This time it was for real. Or, so you thought. But you got dumped, and were left with nothing more than his ratty fave college tee (for a U he never attended) or her saccharine-sweet lust notes plastered to your fridge. What went wrong? You were sure it was much more than hooking up for convenience sake. Why did your affair ‘o heart end up receiving the kiss of death?
Statistics vary, but generally speaking a high percentage of dating relationships fail - somewhere in the >70% range. A recent Facebook status infographic showed peaks for breakups the two weeks before Christmas (naturally), just prior to Spring Break (opportunity knocks) and on April Fool’s Day (ouch!). Whether the actions of your now-ex were motivated by foregoing the expensive gift, hooking up in South Padre, or just being downright mean you may never know. But alas, amongst the debris of your shattered devotion lay a few potential pearls of wisdom.
Following are several reasons your significant other (SO) may have dumped you, and some thoughts about how to ensure a heartbreaking repeat is not in the cards. Read, weep if you must, but do consider that you may have had some hand in the matter. Possibly you are better off without that SOB of an SO. Who knows? But tomorrow is another day, and there are lots of fish in the sea - and foxes in their dens. Tally Ho!
Some guys just want a hottie arm-clinger to flaunt before their fellow buds, and some girls care more about pecs than a paycheck or personality. She adores guys with facial fuzz a la Johnny Depp, and he drools over gals with a generous booty like Beyonce. We all appreciate a looker and have our own personal favorite amenities. But don’t the innards count, too?
A book entitled, “The Third Chimpanzee”, by Jared Diamond studied mated couples in an attempt to define the facets that caused attraction, and those that survived over time. Yes, looks might have sparked the connection, but in the end, it was boring ol’ shared values that aced the longevity test. When doing a post-mortem on your break-up, consider whether you were from Venus and your beau was from Mars.
It’s her moodiness. It’s his personal hygiene, or lack thereof. It’s her political ideals or his rose-colored-glasses view of reality. It’s because, yes Claudine, you DO look fat in that dress. Whatever ‘it’ is - it really is you. If you can get the double-crossing no-gooder to explain what ‘it’ is, accept it as graciously as you can (while secretly wishing a hatchet was at hand). If it’s smallish, change it. If it’s vitally important to who you are, then there’s no good reason to try to accommodate for this clod … or Claudine. Best to accept it, forget about it and get over it. If it’s something that’s part of your core character, you’ll never change it anyway.
So your ex still has his mommy tuck him in at night? Your new guy isn’t the least bit interested. Got a date with that hot chick who works at the coffee shop? She doesn’t want to hear about your ex’s “sandpaper hands”, unless your goal is to force a shiver of disgust down her (curvy) spine. Nothing frightens away a new love more than comparing it to an old one. If your last relationship ended in disaster, don’t poison the new one by retelling all the sordid details.
Caught sexting the new cutie at the office, your SO lied like a lazy dog on a hot summer’s day. You ranted about technical problems the day your hun-buns found someone else was tagged your boyfriend on Facebook. He prevaricates or embellishes the truth. She fibs just a little. Whatever you want to call it, lying is as old as dirt, and just as mucky. What s/he doesn’t know won’t hurt, right? Wrong-o. A relationship based upon falsehoods and half-truths is destined for the dust bin. You’ll only regret it when your love-o-life admits s/he can’t stand your whoppers any longer; and you won’t like yourself any better for the telling of them.
Quirks, Addictions and Obsessions
He spends 14.6 hours of every day attached to a keyboard, and it ain’t productive work he’s doing. He’s a WOW addict, an EverCrack fiend, and prefers fantasy gaming to attending to her real-life fantasies. She has carpal tunnel syndrome from credit card swiping and her definition of ‘midnight madness’ features department store sales, not an intimate tryst with her sweetums. He shaves less often than he makes his rent payment. She chews gum loud enough to pop her ears, and yours, at less than 30,000 feet.
A Psychology Today article titled, “You’re Driving me Crazy”, claims that once a certain level of commitment is accepted, guys/gals tend to relax and be themselves. And therein lies the danger. Habits and quirks are hard to change; addictions and obsessions ever tougher. If you think it’s love, it may be worth dealing with the kinks to ensure relationship success. But if we’re talking moral defects or serious character flaws - well, fo’get about it. Splitsville ahead!
Breaking up is hard to do - and hurts like hell to boot. Right now, all you want to do is curse the day the flake was born. But the pain will wane, and soon you will be back on the prowl. Take a little introspective time to reflect about what went wrong, and accept responsibility for your part in the breakup. If you’re still in search of answers, check out www.dateraters.com to get the low down, dirty scoop on why you got dumped or to show that SOB who’s boss by dishing about your ex’s ‘mommy issues’ or other red flags.
Regardless of how you gain closure, make a vow to fix the fixable and forget the rest. Then let the healing flow. You will find another someone who makes you laugh, pushes all the right buttons and tickles your fancy… and all the other important parts.
These should seem obvious to most - even so, it’s a good reminder to get your %#@$ together if your 2011 dating diary reads like a horror story.
Tip the relationship equilibria -
Love this post! The fact that more meaningful conversations early on in the dating process leads to a more efficient dating process is no surprise. However, to see this notion supported by research should encourage more daters to be open and honest about issues that *really* matter in a relationship vs. discussing only safe topics in the hopes of securing a second date.
A lot of people have survival kits in case of a natural disaster. But, how many of you have an emotional first-aid kit for that looming relationship disaster? A female friend recently told me she has a pimped-out Jimmy Choo shoe box filled with various treasures to soothe her through even the worst break-up. Contents include: one John Mayer CD, several pictures of her family, one Vosges chocolate bar, and one bottle of “Hey Vito, Is My Car Red-y” nail polish. Of course, you’ll want to personalize your own emotional first aid kit - what’s important is that you treat your emotional wounds as carefully as you do your physical injuries.
Thanks to our Guest Blogger, ChiCityChick, for the following post:
August 1st marked a day that might be little known to some, but that should be richly celebrated by many. The special day in question was National Girlfriends Day. Yes, there is actually a holiday to celebrate the rich and rewarding benefits that come from having girlfriends in one’s life. The term girlfriend refers to relationships between women. Another trendy and modern term for this would be “BFFs”, or best friends forever. There are many reasons to celebrate your girlfriends. First, it’s great to know that someone in the world has your back! Nobody gets a woman like another woman. Your girlfriend is your first point of contact , for example, when you experience the joy of meeting that potential new dude in your life. You know, the one you met at the grocery store, the gym, or walking in the mall being your fine self!. Who is the one that you call when you have the world’s most awesome date? Who picks up your spirits when you have the world’s worst date ever, and you scream that you’ll never date again? It’s your girl, or your gang of chicas of course! So, just how do you celebrate your special friend girl, or friend girls? Lots of women have mini-celebrations that include dinners, or pints of ice cream around the table. Or, you might plan a girl’s night out on the town, looking like a pack of supermodels, and comparing notes as to which lucky guy gets your number. If you need inspiration, watch any episode of Sex and The City. You’ll quickly see many examples of the girls celebrating each other, and having their pick and choose of gorgeous, or not so gorgeous men. Even when the guys were the biggest losers, the girls still had a great time, because they were with each other. They were the party at the party! Although the actual holiday has passed, why not keep the party going? Make every month, heck, make every weekend a Girlfriend’s Day! Another great thing about women is that they are super creative, so use that creative, warm, and fuzzy energy to think of ways to celebrate the women in your life that build you up, and melt your heart. Get on the phone, that blog, get those emails out! Dust off your sexy heels, and those sexy jeans that make grown men cry. Get your girls together, and compare notes later about shutting down your local hang out, and giving the guys whiplash!
Interesting dating application but in light of all the noise around privacy on Facebook, is it just a matter of time before Wings get clipped?
I’m intrigued by the article in the NYTs today about new dating sites trying to bridge the gap b/w online and offline dating.
However, I’m starting to feel like we’re holding daters’ hands a bit too much. I mean, why do they need pre-printed cards with cute come-on lines to break the ice? What’s the problem with making up your own creative pick up line and writing it on the back of a cocktail napkin? Or, better yet, use your brain and mouth in concert and go up to your new love interest and talk to them. Between this and dating assistants, it’s all becoming a bit too Cyrano de Bergerac for my taste.
For most people, their personal reputation means the difference between success and, well, failure in life. Up until recently (say the past 10 years), we exercised a fair amount of control over our personal branding. We shared only what we chose to share. We were a one-person public relations firm revering our triumphs, while spinning our disappointments if not to protect our reputations, than certainly to shelter our egos. Enter the dawn of social media…and with it an evident shift in the balance of power in personal branding - away from the individual and to the masses.
It used to be that one’s personal reputation mirrored the deeds – good and bad – of the individual. Today, not so much. While access to social media has allowed us to better broadcast everything from our achievements to what we ate for breakfast, it has also opened the flood gates for others – even strangers – to chime in on who we are, what we do, and how we behave. When you consider the number and reach of social networks available, the potential damage that can be done to our personal reputations by others with (or even without) an ax to grind is mind boggling. From Facebook to LinkedIn, Unvarnished to Duedil the range of venues for promoting and maligning others is staggering. The growth of reputation-based sites has been so significant it’s even given rise to a new movement known as “online reputation management” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_reputation_management). All this is to say is that it serves everyone well to regularly monitor what’s being said about them in the digital world.
So, what’s a person to do? Well, in my opinion there’s only one thing you CAN do. Your friends, family, colleagues, ex’s (and maybe even people you’ve never met) are going to dish about you – like it or not. Coupled with the fact that social media is not going away any time soon, your only option is to embrace your collective personal diary. Regardless of how awesome you are, there are people who will air unkind things about you on the Internet (shocking, I know). You can’t prevent it, so don’t even try. Sure, you could slap a lawsuit on someone, but since there are few precedents it’s anybody’s guess what the outcome would be. One thing is for sure, though. It’ll cost you some serious coin and a lot of time and aggravation. Ok, so what can you do? The best defense is a strong offense. Be proactive by having a strategy for shaping your digital persona.
First and foremost this involves a plan for regularly monitoring chatter about you on the Web. There are several ways to do this, from keeping regular tabs on your Facebook and MySpace accounts, to periodically conducting a Google search on yourself, to more technologically sophisticated approaches such as social media monitoring services (e.g., Radian 6 - more for companies). Next, one of the best ways to counter others’ opinions about you (assuming you want to counter them) is to do a bit of self promotion using social media - fight fire with fire. In addition, if a site has the capability to comment on another’s opinion, take advantage of the feature to tell your side of the story. In the dating world sites like DateRaters.com, which seek to provide balanced feedback about singles, offer daters the option to respond to others’ comments through a feature called “he said, she said”. Lastly, the best way to combat unflattering gossip about you is to first figure out the root cause (e.g., Is it a bitter ex that needs his/her ego repaired? Is it an employee you had to let go last year and is still in the anger stage?) and then to try to address it. In the end, you may not be successful eradicating the harsh words, but perhaps you can prevent future attacks.
A fight against social media is a Herculean effort at which you’re unlikely to succeed. Therefore, your best course of action is to embrace it, warts and all, as a way to get candid feedback about how well you date, how good of a friend you are, or the quality of your work. If you need an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on, shoot me a message and I’ll help you cope.
Is it sad that he hasn’t contacted me all day and I’m anxious and wondering what I did wrong?
Yikes. The in-lurrrrve me is LAME.
I can totally relate! This is exactly why we started Dateraters.com - so people could ask for feedback from their dates. Too many nights wondering what we did “wrong”.
We’ve been there. You spot a cutie. You’re summoning the fortitude to approach, then…disaster. You’re overcome by the self-doubt that afflicts us all at one time or another.
"Will she notice my nose hair?"
"Will he care that I’m wearing a cardigan that my Mee-maw made me?"
While we can never endorse questionable hygiene or Grandma’s craft projects, we can provide a general checklist to determine if, when you approach that cutie, s/he’ll want to date you.
Are you wearing an article of clothing that you owned in high school and/or college?
You’re in tricky territory here. Ladies—if you still fit into those jeans you sported during Kappa Kappa Gamma’s 2002’s Annual Crawfish Boil, then bravo! However, be aware of what kind of guy has his eye out for girls in low cut jeans. (Read: girls with wayward thong straps). These are the perpetual frat boys who want to hook up with a feisty co-ed as a throw back to their beer-sodden, irresponsible years. They’re not going to take you home to Momma. Not in those jeans, honey.
Guys, if you’re not a professional surfer and/or skateboarder, please do yourself a favor—remove every article of Hollister apparel from your closet, laundry bag, and floor. Post haste. If we haven’t seen you on the X Games, then we don’t want to see you in any shirt that snaps closed.
Are you constantly on your Blackberry, iPhone, or whatever other piece of equipment you use as a buffer between you and the world?
Homegirls and homeboys, put the device DOWN. When you’re banging out texts in the club, or in the gym, or (gasp) under the dinner table, you don’t look busy and important. You look disinterested and disengaged, as though you have somewhere infinitely better to be. This is a turn off, especially when you do it in front of someone else. Even if you apologize profusely, blaming it on work or a terrible boss, the damage is done. Because your potential lovah will say to themselves, “If that boss is so terrible, why are you talking to them and not me? I am considering sleeping with you! Your boss won’t sleep with you. Oh, God, what if you’re sleeping with your boss…?”
Put the device down.
What are you talking about?
Are you talking about yourself? Unprompted? For a really long time?
Please stop talking. Endless self-promotion appears—at best—clueless. At worst, you appear like a megalomaniac. We know, we know, it’s hard to stop yakking about yourself, especially when you’re nervous (and so generally awesome!). Even if the conversation is as stale as last month’s Cheetos, ask a question. Better yet, ask two questions, one primary and one follow–up. An interest in the other person signals good things. Like, duh, you’re interested in them. Also, and perhaps most important, it shows that you’re comfortable in your own skin. Comfort means confidence and self-actualization. You’re asking questions, you’re secure, you’re poised. In the eyes of your love interest, you are NOT going to be a stage-five clinger once the relationship develops.
Are you being nice?
To your date, obviously. But also to the waiters, bartenders, and random passersby? Ostensibly you’re going to be on your best behavior when talking to a potential date. But you know what shows real character and class? Being friendly and courteous to everyone else. We can’t tell you how many dates have been wrecked by a companion who yells at the poor busboy because there’s bacon on their salad, and they specifically requested bacon on the side. Or something equally ridiculous. And let’s not even discuss the taste in our mouths when we encounter a bad tipper. No need to throw loose change at every destitute person you pass, or to be generous to a fault. But believe us, the fault will be yours if you’re mingy.
Ok, there you have it – the fundamentals you need to know to enhance your date-worthiness. Now go get ‘em, tiger. God speed!