Posts filed under 'Relationships'
Are you single, over the age of 40, and dating? Do you feel silly calling someone you are dating your boyfriend, or girlfriend? You are not alone. When I hear those words, I picture blushing and giggly teenagers. At this stage in your life, you are obviously men and women, not boys and girls. With the evolution of later life dating, why hasn’t the lingo caught up?
I am proposing that singles unite and develop some new dating language. Using the words boy and girl to describe attached singles over forty seems to imply that they are less mature than their married counter-parts. While this may be true for a select few recent divorcees, people do not deserve this kind of stereotyping and persecution. Singles take enough heat.
The Dating Partner
Many singles over 40 have a person (or people) with whom they casually go out with on a regular or semi regular basis. I think the term “dating partner” would work nicely to describe this type of relationship. A person who is your partner for dates and social functions, but not your exclusive significant other. This term could also be used to describe someone you have just started seeing, but it has not (yet?) evolved into anything serious.
I actually can’t take credit for this one. I had a friend who used to use the term dating partner when she was “sowing her wild oats.” At first I chuckled, then I got used to it, then it made so much sense, I have been using it ever since! I have not been able to get it to catch on single handedly so I need your help!
And what about people who are in exclusive long term relationships, but are not planning a wedding? In your teens or twenties, even early thirties, you would have considered this person your boyfriend or girlfriend. Consider the alternatives. “Lady friend” is a nice term for men to use, but it sounds very casual, and it doesn’t go both ways. “man friend” sounds ridiculous. In this instance I think the word “companion” works perfectly. You could say male companion or female companion if you’d prefer. This one has been around for a long time, but it is too far under the radar. Let’s bring it out and use it proudly!
Mature Words for Mature People
Those of you dating while in your wiser years have different priorities than when you were young and foolish. You have learned from your mistakes and are much more sure of yourself this time around. You are well established and know what kind of people you enjoy being around. Your hormones have calmed down and your taste has become more refined. You don’t want a boyfriend or girlfriend to giggle and dream about. You want a compatible dating partner, or a companion to spend time with.
These words won’t effortlessly roll off your tongue from the beginning, but I promise if you give it a valiant effort, it will become easy and it will make so much more sense. And next time you have to go up to your boss to get time off to do something with your significant other’s family, you won’t have to sheepishly use the words boyfriend or girlfriend.
August 22nd, 2008
At Table For Two, we have an extremely wide variety of clients.
Every one has different past relationship situations as well as present circumstances and future relationship goals. When people are dating, regardless of their age, the issue of sex may come up. People are curious about what kind of sexual attitudes others have. We thought this slideshow from the Oprah.com was an interesting and informative tool for singles of all ages and all perspectives.
Perspective on Sex Link
August 7th, 2008
Our precious MN summer is in full swing. Chances are, even if you’re inundated with work, you’ll find some time to enjoy this beautiful weather. There’s plenty of outdoor dining, the streets and parks are filled with people laughing, walking, having fun. What have you been up to so far?
If you’re single, no doubt you’ve noticed the world is filled with happy couples. Much as we all enjoy seeing happiness around us, there’s a hint of bittersweet in this picture for the uncoupled. Thoughts may shift from “what a cute couple” to “they may look happy now…” all the way to the infamous “poor-me-I’m-so-unlucky.”
I know. It’s easy to fall into this trap, and we all do it from time to time. Just remember: viewing yourself as a victim is the single most detrimental attitude you can cultivate. It suggests your reality is the product of other people, random forces and erratic events. “I am the way I am because stuff happened to me. I have been wronged, hurt, damaged. I am a victim and I will remain that until other people choose to treat me with more respect.”
This is problematic because we augment aspects of our lives which receive our attention. When we cultivate a victim mindset, we accelerate the experience of powerlessness, pain and disappointment. Here’s an example:
“Betty” declares: “I hate people. People are inconsiderate, sloppy, ill-mannered, bad-mouthed, loud and rude. “ Listening to her stories, you realize she’s absolutely right—Betty’s life is indeed filled with such people, giving her endless reason to feel hurt, slighted and left out. Her friend “Joe”, on the other hand, experiences the very same people differently. He cultivates a mindset of “I like people. People are interesting, kind, compassionate, and funny.”
What Betty sees as “inconsiderate,” Joe interprets as “sometimes absent minded.” When Betty thinks “loud,” he thinks “vivacious.” What she considers “sloppy,” he sees as “relaxed,” what she thinks is “rude,” he sees as “irreverent,” and what she sees as “ill-mannered,” he considers “funny.” Joe’s world is filled with people he likes. People sense his care and respect for them. They are drawn to him and treat him well. Betty’s world is filled with trouble. The people with whom she comes into contact sense her disdain for them and treat her accordingly. Which world is yours?
If you’re serious about living happily, I suggest you start by paying attention to what’s right with people. Notice what’s lovable about them, including the “Bettys” of this world. Judge less, understand more. If you can pull this off, I bet your life will begin to change. You will attract new people, and you will like them. You will also like yourself more. You know that ideal partner you’re out to find? Become that person first, the rest will follow. Try it.
August 6th, 2008
If you read this, chances are you’re single in search of a partner. You already know being single in this part of the world can be, shall we say, challenging. We’re inundated with messages that suggest “True happiness is reserved for couples and families.” While you’re frantically pursuing a partner who will finally make you happy, complete and acceptable in the eyes of others, the unhappily coupled (contrary to billboard messages, they do exist in abundance) are more likely to pay attention to a different message: “Being single is exciting. Singles are wild things, free birds who think nothing of flying to Peru on a whim for a 3-week hike in the Andes.” The result is everyone wants to trade places, and once there, trade back. Nobody’s happy.
We are being played like ping-pong balls. Just when you thought you were somewhat okay, another deficiency is pointed out. I’d like to write a list of the top 10 alternatives to this madness, but there’s only one, really: Pay attention!
Start noticing the messages you’re taking in. You’ll find them running circles in your head as you drive to work, perform mundane tasks, exercise—“Should I get a prescription for… I might have symptoms of…I’m tired of driving this bland car…need something more exciting…this air freshener I heard about…” We already know there’s no end to this, but like the bunny with the carrot dangling in front of his nose, we keep running after solutions to our imagined problems. The better, more acceptable, cooler and happier “me” must be just around the corner.
While chasing that carrot, we forget one simple truth: Each one of us is already enough; we’re standing on a field of carrots, right here, right now. What if we shifted the focus from “out there” to “within” and started digging?
How’s this relevant to dating? Simple. Find within you the qualities you seek in a partner. You want a partner that’s kind? Become kindness; live it, breathe it, pass it on. Want someone who’s physically fit? Become fit first. Looking for someone who’s honest? Be very diligent about the truth of your own words. Once you discover what you seek within you, you will find it reflected in the world. Smile at others, and you will find a friendlier world out there. It all starts with you.
May 26th, 2008
In the matchmaking world, we see day in and day out what makes people successful in their dating lives.
Frequently, individuals are passive in their approach to making a connection to others while dating. Healthy flirting is the best way to “send signals” to the people you date to get them to open up, feel comfortable, and let them know the real you.
Everyone can learn to become a successful flirter. You don’t want to be too over-the-top, but you want to show interest in your date as a person and take a few calculated risks to show your fun side, so they feel comfortable doing the same.
The Top 5 Secrets to Flirting Successfully are:
1) Be Playful - Be sure you’re not using your job interview skills on a date. This is your time to relax a little. Ask a few fun questions and tell an interesting story about yourself. Show your witty side and your sense of humor.
2) Make Effective Eye Contact - Everyone thinks they make good eye contact. The truth is in a social situation, to look comfortable, you should hold your gaze for a 3 second period. It may seem long, but it shows attentiveness.
3) Laugh a Little - Doesn’t everyone love to laugh? Yet, on many first dates, it seems that people are too reserved to laugh. Laughter breaks down any uncomfortable walls that are up and helps form a connection between two people.
4) It’s All About Body Language - Amy Lindquist (our Image Consultant) and Christa Surerus (our Relationship Success Coach) both state that over 70% of how people are perceived is non-verbal. What we are doing on the outside speaks volumes about what is going on on the inside. Be sure to keep your body language “open.” Face your date, keep your arms open, and have a positive look on your face.
5) Ask Them Questions About Themselves - Balancing conversation is SO important on a date. A great way to be sure to do that is by asking your date interesting questions about themselves. Ask something that you really want to know the answer to. People like to talk about themselves and it gives them a feeling of importance. Your question to them also makes you endearing to them. Remember, it’s better to be “interested” than “interesting.”
Happy, Successful Flirting.
May 14th, 2008
Okay I’ve said this before, but spring really is here and since I’m a “glass half full” kind of gal, I’m stickin’ to it. That said, the weather IS going to get better and we’re going to be outside much more often. So what does one wear on a summer date?
Here are my fool-proof, Go-To date solutions for ladies and gents:
Women, men are attracted to us for the differences between us. Which means men love a woman that looks like a woman so in my opinion, nothing’s more feminine than a dress or a skirt. Both garments are ideal in that they are flattering, empowering and from a practical standpoint, slenderizing. Yes slenderizing because with the absence of an inseam, dresses and skirts have the ability to smooth out the hips, thighs, bum and tummy. Of course it takes some know-how to find one that will best flatter your particular figure, but in general make sure you’ve two things going for you:
1.) Hemlines; the two most flattering lengths are to the knee (just above, at, or just below the knee) and to the ankle. These are the two thinnest parts of the leg so when the hemline falls mid-calf, it just screams “ALTERATIONS!” to me.
2.) Fit; this is trickier, however if you’re looking in the mirror trying to convince yourself you look good in it or vacillating on it in any way - it’s a definite “NO”. You should be able to look in the mirror and think to yourself “YES!” That’s a home-run piece to own.
Gentlemen regardless of your height or weight, you look instantly buff in a sport coat, whether worn with jeans or slacks - doesn’t matter. It instantly gives you that Wedge-looking body, meaning if you have flaws, they’re minimized and if you don’t, it enhances your already decent physique.
Two main things to keep in mind with a sport coat are:
1.) Make sure your shoulder seams are congruent with your shoulders. Too much or too little shoulder looks like you’ve borrowed it from someone else.
2.) Jacket hems: the bottom of your jacket should cover your bottom. If it doesn’t, you probably need a “Long” in whatever size you wear.
Until next time…
May 4th, 2008
Being in the dating business for the last ten, almost eleven years, we at Table for Two have heard feedback from thousands of first dates. First dates are tough! There is often a lot of anxiety and people can say and do things that are outside their normal character because their nerves get the better of them. Sometimes it just helps to hear what is and is not acceptable on a first date. Our tips are all common sense; but, if you review them periodically, you may avoid the all too common foot-in-mouth syndrome!
#10) Don’t go into a first date with undue pressure on the outcome. The best outcome of a first date, is a second date! If you go into a first date with the expectation that you are on your way to meet your future spouse, you are setting yourself up for disaster and you will appear desperate. Be open and relaxed and go into the date hoping to meet a new friend. If you are attracted to each other as friends, then the next steps will follow. Discover that spark through getting to know each other. Don’t force it!
#9) Do not under any circumstances badmouth your ex. Doing so makes you look bad in so many ways. You may feel nervous about justifying your last breakup. You need not be. Relationships are not always successful and it does not have to turn into a blame game. Someone who admits his or her part in the break-up and who maintains a civil relationship with prior partners is far more attractive than someone who harbors resentment and cannot move one. Leave that baggage behind! Your date will be more likely to give you a chance if he can anticipate you will treat him with respect, even if things do not work out. Plus, you once were attracted to your ex, and if he is such a terrible person what does that say about your judgment?
#8) Avoid inappropriate comments or jokes. This should go without saying but it is surprising how often it occurs. People get nervous and sometimes say things that are outside their normal character. Do not make racial jokes, snobbish remarks, social stereotypes, anything to put down someone’s upbringing or heritage. You may think you are being funny but the only person that it makes look bad is you. It is a sure sign of insecurity and negativity. Not once have we had a new client come to us requesting a “negative and judgmental person!” Kindness goes a long way. You need to be on your best behavior and put your best foot forward. You cannot do that if it is in your mouth.
#7) Do not go on a first date to a movie, play or concert. A first date is a bit like an interview. It is a chance to talk and find out things about one another. You cannot do that in a movie theater. Having dinner together in a relaxed environment is ideal. Dinner is usually the ideal length to have a nice, interesting conversation. There are usually enough interruptions by the wait staff to overcome any awkward silent periods and keep the discussion light and fun.
#6) A drink or two is fine, but do not drink too much. First dates can be high anxiety and a drink can help relax the mood and calm your jitters but do not go overboard. Even if you do not have a drinking problem, you only have one chance to make a first impression. You do not want it to be as a lush. You must keep your wits about you so you can be charming and attentive.
#5) Don’t neglect your appearance. Again, you only have one chance to make a first impression. Everyone could always use some sprucing up and when you are dating it is a must. Consult a professional and put your best foot forward, be it an updated hair color or style, a new workout routine, or simply a new outfit. No one ever comes to us requesting someone who appears “old” or “out of shape”! Feeling good about your appearance boosts your self confidence and will shine through in your personality.
#4) Keep your skeletons in the closet! Sometimes people are so nervous on a date that they share far more about their lives and the lives of their friends and family members than they should. While you may be tempted to fill the awkward silences in the conversation with scandalous or highly personal information, save that for later in the relationship after mutual trust has been established.
#3) Don’t sabotague your chance of success by dating too far out of your own age range. Be realistic. You may not feel or “look” your age and you may want to date someone much younger than you. Both men and women tell us that everyday. But, if you are looking for true compatibility, there is a limit to the age range you should consider. Most people are successful staying +/- 10 years of there own age. Much outside of that range you simply may not “speak the same language”.
#2) Don’t only focus on beauty. Physical attraction alone is not enough to sustain a relationship. Compatibility is key for long-term success. Of course having a spark is important. But after that spark dies, is there substance beneath it? On your first date, don’t be blinded by beauty. See past it and look to discover what is underneath.
#1) Look for compatible dating goals. If you want to settle down and find someone to bear your children, and she is just out of a relationship and wants to sow her wild oats, then she is probably not a good match for you… at least right now. There is a definite cycle people must go through to deal with their feelings and move on after a relationship. If you catch someone too early, or too late for that matter, your goals may not be compatible with hers.
May 1st, 2008
One of the most common questions I get is “Amy, how do I get that ‘put together’ or ‘polished’ look?” The answer is easier than you think. Two of the biggest fashion myths are:
1.) That if the clothes don’t fit you off the rack, then there’s something wrong with your body.
WRONG! There’s something funky about the garment, be it cut, color or fabric.
2.) That you have to spend a lot of money to look good.
WRONG! All you need is a good tailor.
A good tailor is as essential as a physician, hair dresser/barber or accountant. You can spend thousands of dollars on a wardrobe but if it doesn’t fit you properly, odds are it doesn’t flatter you either. Unfortunately, you’ve been throwing money down the drain. Often times, people feel more secure when they buy brand names because they think they’re getting good quality and trust that the garments will speak for themselves. Trust me; they won’t. Sometimes all you’re paying for is the designer’s beach house in the Bahamas.
If your sleeves are too long, if your shoulder seams are nowhere near your shoulders or if your pants are too long or baggy in the seat, it simply looks like you’ve been in someone else’s closet. A dead give-away that you don’t work with someone who can educate you on garment fabric, fit or construction.
I suggest asking around for referrals and trying to find someone close to home so that you’re more apt to use them because they’re in a convenient location. If that nets you zero, shop your yellow pages and ask your dry cleaners for options. Mine has a tailor on site with regular hours so needless to say, I’m there quite often.
April 28th, 2008
Have you ever noticed people are more drawn to you when you feel good? Do you feel more confident when you are happy? Have you ever watched an ordinary looking person transform into sheer beauty when taken over by a genuine smile? Happy people are attractive regardless of their physical endowments. Do you know what it is that makes you happy? Here are some thoughts:
- Shift your focus. Think of what it is that you can do right now to create the life you want. If you think your boss, brother, neighbor, fellow driver or friend are responsible for how you feel, think again. You’re the one in charge. You choose the thoughts which give rise to feelings, which in turn create your reality. Stop the blame-game, you won’t win. Instead, ask yourself what you can do to fix a situation that brings you down.
- Take care of your body. When our physical needs are unmet, we tend to feel tired and worn out rather than happy. Adequate sleep, proper relaxation, as well as healthy nutrition and regular exercise go a long way in promoting a sense of well-being.
- Pay attention to your emotions. Thoughts create feelings, and–like it or not–feelings make most of our day-to-day decisions. When you notice your emotions are turbulent, get help. Find a trusted friend or a professional to help you take a closer look at the problem.
- Feed your soul. In my work with terminally ill patients I learned this: the love we give and receive is the only thing that matters. All else is non-essential. You cannot possibly miss the purpose of your life when you cultivate compassion—love’s life blood.
- Cultivate relationships. People are happier, healthier and more resilient when they have a strong support system of friends and family. We all need that shoulder to lean on from time to time. Be good to your friends. Fix broken family ties. Forgive and let go; it will make you light enough to move forward.
April 22nd, 2008
People often don’t give much thought to their accessories until it’s time to use them in front of others they’re trying to impress. Case in point the gentleman that goes to reach for his wallet only to have to use both hands to pry the overstuffed billfold out of his back pocket and once accessed, it’s barely held together by the original stitching.
Or take the lady who goes to retrieve her car keys only to end up elbow-deep at the bottom of her handbag/totebag/briefcase/lunch sack relying on the senses of touch and hearing to find them.
It’s important for gents to have a nice wallet or billfold made of good, quality leather. Don’t overstuff it. To determine decent leather, run your fingernail over the piece and if you can rub it out, it’s well made and dyed. If you can’t, then pass.
Ladies, it’s imperative to own a great handbag and price does not denote class or quality. It should reflect your personal style, be proportionate to your size it does not have to match your shoes. People always ask me “Amy how much should I spend on a handbag?”
My answer is always to consider your Cost Per Use ratio: how much are you going to use it and let that be your guide. Me personally, I use one handbag all the time, all year round with just about everything I own. My criteria is that I must absolutely LOVE it because I’m going to use it A LOT. Ultimately, I have the tendency to spend a bit more because it’s going to be my only one, but my Cost Per Use ends up being just about pennies per day.
By the way, I blog about once a week so keep those questions coming. If you have any that need immediate answering, please feel free to contact the Table For Two office at 612.677.1550. Thanks so much!
April 21st, 2008