101 pieces of advice

We started out this blog, 99 posts ago (a whole year and a half ago), because we are told we give good advice and are always asked for it. Self-proclaimed, self-help junkies—we love and absorb ideas, knowledge and advice. We both love to expand the mind, quest for happy living, and search for analysis and reasoning in human behavior. Here are our 101 favorites from our blog, and from a few of our favorite bloggers (note that if you want to read more, just click the link at the end of each quote!):

  1. “OWN being in transition.”  Transitions
  2. “Help yourself out. Sort through all the issues in a simple and effective way: Make a list.”  Regain Control of your life- Make a list!
  3. “Things, life, kisses, don’t always happen the way you dream or plan.” First Kisses
  4. “Change needs to happen. Not all of it is drastic. Sometimes little change is good. It keeps you on your toes.” Patterns vs Change
  5. “You already know the answers.”  Breaking up was RIGHT to Do
  6. “It’s completely OK to know what you want but not want it now.” Don’t want it now
  7. “You really don’t need to keep things. Really.”  5 things I have learned from Moving
  8. It doesn’t matter where you lay your head, as long as you have a place to lay it.5 things I have learned from Moving
  9.  Be vulnerable. Take a breath. Ask for what you need. “ 5 things I have learned from Moving
  10. “… remember to breathe through the painful moments and just keep moving forward. If nothing else, you’ll figure it out as you go.” 5 things I have learned from Moving
  11. “Like any good relationship, a good friendship brings out the best in ourselves.  If you’re not seeing your best, you’re not in the right relationship anymore.” Growing out of Friends
  12. “Its time we make connecting in real life a trend again!”  Eye to Eye
  13. “Cut out the excess chatter and find that peace within.” Text-a-Bitch
  14. “It’s tough out there but don’t try giving advice that 1) wasn’t asked for 2) puts your friend in a place that makes her second guess herself 3) that isn’t leading to a positive feeling towards oneself.” No more projections please
  15. “‘No’ is a full sentence.” The Olsen Twins said that.  Basically…life’s too short to do anything you don’t want to do, or anything that makes you uncomfortable. You always have a choice.–Honestly Libby’s Blog
  16. “A flirt is really just a compliment of you being alive and in this spot at this moment.” Flirting: A How To Guide 16332829367_ddb088af60_k
  17. As cliché as it sounds, love will happen when you least expect it… The most important thing to do is make sure you are living a full life. Fill your days and nights with the things you love, your passions, your family, your friends. Don’t wait for love to happen.–This That and The Other Thang’s Blog
  18. “…. do it with bells on—figuratively that is.” Duty Dating
  19. “Statistics are like a bikini – what they show is interesting but the important stuff is covered up! In a world where we rely heavily on data, it’s people who are at the heart of what really matters and numbers can paint a very different picture, whether good or bad.”– Aloada Bobbins’s Blog
  20. “We all have our lists of wants and needs in a mate. If you don’t experience it in the flesh how do you know its something that is a deal maker or breaker.” Duty Dating
  21. Treat dating as a hobby. If you’re too busy with life, or not having fun, stop. Don’t stop your life, just do it in your spare time. First, dating should never be your number one priority.”  Duty Dating
  22. “Whatever happens, we are responsible for our own happiness and success.”– Lessons From My Daughter’s Blog
  23. “Truth sometimes hurts, but lies are ultimately more painful. Let’s stop lying to each other and make this a more truthful world.” Lying: is it really worth it?1438336432_0904c3f0be_o
  24. “..not every date will be someone you want to date again. It’s nice to set boundaries until the date becomes the partner.” Whats in a Name? 
  25. “Maybe you want to be distracted by a 6 out of 7, but 7’s and 7 Plusses do exist, and are out there for the finding.” Move On From a “No”
  26. “If you want it and are willing to work for it, you can make it happen!  “It” can be anything.”–Lessons From My Daughter’s Blog
  27. “The thing about callings is that once you’re called you have to answer!” Leap of Faith
  28. “Chances of winning the lottery are increased significantly by actually buying a ticket.”–Suzie Speaks’ Blog
  29. “If you want to buy fancy undies, or fancy wine, or have a fancy shave: do.” Am I an Amy
  30. “It’s wonderful if they call, it’s great if they take you out, but if you’re not being introduced to friends or other people in their lives after a month or so, there is a reason.” Professing
  31. “…forgiveness isn’t letting down the protection walls. Its more of the mental version of just releasing unneeded tension and relaxing your shoulders.”  How to Apologize to Yourself
  32. “Only tell others things that you wouldn’t mind the rest of the world knowing unless they have consistently proven that they are trustworthy.”–Suzie Speaks’ Blog
  33. “…acting like a queen means watching and kicking lots of jester’s to the curb but one day your king—do not settle for a prince!—will show up.” RESPECT
  34. “You can change anything in your present.  You can take steps to cure your own unhappiness.” Stick Your Neck Out
  35. “Sex one time or multiple times does not a mate make. If you’re having sex to land a mate…” The Best Sex
  36. “My advice for you is dream big.  Work that dream backwards until you have something “small” to work with.” Climbing the Career LadderSONY DSC
  37. “…moving and doing creates options.”  Round Peg Square Hole
  38. “…the excuse “he/she is not my type” is out the window. If you’re single and alone, its obvious your type hasn’t exactly gotten you a home run. So, try on a different pair of ‘jeans’.” Because He ASKED
  39. “If something makes you want to scream, it’s the absolute wrong answer. Step back. Put the item down.”  Holiday Sanity
  40. “Desire: the sexy Live ClareLesley way to prepare you for a positive path for your future! It’s the Fuck Yes way to set your “goals”. If you don’t desire the outcome, it’s a Fuck No!” Desire
  41. “Happiness is ALWAYS just a perspective.” Happiness
  42. “Sudden change of who you are shouldn’t happen just because the calendar changed, but instead because you want to become a better, upgraded version of your current self.”  New Year, Same You: Upgraded
  43. “Once you start sneaking in the time to create, you’ll start making time for yourself to create.” Competitive Progress
  44. “Get off that “woe is me” train! Grab you happy side up ticket and drink a glass of Self Love.” In Your Social Face
  45. Make your own damn plans.”  Valentines Survival
  46. “Shed those red flag preventing glasses and see your own wants, desires, happiness.”  Red Flags
  47. “Don’t make yourself smaller for a mistake.” Stop Saying I’m Sorry
  48. “ANYONE that you kiss, sleep with does NOT a Relationship make.” Sex with Friends
  49. “Remember, the right one isn’t “out there” but instead is inside of you.”  How to be Single
  50. “You’re exactly where you need to be right now. Isn’t that Amazing?” Climbing the Career Ladder
  51. “We decide when we want something to be done, and we arbitrarily pick dates and times and abilities that we think we should be able to do.” New Year: Same You. Upgraded
  52. “Remember, breathing is the opposite of nerves—if there is plenty of good warm breath in your stomach, there aren’t room for butterflies!”  Nerves: Squish Those Butterflies
  53. “You rest, you rust! Seriously. When I think about rust I remember this old wheelbarrow out in the back yard where I grew up. Do you really want to become and old wheelbarrow?”  Love the Skin You’re In
  54. “…dating should be fun. It should be treated as a hobby. No one freaks out about or overthinks yarn, book club, or collecting stamps.” Dating:  Straightforward From the Beginning
  55. “Texting does not a relationship make.” No Waiting Dating
  56. “Get your face out of your phone. Actually talk to people, see what happens.” Crying wolf on social media
  57. “Sometimes we set goals and then we grow out of them. Luckily we write goals on paper, not in stone.” How To Stop Avoiding Your Goals
  58. “How do you fight the distortion?  Fight it with truth. Get down to the nitty gritty. Get naked.  Find a full length mirror you trust, and take it all off.” Love Your Skin Now
  59. “It’s nice that someone is contacting you. Wallpaper is nice my friends; your relationship should not be just nice.”  Texting is not a relationship
  60. “If you don’t eventually demand your worth, people will think you’re worthless, or worse, take advantage of you.” What Is Your Worth?
  61. “Sometimes the dream we have had in our head since childhood isn’t the one we really want to achieve.” 5 questions to help you focus your dreams
  62. “You are a beautiful snowflake, and you travel however you want to.” Age–Does It Really Matter? 11445631923_df52846c49_o
  63. “Be ok with changing your timeline.” Are you in a trough of sorrow?
  64. “It is great to be altruistic, but you have to take care of yourself if you are going to be any good to anyone else.” Rest IS good for you
  65. “Just like a stockbroker doesn’t put all his money in one companies stock. Don’t out all your stock in dating online. Keep yourself available to meet people multiple ways.” 5 ways to change up your dating game
  66. “I will survive my crisis. You will survive yours.” How to survive your own personal hell
  67. “Your life shouldn’t be supporting your business; your business should be supporting your life.” 5 steps for getting out of your own way
  68. “Even if you walked the same path, at the same speed as another person, you would have a completely different experience. If you open up your eyes and have no expectations, you’ll have enjoyed the journey much more; you see more, experience more, gain more.” Age–Does It Really Matter?
  69. “Slowly progress into the schedule you need to hit the goals you have.” Love the Skin You’re In
  70. “What do you really want? Re-tailor your life to that dream!” 5 questions to help you focus your dreams
  71. “Go, picture the life you want to live, ignore the negative voices, try something new and have fun while doing it.” I Said Yes
  72. “Understand you are not on a timeline/time crunch/expiration.” 8 tips to survive your friends wedding announcements
  73. “Be careful what you say: your brain is listening.” Be careful the things you say: Your brain is listening
  74. “Love the person, leave the label off, and let your expectations and demands on a relationship fall away.” Labels are for Soup, Not People
  75. “You will not die from rejection.  The odds are better than any other form of gambling.” Just Ask Already
  76. “Build your business around your lifestyle not the lifestyle around your business.” 5 Steps to get out of your own way
  77. “You are never “too” anything… so stop thinking that way!!” Why the word “Too” is just an excuse
  78. “That is the first thing you have to understand and realize is that all “single” means is that you’re not in a pair.  It doesn’t mean that you’ll always be–unless you choose it.” How To Be Single
  79. Wouldn’t you rather be your own original story? Knockoffs and remakes are rarely as exciting as the original.” How to deal with a barrage of green grass 2680294816_e710a43d3b_b
  80. “Partners take time. Just like friendships take time. They deserve to take time. Like a fine wine, tea or beer…fermentation is a good thing.” Sex with Friends
  81. “Focus on yourself. In this time that you’re waiting, think about things to do for yourself, or that you need to accomplish.” 6 Ways to Stop Your Waiting Anxiety
  82. “Stay Hydrated. Drink in lots of self love, big picture thinking and how this storm will prepare you for the future.”  5 tips to beat the heat of life
  83. “Don’t value the actual money more than you value time.” What is your WORTH
  84. “Don’t create realities that aren’t really happening.” Make like a Blondie Song and Call Me
  85. “Breathing may be difficult, but you’re the only one who can control that. So it is up to you to keep breathing and keep moving on.”  How to Survive Your Own Personal Hell
  86. “You are in control of your life and your thoughts. Remember you have choices.”  5 tips to beat the heat of life
  87. “Maybe you’ll succeed. Maybe you’ll fail. No matter what you’ll try something new and you’ll learn something.” How writing a novel made me a better person
  88. “The thing is, you’re never alone in your crap.”  What to do when Shit Happens
  89. “Forget about “you only live once.” You only die once, and its getting closer every day.”  How to Face your Big Fears
  90. “Change it up! If freestyle isn’t working there are other strokes out there. The important thing is to take action. You’ll feel more in control of your situation.” Just Keep Swimming
  91. “Remember the beginning is always slow, but you have to just slog through it. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and you’ll get there eventually.”  How writing a novel made me a better person
  92. “Take a look around you. Say a general thank you to the positives in your life.”  The Power of Thank You
  93. “Let’s stop being virtual recluses!  Go forth and have conversation.” Make Like a Blondie Song and Call Me
  94. “Being yourself, having fun and making eye contact are all things that attract someone to you and your personality.” Could your next date be at the grocery store?
  95. “Sitting around complaining about it and doing nothing to change it seems pretty silly don’t you think?  Unless you do something to change your situation, nothing will change.”  How to Let It Go2512983749_ee38b41e0d_b
  96. “By creating a new schedule for yourself the bad stuff won’t seem so bad because you are living the lifestyle you desire.”  5 Steps to Getting Out of Your Own Way
  97. Make mistakes. Make choices. Take chances.How to Listen to Life Lessons
  98. “I understood that I would be even more unhappy and unfulfilled in my life, which would actually be worse than the possibility of failure and the humiliation.”  How to Face Your Big Fears
  99. Being kind only takes a moment of time, but it will earn you moments, hours, and years.–Clare
  100. The true definition of luck is when preparation meets opportunity. You can be the luckiest person in the world if you want to be.–LL
  101. Go out and be great.  Or at least enjoy the ride!–LCL

Thank you!  Here is to hundreds more blogs, stories, and pieces of advice!

xoxo–Clare and LL

If you have a comment scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com   We LOVE your feedback!!   Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!

Photo credits–all photos from Flikr Creative Commons: 100 (by Ash); lightbulb (by Beat Kung); Create (by Dana Bateman); Truth (by T); Snowflakes (by MayYeo); Dream Big (by Heidi); Ant Heart (by uditha wickramanayaka)

5 Tips for changing up your dating game

“We had an amazing time! He walked me to my car, I drove him to his and he kissed me. Then he asked if he could call me. I gave him my number. He texted me right then, so I would have his. Haven’t heard from him since.”

That’s the short version of a friend’s latest Tinder date. The long version has even more details of a positive experience. They met and messaged through Tinder, so if he ever wanted to call her, he had to ask for her phone number. However, he also didn’t have to ask. He could have just said “have a great night!”  Her sadness is something I’m sure you all know someone or have gone through this before. Great date, no call. What the (insert your own explicative word here)?!

I am not a proponent of online dating. I have talked about it in Eye to Eye. I think all the dating apps keep our eyes on our devices and not on the present surroundings. Where there happen to be people! But no one is looking up so no one is meeting any one. Try it, walk into a cafe or restaurant and see if anyone is actually looking up? Aside from the fact that it’s terrible for your posture and spine strength you cannot meet people with you head down.

All the social media in the world has actually made us more lonely. Less connected. Now, these apps also make us believe that there are plenty of fish in the sea. Everyday more options, matches flood your inbox or app. You wake up and right there in your inbox or alerts is a fresh batch of new matches. People the app thinks are perfect matches for you! It’s not that much of a mystery why there was no call after a great date. They got home and after the typical 48 hours they already have had 10-30+ “matches”. Why wouldn’t they want to try out these other options first?

Dating websites do best the more people who are signing up for their services. The more profiles the more matches you’ll get the longer you stay on their site and the more money they make. Sure, they do need to make actual matches to have “success” stories. But, one thing dating websites and apps cannot do…make people actually go past the first intro, first communication or even a first date.

When I did online dating it was more to test out my Red Flags and Duty Dating. I’ll admit I wasn’t looking for Mr. Right. I was using Mr. Right Now to get me back in the dating saddle again. But, I fell into the temptation too. The massive amount of matches it’s easy to hit “like” on a profile then swipe to the next and hit “like” again. I felt like I was putting clothes on a wish list or adding men on a Pinterest board.

I had nothing invested, other than the time I was wasting, roaming the Internet dating site much like a flash sale on shoes. I put a bunch a men in my basket and then before checking out moved onto the next site.

So, can I blame this guy for taking her number then getting distracted? No. Do I blame him? No. I blame us all. I blame the social media marketing.  This situation is a mess.

Do I think there one person for everyone? No, but there are not as many fish in the sea as dating apps and sites would have you believe. The 30+ matches I had each week from match I probably spoke to one or two a week via email. Went on 1 or 3 dates. E-Harmony actually set me up with my Ex (who by the way I met online and was told he was a 91% match…I can honestly say we were not).

I do not think that many people on those sites are actually ready to commit even though they say they are.  I think they are on there so that they feel they have their finger on the pulse of dating. Because, it is easy to get a date off a site then in real life. The rejection of a date online is not as tough as the rejection of asking out someone in person..face to face. Honestly, what’s so terrible about rejection anyways? Isn’t it better you get rejected then to always wonder what if?

So, what are you to do? What’s s single person trying to meet someone to do?

1) make sure your honest in person and online

2) be bold: if you see someone out and about that you’re attracted to make eye contact and maybe even say something. Start a conversation.

3) have fun: dating is the fun part, if it leads to a relationship or marriage awesome. If it doesn’t better to find out sooner than later. But it should be fun in the beginning.

4) say yes if you mean it. Don’t be so focused on dating that you date or want to date someone so much that you trick yourself into having feeling for someone you don’t.

5) try something new. I’m not just taking new hobbies but new people. The “he/she is not my type” is lame and out dated. If your type was working for you then you’d be living your happy ever after.

My friend from the date is moving on. This one not worthy of another thought. She told me she likes a friend of a friend (I think she’s been interested for about a year). She’s going to get bold and invite him for a drink. The worst thing is he says no. She won’t die. The best thing it works out! I’d say the risk is worth it.

My dears, get off your apps and your phones during the hours you can be in public meeting people and living life. I know there plenty of people who fall in love and live happily from online dating. But, not everyone does. So, just like a stockbroker doesn’t put all his money in one companies stock. Don’t out all your stock in dating online. Keep yourself available to meet people multiple ways.

Xx~LL

If you have a comment scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com We LOVE your feedback!! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!

Texting is Not a Relationship

Daily or almost Daily texts is not a dating relationship.

It’s not.

I promise you it’s notYou, my dear friend, are so worth a phone call.  You’re worthy of an invitation. A verbal (phone or in person) conversation cannot be copy and pasted. 

That’s all I wanted this blog post to say. But, I also know that many of you are going to be sitting there trying to justify why your text conversations are a relationship. That the smiley face at the end of “Hey” is endearing and personal. The text “what are you doing tonight?” That they sent you at 6pm really was only sent to you and not after their other plans fell through.   I know that the world is all about instant messages. Texting, iMessage, Tinder, Grindr, What’s App…insert whatever other instant notification app here. But guess what?  There are still phones. We still speak out loud. Phone companies still sell plans with minutes. Unlimited minutes are cheaper than ever. People do not have to use them wisely. They can just use them!

If someone really likes you they’ll call you.  I promise you they will.

Sure there may be a text here an there “I’m on my way” is absolutely appropriate. It shows that they care enough to give you a heads up and that you have made plans to get together. If they always text you “what are you doing this weekend?” There is a huge chance they copy and pasted that to a few others. I’ll say it again because it’s true.  A phone conversation is pretty tough to copy and paste.

In a world where people can text It’s pretty special when someone picks up the phone and calls you.

I remember last Spring I was out having dinner with a girlfriend talking about the guys I was dating. I had just arrived back from another trip to Boulder, Co. While telling her about “the musician” he called. My phone lit up. I literally laughed out loud. How warm were his ears? Anyways, it went to voicemail since I’m a firm believer in being with those I’m spending time with. After dinner I got in my car and listened to his voicemail. Yes, a smile on my face. He called me! His message: he was sitting in his hotel in Las Vegas (his band was performing there) and he saw i had arrived back from Boulder. Wanted to hear about my trip.

I know! My smile grew even bigger and it felt so nice that someone called me just to see how I was. He was in Vegas on a Saturday night and called me. He could have texted or waited until he arrived back.

Back to my point if they call you it’s for you. It’s personalized just for you.

Conversations on the phone and in person are so personal. There’s tone, inflection, complete sentences and depth. No amount of emoji’s, elipses and punctuation can replace an actual vocal conversation. The best part about a phone conversation is you never have to watch those three dots start, stop and start again only to stop and leave you hanging!

Since I’m not a complete cold hearted message take-away-er here are some tips to help you ween off the addiction:

1) don’t go cold turkey: delete one app a week

2) only use messages for confirmations, out of state/country friends

3) start calling a friend or family member a week. Get used to talking on the phone again. You’ll start to crave that kind of communication

I know I’m getting brutally honest with you here. But, it’s for your own good. The person who treats you like the Royalty you are calls you on the phone.  Gets to know you. They take interest in what you are doing. I know it’s going to be tough to let those text conversations go. It’s nice that someone is contacting you. Wallpaper is nice my friends; your relationship should not be just nice.

xx~LL

If you have a comment, scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com We LOVE your feedback!! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!

 

Xx ~LL

Dating: Straightforward From The Beginning

I meet the most interesting species of adults while dog walking—one of my many eclectic survival jobs. Anyway, yesterday at the dog park I was talking with a dog walker—who is a super nice guy, handsome, buiiilt—he’s a nutritionist and is a bulky dude. I see him often and we chat about different things. Yesterday, our conversation moved to: how to approach someone they’re interested in, and how much is too much “bluntness.” His word was “bluntness.”  I followed up with saying I think there is a big difference between “blunt” and “straightforward,” and he agreed. The trouble many of us face when attempting to date is that there is a whole pool of candidates with different desires. Some are in the shallow end, just looking to splash around and have some fun, while others are paddling around the middle of the pool kinda wanting to commit but don’t want to go all the way to the deep end, and at the far end are the invested divers and lap swimmers—the ones with commitment in mind—in the deepest part of the pool.  I told Buff Dogwalker that I think that no matter what part of the pool you’re in, no matter guy or gal—straightforward is always the best. I’m not saying walk up to someone and ask in the first thirty seconds if they’re interested in sex and only sex.

Instead what I’m saying is try to push aside your nervousness (visit my blog from two weeks ago!) And yes, everyone is nervous or has some modicum of the anticipation of rejection, especially in the dating world.

Here are some steps to get into straightforward dating:

1) Observe!  Instead of focusing on yourself, focus out and read the body language and cues of the other person. Everyone should probably know by now that if someone is leaning toward you, or coming closer they’re probably interested. If women smile or look down, or play with their hair—they’re interested. If men lean, or puff up, strut, or offer to buy you a drink—they’re interested. If none of these things happen, they’re probably not interested, so move on. When it comes to ladies, well, we will laugh, or find a way to touch you, or lean in. Eye contact, especially when it is followed by blushing or a smile is an indicator for attraction for either gender. And likewise for disinterest, if either party seems distracted, looks over your shoulder instead of at you, or finds a reason to walk away, they’re not interested. It sometimes happens that someone stops you as you’re walking away, but don’t bet on it—but if they do—stay.

2) Engage! Once initial interest is established, create easy conversation. It’s really ok to have a few topics that you always talk about—people joke about weather being a conversation topic that anyone can talk about, but its true. I’d pick a few things that you can easily converse about. Try not to talk about things that you’re a super smarty on, or political or religious topics… those can happen down the road. Music, celebrities, movies, community happenings, cheese: all are interesting starters.

3) Be Straightforward! After you’ve chatted for a bit, if you’re still interested, you can bring up that you’re interested in dating, or a casual romance (aka, just sex), or that you’re looking for something long term. I’m not saying you’ll be guaranteed any of these, but you’re welcome to throw it out there. You’re also welcome to just see what happens. A safer alternative is to ask the person on a date, if they don’t ask you first. On the first date you can always have the “this is what I want out of this relationship” conversation. I internet dated for a year, and to be honest, at some points I didn’t know where anything was going. Sometimes dudes told me flat out that they wanted a certain thing out of dating, whether it be dating, relationship, or sex. Although, at the time it was a shocking conversation (and could have been brought into the conversation more subtlety and not as pointed), I really appreciated those men who said something like, “I really like you, and I’m interested in only BLANK right now. Is that something you’re interested in?” I know you’re probably saying something like: “but that just totally pigeon holes the whole relationship into one thing.” Well, what can I say, you’re right. BUT, if its said straight forward what the other person wants, you can make your decision now and move on if you’re goals are different.

In this fast paced society where we can find information on our phones at any given moment, order food on the internet to be at our door in 30 minutes, and talk to anyone instantly, why not be straightforward with your dating desires just see what happens? I’m not saying flat out ask for sex. I’m saying state your intentions. As in, “I’m not looking to really dive into a relationship right now, but I want someone to go on fun outings with,” aka: I’m just looking to date. Or, “I’m really looking to just find someone for fun tonight,” aka: I really only want to hook up. And finally, “I’m looking for something long term to see how it goes,” aka: I want to date and possibly have a relationship. Always add on a: “And how about you?” to the end of these.

Yes, this may seem blunt, but turn it around; if you’re looking for something specific when you go out—which you probably are (its really ok, and probably best to be honest with yourself)—just be honest with the person you’re interested in. I have so many hindsight conversations with girlfriends and guyfriends that all sound like: If I had only known that he/she only wanted to date, I would have been willing to do just that, but I didn’t know. Yeah, it’s a bit brutal, but if you’re honest and lightly straight forward, you’re not leading the person on. Do you really want to keep someone around who has a different agenda?

Buff Dogwalker ended our conversation yesterday, saying that he wished he had known that the woman he approached only wanted to sleep with him. She told him at the end of their second and last date, that he could have had her, and she wondered why he waited so long—according to him, he didn’t even try to kiss her at the end of date two, even though he wanted to, he was trying to be a gentleman and prolong the romance. Hindsight, he said he would have slept with her and cut through all the baloney if only he’d known what she really wanted.

Almost three years ago, I started a relationship with a guy, and I thought that he wanted a relationship. He lived out of the city, so it was rough. One day, I invited him in for a sleepover. I realized the night of said sleepover that we were just going to be casual. Since we never talked about it, I didn’t know. He decided that he wanted a relationship. Because we didn’t talk about it, we were focused on different things, and three months later after stringing each other along, it ended poorly. I’m still beaten up about it… “if I had only done things differently” floats through my head when I see a doppelganger of his walk by me on the street…

So there you go. Agree, disagree. Try it, don’t try it. I’m all for honesty, and I’ve Duty Dated enough that I’m done—I know what I want, so from here on out, I’m going to state what I want upfront. Maybe it will work, or maybe it won’t. Maybe I’ll miss out on possible opportunities. From now on out I’m going to be honest with myself and my conquests, relax, and see what happens.  Because dating should be fun. It should be treated as a hobby. No one freaks out or overthinks yarn, book club, or collecting stamps.

–Clare

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Red Flags: Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore

“In the beginning, what red flags did you ignore?” My therapist asked me in my second session post break up. I sat there speechless for a moment. At first, I wanted to get defensive and say there weren’t any.  Then as I opened my mouth to say so, I realized it was probably not true.  She told me that there are always red flags, some flags are redder than others, but there are always red flags.  She sent me home with homework: I had to think back and spot all the red flags that I ignored.  What were they?  Why did I excuse them? How red were they?

Sitting in that office on that couch I just couldn’t admit to myself that there were red flags in a relationship that seemed so perfect.  After being out of the relationship for more than a year, I can tell you every red flag and how red it was. I can even tell you the day one flag was waving, so bright and shiny like it was waiting for a bull to come charging, and instead of paying attention, I brushed it away. Actually, I rolled it up so quickly and shoved it in a trunk and put that trunk in the back of a garage and then put things in front of that trunk hoping to pack away the existence of the flag.

Of course that never works. If you’ve been in a relationship that didn’t work out you too can look back and see the signs. If you can’t I beg you to go back. Like Clare says in Patterns Versus Change  we’ll continue the same patterns until we learn from them.

I am not saying that any of us are free of flags. I think that we all have our own flags in a variety of colors and that’s what makes us unique. But some flags should be hints while others are red alert warnings. Not every person you date will be the right match for you. My last relationship was the picture of perfection. What every girl is supposed to want. I ignored the flags because society’s idea of “perfect” trumped my idea of “perfect.” Working on my therapy homework, I unpacked the garage after leaving my session and started looking at the flags I ignored. What an eye opener that was!

What happened next? My confidence in dating, trust within myself, my own choices, and eventually, love. I grew up, grew strong, and got honest.

As a coach for relationships and goals there’s often lots of red flags that I hear about.  My Duty Dating was the perfect red flag training ever for my life. As I listen to friends, clients, people at coffee shops (I do eavesdrop, but it’s all in the name of research), I ask myself “how red is that flag” for me?  As an outside observer, things look different.  Flags that are really really red to me, might be orange to you.  Its not my job nor my place to interfere or interpret your flags. Side note: friends want your advice that doesn’t mean you can judge their flag coloring (see No More Projections Please). However observing others is a good and less invasive beginning to viewing your own flags. I want you to practice recognizing the red flags that pop up or stand out in your life and in those of others, and then also observe what patterns or feelings arise.

Lately there’s been some sadness and disappointment in the dating world with my friends, clients, even from some of you readers. You meet someone, there’s excitement, smiles, something to look forward to and plans for your weekend. Then a few dates later, combustion!  Or worse: silence. We’ve all been there, I’ve been there. Can you get upset, sad, disappointed and or stab a voo doo doll?  Sure, for a moment.  Maybe you give yourself a day; mourn the loss of “what could have been.” Then pick yourself up! Dust yourself off, and ask yourself the tough question. The honest question. What Red Flags did I ignore? What behaviors did I pay no attention to or excuse away?

Dating can be hard. Life can feel lonely. But do you really want to be with someone just so you’re not alone? I didn’t think so! Get excited about a date but remember while you’re hoping their into you make sure you’re into them! Show off your colors and take a look at all of theirs. There are two people in a relationship. Even if one of you walks away, or stops calling you, at least you will not have been a participationless bystander. You were a an equal partner in the relationship (again at least should have been). Not that I want you to think that if something didn’t work out its your fault! I am absolutely not saying that. We all have choices. We choose what to pay attention to, who to give our attention to, and how we deserve to be treated.

On your next date, instead of excusing the guttural reaction because someone is cute, your type, the first date in five years, dig deeper.  Ask the tough questions. You may be surprised. Something you thought was red is orange. Something you thought was yellow was bright freaking RED.

We have no control of others actions. We can only control our controllables. If you are honest with yourself, totally love and value yourself, those red flags will stand out like a Viking at the Art Museum (not that Vikings don’t go to art museums just that Vikings stand out pretty much anywhere).

You won’t “fall” for every opportunity…not because you’re pessimistic but because you’re in control of your ship. You have awareness of your wants, needs and desires. Red flags just get in the way of those things. They delay your happiness. Why oh why, my loves, would you let your own self get in the way of your own happiness?

Shed those red flag preventing glasses and see your own wants, desires, happiness. Let those in who support you. Show them who you are and see them for their true selves. See the red flags. See the other colors of them. Make a decision, and try it out. If it doesn’t work with this person, at least you were honest. Try the next person; maybe their flags are the right colors for you! Then you two can roll around in your other colored flags and run off into the sunset holding your sans red flags hands high!

Xx~LL

Happy New Years–Our top 5 of 2014

YouTube message from Clare and LL (We’re real, and in NYC together!!) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NSrzllk_3c&feature=youtu.be

Hope you survived your kiss at midnight.  If you didn’t, or if your main resolution is to make sure you have one next year, maybe you should get out there and see what you want and what you don’t!

Review LL’s tips on Duty Dating

Happy Hunting and welcome to 2015!

xoxo–LL and Clare

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

The term “girls’ night out” can bring up a range of images and memories! In my early 20’s girls night was basically heels, tight jeans, great hair and starting out with the girls…then…as  the debauchery ensued boys were added to the mix and we may or may not have gone home with the girls we started with. Instead, promises to get home safe, use a condom and call each other in the morning.  In my late 20’s girls’ night out was a variety of outfits ranging from work clothes to gym clothes. Drinks were still a constant but the expectation was that we would each be going to our own homes, to our boys and no need to “check in” in the morning. Now in my early 30’s girls nights are just that—girls nights. Attire doesn’t matter, check-in’s unnecessary but the conversation is more of a combo of the early and late 20’s. Drinks and/or fresh juice are ordered in rounds and connecting with women of like minds is so liberating, inspiring and necessary.

But, sometimes the conversation leaves a bad taste. Honesty is good.  Wounding each other is not. I am talking more about when you realize that your friends have a distinct difference in perspective on something and it is different from yours. You probably would speak your mind and agree to disagree and then maybe even avoid that topic in the future. All is fine. It really is, in fact it’s healthy to have differing perspective.

Recently I was out having one of these girls’ night outs. I brought up a discussion I had previously with a particular male suitor. I had told him that if he wanted to spend time with me on a Saturday night he needed to ask me out before Saturday night. Preferably before that same Saturday afternoon but why split hairs. My ladies wondered why that mattered. Why did I need this suitor to call me before, he was calling me after all what difference did it make when he called?  I did my best to keep my jaw from falling on the floor and breaking.  Why is it important to contact me before the evening in question? Respect!! R-E-S-P-E-C-T (yes you can sing that out loud).

If the person calling you last minute is someone you are just hooking up with then absolutely the timing of the call makes no difference. Neither of you are respecting or asking for respect of each other. You’re mutually using each other for a connection and if one of you isn’t free no big deal, one of you will just continue through your contacts and call the next person.

If the person calling you last minute is someone you want to date, have a future anything with…Guess what?! They better be contacting you at least a day or so ahead of time. Asking if you’re free and then the two of you sharpie that date in your schedulers. Or at least ask Siri to put it in your calendar for you. This pre-planning shows several things. 1) Respect! For you and your time. 2) they are thinking of you and looking forward to the next time. 3) They don’t want someone else to snag your Saturday night.

My girls night out friends agreed to disagree. Which is fine. But, I was still bothered. Why? Because I think we have convinced ourselves that we don’t need that courtship or that it doesn’t exist. Or worse doesn’t need to exist.  That it’s a fact that men do not contact ahead of time. That we should be the ones that text, call, email, Facebook, tweet them to get them to think of us in hopes that this attempt at connecting will elicit a date. Then we complain that there are no good ones out there. Because of all of this, we also have convinced ourselves that as long as he calls, texts, tweets, what’s app’d us that he’s into us and all is good.

Nope! Wrong! If we want to be treated like the queens we are then we need to act like a queen.  Sure, acting like a queen means watching and kicking lots of jester’s to the curb but one day your king—do not settle for a prince!—will show up. Honestly, do you want someone thinking of you because you put yourself in their thoughts?

First steps in declaring your queen-ness and Respecting yourself:

1) do not contact him unless asked to respond. If he wants to call you he will…seriously he’ll make up a reason to call you if he doesn’t have one!  Don’t contrive Opportunities.

2) do not jump at every chance to go on a date. Ask yourself is he a king? Hint a king doesn’t call at 8pm Saturday for that evening’s date.

3) Love and RESPECT thyself NOW!

Yep, I only have three tips. Why? Because loving and respecting yourself ensures that you will attract or respond to someone who respects you. I have happily seen my girlfriends move past this evening and now see my point. When you’re Duty Dating or just out having fun then enjoy all that comes with that. But, if you want more, need more…then these tips are for you! I know from experience that this will work.

LL

Move On From A “No”

There has been a recent resurfacing of Mark Manson’s F’ck Yes or No article—it’s a good one, go read it. I’ve had three friends send it to me in the past few weeks… and I read it last year when it came out. He makes such a great point: don’t stick around if the relationship doesn’t work for you or isn’t what you want. And don’t live in the grey, indecisive land of a possible relationship if its not a firm “yes.”

So, that being said, what do you do when you like someone but you need to move on? Maybe you’ve been on a few dates, maybe you’ve just been in a few social situations together, and even though there is chemistry—or at least you feel like you get along well, nothing has happened, and you’re holding on to a “no.” If you’re one of those people who can move on quickly, bravo to you! What about a job you didn’t get or a family member who always gets under your skin and you don’t understand why? If you can let these things roll off your back, you can skip over this part and go read some of out other articles. Or, maybe you should read it and understand that you might be the catalyst, and let the other person have some sort of sign that they should move on with life. However, if you are a hopeful wisher, watching and waiting for a reason to step forward, or make a relationship happen, or do the perfect thing at the right time, and the other person will flip on like a light switch and finally see you standing in the middle of the room, just waiting for them… well, come with me. This journey is one you need to take.

I probably have close to fifty versions of this same story when it comes to these “kind of sort of but not yet really a relationship thingys”… for all intents and purposes I’ll call them “crushes.” I meet a boy/guy/man, there is some sort of zinger connection, and I am, for better or (mostly) worse, hooked. In any quiet moment, I sit and think over and over and over that moment of connection, the one that I swear to remember to bring up over a fifth date, and an important anniversary, possibly a wedding speech, and I analyze it. I think about and hope for other chance meetings, I look to see if his name is on invites for events, and if he’s confirmed his attendance, I’m more willing to go. And to bake something to bring. I’ll admit it sounds mildly psychotic. But first, I admit that I think like this. And better yet, second, I’ve learned how to stop myself.

Let me give you a scenario. One Saturday night, I go to see a friend’s show. Before the show, I’m chatting to a mutual friend I know and Mr. Tall and Handsome comes over to say “hi” to the mutual friend. T&H and I are introduced and I feel a zing in my stomach. Mutual friend is called away by someone else, and so T&H and I stand and chat. Now, I’m a great chatter. I’m also great at flirting—but more on that later (for how I do it go check out Flirting). I’m attracted to this man, who I’ve learned after about five minutes of talk is older than me, used to be in the arts but has now moved on and has a steady 9 to 5 job, and makes a steady pay check. Um… pause. In five minutes I’ve found out that this person who just randomly walked up, and I was left alone with has 5 out of 7 on my list of qualifiers—don’t judge, we all have them. (Turns out he made it to 6, has college degree, but found that out later in the evening). Since it was open seating, we sat next to each other and enjoyed the show. After the show he continued to chat with me while we waited for our friend who was in the show to come from back stage. The three of us chatted together for a bit, and then she went off to greet other guests. They were closing up the venue and the three of us head to get a slice of midnight pizza, and then we all ride the train home together, as we are only a few stops from each other. Show friend gets off first, and T&H and I have six whole stops to ourselves. Chatting continues. My stop arrives. He doesn’t ask for any way to contact me, (and this year I had turned over a new leaf, I was not going to offer mine—I used to be one of those gals who gave you every way to contact me possible if you seemed interested… I know. But not this time. If he wants to contact me, he’ll ask for my info) and resolutely, I give him a hug and a kiss on the cheek and walk off the train.

Two weeks go by. I wonder if he’s thought of me at all. He obviously hasn’t called, or texted, or emailed, or found me through social media. I wonder if I should have turned around and waved at him when I got off the train. I wonder if I should see if he has a Facebook page. I try to remain empowered by the thought that I didn’t throw myself at him, but instead stood tall and true to myself.

Third weekend since our first meeting arrives, and I’m attending a house party, that he has also been invited to—he is on Facebook, and he has been a “maybe” to attending. My hopes have rollercoastered all week, but on the day of the party, I’ve had such a packed day, I don’t even think about it until the friend (who rode the train home with that fateful night), texts me saying that he just confirmed he will be at the party. I do that panic/excitement thing where I think way too much of it in the first five minutes, and then try to remain calm and collected for the next two hours until I actually see his face.

At the party, I’m cool and collected when he comes in. Having a good time, enjoying myself. He comes right over, says hi, and kisses me on the cheek as we hug a hello. On the cheek. His lips squarely on my face. Outside I was calm and collected, trying to convince my knees to stay firm and steady. On the inside, I was jumping up and down, doing a touchdown dance, and screaming that I’d won the jackpot. All night long we flirt, and talk, and at one point we are even sitting next to each other on the sofa, and there isn’t much air between us. End of the night, party is winding down. T&H and our train buddy decide to walk to the train together, while I head off in a different direction. The party was in my neighborhood, so my apartment wasn’t far enough to take the train. Don’t panic, she has a boyfriend, and clearly knows my interest in this guy, so she doesn’t snag him out from under me. I find out a week later, though, that she asked him how he felt about me on their stroll. She says he said that he “likes me but is not in a place to date right now.”

So, what do you do with that? Obviously, he doesn’t want to date me, we’ve now interacted twice and no exchange of digits took place and he’s actually said that he isn’t interested. He hasn’t tried to find me outside of these social interactions. But he’s a 6 out of 7 so I should keep hope alive just in case in a few weeks he finds himself in a place to date, right?

Wrong. As Lesley and I conversed about this section, she said to me “Maybe you want to be distracted by a 6 out of 7, but 7’s and 7 Plusses do exist, and are out there for the finding.” She is exactly right—I say this to friends all the time. But why can’t I say it to myself when these instances come up? I need to move on down the road of life. Maybe, someday when he feels like he has all of his stuff together, his ducks in a row, his life as he needs it to be, maybe he’ll come looking for me. In the meantime, I need to get my own life, stop thinking about future scenarios in my head, stop hoping he’ll call, stop looking at his pictures on Facebook—we’re now friends so I can officially do that, and stop falling asleep dreaming of him. (Yeah, in black and white, it feels really horrible to read all of that. I’m cringing as I type it… and hoping that Lesley will edit this section, so I don’t have to read that confession again. All I can say is that, yes, even tall, beautiful, talented people fail at life sometimes.)

So, how did I move on? Well, a great deal of will power, and the lovely toolbox I’m about to dole out to you.

Above, I mentioned this also works for jobs and family members. It does, just adjust for whatever you cared about and were waiting around for a change to occur, that still hasn’t happened.

First, I used to get over these things by trying to make myself dislike the person (workplace, family member, etc.), thinking of the worst qualities, or attributes, or even making things up if I didn’t know any. This isn’t the best idea—in fact it’s probably the worst. One, it is negative, and there is enough negativity in the world, we don’t need to create more. Two, healthy people live and let live, and just move on in the world. Three, and this one is not a hopeful statement to get you (or me) wrapped up in hope, again, you never know when and where you might run into that person again—life has a funny way of reinserting people in my life. And finally, thinking about the worst things draws you into the person more, whether its thinking about them generally or whether you have a “bad boy/girl” complex that sucks you in, its just not a good idea.

What do you do instead: when they pop in your head, think about it for a moment, possibly send them light and love (this is what Elizabeth Gilbert suggests), and then tell the thought to leave you alone. I know it sounds corny, but it will work. If you acknowledge the thought, it won’t fester in your brain. If you put a positive spin on it, and let it go, its even better. It’s a mini-forgiveness. Let it all go: the person doesn’t deserve to be in your life, and neither does the thought of them.

Second: And this one may seem really obvious or repetitive, but live your life. If you’re a regular Live ClareLesley follower, you know that we preach this! But it’s the truth! Really throw yourself into the things you enjoy, especially the things that get you out and moving and being physical. Join sports teams, join a book club, go to yoga classes, go to the book store, go to a movie and dinner with a friend, get up and out and moving. The more you fill your time, the more you prove to yourself that you’re a worthy person, and you don’t need that crush or that few date person in your life to make you feel fulfilled. You can do that on your own. In fact, any person that you bring into your life can make you feel a certain fulfilled way, and really—and here is the kicker—they’re just reflecting you. Yup. Let me restate that. The people you bring into your life are reflections of your life at that time, and therefore can give back to you what you’ve given out. Therefore, go out, live your life, and find people to reflect your happiness.

Third: Get out of your comfort zone. If you find that you’re generally attracted to the same types of people, figure out where you keep finding them, and steer away from it and find a different place (Go read Lesley’s “Duty Dating” and review your picks—do you continually date the same type?). I’ve now made a personal edict, I should not date any actors. Ever. They’re always so handsome and they always suck me in, but It just never seems to work out—probably because actors have to be very self-involved in their careers, and never know what direction they’re headed next. I need someone more stable than that. I’ve spent the last year trying to date any type of guy that is not an actor. I haven’t had a ton of success, but I do know what I don’t want now. For a job, apply for ones you have qualifications for but wouldn’t apply for normally. Or apply for those that seem really interesting that you might not be quite qualified for, and write an amazing cover letter! Family members: approach them in a way that you haven’t before. Remember change in a family usually received best when coming from a caring place.

So to reiterate, move past the old person by getting out and living life. Once you’ve done that, you can start looking again. Go read Lesley’s chapter on Duty Dating. You’ll enjoy yourself, and it will distract you. Remember that dating is a hobby and you should treat it as such—when it becomes confusing/frustrating/questionable, STOP. When it becomes a relationship, then, you can allow yourself to be in a tractor beam, but until then, live your life and stand up on your own two feet! The amazing thing is, a few months from now, or after you decide to let go, you’ll think about the person. It will be a random, drifting thought through your brain, and you’ll say to yourself, “huh, I haven’t thought about that person in… I don’t know, a while. Which is weird because I was so invested at the time.” Its really ok. There are many relationships on the journey of life. You have to experience and live though all of them to find out who you are, and to live your best life. Move through both the good and the bad, and try not to let it damage you. Instead, grow through and move on to the next!

Clare

What’s In A Name?

From the start of our lives, actually before you breathe your first breath, someone (or someones) were putting thought into your name. The importance of your name is bigger than I think we give it.  Your parents spent time, had conversations even arguments if you had my parents (who almost got a divorce …) about what your name would be. Your name is the beginning of your identity, whom people will refer to you as, how they will Google you.  Your name makes you Unique and Real over simply just: girl, boy, she, he, that person, etc.

I know you’re wondering about the divorce about my birth certificate so I will digress now and come back to my point in a minute. I am the first born in my family. The first grandchild as well. My name was the topic of many discussions before and after my birth. My mother will readily tell you she wanted Margo Jacqueline, hated the name Lesley Michell (pronounced “Michelle”).  Longer story about that, too long for this blog, but after much discussions (probably louder than the neighbors preferred), they settled on Morgan Jacqueline Logan. The naming of me was a way for them to connect to me, their unborn child. After a very long, hard, grueling labor (as my mother would tell you) I was born. After days, my father signed the certificate while my mother was still recovering. Lesley Michell Logan. You can imagine my mother’s surprise and desire for separation at the sight of my birth name.  To this day, she still reminds me that I can change my name at any time. (Side note: I happen to LOVE my name.)  But, I can see how my mother had a hard time connecting to a name she didn’t like. Her connection to the name Lesley wasn’t positive.

When we are dating, hopefully you are having fun and are dating around (note I said dating—not to be confused with sleeping, schtupping, or whoring around). Dating is a two way interview. You are trying your dates on as a partner in crime.  Date one, two, five…you are getting to know them, their goals and if they are worthy of calling you their partner. In Sex and the City Carrie used to call her love connection “Mr. Big”.  It wasn’t until the very end of the series that we learned his name. We laughed and or made fun of this whole “pet name” for him. But really it’s a useful tool in the dating world. Lady Gaga even named a guy “Nebraska” in her song You and I to keep him anonymous. When you are doing these “first interviews” I feel its important to keep yourself light and having fun. Not immediately connecting yourself into a full on relationship with someone after the first date. Also, when giving the run down of your date/s with your friends a “pet name” is a great way to keep them from being to involved, and you from attaching too much too soon.

My friends growing up had lots of animals on their farm. None except the dogs and cats had names. Why? Because the chickens could become dinner someday…Not that your date is a chicken that could become consumed post date—just that not every date will be someone you want to date again. It’s nice to set boundaries until the date becomes the partner.

How does this work. Well, in my Duty Dating  period there was “The Young One”, “The Structure”, “The Lawyer”, “The Comedian”, “The Pilot” and “The Musician”. When I was chatting with my friends, I would use those “names” to refer to them. This kept them anonymous as well. When you’re in the beginning you’re still figuring out how you feel. You are weighing it all out. Nicknames keep it light, fun and take the pressure off. The importance of a persons name makes the relationship more real. Save that for when you want the relationship to be real.

LL

 

 

 

Duty Dating

Duty Dating. It’s the “post breakup” dating. The “back in the saddle again” dating. The get off your couch, stop feeling sorry for yourself, get felt up, flirted with and kiss or more with someone new dating.  I like to call it Duty Dating you may call it “rebound.” It really doesn’t matter which you prefer. It’s more important to realize that you should DO IT then what label you place on it. Oh, and do it with bells on—figuratively that is.

I might be the only person I know who treats Duty Dating this way (although I’m working on starting a trend). Now don’t get me wrong I wasn’t very excited about the idea. I had been dating the same person for five years. But, how else was I going to find out who and what I wanted if I didn’t get out there and go and test the waters. Actually, maybe we can think of it as a good buffet (yes, they exist I like the one at the Wynn in Las Vegas). You can’t commit to the first thing you see, there’s so many options. You really have to get little bites of everything you’re attracted to and then decide if you want to go back for seconds or if you’d rather just meet a girlfriend for a drink instead.

Basically, it’s the rare occasion the first guy you date post break up will be the one. It can happen but for the majority of us we have to date around to find “The One” and to figure out our deal breakers. Can Duty Dating actually help us weed out, or find the one? I believe the answer is YES.

So how do you duty date? How did I? I started with familiar before I went out with people I didn’t know. This helped me ease back into it all again. It’s like baseball. You spend some time in the minors before playing with the Pro’s.  I dated someone younger than me that I knew; I hooked up with a couple friends (Yes, this can work! Another day I’ll tell you how we are still friends); and I dabbled in the online dating for a brief very brief window… There were many terrible dates I had, which are now great to share with friends over drinks.  I’ll share the craziest with you tomorrow.

Looking back on your post break up’s have you jumped right into the next relationship? Did you do rebound’s? Tell me about your experiences.

As I promised, some of the best worst online dates I had in the brief window of my online dating trials:

There was a date with a financial adviser and break dancer (yep he couldn’t stop talking about that). I wish I was making this up. He was cute, successful, set the date up and was absolutely lovely. I just could not deal with the love for break dancing. Side note: there is nothing wrong with break dancing. Just not my thing.

Next the attorney from Pasadena. Not only was he geographically undesirable (I live on the West Side and love it! If you are unfamiliar with the LA lifestyle it means a five mile radius limit. Seven if you’re willing to cross the hill). He had similarities to Ex so doomed from the start. I learned that posture was a deal breaker for me. He had the “desk” posture.

There was the guy who was awesome at planning two dates and making me feel like a total Queen. Seriously, total Queen. Then two nights in a row while talking on the phone mentioned he was on a sleep aid…I’m pretty sure it was drugs. The next day he would act as if he had no recollection of the conversation…Thank goodness it was just two dinners. This was the date I was thrilled I never allowed any of these “onliners” to pick me up at home.

There were the ridiculous emails from many men on these websites that I have kept for comedic purposes. Two still stand out. The first guy whose profile said he was a “non judgmental person” made sure I knew that while he lived near Venice he was definitely not a “Venetian” he hated the “Venetians” and how they dressed. As luck would have it I was in Venice when I read his email. Dressed perfect for my “Venetian” excursion as I happen to LOVE Venice. The other email which is too long to really tell basically was about inviting me to swim with dolphins and have sex under the stars as he “loved everything about me.”  Hmm sorry “onliner” you don’t even know my name.

I quit online dating and went out with those I knew, those I could be set up with and those I met by making Eye to Eye contact.  I hooked up with a friend, a friends friend, I threw another attorney into the mix (pretty sure that’s the last one of those) I was set up with my “perfect match, wrong time” man.  Some people would say just be enjoy being single. I would respond with “I am!”  I do not believe you can plan when you will meet your next partner. You have to “dress” for the occasion. Be ready. However, I was having fun going out and meeting people and most importantly really getting to know me, my wants and my needs. I was enjoying “trying on” new mates.

At first my Duty Dating was to just get used to being with a different guy; to feel sexy and wanted. Then the Duty Dating was for getting out, meeting people, finding out what turned me off or turned me on. We all have our lists of wants and needs in a mate. If you don’t experience it in the flesh how do you know its something that is a deal maker or breaker. When I was actually on a date with a man who possessed a specific “want” or “need” of mine, it was funny when I realized I did not want it as much as I thought. Or even funnier, when I discovered a whole new deal breaker!

As I date now, if something is said or done by the other person, a trait that turns my inner guide on, I take note and trust myself. I ask myself why I’m feeling, seeing, hearing it. Instead of making excuses for it, I acknowledge and move on. It is extremely important that you stay listening to your inner guide or “gut” during Duty Dating. Do not make excuses for behaviors and traits that make your hairs stand up. Red flags come in all shades of red. Notice them and how they make you feel. I know dating is tough. It takes energy and strength. Will power. But, you deserve to be with the best one for you.

Do I want a man to open doors? Yes, of course I want to be treated like a lady. I want to be with a man who commits. I want to be with a man who wants to treat me nicely. Supports my goals and dreams. I also need a man who is confident in himself to love how independent I am. You’ll have your own needs and wishes, some of mine might sound familiar to you. On my list, I also have: positively handles a gluten free, dairy free diet.  What’s on your Mate List? What have since taken off? I think it’s interesting that what I thought I wanted at 25 has changed at 31. Be careful what you List for! What you put out in the Universe you will get.

There are a few regular questions I get on the “Duty Dating” subject. Here they are and my answers or suggestions. (And yes, for those of you who came back for the Fiancé story, its in there, too!)

1) When does the “Duty” fall off? When does it just become Dating?

Well that’s entirely up to you. Sorry, I know a total non-answer. But, really it is a personal thing. We all come from such different dating backgrounds. I am not a serial monogamous person. I date and enjoy dating, then I settle in with someone. I have really only had three serious relationships. Each relationship was a major improvement from the last. Each one getting closer to the life I want to live with someone. In my singleness, I used the duty to weed out things that I liked and didn’t like. For me the “duty” fell off after about 8 months. I began circling back to someone who had caught my attention early on in my single life. For you, pay attention to how you are feeling when being asked out. The duty will fall off on it’s own, most likely. One day you’ll realize you stopped accepting dates that didn’t light your fire.

2) Is Duty Dating a serious thing, or do you approach it as fun?

Dating should be like any other hobby—treat dating as a hobby. If you’re too busy with life, or not having fun, stop. Don’t stop your life, just do it in your spare time. First, dating should never be your number one priority. You, your life’s goals and dreams should be. Focusing on making yourself a whole person is so important. (see Opportunities: https://liveclarelesleyblog.com/2014/07/30/opportunities/ ) In fact, the more you know and love yourself the more attractive you are to The One and the duty dates will fall away. You will recognize them as they come and when they are not “enough” for you.

3) What are the “rules” to Duty Dating? Can you have a second, third date and still be Duty Dating?

It’s Duty Dating, fun dating, enjoy yourself dating. So, if you’re not having fun and enjoying yourself then stop with that person. Second and third even sixth dates do not make a relationship. Pat Allen would say: keep three in rotation (no sex) and may the best one win. Steve Harvey says: no “cookie” until commitment. Do what you will with that information.

Reflect after each date. Was I me? Was I having fun? Do I want to try that again, go back for seconds at the buffet? Or would I prefer a new option?

I firmly believe that my Duty Dating taught me more about what I needed, what I wanted and who I was as a partner than not dating at all. I learned so much about my last relationship mistakes. Things I didn’t do, didn’t want to do and things I should not have ignored.

4) How long should you Duty Date?

This is similar to when the “duty” falls off. But it leads me into my story I promised you. I did a lot of Duty Dating in a short time period. About 6 months. Then I just dated. Some people spread their Duty Dating out. Or, start their Duty Dating later into their single life. Others have one duty date and are ready for their next adventure. Don’t believe me? Well, my dear friend ended up single after many years with a “good enough” partner. Not the type to go out dating a ton of people, she went out one night with an old college acquaintance. On paper, this dude was one you could take home to Mom and Dad. In real life, after she realized he was after sex with her, and she wasn’t interested. She left. Annoyed and disappointed. The very next day she met her now Fiancé. The juxtaposition of this man compared to the duty date allowed her to realize she had met the partner for her. Today, she’s glad she had that Duty Dating experience.

Have you done your Duty Dating yet?

LL