Couple in Bed Together Sharing Intimacy

The Right Time for Intimacy: How Soon is Now?

Think about the first time you met the person you’re seeing. Focus on the time you first had that flutter inside you. You know, that beautiful, indescribable cosmic rush between your head, your heart, and perhaps...your loins? That’s right. Today we’re talking about sex and intimacy!

It's a rush that for some, quickly advances one’s carnal desire to have a sexual relationship early on when first dating. Pepper in a Pandemic and likely your rules of—let’s call it, engagement when dating likely went out the window, along with 2020.

Never before were the words, new year, new you more accurate and embraced!

Let's Get it On

As the crooner and undeniable icon of all things sex appeal, Marvin Gaye once sang while wearing skin tight turquoise leather pants. Wait, give me a moment. I got a little sidetracked by the steamy 70s visual. Even the lyrics to his classic song speak to the aforementioned struggle.

“I’ve been really tryin’ baby...tryin’ to hold back this feeling for so long.” 

Look, you’re both consenting adults. If you choose to experience intimacy on the first date—go right ahead, sister. More power to you, brother! Some might even say it’s a bit of a right of passage in a relationship to assess true physical compatibility. No one can deny the importance of intimacy when it comes to building a romantic bond. 

Maybe you’re both just ready to jump anything that moves after being in lockdown for eternity!

There is a camp who believe that determining your sexual chemistry before becoming exclusive is a sound indicator of compatibility in a relationship, and subsequently a marriage. However, there are others with fancy degrees and clipboards armed with data who would disagree. 

Abstain Because Science Says So

Rest assured, there is scientific data behind the practice of sexual restraint.

A study in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Family Psychology surveyed 2,035 married couples. It found that the longer they waited to have sex in their relationship, the better the relationship was overall, even after marriage.  

Don’t want to get married you say, so why wait? Well, there’s data to support that scenario too.

Intimacy Too Soon Creates Counterfeit Currency

A counter study by Sharon Sassler and colleagues at Cornell University found that rapid sexual involvement has adverse long-term implications for relationship quality.

“Adequate time is required for romantic relationships to develop in a healthy way. In contrast, relationships that move too quickly, without adequate discussion of the goals and long-term desires of each partner, may be insufficiently committed and therefore result in relationship distress, especially if one partner is more committed than the other.” 

Couples that engage in sex too soon create a counterfeit intimacy. It creates fast, intense feelings that are often confused with true, lasting love.

This counterfeit love currency is then cashed in on major life purchases, like buying a house together or getting married. 

That basically means having sex early on in a relationship creates an imbalance which can include unhealthy communication patterns, and rushes to judgement on major life decisions. Such preemptive entanglement is hard to unravel. So, often couples passively follow what’s easiest and proceed with poor life choices.

Choose Lasting Love Over Libido

They say true love is worth waiting for. Not everyone wants long-lasting love. So, talk with your partner, beau, “friend,” bae, whatever the label. Even if you haven’t defined the relationship yet. 

Communicate what each of you are seeking before you bring the physical into the relationship. Without doing so, someone is going to get the short end of the proverbial stick.

Simply ask yourself—do you want to nurture a long-lasting relationship built on a foundation of partnership and love or are you just looking to feed your libido?

No judgement here. You get to choose, but be sure to discuss it before clothes start hitting the floor.


Man Checking Phone After A Dating App Disaster

Dating App Disaster Stories

Bad Behavior

Every time you pick up your phone it’s a gamble. Ask your friends, I guarantee they have at least one dating app disaster story. Did you know that one third of online daters have never met anyone in real life that they matched with on the apps?

The screen gives users a sense of anonymity, which often leads to them acting out in ways they probably wouldn’t otherwise. There’s a certain level of anonymity to dating apps. Most of the time, you’re swiping, messaging, and meeting complete strangers. You likely don’t have common friends and run in very different circles.

This allows one to pull off a disappearing act quite easy. Over half of today’s daters claim to have first-hand experience with Ghosting, many going a step further to Zombieing.

Out of 1,000 people surveyed, 53% admitted to lying on their profile

Going beyond typical bad behavior, there is a darker side to the internet.

Romance scams reached new heights in 2020. Scammers saw how many Americans were stuck in quarantine, and they acted. The Federal Trade Commission reported a record $304 million lost in romance scams throughout 2020. That’s up 50% from the previous year.

Whether it’s a light case of hatfishing or a deep fake, the internet is filled with liars and phonies.

Scary Stories

Women should be aware that they probably will receive rude/disgusting messages from horny guys, sexual propositions/requests, nude pics, and a lot of creepy vibes.” -Ryan Anderson, Ph.D

It’s not uncommon to receive messages on apps containing vulgar or abusive content. Explicit requests, violent threats, unsolicited nudes...it’s like the Wild West of sexual harassment out there. Please, be safe.

Emma agreed to pick up her date after he told her he wasn’t medically cleared to drive. When she arrived, she realized he was just drunk.

Mallory carries an EpiPen for her shellfish allergy. On her first date with a doctor, he tried to feed her shrimp off his plate. When she politely, but insistently refused, he declined a second date.

Alex’s date told her he just started a new job. When she asked him what he had been doing previously, he said just one word—prison.

Drew used a photo from his own wedding as his profile picture. He didn’t even crop his ex-wife out entirely.

The day before Sydney’s date, he texted to ask what kind of food she liked. She said, “I like everything, but seafood!” She thought it was weird that he took her to Red Lobster, until the bill came and he pulled out a gift card. 

Estimates show at the rate things are going, by 2040 70% of couples will have met online. So, dating apps aren’t going away anytime soon. If anything, they will probably get more Black Mirror-y as artificial intelligence evolves. Do you have any dating app disaster stories?


Frustrated Woman Who is Addicted to Dating Apps

Are You Addicted to Dating Apps?

Game the System

Did you know that each time your phone pings, your brain gives you a small hit of dopamine? That means physiologically, people get addicted to dating apps because they are designed to get you hooked in the same way addictive substances do. Are you addicted to dating apps?

One study showed the average Tinder user spends over 90 minutes per day swiping and chatting in the app. Another report says people spend about 10 hours per week on dating apps

There is a gamification element to swiping as well. Whenever you get a notification, it feels like you’ve won something. Even if you have no intention of ever meeting that person, the match alone gives you a fix. This is how people get addicted to things like video games and gambling. 

In fact, online dating was created with the same psychological principles as Vegas slot machines. They hijack your pleasure centers and create a false reward system. It’s no surprise so many people are addicted to dating apps!

Think about it, how many times have you deleted and reinstalled an app from your phone? It creates a toxic environment where the app makes you feel bad about yourself, so you delete it. Then, you start feeling lonely, and that makes you feel bad too. So you download it all over again. 

“People who self-described as having really addictive-style behaviors toward the internet and cell phones scored much higher on depression and anxiety scales. With growing support for the connection between technology use and mental health, the relationship between motivation for cell phone or internet use and well-being warrants further exploration.” -Alejandro Lleras

Too Many Choices

The number of bots and spam accounts would shock you. Some apps even hire employees who chat with users under fake profiles in order to engage them in the app more. 

Estimates show at the rate things are going, by 2040 70% of couples will have met online. So, dating apps aren’t going away anytime soon. If anything, they will probably get more Black Mirror-y as artificial intelligence evolves.

In his book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Mark Manson says, "Basically, the more options we're given, the less satisfied we become with whatever we choose because we're aware of all the other options we're potentially forfeiting."

This is known as the Paradox of Choice.

According to the Association for Psychological Science, critiquing multiple candidates causes people to be more judgmental. This makes you more likely to dismiss a perfectly good candidate for something trivial.

This can also have an effect on commitment. When you have access to hundreds of potential dates in your pocket, how do you stay focused on one person? Is there motivation to work through the hard times or will people start giving up on long-term relationships, constantly chasing the honeymoon phase?

Is the grass greener on the other side?

When asked to choose between a committed relationship or something casual, 87% of women, and 61% of men said they wanted a serious relationship. The problem is the apps are designed to make you crave quantity over quality.

Are you addicted to dating apps, but looking for a better way to meet like-minded individuals? We can help you kick the habit.


Handsome Man Looks at Phone after Zombieing Someone

Zombieing: The Next Stage of Bad Dating Behavior

So you’ve been ghosted...or have you? Suddenly your phone pings. Why is SHE texting you?! You haven’t spoken in months, after she just dropped off the face of the earth and stopped returning your calls. Welcome to the wonderful world of Zombieing.

What is Zombieing, you ask? Well, remember a few months ago when we discussed ghosting? It’s exactly like that except one step further. It can also be referred to as Haunting.

SHE’S BAAACK.

It usually starts as a toe-dip interaction, like a text. Zombies rarely risk jumping into the deep end of the commitment pool, because they already feel a sense of shame for their bad behavior. They knew it was wrong, and they ghosted you anyway.

If she hasn’t risen from the dead with full remorse and redemption in mind, maybe let her sit with that shame for a bit longer.

Why Not Just Stay Dead?

Motives for Zombieing can vary anywhere from boredom, to true courting intentions. That’s what makes them so dangerous—it’s up to you to decide if this person is worth your energy and if so, do they have nefarious or ulterior reasons for reaching out?

You don’t want to be someone’s Friday night entertainment.

Zombieing, like most bad dating behavior, stems from low self-esteem. Maybe she met someone else, and now she’s realized it’s not going anywhere. So she’s decided to dip back into the well of exes.

Let’s just call it what it is: attention-seeking behavior.

“Zombies want to see if they can still get a reaction, says Kate Balestrieri, PsyD & Founder of Modern Intimacy. “They're using it as a way to get validation if they're feeling low about themselves." 

You have to decide for yourself if this person is worth the risk. My mom likes to quote Dr. Phil when he says, “The best predictor of future behavior is relevant past behavior.”

The Zombie Apocalypse is Here, Now What?

You really only have two options when a ghost comes back to haunt you. You either engage with them or ignore them. 

If you decide to engage, proceed with caution.

In a 2010 study, researchers at Rutgers University found that looking at your ex triggers the same part of the brain as a cocaine addiction, creating an obsession with romantic rejection.

Ask yourself, do you want to open Pandora’s box?

You have to be careful if you’re going to date a zombie. It’s essential to have very clear plans in place for connecting, when you’re going to be spending time, and how often you’ll text. -Jane Greer, PhD, Family & Marriage Therapist

Reflect back on your relationship. Are there any other red flags or bad behavior you can remember? Was your relationship equal and balanced? Did she have a legitimate excuse for her disappearing and subsequently, reappearing act? Did she apologize? Do you believe her?

From here, you have to decide if you want to continue communication and open the doors for a potential relationship again. Keep in mind, this also opens you up to the same trap you already fell for. Fool me once, and all that. 

Don’t forget you always have the option to ignore her. Delete the text, block her number, and pretend like it never happened, if you need to. You are not required to engage if you don’t want to.

When in doubt, turn your experiences into art like Allison Wade. She turned some of the best (read: worst) texts she’s received from exes into works of art.


Older Gentleman Smiles for His Profile Pics

Top 20 Tips for Profile Pics

Last week, we discussed the importance of profile pics. Today, I want to go a little further by providing actionable tips and tricks to help you take the most flattering photos for your dating profile.

Different online services and dating apps have different capabilities, but if you’re able to, you should include at least three photos in your profile. Use your profile pics to show who you really are.

Top 20 Tips for Profile Pics

1. The first picture should be a nice clear headshot, it’s ok to use colour or black and white, whatever you prefer and feels represents you well.

2. You should also have a full length shot that shows your physique. Take it at a flattering angle and avoid the dreaded bathroom/gym mirror selfie. 

Profile Pics

3. Your third photo is up to you! Use this one to highlight your personality.

4. Think about whether you want to take the photo indoors or outdoors. Clean up any clutter that may appear in the background.

5. There is no shame in standing in front of a blank wall, sometimes those make the best profile pics!

6. Be natural, relax, and smile.

7. Wear clothes that make you feel comfortable and confident. If it feels awkward, or fits wrong, your discomfort may show in the photo.

8. Find a spot with natural lighting, and make sure there are no shadows hiding your face.

9. No Sunglasses. Let us see your eyes.

Profile Pics

10. Have some fun! Grab a friend that you feel totally comfortable with, and goof around a little, so your best self comes out in the picture.

11. Update your photos every three months.

12. Don’t post photos with other women. I once saw a man using a photo of himself and his ex-wife on their wedding day on his dating profile.

13. No group shots. Nobody wants to play a guessing game to figure out who’s who.

Profile Pics

14. Keep your clothes on! No bare chest guys I know it’s tempting, especially if you have a great physique, but it does far more damage than good.

15. No silly poses, goofy faces, or funny costumes.

16. Your profile pics should highlight your face, not any other body part. You know if I’m talking to you.

Profile Pics

17. I don’t care if you caught the Megalodon, no woman cares to see you holding up a dead fish.

18. Speaking of fish, no hatfishing! Unless you plan on wearing that backwards ballcap on a first date  (please don’t), take if off for your profile pics.

19. If you are bald, be proud and show the world. A lot of women only date bald men, so own it!  

20. Your hair and facial hair should be styled just as it will when you show up for a date.


Older Man Takes Selfie for His Profile Pictures

Profile Pictures are Worth A Thousand Words

Today we’re covering one of my favourite topics—Profile Pictures!

I will admit, I am often guilty of being highly critical when it comes to crafting a dating profile. I like to think of it as a resume for love. Please forgive my passion, but I cannot stress enough, how important it is to put your best foot forward with a flattering photo.

Your photo is the first thing people see, and it’s what will make them want to swipe right or message you. We have done some experiments to see what gets the right attention and what attracts the wrong attention.

Did you know most people make up their mind about you within the first six seconds?

So, what are your profile pictures telling them at first glance? Your first goal is to just get them to give your profile a second look; pique their interest!

Profile Pictures Are a Must

Not having photos on your dating profile will get you all the wrong attention. If people think you want to be anonymous, then most will assume you are only after a casual sexual encounter. If that’s not what you’re looking for, then let’s make sure you post a really good photo that indicates this isn’t what you want. 

It is better to wait until you are ready to post your profile pictures and your bio is complete before you start browsing so that you start out on the right foot.

Without a photo, you will only attract unwanted attention, and this can be hard for some people to handle.

Your main photo should be you and you alone. No children, friends, family, or pets. Just a nice, clear photo of you. Pose naturally, smile, dress and wear your hair as you would for a typical first date.

Headshots are great, but you should also include a full-body photo in your profile.

Depending on how many photos you can upload to the site or app you’re using, you can include group shots, but make sure it’s not the first thing they see. Nobody wants to go hunting through a photo to find out which one you are.  

There are some apps that hide or blur your photos, so that you have to get to know someone before you make a snap judgement on their appearance.

It is a great tool to get you to pay a monthly subscription as most people are so curious they will pay just to see what someone looks like, and then you choose who you reveal your photo to. 

Keep Your Photos Updated

Ok, let’s get serious now, why would you want to put a photo up from five years ago? None of us are getting any younger, that’s a well-known fact! People are known to send the oldest and best photo they have, and it infuriates me. I am often sent a photo before a consultation to show me how a potential client represents themselves and when I meet them I do a double take!

When I ask how old the photo is, I inevitably hear a story about someone’s brother’s wedding from three years ago. It makes me crazy.

No wonder they are not getting any second dates! Usually, the first date doesn’t even last longer than 30-60 minutes, depending on how polite the other person is. I understand feeling self-conscious about aging, but you’re setting yourself up for failure if you misrepresent yourself online.

Keep your photos current and make sure they’re an honest reflection of you. We are constantly changing. Anytime your style changes, you update your hair colour, gain or lose weight, etc. you should be updating your photos. If you’re clean shaven, don’t have a beard in all of your photos. 

You should also change your photos up every three months or so, after all it doesn’t reflect well if people see the same photos. They’re likely to think you are a serial dater. If a photo is not generating the right interest then change it sooner. Play around with your profile pictures and bio until you find what works. 


Woman Buried Under Pile of Clothes - Declutter Your Mind

The Must-Have Spring Collection

It’s officially spring. That means it's time to do a little spring cleaning, cleanse your closets of all the stuff you’ve kept for too long, declutter your mind, and most importantly—purify your heart. 

Donate any old clothes to Goodwill or a family in your community. Got an old game of Battleship? You can take toys your kids have outgrown to local women’s and children’s shelter. Clean out the garage and put unwanted stuff out on the curb with a FREE sign. You’ll be shocked how much will be gone the next day. There are so many ways to get rid of the things we’ve collected in our lives, but no longer need.

Spring is the perfect fresh start to rid any excess baggage. As you’re Marie Kondo-ing your physical junk, be sure to inventory your emotional junk as well. So often we hold onto things—memories and maybes, and what-ifs—even those shoes from high school. Okay, maybe that one was just me.

Declutter Your Mind & Your Space

Use this time to declutter your mind and focus on yourself. Travel more. Adopt that dog you’ve always wanted but your ex was allergic to. Apply for your dream job. Throw caution to the wind, but use this time to work on you. Start checking items off your bucket list.

Do not go out on a date just yet or go back to the well and start texting old flames. Don’t start downloading the apps or building a dating profile until you’ve finished your spring cleaning.

Stay away from any means that would put you out there looking for a partner. This will be a challenge, but you can do it. You need this separation in your life to build your spring must-haves collection. You will never know what is tailored for you, what fits you best, if you do not focus on yourself first. Try you on for size.  

Clean Mind

We tend to hoard possessions until they become emotional weights we didn’t even realize we were carrying. This leaves less room in our lives for the essentials, the things that I call must-haves.

Every season, the fashion industry defines what the newest trends are. It's time for you to define yours, as it pertains to your most prized possession of all—your heart. Shoes, well, they come and go. Your heart on the other hand, isn’t going anywhere. 

How Do You Eat an Elephant?

One bite at a time.

If the idea of taking on your physical and emotional junk overwhelms you, then take it one task at a time. 

Small, manageable doses are key to tackling any problem. If we tried to inventory the magnitude of baggage we’ve collected over the years, locked away in our closets and our hearts, it would send the strongest of us into a tailspin.  

Make lists of the things you want to change; keep it very specific. Every day attempt to work on at least one thing on your list. You don’t have to give yourself hard deadlines. Take the whole weekend to clean out your bedroom closet if you need to. No one is there telling you how quickly you should work through your list.

Make a game out of it. Reward yourself after each small victory.

We all tend to place unachievable, unrealistic goals on ourselves and it leads to disappointment and disaster. If you focus on each attainable bite-sized task instead, you’ll see how quickly they add up to big life changes. 

Pure Heart

Do you make excuses to yourself? Maybe you tell yourself it's best to stay in an imbalanced relationship because all of the time you’ve invested. Or because it's easier to stay than to put yourself back out there and try to find someone or someone at your age? 

Stop. If you are in an unhappy relationship, pause, and write down the things you wish you could change.  

Have you addressed these issues with your partner? If not, start today.

It’s time to make tough decisions that may include throwing out some of your emotional baggage. Work on improving yourself. Do all of the things in your own life that you wish your partner did for you.

Can't Lose

Once you get to the point where your list is checked off, no matter how long it has taken you, it’s time to party. Try on and out this new version of you. Pop a bottle of champagne and celebrate.

Walk that runway with your heart clean and open to what is to come. You can not find a partner without first clearing out the junk. After you have put in the work to declutter your mind and clear out all the junk that has held you down, you deserve it.

You are beautiful. You are handsome. There is someone for everyone. Your fairytale awaits, so get to cleaning out your closet. Rid your life of anything that holds you back from finding the one. Your person has been waiting on you. Tis the season! Never know what you will actually find when you clean out those closets for spring!


Woman Plays Footsie Under the Table - Body Language

How to Speak Fluent Body Language

Joe Navarro has written several books on body language and non-verbal communication. In his book, What Every Body is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Speed-Reading People, Navarro discusses how non-verbal communication is guided by the limbic system, a very primitive part of our brains. 

The limbic system assesses danger and risk, preparing the body for fight, flight, freeze, or fawn reactions. It is also the portion of the brain responsible for the high we feel when we fall in love. 

Once you learn how to read key phrases of your partner’s body language, you’ll be better equipped to decipher their needs and fill their love tank.

According to Vanessa Van Edwards, Author of Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People, there are over 800 non-verbal signals made during a 30-minute first date

The problem is, we’re not taught to be aware of the signals we’re subconsciously giving off or how to read and interpret others’ cues. It’s just one of those social skills we’re expected to pick up and adapt to which is difficult or even impossible for some.

Decoding Body Language

Being even marginally aware of body language, can lead to better connections and conversations. Some suggest as much as 80% of human communication is non-verbal.

Although it may be difficult to decode, there is good news. Body language is a more honest form of communication than verbal because so much of it is subconscious. Even the best poker faces can’t control micro-expressions. 

She’s leaning in; that’s good. But is she trying to get closer to you or just the charcuterie board?

Fellas, we already know that women have better intuition, so learning to read your date, may take some practice. 

It’s true that crossed arms and fidgeting can be a sign someone is disinterested, angry, or closed off. But it’s important to take the entire situation into account.

Is this your first date? It could just be a sign of anxiety. Did you cross your arms first? Perhaps they’re mirroring you; in this case it could indicate increased interest. 

Positive non-verbal communication can include blushing, fumbling over her words, playing with her hair, fiddling with her clothes, or touching her lips. Getting tongue-tied often means one is nervous and trying to make a good impression.

Did you know hair follicles release pheromones?

Pay attention to whether she opens her body toward you or away. Subtle touches are great signs. If she slaps your knee when you make her laugh, or touches your arm for emphasis, you can bet she’s into you. 

Mirroring

Mirroring is subconscious mimicking. You know the saying, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? It’s true. If someone likes you, they will start to adopt your mannerisms and movements. 

We like people who are like us. Love and belonging are a vital part of our hierarchy of needs. It’s why cults exist and civilizations survive.

Now that you know this, you can alter your own behavior to mirror your date and build a stronger connection.

Don’t be creepy about it and follow her every move, but subtle things like mirroring the way she leans on her elbow, or fiddling with your tie after she adjusts her necklace. 

Know Your Angles

First and foremost, I want you to relax and sit comfortably on your date. Take a few deep breaths, because the most important thing is that you feel confident and secure.

Now, let’s think about how to make small adjustments to your posture so that you’re comfortable, but still giving off positive energy.

Tilt your head slightly when she speaks to show you’re listening intently. Try to maintain an open position and close some of the space between you.

Angle your body toward your date—head, shoulders, knees, and toes—pointed in her direction. Notice her body language, is she angled toward you or is she pointing directly at the door?

Touch Yourself

Your beard produces significantly more pheromones than your head. Increased testosterone causes facial hair growth, so twirl your mustache or stroke your beard, and watch the ladies come running.

On second thought, don’t touch your face during a Pandemic. But when it’s over, you should know how to use your hands to flirt. 

Touching your throat or neck indicates you’re not a threat. You can also mess with your hair, fiddle with your watch, adjust your glasses, etc.

Eyes Are Everything

Speaking of glasses, avoid wearing sunglasses.

Eye contact releases the bonding hormone, oxytocin. Studies show your eyes dilate when you look at someone you care about. Both of these are hidden behind shades.

I do want to issue a word of caution. Despite the heading, eye contact is not everything. There are a number of conditions and diagnoses which make eye contact difficult or impossible for people to maintain.

Even if she’s not staring longingly into your eyes, notice where she is focusing her line of sight. Has something just caught her attention briefly or is she signaling rejection?

Is she staring at your lips then coyly averting her gaze? It might be time to think about leaning in for the first kiss. 


Man Looks at Phone Frustrated with Online Imposters

How to Spot Online Imposters

Fun fact about me: in my twenties, I tried online dating. Back then, online dating was new and taboo. Like Fight Club, the first rule was don’t talk about it; lie about where you met. It was as if I had become a member of some clandestine society, wearing this figurative offline cloak of secrecy. Not only did I not discuss it, I certainly would’ve never considered writing about it. But, here I am and frankly, the statute of limitations has expired. So let’s take a long hard look at online imposters and how to protect yourself from them.

More is Not Always Better

Keep in mind, two decades ago there were only a few players in the online dating market, a stark contrast from today.

It didn’t matter if you were seeking a fellow dog lover, or a faith-focused Christian, maybe even a partner who was living the farm life there was no online platform bigger than Match.com. Yet, their online community was a collective of all walks of life, so niche preferences didn’t make the cut on any drop-down fields when building a profile or searching the profiles of others.

While the online market is filled with countless additions since then, no matter what the URL they all do have something in common—online imposters.

They are filled with attractive men and women, seemingly looking for a committed relationship. They have bios that speak to every disservice or pain-point any reader has or ever will encounter in a relationship.  

This is the first of many red flags.

Can you relate? You read her profile and wonder how she can possibly be single? She’s only 66 miles away. You begin to think you’d travel for someone this incredible. Suddenly your distance deal breaker is negotiable because this woman shouldn’t be single, but you’re glad she is.  

Listen to Your Instincts

This is where I go back to my great-grandmother’s advice (this will be a common reference in my blogs) that lives with me 30+ years later.

If it’s too good to be true, it is.

If you are online, it’s safe to say you have yet to find one single person that captures just a few of your wants. Then all of a sudden, here comes someone who seemingly possesses everything you are looking for. It’s a catch-all sales tactic most often seen on late-night infomercials.    

Okay, so you messaged the wildly attractive no-way-they’re-real profile...no judgement here! I admire people who believe the glass is half-full. However, there are countless good-hearted people who have been scammed by online imposters, so I must advise you to be skeptical as you move forward. 

If within the first few messages you notice any of the following red flags, I urge you to end the conversation and move on: 

  • They give you a different name from the one on his profile.They’re likely on several sites under different aliases.
  • He invites you to message using an app like WhatsApp or Kik
  • They tell you they’re not officially divorced. It’s likely their spouse is not even aware they’re unofficially divorced.
  • Their original location was local, but after you connect, they are traveling abroad, usually urgently.
  • They ask what you do for a living, specifics about your family, what zip code you live in, but refuse to answer the same or similar questions. Ever hear of stranger danger?
  • Beware when you ask a specific, yet common question about their hometown. For example, I once asked a man from Chicago if he was a Cubs or Sox fan. He replied that he wasn’t into basketball.

If your intuition is alerting you to stranger danger, it’s time to listen.  

Spelling & Grammar

Many online imposters will use exceedingly poor spelling and grammar despite often boasting post-graduate degrees. Pay attention, this is where the journalist in me kicks in. It’s one thing to have a misspelling here and there. No telling, they may be on the go, in a hurry, or maybe they just have fat fingers, who knows? 

Does their language style and conversation skills match the profile they’re portrayed? The improper use of words and verb tenses, as well as bizarre punctuation are all big red flags. If your intuition hasn’t kicked in just yet, well, I’m trying to help you here!   

Why are there so many online imposters? What can they possibly gain? There are a million reasons why someone is online and maybe they’re bored just like you? But, other reasons can be far more dangerous and deceitful. 

Use Common Sense

If you met someone in a bar or a social event and they asked you deeply personal questions in a very short time period, it should sound an alarm. Gut-instinct is something we are all born with, but it's a conscious choice as to whether or not we listen and allow it to guide us.  

Be weary of anyone that asks you to talk in great detail about yourself. It’s easy to feel flattered that another person is eager to learn about you. No one can fault you for loving the attention, but don’t lose your sensibilities in the process. We have all been living in quarantine for the last year, so it’s easy to get caught up in compliments, if even you know they’re coming from an online imposter.  

These imposters are very good at what they do. They quickly build a connection with you from what you tell them. The information you give them in conversation is used to craft a script that speaks to your heart. They want to hook you and leave  you with the impression that this stranger truly cares about you.

I’m sorry, but...

Online Imposters Do Not Care About You

Sadly, they craft messaging around the very private information you share with them. You could go on wasting your time or worse, losing money. Some ask for you to send them unused gift cards, bank account information with the end goal—money. Don’t fall for the scheme. 

You are talking to a scam artist, not your future husband or wife. In 2018, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received thousands of reports of romance scammers who created fake online relationships only to steal their victims’ money. 

Signs of a scam are always evolving, but the FTC boiled it down quickly:

  • Tell you they love you quickly.
  • Are from the U.S. but are overseas either for business or military.
  • Ask for money in an attempt to lure you off the dating site.
  • Promise to visit but an emergency prevents them from doing so.

Please be smart. While I’m warning you, I’m not the U.S. government, and even they know this is dangerous territory.  

View the FTC’s report here.

When you’re online, lead with your head, not your heart. All of the cues we are privy to in person: body language, mannerisms, eye contact or validation of one’s appearance are absent online. An online photo on a dating site isn’t confirmation that someone looks like that today or ever.

So, whatever method you opt to use to find love, be sure to properly vet them or employ others to do the work for you. It’s a jungle out there, so arm yourself with your weapons of gut-instinct and common sense. It will help save your heart and perhaps, your wallet!  

Stay safe in your quest for love, 

Jodi 

*If you feel as if you have been a victim of an online dating scam, please report your incident to reportfraud.ftc.gov and the respective online dating site.


Woman Reads a Book Outside - False First Impressions

Lessons in Literature: False First Impressions

Have you ever wondered why we, as a culture, celebrate literary relationships like Romeo and Juliet despite their false first impressions, heinous miscommunication, tragic endings, and/or obvious character flaws?

I’ve spent some time in quarantine re-reading some of those (in)famous love stories, and I think it’s time we really examine the ins and outs of the relationships society has put on a pedestal. Is accidental double suicide really the ideal romance? I think we can do better.

Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite works of classic literature. Not just for the complex web of interpersonal relations, which we will dive into momentarily, but for the continuous lesson of false first impressions.

Like most writers, I’m an introvert. I listen more than I speak, and I’m cursed with what has lovingly been termed RBF. Many of my friendships began with them saying, “I thought you were mean the first time I met you.”

Nope, that’s just the way my face looks.

So, as someone who often feels like I don’t make the best initial impression, I can’t get enough of a novel that proves all the characters’ gut-instinct wrong.

Spoiler Alert—I don’t know if this needs to be said for a book that is nearly 225 years old, but just in case. 

False First Impressions

When Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy first met, neither one of them liked the other. He basically called her ugly, and she kind of chewed him out in public. By the end, not only are they married, but they are Jane Austen’s version of #couplegoals. 

Alternatively, when Elizabeth meets Mr. Wickham, she’s smitten. We later learn the truth of his money-grabbing background which involved seducing young girls. In fact, he performs his bait and switch routine on Elizabeth’s youngest sister, Lydia. The two end up married in order to protect the family’s reputation. 

After observing his best friend, Mr. Bingley, dance and converse with Elizabeth’s older sister, Jane Bennet, Mr. Darcy came to the conclusion that they weren’t a good match. He was so sure of his false first impression that he tells Mr. Bingley, “Jane’s just not that into you,” and they break up

Clearly Mr. Darcy wasn’t a trained Matchmaker, because as it turns out, Jane is very much into Mr. Bingley. She’s just not into public displays of affection in a time where showing too much ankle would get you slut-shamed. Go figure. 

Austen illustrates false positive and negative false first impressions to show how one’s intuition can’t always be trusted.

Dating is a process of gathering information about the other person. You keep learning new things about them until you decide if you want to commit to a relationship with them or not. If you learn new information that negates everything you thought you knew about that person, don’t ignore it. Dig deeper lest you fall into the trap of an imposter.

Rate the Relationship

Elizabeth Bennet & Mr. Darcy: 8/10

I see why they are the novel’s main couple. Their love story includes a decent amount of drama, secrets, and Shakespearean misunderstandings. In the end they overcome their initial bad impressions of one another.

Mr. Darcy falls for Elizabeth despite their socioeconomic differences and his lack of attraction to her. Elizabeth forgives him for meddling in her sister’s affairs after he takes actions to correct his mistakes.

These are key takeaways in our line of business. This is why we always advise a minimum of three dates. Physical attraction and chemistry often grow over time, but so many people write a good match off simply because there weren’t fireworks on the first date.

They’re not a perfect match, but they choose to practice loving one another and that’s what keeps a relationship strong. They accept each other’s flaws, and encourage one another to do better and make things right whenever possible.

Jane Bennet & Mr. Bingley: 10/10

This is my favorite couple, although I must admit, an entire book on their story would be quite boring to read. They’re both shy and a bit reserved, but they click and they work well as a team. If everyone would have just left them alone, they would have been married much earlier and it would have saved a lot of heartache. 

Lydia Bennet & Mr. Wickham: 4/10

Lydia is the youngest of the five sisters. She and Mr. Wickham run off together after he makes her his latest love scam victim. Before rumors and shame overtake the family, Mr. Darcy intervenes again, this time for the better. He pays off Mr. Wickham’s debts, and convinces him to marry Lydia. Their passion burns hot and fast. Those fires rarely last long.

Mr. & Mrs. Bennet: 1/10

Full disclosure—Mrs. Bennet is my least favorite character. Neither of them are shy about announcing to their own daughters which is their favorite child. Maybe that was common practice of the time, but it’s terrible parenting either way you spin it.

Mrs. Bennet is overly dramatic and constantly nagging everyone in sight or playing the victim. Mr. Bennet mocks her to her face and verbally abuses the whole family. Elizabeth says at one point that she couldn’t possibly have a favorable view of marriage after watching her parents’ union her entire life. These two make me grateful divorce is no longer taboo