find a MAN in 30 days

Week 4: Establish Your Dating Strategy

By now, you should have a few dates lined up. Now you must get prepared for them. This includes creating a pre-date ritual, such as playing dance music, to put you in an upbeat mood. I often take a long bath before a date and enjoy a glass of wine or a cup of tea to calm my nerves. It's important to mentally prepare yourself for a date, by imagining yourself having a good time. Tell yourself that you're going to have fun. This will also help you develop a positive mental attitude and build your self-confidence.

You will also want to come up with a dating strategy that feels right for you. For example, for a first date, I like to go out for coffee or lunch. I make it a rule not to go out on a first date on a Friday or Saturday night. I like to keep it casual, and I recommend you do the same. If you meet for lunch, you always have work obligations as an excuse if the date is a bust. And if you're having fun, you can always agree to meet again. Be yourself. You're checking each other out, but you don't need to work at it to impress him. He's not looking to be swept off his feet by you -- that's your romantic ideal, not his. If the date goes well, you will no doubt find yourself thinking about a second date. Don't worry if he doesn't call the very next day. Men like to sit back and evaluate how they feel. They also know that waiting to call you sends a message that they have a life outside of dating or that they're seeing other women. Either way, it shows that he's not desperate. Neither are you, girlfriend! On your second date, go out for dinner. Give yourself more time to gather information about your date. Don't go to a movie where you spend two hours sitting silently in the dark. You should be talking, talking, talking. Take time to get to know your date, and allow him to get to know the real you. The third date is the key, because it's the one in which you decide whether or not you want to continue seeing each other. You may want to develop a dating scorecard, especially if you're seeing more than two men at a time. Rate your dates as if you were a coach looking at the strengths and weaknesses of your players.

Speaking of dating more than one man at a time, I believe every woman should date at least three men at once. I call this my pair-and-a-spare plan. This is the number that has worked for me and for hundreds of my clients and workshop attendees. Perhaps two will be enough for you. Or maybe your number is five. There's no such thing as having too many men in your life! Guys don't sit by the phone waiting for someone to call or email. Darlin', you're a woman on the go with lots of options.

Succeeding in dating is about being open to new experiences and allowing yourself to fail as many times as it takes before you succeed, while maintaining a positive attitude. It's also about loving yourself for who you are and believing that someday someone else will love you for who you are -- limitations and all. If you're truly ready to meet your soulmate, get ready; you're in for an exciting time ahead.

Share your Week Four experiences with other iVillagers in the Finding Mr. Right discussion group!

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