Guidelines for that
there were so many times when I wished I had just
talked (or e-mailed) instead of making a date...
There was the over-eager mogul, good-looking, with a
house in Bel Air, and married five times. Before our
first date was over, he was all over me, and his
response to my rebuffs was to proposition me to move
into his guest house and write there -- to be his
pet writer-in-residence, I suppose.
Another time, I picked up a tall, handsome carpenter
in a cowboy bar. I knew he wasn't exactly my type,
but I agreed to go out with him anyway. As I climbed
into his pickup truck on our way to get donuts (yes,
donuts), I told myself it didn't matter what
he drove or where we went. But by the time we got to
the donut shop, he had already told a racist,
sexist, anti-semitic joke. I told him the donut was
giving me terrible indigestion and just barely
Another time, I went out with a well-known actor
from a television series. He too was tall, dark and
handsome, and he drove a Bentley. I was impressed,
but not for long. We soon wound up in a gay bar
where he and his "decorator" proceeded to tell me
how I needed to redo myself.
there was the cute, clever film director who seemed
so sweet and safe I drove with him out to the desert
to see the wildflowers. He got so drunk I had to
drive his camper all the way back to L.A., with him
belching and barfing and ranting in the back.
Types Of Kisses
When Love Happens
Most of us have a specific
"type" of man or woman that most appeals to us. Sometimes
this preference is a clearly- visualized fantasy mate, and
sometimes we're not even aware we have a preference. It
doesn't matter. If you match a person's preferred "type," he
or she is pre-disposed to fall in love with you, whether
they know it or not. It's that simple.
people fall in love all the time with someone who's not
their "type," and many times wind up very happily married.
But if someone marries their fantasy mate, they're not just
in love, they're satisfied that their quest for a mate has
come to a perfect end.
than you might imagine to find out if you're someone's type
or not. How? Just tease them by claiming you're not, and see
how they respond.
critical. The best time is before you agree to go
out with a new person, if they're asking, or immediately
after he or she has agreed to a date, if you're asking.
dark, say "Actually, I'm surprised you want to go out with
me. I heard you liked blondes." (Or if you're blonde, say
"dark and sultry" if it's a man or "the tall, dark and
handsome type" if it's a woman). Just describe a type that's
opposite to you, in a light, bantering tone.
are their type, they'll protest this gentle tease
instantly, like a reflex -- "No! That's not true! Where did
you hear that?"
not their type, they'll probably sputter and hem and haw
for a moment while they're figuring out what to say.
if he or she just smiles, looks you up and down, holds their
hand out level with the top of your head, and says, "Honey,
I like 'em just about so tall, and dark just like you," your
prospective date is a smoothie who figures you're going to
be putty in their hands.
hands may be tempting, I'm here to keep you on guard. Your
smooth talker undoubtedly has a "past." Check up on him or
her. If, for example, you're a short brunette, and this
guy's ex's for the last five years turn out to be mostly
leggy blondes and redheads, you can bet you're just an
experimental "change of pace" for him. And that's exactly
what you don't want to be -- it's called a fling.
can fight "type" and win. But if you do, and the two of you
eventually decide to get married, you'll always have to live
with his unfulfilled fantasy. Part of him will always be
yearning for the long-legged blonde he didn't get. You'll be
out somewhere and his eyes will wander to a woman who looks
more like his fantasy than you do. You'll always worry that
he'll run off with his fantasy woman, leaving you in the
lurch just because you weren't it.
saying you can always figure out someone's "type," or even
that they necessarily have one. But it's worth trying to
find out, because believe me, the easiest and best love
relationships are when you fill each other's fantasies. That
way nobody ever feels cheated -- or as if they have to cheat
because they never got their fantasy.
It's all too
easy to fall for a cute face or a sexy body and wind up with
a time-waster, or in crazy love, or even in a bad marriage.
And if "The Pitfalls of Cyberlove" have clouded your
judgement before you even meet the other person, you're in
even more danger.
While I've given you a whole Rogue's Gallery
of types to stay away from in "Men To Avoid" and "Women To
Avoid", and I've provided you with some important guidelines
in "Spotting The Crazies", you need a final line of defense
to protect you from a disastrous relationship.
Here it is.
A step-by-step process which works even if your hormones are
raging and your brain is addled by those tight pants or deep
cleavage. If you REALLY want a fulfilling, happy
relationship, use the following steps to qualify each new
person you meet, with no exceptions, and don't stop until
you have all the answers.
Is Someone Commitment-minded?
Even if a
person seems to meet all your criteria and they appear to be
someone you could take home to meet your family, you're
still wasting your time if they're not ready for a
commitment, whatever the reason is. Some people go around
with a bumper sticker saying, "Happiness Is Being Single"
-- and they really mean it. You need to know ASAP if someone
is commitment-minded or determinedly single.
Apart from the
bumper sticker crowd, commitment-mindedness is usually treated
as a private matter and a tricky subject to broach. The amazing
thing is that people are more likely to give a candid answer to
a casual acquaintance than to someone they're starting to date.
You just have to ask while you're still a casual acquaintance.
Here's how it
works. You run into Studly Tom or Sexy Suzanne at the coffee
machine and say, "Oh, hi. How was your commute this morning? Did
you get around that jam-up on the Lakeside Interchange?" Then
sip your coffee, smile, and say "You should see how all the
girls/(guys) look at you. I bet you're really enjoying the
response will be telling. A player will simply revel in this
idle flattery. Someone who'd like to be through with playing, on
the other hand, may be flattered but will also look vaguely
uncomfortable, as if the shoe doesn't quite fit, and may even
tell you, "Actually, it gets a little old." Either way, you've
got your answer. Of course, if they just glare at you and walk
off, that's an answer, too -- they're not interested in you, and
it doesn't matter how they feel about relationships.
If you delay,
the opportunity for surprise and candor is irretrievably lost.
Anytime after the other person has shown overt interest in you
or vice versa -- even before your first date -- the subject of
relationships suddenly becomes heavy. From then on, there's no
way to make your question sound casual, and their responses will
be at best guarded, and at worst calculated to the "right"
answer. Trust me. Try this my way.
On the other
hand, your first date is a perfect and normal time to find out
about the person's goals and plans. Their answer will hopefully
be consistent with wanting a long-term relationship, such as,
"I'm working on my MBA and saving for a house down payment." On
the other hand, if they tell you they're saving up to sail their
own boat around the world, or taking acting lessons and want to
be a movie star, their dazzling smile should suddenly change in
your eyes to a big, flashing red light.
Your first date
is also a good time to learn more about someone's general
inclination toward longterm commitments. Just by chatting about
mutual interests and background, you can find out whether
someone's had long-term relationships in the past and whether or
not they're close to their family.
It's easy. Just
start with a little self-disclosure: "I don't get to see my
family as much as I'd like -- didn't you say your folks live in
Chicago? Do you get to see them much?" What they answer will
give you some early clues about how they value family
Even if a new
person passes the Commitment-Mindedness checks and you feel
intensely attracted, keep your head. Never go out with someone
blindly and assume they're perfect until events prove otherwise.
Enjoy being with them, but keep gathering information. If you're
headed toward a committed relationship with someone, you'll need
to have answers to all of the following questions.
- Are they honest? When you're with them,
notice whether or not they lie to other people. (If so, odds
are they'll lie to you.)
- Are they responsible? Do they take good
care of their plants, pets, and children if any?
- Do they show up when they say they will,
or call if they're running late? Could you count on them to
be there if you needed them?
- Do they have lots of old friends? What do
the friends say about him or her?
- Are they on speaking terms with ex-lovers
- Are they on loving terms with their
parents and siblings?
- Do they seem financially stable, or are
they wildly extravagant, or always scrambling to pay their
bills, or into gambling?
- Do they take good care of their health,
or do they drink too much or need drugs all the time?
- Do they get along with your friends?
- Do they appreciate you? Do they express
their feelings to you? Are they willing to spend a lot of
time with you?
- Do you feel secure about them in the
relationship, or do you worry a lot about them straying?
- Do you feel happy and safe when you're
just hanging out together, or are there a lot of awkward
moments, or have you ever felt physically threatened?
- Do they show clear signs of being capable
- Would you consider spending the rest of
your life with them?
- Are they okay just the way they are, or
are you going to have to make a lot of "improvements"?
The idea of
the checklist is to find these things out BEFORE you're
madly in love, so that if the answers are turning up
negative, you can get out without a broken heart.
So speed up
the process by arranging little tests. Lend him or her a
book and see if it's returned without you having to ask. Ask
him/her to feed your goldfish or water your plants while
you're away and see if everything's alive or dead when you
get home. Make dates far into the future and don't call to
remind him or her when the time comes. See if he or she
Call on them
if you need help with something, and see if they volunteer
to help or tell you they're busy or it's your problem. You
can quickly find whether you can depend on them or not.
most recent ex and have a girl-to-girl or guy-to-guy chat.
It may feel awkward, but it's actually easy, and you may be
amazed at what you learn. Just say, "Hi, I'm Norm New Guy
(or Norma Next), and I know you were together with Perfect
Patty (or Tom Terrific) for quite a while. I'm starting to
get pretty involved with her (him) and I wondered if you had
any words of wisdom or warning for me, off the record..."
Try it. You have absolutely nothing to lose.
anyone you can't trust or about whom you hear horrible
stories from more than one source. Don't waste time with
someone with whom you wouldn't want to share a checkbook or
a credit card. Forget about anyone who is abusive, cold,
critical, uncommunicative or unkind. Just get out, quickly
and efficiently. (See "Ending It.")
I don't want
you to waste a year of your life dating someone and then
find out that they're crazy or married or a flake or a drug
addict or under indictment.
If, however unlikely, it is
you who is clearly in the wrong, an impending storm can
often be averted by adroit "Self-Disclosure." Say you're a
half-hour late (again), and your partner, doing a slow boil,
starts up with "You know I like to be on time, and you're
Don't give excuses, and
don't make promises. Jump right in with, "You know, it
drives me crazy, too. I don't know how it happens. It seems
that no matter how early I start, I always wind up late."
Then ask his or her advice.
"What do you think I should do? Help me think of something.
How do you manage to always be on time?"
Your partner, previously
ready and willing to fight, may be skeptical and grumpy but
will almost certainly calm down. With all disagreement over
the problem suddenly gone, he or she is now involved with
finding a solution.
People Love ?
As you've probably
found in your own life, being "in love" doesn't necessarily mean
you've found true, long-lasting love. Ideally, falling in love
leads to long-lasting love, but most often that doesn't happen.
Let's look at what's involved with being "in love" first, and
then I'll come back to "True Love" below.
Falling In Love
on love have come up with a revealing insight into the "in love"
feeling. The studies found that:
explains some of the most ancient and perplexing riddles of
romantic relationships, such as why "playing hard to get" works,
why "absence makes the heart grow fonder," and why being in love
is different than long- lasting love.
- In order to be in love, a person has to
have their love returned somewhat, but not altogether, while
having reason to hope that their love will be returned
totally at some time in the future.
It explains why
men and women who treat the opposite sex with indifference are
so popular. Why the person you don't really care that much about
is the one who's mad for you, and the one you're dying for is
indifferent to someone, you give them little dribs and drabs of
attention out of boredom or pity, right? Now we know that's
precisely the formula for keeping someone in love with you. Of
course, acting indifferent is easy when you don't care. The hard
part is acting indifferent when you do care a lot.
The new research
findings help explain another key element of the "in love"
feeling. We've known for a long time that fantasy is one of the
most important ingredients of love. A person in love has what
pyschologists call "aggrandizing" fantasies about the one they
Ask anyone who's
in love to tell you about their beloved, and you'll hear about
someone too wonderful to be true. You smile, reminded of the old
expression, "love is blind." The old expression is true because
everyone in love has a fantasized image of the person they love.
love began have been portrayed as pining away somewhere plucking
the petals from flowers and daydreaming about their love object.
That classic portrayal meshes perfectly with the new research
findings: if you want to be the love object, you have to give
your lover time to think about you, to fantasize about you --
without you being there. If you're in their face constantly,
they have no opportunity to develop an "aggrandized" image of
Some of my best
relationships with desirable, sought-after men bloomed when I
had to go away for a while or the man had to go somewhere soon
after we met. The reason, of course, was that the separation
gave us time to fantasize about each other.
Two months after
I started dating my husband regularly, I went to Romania as a
guest of the Romanian government to research youth treatments.
He was left to worry about what I was doing gallivanting behind
the Iron Curtain. Actually, my trip was sexless, but he imagined
me cavorting with some Romanian Lothario the whole time I was
He had plenty of
time to miss me and fantasize about me. He even got a chance to
overdose on other ladies. Since I wasn't around, I always came
out more favorably than the competition. He had only the fantasy
me to compare with the real them. Being unavailable actually
helped make me seem more interesting and desirable.
almost always makes the heart grow fonder, and this works later
on in your relationship as well as in the beginning. Always plan
some time apart. It's good to give your loved one a chance to
miss you once in awhile.
If you've read
"Are You Giving Too Much Too Soon?" and wondered why I made such
a big point of not over-giving, perhaps some
lightbulbs will be coming on right about now. I'll say it again:
Giving Too Much Too Soon is the biggest mistake made by both men
and women in the early stages of their relationships. And
learning to pace your giving -- your availability, the "I love
you's," the gifts -- is the hardest thing to learn.
though, knowing why indifference works and "absence makes the
heart grow fonder," you'll be more motivated to follow my advice
about not giving too much too soon. If you're at the beginning
of a relationship and haven't read the "Giving" articles, please
do so; and in the meantime, promise me that:
yourself of the old adage, "Play hard to get." Only instead of
playing hard to get, be
hard to get!
- You won't call him or her on the phone
every single night just to chat. Skip a night or two. Call
Don't send her every cute card you find.
Don't bake his favorite oatmeal raisin
cookies for him on every visit.
The next time he
asks you out, tell him you'd love to see him but you already
have plans. If you've been asking her out three nights a week,
cut it back to just one night for a week or so. That's exactly
what you'd be doing if you were popular and busy. And that's
just what he or she wants -- not someone easy to get that no one
Or, if someone
is acting indifferent toward you, curb your natural inclination
to try harder to please them. You know now that the way to make
them stop acting indifferent is to act even more indifferent
than they are.
someone fall in love with you isn't enough reason to "play hard
to get," there are other reasons you shouldn't fall in love too
quickly. One is because you need time to get to know someone
before you fall in love. Falling in lust is understandable, but
don't let your love be so blind that you ignore the checklists
in "Qualifying Someone". Another reason to pace yourself is to
let a little true love develop along with the lust and the "in
long-lasting love is built on trust, communication, and shared
experiences. People who are deeply in love seem to somehow
identify with the inner core of their mate -- they're "on the
same wavelength." Even if it's been 50 years since they had the
first "in love" feelings, they still look and act in tune. They
sit alike, talk alike, finish each other's sentences.
they're linked with a special, deep form of communication. If
you've ever been deeply and mutually in love with someone,
you've probably experienced this. It's a magical feeling, and
it's wonderful when it happens as if by magic. But you don't
have to wait passively, hoping that the magic happens. If you
have someone who meets your Criteria and passes the checklists
in "Qualifying Someone", you can do more than you might think to
create this magic in your relationship.
Amazing Power of Mirroring", where you'll find the secrets of
creating rapport with someone and building their trust in you.
Then go on to "Inner Languages", where you'll find how you can
deepen your relationship with him or her and start to develop
the special, deep form of communication that's the basis of True
Love. And don't miss "Love-Building Strategies", which describes
techniques for strengthening the bond of your relationship.
Understanding Your Mate
people are ever 100% compatible. If they were, they
wouldn't add a thing to each other, and life would be
pretty boring. But differences need to be understood in
a relationship. If you haven't read "Inner Languages",
now would be a good time. Inner Languages are a good
introduction to the subtle differences between people
which can add richness and variety to your life if
understood but can cause friction if not.
Inner Languages are important, other differences can
also affect day-to-day interactions with your mate.
Let's say you love instant gratification and your
partner prefers to wait and think about something first.
If that's the case, it's probably not a great idea to
surprise your partner with weekend cruise ship tickets
on Friday night, no matter how romantic it sounds to
you. Being aware of, and sensitive to, your partner's
patterns can help keep a relationship on track.
all familiar with instant vs. delayed gratification, but
how about "Conformists" vs. "Non-conformists"?
"Escapers" vs. "Dreamers"? "Gourmands" vs. "Gourmets"?
These are ingrained patterns in most people which often
go unnoticed, even by those close to them. Differences
in these patterns can can cause tensions in a
relationship, with both partners baffled and frustrated,
feeling out of "sync" and worrying that they're falling
out of love. If you know what to look for, though, the
patterns are easy to recognize. Then you'll know how to
handle your differences.
partner a Conformist, someone who likes to be considered
"in"? If so, and you've got an idea for doing something
together, say going on a certain cruise, the smart way
to introduce it is to say, "Everyone from Mick Jagger to
Lee Iaccocca has done this cruise and loved it." On the
other hand, if he or she is a Non-conformist, you'll
talk yourself out of that cruise in one sentence by
applying group pressure. Instead, get your partner to
brainstorm with you about different kinds of trips until
he or she finally suggests a cruise, and then say, "Hey,
that would be different. Great idea! I'll research it
partner is an Escaper, he or she is primarily motivated
by getting away from something. A Dreamer, on the other
hand, is drawn toward something. If you're different in
this way, you may both want to get to the beach on a hot
summer weekend, but your thoughts couldn't be further
apart. One of you is thinking about getting away from
heat, stress, and honking horns, while the other is
already smelling suntan lotion and hearing the waves
lap. If your partner is reluctant to go for some reason,
you're much more likely to talk him or her into leaving
if you know how to phrase your appeal.
Gourmet is someone who prefers a small, exquisitely-
prepared dish to a less-artistic but filling meal; a
Gourmand is just the opposite. This trait extends beyond
food. Planning a vacation, the "Gourmet" will prefer a
shorter stay at an expensive, world-class resort; the
"Gourmand" will want a longer vacation at an "All-
Inclusive." The idea here is to learn your partner's
pattern and anticipate it. Then, instead of feeling
wounded when your obviously terrific idea for a vacation
isn't instantly embraced, you'll expect a little
difference of opinion and be prepared to compromise.
Compromise is a surprisingly difficult relationship
issue, especially with people who've been single a long
time. I can't tell you how many times my counseling
clients have been shocked when I mention that, in a good
relationship, they can expect to get their way maybe
one-quarter of the time. The typical reaction is, "Wait
a minute, whose side are you on?"
to explain that, in a close, stable relationship, each
partner gets his or her way about one-quarter of the
time, because about half the time, you wind up
compromising and no one "wins." In a good relationship,
of course, the love and fulfillment you get far
outweighs the autonomy you lose, so compromises come
easily and happily.
relationship has its spats. Psychologists once thought that
the best cure for anger was to get it out in the open and
say what you think. Today, we know that letting anger out
does not necessarily make you feel better. If the battle is
with a loved one, it makes you feel worse.
been with someone for a while, you begin to know what things
will start a fight. With my husband, the ex-race car driver,
all I have to do is criticize his driving. That's guaranteed
to start a battle. Knowing how to set him off means I have a
choice, to fight or not. You too will have a choice in your
relationship. Be aware when you choose to start a fight.
disagreement becomes a bitter dispute over who's right and
who's wrong, things are said that you can't take back. Harsh
words spoken in anger are remembered long after, corroding
the relationship. Frequent battles embitter the fighters. No
matter who wins, both bear the scars.