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In the 1980s and 1990s, video dating was actually pretty popular. People would record videos with their camcorders at an office of a matchmaking company. Then singles would come in and watch the videos one by one and choose someone who they wanted to go on a date with. Speed dating was also pretty popular because you could meet anywhere between 10 to 50 people in one night and decide again, who you wanted to go on a date with face-to-face.
Fast forward 10 to 20 years, and dating has turned into either a swipe left or a swipe right to find your next fling. Even though Tinder and other apps have made online dating a lot more popular, it took a long time to get to that point. Just three years ago when I first started building my own video dating app, only 15% of singles worldwide were using dating apps. Thanks to Tinder and other apps like OkCupid, Coffee meets bagel, Hinge, and others, online dating apps are now used by almost 50% of singles.
It takes time for a barrier to come down, whether religion, race, or the stigma of dating online. For some reason, people just never felt comfortable putting their personalities and pictures online and meeting each other in a virtual world. But now that it is more commonplace, people are comfortable, and they are meeting at a record pace. The question is, what is the next evolution now that the walls have been broken down to the world of online dating?
Video. Real-time video. That is where dating is headed. And here’s a few reasons why:
- People are tired of getting catfished. Everyone knows that photos are usually made to look better, make up is used, and good angles are prominent. But when you meet that person in real life, they are rarely like their online persona, both in looks and personality. Videos will change that.
- Vine, Instagram, Periscope, YouTube, Snapchat, and other apps are making video more and more ubiquitous across the board. People are getting used to showcasing their lives using video. What better way to get to know people on a dating app except for video?
- Every evolution takes time to take hold, the online dating revolution took 10 to 20 years to take hold. Video might take another 10 years. But we are ahead of the game, and have been here for years.
- Investors are always looking for the next big thing, whereas today they may not see how big a market video dating is, one day they will, mark my words. When that happens, it will explode.
- Single parents would rather have 20 bad dates from the comfort of their home while the kids are playing in the other room, rather than getting ready, spending money and time, to have one bad date in person.
- On the other hand, singles could have a really good date using a video dating app, and then feel more comfortable in person when they finally meet instead of having that awkward 21 questions, uncomfortable silence, and just the weird first date vibes.
Overall, video dating is the best way to find out if you have chemistry with a potential single person, before meeting in person. This will cause a shift in online dating to the point where there will be a lot less bad dates, less catfishing, and more relationship building. Having video chats and sending video messages prior to meeting in person will help establish some sort of foundation. Only time will tell to see when this massive movement will start to emerge. In the meantime, we are here, we are ready, and we are all about real-time video.
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I recently engaged in a conversation with someone online regarding the topic of serial dating. This woman claimed that all men are serial daters and that it’s impossible to truly be in a relationship with a man because he’s constantly going on dates with new women. Ironically, my response to that statement was that I felt the same way about women.
I happen to have a lot of female friends, and when I see them juggling 20 guys on their phone, that makes me wonder who is really the serial dater here, guys, or girls. Most likely it’s both. But I also think that this is a question of context. There are guys out there like me, who truly are looking for one person to be in a relationship with. The issue falls down to the 50-50 rule. What I mean by that is, the luck of being in a relationship with someone, or just meeting someone who likes you as much as you like them. You have a 50-50 chance at it.
When you first go on a date with someone, you might hit it off and really like each other, or so you think. You might never hear back from that person again for a second date, even though you thought you had a good time, but they didn’t, or they didn’t find you attractive, or they didn’t like your personality. Either way, it works both ways, and you have a 50-50 chance of it working out. If you ask me, I think those are pretty poor chances. So unfortunately, with the advent of dating apps like Tinder, people are just a swipe away from another date and another roll of the dice to get that 50-50 chance. It just so happens that nowadays, people are going on dates a heck of a lot more than they used to 10 years ago.
I don’t think it’s a question of serial dating, I think it’s the convenience of having access to a plethora of matches and being able to truly weed through as many people as possible until you give yourself the best chance at finding someone that you can spend the rest of your life with. If you think that guys are serial dating, maybe it’s that they just don’t like you, as harsh as that sounds, it’s probably true. There have been times I’ve been on a date with a girl, or I even dated them for a few weeks, and then I just found myself not interested in them, and I didn’t see a future with them. Wouldn’t it be smarter to cut it short rather than drag it out?
It’s not like I’m dating multiple women at the same time, when I do meet someone I like, I focus on only that girl and stop talking to other women altogether. But until I meet that woman who I want to focus my time and energy on, yes, I will continue to date in order to try to meet someone who I can spend time with. Isn’t that what dating is ultimately? The next time you think someone is a serial dater, truly look at the situation, the relationship, and figure out if you are a real good match for this person, because if you’re not, there’s your answer.
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Sometimes I feel like Little Red Riding Hood. She goes for a stroll to grandmother’s house in the woods before dark knowing its ominous, knowing shes alone. Yet she skips through the woods oblivious to the dangers that hide in the wooded forest. Not only does she run into the big, bad, wolf but she actually is in denial of what he really is. Always keeping her childlike innocence the entire time, naive to the beast that lurks in front of her.
“Oh, grandmother, what big ears you have!” “All the better to hear you with.”
“Oh, grandmother, what big eyes you have!” “All the better to see you with.”
“Oh, grandmother, what big hands you have!” “All the better to grab you with!”
“Oh, grandmother, what a horribly big mouth you have!” “All the better to eat you with!”
Is this what temptation is? Do we sometimes live in denial? Did Red Riding Hood know the wolf was a wolf in her grandmother’s night gown but needed an adrenaline rush? I feel like we all know the right thing to do. We all know what we want in life, we know who is right and wrong for us. We know when we are being fooled or used but sometimes we need the big, bad, wolf to put us in our place. There is a saying I really like,”you cannot feel high if you haven’t been low”. The wolf ate her grandmother and almost ate RED but she escapes. What a rush she must of felt to have a second chance. What am I even talking about you may be asking. I’m talking about temptation. What is the definition of temptation? After you read it out loud you may understand better.
Temptation is a fundamental desire to engage in short-term urges for enjoyment, that threatens long-term goals.
So was little Red Riding Hood trying to seek a thrill knowing that if it were really a wolf she may not live until tomorrow because he may eat her? Do people who get tempted do it on purpose or a deeper need itching within? Do they do it to feel something when they are numb? Have they been just going with the day to day emotions? Think about this: What if you were so numb and you wanted to just feel something electric in your body one final push off the cliff that would make you feel alive again so you could keep going…would you walk in the woods?
We all have burning desires. Some of us drive fast, some cheat, some get tattoos, some party, some jump out of planes, some gamble, some travel, and some have dark secrets we may never know of. We are all the same, no one is perfect, that is human. I think every once in awhile we just do something out of character to feel alive again when the world is on our shoulders. We run into the woods, we wear red capes and play with wolves. I don’t know why we do the things we do but we have a reason to want to feel something to awaken it all. Well I will leave you with one of my favorite lines from the story.
The wolf said, “You know, my dear, it isn’t safe for a little girl to walk through these woods alone.”
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When I decided to host a Happy Hour for the Women’s Soccer World Cup Quarter Final – USA vs. China game this past Friday, people asked me: “So who are YOU rooting for, the US, or China?” I said: “May the best team win.” And I meant it.
But I was not surprised at the result of US 1:0 win over China – and it was not just because of this ‘prediction’ I jokingly made in this earlier post comparing chances of happy marriages in America vs. in China. The ‘experts’ attributed the results primarily to the lack of experience of the China team, but I believe there are much more to this well played game than that – much that we can learn about winning in love and life as well.
As much as it was hard for me to watch the China team lose at such a catastrophic pace, I applaud the American team for representing the best spirit in sports and in life, in the following ways:
1. They looked like they genuinely enjoyed what they were doing (in their case, playing soccer). Despite the pressure and the big ticket on the line, every single one of the American girls looked like they are genuinely having a good time. You can tell that they CHOSE to be there because of passion. On the contrary, most of the Chinese girls looked like they really did NOT want to be there. Their faces read stress, confusion, and extreme horror of humiliating national honor by losing the game. This applies to dating, as well as to any other pursuit of life: interest, passion and the ability to let them loose despite external pressure, are the best drivers for top performance. Of course, winning a game or getting married is important (to some people). But if you put on a stern face and spoil the fun of out every first date by scrutinizing him as if he were already your future husband – before he even knows whether he wants to be your boyfriend…you may likely go on 300 first dates and remain unmarried. On the contrary, if you just relax, enjoy the company and the process of getting to know a bunch of new people without any unnecessary expectations or pressure before you both are ready, life will tend to throw you little pleasant surprises – and even if not, you still have your eyes on the ball, but you are also having a great time!
2. They looked like they actually have a life OFF the soccer field! “Everyone of them looked so attractive, it was almost distracting (from the game)…” A viewer so described the American Women’s Soccer Team to me. Indeed, I’m not sure if they will all win Beauty Pageants, but they sure did look like they took good care of themselves – impeccable hairstyle, beaming skin tone and irresistible personality. In short, they looked like if they just took off their uniforms and put on a dress right then and there, they are ready to go on a date and have a great time with men who walked out of GQ, People, Fortune, or magazines of the like. The China team? They were all young attractive women for sure, but the way most of them presented themselves made you wonder whether had any social life besides practicing soccer 16 hours a day, and hung out only with fellow soccer players for the rest of their free time.
Studies show that a well balanced life with diverse support systems such as family, friends and romantic relationships are the key to most long term career successes (and personal happiness). The next time a game is lost, perhaps the question to ask is not whether to practice one more hour per day, perhaps it is time to re-examine whether the ultra-strict training system in certain countries where athletes are only allowed to see their family once a year, and highly discouraged from developing any romantic relationships. Lesson for dating and relationships for today’s smart, strong, successful women? Even if you are happily single and has a stellar job onboard a rocket ship, don’t just let your career take over 100% of your life and hope that love will some how bump into you. Believe it or not, finding love is good for business 😉 The same applies to when you do enter a relationship as well – don’t just let a relationship take over 100% of your life, either! Build a life full of colorful choices, and you WILL enjoy fruitful successes from all those wonderful choices. Get over the myth that they compete with each other, and start practicing the true magic to make them compliment each other, and you will win the Game of Life just as swiftly as the American girls won their game of soccer.
3. They looked like they are going to survive and thrive, in any new chapter after soccer. As I watched the hard working Chinese soccer team sweat over stress, confusion and humiliation, I saw more pressure from obligation, responsibility and national pride – than motivation from love, passion and enthusiasm. I found my heart wretched whenever I started to imagine the kind of life they are going to lead after soccer, if all they’ve known in their adult life is soccer – in a system where very little resources are allocated to helping former athletes acclimate to and succeed back in society. I see enormous confusion of not only losing this one game, but also confusion as to where their life was going after the end of their career. Compared that, to their American counterparts, who happily accepted soccer scholarships to enjoy a great college education, made decisions to join professional soccer not out of obligation but out of passion, continued to enjoy life and access to ‘normal’ society while they pursue professional soccer, and will be presented with many long term career options (coaching, management, entrepreneurship or transition back into Corporate America with the college degree and social skills they acquired along the way…etc.) when they CHOOSE to retire. I see freedom of choice, fearless pursuit and carefree passion.
While the Chinese soccer players cannot control the system, they can control how they build their lives so they can better prepare themselves for life after soccer. And it is the same when it comes to dating and relationships: we cannot control whom we fall in love with and how long it is going to last, but we can control how we build our own life so the relationships we have does not deconstruct our support systems, hinder our growth as an independent person, or blind us from the significant cost of losing a relationship (if you’ve made it 100% of your existence). It is within your control to accept nothing but a relationship that’s going to work for each partner not just right now, but also supports and builds each other up in the long term – so even if/when you leave, you are leaving each other as a better person with a better life.
All these being said, my purpose here is not to criticize the Chinese Women’s soccer players or to completely disregard the entire system of the Chinese athletic authorities (which have been quite effective in driving Olympic medals and other international tournament achievements so far). Granted, some of the Chinese players came from heartbreakingly destitute families, and the system has generously offered them a path to elevate their entire families out of poverty. It is respected that they intend to pay back that obligation through hard work and honorable service. It is NOT, however, how optimal long term results are produced. Does anyone still believe that a marriage based on a man elevating a woman out of poverty and her obligation to serve him in return, will enjoy more long term success than a marriage based on true love, equality and compatibility? Come on, with such significant economic progress China has made, you would think they no longer have to rely on obligation, coercion or a concentration camp system to produce either world-class athletes, or happy marriages – and yet, with such confused performance from the Chinese soccer players and an arranged marriage looming over my own head, I fear there is still a long way for all of us to go.
Yes, my purpose is to shed some light on the contrast, and encourage the smart, strong, successful women in both China and America, to take a close look, make your own choice, and find your own beacon of liberty, freedom, and love.
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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?
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.
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“Studies show that 85% of people go to their deathbeds, without experiencing what a truly happy and fulfilling relationship feels like.” Wow. How do you feel when you first encounter this conclusion? Hold on to that thought. The mystery will be solved by the end of my short story 😉
Three weeks ago, I broke up with my ex. That meant I no longer had a plan for Memorial Day weekend. I decided to take an overdue ‘homecoming’ visit to New England, and the weather conveniently decided to chill down in the middle of May. I then missed my connecting train after pulling myself across town from Penn Station to the Yale Club. When I finally found a transfer train and one of the few open seats on it, my seat mate, a 6’1” strong looking man, refused to help me with my suitcase…! Granted, there were probably far worse situations I could’ve found myself in at that very moment, but to save time, let’s just agree that I was not having the best day of my life.
Well, it turns out he was – “just kidding!” Whew. Turned out I did hit rock bottom when I thought I did – and from there, the only direction I could go is to go – UP. Kirk, my seat mate, was actually a real blessing. We chatted for four hours on the train, and 95% of that time was him raving about his wife, his kids, and how wonderful it was to have a family of eight. How he was ‘picked up’ by his wife at a gay bar in North Carolina. How much they fought initially because of the big reverse age gap (him being 22 and her being a 29 year old single mom with a 6 year old daughter when they met). How he finally found the ‘man’ in him to grow up and commit. How she didn’t want any more kids initially, but now that they’ve had another five, she still wants more! How they stuck through the thick and the thin. How his step daughter grew up to become his best friend, and even wrote her valedictorian graduation speech based on him…yes, you guessed it right, the other 5% of the time was me weeping.
Kirk’s story was so simple, so everyday life, and yet so touching, I had to cry. I had to cry because he helped me see how all this was still possible – for me and for everyone else – not just from a logical, factual, statistical perspective, but from a personal perspective. He showed me that with passion, commitment, and diligence, true love can be ignited, sustained, and strengthened.
When we parted, Kirk smiled and told me: “Wanna know our secret? The Five Love Languages. Read that book. It’s helped our marriage in so many ways, I can’t even count.” Wait, what? Kirk, the military man, police officer turned truck driver, he read The Five Love Languages? YES. So much for the notion that “80% of self-help books are consumed by women, the rest 20% are in dumpsters”!
If I’d thought that was too much, it was just the beginning of my blessings. I arrived in Hanover, I walked around The Green, and there are young college sweethearts reading, playing, napping together, brushing next to me with sweet bright smiles. I went to the Canoe Club, and couples in their 30s, 50s, 70s were holding each other to dance with such brimming warmth, passion and romance, you’d think it was still Prom Night. My eyes were opened. You see, what amazed me the most were not just happy couples, but happy couples of whom you could tell that they had stayed with each other for a long time – and none of that “grandpa dating a 20 something” thing. It seemed as though the womens’ wrinkles were the ultimate aphrodisiac, and whatever physique they were in was the most desirable object in their husbands’ eyes. Wow. It. Was. Possible!
So, “Studies show that 85% of people go to their deathbeds, without experiencing what a truly happy and fulfilling relationship feels like”, huh? Some people look at this and say: “Oh gee, I thought I was the only one unhappy about my relationship, but now that I know most people are unhappy, I guess that’s OK. I don’t feel as bad anymore and I don’t need to strive for any better. It must be so hard to become the 15% and…I don’t have time! They probably just got goddamn lucky anyways!”
NO. I want you to look into the mirror and say: “OK. So 15% of people did end up getting a happy, fulfilling relationship, right? That’s A LOT of people! So, WHY NOT ME?” Yeah, why not YOU? You are beautiful, you are kind, you are awesome. And if you are reading this right now, it means you are willing to do your homework, take action and seek out support on your path to find love. You’ve got what it takes. You DESERVE to be the 15%.
“What if I have done everything right and I’m still not in the 15%?” You don’t know it yet. You don’t know if you’ve done everything right. You don’t even know if you’ve done ‘everything’. I certainly haven’t 😉 Have faith, and never, never, never give in. If you accept nothing but the very best, you often get it – the very best, or nothing (let’s be honest, that could happen, for a period of time at least) – but trust me, if you are a 15%er, ‘nothing’ is still so much better than settling.
So believe in love. Become a 15%er. Better still, don’t just BE a 15%er – you see, once you accept nothing but a truly happy relationship, you end up making your partner a 15%er too, and your examples will ripple through your family, your friends, your children – you will be making it a 16%, 17%…20%…you will begin the change for a happier world. For your own happiness and the better of the world, you will succeed, or die trying – but most likely, you WILL succeed 🙂
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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.
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“Whoever said love is easy, must has never been in love.” A good relationship should fit you like a glove, right? But it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t take work to put it on and groom it clean! On a similar note, most people would love to become entrepreneurs working for themselves instead of having someone breathing down their neck…but why aren’t they ditching their jobs? Because working for yourself, starting a company, takes a lot of work too.
It may be easy for some to separate business to be the ‘matters of the mind’ and relationships to be ‘matters of the heart’, if they’d like to compartmentalize their lives like that. But for me, my career is the love of my life, and the love of my life is my career (and not in a trophy housewife kind of way) – they are both matters of the heart AND the mind to me! The way I see it, you need passion to drive the business mind, and you need sense to guide the passionate heart, to achieve optimal outcomes in both scenarios. So as much as some might accuse me of over-applying business analogies on relationships, I’m still going to go out on a limb and say that building a happy relationship is just like building a startup:
- You need to have your own strength and core before you are ready. This may sound tongue-in-cheek, but if you fall apart without a relationship, you are not ready for a relationship. Only when you are complete, content and happy with yourself, will you have the mental and emotional capacity to love and receive love from someone else, unconditionally – which is the core foundation of a happy and healthy relationship. The same goes with startups. It’s perfectly fine to get out there and talk to people about your vision and ideas, but few investors or potential partners will likely come on board until you have a solid business plan, product prototype or existing clients. The more self sufficient you are, the more attractive you are – to the opposite sex as well as to the business world.
- You need to put yourself out there and market the best version of yourself, constantly. Looking for a boyfriend/girlfriend? It’s probably not gonna help if you just sit alone in your room pondering about how great you are and yet why you are still alone. Waiting for Prince Charming or Cinderella to be dropped off on your doorstep? Yeah…unless the UPS driver has a crush on you and you happen to like him/her too, that’s probably not gonna work either. For the best results, you really need to go out regularly with your friends, go to community meetups and singles events, get a good profile up on several popular dating apps…sounding really familiar with the endless networking events and conventions, investor meetings and the multi-media marketing packages that most successful entrepreneurs are leveraging these days?
- You need to work hard in finding the RIGHT people who REALLY understands you and caters to your needs (and vice versa). For a good relationship to work, chemistry, core values and willingness to compromise need to match between both partners. If you think about it, these core criteria are not that different from what you would use to assess potential clients, investors, partners or employees, are they? Also, this rule of thumb applies to both areas (most of the time): don’t ever take the first offer (read: don’t marry your first boyfriend, or take the first bid that comes along for building your website). In general, shopping (dating) around within reasonable boundaries helps you gain clarity on what you REALLY want (as opposed to what are really just nice-to-haves), and be ready when the real best offer comes along. Don’t worry about missing that first offer either – in love as well as in business, have faith just like my wise friend Perpetua – accomplished wife, mother, entrepreneur: “If something does not belong in your life, it won’t matter how much tighter you hold on, it’ll leave you eventually; but if something is meant to be in your life, even if you let go, it will find its way back one way or another.”
- You need to overcome a significant amount of fear to make a commitment. “If you haven’t tried, you’ll never fail.” Hence why some people are afraid to make relationship commitments such as becoming exclusive, labeling each other boyfriend/girlfriend, or getting married. The same mentality applies to people who are always thinking or talking about starting their own companies but never take the leap of faith – out of fear of failure. The thing is though – if you’ve ever tried bungee jumping or sky diving, you know: the longer you wait, the more fear builds up. Ask yourself: do you really want to disappoint your soul mate and end up alone for your life? Do you really want to look back on your life and shamefully realize that you never even attempted at your biggest dreams? Do you really want to be that last diver who got back to ground in the plane cabin because you were too afraid to jump?
- But the good news is: once you make the commitment, you will usually soon realize how most of those fears were unfounded and that the rewards greatly outweigh the risks! Is this a good time? Do I have enough money? What if I fail? As Perpetua puts it: “Fear is mostly based on scenarios we make up in our minds before things unravel – but once we take action, we’ll find that more often than not, those ‘scenarios’ seldom really happen!” As someone who’s successfully taken up multiple roles in life, Perpetua certainly knows a lot more ‘scenarios’ than a lot of us do. The secret to such a full and happy life she’s living today? She had the same fears we all have, but instead of getting stuck with fear, she went ahead and took action anyway. Sometimes, all it takes is action to dissolve your fear – so just go get married or go register that new company alright. If it’s the right opportunity, you’ll soon be so busy with your happy family life or your busy entrepreneur schedule, that you’ll practically forget all about the fears you started out with; even if it doesn’t work out, my friend, trust me, you’ll have learned so much to offer your next love partner, or you’ll have an amazing experience to share at your next job interview! The worst case scenario is never as bad as you think; and the best case scenario? It just gets better and better each day you work at it.
Remember: true confidence is not blind optimism; true confidence is taking action after well calculated risks, and believing that you and the people in your life will be strong enough to survive even the worst case scenario – in love or in entrepreneurship.
Have you ever dated a foreigner? Or, are you a foreign national dating an American? Have you ever struggled with the fact that you or your loved one may have to leave the country for immigration reasons, and that a Green Card arrangement is always something hanging at the back of your minds besides the marriage topic itself – which already adds a ton of pressure to the relationship?
Well, I have. For as long as I’ve been here in America, the guys I date seldom failed to ask me about my ‘status’, besides just whether I’m single or married. While I can understand the US Citizen’s suspicion of getting taken advantage of, it doesn’t take away the sting. It almost always starts the relationship off with a bad taste. So, to save myself the embarrassment and to start the relationship on the right foot, I’ve learned to address the concern myself before the relationship gets serious, and ‘come clean’ about my intentions of not just dating a guy for a Green Card Marriage. Even though I’ve learned to treat it matter-of-factly over the years, it’s still not the most comfortable conversation to have, and the guys usually don’t really know what to say other than “Sure” “Ok” “Alright…can we have sex now?”…Sigh.
Which was why I totally melted at my last boyfriend’s response. He chuckled, and then held my hand. He was thinking like “OK, even if she doesn’t like me, maybe I can still offer a Green Card to keep her.” Of course he was just kidding! “In all seriousness sweetie, I’m not too worried about it and you shouldn’t worry about it either. If it comes to the point where we need to make a decision, then we’ll see how much we are really attached; and if I can’t let go, that means I really like you…so I won’t (let go)…anyways, it will be a happy problem to have.”
Sigh. How I loved that guy for it. Alas, we both did let go – for other reasons and for the best, but I’ll never forfeit his Best Answer Ever award, and I would encourage all the American brothers and sisters out there to learn from him on this – if you don’t want to alienate your foreign born sweethearts on this very tricky, very special topic.
No: Borders, distance, and nationality do not necessarily kill love. However, insecurity and suspicion that comes with it, DOES. You can’t blame a foreign national for yearning stability or feeling insecure about his/her status in America and how it affects their dating lives, just like you can’t blame them for seeking love in the first place. You can’t blame the US Citizens looking out for their own interest and not making long term commitment for reasons other than pure love. But it takes trust to melt away insecurity, and it takes confidence to address suspicion. It is a two way street.
Here’s another perspective from someone else who also lives and breathes these concerns everyday. The “Best Immigration Attorney on the Main Line”, John Vandenberg shares: “Most of the time, you’ll find that the US Citizen doesn’t really care (about their partner’s immigration status or whether they’d have to sponsor them), they just want to find someone to start a life with, and if this someone happens to be a foreign national, then so be it. Love comes with its responsibilities. Plus, for the US Citizen, all they have to do is to show up for the interview (with the immigration officer)!” How refreshing. The weight of the world was just lifted from my shoulders! Should I sign up for the 90 Day Fiancé?
But wait, what are some of the other challenges couples might face if they do plan to go through the family based Green Card sponsorship at some point? “Family and cultural misunderstandings,” said Vandenberg, “I find that clients sometimes underestimate how much they DON’T know about each other and their extended families until they really have to sit down, make a firm commitment and go through this process. For example, it’s very hard for us Americans to imagine having a large extended family visiting and literally having them in your face every day without a break; on the other hand, it hurts the foreign national spouse’s feelings to realize that their American spouses really need to ‘take a break’ from all the family and cultural stuff. What seemed exotic and exciting at first may become a burden and cause for constant conflicts down the road, if couples don’t seek to communicate and reconcile as early as possible.”
With that being said, is there light at the end of the tunnel? Absolutely. With cultural and political advances, lovers across different borders are coming closer every day, empowered also by new technologies that help them find each other, fall in love and stay in love in unprecedented ways. It’s a known fact that dating apps in particular have been growing exponentially in international territories just as fast as they are in America. Another interesting fact is that singles from Europe, Asia and the Middle East are talking to singles in the United States using these free dating apps, which is wonderful! Breaking down the traditional barriers and really helping people from all over the world find love with a bigger scope is the main goal driving certain apps in particular.
You never know – the love of your life might be just around the corner, or he/she might be all the way at the other end of the world. Technology helps you create the same intimacy and transparency on your first few “meetings” so you can create the same bond with someone, no matter where you are.