How to Date Back to Basics
Hey Dr. Dennis Hi and thank you for your
I am single and I have been for 2 years.
Im a 30-year old woman with 2 part-time kids.
I am attractive (though somewhat overweight),
intelligent and I like to think I'm good company.
Recently, I have had some pretty bad luck in
re-entering the dating scene. I've been stood up a
couple of times, met a man who did nothing but play
games with me, met another man who just took off
and stopped talking to me, met another man who fell
in love with me way too fast and I just want to be
friends with, have had many, many emails messages
through a singles site that are ignored or they
will just stop talking to me with no explanation or
reason, and I even joined a few Meetup groups
(Meetup.com) in the area and have been putting
myself out there but I just can't seem to meet
anyone who is genuine and good. In fact mostly what
I've encountered is very negative and
I'm also not very good at reading people so that
makes things a little more difficult, and I'm not
the most social person.
I'm starting to wonder if there's something
wrong with me, or if this is typical of the dating
game. I'm very saddened by everything that has
transpired and I'm discouraged and distraught. I'm
wonder if you have any insight on this, any tips I
could try, etc., I would greatly appreciate it.
It seems that the single common denominator in
all of this is you. Yes, I can tell you very likely
what the problem is since the symptomatology is so
clear and specific.
First of all, let's do a little inventory, shall
we? This is a little painful, but trust me, it's
very important so that we have a place to
You have two kids and you're a single mother.
You're overweight and I'm going to bet you've met
at least some of these guys (if not most of them)
on the internet. You're probably also using some
VERY outdated dating methodologies (I'll get more
into this in a minute), and there are probably a
bunch of other things going on here I don't yet
know. I'll bet you also have some pretty high - and
maybe somewhat unreasonable - expectations for the
men you date.
Here's the reality: both men and women have
something of a "point system" they have to address
when they consider dating. Frankly, very few people
do that. They decide what they want and simply hope
for it to happen. When it doesn't, they look around
and wonder why. Worse yet, they never even consider
what THEY bring to the table to see if it's even a
match for the guys they want to date!
Let's say that you live in a big city; which
considering that you're involved with Meetup, I'll
bet is true. Big cities create big competition. You
have MANY other girls competing for the same "male
real estate" that you are. Many of these girls are
in shape and may not have kids, are younger and may
even be better partners or have better
dating/relationship skills than you have.
I'll be the first to tell you that while this is
unfair, it's simply the way things are. These
issues are significant problems for any single
woman in the dating market! Your looks, your
availability, your skill sets, and even your age
are all your "dating currency". Men look at these
things and decide whether or not you're someone on
the playing field or not and whether you're
short-term material or long-term material. Don't
feel too bad however; men have their own "point
system" to reach as well.
Knowing (and accepting) this will help you to
maximize your ability to market to the "right"
There's another thing at play here you need to
MOST women today are using the wrong play book
when it comes to dating. In fact, they are using
the same one their mothers and grandmothers used to
be successful. The problem is, it's a new
millennium with new rules. The old techniques
simply no longer work anymore. In fact, they work
against you and the very symptoms you described are
the same ones I see when women use these worn-out
Obviously this is a very large discussion, so
let's go back to basics:
- Your look is one of the most important tools
you have in dating. Maximize it! Get in shape
and drop the weight. Make sure your hair is
"date ready", and by that I mean, no short
haircuts! Style magazines tell you these look
good - they don't. The vast majority of guys
want girls that look like girls - not boys.
Thus, grow your hair out - and no wacky colors.
Check your make-up and wardrobe and update it if
you need to. Another problem with being a mom is
that you've likely not kept up with these
- You girls continue to propagate the myths
that playing "hard to get" gives you value in
men's eyes. No, it doesn't. That is a hold-over
from a long-gone age! In fact, most guys today
don't even understand this game and simply see
it as rude and inept. Are you looking to date
only rude guys? Of course not - neither are men.
Your availability is extremely important! This
is one reason why having kids works so hard
against you in the dating world. Likewise, not
picking up the phone, not returning phone calls,
cancelling dates at the last minute and any of
the 1001 other little games some of you girls
play kills off modern, potential relationships!
You've got to be available to the guys you want
to date or they'll simply go find someone that
IS available - and smarter. Think about this: my
readers understand these facts and usually have
2-3 or more phone numbers they're working at any
one time. If you don't pick up the phone or
return the phone call, guess who gets the date?
The next girl in line! Guess who gets the
relationship? Yep - same one.
- Don't try to date via technology! This
doesn't work either! Texting and email (for
example) KILLS relationships! Especially if
you're using dating sites, you've got to get to
that in-person meeting right away! I'm talking
days here - NOT weeks and especially, not
multiple emails! If the guy can't/won't or
doesn't know he should do this, YOU have to move
this into in-person immediately! You don't want
him getting impressions of you at a distance
that you can never live up to! These form VERY
quickly. Don't let them.
- Don't try to hold off sex thinking that
makes the relationship better - it doesn't. That
is simply artificial manipulation of the
relationship that is supposed to be moving
forward. I'm not saying to get to it before
you're ready, but don't hold it off. Men use sex
early on very differently from women. Whereas
you use it to bond and creating intimacy, men
use it to determine if we WANT TO bond and
create intimacy with you! Soon however, that
window of opportunity closes and we realize
we'll never have that emotional connection with
you. We'll still have sex with you, but you'll
never have access to our hearts.
- Change your "standards". I'm not saying to
date just anyone, but you; like far too many
girls in your situation have standards that your
own dating currency likely can't afford. You
have too many wants and expectations without the
ability to return value. Further, if a guy makes
even a small mistake, you're ready to cut him
loose and move on. That's not good dating
strategy. You need to cultivate relationships,
not have some perfect, unobtainable one right
out of the box.
- Learn how to approach guys yourself and how
to set-up dates! Give back to the dating process
too! For instance, if you've been out with a guy
a couple of times, it's a good idea to invite
him over for a meal and some wine or out for
something fun. Guys don't want to have to be the
only ones investing - nor do you. Guys will
quickly lose interest if they don't see
something coming back. On the other hand, guys
will hang in there far longer than they should
or otherwise would if they do!
- Clearly separate dating from friendship.
Don't mix the two or throw mixed signals.
- Check your attitude at the door. No guy
wants to be around some girl that is judgmental,
obnoxious, mean, hateful or angry. We want - and
in fact, NEED - to be around women that are
sweet, engaged, fun and interesting.
I've given you a lot to think about here. These
are the basics and everything builds from