Online Dating: How I Met My Mate

Do you think online dating is only for the young and the foolish? Not true! Lots of men and and women of all ages are finding the love of their life through online dating. I did it and so can you.

Oh, No, Single Again!
When I separated from husband number three, I was 47 years old and plenty scared that I would never find a good man to love. I read all those stories about how a woman over 40 has a better chance of being hit by lightning than getting married again. It's all nonsense. Your life is determined by the state of your consciousness.

When you end an unhappy chapter of your life, it means you've got some soul-searching and spiritual work to do. If you are willing to do the work required to heal your emotional hurts and resentments, you can write a new chapter with a very different ending. I went through a real "Dark Night of the Soul" following my third divorce, but I had such a big, stubborn ego that the only way I was going to learn the lessons I needed to learn was to be completely humbled.

I didn't really find my own spiritual truth until I lost everything else. It took some time, but I eventually turned my life around completely on every front-health, finances, work, and relationships.

As you get older, it becomes more difficult to meet eligible men. More and more people of every age are using online dating to find their special someone. My story should give you lots of confidence that you can meet the right man for you, no matter what your age or geographical location. When you're having trouble meeting eligible prospects in more conventional ways online dating is certainly worth a try.

If anyone had a good reason to complain about how hard it was to meet a good man, it was me. I was over 50, living in a very small mountain town where most people in my age group were married couples. It's a community of pickup trucks and blue jeans. The local joke is: "If you find a guy in Big Bear who is still single, he's either in recovery or on parole." In nearly three years of living there I met a few single men, but no one that I wanted to date.

Finding My Soul Mate
Two weeks after I moved in to the new house I bought, I met my soul mate. It all started several months before, when a woman I knew showed up at church one Sunday with a nice looking, neatly dressed guy in tow. In a sport coat and slacks, not blue jeans-wow!

"He's not from around here, is he?" I asked, "Where did you meet him?"

"On the internet!" she replied.

"Are you serious?" I gasped! She told me there were lots of nice men in our age group using the online dating sites and encouraged me to try the one where they met.

I put my profile and picture on the website she recommended and a whole new world opened up to me. Quite a few men contacted me, and this gave me the opportunity to practice and hone my skills at determining whether they were worth the time and trouble to actually meet in person.

I was very specific about my basic requirements in my profile and it amazed me to see how many guys seemed to just ignore what they read. I stated that I did not want a long distance relationship. He must live close enough geographically so we could see each other at least twice a week. I'd get e-mails from New York, Florida, Texas. I stated flatly "no smokers." Then I'd find out in a phone conversation that the guy smoked! What were they thinking? Couldn't they read?

I did meet several good men and dated them for a period of weeks or months, but no one really clicked with me. That was all right. It was fun checking the internet site to see who contacted me, then writing and talking to lots of different men. Sure, a few were losers or idiots, but most were just decent men who wanted to meet their special woman and fall in love.

The whole experience restored my faith in the male of the species. I saw that most men want someone to love just as much as we women do. They touched my heart and strengthened my resolve to keep the faith. I believed with all my heart that my soul mate was out there looking for me and wanting me as much as I wanted him.

I read some of the success stories posted on the site and noticed that in many cases, the woman had made the initial contact. It gave me the confidence to try my own search instead of just responding to those who contacted me. I wondered if there might be anyone interesting who lived anywhere nearby. My search turned up dozens of men who lived within an hour's drive.

Something immediately drew me to Stephen's profile. He lived in a nearby town right at the bottom of the mountain. His face was blurry in his photo but he was wearing a sleeveless tee shirt, which revealed his muscular upper arms. I'm a sucker for a great pair of biceps, so I contacted him by e-mail. In his online dating profile he said he liked to write poetry, so in the subject line I wrote: "Your muse awaits."

He was intrigued by my message. He wasn't quite sure what a muse was and had to look it up in the dictionary. (A muse is someone who is an inspiration to an artist, especially a poet). He told me later that my clever, romantic line made his day.

We wrote back and forth a few times, and then talked on the phone for several weeks. He sounded rather casual on the phone and I wasn't sure I wanted to meet him. He was persistent though, and convinced me to meet him at a coffee house called Grounds for Enjoyment. Little did I know how prophetic that would turn out to be!

I still didn't know what his face looked like. Oh, but there was no mistake about those biceps! I assumed his looks would be nothing special because of the blurry photo. I kept my expectations low and my mind open, so I wouldn't be disappointed, no matter what happened.

The First Meeting
I was waiting outside when he pulled up in his purple Explorer. He got out and walked toward me and my heart nearly stopped! He was tall, slim, and extremely good looking, half-Italian with dark hair and eyes, an aquiline nose, and strong jaw line. He was wearing a black leather jacket that immediately reminded me of my old high school swains back in New Jersey.

We said hello, and then he impulsively gave me a hug. It caught me off guard but I liked it, and it was okay with me that he did it.

We hit it off immediately. We talked for hours that first night. Before I drove back up the mountain I told him that he felt like family to me. He reminded me so much of my Italian family back east. Being with him was easy and comfortable.

We dated, got engaged, and then married a year and three months later. Online dating worked for me better than I could have dreamed!

If I had not done all that spiritual work before I met him, none of this would have come to be. He is so grateful to have a woman in his life that enjoys being in charge. And I am so grateful to have a man in my life who accepts and loves me as I am. We've been together five years now and every day I'm thankful to have such a good man as my partner in life.

Great relationships are created through your consciousness (as is everything else in your life). That's what I know to be true through my own experience. Great love is possible for every one of us so don't give up! Online dating could be the perfect way for you to meet your soul mate just as it was for me.

By Barbara Wright Abernathy

CyberCheapskates and Net Gold Diggers

Did you know that Match.com has around twelve million members, but only a million or so of those listed have paid their dues?

The most asked questions from Romance Clients? "Why don't they answer my emails?" Well, first off, you don't know and never will. But it's a pretty good guess is that this guy or lady is cheap.

If you have had much experience as an Internet dater, you've undoubtedly had the experience of putting out first email contacts to prospective Sweetheart and then gotten no answer back. A response rate of 30% to first emails is considered good!

On Match.com as well as many of the other Internet dating sites, you can post a profile for free, but you have to pay to email other listers or respond to emails sent to you.

You can't tell the payers from the freeloaders. And people who aren't paid members can't email, either to contact you first, or to answer when you write. That means that a very high percentage of those people you are carefully looking over are too cheap to pay less than a dollar a day to be able to email you!

Maybe that's a lot of what's behind the 30% who do get back to you. They're the only ones who are paid up!

Though I live now in Mississippi with my new husband Drew, I'm from Maine. I still own a house there on a beautiful island in the mid-coast area, so I get back to visit once or twice a year. Every spring, after the snow melts, all the debris that has accumulated over the winter along the roadsides gets exposed to the light of day. And along with tulips and daffodils, up spring the "For Sale" signs.

For years I wondered about why so many houses came up for sale every spring. Every other house seems to be on the market.

Finally, someone explained to me that lots of folks just put out those "For Sale" signs sort of for sport. All the locals know that summer people are heading this way, and those "city folks" have very distorted ideas about fair property values. So the sport is to put out a "For Sale" sign, ask a very inflated price, and see if anyone will bite. If you're lucky and catch a rich one, you just may be able to fund your retirement. Otherwise, life goes on, you get to stay in your house, and then try again next year. Sounds like a form of digging for gold to me.

Believe it or not, lots of people who are listed on dating sites are doing just that: They put out their "For Sale" sign with their profile and look like they are seriously "in the market" for a Sweetheart. Really, they have a way over-inflated idea of what they can get and are waiting to see if some fool will bite. These folks have stuck out their "For Sale" sign, but they aren't seriously looking. Except for the jackpot.

In the Internet dating world, this is deceptive advertising in the worse way, because the reader has no way of knowing if the profiler they are interested in is really serious and a paid-up member or not. The ONLY people on these online dating sites who are emailing anyone are the ones who have paid! All the others are freeloading teases.

If you are considering CyberRomance or are already posted on a site or two, pay your dues like a grown-up. Do your part to contribute to the energy and integrity of this wonderful resource for singles. If there's a time to "put your money where your mouth is," this is it. If you're serious, pay up. If you're not serious, stay out of the game.

By Kathryn Lord

A Nice Guys Guide to Dating Success

Has it ever happened to you? Have you ever had the experience of liking a woman, being a perfect gentleman, and treating her like a queen, only to have her reject you in favor of someone else (possibly very handsome) who doesn't treat her right, or doesn't seem to care about her much at all? These kinds of men have been called "bad boys," "charm boys," or "players." When you are interested in women, do they tend to see you as a friend or "brother" rather than a romantic interest? Do women tell you you're "too nice"? If so, you are not alone. This article will give you, the nice guy, some tips on how to use charm-boy traits to your advantage, while retaining your nice-guy values.

Let's brainstorm for a minute. What makes charm boys or players attractive? They are fun, spontaneous, unpredictable, mysterious, and act as if they don't care what others think of them (also known as confidence). They follow their own rules and don't let others (including their dates) walk all over them. And they often look good.

So what can you do? You don't have to engage in risk-taking behaviors in order to succeed with women. Suggest some "safe" ideas on the spur of the moment; for example, "Let's go get some sushi/ice cream/a Margarita," or, "Let's go for a drive and see where we end up." If this is not the usual "you," you may enjoy your new-found spontaneity. You can be mysterious/unpredictable without violating your principles. Don't call her the day after getting her phone number or the day after a date. Give her time to wonder whether you'll call; keep her guessing. People often want what isn't easy to get, and women like a little challenge.

You're the man. Many women are looking for men who are confident and decisive, who can be relied on to get things done. On a date, take command but don't be pushy. Always have a Plan A and a Plan B, so you don't miss the concert just in case the restaurant loses your reservation and there's a 1-1/2-hour wait. But always be flexible, in case your date hates Chinese food, for example, or she just told you her favorite musical group is in town, tonight only. Low-cost dates conducive to getting to know each other include the zoo, a museum, or miniature golf. In addition to saving you money, these low-cost dates also minimize the feeling that you have to "spoil" her or "buy" her affection with an extravagant wining-and-dining evening. And if she likes you, she won't mind a "cheap" date; she just wants to be with you.

Keep it light and upbeat. Don't be needy or act nervous. You might be a bit anxious while on a date, but she doesn't need to know that. Keep things light and humorous, and pay attention to her. That in itself will help you take the focus off you and help you feel more confident. And be a gentleman (you're already good at this). For example, always offer to pick up the tab unless she insists on paying, open doors for her, etc. But don't overdo the gifts, lest you appear desperate.

Let her talk. This is where nice guys have an advantage. Most women like to communicate verbally and welcome the chance to be heard. (But make sure you listen; don't just let your mind wander.) She will be impressed if you remember details about things that are important to her, such as her pet's name or her favorite book. If you met her online, review her profile for questions you can ask her about her interests.

Neatness counts. Take another hint from the charm boys. You don't have to be a Brad Pitt look-alike, but make the most of what you have. Review your grooming, clothes, and accessories with an objective eye. If you want feedback, ask a friend--possibly a female friend--for honest input. Or tune into one of the new TV shows which focus on wardrobe/grooming tips for men.

Have a life (and a backbone). Just because you are dating a woman doesn't mean you drop everything else (including your own friends, hobbies, and interests). After all, relationships can come and go. Keep being yourself. You are not always at her beck and call. When you really don't want to do something (for example, if she wants you to cancel your ballgame or night out with your friends to go shoe shopping with her), it's okay to decline. Telling her no may be difficult for nice guys, but if she's worth keeping, she will respect you for this and value her time with you more. To soften the blow, you might offer her an alternative get-together. For example, "Sorry I can't make it on Saturday. How about I take you to that new play you've been wanting to see on Sunday instead?"

How does she rate? Remember: You have the right to evaluate her, not just the other way around. Does she deserve a second date? Is she relationship material (if that's what you're looking for)? Just because she's attractive/smart/classy doesn't necessarily mean she's right for you. Does she treat you well? Is she kind? Does she have decent self-esteem? Is she giving? If you're looking for a long-term relationship, can you see yourself still with her in 20 years, when some of the supermodel looks may have begun to fade?

The good news for nice guys is that as women get older, perhaps having survived a bad-boy heartbreak or two, they are more likely to appreciate nice guys. Make a list of your good points, the qualities you have to offer. Keep at it. And start believing that you are a catch (or at least act like it)!

For more information, visit the author's website http://www.therapy-conscious.com

Ann L. Palik

Online Dating 101 - Online Dating Basics

Online Dating 101 by Kevin Koger

Feeling like there's something that's just not quite there yet in how you're going about this whole online dating thing? Don't feel bad, chances are you're one of the many people who're still pretty new to this gig. Heck, internet dating has only been around for about eight years, so obviously no one out there can claim to have all the answers.

But hey, seeing that we've been perfecting the art of matching people up online all eight of those years, we'd like to share a little of what we've learned about how to make the best of your online experience. Who knows, one of these pointers might be just what you've been missing in perfecting your own online dating adventures.

Therefore, without further ramblings, here are the:


SAY CHEESE! Look your best and submit a great photo of yourself for your profile photo. A good picture really is worth a thousand words, and research shows that you are nearly 10 times more likely to be noticed if you post a photo to your profile.

And, the same stats hold true when you contact someone you've noticed on the site. If you don't have a photo, don't be surprised if the responses aren't too quick in coming back.

Now, don't get mad a start making accusations about all the shallow people out there. While it may be true that some people place too much emphasis on physical appearances, the bottom line is it does make a difference when two people are meeting and making initial evaluations of their interest in each other. And, it's also a trust thing. It is always going to be much easier to interact with a face than with a blank box.

FRESH IS GOOD Change your profile picture and greeting occasionally, add photos to your photo album, and login regularly-this will not only get you noticed, but it will help others get a more varied and up-to-date idea of what constitutes the real you.

When something interesting happens in your life, tell us about it in your profile greeting. This is a great way to let your online friends in on what it might be like to actually spend time with you. That's the main goal of online dating isn't it, to find people you'd finally like to meet and spend time with face-to-face? Anyways, it's always more fun to hear about a crazy experience you've just had than to read the same old descriptions of you and your cat that have been on your profile for months now.

As for photo albums, this is the icing on the cake. Not only do these photos round out and confirm the physical picture your friends are forming of you, but they also go a long way in helping others really see what makes you "you." The head and shoulders shot of you in your profile photo is nice and all, but when they see you hanging 10, running with your Chihuahua, or shoving a big fat piece of cheesecake in your mouth ? now they're getting to know you.

I HAVE CONFIDENCE IN ME Have fun describing yourself without making excuses about why you're on the site or who convinced you to finally go online. Tell us what makes you unique.

Believe it or not, being an online dater no longer places you on the fringes of society or even in the minority. Online dating has grown up and moved into the mainstream, and so you can now happily assume that the face-saving qualifiers of past times online are now obsolete. And, more importantly, just realize that they don't help your cause when meeting others online.

One more thing ? try to be original. Yes, I'm sure you really do like the outdoors and want to meet someone who looks good in a tux and in jeans, but so does everyone else! Tell us some things about yourself that wouldn't necessarily come out in an elevator conversation with your tax accountant. For example, what are you passionate about? What would you do if no longer had to work for a living? What's your favorite flavor of gelato? Do you secretly wish everyday was sampling day at the grocery store? ? now it' getting interesting!

HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY Don't be fooled thinking telling fibs will impress that special someone enough to get relationship started... it will turn them off! Be your best self.

When you really stop and think about it, what do you think your new friend's reaction is going to be if when you meet for the first time it's obvious you're not the person they thought they were going to be meeting? "Oh .. hi. I see that you've been dishonest with me from the get-go here, but hey, I'm still thinking we've got a great shot at having an open, trusting relationship for the long-term" Obviously not.

They're going to be hurt, and disappointed. And, your relationship is unlikely to get past the wave goodbye as your friend gets back in their car to go home.

IT'S NICE TO BE NICE Okay, so you get a little grouchy once in a while-don't we all? However, people like nice people. Please be considerate and polite ? it will make this whole online thing so much more enjoyable for all of us!

There's an interesting social phenomenon researchers have discovered in online interactions. They've found people often change their standards of politeness and diplomacy when a conversation is happening online, versus face-to-face.

Don't believe it? You might be surprised if you were to go back and look at some of the things you've said. Look at some messages you've sent, and then consider saying the exact same words in a face-to-face or a telephone conversation. Sound a little rough? Don't feel too bad, it happens to the best of us, just try to keep this in mind the next time you're typing out an email or instant message.

One more thing-please don't ignore people. A quick "thanks, but no thanks" note is so much better than no reply at all. In fact, next time you're replying to a message on the site, check out the new "Thanks but No Thanks" template. It's a quick way to nicely let someone know you're not interested in corresponding.

YOU CAN PICK YOUR FRIENDS ? Invite your friends along! Create Activity Groups, go on group dates, try Express Dating, enjoy travel events, and just enjoy the net together. After all, instant messaging alone isn't enough to build solid relationships.

Group dating and group events simply make a lot of sense for online dating. Not only does it make those first dates less stressful, it often makes them more fun, and it definitely makes first meetings a much safer proposition.

Have you ever tried Activity Groups? They're a great way to meet people with common interests in a safe, fun group setting. You can join a group that's already been created, or you can create your own and invite all your friends to join ? and their friends ? and their friends ? you get the point.

BREAK OUTA THAT SHELL Don't be afraid to make the first contact. Online dating makes it easy for all you shy ones out there to break the ice, because you get to do all the initial getting to know each other from the comfort and safety of your own computer.

To start, just send a Flirt or a quick email message saying Hi-and do it often! You might be surprised how many of our great members suffer from lack of attention from their online peers. Not only might you find someone with whom you're very interested in maintaining contact, but you'll probably be making someone's day.

EXPAND YOUR HORIZONS If your first internet efforts haven't turned up "the perfect one," don't despair. Hundreds of new people sign up every day on the site, so just come back to see Who's New. You may also want to consider expanding your searches-don't be too intent on sticking to your itemized checklist for eternal mates.

You might also want to try some different searches from time to time. Because there are about a million different things you might find attractive in another person, it's nice to mix up the criteria you're searching on once in a while. For example, you can search by their Occupation, any Keyword or combination of keywords you can think of, and many others.

UH OH ? THIS MIGHT ACTUALLY BE FUN! Don't be afraid to have some fun along your path to relationship happiness! Enjoy getting to know people and understand that many happy relationships and even marriages start with a good ol' friendship. And, don't rush it!

You've heard animals can sense fear? Well, we humans can be pretty perceptive as well (except for that one guy who just can't take a hint). So, don't think others can't sense when you're frustrated, dejected, conceited, holier than thou, fed up, etc. etc. Put a smile on, and enjoy the ride, because even if the first few people you meet aren't Mr./Mrs. Right, it doesn't mean you can't have some fun in good conversations with them.

You may also need to be a little bit patient as you head off into the brave new world of online dating. Not all marriages are "love at first site," and even if yours is, it may take a lot of looking before you "site" that special someone. And so, once again ? enjoy the ride!

USE YOUR NOODLE Ya know, that gray matter between your ears? That's your noodle. Use it! Be smart, be cautious, and follow our safety guidelines, your instincts, and the spirit in all your dating activity.

By Done right

How To Choose a Dating Service

There are so many dating sites out there, hundreds if not thousands, how do you even begin to decide where to register and start your online dating experience?

You could just pick one at random, create a profile, and sit back and wait for the other members to beat a path to your email inbox. Who knows, you could get lucky and it might work out first time. But even a tiny bit of investigation beforehand could save a lot of time and frustration!

The trick is to be prepared. You probably wouldn't go off to buy a new car and start by trawling around dealerships at random, you would already have an idea as to what sort of car you want - how big, how fast, how much money you had to spend, and so forth. Based on these criteria you would have a good idea of which car showrooms to visit to find the right sort of vehicle for your particular needs. So the first question to ask yourself, is what do you want out of a dating site? Sounds obvious - a date! But what sort of date? Are you looking for a serious relationship possibly leading to marriage? Or are you after a casual partner and you'll see where it leads? Or perhaps you just want some uncomplicated fun. The good news is that among the myriad of services out there on the web, there is something to cater for every requirement. Some sites will suit all tastes, but there are many that specialise, and the more specific you are about what you want, the better your chances of finding it.

Before looking at the sites on offer, think about how you will write your personal profile. Jot down a paragraph or two about yourself, your interests, and your hopes for a partner. Then write a few words about what you are looking for in a potential dating match. Doing this offline will help you structure in your own mind what sort of date you are looking for, and then when you go and look at some dating sites, you'll easily be able to pick out those that offer the best chance of providing what you want. The added benefit of course is that when it comes to filling in your profile online, you will be prepared and wont be sat in front of your screen lost for words. Instead your profile will read in a very natural and honest way.

I would always recommend choosing at least two sites to register with and put your profile on, after all, they are almost all free to start with - you only need decide if you want to pay when and if someone of interest turns up and you want to make contact.

Websites like The Dating WebReview can also save you time. The reviews will quickly give you an idea about the services each dating site offers, and whether they specialise.

Choosing an internet dating site isn't difficult. In the end it comes down to finding one that you enjoy using. After all, if it appeals to your taste, then you already have something in common with the other members.

Sara Blackmoore

The Cyber Lothario

Are you writing to someone who is romancing you off your feet? Does this guy seem to know just what to say or write that gets you a step or two further down the garden path?

Perhaps more dangerous than the notorious Internet rapists and murderers are the Cyber Lotharios. Maybe you know one. Smooth as silk. Seduction is his native language.

More dangerous, because these guys (well, maybe there are girls too, but I am more familiar with the guys) are GOOD.

These guys are the Internet equivalent of a Bill Clinton, if Bill Clinton hadn't gotten caught. They are the cyber version of handsome -- they write beautifully, know just what you want to hear and tell you. They POUR it on, and for a thirsty woman, it is nectar from the Gods.

These fellows post on dating sites indefinitely, waiting for the unsuspecting newbie to the dating site. You might contact him, he might contact you, but like a used car salesman, he knows a pigeon when he sees one.

Then slowly, softly, but determinably, he has his way with you.

How do you tell if you have one of these guys on the wire? What if he is a really nice guy, really meaning every word he says?

Well, one thing would be if you find yourself agreeing to things that you never would if you were in your right mind. Particularly if that has to do with sex. Or maybe money.

These guys make manipulation feel like a warm bath. You just slide right in and it feels delicious.

But there is a certain vagueness, particularly about past relationships, and perhaps about future plans. These guys may reassure, but they also will leave themselves a way out.

How can you tell?

Well, one thing you can do is ask for a relationship history. Then pay attention to how he responds, as well as what he actually says.

Does he groan and moan about doing the job? Is he grudging in what he tells you? Or is he open and serious, understanding what you are asking and why?

Does he seem to have trouble remembering his own history, what her name was, what order the different relationships came in? Is he reluctant to divulge, or does he sound like he is fudging?

Does he seem to be moving you fast towards a romantic getaway? Maybe he makes plans for the two of you to meet, and reserves only one room. Is he heavily sexually suggestive and titillating? Does he ask questions like "What kind of lingerie are you wearing?"

Even though a new and legitimate relationship can be highly sexually charged, a guy who is seriously interested in you and a possible future with you will be protective and understanding of you and your feelings.

If you feel antsy, pay attention. If your hormones may be doing your thinking, put on the brakes. Better to let this dangerous Clark Gable type swim away than to be left flat and busted.

By Kathryn Lord


Co-Dependency is an unhealthy reliance on another person for every thought, action, and feeling. It consists of people who seem to be defined by another other person. One person relies so much on another person's opinion -- that the daily functions they once had as an individual are lost. That individual is no longer capable of making his or her own choices.

A person who is co-dependant is constantly striving to please another person and have made them selves so self-less that they begin to lose who they are. Their life becomes a sacrifice for another person.

A person who is co-dependant ceases to be them self and becomes part of two. A person's want for someone else in their life is overcome with the need to have someone else in their life in order to function. The person feels the need to spend every waking moment thinking about that other person, being with them, talking to them, or thinking of ways to make that person happier.

While a marriage should strive to do those items, there is a happy medium and for a lack of a better term, co-dependency could be considered as 'stalking'. The constantly calling them, seeing them, thinking about them, giving them things -- are traits of stalkers who feed their need off the presence of the other person.

If a person doesn't feel happy unless they are with their significant other, this is where the problem begins. To only gain a feeling of happiness by someone, an outside factor that you can't always control is unhealthy. A person must be happy with them selves and love them selves as a person, if you don't love yourself, how do you expect someone else to?

During the honeymoon stages of a relationship, it seems reasonable to want to always be with that person, talk to them, or think about them - but it is important to know that your life doesn't revolve around them.

My grandparents have been married 60 odd years. Their secret is that she gives the orders and he carries them out, this doesn't work in all relationships. If one were to die, the other would soon follow.

Every leader needs a follower and every follower needs a leader. But in relationships, there needs to be a bigger 50/50 balance of respect and understanding that for the first 18+ years of your life, you have lived as an individual and you have your own habits, both bad, as well as good. These habits aren't easily changed. While we strive to make ourselves better, there will always be something that drives the other person nuts.

As a couple, each person must live their own lives -- pursue their own jobs and hobbies.

I dated a girl I worked with, bad idea. Since I was in upper management, work was my life and I always wanted to talk about it. She on the other hand didn't. She couldn't figure out why I didn't focus more on school. Our priorities conflicted each other and shortly our relationship ended. We both have degrees now, but I have experience and after I left that job, she was let go.

One weekend after she and I had been dating, I was watching a movie at my apartment. Usually she went home (from college) on weekends, but had stayed in town that weekend. We had spent the past week together and I needed to take a break and be myself. She stopped by on Saturday and wondered if I was going to call her since she was in town that weekend. I hadn't planned on it, it would have been good to hang with her, but I didn't need to. She couldn't understand why I just sat there and watched a movie while she was in town and we could spend some time together. Watching movies was one of my favorite things to do, she usually studied, read, or slept.

My parent's relationship is a good example of a non-codependent marriage. They work overlapped hours, so they aren't together 24/7. My mom is usually busy with stuff for church, my dad is busy with other stuff for church and a community service club. At home, she works in her office and he works out in the sunroom. They are both home and happy that they know where the other person is. Every day at noon they call each other, it is more of a tradition than a need. They wouldn't be lost of the other person didn't call, it was just part of their daily routine. Every Friday night they go out to eat and maybe see a movie, after all, remember that they are friends. Sure mom does some things for dad that a mom would do. But that is her nature and it works.

They match as friends to the affect that her strengths are his weaknesses and vice versa. They compliment each other and have a happy relationship in which they are dependent on each other for love and shared memories and the wanting to spend their lives together. They can go days without the other person. But usually don't.

The couples that call each other six times a day and wonder where the other person is and why they aren't with them is where it becomes unhealthy.

A friend of mine was dating one girl who was very co-dependent. When he'd home from work, she would call just a minute or two after he walked in and would ask where he was. He would simply say that he just walked in the door and was resting and this would upset her. She expected him to spend every moment of his spare time with her.

She didn't give him any freedom to be himself. She lived in the fear that if he leaves, her life is nothing. Her needs in the relationship were based on a set of unrealistic expectations. She was so selfish in wanting her needs to be filled that she didn't consider his past and his needs. This was the basis for that relationship ending.

People need their alone time. Time to be by them selves to think. You shouldn't stress yourself out about the other person so much that you can't live as an individual. A relationship can bring happiness, but happiness shouldn't be grounded in another person.

I've been single for quite some time -- maybe by an unconscious choice, maybe conscious, maybe chance, or maybe by a Higher power. Being single has given me the opportunities to do what I want to do, be who I want to be, and discover myself. My plate is so full with wanting to write a book, to finishing a movie, to making short films, to getting my finances in order, building credit, getting in shape, and eating healthy -- that would be a lot to handle and try and maintain a relationship at the same time.

Aside from relationships, people can become co-dependant on drugs, alcohol, sex, painkillers, food, and so many more things. If it is considered bad to be dependant on those, then I would venture to say it would be bad to be co-dependant in a relationship.

That is another article.

By Chad J. Bring

Tips Dating