Written for Soulmatch

Dating Q&A #16:

How can she get him to ask for a date?

When I send an email to a male whose profile caught my eye, they respond but I am the one asking questions and trying to get to know them, not the other way around. So the connection fades. Should I wait for him to respond to my profile, instead of being the aggressor? – Rose R., 37, Reston, Va.

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. answers: It’s fine to respond to someone else’s profile, but keep in mind that he may want to be in charge of the speed of correspondence. So, your best bet is to respond, tell him what caught your eye about his profile, tell just a couple of intriguing tidbits about yourself, and then let it go. If he wants more, he’ll ask. The ideal rhythm for a beginning relationship is similar to a tennis match. Your first email is your serve. He needs to ‘return the ball’ so to speak, so you’ll know he’s interested. If he does, you respond again, mentioning some of the things he said about himself, or answering his questions about you, and following each statement with an appropriate question. For example, “Yes, my picture was taken on a bike ride at the beach. What’s your favorite outdoor activity?” This lets him know that you are open to answering his questions and that you also want to know about him.

David Wygant answers: Dating is like fishing you need to remain proactive and keep going. If you sit back and wait for a man to pick you, then you will not be fishing, you will become the fish hoping that the right guy catches you. If a man does not respond and the connection fades, then move on immediately. I also think you should be contacting multiple men at the same time, call it fishing in a few ponds. This way you will never know who may jump out and catch your eye. Keep up the good work. Dating is a numbers game, and you are on your way to meeting a great man.

The Insightful Dater answers: It’s good to remain engaged and interested – but you are right, it takes two to tango. Asking questions is a great way of getting the valuable info you need to make a decision as to whether you like the guy or not. You have the control in this scenario. If you are feeling like the connection is fading, learn to offer up info on yourself in ways that will only make him more curious and spur him to continue the dialogue with questions of his own about you (in other words, be a little mysterious in a playful sort of way). The “getting to know you” phase is a flirtatious and fun stage – it should be exciting and it is a lot like a dance, not an inquisition – there is a not-so-subtle distinction there.

Over and onward?

How do you know when you are over someone and ready to move on? I understand the issues that ended my previous relationship and I have learned from it. It has been about six weeks since the relationship ended, and I want to find someone else who might be better for me. – Tim S., 32, Auburn, Ind.

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. answers: I don’t know how long your past relationship lasted, but if it was significant, it will take at least a year to go through the grieving process. Some experts say you can expect grief to last for one third the duration of the relationship, but in my experience counseling clients, I find it varies according to how accustomed you are to grieving. After a significant relationship ends, the first year is the most difficult time, because each notable date in the year, anniversaries and holidays, will be your first without that person. After the first year, each successive year is much easier. Right now, if your relationship was important, you are probably in shock – the deadened emotional state that happens when we’ve taken a hard emotional blow. This shock state is exactly why experts warn not to get into a ‘rebound’ relationship – because your judgment is probably not the greatest right now.

I’m glad you’re seeking to understand what went wrong in your past relationship. This is a good time to spend with your closest friends and family members. If you date, take it very slow and easy, and don’t seek a long-term relationship right away. Keep your dating as light as possible, and do a lot of group activities. You’ll find, in a couple of months, that you’ll be having a lot of strong feelings. Let the people who know and love you help you through them. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be much wiser about choosing your next partner, and much more available for a successful relationship.

David Wygant answers: There is no magic timetable to know when it is time to move on. Let me ask you a question. Are you ready to meet someone new because you spent the last six weeks processing what you learned from your last relationship and you are now open and ready to meet someone new?

I don’t believe in the replacement theory of dating, moving from one relationship to the next without processing everything. I feel that you need to process everything and take the time to figure out what you learned and what you desire from a partner. If you have taken this time to do all of this then you are ready to open your heart to a new person. Only you can answer that question. Enjoy the ride and keep me posted.

The Insightful Dater answers: Everyone needs a different amount of time. I think if you feel like you have figured out what went wrong and think you know your part in it, you are getting ready to try again. That kind of reflection is important so that we can learn from our mistakes – and so we can heal too. The hard part is avoiding the patterns that we are less aware of – they tend to sneak up on us when we think we have it all figured out! Don’t rush into anything and be willing to talk about where you are at with things should you start to date someone new. Being open about what you experienced in the past and what you do and don’t want in a relationship will help insure you don’t repeat old patterns.

What am I doing wrong?

I’ve had my Yahoo! profile posted for several months without much success. I’m so scared of being 40-something and single, but its so discouraging when no guy replies to my profile. What the heck am I doing wrong? Am I going to be single all my life or do I just find a 20-something guy for sex? – Joy M., 43, Montclair, N.J.

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. answers: There’s nothing wrong with having a good time, as long as you don’t get your heart broken, or break someone else’s. I’m wondering where you’re going to find this twenty-something if no one is answering your profile? To be serious, I’ll bet your profile is not expressing who you are in an effective way. Round up friends or two, and go over your profile with them to get some helpful feedback. If you have a friend (in person or online) whose profile is getting results, ask him or her to help you with yours. Think of your profile as a ‘resume’ for dating instead of getting a job. You need to express who you are and what you’re looking for in a way that communicates to the kind of person you want to attract. And, by the way, you don’t need a hundred responses – if you get just one right one that will be enough.

David Wygant answers: Careful with what you say, words and fears are very powerful and I believe you get what you fear and ask for. You need to change the attitude and believe that you will meet someone. Life is all about energy. You get what you put out – if you are putting out fear you will get fear back.

Dating takes time and energy to meet the right person, if it was so easy no one would be alone. I have worked with many people and a lot of them have taken years to meet a great person. You need to lighten up and enjoy the journey, Embrace everything along the way and you will have some wonderful experiences in life.

As for the boy toy, if that is something you want to experience then go for it. Life is short and I am a firm believer in doing whatever feels right at the moment.

Keep me posted and embrace your journey.

The Insightful Dater answers: First of all, online dating is a wonderful tool – but it should be only one of a handful of social outlets and opportunities to meet people for any smart single. Getting out there in the offline world can enhance your confidence about dating (and about yourself) and it’ll come across in your online profile too. Keep your profile up-to-date also – there’s nothing worse than stale content or out-dated photos. Last but not least, the best thing about online dating is that it puts you in control in a safe environment where you can remain anonymous. So, get out there and send some emails and Icebreakers – you’ve got nothing to lose! Start up a little virtual flirting – it’ll boost your confidence and get you comfortable with being the one who initiates contact instead of passively waiting for someone to happen by your profile.