Friday, March 30, 2012

Your date is dead

Not your actual date, as in the person. I mean the date the two of you are on is dead. Finished. Done. Over. Horrible.

Just about any woman can give you a dating horror story. I've heard stories of women being left at a restaurant because her date's ex went into labor (with his baby). I know a woman who went on a first date with a guy who promptly informed her that the two of them should be exclusive. On the first date. Oy.

I've (luckily) not been on a date that bad. I have had guys choose the restaurant - then hand me the bill. That's always fun.

I'm going on vacation (with my favorite cousins, so there will be no horror stories). There will definitely be posts while I'm gone, but feel free to use this post as an open thread to tell your worst (or best) dating stories.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Social media affect on relationships

Last week, Trooper and I attended a panel discussion about social media, and how people today tend to be "tethered" to our technology and social networking sites. One of the topics the panel was asked to discuss was how social networking sites have affected friendships, and other relationships.

It got me does connecting with someone online change the way we handle relationships?

We all know social networking sites, and the internet in general, has changed how we meet people. I think everyone knows someone whose relationship has been affected one way or another by facebook. And of course, there's the now age-old question - when should we change our relationship status, or when should I friend my new interest?

Those issues seem to exist when there are questions about the relationship itself. If facebook, or twitter, or whatever, didn't raise the concern, something else would. Or the issues come up as a result of compulsive, unhealthy use of a social networking site.

I'm talking about when two people are in a healthy, happy, functioning relationship, and they are connected on social networking sites, which they also use in a functional, healthy way. How does that affect relationships?

For example - Trooper and I are connected on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Foursquare. Neither of use Google+ all that much, and I'm much more active on Twitter. But what about Facebook and Foursquare? One site tells us where the other is, even even when we're not together. The other site reveals who the other is talking to - and what about. The sites also give us the chance to interact publicly.

We are by no means unique in this dynamic. Most of the couples I know are connected on at least one social networking site. But how does it affect the relationships?

Does it change how we behave? Does it give us more to talk about, because we're constantly connected ("Did you see what so-and-so posted on facebook?")? Or does it take away some of the connecting we'd do in person ("I don't need to ask what you did today; I saw it on foursquare.")?

These themes came up again and again during the discussion we attended. The panel was made up of a communication professor, student, journalist, and a psychologist. Over and over, the talked about how the key to not allowing social networking to take over your life was to set limits, and find balance.

Resist the urge to "follow" him around on foursquare. "How was your day?" is an important question to any couple. It shows you're interested - and some app on your phone can't replace that connection. If you catch her post on facebook, don't comment. Instead, say whatever you have to say to her - in person, not on her wall. Let the post trigger a more meaningful, intimate exchange.

As with everything - if you're in a healthy, happy relationship, the social networking should work for you - not against.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Text from an Ex...'I'm committed'

It isn't easy to blog about dating - or any other personal part of life, for that matter. I have a lot of respect and admiration for anyone who puts herself (or himself) out there and shares experiences or advice or tips and tricks. I sent out another general invitation for guest posts - and some of you listened (thanks ever so much, by the way!). I'm happy to share this one, from Woody's Single Life. Looks to me like Woody's learned a lot about herself, and about dating.  "It's not until we move on and spend time alone that we start to recognize the need for change" - couldn't agree more.

Haywood (or "Woody" as her friends call her) is a snarky, single lady born and raised in Charleston, SC. Having lived in Seattle and Montana as well, she's had some crazy, eye opening experiences in the world of dating, relationships, single-dom and life in general. Instead of letting life's mishaps bring her down, Woody puts a sarcastic spin on life's lemons and makes a stiff drink! You can visit Woody at her facebook page or follow her on twitter.

So on a split second, bad judgement call whim, I decide to text my ex-boyfriend...let's call him Bob...just to catch up and compare notes on our single and equally independent lives. It always makes me feel better to know I have a single ex out there who doesn't have an automatic charades partner they're occupying their time with. So on nights like tonight, when I need a little pick me up, I grab the ol' telly for a bit of a reminiscing sesh, if you will. I believe I will think twice before deciding to make that call again.

So I text him a witty one liner from Anchorman to get things going and finish with a "PS: this is my last attempt to contact as this is getting pathetic...and I'm running out of witty one liners..." (Back pedal: the last few times we've tried to connect, one or both of us have been preoccupied with friends or work...due to the nature of our relationship, that comment wasn't as pathetic as it looks). A few minutes passes and he says, "Woody, the reason I haven't been able to chat/text with you is because I am comitted..." Comitted? To a mental institution??? That's where this chick he's with needs to be! Ok...sorry, but this man is a serial cheater! He has cheated on every girl he's been with multiple times (once in my case, thank you). And now he's "comitted?" That's fine. 

Once again, I find myself trying to convince myself that it is for the best that I'm not with a guy from my past. Who knows? Maybe he is still a cheater...maybe my other ex IS still a sociopath...maybe the ex before that IS still a mean drunk. But I can't help to wonder...did I just not wait long enough? Could these guys that I dropped at the peak of their douche baggery really be aiming for a homerun into the hall of fame of awesomeness? I mean, I'm not perfect. I'm sure guys that wouldn't have dated me in my wild days would kick themselves now. But at that time, I WASN'T "bring home to mama" material. Does anyone see where I'm going with this? I'm not saying that every guy I've dated would want to be with me now, but let's just say...for blog's sake...that is the case...maybe if I stuck it out through the peak of their complete tool phases, that they would turn that corner while we were still together and POOF! Prince motha friggin Charming!

But let's be honest...if I think about it...after every one of these relationships...I learned something new about myself. I turned a corner and figured out one or more things I wanted to aim for and to change in my life. This is what has made me the cool as shit chica I've become. That being said, after breaking up with me, these fine specimens (I'm giving tons of credit here) probably turned a corner themselves. They probably realized some things they disliked about themselves and wanted to change about themselves in order to make them more appealing for the next lady that came along and (hopefully) for themselves.

Moral of the story: is inevitable that if you're single and as you get will notice not only friends pairing off, but worse...exes getting into relationships, and worse yet...getting married. And yes, this does have a tiny bit to do with you (me) because we affect everyone we are in relationships with. Once we end a relationship, we start wondering what went wrong and start building ourselves back up to be the desirable person we want others to see us as. But never dwell on "that could be me." Because if it were you, it would be you with the same guy you broke up with back when. It's not until we move on and spend time alone that we start to recognize the need for change.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Miss independent

When I was with X, I was very - very - dependent on him. There wasn't much I would do without him. Initially, when we separated, I felt like my life was over - I honestly couldn't see how I could survive without him to support me, and help me with all the things I felt I "couldn't" do.

I had two choices - I could give up and stop living, or I could face my fears and learn to rely on myself, instead of others.

I chose the latter. 

Today, people who I've met in the last few years find it hard to believe that other Girl ever existed; those who knew me back then say I'm a totally different person. That makes me proud; not only did I survive a tough breakup - I flourished, where many might have just given up. It wasn't easy, and at times it wasn't fun - but it was worth every step.

I was afraid, though, that I might have become too independent. After the relationships I've had since X, and how badly I've been hurt, I was even more afraid that I'd forgotten how to trust. It's easy to figure that people will, eventually, leave, and to only trust myself.  

....not needed.
Thing is - that's not fair to me, or to others. How can anyone ever prove himself trustworthy if I don't give him any trust? 

Lately, I've been accepting a little more help from Trooper. I even asked for a little help, to get something done that I'm just physically not able to do. You know what? I like it. It's nice to let someone in, and rely on them to help, especially when you know he truly wants to help, and his offers are sincere and without strings. 

I think the trick is to accept that you've done the best you can do for yourself. You need to give yourself credit for having learned and grown and improved who you are, based on past experiences. Then you need to accept that not everyone is going to let you down and sometimes, it's okay to let others in. 

I think it also helps to get to a place where you know that you're accepting someone's help because he wants to help you, and you want to let him. That's very different than looking for help because you need it.

Learn to do for yourself; how to fix that light or take care of that garden or where to take your car for repair. Once you know you can take care of yourself, it won't be so scary to let someone else help - because now you know that if things ever change, and you have to go back to doing for yourself, you can.

It seems strange, but I think the only way you can ever let someone help is to get to a point where you don't need the help. Until then, you'll be too afraid to ask.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Best you can do

I was talking to a friend the other night who is going through a lot of personal challenges, some of which are affecting the status of her relationship. Things are okay with her boyfriend - but circumstances are preventing their relationship from taking shape in exactly the way she'd envisioned.

Still - she loves the guy. Other friends have told her not to settle, that she deserves to be happy. All very true - no one wants happiness for my friend more than I do. But happy doesn't always come packaged exactly the way we hope.

My friend isn't one to take any challenge lying down - and she doesn't accept defeat. Ever. (I'd never bet against her.) She told me she considered ending things when it seemed they weren't going the way she'd hoped; then she thought, why? So she could move on and maybe find someone else, or find happiness being single? The relationship will eventually work out the way she's hoping, it'll just take a little longer. Does she give up what seems to be the love of her life just because she's not patient enough to wait a little bit?

She decided that she does deserve happiness, and real, true love is worth the wait. Until then, she said, "I guess I'll just do the best I can and see how it shapes up."

"But really, that's all any of us are ever doing in a relationship," I told her.

Seriously - we all want guarantees. But anyone who has lived a little bit of life - and has been paying attention at all - can tell you that nothing is guaranteed. We find the perfect person, settle down, get married, buy a house, have a couple of kids, and - poof! It can still all fall apart.

You never know where life is going to take you, and you don't ever know what might happen next. The best you can do is stop looking for guarantees, trying to plan every second, and worrying about what might go wrong.

Start enjoying life for what you have in the moment; appreciate the people in your life now, because you don't know what might happen to take them away in the future.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Jenna Logan Jewelry

Jenna Logan Jewelry
A friend once told me she could always tell when I was going on a date by the clothes I was wearing. "You always look good," she said, "but if you're going on a date - your clothes are always new."

She was right. When I first started dating, I revamped my whole wardrobe. I got to the point that if I went on more than one date with a guy, I never wanted him to see me in the same outfit. The only way to manage that is to continuously refresh your wardrobe.

To me, your outfit isn't just your top and your jeans, or pants, or skirt, or dress. An outfit is a whole look. It's your clothes pulled together with accessories. Accessories means jewelry.

Ask anyone who knows me, and they'll tell you that my jewelry is pretty important to me. I have pieces for just about every occasion, and I do my best to choose pieces that not only coordinate with my outfit, but are appropriate to the event or occasion. The best part is, changing accessories can change the whole look of an outfit. So, if you want to wear the same top, but want a different look - change the jewelry. It's that simple.

That's why a site like is absolutely perfect for someone like me. The $29.99 monthly membership fee gets you unlimited jewelry rentals, and allows you to purchase items at a special members-only discount. You prioritize the list of pieces you'd like to rent. The first is sent to you, and you keep it for as long as you like. When you're ready for the next item in your list, you mail back the piece you have, and Jenna Logan sends you the next item in your "jewelry box."

It's like - netflix, for jewelry. Take a look at the video to hear how easy it is.

At, you can:
  • Wear the finest jewelry for less than a dollar a day
  • Look like an A-Lister without busting your budget
  • Get the perfect look for any occasion
  • Be the first to show off the newest fashions
  • Enjoy free shipping and returns
What could be better than that? How about winning a beautiful pair of blue and white diamond earring paisleys, set in sterling silver, and valued at $499.99?! Readers of this blog can enter to win this exclusive jewelry giveaway. Click here to enter.

I am so there. Also - I really want these.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Four relationship red flags not to ignore

I didn't write this post - but I agree with every word. I firmly believe in the power of a woman's intuition. Anybody can make a mistake, but if your gut says something's wrong, it mostly likely is. I especially like #4 - he's rude to others. That happened to me once - and it is so, so true.

As Dave Barry once said - "A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person."


If you’re dating a guy who you’re really into but there have been a few clues signaling that the relationship is destined for doom, then there’s a good chance your intuition is dead on. Even if the guy could pass as Ryan Gosling’s twin, has a degree from Yale, and is more charming than Cinderella’s guy, if the following red flags are waving high and bright over your relationship, unless you have a fondness for debilitating heartache, don’t ignore them.

Red Flag #1: He’s newly single. If the guy you’re seeing exited another relationship so recently that he hasn’t even had to time to change his status on Facebook to “single,” then proceed with extreme caution. When a guy immediately jumps into a new relationship before letting the dust settle from his previous one, there is a big chance that your relationship with him will be one of the rebound variety. So if you really like the guy and don’t want to be consumed by problems from his past, let him have some space to clear his head, get over his ex and be single for a while. If it’s meant to be with you and him, things will work out when the time is right.

Red Flag #2: He lives at home.  Hey, there have been some weeks that you’ve maintained a diet of nothing but Ramen Noodles in order to buy those cute new pumps you couldn’t take another breath without (priorities, right?). So there’s no secret that living in a world marked by such a crippling economy is tough…but if a prospective guy is claiming residence in the basement of his mother’s house, doesn’t have a job, doesn’t plan to get a job, and his only form of transportation is his bicycle made for one…then don’t expect too much from the fella. Not saying to be completely shallow and only date guys who rake in a minimum of six figures a year; but if you date a guy with zero motivation in life, he’s likely to be immature and won’t be able to satisfy a responsible, mature gal like yourself with a fulfilling relationship.  

Red Flag #3: He is a fling junkie.  Everyone has a past—and let’s be honest, yours is one riddled with men who may have left you questioning if life would be better off as either a nun or a lesbian. But if your new guy’s past is comprised of more flings than you can count, tread lightly. An exorbitant amount of hook-ups and relationships that haven’t made it past the two-week mark may mean that he’s not looking for anything serious. So that you don’t wind up as just another notch on his bedpost, be sure to take things slowly until you know he’s committed to making you the exception to his former rules.

Red Flag #4: He is rude to others.  Sure, it’s all flowers, butterflies, hearts and rainbows in the beginning when he’s trying to win you over with his affection. But if you notice that your guy acts differently with you than he does with other people, be careful. Watch the way he treats strangers, his friends and especially his mother. Someone with the right intentions is going to demonstrate consistent behavior across the board. He may be nice to you now but if he doesn’t treat other people in his life with kindness, then don’t expect for him to treat you any differently after the newness of your relationship wears off. 

Joe Morris is a guest-post author who enjoys writing about dating and relationships. In addition, Joe also writes articles about safe online dating for Best Online Dating Sites.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Setting social media boundaries

Baking Suit sent me this article from The Inquisitr, about the next big hit in online dating - Words with Friends.

That's right, the next big thing in dating isn't the latest dating site, or even facebook. It's the popular scrabble-like game that everyone is playing.

Zynga, the games creator, polled 100,000 players and found that 1/10 said that playing the game has "led directly to a hookup." Some other fun stats from the poll:

  • 40% said they would date someone through the game
  • 43% say they have cheated on the game
  • 24% say they have exchanged their WWF handle rather than a phone number

At first, I thought this was ca-razy. Then I got to thinking; this actually isn't all that unusual - or new.

I personally know more than one person whose own relationships were affected by online gaming, especially with popular games like World of Warcraft. Before the games were online, people met in person to play with others who shared the interest. Why would we think it would work any differently when the games went online?

We do everything online - plan vacations, pay bills, track fitness plans. We regularly use sites like Match or Plenty of Fish to meet people.

Sure, it's easy to think that because the games are online, the relationships formed while playing will stay there - and therefore, pose no real threat to "real life" relationships.

I have to disagree with that for two reasons. First of all - what's to say those relationships will stay online? I have dozens of friendships that started online, and moved to real life. That's not even counting any of the guys I've met on dating sites - those are just friends I've met through blogs and twitter.

Second - if a couple is having problems, no good can come from one person finding companionship elsewhere. Even if it stays online, it drives the couple further and further apart - until mending the problems seems all but impossible.

So what's the secret? Do we avoid any online interaction once we start dating someone? That seems extreme.

It's really all about boundaries; we set them in real life, and we need to find a way to set them in our online world as well. Social networking, whether it's on a site like facebook or a game like WWF, is here to stay. It's time everyone figured out how it fits in every part of life - including relationships.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Permanent reminder

Would you ever get a tattoo of your boyfriend's name? Or your girlfriend's face? Are you the subject of a tattoo, either with your current SO, or an ex?

I am.

X has a tattoo on his chest that is our names on a banner, over a heart, surrounded by flowers. It's on his left side, right over his heart. I've never asked, but I suspect the current X's girlfriend finds that a little bit annoying.

He says he doesn't regret getting the tattoo - that's how he felt at the time, and it isn't like we hate each other, so it's not a reminder of anything particular painful (at least, I don't think so). When he got the tattoo, he did tell me that if I ever broke up with him, I'd have to pay him rent. When we first separated, I reminded him that clause only came into play if I left him - ha!

But what if you had a tattoo that reminded you of a breakup that was incredibly painful? One that you'd just as soon forget? I gotta believe a constant, permanent reminder would make it difficult to move on.

Then again, if we go into every relationship just waiting for things to go wrong, and preparing for the worst, we're probably missing out on some unbelievably happy moments, don't you think? So maybe the people who go for broke, throw caution to the wind, are to be commended. Maybe we should all take a lesson from their faith, and hope, and show of trust?

Or maybe there's something to be said for people who just exchange jewelry.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Playing catch up

By far, one of the biggest challenges when you're going from being single to in a relationship is time-management. At least for me, it's tough to adjust to spending the time you want to with that other person, while still getting all the stuff done you need to get done. Not just work or writing or correspondence - but little stuff, like the dishes, gets behind as well. 

I'm adjusting to make sure I get to spend as much time with Trooper as I can while still maintaining a balance that allows me to meet my responsibilities. Sometimes, being a grown-up can really stink. 

In that spirit, I wanted to mention again that guest-posts are always welcome. Got a dating dilemma? Want to share a dating horror story? Have some dating tips? Please feel free to send them on over. 

Everyone's got something to say.
Email me at - include your guest post, a suggested title, preferred artwork, and your name and bio (including any links to your blog) as you'd like it to appear. Keep in mind that I don't edit. I do reserve the right to only publish pieces that keep with the GGS spirit; dating related and not too tough on any gender or group (but a little sarcasm never hurt anyone). 

If you've submitted something for a guest-post and I haven't responded - please accept my apology. I will get to it - but if you want to submit it again, I definitely won't hold it against you. 

If you submitted a link to a post that's already appeared on your blog, I apologize, but I may not get to those. If you'd like to submit it as a post to be shared over here, I'm happy to do that. Include a link back to your blog post if you like. 

And lastly, I had a question in comments about whether you can write me with questions. The answer is, absolutely! Again, will get you right to me. Keep in mind, I'm always looking for blog material, and if your story is a good one, or you want advice from the masses, I may want to share. But - I will never identify where the question came from, and I also would never share at all if you specifically ask that I not. I can totally keep a secret.

OK - I think that catches you all up. We good? Good.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Talking about the weather

Would you believe I got this from Trooper? He found it on a facebook page, and thought I'd find it funny. I did.

I think the lesson here is dating is tough, especially first dates. Yes, weather is lame - but give a guy a break, will ya?

Happy Friday, all!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

It means everything

Men and women being friends seems to be a running theme in my life. It's like a bad penny that just won't go away.

The other day, Trooper went to hang out with a friend of his, who happens to be a woman. Not a big deal; I wasn't upset, and I had plenty to do. A girl can always use some time to herself.

But I did feel a little pang when he told me. Worry? Jealousy? Doubt? I'm not sure - but it went away quickly, and I was back to normal.

It got me thinking about a conversation I'd had with a friend, whose boyfriend also has a good friend who happens to be a woman. They hang out, and it usually doesn't bother my friend at all; but sometimes, it does.

She'll even tell you it depends on her own mood; it has more to do with how she's feeling, than how she feels about the woman, or the friendship. She completely trusts her boyfriend. It comes down to a feeling of, "If he wants to hang out with a woman, why isn't it me?"

I get that. We've all heard that people need friendships outside of their relationships; but the assumption is that those friendship will be with others of the same gender. Guys will need other guys to hang out and watch sports; women need female friends to go shopping and have lunch.

But what about when genders cross? Is it realistic to think that a guy will never need a female friend, if he's in a relationship?

The more I think about it - the less reasonable it seems. We don't choose our friends based on gender; we choose them based on connections, which come from common interests, experiences, points of view, etc. Often, we have those connections with someone of the same gender because that is one thing we already have in common, and it feeds the others. (Example: When discussing relationships, I relate more easily with other women. It's easier to talk to them, therefore easier to build a friendship.)

But that doesn't mean that a guy can't find a woman with whom he can go to a sporting event, or a woman can't find a guy with whom she can talk about politics. Those are friendships - which we all need, in order to build up our own self-awareness, confidence, and boost our romantic relationships.

I think the problem comes in when we look to be everything to our significant other. We develop this idea that my boyfriend shouldn't need any other women in his life, because I should fill that role. If he does want other women in his life, that must mean I'm somehow inadequate.

Talk about a depressing thought.

That's too much pressure to put on yourself - or your relationship. No one can be everything to anyone else - you can't be every friend, every answer, every relationship to your SO. Sometimes, he will need others in his life.

Which is OK. It gives you a chance to recharge your relationship with yourself. In the end, being secure with yourself, and realizing how much you bring to the relationship, really will mean everything.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Open facebook

Remember my guy friend (SN: He really needs a nickname; I'll work on that)? I guess the girlfriend finally admitted she was ready for a little more - even the title "girlfriend." Once that was established, she wondered to my friend, "So what happens next?"

He gave her a couple of options - one of which was adding each other to facebook (not making the relationship status facebook-official; just adding each other as friends).

Apparently, he sent her a request a while back, which she has since ignored. She responded to this latest inquiry by saying, "Well - you're not going to use it to stalk me, are you?"

Which, is a silly question. If it weren't for stalking, what's the point of facebook?

Kidding (sort of). 

Seriously, I understand. Some people simply don't like to share with the world. While I can't relate, I can certainly respect someone's feelings on privacy. I also wonder, in the world of relationships, if there isn't a point at which it is still too soon to add each other. I mean, I've dated guys with whom I never got the feeling they'd be around a while; so I never added the. Once we stopped dating...they just faded away, without me having to do the awkward "delete friend" move.

But I also wonder, if both people have a facebook profile, isn't there a point in a relationship when you start to wonder - what is she hiding?

I've been facebook-friends with this guy since we met a few years ago. He doesn't post anything horribly private; there are no compromising photos, videos or trashy status updates. No check-ins at the local strip club. His mom is his facebook friend, for crying out loud. I know he has nothing to hide.

But what about this girlfriend?

I'm not saying she should have run right out to add him. Some people just don't do that. Some don't use facebook a lot, and making a friend request isn't the first thing they think when they meet anyone knew.

I also know couples who purposely stay off of each other's facebook friends list so that they can each have a little something to themselves.

But that's a decision that they make together, and it works for both of them; it's not something one person is deciding. And just because you don't use the site often is no excuse to ignore a request that this new, important person in your life has now brought up - in person.

It makes me wonder - is it really stalking, if it's someone who you've agreed is important, and who you want in your life? Or is scoping out the facebook profile just another part of getting to know each other, and something you should greet with open arms?

If you use facebook, but keep someone off your profile, are you keeping him at arms length? If you're doing that on facebook - are you doing the same thing in any other area of your life?

I'm (clearly) no expert, but I do happen to believe that, with relationships, sometimes you have to be willing to be an open book, especially in the beginning. No matter how scary, it's important to open up and let people in.

Even with something as small as facebook.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Roses aren't cheap

"Who needs flowers and chocolate when you can get groceries?" 

My friend said that to me when talking about a guy she was dating, who would bring food over, and cook.

Now, I tend to agree with her. I don't cook, and I hate to grocery shop, so if a guy shows up with groceries, I'm a happy camper. Of course, I also like flowers. And chocolate. And shiny things....

{My friend is much lower maintenance than I. Any guy she dates is lucky.}

Whether you prefer groceries or roses, the conversation brings up an interesting point. A lot of people make assumptions about what their other will want, based on previous relationships, or advice from friends, or even commercials. 

The truth is, every person is different. Just because that last woman you dated loved roses doesn't mean your current girlfriend feels the same. Just because your last boyfriend hated talking on the phone doesn't mean your next might not love long conversations. We get so caught up in expectations of what a peron will want, we sometimes forget to pay attention to what they actually like.  

That's unfortunate, because that attention can be the difference between knowing when someone is happy, needs reassurance, or is scared - and being totally clueless, and helpless to save our own relationship. 

The best dating advice you'll ever get, or give, is to pay attention to, and communicate with, the other person; get to know him and understand what he wants, and needs, and what will make him happy. (The bonus is, that advice actually works with just about anyone in your life, not just dates.) 

Plus, you might save yourself a bunch of money. I mean, bread and pasta is much less expensive than roses.