05/10/2013 12:10 pm ET Updated Jul 10, 2013

The Desperate Dater

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A year into grad school I found a wonderful place to live. It was a loft in downtown San Francisco's SoMa district. It was large, airy, and had a fantastic view. The owner was interviewing prospective renters and I was one of them. I made it known that I wanted this place and that I would do anything to get it. I jabbered on about how much I loved the place and the area. Thinking back to that day, I cringe a little. I sounded, quite frankly, like a "house stalker."

My best friend Michelle came with me to the interview. She watched as another woman discussed the price, the amenities, and parking in a cool and calm manner. Two days later we found out the loft had been given to another renter.

"What happened?" I asked Michelle. "The owner seemed to like me! Where did I go wrong? I let him know how much I wanted that place!"

Michelle sighed but minced no words. "You looked desperate and that made the landlord uncomfortable," she said.

Moral of the story: If you want something desperately and let others know it, it will not work to your advantage.

Fast forward to 2013 and the rules of dating. A man I know who is recently divorced is very anxious to "get back in the game" of dating. He's a nice guy, good-looking but he's having trouble getting second and, sometimes even first, dates. The problem is that he is too eager and this is a dating turn-off. Women who may be initially attracted to him seem to back-off when he comes on too strong.

As one female told him, "Look, I'm going to be blunt with you. Your talk of houses and babies is way too much for me. I just want to have a simple relationship. I'm not ready for a serious commitment."

"You come on way too strong. This is just a first date, not a commitment, right?" said a woman with whom he had dinner.

A male friend said, "You need to take it slow, buddy. The way you act shows that you're on the rebound and have a desperate need to feel desired and validated. That's a turn-off for women."

While you may not even know you come across as a desperate dater, it shows in how you act and in what you say. Seriously, nothing will send a woman or a man running away faster than a desperate, needy date. You can avoid this by following a few simple rules of dating.

Have other interests. After a break-up or divorce, dating should not be your only goal in life. If you have no other interests, friends, or activities that you enjoy, you send out the message that you really have no life outside of dating this person. No one, no matter what the poets say, wants to be your "everything/"

Take it slowly. Most, say almost all, people want a relationship to progress naturally and not listen to you weave tales about your future as a couple. You need to get to know each other before even thinking of introducing anyone to your family. Activities like "meeting the parents" after two dates is scary.

Don't micromanage your entire life and existence around one person. Respect for other people and things in your life should never be given short shrift simply because you need to be available for that "one special person." That "one special person" you're trying to impress will lose all respect for you and bail out of the game as soon as possible.

Be realistic. No excessive calling, emailing, and texting and, definitely no "I love you" after a few dates!

You've heard of the smell of fear? Desperation has its own scent and it isn't pleasant.

Maybe the dream is for us to end up with one special person but there's an advantage in casual dating without a hard-core commitment. You find things out about yourself and about what you find interesting and pleasing in a potential mate. The most attractive people are those who are real, confident, and comfortable in their own person.

If you're looking in the dating pool, you'll find the person for you eventually. This isn't a race. Relax, date, and enjoy. When you least expect it, your own wonderful self will attract who is right for you.

© 2013 copyright Kristen Houghton

Read the just released Welcome to Hell by Kristen Houghton. An Amazon Kindle Best.

"And Then I'll Be Happy! Stop Sabotaging Your Happiness and Put Your Own Life First" ranked in the top 100 books by Tower

Kristen Houghton is the author of the hilarious book, No Woman Diets Alone -- There's Always a Man Behind Her Eating a Doughnut in the top 10 hot new releases at Amazon available now on Kindle, Nook, and all e-book venues.

You may email her at

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