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Lisa Ellen Niver Headshot

Carpe Datem! Seize the Date!

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I almost never met George, my travel partner and now husband. When he first emailed me, I liked his photo and his profile. But I had been on dozens of first dates with not one second date and needed a rest from online dating and unfulfilled high expectations. I sat in my chair, stared at the computer and did not write back. I wanted to but at that moment, the opportunity sailed away.

If I could have read Behrendt and Ruotola's book, It's Just a F***ing Date, to hear the essential truth that "almost every date you go on is not going to work out or turn into a lasting and meaningful relationship," that might have helped me. I was hoping to go on my "last" first date ever.

Behrendt and Ruotola's focus on "Principle #1 Like Yourself and Know You're Worthy" is crucial and is part of how I connected with George. As they say it, "Get a Life so you won't have to pretend to have one." One of George's early comments was about how we would at least be friends as not many shared our wanderlust. By honestly sharing my passions in my profile, he was able to learn about me before we ever met and that was why he contacted me a second time.

Many women are quick to share their requirements or "dealbreakers," things that make a man not an option. While standards about "the kind of relationship you want to be in and the way you want to be treated," are crucial, dealbreakers are often allowing the one you want to get away. Height, hair color and other superficial characteristics are not what I wanted to build my future on; I wanted a man who was caring, honest and funny. After George and I first met, two different friends commented about their own "dealbreakers" and thought George and I would not work out. Fortunately I focused on my standards and did not let my soul mate stroll away.

"Dating is like going on Space Mountain for the first time. Once you commit to doing it and strap yourself in, you have no idea what's going to happen." Being with George has been like a rollercoaster ride from quitting my job, spending a year sabbatical in Asia to getting engaged underwater, I am always excited to see what will happen next.

Behrendt and Ruotola recommend: "Your Gwyneth Paltrow photo must be current within the last 2-3 years, must be close to your current weight and must somewhat resemble you." While I agree with this, I did not do it. I honestly thought I looked like the photo I posted. George was enamored of my years of exotic international travel and was not thrown by the weight I had gained. During our early years together, I lost over sixty pounds and am much happier at a lower weight and higher activity level.

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My philosophy matched the authors that "Every date is an opportunity to practice going on a date so that when you meet the right person, you won't blow it by being a terrible date." I tried out different outfits and restaurants to see what I liked so that with every date I felt more comfortable showing up as my authentic self. George and I had a five-hour first date and before it ended, he had already asked me out for another date! It was my best first date ever.

Finding someone to love forever is worth the valiant effort it may take. I tried many venues to meet my match, and my verdict is that it does not matter how you meet, it only matters that you show up and reveal yourself so that you can enjoy a long happy life with your one true love. Seize the date; the next chapter of your life is waiting!

About the Author: Lisa Niver Rajna went on her last first date seven years ago and is now co-author of Traveling in Sin and co-founder of We Said Go Travel with her husband, George. They have been on the road since July 2012 and hope you take the risk to make your dreams come true.