Why this Female Founder had to Leave Her Tech Startup and Get a Job

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About two years ago I had the honor of meeting one of the smartest men I’ve ever met. Fate had me meet with him after answering an online classified job ad where he was seeking marketing help. At the time, all he had was his idea drawn out on a whiteboard, and a couple of designs on his phone. Coming from a matchmaking and marketing background, I was instantly attracted to his idea, because it solved a huge problem that no other dating company had tried to solve in 20 years. I told him I wanted to be a part of it, and became his Cofounder and VP of marketing within a few months of proving my value to him.

I don’t have to tell you how difficult and challenging the past two years have been for us, but I can say it has been the most amazing journey I’ve ever had in my life.  I want to make one thing transparent: I’m not leaving my startup for a job because I don’t like it anymore.  I’m leaving because I have an eight-year-old son and bills to pay. I love my startup more than anything in this world, I consider it my second child.  I put my heart and soul into it 14 hours a day, seven days a week, for two years without any pay. I don’t mind the hours, I’ve actually learned to thrive on it, and find myself a bit emotional when I’m not working on it.  It’s like going to Neverland to fly with Peter Pan, and then coming home to regular old Earth.

I often read about investors who focus on female founders, and invest in early-stage companies. When I reach out to them, I don’t hear back, or they say that we are too early for them. Wait a minute, isn’t this an “early stage” investment firm?  How can you be too early for an early stage investment firm?  I get confused about this because from what I understand, investors look for a couple of things:

  • Proof of concept
  • Some sort of traction
  • A solid founding team
  • The technology (hardware of software platform) already built
  • Early signs of revenue

The peculiar part of my story, is that we have all of this and much more, and have even raised over $100,000!  Yet still, investors have not helped us reach the next level by investing a small Seed round to help us really take our platform to the next level. There’s only so much I can do as a single parent, to take care of my son, and pay my bills, while running a tech startup that doesn’t pay me any money. I have to do what is necessary in order to survive and take care of my family. It pains me to take a job when I know my startup is going to succeed, it’s obvious that it’s only a matter of time.

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Luckily, my team can pick up my duties while I am working at my job, so there’s still hope. I think it’s funny when investors ask the founding team to run their startup full-time, and I’d love to ask them a simple question. How can I work my startup full-time if I have no money to feed my eight-year-old son, pay my rent, put gas in my car to drive to meetings, pay for my phone and Internet bills, pay for health insurance, and just my basic human needs of survival?

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Investors who want us to work full-time, should give us money so that we can work full-time. My mother is dead, my father is dead, and I have no family to help me with my bills.  My mother actually died just a few short months ago while I was right in the middle of the second year running this startup. We had committed investors in Philadelphia at this time , but they backed out last minute the day of her funeral of all days. We were too risky for them we have a California style platform and didn’t have 1M in revenue yet . Did I give up? No, I cried and I mourned.  But I kept moving forward, to make my second child grow.  It’s what my mother would have wanted. My team supports me, my coworkers and friends support me, what family I do have supports me, but not financially. Therefore, I have to take a job that will pay me money, and I will work on my startup when I’m at home at night, and on the weekends.  I’m very effective, so the hours I invest will be double what a normal entrepreneur puts in.

If you are an entrepreneur, and you are reading this, then you know how hard it is to do what I am about to do. If you are investor and you are reading this, shame on you. You say you support early-stage companies, you say you support female founders, you said you support companies that have all their pieces in place.  Well let’s see if you support me and my team, I’m waiting for your phone call.

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Ironically, the job I took is a Business Funding Expert for a leading investment firm.  So now I have to help them manage their funds, invest in companies, vet entrepreneurs, and perform due diligence on their companies.  All the while I couldn’t get an investment for my own company.  Apparently, irony (not misery) loves company.

Yours truly, a single mother, with no parents, an amazing startup, an incredible founding team, proof of concept, traction, early signs of revenue, angel investors, 250k downloads, and a live (both Apple & Google app stores) breakthrough platform that is already changing the way people form relationships in real time, in a space that has needed disruption for two decades.

10 Questions You Should Ask on a First Date

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One of the reasons I dread having a first date is because typically they are like job interviews.  You have to get to know someone, just like you do in a job interview, so you ask them 21 questions about themselves.  After thousands of dates, you can imagine how boring this can be, both asking the questions, and answering them repeatedly without an end in sight.

One of the things I tried recently to shake things up a bit and make a first date more interesting was to switch up my questions. Here are some examples of questions you may have asked or have been asked, and what I think you could ask instead to make a first date more enjoyable:

Generic Question: How many brothers or sisters do you have?

Better Question: If you have any siblings, tell me about one of the funniest moments you remember with them?

Generic Question: What do you do for a living?

Better Question: What’s the favorite part of your job?

Generic Question: Where did you go to college?

Better Question: What did you major in college, and if you could have changed your major and done something else, what would it be and why?

Generic Question: What are some of your hobbies?

Better Question: Which hobby do you prefer the most, and why do you like it so much?

Generic Question: Do you have any pets?

Better Question: If your pet could talk, what are some of the things you think it would say to you?

Generic Question: What’s your favorite food?

Better Question: What was the last thing you cooked, and why did you enjoy preparing it?

Generic Question: What’s your favorite movie?

Better Question: What were some of the last few movies you watched, and did any of them move you at all?

Generic Question: What’s your favorite band?

Better Question: If you could listen to any band dead or alive right now, which would it be and why?

Generic Question: Where are some of the places you’ve traveled to?

Better Question: Tell me about the most memorable moment you’ve ever had in a foreign country.

Generic Question: Are you close to your parents?

Better Question: Tell me about something about growing up with your parents that you remember vividly, funny, sad, or just a cool moment.

Generic Question: What do you do in your free time?

Better Question: When you have free time, what do you usually do more: relax, read, listen to music, watch movies, engage in culture, seek out adventure, or all of the above?

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I can go on and on with these generic questions that don’t get to the core of what will show if there is a match. Personality and chemistry reign supreme, but these generic questions don’t target those characteristics. So hopefully my “Better questions” will help those of you who are going on yet another first date.   When you ask someone these questions, take extra care to look at their facial expressions, so you can see how they got surprised and/or intrigued by your question.

I think these questions will give you more of where the person is coming from.  Whether or not they are creative, funny, or if they can think on the spot.  Plus, based on the answers, you might find that their personality is a lot like yours if they choose some of the same answers you would choose. Of course it’s only fair that you answer them also, so make sure you thought your answers through. In the end, this would be a much better way to get to know someone in my opinion while walking in a park with a coffee or an ice cream in hand.

How to Navigate Through the Vast Ocean of Love

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I’m sure that if you’re single, you will agree that you’re sick of hearing “When you find the one, you will just know.  You won’t question it anymore, you will just stop asking yourself if this is who you are supposed to be with.” I’m not going to lie, I was one of the single people out there who thought that this saying might be B.S.!  Yet even I was skeptical that I would ever meet anyone online. It seemed like it was an endless pool of sharks and I was just a starfish sinking to the bottomless sea of the unknown.  Just a mysterious, endless, lonely ocean of nothing.

I read a long time ago that in Christian symbolism, the starfish represents the Virgin Mary (Stella Maris which means Star of the Sea), who creates safe travel over troubled waters and is also seen as an emblem of salvation during trying times. The star as well as the starfish are seen as celestial symbols and as such, they represent infinite divine love. In addition to love, the starfish also holds characteristics such as guidance, vigilance, inspiration, brilliance and intuition. If a starfish is injured and its tentacles are removed, they grow back making them immortal.  They have fascinated me since the first time my mother gave me one as a pet for my birthday.

At first, during my search for love I was oblivious like anyone else.   I would see an attractive picture and email back and forth with men that were obviously nothing like me and had nothing in common with me.  I was being shallow. I usually went for someone who was emotionally unavailable or someone who lived far away, or who was mysterious, or showed signs of being taken. I was avoiding commitment and I didn’t even know I was doing it. I was making mistakes and learning the hard way.  Each day that went by I lost more and more hope.  Did I even deserve to have someone special in my life?  I was in seven weddings and watched my girlfriends go on honeymoons, have babies, and buy houses.  Meanwhile, I was going to bed alone night after night, and each day my job (I was a matchmaker) was to tell people how to be patient and that love does exist.

One thing my job did teach me during this journey was a lot about research and statistics on singles and online dating. So I started to learn trends and what drove people to choose one person over another users profile. I learned online lingo, how to choose the best profile pictures, and how to make an appealing first impression by video. I read and watched thousands of profiles, looked at probably a million people that sounded exactly the same.  But how could everyone be the same?!  I was becoming an expert on online dating profiles and platforms. I even sat on panels and had shows about the topics. Then I went on a hundred bad dates. I really started using what I learned and my dates actually started to get better and started lasting past two or three dates.  But I was still alone and not feeling the ultimate connection.  I was getting no sort of real commitment.

The truth is, no matter what expert data you have and learn or analytics on dating trends and skills its still up to timing, fate, luck, and the universe. So long story short I actually found him and I just knew like people said I would! He is the most amazing, kindhearted man I have ever met.  He is just like me and we could have fun throwing rocks, or talking for hours.  We have a lot in common and I feel like he was made just for me.  Like I created him in my mind or something.  Sometimes I wonder if he’s even human. Well here is what I did:

1. Pray – I’m not super religious but on those lonely nights when I was lying in bed with tears in my eyes I would pray that God would help me or lead me in the right direction to find someone who had a heart like mine.

2.Clean out the closet – I got rid of my past just a couple days before I met him.  I said my final goodbyes to people who had wasted my time or had been unemotionally available. I wanted a game free environment for anyone coming in.

3. Stop going on dates/research – I used to go on a date if someone asked me and they looked decent or had an interesting job.  But now before I went on any date I took it more serious.  I would review their profiles then text as many important vital questions. I did my research.  I would check out their LinkedIn, Facebook, and any online presence, have video chats, etc. Its amazing what you can learn about a person when they are not putting on a facade to lure you in to go on a date with them.

4. I did the picking and choosing – Usually a man would approach me online, ask me out and that’s how the courtship began. But this time I refused to talk to anyone that emailed me or sent me a wink.  I wanted the men that were not interested and I wanted to find out why.  So I was now the one sending the first emails and my decision was based on how they responded back.  What I found during my investigation was the most unusual finding.  I found my guy on the first try using my new approach. I didn’t know it would happen that fast but it did and I’m ecstatic.  I found ten things I liked about him and listed them kind of like I would list on a PowerPoint for investors and sent it to him. Here is what I like about you, here is what I want, here is what I offer, do you want to meet? At first he wanted to meet for a drink like any other date but then he texted me back and said he would rather play miniature golf.  I knew this was going to be different.

5.Vulnerable/Honesty – I went into this wholeheartedly.  Yes I was hurt in the past, but I had nothing to lose.  I was already alone. I was honest with him like I would be with any of my best friends or family members. I was very vulnerable.  I always go for the unavailable guys.  He was different.  He was showing that he was available.  I gave him my trust. I remember one of our first few dates he told me to get dressed up and I had no clue where we were going but I let him surprise me.  I didn’t have to know everything.  I didn’t have to know all the answers or where we were going as long as it was together.  This was new to me.

I wasn’t alone anymore, I found another starfish in the sea to float through the great big ocean. Maybe it’s not about what you think is supposed to happen but it’s about taking what’s missing in your heart more serious.  After you do this then you will let timing, fate, karma, and serendipity come into play. Don’t ever give up hope.  There is absolutely someone for everyone.

When You Know You’re Ready to Settle Down

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Relationships are fantastic if you find the right person to share the experience with. There are so many different things to consider when it comes to settling down long-term, finally committing, and taking yourself off the market.  Here are some of the signs I found most significant for me:

1.  You have been single for a significant amount of time: If you have been single for a long period of time this is actually very good, you have actually done what most people cannot do be alone. You are now comfortable with who you are, you have your own interests, likes and dislikes.  You are not hiding behind a partners’ shadow and you have your own life. This will help you with a future partner.  Not only is your independence attractive, but it shows you are settling down for the right reasons and not to just to have someone around just because.

Fact:75 percent of folks who settled down feel that they just settled, according to a new study by Siemens Festival Nights .

 

2. Tired of being the third wheel: When your friends are all married, engaged, living with partners and you’re always the third wheel, it will definitely start crossing your mind that it would be really nice to have someone on your arm. When your friends stop giving you a plus one to their events because they never see you with anyone and want to save money, you know that even they have given up on your search for love.

3. You are alone on the Holidays: Have you ever been at the mall during Christmas and everyone seems to be running around for that special gift.  You are actually jealous of their craziness because, you know you won’t be snuggling up by the fireplace drinking hot cocoa under the mistletoe with your beloved. You’re ready to sit on Santa’s lap and wish for a boyfriend.  Imagine six years alone on every holiday. I imagine my first holiday with someone will be better then any gift that would be store bought.

 

4. The night life and random dates start to bore you:  On dates, you can only get dressed up so many times, drink so many fancy martinis and explain your life story over and over again to someone who is most likely completely a waste of time or wrong for you. If you are out on the prowl and know what the DJ is going to play next and what the drink specials are at your favorite hot spot, you are definitely spending too much time being single. I know I personally enjoy cooking dinner, watching movies, laughing and snuggling over any night out.

5. You don’t have an emergency contact: This might sound silly but after my mom passed away and I lost both parents I had to take my mom off my records as the emergency contact. And as everyone knows there is a spot for spouse husband/wife and mine has always been blank. So as I was sitting there with my injured hip alone in the hospital bed after surgery I realized I wanted to fill that spot in.  I don’t want to be here alone.  I want someone to go get me a vending machine drink and snack and tell me it’s all OK and they love me. I’m a big baby.

6. You know you won’t mess up things if you found the right person this time around: We all look back at mistakes we made and our past failed relationships.  When you are mentally ready for a real relationship you might be thinking and saying things , Like if I ever find a person that is worth it I will not just give up on them. I won’t run away when times get tough and I won’t ever think the grass is greener.  They will be my second chance, my everything and I will always put them first and make it work.

Hope this helps a little.  Please add some of your thoughts and remember we all make mistakes.  We all have struggles and regrets from things that have happened in our past.  We are not our mistakes, struggles or regrets. We are here now today and alive.  So use those experiences to shape tomorrow and your future relationships. Life has been preparing you for all the right things that are yet to come good luck out there!

How I Lost My Best Friend to Marriage

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I lost my best female friend of eight years recently to marriage. As weird as that may sound, it’s the truth. What happened to me in this situation, I don’t wish upon anyone, because it’s very hurtful. All I can hope for is that others will read this and take precautions to avoid doing this to one of your best friends if you meet the man or woman of your dreams.

My friendship with (I’ll call her Jill), started off back in 2007. Jill and I had a lot in common, whether the food we ate, the arts we enjoyed, cultural exhibits, going to fun events together, and many other things. I was her “go-to guy” for when she had boyfriend trouble. I can’t remember how much advice I’ve given her over the years because it is a tremendous amount. But I can safely say, I have done more with Jill in the 8 years as her friend than I have with any girlfriend in my life. And this is why my story is painful to tell.

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About four months ago, Jill invited me to a party.  She wanted to introduce me to her new “boyfriend”, whom she had literally just met like the day before. She said she was,”in love”. I was actually kind of shocked because given her track record, I thought she would be more careful. Especially after a previous conversation when we went to hear the Philadelphia orchestra perform, whereas she told me she was giving up on men,  taking it easy, and focusing on herself and her business. Well that went right out the window.

Whether she knew it or not, I was actually happy for her. She has not been treated well by men, and as her best friend, I felt for her, more than she will ever know. I was happy that she found someone with whom she could start a life.  Where I was unhappy, was how she treated me in the process. I was forgotten. I was left behind. It was as if she and I were soldiers on a battlefield, I was shot, and she didn’t come back for me. The wound was made, and she expected me to heal it on my own. That’s not what friends do. Friends are there for friends no matter what. It doesn’t matter if you meet a new lover. It doesn’t matter if you start a new business. It doesn’t matter if something tragic happens in your life. Friends should always be there for their friends.

I love the saying from the Bible: Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.  Well, if Jill was following this saying, she made it pretty clear that she wanted to have nothing to do with me. Of course, four months later she randomly texts me to let me know that she married this stranger, and that they live together (well that was lightning fast).  She expected me to be happy for her and pick up where we left off. This coming from a friend who I no longer thought was a friend. My question to everyone out there is: If you meet a significant other, and start a relationship with them, does that mean you should toss your best friend(s) aside?  Those friends that were there for years.  Shouldn’t you still talk to them at least once a week, and meet with them for coffee or some fun event like you used to do at least every other week?  Why does it have to be one or the other?

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Personally, anyone who knows me, knows that I will never, ever, NEVER, EVER, ditch a friend for a girlfriend. I never have in 38 years, and I never will. That’s completely disrespectful, uncalled for, immature, and shows a huge lack of empathy. Funny enough, I decided to be the better man and invited my long lost friend to a party that I am throwing soon. After a brief a scuffle via text message when I voiced my opinion, she is now not coming to the party.  I’m sorry, but I will never bite my tongue, and definitely will not hold back my opinion, especially when it comes to a so-called “best friend”.  I now realize that my friend is lost forever, in a long-lost land called marriage. If this is what traveling to that land is like, then count me out. I would rather stay single, and be happy with my friends and my family, then jeopardize the friendship(s) that I have, over just one person (who may one day disappear).  Friendship lasts forever, marriage does not, as we all well know.

Good luck to you Jill, I hope your marriage brings you all the happiness in the world.  I hope that your husband treats you how you want to be treated. I hope that your husband does things with you that you truly love to do. The things we used to do together. Above all, I hope that the next time you make a new friend, that you don’t push them aside for anything in the world, not a husband, not a job, and not even a tragic event.  Nothing is worth losing a friendship over.

Should you Choose a Partner by What They do for a Living?

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A few weeks ago a friend told me she was about to go on a date with a family lawyer.  I like her so I tried to stop her.  I explained that being a family lawyer destroys the soul. During my stint getting divorced I’ve been screwed by my ex’s lawyers, the parent coordinator lawyers and my lawyers.   I think I’ve had about 8.  That adds up to a lot of lawyers.  My experience has got to be statistically significant.  Family lawyers will do anything, and I mean anything for money.  I told my friend to run for the hills.  No good could come of that relationship.  Plus, if they did end up getting married and then divorced…Oy Vey.  Can you imagine divorcing an expert in destroying ex’s?

I spoke with that friend today.  She threw into the conversation that she’d been dating a family lawyer and he turned out to be an asshole.  I got to throw into the conversation, “I told you so!” I knew what this guy was like without knowing anything about him except his profession.

And now for some dating advice.  When looking for love, look at what someone does for a living.  Certain personality traits are inherent in certain fields. What comes first, the chicken or the egg? For example, does being a family lawyer make you slime, or do slimy people become family lawyers?  Who knows, but for dating purposes, it does not matter.  All you need to do is look up the personality traits that are associated with a person’s job, and you will get very useful information as to whether or not to date them.  In fact, when on internet dating sites, I recommend going directly from the dating site to googling personality traits of whatever profession the profile you were looking at had.  Then you will know if you are truly a match.

For example, and I’m going back to lawyers, according to a study done at John’s Hopkins, attorneys have 3.6 times more depression than people in other professions.  They also are way more likely to be alcoholics and use illegal drugs. On the other hand, they are the highest paid professionals. If you are looking for money, lawyers could be for you.  When they are depressed or depressing, you can tune them out and enjoy your new Porsche. If you like to drink and do illegal drugs, lawyers could be for you.  They could also come in handy if you get caught doing the illegal drugs, because you’ll need a lawyer.

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But, if you are looking for someone happy and wholesome, I’d recommend dating a minister. They are always pleasant and smiling.  Except, of course, the Republican ones after they get caught in the gay sex scandals.  But, I digress… and besides, even then they keep smiling.

Before I finish this blog, I want to apologize to lawyers.  I’m sure you don’t all suck.  In fact, I was once an environmental protection agency attorney.  My colleagues were all saving the world and super nice, not spending their days figuring out ways to throw a woman out of her marital residence.   I really liked my marital home.  I should have married an environmentalist.  No doubt, what a person does for a living shapes their personality.

Why Two Lovers aren’t Better than One

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I know you’re sitting there asking yourself (or asking me)  Um,  doesn’t 1+1=2? And before I answer,  no I didn’t fail math, I promise. But in some cases,  1 simply is a greater number.   Let’s get this right out in the open,  I am not opposed to playing the field or casual dating/open relationships.  As long as honesty is involved.  But, in the case of what I call,  partner hoarding,  I’m completely opposed.

If you are starting to date someone,  and it’s becoming serious,  the question becomes,  when and how do you tell your other suitors goodbye.  Or more importantly, when in your new romances,  do you stop looking for eligible bachelor’s? There isn’t an exact science for when it’s time to delete those dating apps or tell those Snapchat buddies no more sexting (is that still a thing?)

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I came upon this type of predicament recently,  when my recent paramour, we’ll call him The Magician,  disappeared, like smoke, without a word,  and I had to ask myself,  am I supposed to date again?  Do I wait?  And how honest is too honest for a new potential suitor before it sends them packing? Do I verbal vomit that my most recent eligible bachelor just up and vanished? What the hell does that say about me?!

In my experience,  for my own self preservation,  I play things pretty close to the chest,  I always have, I don’t show my hand till I think I found someone worthy of knowing more in general.  Not everyone feels this way,  it’s simply a matter of choice.  But recently,  having just had a very short lived, whirlwind roller-coaster romance, which seemed to be headed towards disaster,  I flirted with someone else, very casually without any intentions.  I wasn’t up front with them about what else I had going on,  given I wasn’t even sure what ground I stood on, if it was on or off (turns out it was both on and off again!  Dizzy yet?)  I wasn’t up front because I wasn’t sure there was a point to opening a book about something that seemed closed,  and I didn’t want to start a fire when there wasn’t any need to burn the forest down.

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My best friend warned me “this guy is flirting with you, he’s interested and you need to pay attention” and I brushed it off,  thinking,  “it’s not that serious, he won’t care that I have an on again off again thing and besides…we’re just flirting.”  But what if that was reversed?  How do I feel when someone isn’t honest with me?  The answer is hurt.  And pissed. So pissed. When my Magician again showed back up,  I thought “See,  OK, this is why I waited and I can explain this at some point to Mr. Flirty because well,  we’re really just friends who say somewhat colored things to each other once in a while with no intentions.”  Until once again, The Magician disappeared, and I thought, who’s the fool here?  Me for playing with fire by stringing someone along and being dishonest,  while I wait for someone to show up and stay committed, who clearly can’t.  Or blowing off the chance with someone who wants to spend time with me.

Don’t be me.  I thought about why I had never said a word to Mr. Flirty, maybe because I liked the attention,  maybe because I sort of knew Mr. Magician would vanish again and there would be no point.  Maybe because I didn’t want to lose either one just yet.  But no answer is acceptable.  Don’t hoard lovers out of fear of losing one,  because in the end you’ll lose them all.  Hold onto the one who will treat you well,  even if it doesn’t work out,  and if neither is that, then 1 still is the greater number.  You.

10 Tips to Heal Your Heart After Divorce

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Imagine you have the chance to start over and create the life that you’ve always wanted. When you are single again you can make your dream life a reality.  Your mulligan (do over) may not be the way you planned or imagined, but you have been given the gift to go forward and create the life you want.

The first healthy relationship you need to have is with yourself.  When you have healed your heart and start having a better relationship with yourself, your entire attitude toward life and the vision you have of your dream partner will synchronize.  With ample healing, I can clearly see that the partners I once saw as “possibilities” are now “non-contenders”.

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Here are 10 tips to jump start your healing to create an amazing life:

1. BE HAPPY: Forgiving yourself promotes healing.  Yes, you’re single again.  It as a second chance to have the life you’ve always wanted.  Want to redecorate? Dreamed of having a gorgeous wardrobe?  Always wanted to be a fantastic cook? Yes, you can have it all! Create the life you want. You have permission to be happy!

2. BE POSITIVE: Make a list of all your great qualities and why you are awesome.  Recite it every night and morning until you smile.  Positive self-talk is powerful! Happiness is for the taking.  Go grab a slice!

3. BE HEALTHY: Start slowly by eating more fruits and veggies.  Since you’re probably experiencing a lot of stress, now is a great time to take better care of your health.  This also includes skin care, hair care, etc.  You deserve to feel fabulous and it will lift your spirits!

4. BE SMART: I could write a book about all the advice I received (both good and bad) when I was first single.  One person actually told me that I just needed to, “go out and have some sex.”  Um, no.  Always, consider the source.  Regardless of their intention, you DO NOT need to take anyone’s advice.  You are creating YOUR NEW LIFE, drama free.  Be respectful but do not be afraid to say, “No thank you.”  Regain your confidence by making smart choices.

5. BE PATIENT: When you are healing, you should take all the time in the world until you feel confident enough to jump back into the dating scene again.  This might take the rest of your life, and that’s okay.  You shouldn’t feel like you are pressured into being with somebody just because you are single.  Having the support of friends and family will help cope with your feeling of loneliness.  Just be patient, and fate will take care of the rest.

6. BE INTERESTING: I know a guy who boasts about how he only watches TV and never really likes to go anywhere.  He says he’s, “a homebody”.  It was a very short lived (and extremely awkward) conversation.  Read interesting books. Have a hobby.  Take up a new activity. Join a club. This will help you heal because you are living life and not sitting around waiting for life to come to you.

7. BE FLIRTY: Ever see the Friends episode where “Ross Can’t Flirt”? You should bring back that little spark to your day (not at work!).  It may take some practice but it will help you heal by being more open with people and will help build your confidence.

8. BE ACTIVE: A solo walk in the park, or in the neighborhood during daylight hours (safety first, of course) will help you sort out your thoughts and feelings.  Use this time to really think about and plan the life you’re creating.  I have walked many, many miles by the river and gained so much clarity during this solitude.  A rigorous workout at the gym is great for releasing those endorphin’s for a mood boost.

9. BE AUTHENTIC: Part of healing is being honest with yourself and others.  You don’t need to reveal every secret.  Being true to yourself will help you understand yourself better and will lead you to seek a compatible partner.

10. BE FREE: Enjoy life to its fullest.  This is your chance.  Take it!

When Your New Partner Pulls a Disappearing Act

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now

I had been in a relationship for over 7 years with an abusive, violent tempered man, when I finally found the courage to leave and start over at 31. There were times I thought, what the hell am I doing?

I don’t even remember what dating looks like, and I definitely had forgotten how to be single. I thought for sure I knew what abuse looked like. But it comes in all forms. After being abused, I had to pick myself back up.  This took four months of hanging out with my girl friends, working out at the gym, throwing myself into my work, and of course spending quality time by myself and my rescue pit bull.

I decided it was time to stop waiting around and get back on the dating horse. After saying I never would (and partially being grateful I never had to), I agreed to join a dating app as a “social experiment” along with my best friend. I immediately got several matches and began talking to a few, but instantly clicked with one. This was in the middle of a terrible snow storm we had here in New York.  Our first date almost didn’t happen, but he agreed to pick me up in the middle of the snow storm.  We went to a coffee shop, where we genuinely clicked, so much so that I agreed to let him come over to help me shovel my snow covered driveway (I swear it’s not a euphemism just a really sweet way to keep our date going late into the evening).

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After that first date we just couldn’t stop talking. He joined a chat client so we could talk while I was at work, and we saw each other every day. It seemed too perfect, but after what I had just been through I was thinking “don’t I deserve a little perfect?”. This man was sweet, kind, and loved my overprotective, stinky dog. He refused to let me pay for anything (any time I tried, I would find money hidden in my pockets and a text would pop up saying “Check your pockets cutie xoxo”).

Within a short time he was admitting that something was drawing him to me, he was falling for me, and as scared as I was, I was falling for him too. I deleted my dating app, he deleted his and we asked the question only a few weeks in “are we a couple?” and both feeling giddy, we agreed. On our way to dinner, he looked at me and said with a huge grin “I have a girlfriend!!”, after years of feeling like someone’s property, I felt like I had someone who cherished me and was happy in my company.

Three months in, things changed.  I stopped hearing from him as frequently, and got excuses that work was getting busy, well OK, this is a man who runs his own business, it was possible, and who doesn’t appreciate a hard working partner? Suddenly I started questioning his feelings, and mine, already wary of getting used and hurt, now I was on edge.

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Then after buying him a plane ticket and hotel to visit my family out of state, I didn’t hear from him for nearly 3 weeks.  It was radio silence, so much that my best friend even texted him, to sarcastically ask him if he was dead. What was going on? I cried in text messages, “where are u?! ” and asked him to confirm if we were still going on this trip, or even still a couple, which, briefly he assured me he was and we most certainly were.

He agreed to pick me up one night but never showed up.  I was about to give up, but the day before the trip, miraculously there he was, and he owed me a serious explanation. Which to this day, I only sort of got. He gave me apologies, about how selfish he was, for thinking he could disappear and how he knew how close to losing me he came and he never wants that to happen. I listened and said, “do this again and we’re done”. He promised. He said let’s move in together. When we got home things were better, for a short time, and then we had to decide on an apartment. I spent time looking, time he had promised to spend with me, and yet came up with reasons why he couldn’t. When I found a place for us, he couldn’t be there to see it, he disappeared…again. He stopped answering his phone.

Abuse comes in all forms. I thought I knew what it looked like and could spot it a million miles away. I found myself on the receiving end of a roller coaster of emotions again, not knowing when or where I would hear from this man who claimed to care about me. Are there good, kind men out there? I’m still hoping.

10 Things I Learned After 20 Years of Dating Online

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AOL

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…Well, not that long ago (1993), and not too far away, I was using AOL (America Online) to sign onto this new invention called the Internet using my phone line. From there I would enter what were called “chat rooms” to talk to new people who had similar interests.  Once I got used to the chat rooms, I started to meet people in person. Back then, this was just crazy.

I remember the first time I had a date from the Internet, I was with my best friend Kirk, and we met two girls from an AOL chat room.  I was 16 years old and didn’t have my own car yet.  I had just gotten my learners permit. My mom had to drop us off at the mall to meet them!  The picture I received from one of the two girls was a scanned in picture (no digital cameras or social networks to see her).  Luckily she looked like her one picture.  Needless to say that was the only time I saw her.

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As time went on, I was intrigued with the idea that I could meet people from the Internet, so I kept doing it.  I did it so often that I became sort of an expert on meeting people or dating from the Internet.  Eventually dating websites became a thing and I started to use those as well.  Now 22 years later, I could easily write a book about my adventures in online dating.  But for now, I’ll keep it short and tell you about the 10 things I learned through my time using the Internet as a way to meet people and go on dates:

  1. Dating is absurdly convenient: What used to be a tedious process of scanning in photos, filling out enormously long profiles, emailing incessantly back and forth, and finally meeting someone after weeks of ridiculous conversations has turned into just a swipe away from a quick chat and meeting someone in person.
  2. The majority of singles don’t take dating seriously: So yes, it’s convenient, but that also makes people not take it seriously.  Being a swipe away from meeting someone means that singles now realize they have options.  Those options make people not settle for someone like they used to, because they think there’s always something better with another right-swipe.
  3. Picture technology has helped a little: Back in the day you’d have to scan in your printed photos with a scanner and transfer them to your computer to add to your dating profile.  With the advent of digital cameras and then smartphones, it’s much easier to add your photos to dating sites.  But the downside is the “Catfish” syndrome, whereas people are also fixing up their photos to look like J-lo or Magic Mike.
  4. People are less skeptical: When I was using AOL to meet people, it took a really long time to meet them in person after having a lot of phone conversations. Typically, girls wouldn’t meet me unless they were with a group of friends and I brought a group of guy friends, so that they felt more comfortable.  We pretty much always met at a mall because it was a super public place. Nowadays, people are less afraid to meet in person, because you can easily look up their Facebook profile or Instagram, and see what they’re like. Plus, with Facebook, you see how many mutual friends you have, and you might even know the same people, and can ask them what they are like (and if you think you’re a match).
  5. Personalities still don’t come through: Even after 22 years, dating online is still the same as it was back in 1993.  You still don’t know what someone’s personality is like, you still only get to read a profile, or look at some pictures.  After all this time, you would think things would move more toward showcasing someone’s personality as opposed to their written idea of it. I guess that’s why after all these years I found a huge gap and I’m trying to fill it.
  6. People are a lot more superficial and materialistic: Back when this whole thing started, it was easy to meet people at a mall as friends and just walk around, talk over a slice of pizza, or maybe go to a movie or an arcade (yeah we used to have arcades before video game consoles!). Now, when I take a woman on a date, they typically expect at least a couple of drinks or dinner, and guys spending $60, without a care in the world on whether or not they will see them again. Sure, I go on coffee or ice cream dates, but dating has fundamentally changed focus from meeting a new friend with the potential for more, to a “first date experience”.
  7. Education, job, car, home: Originally when I would meet people, of course I was younger, but I noticed that girls didn’t care about where I went to school, or what my job was, or what kind of car I had, or where I lived. Even after dating sites became more mainstream (with the exception of eHarmony), it was really down to personality and physical attraction first and foremost.  Nowadays, girls won’t meet certain guys (and vice versa) if they don’t have a college degree or if they don’t have a nice car, or don’t have a really nice house, or an amazing income. What if you are an artist who doesn’t believe in polluting the earth with your cars’ emissions, and would rather rent a studio apartment?  All I’m saying, is if you strip away the modern world’s superficiality and instead focused on the most basic level of human  attraction, wouldn’t you find your true love a lot easier?
  8. Dating has gone mobile: I used to sit in front of a little Apple computer with a black and white screen to talk in chat rooms, and then more advanced computers during my college years to talk to people.  Now I carry around a smartphone computer with video, photos, social networks, texting, phone calls, etc.  Dating is now being done from the palm of your hand which speeds up the process.  What used to take me weeks or even months to do sitting at a desk I can do in seconds or minutes while at a coffee shop, or while walking my dog.
  9. People are actually meeting the one: Years ago you would hear stories of people who spoke to each other from online sites for months across the country, and then would finally meet and get married.  Now people meet their match every day.  More and more people are getting married from online dating sites.  It used to be that you would meet a partner, and date them for years.  Now you might have a new partner every few months, and the new options (partner) never run out.  There’s a reason 30% to 50% of all marriages end in divorce.  People used to just settle for someone to avoid being alone.  Now you are never alone, there is always someone around the corner waiting for you.
  10. Sex has become a hobby: Let’s face it, with all these dating sites, and options, people are having way more sex (with a lot more people).  Back in the day, you would be lucky if you had sex with just one person in a year.  Now, people are “trying out more flavors” to find one they like.  Sex is healthy, it’s exercise, and now it has become somewhat of a hobby.  It’s something you fit into your schedule, whether you are dating or not.  You might think to yourself that you don’t have plans Saturday night, so now you can swipe right to find a sex partner.  You don’t have to be married or be in a relationship to have sex, and it’s actually not a bad thing.  Because once you are married or in a relationship the sex dwindles in frequency anyway.

So there you have it folks, what I’ve observed in the past 22 years of being an expert in online dating.  For those of you who are older, you might relate to some of these points, and for those that are younger, you’ll probably agree.  Enjoy the convenience of mobile dating, smartphones, the Internet, and swiping to your next partner.  Be safe out there!