6 Boundaries to Protect When Dating After Divorce

6 Boundaries to Protect When Dating After Divorce

February 20th, 2019


 Dating after divorce can be a lot of fun. The prospects! The possibilities! It can also become overwhelming as you begin figuring out your wants and needs post-divorce versus a potential partner’s. Confusion may set in. You may also feel lonely and vulnerable, which is why it’s essential to establish and then protect specific boundaries from the beginning, so you don’t have regrets or feel you have been taken advantage of later. Here are six.

 Your body

Treat your body as if it’s your most prized possession. That means guarding it with your life because, to be honest, if you don’t, one misstep could cost you your life or, at a minimum, the quality of it.  Never let anyone convince you to engage in any sexual activity you don’t feel comfortable with yet. If you don’t trust yourself and believe you will get carried away in the moment, keep yourself out of situations where that might happen. It’s always okay to say you’re not ready. It’s also okay to say to hell with anyone who doesn’t respect you for saying it.  Another thing to remember is to watch how much you drink alcohol on your date. Alcohol distorts your decision making.

Your time

Like your body, time is precious. Never, never allow someone to waste yours. That includes the time you spend thinking about a person who doesn’t deserve it. If you’re dating someone who isn’t showing you the attention you are looking for, is consistently late, cancels plans repeatedly, or otherwise tries to keep you on the hook by checking in and making empty promises, unhook yourself and find someone who values your time as much as you do. Switching gears, if you think just because you have “time in” you should stay in a relationship that leaves you dissatisfied, think again. You are throwing good money after bad by hanging on. Count your lessons, and your blessings, then clock out.

 The love you have to give is a gift. Bestow it wisely.

 Your money

It may sound callous but love, like any other commodity, has a price. Relationships cost money. From the date itself to travel time to the opportunity cost of spending your resources elsewhere, there is a corresponding dollar amount. If you believe the balance of economic power with your partner is unfair, speak up. Relationships, especially at midlife and after a divorce, are fraught with complications, money ranking among the most common of them. Your idea of what the financial picture should look like with a partner or potential partner may not be the same as theirs. The only way around any miscommunication is to discuss money and expectations, sooner rather than later.

 Your sanity

Manipulators and emotional abusers come in all shapes and sizes. The problem is when you first meet, these people are often charming, complimentary, supportive, and sweet. Slowly, however, these characteristics go by way of the dodo. Bottom line, you know how you feel. Listen to your gut. If you have a pit in your stomach because a guy’s words don’t match his actions, he gaslights you when you question why 2 + 2 can’t possibly equal 5, and he undermines your confidence by giving you subtle (or not so subtle) jabs at your appearance, career, body, or anything else of value to you, evaluate why it is you’re feeling this way. Chances are, you’re not the crazy one. He is.

Your heart

Falling in love is ethereal, that is when you fall in love with someone who loves and treats you well. When you fall in love with someone who treats you poorly, doesn’t show you respect, or fails to care for you in the ways you need and deserve, the heartache you will experience can negatively affect how you see the world and, in turn, permeate every aspect of your life. The love you have to give is a gift. Bestow it wisely.

 Your dignity

Allowing the person you’re dating to violate any of the above boundaries ultimately breaks what should be your strongest boundary: your dignity. You are unique and special and deserving of a partner worthy of you. Know your value, and don’t ever let someone sell you short of it.

Written by and sourced from Stacey Freeman (with edits from Cassie Zampa-Keim)

 

Seven Ways for Singles to Own Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day can be so much fun because, let’s face it, it’s exciting to celebrate love. But every year for some singles it’s a challenging holiday that shines a spotlight on their single status. With New Year’s just past and many singles’ newly minted resolutions to find someone this year, I look at Valentine’s Day as the time to get started on those resolutions.

 I have been in the matchmaking industry for almost thirty years, providing dating and relationship strategies for single women and men. February is an exciting month for my clients as I work with them to conquer their doubts about finding love and help them launch back into the world of dating. Most of my clients have been divorced or widowed, so it truly is a trip back to something they did years ago, when their lives were very different.

 It’s normal to feel insecure about trying something again after a couple of decades. You don’t look like you did back then (by the way, neither does anyone else you’ll be meeting). Having gone through the loss of divorce or widowhood can make you hesitant to invest in love again, and online dating might feel like a big unknown ocean that you’d rather not dip your toe into. Dating can look both daunting and like no fun at all.

 The truth is—and I’ve seen it over and over again with hundreds of clients—that getting back into the dating world can not only be enjoyable and life-affirming, it can also expand your circle of friends and introduce you to that one person you want to spend much more time with.

 Finding a relationship is also good for your health. There are numerous studies that show that people in serious relationships have fewer health problems and live longer. In my own work, I’ve found that those positive results start even before my clients have found a partner. Just by beginning the process of looking for a relationship and expressing their desire to make a connection with a partner, many of my clients start to get over their depression, fear, and sadness. While they start out feeling vulnerable, taking care of themselves and opening themselves to the possibility of finding love makes them healthier and happier.  Dr. George Vaillant, who led a longitudinal study that followed 268 Harvard graduates over seventy-five years, says that there are two pillars of happiness. “One is love. The other is finding a way of coping with life that does not push love away.”[i] I emphasize with my clients how important it is to stay open to love, both while they are looking for it and once they’ve found it.

 The following seven tips will help you own your Valentine's Day.

 1.  Embrace a positive perspective

Creating the right mindset is so important to entering the dating world. Fear and doubt will affect your results, as will going into it with an open mind, confidence in who you are, a strong sense of what you are looking for, and patience. A positive mindset will help you attract people you want to be with.

When you think and talk about dating, use words that build you up rather than defeat you before you’ve even started. For instance, instead of saying, “I’m old and men/women want to date people younger than me,” say “I’m a beautiful person, and would make a great partner.” Those words might not immediately change what happens externally, but they shift your perception of the experience and create a more positive atmosphere around you—which is always attractive.

 2.  Identify who you are and what you want in a partner

Begin by answering a series of questions that clarify where you are in your life so that you can look for and attract the right person for who you are today. We don’t always recognize the ways in which we’ve changed over the years until we slow down and take an honest look at the answers to some basic questions. Questions like: Would I date myself? Why, or why not? What are my best qualities? What would I like to change about myself? What kind of relationship am I looking for right now? What has worked for me in past relationships and what has not? Why? What can I learn from what past partners have said to me about our relationships?

Write down the answers to those questions and keep them somewhere where you can find them. When you are feeling uncertain about how things are going in your dating process, and why they are going the way they are, this list can be a helpful resource. And your answers will change over time! As you become more confident in the dating world, you will add positive traits to the list. The type of relationship you are looking for might change based on the people you meet. But use the list to remember who you are and what you want.

 3.  Enjoy the process, don’t just focus on the outcome

It’s easy to get fixated on the outcome of any process, and dating is no exception. You want the joy of meeting that special someone, not necessarily the effort it takes to get there. But as with anything worth having in life, the process is critical and you might as well enjoy it, because much of it is actually a lot of fun.

 What does enjoying the dating process look like? Opening yourself to the self-growth that dating can offer. Getting excited about the people you might meet, and would not meet if you weren’t doing this. Broadening your social circle (who doesn’t need that?). Learning about yourself and growing in unexpected ways. Exposing yourself to new worlds through the people you’ll meet. Letting go of the pressure to find “The One” or the feeling that you have no idea what you are doing. Convincing yourself that this will be fun.

 4.  Get online

While technology is completely integrated into our daily lives, online dating can still seem strange and intimidating. As someone who began her career in traditional matchmaking and now works online with the majority of her clients, I can tell you that it is totally manageable, safe and very exciting. With online dating, the pool of prospects that would be out there in traditional matchmaking or your daily life grows to an ocean, and many of the people on those sites are absolutely the type you want to meet. Over the years I have found many ways to optimize my clients’ experiences with online dating. 

Still not sure how you feel about going online? I hear a lot of myths about online dating from my clients, and I want to dispel the most common ones.

 The first myth is, “The type of person I want to meet is not on online dating sites.” Truth: I began researching online dating in 2008 as a way to help the clients I was working with then, and I can assure you that consistently over the years there have been thousands of quality men and women over fifty on online dating sites. They go there for the same reasons you will: they are successful, motivated, and intelligent, and they realize that this is a fantastic way to meet people.

 The second myth that I hear is “I’ll look desperate.” Truth: being motivated and proactive is hardly desperate. I always ask my clients, when they are out with a friend and see someone attractive, do they hide? No. There’s no shame in desiring companionship.

 The third myth from clients is that their professional reputation will be ruined if they are on online dating sites. If this feels like a legitimate concern for your particular profession or company, take advantage of the ways to limit your visibility by using privacy options which most online dating sites have.  You can also verify the legitimacy of people who express interest in you through the almost unlimited information available online. Remember, desiring companionship is natural, and online dating has become very accepted as a way to find relationships.

 5.  Be methodical about the dating process

This probably sounds a little rigid—isn’t dating about the freedom of meeting people and having fun? Well, yes. And no. Back in our earlier years, our relatively unfettered lives allowed us all sorts of opportunities to meet people: through friends, work, and shared activities. The possibilities seemed endless. But once we settled down, bought a house, had children, and established a career, our circles often got smaller. If you look at the people you know today or are likely to meet in your everyday life, chances are that many fewer of them are single than you’d like if you’re laying odds for finding someone.

 Establish a plan with defined steps along the way, and change course when something isn’t working. Being methodical doesn’t mean getting stuck—it just means providing yourself with a roadmap that keeps you from getting lost along the way.                

 6.  Maintain a marathon mindset: optimism and resilience

Optimism is so important when you are dating, because things don’t happen in a linear way. You will meet people you are not interested in or who are not interested in you. Sometimes it takes a while to find someone you want to see more than once. You will meet someone interesting and date for a while, but then it won’t work out. All normal! And those times will alternate with times where you meet many interesting people, go out on fun date after fun date, get a lot of positive feedback, and eventually meet someone for the long-term.

The bottom line is that it won’t always be easy or predictable, but you can’t give up at mile 11, and you can’t let adversity keep you from trying again.

 7.  Know what to do if burnout sets in

Finding the right person can take time, and sometimes burnout will set in. If this happens, don’t give up! Try adjusting your expectations. For instance, if you are expecting to meet “The One” fairly quickly, why not give yourself a chance to go out on a few dates with people who sound interesting even if they do not seem to be your ideal? You might be amazed to find out you like them more than you thought. And you’ll have more fun along the way.

 Burnout is essentially disappointment, and we all experience that from time to time, so don’t be hard on yourself if you get there. Remind yourself of where you are in your life and keep focused on the type of person for you. However, don’t narrow your focus so severely that you miss out on other possibilities around you, from meeting other people to trying new activities. Remember to enjoy the process! You can believe in a positive outcome without knowing specifically what that will mean for you.

 You can also always take a break for a while. Dating is not a speed contest, and taking the time to take care of yourself and having the patience to find the person who is right for you is the most important thing you can do.

I really appreciate that re-entering the dating world is not easy. You are taking an emotional risk, and putting yourself out there in a way that feels very vulnerable and exposed. But give yourself kudos for even considering it, and now that another Valentine’s Day is upon us, use this moment to begin an exciting new adventure (quite possibly your best yet)—the process of finding a Valentine.

 

At Innovative Match, our renewed goal in 2019 is to educate and protect our clients, so that the Dirty John story doesn’t become their story.

In today’s online dating world, sites like Match.com, OkCupid and Bumble are encouraging users to include more information to complete your public profile. In the past, people were more cautious about putting themselves “out there” online – hesitating to provide too much information, not wanting to expose themselves.

Now, in 2019, people are more interested in trying online dating and are willing to provide more information and photos on their profiles.

But with this heightened transparency comes the justifiable fear of danger and exposure.

Bravo’s new hit drama Dirty John, tells the true story of a successful, self-made business woman who is pursued by a handsome, charismatic con-man. Dirty John uses the information he found online about her to fuel his terrifying web of deceit, control and manipulation.

This is scary because there are stories like this out there, and Dirty John exposes the danger of online dating.

I have been in this industry for nearly three decades.  I read over hundred profiles a day, and I have never had a “Dirty John” experience with my clients. The reason is that I teach my clients how to protect themselves in this new world of online dating.

 Follow a set of rules:

·       Investigate the people you are meeting – do your homework online. Google them, visit sites such as LinkedIn to ensure they are who they say they are.

·       Keep an eye out for red flags: Inconsistencies, aggressive behavior, moving too fast, or if they don’t financially contribute.

·       Speak on the phone before ever meeting in person.

·       Meet for the first time in a public place where you feel safe.

·       Don’t get into their vehicle on a first date.

·       Don’t drink too much.

·       Seek answers to key questions before meeting in person such as their last name, line or place of work, objectives in dating (do they align with yours?), relationship status – current and prior, etc.

·       Trust your gut.

If you are not in the place of being solid in who you are, capable of setting boundaries and standing up for what you want, and emotionally ready for a relationship, then it may not the right time to date. Don’t overlook these signs because of the eagerness to want a relationship.

Slow down and listen to the whispers before you hear the screams.

My work focuses on women and men who have come from difficult divorces, who have lost their partner, or who just haven’t met the right person, and teaching them how to date smart and protect themselves. We help our clients build self-worth, self-esteem and confidence. 

If you are not comfortable with social media and are not on sites like LinkedIn or Facebook, have someone you trust help you do your dating due diligence. Turn to a professional like myself, or ask a friend or loved one to help in finding out what you can about someone before you date them.

At Innovative Match, our renewed goal in 2019 is to educate and protect our clients, so that the Dirty John story doesn’t become their story.

Trust your gut, never ignore it. If you do, it will lead you down the right path. By taking the steps discussed, you can alleviate negativity and fear, and focus on engaging with new people and attracting the right person for you.

 

 

 

Holiday Dating Tips

Holiday Dating Tips

1. Family and romance don’t always mix. Be careful about including him or her in family holiday activities.

2. Curb your generosity when buying your date presents or she/he may think you are more serious than you really are.

3. Do something “different” with your date like a carriage ride, skating, sledding or driving

Unique activities drive up dopamine in the brain and can stimulate romance.

around to see outdoor Christmas lights. Unique activities drive up dopamine in the brain and can stimulate romance.

4. Holding hands with your date can affect oxytocin levels in the brain and increase feelings of trust and attachment.

5. At holiday parties, introduce your date to your friends, explain who people are, how you know them, and then continually include your date in your conversations.

6. There is a fine line between bragging and telling your date about yourself.

7. If you are drinking alcohol, be aware of how much you are drinking during your date.

8. Don’t listen to everything your friends and family say about your date. You’re dating this person, not them.

9. Be on time or call your date and let them know you are running late.

10. If you have the holiday blues, try not to let it affect your date or consider waiting to date until after the holidays.

8 Reasons You Might Still Be Single

8 Reasons You Might Still Be Single

Clearly, some people are single because they choose to be. They are simply not interested in being in a serious relationship at this time in their life. Others are single due to the circumstances of their lives. They may have just gotten out of a meaningful relationship or have dated relentlessly and just haven't found someone with whom they're truly compatible. The point of this article isn't to stereotype all single women or men or to put anyone in a box. However, for people, particularly those over 30, who are looking for answers to the puzzling question "Why am I still single?" here are some unconventional answers that lie within.

Fall into Romance

Fall into Romance

Winter is here! It's the perfect time to get out and meet new people. With the change of weather, dating opportunities abound, yet some are still hesitant to put themselves out there.   

I have been in the matchmaking industry for almost thirty years, providing dating and relationship strategies for women and men over forty. Winter is an exciting time for my clients as I work with them to conquer their doubts about finding love and help them launch back into the world of dating. 


Most of my clients have been divorced or widowed, so it truly is a trip back to something they did years ago, when their lives were very different.  My hundreds of thousands of hours of experience in helping singles find their right match has been incredibly rewarding. I am honored to help people every day with what I do for a living.  I have refined my niche in an industry that can often be confusing or overwhelming to people over the age of 45, who sometimes find themselves newly single, and many unexpectedly. 


My experience has taught me that what many singles need PRIOR to looking for a partner is qualified counseling, advice and guidance so that they can optimize their chance/s of success. People are apt to rush into signing up for matchmaking services, going on line, or to a multitude of dating apps without understanding how to go about that in the right way.  I am very pleased that my company fills a much needed niche in the business and allows me to continue doing what I love for a living: helping others.

It's normal to feel insecure about trying something new after years and even decades of being with the same partner. The truth is - and I've seen it over and over again with hundreds of clients - that getting back into the dating world can not only be enjoyable and life-affirming, but also expand your circle of friends, introduce you to new opportunities and connect you to that one person you want to spend much more time with.


Finding a relationship is also good for your health. There are numerous studies that show that people in serious relationships have fewer health problems and live longer. In my own work, I've found that those positive results start even before my clients have found a partner. Just by beginning the process of looking for a relationship and expressing their desire to make a connection with a partner, many of my clients start to get over their depression, fear, and sadness. While they start out feeling vulnerable, taking care of themselves and opening themselves to the possibility of finding love makes them healthier and happier.

Dr. George Vaillant, who led a longitudinal study that followed 268 Harvard graduates over seventy-five years, says that there are two pillars of happiness. "One is love. The other is finding a way of coping with life that does not push love away."  I emphasize with my clients how important it is to stay open to love, both while they are looking for it and once they've found it.

Below are four tips from my book that will help jump start your journey of finding love again.

1. Embrace a positive perspective

Creating the right mindset is so important to entering the dating world. Fear and doubt will affect your results, as will going into it with an open mind, confidence in who you are, a strong sense of what you are looking for, and patience. A positive mindset will help you attract people you want to be with.

When you think and talk about dating, use words that build you up rather than defeat you before you've even started. For instance, instead of saying, "I'm old and men/women want to date people younger than me," say "I'm a beautiful person, and would make a great partner." Those words might not immediately change what happens externally, but they shift your perception of the experience and create a more positive atmosphere around you-which is always attractive. 

2. Identify who you are and what you want in a partner.

Begin by answering a series of questions that clarify where you are in your life so that you can look for and attract the right person for who you are today. We don't always recognize the ways in which we've changed over the years until we slow down and take an honest look at the answers to some basic questions. Questions like: Would I date myself? Why, or why not? What are my best qualities? What would I like to change about myself? What kind of relationship am I looking for right now? What has worked for me in past relationships and what has not? Why? What can I learn from what past partners have said to me about our relationships?


Write down the answers to those questions and keep them somewhere where you can find them. When you are feeling uncertain about how things are going in your dating process, and why they are going the way they are, this list can be a helpful resource. And your answers will change over time! As you become more confident in the dating world, you will add positive traits to the list. The type of relationship you are looking for might change based on the people you meet. But use the list to remember who you are and what you want. 

3. Enjoy the process, don't just focus on the outcome.

It's easy to get fixated on the outcome of any process, and dating is no exception. You want the joy of meeting that special someone, not necessarily the effort it takes to get there. But as with anything worth having in life, the process is critical and you might as well enjoy it, because much of it is actually a lot of fun.


What does enjoying the dating process look like? Opening yourself to the self-growth that dating can offer. Getting excited about the people you might meet and would not meet if you weren't doing this. Broadening your social circle (who doesn't need that?). Learning about yourself and growing in unexpected ways. Exposing yourself to new worlds through the people you'll meet. Letting go of the pressure to find "The One" or the feeling that you have no idea what you are doing. Convincing yourself that this will be fun.

4.  Get online While technology is completely integrated into our daily lives, online dating can still seem strange and intimidating. As someone who began her career in traditional matchmaking and now works online with the majority of her clients, I can tell you that it is both totally manageable and very exciting. With online dating, the pool of prospects that would be out there in traditional matchmaking or your daily life grows to an ocean, and the people on those sites are absolutely the type you want to meet.

Over the years I have found many ways to optimize my clients' experiences with online dating. The keys are to post great photos and profiles; learn to read digital body language (i.e., don't waste your time with people who are just cruising); always read the entire profile rather than just focusing on age,  height, or income; and if in doubt, start out slowly.

No matter what route you want to take with your dating journey, you have to begin the process in a methodical way.  We all value our time and it's important we make the most of it.  As a dating expert, I believe you need to have a strategy first.  That begins with understanding yourself, where you are in life and what is your end goal.  A companion?  Marriage?  A long-term relationship?  Whatever it is, identify your goal must come first.

Why Dating is Such a Challenge

Why Dating is Such a Challenge

Interesting article in Psychology Today. It reflects exactly how I feel about all the choices out there. Dating apps can be a problem. Many people have met their match on dating apps., however for the majority of singles, the combination of addictive swiping and too many choices proves that it can be challenging to focus on one person and stop thinking that there’s someone else better out there.

Click here for the full article

Cassie Zampa-Keim featured in Marin Magazine - Celebrating Women in Business

Celebrating Women in Business

A look at some of Marin’s most accomplished female movers and shakers.

Whether they’re running households or businesses, women bring a unique spirit and enthusiasm to their work. And in all they do, they elevate those around them while often finding their own successes along the way. When it comes to the local business world, there are plenty of successes to point to. In this section we invite you to get to know some pretty inspiring women.

 

Click to read the full article.

The First Steps To Dating.

It's the perfect time to get out and meet new people. With the warm weather, dating opportunities abound, yet some are still hesitant to put themselves out there.
 
I have been in the matchmaking industry for almost thirty years, providing dating and relationship strategies for women and men over forty. Summer is an exciting time for my clients as I work with them to conquer their doubts about finding love and help them launch back into the world of dating.  

Most of my clients have been divorced or widowed, so it truly is a trip back to something they did years ago, when their lives were very different. My hundreds of thousands of hours of experience in helping singles find their right match has been incredibly rewarding. I am honored to help people every day with what I do for a living.   I have refined my niche in an industry that can often be confusing or overwhelming to people over the age of 45, who sometimes find themselves newly single, and many unexpectedly.  

My experience has taught me that what many singles need PRIOR to looking for a partner is qualified counseling, advice and guidance so that they can optimize their chance/s of success. People are apt to rush into signing up for matchmaking services, going on line, or to a multitude of dating apps without understanding how to go about that in the right way.   I am very pleased that my company fills a much needed niche in the business and allows me to continue doing what I love for a living: helping others.

It's normal to feel insecure about trying something new after years and even decades of being with the same partner.  The truth is - and I've seen it over and over again with hundreds of clients - that getting back into the dating world can not only be enjoyable and life-affirming, but also expand your circle of friends, introduce you to new opportunities and connect you to that one person you want to spend much more time with.

Finding a relationship is also good for your health. There are numerous studies that show that people in serious relationships have fewer health problems and live longer. In my own work, I've found that those positive results start even before my clients have found a partner. Just by beginning the process of looking for a relationship and expressing their desire to make a connection with a partner, many of my clients start to get over their depression, fear, and sadness. While they start out feeling vulnerable, taking care of themselves and opening themselves to the possibility of finding love makes them healthier and happier.
Dr. George Vaillant, who led a longitudinal study that followed 268 Harvard graduates over seventy-five years, says that there are two pillars of happiness. "One is love. The other is finding a way of coping with life that does not push love away."   I emphasize with my clients how important it is to stay open to love, both while they are looking for it and once they've found it.
Below are four tips from my book that will help jump start your journey of finding love again.

1. Embrace a positive perspective
Creating the right mindset is so important to entering the dating world. Fear and doubt will affect your results, as will going into it with an open mind, confidence in who you are, a strong sense of what you are looking for, and patience. A positive mindset will help you attract people you want to be with.
When you think and talk about dating, use words that build you up rather than defeat you before you've even started. For instance, instead of saying, "I'm old and men/women want to date people younger than me," say "I'm a beautiful person, and would make a great partner." Those words might not immediately change what happens externally, but they shift your perception of the experience and create a more positive atmosphere around you-which is always attractive.

2. Identify who you are and what you want in a partner
Begin by answering a series of questions that clarify where you are in your life so that you can look for and attract the right person for who you are today. We don't always recognize the ways in which we've changed over the years until we slow down and take an honest look at the answers to some basic questions. Questions like: Would I date myself? Why, or why not? What are my best qualities? What would I like to change about myself? What kind of relationship am I looking for right now? What has worked for me in past relationships and what has not? Why? What can I learn from what past partners have said to me about our relationships?

Write down the answers to those questions and keep them somewhere where you can find them. When you are feeling uncertain about how things are going in your dating process, and why they are going the way they are, this list can be a helpful resource. And your answers will change over time! As you become more confident in the dating world, you will add positive traits to the list. The type of relationship you are looking for might change based on the people you meet. But use the list to remember who you are and what you want.

3. Enjoy the process, don't just focus on the outcome
It's easy to get fixated on the outcome of any process, and dating is no exception. You want the joy of meeting that special someone, not necessarily the effort it takes to get there. But as with anything worth having in life, the process is critical and you might as well enjoy it, because much of it is actually a lot of fun.

What does enjoying the dating process look like? Opening yourself to the self-growth that dating can offer. Getting excited about the people you might meet and would not meet if you weren't doing this. Broadening your social circle (who doesn't need that?). Learning about yourself and growing in unexpected ways. Exposing yourself to new worlds through the people you'll meet. Letting go of the pressure to find "The One" or the feeling that you have no idea what you are doing. Convincing yourself that this will be fun.

4. Get online  
While technology is completely integrated into our daily lives, online dating can still seem strange and intimidating. As someone who began her career in traditional matchmaking and now works online with the majority of her clients, I can tell you that it is both totally manageable and very exciting. With online dating, the pool of prospects that would be out there in traditional matchmaking or your daily life grows to an ocean, and the people on those sites are absolutely the type you want to meet.

Over the years I have found many ways to optimize my clients' experiences with online dating. The keys are to post great photos and profiles; learn to read digital body language (i.e., don't waste your time with people who are just cruising); always read the entire profile rather than just focusing on age,   height, or income; and if in doubt, start out slowly.

No matter what route you want to take with your dating journey, you have to begin the process in a methodical way.   We all value our time and it's important we make the most of it.   As a dating expert, I believe you need to have a strategy first.   That begins with understanding yourself, where you are in life and what is your end goal.   A companion?   Marriage?   A long-term relationship?   Whatever it is, identify your goal must come first.

 

Celebrating Women in Business.

I am honored to have been selected in this issue of Marin Magazine. 

A look at some of Marin’s most accomplished female movers and shakers.

Whether they’re running households or businesses, women bring a unique spirit and enthusiasm to their work. And in all they do, they elevate those around them while often finding their own successes along the way. When it comes to the local business world, there are plenty of successes to point to. In this section we invite you to get to know some pretty inspiring women.

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Healthier & Happier - Relationships and Social Connections Really Do Make a Difference

I believe that health and human relationships are inextricably linked. People in loving, supportive relationships (from good friends to companions to spouses) live healthier, longer lives in general, and experience greater overall life satisfaction than people in unsatisfying relationships or those who are socially isolated.

Why am I so convinced about this? It started when I was twenty, and diagnosed with a very aggressive stage 3B cancer. I didn’t know if I would survive it, and I began to think about what I would miss most if I did not. The clear answer for me was loving and being loved.

With that realization, I set to work on my relationships with family and friends, repairing damage that had been done over time and strengthening relationships that were already good. With hindsight, I can see that the work I did and the love that came from that were integral to my healing process.

A couple of years later, I embarked on the professional journey that has taken me to where I am today, a dating strategist and coach, and I still believe deeply in the power of relationships to heal and strengthen our lives. I have seen it so many times with my clients, who often come to me after a loss such as divorce or widowhood. For them, the pain has taken a physical toll. Some have gained weight, others have started drinking or drinking more, they’ve stopped exercising, see friends less, have headaches, are depressed, and in general they’ve just stopped feeling good about themselves and feel stuck.

While I work with my clients from wherever they are when they come to me through when they find the joy of a new relationship (and beyond), it is when they are finally in those life-affirming relationships that I see the most blossoming. And it’s not just my observations; many scientific studies have been borne out of the fact that good relationships are good for you.

A Harvard Women’s Health Watch article pointed to a study of 309,000 people, which found that “lack of strong relationships increased the risk of premature death from all causes by 50% — an effect on mortality risk roughly comparable to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day, and greater than obesity and physical inactivity.” Satisfying relationships can be as powerful as the benefits from adequate sleep, a good diet, and not smoking; people in those relationships are happier, have fewer health problems, and live longer.

Research has shown other specific health benefits, including lower risk of cardiovascular disease for midlife women in highly satisfying marriages, lower blood pressure, boosted immunity, and better outcomes after heart surgery or cancer diagnoses.

What is it about relationships that makes people healthier? It’s a combination of things, according to this article on WebMD. Couples tend to take fewer risks or engage in substance abuse. Satisfying partners are a constant source of support. And married people tend to help each other maintain healthy habits and are more likely to follow their doctors’ recommendations.

Clearly, relationships are healthy. But don’t despair if you are not currently in one! While marriage seems to have the biggest positive effect on health, strong social connections of many types actually make us healthier as well. The same WebMD article above points out that living together without being married does affect health positively.

According to one University of North Carolina study, “[w]omen who hugged the most daily had the highest oxytocin levels, and their systolic blood pressure…was 10 mm/Hg lower than women with low oxytocin levels—an improvement similar to the effect of many leading blood pressure medications.” But this could apply to anyone, not just the happily married. Think of the people in your life that you feel closest to and how it feels when you hug them. You might already be seeing a result of healthy social connections.

Other caring behaviors also help increase oxytocin production. Psychologist Maryann Troiani, PhD, co-author of Spontaneous Optimism, says, “…a touch on the arm, holding hands, a rub on the shoulder. It only takes a few seconds of contact to stimulate these hormones and to help overcome stress and anxiety.” None of those actions have to be with a spouse.

You might be at a point in your life where you don’t want to find a lover if you are single, but would just prefer someone to spend time with and enjoy walks on the beach, dinner, and movies. Not only do I think that’s a perfectly healthy decision, but research shows that the real magic in relationships is bonding. Brian Baker, a psychiatrist at the University of Toronto, calls the sense that couples have of being united, even during bad times, cohesion. His research shows that “it’s more important to both health and happiness than a good sex life.”

And in my work, I’ve found that both the desire to have a connection with a partner and the actual connection itself, even if platonic, help my clients with their depression, fear, and sadness. I’ve seen huge transformations in clients who started out feeling fearful and vulnerable; even before they find someone, the fact that they are taking care of themselves and opening up to the possibility of finding love makes them healthier and happier.

Dr. George Vaillant, who led a longitudinal study following 268 Harvard graduates over 75 years, sums up my feelings about love and health the best. His words explain why and how I do what I do. He says that there are two pillars of happiness: “One is love. The other is finding a way of coping with life that does not push love away.” Stay open to love, while you are looking and once you’ve found it, and your life will be better for it.

Dating After a Divorce - Are You Ready?

Many Innovative Match clients are re-entering the dating world after losing a partner, whether it is through divorce or unfortunate circumstances. This blog by Lisa Fields of WebMD goes through questions to ask yourself and signals to look for that may indicate whether or not you're ready to get on the Romance Highway. Keep in mind, the dating world has most likely changed a bit since the last time you were in it. If you're open to new experiences, accepting challenges, and learning about yourself and others, you are on the right track.

Insight on How to Avoid Letting Holiday Stress Becoming Dating Stress

Holidays can be one of the more challenging times of the year for singles. According to a recent Match.com survey, close to 40% of singles said that the holiday season is when they most want to be in a relationship. Rather than let stress snow on your holiday cheer, embrace a positive attitude and sound advice to guide you through a wonderful season. This week we want to share a stellar article from Seniorific featuring words of wisdom from Justin Garcia, a scientific advisor for the international online dating site Match.com and faculty member at Indiana University's Kinsey Institute and Department of Gender studies.

As a reminder, months November through February are peak times on online sites and social events abound. Leverage these factors and the New Year to reset and take advantage of all the opportunities to form meaningful connections that 2016 brings. Our blog archive is chalk full of hard hitting advice and news you can use.  Happy Holidays from the IM Editorial Team, where we remain Dedicated to Your Relationship Success.

 

Romance and Stress During the Peak Dating Season from December to February

Although the holiday season brings a lot of joy and excitement, it can also bring a lot of stress because "the holidays can be a really stressful time in terms of trying to start new relationships and also getting out of previous relationships," according to Justin Garcia, a scientific advisor for the international online dating site Match.com, and faculty member at Indiana University's Kinsey Institute and Department of Gender studies.

Match.com's annual Singles in America study is the largest study on U.S. singles. According to the Match.com survey of 1,000 of their clients, 80 percent of survey respondents said holidays make them feel more romantic than other times of the year. Also, 25 percent reported experiencing a break-up during the holiday season.

The stress about relationships is particularly increased for the singles because inevitably many singles are grilled over the holidays about their solitary status, said Garcia. The survey by Match.com found that 14 percent of men and 10 percent of women admitted to dating someone during the holidays just to have someone to spend the holidays with. The peak online dating season is during the holidays, between December and February, as there is a 25 to 30 percent increase in new members registering at Match.com.

An unprecedented number of single Americans is now turning to the internet to find love. More than 27 percent reported that they have dated someone they met online, including social media sites such as Facebook and other chat groups. Also, 20 percent met their most recent first date online vs. 7 percent who met at a bar.

Garcia said online dating makes it convenient for people to be aware of singles living near or within their area of interest. However, he suggested people spend some time beforehand to think about what they want in a relationship and how they can communicate with their dates, before jumping to join the online dating sites. Garcia also said looking for a spouse is more complicated than just dating. Dating is meant to be fun and love comes after that, with time.

7 Excellent Tips from Innovative Match CEO & Founder Presented on Pfizer Blog

Innovative Match CEO and Founder Cassie Zampa-Keim recently lent her knowledge to the Pfizer website dedicated to the health and lifestyle of adults over 50, Get Old. In the following article you can find seven of Cassie's tips for how to find love after the age of 50. The tips focus on resiliency and optimism as well on being honest with yourself and others. Innovative Match's most valuable messages are perfectly represented in the article below:

Looking for Love After 50? Here Are 7 Tips That May Help by Kate Silver for GetOld.com

Is the Political Climate Hurting Relationships?

For almost thirty years, I’ve been introducing men and women to each other and watching happily as thousands of them have found the relationship they had been seeking. Throughout that time, clients have rarely, if ever, mentioned political affiliation as a deal-breaker in finding a mate. Religion, geographic location, whether they have kids or not, whether they have been married or not, and whether they share similar lifestyles, yes. Politics, no. 

All that changed with the last presidential election. Suddenly people are becoming very black-and-white about whom they will even sit down with. I read over 100 profiles a day on online dating sites, and for the first time ever I am seeing statements like, “I am not interested in anybody who voted for [pick your candidate].” In the past, people have told me they identified as middle-of-the-road and were willing to talk to people of either party. In today’s polarized environment, there doesn’t appear to be any halfway point, and certainly no talking.

I grew up in a household where one parent was a lifelong Democrat, the other a staunch Republican. Almost fifty years later, they are still happily married, even if their ballots don’t always look the same. A 2016 study out of Yale University found that about 70% of people marry someone who shares political affiliation. That means three out of ten people don’t. The study didn’t go into how those marriages succeed, but one can imagine that they either don’t care too much about politics, respect each other’s opinion--even when it differs from theirs--or just decide not to talk politics and focus instead on the other successful factors in their relationship.
 
So why is that becoming so difficult now? People have always had their own values and ethics, but why are they attaching politics so strongly to those factors now? The political climate has definitely become polarized like never before. There is a sense that you have to stand on the far end of the see saw to balance out whatever you see as a problem in the other party’s platform. Truly middle-of-the-road voices are being drowned out, or branded as weak on issues by both sides. 
 
Maybe the problem is less political leaning and more how it is presented. Rather than commercial soundbites or 140-character Tweets, what we need is calm, open-minded discussions about our views, why we have them, how they were formed, and why we might hold them especially close. We don’t have to agree on everything, but listening to the other side can educate us about the way issues are perceived and give us a chance to question or confirm our own beliefs.
 
This only works if both parties are willing, of course, but such a dialogue would go a long way not only toward a more peaceful co-existence, but in my line of work, it would open up (again) broader possibilities for finding love. No one has to fall in love with someone of the opposite political persuasion, but it can’t hurt to have a discussion over coffee.

In today's fast paced world, Cassie Zampa-Keim and her team intimately work alongside clients to foster a new dating mindset and relationship experience, combining nearly three decades of coaching expertise with the exciting opportunities of meeting a life partner.

As a full service relationship coaching firm the company specializes in working with clients 45+ nationwide, offering a customized approach to 21st century dating through its emphasis on both personal development and dating strategy.

www.Innovative-Match.com