You finally found a guy online and you think you have a real connection. Things are sizzling, and you don’t want the good vibes you’re feeling to stop. But suddenly, a message pops in your inbox from a “hottie” who wants to know more about you. You hesitate and wonder what the ethics are in this situation.
Should you write back or let it go?
Are you missing the opportunity to hook up with someone amazing if you press delete?
You are not alone. Many women experience this crisis of conscience when navigating the ever-confusing world of online dating. But let me give you a gold nugget of advice before you clear that inbox.
You should write back. It’s better than ok to respond. It’s necessary!
Here’s why. The online dating game can be tough and a bit of a numbers game. Yes there are gems (I have met all my beaus online) but it requires some patience and diligence. So, if you are dating a guy you found online and the two of you are really hitting it off, that’s great. But you are cutting yourself off at the knees if you drop out of the game just because things are going well right now.
What if something happens and it doesn’t lead to what you desire? We know that unfortunately that dating is often a bit of a numbers game at first. You only have yourself to fall back on and you are back at ground zero. As a smart, savvy, dating goddess you need to keep your options open. So make a plan of action to cast that net of yours as wide as you can. You’ll be glad you did.
How to Play the Game:
When a new hot guy (let’s call him Bachelor #2) finds you, look at it as an opportunity to A) find out more about him and B) if your current guy is the right one to spend your time on.
Think about it: you attracted a man – without having to do any of the work. He’s done it for you (bonus!). Spend some time getting to know him – without cluing in Bachelor #1 (presuming you are not in a committed/monogamous relationship please), but retain the mystery and only offer up details about your life as he asks for them. Trust me, there’s nothing worse than seeming too eager.
You’ve heard me say: Men Chase – Women Decide.
While you’re doing your juggling act with your beaus, make sure to keep names straight and do a quick read-through of all your messages before you send them. If you have a few fellows on your dance card and you call one by anothers name, you’ll be busted in no time flat. Men like to compete but never to look foolish!
Meet up with each of your prospects in locations far removed from one another. You don’t want to have dinner with a new guy in the same neighborhood as your lunch date with a different guy from yesterday. Too risky.
Another Tip: never double-book. If you make plans with two different men in one night and the early shift runs over, you will have major problems explaining why you showed up late for your second. That’s not cool and not good manners.
Stick to Your Rules
The main goal here is to keep everyone separate. Use a planner or the calendar on your smartphone and record all your dates and bachelor information (I keep threatening to write an ‘app’ for this). Keep yourself somewhat at arm’s length and never give out too much information about your specific plans to any of your new prospects. This will keep them enjoying your company and allow you enough personal space to enjoy having fun in dating as well as not rushing into a relationship.
You’re a smart, savvy woman. Present yourself that way; throw in a bit of mystery, and voila! You’ll have them lining up to want to know you. Take your online dating life as seriously as you take your business and you will have your dance card booked solid in no time.
How often do you really listen to your gut?
When you meet someone for the first time, you might feel it deep down—that little hint that something is off —but do you actually listen? Even if the person’s given you no reason not to trust him or her, do you feel like you have no right to “judge” them? That the little nagging feeling is not worthy of paying attention to?
We all have “radar” or intuition upon meeting someone for the first time; the Voice that speaks to us in the first few minutes, passing some gut judgment about what our inner Soul knows but our Ego plans to ignore. We hear it like a voice in the wilderness; like a voice coming over our left shoulder; like a good guy/bad guy routine—our intuition versus our ego. The trouble starts when we ignore that voice if it is not saying something we (our Ego) wants to hear.
From an online dating site, I met a man for the first time a couple of years ago. We had planned to meet in a restaurant. Actually, by mistake, we met in the parking lot early and laughingly agreed to make a quick detour into a grocery store before it closed, me for some crackers and him for some pomegranates. I had more groceries than he did and offered to pay for his (no biggie). His radar went off right then and there that I was a “kind person who always considered others”—the opposite of the woman he had recently dated. (I was just focused on getting the groceries paid for and into the car!). He kept his mouth shut, though, and off we went to dinner.
When I sat opposite him and finally showed up, mentally and physically, and turned all my attention to him, we started to chat easily and gracefully. My Voice showed up probably within the first fifteen minutes. It was telling me. . . ”He’s the marrying type.”
It turned out he was older than I was by about eleven years (yes, he had fibbed on his online profile) and that he had been married before (he had grown children and even grandchildren), gotten divorced, and married another woman who had died in an accident two or three years earlier.
I didn’t know any of this when that Voice spoke to me. It was just intuition that said that we were looking for different things in the long term. But still, my demeanor changed once I heard that Voice. I even mentioned it to him teasingly but frankly during our dinner conversation. I engaged him and entranced him, he said, because I was unlike any other woman he had met. He wanted to date me. He knew by the end of that dinner date, though, that I probably wouldn’t want to date him. He said that I was very gracious and kind but he sensed that might be the last he would see of me.
He was heading off to Europe for a three-week vacation the next day, and he kept emailing me throughout the trip. He knew what he wanted: a shot at me. Through his words and stories, he tickled my funny bone and engaged my mind. He asked if I would meet him for a drink when he got back and I agreed to one drink…
Well, more than eighteen months later, I knew I had to break it off. Those were some fabulous months, by the way—he was generous and kind and the life of the party (and there were parties!), and he even made a couple of attempts to convince me to move in and marry him. He needed someone who would be ‘his girlfriend’ (we argued over that word) and whom he could, he hoped, make his fiancé and ultimately maybe even his wife. My radar had been correct. Fifteen minutes into meeting him, my psyche told me my truth and it took me more than a year and a half for life to play it out and for me to really listen to it.
I have no regrets. We had some great times together—yet, still, my truth was right there in me all along.
Interestingly, before I made our breakup official, he started emailing another woman every day during a trip to New Zealand (which I had declined to join him on) and quickly he was once again “in love”. She is probably more suited to his lifestyle, and I hope she’ll enjoy the moniker “girlfriend” and maybe even, someday, “wife.”
I wonder what her radar said to her when they met. Whatever it was, I hope she’s listening.
Men fear this; your girlfriends may cringe; it disrupts your sleep and makes you so singularly focused that no one wants to be around you much… You are in a pressure cooker and can feel the tension. Does with every single man you meet, your mind scream at you “is he The One?”
Are you focused on finding the ONE?
The One that you are planning to create a life with and settle down with? The One who will complete you and and cherish you forever? Are you are looking to “date to mate”… even on the first date?
Please, please – breathe through this angst.
It’s important to remember that the first date is not a betrothal. You’re not out there dating to mate and find Mr. Right immediately.
If I was speaking to a guy, I would tell him not to try to win the game in one play… he would know immediately what I meant. He knows there is a whole game ahead of him and he has to play all the innings (baseball analogy). Btw YOU would hate to think he expected a “touchdown in the first down” [football analogy]… but that is what we as women do when we put ourselves under the pressure cooker of dating to mate.
No Instant Committed Relationships
Even if you are searching for Mr. Right, if you put all your eggs in one basket and don’t explore your options, you’re going to end up struggling and you’ll potentially be very unhappy. There really is no such thing as an “instant committed relationship”.
First dates are meant to be fun, entertaining and all about getting to know each other. The second, third, fourth and even fifth dates should be the same! Getting serious and down to business on the second or third date is a great way to scare him off and a great way to make yourself miserable. It means you might have to start all over again with the next guy as opposed to laying a great foundation and building a strong base of friendship, fun and respect with love and courtship to follow.
The Dance of Dating
There is a courtship or dance to dating – we start out with the Attraction (which is not a conscious choice by the way!) then move to a Bonding phase and then to the Commitment phase. Experts have researched that this is the order to which we create a great, solid, lasting, loving and respectful relationship.
Take your time in dating. Enjoy the exploration. Go in with the mindset that you are ready to get to know him and learn about who he is and what he stands for. Just because you had a great time together on your first date does not necessarily mean that you are destined to be together for the rest of your lives. DON’T start walking him down the aisle and marrying him in your mind after the second or third date.
Guys aren’t dumb – they can sense very early on where there is a deep rooted “mating need” in a woman and it makes them do crazy stupid things. Things that hurt us as women and don’t grow them as men and potential partners.
I would say that men need more space and pace on an emotional level than us women do, especially early in the dating dance. We need connection to move things along but men need time to even know what they are dealing with. I listened to a close male friend hand over a guy’s interpretation on the differences: “Women need someOne – Men need someBody” – wow! That was profound for me!
By allowing him room to breath and keeping your independence you will simply attract him more because he won’t be concerned about you smothering him. If you’re after exclusivity after the second or third date he’s going to get scared and probably think you’re a little crazy. (Read my article on “The Talk’).
By making the effort and taking the time to get to know him you are going to benefit in more ways than one. First of all, you’ll be able to make a truly informed decision as to whether or not he’s the right man for you. Second, you won’t get so wrapped up in one man early on that you’re heartbroken when it doesn’t work out after the fourth or fifth date – even by the tenth date!
By keeping your options open as you date and your life in harmony, you won’t be so attached to one man and needing that relationship to work out for you (I kinda call this ‘defensive dating”). You’ll be able to take the time to learn if he’s even worth crying over – ever.
Relax. Enjoy. Live. Learn.
If you commit yourself early on to the next man you meet aren’t you going to always wonder who else you might have met?