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Date Planning Outside The Box

Dating is critical in developing a relationship. But, date planning is just as important. Challenge yourself and try planning a date outside the box. Try putting a different spin on a familiar idea. Regardless of whether you have been dating for a month, a year or 5 years, it is always beneficial and fun to amp up your date planning. Just keeping thinking “how can I do date planning outside the box?”

Try It – Date Planning Outside The Box !

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I know it can be overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be. We can walk you through the thought process. First think of something fun your love likes to do. Then, think of how you can add a twist to planning a date around what they like. Then think about how you can execute your idea simply and within a reasonable budget.

Put An Unique Twist On An Age Old Idea

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Is your girlfriend an old movie buff? Instead of finding a movie on Netflix or Hulu, find a cinema that plays old movies and take her to a little French café before or a speakeasy type bar afterward. Or, download the movie to your iPad and set up a nighttime picnic in your backyard with some wine, cheese and a rose and lay under the stars while you watch her favorite old movie.

Ask Yourself How You Can Change Your Date To Make It More Interesting

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Is your guy a sports fan? Instead of heading out to the same old sports bar on a Sunday night, get some tickets to see one of his favorite teams. If that is a bit pricey, get tickets to a minor league team and surprise him. Afterward, celebrate at a restaurant that specializes in craft beer and munch on fried pickles, pretzel bites with a beer cheese dipping sauce and a cold draft beer!

Plan A Fun Event With Your Friends Too

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Do you both love wine and dream about owning a winery but can’t afford it just quite yet? No problem. Gather your friends and sign up for a place like CA Wine Works where you can learn about wine, how to blend it and even create your own label. It’s fun and a great bonding experience with your friends. And, you can specialize the label to represent your love for each other.

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Take any date that you want to plan and change the venue or how it is executed or what you can do to make it more fun, interesting or unique.

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Dating – Your Mate & His Children

I don’t have children. I wish I did, but I don’t. So, there are no lifelong responsibilities and a flexibility that I bring to the relationship which can be viewed positively by many men. Although, I once responded to someone on-line and he told me he only wanted to date a person with children. I felt hurt and insulted — like I was not good enough because I did not have children.

When someone you are dating has children, it can be a relationship inhibitor and logistically challenging when you are trying to schedule dates or events. And then there is the process of being introduced to and getting to know the children. That is always awkward. You feel like you are constantly being judged and sometimes the kids can be nice and other times, distant and aloof. Ya never know what you are going to get.

The problem with this is that you can’t say anything to them as it relates to discipline. It is not my child, so I am not the teacher or the disciplinarian. And many times, I find I would take a different approach with the children than the parent I am dating. It becomes frustrating because you can’t open your mouth or you come under criticism from the child or the parent.

And what happens if you don’t like the way your mate is disciplining their kids. Do you say anything? It is a hard balance to find. Recently, I went out with someone and I was completely put off when he just yelled several times at his boy to “shut up.” I was offended. He was not teaching the boy a lesson nor was he giving him a proper example. Yelling SHUT UP is not a parenting tact. You need to tell them what they are doing wrong, why, what they need to do and why and that if they don’t, then there will be consequences. And if the child does not listen and does what he wants, then you discipline as promised. They will learn in time.

As a person who comes to a relationship without children, it is hard to have credibility since I am not a parent … people think you don’t know how to parent.
I am of an age, where most people I meet do have children. I think it is easier if they are older … say in college or out of college. But when they are young, you realize that you are in for the long haul and that they are going to be an active and daily part of your life as a couple for some time to come.

I think it is important to give this sufficient thought and know what you are getting into and that you can strike that fine balance in being a person in the children’s life but one they have to respect and honor as well.

What have been your experiences? Let us know.

Mariann

Being UNFRIENDED does hurt!

I am not a big Facebook groupie. I am on it because some of my friends are and for LifeBytes. Perhaps I spend about 12 minutes a week on Facebook. So, I do NOT live and die by Facebook.

I have never been “UNfriended” … until now. Ouch it hurts. OK, it was the person I dated and just broke up with … but it still hurts. It is a defining act against another person that says “I don’t want to be friends with you anymore.” OK, so admittedly, I did that in essence with the person when I broke up with him and I know that hurt him. So, perhaps this was his one last way to tell me to go to hell without actually saying it.

I have never been a fan of the “friending” the person you are dating on Facebook. Because statistics show that more than likely you will break up and then you have to go through the UNFRIENDING process. It’s just awkward. Perhaps Miss Manners should write a new “manner” on how to UNfriend on FB with a friend or ex boy/girl-friend.

So, I vote for NOT friending the person you are dating on Facebook. Only bad things can come of it. For example … status updates and posts. They know and see and can read every little thing you write. I really hate that.

And, then there becomes the issue of if you are mentioning them in posts or commenting on their wall and if you are not they can take it personally … yes, this does happen … personal experience … trust me!
Even though I knew it was coming and I was going to UNFRIEND this person as well, it still stings.

Of course, being a slightly competitive person, I would have liked to have done it first. But seeing as I was the one who ended the relationship, I gave into the fact that he might need this process to act out … in a somewhat civilized way … and use it towards getting closure.

So, letting him UNfriend me was my one last gift and act of kindness in this relationship. When I look at it this way … it takes the hurt and sting out of being UNfriended. Am I nice, or what?

Have you ever UNFRIENDED or been UNFRIENDED? How did it make you feel? Please share!

Mariann

Couch Relationships

When I visit one of my best friends in CA, I love to sit on his deck and look out at the greenery, light torches, hot tub and trees. I live in a condo, so having my coffee sitting in a lounge chair with such a pretty view is a treat and relaxing to me. So, I don’t want to move off the lounge chair.

My friend is used to his surroundings and wants to get out of the house and do something and when he sees my reluctance to move, he calls me a COUCH POTATO and has even “songified” it with a new iPhone app (what a good friend! Lol).

But, I am not lazy and like to experience new and interesting things, but sometimes I just need to stop and take a breath and not do anything. But, that becomes dangerous when it is your constant state.

Recently, I was talking to a friend about date nights and things to do on a date. I love to try new restaurants, but that is not ALL I want to do. There are day trips, historical sights, theater, sports, museums and lectures to experience as well. I was dating someone whose idea of a date was going to dinner. And, many times suggested the same restaurant. BORING. He did not try to keep it interesting or open the door to new experiences. Many times, his idea of a night out was going to dinner and coming back to my condo afterward. That is all well and good … but not every date. If we did do anything different other than a hike, I had come up with the idea and planned it.

My friend turned to me and said, “you have a couch relationship.” I shuddered at the thought, but knew she was right. My mind read that as the perfect time to “mix it up” and DO SOMETHING different.

But, I also realized it can’t be one sided. The other person has to have a similar realization and be able to reciprocate in planning dates or outings that are different and enjoyable. If you don’t, you lose that relationship balance I have talked about before in my blogs.

So, a warning to all daters … DO NOT ALLOW YOURSELF TO HAVE A COUCH RELATIONSHIP! This means the relationship is in a rut. And, if you try to change that or avoid it and the person you are with does not want to change or sees nothing wrong with the status quo, then you might want to get a new couch … I mean, … a new person to date.

And, beware … if you don’t, a good friend may just songify it for you and put it in perspective!

Mariann

Break Ups Suck

When you meet someone new, the potential and hope of what lies ahead is exciting. When I date, I want to know the end before I let the beginning really develop. Yes, I know this is somewhat odd. I just don’t want to put time into something that was NOT going to end with a long term commitment, marriage or maybe even children. But, that is what determines where a relationship will go, putting in the time and developing a bond … aka: DATING.

Getting to know someone is interesting. You learn about them … and yourself. As feelings develop and this person becomes a part of your life, you can start to see a life together. That is what happened to me. I knew I really liked this person I recently dated when a song came on the radio and I thought, “this should be our wedding song.” Wedding? Where did that thought come from? We never talked wedding. Was this my subconscious telling me I was in or falling in love and could see a future with this person? I thought so. And that song made me happy and so I downloaded it from itunes and played it a lot. I liked the way it made me feel and I liked the thoughts associated with it.

That was a happy realization I was not ready for. I lived with the potential reality of that … wedding, reception, honeymoon, family life, having someone to travel this journey of life with … and I was starting to embrace it and look forward to it. Inside, I smiled and I thought that after all my patience with dating and an optimistic outlook to not give up – that perhaps I had found, THE ONE.

But, dating is the process of getting to know someone. And, as time went on, I came to another realization about what I was looking for and that this person did not necessarily fulfill what I needed in the long term. Some of who we were and what we wanted were not aligned. It was a sad realization.

So, I not only mourned the loss of a person, but the potential of what I wanted and a life that could have been. It’s like running a race and seeing the finish line and tripping and hurting yourself a few yards away and never reaching it because you were hauled away on a stretcher.

The grief in the loss of a relationship is multi-layered because all the hopes and dreams you had of love, friendship, children and a life with someone no longer exists. The heart takes a direct hit … and that hurts.
So, in the end, breakups just suck. But, I know eventually my optimism will return and I will move past the loss and hurt and a brighter road will lay before me … I hope!

Mariann

Analyze This…

Can you analyze compatibility?Not long ago, as part of a team-building event, my colleagues and I were required to take an online “work personality” test. We logged onto a testing site and had to answer, quickly and without analyzing them, questions about how we would react in certain situations and how we would approach certain work-related challenges. Shades of Chemistry.com!! Well, really the only difference between this test and an online dating sites “test” is that the office version didn’t offer us an “in your own words” section, where you could describe yourself and your ideal work-mate.

Which would have been very interesting. Mine would be:
I’m a creative female manager who loves one-on-one coffee breaks, lively marketing demographic discussions (bonus if you love the philosophical aspects of brand management..;) and the occasional action-packed, yet touching Powerpoint presentation. You are an intelligent, hard-working (but not a Workaholic!) executive who can handle a balance sheet with style. Care to meet for a romantic Water Cooler tete-a-tete?

Too much, right? I sometimes think that we’ve reduced every aspect of our lives to a measurable personality matrix. To the point that there are no surprises left in our relationships. Sure, it’s great going on a date with someone who matches you on “27 points of compatibility”. At least you know you won’t meet and immediately want to kill each other on a first date – even though statistically you’ll never have a second date with these people who’ve proven their compatibility to you through a 4 hour online quiz. Don’t you sometimes think that the ONLY thing taking a test that involved proves about someone is either A.) They are insanely patient. or B.) They have way too much time on their hands and really need to get a life, rather than a date?

I love online dating. It’s given me the opportunity to meet men whom I’d otherwise never cross paths with and a few of them have led to many dates or, once, to a long and lovely relationship. It’s nice to go on a first date with someone whom you’ve only emailed with, confident that you’ll at least be able to discuss Fine Art (since you both came out high on the “Artistic” scale in that personality quiz). It just lacks a certain surprise factor for me….and I miss that.

I miss the kind of dating I did in High School and College. Dating that starts because you see him at the football game or the local pub and think “Oh. My. God. He’s soooooo CUTE!!!! Then you go through the “getting a friend to introduce you” phase. The “flirting and finding out things about one another” phase and then…onto the dating. This is where you find the little hidden Easter Eggs of surprises about one another. You realize that he’s a true gentleman when he opens doors for you. He finds out that you have a sentimental streak when you get teary-eyed over the sad movie. You discover these things, you have to because there is no printout in your hand showing the chart that categorizes you both as compatible “Creative-Explorers”. I miss that. Do you? Do you like to explore and discover or are you more comfortable with the pre-pschoanalysed, I-know-what-I’m-getting-into type of online date?

I wonder where this wistful aspect of myself would put me on eHamony’s matching scale?? :)

Sharon

Remembering an “OMG – What?” Moment!

First off, I love the name … Lifebytes. Sometimes, it does bite … but usually, I like to take a bite out of life. OK< so enough of the corny comments.

I was thinking the other day about all the dates I have been on. Some are head shakers for sure!! I can’t believe some of them … but it is me … so I should not be surprised.

I met this guy for drinks in NYC. He was OK looking. But, I was looking for substance.  So, I gave a sort of pass on the looks.  He was barely “attractive.”  I had high expectations. I was looking for nice and interesting and someone with character and humor. So, I walked into the cozy bar and he was there … standing … obvious … so I knew right away.

The conversation started … well, badly.  The first thing he said to me was, “Oh, I thought you were 5’2″ … you seem a lot shorter.”  I don’t know why I stayed … maybe it was a form of repentance for something bad I did that I don’t remember … but I did stay.

He was English. I am Irish. He then embarked on a completely insulting tirade about the Irish and said that if he knew that I was 100% irish, he never would have agreed to meet me.

Did I mention that I did not meet this man because of his looks? I was going for substance.?

He had neither. His tirade was disrespectful and my cue to leave … but not without giving him a little piece of my Rebel Irish mind.

Have you ever regretted going on a date ? Or staying when you know it was far from a love match?

We love hearing your experiences. Please share.

Mariann

Profile Hide & Seek

It’s one thing to hide behind a profile, but another to hide a profile. I have recently been faced with contemplating hiding my profile. After meeting a nice person on line and going out for a few months, I looked up my new amoure on the dating site only to find his profile had been removed or hidden. OK, this scared me because I wondered why. Was he the type to just date people sequentially? Was he on line but just did not want me to see his profile and how long it had been since he logged on? Or, maybe he actually liked me.

My profile was still up there and I was not sure if or when I should follow suit. We have not used the “L” word (Love) with each other. Nor have we verbally agreed to be exclusive. So, I wondered if I should take a break or continue with my searches.

I was not actively seeking new matches. But, was not sure I wanted to remove or hide my profile just yet. Part of me wanted to leave the option open to look if I wanted to. And, yet when it came to it … I always found myself discounting every person on my search and smiling to myself knowing that I had already met a great person.

I have to wonder if I am a serial dater or that person who is always wondering what else is out there. Have I become that person I hate who doesn’t want to give up my single life completely and even though I am dating someone steadily – am still curious who is out there?

I do want a relationship and have not been on a date with another guy since shortly after I met the person I am dating now. I guess I like the feeling that it is my decision and not one I feel I have to make because the person I am dating has done so. And, yet, he has not asked me to hide my profile.

But, I have been playing the dating game a long time and have been on numerous dates and had many short term relationships. All the while, I kept saying I just wanted to meet a nice guy with some key traits and qualities. Well, I have … and I want to give it a real chance. So, I logged onto my account on the online dating site and hid my profile. Wow. That is a first for me. For now … it seems right.

I will keep you posted. Although, I may have to unhide it to help fuel some blog posts, but it won’t be for searches.

Let me know what you think? We love hearing from you.

Thanks
Mare

Q & A: Brokeback Mountain Secret?

QUESTION:
I am a gay man. Only a couple of my friends know. People might speculate but I do not like to talk about my sexuality. I don’t want people knowing I am gay or defining me by my sexuality. The problem is … I am alone. I want to be in a relationship, but if I am, then everyone will know. I don’t want to be alone for the rest of my life, but I don’t want to have to talk about my sexuality either.

Mariann:
If you are gay, and you can be honest with yourself, then you owe it to your friends to be honest with them as well. They may already know or suspect so I am sure the news will not be shocking. If your friends love you, they won’t care as they just want to see you happy.

I think you are not comfortable in being seen as gay. And, it does not have to define you unless you want it to. Your friendship, honesty, integrity and how you conduct your relationships define you … not who shares your bed.

Once you come clean to your friends, I think it will unburden you psychologically of those invisible chains that have prevented you from fully living your life and having love and a relationship in life. You deserve it. Now, just go out and do what you need to get it!

Sharon:
I agree with Mariann, you owe it to yourself to be true to who you are and honest about it too. Your true friends will still be your friends regardless of your sexual orientation. Truth is (I’m taking an educated guess here) most of your friends will probably not be surprised when you come out to them. They may even become closer friends because you were able to share a very private part of yourself with them. Your friends will also respect the fact that you are a very private person who doesn’t want to be defined by his orientation.

You deserve to be in a good, solid relationship and being honest with yourself and everyone around you is the first step on the path that will help you achieve this goal.

Q & A: She’s Just A Little TOO Popular

We should all have such problems

Question:
I’ve been dating online for quite some time now and, after some really frustrating times, met a great guy. We’ve only been out twice but we get along great and I think there’s a possibility that this may lead somewhere. My problem is, around the time I first met Guy A, I was contacted by Guy B. We emailed each other once and made plans to meet for coffee. Since I’d only just met Guy A, I didn’t have a problem with meeting Guy B for coffee. After all, I could always email later and say that I didn’t think we were a match. Well, guess what….I really like Guy B too. Now I don’t know what to do? Drop Guy A? Drop Guy B? Date them both? Ughhhhh.

Sharon

Well…we should all have these problems…:) I would say, for now, to just relax and have fun. Look, having been around the dating block myself a few times, I can say with some confidence that both A and B probably still have their profiles active. Statistically, it takes guys longer to decide on whether or not a casual dating scene should get more serious, so don’t take that personally. So at this point I wouldn’t drop one or the other. Go out with each a few more times. The dust will settle, you will find a preference for one guy over the other. If you want to be really honest and open about it all you could tell each of them: “You know, I’m still meeting and seeing men from XYZsite.com. I really enjoy your company but won’t go off the site until I know that I’m with someone who I want a serious relationship with.” This will do one of two things. First, it could scare the bejesus out of him and he’ll bolt (in which case you’ll know that he’s not serious dating material) or it will open up a conversation with him about whether or not he’s still on the site and if he’s seeing other women….perfectly acceptable since at this point you are in a casual dating scenario.

Relax, have fun. After experiencing the frustrations of online dating you deserve to be having fun with men who’s company you truly enjoy. And, again, don’t worry – the dust will settle and you’ll have a “winner.”

Mariann:
Can I be YOU for a day? You went out with Guy A and Guy B just once. You are not exclusive or engaged — so stop getting ahead of yourself and where you are in these relationships. Trust me, these guys are looking at other profiles — and that is no reflection on you — that is just being a guy and dating. After 6 months and an engagement, if these guys were looking at profiles, then you have an issue.

I would recommend you continue dating both. They both seem great now, but like cream, one will rise to the top and then you will find yourself wanting to spend more time with them over the other. And, one may fall out completely but that does not mean you don’t meet other people.

Please do NOT take Sharon’s advise and tell the men you are dating others. That is not necessary – it is way too early to be making those declarations. Why create a situation when you don’t have to? Unless you are exclusive, it is natural to think will you be dating other people.

So, until you are exclusive — relax and have fun and enjoy DATING. If someone interests you enough to be serious or exclusive, then you will know and things will happen organically. Have fun!