We are VOTED a Top Ten Best Online Dating Expert

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In case you were wondering who is, they are a go to site for all things Dating & Relationships! Since their launch in May 2012 they’ve received 180,000 unique views and 500,000 page views per month from those seeking dating and relationship advice, and those numbers continue to rise. They get regular mentions on major networks such as CNN, FoxNews, HLN and others.

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Sharon and I started the LifeBytes Blog just about 4 years ago and we have published almost 300 posts. We love to share our experiences and advice and thoughts. And, we welcome feedback and comments from viewers.

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That’s Just Creepy

stalker_dateOftentimes male friends and dates have commented to me about how some women think that one date equals an instant relationship. Their opinions of this range from that’s just creepy, to makes me want to run in the opposite direction, to a non-verbal head shake and roll of the eyes. I have to be honest, I’d always thought that it wasn’t that big of a deal – just a “guy thing”, just as I know that a gal’s brain can automatically go into “wonder what the kids will look like” mode upon meeting a cute, hot guy (seriously guys, we don’t mean anything stalkerish when we do this…it’s a “girl thing”).

Well recently I met the male version of the instant relationship, and it was sort of creepy (rolls eyes and shakes head).

He Seemed Nice In His Profile

We connected on He seemed nice in his profile. I didn’t get a sense that we’d be instantly and totally soul-mate compatible, but there seemed to be possibilities there. Since I’m a great believer in giving everyone a shot, I made plans to meet him for drinks.

It was a nice meeting, no sparks but the conversation was lively. I was thinking OK, this may work…until he started talking about his ex-girlfriend…who was suing him (SUING HIM??!!) When I asked what in the world she could be suing him about, he sort of waffled and changed the subject. So…I pressed him for an answer and still got a sort of vague response.

Well, the date ended shortly after and he walked me to my car all the while going on and on about how our next date will be dinner and then…when we were seeing each other on a regular basis…we could make plans for a vacation. WHOA…I was still trying to untangle the huge red flag I’d just been smacked in the face with. I needed time to process. So I said a swift goodnight and headed home.

The next night I was about to head out to a rehearsal session for my next play when I got a text – Are you home? No, I texted back, going to rehearsal will be home late and will most certainly be too tired to talk. I’ll be in touch tomorrow. His reply? Well call me anyway. Wow, I thought that was demanding, pushy, and inconsiderate.

I Get It Now. It IS Creepy

When I did get home there were more texts waiting for me about how we had to plan out our next few weeks. Creepy, just creepy. OK guys, I get it now…LOL

I texted back that I didn’t want to continue to see him, went onto Match and blocked his profile. I would still like to know what in heck the ex was suing him about though!


Check out our latest post on Singles Warehouse!

Online Dating…Can You Spot The Catfish?

catfishGiven how long I’ve spent in the online dating arena, both doing it and writing about it, it was inevitable that I’d eventually snag my very own catfish. A “Catfish” is someone online who is portraying themselves falsely, pretending to be someone they’re not, sometimes for childish reasons and sometimes for nefarious reasons.

I’d seen the documentary and TV series that popularized the term and of course Catfishing is a serious topic on the Dr. Phil show, but in all this time I had yet to encounter one of this breed myself….til last week. Here is what happened and how I sniffed out this rotten fish and dealt with him.

I saw “Cuddle536” (YES…his real online name) on His profile was clear and well-written in solid English sentences. He had one, very nice profile photo of him holding a cat. Plus, he lived in a very small town nearby to me. I wrote to him…and he wrote back with:
I would like to get to know you. First, I would like to see if we can be friends. I suspect you are very selective in who you are looking for. I know I am looking for someone very special who is attractive, fit, beautiful inside and out, and family oriented.

Then…It Got Interesting

Still well-written and coherent, he went on to say that he didn’t check his account often and would I use his real email. I have a private email account that I use ONLY for online dating and is not connected to any of my personal info so I felt comfortable using that and agreed to this. Which is where the fun began. He wrote:

I believe strongly in love and her values,I am originally German-Swiss,I have two dogs and two cats as well…you can tell i love animals and animals lovers are true lover…is that true ?
Commas instead of periods?? Weird sentence structure and that “true lover” thing set off a tiny alarm. Someone who wants to be friends first doesn’t send a leading comment like that. I went to recheck his profile and realized he’d hidden it….another clue. Now I was curious. I wrote and asked him a few questions about things I vaguely remembered from his profile. Three days later I got:

How are you and hope that you are doing Great. I haven’t heard back from you and thought to check in and say hey and perhaps to ask if i did or said something wrong,i was really enjoying the getting to know each other process.
Hmmm, I knew the email went through as I didn’t get a delivery problem message. I didn’t think it went into his spam folder as my previous messages were received. Now I’m fairly certain this clown is not who he’s portraying himself as. Curious, I resend my original note. This time he writes back.

Yes you did reply to my email and i responded as well but i think maybe either you did not get my response or i know but glad i am writing to you now. He ended the email with: Enjoy the rest of your day and know you have a man who is very curious about you and with the best of intentions towards you as well.
Now I’m certain that I’ve snagged myself a Catfish. Why? Aside from the steadily decaying grammar and punctuation, no one who is sincere and has the “best intentions” will need to specifically point this out in an email. So now I’m really curious as to how he’d react to an email that is off the “script” he’s obviously trying to guide me into (Plus…I’m sensing an impending blog post on this exchange…LOL). I write and ask some specific questions:

I think you said you live in Alpine? How long have you lived there? Like it? Does your daughter go to college?  Do you have a large family? Small? Are they in the area? And tell me about your job/career. What do you do? Do you like it?

Surprisingly he writes back:

Getting to know more about each other is all about asking and getting answers yes! I have being living in Alpine for 5 months now…and yes i do like/love it. My daughter does not live with me,she lives and school in England,i agreed to that because all i want is for her to be happy,its being very difficult since after the passing away of her mother. I am the only child of my parent whom are both late now,i do have relatives but very small and we hardly keep in touch only occasionally.
Holy cow! I was laughing out loud as I read that. The poor orphan boy…how convenient!! At this point I was DONE with this A-hole…but couldn’t resist one parting shot, I emailed:

Hope you’re enjoying Alpine, I have friends who live there and they enjoy it too. It’s a very, VERY small town so if you haven’t met them yet, I’m sure you will soon.

Now Michael, I have to ask you a strange question. Did someone write your profile for you? I ask because the style of writing, grammar, tone, and punctuation is TOTALLY different in your emails. Besides being a designer, I’m also a writer so I notice these things.

I didn’t expect an answer to that one and of course, never got one. I’m sure he knew he was busted!

When You’ve Snagged A Catfish

So, what did I do? Nothing. Yep, nothing. I didn’t email back because THAT’S what you do when you realize you’re in contact with someone who’s not who they say they are. Through the LifeBytes project we’ve gotten many stories from men and women who’ve had years long relationships with people online only to find, when they finally meet them, that they are not who they portrayed themselves to be. I never really understood how that could happen and quite honestly, I still don’t.

This is why I think the “catfish” get away with what they do…too many singles let their hearts and imaginations rule instead of their heads. Here’s the unvarnished truth: You can’t fall in love with someone when you only know them online. You can be infatuated with the IDEA of that person, you can be enamored of what they write and how they write it. You can be a victim of your own imagination, picturing how you THINK they are in real life. But you CANNOT actually be in love with someone you’ve never met face to face.

Here’s hoping we all catch only Starfish from now on!

Check out our latest post on Singles Warehouse!

“Lake Boy” And The Profile Photo

lake-boyI recently got an email from a guy through one of the online dating sites I’m on. Just a short note to tell me he liked my profile, thought my profile photo was cute and if I was interested I could call him. He included his cell phone number too. I liked that, I have a thing about wanting to talk early on in the process. I’ve just had one too many weird email conversations, I want to talk soon because this always gives me the strongest clues about whether the guy is honest, not a player, and if we’ll hit it off on a date.

I was actually headed off for a short vacation when he emailed so I sent him my cell and asked if he would call me when I returned the following week. He wrote back with an OK and he did indeed call me one evening when I’d gotten home. Which was also good…a man who keeps his word and calls when he says he’s going to call…Wow!

Well, that was as good as it got.

As we chatted I started to realize that he hadn’t really read my profile. I had read his and though it was short, I didn’t see anything in it that I’d consider a deal-breaker. Apparently though I had a few dealbreakers in mine. Which he would have noticed had he gotten past my profile photos and basic physical stats.

I mention very specifically in my profile that I’m involved in local theater. It doesn’t take up all of my time, I certainly have lots of time for dating and socializing with friends. However, when I’m working on a show I always have at least a month when I’m performing on weekends (not forever mind you, just four weekends!). Well, this poor guy nearly had a stroke over the phone.

“Oh, I have a boat that I hang out on on weekends in the summer! You won’t be able to do that!”

“Uh, well, the production I’m working on runs through the month of February. Definitely not a summer month, unless the end of the Mayan long count calendar has totally screwed up the seasons as we know them.” I chuckle a little to see if he gets the joke…he doesn’t.

“I work hard all week. I just want to hang out on a lake all weekend. I really want someone who can do that with me.” At this point I’m hearing a subtle hysteria in his voice. Apparently that lake nonsense is essential to his mental health…LOL.

If You Look Good And Can Float, You’re OK!

It dawned on me that, not only had “Lake Boy” not read my profile, but he wasn’t the least bit interested in finding a relationship in any way based on discovering each other’s unique interests and exploring them together. You know, actually be open to anything new or different. He just wanted a woman who looked pretty good and could spend every ….and I mean every weekend doing what interested him. Which I’m pretty sure entails just lying on a boat in a lake.

He finally told me, in a somewhat shaky voice, that he didn’t think we’d be a good match. I wholeheartedly agreed with this assessment.

So, I’m on to the next few male profiles on my list. Hopefully they will have gotten further than my photos, weight and height!


Check out our latest article on Singles Warehouse!

The Art Of Date Planning

A great date at the Central Park Lake
Date planning, especially in the early stages of a relationship is apparently daunting to some singles. Well, OK, mostly to men – or so it seems to Mariann and I. Personally we think it’s rather easy and can also be fun and creative, so we’re not quite sure why it seems so scary to so many singles.

On one of the online dating sites I’m on I describe what I’d consider to be a fun, creative and potentially romantic date. It goes like this:

“Explore Central Park on a crisp, sunny day. Lunch at the boat house, cuddle up for a boat ride on the lake (or maybe feeding the dolphins at the Zoo?) Cap off the day discovering the next great American playwright at an Off-Broadway show.”

Seriously, if a guy wants to “seal the deal” with me and flip me head over heels…this is the date that would do it. Hits all the right notes for me.

Well…someone emailed me thru the site and told me this date was too complicated. Really? I didn’t think so but, sadly, too many people just never get past the plain vanilla dinner or movie date.

Now, where I never mind the Saturday night at the movies date, I have to say I’m totally impressed by a guy who puts in just a tiny extra effort to plan a more creative date. I’ve planned dates for my man that are just a little different and take into account his likes and hobbies. A hike in our local mountains for the outdoorsy guy or a surprise outing to the Yankee game for the sports guy…these have all been welcomed and appreciated by the guys but still…they find it a bit of a chore, I think, to plan creative dates.

I keep insisting to my male friends that it’s not so hard, and the rewards for this fore thought are many. Some of them get it, but many don’t. I think if we break a great date down to a few simple components, it might make it easier. Let’s see:

1. Find out what she likes in terms of food, favorite places to go. Find out what her hobbies are or, if she’s athletic, what her favorite outdoor activities are. Plan a simple date around that…Sailing on a local lake, visit to a museum followed by dinner, tickets to a lecture by her favorite author. Guys…these things impress a woman!

2. Find out when she’s available for this date. Want to make it a surprise? Just get some open dates from her….TELL her you have a surprise outing planned, but not what it is. We LOVE surprises.

3. Be your gentlemanly best on the date and ENJOY yourself, even if you’re doing something you don’t necessarily like to do yourself. Nothing kills a good date faster than a bad attitude.

There. Simple, right? Do you have anything to add to this?

Do you like creative dates? Does your significant other know how to plan a great date? What’s the best date you’ve ever been on and what made it so great?

We’re really interested to hear your answers. Please, let us know!