Look To the Western Sky

A blog about single life as a parent & the dreams of a writer by Margo L. Dill

Category: Dating

Learning To Listen To My Gut

“Always trust your gut. It knows what your head hasn’t figured out yet.” ~Anonymous

Geez, if only I could easily follow this advice…but I’m in the process of learning it–maybe I’m at the very beginning of the lesson. I’m an infant at listening to my gut. My friends can tell you this. I overthink. I rationalize. I decide to give someone/something one more chance–despite what my gut says. Because…how could my gut be right? But I think 10 times out of 10, if I go back and look at a situation, I will remember a moment when I should have known that something was off. Has this happened to you? Have you had the old HINDSIGHT is 20/20 thing in your life? Listening to your gut doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to say good-bye to someone or that you have to quit doing something, but it does mean that you have to address whatever gives you that uneasy feeling in  your gut. This is the key!

This is so true with dating! Even if you’re married now, at one point, you were dating. How many times did you go out with someone way longer than you should have when your gut was telling you that something wasn’t right? This doesn’t mean that there’s something terribly wrong with the person–he or she might be lovely or fine for someone else. But this experience does mean that this person wasn’t right for you or for your current situation, and your gut was warning you.

Recently, I had a situation where someone asked me out, but I couldn’t go that evening. At first, everything seemed fine. But then, a text message came from him that was not super nice–but you know text messages, they are infamous for sending the wrong signals because you can’t tell tone. A couple more messages were exchanged, and I still didn’t feel right about him; but by the end of the night, I had convinced myself that I was overreacting. Maybe I misread what he meant. Maybe I don’t know what that particular emoji actually meant. Maybe I was overthinking.

So, I turned to my trusty girlfriends, and as you know, the people I surround myself with are extremely important to me. I explained the situation to them, sent a screenshot of the few texts, and asked: What do you think?

Immediately, they came back with–that wasn’t very nice, and trust your gut. Move on. So I did. But why did I need that confirmation from others? Why didn’t I just trust my gut to begin with?

That is the big question, and one I am currently working on exploring. I wonder how many of us are good at this. How many of us go with our gut immediately and don’t stop and overthink? And I wonder how many of the people who are able to trust their gut right away have lives that are much less stressful and anxiety-ridden?

There are all kinds of opinions about this–some people think trusting your gut too much is irresponsible, while others swear by it. Some scientists have studied what happens to the body when people are faced with a choice and “go with their gut.”

But here’s what I am starting to realize–when I’m forcing myself to “get over” something someone has done or said, and this person has not truly apologized or shown any better behavior or concern, then I need to listen to my gut. Life is too short to spend it with people who make you feel uncomfortable and/or don’t respect you. 🙂 So if you see me, ask me…how is it going with listening to your gut?

How about you? Do you listen to your gut? When has it worked for you?

 

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3 Communication Tips For Online Dating

I hear complaints about communication failures from friends, see them on Facebook and online dating profiles, read about them in articles, and have made the same kind of complaints myself. What is going on with communication? In a world where communication is currently so easy and can happen quickly and efficiently, why do we have such a hard time connecting with each other and using basic conversation skills? Has it always been this way or is it getting worse?

Well, I’m not Brene Brown, so I’m not here to tell you that I did a lot of research on communication, but I am focusing today on communication as it relates to online dating apps, and “the research” is from my own experiences, my friends’ experiences, and other online dating participants’ (both male and female) comments.  Here are three observations that could possibly help when you are looking for that love connection.

1. For the love of God, please don’t only talk about yourself: This is such a common complaint. I hear it from a lot of females that men don’t ask them any questions. But I’ve also heard men say the same thing: “She must not be interested in getting to know me because she doesn’t ask me anything.” And this doesn’t mean asking: How are you? Or How was your day? (That’s not bad! But reach a little deeper.) People, both men and women, want to be asked basic questions, like: what is your job? What do you like to do in your free time? Do you like to read? If so, what do you read? I mean, we are not talking rocket science here. But if you find that your online dating conversations are falling flat, and you find yourself ALWAYS chatting about yourself, try asking a question now and again. You can also add: And you? to the end of many of your answers, and those two words at least show that you want to know something about the other person.

2. Take 15 minutes and write something in your profile: So many profiles have hardly anything written in them, and so many have WAY too much. Yes, photos are a huge deal because whether you think it’s fair or not, attraction plays a part in online dating. But information in your profile can persuade someone to take a chance or at least start a conversation with you! And if you have some information written there, if you are communicating about your likes and dislikes, you are giving the interested person some material to ask you questions about (see number 1).

3. Don’t make all kinds of assumptions or be rude:  It is easy to be rude online because you don’t really know the person you are talking to. But I’ve seen this advice several places, and again it’s not rocket science: If you wouldn’t say the comment in person to someone, then don’t say it online. (This is true for Facebook and Twitter, too.) So, if someone isn’t interested in you or doesn’t answer you immediately, it’s not necessary to say something nasty–it doesn’t make this guy a jerk or this woman a cold-hearted bitch. It makes him or her–Not For You. That’s it. Don’t assume just because it looks like someone is online, he or she is actually online and ignoring you.  Don’t assume you know someone after exchanging a few messages with them online. Assumptions may be one of the worst things about dating, especially online dating. Recently, I had someone say to me: you are not trusting and you are broken. Ummmm, no. But I didn’t answer rudely. I said: Actually I’m not. I’m not sure what I said to give you that impression. Best of luck to you!

It is true, whoever said it, “Communication is a two-way street.” It’s also true that communication is not easy, and we are not all experts at it. And that’s okay. But I think the Golden Rule can REALLY apply here (and I need to remember this, too): Treat others how you would like to be treated. Anyone got some online communication tips–dating or otherwise? I’m sure we would all love to hear them!

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Where Should You Go On Your Honeymoon? 3 Ways to Pick a Place

This week, it worked out on my blog to have some contributed posts and to host an author’s post (her first marriage was at 62!) that all have to do with weddings. I like this article below because instead of suggesting specific places to take a honeymoon or special romantic trip, it gives you three general categories to think about when deciding where to go…

Picking your honeymoon spot is important and special. It celebrates the two of you starting your life together, and it will be one of the special memories of your marriage. Weddings are wonderful, but sometimes the alone time you spend exploring a location with your new partner, or your partner with which you have reaffirmed your vows, is very important.

Where should you go on your honeymoon? If you’re struggling for ideas, the massive realm of possibility can overwhelm you. It’s not like with marriage on the horizon you have little to plan for anyway. For this reason, thinking about your honeymoon in the following places might be the wisest areas to begin.

Somewhere Emotionally Wholesome

Your relationship with someone is often part of a wider narrative, and it all spawned from the day you met. If you met somewhere interesting, why not schedule your honeymoon there? For example, if you met on vacation in Thailand, or you were both working conservation in the Australian outback, why not find the original place of your meeting and schedule your honeymoon around there? You might be able to recreate and chart the path of your initial falling in love, which could be a lovely time if you last visited these areas years ago. It will show how much interpersonal progress you have made since then, and give you a beautiful way to cap off your story of coming together before you begin a new story with your marriage.

Somewhere With a Spectacle

Marriage is something to be celebrated. For that reason, why not go big during your honeymoon experience? Heading somewhere with a spectacle, such as staying at the Chicago Marriott Schaumburg and getting tickets to famous musicals in the city, or what about heading to the The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Florida and geeking out with childish charm. Spectacle means different things to different people, and the draw of a place might depend on your tastes and what works for you.

If you both find a common interest, such as light gambling for example, heading to Las Vegas for a weekend full of hilarity, silliness and late night bar hopping could work for you. Plus, there are many spectacles to take in on The Vegas Strip. Every couple is different, but the idea of an adventure is often something that sounds wonderful for most people, and can push you outside of your comfort zone a little when deciding on a vacation to take.

Somewhere With Good Luck

If you’re the superstitious kind, it might be worthwhile heading somewhere bound to give you a blessing. It could be retracing your steps regarding the moment you asked him or her to marry you and basing the vacation around this, heading to your local religious area of significance, or maybe even heading on a goodwill tour through volunteering for the global good and spending your time together for a cause you both find worthwhile and absolutely engaging to be a part of.

We’re sure that with the right perspective, and with this guide to help you make that decision, your perfect vacation destination is right around the corner.

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What You Deserve in a Significant Other

I should start this post with a couple disclaimers: 1. I’m not talking about any individual specifically, except myself.  2. I realize TV and movies are not real (just in case you think: oh no, this time, she’s really lost it).

When I first began this blog, I mentioned I would post about dating. I had a funny story about a “zero” date I went on, and that’s about all I’ve posted.  I haven’t written much about dating since.  It’s so personal, isn’t it? And you never know who’s going to be reading this blog!

But I had an epiphany, and so I must share it. If it helps one person besides myself, then any flack I get for this post about Gilmore Girls will be well worth it.

I am on a Gilmore Girls binge, thanks to the world of Netflix. One night, while putting a desk together from IKEA, I watched several episodes from season 3. In this season, Rory’s best friend, Lane Kim, who is Korean, wants this guy she likes, Dave, who is NOT Korean, to take her to the prom. Her mother does not approve, only because Dave is not Korean, and Mrs. Kim is very strict and religious. So, Dave dresses up in a suit and comes to see Mrs. Kim:

 

So my epiphany: don’t settle for someone who would not “read the Bible for you in one night.” Do I want someone to read the Bible? No. But I want someone who would go to the effort of everything Dave does in that wonderfully written scene. And I will point out, everyone–male and female–deserves this effort.

Everyone deserves someone who would dress up in a suit and make a formal presentation to a strict mother.

Everyone also deserves to find someone they would do this for–because it works both ways. Do you currently have someone in your life you would go that extra mile for? I know this kind of effort isn’t for everyone. People have relationships for many different reasons–something to do, sex, fun, compatibility. But if you want someone who loves and cherishes you, and you want to love and cherish someone, then that’s what you should look for, and that’s what you deserve.

I’m not giving up until I find it.

 

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Setting Boundaries: Dating

So I’ve started dating again, and my friends have been on me about setting boundaries. You should know this about me: I am terrible about enforcing the boundaries I set, and I constantly question the boundaries I do manage to set. So if you landed on this post to see how to set and enforce boundaries, check back in a year. This post is going to introduce you to the problem, and maybe we can learn together.

Before I go on about boundaries, I have to share the funniest thing that has happened to me while dating so far. I do mostly online dating. I don’t meet a lot of single, available, tall men from working out of my basement and being the mother of a 6-year-old. SO…I’ve been on the apps you hear about. They are not as bad as you hear. But one day, I had a “zero” date–what you call the “meet and greet” when you’ve exchanged messages and maybe a phone call with someone, but you haven’t met yet.

Anyway, I had a zero date at Starbucks, and I thought it went pretty well. We had talked on the phone and exchanged a few text messages before this, so we had each other’s phone number. We talked for the hour I had at Starbucks, and he went on and on about how he hated online dating, how people needed to be upfront, and how no one could focus on one person anymore,  and then at the end, he said: “Well, we could do a dinner. I’d like to see you again.” So, I thought okay, why not? Then he didn’t text. So, a couple days later, before I decided to move on, I sent my typical text: “Hey NAME, how is your weekend going?”

And the response I got back this time. . .

“Pretty good so far.”

“Is this Gwen?”

That made me laugh out loud. So I decided, well this is over, but it didn’t stop. He kept texting as if I was Gwen. And he said:

“Sorry if I didn’t recognize the number.”

30 minutes passed

“Should I delete this number?”

Finally, I decided to let him know his mistake and told him it was Margo, and yes, he should probably delete the number, and I wished him well.

SO boundaries. . .my friends say that I try too hard to fit into other people’s lives instead of letting them know how to fit into mine. I agree. They also say that once I set a boundary that is reasonable and I am comfortable with, I have to STOP apologizing for it. Set it, have a good reason for it, and then move on with my life. If someone doesn’t respect a reasonable boundary, then they are the problem–not me.

What do you think? Are you good at setting boundaries?

 

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