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Jag Carrao

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Holiday Dating Do's and Don'ts

Posted: 12/01/2009 2:08 pm

Other than staking out her territory under the mistletoe, what can the single woman do to leverage the holidays to her advantage?  There’s plenty of tactics she can employ to advance (or at least not sabotage!) her romantic goals – whether her aim is simply to meet someone new or have her current relationship evolve toward something more permanent.  Here are a few Rules-based tips that can help women honor themselves, attract the opposite sex, and keep sane through the holidays:

DO take advantage of the seasonal color scheme to wear more red.  It worked for Santa, and it will work for you too.  Research shows men may be more attracted to women in red. Several articles published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that women wearing red were rated more sexually desirable than those wearing “cooler” hues like green or brown. Whether it’s socially conditioned or an evolved biological cue, the upshot is that donning scarlet could help you heat things up. And while you’re wearing your holiday brights, make sure you…

DON’T give into holiday blues. Impending Christmas and New Year’s can make even the most self-reliant single girl feel lonely and bereft as she bemoans the gulf between her current lot and her dreams of being in a committed relationship. The holiday season can also be tense for women with boyfriends – particularly when their hopes for the future are being obscured by his ambivalence or excuses.  Keep busy, engage your mind, exercise your body and pamper your senses to avoid wallowing in or obsessing about what’s lacking in your life right now.  Then…

DO start thinking about New Year’s Resolutions that can help you meet your romantic goals. For example, if you’re tired of being single, maybe it’s time for you to finally start online dating -- or if you’re on one site, join one or two more (it’s a numbers game, and in order to be selective you need to expand your pool of potential candidates). Maybe you need to tweak – or makeover – your online profile so it’s less wordy and heavy, more breezy and open. One of my clients just doubled the number of e-mails she was receiving, simply by changing her screen name, updating her photos, and editing her profile so it reflected her fun-loving, not-so-serious side. But…

DON’T check your online dating account over the holidays. As I tell the women I coach, try to set parameters around when you sign into your accounts. I usually suggest you confine checking to daytime hours on weekdays. Not only is it unhealthy to be compulsively checking your account at all hours of the day, many services indicate when members are online. You don’t need to broadcast to potential dates that you’re home alone on a Saturday night – or a Christmas Eve. Instead of lurking online…

DO hit the holiday party circuit, looking gorgeous and smiling at the universe. If you’re single these events can help you circulate in a social setting where men can find you. And if you’re attached, but feel your significant other may be taking you for granted then stop sitting home by the phone.  Enjoying your life to the fullest – and keeping busy with family, friends, work, and social engagements – reminds him you are an independent woman whose life does not revolve around him. 

DON’T pick him up at the airport. Especially if he hasn’t asked you to! Don’t be the schlepping wife-wannabe. Be his Dreamgirl. Let him arrange for his own transportation. Instead of waiting in traffic, circling the terminal, and showing up as a frazzled mess – go get a mani/pedi, blowout, etc. It may seem counter-intuitive, but acting like a wife – the home-cooked meals, the chauffeur service, the decorating his apartment – will not make him want to marry you. If anything, it will push him further away. AND you’ll end up feeling resentful when your generosity isn’t reciprocated with commitment and appreciation.

DO your own thing during the holidays, instead of relying on the guy you’re dating to make all the plans (and include you in them). If he hasn’t suggested spending the holidays together then make your own arrangements. This includes New Year’s Eve! Introduce him to your friends and family ONLY AFTER he has introduced you to his. If he feels you’re more serious about the relationship than he is, or that you’re moving faster than he wants to then he may start having doubts and possibly pull away, leaving you vulnerable and hurt. 

DON’T buy him lavish gifts. By “lavish” I don’t necessarily mean expensive. One client – okay, alright, it was me! – tried to impress a beau by creating a handmade card by cutting out little phrases and pet names from magazines, then gluing them onto construction paper. At the time this seemed like a good idea, though in retrospect it’s mortifyingly psycho – an impression obviously shared by the object of my attention, since he dumped me right after the holidays! Men get overwhelmed when women go overboard in the gift department. They may be flattered. They may be psyched – as in, “Wow!  A 58” Plasma HDTV?!?!”  But they will also see your extremely generous gift as a symbol of your intense love – which they no longer have to win – and possibly, a reflection of your high expectations in return, which they may start wondering whether they can (or want) to fulfill. Another common dating mistake:  buying presents for his mother, sister, secretary, etc. thinking this will help build a pro-marry-you coalition of sympathetic females. If you’re just bursting with the giving spirit this season, then…

DO volunteer. Of course this is a year-round “do,” but the holidays often present additional opportunities to volunteer, which in addition to benefiting others, can benefit your love life as well. How? Aside from the immediate benefit of putting you in the flow of meeting men who share your charitable interests, volunteering will help refresh your perspective on what’s important in life, and renewing your sense of gratitude for the blessings in your life. Both can help keep bitterness at bay – thus not only making the dating slog more bearable, but also enhancing that all-alluring aphrodisiac: inner-contentment and joy.

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