Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Getting Rid of “Mr. Just for Now” in Order to Meet “Mr. the Rest of Your Life”

After an extended hiatus from writing (my sincere apology, Readers, I know it has been an unforgivable six months since my last blog!), I am back to putting pen to paper.

For weeks, so many topics have been swirling in my head but none really prompting me to write until yesterday when, once again, I heard a female friend tell me about a great new guy she met this past weekend ... who is wildly inappropriate for her. BUT, she assured me, I should not fret (or judge!), as she fully recognizes that this gorgeous, trust fund, adonis (who happens to be ten years her junior) is “just for now.” And while she might (secretly) be wishing that something might in fact come of this May/December romance, it’s pretty apparent she knows in her heart of hearts she is not going to end up with this guy watching reruns of Mad Men in fifteen years. Why? Because he is far too young, too ridiculously hot and, most likely, too unavailable for what she is supposedly looking for at this stage of her life - marriage and a family.

Now, I’ve been at this blog writing long enough that I know I am going to get a post from some hopeless romantic questioning how I know these two cannot have a real, loving, long term relationship. Because I know. And if you insist on believing otherwise, I heard Cinderella’s blogs are a great read - and funny enough, they are all titled “Anything is Possible”.

Indeed, what’s the harm, some might ask, in our femme fatale dating her boy toy while she looks for her true partner to come along, the guy who’s the Real Deal. After all, she’s not deluding herself into thinking she’s marrying the guy ... she fully acknowledges that she has no expectations.

The problem with spending time with “Mr. Just for Now” ("JFN") is that while women think they can easily meet Mr. Right while they share their beds with Mr. JFN, it usually doesn’t work that way. And it has more to do than with just the fact that if you are spending time with one guy, you are probably not going to be approached by another guy (because we all know, only a d--- would do that).

The fact is, that if you are ok with spending time with Mr. JFN, then chances are you are not REALLY at a point in your life where you are committed to finding a life partner. You might think you are. But be honest with yourself - perhaps you don't want it to the level you think you do. Because that's the thing with having "no expectations." When you truly desire to meet a wonderful partner, who adores you and who has the potential to be the person you kiss goodnight for the next 40 or 50 years, Mr. JFN and having no expectations no longer cut it.

I actually see this behavior all around me. A little while back I had a good friend who kept telling me how badly she wanted to finally meet her guy and get married. And yet, despite professing this seemingly genuine yearning to get to the next, beautiful stage of her life, she would have her occasional booty call with a troublesome ex who she constantly assured me was no longer someone she wanted to be with. He was just for now, you know, she was killing time. At this juncture, it should already by clear that Mr. JFN does not necessarily have to be smoking hot and ten years younger - he can be an ex -boyfriend who still feels comfortable calling you at 2am and occasionally gets the benefit of an invitation to come over.

After hearing about another one of their slumber parties (without the slumber), I finally called my girlfriend out on her inconsistent behavior:

“We all know that when people are truly sincere in their desires, their actions match their words. And when you want something above all else, you recognize that anything you spend your time on that does not further your goal, is keeping you from your goal. At the moment, your actions are contradicting what you’re telling me. Booty calls with an ex have no place in a serious marriage-minded women’s life. If you want to be engaged to the most amazing man, have your actions match your words, clear the way for him and start BEHAVING like wife-material... The minute you kick Mr. JFN to the curb, Mr. “The Real Deal” is going to enter your life. :)”

Ok, I added the smiley face for effect (the conversation was in person). But kindly know, Readers, this was all said without judgment (please, we’ve ALL had booty calls) and simply conveyed with the logic of telling someone “if you want to lose weight, eating Krispy Creme donuts every morning is probably a bad idea."

Sadly, my friend never talked to me again. Just kidding. Actually, while I didn’t set up her with him, she tells everyone I am responsible for her meeting the man of her dreams. She cleared Mr. JFN right out of the picture and she met her fiance a few weeks later.

And that’s no fairy tale.

Marni Galison is a top matchmaker in New York City. In addition to her one-on-one introductions, Marni has coached clients to marriage, long term relationships and living with their partners. With her no-nonense but always empathetic manner, Marni helps clients recognize unproductive dating patterns that have kept them from meeting the One so that they can make room for the love of their lives. For more information about Marni's matchmaking services or simply to be in her database, please go to www.sundayatnoon.com.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wait ... That Isn’t a Mask

As we all know, Halloween is this Monday - a time many kids (and adults) don their most macabre Halloween masks and try to scare the bejesus out of people. Fortunately, come Tuesday, the masks will get stored in the closet to be pulled out for the next Halloween. But what about a mask that can be pretty terrifying looking that doesn’t come off - that’s a more permanent type of cover up? What am I talking about? I am referring to the uber-Botoxed-can’t-move-your-forehead type of mask. The clearly-this-person-has-had-a-ton-of-work-done type of mask which makes people feel like they are no longer talking to an normal, natural looking individual but someone who has striven (and paid good money) to look like a very abnormal version of his or herself. There is no doubt that this look can be downright ghoulish seeming at times...

I will offer you a perfect example. The other day I was at the Bobbie Brown counter at Bloomingdales and a “young” woman approached - she had a young, trendy style of dress and a cute figure, beautiful long blond hair and a young energy. And yet when she turned around ... her face looked like a Joan Rivers’ mask. It was tragic. If I had to guess, I would speculate this woman was in her late 30s/early 40s but she has so much work done that it was no longer possible to tell her natural age. She was both “pretty” and frightening looking at the same time. She had a forehead that was taught like a drum and that was abnormally shiny. She also looked like she had collagen implants in her lips so they were unnaturally large for her face and it looked like she possibly had something done to her eyes that gave her a cat like appearance (but I couldn’t tell if it was just excessive Botox). As much as I tried to look away, I was drawn to staring at her like one does a car accident. I mentioned the story to a friend and he asked me if I had ever watched the scene in the Adam Sandler movie “Just Go With It” with Botox Man. I hadn’t at that point, but I am attaching the clip below for the curious.*

I commented to my male makeup artist that it’s a shame that the Botox craze has become so prevalent and that, though I know I could “benefit” from a little tweaking (in fact, last year I had a guy at a bar tell me “you’re so pretty but you could use a little Botox right there” and then leaned over to point between my eyebrows)**, I really hope to resist the temptation to go down that path. To my surprise, my makeup artist responded that he has regular Botox treatments ... he is 31. Who would have thought it? Is anyone too young to get Botox these days? (I recently read that beautiful Amanda Seyfried was getting pressure to get Botox treatments at the tender age of 25). Two days later, my cab driver (a rare female driver in the thousands of NYC Taxis) who I was casually chatting with commented - unsolicited - that she knew a great dermatologist, dug through her bag and handed me her dermatologist’s card and told me that this doctor did the best Botox work in town. I hadn’t even asked.

Now, at the risk of putting any readers who have had Botox injections on the defensive, I am not seeking to judge those who have had an occasional injection to smooth out a few vexing and deep rooted lines. The purpose of this blog is not to judge but to pose questions - sometimes on topics that people would rather not address. Is it so awful to look your age? Is the answer different if you are married or if you’re single? If you are a man or a woman? And while Botox injections are popular among both sexes it seems at the moment that there are far more women getting Botox than men. Are the women who are getting the Botox treatments just being smarter and more competitive in getting the guys than their more wrinkled counterparts? Or is it possible that they are losing out on quality men who are more interested in a more natural, confident-in-her-own-skin kind of look? Does it make you look more attractive and appealing to the members of the opposite sex you are trying to attract when you have a wrinkle free face or does it actually start working against you at some point?

Indeed, a little while back, I set up a female client who was 39 with a guy of a similar age (this was a bright, nice looking, successful Manhattan guy who had no issues with going out with a woman the same age- how refreshing!). After their date, I spoke to the guy for his feedback and he informed me that while he thought she was nice enough and objectively cute, he explained that he was from an affluent town in Westchester and has seen enough of “the Botox look” with his mother and her friends and it was "not his thing." When I met her I just thought she looked great for her age, however, after his comment I looked at her in a whole new light. He was right - she had her share of botulism in her face. Yes, she looked “younger” but at what cost? He was not interested in going out again (and she had been).

While plastic surgery has been around for a while, the Botox craze is different. Men may be divided about whether or not they prefer real over implants, but I don’t know too many guys who would nix a woman just because she has fake boobs. However, artifice with the face is different - I know many men who would agree that it is the laugh lines that give a woman’s face character ... that the crinkle that forms in the brow can be charming and cute when a woman is puzzled ... that a face that can express emotion and be animated is far sexier than an incongruously youthful face that starts to resemble all the other unnatural looking faces out there.

Guys, when you can recognize that a woman has had a fair amount of Botox does it send a message to you that maybe this woman is insecure/high maintenance/or not genuine in other ways? Or does it not matter as long as she has managed to come out looking good overall? Does a face that screams out “I have done something very unnatural to my face to look this way” scare away men as much as a Jason mask from Friday the 13th would have most women running for the hills? And, women, your input is welcome too - have you ever rejected a date with a guy because he looked like he had had too much Botox? Does a guy’s use of Botox send a message to you about his personality? Feel free to weigh in!

I hope everyone has a fun and safe Halloween!


** Someone suggested that this guy may have been using a "neg" on me (from the book The Game), but I believe he sincerely thought I should fix "the trouble spot" as he boasted that he had had plenty of Botox himself. His face was proof he was not lying.

Friday, September 2, 2011

If You Didn't Find Summer Love, Here Are Eight Easy And Doable Steps To Jump Start Your Love Life After Labor Day!

Did you go into summer hoping for some steamy Summer romance but just walked away with a tepid kiss or two? Disappointed that you didn't get to enjoy long sunset walks on the beach with that special someone but instead spent more evenings than you care to count packed in like a sardine in a crowded bar? Not to fret! In my opinion, Fall is actually the best time of year to find love! Singles return to the city less distracted, refocused on their love lives and committed to meeting that special someone with whom that can snuggle up with when the weather turns cold. So here are a few easy and doable tips to help you find love in the Fall season:

1) Treat Labor Day like New Year's. Don't wait until January to get motivated to start hitting the gym, quit smoking, start the job search for the job you want, etc. Treat Labor Day as a fresh start with unlimited possibilities to take control of your life and make the changes you've been wanting to make. People are drawn to other happy, well-adjusted people, so make sure you are bringing a happy, positive, confident mindset the table.

2) Go shopping! Yes, go shopping! Make a budget to purchase a few flattering Fall date pieces. New clothes make you feel good about yourself. Find clothes that fit your body properly and flatter your figure/physique. This advice applies to men as well! Faded or tattered shirts and outdated styles can be a turn off and women absolutely love a well dressed man! Invest in a few pieces that really convey who you are in the best sense possible.

3) For the women - Get a Fall makeup makeover! Colors that may suit you in the summer may look unflattering in the Fall without your great summer tan or may not match the colors of your Fall attire. Go to a professional at one of the counters at Macy's, Bloomingdales, Saks, Bergdorf's, etc. and put yourself in an expert's hands - it's free to have a makeup application and they just anticipate that you will buy some of the products used. Make sure when you leave that you don't just have the products but that you also know how to obtain that same look. Keep it simple!

4) Fall is a great time to be outdoors - get outside! In the summer, people tend to avoid being indoors if they can and opt for the beach (not always the easiest place to meet someone!). The Fall is a great time to be outdoors and to meet new people! Sign up for some city walking tours, check out a local sculpture garden, do something physical like join a Central Park softball league, go rollerskating on the Highline or do one of the many physical activities at Chelsea Piers. Even if you don't meet that special someone, you will be doing something fun and getting great exercise. And most men and women are attracted to people who bring interesting experiences to the table - so, if nothing else, it gives you something different to talk about on the first date!

5) If you're on JDate or Match, shake things up on your profile. Most people create an online profile and then let it sit for months or even years without updating it. Changing your profile picture every so often gets your profile flagged as "updated" to other members and often makes people check you out again for a second look! Updating your content with activities you have done recently or trips you have recently taken makes you stand out among the thousands of other profiles. The more specific content you can add, the better!

6) Give your FB profile an overhaul. Even though Facebook is not an online dating site - many people have met their significant others by connecting on Facebook. I find it amazing how many people do not use Facebook as a tool to potentially meet a great guy or girl. Think about how you are portraying yourself on Facebook - are all of your pictures showing you partying or do you show yourself with friends and family at close family gatherings? Is your profile photo flattering or is it dark and hard to see? Are you posting interesting and humorous comments and updates or are you constantly venting and portraying a negative attitude? Think about how you would view yourself as an outsider - or better yet, get a second opinion from someone you trust!

7) Start spreading the word. Let your friends and colleagues know that you would love to meet someone wonderful this Fall and see if they know anyone who might be a good match. Often people assume that their friends are fine and don't need any help - letting them know that you would be very appreciative of a quality set up can produce amazing results! Most people love being a matchmaker for their friends!

8) Set some goals. People tend to have a greater chance of getting what they want by setting goals - whether it's for business, weight loss or dating. Set a goal that you want to be in a loving, supportive, wonderful relationship by the holidays and then set realistic smaller goals that will help make that happen. For example by setting a number of social events you plan to attend per month or an amount of hours you will dedicate each week to meeting people online, you are more likely to meet someone than by simply saying "I am going to be more social." Set goals and stick to them!

Have a great holiday weekend and happy dating!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Love For Entrepreneurs?

As a professional matchmaker, I know that dating can be tough - for everyone. For entrepreneurs, it can be even tougher. Choosing to be an entrepreneur, you choose to be the master of your own destiny, to pursue something you feel passionately about and to take a gamble on yourself and your vision. You also choose a lifestyle - even if you don’t know it at first. You are no longer the employee who can throw on his or her coat and walk out the door without thinking about the challenges of the workday until the next morning. Instead, you take your business with you when you are running on the treadmill at the gym, when you are showering in the morning ... when you get into bed at night. Your business becomes as much a part of you as your arm or your leg.

But not every potential romantic partner wants to date you with the extra appendage that is your business. I learned this when I first left my job as an attorney to start my matchmaking and events business. Everyone expected that a matchmaker would be in a wonderful relationship, but instead I found that I was risking being the barefooted cobbler. Early on, I dated someone who was not an entrepreneur. We would go to events and, as necessity required, I would network - which often meant spending much of the event apart. He felt neglected. Nights where he would have loved sharing a private, romantic dinner were spent at large social gatherings. Among the issues that chipped away at our relationship was this tug of war over how I would spend my “free” time. With a truly committed entrepreneur getting a business off the ground, there is no such thing as free time. Only a kindred spirit entrepreneur gets this. My business became my life and I wondered if I would have to forego meeting “the One” until my business did not require so much time and attention.

In my opinion, the female entrepreneur faces even more challenges dating than men do. Men instinctively feel the need to tell a female entrepreneur how she should run her business, even though they have never run a business themselves. If you don’t follow their advice, they often take it personally. In addition, men can often feel a level of competition with a strong female entrepreneur that they would never feel with a woman in a more traditional job. One person I dated felt he had to highlight the gambles he had taken in his career to prove to me - nay, to himself - that he was a risk taker. When the conversations took a tone of "what I do is interesting too!!!", I knew he had reached his limit of being my cheerleader and he yearned to be the star of his own show.

In any healthy relationship, both partners should feel comfortable sharing what is happening at the office, asking for support after dealing with a vexing client or bragging about a job well done that may have not received the proper accolades. Dating a fellow entrepreneur simply augments this dynamic and allows for a work/life balance that both parties can understand. When I met my current boyfriend I felt, finally, I was with someone who understood. He could join me at an event and allow me the space I needed. There was no sense of competition - he too had left the secure womb of his law firm to start his own business and he had no need to prove anything. He has since become my silent partner, my sounding board and my biggest supporter. And I his. As I know personally, despite the heightened challenges, there's no doubt that an entrepreneur can find love - along with profits!

This article is being considered for publication in a book called "Winning Without Losing" which is compiling articles by entrepreneurs on work/life balance.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Summer Reading

It’s that time of year where NY single professionals, normally hard pressed to fit more than the latest news and a magazine or two into their reading schedules, hit the beaches with best selling paperbacks in hand. So, Ladies, I would like to take this opportunity to suggest a summer reading which may increase your chances of meeting “the One” far more than your great fitting white jeans or tickets to polo.

“Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough” by Lori Gottlieb. Yes, as you peruse the virtual aisles of Amazon.com I recommend placing this smart, easy read in your basket and see if it doesn't change your whole perspective as you set out in search of your summer romance.

I actually picked this book up with great interest shortly after it came out a year ago. I had read Gottlieb’s controversial article for Atlantic Monthly the summer prior and knew that her message had stirred up a strong reaction among single professional women around the country. What advice was this pixie looking, 41 year writer going to offer single women about who we should marry, when she was not even married herself? Now, I didn’t go into it with skepticism (after all, I am a professional matchmaker - any book encouraging people to be open minded is a worthwhile read in my opinion), but rather with intense curiosity.

I turned the pages of “Marry Him” with my head in an almost perpetual state of nodding a rabbi would have thought I was davining. It was a dose of a reality BIG TIME. A candid assessment not just about unrealistic expectations of what we are looking for in another human being at any age but also a PC-stripped assessment about how these exacting expectations become more and more unrealistic and unattainable as women hit the 30+ threshold. In a no-nonsense look at her past mistakes, Gottlieb explains to the reader how she wishes she now had a chance with half the good guys she smugly turned down for trivial reasons in her twenties and early thirties. In her mind, she had all the options in the world ... until she didn’t.

I could relate to the chapters in “Marry Him” titled “How Feminism Fucked Up My Love Life” and “It’s Not Him, It’s You”, as part of my job is coaching women who are attractive and wonderful (but who have less options than let’s say Bar Refaeli) to make smarter choices. As Gottlieb explains, women do not understand that their stock with potential partners is not rising as they pass the milestones of 30, 35, 40 simply because they have traveled the world, make a nice living, have developed a keen wit, and still look amazingly young for their age (all positive things, of course). Rather, it is declining in the eyes of men looking to have a family. My summary of the message: women, you may think you are like a fine wine, getting better every year but the fact is, when it comes to reproducing, most fertile men (who knows any eunuchs?) want grape juice. Ok, ok, not jail bait grape juice - as one mid 30s guy I dated two years ago said to me when I made the fine wine analogy about my mid30s self: “I don’t need the wine to be quite so aged - a 29/30 year old wine is aged plenty and just right for me!” I know he sounds like a [fill in the blank] but he was just an honest guy saying what many men think.

It’s a tough message. I have no doubt Lori Gottlieb received her share of hate mail (I am trying to get her as guest on my “Love in the Morning” radio show so hopefully she can share her experience with my listeners). I certainly read plenty of commentary by irate women blasting her on the internet.

However, I found the story of “Marry Him” so compelling and refreshingly honest, I recommended it to friends and I started giving it to each new client female 35 and over as required reading. The reaction to it was telling. The women who responded to it with the “I don’t believe that I need to settle for an older, ugly, poor, obese, annoying, NICE man just because I’m 35” were usually the ones who needed to hear the message most and yet understood it the least. It’s as if presenting the counterargument in such an extreme makes it sound. No where does the author say anything even remotely akin to advocating ending up with someone you are not attracted to or can’t stand. But she does address why some women seem only to be attracted to men who don’t want a commitment with them or are “out of their league” and so they end up saying they’d rather be alone then settle. Ok, fair enough, if someone is prepared for that reality and he or she thinks that they would be happier in that scenario, that is absolutely their prerogative. But what if that is not the case and they will not be happier being alone? And what is “settling” after all? Accepting someone as not perfect but still wonderful? Choosing someone who is exactly your equal and is “settling” for you as well? The fact is, scientific research shows that the majority of people do not see themselves accurately and overestimate their own attractiveness and personality traits (not that I need scientific studies to prove this, as I encounter this psychological phenomenon all the time). However, as author Andrew Trees stated recently on my radio program, the beautiful thing about the dating market is that - ultimately - it has a way of pairing equals together.

Ok, I have to make a statement here in anticipation of any hate mail on its way to me - I do not subscribe to a defeatist, you’re over 35, your life is over, take what you can get mentality. In fact, anyone who really knows me knows I am an eternal optimist and believe that everyone brings something special and unique to the table that someone out there will appreciate. But I am pragmatic. And dedicating every waking minute to my work, I know what I am talking about when it comes to dating in NYC for the 25 -55 crowd. So no, Ladies, of course women are not over the hill at 35 - but you are higher toward the crest in the reproductive world and so you need to be aware of the changing landscape. I have friends spending thousands of dollars freezing eggs starting at 36 years old - we all could have used a fresh off the press copy of "Marry Him" when we were in our 20s. Not to encourage us to get married before we were ready but to help us balance and prioritize career and personal life. As Rex Ryan said to the Jets preparing for a stellar football season "if you want something, you pay a price." We all make choices based upon the information available to us and our value system at the time but if you can learn from someone else's life lessons (i.e. Gottlieb's) a few years earlier, so much the better.

In the interest of being an equal opportunity preacher, if there were a “Marry Her” book I would suggest that my male clients and friends go buy it (as an aside, I do know some men who have read “Marry Him” with self-vindicating glee - “see it’s them, not me.”). Unfortunately, I know of no such "Marry Her " book - the books that are out there specifically directed to men tend to be by pickup artists helping men to get laid. You’re much more likely to see a guy reading “The Game” than a cautionary tale about delaying marriage. If a guy is really set on marrying, he can - and will - typically make it happen.

So as a woman who likes to empower other women, here's some helpful advice: read “Marry Him” with an open mind but with a magazine over the book cover (in all honesty, with a title such as "Marry Him" you might scare off a well intentioned, relationship oriented guy who simply doesn't know what the book is about!), put on your cutest bikini and if the guy on the beach who comes over to return your flyaway hat seems like a truly quality guy (but maybe doesn’t fit your online profile “wish list”) go on at least one date and let him buy you a gelato. He may be the summer romance that lasts the rest of your life and if you don’t go, you’ll never know...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Getting Creative and Proactive About Meeting “the One”

People are always asking me “where can I meet a great guy or girl?” and lamenting how hard it can be to meet new, quality people. My answer: anywhere and everywhere is a great place to meet someone if you (1) put yourself in the right mind set, (2) make sure you are looking and feeling your best when you walk out the door, and (3) put out warm, welcoming energy. Don’t believe me? A close friend of mine just moved in with her boyfriend who she met on a warm summer afternoon strolling down the sidewalk wearing a cute dress and a smile.

Unfortunately, when people think about making a concerted effort to meet someone they immediately target the most obvious places to go - trendy bars, the gym, etc. But chances are those venues are not yielding anything of consequence. Why? Because even though quality people do go to bars, people are typically lacking a quality point of reference there (the intellectual or physical stimuli helpful in creating a bond is absent and there is no way to know if you have anything in common with the person standing next to you). Of course, the gym provides the physical aspect that a bar does not, but how many married couples do you know who met at the gym? ... still thinking? Meeting someone at the gym sounds great in theory, but with everyone’s little iPod singing in their ears, it’s nearly impossible to strike up a conversation.

So, why not exercise some CREATIVITY in your efforts to meet "the One"? Being a little more strategic in how you go about it, might in fact yield sizable results. One of the easiest ways to get started? Using the benefits of modern technology to your dating advantage. Now please know, I’m not just referring to online dating - that is one way to fool yourself into thinking you are being proactive about your love life when you're not. No, I am talking about getting online and seeing what groups out there appeal to people just like you with similar interests and then actually getting out there.

Do you feel most alive when you’re outdoors? Instead of doing a solitary run in the park, why not join a running or hiking group and see who you meet? Like to play trivia games but none of your friends care who invented the Q-Tip? (For the curious: Leo Gerstenzang in 1923 observing his wife wrapping a piece of cotton on the end of a toothpick). Why not find out which restaurant is hosting a Trivial Pursuit night and see what other trivia buffs you meet? You can’t find any groups that excite you? Then maybe it’s time to create a group of your own.* Is there an activity that has always interested you but you haven’t found the time to pursue it? Getting a group together is your first step in taking that “someday I’d like to ....” off your "to do" list, while also increasing your chances of meeting a likeminded person while you’re at it.

Maybe this sounds like obvious advice, but it's about actually doing it. You know who you are going to see at so-and-so's party next weekend, or who you are going to talk to at the charity event you go to every year (because you know almost half the Facebook guest list). There are a lot of other people in the city out there who don't go to the events you go to. Who are these people and where do they go? Time to get out and be proactive. But even if you don’t meet your Prince or Princess Charming right away, don’t get discouraged - after all, you haven’t stopped going to bars or the gym, right? And at a minimum, all of your extra curricular activities make you a more interesting date whenever or wherever you end up bumping into Mr. or Mrs. Right!

* One possible way to go about this - check out my friend's new site Groupular (www.groupular.com) a social networking site for singles that allows you to join or create any type of group to suit your needs!

Ready to get proactive about meeting "the One"? Personalized introductions, dating coaching, image consulting, upscale private events. www.sundayatnoon.com

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The 40 Year Old (Emotional) Virgin

We all know the very entertaining movie “The 40 Year Old Virgin” in which the main character’s co-workers marvel at the fact that a decent looking, seemingly “normal guy” (yes, he rides a bicycle instead of owning a car and collects figurines but other than that, he really seems to be a pretty average dude) has reached his fortieth year of his life without having done the deed. If any of us were to meet an “Andy” in real life who shared with us that he is still a virgin, we would likely react with even more disbelief than the characters in the film, trying to fathom how it would be possible for a “normal” person never to have had this pretty universal life experience.

But what about a scenario where a man or woman has reached 40 and they have never been in love? What about a scenario where a man or woman has reached 40 and they have never dated anyone for more than a few months? They have never passed the four seasons with the same person, have never experienced the devastating heartbreak of ending things with someone they were discussing marriage with but it somehow wasn’t right ... They have never marked a year anniversary, a two year anniversary and looked back on how the relationship - and both parties in it - had grown and evolved.

Would you say these individuals are Steve Carell’s character’s equivalent - 40 year old emotional virgins? And if you met one of these emotional virgins, would you want to pop his or her emotional cherry or would you run for the hills? Ok, now what if the person were 35? 30? At what age does someone never having had a long term relationship raise an eyebrow? At what point, if any, is it a serious red flag?

Now, let’s get the question of married vs. not married out of the way. I know a lot of singles who take umbrage if you ask them why they are not married yet. People often respond with variations on the following answers: “I just haven’t met the right guy/girl, the right person got away, I always knew I wanted to get married and have a family but I wasn’t ready until now, I didn’t want to get married until recently ...” and so on. All understandable answers, some of which may be true. I certainly don’t subscribe to the philosophy that someone has to get married to be happy or be successful in life (indeed, there are plenty examples to support the contrary view). However, I do think most people have an innate and profound desire for meaningful companionship.

And so, it initially amazed me when I started my business when I had conversations with people in their mid-to-late 30s who were part of my extended social circle who had never been in love or had relationships past a few months. How was that possible? Yes, you will hear excuses why someone has not had a relationship that lasted more than a few months - a loss of a family member, grad school, bad geographical location (unless you are on a deserted island, it’s hard to grasp this one), someone is a late bloomer, etc. But aren’t these just excuses after all? Of course, once you reach your 30s it helps to identify who is not going to be a life partner sooner so you don’t spend valuable time in something that is not going to further your goals. But at some point, whether it’s high school, college or your 20s, shouldn’t there have been someone who made the cut, some relationship that went the distance?

Recently, I spoke with an extremely bright, nice looking, successful guy who was in his mid30s and who had shared with me that he had not said “I love you” since he was 16 (except to his parents, of course). When I tried to get to the heart of it (I was trying to see if he could be a nice match for a client of mine), he responded by saying that when he utters the words “I love you” to a woman it’s going to be for eternity - that woman is going to be his wife. Although I tried to reason with him that while many people experience love towards people who they don’t eventually marry (especially in today’s world where the marrying age is slowly getting pushed back), it doesn’t mean that they did not experience true love - but he would not have any of it. His response was to simply reiterate that his definition of love is different. A defense mechanism to explain why he has not been in a relationship for more than a few months his entire life? Or an enlightened definition of the word?

At the risk of antagonizing those who can identify themselves in this blog, I have come to see as result of my experience as a professional matchmaker for several years now that the people who have never had a relationship for more than a few months by their mid 30s often have one of the following issues:

(1) either they do not have a realistic view of who their equal is (this is a common scenario I see - these individuals never want to date the people who are interested in dating them, however, the men and women they are seeking to be with do not care to have a relationship with them);

(2) they do not have a realistic view of what a long term relationship is like and are apt throw in the towel the minute things do not go their way;

(3) they do not give people a chance and immediately focus on critiquing the other person’s flaws over appreciating their attributes; or

(4) there is something about them or something they are doing that pretty quickly makes people think they will not be a desirable life partner/parent.

In my professional opinion, having a loving long term relationship (or several) - even one that ends - helps us grow as individuals. They help us better understand the opposite sex. They help people reach emotional maturity and realize that while you may love someone, sometimes he or she is going to drive you crazy, frustrate you, etc. but you still love that person warts and all (not literally, of course). They prime us so that when we meet that “right person” we have a better chance of recognizing him or her and also of being a better partner.

If this blog hits close home, maybe it’s time to do some real soul searching or get the objective input of a third party. I write this blog with the true interest in getting reader’s opinions and commentary so, Dear Readers, feel free to weigh in!

To learn more about Marni or Sunday at Noon please visit our website www.sundayatnoon.com