What Does Safe Dating Look Like?

What Does Safe Dating Look Like?

SafeDatingtipsA few years ago, using an online dating service was considered shameful and people would often lie about how they met their significant other if they met each other online. Today, times are changing. Last year, meeting someone online was the most common way people met their spouse or spouse-to-be (19%). This was followed by being introduced by friends (17%), meeting someone in college (15%), and then work place romances (12%). While you should always exercise safe dating practices, when you meet someone online you have an increased risk, so you should be extra cautious.

What does that look like? First, make sure you use a reputable dating service. Dating Safe is revolutionary in how we approach dating safety. We go over and beyond other dating services to vet and verify all of our members. No other dating service does that. However, even with all of the safeguards we use, we encourage our members, and everyone else for that matter, to follow these great tips as they look for their soul mate.

  1. When it comes to your online profile, limit the amount of personal information you give out. Particularly, pay attention to the pictures you post. Do they reveal where you work, live, or play frequently? Does it show your license plate or your jogging path? This kind of information should be kept private until you determine you can trust the person you are interested in. That should be several in-person dates down the road. There is a delicate balance to be reached between getting to know someone and revealing too much private information. You can talk about work, but you can keep the location private until you feel safe with that person.
  2. Do a little online sleuthing. Do a Google search on their name. Do a reverse Google image search on their pictures. If you find them on Facebook, see if you have any friends in common and message your friends to get information on them.
  3. Consider using a Google phone number and have it forwarded to your phone. This is free by using Google Voice. This is an easy way to avoid giving your personal number to someone before you are ready to give that to them. You can also use your online dating service messaging to communicate until you are ready to reveal your phone number.
  4. While it is tempting to text to set up the first date, psychologists highlight suggest you talk to someone on the phone. There are things you can only learn from talking to someone and your instincts will respond more clearly from hearing their voice than just reading some words on a screen.
  5. If the person you are talking to online starts to ask for money, this is a huge red flag. Do not fall for their sob story. Never send money. Usually the request for money is preceded or followed by passionate professions of love. Don’t fall for it. Delete the person. Block them.

Once you’ve decided to have a first date, there are some things you should do. These are essential when meeting anyone new for the first time even if your best friend has set you up and given you her full endorsement.

  1. Tell someone where you will be, who you are meeting, and how long you will be gone.
  2. Drive yourself there.
  3. Go somewhere public.
  4. Keep it brief. Meet for coffee or lunch. Grab a drink after work. If you are drinking alcohol, limit your intake so you can stay alert and aware.
  5. Consider carrying a self-defense tool and some emergency cash.
  6. Trust your instincts.
  7. Have your “gotta go excuse” ready to go in case the date is going poorly or your instincts tell you something is wrong. This can be coordinated with your check-in buddy.
  8. Go home alone.

Overall, whenever you are on a date, it is imperative to respect time, space, and privacy. While asking questions to get to know someone better is a natural technique for conversation, you need to be careful to respect boundaries. Someone may not be ready to divulge where they take yoga classes if they are protecting their privacy. So, instead of asking: where is your yoga studio?  Ask them: what do you love about yoga? You will learn more about your date by asking the second question and respect his/her need for privacy.

While online dating has its challenges, it is definitely worth it. The good news is, research is showing that marriages that result from online dating are happening quicker and are less likely to end the first year. Couples who met online are also reporting more marital satisfaction.  So, what’s stopping you? Get on DatingSafe.com and get your profile ready to go. We do a big chunk of the work for you by vetting and verifying our members so you get real people looking for real relationships. Then use the tips above and you are on your way to find the love of your life!

Ghost of Dating Advice Past

Ghost of Dating Advice Past

RetroDatingAdvice2

The holiday season is upon us and so is the season of self-loathing. The time when singles around the globe feel their “single-hood” in such a poignant and powerful way that the urge to run and hide is tangible. Watching happy couples and “complete” families celebrate the holidays is a painful reminder of what they do not have but desperately want. Often your friends and family begin to toss out advice in rapid-fire form to help you hook up for the holidays. Unfortunately, most of what they tell you is as useless as handing you a hammer when you are trying to fix a broken vase.

Because of advances in technology and communication, there are literally dozens of ways that singles can meet other singles today. However, dating advice hasn’t kept up the same frenzied pace. It’s as if the ghost of dating past is still haunting us today. Read the following list of dating advice that was published in McCall’s in 1958 and see if any of these old tired pieces of advice have been given to you recently.

 

HOW TO GET A HUSBAND

  1. Get a dog and walk it.
  2. Have your car break down in strategic places.
  3. Attend night school. Take courses men like.
  4. Read the obituaries to find eligible widowers.
  5. Sit on a park bench and feed the pigeons.
  6. Get a job in a medical, dental, or law school.
  7. Ask your friends’ husbands who the eligible men are in their offices.
  8. Be nice to everybody—they may have an eligible brother or son.
  9. Volunteer for jury duty.
  10. Be friendly to ugly men—handsome is as handsome does.
  11. Get lost at football games.
  12. Don’t take a job in a company run largely by women.
  13. Go to all reunions of your high school or college class. There may be widowers there.
  14. Don’t be afraid to associate with girls that are more attractive; they may have leftovers.
  15. Go back to your hometown for a visit. The wild kid next door may have become a very eligible bachelor while you were away.
  16. Don’t room with a girl who is a sad sack and let her pull you down to her level.
  17. Learn to paint. Set up your easel outside an engineering school.

HOW TO LET HIM KNOW YOU’RE THERE

  1. Stumble when you walk into a room that he’s in.
  2. Carry a hatbox.
  3. Wear a Band-Aid. People always ask what happened.
  4. Make a lot of money.
  5. Walk up to him and tell him you need some advice.
  6. Dropping the handkerchief still works.
  7. Stand in a corner and cry softly. Chances are good that he’ll come over and find out what’s wrong.
  8. Buy a convertible. Men like to ride in them.
  9. Learn how to bake tasty apple pies. Bring one in to the office and let the eligible bachelors taste it.
  10. If there’s a wallflower among the men you know, why not cultivate him? For all you know, he may be a diamond in the rough.
  11. “Accidentally” have your purse fly open, scattering its contents all over the street.

HOW TO LOOK GOOD TO HIM

  1. Get better-looking glasses. Men still make passes at girls who wear glasses. Or try contact lenses.
  2. Practice your drinking with your women friends first.
  3. If you dye your hair, pick a shade and stick to it.
  4. Wear high heels most of the time—they’re sexier.
  5. Tell him he’s handsome.
  6. Take good care of your health. Men don’t like girls who are ill.
  7. If you look good in sweaters, wear one on every third date.
  8. Get a sunburn.
  9. When you are with him, order your steak rare.
  10. Don’t tell him about your allergies.
  11. European women use their eyes to good advantage. Practice in front of a mirror.
  12. Use the ashtray; don’t crush out cigarettes in coffee cups!
  13. Don’t be too fussy.
  14. Don’t whine—girls who whine stay on the vine!

HOW TO LAND HIM

  1. Show him you can have fun on a cheap date—but don’t overdo it.
  2. Don’t let your parents treat him like a potential husband.
  3. Tell his friends nice things about him.
  4. Send his mother a birthday card.
  5. Ask his mother for recipes.
  6. Talk to his father about business and agree that taxes are too high.
  7. Buy his sister’s children an occasional present.
  8. Don’t talk about how many children you want.
  9. If he’s a fisherman, learn to scale and clean fish.
  10. When you’re out strolling with him, don’t insist on stopping at every shop window.
  11. Don’t tell him how much your clothes cost.
  12. Don’t gossip about him.
  13. Never let him know he’s the only one, even if you have to stay home one or two nights a week.
  14. Find out about the girls he hasn’t married. Don’t repeat the mistakes they made.
  15. If you are widowed or divorced, don’t constantly discuss your former husband.
  16. Be flexible. If he decides to skip the dance and go rowing on the lake . . . go! Even if you are wearing your best evening gown.
  17. Hide your Phi Beta Kappa key if you own one—later on junior can play with it.
  18. Turn wolves into husband material by assuming they have honor.
  19. Resist the urge to make him over—before marriage, that is!
  20. Remain innocent but not ignorant.
  21. Learn to play poker.
  22. If he’s rich, tell him you like his money—the honesty will intrigue him.
  23. Never let him believe your career is more important to you than marriage.
  24. Point out to him that the death rate of single men is twice that of married men.

WILD IDEAS—ANYTHING GOES

  1. Go to Yale.
  2. Get a hunting license.
  3. If your mother is fat, tell him you take after your father. If he’s fat too, tell him you’re adopted.
  4. Stow away on a battleship.
  5. Rent a billboard and post your picture and telephone number on it.

While some of these ideas are outright dangerous, most of the others are just plain insulting. They focus on changing yourself into something you are not instead of focusing on becoming your best self. That is what you need to do. Become your best self. Then trust the process. Dating is a lot of trial and error. You will get bumps and bruises along the way. You will most likely even get a broken heart or two. However, the last thing you want to do is change yourself into something you are not to try and “catch” a spouse. The love of your life WILL love you for who you are. So, while you are being patient with the process, spend time loving yourself. And when your friends or family offer a less than helpful piece of dating advice, put on a big smile and laugh it off.

3 Tips For Dating Single Moms

3 Tips For Dating Single Moms

 

3 Tips For Dating Single Moms

With around 15.4 single mothers in the United States, there is a good chance that you may end up dating one, especially if you are dating in your 30s, 40s, and 50s.  While some men may shy away from dating a woman with children, they are overlooking some specific benefits.

  1. First, single mothers are practical. They do not sweat the small stuff. While they appreciate being wined and dined, they are also just as happy with a fun picnic at the park. They appreciate the small and simple things in life. They know that even the best laid out plan can go swiftly sideways and they have learned to laugh at these spontaneous disasters. They will not hold things against you if your plans do not work out the way you intended. They will not see it as a flaw in your character or as a failure on your part. They will be able to laugh it off with you the way they have laughed off dozens of other such occasions with their own children.
  2. Second, her history has taught her what it takes to be a good partner, and she is ready to apply all that knowledge to her next relationship. Additionally, she is fine-tuning her nurturing skills as she cares for her children. She knows how to sacrifice and put others first. She intuitively knows how to anticipate the needs of others and she will do the same for you. There is something beautiful in how a mother balances the demands of each of her children with the demands of running a household and, often, working full time.
  3. Finally, if she falls for you, it is the real deal. She has learned to be guarded and reserved with her emotions, so if she gives her heart to you, you can be sure that it was not just on a whim. Rest assured she has weighed all the pros and cons about you and tried to talk herself out of falling for you several times before she allowed herself to open her heart. However, once she does, she is all in. She will give you all of her love, attention, and support.

If you have the wonderful opportunity to date a single mother, you should never say several things to her if you want to have a second (or third or fourth) date.

  • You look great . . .  for a mom.
  • The kids need a man in the house.
  • You had a C-section. That is awesome!
  • You don’t even have stretch marks.
  • Your ex lives in the neighborhood? Is his place near here? Do you ever run into him? Does he hate that you date?
  • Did you get your tubes tied?
  • How much child support do you get?
  • When guys marry single moms and their daughters grow into teenagers, I don’t know how they can control themselves.
  • My ex has a lot of issues so I really want to get married so my daughter has a new mom.
  • Not a lot of guys are interested in women with kids, you know.

All of these are showstoppers. She will block your number and you will never see her again.

So, what can you do to set yourself up for success? Do not assume that just because she has her kids she’s not available. If she’s interested in you, she will be willing to get a babysitter. Make sure you keep that in mind when asking her out so she has plenty of time to make those kinds of arrangements. In addition, because she has the expense of paying for the babysitter, it would be nice if you paid for at least part of the date. It is a nice gesture. Let her know that you love kids. If you have your own, talk about them. If you don’t, talk about your nieces and nephews or other children you have relationships with. She will want to know how you interact with kids. Don’t assume she is looking for a financial rescue or that she’s looking for a new dad for her children. What she is looking for is a new romantic partner. First and foremost, focus on that relationship. When she is ready, let her decide when to introduce you to her children. It is unwise for any single parent to parade a bunch of potential partners through their children’s lives. Timing is everything. So, do not pressure her into meeting her children before she feels ready.

So, why not give those hot single mommas a whirl? Don’t dismiss what they have to offer just because it may seem on the surface to be a bit more complicated than dating a single woman without children. You may miss the relationship of your dreams.

Profile Picture Perfection is Possible!

Profile Picture Perfection is Possible!

ProfilePicCollageYou’re ready. The idea of dating no longer causes you to break out into a cold sweat and head for the bathroom with stomach pains. You feel confident, secure, and stable. You want to increase your chances of meeting someone you can share your life with, so you decide to leverage the power of online dating. Last year, 46% of people met their current partner online. You take a deep breath, grab your laptop, curl up in your favorite chair, and begin to carefully craft your online dating profile.

You struggle through draft after draft of usernames and clever headlines. With 59 million users, it’s an enormous challenge to find something that is unique and hasn’t been overdone. After what seems like days, you feel like you have climbed Mt. Everest, and you have just one step left . . . pictures. This is perhaps the most daunting aspect of creating an online dating profile. Research has shown that people will form an opinion of you in 1/10 of a second. That’s it! That’s all you get before someone decides to like your picture, send you a message, or move on to another profile. Talk about pressure! It’s almost enough to make anyone climb back into their pajamas, grab a quart of Ben and Jerry’s, and decide to try online dating next year.

However, there are things you can do to maximize that 1/10 of a second you have. Dozens of research studies have been conducted in the last five years to uncover what men and women like and don’t like when it comes to online dating pictures. There are some clear guidelines that will help you choose the best possible pictures for your profile. Here is what you can glean from the research:

  1. No hats or sunglasses. People who had pictures of them wearing hats or sunglasses received 63% less likes or messages. Why? Eyes are one of the first things people notice about another person. Making eye contact with someone, even through a picture, seems more intimate than looking at someone’s sunglasses. In fact, 53% of men notice a woman’s eyes first in a picture. Don’t cover up those assets, show them off. What about hats? Caps and beanies can be fun and appropriate for hiking and vacationing, but often people wear them to cover up flaws. Unless you wear that hat or beanie all day, every day make sure to have a picture without it. If you’re bald or have a receding hairline, own it!
  2. Include at least one full body picture. People who had at least one on their profile got 203% more incoming messages and 33% more replies to their messages. Why is this? It has to do with transparency. Being physically attracted to someone is an important factor in dating. While it is important to put your best foot forward, it’s also important to put ALL of you forward as well.
  3. Have a niche? Include it in a picture but only if you have more than one picture. People who wore their favorite sports jersey received 32% more incoming messages than other profiles. Additionally, people who included pictures of themselves on vacation, participating in hobbies, and competing in sports received more messages than other profiles. However, this was only true if it was in addition to other pictures. This is because these are great conversation starters, but if it is the only picture on your profile, it can alienate potential partners who may be interested in you but might not share your interests.
  4. Taking a good selfie is incredibly difficult. Getting the angle right, cropping out background images, and adjusting glare are all nightmares. As it turns out, selfies are also not that effective as online dating profile pictures. In fact, for women it is a deterrent to getting messages. Women with selfies received 40% less messages than profiles without selfies. Ironically, men catch a break here but not a big one. They receive 11% more messages if they have a selfie profile picture. For both genders, though, mirror selfies are a no-no. Mirror selfie profile pictures receive fewer likes and messages across the board. The solution is to grab your best friend and have her take some pictures or get some professionally done.
  5. Filters and photoshop. You might not think so, but it is obvious if you have used a filter or photoshop on your picture. People who have profile pictures that have been edited with filters receive fewer likes and messages by 32%. This is especially true for Snap Chat filters. The only exception is the black and white filters. These pictures get 13% more messages.
  6. Expensive toys. This seems to be a common profile picture for men. Maybe she’ll send me a message if I pose with my amazing car or motorcycle? Maybe I’ll just post a picture of my car or motorcycle and she’ll be so impressed she won’t care that I’m not in the picture. Men, this is a huge turn-off for women. In fact, men who posted pictures of themselves with their toys or just their toys received far fewer likes and messages than other profiles. Save the reveal of your nice car or motorcycle for a first or second date when she can appreciate it in person.
  7. Where’s Waldo? Group photos are a nightmare for dating profiles. If you have a great picture of yourself in a small group, then include it at the end of a series of photos of you. Never have a group photo be your only profile picture. It is never obvious to anyone looking at your profile who you are in that picture.
  8. No ex’s or SOs in your picture. Never. Period.
  9. Everything matters. When someone looks at your pictures, they may notice your amazing smile and beautiful eyes, but they will also notice the dirty clothes on your bed or the hungry kids pulling at your leg. Make sure that everything in the photo tells the story you want it to because it will be judged.
  10. If your profile picture hasn’t changed but you have, it’s time for a new picture. If you recently cut off nine inches of your hair, time for a new picture. If you shaved your head, time for a new picture. If your beard has become speckled with gray hair, time for a new picture. A good rule of thumb is to update your picture every year unless you make changes to your appearance sooner than that. It’s about integrity. It’s about being authentic and confident in who you are now.

Now you know a lot of what not to do, so what CAN you do to be proactive and successful with your photo selection? Here is what we know from hundreds of thousands of singles who responded to research studies. Singles are looking for someone who fits the trifecta: attractive, trustworthy, and confident. Each photo you choose to put on your profile should reveal these three items. In order to nail this trifecta, you should enlist the help of friends. It turns out you are not the best judge of your own photos. If none of your existing pictures fit this description, take some. It is perfectly acceptable to stage moments that capture your fun personality, your hobbies, and the things you are passionate about. You want the pictures you include to tell a story. You want them to start a conversation with someone and invite them to message you to know more about you. Most of all, you want to be authentic and transparent.

As you take pictures for your profile, keep several things in mind. People respond warmly to pictures where the person is smiling, where there is good lighting, and where the person is taking up most of the room in the picture. A recent analysis done by Tinder discovered that 56% of women and 72% of men wore neutral colors in their profile pictures. So, skip the neutral and wear red. Not only is it a power color that flatters almost everyone, you will automatically stand out from the majority of other profile pictures.

You should always include more than one picture on your profile. The magic number is four. Research has even shown the most effective sequence for them. Order them: (1) your very best, most attractive picture (2) picture of you participating in a hobby or event (3) possibly a small group photo or travel or vacation photo (4) full body photo. People with less than four photos receive fewer messages. Those with more do not necessarily receive more messages, so it’s up to you how many you want to put on there. One cautionary note, be careful if you choose to include pictures with your children in them. While you may want to show what a cute and adoring parent you are, you may want to keep that for a later time when you have met the person face to face and have developed a relationship of trust with them.

So, put down the Ben and Jerry’s, take a deep breath, and peruse the pictures in your phone. If there’s nothing there that matches the criteria for a perfect profile pic, then grab your bestie and have a fun impromptu photo shoot. Remember, it only takes one like, one message to change your life. So, if it takes a while to get the right kind of response to your profile, that’s ok. You are worth it!

 

Should Love Hurt This Much?

Should Love Hurt This Much?

shouldlovehurtthismuchflatimageSarah was a beautiful, vivacious 25-year-old attorney. She had just landed her dream job at a competitive firm in New York. Her family and friends were wildly excited for her. Finally, it seemed that Sarah was reaping the rewards of all of her hard work. Law school had been tremendously hard, and Sarah had struggled getting through it while juggling several dysfunctional relationships with men. Finally, it seemed she could leave the struggle behind.

Although starting this new job meant flying across the country and leaving behind her support system, Sarah didn’t mind. She knew the long hours she would have to put in at the firm meant she would have little time for a social life any way. She said a tearful goodbye to her family and friends, boarded the plane with an optimistic smile, and flew towards her dreams.

Sarah really thrived in New York. McFarland & Sons was a multi-billion dollar law practice that rarely hired anyone straight out of law school. She always arrived an hour before the other attorneys, and she stayed long past the time they all left. She often took work home with her too. To say that she loved her job would be an understatement.

One day, a handsome delivery boy brought in a delivery for Sarah. Her friends back home had sent her flowers. How thoughtful she thought. I wonder if they picked out the hot delivery boy too. She giggled at her own joke. “Are you Sarah Jenkins?” he asked in a deep, baritone voice that sounded like it belonged on Broadway instead of coming out of the mouth of a delivery boy. “Yes, I’m Sarah,” she stammered. “Here’s a delivery for you,” he smiled. “Please sign here.”

Sarah was caught off guard by his handsome face and melodic voice that when she grabbed for the pen she fumbled it, and it flipped out of her hand and hit him in the nose. “Oh no!” Sarah cried out. “I’m so sorry. I’m not usually that clumsy,” she apologized. There was a streak of blue pen on his nose. Sarah was unsure if she should try to wipe it away or if that was too weird. After a long awkward moment, he bent down to pick up the pen and handed it back to Sarah.

“No worries, Sarah. Please sign here, and then I’ll be out of your hair.” Sarah carefully reached for the pen this time, signed her name, and then grabbed the box. “Thank you um …” she paused waiting for him to fill in the answer. “Jeff, my name’s Jeff,” he replied. “Thanks Jeff. I’m sorry. I got pen on your nose. You’ll probably want to wipe that off before you do any more deliveries.” Jeff reached up and rubbed his nose. “Oh boy! I guess I will go take care of that. Thanks for the heads-up. Have a great day, Sarah.” He winked at her and then walked out the door. Sarah couldn’t help but watch him walk away until he was completely out of sight. She noticed butterflies thrashing around inside her stomach. Oh no! This was not happening. She was not going to get involved with any men. She was much too busy, and she was always unlucky in love.

However, life had a different plan for Sarah. The following morning Jeff went back to McFarland & Sons and asked Sarah if she would like to go to dinner. Sarah was hesitant. She had a bad track record with men. Her past relationships had always started off well, but then the Prince Charmings morphed into beasts after a few months’ time.

But, Jeff was so charming and handsome that Sarah could not refuse. During the first few months of their relationship, Jeff was warm, thoughtful, and exciting. She learned that Jeff was an aspiring singer and actor. He was in New York chasing his dream to become a singer and actor. He was working odd jobs to pay the bills, but most of the time he had to crash at his friend’s apartments because he did not make enough to pay his rent. Jeff told Sarah about how hard it was to catch a break in acting and how expensive it was. Sarah enjoyed being with Jeff. She was flattered that someone like him would even be interested in her. She was sympathetic with his struggles, so she paid for all their dates. She knew Jeff felt bad that he could not pay right now, but that would change once he got his first big break. Besides, she had a great job, and she was happy to help.

After a few months, Sarah began to become obsessed with Jeff. She was determined to help him be successful. When she was not at work, she would spend time researching agents for Jeff to interview or looking for auditions for him. She knew Jeff could not afford an agent, so she offered to pay for one. Jeff was grateful, of course, and then he said that if he had an agent he would also need acting lessons, singing, lessons, and a photography shoot. All of these were costly, but Sarah happily gave the money to Jeff. She was invested in him and his future.

As the months passed, Jeff’s behavior began to change. He became moody and entitled. He demanded that Sarah let him move in with her so that he could have a stable roof over his head. He blamed his failing his recent auditions on not having a stable place to live. When she told him she wasn’t sure about living together, he became enraged. He yelled and cursed at her. For the first time, Sarah was frightened of Jeff. She asked him to leave. He kicked the door on the way out and left a hole in it.

The following day Jeff apologized and blamed his poor behavior on his dysfunctional childhood. He spent the next few hours confessing to Sarah that his mother had abused him as a child and that is why he had yelled at her the previous night. Sarah was really touched by this confession. She felt honored that Jeff trusted her enough to confide in her. She vowed to help him heal his emotional wounds and become a successful adult.

But, as the days went by, Jeff’s behavior became more chaotic. The smallest thing would set him off. He would yell and kick the wall. Often he would call Sarah demeaning names. And sometimes he would disappear for days at a time with no explanation. When he returned, Sarah noticed he had lipstick on his collar but never dared ask him about where it came from. Ironically, as the relationship deteriorated and Sarah’s heart felt the mounting pain from Jeff’s actions, the more she felt committed to “saving” him. She knew if she could only love him enough then he would change.

One night after a particularly bad screaming match with Jeff, Sarah locked herself in her room. She called her best friend, Julie, and confided in her about her new relationship. As carefully and lovingly as Julie could, she said, “Sarah, I hate to tell you this, but your old pattern is back. Jeff sounds just like Tim and Steve. Sure, the details are different, but the pattern is the same. You’re trying to rescue another lost puppy and now it’s gone rabid and it’s attacking you.” Sarah sobbed. “Why does this keep happening? You would think I could spot a loser a mile away! I’m a lost cause.”

***

Are you like Sarah? Do you have a pattern of forming relationships with men where you sacrifice your own needs for safety, love, and comfort for someone else? How would you answer the following questions?

  1. Are most of your conversations with friends (or family) about him, his problems, his thoughts, and his feelings?
  2. Do you excuse his moodiness, bad temper, indifference, put-downs as problems because he had a bad childhood, a stressful job, a tough life?
  3. Do you read self-help books and underline things you think will help him?
  4. Do you dislike many of his basic characteristics, values, behaviors but put up with them because you think you can change him?
  5. Does your relationship with him jeopardize your emotional well-being or physical safety?

 

 

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you may be a woman who loves too much. In our culture, women have been conditioned through music that love should be painful. Rarely do love songs become number one hits if they talk about two people who have a mature, balanced, respectful relationship. Songs only become a hit if someone is willing to die for love, sacrifice everything for love, bleed for love, or cut out their heart for love. It is no wonder that around 30% of all women find themselves in relationships that are extremely dysfunctional and that this pattern repeats itself until one of three things happen: (1) she gives up on relationships, (2) love does kill her, or (3) she identifies the pattern and gets help.

Women who love too much have several common characteristics. Do any of these describe you?

  • They come from dysfunctional homes where their emotional needs were not met.
  • They try to fill their emotional needs vicariously by becoming a caregiver to men who appear needy.
  • They are terrified of abandonment.
  • They will do anything to save a relationship.
  • They will sacrifice anything to help the man they’re with.
  • They’re accustomed to a lack of love in a relationship, and so they’re willing to wait, hope, and try harder to please their man.
  • They’re willing to take far more than 50% of the responsibility, guilt, and blame in a relationship.
  • They have critically low levels of self-esteem.
  • They have a desperate need to control their man because they had little security in childhood.
  • They are more in touch with the dream of their relationship than with the reality of it.
  • They are addicted to men and emotional pain.
  • They may be predisposed to chemical/food addictions.
  • They have a tendency towards depression.
  • They use sex as a tool to manipulate their man.
  • They are not attracted to men who are kind, stable, reliable, or who are interested in them. They find them boring.

 

So, what do you do if you see yourself in any of these descriptions?

First, do not despair. There is something you can do. Make your recovery a priority. You cannot break this pattern on your own. Find a therapist who can help you work through the issues that are keeping you locked in this pattern. Most of the research I’ve read strongly suggests that women see women therapists. If possible, find a female therapist near you and tell her you think you are a woman who loves too much. Second, find a support group. Your therapist can recommend one for you. Third, develop your spiritual side. Set aside some time daily to get in touch with your higher power. Invite him or her into your life. Ask for help and guidance as you tackle this problem. Meditate. Fourth, stop managing and controlling others. This will be a hard one. This has become a skill you have used to “love” others, but it is self-serving. You need to find more genuine ways to connect with people. Fifth, make a commitment to cultivate what needs to be developed in you. Make a list of talents, skills, or abilities that you would like to work on. Set short-term and long-term goals to help you develop yourself in these areas. These will help you fill the void that you have been trying to fill by your dysfunctional relationships with men. Instead of “mothering” needy men, spend time mothering yourself.

Loving too much is just like any other addiction–it is a dysfunctional coping strategy that must be treated with a professional’s help. The good news is women who have loved too much can have healthy, successful relationships in their future! So, take advantage of the help that is available for you and set yourself up for success when you are on datingsafe.com. Love does not have to hurt. In fact, it shouldn’t. Period.

Information for this article was adapted from Women Who Love Too Much by Robin Norwood. I also recommend the book Healing Your Emotional Self by Beverly Engel

 

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