The Dating Paradox

Social media has been linked to higher levels of loneliness, envy, anxiety, depression, narcissism and decreased social skills. As a Behavioral Scientist, I wonder what causes this paradox? The narratives we share and portray on social media are all positive and celebratory. It’s a hybridized digital version of “Keeping up with the Joneses”. Meaning for some, sometimes it appears everyone you know are in great relationships, taking 5-star vacations and living your dream life.

However, what is shared only broadcasts the positive aspects of our lives-the highlight reels.

Since we’re only getting people’s highlight reels and comparing it to ourselves, it is natural to have reactions to what we’re watching. How does this impact relationships, dating and our love lives? I conducted in-depth interviews with men and women, ranging from ages 28-73, that are active social media users and found that:

  • 60% of people using social media reported that it has impacted their self-esteem in a negative way
  • 50% reported social media having negative effects on their relationship
  • 80% reported that is easier to deceive others through their social posting

Paradox Effect

It seems that social media is creating a paradox effect: giving off the illusion of many choices, while making it harder to find viable options. Can it be that our highly connected world has now become disconnected? Posting dinners, selfies and vacay photos over human interaction for some is interaction. That IS their interaction. The paradox effect in dating is creating the illusion of having more social engagement, social capital, and popularity, but masking one’s true persona. Since some are interfacing digitally more than physically it is much easier to emotionally manipulate others because they are reliant on what I call “Vanity Validation”. The one you portray on your networks and the true you, for some creates a double consciousness. Your lauded self on social media is constantly seeking more validation through electronic likes, not life. 

Vanity Validation

In the latest Match Singles in America study’s findings on how social media has impacted people’s dating lives, they found that 57% of singles say social media has generated a Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO). In my study, 50% reported feeling FOMO when comparing themselves to others on social media, while 60% of millennials reported feeling FOMO. Are we comparing ourselves to other people’s highlight reels? Are we creating a false reality? It seems that we’re only willing to share things that get positive reinforcement. If we’re living through only focusing on the highlight reels, how do we express the negative side of our lives?

If you’re comparing yourself to someone else’s profile, aren’t you discounting yourself? Anything that we share on our streams are things that we’re either excited about or creating some popularity for yourself. Are we supposed to applaud that you eat? Are we supposed to applaud that you are out? Are we supposed to applaud the 100th seflie you took while you were out? Are we beginning to learn to relate to people for immediate gratification only?

Won’t this impact our dating behaviors? If we only broadcast the “look at me”, are we able to deal with the side of rejection, detachment, and non-commitment? Are you surprised when people blow you off or lead you on aka ghost, bench, gaslight or breadcrumb? Yet another paradox. Here we are thinking the world is a positive and reinforcing place, that we are interesting, we’re so popular; then we get ghosted, breadcrumbed, benched.

What people don’t tell you about dating the wrong types.

When you’re dating down, you aren’t always aware that you are doing it. I came up with an inventory to help you identify some of the red flags on Stop dating down! If you are doing 4 or more of these things, chances are you are settling in your relationship. Once you realize this is a feature of your relationships, then you can see if this yields a pattern in your life.

So, let’s begin by talking about the types of thinking that occurs, then we’ll talk about what occurs as a result.

Type 1: I know that s/he isn’t xyz, but they possess abc.cheating

Type 2: I know that s/he isn’t what I normally date, but I was unsuccessful with my past types.

Both types create a false sense of intimacy, hope, trust, and disillusionment in the relationship. If you are lying to yourself in the relationship, it’s easy to disillusion yourself about the realities of the relationship. In addition to decreasing your standards, you are changing your tolerance level of other people’s lies they tell themselves and you accepting it as your reality (their bullshit).

Which invariably creates Type 3: I’m getting a shot at someone I normally wouldn’t have a shot with and this is great!  

This is creating a false sense of hope in someone else and they will apply that to their next relationship. Type 3 will pursue people that they probably wouldn’t ever approach because they have this new inflated self-esteem. While the person who has admitted to dating down, has a diminished self-esteem.

 

Why women should be more like men

Ladies, we have to be more like men. Let me tell you why. I’m commuting to work, minding my own business and trying to get some work done. When all of a sudden a random guy sits next to me & starts chatting me up. I tried to be as polite as I could be as he started telling me his whole career life story, so I buried my head in my work. I didn’t really want to get caught up in someone’s issues of self-importance.

He didn’t pick up on any of my social cues or didn’t care, so I continued to not give him any eye contact while he kept talking 🙂 Occasionally, he would stop talking and I thought he would stop. No, meant nothing to him. He kept on new topics 🙂 Finally, his stop comes up and he’s getting off the train. And that’s where the real comedy starts! He extends out a piece of paper and says to me “I’d like to give you my number because you are the type of person that I’d like to take on a date.” WTF?!?! How the fuck did you ascertain that? Wow! Unbelievable! 

“No, thanks I’m seeing somebody.”

“Oh that doesn’t matter to me!” Now, that answer made sense because he didn’t care that he was talking to himself for the entire ride! 

“Yet, it matters to me!”

Let me give you an even more ridiculous story. I’m at the supermarket checkout counter when a random guy all disheveled with a smell on him that I couldn’t even determine and is adjusting the front of his pants at his belt buckle.

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Right-the kind of guy your mom tells you to marry 🙂 He turns to me and says “Hi! How are you?” with his shirt tail tucked out and this weird smell! I say the obligatory don’t-want-you-to-become-mental-on-me-if-I-don’t-acknowledge-you “Good, you?” He turns to me throws his suit jacket over his shoulder and says “Better for seeing you!!!! Again, wtf?!?!

So, I told you these stories to tell you this: what would happen if women acted more like men. Of course I gave you the most extreme cases (I just wanted to share the comedy), but at the end of the day men pursue what they want. They don’t say to themselves: I’m not pretty enough, I’m not at the sexiest at the moment, I put on some weight, or whatever else that would stop them from trying to get what they want.

Flirt, start up chit chat, give someone eye signals across the room or have a wing person that will engage the person for you. Chatty Kathy and Stinky try this same method till someone takes the bait. Don’t let Chatty Kathy and Stinky think that it works 🙂

Are you secretly dating any of these types?

Most relationship failures are related to some unresolved pain caused by someone else that you may have repressed. Most of the time when we are dating we don’t realize that we’re learning more about ourselves. Unexpressed emotions are some of the keys that keep us from finding our ideal partner. However, most of us don’t deal with the source of what caused the pain in past failed relationships which sometimes creates patterns and cycles.  Here are a few of the top unexpressed emotions that delay our happiness.

UNEXPRESSED_EMOTION

Jealousy=Insecurity

Insecurities are created from past experiences that could be from childhood, past relationships, former marriages, any life event that made you feel you were less than what you really are. You then took this definition and began designing yourself around it for years. When you compare yourself to others, you are already working from a deficit perspective and wonder why everyone else seems to get what they want, yet you don’t. The way people remedy that? By controlling factors in other’s lives that they can’t control for in their own lives. It’s easy to constantly look at someone else, talk about what they have and not create it in your own life.

Expectations=Underlying resentment

Resentment occurs because you expected one set of outcomes and go the opposite or worse than what you anticipated. Which is a function of life: things don’t always go the way we planned it or wanted it to be. How do some of us deal with life not turning out the way we want? By creating new expectations :). Expectations becomes a form of defense mechanism to prevent some from experiencing deep seated resentment when things and people fail them.

Anger=Misdirected expression

The expression of anger is usually due to a cumulative of life events that you experienced that you thought were unfair. Usually these past life events and its impact on the person span over decades: childhood trauma, abusive parents, sexual trauma, death of a parent, or disease. How do you resolve being treated unfairly? By treating others unfairly :).  Instead of dealing with what caused the hurt, some find it easier to direct it towards others as a way to resolve their pain.

Codependency=Lack of support

In the case of codependency, the lack of support has to do with not having people around them that understands them. When they do meet someone that understands them and they can share their true selves with, that person becomes their new addiction. It’s created because people want to feel real connection. How do some deal with not cultivating the right people around them? By people pleasing the one’s that let you consistently not grow. People that are codependent usually seek validation, but they ascribe it to the wrong person.

Top things you can do to ensure your happiness.

In honor of International Happiness Day, I have compiled a list of things that either reminds us of what happiness can be or what we can do to get to a state of happiness.

  1. People demonstrate what they are. We don’t pay attention to the signs.stop
  2. People are what they are, not what you want them to be.
  3. Life doesn’t happen to you. You have to play an active role in shaping it.
  4. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. Identify the reason things are compelling you to do the things that you don’t want to do/that don’t make you happy.
  5. Sometimes you only realize someone’s worth when they are gone.
  6. Spending time with someone that doesn’t make you happy delays your happiness and theirs.
  7. You choose all that you allow in your life.

Top 10 things to tell the woman in your life

Men, do you want Valentine’s Day to come early? Tell the woman in your life any of these phrases 🙂

  1. I love you!
  2. You cooked, I’ll clean.
  3. I picked up something at Tiffany’s for you just because.
  4. You are right.
  5. You have my undivided attention. I’m listening.
  6. spaHow about you have a spa day, I’ll take care of the kids.
  7. You are an amazing wife and we are awesome parents.
  8. You are unbelievably beautiful and I am lucky to have you in my life.
  9. I ran a bath with your favorite rose petals soak for you.
  10. I don’t know what I did to deserve you!

The best online dating screener: Google+ hangouts!

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According to online dating statistics, 1 out of 3 people are now using online dating as a method of finding their mate.  Some may say that this is the new dating norm for the 30-something age range. Unlike the 20-something age range, according to the New York Times’ The End of Courtship?, 30-somethings still use phones for conversations, have one-on-one dates, and flirt in public not twitter.

So, I asked myself what can the 30-something group do to be just as tech savvy and unconventional to make our dating experiences more efficient?  Ladies & Gents, I have found our answer!!! I am going to start this trend: Google + hangouts! What? Never heard of it? I recently started using it myself. Let me tell you all about it. It was launched over a year ago and is a video chat program that allows us to interact with up to 10 people face-to-face. It’s a  different social networking concept from the other social network platforms, but the same in terms of sharing information, photos, latest news, etc. The key difference is it is LIVE human interaction! In addition to business conferencing; meetings; networking; connecting; and sharing, I found the best application: online dating screening! I have found Google+ hangouts to be the most effective & efficient method in screening potential dates.

Here’s my rationale:

1. Time

So, I thought what are 30-somethings most concerned with? Time, right? No one wants to waste time because we have a limited amount of it with our work and life schedules. Well, Google+ hangouts resolves this. Let’s consider the time invested in the initial phase of online dating. We go through the process of identifying a pool of potential candidates, email screen, and are now ready to talk on the phone/meet in person. I would use the phone conversation as my screener and hope that it would all go well when we met in life. That’s where the second phase of time investment is: preparing for the date. The process of aligning your schedules, dressing for it, and mentally preparing yourself for the date. That’s where the g+h/o (what I like to call it or h/o for short 🙂 ) comes in! You can schedule a face-to-face video chat to determine if you want to go that second phase of time investment. All you have to do is send a link to the g+ho and schedule a video chat!

2. Physical attraction

What frustrates us the most about meeting people face-to-face? If their photos and life have discrepancies, right? One of the top things both men and women lie about on their profiles is age. Seeing them on a video chat gives you the opportunity to determine whether you are really physically attracted to the person or the whatever year old photo they decided to use!

3. Lifestyle

People usually are conducting their g+ho from their homes. It’s either a bedroom, living room or home office. Which provides us with an easy way to determine: 1) whether they are messy/organized; 2) what their tastes are (art work, furniture, photos displayed), and 3) a small margin of if there is chemistry or not.

Oh, the other added bonus is that you may be able to determine if the person is married based on the room, too. If you like cyberstalking, this is another added bonus, you can see the person’s activities and profile if it’s completed!

Thanks Google+, Vic Gundotra, Chee Chew, Dori Storbeck and Natalie Villalobos for making my life so much easier! Here’s the link to learn more and join Google+ hangouts: http://www.google.com/+/learnmore/hangouts/

For now, I have just tried the one-on-one video chat, but am going to be exploring different dating efficiency techniques and sharing them with you all! Looking forward to hearing about your experiences with the g+ho!

 

Start off your New Year with a bang!

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As I reflect on the year, I realize more and more that life isn’t always about getting what you deserve. It’s about us all being on different trajectories. The reality is that everyone has the same opportunities at being happy. It’s about the choices we make and understanding how it shaped our experiences. The better we are at understanding why we chose what we did, the closer we get to actualizing our goals.

The things that we experience are temporary. It changes as our perception of the experience changes. Everything has its own unique trajectory. Imagine a ball in flight. The speed and direction in which it travels is dependent on the amount of force exerted onto the ball, the angle of your wrist, your strength for it to travel. The same principle can be applied to our everyday lives. Each person’s trajectory possesses its own unique set of qualities that is directed by each decision we make. What it yields is dependent on the decisions we make around the goal we want to achieve. The better we understand our experiences, we get a better sense of what we need and then we are better aligned to encounter the right set of circumstances and people.

This year, in addition to your New Year’s resolution, write a letter to your 2012 self itemizing the things that you gained, how you grew, and what you’re appreciative of. Whether you: grew from the ordeal of a break-up, divorce, found the love of your life, found a job, got laid-off, gained more customers or started your own business. Think about each thing that you would like to continue and things that you would like to grow from. Everything we go through brings us closer to what we need to actualize our dreams or brings about our happiness. If your goal is to be a better partner in your relationship (your trajectory), think about how your communication style may have improved in the last year or conversely how it can be improved in the coming year (your decision making process). Whatever the situation is, think about what led you to that moment and what you intended on happening. If it is what you intended, apply that formula to other situations. If it wasn’t, revise the process by being more congruent with what you want to achieve. Sometimes when we see it written, we are better able to see some of the incongruence very clearly. When I have reflected on my past experiences, I realized that the qualities and circumstances that I was seeking was the opposite of what I was experiencing. Hope this helps you have the best year yet!

Have a happy, healthy & prosperous New Year!

Tis the season

It’s the time of year where everyone and their momma is having holiday parties. There are some parties that you feel you should go to, that you have to go to, and that you need to pre-party before you go to. In the spirit of festivities  my friend and I had to go to all three in one night. Of course adventures are synonymous with holiday parties!xmas

So, we started off at a bar before we went to the obligatory party for alittle pre-party action. As we try to maneuver  through the crowd, two gentleman walk up to us and offer to buy us drinks. This random act of kindness is because one of the gentlemen are celebrating their birthday. Huh of all things. As we listen to them talk about themselves and how great they are, one turns to me and says “so how about my birthday present?”. Of course! The angle was set up  from the very beginning. “So, you go up to random girls and ask them to hang with you on your “birthday”? Do you both get beyond a drink with girls?”. “Well, he’s married and this place’s nickname is whore house.” What? Really? “Is that right? I’m kind of perplexed because a) your wing man is a married guy and b) you’re using the birthday pickup line at a place that is nicknamed whore house.” “You don’t know how hard It is to get women these days.It used to be so much easier it took a drink.” “I get that, but don’t you think it looks kind of bad that you don’t have friends to hang with on your birthday and your trolling around with a married guy? Isn’t that just gonna be pity sex?” “Hey you think I care what it looks like, I just want to get off. Men want to get off. If he’s not getting any at home, he’ll find some girl with daddy issues that will get with him.” Merry Christmas to me! Finally got to understand what men really want! Thank you birthday boy!

So, we head over to the first party: the you should go one. We are there for 15 minutes and some guy comes up to me and starts talking about what he does. I tell him about my blog. Flood gates. He decides to tell me all about his sexual experiences and casually reveals that he’s a sex addict. “Not the I’ve had sex with almost everyone in this room; the Tiger Woods type.” I would imagine he is making a minor distinction about selectivity. I didn’t want to be nosey. 🙂 This is a high brow party afterall. He divulged his escapades and I just nodded. He turns to me and says “hey, do you want to have sex on the balcony?”. I laugh it off and politely tell him no. He tried this all night long with several of my friends. We compared notes.

We go to the next party. As we are ready to leave, a random women approaches us and starts chatting me up. It felt like I was on an interview. She kept peering into my eyes like she was trying to penetrate into my soul. Felt uncomfortable, but thought nothing of it. Then walks in her husband and complains about being sick and not himself. Because if he was himself he would invite us back to his place for a nightcap. Sweet! My evening would have not been complete till I got propositioned by swingers! And the gifts just keep on coming!

All of these adventures in one night! I have 4 more days till Christmas! Can’t wait to see what else Santa has in store for me! Have a great holiday everyone!

Top 10 things to help you heal from a failed relationship

First, I’d like to thank all of my followers and readers. I am extremely grateful for your support. Many of you I have cried, laughed, cheered, and ranted with. Most of all I feel like we have gotten to a better place together.

When you are not in a relationship, getting over a relationship/divorce, the holidays can be a challenging time of the year. Each relationship we go through really teaches us about what we need or what we needed to overcome to set you up for a healthy relationship. If you’re currently struggling to get over a relationship, there are a few things you can think about to help overcome some of the pain associated with the break-up.

hearts1. Think about the things that lead you to that relationship in the first place.

2. Think about the things that attracted you to the person.

3. Think about what you were looking for before you got into the relationship.

4. Think about the fears you may have had before you got into the relationship.

5. Think about the things you felt before you got into the relationship.

6. What did the person make you feel about yourself?

7. What did they respond to within you?

8. What did you experience that you hadn’t experienced before?

9. Did you see yourself with the person before you met them?

10. Did you date someone out of your character?

Once you have identified the reasons for some of these questions, you’ll have the answers to help propel you to the next relationship. Sometimes, we keep carrying unnecessary burdens into new relationships. You possess the answers to all that you are feeling; you just have to look at the situation from a different angle. The answers are all within you. You can harm or heal yourself. Returning to the point of who you were before the relationship; puts you in a place of empowerment rather than psychological persecution.  It’s within understanding the unhealthy relationships that we find ourselves and gets us closer to a healthy relationship.