Written for Soulmatch

Dating Q&A #5:

The Best Way for Singles to Handle Being Overweight

What is the best way to handle being overweight? I have tried not to mislead men on my looks. I send them a picture of me but I also tell them that I am different from my picture (weight and hair style). We have great phone conversations and then the guy is very eager to meet you, but I am losing weight and I am concerned that a good relationship is ruined because of my weight. Should I delay the meeting or proceed with a hope that my weight won’t be an issue? – Winning Weight Looser, Yardley, Pa.

David Wygant answers: I am a firm believer that posting pictures that are not current will always be a deal breaker. It’s important that you feel good about yourself when you date – if you are overweight and happy, then you’re more likely to find a great match – someone who likes you for who you are. Bottom line: one of the essential keys to a successful relationship is starting (and remaining) as open and honest as possible about what you want and who you are.

Consider this: If a man meets you, and you look different in person than your posted photo, he will already feel misled. At that point, it will be even more difficult to warm up to each other and talk your way into the date. Dating is supposed to be fun, not difficult!

Yes, you may be losing weight. But, you need to represent yourself for who you are. There are plenty of men that will like you just as you are (Remember Bridget Jones?!).

First get happy and be proud of yourself (overweight or fit), and you will meet some great guys!

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. answers: Weight is the newest focus of the media, so it’s become a big deal in the personals, too. But, statistics show that overweight people have the happiest, most successful and longest marriages. Maybe it’s because they are smart enough to care about what’s on the inside more than what’s on the outside. I’d suggest you get a more up-to-date picture, and put that in your ad, and update it as you lose weight. Believe it or not, there are people out there who are not so focused on the surface, and they’re the nicest ones.

The Insightful Dater answers: First, you should be honest with yourself. Second, you should be honest with everyone else (including those who meet you first through your online profile). Being honest with yourself requires accepting yourself as you are and expecting everyone else to do the same. It does not mean having them accept your idealized view of your self – ten pounds lighter or making $10K more a year or whatever goal you’ve set for yourself.

Secondly, it’s great that you are working toward losing weight as a part of becoming more confident. However, being honest with others starts by accepting how you are right now. If someone passes you up because of their speedy judgments, it’s probably just as well. Would you want to spend a lifetime with someone who doesn’t appreciate the real you? Show the real you, your beaming smile and bright eyes. Then, continue to celebrate your progress toward becoming the “new you.” Keep updating the photos you show with your profile.

“I can never seem to make the move to talk to any girls.”

Whenever I’m out looking for a potential date, be it at a cafe or classes or something, I can never seem to make the move to talk to any girls. Its not like I’m shy, because, when I’ve been introduced to a woman, I’m perfectly fine, talking about everything and anything. How do I learn good ways to start conversations with women when my friends aren’t around? – Tongue Tied, Madison, Wis.

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. answers: Be observant. Find something interesting about the woman you want to talk to – if you’re in a class, it might be something she said, or if you’re at a coffee house, maybe it’s an interesting piece of jewelry she’s wearing. Ask a question about what interests you (not her physical person – the “Gosh, you’re beautiful” approach sounds shallow and can be taken as harassment) about her, and then respond to her response. Another approach is to have a friend introduce the two of you.

David Wygant answers: I have spent years teaching men how to make the first move – the moment we all dread: The Approach. I have found a simple and easy approach that works everywhere – cafes, bars, restaurants – you name it. Instead of looking at a girl and worrying about what to say, do this instead: I want you to look at the girl you want to talk to and observe everything about her. What is she doing? What is she wearing? What is she ordering? As soon as you find that particular quirk, or defining characteristic, start by pointing it out. For instance if you are in line in a café and she orders a blueberry muffin you can look at her and say “That looks great – have you had one of those here before?” She will then look at you and tell you about the muffin she had last week and than you can carry on the conversation further, etc. You’d be surprised how far you can get using only a blueberry muffin! Or maybe you see a girl in the video store – she picks up a movie you’ve seen…you get the idea.

Do you see where I am going? Most men fear the encounter, and by just simply observing what she is doing you can always find things to talk about. In fact, women love nothing more than to be noticed! Casual observation, then conversation, is a perfect way to show you’ve noticed her! Master that, you will be able to meet girls wherever you go.

Observe, React, and Talk – Stop thinking and just allow the words to come out!!!

The Insightful Dater answers: Well, you’ve certainly pegged what makes online dating easier – no awkward opening lines at the coffee shop.

We’re all faced with moments in the offline world when we wish we were graced with all the wit, charm and confidence it takes to make that slight advance and test someone’s interest level. The truth is, you can do it.

Just as you would start a conversation with anyone, initiate dialogue and be willing to make a connection. Ask yourself what it is that you are afraid of in making that move. Rejection, embarrassment? As long as you are reasonably sure you’re not going to commit an accidental drive-by scalding with your cup of Joe, just pause, say hello, maybe casually mention something about what she’s reading – and look her in the eye. We’re all adults – if you don’t get the eye contact and smile back you would like upon your initial advance, it’s her loss and you can move on to other targets. Being a good judge of someone’s body language and energy also makes it easier to tell when to make a move, if at all. Most important, don’t let life pass you by!