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Rachel Greenwald

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Seal The Romance Deal And 'Have Him At Hello'

Posted: 03/09/10 07:30 AM ET

In the past 10 years, I've interviewed 1,000 single guys for my new book "Have Him At Hello." Why? Because there are so many fabulous single women out there who can't seem to find the right mate. I thought if only I knew the truth about what turns on (and off) marriage-minded men, then I could help more single women find love. (I'm a professional matchmaker when I'm not writing dating books...)

So I created business-style "exit interview" questions, and called the former dates of my matchmaking clients who hadn't called back after a date, and I also called the happily married men whom I'd introduced to their wives. I badgered them for honest and detailed feedback about why they thought some women they dated had immediate "future-wife potential", and others didn't. While my book describes the Top 10 "Date Breakers" and the Top 5 "Date-Makers" that men confessed to me, below are 3 surprising lessons learned that I want to spotlight. The thing is, you're not gonna think men are logical when you read this. You'll probably be annoyed. Well, as my friend Sandra says, "Men are pigs, but I still love bacon!"


Lesson #1: Never send a "Thank You" email after a date

Men told me that while they appreciate the "thank-you-email" after a date, it ultimately causes them to lose interest in a woman because men like the chase. They told me that when they receive your email (or text) the morning after a date, they do NOT think, "Oh, she thanked me again... what good manners!" Rather, they tend to perceive it as a hint of desperation... and we all know how alluring that can be. Even if he enjoyed your date, the thank-you-email is more deflating than endearing (on average) because, if he liked you too, he wanted to contact you first to pursue you.

The fix? Thank him graciously at the end of the date, but don't steal his thunder the next day. And if you don't hear from him at all? He's just not that into you, of course. He's a big boy and knows how to contact you if he wants to see you again. Don't be a "Sadie Hawkins."


Lesson # 2: Do the fake-purse grab when the dinner check arrives

I asked men how they prefer women handle the arrival of the dinner check on the first date. The good news is that chivalry is not dead! A surprising 84% of men said they expect to pay for the meal, but they want to know their gesture is appreciated. They don't want to feel that the woman EXPECTS them to pay. In other words, they're hypocrites: they want to pay, but the minute you let them pay without offering to share the bill, they don't like it. They said they favor the "fake-purse grab" to the "blind eye."

The fix? Just reach for your purse and say sweetly, "May I contribute to the bill?" The vast majority of the time he will decline your offer, at which point you can thank him sincerely. If he allows you to split the bill, you probably won't be hearing from him again anyway (or if he does call back, it's doubtful he's interested in anything serious with you).


Lesson #3: Never say "Never"

Turns out, guys are kinda literal. They told me that when a woman makes an emphatic or absolute statement, a guy begins to question a possible future with her. For example, one New York woman emphasized how much she loved living in New York by telling her date, "I'd never leave this city! My job, my family, my friends are all here; there's no place like New York!" She was simply being her usual enthusiastic, passionate self. However this guy grew up on the west coast, and he wasn't sure he'd always want to stay in New York, especially after he had kids. And while he'd enjoyed their dinner together, the next day he decided she was geographically inflexible and didn't have long-term relationship potential. He took her emphatic "never" statement literally, even though one day she certainly might have moved if she was married to someone who wanted or needed to leave New York.

Other statements that men described in this genre included women who said "I would never live in a cold climate," "I would never adopt," and "I would never stop working after I had kids." I call this The Never Ever Mistake. A guy may eventually accept your "never ever," but why put him to the test on a first date? And the reality? Everything is negotiable later if you're truly in love. Then you'll evaluate situations as a couple, or as a family, not as an individual.

The fix? Simply avoid those categorical statements early on when the guy you're dating is too "dumb" to know whether you're just speaking enthusiastically and expressing a strong preference, or whether you're truly an inflexible person.

While these 3 lessons are only a sampling from the confessions I heard from 1,000 single men, allow me to state the obvious: you should never change who you are, or pretend to be someone you're not. However, to better connect with the right guy when he finally comes along, you need to understand how the "swine" think so that you can put your best foot forward. The reality is that men, just like women, jump to quick inaccurate judgments based on little things you say or do in the early stages of dating. And this inside scoop comes straight from the horse's mouth.