Another dating trend that doesn’t involve dating: Breadcrumbing

Breadcrumbing, is the latest dating trend and label that replaces stringing along. The New York times describes it as  “They communicate via sporadic noncommittal, but repeated messages — or breadcrumbs — that are just enough to keep you wondering but not enough to seal the deal (whatever that deal may be). Breadcrumbers check in consistently with a romantic prospect, but never set up a date. They pique your interest, of that prospective job, perhaps, by reminding you repeatedly that it exists, but never set up the interview.”

Basically, you’re keeping your options open while stringing someone else along with the least amount of effort or regard for the other person. Like ghosting, the other person is entertaining them when they reach out. What kind of reaching out you ask? Oh, “liking” a photo on IG or fb is the signal that game is back on. Right. What? It’s probably the saddest and minimal amount of effort to demonstrate interest in someone. I mean, we spend more time liking cat photos.

Urbandictionary.com

For us to accept these behaviors with disregard for how it impacts us emotionally is what the core of what I call, The Millennial Virus, is. What is it doing to our sense of self? Are we becoming more narcissistic? Are we becoming more insecure? Are we accepting sub-optimal relationships just to feel connected to something? Is technology driving dating, sex and emotion? Is it creating a generation that is passive-aggressive in life?

As a Behavioral Scientist, what amazes me is the hypersensitivity we all seem to have about almost all aspects of life EXCEPT relationships. Isn’t it interesting that we stand up against bullying, shaming, or political un-correctness; but with people we have interest in we act with total disregard? Some say it’s technology that’s driving our behavior, some say it’s the lack of employment, or that we are to attached to our devices or the way we are cognitively evolving.

Let’s look at some of the most common types that will most likely breadcrumb:

  1. Stalker types. These are the ones that reach out on your social feeds every now and then, but don’t follow-up with any sentences J They treat you like you are a notification on fb that they forgot they were connected to. If they can’t reach out to you in a text, what makes you think they are interested in having something pop off with you?
  2. Booty call types. These are the “DTF” “WYD” messages you’ll get at night. They aren’t interested in going beyond just the sexual set up you have. If this is acceptable to you, proceed with caution. Because it may not evolve into a
  3. Can’t get over you types. These are the ones that reach out to you months and years after it’s over in hopes of rekindling the relationship. If they failed the first time, chances are they aren’t new and improved. They just realize the error in not having you in their lives and hope that you are going to want to waste time with them again.
  4. Predator types. These types stalk you on your social feeds to keep abreast of the latest going on in your life. Once they notice a difference in posts or photos that indicates your seeing someone or they see that your seeing someone, they all of a sudden find you interesting. If they were on the fence about dating you and only reach out because you are happy in a new relationship, enjoy your new relationship.

In all these types, the underlying issue is not just their non-commitment issues, it’s their ego. Filtering through hundreds of profiles, spamming everyone, and getting rejected is rough on the ego. A way to deal with the rejection ratio is to find any kind of attention.  At the end of the day, people want to feel some level of relevance, importance or their own delusions of grandeur. Some get their rocks off by knowing that they’ve hooked you with a like or that you are still around when they disappear. Their ego is fulfilled when they reach out to you after months and you accepted their previous behavior and continue in a cycle of a dis-satisfactory relationship. Your ego, on the other hand, begins to take a hit to your self-esteem. Now you’re asking yourself questions like: why they reached out if they hadn’t ever planned to follow through, what’s the point of reaching out to me and why not meet up with me and finally why do I continue to attract these bullshit types?

 

Do You Really Need to Love Yourself First?

That’s the burning question many people had from my last article for the Huffington Post on self-esteem. Thanks to all who shared their stories, feedback, comments and insights. It inspired me to write this article. I know you’ve been told you need to love yourself first before you can love someone else. I disagree. Can love exist without self-love? Yes. Let me explain by asking you to ask yourself the following things:  
  1. Do you prioritize others over yourself?
  2. Do you tell yourself the truth?
  3. Do you accept the past or do you ruminate about it?
  4. Do you blame others (parents, ex-partner/spouse) for your past failures?
  5. Do you follow your gut the majority of the time?
  6. Do you carve out “me” time consistently?

Do you do any of these things and still want and find love? Of course you do. We all do. Does it stop us from loving others?

Still think you need to love yourself first? Ok, let’s look at the latest dating trend Benching. In this article, Jason Chen is writing about his experience with rejection and how common it is for people to start dating then blow them off and re-surface months later and resume dating again. So, he became a bench-warmer waiting to get picked; while the other person is dating other people. He’s wondering why he got blown off, but the person comes back and you give them a chance, right? What does this say about what people feel about themselves? Why do they allow it? Should you give people the benefit of the doubt? Sure. But, what’s the cut off? Should your ego, sense of self, or self-respect take a hit? And even when it does take a hit, don’t we still seek love? Isn’t that the opposite of loving yourself first?

What does it say about self-love? If you ask people do you love yourself, they’ll likely tell you yes.

Here’s my burning question: If you love yourself first, then what explains the faulty decision-making in relationships?

It’s not about self-love, it’s about self-awareness. I think that self-awareness PKNFYSTO4Eis one of the keys to our relationship decision-making process. When you’re self-aware and ask yourself the same above questions, you’ll find what you accept for yourself and what helps you decide on who, when, and how to love. The interesting part of self-awareness is that it becomes most challenged while you are in a relationship. 🙂 Have you ever realized that thing that s/he did that annoyed you triggered another aspect of you?

The heated you: It’s not about the toilet seat! It’s about you having no consideration for me whatsoever! 

Your inner voice: OMG! Who can’t put down a damn toilet seat?! I’m gonna be miserable the rest of my life putting up with this shit!

The over-reaction to a small thing triggered larger issues: lack of consideration and poor communication. The irony is that people become aware of the lack of self-love in relationship to others. 🙂 Self-love is cultivated over time. With each relationship we hope to get a better understanding of our needs and what we will seek out in the future. Our sense of self is challenged in each break-up because we’re trying to understand why it happened, why we allowed it to happen, or what was wrong with that person that they didn’t see the greatness in us. 🙂 Either way, we walk away wondering is this person kidding me with their bullshit behavior or was I kidding myself?

 

Top 5 ironic reasons you aren’t finding the right one

Summer’s here so people try to blame the weather for not wanting to commit (aka the break-up season). The summer isn’t the reason you can’t find the right type. The reason is simple: it’s the irony we create about love and relationships. Here are 5 examples of what holds some people back and how to change it:

  1. Some people allow one past relationship to disallow their future relationships and happiness. Re-read that statement. Does it sound like it makes sense? Doesn’t it sound paradoxical? Aren’t you looking for happiness? Aren’t you seeking out that one right person? By allowing one person to determine your future is delaying your happiness. Isn’t that counter-productive to your goal? The next time you find yourself thinking about the negative aspects of your past relationships, meditate on this mantra: Chalk it up to your ex’s inability to handle your greatness 🙂
  2. Your heart will keep seeking love, but your brain will identify patterns and stop you from seeking love. Harmonize the two by creating a list of the patterns you see. Sometimes you will find that these patterns reveal what you think you need and not what you want. Pay attention only to the aspects that you need. That part is responding to your nature and character. What you think you want is responding to your past experiences.

    Teddy Kelley photo
    Credit: Teddy Kelley
  3. You realize you took for granted someone that is gone and that becomes the very thing you want. Here the solution is simple: you’re just a dumbass. Each person we encounter makes us either realize something about ourselves or inspires us to be better people because of the nature of how they make us feel about ourselves. If you encounter someone that makes you a better person and you didn’t recognize that, ummm what’s my blog called? 🙂 Don’t fret. What is designed for you doesn’t disappear. Keep track of what you wish you still had and seek it out in someone else.
  4. You’re seeking happiness, but wind up settling. Deep down inside, when you’re settling, you know it. Sometimes people convince themselves that it is ok; other times they realize that they want more, but don’t think they can get it. In either case, why live only partially happy?
  5. The very type you don’t initially find attractive is the one you wind up with. Several studies show that when you ask successfully married people where physical attraction ranks in the scale of their relationship, initial looks ranks really low. Don’t believe me? Check out eHarmony’s take: http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating/little-physical-attraction-deal-breaker/#.V2sAaOsrIlg  Moral of the story: Stop treating people like they are your social networking streams. Focusing on the shiniest object. If you are checking them out based on their looks, chances are so are another 100 other people.

5 types to avoid

  1. The emotionally and financially needy types. Emotional and financial neediness makes you attract co-dependent relationships that, in the long run, don’t fill either of these needs. Both emotional and financial need can be addressed in the short-term (money can be earned and support can be given), but it establishes a false sense of security in the long-term. ITA18FXIBLAlthough emotional and financial neediness takes time to overcome and seems harder, so is divorce. Which will land you in the same category anyway 🙂 It’s better to overcome some of the hardships you encounter so that you can experience the true happiness you wanted in the first place.
  2. Fixers. Stop trying to fix people. You didn’t break them to begin with. Change can happen if the person: a) wants it or b) life forces it of them. You can be a change catalyst if the person is at either of these points in their lives. Other than that, you can’t correct other people’s fucked-upness to your partner.
  3. Sex your feelings away types. Know your worth. If you treat your vag or dick like it’s a common sandwich, why would it surprise you that you aren’t relationship material? You’re deluding yourself and expect the world to give you the opposite of what you say you want and are doing. Level with yourself and others. There is nothing wrong with not wanting a relationship because you’ve been hurt or aren’t emotionally ready for one. Sexing your feelings away doesn’t get at resolving the core issue. For some, it creates a whole set of new issues.
  4. Insecure types. Insecurity makes you stop seeking and makes you start settling. You may not even realize you have started settling because you may have created a relationship that makes you comfortable in your insecurity. If you are controlling or obsessively jealous, the other person will adapt a pattern to avoid confrontation of your insecurity. Ultimately, though, you’ve created a relationship that won’t really address the core issues of your insecurity.
  5. Cheating types. If someone cheats, they’re designed to do it again and again. It’s got nothing to do with you, it’s their ego trying to fill a void. If you’re filling that void through people, re-read #3.

Want love? Stop doing dumb shit that gets you no one.

“I want tall, dark, and handsome.” So do plenty of other people. “I want barbie who can cook and clean.” Take a #. The problem with approaching online dating this way is that we’re treating profiles like we do our online social networking streams. The shiniest object is what we stop at. We should be efficient and select what we find attractive, but not where it discounts good candidates. Perception is an illusion. You know why? Because #1 person we lie to is ourselves.

We’re living in a self-absorbedie culture. Attraction is the first cut for dating. Are we trying to stand out? Yes. Do we have to go to extremes to stand out?

Let’s find out:

How many selfies do you take? How many final photos are filtered? A study found that women spend 753 hours on taking selfies and that includes filtering photos. Are these the photos that make it to an online dating profile? Yes. What’s the #1 complaint of online dating that I hear? That people don’t look like their pics! For men, posting selfies has been linked to having narcissistic traits. Not rocket science. It was also linked to self-objectification. Should men pose with tigers? WTF? [Not even lying! Check it out: TNDRGWTPhoto and article courtesy of Diamond Coleman at BuzzFeed] Is that upping sexy? Are men discounting other qualities like their accomplishments, drive, honesty, so that they could beat the guy above or below them?

Here’s what you can do:

Use an accurate photo. Men: No one wants to think they are meeting with a Brad Pitt look-a-like to find Mr Magoo showing up. Women: Most of the time we look better in real life. If the wrinkles bother you that bad, Botox not airbrush.

Online dating shouldn’t be a competition with the person above or below you. You’re looking for a specific set of qualities that compliment you. So is the person above or below you. At the end, you will get what you want and so will they.

Stop being a persona. Be you. Not the guy/girl you think women/men want to respond to. Women get too many messages from “undesirable guys” while men send hundreds of messages in order to get a response. One of the draws to online dating is efficiency. Filtering through hundreds of profiles from people who don’t fit your search criteria and spamming everyone is not efficient.

 

5 things you can do right now to change your online dating experience

1. Don’t force fit someone into your life because you are experiencing online dating fatigue. The process of several serial dates with people that you lack chemistry with or experience rejection from people that you think are potential candidates can be very frustrating and result in online dating fatigue. Where you just want to quit for awhile till you regroup. It’s totally understandable. Take a break, if you feel you need it. But, don’t let the fatigue inform who you choose.

2. Meet in real life. The point of online dating is to date, not to have a epenpal. If you haven’t gone on a date after a lengthy back and forth, cut it off. Two things are happening to you while you epenpal: 1) you are creating a false reality about who is behind the device and 2) you are delaying your own happiness by dealing with someone that isn’t on the same page.

3Screenshot 2014-11-06 at 1.56.54 PM. Diversify your dating approach. Don’t just rely on online dating as the only method of meeting someone. That will create online dating fatigue quickly. Include in your strategy both online and offline because love is a complicated process and has no formula. We can’t create the when and where. We just have to be there.

4. Approach online dating like it’s a social experiment. It really IS. Treat dating like you are collecting data on what you want and don’t want. See what combinations of qualities and characteristics better complement you. Approaching dating as though it is testing out our happiness hypothesis or algorithm can help minimize some of our own expectations. Create an equation (just like the dating sites) that includes the elements that you absolutely require (fixed variable) and the elements that you think you want (random variable). Focus just on characteristics, qualities and life desires.

5. This is the grand daddy of them all! Ready? Men, listen to me: don’t lie about your height. Women hate when you lie about inches 🙂 The reality is that men over 6’0″ in US society is about 15%. Seems like 100% online 🙂

Is there a science to love?

HPLSJCS_62414I recently had the honor of participating on HuffPost Live’s segment “How We Can Understand Love Through Science” with Dr. Sue Johnson. Dr. Johnson’s book, Love Sense, is a result of her groundbreaking research on our emotional bonds and attachment styles. Love Sense “presents new scientific evidence that tells us that humans are meant to mate for life. Dr. Johnson explains that romantic love is an attachment bond, just like that between mother and child, and shows us how to develop our “love sense”–our ability to develop long-lasting relationships. Love is not the least bit illogical or random, but actually an ordered and wise recipe for survival.” -Little, Brown and Company

Dr. Johnson says that she wrote this book as both a guide and a warning. Tune in to hear about her views on sex, dating, love, and the impact social media plays on our relationships. http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/segment/third-metric-thrive-on-live-love-sense-dr-sue-johnson/5363f31f02a7604eae00045c She’s concerned about our relationships in the age of technology because “it is making people lonelier and more isolated”. I asked her what her thoughts were on online dating and why single women are having difficulty finding sincere men. I see it as a function of online dating. We treat online dating like we do our social media streams and select only the images that stand out to us. Is it related to a faulty attachment style? Tune in to hear Dr. Johnson’s take.

What do you think? Are we selecting people based on superficial qualities and discounting other factors? Do you think online dating makes it easier to run game? What frustrates you the most about online dating?

 

Top 3 things to help get over an ex.

Dealing with a break-up, separation or divorce is often difficult. Here are a few things that can help you cope with the break-up, separation or divorce.

1. Try to refrain from highlighting negative things about your ex. Simply because it disrespects you. Afterall, you were in the relationship with the person. When you re-tell events or character flaws, the person listening will wonder why you were in the relationship to begin with. Utilize your discussions to be about rebuilding yourself and not diminishing the other person because that doesn’t improve your sense of self. It may feel good in the short-term, but not long-term.

breakup 2. Cultivate a network of support that has diverse perspectives. That way you will have different outlets to express the range of your emotions.  Especially when dealing with divorce where you can experience anger, resentment, and loss all in the same breath.

3. Forgive yourself. The only thing you did was try to show someone love and cultivate a life for you both. Allow yourself to feel the pain and unburden yourself of what was your former life. All you did was demonstrate that you have the capacity to love and build a life for yourself. You can do it again.

Thanks to a great relationship wellness panel discussion by The Law Firm of Wisselman, Harounian & Associates, P.C.

What they don’t tell you about online dating: the mathematics of love.

It is estimated that 1 in 4 relationships start online and predicted that 70% will use online dating services in the future. The current reality of online dating:

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Approaching dating as though it is testing out what I call, your happiness hypothesis, your own personalized algorithm that can help minimize some of your own expectations. Create an equation (just like the dating sites) that includes the elements that you absolutely require (fixed variable) and the elements that you think you want (random variable). Focus just on characteristics, qualities and life desires. For example: a friend of mine has the following requirements of the men she dates: ivy educated, graduate degree, professional, shared religion, family-oriented, certain age range, & certain height requirements. Physical appearance, sense of humor, adventurous, and work-life balance are not priorities for her. Identify the elements that you think you must have and those that you’d like to have.  You might find that dating based on a system testing out your happiness hypothesis, will help you figure out what is a better fit for yourself.

 

Wow! I’m on a Times Square Jumbotron, baby!

Happy International Women’s Day and Month!

As a women of color and scientist, it is incredibly exciting for me to see the technological and scientific advances in society and to see so many women who want to pursue a career in STEM. Please encourage, support, or mentor women in “non-traditional” careers till we no longer call it nontraditional.

If anyone would have asked medo you think you will be on a Times Square jumbotron and sharing techniques that you developed on open public platforms?” 

PRN-CONNECTCHAT-CLARISSA-SILVA-ts-ts.20140305154053

I was recently honored to participate to on a twitter chat with PRNewswire ProfNet hashtag #connectchat about the strategies I created for my blog, http://yourejustadumbass.com. If you’d like to learn strategies, you can access the recap article here:  http://www.profnetconnect.com/popelbaum/blog/2014/03/05/how_to_keep_your_blog_readers_engaged

Thank you to all who support the advancement of women in STEM, entrepreneurship, and enterprise.