” That’s a true statement and especially important to remember in the dating world. “Everybody lies” is not.

    And if whether someone lies matters to you, then you would not be smart to settle on this particular quality, even if it’s more rare than 5’6″ redheads who camp.

    Otherwise, the rest of the advice is spot-on.

  9. Vox Says:

    ” Texting is the new phone call.”

    I have to disagree with this point, while generally agreeing with the rest. For example, when I was in my 20s, if a guy called me after a date, sex etc, it always meant he was interested. I can’t think of a single example in which this was not the case. Fast forward to today, if a guy texts after a date or sex, it means he might be interested; but then again he very well may be standing on a line at the supermarket, looking for something to do. People fade after texts all the time, and some text during one. Texting to set up dates is fine, but a text follow up may mean very little.

    • nathan Says:

      Eh, texts, e-mails, phone calls – people fade if they’re going to fade. I don’t think any of those options mean anything different these days.

      • Vox Says:

        The Fade never used to kick off with a phone call. And it still doesn’t.

        • nathan Says:

          Still doesn’t? Really? People use cell phones to avoid loneliness or boredom all the time these days. I sit on buses and trains listening to people flip through their phone lists, calling anyone and everyone that might chat with them until the ride is over. A phone call isn’t that special anymore.

          • Vox Says:

            To be fair I’ll correct by saying: it has never happened to me. Not even once, never in my entire life. Text fade, often. Phone fade, never.

  10. Layla Says:

    Oh god, they still call if they’re interested… (especially if you’re not, lol!) Some may not call… that depends on the person and preferences… some prefer typing/writing, some prefer talking…

    I also think there’s a distinction between lying or omitting things, also what is the intention behind it: to be polite and considerate or some common-sense self-protection to not over-share at the beginning – that’s quite different from ‘really lying’ about big and important things, for more iffy and possibly hurtful agendas…

    Some good common sense dating advice otherwise, in some comments too…
    To the OP – one of the ways to ‘find’ someone is to go about doing interesting things, join events or organisations or clubs you’re interested in and be friendly and polite, chances to meet people interested in the same things thus increase…

    Also, to enjoy yourself and be enthusiastic about life helps – people are more attracted then… If you’re miserable and just enjoy the circumstances (eg great music) and stay friendly and polite people may notice the spark too…

    Ahh, I do hope to find someone taller than me still!! :) hehe

  11. breebree Says:

    Great post Moxie……I pretty much agree with everything….especially numbers 3 and 4 about sex….we as women make sooo much more about sex than men and we’re practically forever in the duldrums because of a sexual situation with a man.
    As for 9, 10, and 11….I understand your points…..but fyi some folks can (and will) totally take this out of context and think they are supposed to just get with any and everybody even someone who doesn’t respect them.
    I think part of the problem is that many of us really don’t have clear understandings of the “right way” to be treated by the opposite sex. Our thinking is warped and typically based on what we saw our parents do and/or our peers.
    Some folks think abusive relationships are normal because thats what they’ve seen since childhood most of their lives.
    Some folks only know how to yell and scream to argue, and some folks only know how to walk away.
    Mentally they aren’t strong enough to deal with really hard and painful stuff or they just don’t know any other way…..
    I know you may say these are excuses…and you would have a valid point….unfortunately though they are many peoples realities and they can change them overnite anymore than they can change the weather….
    Can people change and turn negatives into positives….absolutely….but “Unlearning” is a process much harder than learning and takes much longer than learning something.
    Like they say ” old habits die hard”
    At any rate, I hope nobody thinks that based on your comments they should “settle” for any and everything and be in a miserable existence of a relationship.
    One thing about me is I’ve seen people very unhappy for the most part in their relationships and I could never live like that….I truly would rather remain single.
    Imo love should be good and feel good and you should be happy with your partner at least half the time. If someone is just not being respectful and considerate of your needs, wants, desires, and feelings and your giving waaay more than your receiving that is not a good relationship.
    This is why I think it’s very impnt for people to know their worth….because when folks know their worth they don’t put up with half the bullsh** that miserable people put up with; like people who get with and remain in relationships just for the sake of saying “I got a man” or “I got a girl”… me it’s just not worth it.
    As for the number 4 sex comment…for some sex is a lot, (yes it’s because they make it alot) but it is what it is.
    Keep in mind Moxie that many married couples have horrible sex lives….from what people have told me it’s usually due to one (or both) partners being selfish…
    So this happens to married couples just as much if not sometimes more than non-married couples.
    Especially when they are goin thru stuff or have been married for very very long and the passion and sparks fade and folks start growing tired and bored of each other.
    So I disagree that all u need is attraction for the sex to be good.
    Even if ur with someone who normally loves you to death if they are goin thru something or you’ve done something to piss them off you can forget about it……and especially us women are notorious for withholding sex and using it as a game…..(i know men do this too but not nearly as much as we do…..I can name 10 women I know who do it)
    All in all you make some excellent points that are right on the money.

  12. WO7 Says:

    I don’t think that people should ever settle when it comes to getting married. But I do think that people need to understand what actually constitutes settling and what does not.

    You like a guy that’s 6’2″, but end up with a guy that’s 5’10”. That’s not settling. Someone’s height won’t determine whether you’re happy or not.

    You want a guy that makes $90,000 a year, but end up with a guy that makes $50,000 a year. That’s not settling. As long as you make enough to live, and your partner is responsible with money, then extra money will not make you happy.

    You like doctors, but you end up with a plumber. That’s not settling. Your husband’s job will not determine your happiness.

    You should be looking for someone who treats you with respect, someone you have chemistry with, someone who makes you happy, someone you’re attracted to. If you have to give up any of those 4…then you’re settling. And I don’t believe in that.

    • DrivingMeNutes Says:

      So,let’s see. if I give up something that WO7 values then that is “settling.” However, if WO7 doesn’t particularly value something (like height, or career) then its okay for me not to care about it too. Do the sun and stars revolve around W07 too? I think by golly you’ve discovered the WO7 particle.

      • WO7 Says:

        I didn’t make a list of the things I “value”. I made a list of the cornerstones of any relationship. These are the things that determine whether you are happy or not. Everything else is gravy.

        If you think height or career make up a relationship’s foundation, then you’re either clueless or shallow.

        I can make a list of things I value if you’d like. There’s lots of them. I’m just smart enough to know they shouldn’t be deal breakers.

        • DrivingMeNutes Says:

          The easy joke here is that you are obviously a 5’10” plumber who makes $50,000 a year. But I know that’s not true because you are clearly some sort of bean counter (no offense to other bean counters)

          Answer me this. Is it okay if I reject someone who lives in brooklyn with roommates since avoiding those those conditions is crucial to my happiness?

          • Joe Says:

            My view is that it’s okay to reject anyone for any reason; just don’t complain about not finding someone if your reasons become too numerous. In a similar vein (and see post below) don’t whine when you get your dream and discover it’s not.

          • WO7 Says:

            You and anyone else can do whatever you want to. The joys of freedom.

            But if your end goal is finding someone you can live a happy life with, then I don’t see how weeding out people in Brooklyn or who have roommates makes any progress in the right direction. And you just might have passed up on the perfect person while you’re busy weeding out people for silly reasons.

            You got the 5’10” part right, but nothing else. You probably assume I am a bean counter cause I like to use numbers. That’s just the math minor in me.

    • Joe Says:

      Speaking of doctors and knowing what you really want; my aunt thought being married to a doctor would perfectly fine. She hated it (though they stuck together.)

    • Andrew Says:

      I agree with the thrust of your argument. However we all settle. Everyone has some little flaw, even if it’s being too damned nice that it irks me. What we all have are negotiables and non-negotiables. And of cousre, how negotiable we are, on our negotiables.

  13. nathan Says:

    “If you think height or career make up a relationship’s foundation, then you’re either clueless or shallow.”

    I completely agree with this. People get hung up on superficial traits or things like jobs that can, and do, change, and then wonder why their relationships go in the tank.

    • breebree Says:

      “People get hung up on superficial traits or things like jobs that can, and do, change, and then wonder why their relationships go in the tank”
      Well said Nathan and very true…not to mention physical appearance.

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