The Benefits of Practice Dating

There is a way to ease into dating again after a break up or divorce. Get your feet wet before diving in, by doing practice dating. One recently single woman told me that she and her divorced friends found that having a few practice dates made it much easier to feel comfortable entering the dating world. They selected men whom they absolutely did not feel any romantic attraction to, as their dates. Everyone was clear about this and what the purpose was for the date.

Consider practice dating as a dress rehearsal for the real thing – and take it seriously. It gives one the chance to make some mistakes, see what works and what needs improving. Whether it is a West End, Broadway, or children’s school play, they have a practice performance before the public one. This is the idea behind practice dating with a non-threatening opportunity to get some suggestions and encouragement.

Treat it as a real first date and take care to be well groomed and dressed according to the activity – edgy for an art gallery show or more refined for elegant dining. Go through all the motions of a date: do you arrive together or meet at a designated place, how to split expenses, determining the time frame of it. Think ahead about some good topics to discuss. Feedback at the end will include if you monopolized the conversation or shared too intimate details of your life. You are looking for balance.

How does one find someone who understands this get-together is just for practice? Find a friend who is amenable and willing to give brutally frank feedback at the end. One man who was getting back into dating, asked his lesbian friend to give him a critique of his dating behavior. She enlightened him that he hardly gave the other person a chance to jump into the conversation. This was due more to nerves so he had to work on being okay with not trying to plug gaps in the dialogue. Let the other person have time to digest what is being said with some silence.

One of my employers said that several of her divorced friends did practice dating through the organization Rent A Friend. Part of their website is devoted to “Practice Dating” which states “Hire a friend to practice going out with you and give you the feedback you need to improve your dating.” They stress that they are not a dating site or escort service. A website like this one, is another option if you cannot find a person to be your practice date. Her friends only needed between one to three practice dates before they felt relaxed enough to start dating.

Understand that feedback is crucial at the end of a practice date. The point is to learn from it, and not to be defensive. The practice person points out how you come across on date, in order to ensure people will want to see you again. Someone may have an annoying habit that will be a turn-off for another. Examples are: constantly clearing one’s throat when not medically necessary, picking at or biting nails at the table, chewing with an open mouth and more. People can be clueless about these behaviors and a practice date can bring it to an individual’s attention.

Sports require practice to improve one’s ability and dating can be like this too. A footballer is not going to score a goal without practice. A variation is to go on group dates which lesson performance pressure. There are others around the table to keep the conversation going and the mood lively. If feeling that your dating skills are shakey or out of date, consider having a practice date first.

My article was original published on Digital Romance   Publisher of Text Your Ex Back & Text The Romance Back. We teach men and women how to have better relationships.


What Men and Women Can Teach Each Other During Divorce

Whether divorce was on the horizon or comes as a sudden shock, there are bits of wisdom that both genders can learn from each other. Men and women have spilled divorce secrets which can be beneficial to many. One may be in the right, however fighting to be the winner drains energy and finances. In the end, it is the lawyers who win by receiving more in legal fees.

Men I interviewed advised to be agreeable to negotiating. When an individual is not heavily attached to a particular outcome, then the other side is apt to budge a little more. This is where the popular phrase “Don’t sweat the small stuff” comes into play. Men mentioned that they picked their battles. These guys were less interested in household furnishings and by offering to give up the bulk of it to their wives, this made going after the big-ticket items easier. There was less squabbling over pension plans, IRAs and investments when their wives already felt that they were ahead.

Men suggested being proactive when it comes to visitation and custody. They offer to give up time that they have with the children, so that the kids can celebrate Mother’s Day with mom. Their ex-spouses appreciate this gesture and keep it in mind when the dads need a more flexible schedule. Mothers and fathers have told me that a Parenting Plan written during divorce has made life easier afterwards. They did not have to go back and forth on small issues, but rather referred to the document.

One may be dating during a separation, but women have emphasized to be discrete during proceedings. The goal is to get through divorce as quickly as possible without drama, with both sides feeling the outcome is somewhat fair. Going out on the town with one’s new love interest can derail a divorce, if the soon-to-be-ex becomes spiteful. Keeping a low profile for a few months is worth it in the long run. Here are two examples which backfired for these men.

At the beginning of a couple’s divorce, the older son told his mother and others that his dad had been cheating. A family friend came forward and revealed that the man had posted a profile on that he was singe without children, at least a year before they started proceedings. Upon request, she produced a copy of the profile. The wife gave it to her lawyer, the boys’ therapist and the child psychologist who was on the collaborative divorce team. The profile from the dating site was verified as being the husband’s. Advertising online that he was single and childless certainly affected his amount of visitation. There have been cases in the news where a spouse got more of the assets when the other spent joint property funds on a lover.

In the other example, a woman stopped hearing from a long-term friend during her divorce. Although divorce changes relationships, this was strange. During proceedings, the father invited his date (mother’s friend) along on a visitation day. The boys were shocked when their father told them that he and this person were a couple. He became enraged when one child pointed out that he was technically still married. The woman had known the boys for years and tried to be extra friendly, but the boys were too upset to talk. Springing this on the lads without any warning made it worse. The angry children contacted the professional who was doing a custody evaluation, about this new development. If dating your spouse’s friend, at least wait a bit until after the divorce is finalized before informing the kids about this situation. Divorced men and women recommended introducing dates to family and friends at least a few months after the divorce has been granted. They are adjusting to your divorce too.

Guys had comments about wanting women to be less emotional during proceedings. Sobbing during sessions is counterproductive and hinders communication. Several said for wives to handle things more like a business meeting and to keep emotions in check. They wanted interactions to be more focused on content rather than on feelings. Moods are contagious. When one spouse has an angry outburst and the other responds similarly, this adds fuel to the fire. Fellows have said that they want the divorce to stay on track and not get into blaming or other issues. Have a professional demeanor and save the letting off steam for when being in the company of friends.

During divorce, I took a co-parenting course and learned a lot from the fellows. They helped us females to lighten up and not to take life so seriously. We encouraged them to take better care of themselves. Men and women can learn tips from each other, which benefits them by having smoother divorces.

My article was originally printed in DivorceForce   Affected by Divorce? Join DivorceForce, the online community committed to empowering those affected by divorce. Many helpful articles for those facing divorce.   @divorceforce (Twitter)

Flirting – The Dos and Don’ts

Flirting can put a spring in your step and a smile on your face. Flirting is an innocent interaction that lets people realize that both find the other attractive, without an agenda. The Merriam-Webster definition is “To behave amorously without serous intent.” There is no promise of intimacy or anything else. Europeans often have a more relaxed attitude about this. Some Americans that I interviewed for this article, seemed to think flirting was a prelude to a sexual encounter. I had a short flirtation while in the queue at a post office in London. The parting wink was lovely too. More often I have these flirtatious moments in France or Italy. Be open to them when at home or on the road.

What are the parameters? Are you in a safe place (public)? Are you where one of you has to stay put (like on a city bus or behind a counter)? No overt sexual remarks or references to body parts (breasts) are made. You both feel comfortable with the interaction. There is a small grocery store where the staff are also writers, singers, therapist and so forth. I flirt shamelessly with one guy who is a cashier checking out my groceries. We laugh a lot if our flirting gets a little outrageous. Would we ever go out? No way. The bonus is I take more care with my appearance when going out on errands – which is beneficial when running into colleagues and potential buyers for my book.

Flirting with someone at a bar or club can be an invitation to something more. Flirting at a party can be iffy. You are amongst people, yet the other individual may think that they will get lucky. There is a balance of power between equals – not a boss and subordinate engaging in this activity. Be careful of being flirtatious at your workplace as you do not want to be accused of sexual harassment.

Having boundaries of what is acceptable and what is not, is important. Here is an example. On a Nile Cruise in Egypt, sometimes the manager would help out at the front desk during the busy times. When he handed me my key, he often said “That is my cabin too.” I laughed, said something, knowing it was just in fun. This was mild flirting. A young staff member must have overheard this and one morning he called me “Baby.” I firmly put him in his place and told him I was a mother of two sons. I matter of factly changed the conversation to what sights I would be seeing that day. He got the picture and was respectful the rest of the time. Had he not been, I would have spelled it out to him in a stronger manner. I enforced my boundaries.

Flirting may be between individuals of vastly different ages. I took my nineteen-month-old and five-year-old sons to a resort in the Caribbean. An American soap opera was being filmed there and my toddler was entranced. The gorgeous star came over to him between scenes told him he was such a big boy and oh so handsome, etc. My son gave it right back to her in his limited vocabulary and was in a great mood all day. The camera man told me that the actress was the biggest flirt and she did not care what the age was of her male target. The bonus was when we came back home, my toddler told me he was a big boy and no longer needed diapers. He potty trained himself in one day and did not have any bedwetting or accidents.   Please read more on Digital Romance