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Let me help you negotiate the modern minefield of dating!
You’re finally face-to-face with the man you've been e-mailing from that Internet dating site. And you long to protest he should be charged with an offence against the Trades Description Act as he's nothing like his photo that must’ve been 10 years out of date!
I’d place money that something like this will happen on an Internet date. Because I've got news for you if you’re single - there are new rules to operate by.
Why have things changed so much? Not only has society’s views changed in important ways to things like money and sex, but this is complicated by many new ways to date. Getting out looking for love is half the battle. The other half is negotiating this modern minefield.
Here are 10 top tips for doing this:
New-Style Dating Tip Number 1:
Money matters have changed practically more than any other area with dating. Many women now earn more than the men they meet. That's great but don't rub his nose in it. The reason is that although economically we've been playing catch-up, emotionally men still feel they should be the higher earners. Think "tact" when you discuss your earning power.
New-Style Dating Tip Number 2:
This leads me to who pays? Men get confused because some women still expect a man to offer. And some expect him to offer even if they intend to share the costs of a date. The best approach is clarity. Rather than you both looking embarrassed when the bill arrives, people tell me they’re happiest when a date makes their “monetary” expectations clear from the outset. Keep it simple, say something on entering the restaurant like, "It’d be nice to share the bill." If he offers to pay it’s up to you whether you accept or not.
New-Style Dating Tip Number 3:
What does "a coffee" mean? People were once quite coy about what they meant by going back to “yours/mine for coffee", with many crossed wires. There's absolutely no reason for this now. If you’re ready to get "up, close and personal" then suggest having a coffee. But if that's all you mean say so. Say simply, "I'd love to continue the evening back at mine but when I say "coffee" that's what I mean." That brings me to condoms. If you think you might want sex carry them. It doesn't make you a loose woman. But you should have the confidence to only have sex on your terms and when you're ready!
New-Style Dating Tip Number 4:
A big no-no is the old-fashioned way that people would give "false hope" to someone they never intended to see again. It’s no longer acceptable to say things like, "I'll give you a ring soon," when you don't mean it and you’re trying to "spare" their feelings. This game playing muddies the water and neither men nor women like being treated this way. Far better to use tactful clarity. This is not to be confused with creating a little mystery - which is still acceptable!
New-Style Dating Tip Number 5:
The whirlwind of speed dating requires a whole new etiquette. The very premise is to make instant decisions however I’ve heard of rude behaviour where a speed-dater doesn't like the look of someone and passes them by, not giving them their allocated three minutes. Don't tolerate such bad behaviour and don’t do it yourself. You might miss a good man by doing this. If someone passes up a turn with you, consider it good riddance as he's got desperately bad manners.
New-Style Dating Tip Number 6:
With any Internet dating the general rule is to retain a healthy scepticism. Many studies of Internet personal ads reveal that people lie with alarming regularity about themselves. Far more than they would’ve when vetted by old-fashioned dating agencies.
New-Style Dating Tip Number 7:
It used to be commonplace for friends to go by the wayside - at least temporarily - when you started dating someone new. Not any longer! Friends don’t expect to be relegated the minute he rings you. Keeping that balance with your friends, and falling for someone new, is a must-do.
New-Style Dating Tip Number 8:
With the Trisha Show-style confessional society we live in, it's easy to think you should spill all the intimate details of your life on the first couple dates. Nothing could be further from the truth! Recent research suggests that both sexes still like a little mystery about someone new. So disclose one bit at a time about your bad habits and life’s traumas.
New-Style Dating Tip Number 9:
Another thorny issue is who leads the ringing, texting and e-mailing. Research shows that most men are happy if the woman rings them. However as they still like a bit of a "chase" (no pleasing men, huh?) find balance. Alternate who initiates communication - if he's rung one day then you ring him the next.
New-Style Dating Tip Number 10:
Although sex seems to be everywhere the majority of men surveyed say they’d like to finish a first date with a kiss only. This is an excellent way to build anticipation. It also sets you above the men and women who dive into bed on the first date as has long been acceptable.
Published in The Express Newspaper
My new book The Emotional Eater's Diet is published in the UK on May 15 - I’m very excited as I hope emotional eaters - women or men will find it helpful. Each year 2/3s of people start a diet and 20% start a new diet each month. Yet 95% of diets aren’t successful.
I firmly believe that emotional eating to soothe difficult feelings is the culprit behind most of this failure. My book has a huge range of practical tips/strategies to help understand your emotions and manage your appetite. There are mini-quizes and real case studies.
It’s available to preorder on Amazon. Please remember that food can fuel your energy needs but not your emotional needs. Take care!
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