Dating Tip Tuesday: How To Date When You’re A Parent

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Dating is hard for everyone, but it can be especially hard for a single parent. You’re decision, who you associate yourself with and who you decide to be romantically involved with affect more than just yourself, and the weight of your decisions is substantially heavier when children are involved.

But just because you’re a parent, doesn’t mean you don’t deserve the same love, romance and prospects as anyone else. Which is why, when you’re a single parent, you’re still entitled to a romantic life. The balance may be difficult to find, but here are a few ways to make dating when you’re a parent, easier.

Be Honest, Upfront And Always 

Having a child isn’t a piece of information you should ever feel like you should hide, and it most certainly help your dating life to avoid talking about your life in an organic and honest way. Be upfront about your situation; let your date know that yes, you’re a parent and yes, you’re up for (insert: whatever it is you’re up for). Communication is key when it comes to dating, for anyone, but especially when you’re a parent.

Take The Time To Self-Examinate 

It might be uncomfortable or awkward or even painful, but looking inward is key when you’re dating. Learn to be honest with yourself. Figure out what it is you’re looking for, want and need. You can’t be truthful with someone, if you’re not truthful with yourself, first.

Talk To Your Kids 

If your children are old enough to understand, be upfront and honest with them. There’s no reason to keep them in the dark as, well, let’s be honest: kids are smart. You don’t want your child to feel like you’re abandoning them, hurting them or putting them last on your list of important people, so be truthful about your intentions. Let them know that romance is important to everyone, and everyone definitely includes you.

Separate Your Dating Life From Your Parenting Life (For Now)

Being a parent means, more often than not, protecting your children. There’s no reason to involve your kid in your romantic conquests, until you feel like someone is in it for the long haul. We’re not saying that it’s healthy to lie to your kid, but we are saying that it’s healthy to protect your kid form a possible let down of what could turn into a revolving door or dating prospects. Don’t introduce your children to your date, until you are certain your date is going to stick around.

Find A Balance

Because you’re a parent, you’re incapable of investing all of who you are in one particular thing. Dating is just one facet of your complex life, so find a balance between being a parent, a coworker, a friend, and a date. You can put off a date to spend time with your kid; that’s completely warranted and healthy. And you can find someone to spend time with your kid, while you go on a date; that’s also completely healthy and warranted. Don’t let your guilt force you into putting too much time into one thing. Being a human is complicated and complex.

Dating is hard for everyone, but that definitely doesn’t mean it isn’t also worth it. For everyone. So whether you’re a single parent or just single, enjoy yourself, have fun and give yourself the opportunity to find the love of your life.

Happy Dating!

-Your It’s Just Lunch Seattle Matchmakers,

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itsjustlunchseattle.com

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Feedback Friday

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Today’s Feedback Friday is from an IJL Seattle female client who has been in a relationship through us for 4 months. She called this week to inform us that things are going wonderfully and they are still so happy together! She said,

“I still can’t believe how much we have in common and how well we get along. I’m meeting his entire family next month and we couldn’t be happier! Thank you so much for introducing us, we would have never met otherwise!”

-IJL female client, age 49

We absolutely LOVE when clients in IJL relationships call to update us on how well things are going. Looking forward to receiving a picture of this happy couple to add to our Love Wall!

Happy Dating!

-Your It’s Just Lunch Seattle Matchmaker,

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Signature-Kayla(White)

 

Second Date Spring Ideas

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It is time to get creative on your dates and take advantage of the spring weather. There is so much to see and do in Seattle while getting to know your date in a fun setting. In case you missed it, last month’s spring date ideas were: bocce ball, mini golf, rooftop happy hours, watching the sun rise and take a hike, take a bike ride, or attend a sporting event. Here are some other second date spring ideas:

Go wine tasting

This is the classy way to grab a drink; you will learn a thing or two about grapes, vintages, and after a glass or two, more importantly about your date. Try Taste Washington, the country’s largest regional wine festival, with four days of events (March 31-April 3), at CenturyLink Field. The festival highlights on Saturday and Sunday the Grand Tasting, which has wines from over 225 wineries and food from over 65 restaurants.

Rent roller-skates, blades or bikes

There is a reason roller stating/ blading is still around- it is a great time! (And you may even get to hold hands). Take in the scenery at Greenlake, Alki, or Burke Gilman Trail. Explore the city a bit and then try a happy hour as your reward.

Go to the beach, watch the sunset and have a bonfire 

Yes, you may have to bundle up, but head to the beach and watch the sunset. Try Golden Gardens, get the fire pit going, sit on the beach and chat while having a cocktail. Don’t be afraid to be old school and make some s’mores! So simple and a fun date to remember.

Pick up take-out and picnic at Gas Works Park

Pick up your favorite take-out and bring your picnic and a bottle of wine to the hill at Gas Works Park. The views at sunset are just phenomenal and you can relax on the picnic blanket and get to know each other better.

Wander down to the Ballard Locks

This is a great weekend date idea, with great views of sailboats, motorboats and yachts passing through the locks. You can walk through and check out the sights, then head to the Ballard side and enjoy a happy hour or dessert.

Take a ferry ride

Enjoy the sights on a ferry ride with your date. Once you get to Colman Dock the fee is $8 to walk on and ride to Bainbridge Island or Bremerton. Pack your own snacks and then find a fun restaurant once you get there.

Happy Dating!

-Your It’s Just Lunch Seattle Matchmaker,

Taylor Name

ijldinnerclub.com

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Diary of a Dating Diva: 8 Ways To Create Your Own Dating Luck

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March makes me think of the upcoming Seattle Mariner’s season, the impending spring-time weather and, of course, St. Patrick’s Day. There’s nothing like a full 24 hours of celebratory drinking and the shameless belief in undeniable good luck.

But when it comes to dating, luck rarely (if ever) has anything to do with it. Yet, when a couple gets together, becomes engaged or says their vows in front of their friends and family, we’re quick to tell them that they’re lucky. “You two are so lucky you found one another.” “To the lucky, happy couple!” We all like to think that someone else is holding our dating cards and we’re just along for the ride. While it’s scary to think we don’t have any control, it’s also somewhat comforting to know that, hey, we don’t have to try that hard because someone else is pulling the strings.

But that’s just not true. In fact, the only luck anyone has when it comes to dating, is the luck they make themselves. We are in control of our futures, our potential relationships and our possible destinies. We’re the ones who can put ourselves in situations that provide us with the best chance of finding someone truly special.

So with that in mind, I’d like to spend some time this March not thinking about the luck of the Irish, but thinking about the dating luck we can all make ourselves. Here are just a few ways you can give yourself the best chance to find your forever someone.

Keep A Positive Mindset 

Easier said than done, I know, but the foundation of successful dating is a positive mindset. Not every date is going to be wonderful. Not every person you meet is going to knock your figurative socks off. The key is to continue to be optimistic. If you let the bad dates ruin the potential good dates, I can guarantee you that you’ll never have a good date again.

Don’t Stop Dating 

You know what they say; you can’t score if you’re not in the game. Sure, you can “take a break” from dating and sometimes (I would argue) that’s necessary, but at the end of the day, if you don’t get in the game you’re never going to be successful. The more you put yourself out there, the better your chances are.

Be Open Minded

We all have a list of “deal breakers” and perfect qualities that help us to pick out people we believe ourselves to be compatible with. But if we stick to those qualities religiously, we could end up losing an opportunity to meet someone who is actually wonderful. So if you have a “deal breaker” list that has more than five things on it, you should probably reevaluate. You’re never going to give yourself the best chance of finding someone special if you don’t give people the opportunity to get to know you (and you, them).

Practice Self-Love 

You can’t expect anyone to love you if you don’t first love yourself. While the future relationship you have with a romantic partner will be very important, the most important relationship you will ever have is the one with yourself. Be kind to yourself; take yourself for dinner every once in a while; celebrate your strengths and work on your weaknesses so you can be the best possible you, for you.

Just Be Yourself 

Your luck increases when you’re authentic, genuine and real. The more you pretend to be someone else (whether it’s a heightened version of yourself or someone you think your date will like) the greater the chance is that your date or potential relationship will flounder. The truth is, you’re fantastic just the way you are, and you deserve to find someone who will love you for you, not you for the person you pretend to be.

Set Boundaries 

It’s important that you set some personal boundaries as you begin dating. Whether it’s managing your time so that you’re not investing too much too fast or deciding when you will feel comfortable being intimate with someone; you should always feel empowered to make sure that you’re comfortable during the dating process.

Be Patient 

You’re not going to find true love in an hour and a half, like most romantic comedies would like you to believe. It takes time. I mean, there are billions upon billions of people on the planet, finding the one is going to be labor intensive. So while I know it’s hard to manage expectations and not rush through the dating process, be patient. Giving yourself time to simply enjoy the moments you will share on the dates you’ll go on will only add to your experiences.

Have Fun 

That’s the whole point, right? To have fun? If you’re not enjoying yourself, then you’re doing something wrong. And if you’re not enjoying yourself, I can guarantee you that your date isn’t enjoying themselves either. And most importantly, if you’re not enjoying yourself, you’re not putting your best foot forward and giving yourself the best opportunity to meet someone extraordinary. Don’t over think it. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Just have fun!

Wishing on falling stars, cheering over pints of green beer and hoping the luck of the Irish will help your dating life out, is for the birds. We all make our own luck, and I know that you can make yours!

Until the next time I kiss and tell,

DatingDivaPonytail

The Seattle Dating Diva

IJL Seattle Executive Matchmaker, Sara French, Introduces Our Bachelor of the Month

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As we kick off spring here in the PNW, I’d like to introduce you to our Bachelor Of The Month!

He is 56 years old, 5’11” with brown eyes and silver/brown hair. He has his JD and is a successful business owner, focused on real estate and development. He is looking to meet an active woman who is also outgoing, intelligent and fun! He leads an active lifestyle and spends most of his free-time getting up to the mountains… heli-skiing is a passion of his! In addition to his sporty side, he also enjoys cultural experiences such as the opera, ballet, wine-tastings and book readings.

Ladies, let us know if he sounds like someone you would like to meet!

Your It’s Just Lunch Seattle Matchmaker,

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Matchmakingprofessional

Coaching Topic Of The Month: The Power Of Waiting

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One topic that comes up a lot with my clients is “playing the dating game.” What a lot of clients don’t like to hear is that as much as you don’t want dating to be a game, it is. There’s a reason why I tell men and women not to text back right away, or not to get too eager on a second date. Mystery is what keeps people interested, and there’s scientific research to back it up. I recently started reading Aziz Ansari’s book, Modern Romance (stay tuned for my exciting book review next month! Sneak peek: you should all read it).

Early on in the book, Aziz talks about “The Power Of Waiting.” An excerpt reads,

 Psychologists have conducted hundreds of studies in which they reward lab animals in different ways under different conditions. One of the most intriguing findings is that “reward uncertainty”— in which, for instance, animals cannot predict whether pushing a lever will get them food—can dramatically increase their interest in getting a reward, while also enhancing their dopamine levels so that they basically feel coked up.

He then goes on to use texting as an example,

If a text back from someone is considered a “reward,” consider the fact that lab animals who get rewarded for pushing a lever every time will eventually slow down because they know that the next time they want a reward, it will be waiting for them. So basically, if you are the guy or girl who texts back immediately, you are taken for granted and ultimately lower your value as a reward. As a result, the person doesn’t feel as much of an urge to text you or, in the case of the lab animal, push the lever.

What I love about this example is that it applies not just to texting, but creating mystery in the dating process in general. This is also why I tell clients to keep the first date brief. If you meet for 5 hours and learn everything about each other, the urge to follow-up and see each other again quickly is decreased. Women want to be pursued, but men want to feel like they are working towards a reward (a great relationship). Make the reward too available, and he may start looking for a bigger challenge, and therefore more satisfying reward. In the same sense, if you’re a guy showing up to her work unannounced with flowers and chocolates after only one date, you probably need to dial it back a bit.

From this we learn that dating is a fine-tuned dance: being available but not too available, showing interest but not throwing yourself at someone, opening up but not putting all your cards on the table right away. So keep this in mind the next time you decide to text someone you’re interested in 3 times in a row without a response back. Play the game right and the relationship will be worth the wait!

Happy Dating!

-Your It’s Just Lunch Seattle Matchmaker,

IJL-2015-71k

Signature-Kayla(White)

 

When It’s Time To Get Serious

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For most people, dating has an end game: a long term relationship. The goal isn’t to date forever, it’s to date until you find someone you’re ready (and willing) to settle down with. That means, eventually, you’ll come to a point when you have to decide if you want to continue dating casually, or if you want to take a short turn to serious town.

The question is: how do you know?

How do you know when it’s time to get serious about dating? While there are no hard and fast rules (as every situation and every person is different) here are a few signs that it’s time to think about settling down with someone potentially special.

1. You Don’t Stop Talking To Them 

Whether it’s via text, on the phone, through instant message, email or simply in person: if you don’t go a full day without talking to them, it might be time to think about leaving the dating scene behind. When someone is able to continuously take up all of your attention, they’re probably someone worth investing your time, energy and emotions into.

2. You Can’t Stop Thinking About Them 

You have to be careful with this one, because this could easily be a sign of infatuation, instead of true, deep and complex feelings. However, if a person is constantly bombarding the thought bombs of your brain, they might be a person worth pursuing.

3. You Start Making Future Plans 

If you’re thoughts about the future start involving them, that’s definitely a sign. If you think about vacations, trips around the city, a holiday with the family – and they’re there – chances are, they actually should be.

4. You Put Their Needs Ahead Of Your Own 

If you’re fully prepared and willing to put someone ahead of yourself (not in an unhealthy, dependent and self-loathing way, but a healthy, fair and compromising way) then you’re probably ready to take the next step into a relationship. Every relationship, especially romantic relationships, require a give-and-take, and if you’re ready to give so that someone else can take, you’re ready to settle down.

5. You Don’t Want To Be With Anyone Else 

Obviously this is THE telltale sign that you’re ready to get serious with someone. Monogamy is a vital part of any long-term relationship (if those involved in the relationship agree) and if you’re already there, and don’t feel the need to be with someone else, you’re falling head-over-heels my friend.

Relationships can be complicated, and so can the feelings that surround them. Sometimes it’s hard to trust yourself and the emotions that dating can bring about, but if you take the time to slow down, evaluate the situation and be honest with yourself, you’ll find that you know more than you think, especially when it comes to love.

Happy Dating!

-Your It’s Just Lunch Seattle Matchmakers,

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itsjustlunchseattle.com

ijldinnerclub.com