WHY YOU FALL FOR THE WRONG GUYS (PART 1)

"[Name withheld] and I have been dating for about 2 months. We have an incredible connection. When we met I felt like he's known me forever. We share crazy coincidences, things I normally wouldn't even say on a date. He said he saw a girl just like me once in a vision. I'm still just as into him but now he is different... It's been a week and I haven't even heard from him! There's no way he didn't feel what I feel, I could tell [the sex] meant something to him, he was so loving before."
— Nia (age 31)
"This guy, I can't really tell what's going on. He made me feel amazing from the beginning. He gave me a necklace for my birthday and he takes me to really nice places when he's in town. But it's not consistent. He is away on business and so busy. Still, he says I'm his girlfriend. How can I make him make me his priority? We only get together a few nights here and there. I want more of his time...."
— Sheryl (age 40)
  Are you addicted to "instant connection"? Do you sometimes sleep with a man sooner than you planned, because you feel this special connection?   

Are you addicted to "instant connection"? Do you sometimes sleep with a man sooner than you planned, because you feel this special connection?  

FROM E.L.F.

I get a version of Nia's and Sheryl's messages almost every day. These ladies share a common affliction: they are addicted to the rush of "instant connection." A woman with this mindset believes that a first date should magically flow... like a romantic dream... and that her best match is always going to be the guy who instantly gets her. 

Women like Nia and Sheryl also believe that their Mr. Wonderful must share the same intensity of feelings. After all, he [fill in the blank]:

  • Bought her an expensive dinner
  • Gave her jewelry
  • Said that he had strong feelings for her

Are you addicted to the rush of Instant Connection?

Unfortunately, this type of thinking can leave a woman vulnerable to men who are experts at seduction, but not long-term commitment.

 Love is an open door... but think long and hard before you walk through it.

Love is an open door... but think long and hard before you walk through it.

FROM ZALES

There's a reason it's called "chemistry" when 2 people feel a connection. 

In Part 2, we'll talk about chemicals in your brain that can be released on a first date, or during sex, that fool you into thinking that you and your new guy share something deep. But before we dig into that phenomenon, here is a pop quiz...

Which of these two first-date guys is clearly a Next! you should turn down for date #2:

David — Who talked so much during the date that you couldn’t get a word in edge-wise. You heard all about his job, his favorite sports team, and his recent vacation. You’re pretty sure that he learned nothing about you, and has no sense of your personality. You are disappointed that you didn’t get a chance to share this really crazy story your co-worker just texted you. If you're honest, you found him nice, but boring. 

Josh — Who asked you lots of questions, laughed at your jokes, and really worked to draw you out. You found yourself telling him all kinds of personal stories from your childhood that you rarely share with anyone. You really, really hope he asks you out again.

FROM BCBG

Awkward isn't always awful.

Based only on the information above, both David and Josh are still contenders. Here is one way to look at this common dating experience:

When a man is really attracted to you he gets nervous (David). Those nerves make some guys clam up, their minds go blank, and they can’t think of anything to say—then you have to carry the conversation until he regains composure. Other men, however, start talking a mile a minute to hide their nervousness. They feel this rush of adrenaline and they channel that energy in a socially-acceptable way — talking — which might hit you like a never-ending monologue. He may also feel pressure to entertain you and hold your interest; he is worried that you'll feel bored or lapse into awkward silence. A guy like David is in selling mode. 

Should you see him again? David probably talked a lot because he likes you, not because he's self-absorbed or a narcissist. If he asks you out again, it's reasonable to give him a second chance, even if you didn't feel sparks on the first date. Some truly interesting and fascinating men take a while to get to know. They grow on you over time. In today's "instant" culture, it can be easy to overlook a real gem of a guy.    

TIP: Some truly fascinating men take a while to get to know. In today's "instant" culture, it can be easy to overlook a real gem of a guy.

Now let's move on to Josh...

 Of course he knows how to create a romantic first date... he's been on so many of them!

Of course he knows how to create a romantic first date... he's been on so many of them!

Focus less on "connection." Pay attention to follow-through and reliability.

When a man isn’t way into you, he isn’t nervous at all (Josh). He’s like, I’ve got this. He may enjoy the ego boost of being able to charm you and make you giggle. He may be attracted enough to suggest going out again and maybe getting you back to his place. But he doesn’t have stars in his eyes or fear in the pit of his stomach that he’s got to work to impress you. He’s not a panicked motor-mouth or scared speechless. 

Next steps: It's awesome when a date turns out to be fun and you feel a connection. But don't assume Josh is The One simply because the conversation flowed. Going forward, pay attention to his actions and make sure he's bringing some hustle and effort to his courtship, not just entertaining banter or chemistry that is exciting but doesn't lead anywhere.

TIP: Men who are really great at dating have often been on a LOT of first and second dates. That doesn't necessarily mean that he's your perfect match.
 KNOMO LONDON BACKPACKS  #THISISMYOFFICE

KNOMO LONDON BACKPACKS #THISISMYOFFICE

"He's so confusing."

The haze of attraction can cause otherwise smart women to find "mixed messages" in a situation that is pretty straightforward. 

Look, some guys think they are being gentlemen by taking you out for a proper dinner before attempting to sleep with you. Or he may feel he owes it to you to act like a boyfriend when he's with a woman who provides him with regular sex. However, none of this behavior means that he is thinking beyond tonight. Don't let good vibes fool you into believing it's more than it is. Playing at being a boyfriend is not the same as actually being one.

When a man is positively, definitely into you, there is no confusion. 

FROM BEAUTY BRANDS

"But he's not the Player type."

A player is simply someone who lives in the moment. He has no intention of hurting you, and therefore believes he is not to blame if you do get hurt. He's not thinking through the consequences of his actions, and he's not concerned about how his behavior may affect you in the long-run. He may be careless and immature, but he's not evil.

TIP: Any man you date is "playing" if he's not interested in locking you down long-term.

Lots of men are accidental players.

If you want something serious, and he's giving you romantic feels... but not romantic actions... just brush aside the rainbows and unicorns, touch up your mascara, and move on. It doesn't mean he's not a nice guy. But he's not your Mr. Right.

Romantic sparks can fool you into thinking you have something deep with a man. Even if he's just playing.

If you sometimes break Rules or sleep with men sooner than you planned, then Part 2 of this article is for you. Did you ever feel sure you connected with a man, only to find out later that he was juggling other women too? And now he hits you up only when he's bored or lonely? 

When you understand how brain chemistry works, you can begin to take charge of your intense feelings of attraction. You can even train yourself to be a little skeptical of those early fireworks. Keep reading here.

READ NEXT:  WHY YOU FALL FOR THE WRONG GUYS (PART 2)

READ NEXT: THIRD-DATE SEX IS WAY TOO SOON (SCIENCE SAYS)

Robyn Wahlgast is a Rules Certified Dating and Relationship Coach for Women. Learn how to rock The Rules for lasting love and marriage. Never miss a new blog post: subscribe to our FREE newsletter

HOW TO DATE A SHY GUY (UNDERSTANDING MEN)

Many of us, it seems, like shy guys. (I like smart, nerdy, shy guys so much, I married one.) It's not surprising: these men tend to be quiet leaders — successful and widely respected. There is an art to dating introverted men, though, and this article will help you decide if this personality type is your best match. The good news is that you don't need to be an introvert to date one. But to keep your romantic energy in balance, you will want to follow some basic rules.

Many women mistakenly assume that being overly friendly and “easy to get will reassure the Shy Guy. Nothing could be further from the truth.

FROM E.L.F.

Many women mistakenly assume that being overly friendly and "easy to get" will reassure the Shy Guy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Being "easy" and laying everything out on a plate will actually make him retreat further into his shell. You'll be pursuing him, so your energy will shift from being feminine to masculine, and that's not healthy or sexy (for you or for him) in the long run. Relationships that start out with this dynamic never really recover, and as months and years pass, you may find yourself in a sexless "just friends"/ roommate arrangement.

how to date a shy guy

If you are crushing on a shy guy, I definitely recommend that you read The Rules, by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider. The Rules are a great, step-by-step introduction toward letting a man lead and set the pace of the relationship.

Regardless of personality type, men are happiest when allowed to discover love at their own pace. If the relationship moves forward, it's because he chooses and wants to lead toward commitment. If a man tends toward an introverted personality, it’s even more important that you let him lead. Extroverts can hold their own and fight fire with fire. But if you admire a man with a more subtle style, you have to be careful not to overwhelm him with your eagerness, or nudge him into "going along" passively with your agenda. You could find yourself in an entanglement with a man who's not really sure how or why he got there.   

FROM ASTRID & MIYU

Always let him lead. Don't get tangled up with a man who's not sure how or why he got there.

Here are 7 observations and comments from clients over the past year. See if any of these situations sound familiar:

  1. “I really like this guy at work, but if I don't suggest it we'll never actually go on a date.”
  2. “The guy I’m interested in doesn’t seem to know what he’s supposed to do to date me.”
  3. “The Rules describe an old-fashioned way of dating that doesn’t exist anymore.”
  4. “Men my age don’t know how to date.”
  5. “My crush is really shy. His ex-wife really messed him up. I can only do some of The Rules with him.”
  6. “If I want him to treat me like a lady I have to tell him what to do every step of the way.”
  7. “We’re both grown-ups. I know he doesn’t want to play games and neither do I. Shouldn't I make an exception for him?”

FROM DR. BRANDT

The Secret

If you identify with any of these situations, I will let you in on a secret: the “problem” in each of these scenarios is not that the man is shy or inexperienced. The underlying issue is that he is just not interested enough in starting up a relationship with that particular woman.

Guys who aren’t THAT into you may still sleep with you and hang out” with you if you make it easy. Is that what you want?

Sure, he’d be okay with having casual sex with her and hanging out until something better comes along. But I don’t know many women who enjoy being the good-enough-for-now option. If each woman in situations 1 - 7 were to get the ball rolling herself, or help the man date her and make excuses for his behavior, she would simply be prolonging the agony of being in a go-nowhere entanglement. That's not "dating a shy man," that's accepting crumbs from a guy who is just killing time.

That's not “dating a shy man. That's accepting crumbs from a guy who is just killing time.

Let’s go through these scenarios, one by one, and note the difference between a true Shy Guy and one whose feelings are simply lukewarm:

Logo
Zales
  1. “I really like this guy at work, but if I don't suggest it we'll never actually go on a date.” My take: As I’ve written many times before, you should never make the first move or ask a man out IF what you want is a long-term relationship leading to marriage. All the reasons are here. Shy guys DO approach, date, and marry women when they feel motivated to do so.
  2. “The guy I’m interested in doesn’t seem to know what he’s supposed to do to date me.” My take: Men are incredibly resourceful when there’s a problem that needs to be solved. Whether his car is making a weird noise or the latest iPhone update wiped all his data — he will head over to YouTube and learn how to fix it. If he really wants to ask you out / impress you / propose, he has a million ways to figure out how.
  3. “The Rules describe an old-fashioned way of dating that doesn’t exist anymore.” My take: If you are consistently meeting men who only want to hang out or “cook dinner” at his place, and not go out on proper dates, then you have two choices: 1) Just say no to hang-out dates and see if he offers an alternative; 2) Learn how to screen men better. If you’re online dating, these tips will help you screen out players and other guys who want to keep things permanently casual. 
  4. “Men my age don’t know how to date.” My take: Women in every age category can feel like their situation is the worst. As a dating coach I know first-hand that you all have an equal shot at meeting your Mr. Right — at any age. Consider dating men who are 5-7 years older than you, if you're just going around in circles with men your own age or younger. Remember: men are resourceful. If he’s interested enough to learn what your standards are, he can figure out how to meet them.
  5. “My crush is really shy. His ex-wife really messed him up. I can only do some of The Rules with him.” My take: When a man heaps all the blame for a break-up on his ex, consider it a Buyer Beware. Just keep your eyes open, guard your heart, and do The Rules. No exceptions.
  6. “If I want him to treat me like a lady I have to tell him what to do every step of the way.” My take: Make sure you are taking good care of yourself. Dress your best, be your best, and say No to any behavior you don’t like. Men will make the effort to figure out what you want if they like you enough to do so. Whatever you do, don’t micromanage your date. Just move on if he has decided you aren’t worth investing in.
  7. “We’re both grown-ups. I know he doesn’t want to play games and neither do I. Shouldn't I make an exception for him?” My take: Date with an open heart and strict boundaries. That’s what emotionally healthy men and women do. But you still have to pace the relationship so that the initial spark has time to develop into deeper feelings. It’s unreasonable to expect instant bonding over that first glass of Merlot. Doing The Rules allows you both to take your time.

Men are resourceful. Whether his car is making a weird noise or the latest iPhone update wiped all his data — he will head over to YouTube and learn how to fix it. If he really wants to impress you, he has a million ways to figure out how.

As Rules women know, we don’t “do the rules” on men. We do The Rules on ourselves, stripping away negative behaviors and replacing them with healthy behaviors that naturally allow attraction to build. The Rules definitely do work within any relationship, with any man. If a man isn’t a good fit for you, The Rules will “work” by revealing early on that you are incompatible. That may seem like a disappointing result at first, but it's a powerful gift in the long run. 

e.l.f. cosmetics

Sometimes The Rules work by eliminating incompatible men from your life. That's a powerful gift in the long run.

Since you’re not approaching men (by asking for their help or inviting them for coffee), the rules will help you avoid players and pick-up artists as well as looky-loos—dudes who stare at you or flirt or “favorite” your online profile, but who never actually ask you out. You won’t get caught up in go-nowhere entanglements or affairs with unavailable men.

So how should you behave with a truly “shy” or inexperienced man?

The best way to deal with an introvert is to match his actions and level of interest. And then dial it back even further. Don't lean in lean back. If you are naturally an extrovert, that's cool. You don't need to pretend to be an introvert in order to attract one. Always bring your unique vibe to the dating game. Dial down your effort, not your charm. Study my flirting tips if you want to know how to enchant a man who tends toward a more subtle, quiet personality. WAIT until he asks you out – don’t make the first move. And once you’re on a date, make sure you show him your most feminine, vulnerable qualities.  

FROM BEAUTY BRANDS

Dial down your effort, not your charm.

The inexperienced man is very often a diamond in the rough and will make a wonderful partner in the long run. He may have been married previously or in a series of long-term relationships — he likes and values female companionship — but he hasn’t dated much in a formal sense, and seems confused or tentative when dealing with women in a romantic setting. 

The inexperienced” man could be someone who married his high school sweetheart and now, years later, finds himself single. He values female companionship but has little formal dating experience.

Because he appears to need help in approaching you and setting up dates, you might be tempted to bend rules for him or to assume that he is an exception to the rules. That would be a mistake. He may appear to be passive, but that’s usually just a temporary switch that got flipped by the various women in his life — his overly helpful sister, exes, and coworkers. Remember: If a bachelor has a steady job and is reasonably well-groomed and moderately attractive, then he has women approaching him at the gym, at work, contacting him first on POF and eHarmony, and generally showing him attention. He may be surrounded by a near-harem of female "helpers."

FROM BCBG

The shy” or inexperienced man is like a turtle: when women chase after him he retreats deeper into his shell.

When a man is used to being guided and micromanaged by women, it can become a behavioral pattern that is both comfortable for him and hard to break. That doesn’t mean he is satisfied or happy with that dynamic, or that he isn't capable of pursuing you if he’s motivated to do so. The inexperienced man is like a turtle: when women chase after him he retreats deeper into his shell. What he responds to best is a woman with a light, feminine touch; like a beautiful butterfly, she shimmers just out of reach. By not “helping” him date you, you are letting him know that you see him as the competent adult man that he is. That may be a message he is starved to hear. If he approaches you and you start dating, trust that he can figure out what to do. Your confidence in him will inspire him to do his best. If he is paying attention and trying to learn your preferences, then he is a keeper.  

 KNOMO LONDON BACKPACKS  #THISISMYOFFICE

KNOMO LONDON BACKPACKS #THISISMYOFFICE

What he responds to best is a woman with a light, feminine touch. Like a beautiful butterfly, she shimmers just out of reach.

His lapses into "helpless" dating behavior may tempt you to grab the steering wheel. Don't do it. Just relax, take a break with your girlfriends, and trust that your faith in him will bring out his inner Gentlemen’s Rules.  

The shy” man wants to be with a woman who trusts him to give her his best.

You don’t need to bend rules or weaken your boundaries in order to attract a particular man. In fact, if you feel like you have to break rules to get things started or to keep a relationship going, something is wrong — he's not truly interested or available. There is a real art to dating the inexperienced man — some women just lose steam (and confidence) with this guy, while others blossom as his attraction and drive builds. The next time you find yourself struggling to be Rulesy, mentally lighten up and visualize yourself as that beautiful butterfly. If it's still not working, consider that you may simply be dating a man whose style isn’t compatible with yours. The kindest action you can take is to release him to date others while you continue to search for your best match.

Robyn Wahlgast is a Rules Certified Dating and Relationship Coach for Women. Need advice about your own dating situation? Consider booking a private consultation with Robyn. Never miss a new blog post: subscribe to our FREE newsletter

BRINGING ROMANCE BACK IN OVER-40 DATING

The 40+ dating scene can feel pretty confusing at times. On the surface, adulting may look tame and business-like, but there’s a lot of pent-up energy under all the baggage of divorce, estrangement, and break-ups. Even if (most) single, mature women aren’t sashaying around like the singers from Fifth Harmony, it’s normal and healthy to want to “flex” for that Mr. Wonderful you’ve been on a few dates with. You want him to kiss you, put his hands in your hair, and just generally make you feel 22 again — even if you’re perfectly content to actually be 47.

So how do you turn up the heat in a way that feels age-appropriate?

 True glamour is ageless.  (Monica Bellucci, actress.)

True glamour is ageless. (Monica Bellucci, actress.)

Here are some tips for igniting romance when you’re starting fresh and playing for keeps:

TIP #1: Take it slow.

I know it has been way too long, you’ve never felt this way about a man before (seems like), and you’re longing to feel his arms around you. But be patient, girl. It’s no fun to be a man’s soft landing or rebound girl, after his heart was broken by The One and before he moves on to The Next One. Men respect you more and will find you more alluring when you have high standards.

TIP #2: Let him lead.

Just because you CAN make the first move doesn’t mean you should. As we age it can be easy for male and female energies to blur, either due to hormonal shifts or simply because we get used to living alone and compensating for a missing partner. Polarity is necessary to spark sexual attraction. While you may think you are doing nothing or “letting a great opportunity slip by,” it’s best to hold back and wait for him to move things forward if you want to progress beyond friendship.

TIP #3: Move on quickly if it’s not meant to be.

Don’t try to force a connection with a man who isn’t feeling it. He might say It’s not you, it’s him, and he’s not looking to start something serious. In man-speak, that translates into he’s not looking to start something serious. Don't be the woman who works hard to convince him otherwise, or who tries to earn his affection and attention. If he expresses any kind of hesitation, respect his honesty but don’t settle for a friends-with-benefits situation that will just leave you feeling empty.

TIP #4: Don’t forget to flirt.

Master flirts are so good at making men feel like men that they don’t even realize what they are doing. A great flirt wears feminine, form-fitting clothing, always smells wonderful, and lets her date order for her, open doors, and take the lead in conversational topics. Being ladylike, in general, is flirtatious. It telegraphs that you know your date is a man and you are behaving differently with him than you would with a pack of girlfriends. That is the essence of flirting — revealing your most feminine side with a member of the opposite sex. (For more tips on being light and breezy on dates even if you feel anything but read "How To Be An Unforgettable Flirt.")

Whatever you do, don’t buy into the idea that romance is dead and hook-up culture has replaced courtship. Just because singles now connect through apps like Hinge and Tinder doesn’t mean that our fundamental needs and desires have changed. Remember when guys used to honk their car horns at cute girls, an earlier form of swiping right? All that hope and excitement is still there. But now you are old enough to really savor it, taking it slow with someone who appreciates the chance to start something real — with you.

Robyn Wahlgast is a Rules Certified Dating and Relationship Coach for Women, and a happily married mother of three. Need advice about your own relationship? Consider booking a private consultation with Robyn. Never miss a new blog post: subscribe to our FREE newsletter.

ROBYN ORIGINALLY CREATED THIS ARTICLE, WITH LOVE, FOR THE WELLNESS UNIVERSE.

HE’S NOT FLIRTING… HE’S ACTUALLY PUTTING YOU DOWN

A handsome male co-worker sends you a suggestive picture with some jokey comment about oral sex. Your reaction is…

A: “Awesome! He thinks I’m hot.” You flirt back in your reply.

B: “Too bad…thought he had potential.” You delete the text and mentally move on. Mr. Handsome is obviously not trying to impress you or bring you his best game.

Back in my single days, we referred to ourselves as doormats when we let men walk all over us. Doormat behavior included:

  • Having sex right away (if we really preferred to wait instead);
  • Becoming part of some guy’s harem (if we preferred exclusivity); and
  • Going with the flow” when guys relentlessly pushed against our boundaries.
he's not flirting, he's actually putting you down

Being a doormat is accepting behavior that is unacceptable to you. You know in your heart when it’s happening. Most women recognize when guys are boundary-pushing in a disrespectful way. But there is one area that confuses many women, and that’s when men approach us with sexual or crude humor and flirtation. While some guys definitely do this in real life, you’re just as likely to encounter it on your phone, on dating sites, and pretty much everywhere in social media. Because some people refer to this behavior as “flirting” women aren’t always sure how to respond.

FROM E.L.F.

Here is the modern form of being a doormat: Allowing yourself to be a dumpster for sexually suggestive “flirting” and banter.

Sure, some guys on YouTube may imply that public groping and sexual references to body parts are the equivalent of flirting these days. Just normal dudes expressing interest. But seriously—NoThat’s not flirting, it’s dumping. When a guy makes references to his “meat” the only sane response from a woman with options—a High Value Woman like yourself—is silence. Cross him off your list and move on.

Why? Because guys say that stuff to impress other guys, not you. It’s a display of crudeness that many men (not all) find entertaining and harmless. But also, it is sometimes used to “put you in your place” as a woman. That’s right: the “sexy” comments that some women think are encouraging, or a stepping-stone to romance, may communicate something different to men. An obviously sexual come-on says: I refuse to put this girl on a pedestal—she is nothing special to me.

FROM BCBG

I was helping a single client with her Facebook page recently. Her male friends-of-friends kept posting raunchy, crude posters on her page. I advised her to change her settings to prevent their posting. I further suggested that the next time they text her “funny” pictures that contain the f-word or are mean-spirited or crude in any way, she should reply with “Please don’t send that stuff to me—I don’t like it.” Then make like a ghost and disappear.

My 26-year-old client couldn’t understand this advice at first. Weren’t these guys flirting with her when they sent her some meme about threesomes? Shouldn’t she be flattered by the “attention”? Doesn’t everyone drop the f-bomb in casual conversations these days? And, aren’t the most popular women on dating sites the ones who brag they have a “dirty mind” or “like it rough”?

Here’s the point: Guys who are willing to risk offending you with crude language don’t think you’re very special to start with. They aren’t overly concerned about your individual feelings and opinions. You’re just one of many of women they are approaching. They aren’t worried about the outcome.

FROM ZALES

TIP: If you aren’t sure how to respond to a guy’s sexually-charged text, consider this: Would he send the same message to Katy Perry, Selena Gomez, or Rihanna?

Probably he wouldn’t. He’d be on his best behavior with a woman he admires. He knows the difference. So is it flattering that he sent that message to YOU? The answer is “B”—it’s not. Ignore him and hold out for the man who really wants to talk to you, not just swagger in front of his friends. Sometimes that’s the very same guy, after he’s had a chance to sober up and clean up his game. If he’s truly interested in you, he’ll get the hint and try again later with a classier invitation.

ROBYN ORIGINALLY CREATED THIS ARTICLE, WITH LOVE, FOR MICHAEL FIORE'S DIGITAL ROMANCE

Robyn Wahlgast is a Rules Certified Dating and Relationship Coach for Women, and a happily married mother of three. Need advice about your own relationship? Consider booking a private consultation with Robyn. Never miss a new blog post: subscribe to our FREE newsletter.

DATING WITH AN OPEN HEART

What does it mean to embrace a man with an open heart?

For most of us, this means dropping our masks and being a little vulnerable. Maybe revealing the parts of our lives that aren’t perfect and polished—the stuff no one ever posts on Facebook. There is also an implied reciprocity: I’ll show you mine if you show me yours. And an expectation that we’ll accept each other’s’ flaws gracefully and without judgment.

Having an open heart towards others is relatively straightforward in relationships where trust and emotional intimacy already exist—among parents and children, husbands and wives, or the closest of friends, for example. But how do we apply this ideal in a setting like dating, where the participants are basically strangers, perhaps with competing agendas and motives? A bigger question might be:

Should we automatically approach potential romantic partners in an open-hearted way? 

The short answer is Yes—as long as you keep in mind that healthy love includes a healthy respect for yourself and your own needs. If you are a single woman who aspires to live and love in an authentic way, these 3 tips will help you fold into your approach a healthy dose of self-esteem:

  1. You can have an open heart and still maintain healthy boundaries. Emotionally mature men expect that there are areas of your life that are off-limits until trust and connection have been established. (In fact, these very men will feel unsure about you if you seem wishy-washy about what is or is not ok within the relationship.) Being “open” does not require you to reveal personal details or deeply hurtful or damaging episodes from your past. When you reveal yourself slowly, over several dates, you send the message that you put a high value on intimacy; you don’t share your story with just anyone.
  2. Putting safety first doesn’t make you defensive—just smart. Online dating and singles events are a wonderfully powerful way to increase your odds of meeting Mr. Right because they put you in touch with men outside your usual social circles. But mixing it up also increases some risks. Always exercise common sense. You can be open to who he is but still feel comfortable saying no to any suggestion that doesn’t feel right.
  3. Highlighting your femininity will automatically create an open environment for the men you date. I’ve written previously on the power of a woman’s authentic femininity and “how to harness your unique feminine essence to attract emotionally evolved men into your life.” By emphasizing your own difference—really owning the things that make you special—you free others to embrace their differences as well. This is a subtle way to let your date know that you’re not going to judge him for “acting like a guy” (i.e., being himself) or expect him to be a mind-reading empathy ninja like your female friends (which just sets him up to fail). Being feminine is a great way to connect with people in a vulnerable way, but still demonstrate self-respect and a healthy appreciation for personal boundaries.

Robyn Wahlgast is a Rules Certified Dating and Relationship Coach for Women. Need advice about your own dating situation? Consider booking a private consultation with Robyn. Never miss a new blog post: subscribe to our FREE newsletter

ROBYN ORIGINALLY CREATED THIS ARTICLE, WITH LOVE, FOR THE WELLNESS UNIVERSE.

STRETCH YOUR WAY TO A GREAT FIRST DATE

Let’s face it: meeting new people can be stressful. For many single people, the mere thought of going on a date triggers sweaty palms and a pounding heart.

That's a shame, because first-date jitters can cause us to behave in ways that turn off a potential partner.  A woman is at her most attractive when she is receptive, playful, and open to a man’s interest—radiating warmth like a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie. But when we are overly stressed we appear quite the opposite:  rigid, guarded, and maybe even a bit sour. Worse, this nervousness is highly contagious.  Your guy may notice that he feels uneasy in your presence —without fully understanding why—and simply decide to avoid your company in the future. Potentially compatible couples can miss out on a love connection because someone was feeling “off” in that first meeting.

stretch your way to a great first date

If you can find a healthy way to relax both your mind and body before dates, you are guaranteed to reveal your most delicious self, and increase your odds for finding romance. Now, if you already enjoy practicing yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, or other deep relaxation techniques, then by all means keep doing what you’re doing.  Simply add a 15-minute relaxation session to your regular beauty routine and you’ll be well set up for a great night. But if this concept is new to you, I want to share a simple set of exercises that are practical and effective, and that you can easily do at home or at the office.

 “Love Attraction" Relaxation Practice

5 Easy Steps

1. Use music to channel good vibes. Your tunes don’t have to be calming soundscapes or traditionally soothing in any way. Instead, choose songs that make you feel sexy and confident. Two of my favorites are That Lady by the Isley Brothers and Something Beautiful by Trombone Shorty.

2. Release tension in your upper body with Shoulder Rolls. Great posture instantly transforms your entire look and can make anyone appear healthier and more youthful. This simple exercise will get your blood flowing, and encourage your shoulders to settle down and back—a visual cue to others that you are confident and relaxed, even if you don’t yet feel that way. [Instructional video here.*]

3. Brighten your complexion—and your thoughts—with the Ragdoll Stretch. From a standing position, simply bend over at the waist, as though you are going to touch your toes. Your knees can softly bend as well. Let your arms flop and go limp, or cradle your elbows. Let your head sway gently. Breathe deeply, in and out, in a rhythm that feels good to you. [instructional video here.*]

4. Take a load off, with the Wall Stretch. Any pose that increases blood flow to the brain will help you feel more energized, lively, and fun. This is an inverted posture that is a modified version of a headstand. Lie on your back and scoot toward a wall. Gently walk your feet up the wall, so that your feet and legs are elevated. Just hang out in this position for a few minutes, enjoying the reversed blood flow.  Your feet and legs will welcome the relief, as well. [Instructional video here.*]

5. Sit or stand comfortably and laugh. Seriously! Popularly called “laughter yoga,” this type of practice has been around for centuries. Deliberately laughing may seem awkward at first, but over time it will come to feel like any other breathing or deep relaxation technique. Laughter helps bring out the lightness within you. When you’re meeting someone new, leave heavy thoughts of finding The One behind. Bringing a “light” attitude to your dating life—enjoying the moment and letting go of expectations—is a more loving and generous approach, and may ultimately help you connect better with your date.

Robyn Wahlgast is a Rules Certified Dating and Relationship Coach for Women. Need advice about your own dating situation? Consider booking a private consultation with Robyn. Never miss a new blog post: subscribe to our FREE newsletter

*Instructional videos by Dr. Jeanette Reed / Family Chiropractic Wellness Center

ROBYN ORIGINALLY CREATED THIS ARTICLE, WITH LOVE, FOR THE WELLNESS UNIVERSE.

HOW TO HAVE AN AWESOME FIRST DATE WITH AN ONLINE GUY

16 Best Online Dating Rules for Women

  Most single women have experienced at least one awful first date. Here’s how to stop the madness—and start looking forward to meeting your next online match.

Most single women have experienced at least one awful first date. Here’s how to stop the madness—and start looking forward to meeting your next online match.

Today I’m going to show you how to set up the best possible Date Zero (DZ), the very first face-to-face date with a man you’ve met online or through a dating app. While you can’t control for chemistry or a soulmate-level connection, there are effective ways to screen out duds, scammers, and guys who just aren't that into you. Once those worries are out of the way, you can actually relax and have fun.

These rules apply to any form of blind date, including those arranged by matchmakers or friends and family. (Read my general online dating tips as well as 2 Simple Steps To Your Best Online Dating Profile for help with creating your profile and getting online.)

Setting yourself up for success is very important. When you have bad DZs, you want to give up on dating entirely; your self-esteem takes a hit and you start to feel that you will never meet the right guy. You may even avoid singles events and other real-life opportunities to meet men because you feel so vulnerable and unsure of yourself. Worse, you may get caught up in a toxic relationship with a man who could have been filtered out from the start. This is the kind of negative spiral my guidelines are designed to protect you against.

FROM E.L.F.

As some of you know, I met my own husband online and have coached many women to the altar through online dating alone. While the starting point for my advice is The Rules book series by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider, I also layer in my own strategies—the tips I share with private clients and that I followed, personally, to date for marriage. Any single woman can meet great guys online, but you do have to be disciplined, screen carefully, and always choose quality over quantity. You are worth it!

IGXO Cosmetics

Rule 1: Lower your expectations (but not your standards). Even good guys can let their manners slip with women they are socially unconnected to. When your sister-in-law sets you up with her single co-worker, that dude is on notice to treat you like gold; otherwise, word will get out and there will be negative consequences for his poor form. Not so with your online suitor. To him, you are some random dot on the graph of life. He may start out hot and heavy, only to disappear without a trace. So, please lower your expectations for any new guy. Never get overly excited about a date or invest your emotions in a man who hasn’t yet demonstrated, over multiple dates, that he’s in this for the long haul. A man can poof! at any point in the process. Don’t take it personally and do move on.

Rule 2: Never contact men first. Whether you’re on Tinder, Match, or any other app or site, always let men pick you out from the crowd and never contact a suggested match first—not even a simple emoticon. I cover this topic in my online dating tips for women. Although it’s not what the dating sites want you to do, following this rule will spare you the type of date I describe in Rule #14, where the man has mentally checked out before his first beer.

Rule 3: Limit the Date Zero to 1 hour. I call the DZ a “sandwich” date because you will sandwich it in between other activities, such as working out or meeting friends for dinner. This has several benefits, not the least of which is that a man is more likely to ask you out again, for a proper date, if you limit the time spent in this initial meeting. The purpose of this date is simply to see if there is a mutually agreed-upon level of attraction. That’s it. A good venue could be cocktails, coffee, or a juice bar—any public space. Dinner, bowling, movies, hiking, and other time-intensive activities are not DZ venues. Neither is anything overtly sexy or intimate, such as watching videos at his apartment. (Seriously?) Meeting at a strip club is never appropriate, unless you work there and he is picking you up for the date.

Rule 4: Go by a nickname or middle name for the first 3 dates if it makes you feel safer. A man does not need your real, full name until you have gone out several times and you are sure that he is legit. If you’ve been hesitant to get online due to privacy concerns, following this rule will boost your confidence and allow you to engage with men in a more relaxed way—which will make them even more keen for your company. Never use your work phone number, work email, or any other identifying contact information in your online profile. If he presses you for your full name before the third date and you trust him, go ahead and share it. But it is also o.k. to flirt and sweetly answer “Hmm…I’m not sure….” If you have fun with it, he will too.

FROM DR. BRANDT

Rule 5: After he suggests meeting, have him call you to finalize the date details. On the surface, this call is about logistics and avoiding endless texts back and forth, but it is also a safety check. You can tell a lot about someone through a brief conversation—no longer than the few minutes it takes to arrange your meeting place and time. Does he sound overly nervous? Does he sound weird? Always trust your instincts and quickly cancel the date if anything doesn’t seem right. Remember, texting is silent: If a man resists calling you it can be a sign that he has a girlfriend or is possibly even married. Most women are fine with messaging or email contact only, so you may need to say—after he suggests meeting—"Sounds great, could we figure it out on the phone? 000-000-0000." If a man truly wants to meet you (not just window-shopping) he will appreciate being able to plan the where and when in one phone call. If he never calls, you'll know he wasn't really in the running in the first place.

 KNOMO LONDON BACKPACKS  #THISISMYOFFICE

KNOMO LONDON BACKPACKS #THISISMYOFFICE

Rule 6: He can’t be certain you’re worth chasing until he meets you in real life. Men don’t fall in love with your accomplishments and favorite movie list—they fall in love with your essence. The way you talk and move and smile are all part of your unique charm and allure, and can’t be captured in a photo. Just as some men post misleading profile pictures—or lack charisma in real life—he is understandably wary that you may not be what you seem. Therefore, while I advise making him work for your attention during actual courtship, don’t be too hard to get before the first date. Once he meets you in real life, the true chase begins.  

FROM ASTRID & MIYU

Rule 7: Forgive his dorky sense of humor. Some men are eager to impress, but not necessarily skilled at putting women at ease. They may think they are flirting with you by teasing and making jokey comments, and offend instead. Before the date it is sometimes hard to tell if your sense of humor will be compatible with his; and whether he is socially impaired or just nervous. Lots of nice guys lose out at this stage, simply because they hang out with other men all day at work and are a little awkward around girls. While we want to screen out the truly weird or disrespectful, take a second look at men who seem sincere and demonstrate follow-through, but aren’t necessarily suave. You may have discovered a diamond in the rough who will shine when you meet in real life.   

Rule 8: Skip men with overtly sexual or “seduction” profiles. The best part about the PUA (pick-up artist) crowd is that they tend to be very open about their interests. If a man sends you suggestive comments or his handle contains words like “player,” just ignore him. Let other women take that bait. 

FROM BCBG

Rule 9: Ignore men with lazy opening lines. If all he can muster up is “hi” “ur hot” or ;-) just ignore him. Wait to receive a message that demonstrates a little more effort and interest in your profile, specifically.

Rule 10: Politely asserting yourself doesn’t make you high maintenance. It is neither bossy nor impolite to state your preferences. If a guy is excited about meeting you he will want to please and impress you. While we would typically let a man lead the planning of a date, a gentleman will certainly ask for your opinions. It is o.k. to tell him that you prefer to meet near your gym. Or that you don’t like sushi. And you can only meet on Tuesday. Really, don’t be shy about your needs and preferences. If he has already asked you out, is in planning mode, and is inviting you to provide feedback—give it to him. If he says you are too high maintenance or in any way tries to suppress your point of view, say “No, thank you” and skip the date. It was not going to go well anyway.

e.l.f. cosmetics

Rule 11: Men appreciate the simple “No.” Practice a breezy “no thanks” with men. There is never a need to embellish. Providing the full explanation and details as to why you don’t care to drink alcohol on the DZ is unnecessary and none of his business. Likewise, he doesn’t need a list of your allergies and food restrictions; or to hear all about your terrible experiences at a local restaurant and why you’ll never dine there again. Respond with “No, thank you” or “it’s just not my thing” where appropriate. Then follow with silence. Men hear you best when you don’t go on and on. If he’s a gentleman, he’ll respect your wishes, and if he likes you he will take pleasure in accommodating your preferences.   

Rule 12: Keep the conversation light. There is no benefit to getting emotionally naked on the date. Save your innermost thoughts and feelings for those who’ve earned your trust. Many women over-share on the first date in an attempt to draw men closer, when instead it telegraphs that you have weak boundaries and are desperate for connection. You will end up driving away normal, healthy guys, and attracting men who are opportunistic or exploitative. Neither do you need to research conversational topics or memorize cute jokes. Relax, trust that simply being with you is enough, and let him lead the conversation.

Rule 13: He has to pay for the date. If you start splitting the check now, you will set up a dynamic in which you will always have to help him date you. Besides, when a man likes you, it is his pleasure to be generous and provide you with things. If it makes you feel better, consider that he will select a date venue that is within his budget; meeting at a coffee or juice bar is perfectly acceptable and inexpensive.

Rule 14: Pay attention to signs of disinterest and be quick to hit the eject button. Acknowledge that sometimes men simply aren’t attracted to you when they meet you in real life. Salvage the rest of your evening and end the date quickly if he doesn’t seem interested. How can you tell? He may be flat or unengaged in conversation, check his phone constantly, drink heavily, ogle other women in the bar, flirt with the waitress, or otherwise passive-aggressively announce: I’m bored. When a fish is wriggling like this on the hook, it’s best to set it free. Excuse yourself (it doesn’t matter what you say) and head for the exit before you waste another precious minute. Whatever you do, don’t work to engage him in conversation or try to focus his attention back on you. You are not his unpaid escort. If you have to work for eye contact, he is not into you or he’s playing some kind of power game; the longer you sit there trying to revive this dead fish, the worse you will feel about yourself.

Beauty Brands.  Free Samples With Purchase.

Here’s a tip for next time: Men who aren’t really available or not that attracted to you often have difficulty setting up the DZ in the first place. If he arranges a date but then cancels on you, don’t immediately give him a second chance to reschedule; pass up his first offer and see if he persists. Also, if he expects you to do all the planning or has no suggestions or is otherwise lukewarm prior to the date, that can be a red flag. If he drags his feet, you should immediately become less interested in meeting him. Even if he was to be your only date in months, you are better off staying home or going to the gym than subjecting yourself to the glazed look and tepid conversation of man who would rather be elsewhere.

FROM BEAUTY BRANDS

Rule 15: You can say yes to long-distance suitors. If you live in a rural area where there aren’t a lot of dating opportunities nearby, I feel your pain. Nonetheless, you are still going to have to follow these rules if you want to meet a quality man. You aren’t going to contact men first. And you cannot travel to his town for the date—he must come to you. Understandably, many women in tight-knit communities don’t want to be seen with an online date in their local coffee bar, where everyone knows your business. If you prefer, it’s o.k. to have him meet you one town over, if that means driving 15 minutes or less, and it’s not too inconvenient for you. And, yes, the first date should only last an hour, even if he has to drive 3 hours each way to see you.

One of my recently married clients can tell you that men really are willing to drive hours for the right girl. Her now-husband drove 2 hours each way to meet her for a 1-hour DZ in a little town in Western Kansas. After exactly 57 minutes of chit-chat, my client left him and went to her previously arranged appointment. Was he upset that he’d driven 2 hours to meet her for a single coffee in a diner? No. He spent a few hours exploring the unfamiliar town, identified the one “fancy” restaurant, ate dinner there alone, and filed it away in his memory; 10 months later he brought her to that same restaurant for a surprise proposal.

Final Rule: When in doubt, always skip the date. Listen to your uh-oh voice and pass on any suggestion that doesn’t feel right. Remember, a man is on his best behavior at the very beginning of a relationship. He should be going all out to impress you. If he’s not, take the hint and move on. 

xo
Robyn

Robyn Wahlgast is a Rules Certified Dating and Relationship Coach for Women. Book a private consultation or subscribe to her FREE dating and relationship newsletter and get priority access to all new blog posts and advice. Learn how to rock The Rules your own way for lasting love and commitment.