Opening Your Heart to Dating

I have dated a lot. Way too many dates over way too many years. I was out there. I was mixing and shaking it up. I was in the mix of the singles scene looking for love. I was open to meeting “the one.”

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But was I? Why wasn’t I meeting someone? Was it who I was meeting? Places I was going .. or not going? Or, was I shut off from actually connecting to someone because I was in constant pursuit of the process?

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Please, I welcome your comments whether you know me or not.

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I would go to singles events with my friend and she would meet someone. Afterward, in speaking with my mother she would say, “why is it you did not meet anyone?” Yes, that was blundt. My mother was honest. But, she was right. Was I too picky? My friends tell me the perfect guy for me died 2000 years ago. And, if that is the case … I was in BIG Trouble!!

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I concluded that I had higher expectations, values and parameters that someone had to meet. But, were my expectations too high? If they were was that a sure fire defense mechanism to protect a potential broken heart or hurt ego? After much thought, I knew that my expectations were not too high. I just wanted that right mix of connecting with someone on a physical, spiritual, interest, humor and value/character level. But, why did it seem so difficult?

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I was at a business function a few months ago and a male co worker under the influence of a tremendous amount of alcohol said to me, “Mariann, you are shut off. I have made an effort to know you and find you great … but you are shut off to men.”

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I was shocked. Hurt. Puzzled. Yes, I am reserved … refined … partly shy … partly inexperienced … partly afraid of committment … but I am an open and warm person. How could someone say I was “shut off.?” I like people and enjoy them and accept them for who and what they are. There was no way in hell I was shut off to people. And, this was business … I certainly was not going to be dancing seductively on the bar!!

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But, on some level … I realized that I do put up walls and hurdles. I encountered a medium several months ago. She said to me … “you are the best, most open and loving friend a person can have. But, why when it comes to relationships do you put up hurdles and keep people at a distance?” I didn’t know how to answer. “Are you afraid to get hurt?” I said “No.” But, in retrospect I realized that I don’t like being vulnerable. And, yes, I guess if I do open myself up and that person rejects me then I will feel terrible and hurt and insecure … and so I go into protective mode.

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So, I tried to get out of my over analyzing mind and decided to just let myself truly enjoy another person in a dating scenario. If I found myself putting up walls or thinking that if I opened my heart fully that I would get hurt … I brushed it aside and went with what I wanted on the inside without going into “self protect” mode.

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What I discovered is that dating is fun … romance is fun … the potential of love is joyful and exciting … and while opening up on these levels is scary for me … I am forging through … listening to my heart … and finding peace and joy. This is an extroardinary breakthrough for me.

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And, after way too many years of dating, I can honestly say that YES, now my heart is open to dating and love.

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Do you put up hurdles or just fall in love to quickly?
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Get a DATE! Holiday Makeup Tutorial

Here’s a video…..Look At It!

We hope none of you actually TAKE this makeup advice (well….maybe for Halloween)….and seriously, to really get this overall look, we think you should suck some helium too! Enjoy the tickle to your funnybones everyone.

Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year to one and all…:)

Sharon and Mariann

Why Online Dating Gets a Bad Rep

What we’re enjoying more than anything with LifeBytes, Real Stories is hearing about everyone’s unique stories about online dating. It’s amazing how our outlooks and personal experiences color our perceptions. Our tales are as varied and interesting as we are ourselves. This week we’re happy to share a post written by Vanessa Jones about her, not so happy brush with the world of cyber-dating.
— Sharon & Mariann

We’ve heard the horror stories all too many times before: you’ve been chatting online with what appears to be a very cute guy or girl but when it comes time to meet them face-to-face—they don’t look anything like their profile picture. But posting a 10-year-old photo of yourself (or an enhanced photoshopped photo) appears innocent when you encounter those who use completely fake profile photos to lure you in. But what if you happen to be the person some weirdo is pretending to look like? And better yet, what if that weirdo happens to be your best friend? Continue reading below to find out why online dating to this day continues to get a bad rep in my book.

In my college years, I had a hard time getting a date. It wasn’t that guys didn’t find me attractive—many told me on a regular basis that I was—it was that I guess you could say I didn’t seem very approachable. ‘Intimidating ‘was the word guys preferred to use. My roommate and best friend Liz, on the other hand, was fun and adventurous and made friends very easily. But those friendships never blossomed into anything romantic—she blamed her plumpness and stout nature for that. As Liz grew tired of being home on most Friday nights, she told me that she wanted to register for an online dating site. She asked if I wanted to join as well but I told her no. Online dating just wasn’t something I’ve ever been interested in exploring.

A few weeks later Liz told me that she met some great guy online. They really hit it off she said. What made it even more special was that this mystery man lived very close to our apartment and frequented the local salsa club that Liz and I both loved to go to. One day Liz and I decided to go to this salsa club. After a few songs, I needed to take a restroom break. But as I approached the ladies room, someone kept calling for Liz in my direction. I paid him no attention because clearly he wasn’t talking to me. But then he managed to catch up to me and grabbed me by my arm saying “Liz, I can’t believe you’re here. It’s so nice to finally run into you. You look lovelier than your profile picture.” Immediately I understood what was going on. Initially I felt betrayed, but then I felt sadness for my dear friend. I didn’t realize that Liz’s self-esteem was so low that she felt she needed to pretend to be someone else, or rather that she felt she felt she needed to pretend to be me. But that didn’t make it right.

It caused a lot of embarrassment not only for me and my friend (she had a lot of explaining to do), but for her mystery guy as well. He left that night vowing never to trust the online dating system again, and who can blame him. There is a lot of potential if you do decide to pursue online dating, but when people continue to misrepresent themselves using fake profile pictures, it corrupts that potential and makes people suspicious of the whole idea of it. So spare everyone and use your own photos.
And as I learned firsthand, it’s also important to protect your images so that you can prevent someone from using your photos. This means changing all the settings on your social networking sites to “private” and “friend’s only.” This also means changing your private settings so that no one has the ability to right click on your photo and save your images to their personal computers. Ever seen the indie flick “Catfish“? It’ll make you never want to post a photo album ever again.

With that said, it’s also equally important that you have the ability spot a fake profile picture. Pay attention to details and don’t be afraid to ask person to video chat with you if you are suspicious. If they say they don’t have a webcam then just pay close attention to small details. If they tell you they’re eyes are brown but they have blue eyes in their profile picture, you know something is not right.

This guest post is contributed by Vanessa Jones, who writes on the topics of dating sites.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id: vanessa.jones42(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)

Dating & Gift Giving – A Call for Advice

Calling all LifeBytes readers! I need your help.

Do I give a Christmas gift to the new guy I am dating? Giving something seems appropriate but am not sure what kind of gift to give? What to spend?

Not sure what to do and would appreciate your recommendations.

Background – nice person. Been on 7 dates over 2 months.

Now … my nature is to go overboard and be overly generous, so I have to curtail my initial instinct. Do I get a couple of joke type gifts and one nice item or several nice items?

Should I impose a limit on myself? Or, have a couple of back up gifts I bring out when I see what he gets me?

One friend told me I should just ASK him if we should exchange and should we have a limit. That is totally sensible but it seems wierd for me to ask something like that.

Please share your opinions. I need some guidance.

And, since it is the Christmas season and you may be looking for some interesting and personalized ideas for that special girl in your life. I would strongly suggest a custom soap goody bag from

They make beautiful baskets and their products are luxurious.
Actually, when the LifeBytes Fan Page reaches 100 subscribers, we are going to send a Reef Botanicals basket to a random winner and we are sure you will enjoy it. Sharon and I look forward to reaching 100 subscribers soon.

Thanks LifeBytes readers!

Mariann / Sharon

Emails and Sex: How Fast Is Too Fast?

This girl and I met on line and we emailed a couple of times and I asked her if she wants to meet for coffee and she wants to email a bit longer before meeting. What’s up with that? I am ready to move on. I don’t want to waste my time if the chemistry is not right in person.

I personally have a “2-3 emails then we MUST meet” rule. This stemmed from a really bad experience that I had with endlessly emailing before I met someone. Because of that I am, to this day, still completely traumatized by garden gnome statues. Chemistry is important (and not just if you run a Meth lab). Of course there’s email chemistry and there’s real life chemistry. Ideally you want a little bit of both…but you can have one without the other. So, yeah, you need to meet each other.

That said…..keep in mind that she may just not be sure that you aren’t a con-artist or a crazed internet axe murderer. Check the emails that you’ve written to her. If you’ve asked her to bankroll your attempted governmental coup in Nigeria, then you are most probably a con-artist and shouldn’t meet this girl. Also, if you wrote and waxed poetic about sharp-edged metal implements and the bloody damage that they could inflict on the human skull….well, I’m sorry to inform you that you are a potential mass-murderer and should arrange to meet a therapist. If your emails are all sweet and benign then you should assure her that you are a kind person who loves puppies and kittens and arrange to meet her for coffee.

I’d like to know who the heck Sharon is emailing that she would give such examples. I am frightened. Hold on Mr. Impatient. Maybe the girl wants to have a little more of a dialogue with you so she can get a better a sense of who you are so she can determine if you are someone she wants to meet. Do you write one line emails with little or no information about yourself or do you share with your email exchanges? Try giving a little more of yourself and after about another 4-6 emails, I think then it is OK to meet. If she keeps putting it off … move on.

I went on match and dated a lot of “duds.” Finally met a really cute and funny guy and at the end of the first date, I could really feel the chemistry. I am very sexually inexperienced and am not sure how or if I let him know … I feel we might reach that point sooner rather than later.

Females lead and men follow. Sorry guys. You set the pace. If you like the guy, you can find ways to let him know you do. And, communicate … let him know that you like him but you want to take it slow. If he likes you, he will respect you and want to make sure you are comfortable.

I am sure Sharon will ramble on about weird out of this world examples about finding ways at how you can disrobe on the first date (she’s a slut!) …. or get all “pot smoking 60′s wow man that’s cool” on you and tell you to just let if flow and not worry about the number of dates but how you feel. Blah Blah Blah. Have respect for yourself and only do what you feel comfortable in a time-frame that suits you. If the guy is interested, he will only find it charming. Good Luck. Let us know how it goes.

Who you callin’ a slut Mariann? And what’s this nonsense about dis-robing? Just because I don’t walk around in high-necked Victoria garb…Like SOME people I know….Mariann! But, enough about Mariann’s lacy wardrobe. By inexperienced, do you mean that you’ve never been intimate with a man, or have been intimate with very few men?

Now, this is important, so pay attention.

You decide when, and if you will be heading to the sack with a guy. You are in the driver’s seat (excuse me a minute while I resuscitate Mariann, who’s just passed out because I agree with her). If you have never had sex and you think that this guy may be “the one”, then take your time. I mean REALLY take your time. Find out if he’s looking for a relationship or a few rolls in the hay. Your first time should be with someone you trust and care about – is he honest and trustworthy? If you decide that he really is “the one,” then you should know him well enough, and trust him enough, to be honest with him about your inexperience. Chances are he’ll appreciate your honesty (and also be quite turned on by it ;).

If you’ve been with one other (or very few other) men, then I hope your first experience was a good one. It can be traumatic if it weren’t. Just keep in mind that the above advice is still valid, but you just might want to step up the pace a bit. Get to know him….yes, but you can bring up the “experience” conversation quicker and then cut to the chase….or in your case, the bed.

OMG. Sharon agreed with me. Christmas miracles do happen!

Kiss and Tell

"The Kiss" - Auguste Rodin

Rodin's "The Kiss". Now THAT'S what I'm talkin' about.

I was thinking about kissing the other day. Yes, sadly just thinking about it not doing it. Even so just the thought of kissing can bring a sparkle to the eye and a lilt to one’s step. Even the sound of the word is just so…so…soft and warm and inviting.

Kiss…Mmmm, doesn’t that sound just perfectly wonderful?

In the absence of actual lips to cozy up to I did what any self-respecting web-geek-girl would do. I googled it. There are 164,000,000 entries for the word kiss. The kiss has it’s own Wikipedia page which describes a kiss as: The act of pressing one’s lips against the lips or other body parts of another, which sounds sort of …well…freaking boring. Although the photo of Rodin’s The Kiss that’s posted on the page is trés sexy.

There’s also a site called devoted to the art of kissing, complete with how-to instructions. How to kiss with braces (I’m assuming on your teeth, not your legs or other limbs), how to French Kiss, as well as descriptions of the Vaccuum Kiss and the Lip-O-Suction Kiss. Or you can head over to the WikiHow kiss page for the Lip Lock Kiss, Platonic Kiss or Kiss of Worship.

So, there are descriptive titles for kisses….who knew. This sent me off on a trip down Kissing-Memories lane.

KissingI dated a boy in high school who was trying to develop a killer kissing repertoire – with me as the “crash test dummy” so to speak. He would try all sorts of odd little ear kisses and chin-nibbling things that I can only hope never went past the testing phase. He did this one thing (a personal favorite of his…not mine) where in mid lip-kiss he would put his mouth over my nose and blow air into my nose…he though this was drop dead sexy. “The Nose-Blow Kiss”…it was NOT sexy.

Years later I dated a man who’s idea of kissing was to latch onto my mouth…AND STAY THERE. That’s it, no tongue, teeth, gentle butterfly kisses, nuzzling. Just lips plastered to lips, not moving. I shall call this one “The Death Grip Kiss”.

Onto the internet dating years. A popular first-date kiss is the one that comes at the end of a getting-to-know-you first date. This is where he sort of leans in to kiss you, backs off (possibly to make sure that your hand isn’t flying in for a face-slap), leans in again, aims for your lips but actually lands sort of on the edge of your cheek. Maybe I should name this one “The Let’s Pretend We’re Twelve Years Old and Super-Awkward Kiss”, or “The Mis-Guided Missile Kiss”. I’m undecided…what do you think?

Then of course there’s my all-time favorite “The Oh Girl You’re In Trouble Kiss”. That’s the one that’s soft, sweet but sexy, a little dangerous and turns your knees to jello. Yeah….like that one.. a LOT.

But, enough about my lips, I want to hear about yours. Best kiss you ever got. Worst kiss. Most awkward kiss. Do you have titles for them??! Tell all please… I want details too.


Hope, Faith and Dom Perignon

I work in advertising. We have many vendors who we work with throughout the year. They gift us with all sorts of goodies around the holidays – mainly because they want to continue being our vendors. Quite a few years ago one particularly generous (or maybe desperate…who knows) vendor gave everyone in the office a bottle of Dom Perignon. The Maserati of champagnes! It would have been nice to get an actual Maserati, but I guess they weren’t quite that enthused about working with us in the coming year. But still…champagne….drinkable Bling…cool. Being recently divorced, I decided that this hallowed bottle of bubbly would be saved for the wedding night of me and my soul-mate-to-be.

The cat sniff test

Has it turned to vinegar yet? Even the "cat sniff test" offers inconclusive results.

Many years later (more than one less than a hundred…sorry, that’s all you’re getting from me) The Dom lives in my kitchen cabinet, tucked securely behind the toaster. I ponder this bottle every time I make toast. I wonder if it’s turned to vinegar yet. I don’t know a lot about champagne, except that it will turn to vinegar – eventually. I also wonder why the freakin’ hell it’s taking so long to find “that guy”, that I actually have to wonder about the possible vinegar-ness of my Dom.

I’ve thought, on more than one occasion, that I was close to popping the cork. But something always let me know that he wasn’t the one. Am I too picky? Well, yes I’m picky – but I should be. I have a few girlfriends who’ve been married and divorced twice. Why? EVERY one of them says some variation of: “I married #2 because I just really wanted to be married again”. Every one of their second marriages…turned to vinegar. I just won’t settle for that.

So I go online, email, chat, meet, kiss some frogs, have some dates…and ….I have hope that one of those connections will be that life-long partner. I have faith that if I stay in the game, I’ll hit a home run with a warm, sweet guy who’s looking for the same things I am. And when we eventually commit to being each others one and only, we’ll celebrate by cracking open a bottle of vintage Dom Perignon.

Um..or…maybe we’ll share a romantic endive and walnut salad drenched in champagne vinaigrette.

Either way, it will be awesome..:)


Q & A Day: Little White Age Lies and Hotel Rooms

Q & A WednesdayQUESTION:
Met this girl online. She is really cute and very nice. Online she was 33. I am 32. I just learned she is 37. I hate a liar but I know girls lie about their age… but 5 years?? I don’t know what to do. I like her but hate she lied by 5 years.

If you knew this girl was 37 from the beginning would you have given her a chance? That is the key question. I don’t condone lying and I can understand shaving a couple of years from one’s online age, but 5 years is substantial especially if you are looking to start a family with this person. But, sometimes we look at the number too closely and not the person, character or chemistry we could have with that person. We could miss out on the love of our life because they fell outside some idea we have on an age parameter. Some of the strongest marriages and relationships I know have 10-20 years between partners. Also, for privacy protection, it is recommended that people do not give the exact date or year they were born because if their account is hacked, it will be easier to have their identity stolen. So, I can understand some people changing some information slightly.

Also, how long were you dating before she told you? If it was a year, well that is unacceptable. But, if you were only dating for a couple of months and she came clean, then I think you should give her a chance. If you are attracted to her, find her fun and interesting and loving and you both get along ,then do you realize how lucky you are to have met someone where so many elements of chemistry have fallen into place? Are you going to let a few extra years between the 2 of you keep you from being with the one you love? Now, if you had a laundrey list of items she lied about, then that means she is a chronic liar and you don’t need that in your life and you should move on. To quote Cher from Moonstruck, “Get Over It.”


Five years huh? Not that much really. Definitely not enough to be considered a Cougar (that’s eight years minimum). Many men (not necessarily you…but, you know, those other guys ;) won’t look at a woman’s profile unless she’s at least 10 years younger than they are. There is no comparable Cougar-like term for men like this…pisses me off…just sayin’. Why do they do this? Apparently they don’t look in mirrors often and truly believe that they can wear a Speedo and get away with it. This is what women have to deal with online. So she’s either A. Trying to knock some sense into the idiots online or B. Just a raving, insane liar. Find out if she lies about everything. If she does run (don’t walk) away. If not it’s B and you should be glad to have found great chemistry with her.

One man I met on line lives about 500 miles away. He is flying in for the weekend and told me what hotel he was staying in and said he would text me his room number and suggested I go to his room to meet him and then we can go out from there. All signs indicate that he is nice, but I just feel uncomfortable going to his room first. Should I just agree or insist he meet me in the lobby.

These are the rules: if you feel uncomfortable – don’t do it. If you feel comfortable – do it. He’s visiting YOU. This means that as the host of the weekend, you are in the driver’s seat. I take it you’ve emailed and talked on the phone? (I hope so, even I’m not nutty enough to meet someone just on a headshot alone!) So meet him in the lobby. Have a drink. Have dinner. Have sex at your own risk…you don’t KNOW him that well. If he insists on meeting you in his room then I think you should send your football-player cousin “Bubba” up to meet him. Hide in the hall and you may get the best laughs of your life!!! Please send me pictures if you do.

You sound like you are afraid to offend him. You should look at this from the perspective of … is what he is proposing offensive to you? I am just glad that Sharon is not giving you some advice that entails ways to disrobe. In this case, I agree with her. You are a grown woman and you should only do what you feel comfortable with and if that means meeting your date in the lobby, then he should respect your wishes and be a gentleman and honor your caution. If he does not and is insistent then do not meet him and move away and on as quickly as possible. Good Luck.