Q. After experiencing a violent, unpredictable, very charismatic and manipulative ex, I’ve been on my own with my children for the last 5 years. I’m not sure how to approach men, let alone go out on dates and ultimately be with someone. I did go on one date only to find that he’d lied about his height – I don’t suffer fools and wasn’t interested. There’s no rush to meet someone, but I would love to. The question is, how?
A. The key for you is to take things slowly and be very aware of warning signs of the wrong type (e.g. temper, inconsistent, lies, breaks promises etc). You have to be patient and selective, and make sure you’re dating a very different person this time around. Your trust has been seriously broken, and you need to control the pace of all this. I would suggest that you lean on a trusted friend to help you with your online profile, and then start dating in a safe and controlled way (e.g. lunch, daytime coffees, brunch). Use your friends for continued support and advice, and stay well clear of anyone that feels wrong. Slow is the order of the day for you.
Q. I’m looking for a person who has similar values to me when it comes to personal assets such as money and home ownership. When and how can you bring up how much money or what assets a person has – without sounding like that’s all you are after, or finding out too far down the track that you think differently about these matters?
A. This is something that you don’t want to bring up early in the dating process – it will simply scare people off. Instead, it’s better to date a person for several months and gradually you’ll get a sense of how they handle money and what value they place on their personal assets and security. As things move along, you can bring this topic up in general way by discussing what’s important to you both in a relationship and what your goals are for the future. This will tell you whether you have similar values in this area – and it’s a softer approach that allows you both to share where you stand on things.
Q. I’m 45 and recently went on my first date since joining FindSomeone. I haven’t dated since I was 20 so I was really, really nervous. I really like this guy – he said he wasn’t sure how to read me. I told him I was sorry I was so nervous. Not the best start. I’m hoping for a second date, which I suggested, but I haven’t heard back yet. Are there second chances these days?
A. Some people believe in second chances while others simply move on. What you can say about your guy, is that he’s not keen on taking this to the next level. That’s okay, at least you’ve found out early rather than wasting time on him. If a man is interested – he’ll climb over mountains. So best to chalk this one up to experience, learn from it and get back on the horse. It takes time and you’re working your way through the bad to get to the good. Stay patient and hang in there. You’ve been out of the game for 20 years and you need to get used to it all again.
Q. I recently went on about 10 dates with someone over a few weeks. I felt a physical and mental connection growing and we enjoyed each other’s company. I thought it was mutual. I suggested we put our profiles on hold and be exclusive and I think this has scared him off. He said he wasn’t sure and kept his profile up. Later he said he was hoping for a spark to ignite, but for him it never happened. I was surprised as I thought I felt it. I broke it off with him but I still like him. What should I do?
A. Have nothing more to do with him. You’ve had 10 dates together and he’s telling you that he’s not interested. Put simply – he wants casual not serious. You did the right thing by asking him to put his profile on hold – but this exposed him. He was never going to commit. At least you found this out after only a few weeks – well done. Keep the same dating approach and you’ll find that there are plenty of men out there that are more than happy to be exclusive with you in the future!
Q. How long should I wait before having sex when I meet a new man? Do you think that men respect women who wait to engage in a physical relationship?
A. Absolutely! Respect increases in men when you hold off on having sex with them in the early stages of dating. You’re sending a signal to them that you want long-term rather than casual, and you treat having sex very seriously. Sex is something that requires commitment and you respect your body and you prefer a slow dating process. So I would suggest that you wait at least 3-6 weeks before getting naked with a new love interest. This will sort out the players from the stayers! Stick to your guns and keep valuing yourself.
Q. What are some good questions to ask on a first date?
A. It’s really important to be yourself on a first date. You don’t want to be too rehearsed or wooden with your questions. You also want to avoid cheesy one-liners, awkward jokes, or delving into painful memories of their past. Instead, keep it light and casual. Look to ask them about what they do for fun, what they’re looking forward to this year, and how they got into their current line of work. Find out about their friends, what inspires them, where they’ve traveled, their favourite holiday destination, wine and restaurant, and their attitude to fitness. Keep in mind, you must also be prepared to answer some of these questions yourself, so it becomes an equal conversation rather than an interrogation. Enjoy!
Q. I’ve had a few failed relationships over the last three years. They have all ended within a few weeks or a couple of months. I’m not sure if it’s me that’s got the problem or if it’s the women I’m with. What’s your advice to keep things healthy? And is seeing each other every couple of days okay or too clingy?
A. That’s a really tough question because I’m not sure on any of the details surrounding each break-up. I would suggest you sit down with some of your trusted friends and ask them to help you with this. Get them to give you some honest advice about what, if anything, they think you need to change about your dating approach. Then do the opposite. If you’re too clingy – then slow it down and let them chase. If you’re too stand-offish – then put more effort into texting and calling them. Perhaps you need to look at your work hours, your past baggage, how much you’re drinking, your general health and fitness levels, or the type of clubs and bars you’re going to? Ask them to be practical with you and they should give you some direction about what needs to change.
Q. I recently met a guy on Tinder and he seemed genuine. We caught up three times before anything became physical and he was saying and doing all the things to show that he was interested. Since becoming intimate he’s gone quiet. Now I’m not sure what to do except back right off and see if he comes forward again. What are your thoughts on this?
A. Yes – I totally agree. When a guy does this it suggests that he’s not into commitment and wants to keep things fun and casual. So step right back now and let him do all the chasing. This will slow everything down and he will start to feel less panicked. However in the long-term, I would also suggest you think hard about whether this guy is right for you. Ultimately, you want someone who is comfortable with closeness and commitment rather than a person who will run away when intimacy increases. It’s your call.
Q. I’m in a bit of a tough spot with my ex. We broke up two years ago and had new relationships. She now has a child to someone else, and now we’re both single again. We’re starting to see more of each other, and I’d like some advice on whether I should give it another go with her.
A. It sounds like you have the rare opportunity to have another chance with a woman you have strong feelings for. Before jumping in you must sit down with her and discuss why it didn’t work out 2 years ago, and how you’re going to run things differently this time around. You also must be fully committed to this as there is now a child involved and this comes with more responsibility and obligation. Don’t rush this. Do a lot of leg-work and know exactly what you’re relationship expectations/ goals are for the future before making your final decision. If everything lines up and you can make changes, then jump right in!
Q. I’ve been on FindSomeone for a while. Guys seem to check out my profile but very rarely get in touch. I’ve sent plenty of messages and am lucky to get a response. What am I doing wrong? Do I need to review my profile? What’s your advice to getting some traction? I’m keen to meet people and go on some dates, but it’s just not happening for me.
A. I would absolutely review your profile and look to freshen things up. If you want different you have to do different. So change up your current approach and get out of your comfort zone. Do some research on the profiles you like, and make some changes to your online presentation. Get a friend to help you out with these changes, and use new photos to attract more attention. Stay patient and keep reviewing your approach and then stick with whatever works.
Our next round of answers will be published on February 16. To ask a question of your own, join FindSomeone’s Bootcamp for Better Dating – a free week by week programme written by relationship expert John Aiken and delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up to findsomeone.co.nz any time between January and April of 2016 to get started!
John Aiken, Findsomeone’s dating and relationship expert, as seen on the hit TV 3 show Married At First Sight. He is a best selling author, appears regularly on TV, radio and in magazines, runs a clinical psychology private practice in Sydney, is a sought after speaker, and offers intensive couples retreats. (www.johnaiken.com.au)