Posted by: Shar & Mare | April 8, 2013

We’ve Moved!


We’ve Moved to!

Friends and followers, as of Monday April April 8, 2013 we have combined our book site and blog into one. Please head on over to and click Follow.

Books, Blogging and More!

We’re very excited about this move…our first book “THE MAN PLAN™, A Guy’s Guide To Planning The Perfect Date” releases on Wednesday April 10, 2013 and you’ll get all the breaking news on this at our new website…AND we’re offering a FREE sneak peak at the book to all LifeBytes and Singles Warehouse friends and followers. Please head over to our post on Singles Warehouse to have a read, all we ask in return is a little social love!

We’ll be continuing our blog on the new site, bringing you the best in dating stories and advice. AND of course, we are still developing our next great dating book “LifeBytes™ Real Stories of Online Dating”.

Hope you can stop over for our “housewarming party” this week!

Happy Dating,
Sharon and Mariann
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Come chat with us on Twitter: @LifeByteStory

Posted by: Shar & Mare | March 7, 2013

It’s Raining Men…. Hallelujah.


This week’s ear-worm is that 80’s dance anthem from The Weather Girls, “It’s Raining Men”. Why? Because for me, it apparently IS raining men. I’ve suddenly and somewhat inexplicably become very popular on I’ve been favorited, winked at, Liked, and emailed by more men in the past two weeks than have noticed me in the last six months.

Why, Men…Why?

I wish I knew why I have such a sudden appeal, I’d bottle it, sell it, or maybe just dab it behind my ears! I’m certainly not complaining. I just can’t figure it out. I haven’t  changed my photo or updated my profile in the last month. My subscription isn’t about to expire – because I have noticed in the past that there’s an uptick in responses when I’m about to be asked to pony-up my credit card info again. (Clever, very clever)

Perhaps it’s just in the stars for me this month. Maybe the planets have aligned to give me a “come-hither” aura online. Whatever the case may be, I’m happy to just go with the flow and enjoy the attention. In the past I’ve often wondered if Match has inadvertently hidden my profile, because I get nothing….literally nothing from any male there. I email…no response, I wink…no response, my profile sits there day in and day out and…nothing, not a nibble. But the past few weeks?…So far I have at least two men lined up to chat with over the phone and possibly meet, and that’s making me very happy.

I’ll Just Enjoy These Men While I Can

Sometimes, it’s better not to over-think things like online attention. I tend to over-think a lot of things and this in turn causes most of my stress and sleepless nights. I’ll just see where this turn of events takes me. With any luck they will take me to at least a few dinner dates.

In the meantime, please enjoy my ear-worm.


Stop by Singles Warehouse to read our latest post: Top Ten Reasons To Try Online Dating

Posted by: Shar & Mare | February 28, 2013

Book Publishing, and Other Fun News!

The Man Plan, A Guy's Guide to Planning the Perfect DateSpring is on it’s way…and so are some exciting new developments here at LifeBytes. First, we are in the final stages of publishing our first book! Around the end of March we will be offering “The Man Plan, A Guy’s Guide to Planning the Perfect Date” (note to everyone waiting for “Real Stories of Online Dating”….we are still working on that too…more news to come on that front in the next month or two!).

How to WOW Your Sweetie!

“The Man Plan, A Guy’s Guide to Planning the Perfect Date” contains all a man needs to know to WOW his sweetie with dates for every occasion. In it you’ll find Ten Tips for Planning a Date, along with Date Ideas for every occasion. We offer tips and suggestions for every type of date imaginable, from casual first dates, to sexy dates, to full-out romantic dates. We even offer some ideas on  “pop the question” dates.

A Book For Men and The Women Who Love Them

We think this will be a reference guide that men (and YES even the women who love and date them) will refer to again and again. “The Man Plan” will be available in print and eBook versions. We’ll be posting the final publishing date here as soon as we have it, so stay tuned.

In other news, we’re also in the process of combining our website and our blog here at WordPress into one site. We hope to have that done in the next week or two and we hope that you’ll all visit…and visit often. We’ll be continuing our regular blog entries there, we’ll be able to give you more news and updates on our books, and of course you’ll be able to purchase “The Man Plan” and “Real Stories” when it’s available.

Posted by: Shar & Mare | February 14, 2013

Tweaking The Online Dating Profile…Again

emailingI’ll admit it, I like all things internet…not just online dating. I’m a social media       nut. More so even than my son, who’s of an age where HE should be the one with his nose buried in his smart phone as he tweets, posts, comments, and blogs. But no…that’s me. My friends think it’s hysterically funny and my son…well, he just shakes his head and sighs. I think he’s beyond being embarrassed by me and has just accepted the fact that mom’s “a little different”.

So, of course I like online dating. Even though I find it frustrating at times, I still basically have great fun with it. Like all social media I’m on, I like to “tweak”…which means that I post different pictures every few months to see if I get more/different/better quality responses. Certainly not a scientific poll but those nice head and shoulders shots of me smiling brightly seem to be winning in terms of getting likes and emails and comments.

SEO Counts, Even In Dating Profiles

I also update my profile on a fairly regular basis. When I took up Yoga, I added that into my profile. When I briefly dated a guy who was really into cooking, he got me hooked on The Food Network and all things “foodie”. So of course my profile now reflects my new-found interest in cooking. And I have gotten interesting responses to new things that I’ve added to my profile. It does help too that and quite a few other dating sites will “bump” your profile up to the top of the search list whenever you make even the smallest change to your profile. Yes…SEO counts, even in dating profiles!

Men Are Visual Creatures

My latest tweak came about from a comment or two I’d gotten from online connections. A few guys commented that my writeup was a bit too long. Hmmmm….it REALLY ticked me off. Seriously?? My first thoughts were WTF…Are you illiterate?, WHAT? You have ADD and can’t read more than ten words at a time??. Upon reflection, and a glass of Pinot, it dawned on me that men are just too visual. Even the most educated of males will skim the written profile, decide if your pix are “cute” and take it from there. I think I need to learn some patience in this area.

So, although my “old” profile gave a clear and (I think) cleverly written overview of who I am and who I’m looking for, I shortened it. So, that is my latest tweak and so far it’s working …My inbox is deliciously full of emails and winks to explore. I will let you all know how it goes 😉

Of course, being a writer…I’d still love to find a guy who loves to read as much as I like to write…but I’ll start with the cute pix, shortie profile and see what happens!


Check out our latest article on Singles Warehouse!

Posted by: Shar & Mare | February 6, 2013

HELLO? Too Much Information

too_much_informationEver been out on a date and you are having fun talking and then someone shares something with you that makes you wince and think, “yikes, that was just too much information.” It can completely throw you off your game. Suddenly, it can be like the purple elephant in the room and all you can focus on is that one tidbit of information you did not want to know.


It’s akin to an experience I had where an author friend brought me to meet a friend of hers who was a psychic, mind reader and intuitive. We were going to her suite at a posh NYC Hotel to have dinner and my friend told me this info about her friend about 30 seconds before we got to the door. And, of course, all I could do was think, “is she reading my mind now? Her husband is sort of cute, I don’t see them together … ugh oh … did she just hear that? Nope, I am only going to have simple and positive thoughts. God, I really would love some champagne. Why didn’t they order any drinks? Ugh-oh, I hope that wasn’t rude and she can read my mind and now she thinks I am annoyed.”  Well, that is how my thoughts went for the next 3 hours. It was terrible. Although she did tell me she did not see me with the guy I was with, that my technical job was killing my creative self and said I should move asap and go to CA where I would meet someone who was very laid back, almost like an older surfer dude, and get serious with him. WOW! I did break up with the guy. Did not move to CA. Yes, would like to not work in Corp America. But, I much prefer sophistic blue double breasted suit or swim suit surfer dude. I’ll keep you posted.


But, I digress. We have all said things at times we wish we hadn’t. But recently, I met someone on line and he seemed nice. We finally chatted live and he told me that he loved to be told what to do … that he was like a cocker spaniel and was easy to train … and he loved by lingerie and would prefer to do that over baseball, which he loved. OK, he told me 3 times that he would love to buy me lingerie. That was TMI and quite icky! I did not go out with him. Besides, I want to date a guy, not a dog!

I caution myself and others that perhaps they think before they talk … count to 10 and say to yourself, “is what I am about to say too much info or inappropriate? “If you don’t answer NO immediately, then keep your mouth shut and think of something else to say. Especially on a first date or two it really is good to just keep it light and interesting so you can learn about each other over time.


Have you ever had one of those, “ugh-on TMI” moments? Please share!
Please check out our article on Singles Warehouse!

Posted by: Shar & Mare | January 31, 2013

We are VOTED 10 Best Online Dating Experts

__FullColorSharon and I are happy and proud to announce that we at the LIFEBYTES Blog have been voted one of the TOP 10 BEST ONLINE DATING EXPERTS by

In case you were wondering who is, they are a go to site for all things Dating & Relationships! Since their launch in May 2012 they’ve received 180,000 unique views and 500,000 page views per month from those seeking dating and relationship advice, and those numbers continue to rise. They get regular mentions on major networks such as CNN, FoxNews, HLN and others.

You can check out the site at:

Sharon and I started the LifeBytes Blog just about 4 years ago and we have published almost 300 posts. We love to share our experiences and advice and thoughts. And, we welcome feedback and comments from viewers.

Sharon and I would like to thank all of our followers for their loyalty and support. It warms our hearts to see comments and have people invested in what we have to say and who are open to sharing their own experiences and thoughts.

So, thanks again for helping us be a blogging presence in the Dating & Relationship internet world.

We really appreciate it. Sharon and I have a few things in the works and will be sharing with you in the coming weeks!



Posted by: Shar & Mare | January 24, 2013

That’s Just Creepy

stalker_dateOftentimes male friends and dates have commented to me about how some women think that one date equals an instant relationship. Their opinions of this range from that’s just creepy, to makes me want to run in the opposite direction, to a non-verbal head shake and roll of the eyes. I have to be honest, I’d always thought that it wasn’t that big of a deal – just a “guy thing”, just as I know that a gal’s brain can automatically go into “wonder what the kids will look like” mode upon meeting a cute, hot guy (seriously guys, we don’t mean anything stalkerish when we do this…it’s a “girl thing”).

Well recently I met the male version of the instant relationship, and it was sort of creepy (rolls eyes and shakes head).

He Seemed Nice In His Profile

We connected on He seemed nice in his profile. I didn’t get a sense that we’d be instantly and totally soul-mate compatible, but there seemed to be possibilities there. Since I’m a great believer in giving everyone a shot, I made plans to meet him for drinks.

It was a nice meeting, no sparks but the conversation was lively. I was thinking OK, this may work…until he started talking about his ex-girlfriend…who was suing him (SUING HIM??!!) When I asked what in the world she could be suing him about, he sort of waffled and changed the subject. So…I pressed him for an answer and still got a sort of vague response.

Well, the date ended shortly after and he walked me to my car all the while going on and on about how our next date will be dinner and then…when we were seeing each other on a regular basis…we could make plans for a vacation. WHOA…I was still trying to untangle the huge red flag I’d just been smacked in the face with. I needed time to process. So I said a swift goodnight and headed home.

The next night I was about to head out to a rehearsal session for my next play when I got a text – Are you home? No, I texted back, going to rehearsal will be home late and will most certainly be too tired to talk. I’ll be in touch tomorrow. His reply? Well call me anyway. Wow, I thought that was demanding, pushy, and inconsiderate.

I Get It Now

When I did get home there were more texts waiting for me about how we had to plan out our next few weeks. Creepy, just creepy. OK guys, I get it now…LOL

I texted back that I didn’t want to continue to see him, went onto Match and blocked his profile. I would still like to know what in heck the ex was suing him about though!


Check out our latest post on Singles Warehouse!

Posted by: Shar & Mare | January 16, 2013

Online Dating…Can You Spot The Catfish?

catfishGiven how long I’ve spent in the online dating arena, both doing it and writing about it, it was inevitable that I’d eventually snag my very own catfish. A “Catfish” is someone online who is portraying themselves falsely, pretending to be someone they’re not, sometimes for childish reasons and sometimes for nefarious reasons.

I’d seen the documentary and TV series that popularized the term and of course Catfishing is a serious topic on the Dr. Phil show, but in all this time I had yet to encounter one of this breed myself….til last week. Here is what happened and how I sniffed out this rotten fish and dealt with him.

I saw “Cuddle536” (YES…his real online name) on His profile was clear and well-written in solid English sentences. He had one, very nice profile photo of him holding a cat. Plus, he lived in a very small town nearby to me. I wrote to him…and he wrote back with:
I would like to get to know you. First, I would like to see if we can be friends. I suspect you are very selective in who you are looking for. I know I am looking for someone very special who is attractive, fit, beautiful inside and out, and family oriented.

Then…It Got Interesting

Still well-written and coherent, he went on to say that he didn’t check his account often and would I use his real email. I have a private email account that I use ONLY for online dating and is not connected to any of my personal info so I felt comfortable using that and agreed to this. Which is where the fun began. He wrote:

I believe strongly in love and her values,I am originally German-Swiss,I have two dogs and two cats as well…you can tell i love animals and animals lovers are true lover…is that true ?
Commas instead of periods?? Weird sentence structure and that “true lover” thing set off a tiny alarm. Someone who wants to be friends first doesn’t send a leading comment like that. I went to recheck his profile and realized he’d hidden it….another clue. Now I was curious. I wrote and asked him a few questions about things I vaguely remembered from his profile. Three days later I got:

How are you and hope that you are doing Great. I haven’t heard back from you and thought to check in and say hey and perhaps to ask if i did or said something wrong,i was really enjoying the getting to know each other process.
Hmmm, I knew the email went through as I didn’t get a delivery problem message. I didn’t think it went into his spam folder as my previous messages were received. Now I’m fairly certain this clown is not who he’s portraying himself as. Curious, I resend my original note. This time he writes back.

Yes you did reply to my email and i responded as well but i think maybe either you did not get my response or i know but glad i am writing to you now. He ended the email with: Enjoy the rest of your day and know you have a man who is very curious about you and with the best of intentions towards you as well.
Now I’m certain that I’ve snagged myself a Catfish. Why? Aside from the steadily decaying grammar and punctuation, no one who is sincere and has the “best intentions” will need to specifically point this out in an email. So now I’m really curious as to how he’d react to an email that is off the “script” he’s obviously trying to guide me into (Plus…I’m sensing an impending blog post on this exchange…LOL). I write and ask some specific questions:

I think you said you live in Alpine? How long have you lived there? Like it? Does your daughter go to college?  Do you have a large family? Small? Are they in the area? And tell me about your job/career. What do you do? Do you like it?

Surprisingly he writes back:

Getting to know more about each other is all about asking and getting answers yes! I have being living in Alpine for 5 months now…and yes i do like/love it. My daughter does not live with me,she lives and school in England,i agreed to that because all i want is for her to be happy,its being very difficult since after the passing away of her mother. I am the only child of my parent whom are both late now,i do have relatives but very small and we hardly keep in touch only occasionally.
Holy cow! I was laughing out loud as I read that. The poor orphan boy…how convenient!! At this point I was DONE with this A-hole…but couldn’t resist one parting shot, I emailed:

Hope you’re enjoying Alpine, I have friends who live there and they enjoy it too. It’s a very, VERY small town so if you haven’t met them yet, I’m sure you will soon.

Now Michael, I have to ask you a strange question. Did someone write your profile for you? I ask because the style of writing, grammar, tone, and punctuation is TOTALLY different in your emails. Besides being a designer, I’m also a writer so I notice these things.

I didn’t expect an answer to that one and of course, never got one. I’m sure he knew he was busted!

When You’ve Snagged A Catfish

So, what did I do? Nothing. Yep, nothing. I didn’t email back because THAT’S what you do when you realize you’re in contact with someone who’s not who they say they are. Through the LifeBytes project we’ve gotten many stories from men and women who’ve had years long relationships with people online only to find, when they finally meet them, that they are not who they portrayed themselves to be. I never really understood how that could happen and quite honestly, I still don’t.

This is why I think the “catfish” get away with what they do…too many singles let their hearts and imaginations rule instead of their heads. Here’s the unvarnished truth: You can’t fall in love with someone when you only know them online. You can be infatuated with the IDEA of that person, you can be enamored of what they write and how they write it. You can be a victim of your own imagination, picturing how you THINK they are in real life. But you CANNOT actually be in love with someone you’ve never met face to face.

Here’s hoping we all catch only Starfish from now on!

Check out our latest post on Singles Warehouse!

Posted by: Shar & Mare | January 9, 2013

“Lake Boy” And The Profile Photo

lake-boyI recently got an email from a guy through one of the online dating sites I’m on. Just a short note to tell me he liked my profile, thought my profile photo was cute and if I was interested I could call him. He included his cell phone number too. I liked that, I have a thing about wanting to talk early on in the process. I’ve just had one too many weird email conversations, I want to talk soon because this always gives me the strongest clues about whether the guy is honest, not a player, and if we’ll hit it off on a date.

I was actually headed off for a short vacation when he emailed so I sent him my cell and asked if he would call me when I returned the following week. He wrote back with an OK and he did indeed call me one evening when I’d gotten home. Which was also good…a man who keeps his word and calls when he says he’s going to call…Wow!

Well, that was as good as it got.

As we chatted I started to realize that he hadn’t really read my profile. I had read his and though it was short, I didn’t see anything in it that I’d consider a deal-breaker. Apparently though I had a few dealbreakers in mine. Which he would have noticed had he gotten past my profile photos and basic physical stats.

I mention very specifically in my profile that I’m involved in local theater. It doesn’t take up all of my time, I certainly have lots of time for dating and socializing with friends. However, when I’m working on a show I always have at least a month when I’m performing on weekends (not forever mind you, just four weekends!). Well, this poor guy nearly had a stroke over the phone.

“Oh, I have a boat that I hang out on on weekends in the summer! You won’t be able to do that!”

“Uh, well, the production I’m working on runs through the month of February. Definitely not a summer month, unless the end of the Mayan long count calendar has totally screwed up the seasons as we know them.” I chuckle a little to see if he gets the joke…he doesn’t.

“I work hard all week. I just want to hang out on a lake all weekend. I really want someone who can do that with me.” At this point I’m hearing a subtle hysteria in his voice. Apparently that lake nonsense is essential to his mental health…LOL.

If You Look Good And Can Float, You’re OK!

It dawned on me that, not only had “Lake Boy” not read my profile, but he wasn’t the least bit interested in finding a relationship in any way based on discovering each other’s unique interests and exploring them together. You know, actually be open to anything new or different. He just wanted a woman who looked pretty good and could spend every ….and I mean every weekend doing what interested him. Which I’m pretty sure entails just lying on a boat in a lake.

He finally told me, in a somewhat shaky voice, that he didn’t think we’d be a good match. I wholeheartedly agreed with this assessment.

So, I’m on to the next few male profiles on my list. Hopefully they will have gotten further than my photos, weight and height!


Check out our latest article on Singles Warehouse!

Posted by: Shar & Mare | January 3, 2013

The Art Of Date Planning

A great date at the Central Park Lake
Date planning, especially in the early stages of a relationship is apparently daunting to some singles. Well, OK, mostly to men – or so it seems to Mariann and I. Personally we think it’s rather easy and can also be fun and creative, so we’re not quite sure why it seems so scary to so many singles.

On one of the online dating sites I’m on I describe what I’d consider to be a fun, creative and potentially romantic date. It goes like this:

“Explore Central Park on a crisp, sunny day. Lunch at the boat house, cuddle up for a boat ride on the lake (or maybe feeding the dolphins at the Zoo?) Cap off the day discovering the next great American playwright at an Off-Broadway show.”

Seriously, if a guy wants to “seal the deal” with me and flip me head over heels…this is the date that would do it. Hits all the right notes for me.

Well…someone emailed me thru the site and told me this date was too complicated. Really? I didn’t think so but, sadly, too many people just never get past the plain vanilla dinner or movie date.

Now, where I never mind the Saturday night at the movies date, I have to say I’m totally impressed by a guy who puts in just a tiny extra effort to plan a more creative date. I’ve planned dates for my man that are just a little different and take into account his likes and hobbies. A hike in our local mountains for the outdoorsy guy or a surprise outing to the Yankee game for the sports guy…these have all been welcomed and appreciated by the guys but still…they find it a bit of a chore, I think, to plan creative dates.

I keep insisting to my male friends that it’s not so hard, and the rewards for this fore thought are many. Some of them get it, but many don’t. I think if we break a great date down to a few simple components, it might make it easier. Let’s see:

1. Find out what she likes in terms of food, favorite places to go. Find out what her hobbies are or, if she’s athletic, what her favorite outdoor activities are. Plan a simple date around that…Sailing on a local lake, visit to a museum followed by dinner, tickets to a lecture by her favorite author. Guys…these things impress a woman!

2. Find out when she’s available for this date. Want to make it a surprise? Just get some open dates from her….TELL her you have a surprise outing planned, but not what it is. We LOVE surprises.

3. Be your gentlemanly best on the date and ENJOY yourself, even if you’re doing something you don’t necessarily like to do yourself. Nothing kills a good date faster than a bad attitude.

There. Simple, right? Do you have anything to add to this?

Do you like creative dates? Does your significant other know how to plan a great date? What’s the best date you’ve ever been on and what made it so great?

We’re really interested to hear your answers. Please, let us know!

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