Birthday Dating Etiquette for Men

Birthday Dating Etiquette for Men

It has happened to me many times.  You meet someone two or three weeks before your birthday and awkwardness ensues as each person tries to navigate the expectations of an upcoming birthday before you are an official couple.  To make matters worse, men and women often have very different views of the importance of a birthday which can lead to major miscommunication and hurt feelings.

So, in an attempt for men everywhere to learn from my recent experience with a date failing to be appropriate around my birthday, here are the top 5 tips to handle a birthday like a classy gentleman.  Trust me, she is watching your behavior around this issue very carefully and the last thing you want to do is give her a reason to bad mouth you to everyone!

Birthdays are special occasions that require acknowledgement – Period

I know that many men will say they don’t celebrate their own birthdays.  Women think differently.  If you would wish a virtual stranger on Facebook a happy birthday, then you need to acknowledge your date’s birthday in some way.  Even if you have only been on a couple of dates, it is appropriate and not pushy to check in, wish your date well, and tell her to enjoy her birthday.

On the other hand, if you want to piss a woman off, wait until 6pm to call or text her on her birthday.  Or simply ignore it. Trust me, she has been mad at you since 10am waiting for your text message to come through.  If you are interested in continuing to date her, make sure to SCHEDULE the freaking happy birthday text message the night before so she receives it sometime in the morning.  It will make you look like a hero.

What Not to Do:  My recent date was on an email chain the day before with mutual friends.  Everyone else wished me a Happy Birthday but no email was sent from the date.  This is simply just rude behavior and makes your mutual friends feel awkward.  Rudeness is not sexy.  Pretending to ignore the issue makes you look like as ass.  Don’t be an ass.

Again, you never, ever want to give anyone, let alone a date, any reason to tell other people that you are anything other than a complete gentleman.  This is the definition of being anti-seductive to a woman

Ask ahead of time how your date will be spending her birthday

If you know it is coming, go ahead and simply inquire about her plans. She may tell you she is doing a girls dinner, spending time with family/friends, or taking off to travel.  Asking does not imply that you are to be responsible for her birthday – it is simple common courtesy and a good way to learn more about her.  Based on her answer and how you want to proceed with dating her, you can then plan AHEAD of time a plan to deal with her impending birthday.

What Not to Do:  Don’t freak out, avoid, be too casual or in any way do something stupid that she may misinterpret as not caring. Don’t be like my date who said he would call but never did or “blow hot and cold.”  Don’t be the date who verbal vomits his issues when he should be focusing on making sure his is taken care of on her special day.

She doesn’t care about the 47 things you had to do earlier in the day and will be far more sensitive around her birthday about you asking about her.  Again, being self-involved is anti-seductive.

Offer to take her on a date before or after her actual birthday

 Based on what you find out regarding how she will spend her birthday, you can then ask for a date before or after her birthday to take her out for a casual meal or do something a little bit different.  If you just started dating, it is not a requirement to splurge on an expensive mean.  Many women prefer a man who simply put thought into the planning of the date.  Activity dates can be great ideas for birthdays as they help with the potential pressure that may ensue when two new people get together around this special time.

What not to do: Avoid.  She expects you to take the lead so please don’t keep texting her for a week or two with no intention of getting together.  It wastes everyone’s time.

If you are really interested in her, a card, flowers or a very small, thoughtful gift is appropriate on the day/night of your date

This one depends on where you are in your own life, what it is you are looking for and how many dates you have been on.  However, if you are seriously interested in this woman, think about making sure you make a romantic gesture that show you are there to stand apart from her guy friends.  Trust me – all her guy friends will be there to buy her flowers, cards, and be a shoulder to cry on if you mess this up. They will also become your enemies if you disappoint her in any way.

Birthdays are opportunities to showcase the best of your seduction, sensuality, and overall dating skills.  Do not wast the opportunity by being selfish.

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes

Licensed Psychologist and Founder of Rapport Relationships

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes is a dating coach and seduction expert.  She provides dating strategy, consultation, and date coaching services to clients all over the world.  She a dating coach based in NYC and a frequently sought out media expert on the topics of seduction, dating, divorce, and relationships.

Lydia’s Advice: Do Online Dating Apps Make us Too Picky?

What Does “Picky” Really Mean When it Comes to using your Dating Apps?

 

In regards to dating, the word “picky” is open to two interpretations: 1) Quick to judge, and 2) Having standards and deal breakers.

 

Both have their pros and cons when it comes to turning on your dating apps.

On the one hand, we don’t want to waste our time on someone we know we aren’t going to like very much. But, on the other hand, we might overlook a great catch based on a superficial reason (especially in the 500-character, swipe left/right environment).

More often than not I bet we are all too SUPERFICIALLY picky, and if that’s the case, a little self-awareness could help us determine whether or not we are passing over a great opportunity for a superficial reason.

 

Want to know if you’re too picky? Let’s find out.

What type of “picky” are you?

Are you the judgmental one or the high standards one? Little bit of both? No matter which you are, you might also be the one who doesn’t want Mr. Right to pass you by. So, what do you do about it?  I suggest really and truly thinking about what it is you desire before you swipe left or right.  If you have a list a mile long of absolute deal breakers – you are being superficially too picky!!  Try to use the following questions to help you pick you top 3.

What are your intentions?

Do you want to meet as many people as you can and just “have a good time” or, do you I want to find someone with whom you hope to build a genuine long-term connection?  You have to know what you want in order to find him or her!

Who have you dated before?

What did you like about that person and what didn’t you like? What did you like about yourself while with them and what didn’t you like? What ended up not bothering you about that person that you thought would bother you? What did bother you about that person that you thought wouldn’t?

What are your core values?

Do you value brains over brawn? Do you value having casual contact instead of genuine friendship? Do you value being treated with respect over being with someone you consider to have a perfect body? Do you value sex over companionship and friendship? How do you want to be judged by them? What do you consider valuable about yourself and what do you REALLY want in a partner?  So many people do not know the answer to this question and without it you WILL default to superficial pickiness as a way of handling all of the online options.  Take the time to find out who you are so you know what you want!

Lydia’s Wisdom:

Once you start to figure out the answers to these questions you’ll get closer to picking the right guy in the dating pool line up. The beauty of online dating is that there is always someone else. It doesn’t work out with one person, re-evaluate all the above, log back on, and look for the one who is going to make you truly happy.

Behind a dating profile is an actual real person, give him a chance. You never know. – Lydia Kociuba, MS

Lydia Kociuba, M.S.

Lydia Kociuba, M.S.

Lead Online Dating Consultant

Lydia Kociuba, M.S. has an eclectic background in world travel, counseling, data research, and creative writing. Having lived and traveled abroad she has valuable knowledge and insight into culture and human nature. Her experiences along with her education in counseling have complemented her natural ability to be open-minded and accepting of others. As a hobby creative writer she recently began her own business writing online dating profiles. As a seasoned online dater herself she knows what it takes to have a profile stand out in a crowd.  Lydia received her masters degree in counseling from the University of Rochester, Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development.

Lydia is currently Rapport’s lead online dating consultant.  She can be reached at Lydia@RapportRelationships.com.

Holly’s Advice:  How Many Chocolate Covered Strawberries can I eat on Date Night?!

Holly’s Advice: How Many Chocolate Covered Strawberries can I eat on Date Night?!

I  was recently asked in regard to an aphrodisiac date night, “How many chocolate covered strawberries with whipped cream can one eat without getting tired?”  Smiling with this question, I’d love to give a serious answer so you can enjoy dessert AND the night!  🙂

The precise answer is unique to each person. However there are a few principles to understand which will guide you to find the answer that works for you to make your date night as energetic as you desire for it to be.

Principle #1: Nothing Goes Solo – Especially Carbs!

Eating carbohydrates (carbs), notably simple (not whole grains or straight sugar) completely for a meal, such as having a donught for breakfast or pasta for dinner, causes a rapid spike in blood sugar. This then triggers our body to quickly respond to ‘balance’ the blood sugar -causing a crash in energy.  We will experience a pleasurable sense of soothing and perhaps surge of energy when we first eat, followed soon by an unpleasurable energy crash, which feels like being tired, starving and maybe irritable.  NONE of which lend inself to increased energy, attraction or intillectual stimulation to enhance the vibe of the evening.

Carbohydrates also contribute to the creation of serotonin, which is known as a “happy hormone”. It triggers a more content and relaxed mood (hense the initial pleasure feeling as mentioned above) and is why it is associated with the term “comfort food”.  Even if you eat healthy, good, whole grain carbohydrates, you may feel more content with making it an early night then heating it up and heading for….strawberries.

Principle #2:  Avoid eating too much.

After a large heavy meal blood and energy is centered around the digestive process and thus depleting energy elsewhere, including the brain.  This equals less energy everywhere else. Remember too much of a good thing, is still too much.

Principle #3: Mixed meals are essential for feeling satisfied and avoiding the sleep inducing blood sugar spikes.

I am a proponent of a balanced meal.  Each macronutrient  (protein, fat and carbs) has high value and there is some sense of loss when one is missing.  Carbs and fat stimulate satiety. Carbs are your body’s favorite source of energy so it works well to keep energy going especially when that nasty spike is elimintated by combining it with other nutrients.

Fat, among many other things, helps slow the digestive process which helps you feel fuller longer, and also helps regulate the rate at which carbohydrates enter the blood.

Protein stimulates more energy and does not cause the peaks and crashes associated with carbs.

So, for best results of balance, fullness and optimal energy, think about having each nutient source each time you eat. 

Principle #4: Pace yourself!

Aside from the fact that shoveling food in your mouth is generally not that attractive, it is not functional for your needs either.   You are far more likely..in fact almost guaranteed to overeat, if you eat too fast.  It takes approximately 20 minutes for your body to process you’ve eaten enough.  Therefore, eating a lot very fast will leave you feeling painfully and sluggish…need I say more?

 

THE SOLUTION:

  • Techically a serving of fruit is a half cup, so if I had to put a number on the optimal amount for most people I would say three pieces.
  • Don’t just eat the strawberries with whipped cream and chocolate! Back up and eat the right dinner.
  • The ‘Right Dinner’ = Mix the meal! Since your dessert is carbs and you don’t want to get sleepy, have a lean, high protein dinner with vegetables. If you don’t have a say in dinner, just don’t overeat.
  • Eat slowly, savor EVERYTHING! The moment, the company, the conversation, the meal, the bite! Do this and you’ll hit the sweet spot of perfectly satisfied and energized!
Holly L. Goroff MS, RD, CDN

Holly L. Goroff MS, RD, CDN

Nutritional Consultant

Holly’s approach is likely something you’ve never heard before.  She helps her clients achieve their nutrition and wellness goals by exposing their competing priorities and creating an enjoyable plan for informed decision making.  She believes that future success comes from the accumulation of successes in the present moment – which makes long-term and short-term goals in life and health equally relevant.

In your time with Holly, you will corporately design an eating and wellness style that works for your life and goals specifically. No set diets, no set diet plans.

Holly uses her Master’s in Food and Nutrition Studies along with practical experience with clients over the past 8 years to promote balance without sacrificing the love of food and enjoyment of eating.  She believes where there is a want there is a way.  

Holly may be contacted at Holly@RapportRelationships.com.

The Health of any TWO first starts with the health of any ONE.

Dating Advice from an Attachment Perspective:  What you Really Need to Know

Dating Advice from an Attachment Perspective: What you Really Need to Know

As I look at the significant problems of the larger world I’m convinced that we need more connection, not separation and autonomy. – Allan N. Schore, PhD

Today I am sitting on an airplane next to a young couple with a child of about 12 months of age. She is doing what children her age are supposed to do – exploring her surroundings and turning to both of her parents for support when she gets tired or scared. They read to her, comfort her and effectively read her cues (sometimes bantering with each other about what she needs). The parents maintain a flexible view of what her cues could mean and do their best to give her what she needs, not just wants.

This week, the general public has been commenting on the NY Times article about attachment theory.  It is a great overview but unfortunately, the author penned the title all wrong.  In the 1950, 1960s and into the 1970s we really did think that the attachment research meant that parents had to be perfect or a child’s life would be difficult.  Many women sacrificed going to work to stay home with their children.  Others, who did not have the luxury to do so, felt guilty the entire time they raised their children.  The pendulum swung in the ’80s and ’90s the opposite way to the point where many people no longer believed in the importance of attachment.  Now in the 2000s, attachment research has been greatly assisted by neurobiology and we have convincing evidence that #RelationshipsMatterMost for brain development but we do not need to be perfect.

“…even the secure mother is only attuned about 30 percent of the time. The key is not only the misattunement, but the interactive repair. These misattunements are common.”  – Allan N. Schore, PhD

How I Came to Study Attachment Theory

While I am now a dating expert, not everyone knows I was trained as an Infant & Preschool Psychologist as well as a Forensic Psychologist. My training heavily focused not only on child development but also on attachment research and the assessment of the attachment relationship between children and their parents. I was a court appointed expert whose main job was to assess the relationship and make recommendations to the court about custody. It was always difficult for two main reasons:

  1. What we have known for multiple decades – since the 1970s, that there is an intergenerational transmission of attachment status. We really do parent the way we were parented and we can assess it via how we talk about the relationship.
  1. This all changes if there is an intervention. Attachment style can change over time with the right relationship and with the right support.

According to most people’s understanding of attachment research – the infant as described above will automatically be an emotionally secure adult. It is a gift that her parents are giving her and that her future relationship well being should be easy to obtain. According to our original research, she should have no problems dating based on her experience with adults who taught her that her emotional needs were valid. She will have great skill at regulating her emotions and be relatively free of anxiety.

Or so we thought.

Contemporary Attachment Research: It’s not what you Think it Is

Attachment research has conducted multiple longitudinal studies (the gold standard of scientific research) and has followed infants into adulthood in many studies. The research has so much to offer us in understanding why and how relationships are meaningful for our brain development, ability to regulate our emotions and the overall importance of relationships for life success. Yet, it has only been relatively recently – the past 20 years or so that we fully understand that if you receive the gift that this infant is experiencing, that does NOT mean you will automatically became an emotionally secure adult. It means that it is more likely but not a certainty. It is like putting money into the market and barring a financial crisis, predicting the future of your financial investment.

In today’s world, that financial crisis is trauma, bad experiences with all types of relationships and life circumstances can take a child off track from being an emotionally secure adult – it wouldn’t be your parents’ fault at this point. If you had the gift your parents gave you, you may weather trauma in a more resilient manner but there are so many other factors that it seems more reasonable to assume that attachment status is not determined in infancy for the rest of your life.  A bad relationship certainly can throw you off track but so can exposure to terrorism, war, natural disaster, and interpersonal violence of any form.

Why Attachment Research is Important when you are Single

If you are a single, actively dating adult – you need to learn about yourself. You have probably been rude, misinterpreted someone’s actions toward you, emotionally reacted in an extreme manner, blamed all men, talked about how all women hate men, ended a relationship that could have been a great one, not given people a chance to show what they are capable of in a healthy relationship, or avoided dating all together etc…  These are mindless, misattuned, and non-reflective states of mind.  No wonder many people find dating horrible!

Understanding attachment and how your style interacts with others will not only help you keep your sanity but will help you earn your emotional security and show the people you date some added respect.

“Earned secure” is the term that we bestow among those adults who have done the personal growth work necessary to become emotionally secure. They have either been in therapy or coaching and perhaps both at different times. They learned to not take other people’s behavior personally and they learned to seek out relationships with other emotionally healthy people. It is much easier said than done and it takes a mindset to value relationships in general to be motivated to do the work.

Earned security also paves the way for higher levels of flexibility, resiliency, gratitude, and happiness as an adult. Those adults who had difficult pasts and do the work are often more resilient later in life and reap the benefit of having worked through difficult life events at an earlier age (e.g. loss of a parent, some type of trauma, abuse etc…).  Just because you had a crappy childhood does not mean that you have to choose an equally crappy adulthood.

Why does this all REALLY matter?  Approximately 35% of our population at any given time is insecure emotionally. They are either highly anxious (a trend that seems to be increasing) or avoidant of emotional connections. This trend will not disappear as trauma, bad experiences, poor early life experiences and all other kinds of bad things will always happen. Our culture is currently rift with fear and a fear based existence can make raising emotionally secure children more difficult.

How does insecurity play out in the dating world? The anxious types are constantly staring at their phones trying to process WTF is going on and the avoidants are continually falling “in love at first sight” but later (usually in a 6-8 week window) change their mind. As we get older, there will be more of these types on online dating as the emotionally secure folks felt comfortable making a decision to commit at an earlier age.

Does that mean we are doomed? Absolutely not. Anxious folks actually become less anxious over time if they interact with an emotionally secure partner. They are loyal, care about relationships are eager to put it first – qualities that can be beneficial. Avoidant types may find themselves highly successful and wait to seriously date until later in life – traits that are rewarded in our culture.  Rather than promoting interdependence our culture actually supports emotional avoidance and an over reliance on independence.  It should, therefore, not be surprising why so many people are avoidant and look at others who are either emotional secure or anxious as in some way, “needy.”

There is no such thing as needy – just unmet needs.  – Jennifer B. Rhodes, PsyD

Just because you do not like the behavior of someone does not mean that there is something wrong with him or her. It could just be a poor fit for your emotional needs. We do not need to judge.  Each person has a life history of experiences that have taught him or her whether people have been there for them or not. If you continue to nit pick, be judgmental, only date men over 6 feet, obsess over babies (without realizing that that kind of anxiety won’t be good for your future baby!), or in otherwise not respect the person who sits across the table from you, you will remain single or end up unhappy.

What Dating Should Be

Dating should be seen as a pleasurable and enjoyable experience. It should also be treated with a high level of respect and consideration. Being vulnerable and trying to meet new people is not easy. Understanding that the reason why he didn’t call back has less to do with you than him or why she seems so “needy” (it’s in response to your avoidance – duh) and being compassionate means that we all can relax and not get stuck in unhealthy dating patterns. It actually requires a high level of flexibility and mentalization – the term we use to think about someone else’s thinking and his or her intentions.

Unless you are one of the lucky ones who had great parents and never experienced hardship or any kind of trauma, you need to work for your emotional security. It is not something that someone can give you – you need to earn it. That is why therapy, coaching and cultivating a life you love is necessary for you to eventually have dating success.  Effective communication, owning up to your mistakes and repairing rifts in relationships lead to happy long term relationships. It doesn’t come without work – meeting someone should be the easy part. Making it last, requires work and commitment.   You can’t blame your parents for that any more. A more reflective and less reactive approach is necessary for dating success.

“…having secure attachments is not about being a perfect parent or partner but about maintaining communication to repair the inevitable rifts that occur. In the daily battering of any relationship, if free flow of communication is impaired, the relationship is, too.” – Peter Fonagy, PhD

Dating Fatigue: Why Self-Compassion is Key

Over and over again,  I hear men and women griping that there is a severe lack of eligible singles.  Men complain that women are using them as a meal ticket and women complain that men do not know how to plan an appropriate date.  More and more of my friends and clients are tired of online dating and are willingly saying that they would rather remain single.  The negative mindset is contagious – especially during the holidays.

If you haven’t read the opinion piece on dating in Silicon Valley, it is an unfortunately common description of dating experiences.  All I can say is, no wonder everyone is exhausted!

Dating fatigue is defined as the result of continuing to date, over time, with perceived lack of success in finding a high quality partner.

Do you have any of these symptoms of dating fatigue?

  • Feeling “over” dating
  • Not bothering to return emails, text messages or calls
  • Telling friends you would rather be single even though you long for a healthy relationship
  • Feeling bored on dates
  • Exhaustion and increased negative thoughts about finding someone
  • Increased negative talk about persons you are meeting

How do these symptoms affect your long term chances of finding love?

Research discusses the importance of having a positive mindset while attempting to find and maintain a healthy relationship.  If you are burnt out and struggling to recover, the chances are that your dating fatigue is attracting emotionally unavailable people.

And guess what?  That also means you may be emotionally unavailable to screen out elusive red flags and may end up in a continued cycle of horrible dating experiences and creating the self-fulfilling prophecy that you are meant to be single while all your other friends are married!

Recovering from Dating Fatigue is not about bolstering your self-esteem

It is about cultivating self-compassion.  Self compassion is a skill that many researchers are realizing is the true key to leading a healthy and happy life.  According to Dr. Kristen Neff,

“Having compassion for oneself is really no different than having compassion for others…Self-compassion involves acting the same way towards yourself when you are having a difficult time, fail, or notice something you don’t like about yourself. Instead of just ignoring your pain with a “stiff upper lip” mentality, you stop to tell yourself “this is really difficult right now,” how can I comfort and care for myself in this moment? Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings.”

We all go through periods in which our dating lives and our relationships are less than stellar. Having compassion for yourself while walking this journey means we are more likely to maintain a positive mindset and less likely to have a negative outlook on dating. So while taking a dating detox can always be helpful, you must also be aware of how your thoughts affect your mood and behaviors or you will burn yourself out again and repeat the cycle.

Dating should be fun, right?

To discuss with Dr. Rhodes whether you need a plan to overcome your dating fatigue, email her now to schedule a time to chat.