If You Ask Me, Love Isn’t Blind Enough

andy warhol-quote-love

Before online dating, before dating apps, social media, and the internet, there was this thing called a “Blind Date.”

Your friends or family would fix you up with someone–like their cousin or cute dentist–and you’d say yes. First, you’d ask some questions, get some general information, a brief description, and a glowing recommendation, and that was pretty much all you needed.

You had no idea what they looked like, but you had enough to go on. The rest—having faith, trust, an open mind, and a sense of adventure—was up to you. You thanked them for fixing you up, and off you went. And if it wasn’t a match, at least you found a new dentist to clean your teeth.

Back when people went on blind dates, they didn’t ask for photos first. There was no Facebook to see what they looked like, no Instagram to check out their bathroom selfies, and no Google to run background checks. Because there was no way to know if your date was your “type,” you had to go on the word of the person fixing you up. All you could hope for was that your date would be nice, not a jerk, and attractive enough.

Back then, if you asked to see someone’s pictures first, the person fixing you up would either think you were nuts, paranoid, ungrateful, or a snob. “You think I keep photos in my wallet of everyone I want to fix you up with?! Haha you’re hilarious.” Of course, this was before smart phones, before you could whip out your device and flash someone’s profile pic.

I miss those days. I miss setting people up on blind dates. It was old-fashioned and romantic, from another time. There was mystery. Now, there is no more blind dating. There’s no “blindness” in dating anymore, and I blame technology. Technology killed blind dating. Because of technology, no one is willing to take a chance and throw caution to the wind. There’s no element of surprise because everyone needs to check out the goods first.

What happens when people check out the goods first? They judge. They scrutinize. They assume. They discriminate. They discount. And there goes the date, and with it, any possibility of meeting someone great. All because he/she’s not attractive enough, rich enough, or maybe too old, heavy, bald, whatever. This is my blind dating lament.

People are visual, but online dating has made dating harder because it relies on the visual.

No matter how accomplished, smart, interesting, or funny your blind date could be, you’ll never know if you judge them by their photos first. All you’ll do is form some preconceived notions about them, and nix it. Even if you saw a photo of a Victoria’s Secret model before going out with her, you’d have preconceived notions, not to mention EXPECTATIONS that mostly likely would never be met.

I can’t tell you how many people I’ve tried to fix up on blind dates but they won’t go without a picture upfront. I’ve even tried not to give out last names lest they go running to Facebook first to look them up. It drives me insane.

NEWSFLASH! Not everyone’s a supermodel. Not everyone is Brad Fucking Pitt. But if want me to fix you up with someone, and YOU’RE my friend, and THEY’RE my friend, and I vouch for both of you, that should be good enough. And if you trust ME and MY taste, you’ll go on the damn date without further ado.

Anyone who’s been single since the advent of the internet is guilty of dating due diligence, including me back in the day. It’s been standard operating procedure ever since. When I was single, I took full advantage of technology to help me find matches. But I also went on blind dates. And you know what? I actually preferred blind dates over meeting total strangers online. At least my friends could pre-screen people for weirdness. Plus, the personal connection prevented any ghosting or other bad dating behavior. Because when you get fixed up by a friend, you have to be accountable for your actions, unlike with anonymous dating apps where there’s no accountability for being a dick (or the female equivalent).

They say love is blind. Not in this digital age! In the digital age, love is superficial, shallow, and completely lacking in surprise.

Thankfully, there are some dating apps out there trying to make love a little more blind. Like Jigsaw, the “Anti-superficial dating app.” To keep it substantive and not shallow, they superimpose a digital jigsaw over your face. The more you interact, the more pieces are removed to reveal your photo.

Then there’s Taffy, a chat-first dating app that “Puts personality on the same level as physical appearance.” They keep your photos blurry until you start chatting.

A new Netflix reality series, Sexy Beasts is also trying to keep love blind. Premise: real-life singles look for love while hiding their identities behind elaborate Hollywood makeup, costumes, and prosthetics.

The show aims to reinvent the blind date by asking “Would you fall in love with someone based on personality alone?” After a series of dates, contestants select their matches without seeing their real faces, which are eventually revealed after the final decision is made.

“Once you get attracted to someone’s mind, you’ll find beauty in everything they do.”

All of this goes to show that looks can be overrated. On our podcast Done Being Single, my Robby and I urge our listeners to date against type for this very reason. I’m reminded of an inspiring quote to support this: “Once you get attracted to someone’s mind, you’ll find beauty in everything they do.” After dating many types, I can say with much certainty this is true. The mature, bald, and heavy-set men were always the sexiest, and their minds sealed the deal for me. As for the supermodels, I’m reminded of another inspiring quote: “Show me a beautiful woman and I’ll show you someone who’s tired of fucking her.”

Yes, looks get old.

In doing research for this blog post, I came upon a fantastic article “Date Ugly Men.” I loved the sentiment, but the comment section made me cheer. A female commenter wrote:

“My conventionally hyper attractive husband dated me – well out of his aesthetic comfort zone but I interested him. We’ve been married nine years and going strong. He often comments that I am the best woman he has ever been in a relationship with – and he’s lived a rockstar lifestyle and dated over 3000 girls. But it took 3000 girls and one divorce from an extremely attractive woman to convince him looks were overrated.

Men are hard wired to want to date attractive girls in their youth. Women to a lesser extent…

My advice would be – sow those wild oats. Sow oats over physically attractive people to your hearts content. When you’re sick of the superficial nonsense – and you get all those experiences out of your system – find the one that you would like to grow old and ugly with 🙂

Women: try dating poor men! Not men who are lazy or losers, but men who’ve chosen professions that pay badly. Not because they wanted to be poor, but because they were committed to something larger than themselves, and as a man it takes a huge amount of bravery NOT to be a banker, venture capitalist or CEO.”

Preach, sister!

The next time a friend wants to introduce you to someone, say yes and don’t ask for pictures. Instead, go in blind. Take a chance, throw caution to the wind, and who knows? When you date with your eyes closed, you just might fall in love.

 

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Need help dating? Need a trusty guide to hold your hand or give you some tough love? I’m your coach. I found love and got married for the first time at 51, I know the ropes, and can get you results. Contact me now for a FREE coaching session.

For faster wisdom, follow me on IG @trevabme

A Bad Relationship is a Terrible Thing to Waste

“You don’t develop courage by being happy in your relationships everyday. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.” – Epictetus

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I have a client who just broke up with her longtime boyfriend, and even though she’s heartbroken, she knew it had to end. The relationship wasn’t healthy, nor was it empowering her emotionally. For reasons having mostly to do with her own attachment issues and codependency, she ended up overstaying her welcome, and not leaving when she should have.

After a “come to Jesus” moment with herself (and tough love from me) she managed to break it off. But unfortunately, she’s now left feeling shame, anger, and regret.

Her self-recriminations were swift and stern:“Why did I stay so long? What was I thinking? Why didn’t I see it earlier? How could I have been so stupid? What’s wrong with me?”

There’s a million questions she could’ve asked herself, and a million ways to kick herself, but there’s only one thing she really needed to do: Understand the lesson in it all.

A bad relationship is a terrible thing to waste if:

  • There were no takeaways.
  • You didn’t take responsibility for your part.
  • You didn’t take time to heal.
  • You forgot about compassion and forgiveness.
  • You didn’t recognize possible patterns.
  • There was no growth or reflection.
  • You chose another bad relationship right after, OR
  • You take the anger from your last relationship into your next one.
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Beautiful things can come from bad relationships. Photo credit: Diogo Fagundes

A bad relationship can undermine your confidence and wreak havoc on your self-esteem, but if you grew and evolved because of it, or if there was something redeeming in it, then it wasn’t a waste at all.

As blogger Jessica Wildfire says:

“Every relationship trains you for the next one.
We like to write off failed relationships as a total loss. Kick ourselves for wasting time on something that doesn’t work out.
Someone who wasn’t good for us after all.
Someone who took advantage of us.
Someone who never loved us. Or just thought they did.”

I was single until I was 51, and had lot of relationships during that time—mostly good, but some bad. And by bad, I mean they didn’t go anywhere, no matter how hard I tried. Think square peg, round hole and you get the picture.

When I think about how much time I wasted on these go-nowhere relationships, I could kick myself, but I’m not going to. Instead, I’m going to congratulate myself. I managed to get through them all while learning a ton about my self-worth in the process.

Failure became my best teacher, and it can become yours too if you look at it that way.

Bad relationships may break you, but not for long. Photo credit: @anniespratt

After a bad relationship, you will feel shame, anger, and heartbreak.  You will hate yourself and your ex (or maybe still love them?) and be in so much pain you wish you could go to bed and wake up in six months like it never happened.

Hard knocks are inevitable in life, but hard feelings towards yourself are another thing. Accept that you screwed up, or got played, or made bad decisions, or stayed too long, or chose the wrong person, and be done with it.

And if you’re going to kick yourself, at least kick yourself in the right direction.

Let bad relationships guide you, not define you. Let them train and prepare you for the love that comes next. Let them build resilience, and improve your emotional fitness, because you WILL bounce back and be in better shape for it.

Then one day when that bad relationship is over, and you’re healed and healthy, happily single or partnered up, looking great and feeling strong, you’ll realize that it wasn’t so terrible after all. That bad relationship, and all the bad ones that came before it, could have actually been worth it.

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If you need help navigating the dating world, conquering single life, staying empowered, or moving forward in life, check out my private coaching services. I’m an ICF-certified life coach/dating coach with all the tools and strategies you need to achieve your personal best in life and love. Contact me here and let’s get to work.

For faster wisdom, follow me on IG @trevabme.

Put Yourself On Your Own Damn Pedestal

There was a time in my life when love was so elusive, when committed relationships felt so unobtainable, and marriage so out of reach, it had me convinced I wasn’t good enough, and that everyone was too good for me.

I was in my late 40s, still single, and on a horrible losing streak. Nonstarters and strikeouts characterized my dating life, and disappointment ruled the day. The worst thing about that time is the damage it did to my self-concept. Repeated rejections got into my head and messed with my mind. They made me question my attractiveness, doubt my desirability, and lose my ability to be my authentic self.

At 51, I finally tied the knot, and now at 57, I look back on those years and know exactly what went wrong. My need for approval was so misplaced, and my desire to get married was so ridiculous, it clouded everything, especially my priorities.

I put guys first. Big mistake.

When you worry too much about someone liking you, you forget to like yourself. You forget how to be yourself. You lose yourself. You forget where your power is, and why you were giving it away in the first place. When you put someone on a pedestal, you lower yourself; when you make someone more important, you diminish your own importance; when you come from a place of inadequacy, everyone seems better than you.

Insecurity + intimidation = inhibition. It’s unsustainable for dating and relationships.

There’s danger in believing negative narratives about yourself, especially because it can become self-fulfilling. Here’s what it looks like: your fear of not being attractive/charming/smart/whatever enough undermines your confidence, which in turn sabotages your relationships, which makes your worst fears come true.

I told you, it messes with your mind.

Hear this and believe it: YOU’RE ENOUGH AS YOU ARE. No one is ever too good for you, and no one is out of your league. Furthermore, don’t think for one second that guy or girl you like doesn’t have flaws and problems and issues that make them not so hot. No one is perfect, so stop handing them your power and making them boss. There should always be balance and equal footing, and if there isn’t, you’re in the wrong relationship with yourself.

Because it’s so easy to get down on yourself when you’re single–especially if you’ve been single a long time—it’s crucial that you take stock of your greatness. And by greatness, I mean every little wonderful thing about you, every little thing you’re proud of, every little thing that makes you fucking great. Remember, there’s no one like you. And when you know what you’ve got, no one, not even your own mind, can mess with you.

The question shouldn’t be: “Do they like me?” It should be “Do I like them?” The question should be “Are they worthy and deserving of me?” Not the other way around. It’s a privilege to date you, know you, be with you, but you need to be convinced of that first.

This brings me to the subject of self-acceptance vs. self-improvement.

As a life coach and former fitness professional, I’m in the business of self-improvement. I believe in it, preach it, and practice it. I’m a big fan of doing the work. There’s always room for improvement, always room to get stronger, fitter, more confident, productive and empowered, but there’s also room to be more accepting of yourself. Being able to love yourself, even if you don’t lose a pound, make more money, find a boyfriend, or get married. The truth is, there is nothing sexier than self-acceptance, because when you have it, the people you date feel it.

If you want to improve, do it for your own sense of accomplishment, not because you think it’ll make you more lovable. Remember, the only approval and validation you need comes from you first. And it shouldn’t be hard, because you’re already pretty fucking great as is.

But if you forget, I’m here to tell you: it’s time to put yourself on your own damn pedestal.

Falling In Love Is Scary AF

Falling in love is a death-defying act.

You’re head-over-heels, topsy-turvy, with zero gravity, zero certainty, and no way of knowing which way is up.

When you fall in love, you have no control, no grip, no balance. You’re vulnerable, powerless, dizzy, exposed. You don’t know how you’ll land, where you’ll land, or if you’ll land safely.

You take a chance when you fall in love. You throw caution to the wind. You leap and hope the net shall appear. You open your heart, cross your fingers, and hope not to die.

Falling in love is risky business and scary as fuck.

For a control freak with an anxious attachment style, falling in love always caused too much stress. Were those butterflies in my stomach or gastritis? Was my heart aflutter or was it anxiety? Was I high on life, or was it the weed calming me down? Don’t get me wrong, I love LOVE, but I hated falling into it.

Love fucks with your head, and it’s not my imagination. According to science, falling in love causes all kinds of crazy changes in your brain chemistry, which Dr. Rosemary Guerguerian MD explains:

“When you first fall in love, your heart may also be pounding. You might have sweaty palms and nervous butterflies. You might feel exhilarated, elated, and full of energy. This is the effect of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter closely related to increased levels of dopamine. Norepinephrine controls the fight-or-flight response. It makes us hyperalert during times of stress–so you may notice you feel unable to eat or sleep. Love is a stress we actually crave and search for the world over.”

I’ve been in love enough times to know it’s an exquisite experience, but it also triggers fear of rejection. This lead me to OCD-level worry and rumination: I wonder if he’s into me? I wonder if it will last? I wonder how he feels? I wonder if he’ll call? I wonder if I’ll ever stop wondering?

Even as the relationship started to develop, there’d be a whole new list of things to worry about: What if he loses interest? What if we don’t share the same goals? What if I’m honest and he thinks I’m nuts? What if he finds out I’m not perfect?

What I should’ve been wondering is: Where the hell was my self-worth?

Why was I so worried about someone liking me, when it should’ve been the other way around? Why was I allowing a guy to determine my value? Why was I waiting for someone’s approval, when all I had to do was give it to myself?

It took me until I was 51 to get married, and it took me about that long to understand the problem: When you lack confidence, when you question your worth, and when you look outside of yourself for validation, falling in love will always be frightening.

And if you’re still nervous or fearful after the initial love high wears off, if you’re still in fight or flight mode and your heart’s still pounding as the relationship goes on, you’re either with the wrong person, in the wrong relationship, or you need to book an appointment with me.

Falling might be scary as fuck, but love should be as uneventful as hell. It took work on myself and finding a good man to tell me this is true. You shouldn’t feel unsafe, and your palms shouldn’t still be sweating beyond the first few weeks of a new relationship.

Whether you’re dating, in a relationship, married, or in the middle of a break-up, having a strong safety net of self-worth underneath you will save the day. Having your own sense of security is what will bring calm and stability into your partnership, or single life.

The truth is, there are no guarantees when it comes to love. We all take our chances; we throw caution to the wind and leap.

Falling in love shouldn’t feel like a high-wire act. It shouldn’t give you gastritis or anxiety, or make you need a bong hit just to deal. It shouldn’t make you question yourself or worry incessantly. When I finally met someone who accepted my neuroses and imperfections, it all became clear AF:

If you accept yourself first, and your partner does too, you know you fell for the right person.

Dating Post-50: You Just Might Get What You Need

So what does a single man in midlife looking for love really want? A lot less than you’d think.

A few weeks ago I read an article about a widow in her 50s named Kerry McAvoy, who had just entered the online dating world after 30 years of marriage. What she found shocked her, but it didn’t shock me. Prior to getting married, I was single for a long time, so I already knew about online dating’s pitfalls, perils, and pervs.

What shocked me was a comment I read in the comment section, written by a single guy in his 50s. It was refreshingly sincere, incredibly honest, surprisingly simple, and I loved every word of it.

It made me wonder: Can finding love in midlife be this easy?

Or rather: Are we making the search for love too hard?

I feel so strongly about his comments and the sentiments he expressed, I want all of my single friends to read it–both men and women–because it’s really a commentary on the state of dating, not to mention a tutorial on how to date at this age.

“A really enjoyable read, Kerry. Thank you for enlightening me, as someone who is on the other side of those things that are on the female mind. There’s a lot of crossover in those mini-anxieties, and while you ladies have to put up with middle-aged Tom Cats on the prowl, I’ve also had my run ins with the female equivalent. I’ve been sent the equivalent of dick pics…I’m not sure my English slang carries over to the USA (I’d call it a fanny pic but I know you guys place the fanny at the rear, whereas we’re somewhat more to the front). As for sex, I’ve been surprised how many want first date sex. This would feel weird admitting this as my 20-year-old self…Much as I love sex and flattered by the offers, it’s not something I find appealing…it can muddle things up too much too early.

For me I need to see and feel the honesty in a profile. Recent pictures rather than obvious older ones. Maybe a smile rather than a grimace. A few pics that show personality and pastimes. I personally switch off from over idealistic wishes…swept of feet, soulmates, wishes of ‘tall, dark, & handsome’ or gym toned. I’m imperfect. I accept imperfection. In fact, no, I embrace it. Anything that denies our natural imperfections is a red flag. I’m wary of wishes of chemistry & compatibility. To me, that’s where we’re trying to end up. It’s not a given and it’s only sustainable (in my learned life experience) if it’s built & maintained. I’m 18 months into this middle-aged dating and learned so much about myself, and others. I haven’t given up hope. It takes patience and resilience. As an old mentor of mine safely advised ‘don’t rush, don’t panic, don’t give in.’ That, plus a dose of honesty, keeps me broadly happy with life.”

Like I said, I love this guy. And I’d love for more men to be like him: evolved and forgiving.

Men, learn from him. Women, listen to him. 

What should you be looking for in a partner? What are your expectations? Are you asking too much? Wanting it too soon? Are you putting up obstacles? Making people jump through hoops? Are you asking someone to give you what you ultimately need to give yourself?

I want my single friends to meet an evolved, forgiving person like this. Someone who’s romantic, but realistic. Someone who wears his midlife imperfections with pride. Someone who appreciates courtship and the value of waiting. Someone who accepts himself and embraces his flaws, and in turn, will embrace and accept your flaws too.

Chances are at this age, you won’t be swept off your feet–you’re too smart for that anyway. You know that love takes time, and it’s more of a slow build than a love bomb. You also know that soulmates aren’t made in a day or even a date.

The Rolling Stones were right. You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need.

If you can get past the pitfalls, perils, and pervs, you’ll see pretty much everyone’s looking for the same thing in midlife: a nice, normal, decent person, with integrity, experience and wisdom, who might have some wrinkles, possibly a little baggage, maybe a few extra pounds, but has a good heart and soul. Just like you, just like all of us.

Shockingly, I don’t think it’s too much to ask for.

Single In A Pandemic? You’ve Got Options

How’s your dating life going since the pandemic? Non-existent or “what pandemic?”

Has it ground to a halt or going gangbusters? Have you gone into hibernation or gone wild? Or, have you realized you just don’t give a shit and deleted all your dating apps? There’s no bad answer here.

It’s a weird time to be single, but it might not be the worst time. Life and love will go on. We are social animals and need interaction. We need connection. Human contact is an essential business! There’s only so much social distancing/isolating/quarantining a person can take before losing their mind.

The good news is, as lockdowns lift, dating IRL might pick up again.

Or not.

From what health experts are saying, we’re not even done with the first wave of COVID. Things are spiking again, and with that comes the possibility of more sheltering-in-place. Regular dating might be put on hold. But there are workarounds. Single people are very resourceful in finding ways to adapt. When faced with challenges and adversity, singles think outside the mask (but the smart ones keep it on).

If you’re single right now, you need to be prepared for any eventuality. I wrote an article about this at the beginning of the pandemic, and things actually haven’t changed much. You’ve got options.

Option A: Stay active, keep your dating apps open.

Why let a pandemic cramp your dating style? There’s no reason not to keep swiping, scrolling, and staying out there. Everyone’s at home on their devices, so why not take advantage of your captive audience?

If you’re not sure which app/dating site is right for you, check out ConsumerAdvocate’s online dating guide here. And if you need a little dating coaching, you can always contact me here.

Before coronavirus, when you met on a dating app, you’d have a few text exchanges, maybe a call or two, then meet in person as soon as possible. You can still do that, but video dating is now the safer alternative for those too freaked out to meet face-to-face.

I love the idea of video dating. It’s like old-fashioned courtship. Very Victorian, very Jane Austen, very hot. Courting via video slows everything down, which I find very romantic. Delayed gratification is sexy as hell.

If you haven’t done video dating, or gotten good at it, there’s still time. There’s still time to meet the love of your life in the middle of a deadly virus, and look great doing it.

Watch this video dating tutorial for pointers. When it comes to lighting, camera angles, techniques, tips, and best practices, Hot & Flashy really nails it.

A video date is a real date, so treat it like one. Don’t be lazy. Clean up, put some makeup on, be as charming as you would IRL. This is your chance to get to know someone, and possibly get laid sometime next year, so make an effort.

Or, you can throw caution to the wind and throw your mask off, along with the rest of your clothes like this woman did. Read her pandemic dating story here.

Because physical intimacy might be too risky for the less adventurous or horny, chances are, anyone dating right now is searching for something more substantial, perhaps longer lasting than a just a hook-up or booty call. Maybe they’re searching for a shelter-in-place partner for the next pandemic (or the rest of this one).

Option B: Take a break, temporarily deactivate your dating apps.

There’s nothing wrong with taking a dating break, especially if you’re burned out or going through a hard time. If you’re not actively dating, hide your profile, or turn off auto-renewal until you’re ready to venture back out.

Use the downtime to catch your breath, work on yourself, get in better shape, and get clarity on what you want. When there’s no obligation or pressure to date, it frees you up to make smarter, more thought-out choices. Pandemic or no pandemic, pressing pause on your dating life presents a great opportunity to weed out the riff-raff and regain your sanity.

Option C: You’ve actually come to enjoy your alone time, and realize that social distancing/isolation isn’t that bad.

The quiet and stillness of lockdown at first might’ve been uncomfortable–possibly unbearable—but now you’re getting used to it, and even LIKE it. It’s given you time to think, reflect, read, and relax. Becoming friends with silence and solitude is a skill, and mastering it will get you through single life (and pandemics) like a pro.

“Man conquers the world by conquering himself,” said Greek philosopher Zeno. Now’s the time to prove it.

Some people avoid being alone at all costs, but according to research, the ability to be alone with yourself is actually essential for a healthy social life. Researchers Jeffrey A. Hall and Andy J. Merolla spell it out:

“We’d seen lots of research suggesting more social interactions are better,” Hall says, but “the one that had the strongest empirical support was that when you’re alone and content that way, that’s a great indicator that you’re socially healthy.”

Being single in a pandemic is a great test of your self-reliance. Enjoying your own company is everything.

“That’s why there are some people in the world who are almost never alone but feel lonely, and some people who are always alone and never feel lonely,” she says. “Solitude works when you feel satisfied on the whole with your connection to other people. Once you have that basic need met, it’s much easier to spend time alone.”

The bottom line with pandemics (and other shitty things that happen in life) is there’s always an upside: it can be worst thing ever, or the thing you needed to make changes, practice new skills, and find strength you thought you never had. Your choice.

Single or not, you always have options.

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For more wit, wisdom, and tough love dating advice, subscribe to my blog and follow me @trevabme

Post-COVID Dating: The People You Still Need To Avoid

There’s going to come a time when life gets back to normal, and normal dating will resume. Other than still practicing some social distancing and washing your hands every five seconds, chances are, you’ll still be the same person you were before the pandemic, and so will the people you’ll be dating.

Except you might be feeling a little more desperate. Or lonely. Or starved for affection and human contact. And who could blame you? The problem is, these feelings might lead to making hasty choices.

How much a pandemic changes people, we don’t know, but what we do know is that coronavirus or no coronavirus, there are still people you need to avoid dating, no matter how horny or deprived you are.

I just read a great article by James Michael Sama about the five types of people you should avoid dating:

The Control Freak:
The person who tries to mold you into the person he/she wants you to be.

The Constant Complainer:
Someone who drags another down emotionally.

Silly Putty:
Someone who doesn’t have their own identity and relies on you for every decision.

The Center Of The Universe:
Someone who is so self-absorbed that everything needs to revolve around them.

The Ultra-Materialistic:
Someone who tries to use you for what you have, or someone who tries to use what they have to “get” you.

All of these are excellent, and I wholeheartedly agree with each one of them. If you’re going to be dating now or anytime in the future, stay the fuck away from the aforementioned types of people.

While you’re at it, here’s a few more types I came up with that I highly recommend staying more than six feet away from until the end of eternity:

The Person Not Over Their Ex:
If you thought COVID19 made you miserable, try dating someone who’s not over their ex. This type might physically be there, but their heart and minds aren’t. This person will keep you a secret, keep you guessing, and keep making excuses as to why they can’t be fully present. No matter how hot, smart, brilliant, cute, sexy you are, the ex will loom over your relationship, and you’ll either be forced to compete, or take a back seat. The worst part is, they’ll never admit they’re still hung up on the ex. They’ll just wait for the situation to become so untenable, you’ll have no choice but to leave. And good for you if you do.

The Person Looking To Be Needed, Saved, Or Has Attachment Issues:
Unless you like a damsel in distress or a wounded bird, avoid these types like your life depends on it. I know men and women who live to be needed; it gives them power and pumps up their ego. People with “savior complex” come in like white knights to save the day, and it’s all very noble and chivalrous until it becomes co-dependent and weird. Neediness is never sexy. Attachment is not love. Put your mask on and go find someone that doesn’t need saving, fixing, or rescuing.

The Chronically Bitter/Angry Person:
When you date someone who’s chronically bitter or angry, it’s always a fight: either with you, or with themselves. And if someone’s anger and bitterness is really entrenched, it becomes like a third person in the relationship who won’t go away. NEWSFLASH: your love will never soothe a person who constantly bitches or seethes about past disappointments, slights or failures. But good luck trying. Oh, and did I mention the walking on eggshells part? Good luck with that too!

The Crazy Person:
I don’t care how great the sex is, when you date a crazy person, you’re asking for trouble–and chaos, instability, inconsistency, and drama. Do you really need that after a pandemic? Like you haven’t had enough stress? How many refills of Xanax can you get to keep adding more anxiety to your life? Even after the coronavirus, you’ve got to keep practicing good habits, which starts with staying the hell away from crazy people.

The Newly Separated/Divorced Person:
If the word “Rebound” gives you a dry cough and shortness of breath, your body is telling you something: STAY AWAY FROM NEWLY SEPARATED/DIVORCED PEOPLE. More than likely, you’ll be a rebound after their relationship ends, and it won’t end well for you. Dating this type has serious side effects including general pain, suffering, frustration and fatigue. If you happen to meet one of these highly seductive creatures, lock yourself down immediately.

What’s the post-COVID dating prognosis? Until there’s a test that tells you what type you’re dealing with, you’ll just have to depend on your own good judgment to stay safe and healthy. But if you start getting symptoms, or suddenly feel lousy, you’ll know you’re dating the wrong person. Avoid them like the plague.

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Want more dating advice and wisdom from someone who’s been around the block? Sign up for my newsletter at www.trevabrandonscharf.com and follow me at @trevabme.

Keeping Love Alive In The Time Of Coronavirus

If there was ever a time to rethink how we love and live, it’s now.

The coronavirus has changed life as we know it: how we live, function, do business, socialize, and date. But all is not bleak. Life will go on, and hopefully with more awareness and mindfulness. In the time of coronavirus, I think there’s a real opportunity to instill good habits and make positive changes.

SOCIAL DISTANCING: The greatest thing to happen to dating?

For someone who’s a huge fan of meeting IRL, coronavirus is really cramping my style. It’s completely thrown a wrench into my plans for people to meet the old-fashioned way. As a dating coach, I’m always telling clients to put down their phone and look up. Stop living behind your screens and engage; make eye contact, smile, talk to each other. Can’t do that now, we’re stuck inside. Social distancing was already a problem, and now people are retreating back into their devices again @#$*!

Social distancing is pissing me off, but at the same time, I know it’s teaching you single people mad skills on how to be alone with yourself (which makes me feel better).

Being alone is a big challenge for singles. It’s also a big reason why people hate being single. When you’re unable to be alone, it shows. It shows discomfort, desperation, fear, anxiousness, and lack of confidence. I’ve always said the happier and more secure/stable you are alone, you’re not only more attractive to potential partners, you’re better equipped to weather storms like the one we’re having right now.

Being stuck at home sucks, especially if you’re single. But while you’re sitting around, why not try to make friends with solitude?. Why not learn to stop needing noise and distractions, and fall in love with stillness and quiet? You may be alone for a while, so it’s excellent practice for when you’ll be back up and running again. Mastering these skills now will make you a better dater.

My secret weapon for weathering any storm where you find yourself alone, single, isolated, lonely or afraid (like after a breakup or during a pandemic), is mindful meditation and guided visualization. Nothing will make you stronger than sitting still for 10 minutes doing this:

  1. Have a seat on a couch or chair, with your back supported, hands folded in lap, eyes closed.
  2. Take a few deep breaths, from the belly up to the top of your lungs. Hold a few breaths at the top for five seconds, then fully and audibly exhale.
  3. With each exhale, drop your shoulders, and let the rest of your body release and relax.
  4. Do a body scan starting at your feet, moving up the body. Release any gripping or tension as you go. Make sure you also relax your mouth, jaw, and space between your eyebrows.
  5. Bring your awareness to your breathing, to the rise and fall of your chest. Observe it as you inhale and exhale. You’ll find your heart rate/anxiety slowing down at this point.
  6. Take your awareness outside your body for a moment, listening to the sounds around you, including the silence.
  7. Start your guided visualization.
  8. Think of all the things/people you’re grateful for. See them in your mind’s eye.
  9. Pick a few words/sentences that bring you strength, comfort, or inspiration. Like “I relax, release, let go,” or “I will be well no matter what,” or “I am strong and confident,” or “I can be alone no problemo,” or “Nothing can fuck with me.”
  10. See these words/sentences on a black screen in white type, and repeat them.
  11. Now visualize yourself doing something that brings you pride. See yourself finishing a tough task, meeting a challenge, or successfully being alone.
  12. Finally, take another few deep breaths and just be. Feel the peace and calm surround you. Open your eyes slowly, and go about your day.

I try to meditate everyday, especially when the shit is hitting the fan. The key is to make it a habit, and part of your emotional upkeep and maintenance. Meditating regularly will create changes in you to help you stay grounded–whether you’re single or coupled up.

Social distancing might not be optimal for dating, but it does force you to SLOW DOWN (another one of my faves along with mastering solitude).

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times: THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH TAKING YOUR TIME AND GOING SLOW. And there’s nothing like a virus floating around to make sure you do. You can’t hurry love, especially now, but you don’t have to completely isolate either. You can still connect and interact virtually, on your phone or computer.

Hello teledating!

FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom, and start meeting and greeting. Usually, I advise online daters to meet as soon as possible, because I hate endless texting and messaging. But now that we’re all sequestered, this is a great solution. You can see, hear, and get to know each other. It could be romantic, even intimate, since it’s not in a Starbucks. Pour yourself a glass of wine, put on some makeup, and treat it like a real date.

Things will get back to normal, love will survive, but to stay safe, fellow dating coach Sandy Weiner suggests taking the slow dating approach one step further in her article “Could Coronavirus Be The Best Thing To Happen To Dating?”:

“What if when we finally met, we didn’t touch—like no handshaking, kissing, or hugging? What if by keeping our hands, faces, and bodies apart for a month or two, it helped us get closer emotionally?

I believe it would be good to date during this viral epidemic. Go on more substantial dates. Less touching/more talking might help us deepen our emotional connection without the complications of adding sex to the relationship. Because we all know what happens to our common sense and ability to spot red flags once sex is in the picture.”

The coronavirus needn’t be a deal-breaker for daters. By all means, keep swiping, keep scrolling, keep putting yourself out there online, just make sure you wash your hands after, and use plenty of sanitizer too.

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Get more information on my favorite method of meditation here “Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).

We Need To Have A Talk About Having “The Talk”

Picture this scenario:

You’ve been in a relationship for a few months, and things are going well. There’s intimacy and possible signs of real commitment. There’s potential here, but you’re purposely keeping it light and letting things unfold. You see a future with this BF/GF, so you’re making sure not to pressure or get ahead of yourself. 

But as a few months slides into a year, you start wondering why the relationship isn’t progressing. You’re going along and getting along, but you’re not moving along. It seems comfortable enough, but you’re uncomfortable. You’re trying to be easy going, but you’re uneasy. The sex is still good, so why worry? But still, you wonder:

Why haven’t I met his kids or family yet?

Why aren’t we talking about the future? 

Why isn’t he asking me to move in?

Why is she going on trips and not inviting me?

Why don’t I ever get texts, cards, or little gifts saying he’s thinking about me? 

Why doesn’t she include me with friends?

Why is he always too busy?

Why haven’t we said “I love you” to each other?

You feel something’s up. You want answers, but don’t dare ask, lest you rock the boat or appear needy. You’re probably being paranoid anyway. Maybe there’s a good reason for their distance. Maybe they’re taking their time, or they’re cautious, or maybe they really are busy at work.

You keep your mouth shut until you can’t take it any longer. The unknown is killing you, so you finally say “We need to talk.” 

So you make a date to sit down either at your place or somewhere neutral like a restaurant, and have “The Talk.” You ask “Where is this going? Do you want to be in a relationship? What are you looking for? Are we exclusive?” All the questions you’ve been dying to ask because you need to know your future. And who can blame you? No one wants to get hurt, be rejected, give their heart away, or invest time and energy into something that’s going nowhere. 

But here’s the thing with “The Talk:” what you gain in answers, you lose in self-determination. Twice in my life I had “The Talk,” and both times made me feel pitiful. I knew my boyfriends probably didn’t want to move forward, but I didn’t have the guts to pull the plug, nor did they have the balls to end it, so I swallowed my pride and took my lumps as they handed me my fate. When you have “The Talk,” you not only give all your power and agency away, you put your future into someone else’s hands to determine.   

If you have to have “The Talk,” you already know the answers. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for having “The Talk,” but instead of waiting to be handed your fate, be proactive and tell them where YOU stand. State YOUR needs first. Tell your BF/GF what YOU want. Tell them where YOU want to go, and if they’re not on-board, then end it on YOUR terms, with dignity and grace.  

Here’s “The Talk” I want you to initiate:

YOU: “We’ve been dating a while, and I’m sensing some reticence on your part. I’m not sure if you share my goals for this relationship, but if we’re not on the same page, then let’s not keep spinning each other’s wheels. I’d like to move on if that’s the case.” 

If you approach “The Talk” from a place of resolve and strength, power instead of passivity, it will arm you for what comes next.

Be prepared for answers you may not want to hear. Be prepared to breakup. Be prepared to cry. Be prepared to walk away. Be prepared for shit to get real. Your BF/GF might not fight for you, or they may profess their true love. The good news is, whatever “The Talk” reveals, you will be well prepared to take your future into your own hands.  

One Day You Will Thank The Ex Who Dumped You

Believe it or not, your anger will turn into gratitude.

It might not be tomorrow, or next week. It might not be a month, a year, or even a few years, but in time, you will look back upon the ex you once reviled and the breakup that almost killed you, and say thanks.

I had a boyfriend I was madly in love with many years ago. We had passion, chemistry, similar interests, backgrounds, and potential. The only problem was, I was in my early 40s with a ticking biological clock and a palpable desperation to get married and pregnant, and he didn’t.

He was newly divorced, conflicted on every level, and not really emotionally available, although he made a good show of it. He gave me what I needed at the time: HOPE. He also gave me enough encouragement to feel like we were viable (actually it was more mixed signals than encouragement). Whatever we had, I took because I wanted a relationship that bad.

Dating him was a labor of love. I had to contend with his ex-wife, his young kid, and ugly divorce. Didn’t matter, I was devoted. I tolerated his reticence, took on his baggage, and kept hope alive.

I gave him my heart and soul, and then he crushed both when I found out he was cheating on me.

To be honest, he technically didn’t “dump” me; he didn’t “officially” break up with me. Rather, he let his actions do the dirty work. That he didn’t fight for me was the actual dumping.

To say I was destroyed was an understatement. The betrayal and pain were visceral. I felt taken advantage of, and my good efforts felt rejected. I took to my bed and cried for days. I couldn’t eat, sleep, or function. Eventually my pain turned to seething anger, which felt like progress at least.

Suddenly, I hated the guy I was in love with.

One wise friend said to me, “You know, Treva, one day you’ll thank him.” And I said, “Fuck off, no way.” I swore to myself I’d despise him forever, and I did for a while. That is, until I didn’t.

I don’t remember when I turned the corner, but somewhere in between therapy, support from friends, self-care, wine, weed, and time, I healed. Only after I pieced my heart back together and was on the other side of rage, did the lesson become clear:

I would never ignore my needs, betray my better judgment, or dishonor my highest good again. I would never grovel, compromise my dignity, or sell my soul for a relationship. Most of all, I refused to be desperate.

These epiphanies not only changed my life, they forever changed the way I love, and let myself be loved. Most of all, they changed the way I love MYSELF.

None of this could’ve happened without the ex.

I never thought I’d say this, but my wise friend was right. I owe my ex a debt of gratitude. Because of him, I grew into a much better version of myself. All that pain paid off, and it will for you too, if you ever get dumped. When you see how much you’ve grown, you’ll realize the struggle was worth it.

You may hate your ex initially, but eventually you’ll be grateful for the gifts he/she gives you.

You will thank your ex for giving you clarity.

You’ll see more clearly and have better insight into who you are and what you want. You’ll identify danger signs and red flags faster, and take quicker action when your needs aren’t getting met.

You will thank your ex for giving you motivation.

You’ll raise your standards, get in better shape, tie up loose ends, heal old wounds, stop repeating patterns, break bad habits, and resolve old issues. Your ex will give you newfound motivation to fix everything.

You will thank your ex for making you stronger and more resilient.

Your confidence will improve, so will your worth and value to yourself. You’ll find the power to speak up, the courage to demand better, and the self-respect not to take anyone’s shit. You will find resolve you never knew you had.

You will thank your ex for setting you free.

Instead of wasting time constantly worrying about your relationship, your energy will be freed up to do more important things, like meet someone great who truly wants you, appreciates you, and gives you the love you deserve.

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Like I said, none of these things will happen quickly, but the first day you’ve gone without crying, seething, or hating your ex, or the first day you’re more hopeful than angry, you’ll know your grudge is turning into gratitude, and you’re on your way to saying thanks….and forgiving them too.