5 Signs You’re Terrible At Online Dating (And How To Change That)

Online dating can seem a lot like online shopping, (So much selection! So much fun to scroll through shoes, er.. men!), but the similarities end there. If you’re treating finding a relationship like a casual browse for sale items, it’s time to shape up! Take a look at these signs that you’re headed for trouble with your online dating profile and what you can do to fix it.

Problem: You have a strict list of criteria that you’re not willing to budge on

We hear from our girlfriends all the time that we shouldn’t compromise on what we want in a partner. But who’s perfect? I certainly wouldn’t want to be held up against that standard. Be realistic with your “dealbreakers.” Does he really have to be at least 6 feet tall? Will that matter when you’re 70? Having a strict list of criteria that you’re unwilling to compromise on, (“I would never date someone who drives a jeep,” or “He’s just a carpenter.”), means that you’re discounting a huge number of people right out of the gate that could be great for you. Having hard and fast rules about who you are willing to date will only hurt you in the long run.

Exercise: Try going on a date with someone that your friends pick for you. No arguments!

Problem: You focus on the negative

Your profile reads like a laundry list of everything you don’t want in a partner, relationship, or on your pizza. While you might think you’re being specific, all that negativity is off-putting to any potential partner. Online dating is all about being positive. You should always be honest, but no one wants to date a complainer. This goes for messages too. Stay away from negativity in your first interactions and instead focus on what you like to do and who you want to date.

Exercise: Start a new conversation where you don’t make any negative comments in your chats.

Problem: You go online exclusively for validation or positive reinforcement

Swipe, swipe, swipe, get match, experience surge of endorphins, repeat.

We all know that little twinge of excitement you get when you get a message, match with someone, or when you get likes on a photo; it can be a little addictive. Some argue that there are online daters out there who aren’t even interested in a relationship, but only in making themselves feel good with a bit of attention. While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the little ego boost when you get a new message notification, if you’re barely serious about finding someone, you’re just wasting everyone’s time. Channel that positive feeling you get from online interactions into meeting someone new; it might be just the thing you need to approach dating with fresh energy!

Exercise: Actually go on a date. Just one 🙂

Problem: You stop responding just because it feels like too much work

We’re all busy, and it can be hard to feel motivated to continue that conversation. I’ll be real with you: online dating can be a lot of work. This might mean you have to have a few boring conversations or go on a couple of bad dates before you find one that makes it worth it, but bottom line: you have to put in the effort if you expect anyone else to. If you stop responding to messages or go AWOL on someone, you’ve stalled before you even get rolling. As challenging as it may be, if you want to be successful, you have to keep your energy up, keep responding, and keep going on dates. It WILL pay off in the long run.

Exercise: Don’t let 24 hours go by without sending a reply.

Problem: You stand people up

This is just bad manners. If you’ve committed to making plans with someone else, show up. If you really can’t make it anymore (and I mean really, not just that you decided to stay home and watch Netflix instead), then give them as much heads up as possible. Think about how much energy and preparation goes into a first date, and be respectful of other people’s time. Nothing leads to Online Dating Burnout and feeling discouraged faster than feeling like you’re wasting your time.

Exercise: Don’t back out of any dates for a whole month.

5 Telling Trips To Take With A New Partner

Going on a trip with a new partner can be a great way to get to know them better. You’re both out of normal context, maybe out of your comfort zone a bit, and you’re having to interact in a new way. Here are 5 trips you can take with a new partner to see if he’ll be able to go the distance:

1) Camping

See what he really looks like after sitting in the dirt for two days – that’s what it boils down to. Almost no one looks their best when they’re out in the bush without showers or mirrors. Now you can see what he really looks like without creature comforts and prep time. Is someone unhappy with the idea of not being able to do his hair, or conversely, way too excited about not having to brush his teeth? That could be a bad sign. Does he somehow manage to look even hotter in a flannel with the smell of campfire in his hair, though? Hold on to him!

2) Weekend getaway where you have to cooperate to do physical activity

Whoever said riding a tandem bike is a fun time was full of garbage. It looks so picturesque to see two tourists riding along, sweetly peddling together around the sites. In reality, they’re about two seconds away from breaking off the bike’s handlebars and having an American Gladiator-style battle to the death in front of the Santa Monica Pier. Activities or trips that require cooperation to do an activity are the fastest way to tell how compatible you are with someone. Can’t cooperate long enough to paddle a canoe together? Might be time to rethink things.

3) Travelling to a developing country

Maybe not something you’d undertake in a brand new relationship, but traveling to a country where you have to rough it a bit will tell you a lot about a person. Being in a situation where you might not be completely comfortable because neither of you speak the language, your safety isn’t guaranteed, or your accommodation isn’t fancy can be very telling about someone’s character. Is he grossed out by unfamiliar food in Bali? Scared to ride a chicken bus in Costa Rica? Uncomfortable bartering for a taxi in Mexico City? Traveling to these kinds of places requires a sense of adventure and a little bit of street smarts. If those things matter to you, putting yourselves in a situation like that is a good litmus test to see if you’re compatible in the long run.

4) A weekend visiting his family

How someone acts around their family may be very different from how they interact with friends and the rest of their social circle. Maybe he refuses to help with the dishes and secretly resents his brother, or maybe he loves fishing with his step sister and taking his adopted grandma to get her hair done? Either way, spending a good chunk of time together with his family will give you some insight into what he’s really like. Plus you get to hear all of the family drama that only comes out after a couple of glasses of wine!

5) Anywhere when it’s mostly just your friends that are going

No one likes to babysit their boyfriend who is being a grumpy cat because he doesn’t have a bro to talk to. Dating someone who gets along with your friends and is comfortable in new social situations is top notch in my books. Even if it might not be as fun for him as a snowboarding trip with his buddies, taking the time to do something or go on a trip that’s important to you, (hello, weekend your best friend’s cabin!), shows that you’re a priority to him. This means you’ll have to reciprocate though!

Important Love Lessons From Orange Is The New Black

With the season 3 premiere of Orange is the New Black just around the corner, it’s high time to refresh ourselves on the wonderful, complicated, messy, relationships that form when one is behind bars.

I don’t know about you, but I’m always formulating my contingency plan for if and when the unthinkable happens, my past catches up with me, and I end up behind bars. When I watch OINTB, I study it like a manual, for how to survive in prison. So far, I’ve gleaned lots of great tips like, don’t mess with the person who makes your food, and use maxi pads to make eye masks! #lifelessons

Not to be overlooked, however, are all of the great relationship lessons we learn from watching Piper and her band of merry inmates bumble their way through incarceration. There are some real feels tucked up under Big Boo’s tough facade and Nikki’s biting sarcasm. Despite the dysfunction and absurdity of a lot of the drama, people are people, and these ones are surprisingly relatable.

So what love lessons did we learn from Orange is the New Black?

(WARNING: Spoilers ahead)

You can’t keep your prison wife locked up with you forever

Real Life Lesson: If you love them, let them go.

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One touching Orange is the New Black moment was when Tricia taught us that you can’t force someone to stay with you. When she uses extreme (and illegal), measures to try and keep her prison wife Mercy locked up in order to avoid losing her, we realize just how desperate it is when we do these things in real life. It’s obvious that she’s doing it to assuage her own insecurity and fear of being alone, and we all know that that never really works out. In the end, Tricia has to let Mercy go, and just trust that she’ll still be there on the other side.

Don’t lie about which corrections officer is your baby daddy

Real Life Lesson: Lying about something important is never going to end well

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Big lies, little lies, they all catch up with us in the end. At first, when we’re backed into a corner and things seem really bad, we might think it’s a good idea to tell a lie. When Daya tells everyone that she’s pregnant and the father is officer Mendez in order to save her real love, Officer Bennett, I think even she knows it’s not going to work out long term. Rather than make the situation any better, instead she only succeeds in creating the pitiable, albeit hilarious, situation with Mendez falling in love with her and committing to taking care of her baby. We’re still unsure how that quagmire will play out.

Your fiancé is probably going to cheat on you while you’re in prison

Real Life Lesson: Romantic partners are fallible

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Larry and Piper both cheat on each other while she’s in the clink. The lesson? People need love and reassurance, sometimes in physical form, when they’re in stressful situations. It’s hard to communicate properly and resolve things when there’s a (in this case literal), wall between you.

If you suspect that your ex-drug dealing lover was the one who ratted you out to the police, you’re probably right

Real Life Lesson: People can change, but they probably won’t

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Alex and Piper’s relationship was tumultuous from the beginning. Piper practiced willful ignorance and allowed herself to be manipulated in exchange for attention and excitement, and Alex always preyed on Piper’s insecurities and took advantage of her naiveté. When the time came, Alex sold her up the river to save her own skin. No surprises there. Both parties are at fault, really, but it’s worth recognizing that most people show you who they really are from the beginning. Alex was always looking out for number one. Only time will tell if either of them are worth trusting.

That guy who you’ve been stalking for the past year is probably not going to marry you

Real Life Lesson: He’s just not that into you

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Sweet, sweet Morello, with her online credit card scams and her creep-tastic bubble baths. We’re kind of rooting for her, even though she’s obviously a bit loony tunes. Taking a field trip from prison to break into her ex’s house and wear his new girlfriend’s bath robe? Too far. Hers is a very extreme case of “He’s just not that into you.” It’s true though, that when we get caught up in a fantasy world, we don’t want to recognize the truth that someone might not be on the same page as we are in the relationship. It’s easier to keep ignoring the increasingly obvious signs and keep planning the wedding. Wake up girlfriend!

The newest season of Orange is the New Black will be released on Netflix on June 12th! #excitement

Lessons From My First Love

What do I think of when I look back on my first love? I think about first time walking down the street holding hands, first nicknames, first time saying “I love you,” (and hearing it back). My super smart, slightly nerdy, first boyfriend with whom I had a lof of fun and laughs, (and cries), will forever have a special place in my heart. My rearview mirror is fogging up with all of the adolescent mushy feelings that brings up. It’s so easy to look back fondly and only remember the good times in a relationship, especially with a first love. The power of nostalgia is strong.

The truth though, is that underneath that layer of warm fuzzies, there are some cold hard lessons to be remembered. We learn things from every relationship, but there are some things you learn particularly well the first time around that are worth remembering. After all, you fought, (literally), for those truths and it would be a shame to waste that hard-won wisdom. Here are some of the lessons I learned from my first love:

 

Always be friends first.

I don’t mean you have to be friends before you date, I mean, you have to be friends first and foremost, and in a romantic relationship second. Spending the rest of your lives together, (or even just all your weekends for the foreseeable future), is a long freaking time, so you better get along. It sounds cliché, but you shouldn’t have to try to like the same things that they do, or pretend to have those same interests to spend time with them. If you ask yourself, “Would I be hanging out with this person even if we weren’t in a relationship together?,” and the answer is “probably not,” or “not sure,” then you might have some reevaluating to do.

 

Make sure his mom likes you.

Okay, maybe this one is obvious, but it was a major takeaway for me. All men are subconsciously in love with their mothers, (hello Oedipus), and so you need her approval to get anywhere with him; she is the ultimate caregiver and provider. She created him. Are you kidding? You can’t compete with that. Put yourself at odds with The Mom and you will never come out on top. Respect the role that she plays in his life, (however big or small), and you will have a happier, more copacetic relationship in the long run.

 

Keep your relationship relatively private.

You don’t need to put yourselves on display to prove anything. In fact, doing so puts you under a microscope that could stop your relationship from progressing naturally. While at first, wanting to proclaim your love from the rooftops seems adorable, posting a million photos of the two of you together, or the constant need for public reassurances might be a sign of insecurity. Instead, keep the “relationship status” off Facebook, and let things evolve out of the spotlight.

 

And finally, if it’s over, let it be over.

All of those late night texts, staying “friends,” possessiveness and neediness masquerading as concern – these are signs of a relationship that’s not over when it should be. It’s easy to fall into that trap when you’re breaking or broken up. I remember not being able to conceive of my first relationship being over and that he wouldn’t be a part of my life anymore. I let things drag out for much longer than they should have when what I really needed was time to be alone.  Learning that for the first time took about 8 months longer than it should have. Do yourself a favor and, as hard as it seems, cut things off cold turkey when they’re over. Remember the love, then let it go; you’ll both be happier in the long run.

How To Avoid Online Dating Burnout

So, you’ve been online dating for a while now. At first, it was super exciting. But then, online dating burnout happened. Now, you’re not so sure it’s worth the effort. And it IS an effort. It takes a lot of your energy to find someone you’re interested in, arrange a meeting, make yourself look presentable, show up, go through the time of getting to know someone, and sometimes (read: most of the time), it doesn’t turn out to be the be-all end-all relationship you were looking for.

So, how do you keep your energy up, make sure that you’re putting your best self out there, and avoid the Burn Out?

Read on.

Keep your profile fresh and up to date.

Swapping out your profile pic gives you an instant lift in attention and messages. Someone who has glanced at your profile before might be attracted by that new photo showing a different side of you, (literally). It changes the first impression you make on the site. We recommend testing out a few different main images over time and seeing which gets you the best results. Also, updating your profile information like your description and interests could be the difference between someone deciding to send you that first message or passing you by. Keep them current and engaging. Oh, you both have chicken wings or craft beer listed as an interest? Icebreaker + first date idea in one!

Have a sense of humor about it.

Now that you’ve boosted the attention you’re getting online, how do you avoid mediocre dates that leave you feeling discouraged? Well, bottom line, you can’t. You’re probably going to have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find the right frog for you, so it’s best if you can accept it and try and laugh about it. You’re meeting strangers from the internet for crying out loud – it’s bound to be hilarious! That guy with the horrible breath, or the one who couldn’t stop talking about his Etsy store where he sells sweaters for guinea pigs? Sounds like great fodder for girls night! You’re not going to jive with everyone. There’s probably someone you went out with that thought you were nuts for spending so much time restoring classic VW vans or for hating Seinfeld, so, it’s mutual. There’s someone out there for everyone, (yes, everyone), and if that wasn’t the right date for you, laugh about it, forget about it, and move on.

Do the things you want to do anyway.

Want to check out a new coffee shop that opened up in your neighborhood, or take a walking tour of your historic downtown? Do them with a date! Even if it doesn’t end up working out, at least you’re getting to do things that you wanted to do, regardless. It’s easy to get burned out if you feel like you’re going on a million of the same date over and over again. Be a little selfish; do something that you’re excited about. Life’s too short to waste your time!

Take everything with a grain of salt, manage your expectations, play it cool.

We’ve all felt it, where it seems like this person is perfect and exceptional and might be The One, only to have them drop off the face of the earth for whatever reason. It’s easy to get really excited about a new conversation or someone you had a great date with, but proceed with caution. It sounds cynical to say, but don’t get too attached too early. You’re still just getting to know them in the beginning; they might be on a completely different page. Don’t take it personally. Keep it cool and take it easy at first. Don’t play games, but don’t throw your whole heart into the ring until you’re sure things are on solid footing.

And of course, remember that he or she IS out there.

This is the hardest part, but you have to keep your eye on the prize. Lots of people I know who have burned out from online dating did so because they lost their focus. “Why am I spending so much time and energy on getting dressed up, going out, and making conversation with a stranger? Again?” Well, frankly, because that’s how you’re going to meet the one person that finally makes it all worthwhile; because you decided that you were over being alone; because what you were doing before wasn’t working; because you’re ready for something different. While it can definitely be challenging, remember what you want to get out of this process, and use that to motivate yourself. It’s the promise of that happily ever after that keeps us going; the “what if?” that keeps us all logging back in. Because who knows, your perfect match just may join tomorrow, better be ready 😉