Tag Archives: love

My Online Profile

Dating sites, except for Nerve.com, which is undergoing major changes, are not designed for edgy people. PerfectMatch, Match, eHarmony, and Chemistry are all about aspects of personality and character that only come out through romance. They don’t address the fundamentals of what it’s like to live together, except on a superficial level, such as how well a room is kept.

On one site, I got a lot of messages. I was proud of my profile. It was written in male-speak with no more than two lines per topic, titles, and concision. (I’m female.) And it painted a pretty accurate picture of myself down to my MBTI type. Met two guys from that site, both of whom are great guys. But I wasn’t attracted. (I like serious, logical guys who come across as arrogant but really aren’t.)

But tonight…

I accidentally texted the wrong person. Was trying to message my neighbor but the text went to a guy with the same name who was from this dating site. The guy got upset. Irrationally.

I knew from this guy’s profile that he used Evan Marc Katz’s method for online dating from the way his profile was written and the style of pictures. I also know this because of the timing this guy had in responding to my messages. It was textbook. But of course, I didn’t mention anything. It looks great and reads well, but I know this method. So, of course I was guarded.

Needless to say, I was totally turned off. Not only from this guy, but from online dating – again.

Anyway, I’ve been seeing someone I met at a birthday party, and things are going well, so checking out is no big loss. But as a writer and one having quite a few men hoping I will reciprocate interest, I decided to share exactly what was on my mind on my profile.

The following is what I wrote on it:

Not hanging out here much longer.

When you text someone, “Hope the [job] went well. Have a great week.” How should a person respond? Should she (he)? How would you respond? Well, someone who I never met face to face got upset because when that text arrived on my phone, the job was still going on. Didn’t know how to respond. By the time the job was over at 3:30 in the morning, do you think the first thing I wanted to do was respond? Nor did I remember to respond when I had to wake up to go to work in the morning.

Who hurt you?

In spite of whatever reason you can’t approach an attractive woman and start up a conversation, learn to do it. Just say, “Hi.” Because a virtual dating life is a joke.

Heal yourself.

Stop getting upset about trivial things and realize that people are guarded. There is too much hurt in the world, too much abuse. Men and women hurt each other because they are emotionally immature. And people are immature because they don’t heal themselves.

Nurture yourself.

Figure out how to break the patterns of your own resentment. Love exists. But the more you blame others for your own misery, the less likely you will find it. You have to love yourself before you are capable of loving someone else.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Can you put your name in place of the “love”?

Good luck.

So, maybe I should have texted back “Thanks”. But the guy seemed off, like he had some insecurities that were sure to come out at unforeseen moments, so I was unsure about responding. Then I just forgot about him.

People mistakenly text the wrong person all the time. As one who had done so, albeit to someone with more issues than Occupy Wall Street, the reaction is undeserved.

Until someone comes up with a better online dating forum, I’m offline and getting outside. Or maybe the thing with the birthday party guy will work out.

What is Love? Part 4 – How To Love Women

How to Love Women

This post is specifically for the guys. (Hey, I write for a men’s magazine.)

No matter where you are in your relationship with a woman, here are 4 things you can to do to make her feel éros.

  1. Listen to her
  2. Use touch
  3. Be gentle
  4. Speak with your body

Listen to her.

“I knew that,” you might think. But do you know how to listen to women? First, you have to turn off all your electronics, yes this includes the TV.

It’s pretty widely known that women – even the most logical thinking ones – need to talk about their feelings. Not always, but usually when their feelings get in the way of rationality.

Some women are really upfront about their feelings.

No matter how worked up she might be, do whatever it takes not to react. Because I guarantee that once a woman realizes that you are listening, she will calm down. A quiet response is always better than a loud reaction in these situations.

Some women are used to people reacting to them. They might say something like, “Why aren’t you reacting?” Your response could be, “Because I’m trying to understand exactly what you are trying to say.” Some women are über logical (like myself) and reason out loud trying to figure out their feelings. A logical type tends not to get hyper emotional, but she still needs you to listen.

This is how to listen:

  • Don’t assume to know what she’s saying. Emotions are not easy to express with words. All those chemicals reacting in her brain need help with translation, and that’s where taking time to really understand will help.
  • Use active listening skills.
    • Try to understand. If you need clarification, a good way to start asking for it is with, “Do you feel like…?” Restating in your own words is also helpful.
    • Pay attention to body language. The body says a lot more than words. Use your body language to show you’re listening by leaning closer or facing her.
    • Give feedback, but not advice. Show you understand with eye contact, nodding, and “mm-hmms”. Good feedback reinforces what she says. Let her get the words out even if she sounds irrational. Then, if you must suggest something, ask if you can share it so she doesn’t get immediately defensive.
  • Don’t make it about you. Even if a woman starts blaming you, she might be using you as a scapegoat for the real problem. And if it really is your fault, remember that nobody is perfect and eat some humble pie.

On a deeper level, what makes a good listener is agápe. (See Part 1.) Listening is an action, and it’s louder than words.

Use touch.

First, remember touch is not always related to sex. Second, you can’t just touch a woman without having her trust (unless you want slapped or a lawsuit.) Building that trust for some women takes time and energy. But be an excellent listener and you can build that trust quicker.

Once you have a woman’s trust, her body will be more receptive and that is good for both of you.

Don’t underestimate foreplay. Good foreplay turns women on. There are great books on the topic: the Kama Sutra, books by Lou Paget (my favorite), and another classic: The Joy of Sex. And by all means, flirt. Touch not only with your hands but with your leg under the dinner table or with your lips. Kissing is way of touching.

Be gentle.

To be a real emotional support, use gentleness. You know women don’t want Mr. Fix It showing up when facing delicate issues. Put away the hard hat and be gentle.

Being gentle also applies to your touch. If you think foreplay doesn’t do anything, you probably aren’t gentle enough. Pay attention to her body language, if or when it tells you your touch is too hard. How do you hold an egg? [Your answer here.] Exactly.

Gentleness isn’t called for in every situation. Sometimes women need you to be dominant. Though you can still be gentle while dominant.

Speak with your body.

Did your mom ever hug you? How did it make you feel? Hug your woman. Hold her.

Your face also says and means a lot. If you look intently at her while thinking about how much you care, the care will show. Remember, if you are not thinking about how much you care for her that will also show.

When women feel love…

You know what happens when you and your girl love each other. You build intimacy. Then éros will take hold, and it will all be over for you.

Take an active listening assessment.

Another good article on active listening is at MindTools.com.

What is Love? Part 2

What exactly is love?

“Why can’t we just sniff each other like dogs and mate?”

“Why do women make this love thing so complicated?”

For one, the hunt wouldn’t be as interesting if it was too easy, truly. Being human takes work. To deal with the complex matrix that makes the human brain and find lasting love, we can take the word of any religion that tells us exactly what to do. Not.

You could figure it out by trial and error. How exhausting.

Really, you want to be smart about this whole love thing, right? Throughout history, romantic love has played major roles. Antony and Cleopatra, John and Abigail Adams, Bonnie and Clyde, Lucy and Desi, John and Yoko, and some of our parents. Repeat: some.

Making éros happen for the long haul takes 3 things:

  1. attraction
  2. readiness
  3. compatibility

Attraction

This is easy. All you need is a pair eyes. (If you don’t have eyes, sorry.) If every woman in the world took care of herself inside and out, the streets would be an ocean of eye candy. Since not every woman takes care of herself, the number of attractive women is limited. Still, there are plenty of women to light up your love rod. (Of course there’s the not-so-hot woman with personality who you might find is pretty “alright” after getting to know her. But that’s not the point right now.)

You want that attraction to last, of course. Looks don’t last forever, so it also takes associating those initial sparks with the intimacy that develops as a result of bonding. More on that later.

Readiness

Now, if you scoffed at the title of this article, you’re might not be ready to embrace this thing called love. Though you’ve probably been through enough trial and error to realize that it must exist. As tragic as true love ending in death, being ready means being willing to risk impending loss just to enjoy reknowned relationship bliss for even a brief moment on Earth.

Sometimes it takes life changes to realize readiness, such as the birth of a child, or witnessing the least commitment-minded person you know falling in love. Sometimes it takes pressure from family or friends. Sometimes we just grow up. A few are ready long before the rest of us because that’s how they were born.

Being ready for love takes having EQ. That is, emotional intelligence. If you didn’t know, EQ is like IQ, but it regards how one handles his or her emotions. A person with high EQ has the ability to empathize with others and handles heated situations with calm, for example. Not everyone who commits to a relationship has high EQ. But for true love to happen, it’s definitely helpful. True love could happen without high EQ, though that would be an emotional rollercoaster.

Readiness without drama certainly requires at least some emotional intelligence. Even better if it grows. EQ growth happens when working through emotions or painful memories and becoming resolved about them. It might take therapy, serious talks with someone you trust, or plenty of man-cave time.

Compatibility

If readiness isn’t challenging enough, there’s compatibility.

The problem with compatibility is that it’s easy to be deceived into thinking you get along with a woman just because you shared one amazing night or week together. More often than not, real compatibility lacks. It takes life experience, use of logic, or friends showing us how blind we are to see when compatibility is missing.

Sometimes similarities mask incompatibility. Just because you moved to the same neighborhood, worked in the same industry, and like the same music doesn’t make you and the girl you like compatible. The test of compatibility happens among day-to-day redundancies, such as dealing with how bills are paid, or how the house is kept.

Of course, you can’t know if you and a woman are compatible in daily life without becoming roommates. If that situation is out of the question, having friends who know you really well can help. You know, friends with that sixth sense.

Compatibility is unfortunately the one thing that couples absolutely need for true love but far too often miss. How can we be more astute in having compatibility in a relationship? That will be the topic in the next article in this series on love.

What Is Love? Part I

In the next few weeks, I will focus on that seemingly ever-elusive topic: love. Personally, I like the idea of lasting love and have devoted the last 3 years of my life to explain in plain English how to have it. Hence, the series:

What Is Love?

Part 1 – Love: Where did we go wrong?

Somewhere in the midst of caveman clubbing, hair-dragging, and procreation, romantic love developed. And in spite of the ancient writings of King Solomon and the Kama Sutra, our culture is largely ignorant on how to have lasting love with a significant other. Could this be due to what American culture is: apple pie, cowboy boots, Hollywood, and suburbia? Tsk, Americans aren’t that shallow.

Western history nonetheless has caused people of breeding generations to question love.

Exponential population growth definitely doesn’t help with the answer. Only 100 years ago, the world’s population was less than 2 billion. This year it will reach 7 billion. Maybe the trouble of finding true love today is simply a matter of decreasing odds. If that’s the case, some of us are smart, raising that probability by meeting our soul mates in college, in the neighborhood, or through a friend. Fewer are plain lucky. Most of us are sadly left to sift through the masses, or worse, online dating profiles.

“These days we question why couples stay together more than why they split.”

Are people staying together out of convenience, for comfort or companionship? It seems less likely that a couple is together for love. In that rare relationship in which the old man says of his elderly wife how beautiful she is, we’ve got to ask how to achieve that true love. Does it really exist?

In Greek there are 4 different words for love: éros, philia, storge, and agápe. Eros is the love we all know in the world of romance to mean intimate, or passionate love. Philia refers to friendship among family and friends. Storge is affection such as felt by parents for their children. And agape is unconditional love coming from compassion and understanding. These are rough translations, because in Greek, all four of these words are used to describe truly romantic marriage.

In English, love has been reduced to a buzzword. We say “I love you” even without romance. Even natives of other languages say “I love you” in English more than in their first language. This is ridiculous.

So, how can real love be reestablished?

Let’s think about reasons why we love. Let’s take man’s best friend for example. You give your new dog food, a toy, a place to lie down, maybe take her for a walk or play with her. That dog says thanks by showering you with kisses, guarding you when strangers approach, and panting with excitement when you come home. Reciprocity abounds as a bond develops. In a short amount of time, you grow to love that dog as she becomes part of your family. Pretty easy. If only loving women worked the same way.

The confusion with love these days begins with a word that isn’t love at all. Lust, or epithumeo in Greek, has passion and can be confused easily with éros. You see a pretty girl and the way she looks does something to your hunter instinct as it sniffs out the viability of this prey. A few things in common gives you ammunition for the kill. She falls. Devouring her makes happiness and oxytocin, but it doesn’t last. Next day, the carcass rots. Not love.

Then there’s the opposite problem – the “friend”.

Of course you love (philia) your friend. She’s easy enough on the eyes and you respect her companionship. In fact, you might as well be joined at the hip because she is you in female form. But she doesn’t turn on that hunter instinct. Too bad.

As finding someone to love in all 4 Greek forms is increasingly difficult, it’s important to remember that the benefits of ensuring success may outweigh the struggle, especially when we walk away from failure with experiential lessons. In the words of Alanis Morissette, you live, you learn. Besides, we’ve all gone wrong about love at times in our lives, except maybe for the fortunate few.

In the days when fertility and sexuality was celebrated on February 15 (later to become the 14th), courtship and romance was not very common. More often, marriages were arranged for financial, social, or political reasons. Today, we have every reason to be grateful for our liberties. Nobody wants to be miserable. Everyone wants love.

This series on the topic will explore different factors of love in romantic relationships – how to find it, how to use it, and exactly what it is. Let’s figure out how to make the most of it.

Issues? What issues?

When we’re single, we want a relationship. When we’re in a relationship–an incompatible one, that is–we want to be single. Never satisfied, it’s easy to miss what’s really wrong in the picture.

I’m what the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator would refer to as “Perceiving.” Basically, that means that I’m comfortable in a state of indecision. To those who are opposite of Perceiving, or “Judging” (not the same as judgemental) it’s important to know what their weekly schedule looks like. But I like to keep it open and have options.

Even in a relationship with a boyfriend, I was never comfortable with the idea that he was “the one.” Get married? I’d rather wait and see. Any excuse I could find to get out of a relationship and find a new one was acceptable in my eyes. But then I turned 37. My boyfriend of 4 years and I broke up the year before. (My longest relationship to date.) At this age I started to think about whether or not I really wanted to bear a child. I decided I did and thought about settling down.

Fast forward to May 2010. I turn 39 in two months, and my boyfriend– who I found on a dating website– and I have been together over a year. Until a month ago, I was still in that state of indecision about marriage. Except this boyfriend is different from the other ones. He’s compatible with me. But why haven’t I felt in love with him? It’s that gnawing question that plagues many of us, that make us wonder if we can be more than friends, or whatever.

I got the answer to that question a month ago. It was something that I had been ignoring for years.

I had been in love once before. And I was in a relationship with him, Bill, in 2003. But I broke up with him because I wanted to pursue a career in entertainment and thought our relationship was getting in the way. But really it was my lack of independence that was in the way. About 4 months after leaving him, he was in a car accident and died.

Bill and I were still in touch the day of his accident. In fact, I ran into him the same day. He invited me to see a play. Inside I wanted to go, because I was still in love with him, but instead declined. Years later, while in this new relationship, I still hadn’t let go of my lost love and wasn’t allowing my heart to open up. I squashed my feelings with busyness and avoided intimacy out of fear for losing another loved one to death.

It’s very easy to go into denial about our problems. But being in denial doesn’t help anyone. Whether we’re in a relationship, dating casually, or playing around, every person we get close to can be affected by our issues.

My issue with my present boyfriend became a non-issue after I decided to let go of Bill’s spirit and move on. I had been feeling guilty for breaking up with the only man I ever felt like I could die for (besides my dad). And my reason for breaking up was my own problem. Another issue.

There are other details that affected my story that would take a book to write about. But rather than go there, it should suffice to say there were many other personal issues that needed attention and healing.

Since Bill died, I’ve learned to be independent. My present boyfriend, Jason, is also an independent person. It’s amazing when two independent people get together and are compatible. They become two interdependent people, and the chemistry is awesome. But the only way I could be here in this (amazingly) healthy relationship is to have dealt with those issues without dragging my significant others into the depressing depths of their roots. Of course, the guys were aware I was working through emotional trials, but they were not victims to them.

Got issues? Face up.

Get responses online

Meeting people online has its issues, but they are not impossible to deal with. You need tactics, as if you were an online pickup artist.

I met my boyfriend, Jason, on plentyoffish.com. I swore to myself it would be the last dating site I would ever join. Since I was still working on my book, and writing about personality types based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), I decided to test myself. I wanted to see if I could find my perfect personality match through a person’s online profile.

Of course, I had to know about personality matching. I had read Dr. Alex Avila’s LoveTypes book. I learned my type, ENTP, aka “The Innovator,” is romantically compatible with ENTJ, aka “The General.”

It’s difficult to order a book, read it, and put it into practice in a matter of a few days. So, I’ll try to give a bared down tip…

  • Think about 3 things about your mind/life that are distinct to you compared to other people you know. For example, for me: 1. I dislike set schedules; 2. I love to be silly; 3. I’m very analytical and have to think to know my feelings.
  • Next, go to the dating site, and as you peruse people’s profiles, look for things that jump out at you that you think or know would work with you. For example, I know for myself it has always helped me to have someone in my life who was better at living by a schedule than me; so, in that sense I look for my opposite. Plus, since I’m analytical, smart people interest me. Funny, ’cause the initial impression of Jason’s photo was, “This guy is arrogant!” Sure enough, he’s arrogant because he’s smart–and I like him that way.
  • When you find something distinct about the person you can relate to, write a message that caters to that distinction without getting too personal. For me, I realized that Jason likes to debate. So, in my first message, I challenged him on his profile’s headline.

    Note: The more attention you pay to details, the more a person senses genuineness. For example, if a girl writes something like, “I love to go out for good food…” Don’t just write, “What kind of food?” Dig deeper. Assume “good food” is the difference between dining on the Baja peninsula and Taco Bell. Instead you could say something like, “Have you been to the Bistro on Main Street?” or whatever; you get the point, I hope.

In the meantime, check out Avila’s LoveTypes book. For a generalization on what that’s about, you can also read Parts IV and V in my AlphaDog book, also available on Kindle.

Good luck!

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This post was inspired by @YouWishYouWere on Twitter.

Opposites don’t attract

For as long as I can remember, I’ve heard people say “opposites attract.” They use this to explain any number of romantic occurances: the hot young girl with the homely older man, the clean cut guy with the rocker girlfriend, or the church-going girl with the alcoholic guy. Looking over the list, does it really seem likely that the attractive young girl is drawn to the homely older man because of his looks? Or that the clean cut guy is drawn to the rocker girl because she’s so different? Of course not. They how did these people end up together? That’s part of the mystery of attraction but it has nothing to do with being opposites. Opposites don’t attract, complements do.

Complements are often mistaken for opposites, perhaps a sign that we don’t have the proper phrasing to accurately distinguish the two. Opposites are black and white, completely opposing forces; complements are two sides to the same coin, two forces that flow together more harmoniously than each could were it separate. Many people mistakenly view the Taoist yin-yang symbol as a representation of opposites when, in fact, it is a representation of complements. Yin and yang circle around one another, each representing different parts of a greater whole, each completing the other to form a perfect whole.

Attraction is the recognition of complementary aspects in another person. We’ve all had the experience of being drawn to someone that, logically, we should not be attracted to. They’re too young or too cocky, they’re not pretty enough or in good enough shape…yet we find ourselves attracted to them. This type of attraction goes on at a deep, subconscious level that some would call the soul. Our soul, some believe, is always deficient in some way and always seeking to complete itself. In a way, it is a yang seeking its yin, or a yin seeking it yang. It’s not an opposite that we yearn for, it’s our other half, the part that will make our soul complete.

Most of the people we’re attracted to are quite similar to us in some way. Most of the ways people meet seem to indicate this as a truth. A friend of mine who is a wedding photographer found some patterns: most of the couples met either at work, through a shared activity (class, sports, etc.), or through church. Each of these three indicate similarity between the two people in their chosen profession, in their hobbies, and in their spiritual beliefs, respectively. But if your partner were exactly the same as you, they would not be nearly as attractive. If you ever travel so far as to run into yourself, you will surely wish to take your exit as soon as possible. You don’t need another you because another you doesn’t bring anything new into your life. That’s why you’re attracted to someone who is similar, but not the same, someone who is a complement and not an opposite.
If attraction is the recognition of your complement, then love is the realization of that complement. Falling in love has been referred to throughout history as two people becoming one, and there’s nothing that could be more accurate. Being in love with someone means that some major parts of you have found their complement in the other person; you feel whole having this connection. There are numerous stories of people rising to greater challenges and achieving higher goals after being in love. This makes perfect sense, of course, as a complete person is incredibly powerful.

This also makes sense in the context of one of the most powerful experiences people can have: a break up. The only other life event that causes such a drastic and sudden emotional response is the death of a loved one. In a way, a break up is a sort of death. The complements that you had found in that other person are suddenly and ferociously ripped from your being. Even if the break up was logical, as in the case of abuse, the pain you feel goes far beyond emotion…it literally tears at your soul. You feel like nothing will ever be right again, your entire being shakes knowing that the other person is gone. Why the big deal? You had survived for numerous years in your life before meeting this person and did just fine, yet now, the thought of not having him or her there is unbearable. The pain you feel is the loss of your complement, the process of once again becoming incomplete after spending so much time as a whole person. It’s brutal and it can take some time to recover. But you do.

After recoving from the loss of your beloved, often times you’ll find that you are, in fact, more complete than before you met your ex. Even though that other person is gone, some of the complements you found in them actually became a part of you. You may find that you’re more confident or have a different view of life. In effect, you have absorbed the complements that were present in your ex, making yourself closer to being whole. The next attraction will continue the trend, identifying more complements that are necessary for your own growth.

So try looking back at your past relationships with gratitude. At some level, they all helped you grow and become a more complete person. And remember, it’s not because they were your opposite, it’s because they were your complement.