Posted by: Shar & Mare | December 31, 2012

LifeBytes…2012 in review

Happy New Year friends! It’s been a busy year for Mariann and I. Our blog is growing. Our book LifeBytes, Real Stories of Online Dating is moving along slowly and we are really excited about 2013 as we’re hoping to have some new developments on the book front!

This year also brought us the opportunity to sign on as #SWEXPERTS with Singles Warehouse, and what a great partnership that has become. If you haven’t done so yet, please head on over to their site and check out not only our posts but all of the fine writing from the BEST dating and relationship bloggers in the world. We’re honored to be in such talented company!

Mariann and I wish you all health, happiness and MUCH LOVE in the coming year…XOXOXOXO

Here’s a bit from WordPress about what we were up to in 2012!:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 20,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 5 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

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Posted by: Shar & Mare | December 12, 2012

Do Opposites Ever Really Attract?

We’re off for a short vacation this week! In the meantime, here’s a guest post for this week…enjoy!

do_opposites_attractIf there’s one dating cliche we’ve all heard before, it’s the notion that ‘opposites attract’. This age-old dating idea is one that has fueled many a Hollywood romance script, not to mention the odd Broadway musical. But the real question is: just how realistic is it?

When it comes to creating a happy, healthy relationship, just how important are shared interests in things like music, food and holidays? For anyone pondering just what it is that makes a couple truly click, here’s a look at whether relationships can work between two very different people…

Where did we get the idea?

If you ask the average singleton whether different people and personalities can form one cohesive relationship, you usually receive a confident answer: yes.

Thanks to the world of fiction played out on the silver screen, there’s an ingrained idea that romance is born from clashing personalities. In fact, it’s often the most irritating people who will catch your eye and create that spark of attraction. But is there really any truth to it? To answer this, we need to gain an understanding of exactly what components make up a successful relationship.

Similar interests

Shared interests can certainly help to form a spark of attraction and bring two people together in a relationship. If you think of some of the happy couples you know, chances are some of them have a charming anecdote about how their shared interests brought them together. It might have been a passion for fine dining, a love of sailing, or perhaps a keen interest in Latin dance.

Hobbies help to introduce us to a like-minded circle of people, increasing the likelihood of starting a romance with someone who has similar interests.

So shared interests are common in couples, but are they imperative? The answer is, in fact, no. While similar interests might help bring a couple together, they certainly aren’t the key ingredients for keeping them together long term.

Compatibility

Love isn’t just about shared hobbies. If you find yourself in a relationship with a rock fan, yet you prefer pop, there’s plenty of hope for you yet. That’s because long-term relationships are actually built on compatibility.

Compatibility is about finding harmony and like-minded attitudes between two people. This can mean everything from your core values to the way you resolve conflict. For religious people, this could mean finding people who share your approach to faith, like finding other Jewish singles.

Where did we get the idea?

If you ask the average singleton whether different people and personalities can form one cohesive relationship, you usually receive a confident answer: yes.

Thanks to the world of fiction played out on the silver screen, there’s an ingrained idea that romance is born from clashing personalities. In fact, it’s often the most irritating people who will catch your eye and create that spark of attraction. But is there really any truth to it? To answer this, we need to gain an understanding of exactly what components make up a successful relationship.

Similar interests

Shared interests can certainly help to form a spark of attraction and bring two people together in a relationship. If you think of some of the happy couples you know, chances are some of them have a charming anecdote about how their shared interests brought them together. It might have been a passion for fine dining, a love of sailing, or perhaps a keen interest in Latin dance.

Hobbies help to introduce us to a like-minded circle of people, increasing the likelihood of starting a romance with someone who has similar interests.

So shared interests are common in couples, but are they imperative? The answer is, in fact, no. While similar interests might help bring a couple together, they certainly aren’t the key ingredients for keeping them together long term.

Compatibility

Love isn’t just about shared hobbies. If you find yourself in a relationship with a rock fan, yet you prefer pop, there’s plenty of hope for you yet. That’s because long-term relationships are actually built on compatibility.

Compatibility is about finding harmony and like-minded attitudes between two people. This can mean everything from your core values to the way you resolve conflict. For religious people, this could mean finding people who share your approach to faith, like finding other Jewish singles.

Many people are fixed on the idea that compatibility means sharing a love for foreign films or caramel ice-cream. Couples do, of course, need activities to enjoy together, but one of the best things about being in a relationship is getting the opportunity to discover new things.

Relationships can open up our scope of interests, teach us new hobbies and challenge us to try new things. But no matter how different your interests might be, at the heart of every successful relationship there will be shared core attributes, attitudes and values.

How to find it

Finding compatible, like-minded singles doesn’t need to feel like a game of chance. Compatibility is a value at the heart of most quality online dating websites. Relationship sites like eHarmony CA specialize in bringing together people who have the potential to share meaningful and life-changing love.

….and here’s our latest post on SinglesWarehouse.com: Is It Dumb To Use A Smart Phone On A Date?

…and…and VOTE for us for Best Dating Book!

Posted by: Shar & Mare | November 29, 2012

We’ve Been Nominated For Best Dating Book!!

Well, we are just floating on Cloud Nine today. Mariann and I just heard that we were nominated for Best Dating Book by GreatDatingBlogs.com! We’re hoping you all will head on over there, scroll down to the Best Dating Book category and cast your vote for LifeBytes, Real Stories.

This news couldn’t have come at a better time for us. We are moving ahead nicely with reviewing stories and making decisions on chapters, choices, and more. Yes, it still is slow-going, but in the end I think we’ll have an amazing and completely unique collection of “mini-memoirs” that will entertain you whether you’re single or not. Mariann and I are so excited to see this project take shape. Through the unique voices of all of the author’s we’re considering, we’re noticing LifeBytes, Real Stories of Online Dating beginning to develop a voice of it’s own…SO excited to see this happening.

Well, that said, we are still looking for strong (and by that we mean sparkling, jump off the page, well-written tales) to finish rounding out our collection of tales. So, if you are a writer, blogger, or an online dater with a great story to tell. Please submit them to us. We read, re-read, discuss and review every submission we receive.

We are looking for tales about the funny, crazy dates you’ve had, an on or offline affair you may have had. We’ll have a section of cautionary tales, so if you’ve had a scary experience -write! We’re also looking for sexy, steamy, gently erotic stories and of course love stories. Bloggers take note: We are considering a section devoted ENTIRELY to bloggers’ online dating experiences (not dating advice posts or a how-to post, but a story about a personal online dating experience you’ve had)!

Oh and VOTE… please vote.

Oh and one more thing. Visit our latest post on Singles Warehouse too (we love those guys!)

Sharon

Posted by: Shar & Mare | November 24, 2012

Dating a StarTrekGeek

I have dated the bad guy, the good guy, and pretty much every type in between. OK, so I go for the nice guy, but that won’t be news to our readers. But, I think my new year’s resolution is going to date more geeks. Geeks are a bit quirky but there are benefits to dating one. I love biographies, comedies and love stories. Not so long ago, I met someone who is very techie — there is nothing he didn’t know or couldn’t fix. But, he loved everything about Star Trek — he was a Star Trek Geek. I admit it, I saw a couple of episodes with William Shattner, but allegedly, there are new series and all kinds of Star Trek movies. 🙂 I was introduced to a few, but I still love my romantic comedies and dramas!

His birthday came around and he was not a materialistic person and not into all the trappings of life. I was thinking a spa appointment but his face scrunched up really funny to make me re-think that decision. He had one weakness … STAR TREK. I kept getting Star Wars and Star Trek mixed up — he hated that. He was a true Star Trek purist. His passion about Star Trek was so over the top, that I realized, I had to get him something Star Trek centric. But where to go? I discovered www.startrekgeeks.com. What a find this site was. It had every type of Star Trek paraphenalia you can imagine from common and affordable to rare — and still affordable. I ordered a few items from StarTrekGeeks and hoped for the best.

We went to a great Irish pub for dinner and I then bestowed his Star Trek goody bag upon him. His face lit up. I think he was just so happy that I did not get Star War items. LOL. 😉 All the items were a hit and he seemed glad that I listened and actually respected that he had such a passion for something and I thought enough to support that.

I will not ever be a Star Trek fan, but I was a fan of someone who was and that is what mattered. My StarTrekGeek was cute and sweet and nice and did something so few men do … he asked questions. That alone sent me into the stratosphere … I think it was the Starship Enterprise that took me there! (Do I have that right! :))

My relationship with my Star Trek Geek did not last, but we remain good friends. Christmas is approaching, and I know I will go back to www.startrekgeeks.com where I know I will find something special for someone who is now a special (Star Trek loving) friend. Altho, I may throw in something that is Star Wars oriented — just to throw him off just a bit!

Beam me up Scotty!

Posted by: Shar & Mare | November 21, 2012

Dating, Love And Creativity

Dating, Love And CreativityAs a designer I love reading about and analyzing the work of other designers. As a writer and dating blogger my other big thrill comes from hearing about the dating adventures and, often creative, paths that people take from single to committed. So I really hit the creative/dating/love lottery the other day when I found this wedding invitation website.

I just thought this was charming and clever and so beautifully designed. They’re designers themselves who met on Match.com and I love the way they use illustrations, a story line, and interactivity to take you through their personal dating and love story! Take a few minutes to read through the site, I think you’ll enjoy it too.

What is it about love and a great relationship that brings out the creative and charming sides of us? I think it’s the happy endorphins, I really do. Even traditional wedding invitations have become personal statements about the bride and groom and their lives. I have a designer friend who’s business is invitation design. I love to cruise on over to her site, Thinking Paper, occasionally to see what she’s been up to lately.

Do you find you become more creative when you’re “in love” or even just infatuated with someone? I know when I’m really into someone I make more of an effort to plan fun and sometimes romantic dates. I can’t just bake cookies for my guy, I have to decorate them too…and I’m not a baker so this is HUGE for me!

Do you get more creative when you’re with someone special? Is this something you’ve ever pondered (or am I the only one who has too much time on my hands when it comes to dating and love?…LOL) I’d love to hear about your creative date ideas, charming marriage proposals, that grand romantic gesture that won your heart. I am SO in the mood for a good love story..:)

Sharon

Posted by: Shar & Mare | November 15, 2012

Sexy Emails – Titillating or Too Far?

I love to write and especially communicate via email. If someone can write a good email, I can be easily smitten. That to me is … sexy. Yes, I know, perhaps my sense of sexy is skewed. But, I love men who can communicate via email and converse in person.

Today, many women are sending very sexy emails to their new online interest that do not seem to match the level of their relationship. Are these sexy emails titillating or going too far? And, doing with this with someone you have not even met yet, can be a cause for safety. I find that when you meet someone online, the tone and direction of the emails can be very different from one to the other. In a few cases, I have met people who are very flirty on line and some have sent some very sexy emails. I don’t mind some flirting … but I don’t really care for those guys who are blatant and start asking intimately personal questions or offer the specifics of “what they like” before I even know them. To me, that is crossing the line of TMI and appropriate. (Sharon may disagree with me here, but she is still re-reading 50 shades of gray every week! :-))

For me … that is too much too soon. I need to meet the person … get to know them … see if there is chemistry … and then develop trust to share anything more than basic info or a joke or banter.

As much as I like to write, I prefer a flirty or double entendre email with an overlay of humor over an overtly sexual email. I have friends who are very different and will get down and dirty very quickly.

So, I often wonder, how sexy is too sexy? I would rather get to know someone and then send them a card or plan and do something different and romantic.

I once dated this guy who I was incredibly attracted to and after the 2nd date, he started to send me very suggestive emails. It made me feel uncomfortable. OK, I get it … I am not like most people. I just felt like we did not have the trust elements really established and I felt odd about sharing something with him that I was not ready or felt secure enough to. Initially, I did my humor and LOL schtick. But, he persisted. When he asked me what underwear I wore, I was tempted to give him the manufacturer name and style number, but alas did not. I was overseas for an extended business trip and I would have preferred to be on a date with him than in a Shanghai hotel room eating what I thought was pizza. I wrote back something sweet … and was my version of sexy … which, well wasn’t really.

In the next email, he went further and I decided I did not like the graphic nature of the email or where he was guiding it. I told him so and said that it made me uncomfortable. He disappointed me in his response and did not email me again. That was fine — it said a lot. We did not see each other again.

But, flirty and sexy emails can certainly help the relationship in letting the person know you are thinking about them or to keep it a bit spicy. And that level will be different for each person.

But, what is the sexiest email you ever received? Let us know. MARIANN

Posted by: Shar & Mare | November 9, 2012

Body Sounds – Natural or Disgusting?

Yes, I know, we are all human and we make sounds and have the same bodily functions. But why oh why are some people more obsessed about it and why do they bring more attention to it?

Look, we all burp and sigh and exhale gas and that annoying sound or smell can be noticed and IS embarrassing. When it happens, I try not to make a big deal out of it for myself or the person I am with.

But, some people choose to bring attention to it and even highlight it. Why? Do they think it is sexy? Annoying? Are they trying to say they are human too?

But recently, I have been around dates that are so open about their bodily functions, sounds and smells, that they leave nothing to the imagination and there is no sense of modesty. Now look, we have all been there when we eat something we perhaps should not on a date and the person’s breath smells or they exhale a smelly gas. I understand it is embarrassing. If I sense they are, I will make nothing of it and move on. But, some people seem to wear their sounds and smells like a badge of honor.

For those who think it is … I am here to tell you … It is not. It kills romance and it is not sexy. There is enough time to become comfortable. Why destroy the mystery too soon?

If you think the humor of it will diffuse embarrassment — think again! It won’t. It is one thing to apologize or make a comment but it is another thing to make a circus out of it.

So, think twice before you say anything. Because by speaking you could take something natural and make it disgusting. Don’t. It will help you in your dating life! Let me know if I am right … or wrong!

Posted by: Shar & Mare | October 27, 2012

I Fell In Love On The First Online Date

We have a guest post this week, from Liz at WeLoveDates.com

As the social media manager for a worldwide online dating site, relationship blogger and all around wanna-be Carrie Bradshaw type girl, I tell women all the time to avoid falling for a guy on the first date. There is a part of me though that wants to tell them that stranger things have happened, and that falling in love on the first date can happen…because it happened to me.

I was in the midst of an online dating whirlwind. You know, when the stars, sun and moon align and you’re having so much fun emailing and talking to guys online and have dates planned every weekend? Things were clicking, and at one point I was having such a blast that the thought of a long term relationship was the furthest thing from my mind. But of course, isn’t that always what happens right before you fall hard for someone?

The particular guy in question was hard to nail down. He only checked his online dating inbox sporadically and since he took a week to respond to simple “How was your day?” messages, I wrote him off as either not interested or not interesting. There were too many other guys to distract me. But, somehow we became friends on Facebook and I spent more time than I’d like to admit combing through his profile and liking what I saw. Every time I logged into my online dating account, I’d hope there was a message from this mysterious handsome stranger.

We finally scheduled a date-margaritas and Mexican food at the best place in town. As a seasoned online dater, I went into the whole thing knowing to keep my expectations low. I’d long learned that it’s much better to be pleasantly surprised than to be disappointed. Truth be told, I made plans with another online date for later on that night, which goes to show how I was not expecting to fall head over heels in love.

I’m a writer, I should be able to find a more eloquent way to describe our date other than-It was the best first date ever. It was one of those dates where you almost can’t believe it’s happening to you, and you know that no matter what happens with you and the man sitting across from you that you will never forget this moment. You feel lucky just to have been apart of it.

Of course, an incredible first date doesn’t equal a great relationship. We didn’t go from margaritas and hysterical laughter to living happily ever after. It’s been a winding road. But sometimes, I look over at him and get the same feeling I had when I was sitting across from him in the Mexican restaurant. I can’t help but feel lucky.

Liz is the social media manager for We Love Dates, a worldwide online dating site. Join for free using code WLD GUEST. For more dating tips and advice, visit the popular We Love Dates blog.

Posted by: Shar & Mare | October 21, 2012

Meeting In Our Natural Habitats…What A Concept!

I find myself “explaining” online dating quite often. It seems strange to me that it still bears explaining. I mean couples have been meeting online for as long as there has been an online. The idea of meeting someone through your computer is still a hard concept for people to grasp even after all this time.

Even those of us who do date online sometimes find it a bit unnatural, which is I think, why many singles lose the motivation to slog through profile after profile, send emails, get someone’s attention, send more emails, talk on the phone, set up a coffee or drinks date, go on said date, decide if you want a second date, yadda yadda yadda. You’re bored already, right?

I think this is why I sometimes miss the days of meeting in person. I suspect the big online dating sites know this too. Match.com is now offering Stir Events, wherein you go to a fun event, like a cooking class or cocktail party, and meet other humans in their natural habitat. What a concept, huh?

I haven’t been to one of these yet. I live and work in New Jersey and the closest Stir events are in New York. Not easy for me to get to as I’d have to leave work really early to get there. But I will make the attempt in the near future. It appeals to me, this idea of talking to actual live men! Mariann’s been to one or two…I think she should write a blog post about it, don’t you?

In my more old-fashioned reveries I’m Judy Garland meeting Mickey Rooney at the Soda Shoppe. So Match.com, please have an old fashioned soda shop event, or a sock hop. Okay sock hops are WAY before my time, I visualize a room full of people jumping up and down in their socks…LOL, but that could be fun too. These are things I’d lose a few hours of salary for.

Posted by: Shar & Mare | October 12, 2012

Being Single In A Couples World

I recently read an article titled 5 Secrets To Staying Sane In A Couples World. It offered some tips for dealing with your single-ness when it seems as if everyone in the world “has someone”…except for you.

I can relate to some of the issues, like going alone to events – I have a family wedding coming up and I’ll be the odd-girl out at a table full of married sibs and cousins. I can also attest to the advice given as being sound and true – Focus on You, ignore the cultural messages, and remember that being “in a relationship” isn’t always a bed of roses.

On the other hand, I have to wonder…and worry, about the need for articles and advice on coping with being single. It’s not a disease or an aberration, it’s a lifestyle. Whether or not one is single by choice or circumstance, how you approach this state of being is up to you.

One can fret and cry over not being able to find someone or, embrace what your life is at this moment. I like to choose embracing the moment.

Over the years I’ve cultivated both married, constantly dating, and single friends. I enjoy the company of each and every one of them and am at a point in my life where I don’t really care if I’m the only single gal at a dinner party of marrieds. They’re my friends and I always have a great time when I’m with them. The subject of having a partner rarely if ever comes up in these situations (think about it – it’s true!) so the conversation really won’t be awkward. My friends and I talk about our kids, theater, work, local gossip, the latest movies….never Poor Single Sharon. They wouldn’t be my friends if they did that, and THAT is the key.

My friends are like-minded people, thinking, smart people, and creative too. I’ve built my personal network over time and I’m happy with it. Anyone who’s ever been narrow-minded or made me feel less for the life I’ve chosen for my self has been left by my wayside.

And that, I think, is as it should be. When we make a life and a network of friends that makes us feel more instead of less, when we have interests, jobs, and hobbies that fill our creative and social needs, we find that that’s enough. And that is just the best place to be in when you’re out dating and looking to see if (note I said IF) there is a special person, or soul-mate, or significant other, or whatever title you care to use out there, it becomes fun and an adventure. Because you know that you’re not searching because you need someone to complete you or fill a hole in your life. You’re looking because you have a life that’s too big and beautiful to keep to yourself.

Now THAT’S what being single should be all about…:)

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