The first few days after a breakup are marked with pain and a whole lot more unfocused anger. First comes the night of when your friends pull your trashed body out of the bar and onto the sofa with a trashcan next to your head. Then comes the next few days of anger and trash talking when you become convinced they must be incredibly stupid to have even thought of letting you go. Last, comes the acceptance and reality check, when you simply wonder what the hell really went wrong in the relationship?

Understanding why you were left or dumped is one of the most important parts of moving on with your life and building a better relationship in the future. Surprisingly enough, it actually could have been your fault. Look over the next few common causes of being left behind and evaluate yourself to see if you could have fallen victim to committing these cardinal relationship sins.

How well did you modulate the attention you paid to your ex in terms of letting them know you were there for them and cared? Could you honestly say your ex knew how much you supported and cared for his needs as well as your own? There’s an old saying that your partner is your better half, so it makes sense that we should be supporting that better half by listening to their troubles, and concerns the same way we expect them to listen to ours.

Did you lend an ear when they needed you, or were you too concerned with work, school, or other activities to even note their existence and moods most of the time? This is known as emotional distancing, and if your ex was experiencing it, chances are they fled because they needed someone who supported their lives and took the time to care. In your next relationship, you might try to be more present and change up your priorities a little to prevent a reoccurrence.

Read on for more →

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First Messages That Hook ‘Em

by Online Dating on May 25, 2012

Figuring out what to say at first contact when you’re online dating is crucial. If you screw up the first message then you’re probably not going to get a good response. Accordingly, if you know what to say in that first message, you’re more likely to generate some interest and, eventually, hook that fish.

If you’re going to be successful in the online dating game, the first message you send is even more important than any pick-up line you’ve ever used. To maximize your odds of success, keep these principles in mind:

  • Literacy is attractive. If you can demonstrate a basic command of grammar and spelling, you’re ahead of a lot of folks in the online dating scene. As it turns out, intelligence (or at least the appearance of intelligence) is a quality that many folks are looking for in a date. Avoid netspeak and slang, although there are some exceptions to this rule — using expressions of humor like LOL or haha, but generally speaking, you want to avoid it. Oh, and punctuation is an important part of the overall grammatical picture, too.
  • Watch out for physical compliments. Guys are much more likely to mention looks in that all-important first email than gals, but some of them do it too. Unfortunately, telling someone they’re gorgeous via an online dating message comes across as shallow, at best. It sounds like a pick-up line. And, there’s a subconscious implication there that says, “You’re beautiful, (but I’m not.)”
  • Pick a unique greeting. “Hello” is probably the worst greeting you can use, at least if you’re hoping for a response. The same goes for “hi.” Even choosing a less formal greeting like “howdy” will often do better than the standard “hello.”
  • Don’t try to move outside of the online dating realm so soon. Invitations to chat or asking for an email address tend to be turn-offs. People on online dating sites like the anonymity that it affords them, and while you do hope someday you’ll take it offline you don’t want to start with a proposal to do so.
  • Mention common interests. One of the great things about online dating is the access to information about the other person. Find a common interest, and ask an open-ended question that engenders a response. If they like sci-fi movies, tell them what your three favorites are and ask about theirs, for example. Capitalize on those common interests early and often.

First impressions are everything, and it’s especially true when it comes to online dating. Your first email to that potentially-special someone can make or break it! You need to make sure it’s appealing, inoffensive and, most of all, interesting to the person on the receiving end. Every element of that first contact is important, and requires a good deal of thought.

Your email subject line or header is the very first part of what that person is going to see. If the recipient has a profile that tends to generate a lot of responses, they might not even open up every email. They might find an email subject that looks interesting and focus on that one, leaving the rest of you to atrophy in the inbox.

While we can’t tell you what will work for sure when it comes to your online dating email header, we can give you some idea of what won’t work. Here are some of the most commonly-used email headers, guaranteed to get that special person to pass you by each and every time:

  • Blah, Blah, Blah. OK, while this might catch some potential mates by invoking the song of the same name from party girl Ke$ha, the fact of the matter is that most people who receive a message with this subject will assume you’re talking about yourself.
  • Could you be the one? Really? Relax. Sure, you want to find a long-term companion. But let’s not jump right into commitment, shall we? Give them some room to breathe.
  • My partner in crime. Mentioning crime is never a good way to make a good first impression.
  • Seeking to meet new people. No, you’re not trying to meet new people. You can do that on forums or blogs or Facebook. Here, on the online dating site, you’re looking for a date.
  • I never do this. Um, yes. You do, actually. You’re doing it right now, as a matter of fact.
  • I’m the one your mother warned you about. Sure, you’re kidding, but they don’t always know that. You might really be the one their mother warned them about.
  • Are you Prince Charming? Nothing like putting your high expectations out there from the beginning.

What’s the worst online dating email header you’ve seen?

Carnival of Online Dating
The May 23 Edition of the Carnival of Online Dating has been moved to next week, Wednesday, May 30th. The site we use to collect our awesome submissions, blogcarnival.com, had some technical issues — again — and has been down for a while. As a result, we have no submissions and no carnival to post yet!

Blogcarnival.com is now up and running, so we can collect submissions once again. If you do have any, please feel free to submit them to the blog carnival site for inclusion here or send them to us via email!

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Dating When You’re On The Rebound

by Online Dating on May 21, 2012

After a breakup, it can be hard to get back onto the dating scene. Relationships represent a huge investment of time, energy, hopes and dreams, and when it doesn’t work out, we need time to heal before moving on. Rebound relationships can be tricky, especially for the conscientious dater who doesn’t want to see anyone else get hurt. Ask yourself the following questions when trying to decide if the time is right:

  • How serious were you about your last relationship? If your heart was fully invested, chances are the breakup was hard on you, too. Friends may suggest online dating or blind dates as a way to encourage you to heal, but their advice may be missing the mark. Only you can decide when it’s time to start seeing new people again.
  • How often do you think about your ex? If the answer is more than once a day, chances are you’re not ready to move on. Questions linger in our minds long after a relationship ends. We may be unsure of ourselves, doubt our choice in partners, or wonder if the right one is even “out there.” If you’re still mulling over every detail of your last relationship, meeting someone new will only divert your attention temporarily. It may not be kind to “use” someone this way, and you aren’t very likely to find that special someone when you’re still hung up on past mistakes.
  • What are your reasons for wanting to date? If your primary reason is to forget about someone who once meant a lot to you, your energies might be better invested elsewhere. Take a few night classes or plan a vacation instead. It will give you something to focus on without jeopardizing your emotions.

There’s no set amount of time that one must wait after ending one relationship before starting to date again. Any attempt at quantifying the “right” amount of time for someone to heal after a breakup is pure speculation, and not usually helpful. Getting back in the game is a very personal choice. Just make sure you’re making the decision for the right reasons, and you aren’t likely to let yourself down or hurt someone else in the process.

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