If you’re newly single, the prospect of putting yourself back on the market can seem a little scary. At the core, it’s all about finding someone you like, who hopefully likes you back. But depending on how long it’s been since you last played the dating game, the ins and outs may have changed. The following tips can help level the playing field and ease stress of dating after divorce for both men and women.
Online dating is the number one way to meet people these days, as it can be really difficult to connect in-person while everyone is busy chasing Pokémon and posting selfies. Whatever happened to being bored at a bar and talking to the person next to you? Though you may sometimes wish we still did that, chances are you’re also buried in your phone from time-to-time. Maybe you’re checking your work email or maybe you’re checking your adultfriendfinder.com account. Whatever the reason, you may as well use some of that screen time to meet people as well.
Once you meet someone, however, you then have to worry about the first time meet-up. It can be really nerve wracking until you get used to the process, but these tips can help take the pressure off so you can make dating fun again.
Always Be Safe
Chances are you (hopefully) always felt safe with your spouse, so this can feel like uncharted territory. You want to have fun with online dating, but you also don’t want to put yourself at risk for creepers. Make sure you meet in a public place, and if you’re really unsure about who you’re meeting, let the waiter or bar tender know so they can check on you from time-to-time. If you’re not comfortable with the person after the meeting, don’t let them walk you to your car. Walk solo, or call a ride to pick you up (like Uber or Lyft) at the front door.
Keep it Brief
The first time you meet someone can be a bit awkward, so keep it brief to reduce the chances of an awkward silence. Your chance of having silence happen goes up proportionately to the amount of time you spend with someone, so take an hour to go have drinks or coffee, then make another date. If you got along well then you’ll end on a high note and look forward to your next meeting. If it wasn’t so great, then you only wasted an hour, and now you can go home and catch “Game of Thrones.” Plus if you run out of conversation in an hour, then you probably won’t want a second date anyway.
Don’t Be Aggressive
Be aggressive, B-E aggressive, B-E-A-G-G-R-E-S-S-I-V-E…so don’t listen to Faith No More, though hopefully you’re singing this song now. It’s OK to be assertive, but it’s not OK to be aggressive. The difference? Assertive is expressing yourself, your wants, your desires, and your expectations clearly. Being aggressive is insisting that those expectations be met, making moves without the green light, or arguing when you don’t get your way. For women, being aggressive usually comes off as being too forward physically. This could mean putting your boobs in the person’s face, pressing yourself against them, or engaging in other unwanted physical contact. It can also mean being too difficult, however.
For instance, don’t get bent out of shape if your date opens the door for you. For many people that’s just a sign of being polite, and not a socio-political statement of your inferiority as a woman.
If you’re a man and are too aggressive, you could accidentally come off as being physically intimidating which is something you definitely don’t want. Don’t offer unwanted touching – don’t assume you can put your arm around her, and definitely don’t kiss her on the cheek or press yourself against her out of the blue. For any touching, make sure you have the go-ahead, even if it’s just for a hug. Being straight-forward might have worked with the ex, but now that you’re single you need to work on finesse.
Enough about me, what do you think about me?
Keep in mind that you’re there to learn about the other person. While it’s great to talk about yourself and tell them how interesting you are, let them ask questions so they can learn about you. You should also focus on asking them questions. Find out why this person is interesting and what will keep them interested in you. Keep the questions light. Don’t ask if they want kids or marriage – that’s a bit much for a first meeting. And definitely DO NOT talk about your divorce or your ex. I know it’ll be very present on your mind because you’re on a date, but seriously, don’t bring the ex on the date too.
Ask about their work, hobbies, favorite foods, best vacations, and where they want to travel. If politics are really important, you can ask whom they support or their political leanings. Just understand that your date might end rather quickly if you find out they aren’t in your political camp.
Who is the decision maker?
If you’re a single guy meeting a couple for poly or swinger dating, you’ll want to establish who the decision maker is. It’s hard for single men to meet with a couple because there’s often territoriality and machismo to contend with. You need to ingratiate yourself with the decision maker. Get them to relax and feel comfortable with you, because without their approval you won’t be going on a second date.
Listen to Body Language
Body language will tell you so much more than words, so it really is the best way to gauge how your date is going. If you like the person, don’t fold your arms across your chest. This is a closed off posture and tells the person that you’re not receptive. Instead, lean in to listen as it shows you’re interested in what the person is saying. If they’re crossing their legs, look at if their foot is crossed towards you or away from you — if it’s facing towards you, it indicates that they’re interested. If they’re touching their face or hair when you’re talking, this can also be a sign of interest.
Looking at you, looking away, and then looking back is another sign of flirting and interest. They want to look at you but feel self-conscious, so they look away, but look back because they like what they see. Then there’s the biggest sign — touching your arm or hand. This is the kind of touching that’s OK. If her arms are on the table, try casually touching her hand or arm. Don’t hold her hand, just touch. It initiates the first steps of physical contact in a non-threatening way.
The biggest tip for meeting someone for the first time is to be yourself. Don’t bring your girlfriends with you as that will make him feel as though he is being judged. And definitely don’t bring your bros who will make her feel like she’s at a frat party. Above all, just keep it simple and about the two of you.
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