» This Story:Read +|Watch +|Talk +| Comments
Transcript: Wed., June 2 at 2 p.m. ET

On Love: Dating tips and advice

Author Andrea Syrtash
Author Andrea Syrtash (Photo by Jacqueline Dormer)
  Enlarge Photo    

Network News

X Profile
View More Activity
Andrea Syrtash
Author, "He's Just Not Your Type (And That's a Good Thing)"
Wednesday, June 2, 2010; 2:00 PM

Wondering why so many women are struggling to find love? Andrea Syrtash, author of "He's Just Not Your Type (And That's a Good Thing)," offers some expert advice. Her book encourages women to question the ideas they've grown up with about "the kind of man" they're supposed to marry and revise their checklist for love.

This Story
View All Items in This Story
View Only Top Items in This Story

Syrtash is a dating and relationship expert, life coach and author, who has contributed to over a dozen relationship advice books. She's also the editor of "How to Survive the Real World" and "How to Survive Your In-Laws." Syrtash is a regular advice columnist and contributor to Yahoo!, The Huffington Post and Oprah.com.

For more tips, marital and relationship advice and to see how other couples have gotten to the altar, visit our OnLove section.

The transcript follows.

____________________

Andrea Syrtash: Hi! I'm so happy to participate in today's chat. Please reach out with any questions about my book or general dating/relationship questions. I'd also love to hear from you if you fell in love with someone who was not your 'type'. Look forward to chatting.

_______________________

Alexandria, Va.: My boyfriend and I have been together for six years. We get along very well, have similar interests, etc. The problem is we've been together this long and are at the ages in our life where everyone we know is married and has kids, but neither of us can decide if we want to seal the deal. How do we figure out whether to marry or move on?

Andrea Syrtash: This is a good question and one that comes up a lot. It clears you and your bf care about each and enjoy being together; but I don't think it's a good idea to marry because you think you "should." [You'll see in my book, I'm not a big fan of the word "should"-I think it gets us in trouble!] Don't let other people tell you what to do or inform your decisions. [esp. since it's such a big decision]. Only marry your boyfriend if you both really WANT to do that now. Otherwise, you may wake up in a marriage wondering how you got there. Best of luck!

_______________________

Ashland, Oregon: I am a man! The roles of men and women seem to be in a state of flux these days: Do you think that a woman still wants her man to take the lead in many decisions within the relationship these days? Or should everything be discussed to a great extent all the time?

Andrea Syrtash: It is true that most women appreciate when a man takes initiative; however, I think you're right that men and women these days also want to contribute equally to decision-making within the relationship. Communication is very important with your partner.

_______________________

Leipers Fork, Tenn.: Why is it that the women who throw themselves without restraint at jocks and musicians when they are young are distant and unaffectionate, but demanding with the ordinary joes with the degrees and a good job that they settle for later in life?

Andrea Syrtash: Thanks for bringing this up! It's common for women to date bad boys at some point in their dating lives, and my hope is that they will outgrow that phase. Perhaps when these women commit to a guy who is a more realistic candidate for a long-term relationship, their demands are bigger because it's more possible to build a life with that person.

_______________________

Friend love: I'm in love with my best friend. We always have fun together, we have shared interests, we feel the same way about major topics (religion, family, etc). But I've never told him how I feel about him. My friends tell me I need to, but I keep getting the quote from "He's Just Not That Into You" stuck in my head, "if a guy really likes you, he'll make it happen" and won't be worried about ruining the friendship.

Should I make the first move?

Andrea Syrtash: I think it's awesome that you've found a friend who you share so many great things with. I am a little old-fashioned perhaps, and I think that men generally want to pursue women; however, that doesn't mean you shouldn't assert yourself a little more (or flirt more than usual) and see how he responds. Ask yourself-in your heart, do you think your friend knows that you have feelings for him? If the answer is no, perhaps you have to give him a few more signals to illustrate that you want to take it out of the friend zone.

_______________________

Anonymous: I am getting divorced. How does one start the dating game again that late in life, with all the baggage? What should one expect? I am over 40 female and do not particularly even like men that much. Neither females. Should I just attempt to sleep around? I feel like an overgrown teen here.

Andrea Syrtash: I'm sure that this is a difficult chapter for you, but I also want to congratulate you for moving on from a relationship that wasn't working. No doubt, it's intimidating to get out into the dating game. I would suggest taking time first, to reconnect with yourself, your passions, and your interests {some of which may have been lost in your marriage]. And after you've spent time pursuing what you enjoy, you may want to ease into dating by joining an online dating site. Online dating is a great way to exercise your dating muscle.

_______________________

Single in San Diego: Hello. I am clear on what kind of partner I would like, and have yet to meet him (being divorced in my early-30s helped me clarify what I do and don't want). The thing is, I am vehemently opposed to online dating/meeting somebody online. It's just a thing with me. I have tried it, so my opposition is not without merit. So I really want to meet somebody "naturally". I have many interests and hobbies, and do meet men (I am not into bars or clubs) but none of these meetings ever result in anything but friendship. No dates. Any suggestions on how I can meet men naturally, not online? Thank you.

Andrea Syrtash: Hhi Single in San Diego!

One of the top questions I get is where do I meet someone? I often suggest that you should build your dating life around your interests and values. If you're really shy, for instance, a bar is your worst place to meet someone, and you may be better off meeting someone at a book club or a lecture series. If you're adventurous, consider joining a hiking club. The bottom line is it's important to build your dating search where you are going to shine. Also, think about the types of persons you're looking for-where may he hang out? That may give you some ideas.

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: I just fell for a guy who is not my type. He's wonderful, and is more than I could ever ask for. The thing is, I think the men I were previously attracted to just weren't good people, and it's making it hard for me to fully enjoy "us." That combined with my general inexperience dating has led me to feel a bit guilty that my guy is a little more head over heels for me than I am for him. We are still in the first few months, but should I be worried? Or should I just relax and accept that he's a little further ahead than I am?

Andrea Syrtash: I'm glad that you broke out of your pattern in which you dated guys who didn't treat you well. It's wonderful that you're with someone you really enjoy being with now AND treats you well. I think you're instinct now is right, and it's really important to stay present. Don't stress about where's it's going or how you should feel-if you want to keep spending time with him, don't question it.

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: Marriage or live together? What are the pros and cons? When I ask most of my friends, they claim health insurance as the reason to marry. Not our issue.

Andrea Syrtash: There's no one right reason to get married; it has to be a decision between you and your partner. Again, I don't believe in following "shoulds" when making decision.

_______________________

How can I call shots?: In many cities (D.C., NYC, San Fran) stable educated straight men can have their pick, and they know it. And act accordingly. How can I use the (good) self-esteem tips like don't cling, hold out for my best match, don't settle, don't be a pig slut -- when they call the shots? I have had enough threeways with Ben & Jerry. Need some traction here with a good guy.

Andrea Syrtash: You're right that in some big cities, the ratio is in a single man's favor. Unless you move to another area like Alaska, that is the reality that you're facing as a single woman. However, I don't think it's helpful to be defeatist about it. There are plenty of single women in all of those cities who found great guys who wanted to commit. As difficult as it may seem, it's important to embrace a perspective that there are plenty of good guys looking for you. If you believe no good ones are left, I promise you will prove that to be true.

_______________________

Dating outside your race: After moving to D.C., I had two serious relationships with educated, Latin men. I'm white and it was unexpected for me. I cannot solely blame the cultural differences for the break-ups, but they were serious contributors. I never felt like I was put first, which I think is what every woman wants. I don't want to compete with someone's family.

I'm dating again and it seems that all I meet are Latin men at speed dating events. There are days when I think I should just date white guys again.

Help and thanks.

Andrea Syrtash: I think it's important to be open to all kinds of types of men and try not to type-cast. Don't be closed to white guys, but don't decide you will only date white guys! The key is casting a wide net and making decisions based on the people in front of you, not the perceptions you have about them.

_______________________

Silver Spring, Md.: I'm dating a guy a met online two months ago. We spend a lot of time together and we both enjoy each others company, but he hasn't mentioned being exclusive to me yet. I have been spoiled by my previous boyfriend who asked me to be his girlfriend after four dates (also met through an online Web site). I'm not sure if I'm over analyzing the "exclusive" talk. Should I play it cool or just ask him about it?

Andrea Syrtash: I think it's great that you're dating someone you really like. At this point, it's still early in the relationship; you'll know how he feels if you read his actions more than his words. So ask yourself-what is he doing now to show me he's interested and to make sure my needs are met? If he's putting in a lot of effort(calling often, making plans, and treating you well), I would give it a little more time before you approach the topic.

_______________________

Do nice girls finish last?: It seems to me through many years of observation that the bitchiest, most high-maintenance and demanding women are the ones getting all the men, and nice girls finish last. I don't need a "provider" and don't want children, am successful, own my own home, etc. That seems to be such a turn-off to men! Is it that the bitchy/demanding/insecure ones make them feel "needed"? And why are so many husbands putting up with being nagged incessantly instead of choosing an easygoing, undemanding partner? And how do women like that let the guys know that 'yes, we still do need them'?

Andrea Syrtash: I don't believe it's true that nice girls finish last. In fact, kindness still ranks as one of the top qualities men are looking for in a future mate. Sometimes people confuse nice with boring; a man wants to be with a woman who has a strong sense of self and knows what she's passionate about. Confidence is a very sexy trait. You can be confident AND caring. Also, to your point, it's important not to be so independent that the guy thinks you don't need him in your life. Show him that you're interested in what he has to say and what he does, so he feels he can add to your already wonderful life.

_______________________

Frederick, Md.: I am in a relationship with a man from a different country, culture, and religion than my own. We have great chemistry, have become great friends, and have good day to day compatibility. As we start moving towards marriage, he is becoming increasingly concerned about the cross-cultural nature of our relationship and the long-term implications it will have. What types of discussions should we be having to address these concerns as we move forward?

Andrea Syrtash: Cross-cultural romance is certainly common today. However, it still comes with it's own set of unique challenges as you are aware. First and foremost, make sure you and your partner are on the same page with regards to family, community, and core values. Questions to ask include: what level of culture do you want to bring into our home; how will we address holidays with our family; and what elements of your culture do you want to continue to integrate into our lives together.

_______________________

Single in the 40s: Hi, Andrea. In volunteering and at parties, I meet no one organically, only online. So far (three years since divorce) nearly all have been clingy, angry, or jerky (standing me up at the restaurant, spending 90 percent of the date giving their life story, probing for why my marriage failed in detail on the first date). These sound like generalizations, but they're true. I go in relaxed, low expectations, ready to enjoy myself and meet a potential friend but have gotten to a third date exactly once. Help!

Andrea Syrtash: I do believe that you can still meet people organically, but perhaps you have to cast a wider net. It may mean picking up new single female friends for friendship who share some of your interests and meeting people through their network. Or, it may mean joining events or activities that interest you. Finally, you may want to take a little time to put the focus back on yourself without the pressure of meeting a significant other right now. Dating can be exhausting and if you're not having fun, it will not work. So the very thing you may need is to take a small break and re-connect with everything you love outside of dating.

_______________________

Andrea Syrtash: Thanks for joining a great discussion today! Loved hearing your perspectives. If you'd like to find out more about the book, please visit me at www.andreasyrtash.com

_______________________

Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.


» This Story:Read +|Watch +|Talk +| Comments
© 2010 The Washington Post Company

Discussion Archive

Viewpoint is a paid discussion. The Washington Post editorial staff was not involved in the moderation.

Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity