How To Improve Your Love Matches
By Barbara Gautreaux
Dating in 2013 can be challenging, for both men and women searching for love. Singles, including those in their 20s all the way up to the recently widowed, are looking for a partner to spend their days and nights with — someone who understands, cares and supports them.
True love fulfills a human need and desire and it pays to be prepared and informed with current dating dilemmas to improve your chances of finding a love match.
The Playing Field
The new fairytale has a lonely person meeting another lonely person through a social matchmaking website and they discover they are each other’s soul mate. Sometimes it does end happily ever after, and sometimes life gets in the way.
The one surefire way of finding a new love has not been found, but online dating has increased the playing field. At least it has shown the lonely hearts they are not alone. Dozens of social websites promoting love are now available based on finding someone with the same interests, or at least zip codes.
This January, Facebook introduced the new Graph search option, revealing how singles could use this tool to look through photos on the pages of “friends of friends who are single” bringing Facebook into the realm of dating sites. If one is say, a married person, they suggest trying to make matches between your friends.
Singles can often be found at gyms, clubs and churches, but try reaching new faces by attending a convention or event you normally wouldn’t consider. Comic books, wrestling, antiques, fashion, dog parks, volunteering, open mic nights; stay active and always be ready to catch someone’s fancy.
Sometimes the hardest part of asking someone for a date is deciding where to spend that first date. Do you really want to be alone at a restaurant struggling for conversation or in a dark movie theater? Acadiana has several options for those on a first date.
If the weather is nice consider an outdoor date. Jungle Gardens, Avery Island is a 170-acre paradise with opportunities for hiking, watching birds and other wildlife, touring the factory and even shopping and eating. Rip Van Winkle Gardens has lunch seven days a week, with spectacular views and a Victorian House tour.
Vermilionville and Acadian Village in Lafayette are interesting visits and St. Martinville and New Iberia have museums within walking distance of shops and restaurants. A trip to the Zoo of Acadiana might have you holding hands, so give it a chance.
Painting classes today are a fun evening date with only a little bit of advance preparation. Both Painting With A Twist (Lafayette and New Iberia locations) and the A&E Gallery’s Painted Bayou, allow couples or groups to gather with their own adult beverages and explore their creativity. No talent is required and both of you will leave with a completed painting.
Antique shopping in Breaux Bridge is another option with the opportunity to listen to live music at local restaurants, all within walking distance. Check out websites for more information.
Art museums locally include the Acadiana Center for the Arts, the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum and many more galleries in the Downtown Lafayette area. Second Saturday Art Walks mean no entrance fee and covered parking is available. The Lafayette area has several ice skating and roller skating rinks for those wanting to see the athletic side of their dates. If your date has no experience skating or rock climbing and you do, offer to teach them and be patient, focusing on them. One day it might make a great story to tell your grandchildren.
Dating couples should have a sense of humor as well as an open heart. Most people have a life story that is different from yours and some even carry emotional baggage from past relationships. They might be dealing with issues such as ex-spouses, children, school, work, money, the list goes on. Finding out how they handle these stresses is part and parcel with dating.
One dating rumor for 2013 implies that on a first date, a person’s credit score is brought up in casual conversation. A credit score is a statistical analysis of a person’s credit file that in theory represents the likelihood that person will pay their bills. Daters rationalize these questions by saying why fall in love with someone who is just not compatible with your lifestyle?
Matchmaking services advise against having a “type” you are interested in. They suggest being yourself and looking for commonalities beyond tall, dark and handsome. Make sure the character traits that are important to you are there, and never try to change someone—it just won’t work.
First dates can be filled with inappropriate behavior, rudeness and surprises, so you don’t want your date saying all those described you. Be considerate in keeping the date and mind your manners. This covers a multitude of sins from talking on your cell phone to drinking too much. Keep the conversation in the present. First dates should not be about past loves or future children. Get to know what is happening in your date’s life now. Be positive both before and after the date. Do not criticize yourself or the other person. Lower anxiety by practicing breathing exercises at home.
While searching for that next date, remember to dress attractive, exercise, attend functions where other people congregate, stay up on current events and practice conversation. Your calendar should be full of interesting activities with an awesome friend—yourself.
Dating Safety Tips
First meetings are exciting, however, always take precautions and use the following guidelines when meeting someone new for a first date.
Get to know the other person before meeting them for the first time, including their online presence. Use the Internet and government resources available to everyone, from the basic—typing their name into a search engine, to the more advanced—reviewing public information made available on local sex offender websites and through government agencies.
Always meet in public. Meet for the first time in a populated, public location – never in a private or remote location, and never at your date’s home or apartment. Remember to keep the date public, and not go back to the date’s home or bring them back to yours until you get to know them better. Don’t be pressured into doing anything you are uncomfortable with. If that happens, end the date and leave at once.
It bears repeating to always tell a friend or family member of your plans and your date’s name. Bring your mobile phone and it is best to keep a clear mind with regards to drinking, because you should always drive yourself to and from a first date.