skip to content »

M-site

RSVP

Ask John Q&A July: Part 2

ja

Posted by The RSVP Team on

We received a lot of questions from you guys, so this week RSVP's dating and relationship expert, John Aiken, continues to provide some answers...

How do you know when you're 'ready' for a new relationship?

You know that you're ready for a new relationship by your upbeat attitude and mindset. Specifically, if you talk positively about your love life, get excited about accepting and experiencing new dating opportunities, feel confident that you're good at relationships, and you view dating as a numbers game that requires patience and selectivity - then you're good to go. As well, you've moved on from past relationships, you prioritise your health and fitness and you've learned from your previous dating mistakes. If this sounds like you - then jump right in. It's time to find someone special.

I have been on 40+ dates. Why haven't I managed to meet my true love yet?

Surely if I was going to a car garage and I got this sort of success I would begin to ask questions, so why is it different because this is a internet service?

There's no set number of dates that you have to go on before you hit the jackpot. For some people - it can happen quickly. For others - it takes more time. The key is to stay patient and learn through all of these dating experiences about what you want and don't want.

Also, keep freshening up your online profile, accept dating opportunities that come your way and get outside your comfort zone by joining new groups and going out with different types of singles. Ask yourself the question "Am I going out the wrong types?". I would encourage you to look at your approach as well and ask yourself "Am I doing anything that holds me back in the dating game?" (e.g. excessive work hours, hung up on an ex, too needy/ clingy, drink too much etc.) If the answer to this question is yes - then change aspects of your approach as well.

Because I'm dating online, I'm chatting to and meeting more than one guy at a time. Do I need to disclose this to guys if I've been on more than one date with them?

I think if you're really keen on someone and you want to take it further with them, then you need to talk about this. Be honest with the guy and tell them that you've been dating different people but you want to focus now on making this relationship work. Explain that the other relationships haven't been too serious at all, but you don't want to complicate things - so you're going to let these others go. Then see what he has to say. If he's keen as well - then he'll do the same and it will make things nice and simple.

How can women get a level playing field on RSVP when men so often can and do lie about their age? Over and over again I meet a man for coffee and the first thing he says is, "By the way, I am actually 74 not 66, hope you don't mind?" Of course I mind! I conducted a straw poll of men and 8 out of ten were lying about age. One man even said to me, 'My mate who has been on RSVP for a while said you must take ten years off your age, so I did".

You can't stop other singles doing this and it happens when you meet people offline as well as online. However what you can do when you meet them and find out is end it there and move on to someone else. Have a zero tolerance policy to lying and whenever you come across it, tell them that you value honesty above all else - and shut it down. I know it's frustrating and deflating when it happens - but not every guy will do this. So hold out for the ones that are happy to be totally up front and honest with who they are. They're out there - stay positive and get ready to leap when you come across one of them.


John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Disclaimer
The information and advice provided is for general information purposes only. Whilst we endeavor to make the information useful, RSVP and John Aiken make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability or suitability to your personal circumstances. Any reliance on this advice and information is therefore strictly at your own risk. In no event will RSVP or John Aiken be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising in connection with, the use of this advice.

Ask John Q&A July: Part 1

ja

Posted by The RSVP Team on

RSVP's dating and relationship expert, John Aiken, continues to answer your dating questions this July...

Ask John

Q1. I met a naval officer through RSVP and after many weeks of chatting while he was offshore, we finally got to meet. We seemed to hit it off but he is very busy coming back to land life and he hasn't planned a second date with me. He told me I have to be patient as he has a lot of friends to catch up with after being away for so long. I think he is a fantastic guy, but I haven't spent much time with him at all. For such a new relationship, I'm finding all the waiting around very frustrating.

Do you have any advice on how to best begin a relationship with someone who works away? I've only ever dated people who work locally so this is new territory for me. I feel like he is setting all the ground rules and calls all the shots as to when we are in contact because of his job. Is there any way I can feel like I have a little more control over the direction the relationship is going to take?


This is such a frustrating situation for you and one that requires plenty of patience. When you meet a new love interest, you have to accept that they come with their own package. In your case, this guy's heavily committed to the Navy, travels a lot, has time restrictions when he's back and is pressed to keep up with all his friends and family. That means you're not going to get to see him as much as you want or have a lot of time to build a strong connection with him. So if you want to continue to go out with someone like this - then you have to step back and follow his lead. Embrace his situation, as it's not changing. Work in with his routine and be ready to jump when the chance comes up to have couple time together. And when he's not around or otherwise busy, fill your life with lots of other activities and enjoy your friends. Focus on what you can control, and let him come to you.

If you want a relationship where you have more influence over the direction it is taking, then this might not be the right guy for you.

Q2. What's your best advice for "taking it slow" when dating long distance. When you crush everything into a weekend its hard to measure how much you can invest / put into it. I am open to relocating for the right man but it seems that you are immersed into each other's lives quite quickly because its 24 hrs for a few days.

I understand that when you're face to face with your long distance partner, things will become pretty intense and heavy for the time you have together before they or you leave again! You'll spend every minute together because you're on a weekend deadline. To slow this down, you need to talk about it after they leave (over phone, email, Skype and text) and express how you want to run things in the future. Because you're separated by distance, you'll have the ability to lay-out your wants, needs, and goals for the relationship and not get caught up in the passion and excitement of it all. This means that when you do meet again - you both know each other's expectations and the speed to take things.

Q3. Why these days do so many guys sort of freak out after 2-3 months of really good friendship/relations and suddenly disappear without much explanation? This is not only my experience but experience of many, from all walks of life. Is it common for these days or for a particular culture, or something else? Is it emotional instability or other issues?

Is there anything you can do in this case, to revive relations, if you do not get your questions answered by him and you do not know a true reason?


This is a relatively common concern and I received a number of questions from members about this. In a nutshell, some guys (not all guys) will do this because they're not interested in having a long-term commitment. Instead, they're looking for something fun, casual and physical. So when things start to look more serious they end it and run. It's terrible being on the receiving end of this - confusing, upsetting and deflating. And when it happens, you cannot turn it back on or revive things. Instead you need to look at this as 'dodging a bullet'. He was never mature enough to commit, you found out sooner rather than later and it's now time to focus on someone who wants the same thing as you do - a serious relationship. Don't give up - get back on the horse and remind yourself that not all guys are like this. There are plenty of committed guys in relationships all around the world - you can have this too!

Q4. Is it important to ask the person you are on a date with a bit about their dating history? A friend of mine said that it's good to know within the first initial dates.

Absolutely! It's a great idea to get an overview of a person's dating history. It can get the conversation going - but keep it lighthearted. You can have some laughs about 'horror dating stories' and it gives you some insight into what they're wanting and not wanting. It's also something you have in common. You're both single and out on the dating scene - so you can bond over this and be supportive. You don't need to dwell on ex's and past break-ups, but by all means discussing dating experiences and your future expectations is a really good thing to do early on in the process.

Q5. What time frame should you consider to give someone time to get to know them. I have just met a nice man but am not sure if he will be enough fun or what makes his life fun and I am wondering how long to pursue this as I don't wish to string him along if it is not going to work.

Generally speaking, if the chemistry is there and you feel a connection, I think you should give someone three to four weeks to get to know them. During this time you have plenty of opportunity to date them and see them in different settings (e.g. brunch, café, dinner, with friends etc.) You'll also have a lot of conversations, texts, emails, and phone calls with them over this time to find out if your values, interests and personalities are aligned. Then you can weigh it up and if the chemistry and feelings aren't there - then be respectful and let it go and move on.

John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Disclaimer
The information and advice provided is for general information purposes only. Whilst we endeavor to make the information useful, RSVP and John Aiken make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability or suitability to your personal circumstances. Any reliance on this advice and information is therefore strictly at your own risk. In no event will RSVP or John Aiken be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising in connection with, the use of this advice.

How to get over a broken heart?

broken heart

Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

It's never pleasant to get your heart broken, but it's a part of the whole dating process. Falling in love means putting yourself out there, and that can sometimes lead to heartache along the way. But that shouldn't make you retreat to eating ice cream on the couch, watching movies every Friday and Saturday night. Rather, you have to learn how to pick yourself up after a setback and stay in the game.

The reason it can be so difficult to get over a broken heart is that it can be an extremely painful experience. In fact, some of the more recent research has shown that being dumped can hurt as much as pouring hot coffee on yourself! http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1370775/Break-ups-Broken-heart-hurts-physical-pain.html

So, you need to have some strategies that can reduce the pain and get you back on track. Here's a handful of key tips that you can use to mend your broken heart:

1) Cut contact with your ex
I know this is difficult - but if you didn't have children together - then you need to sever ties with your ex to allow yourself to move forward. This may change over time, but in the early months after a break up you need space. Avoid going out to places where you'll bump into them, stop texts and phone calls and keep away from driving by their house. Start getting used to being without them.

2) Look to your friends for support
At times like these your friends are so important. Bring in the cavalry and surround yourself with your inner circle. Vent to them, cry, get angry and let them support you as you heal. They can be nurturing and patient, as well as give you much needed perspective on the break-up.

3) Pursue a healthy lifestyle
This is so important for you during a break-up - as the temptation will be to let loose and be self-destructive. Instead of going out on all-nighters and binge drinking, eating poorly and getting no sleep - commit to a healthy lifestyle. That means limit your drinking, schedule in daily exercise, and get plenty of sleep to recharge your energy levels.

4) Re-establish personal goals
So often we lose track of our own goals when we're in a relationship. Now that you're single again, look at how you want to live your life moving forward and set some new goals. Consider the areas of career, living arrangements, health and fitness, finance, friends, romance and travel. Then take action to get some new results.

5) Travel
Taking a break and getting away can be a very healthy way of mending a broken heart. You get to experience new surroundings with different people and it gives you time to gather yourself. Either on your own or with friends, travel can be a great way to heal and have some much needed fun.

6) Learn from your break-up
At some stage after the break-up you need to look at what happened and make sense of it all. By all means enlist the help of a friend to take you through this - as they can give you perspective. Dissect what happened and learn from it so that you can get a different outcome in the future. Answer the following questions:

*"Why was he/she wrong for me?"
*"What did I do that contributed to the break-up?"
*"What do I want different in my next partner?"
*"What am I going to do different in my next relationship?"
*"Why am I so good at relationships?"

This will give you a big picture perspective, it takes away self-blame and gets you looking towards the future with hope and excitement.


John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

How important is birth order in compatibility and relationships?

puzzle

Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

When you first meet a love interest there are many things that can affect your levels of compatibility. For instance, a difficult upbringing, a past painful break-up, over-involved parents, excessive work hours and/or toxic friends. Another element that may come into the mix is their birth order.

Specifically, what number child are they in the family and how has this impacted their personality? Are they the eldest, middle, youngest or only child, and what does this mean for them in a relationship?

Before going further, it should be noted that although birth order can play a role in someone's personality development and romantic style - it's not the only factor at play. Also, there are general styles that can be attached to birth order, but this will not fit everyone.

In saying this, here are some general elements of birth order to consider when dating:

Eldest child
This person has generally grown up with responsibilities and expectation. As they are the oldest of the siblings, they are often asked to look after younger ones from an early age and be reliable, achievement orientated and self-sacrificing. So when dating this type, they will be comfortable taking the lead, making plans and doing the organising. If you have a problem, they'll usually be pretty comfortable with problem-solving and providing advice or re-assurance.

Middle child
This person has been raised with siblings all around them, so they generally have a tendency to try and fit in with others, compromise and always go with the flow. They will often avoid conflict and look to please, and work in with other people's plans and needs. So when dating this type, they can be very accommodating, let you lead, avoid bringing up difficult issues, and will likely be very good at socialising with your friends and family members.

Youngest child
This person has tended to be looked after and cared for by others around them - both siblings and parents. They often are less responsible and are happy to sit back and let others do things for them. So when dating this type, be aware that they may want you to do a lot of the work in terms of organising and planning, and may rely on you heavily to be there for them during their times of drama.

Only child
This person may be like the first-born whereby they are expected to be responsible and reliable, to solve problems and look after their own issues as well as managing their own feelings. On the other hand, they may be like the youngest child, pampered, overprotected, less responsible and happy to rely on others for support. So when dating this type, look out for how they handle stress and daily issues - do they step up and meet the challenge or do they expect you to do the heavy lifting?

Remember - these are simply general traits relating to birth order. As you get to know your new love interest ask them what it was like for them growing up. How did their birth order affect their personality and how did this shape the way they are with friends and lovers? Also, you might like to take a moment for yourself to consider your birth order and the impact this has had on you?


John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Dating fatigue? 7 ways to maintain your wonder and zest

tired woman

Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

It's an exciting time when you decide to throw yourself into the dating game and start to meet different singles. It takes courage and patience and comes with plenty of highs and lows along the way. Not surprisingly, you may sometimes experience dating fatigue whereby you lose your passion for the process.

To stop this from happening, you first need to recognise the warning signs of dating fatigue. Here are some of the more significant ones to look out for:



If this sounds familiar and you've been experiencing a number of these symptoms consistently for more than a couple of weeks, then it's time to act. Try these seven tips to help overcome your dating fatigue:

  1. If dating has started to feel like a second job, reduce the number of dates you're going on and be more selective. If you're meeting too many new people - you'll simply run out of energy and enthusiasm
  2. Divert your focus - spend more time catching up with friends, pursuing individual hobbies and interests
  3. Exercise more
  4. Go shopping and refresh to your wardrobe for a confidence boost
  5. Challenge your negative thinking ("what advice would I give my best friend of they were thinking this way about dating?")
  6. Freshen up your photo and online profile
  7. Take the pressure off yourself - focus on having fun when you're dating and get excited about experiencing new things and meeting different people. Not every person you meet has to be "the one" or perfect.


John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

The difference between a date follow-up call and a booty call

phone bootycall

Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

Dating in today's world can involve all sorts of different agendas and expectations. For instance, many singles are looking for a long-term relationship but on the other hand, there are also singles that only want to have fun and keep things causal. This is where the booty call comes in. Sex with absolutely no ties or expectations of commitment.

So... what's the difference then between the genuine date follow-up call from a serious potential love interest and the booty call?

The date follow-up call:
This type of call will be very different in it's purpose and action compared to the booty call. The date follow-up call will occur at a reasonable time of the day or night - certainly not after 9.30pm. It will be a phone call not a text, and the person doing this will be happy to talk in depth about what's being going on in their life. They're also very interested in you. There's no sexualised talk during this call - it's respectful and polite, and they'll be sober and clear thinking. Its purpose is to show interest and organise another catch-up. It's about organising a proper date out in public - it will be in a setting where you can talk and have more time to get to know each other.

The booty call:
In contrast, the booty call is a whole different story! This is a text or phone call for the purpose of arranging a meeting to have sex with you. These calls can often happen late at night or early in the morning (e.g. 11pm - 3am) and the person will often be intoxicated. There's no back and forth about personal lives. They're not interested in getting to know you - they just want to meet up and get naked. The content of the call is only focused on arranging sex. They will suggest a meeting that occurs in your home or theirs - not in public.

Now this may seem straightforward, but sometimes when we're interested in someone and hope they're also interested in a relationship - we can view things through rose-coloured glasses and put a positive spin on the booty call, hoping it is a sign of something more serious (or will at least turn into something more substantial). Therefore, it's just good to be aware of the difference between the two types of calls and keep a level head.

So ask yourself - "what do you want from your dating experience?". Is it serious and long-term or is it light and casual with no strings attached. Once you know this, then you can judge how you want to handle the date follow-up call or the booty call.

John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

The gentle let down

break up

Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

One of the key messages I tell singles all the time is that to find the right one - you have to get good at saying 'no' to the wrong ones. However, you also need to keep in mind that when you do this, you need to be respectful and gentle with your approach.

The reason for taking a soft approach when turning someone down is that this will help them bounce back faster and allow them to move forward. They won't take things so personally and will be more positive about future relationships.

If on the other hand you're cruel or dismissive, disrespectful or heartless, they can be crushed from the rejection and this can prevent them from moving on.

So be sure to take a gentle approach that keeps their feelings in mind and allows them to maintain their self-esteem and dignity.

How you let someone down does depend on how far the relationship has progressed so here are some suggested approaches for hypothetical scenarios:

Scenario: You've exchanged a couple of messages, maybe some texts and even a phone call or two but not met in person.
So you've been exchanging messages but decided the fit doesn't seem right and you don't want to meet in person. Just be upfront. Don't just suddenly disappear off the face of the earth. Instead, send them a thoughtful message or give them a quick call to let them know that you've enjoyed meeting them but are not interested in pursuing the relationship any further. Don't go into reasons why but pay them the courtesy of closing the loop.

Scenario: You've been on one date, they are keen. You are not.
This can be a regular occurrence when you're out in the dating game. The important thing to remember here is to be respectful and don't leave the other person hanging on. Simply tell them by phone or in person that it doesn't feel quite right and that you're going to leave it there. You enjoyed catching up and meeting them, but you don't see it moving forward long-term. Be civil and polite and wish them all the best.

Scenario: You've been on several dates and they want to make it exclusive but you don't feel the same.
Once you've reached this point, there really is no option but to let them down in person. I know this is the hard option, but it shows respect. It's much easier to simply let them down by Facebook, texts or emails but this hurts them more. Instead, show some courage and meet up with them to have the talk.

When you have the talk, you'll need to take a responsible approach because obviously there are feelings, albeit unrequited, involved. Start off by telling them how you feel (I statements) - because this cannot be challenged or debated. For instance, 'I'm not feeling the chemistry' or 'I don't feel strongly about moving this relationship forward' or 'I don't feel confident that we have a future together' or 'I just don't feel a spark'.

Then you will need to answer their questions. But remember it's about your feelings and the fact that you don't want this relationship moving forward rather than it being about some flaw in their character.

At no time do you want to send out mixed messages during this break-up talk. So that means avoid saying "I've got too much on my plate right now", "I'm just feeling confused", "I just can't do this at the moment", "Things are a little complicated for me at present" or "I just can't commit at this time". These statements will only encourage the person to hold on until you are ready for them. Likewise, don't jump into anything physical with them after having this talk, as again they'll end up thinking they have a chance.

At the end of the day, how you let someone down will depend on your individual circumstances and your communication style but remember it is always important to show respect for the other person's feelings.

John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

The First Sleepover: Etiquette

couple bed

Posted by How One Girl Sees it: Renee Slansky, Guest Blogger on

It's one of the early milestones to look forward to when you begin dating someone - the first time you stay the night. Whilst we are all adults and have no doubt done this several times, this occasion still carries some weight and perhaps even some nerves. So without feeling like we have a checklist to go by or that we must pack an entire suitcase, here's a few quick tips to making sure the first time is flawless (because being super casual about it can result in seriously awkward moments).

Plan ahead
Of course the ideal situation is being asked to stay in advance and not when you are already in tow without some of the discrete essentials like a toothbrush! So if you have an inkling or can just tell by the general schedule that it's likely you will be staying over, then prepare a few necessities just in case. It's here that those awkward moments can arise as it might be a little presumptuous if you turn up with a bag if one has not been asked to stay beforehand. Yet you also run the risk of being caught out with bad breath the next morning if you are completely unprepared. It's not a bad idea to carry a spare toothbrush and change of underwear in your handbag/man satchel or car just in case.

Practical Packing
If you know the plan is for a sleep over and are wondering what to take, just remember less is more here - especially for the first visit. You don't want to be turning up with your entire wardrobe because 'you need options'. This unfortunately translates to "high maintenance" or "do they plan on moving in?!". I know for myself, packing isn't my forte and therefore it's good to have simple guidelines to work with:
  1. Use a small to medium size overnight bag - suitcases are just too scary at this stage.
  2. When choosing which underwear to pack, it's good to go for something that's quite new, good quality and that fits your form well. Don't assume that you have to pack your absolute sexiest number, sometimes it's nice not give away your best up front on the first go.
  3. Depending if you have decided to do something together the next day, pack a spare pair of clothes that are 'smart casual'. You don't want to be slumming around the next morning in trackies or looking so dressed up it looks like you're either off to the races or doing the 'walk of shame'. Keep it simple, check the weather and choose clothes that look good and make you feel confident.


Grooming essentials
Hopefully, it's pretty obvious which toiletries you need to pack. Ladies - try to keep your beauty regime simple for the first few sleepovers. Guys - feel free to pack more than a toothbrush and deodorant.

Of course all these guidelines can go out the window if you just are totally (mutually) comfortable around your new squeeze, however it's attractive to see that you are conscious to some degree about your appearance and hygiene.

Renee

Renee Slansky is an established model, TV presenter and business woman who's love for romance and heart for women compelled her to start an online community for women called www.bellaanddarcy.com.

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

How to pick a kidult in a relationship

kidult

Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

Ever been out with a person who you initially thought had great potential as a long-term partner but then they constantly let you down in the maturity department? A partner who appeared to be an adult, but actually wanted to continue to live like a child. If you have experienced this, then you've officially dated a `kidult'.

A 'kidult' is a term used to describe an adult person who wants to be a child at heart and won't grow up. They act as though they're still kids and avoid taking on responsibility or making commitment.

Obviously, there are age related factors to consider but here are 10 key signs that you're currently dating a 'kidult':

1. They spend hours gaming and surfing the net
You want to go out and share new experiences with your partner but they want to use their time differently. Specifically, they want to lock themselves away and spend hours on PlayStation, Xbox or surf the net to watch weird YouTube videos.

2. They're bad with money
Forget about saving money and being responsible. The 'kidult' sees money and spends it immediately on anything that takes their fancy. No planning - just impulsive shopping.

3. They put their friends ahead of your relationship
It would be nice to feel number one in your relationship but this isn't the case with the 'kidult'. Instead, you frequently come second to their friends and your plans always get changed to fit in with them.

4. They're forgetful and disorganised
Being responsible is not how the 'kidult' rolls. Rather, they're forgetful, impulsive and disorganised to the point where you play parent to them much of the time dishing out constant instructions, reminders and advice.

5. They don't do domestics
They don't go shopping for food, there's nothing in the fridge, the toilet doesn't get cleaned and vacuuming never happens. If you're in a relationship with a 'kidult' and you want things to be clean and tidy - you have to do all the hard work.

6. They avoid commitment or making plans
The 'kidult' will typically run from any talk of commitment or attempts to make future plans. They simply don't want to be tied down and possibly miss a new exciting opportunity that might come their way with work, friends or hobbies.

7. They continue to live with their parents
Initially it might seem like it makes economical sense for them to live at home with Mum and Dad - but it doesn't work for your relationship. They get their bed made, clothes washed, meals cooked and free use of the car, but in the end, this just keeps them young and irresponsible.

8. They prefer to dress like a teenager
As you grow up, your fashion sense generally gets more mature and conservative. But for the 'kidult' - it stays pretty much the same (e.g. sneakers, baseball caps, baggy everything, bright accessories etc.). Whatever the teenagers wear - they try to wear.

9. They don't follow through with promises
You would like to able to trust your partner to step up when they make promises but 'kidults' don't do this. Instead they run late, change plans at the last minute, forget commitments and constantly let you down on confirmed arrangements.

10. They're hard to contact
In this day and age with social media and phone technology, it's extremely easy to stay in contact with loved ones. However 'kidults' are bad at this. They don't answer phone calls, return texts, or send emails. It's very hard to pin them down and know what they generally do with their time.

John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

You had a great first date - how do you know if they're into you?

thinking

Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

So you've woken up the next morning after having an amazing first date. You've jumped out of bed, had a shower and got dressed - all the time running over in your head everything that happened. What you did, what you talked about and what overall impression you left on them. You think that it was a hugely successful experience - but you're not 100% sure? So how do you really know if they're into you and want to see you again?

1. Your date asked plenty of questions
Throughout the evening your date made the effort to get to know you. They asked you plenty of questions and took an interest in your life. They wanted to know about your past experiences, goals, current responsibilities and opinions.

2. Your date was complimentary
During the date, they often complimented you and made you feel special and desired. They found it easy to praise and be positive about you and your life direction and were supportive of your goals.

3. Your date was organised and punctual
They turned up right on time and made the whole experience run to plan. They did prep work, research and called ahead to make bookings to ensure the outcome of the date was a success.

4. Your date shared personal information
The conversation wasn't a one-way process. Instead, your date was prepared to disclose personal details and open up about some of their own experiences. When you asked questions - they were happy to respond in detail.

5. Your date smiled and gave you lots of eye contact
Throughout the whole experience your date gazed at you and smiled. They gave you their full attention and made you feel as though you were important, interesting and desired.

6. Your date ignored their phone
During the experience, you never had to compete with your date's phone. Instead, they either turned it off, put it on silent or simply ignored it whenever it rang. And there was no texting while you were trying to talk and connect. Their focus was on you and technology never got in the way of you feeling number one.

7. Your date listened to your opinions, ideas and values
At no time during the experience did you feel that they put down your ideas, values or opinions. Even if you differed on certain topics or beliefs, they always showed respect for your position rather than trying to prove you wrong or make you feel dumb.

8. Your date showed you affection
At various stages of the date, they initiated affection with you. I'm not taking about sex, but rather they engaged in different forms of low level affection such as hand holding, putting their arm around you, touching your shoulder and kissing you.

9. Your date contacted you afterwards to say 'thanks'
After you finished your date, you received some form of contact from them to say thanks and to express how much they enjoyed the experience. It may be before you fell asleep that night or early the next morning - but they followed-up to show you they're keen.

10. Your date wanted to make future plans with you
During the date, they suggested different opportunities for the both of you to meet up again. There was a definite interest and motivation from them to organize a follow-up date so they could see more of you.


John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Stay Smart Online - a reminder to members

sso blog

Posted by The RSVP Team on

The 2014 Stay Smart Online Week starts today. It's the seventh consecutive annual event conducted by the Australian Government in partnership with industry, the community sector and all levels of government. RSVP is a key partner again this year.

The awareness week aims to help Australians using the internet - whether at home, the workplace or school - understand the simple steps they can take to protect their personal and financial information online.

This year's theme - 'On The Go' - reflects the importance of staying safe and secure online while using mobile devices when social networking, banking, shopping and navigating the internet. Check out this great new clip from Stay Smart Online. You might learn about some new issues and measures for protecting your online security...

We thought it would also be a good time to remind of our tips to secure online dating -

TIPS FOR CREATING A SECURE PROFILE

1. Carefully select an online dating username
RSVP asks you for a username for the purpose of protecting your personal information. Your username should be a reflection of your personality but not be a derivation of your real name.

2. Create a unique password for your online dating account
When deciding on a password, make it unique. That means differentiate it from your other online passwords and don't use something simple and easy to guess like your first name with a number before or after it.

3. Never share personal or identifying details in your dating profile
That means no details about your family, work or where you live and definitely no private contact details. Remember your online dating profile is published publicly - you would not give out your home address and phone number to someone you met on the street, so don't do it online.

TIPS FOR SECURE ONLINE DATING

1. Use the system to protect your privacy
RSVP provides members with an anonymous and secure message service. When you communicate through the site, your personal information is protected by this anonymous exchange. It is designed to enable you to get to know other members before giving out personal information. When you use your
stamp and begin exchanging messages with a member, you have 30 days of unlimited communication with that member. So - use the system until you are ready to meet and don't let anyone rush you to take things offline or to other communication channels such as your personal email, mobile etc.

2. Be alert to early declarations of love
If someone you are in contact with starts declaring their love for you within a matter of weeks (or even days), be cautious. The emails may be long and romantic, so be careful to use your best judgement. If you are unsure, get a second opinion from a friend or suggest a phone call with them to help you make a decision about this person's intentions or legitimacy.

3. Beware of anyone who talks money
Be on the lookout if there is any mention of financial difficulty and the need or request for financial assistance. This can come in the form of requests for money to pay for a visa, an airfare or medical expenses. Beware of anyone asking you to use a wire transfer service or provide your financial details.

Similarly, beware of anyone who offers money to you. These are always scams. Why would someone you don't know want to give you money?

Put simply - under no circumstances should you provide bank account, financial details or money.

4. Do not follow links to other sites
Emails that ask you to follow links to other sites are likely to be part of a scam activity and should not be clicked. Reputable dating sites like RSVP do not have links to photos on other sites.

5. Report suspicious behaviour
If you come across a profile or meet someone online who seems suspicious, report it to the dating site and request that the member is investigated. It's better to be safe than sorry.

The RSVP Team

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Open relationships - do they ever work?

jealous woman

Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

It might seem like the ideal situation. You've just started to see a new person and they're happy for both of you to have an open relationship and sleep with other people. In theory, you can get the best of both worlds. Have commitment and companionship with one person, while at the same time explore physical relationships with others. But in practice, does an open relationship like this really work?

Most of the time the answer is no.

The reason being is because most people aren't able to embrace this type of open relationship. Instead, when they start seeing someone they want exclusivity and commitment. They're looking to build trust and security, not share you with someone else.

As well, biologically speaking it can be very difficult to make an open relationship work. One of the major hormones that gets released by women during sex is oxytocin (the cuddle hormone), and this encourages bonding and attachment. So trying to have no strings attached sex with other people is very difficult to do!

And then there are the feelings of jealousy and insecurity that can run rampant in this sort of open arrangement. It's very hard to feel safe, secure and bonded with a person when you know they're getting naked with someone else.

However if you still decide that you want to try and make a go of an open relationship - then make sure you do some preparation. Have a serious talk with your partner before doing anything so you can establish some clear rules and expectations.

For instance, do you tell each other about the sexual experiences you have? Are you allowed to see the other person more than once? What type of protection will be used? What do you do if you start to have feelings for the other person? Are you allowed to stay in contact with them by text/ email/ Facebook?

Think about anything and everything that might arise from having an open relationship and discuss this before starting. Make sure that you're both on the same page about everything, and be clear about why you both want to do this.

Because once you start down this path - there's no going back.

In the end, however, my advice is always to keep relationships simple - and making a relationship open seems to make things much more complicated than they need to be. I'm more of the opinion that you're better off getting it to work with one person, rather than introducing a whole lot of people into the mix!

John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Flirting tips if you're feeling rusty

fliting

Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

So you've managed to pick yourself up after the heartbreak of a divorce or a long-term relationship breakdown. And you've taken enough time to gather yourself and heal to the point where you're ready to dip your toe in the dating waters again.

So what are some of the key tips if you're a bit rusty on the flirting front?

1. Tend to your wardrobe and grooming
First impressions count so make sure you've done your prep work. A recent member survey showed that more than a quarter of RSVP members decide if they like their date in five or fewer minutes so proper preening will help you make the most of those crucial first minutes. Revamp your wardrobe, do your hair and nails, keep your breath fresh and present a great image when flirting with those around you. It might sound straightforward but many people underestimate the importance of this when they've been out of the game for a while.

2. Smile and make eye contact
You want to appear friendly and interested so look at the person and smile. Make them feel like they're special and interesting.

3. Initiate conversation and ask questions
Be the one to break the ice and start talking. Ask some general questions and avoid cheesy one-liners.

4. Be prepared to talk about yourself
Conversations go both ways so make sure you talk about yourself. Don't over share - but let them know something about you to keep them interested.

5. Respect personal space
Don't get in their personal space. Anything beyond a casual touch of the arm in conversation is inappropriate with someone you have just met - don't and start trying to touch them. There's plenty of time for doing this down the track - step back and let them breathe.

6. Keep the conversation light
No need to get into heavy conversations about feelings, commitments and nasty past relationship break-ups. Keep things light, casual and funny.

7. Don't drink too much
It's never a good idea to drink too much when you're trying to flirt. What may seem funny and cute in your mind usually comes out badly when you've got a lot of alcohol in you.

8. Put your phone away
It's a turn off to keep checking your phone while trying to attract the attention of a member of the opposite sex. It shows disinterest - simply put, you're not making them feel important.

9. Have a friend with you
If you are going out on the town, having a friend or wingman around can make things easier. They can give you confidence if you're making the first move.

10. Take it slow
There's no need to hurry things along. That means no one-night stands or pressuring them for a follow-up date the next day.

John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Blog etiquette reminder

etiquette

Posted by The RSVP Team on

We really value the discussion that takes place on the blog every week and because there are always new members coming online, joining RSVP and the blog audience, we thought it might be time for a blog etiquette reminder to refresh the memory of our regular posters and inform new readers of the framework...

The RSVP blog is intended to create an environment that is friendly, fun, informative and inclusive.

That means we aim to publish a selection of blog articles that represent a variety of voices related to the dating world - from psychologists, experts and the RSVP team to authors and commentators.

It also means that we endeavour to cater for the diverse needs of the RSVP membership. Our members' ages range from 18 to those well into their 80's. Members come from tiny regional towns as well as large capital cities. Some members have never had a relationship before while others may be divorced, separated or single parents. There are thousands of RSVP members and everyone's experience in dating, relationships and life is as individual as they are.

For this reason - sometimes there will be advice on areas that you as an individual have covered. So, if you read a post that doesn't directly relate to your age group or circumstances, please keep in mind that there are literally thousands of people reading the blog every week and many of those members have been seeking guidance and advice on those very topics.

RSVP encourages constructive discussion in this forum and reserves the right to moderate any comments that are offensive, vindictive, troll-like or off topic.

We hope you continue to enjoy the blogs each week and use this platform to exchange ideas and opinions. We also encourage new members to take part in the discussion if you feel so inclined.

Thanks!

The RSVP Team

For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

How to bring up relationship expectations

expectations flowers

Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

A couple of weeks ago, we discussed whether men and women have different relationship goals so this week we wanted to cover how to raise the discussion about relationship expectations.

It's one of those tricky stages, early on in the piece, when you're faced with talking about this topic. It's not something that you want to bring up too quickly - as this will most likely going to scare off your new partner. So how and when should you do it?

In the early stages of dating you need to keep things light and fun. You're just getting to know each other and things should feel relaxed and easy. At this time, relationship expectations are nowhere near as important as what movie or restaurant you're thinking of going to on a Friday night...

The only exception to this would be if you're a solo parent jumping back into the dating game. If you're in this situation, then you need to get those relationship expectations out on the table early on because there are kids involved. You don't want to be wasting your time with someone who doesn't want the same thing.

However, if you're a single person who's just started to get involved with someone and there are no kids in the picture, then take a little time. There's no rush to have this more serious type of conversation.
Then, once you do feel like this person has got real potential - here are some tips to help you bring up the topic of 'what you want out of a relationship':

1) Get clear about your expectations

The first step in this process is getting really clear about what you want. Answer this question - what is important to me in a relationship? Consider areas like sex, monogamy, children, marriage, friends and socialising, frequency of contact, handling money, living together, relationship with family etc. Do you have any deal-breakers?

2) Learn from your past mistakes

When getting clear on these expectations, take a moment to also consider your past relationships. What did you want from these partners but you couldn't get. What have you learned that you feel is most important for you with your next partner.

3) Have a light talk and be curious

Once you're clear about your own expectation, it's time to have the talk. Avoid making this a heavy intense one-way conversation. Don't start with "honey we need to talk" and then leaping into a list of demands and ultimatums. Instead, this should be a conversation that starts gently and is all about self-disclosure and understanding. Be curious with each other and lead with a general question like "so what are your thoughts on us?". Then you can ask - "what's important to you in a relationship - have you got any deal-breakers?" Remember - keep it light.

4) Be prepared to have several talks

Not everything will be discussed in this first conversation. So that means you don't need to press or interrogate each other. Instead, it should be more natural and free flowing. You might talk about a few things in this first conversation and then, other expectations might come up in follow-up discussions. If you go in knowing this, then it takes the pressure off and lets you be more curious and relaxed about knowing where you both stand.

5) Act on deal-breakers

One of the outcomes of having these types of conversations is that you will find out exactly where you stand. Do you have similar expectations or are there some big differences? You need to be clear about any deal-breakers - things you simply cannot put up with in a relationship (e.g. smoking, history of cheating, binge drinking, doesn't want children or marriage etc). If your new partner is not compatible with your deal-breakers, then it's time stop things there and move on. Don't try and change them in the future. In my experience, this doesn't tend to work out too well.


John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)


Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Disclaimer
The information and advice provided is for general information purposes only. Whilst we endeavor to make the information useful, RSVP and John Aiken make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability or suitability to your personal circumstances. Any reliance on this advice and information is therefore strictly at your own risk. In no event will RSVP or John Aiken be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising in connection with, the use of this advice.

Are you smothering your new love interest?

ja

Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

In all new relationships, we're confronted with the challenge of balancing together time with separateness. We want to get plenty of quality moments together to create a bond but we also need time apart to maintain our independence and sense of identity.

If you can get this balance right - then things will tend to move along smoothly. But get this wrong, and you'll ultimately find that you smother one another and burn things out.

Here are 10 tell tale signs that you're smothering your new partner:

1. You need to contact your partner many times each day (e.g. texts, phone calls)
2. You're desperate to plan future dates and catch-ups
3. You ask lots of questions and want to know their whereabouts
4. You initiate intense public displays of affection
5. You push for sex all the time
6. You want to be with them any time they go out
7. You will change your plans to fit in and be with them
8. You want to constantly discuss your feelings and the state of the relationship
9. You regularly ask them for re-assurance
10. You become anxious and needy when away from them

Now if this sounds like you - all is not lost. By creating some much needed space in your relationship you can let it breathe again and allow your partner to get their life back. It might scare you but you have to remind yourself that if you keep things the same, the relationship will eventually burn out.

So let your partner have some alone time, both of you catch-up with friends separately, pursue your own interests and create some individual goals. Stop discussing feelings and the state of your relationship. If you have a need for re-assurance, then talk to your friends. Let them initiate sex and affection and reduce your frequency of daily contact. No more interrogation sessions, have some more fun with each other and stick to your plans rather than changing things just to be with them.

In the end, if you are think you are smothering your new partner just remind yourself that 'less is more' when it comes to having a successful relationship.


John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)


Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Disclaimer
The information and advice provided is for general information purposes only. Whilst we endeavor to make the information useful, RSVP and John Aiken make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability or suitability to your personal circumstances. Any reliance on this advice and information is therefore strictly at your own risk. In no event will RSVP or John Aiken be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising in connection with, the use of this advice.

Grooming Tips for the First Date

grooming for first dates

Posted by How One Girl Sees it: Renee Slansky, Guest Blogger on

With all those thoughts and feelings running through our minds, getting back into the dating scene can feel a little daunting and we can sometimes forget the basics, such as how to actually look the part on a date!

Well, it's time to refresh our memory, our wardrobe (and perhaps even our breath!) so that we cannot only look a million bucks but feel confident and ready to charm the wits off our date.

Dress to kill

This is your time to shine and show your date that you know how to make an impression through your appearance. It's not about being superficial or feeling like you have to spend your weekly wage on a pair of shoes or a new dress, but rather dressing in a respectful, stylish and presentable manner.

Choose an outfit that suits your body shape, skin tone and makes you feel comfortable and confident. The location and type of first date should be the guideline for your dressing criteria - i.e. don't wear your Sunday best if you are going for a rock climbing session! Smart casual is always a fail-safe option. Here are a few quick outfit tips to help you on your way:

  • Colour usually makes your skin appear more radiant and gives you confidence. Pick a colour that makes you look and feel great!
  • Be mindful of the weather. If it's raining and freezing - ladies, take a coat (it shows you have some brains and can look after yourself). Guys - take an umbrella (it shows you are organised and may well give you an opportunity to be chivalrous...).
  • Choose shoes that will suit the amount of walking or standing you will be doing, going barefoot after a long night on your feet is not the best look!
  • Make sure your clothes smell and look clean.
  • All else fails, ladies - wear black / guys - opt for a white shirt and dark denim jeans.


Preparation

Ok we're talking skin, hair, nails and general toiletry business here. Boys - don't tune out - this applies to you too...

  • Go to the effort to wash your hair, use product and make it look presentable. We all know that someone's hair can really alter their appearance.
  • When having a shower, use a scented wash - there is nothing wrong with making the effort to smell extra nice, we want to entice our date's senses not have them holding their nose.
  • Make sure your nails are clean and well presented.
  • Don't forget to moisturise and prep the skin on your face - your date will, after all, be mainly focusing on this part of your body!
  • Get any unruly hair under control - that means eyebrows, beards or any other strays...


Complete the look

This is about coordinating accessories, shoes, watches, belts and anything else that make you look polished and complete.

Guys - your "handbag" is generally a watch, so even if you don't own a Rolex, wear a nice piece of mechanical bling to dress your arm and look the part. Think of the little things like making sure your socks match.

Girls - simple things like wearing a belt when you normally wouldn't or taking a clutch instead of your handbag and choosing specific accessories shows that you are paying attention to detail and putting in some effort.

In essence - the advice to all is to go the extra mile, your date will appreciate it and it will leave a lasting first impression.

Don't forget the golden rules

Ok, here are five fundamentals to always remember:

  • Always wear deodorant! "B.O Toilette" is not a popular perfume! Choose a perfume that makes you feel confident and that will mix well with body heat as chances are you will be a little nervous and producing more warmth and sweat then normal (oh the joys!).
  • Brush your teeth, take mints or chewing gum with you for after meals and be conscious of what you eat i.e. garlic!
  • Make sure you have a clean...(erm no bats-in-the-cave) nose!
  • Pay attention to your face - Ladies, too much make-up is not necessary or attractive and guys, giving your date pash-rash from a spikey beard is not the most appealing thing.
  • Of course it's important to be yourself and not look like a made up clown in frills, but never underestimate the power of grooming when wanting to make a good first impression.


Have fun out there and enjoy the date preparation process!

Renee

Renee Slansky is an established model, TV presenter and business woman who's love for romance and heart for women compelled her to start an online community for women called www.bellaanddarcy.com.

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Do men and women really have different relationship goals?

ja

Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

Generally speaking there's a stereotype that depicts men and women as having different relationship goals. Women typically are assumed to want commitment and security, while men are seen to want to avoid commitment and just have fun. But is this really the case? Do men and women really have different relationship goals?

I've seen many singles over my years as a psychologist, both men and women, and I've found that all of them tend to have different goals. At the end of the day, it doesn't come down to your gender, but rather it's more to do with your past experiences, values, beliefs and current stage in life.

You might be a guy in your early 30's and you want to meet someone special and have a family. You might be a divorced woman in her 40's who wants to play the field after a 20-year marriage. Or you could be a young female 20-something, university student who's too busy for anything serious and just wants to party and stay single.

Everyone is different. And your relationship goals will change as you change.

What's really important in all of this is to make sure that you're aware of your relationship goals at any one time. That way, you go into dating with an understanding of exactly where you're at and what you actually want.

If a relationship is going to work, then you're going to need to be compatible in terms of your relationship expectations. For instance:

  • Do you want to be exclusive or play the field?
  • Do you want to move in together?
  • Do you want to get married?
  • Do you see kids in the future and how many?
  • How do you want to handle money as a couple?
  • What's your position on religion and politics?
  • How important is health and fitness (e.g. diet, exercise, drinking)?
  • What are your career ambitions?
  • What role do you see your friends and family playing in the future?


Be clear about your relationship goals and expectations at all times. And if you find yourself in a situation with a new love interest whereby they want things that you don't, then be clear about this. Don't send mixed signals when they clearly have different needs to you.

John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)


Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Disclaimer
The information and advice provided is for general information purposes only. Whilst we endeavor to make the information useful, RSVP and John Aiken make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability or suitability to your personal circumstances. Any reliance on this advice and information is therefore strictly at your own risk. In no event will RSVP or John Aiken be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising in connection with, the use of this advice.

Kinder, gentler online dating

bettina arndt

Posted by Bettina Arndt, Guest Blogger on

Road rage makes most of us shudder but some of the behaviour you encounter in online dating can also leave you gasping.

Like the shortish man (5'9") who was told by a woman he approached that she would never date him because "he was a hobbit".

Or the seventy year old man who sent an email to a woman in her late fifties and received this charmless response: "What's a dirty old man like you doing on a dating site?".

Most of the huge numbers of people online dating are genuine, decent folk who do their best to treat others well. But it's unfortunate that the anonymity of the initial dating process seems to bring out the feral in some people. Their behaviour is really off putting, particularly to those just starting online. As an online dating coach it isn't easy caring for bruised clients who have been harshly kicked to the curb - and trying to persuade them that there are many nice people online.

Often people just don't seem to think about how they are coming across when they behave in ways that hurt others. Some profiles contain astonishingly rude demands, suggesting, for instance, that prospective dates must "pay attention to personal hygiene".

Whatever happened to walking in each other's shoes? Women are shocked by the number of men who say they call after a first date and then disappear. Or just vanish in the middle of an email conversation. It's never hard to send a brief email saying you enjoyed their company but you didn't seem quite right for each other.

I heard recently from a man who came under attack after a date with a woman he'd met online.. She'd invited him to a dinner party and he said he was happy to come along but made it clear, in a nice way, that he wasn't interested in a romantic relationship with her. She was outraged, accused him of deceiving her because he wasn't interested in real relationships. He was - but just not with her. Handling rejection isn't easy but abuse is never appropriate.

So here are some do's and don'ts to make online dating a kinder, gentler place:

  • Do respond to all contact you receive - particularly when someone has spent money to buy a stamp.
  • Don't be stingy sending just kisses back and forth, trying to persuade your would-be date to pay for that vital first stamp.
  • Do respond if you have asked to see someone's photos - it's insulting to receive no response when you've sent images through. It's kinder still to maintain email contact for a while rather than have them feel you have rejected them just on their looks.
  • Reject people nicely, offering compliments to preserve their dignity.
  • Don't play games, leading people on, deliberately delaying responses, playing hard to get.


Everyone is vulnerable when they put themselves online - don't abuse that trust.


Bettina Arndt trained as a clinical psychologist before becoming a sex therapist, journalist and now online dating coach. www.bettinaarndt.com.au

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Post divorce: How to introduce a new partner to your social circle

introducing

Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

There are many new challenges you'll face as you come to terms with your divorce and move forward with your life. These might involve juggling kids sleeping arrangements, organising pick-ups and drop offs and synching holiday schedules. It could also see you introducing a new love interest to your social circle for the first time.

Although this may sound daunting - there are some practical steps that can help you through this challenging dating stage.

1. Take time and make sure they're ready

I know you want to tell the world about your amazing new partner, however, you need to pause and think about whether they're ready to meet the gang. It's a big step and they'll want to make a really good first impression - so they need to feel confident about doing this. Take your time - there's no rush. Remember, your new partner is likely to feel a bit of extra pressure, knowing that some or many of these people are or were friends with your ex. Check in with them before organising anything and be sure that they're on board with the whole process.

2. Start with a small gathering

It's best to start off with introducing your new partner to a small gathering of friends (or one close friend at a time). This will avoid them feeling overwhelmed and pressed for time, and instead allow them more of a chance to connect and get to know your inner circle.

3. Pick your audience

Rather than throwing them in the deep-end and seeing if they sink or swim, make sure you consider who you are introducing your new partner to. When you come out of a long-term relationship or divorce, it's likely that you will have friends who are still in contact with and feel loyalty towards your ex. Take for example your best friend's wife - is she a big supporter of your ex? If so, then perhaps don't pick these guys as the first couple you introduce your new partner to. I'm not suggesting that you avoid your best friend and his wife - just ease your new partner into it with friendly faces that are going to be wholeheartedly supportive.

4. Get your friends on board

To make picking your audience a more straightforward process, do a little bit of leg-work and get your friends on board with meeting your new partner. Let them know about your new love interest beforehand - tell them how excited you are about them and making it work. You want them to make your partner feel at ease and comfortable, so get them to understand how important it is that this first meeting goes well.

5. Prep them with information

You want this first time meeting to be a success for your new partner, so give them as much information as you can about the upcoming meeting. Tell them about the friends they're going to meet, the venue, the dress code and any topics of conversation that they may need to stay away from.


John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Ask John: Ask John Q&A part 2

ja

Posted by The RSVP Team on

RSVP's dating and relationship expert, John Aiken, continues to answer your dating questions...

Ask John

Q1. How can I get these guys to stop treating the first meeting as if it is a serious job interview?

This is a very common dating gripe for many singles out there! First thing to remember here is that it could be the anxiety doing all the talking! When people get anxious they often ask a lot of questions so there are no awkward silences. The best way to deal with this is to jump in and start asking some questions for yourself, while introducing a lightness, sense of fun and humour to the conversation. If the questioning keeps coming, then make light of it gently by saying something like "there's lots of questions coming my way, I think it's time to put the spotlight back on you!.

Q.2 I find the first email really hard to write. What are you meant to say? How do you make it good/interesting?

You need to be honest with your emails - don't try to be someone you're not. This will just come across as trying too hard. Instead, tell the person what you like about their profile, ask them some interesting questions and tell them something about you. Particularly avoid showing any bitterness or negativity in your emails - it will turn most people off.

Q3. How important is chemistry? I am often deeply attracted to men who are patently unsuitable. I'd rather have a relationship with someone who grows slowly on me but it seems like everyone, even the ones who say "friends first" expect fireworks.

You need to break your dating patterns immediately and start attracting a different type of guy. At the moment you're attracted to unavailable types - this will never give you long-term happiness. Instead, get clear about your five signs of the wrong types (e.g. drinks too much, can't commit, history of cheating, hung up on an ex, too clingy) and avoid these at all costs. Also ask yourself "what do I want different in my next partner?", then commit to mixing with guys that offer you this. Also, enlist the help of your friends to keep you honest and to stop you repeating bad habits. Be more disciplined and selective with your dating approach. Put your standards up and start giving yourself a chance with a more suitable type of guy.

Q.4 I seem to get contacted by people whose profiles don't appeal to me and then the people I do like, don't respond to my kisses. Online dating doesn't seem to work for me. What am I doing wrong?

Don't be discouraged - this is part of the dating game and it can take time. You're one of many singles out there trying to find a match and patience is absolutely necessary to be successful at this. In saying this, depending upon how long you've been doing this for, you might want to change things up to get a different outcome. Consider editing your profile description, use some new photos, ask a friend for some feedback, join different interest groups and be prepared to get outside your comfort zone.


John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Disclaimer
The information and advice provided is for general information purposes only. Whilst we endeavor to make the information useful, RSVP and John Aiken make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability or suitability to your personal circumstances. Any reliance on this advice and information is therefore strictly at your own risk. In no event will RSVP or John Aiken be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising in connection with, the use of this advice.

Ask John: Online Dating Q&A

ja

Posted by The RSVP Team on

Thanks for sending in your questions about online dating. RSVP's dating and relationship expert, John Aiken, will provide responses to a selection of questions over the next few weeks. Starting with below...

Q1. It has happened more than once. Twice with men who've initiated contact, once when I have. In each case the profiles and emailing phases seemed promising. I'm looking for an ongoing relationship; so, apparently were they. It turned out all they wanted was sex, nothing more. How do you tell?

There are some key signs to look out for that will indicate whether someone is a `player or a stayer'. It is often hard to work this out before you meet in person but if they bring up sex or make physical comments before you've even met - this is a dead giveaway. Another typical sign of a player is someone that suggests meeting you at their house or yours. Regardless of whether you are interested in sex, you should never agree to first or early dates at either of your houses for safety reasons.

Once you've met in person, you'll find that someone who just wants sex will be cagey and vague with their answers around commitment, feelings or relationship goals. If you tell them that you have a four week no sex rule - they'll tell you that there's something wrong with you and try to make you feel bad and insecure. If you see these types of signs - leave them alone - they're only after sex.


Q2. My account is frozen? I don't know why and when I try to upload a profile picture it wont work. I don't wanna show my face. Why cant I put a picture without showing my face? I honestly don't want anyone I know to see me because its kind of embarrassing being a dating website.

If members upload unacceptable content to RSVP and breach the Terms and Conditions, RSVP reserves the right to freeze, suspend or terminate their account at their discretion.

RSVP typically freezes a profile if it includes offensive language or sexually explicit materials, false information, material promoting any commercial enterprise or identifying information (for example your real name, email, phone number, Facebook details or web addresses).

RSVP has a Profile Approval Policy to make sure all members play by the rules and post appropriate content. All photos are manually approved by RSVP and they also need to be appropriate in nature. It sounds like your photo/s were deemed unacceptable.

If you are serious about online dating and meeting someone, then use a photo that shows your face. RSVP profiles with photos receive 11 times more contact than profiles without photos.


Q3. What's the least offensive way to tell someone you are not willing to answer their question? I get asked by nearly every man about my RSVP experience. Quite frankly it is none of their business and irrelevant to the issue at hand which is whether we get along.

I'm not surprised that nearly every man asks you about this. I have spoken to many singles (both men and women) that tell me that they discuss their experience of online dating when meeting a new person. It's an icebreaker and something they think you can bond about - a shared experience that opens up more conversation. I can understand you wanting to focus on your chemistry instead of talking about online dating, but I would encourage you to go with it. Most people are just using this to get the ball rolling. It's usually not personal or probing.
Perhaps respond with some light-hearted remarks about meeting interesting people and then seek to steer the conversation in another direction.


Q4. How to respond when asking to see a photo of a member if one does not relate to the photo! Not an easy situation without offending the member!

Now this is a tricky and sensitive one. Sometimes you may find yourself in a situation where a member has hidden photos and then once they have granted you access to view their photos, you realise they are not your type and doubt that the attraction would be there.

Physical attraction is a key part of dating and we all need to be realistic and accept that not everyone will be attracted to us and vice versa. It's also important to remember that not everyone looks like they do in photos - if the banter has been good and you are interested in this person on an intellectual level, then you'll need to consider if you are prepared to pursue it further and see if you find them more attractive in real life.

If you're absolutely sure that you would not be attracted to them, then it's time to let them down gently. Perhaps something like "You seem like a really nice person but I'm just not sure the chemistry is going to be right. I've enjoyed getting to know you but don't think it would work out between us."


Q5. I joined RSVP after my last relationship ended but I have had my settings set to 'taking a break'. I wanted to have some time to heal, move forward and not 'rebound' and also to set an honest profile (I have found it helpful to see other people's profiles and think about what I really value). I'm wondering how long you think a person should take before they start dating again, following the end of a long-term relationship (more than 2 years). My relationship ended on March 1st, was an amicable parting and I hope to put myself out there again in June/July.

Great question - and one that doesn't have a magic timeline. It will depend on things like how long you went out for, how did it end, were you married or living together, do you still see each other and how intense were your feelings? In saying that, I tell most people that you need at least 12 months to work through something significant. Over this time you'll be reminded of all the calendar dates - anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, Xmas, New Year - which will bring up sadness and loss. Giving yourself time to go through these dates and heal is important before jumping back in. If you do want to date before the year is up - just remember that there will be days when you might feel sad and still need some grieving time to yourself.


John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Disclaimer
The information and advice provided is for general information purposes only. Whilst we endeavor to make the information useful, RSVP and John Aiken make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability or suitability to your personal circumstances. Any reliance on this advice and information is therefore strictly at your own risk. In no event will RSVP or John Aiken be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising in connection with, the use of this advice.

The First Birthday Hurdle: do you buy them a present?

presents

Posted by How One Girl Sees it: Renee Slansky, Guest Blogger on

So you've just started dating a potential someone special and as timing would have it, their birthday is just around the corner (awkward turtle number 1!). This is always a little stressful, especially if your relationship and feelings are developing. No, a simple 'happy birthday' will not suffice. If you really like this person and see things moving forward, then they are definitely worth the effort. Regardless of the length of the relationship, the trick is to be as thoughtful as possible - making your date a priority on their birthday is never a bad idea.

Timeframe vs. budget
Setting the right present value is important - you want to set reasonable limits but also spoil them a little. Striking the right balance is vital - you don't want to go overboard but you also don't want to come off cheap.

It's tough knowing exactly how much that budget should be, and I guess that depends how long you have been dating...but whether it's one month or six, it really is a personal decision based on your feelings for each other. In my experience, some ball park figures to go off would be:
  • 1 month: $50
  • 3 to 6 months: $50-$150
  • 6+ months: By six months, the relationship is likely to be exclusive so the birthday budget is completely up to you...


Keep it thoughtful
Time to get creative! Think about what the other person likes and make mental notes. Ask casually in different conversations what their likes, needs, hobbies are. What are some of the experiences they would like to try? Just don't make it obvious and don't drill them! Chances are, you know enough to think of something they would actually APPRECIATE and not just smile at and forget about. It could even be something as simple as a book they always mention and have wanted to read, tickets to a concert, a ride on a jet ski - you get the drift, think outside the box. You want to make an impression because you actually like this person, so put some effort, heart and thought into it and if all else fails take them out to an amazing dinner.

Gifts vs. experiences
Gone are the days where we have to stick to the rules of cards, flowers, aftershave and chocolates. We are adults and it's totally acceptable to replace a gift with an experience. Creating a memory together through an experience is an original and fun approach for a birthday gift. It also eliminates any awkward moments of unwanted, useless gifts.

However it's important to be aware of exactly what type of experience is best suited to your date - for example, if they are afraid of heights don't take them skydiving! Approach selecting the experience the same way you would if your were buying them a physical present - with thought and consideration of their personality traits and preferences.

GIFT IDEAS - Don't stress out
If you're still stuck for ideas, don't worry here's a few to get you started:
  • Books - coffee table books, photography books, biographies, bestselling novels
  • Experiences - if they're into adrenaline experiences think skydiving, jet skiing or rally car driving. If they like pampering, how about a massage or couple of hours at the day spa. If they are into wine - plan a weekend away in the vineyards
  • Food- a gourmet picnic, dinner at a fabulous restaurant, tickets to a cheese tasting evening or perhaps a speciality cooking course
  • Subscriptions- wine, magazines, books, beauty
  • Art - maybe have a photo put onto canvas or have their favourite picture/poster mounted and framed
  • Sports - gym clothes, gym bag, trainers, headphones, sweat towel, surfboard, football tickets
  • Vouchers - clothes, hardwear/tools, car, iTunes, dining
  • Accessories - watch, wallet/purse, sunglasses, jewellery


At the end of the day, it's not rocket science and it doesn't have to be as complicated as what we build it up to be in our heads. It's just about finding the balance between being thoughtful and casual enough.

Happy Birthday lovers!

Renee

Renee Slansky is an established model, TV presenter and business woman who's love for romance and heart for women compelled her to start an online community for women called www.bellaanddarcy.com.

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Making your work schedule work for your love life

blog couple

Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

One of the key issues that couples face when they first start dating is not being able to spend enough time together. One of the big contributors to this is having different work schedules. Specifically, one of you might work normal work hours while the other one does shifts through the night.

Although this can be frustrating and lonely at times, the good news is that it doesn't spell the end of your relationship. Instead, you need to become very organised about your couple time, establish clear plans and be disciplined about catch-ups when you can get them.

To help you on your way, here are some key suggestions to deal with different work schedules:

1. Sync your calendars
It all begins with sitting down with your weekly calendars and getting on the same page about work hours and possible opportunities for couple time. You need to work as a team here and your goal is to identify times in the week when you can spend time together.

2. Protect your time together
Whenever you make plans to get together, don't allow anything to get in the way. Make sure this catch-up an absolute priority for the both of you. Apart from an emergency, if you're locked in to see each other - everything else is put on the back burner.

3. Make the most of small moments
Don't think that spending time together means that you have to have to do something elaborate or large-scale (even though this may be nice from time to time). Instead, small moments of connection are vital for you both. For instance, an early morning coffee together before heading off to work, a quick lunch in the office café downstairs or meeting them at the airport and driving them back home.

4. Prioritise intimacy
You may be tired and on different work schedules, but that doesn't mean you stop being intimate. If you have to stay up late so you can go to bed together - then do it. If you have to get up really early so you can have sex before jumping on a plane - then do it. It will bond you together and make you feel closer.

5. Touch base all the time
In this day an age, you have so many options to stay connected. So use them! Send your partner little texts and emails. Make quick calls when and where you can, and leave little notes to surprise them. This shows that you're thinking about each other, and it keeps you in the loop in terms of plans and routines.

6. Use your down time productively
Don't get caught in the cycle of spending your down time waiting around for your partner and worrying about your relationship situation. Instead, use the time to catch-up with friends, pursue hobbies and interests and get fit. When you're not together - be active and busy.

John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Love languages and compatibility

love language

Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

One of the more well-known psychological theories in the field of dating and relationships is called 'love languages'.

It was developed by a man called Gary Chapman, who was interested in the different ways individuals prefer to be loved and supported.

He came up with five specific ways that he called "love languages".

They include the following:
  1. Touch - hand holding, cuddling, kissing, sex, hugging
  2. Time together - date night, coffee together, going for a walk
  3. Gifts - cards, flowers, clothes, jewellery
  4. Acts of service - paying a bill, cleaning the bedroom, filling up car with petrol
  5. Words of affirmation - praise, 'I love you', expressions of appreciation


His theory was that everyone has their own special love language and problems can arise between couples when you try and love and support your partner in a way that doesn't hit the mark for them. For instance, you might like to give your partner praise and compliments, but her love language is touch. So she would prefer a massage or a cuddle over words of affirmation.

Once you know each other's love language - then you can start acting towards each other in a way that really makes you both feel special.

Now in terms of compatibility, any of the love languages can work well together. You don't need to have the same language to have a happy relationship. Rather, what's key in your new relationship is understanding what each other likes and then modifying your approach to fit this.

Once you have the information in front of you - you can then love your partner in a way that really makes them feel special.

So, if you're trying to get close to your new partner with cuddles and kisses and they seem a little shy - it might be that you simply haven't taken into account their love language. Perhaps they prefer hearing your words of praise or they would prefer you doing tasks for them. Figure this one out - and then you can take your intimacy to another level.

If you want to know more about your love language, then go to the site www.5lovelanguages.com and take the quiz.

John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Why sending an email shouldn't be left up to the boys

woman

Posted by The RSVP Team on

"I don't want to send the first email, it's just not the right order of things...". This is something we often hear from our female members.

It's an interesting stance, as by online dating you're taking a proactive, modern approach to your love life. You're not waiting, hoping that your family or friends might eventually introduce you to an attractive suitor. Yet, many women are still quite conservative when it comes to who should make the first online move, happy to become virtual wallflowers.

To help explain why sending an email shouldn't be left entirely up to the boys, consider this scenario from the male perspective...

You're a man, you're online, you've sent out a handful of Kisses to members that caught your eye. To some of these Kisses, you get a positive reply but all the replies ask you to send an email to continue the contact...it's starting to sound like a lot of work.

Who do you choose to spend your Stamp on? How many people are you comfortable communicating with at the one time? Do you need to go back through everyone's profiles and pick one or two that you think you'd most like to make contact with? Wouldn't you just hope that perhaps one of those replies would be offering to open up the communication channels? After all, as you see it, you've made the first move and sent the original Kiss.


At the end of the day, if you send a positive response but sit passively waiting for the other person to make the next move, then you are reducing your chances of things going any further. It's likely that they are going to pick one or two members to communicate with and given it's a numbers game - reality is, you might miss out.

However - if you decide to reply with an offer to open up a chat... you're in a position to find out if you're compatible. It might not work out every time but you never know if you don't give it a try.

So, our advice, take your destiny in your own hands and increase your chances of finding success online. Sometimes, just every now and then, send the first email and open up the possibilities. It may not result in a relationship every time but experience shows it narrows the odds.

The RSVP Team

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Great things never come from comfort zones

fitness events

Posted by Verve 4 Life Fitness Instructor Sharlene on

Drawing from my years as a group fitness instructor I can happily say, with my hand on my heart, that Singles Group Fitness is absolutely the most fabulous way to meet other singles - whether you're a fitness lover or hater!! Skeptical? Here's seven reasons why...

1. The number one reason is simply that first dates can be seriously NERVE RACKING!! Singles group fitness takes away the awkwardness and puts likeminded people together in a pressure-free environment. It's all about fun, learning new skills and being challenged. It's the type of environment where great conversation and banter just flow naturally - no drawn out forced conversations and definitely no awkward silences. Pheeewww!

2. If someone does take your fancy you've automatically got an opportunity to get to know them more during the next session, how easy is that! There's no pressure to exchange numbers or to make a date - and no wondering if you're going to get THE call. Plus, if it does blossom into a first date, then you have the group sessions as an easy conversation starter.

3. Singles group fitness has all the fun, laugher and craziness of a bar at 3am, but with a clear head and no hasty or regretful decisions! Whatever reason you might have to avoid alcohol, whether it's a health kick, a 6-pack mission or Parched March, single group fitness is one of the few places where you get the chance to meet a group of singles, without the presence of alcohol.

4. The oh-so-brilliant phenomenon called the Cheerleader effect! Studies have shown that people perceive others as more attractive when in a group setting. So just turning up to singles group fitness makes you instantly more attractive! Gotta love that!

5. It's a quick fire way to find out if you and your crush are compatible. Physical group activities tend to bring out traits like competitiveness, leadership and patience. All great qualities that often stay under wraps in other social settings.

6. Endorphins, endorphins and ENDORPHINS!!! Do I have to say any more?

7. The last (and perhaps the best!) reason is there will be no walking away from any session feeling disappointed or deflated about not meeting that special someone. Regardless of whether you hit it off with someone, you'll be on top of the world feeling fitter, stronger and healthier than before!

So, next time you see someone online that you like, perhaps suggest to them joining singles group fitness, it might be the best thing you do - I`d bet love on it ; )

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Managing the biological clock

bio clock

Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

The term 'biological clock' is often a driver for a number of the female singles that come in and see me. They're in their 30's and feel an urgency to meet the right guy and settle down - as they only have a certain number of years left whereby they can biologically still have kids.

Usually most women won't hear this clock ticking in their 20's but as they get into their mid 30's it will become louder and louder. This is due to the fact that their child-bearing years are becoming fewer and also their social circles are changing around them.

Specifically, their friends are settling down and now falling pregnant. Comparisons are getting made at this time and often single 30 something's start to feel left out or different.

On top of this, they can feel pressure from family members as questions get frequently asked about the state of their love life and the possibility of grandchildren.

Then you throw the media into this. Often there are new studies or statistics that emerge that highlight the drought of available partners or an increase in medical issues if you prolong having children.
The end result is that the mere mention of the biological clock can create real anxiety and panic for many single women trying to find the right partner.

It's important to remember that it is not only women who get worried about this. Although men may have more flexibility when it comes to reproduction and timing, many men also suffer from the same social pressure and anxiety about settling down.

So if you're in this position, how do you deal with this?

The key to managing your 'biological clock' anxiety is to take your focus away from this and onto things you can control. Here's 5 key suggestions to get you get started:

1. Stay calm
The first thing you need to remember is that you must stay calm (I know this is easier said than done!). The reason for this is that if you get worked up about it, you're going to become desperate in the dating game and this will turn potential partners away. Also, this panic might make you settle for something not quite right - i.e. panic will increase your likelihood of making poor judgment decisions.

2. Speak positively about your love life
Force yourself to always be positive in public about dating and the state of your love life. If someone asks you about this, give them an upbeat and positive response. No more comments like "it's so hard to find anyone", "I'm really bad at relationships", "guys only want younger women", "all the good ones are taken." And if the question of your biological clock comes up - just say that's not your focus.

3. Focus on what you control
You can't magically make your perfect partner appear - but you can focus on you and getting ready to leap when they come along. So have an appearance make-over, get a new wardrobe, start exercising, keep a healthy diet and limit your alcohol use. If there's something that you need to change about yourself or your habits - then get onto it now.

4. Learn from your dating/ relationship mistakes
Take a moment to look back at your past dates and ask yourself why were they wrong for you and how you contributed to it not working out. Then highlight what you want different in your next partner, and what you're going to change. Then, focus on moving towards this (e.g. drink less, no more one night stands, make more decisions, avoid married types, stop pleasing too much etc.)

5. Create new dating opportunities
Make a commitment to get outside of your comfort zone and create new dating opportunities. If you're online - look at going out with a different type of person or join a new group of like-minded people (e.g. wine lovers, fitness fanatics etc.) Accept social invites, set ups, and if you see someone you like - make the first move.

At the end of the day, it's all about you driving this process. There may be a biological clock ticking, but don't allow this to take over your focus. Instead, you're going to zero in on what can do on a day-to-day basis to get the partner you deserve.

John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

What is love at first sight?

couple

Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

We've all been there at some point in time. You meet someone for the first time and they make you stop in your tracks. They take your breath away and you can't get them out of your mind. It's a wonderful thing - love at first sight. Everything about them seems to click and you can't believe that finally you've found your Mr or Miss Perfect!!! But what's actually going on here?

The answer to this question lies in the science of the brain. When you first come across a member of the opposite sex that you find attractive, changes start to occur inside your brain that feel amazing!!!! You experience a great high that psychologists call "limerence" and it's your neuro-chemicals that are responsible for this.

In this very early stage, your brain starts surging with chemicals such as dopamine and noradrenaline, while levels of serotonin decrease. It's a great rush and the end result is a complete change in your behaviour and thought processes.

Specifically, you start fantasising about your new love interest and sharing the future together, you want to meet their family and friends, spend all your time with them and have endless nights of mad passionate sex.

If they have any flaws or imperfections - you're not going to see them. Instead you're going to focus on all their amazing characteristics - their smile, body, sense of humour, ambition, confidence and view of the world.

Your level of sexual desire increases, you'll want to touch them all the time, you're happy to move your plans around for them and make them the center of your universe. Your energy levels increase, your appetite and sleep can change and you can end up obsessing about them all day, every day. You're on your best behaviour for them and you tend to look to please them at all costs.

This is what being love struck looks like - and your brain is driving this whole process!

Now the important thing to remember about this is that it's biologically driven and it will not last forever. It's a chemical phenomenon that's a temporary state that can last up to 12 months. But once your brain starts to settle down and the novelty of your partner begins to wear off, then you begin to see if this person is really compatible with you.

So my advice for you is that when you experience love at first sight - by all means enjoy the ride - but also be realistic. Don't make any rash decisions or rush things along. Instead, give it some time to see if this person is really the one for you rather than getting swept up in all that feel good chemical activity.

John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

What makes or breaks a first date

date

Posted by The RSVP Team on

A few weeks ago, we asked you guys to tell us what makes a first date wonderful or woeful. Dating etiquette has changed dramatically in the last few years so we wanted to pinpoint what can make or break a first date...

We surveyed about 1,000 members and the results confirmed the consensus on a couple of issues...

Firstly, 82% of singles surveyed said that good conversation is the most important element of an enjoyable date.

The importance of conversation rated above sexual chemistry, the choice of venue and the quality of food and drink. So - when you are getting ready for your next date, remember that it's not necessarily your booking at the hottest new restaurant that will make a good impression. Instead, focus on having some interesting and engaging talking points that will feed a lively and entertaining banter between the two of you.

Secondly, we wanted to know what the worst date behaviours are...

When asked what is the worst thing someone can do while on date - the results show that most singles are forgiving of tardiness but a wandering eye or poor treatment of wait staff is far less likely to be tolerated by your date.

The most offensive behaviour was 'checking out other singles' as cited by 32% of respondents. Fair enough - that speaks for itself!

Being rude to waitstaff was the second worst thing a date can do (22%), followed by answering or checking your mobile phone (17%), talking about an ex (15%), drinking too much (10%) and arriving late (4%).

It may sound obvious but the numbers really prove that manners and respect are important when out on a date.

Thirdly, how do you know if a date went well?

Interestingly, only 8% of people think that a kiss at the end of the evening is the most promising sign of a good date.

Instead, the success of a date is rated on whether plans are made to see each other again or follow up communication takes place within 24 hours of the date ending.

So here's to great dates that wind up with second dates organised!

The RSVP Team

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Why do we get attached after sex?

friends w ben

Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

It might seem like a simple straight-forward approach. Start having sex with a friend and just keep the commitment out of it. Be up front from the beginning and both outline your expectations so nothing gets complicated. Meet each other's needs - and have some fun. It sounds easy.

Unfortunately, it often gets very messy and someone usually ends up getting their heart broken!

The reason for the complication lies in the fact that you can frequently get attached to the person you're having sex with. No matter how hard you try to keep it as friends only - feelings can start getting in the way. So why do a lot of friends get attached after having sex?

1. Hormones
When you have sex with someone you release a hormone called Oxytocin (the cuddle hormone). It soothes you, it's relaxing. It increases a sense of security and trust. It creates a bond between you and your partner. It's the same hormone that gets released when mothers are nursing their babies and it creates a very strong connection. This means trying to stay detached from your friend when there's all that Oxytocin floating around is much easier said than done!

2. Values
Some of you may've been raised with particular values around sex and intimacy. You may've grown up with strict parents, attended church, been to religious schools and/or received very black and white messages around sex and relationships. As a result, you might really struggle morally with the friends with benefits arrangement and instead become increasingly attached to the person in the hope that something more substantial might develop.

3. It feels nice
Generally speaking, when you have sex with someone it feels pretty nice. It can be validating, intoxicating, re-assuring and fun. So when you start to have sex with a friend it's likely that you're going to want more of it. It feels nice and if it's on tap - you're very likely to going to get attached to it having access to it.

4. The friendship
When you're having a friends with benefits arrangement, you also get to enjoy all the fruits of your friendship. You can spend time together, share laughs and lean on one another for support. All of these advantages will ultimately increase your sense of attachment, and make it very difficult to remain easy going and chilled.

So the lesson here is be cautious when considering entering into a friends with benefits arrangement. It might seem like a good idea at the time, but it's very hard to successfully navigate. There are forces in operation that create attachment and if handled poorly, it can lead to hurt and ultimately a loss of friendship.

John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

How to survive the Valentine's weekend as a single!

heart val

Posted by How One Girl Sees it: Renee Slansky, Guest Blogger on

Ahhh Valentine's Day , otherwise known as 'International Singles Day' it becomes the one time of the year which we face with dread, yet secretly hope that maybe, just maybe a dozen red roses will appear on our desk by a mystery admirer?!

Alas, as we fight our way through the endless outpourings of love, piles of chocolates, sappy cards and longing looks at the delivery man each time he pops into the office, we can start to feel a little...well, jilted!
But just because every couple is celebrating, it doesn't mean we have to miss out on such festivities or pay attention to those inevitable looks of pity and patronising comments like: "it'll happen next year for you" or "it's overrated anyway, just a stupid gimmicky day" ... *cough ...yeah right I'm sure you just hate that big bunch of flowers sitting on your desk!

Being single is not a death sentence, nor does it define who you are or your foreseeable future; it's just a season. So stop comparing yourself to every chocolate-stuffed, flower-clutching couple around you. This is a time to celebrate love and relationships so why not recognise the love and relationship you have with yourself. It takes a strong person to be happy alone rather than relying on another person to complete your happiness. Yes, it's nice to be romanced and adored, but let's not lose perspective on our own personal situation because of a Hallmark occasion.

Here are three things that help me survive February 14 -
1: Group Therapy
Hello this is what I'm talking about! Now you have the perfect excuse to gather your best (single) friends around you and celebrate each other and your friendship. If you don't have a date organised, there is still time to make plans with your mates. Just because you're single doesn't mean you have to be lonely or alone on this day, make the most of the opportunity in a productive and positive way!

2: Indulge yourself
Make yourself feel valued by spending some time nurturing what you love or even pampering your body this weekend. Go get a massage, go shopping, do a workout, play some golf or whatever it is that gives you peace and pleasure! Indulge your senses and organise a date with yourself (so to speak). By spoiling yourself, you will add extra enjoyment to your me-time.

3: Reality check
You are not going to die alone with 72 cats. This is the one time in the entire year when romance is thrown in your face and you just have to get through it - so hang in there! Don't let it get you down. You are an amazing piece of human who deserves the best and the right date will come at the right time.

Have fun out there!

Renee

Renee Slansky is an established model, TV presenter and business woman who's love for romance and heart for women compelled her to start an online community for women called www.bellaanddarcy.com.

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Seize the Day this February 14

love flowers

Posted by The RSVP Team on

Last month, we asked you guys to share your views on Valentine's Day and we received more than 1,000 responses*.

The key thing you guys told us was that Valentine's Day creates an opportunity to approach someone new...

If fact, 90% of members surveyed would like to be asked out on Valentine's Day.

So what are you waiting for? Take the plunge, seize the day. Valentine's Day is a great opportunity to put yourself out there and get romantic...

Only one in ten singles don't want to be asked out - so the odds are heavily in your favour.

Have a great Valentine's Day!

The RSVP Team

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

The difference between dating and interrogating...

date

Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

One of the most common mistakes that singles make when they go out on a first date is to fall into the trap of interrogating the other person. Rather than letting the conversation evolve and flow - you instead try to fill the space with a series of questions to avoid any awkward silences. Although it's good to have a couple of backup questions or conversation starters in mind to help you manage your nerves, it's not a good idea to run a date by firing off a series of serious questions. This approach tends to backfire and doesn't make the best first impression.

The reason why it tends to work against you on a first date is that it becomes too intense, way too fast.

The experience ends up feeling like a job interview rather than a relaxed, fun and natural conversation. Also, if you're doing all the questioning, it doesn't give your date an opportunity to find out about you. And the connection between the two of you will ultimately fizzle because it becomes a one-way street. They will walk away from meeting you, feeling exhausted and drained. Not a great result!

So while it's important to show an interest and ask some questions of your new date, you also need to allow them the chance to find out about you. That means stepping back and being prepared to share as well. It means not pre-empting a potential pause in the conversation by jumping in with yet another new question.

To help you on your way - here's some tips to make sure your first date doesn't end up feeling like an interview:
  1. Meet in a casual setting - Forget the intimate expensive restaurant. Go for something less intense and casual on your first date so you feel more relaxed (e.g. café for brunch or lunch).
  2. Focus on light topics - job interviews are serious and heavy. Make a point of having fun and keeping it light with your conversation.
  3. Ask equal amounts of questions - Go in with the mindset of answering question for question. If one person is doing all the probing, then bring this up and turn it back onto them.
  4. Be open to sharing - Make a commitment to sharing some details about yourself, your lifestyle and opinions. It's about openness and honesty in this exchange.
  5. Allow for silence - You can often fall into the trap of trying to fill silences, and therefore not give the other person a chance to contribute. Sit back and let them talk when things go quiet.

John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Classic signs you're just good friends

friends

Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

Ever been in the situation where you think you've found your perfect match, only to find out that they see you as nothing more than `just a good friend'? Sure they love spending time with you, hanging out for hours talking and laughing at your jokes as well as coming to you for advice and support. But when you try to take it to another level all you get is the 'friend vibe'.

It's not a relationship you want to be in for any length of time. It can be confusing, disheartening and deflating. You can end up analysing every interaction that goes on between you in the hope that maybe there's a chance romance might develop.

If this sounds like you but you're not absolutely convinced that there's no romantic potential with this person, here are some classic telltale signs you're `just good friends':

  • They don't contact you as much as you contact them (texts, calls, organising plans)
  • They avoid getting physically intimate with you or even flinch when you touch them
  • They talk to you about other love interests
  • They don't get jealous if you date someone else
  • They laugh if someone suggests you two are an item
  • They call you 'mate' or 'buddy'
  • They constantly remind you what great friends you are
  • They don't get dressed up or look good for you
  • They try and set you up with other love interests
  • They comment on and flirt with other singles in front of you
  • They always introduce you as a friend in public


A word of warning. If you're reading this thinking that maybe they might come around if you just give them a little more time - they won't. If you were the one for them, they wouldn't need any more convincing. So stop wasting your time. The feelings aren't there for them - end of story.

Instead, reduce your contact and turn your attention to members of the opposite sex who can give you the type of passionate long-term relationship you deserve.

In the end - being just good friends is just good friends.
John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

What is it that makes someone fall in love with you?

hand heart

Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

One of the common questions that singles will often have when they're dating is "How do I get someone to fall for me?" and "What type of impression do I need to make to get them hooked?".

For starters, it's important to realise that there's not one secret ingredient that makes this happen. You certainly can try out different techniques, angles and conversations - some might work, but others won't.

The reason for this is that everyone one is different and is attracted to different things. There are those that like bad boys, while others like the clean cut and reliable guy. Some want a talker while others want the silent type. Some are into the sporty outdoorsy person, compared to those that love a wine-drinking, movie-goer. Then there are those that are just looking for fun and casual while others are only interested in long-term commitment.

The point I'm making here is - trying to get someone to fall for you will depend heavily on the fit you have with each other. And there are many different elements that can influence this. For instance:
  • Values
  • Looks
  • Relationship expectations
  • Goals/plans
  • Health and fitness
  • Financial security
  • Friendship networks
  • Career
  • Wanting marriage/ kids


So the take home message here is, some people will fit with you and fall head over heels, while others will not. It's that simple and you can't take this too personally.

However in saying this, here are 10 general things that you can do to give yourself every chance of making a good impression:
  1. Be polite
  2. Always be respectful
  3. Be punctual
  4. Follow through with promises
  5. Be well groomed
  6. Don't drink too much
  7. Ask questions and take an interest
  8. Share things about yourself
  9. Don't talk about your exes
  10. Don't rush into having sex


John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Are women happier being single than men?

happy simgles

Posted by The RSVP Team on

Research shows that the answer is yes!

Last year, the RSVP Date of the Nation Report* surveyed more than 3,500 Australians. When people were asked if they were happy with their single status, 80% of all single Australian women said yes, versus only 65% of single men.

These figures raise the obvious question of why? Why are single women happier than men? Especially when there is widespread social perception that men enjoy and value their bachelor days more than women...

The research shows single women relish their independence and freedom to make their own decisions more than men. 52% of single women said this is what they most enjoy about being unattached, compared to 36% of single men.

The next most popular reasons for both men and women covered lifestyle aspects such as:
  • Being free from compromise (9% of women and 13% of men)
  • Having the freedom to be spontaneous (cited by 9% of women and 10% of men)
  • Having more time for independent interests (8% of women and 11% of men)
  • Having more time for family and friends (8% of women and 9% of men)


Singles did not rate flirting and new sexual encounters as key benefits of the single life. When asked what they most enjoyed about being single:
  • Only 5% of single men and 2% of single women said it was the opportunity to have new sexual partners
  • Only 2% of single men and 1% of single women said it was the opportunity to flirt with the opposite sex


So as you can see, the research results challenge some fairly established social stereotypes about how men and women view their bachelor lifestyles.

But at the end of the day, it is independence and an exciting sense of freedom which are the best things about the single lifestyle no matter what your gender is.

Do you agree - does being single make you footloose and fancy-free?

The RSVP Team

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Dear John: Dating Etiquette Part 2

ja

Posted by The RSVP Team on

This week, RSVP's Dating and Relationship Expert, John Aiken, continues to answer your questions about dating etiquette.

Hi John,

I have a question about meeting someone after chatting online, but finding out that there is no chemistry between the two of you.

I recently met a guy who I met online and he is a lovely person, but there was no spark between the two of us. He seemed really into me and wants to see me again but I feel like if I did I would be leading him on. How do you let someone down gently? Should you wait to see if something develops or should you be clear about how you feel straight away to avoid hurt feelings later on?

Thanks for your help!

John - When there's no chemistry - there's no chemistry. You're best to acknowledge this and move on immediately. Importantly, you need to do this in a gentle and polite way, and don't let things drag on. Simply tell the guy that he's great, but unfortunately you don't feel any chemistry, and then wish him all the best. This way you're being honest and polite, and you don't crush him in the process.


Hi John,

Ok, an interesting man contacted me sharing he is hiding his profile because a stalker woman keeps emailing him. He offered his phone # to contact him while his profile is hidden. I did not contact him. I know he could simply block her, but maybe he doesn't know this feature is available?? Tempting, but my intuition says "no way" .

Your thoughts ??

John - When you're dating - you absolutely need to trust your instincts. If your instincts suggest there is something suspicious about this member and his story doesn't quite add up - then you've done the right thing by not having any further contact with him.

You are right - he could have simply blocked this other woman by going to the 'more options' drop down menu on her profile and pressing the 'Block Member' link. He then would not have appeared in any of her searches or matches. He would be hidden from her but not other members. More information on this product feature is available here.



Hi John,

My question is, when should I offer my phone number?

John - You want to be exchanging your phone number when you feel there's potential with this person and you feel ready and comfortable to take things offline.

I would recommend you have several solid email exchanges with them to get a sense of their overall compatibility with you. Never rush this process - instead by guided by your commonsense and always listen to your instinct. If you feel confident about them - then move to phone calls. If however you think that something's not quite right, or you need to get more info through emails, then take more time. You control the speed of this process.

If you feel that someone is putting the pressure on to take things offline - have a read of our tips for protecting your personal information here.



Hi John,

Popular dating advice books such as The Rules and He's Just Not That Into You suggest that women should never be the first person to contact someone, eg, never send a kiss. Do you think this is true?

John - Absolutely not! If a woman is interested but won't contact a man because of a set of rules, then it's highly likely the guys will move onto someone else who isn't going to play games. Now that doesn't mean you do all the chasing! But showing a guy that you're interested in the beginning won't hurt your chances. It's what the guy does next that you want to look at closely. Does he return the interest and make the effort, or does he play hot and cold games? By all means make the first contact, but then watch his response - this will tell you all you need to know.


Hi John,

I have only just joined RSVP as I have known a few people who have done so. My dilemma is that there seem to be a lot of interesting people if I was in a position to change my own life enough to get to know any of them. I have my own business and family and friends as well as interests and while I would like companionship, that person would need to fit into my lifestyle and location. Am I searching for the impossible by online dating?

John - Just from what you're saying you seem too busy at the moment to let someone new into your life. That's ok, it's a choice you're making at present. However that's going to be a growing obstacle for as you meet other singles through online dating. To really get the most out of the process - you need to be flexible, open to experiencing new opportunities and willing to let new love in. So keep this mind as you go along, and if you're prepared to make some compromises and fit in with other singles and their needs, then you're going to increase your chances of finding someone special.


John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)


Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Disclaimer
The information and advice provided is for general information purposes only. Whilst we endeavor to make the information useful, RSVP and John Aiken make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability or suitability to your personal circumstances. Any reliance on this advice and information is therefore strictly at your own risk. In no event will RSVP or John Aiken be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising in connection with, the use of this advice.

Why games don't work

date

Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

Dating requires plenty of courage. You need to take a risk, put yourself out there and see if you can find someone that likes you as much you like them!

There'll be good days and bad days. Sometimes the singles you think are perfect - unfortunately turn out to be mismatches. The only way to really survive this challenging process is to cut out the games and be upfront and honest in your approach. In the long-run it will be better for you and the others around you.

The reason why games don't work is because you're not being authentic. Instead, you're putting out mixed messages and acting in way that is fake and insincere. If this is your approach, then ultimately things will become too complicated, people will get frustrated and confused, and eventually they'll tire of not knowing where they stand. You can hurt people's feelings, create anxiety and stress for them and they can end up getting hung up on these games for months on end!

Some of the games include:
  • Not ringing back
  • Sending misleading texts
  • Standing someone up for 30 minutes
  • Flirting with their friends
  • Being hot and cold with your affection
  • Constantly changing your plans on them
  • Not sharing personal information
  • Being vague about your whereabouts
  • Having sex with multiple partners
  • Keeping secrets
  • Giving them the cold shoulder


It might seem like fun at the time. You might even convince yourself that everyone plays these types of games when dating. But the truth is, they don't. What most people want is to simply meet and fall in love with someone, and to enjoy the process along the way.

Sure games protect you from getting hurt. They stop you from creating a deep emotional connection. They allow you to stay in control and not let anyone get too close to you. But if that's what you really want - then stop dating.

You're better off having a break and enjoying being single and pursuing your own goals. When you do want to jump back in - only commit to this when you're ready to get close to someone and enjoy an intimate connection.

John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Dear John: Dating Etiquette Part 1

ja

Posted by The RSVP Team on

Last week, we asked you to send in your questions on dating etiquette. Thank you for getting in contact - there were a lot of interesting topics raised especially in relation to communicating with a new love interest.

John will provide responses to a selection of questions over the next few weeks. Starting with the below...




Hi John,

What should you do if you receive a kiss from someone whose ideal partner criteria doesn't match your profile. I've been rejected a few times lately when I've sent my photo, and then when I looked closer I realised their ideal criteria didn't match me anyway.

John - One of the key things to remember when online dating is that it's a process of elimination not rejection. There will be times when you receive a kiss from someone, engage in email contact or even go out on several dates - but then it doesn't work out. That's part of it all. Remember not to take it too personally. See this as a learning experience that's getting you one step closer to someone who is an ideal match. Keep getting back on the horse and stay in the game - there's a match out there waiting for you!


Hi John,

I was wondering if a man contacts a woman should he pay for the first date. If there is no sexual relationship should a woman pay for herself, if there is a sexual relationship should a man pay for all dates or only special dates like Valentines Day. I suppose if the people dating are poor ie both pensioners they would each pay their share. I personally find if a man pays he expects sex in return. Would be glad of your opinion. In the old days the man always paid AND EXPECTED NOTHING IN RETURN but I know things have changed now and you are lucky if a man buys you a cup of coffee without expecting something in return. So what strings are attached???

John - Let's keep things nice and simple. Go in expecting that you'll both be paying for the coffee, meal or drink. If your date wants to pay, that's fine, go with this and thank them - but this is NOT a green light for sex. If this is their mindset - then they're totally wrong for you and it's time to look elsewhere. Paying for a date does not mean let's get naked - and most men understand this.


Hi John,

Is it bad manners to be talking to or meeting more than one person at a time? This is strictly talking, meeting for a coffee/drink/meal NOT having a relationship.

I ask because a few people are interested in me and me in them but I would like to talk with them for a while then meet them to see how things go in person. If there's a connection, great. If not, better to finish the communication there unless they/we are happy to be social acquaintances.
I would really appreciate your thoughts.

John - There's nothing wrong with dating several people at once - as long as you keep sex out of it. You can get to know them, enjoy their company and see if there's a good fit before becoming exclusive. Through this process, you're able to get clear about your likes and dislikes, and they can do exactly the same thing as well. Be up front if they ask - and reassure them that there's nothing physical going on with anyone else. Then see who stands out!


Hi John,

Just wondering, what is the best way to process sudden lack of communication? I've had a few incidents where a few emails have flowed via the site and then ... nothing from the other party.

I can understand if they have lost interest, or have some other party in the background, but am I too sensitive in thinking it's really rude just to drop out of the equation without some kind of "wind up wish you well" message?

John - I think people should be up front with their communication. I agree, it's rude if someone simply shuts off all contact with you without warning or explanation. However, it's going to happen from time to time in the dating game. So don't take it personally, chalk it up to experience and remind yourself that this person was unavailable for a close relationship (e.g. baggage, scared of commitment, hung up on an ex etc.). Better finding this out early rather than wasting anymore of your time and energy on them.


Hi John,

I have a question that I've been wanting to ask for a long time. How do I communicate to a prospective after say 3 dates that I'm not wishing to have sex till I feel emotionally secure with the person which for me usually takes about 6 months.

I feel most people feel a month qualifies for starting a sexual relationship and find out about the person later. I can't do that. I need to know the person well and know I want a permanent relationship with them and visa versa before I feel I want share sex.

I have trouble articulating my needs without the other person feeling that I am abnormal or playing power games. Hope you can answer this.

John - How refreshing to hear your stance on waiting 6 months for sex! This clearly sends the message to any prospective love interest that you're looking for serious not casual. Brilliant!!! Tell them that you you're looking for something long-term and therefore you like to wait before having sex so you can really get to know someone. Explain to them that sex is something you place high value on, and you're not going to share this with just anyone. If a guy is keen on you and wants long-term, then he'll be more than happy to wait. Be confident and assured in your position - your respecting yourself and it's a healthy approach.


John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)


Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Disclaimer
The information and advice provided is for general information purposes only. Whilst we endeavor to make the information useful, RSVP and John Aiken make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability or suitability to your personal circumstances. Any reliance on this advice and information is therefore strictly at your own risk. In no event will RSVP or John Aiken be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising in connection with, the use of this advice.

Knowing the difference between toxic and supportive friends

sup friends

Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

When you're single and putting yourself out there on the dating scene, it's important that you can fall back on your friends for support and guidance. After all, dating can be a rollercoaster ride with plenty of ups and downs along the way. Unfortunately, some of your friends may not be as supportive as others and this can make the process a lot more difficult.

So as 2014 begins, take a moment to review your current friendships and identify those that are toxic and those that are healthy. Then weed your garden and choose to prioritise those friends that celebrate you.

To help you out along the way - here are some of the more common tell-tale signs that you have a toxic friend in your life:
  • They only talk about themselves
  • They try to bully, control and organise you
  • They put you down and criticise you
  • They drink and party too much
  • They make you feel bad about yourself (guilty, wrong, dumb, not good enough)
  • They expect you to change your plans to always be there for them
  • They never seem to be happy for you
  • You can't be yourself around them
  • You often feel used and taken for granted
  • You can't trust them
  • You notice that you try to avoid them


At the end of the day, if you're spending time with friends that don't make you feel good about yourself, then it's time to make some changes. Friendship must be a two way street, and you need to feel positive, strong and supported as you head into the new year.

So take this opportunity to look at who you're hanging around with. Are they healthy for you? Do they make you feel good about yourself? Do they celebrate your successes? Will they be there for you during the tough times? And can you really be yourself around them?

If the answer is 'no' to any of these questions, then let them go and free yourself up to spend more time with positive people. Surround yourself with friends that want the best for you and then settle in for a great year ahead!

Happy New Year!

John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Responsible dating reminder

safety first

Posted by The RSVP Team on

First dates are an exciting mix of nerves and endless possibilities.

No matter whether you're the outgoing, extroverted type that loves meeting new people or the more reserved, introverted type whose opinion of first dates is at the other end of the spectrum, there are some important principles that should govern your first date behaviour.

After all, irrespective of whether you meet in a bar, pub, through a club or online, your first date should be recognised as what it is - the initial meeting. Even if there have been countless flirtatious emails or text messages, it's important not to get completely swept up in the moment. Rather, remember that you don't actually know the other person properly just yet.

Here are a few simple reminders that everyone should keep in mind when dating:

1. Don't be rushed into a first date
You're never obliged to meet anyone. You don't owe the other person anything other than courtesy - so don't feel pressured, regardless of how much communication you've had. Ask questions over email and take all the time you need to become comfortable with someone before giving them your personal contact information.

Once you've shared your contact details, there is still no need to jump straight into a face-to-face meeting. It's a good idea to have a chat over the phone before you meet. You can tell a lot about someone by the chemistry and banter. We suggest you stick to calling mobiles rather than swapping home or work numbers first.

2. You can excuse yourself at any point
On a first date, it's often a good idea to have an excuse of having to be somewhere else after your date. This will create a clear end point to the meeting and also gives you the option to politely excuse yourself and leave the date if anything starts to make you feel uncomfortable. At the end of the day, feeling safe is much more important than someone's opinion of you.

3. Make your own way there
Furthermore, it's also a good idea to drive on your first date or have your own transport. Don't agree to being picked up (even if it sounds like good manners to accept or offer). With your own transport, you can excuse yourself whenever you like.

4. Choose sensible date venues
When deciding where to go on the first date, pick somewhere casual and relaxed, preferably somewhere that's easy to get to and where you feel comfortable. Make sure it's a public place - remember you don't know the other person yet, so you don't want to be inviting them to your house or accepting a dinner invitation at their place.

5. Have a buddy system
On those first few dates, let a friend know where you're going and give them your date's number and name. You may want to ask your buddy to call you at a pre-determined time to see how you're going. It's also a good idea to check in with them at the end of the date for a debrief.

Keep these simple tips in mind so you can relax and have more fun, while knowing you are dating responsibly.

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

How to deal with your own jealousy in relationships

jealousy

Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

We've all experienced this from time to time. A moment when we see our love interest or partner get hit on by someone else. It can create a sense of jealousy and discomfort. However, it will soon pass and it's just a reminder of how much you desire and want them. You may even laugh about it with them afterwards.

On the other hand, you may be someone who has a jealous streak that is more intense, more serious and more problematic in relationships. It's not a feeling that goes away. Instead, it consumes you and wreaks havoc in your love life.

Some of the typically signs of problem jealousy include:

You constantly interrogate your partner with questions
You follow your partner
You control who your partner socialises with
You get angry and aggressive when you see them with others
You try to spend all your time with them
You read your partner's emails
You check their phone
You quickly jump to the conclusion that your partner is cheating on you
You obsess about their whereabouts
You constantly ring and text to check up on them

Now if you're one of these people, then romantic relationship are going to be very difficult to maintain. You'll be in a constant state of suspicion, worry and fear that your partner is going to leave or is interested in someone else.

So if you find yourself susceptible to these behaviours when in a new relationship, here are some steps to help you deal with unwarranted jealousy -

Identify the jealous behaviours
Talk to your love interest/partner and ask them what jealous behaviours they don't like, and how they make them feel?

Get a new road map
Get them to give you a roadmap on how to do it differently. Ask them to be specific about your behaviours - what needs to stop and what needs to start happening (e.g. limit texts and phone calls, no interrogation questions, talk with a soft tone, stop checking phone/ emails etc.)

Create more time apart
Build more space into the relationship whereby you both spend greater time apart mixing with friends and pursuing interests. Think of this like fitness training.

Challenge jealous thinking
Monitor your jealous thoughts and when you start to worry, challenge these with questions like "How can I view this differently?", "What's an alternative explanation?", and "Why is this untrue?"

Get re-assurance
This is something that needs to be done sparingly, but by all means talk to your partner if you're feeling jealous and insecure. Allow them to re-assure you and talk through your worries. This can give you perspective and stop you blowing things out of proportion.

John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Are you financially compatible?

financially compatible

Posted by By AMP Financial Planner Claire Esmond on

When we're dating, we are subconsciously assessing many things - are we physically attracted to the other person? Do they have the qualities we look for in a long-term partner?

It is prime time to gather information about the type of person they really are so you can find out if you're likely to be compatible. Do they have the same life goals as you, are your personalities matched, and are your interests and values in line?

It's natural that we suss people out in a number of areas. It might seem unromantic but it's wise and practical to also think about how financially compatible you are. Do you have the same attitude towards cash, what financial values are important to you and what differences are you willing to live with?
'
Things may be cruising along after a couple of dates, then you find out they've not completed a tax return for the past ten years or that they have a lot of debt. More often than not, it can be many months, if not years, before this type of information comes to light.

Some won't blink an eye at this, assuming that there are valid reasons and trusting the person will have a plan for repayments, but others might take it as a sign of financial irresponsibility and it may be a deal breaker.

The point is, by asking open-ended questions early on in the piece you can build a better picture of the other person and how they handle their financial responsibilities. The information you learn will either make you fall more deeply for them or raise some red flags.

Most people will only discuss finances if they consider themselves to be in a serious relationship, so if you're keen to explore your financial compatibility, don't go in hard with questions that are going to push the boundaries on the first few dates. You can however weave the topics subtly into conversation so you can get an idea of your potential partner's attitudes.

Here are a few examples to get you started:

"I've just done my tax return today, have you done yours?" You may discover they're pretty on top of it - or that they are so far behind they've no idea of how or when they'll catch up.
"I am trying to decide if I should upgrade my car now or hang onto it - what do you do with yours?" You might discover that while they picked you up in the latest BMW they actually owe a lot of money on it.
"So, how long have you been living in <insert area> for?" They may volunteer that they're renting until they find a place to buy or that they have grown up in the area and bought their place for next to nothing many moons ago.
"My friend / sister/ aunty is coming to visit from overseas next year, but they are planning on paying for the entire trip on credit!" Pause two, three... don't offer any opinion. Let them react and tell you if they think this is okay or not. This will give you some clues as to their level of comfort with bad debt. Obviously don't lie - you might be able to share a similar but truthful story relating to your life.
"Have you been reading about..." Bring up something you've read or heard regarding finance superannuation and then listen to what they have to say. This is one way to measure how interested they are in finances. This is perhaps not a first date question, but something to use at the appropriate time a little way into dating.

As time goes by, you can throw many other questions into the mix. The key is to invite opinion without being too direct and intrusive. Down the track, as you start to know each other, then it becomes easier to have more direct conversations about money.

Of course, questions aside, a lot can be deduced from observing the person's actions - as the saying goes, actions speak louder than words.

Ultimately, you have to balance the romantic with the pragmatic. Maybe you're happy to date someone who brings a lot of debt to the table because they offer you other things that you consider more important? Or maybe financial security is incredibly important to you and where you're at in life and that is something you are keen to prioritise? Only you can decide what is a deal breaker and what isn't.

Claire Esmond of Pave Wealth Services (WA) is an Authorised Representative of AMP Financial Planning Pty Ltd, ABN 89 051 208 327, AFS Licence No. 232706.

Any advice given is general only and has not taken into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this, before acting on any advice, you should consult a financial planner to consider how appropriate the advice is to your objectives, financial situation and needs.

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Assessing your 2014 goals

goals

Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

Assessing your goals at the end of the year is a great way of setting the tone of how you want to live your life on a day-to-day basis. Do you have a plan? Are you working towards anything in particular? Are your goals consistent with your values? Doing this now will put you in a position to hit the ground running in 2014 when others around you are still in holiday mode.

When looking at assessing your goals for 2014 you first need to understand what your core values look like. Specifically, your goals need to be consistent with what's important to you. They need to be authentic otherwise it's unlikely that you will follow through on them.

To help you on your way with this whole process, here are some practical steps to follow to get you focused and goal-orientated for the year ahead:

Step 1. Discover your values
One of the key exercises to highlight what's important to you is to write your own eulogy. Take 10 minutes and imagine that you're standing at the back of your own funeral. What are people going to say about you as a husband/ wife, parent, work colleague, friend? How do you want to be remembered? In what areas are you going to make an impact? Now write this down. These are your values.

Step 2. Set fresh goals
Now take these values and apply them to your goals for 2014. For instance, if you realise through this exercise that being fit and healthy is very important to you, then establish clear goals that match this. Be specific, realistic and write them down (e.g. lose 5 kg's, run 5 km daily, reduce drinking to once a week, cut out chocolate). Other areas to consider include:
Finances
Dating/Relationships
Friends
Living Arrangements
Family
Travel

Step 3. Enlist support
While establishing these authentic goals, make sure that you also consider enlisting experts to help you move in the right direction. They have the knowledge and you need to tap into them to get to where you want to go. (e.g. nutritionist, personal trainer, financial planner, accountant, psychologist etc.)

Step 4. Take action
The final step is to start doing small action steps that get you closer to your goals every day. Because these goals are consistent with your values, it means you're living an authentic life. This will give you focus and momentum as well as increase your overall levels of happiness.

John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Profile writing for new members

writing

Posted by The RSVP Team on

Your profile is your first impression in the online dating world. It will directly determine how much success you have - so it's crucial to make it authentic and interesting.

Thousands of new members are signing up to RSVP every day - so here are some tips to help you get started with a great profile.

Pick good profile photos
The photo is the first thing that other members look at - it is what grabs attention.

Select recent photos (i.e. taken in the last six months) that show you smiling and happy. Furthermore, make sure there is at least one photo showing your eyes. If you've been through all your photos and feel it's time to take a fresh picture - we'd suggest steering away from selfies or photos taken in a mirror - why not ask a friend or family member to take a quick snap?

Specify what you want in a partner
The ideal partner criteria is important because it acts as a guide to other members and will help you attract suitable singles.

Think about what is important to you in a partner. Is it body type, religion, smoking habits, whether or not they have kids? If you have a clear preference on these factors, then specify them. There are thousands of people online, so focusing your search will help you meet more suitable people and generally have better dates.

Make it colourful
If you want to stand out and generate interest in your profile - make sure it's authentic and colourful.

Try to stay away from clichés or generic statements such as "I like a night out as much as a night in" instead include some details and colour...perhaps something like, "I love checking out the latest small bars opening in the city but sometimes you'll find me on the couch catching up on Homeland..."

If you're funny - show off some your humour in your personality description. You'll quickly find out who shares your sense of humour and is likely to laugh at your jokes. Remember you are posting on the net, so keep it PG but have fun with it.

By putting some time into your photos, personality description and ideal partner criteria - not only will you have a more interesting profile, you will also demonstrate your level of commitment to the dating process.

Oh and don't forget - ALWAYS check your spelling!

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Managing end of year pressure

managing pressure

Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

There's no doubt that come the end of the year, pressure increases for singles as they head into the festive holiday season.

In a recent survey of more than 1,000 RSVP members, 53% of singles admitted that they put more pressure on themselves about their single status at this time of year.

And it's not surprising.

My phone runs hot over the month of December with singles experiencing increased stress and anxiety. And if you're in this position, it can be a really tough time because you're heading into the holidays with no long-term partner, you have increased time on your own, you're surrounded by family and friends asking you about your love life, and everywhere you look you see happy couples in love!

It's stressful!

So rather than letting your worries get on top of you during this time of year - here's some tips to reduce the pressure as you head into the holiday season:

1. Be positive about your love life
When you get asked "how's your love life?" a million times, take it in your stride and remember people are only asking because they want to show they care about what is going on in your life. Be positive about your love life, upbeat about what lies ahead and stay away from negative self-talk.

2. Lock in your New Year schedule
Don't let this time of year go unplanned. You need to organise your schedule and get prepared! Gather friends or family together and make sure you have solid plans in place New Year's Eve. This is a key occasion where you want to be surrounded by people you love and enjoy spending time with.

3. Plan your holiday
Think about how much time you have off and plan plenty of fun activities to make sure you keep busy. If you've been talking about going paddle boarding, trying a new restaurant or going on a day trip - lock it in. If you need to get away for week, book some last-minute flights and accommodation and make it happen. Get excited now about how you're going to spend this holiday season.

4. Get proactive about dating
Rather than getting down and negative about your single status - take action. Set up or refresh your online dating profile, be brave and approach that person at the café or join a new club. Get on the front foot and create opportunities for yourself. Be open-minded and don't be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. There are plenty of other available singles out there at this time of year!

5. Consider your 2013 achievements and 2014 goals
It's so easy to forget all the wonderful things you've achieved over the past 12 months and instead focus on being single. Break this pattern - take time now to acknowledge and celebrate your successes and then create new goals for 2014. Doing this will empower you, boost your confidence and get you focused.

John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Recognising and celebrating your 2013 achievements

achievements

Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

It's that time again. You get the opportunity to pause and look back on the year that was. December has arrived and it's a natural time for you to review all that you achieved in 2013.

Now, for some of you this will be a very easy activity. If you're a disciplined goal setter, then this is the time of year when you typically look at your goals and achievements and take stock. However for others, it can be a daunting process which feels overwhelming and scary.

If you're one of these people who doesn't tend to recognise and celebrate your achievements - then here's an exercise that might hep...

Step 1: Highlight your achievements

Consider each of the areas below and ask yourself "What's changed about my life?", "What am I doing differently?", "What am I happy about?" If you find this difficult, then enlist the help of a trusted friend to get you looking at your positives.

Dating/ Relationships
Work
Friends
Health & Fitness
Finance
Living Arrangements
Family
Travel

Step 2: Celebrate

Now it's time to soak up these achievements. Look at all the little victories you've had in 2013 and make a point of acknowledging them. Too often, we downplay and minimise our high points and instead focus on our mistakes and regrets.

Now how are you going to do this?

Think of the different ways you love to celebrate. And who you love to do this with? Now take action and begin to make time to revel in all the wonderful things you've done over 2013!

John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

It may be the silly season but it's also time to stay smart online

outside

Posted by The RSVP Team on

It happens every year - as we head towards the holidays and the end of the year - Aussie singles get more proactive in their approach to online dating. RSVP is expecting to see a flurry of activity later this month as singles sign up to the site and existing members get more active. So we thought it would be a good time to remind you about some of the simple things you need to do to make sure you're dating online securely.

Whether you're banking, shopping, communicating, networking or dating, doing things online is secure as long as you follow some simple guidelines and exercise common sense.

Here are some tips from RSVP that should guide your online dating behaviour and how you communicate with other singles on the site.

1. Use the system to protect your privacy
RSVP provides all members with an anonymous and secure email address. When you communicate through the site, your personal information is protected. The system is designed so you can get to know other members before exchanging personal information. You have 30 days of unlimited communication with another member once a Stamp has been used and you've begun exchanging emails.

Use this system until you are ready to meet and don't let anyone rush you to take things offline or to other communication channels such as your personal email, mobile etc.

2. Be alert to early declarations of love
If someone you are in contact with starts declaring their love for you within a matter of weeks (or even days), be cautious. The emails may be long and romantic, so be careful to use your best judgement.

If you are unsure, get a second opinion from a friend or suggest a phone call with them to help you make a decision about this person's intentions or legitimacy.

3. Beware of anyone who talks money
Be on the lookout if there is any mention of financial difficulty and the need or request for financial assistance. This can come in the form of requests for money to pay for a visa, an airfare or medical expenses. Beware of anyone asking you to use a wire transfer service or provide your financial details.

Similarly, beware of anyone who offers money to you. These are always scams. Why would someone you don't know want to give you money?

Put simply - under no circumstances should you provide bank account, financial details or money.

4. Do not follow links to other sites
Emails that ask you to follow links to other sites are likely to be part of a scam activity and should not be clicked.

Reputable dating sites like RSVP do not have links to photos on other sites.

5. Report suspicious behaviour
If you come across a profile or meet someone online who seems suspicious, report it to the dating site and request that the member is investigated. It's better to be safe than sorry.

More safe dating tips are available here:
Safe dating reminder
Your protection and security

The RSVP Team

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Surviving the silly season

xmas

Posted by The RSVP Team on

The silly season is in full swing. It's all about Christmas parties, end of year drinks and a string of celebrations combined with family commitments, serious shopping lists to get through and that nagging need to get lingering jobs done before Christmas...

December is the best time of year for socialising - there are loads of opportunities to get out there and meet new people. People are feeling festive. The warm weather and buzzing streets brings fun and interesting date options that soak up the balmy evenings and endless hours of sunlight.

But with all the excitement and anticipation of a new year, it's easy to get caught up in the festivities - partying and pushing yourself a little too hard while still trying to get everything done before the year draws to a close. We've all done it. Burning the candle at both ends...you then end up exhausted or worse, not feeling 100% by the time the holidays hit.

It's important to make the most of this time of year while also taking care of yourself so you're fighting fit for the holidays and start of 2014.

Here are RSVP's top three tips for embracing the silly season while looking after yourself this December:

1. Get organised
Make a list of things you need to do before Christmas and work out what is most important to you. Is it finishing up a work project, making that appointment to see the dentist (you know the one you have been procrastinating over all year), doing your Christmas shopping before Christmas Eve? Make sure you allow enough time in your schedule to get these things done without causing you last minute stress. Remember Christmas shopping with a hangover is nobody's idea of fun!

2. Keep Moving
What sounds more appealing - a drink after work or a session at the gym? We know it's tempting but try not to forgo all your regular exercise routines. If your diary is looking particularly full up until Christmas, perhaps consider working out before work so you can still enjoy social opportunities in the evening while getting your endorphin fix earlier in the day.

3. Get involved
Take advantage of the parties and get involved. Push yourself beyond your comfort zone and introduce yourself to new people when you're out and about. If you want to meet someone, there is no point spending the entire party with your longstanding friends, approach someone new. Most people are feeling sociable at this time of year, so strike up a conversation.

The RSVP Team

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Is it OK to say if you don't like a friend's new partner?

tension

Posted by John Aiken, dating and relationship expert on

We've all been confronted with this sticky situation at some time or another. You've got a really close friend who you love spending time with and you're both currently out on the dating scene. Your friend then meets a new love interest and becomes totally smitten. The only problem is - you don't like their new partner!!! What do you do? Speak up or keep your opinions to yourself?

Good strong friendships can survive many things. Intense arguments, major disappointments, and large-scale hurts. But when it comes to this situation, you're on very shaky ground if you're thinking of saying something unless it's based on a history of serious issues such as violence, addiction, gambling or infidelity.

The reason why it's such a delicate and potentially friendship-ending decision to voice your personal and subjective dislike, is that you're not talking to a rational close friend at this point in time. Instead, you're talking to a love drunk, head over heels, besotted person whose brain is flooded with feel good chemicals (e.g. dopamine, noradrenaline).

In this state (called 'limerence'), your friend is skipping around being obsessed with their new partner. They long to spend all their time with them, they constantly fantasise about them and their future together, and all they see is their amazing character traits.

So if you think that speaking up and telling your friend that you simply don't like their new partner will make a difference - it won't. They're not going to listen. They're not able to. You'll lose to the chemicals every time!

Not only that, because your friend is now totally 'lovesick' with this new person, they're not going to appreciate your honesty or point of view. Instead, they're going to take this very, very personally indeed. They'll defend their new lover, become angry and hurt by your words and 100% disagree with you. And this may change your friendship forever.

So if you think it's going to get them to break-up with their new love interest - think again. It will simply push them closer to this person and further away from you.

So my advice would be AVOID telling them that you don't like their new partner. Instead, create some space and give them distance. Avoid catching up with them together. See your friend separately if possible, and essentially turn your focus to your other friends.

Let your friend come to the realisation that it's not going to work - rather than you trying to tell them.

Be civil and polite when you're around them both, but keep your thoughts to yourself. If they really are bad together - it will fizzle out. And if by some miracle they manage to make it work, then you haven't ruined your friendship, and you're in a position to deal with them both moving forward anyway you like.

John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen regularly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Is every experience of love different?

blog dec

Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

Falling in love can be a wonderful experience. Those early exciting times when you're getting to know each other and wanting to spend more and more time with your new love interest. This is a particular stage that people go through when they first meet. But in the long run, love can come in many shapes and sizes, and every person's experience will be different.

Early on you will experience a stage of falling in love called 'limerence'. This is a time when your brain fills with feel good chemicals such as noradrenaline and dopamine. At this time, you become love drunk and typically fixate on your new partner, have sex with them all the time, obsess about them, change your plans to be with them and feel an amazing surge of energy and overall wellbeing.

In her great book, Where did my libido go? - Dr. Rosie King, Australia's foremost sex therapist describes this state as being a near obsessive form of romantic love when you're in a constant state of sexual stimulation. She also points out that it typically only last 12-18 months and then fades as the chemicals die down, and you move into the 'attachment stage' of a relationship.

During this next stage, you get comfortable with your partner and look to settle into a long-term relationship with them. At this point, your experience of love changes and becomes very different for each person. You begin to really weigh up if this person is suited to you?

It's no longer about being love drunk. Instead, it's about your personalities and past experiences coming into play. Throw into the mix your daily routines and obligations, friendship networks, involvement with family, approach to health and fitness and relationship expectations. Not to mention how you communicate and manage conflict, your parenting styles, financial values and your goals for the future.

When you lay out all of these variables it becomes clear that, after the initial stages of attraction, your experience of love will be different each time around. Everyone comes with a package. Some may be divorced, have kids, work long hours, travel a lot for their career, be 10 years older than you, love going to gym and eating healthy or have an over-involved parent.

Whatever the factors, you need to have an open mind and realise that every experience of love is going to be different. It's not about expecting love to be the same, but rather embracing the different love you have with each person and seeing how it sits with you.

John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, as seen on Ch 7's the Morning Show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy. www.johnaiken.com.au

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Getting comfortable in the bedroom

bedroom

Posted by John Aiken, dating and relationship expert on

Have you ever done something in bed that you weren't comfortable with? Perhaps experimenting with a new technique, dressing up in something different or talking explicitly to a new love interest.

The RSVP Date of the Nation Report 2013 shows that 24% of Australians have tried something in bed that they were not comfortable with, and this suggests that a portion of Aussies still aren't talking openly about sex.

Now when you first meet someone, the sparks will fly. The chemicals in your brain will be rushing around and your key focus will be your new love interest and getting naked together! This will see sex become a major priority in your life, and it will all be very novel and exciting.

While this is a great stage to experience in the early days of getting to know someone, you must also treat it with caution. Just because you're enjoying the highs of having sex with a new person - you also need to be open about your likes and dislikes, and have clear sexual boundaries.

That means, if you're feeling uncomfortable with doing something sexual with your new partner - then speak up and say 'no'. Experimenting is good but if there are times when something is suggested and you don't like it - then don't do it.

For many people - sex is not just a physical release. It's also a way to connect with a person. To be intimate and close, and to share something special. Some singles like to leap in, while others like to take things slowly. Some want to try out anything and everything, while others will be more conservative.

To have great sex together, you need to be great communicators. There has to be an understanding from both sides about what you will and won't try. What you do and don't want. The more you talk - the more you'll find out. And this openness will give you a sense of where you both stand with one another and how to proceed.

Under no circumstances, do you want to feel uncomfortable with the sex that you're having. You don't want to be trying out things in the bedroom that you simply don't want to do. And if you think the person you're with won't like you speaking up - then you're with the wrong person and you need to look elsewhere.

Remember - great sex comes from great communication. Get talking and create clear boundaries in the bedroom. Then you can relax and enjoy each other as much as you like.

John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen regularly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

Dealing with your insecurities when dating

insecure

Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

Dating can really bring out insecurities for all of us. Let's face it - you're putting yourself out there trying to meet someone special and that means you're making yourself vulnerable. Along the way you're bound to have setbacks and disappointments that can really tap into your worries and fears. However if you're going to date, then this is something you've got to come to terms with.

The reason why so many insecurities can come up for singles when they're dating is that you're constantly faced with possible rejection. And if things don't go well, you're left wondering what happened and questioning if you're ever really going to meet anyone?

Everything is being evaluated when you're dating - your looks, personality, career, social status, parenting potential, financial security, and friendship networks. Of course it's going to make you feel uneasy, scared and insecure.

For some people, this can be all too confronting and they just avoid dating altogether. But this isn't the answer. Instead, follow the tips below and begin to deal with your insecurities so you can actually relax and enjoy the ride.
  1. Don't take things personally
    The first place to start when dealing with your insecurities is to be clear about your approach to dating. If you're going to do this successfully then you simply cannot take things personally. So it's very important to remember dating is not a process of rejection - it's a process of elimination. It's a numbers game and you're currently going through a stage of sifting through the bad to get to the good. It's not personal and you have to remember this at all times.

  2. Control your thinking
    It's so important that you maintain objectivity when it comes to dating. It's very easy to become insecure, negative and to start blaming yourself when things don't work out with potential love interests. Whenever you start to feel this way - stop and challenge your thinking. Ask yourself:
    • "How can I look at this differently?"
    • "What would I tell my best friend if they were thinking this?"
    • "What's an alternative view?"

    This will snap you back into looking at the bigger picture and get you feeling calm and positive again about dating.

  3. Lean on your friends
    Whenever you feel anxious, scared or filled with self-doubt - turn to your friends for support. Often you can get overwhelmed with the challenges of dating and they can give you perspective and encouragement in all of this. They have the ability to pick you back up and keep you moving towards your ultimate goal of falling in love.

  4. Be patient and selective
    Insecurities can emerge if things don't happen quickly and you find yourself single after an extended period of time. It's absolutely vital that you keep reminding yourself that it's a marathon not a sprint. You must be patient and selective in this process, and focus only on what you can control.

  5. Embrace new opportunities
    So often when you start to feel insecure and scared, you decide to retreat and avoid being vulnerable. You turn down dating opportunities and withdraw to the safety of your single life. This simply increases your insecurities and fills you with more anxiety. Instead, get out there, face your fears and keep meeting different singles. Get out of your comfort zone and continue to put yourself in the game. The more dates you have, the more experience you'll gain, and in turn this will give you greater resilience to carry on with your overall dream of meeting someone special.


John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, as seen on Ch 7's the Morning Show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy. www.johnaiken.com.au

Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

The dangers of workplace relations

workplace romance

Posted by John Aiken, dating and relationship expert on

I like the idea of people meeting 'the one' at work. Let's face it - it's a great place to get to know someone in a safe and controlled way. You can see their personality up close without showing your hand. You can witness their work ethic, sense of humour, conflict management style, manners, social skills, and even their dress sense!!

However in saying this, there are some real dangers that go hand in hand with office romances.

These obstacles don't typically exist in other types of relationships, so it's wise to consider them carefully before jumping into bed with a work colleague.
  • HR policies
    For many office workplaces there are specific rules around workplace relations. Essentially, some work environments outlaw this and have strong legal policies in place to stop this from occurring. Going against this and falling in love with a work colleague could result in a hefty fine or a loss of employment.
  • Gossip
    Going out with someone at work means you're going to be in the firing line for rumours and gossip. Your every move will be monitored by those around you, and word will spread about the both of you when you're not in the room. Your relationship will be the focus of office conversation and this can be exhausting and irritating.
  • Lack of privacy
    Most couples tend to fight in private away from the prying eyes of family and friends. However in office romances, arguments can occur at work that sees your dirty laundry get aired to everyone who wants to listen. You may have a loud screaming match in front of others, or else be giving each other the cold shoulder. Whatever the case, people can see it, and your private matters will now become more public.
  • Favouritism
    Office romances can become particularly tricky if you decide to date your boss. This can see a power play start to happen and possible favouritism occur over other colleagues. If this happens, the office can turn against you and things can become extremely tense and hostile.
  • Inappropriate behaviour
    You might think that you can keep your hands off each other at work - but this can be very difficult at times. As a result, you may find yourself taking risks and engaging in inappropriate behaviour with your workplace love interest. From kissing each other, engaging in PDA and even having sex, to sending explicit texts and emails during work time - there is a risk of stepping over the line.
  • Reduced work performance
    Although you would like to keep your eye on the ball and maintain high work standards this can often be hard to achieve when you're having an office romance. You can get distracted, lose your concentration, run late, become disorganized, miss deadlines or make uncharacteristic mistakes.
  • Messy break-ups
    Unlike the normal break-up process, when you end an office romance you still have to see your ex every day after the split. They may even be sitting beside you at your workspace! This can be awkward, embarrassing, hurtful and irritating. It's not something that goes away quickly or easily, and can make for a tense workplace moving forward - particularly when you start dating other people!

  • With these dangers in mind, make sure you think carefully before getting involved in an office romance. Be up front and discuss the possible pitfalls and consequences with your new love interest, and put in place some plans so that you protect your relationship from these work dangers. The more teamwork you have going into an office romance the better you will cope with the pressure that goes along with it.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen regularly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Hot topic - profile photos

    profile pic

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    We've had lots of questions and requests for tips on profile photos. Enduringly, profile photos are a hot topic of discussion and rightly so. In the world of online dating, profile photos are critically important.

    Why is this? Because a photo helps give other members the confidence to approach you, engage in chat and possibly flirtation.

    Some might consider the importance of photos to be superficial but it's not really a shallow motivation that drives this behaviour. It is human nature. We feel more comfortable talking to a new person if we have some indication of what they look like. It helps establish familiarity - especially when the subject of discussion is as personal as relationships.

    At RSVP, we know that profiles with a photo attract 11 times more interest than those without a picture. Clearly demonstrating how important images are...

    And then there are some members who have a profile photo but don't seem to be attracting much interest or not getting second dates. Sounds like your profile shots are not working for you...

    Here are our top five tips for picking photos for your profile. Follow these tips and see if your online dating experience improves -

    1. Use current photos
      It is really important to use current photos. Don't fall into the trap of using a great photo from a wedding or special occasion years ago if you don't present in the same manner today. It's unlikely that you're going to turn up to a first meeting in your three-piece suit or best cocktail dress. Furthermore, you may have changed the style of your hair or gained/lost weight...Your date won't trust you if there is a large discrepancy between your profile photos and your current appearance. They will jump to conclusions and assume that you are not being honest with them. If you start off on this footing - it will be harder to secure that second date.

    2. Do not photos with other people cut out of the picture
      It might be one of your best photos but put yourself in the shoes of someone looking at your profile. What would you think? Other members are likely look at this and assume it is your ex, that you haven't moved on or that you are still in a relationship.

    3. Don't hide behind your sunglasses
      It's tempting we know. Wearing sunglasses seems to give you some anonymity, a sense of security and makes putting yourself out there feel a little confronting. But be brave, you've come this far, show your eyes in the photos. Again, it will help other members feel comfortable contacting you and that means it will improve the number of approaches and positive responses you will receive.

    4. If your current photos are not working - change them. Simple
      If you find that you are not having much success - consider changing your photos. Ask a friend for their advice or to help you by taking some flattering shots. We can often be overly critical of our personal appearance so a good friend will be able to give you an honest opinion and some perspective.

    5. Upload more than one
      Having a variety of photos online means that you will show yourself in different lights and reveal different angles of your appearance and personality. Be confident and put a few pictures up.


    The RSVP Team

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Do you need personal happiness to find love?

    happy

    Posted by John Aiken, dating and relationship expert on

    In my day to day work with singles one of the key messages that I constantly put across is that 'you date at the level of your self-esteem'. If you like yourself and have a high sense of personal happiness - then you will choose good partners. If you don't like yourself and have low levels of personal happiness - then you'll choose bad partners.

    In short, like attracts like.

    Now that doesn't mean that you can't find love if you're unhappy and feel bad about yourself. You certainly can and will fall head over heels from time to time. However, the person you're going to attract is not going to be good for you. They're not going to meet your needs, treat you well, or give you the things you're looking for in a long-term committed relationship. It's love - but it's not good love.

    So if you're a person who has a history of going out with the wrong types - it's time to turn inwards and start looking at how you feel about yourself and your overall levels of personal happiness. Change this - and you change your chances of meeting the 'right person'.

    So how do you increase your levels of self-esteem and personal happiness?

    Well it all starts with a commitment to living your life in a way that is kind and respectful to yourself. That means no more binge drinking, experimenting with drugs, having one night stands, working excessive hours, having poor sleep, maintaining a bad diet, spending time with toxic friends, or going out with the wrong types. You now need to be disciplined about being good to yourself.

    To help you along the way - here are some practical tips for increasing your levels of personal happiness and self worth:
    • Daily exercise
    • Maintain a healthy diet (limit alcohol, eat well)
    • Get plenty of sleep
    • Spend time with people who celebrate you (friends, family)
    • Pursue your own individual hobbies and interests
    • Establish some goals
    • Show gratitude
    • Accept compliments
    • Attack procrastination
    • Say 'no' to the wrong types
    • Remind yourself of your strengths
    • Focus on solutions rather than dwell on the past


    By taking this approach to your daily life, you will begin to feel more alive, more in control, more motivated and happier. When you do these kind things - you will start to bring good things into your life, particularly in the area of romance.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen regularly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    The do's and don'ts of date food

    date food

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    Food is a central element that we organise dating rituals around. It might be dinner, lunch, breakfast or tapas - sharing a meal or eating together is a custom we use to get to know other people. It can be an intimate experience if everything goes well....

    ...enticing smells lingering in the air, lustful glances across the table, the warm buzz of red wine in your belly, sumptuous desserts...

    Back to reality for a minute. Pushing all romantic elements to one side - there are some very real and practical elements that need to be considered when sharing a meal on a date...

    Rather than taking your pick of the entire menu - there are a few things to take into consideration. Some people may even go as far as to have strict no-go areas for date food.

    Five foods that should be approached with caution on first dates are:
    • Garlic or Onion: dishes containing lots of garlic or onion may be delicious but think about what this does to your chances of having a great kiss at the end of the night? It might be ok if you are both eating the same thing but as a rule, we'd suggest avoiding ordering anything heavy in garlic or raw onion.

    • Hamburgers: they might be the quintessential pub menu item but ask yourself, have you ever seen anyone look graceful or even endearing with their hands and mouth wrapped around a hamburger, sauce dribbling down their wrist... you get the picture. Sadly, tacos also fall into this category.

    • Spaghetti: you don't have to be wearing a white shirt for this to be a no-go area. Spaghetti is an involved process and there are quite a lot of opportunities to make a real mess. If you are craving pasta - stick to the penne or the orecchiette.

    • Squid Ink: it might be delicious but more often than not it will leave the diner with an odd discolouration of teeth and lips. Perhaps save this for a later date when you know each other a little better...

    • Tabouleh: finely chopped parsley in anything should be approached with caution. It is amazing how those little green fragments stubbornly manage to find lodgings in your teeth. Even if you don't have anything in your teeth, the fear of it is enough to make you feel really self-conscious.


    The RSVP Team

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Avoiding awkward silences: first date conversation tips

    awkward

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    The tumbleweed - according to the urban dictionary, this is a sudden stunned silence that falls on a room after a person says something stupid, unfunny or offensive. Refers to the tumbleweed often featured in cowboy movies.

    Be honest, this is what most of us dread the most when we venture out on a first date. Having nothing to say, awkward silences or even worse, saying the wrong thing.

    So, how do you avoid the dreaded tumble-weed crossing the cafe or bar?

    Tip 1: Do your research...about them
    This doesn't mean Googling your prospective date for hours before you meet. Just make sure you have read their profile (recently) and paid attention to the details, especially the things you have in common. This shows you are interested in them and means you can start the conversation well-informed about the things you both like. It will help you find some common ground more easily. For example, if you see you both like travel, you can ask about their favourite destination or where they'd really like to go. If food is their passion, you can talk restaurants or the recipes you like to cook.

    Tip 2: Do your research...about the world!
    We are not all current affairs buff's, and best to avoid a conversation about politics and war. But it doesn't hurt to watch the news (even a light news program like The Project) or skim read a newspaper before a date. You might just pick up a funny story or interesting anecdote you can share. And if they do bring up a topic that is in the news, you will at least be familiar enough to have a perspective.

    Tip 3: Ask lots of questions
    No one wants to be stuck with someone who just talks about themselves. And the best way to put someone else at ease is to show interest in them. By asking lots of questions, you can quickly get the conversation going, find out whether you have things in common and also make the other person feel special. Make sure you listen to the answers too, and respond to the information they share. Be careful not to make it feel like an interrogation by firing off a list of unrelated questions!

    Tip 4: Be light-hearted
    So what kind of questions and subjects are good starting points? The key is to always stay positive. There are the obvious "no go" areas for a first date: talking about your ex, talking about "being single for ages", rushing into conversations about weddings and babies, your difficult childhood etc. But light doesn't mean you can't use the date to find out if you're on the same page. Just be subtle about it. For example, asking what they like to do on a Friday night can give you a clear idea of the type of lifestyle they enjoy or whether they are ready to settle-down.

    Tip 5: Go to an interesting venue
    If you are really concerned about being lost for words, consider building an activity or an unusual venue in to the date. For example, suggest a walk around a local market, a visit to the zoo, or go and see a film first - this gives you a mutual topic to share opinions on and can help break the ice.
    Finally, if you are really struggling with nerves, be open and honest that you are a bit nervous. The other person probably is too. This will help ease the atmosphere and you can both then have a giggle about your first date jitters.

    The RSVP Team

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Tips for staying friendly with your ex

    fighting

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    For many of you, when a relationship doesn't work out, you just cut ties and move on with your life. You create new friendships, rely on others for support and try to avoid bumping into the ex as much as possible.

    However, this becomes much more complicated and difficult when you throw kids into the mix. In this case, you're tied to your ex for life, and therefore it's ideal if you generally stay civil with them so the children can flourish.

    In saying this, break-ups can be hurtful and painful and staying friendly with them can be challenging at the best of times. Things may have gone bad in your relationship due to cheating, gambling, alcohol abuse, financial mismanagement, feuding with the in-laws, different parenting styles or long work hours and lack of time together. Whatever the issues they can their take toll and create resentment, anger, bitterness, betrayal and contempt for one another.

    At times like these it might seem so much easier to simply draw up battle lines and go on the attack with each other. Get some revenge and share the pain around. However this is not the best approach for the kids.

    In a great book called Shared Care or Divided Lives - psychologist Dr Phil Watts, outlines that the research in this area is clear, "it is not the separation that has the biggest impact upon a child, but the way in which the parents deal with the situation." So the lesson here is to think about the bigger picture, and know that your children will benefit from you having a civil working relationship with your ex.

    So here are some simple tips to help you on your way when trying to be friendly with your ex:
    • Avoid bad mouthing the other parent to the kids
    • Follow-through with promises
    • Be consistent with routines/ timetables (pick up's, drop off's)
    • Meet financial responsibilities (e.g. child support)
    • Take time before introducing new love interests to the kids
    • Avoid hostile, aggressive and abusive exchanges
    • Co-parent with similar rules, levels of discipline and care
    • Let go of the blame and past - focus on the present and future
    • Don't ask the kids to keep secrets
    • Be polite and civil
    • Organise to have some family events/ activities together
    • Respect personal boundaries (e.g. touch, kissing, talking about new love life etc.)


    I realise this may be very hard to do when you're heart is broken or you hold deep resentment and hurt about the break-up. But the kids are now the most important part of this equation - and they will benefit by you being friendlier. So swallow your hurt and start making the effort to be civil with your ex. The kids will thank you in the long-run.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, as seen on Ch 7's the Morning Show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy. www.johnaiken.com.au

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Relationship utopia...fact or fiction?

    sunset

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    When you meet someone and fall in love, you'll often fantasise about having an amazing future relationship with this new person... great sex, open and honest communication, easy chemistry with your family and friends plus constant affection. You might dream of financial security, a lovely house, regular overseas travel and a shared vision of the future. Sounds great - but does relationship utopia really exist?

    Certainly you can hold on to these types of romantic and optimistic dreams - but frankly - relationship utopia isn't that realistic. In fact, if you're striving for this, then you're more than likely going to set yourself up for disappointment.

    The reason for this lies in the fact that real life issues can get in the way of your utopia (e.g. redundancy, new baby, death of family member, increased work hours, over involved mother-in law, chronic illness etc.) The daily grind and unforeseen lifestyle stressors can put a real strain on your situation and in turn reduce your overall levels of happiness and relationship satisfaction.

    By holding onto the dream of relationship utopia - you're aiming for perfection - and that doesn't really exist with anyone. As a result, you can become resentful and disappointed when the dream doesn't look like your reality.

    Instead - have the relationship goal of being respectful, making your partner a priority and being happy with each other no matter what life throws your way. Do small intentional actions on a daily basis to make each other feel special and strive to work as a team.

    That way, when the tough times hit, you don't become deflated and disillusioned about your lost utopia. Rather, you simply keep things in perspective and focus on what you can control as a couple. Treat each other with more respect, increase your levels of teamwork and improve the general state of happiness between the both of you.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Does it matter what other people think of your love life?

    friends

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    It can be difficult at times to be single, constantly putting yourself out there trying to find someone special. You can sometimes feel frustrated and anxious, disillusioned and insecure - particularly on Sunday afternoons when you have nothing to do! But most of the time, you'll simply pick yourself back up and get on with things.

    For some of you however, this is harder to do. You worry too much about being single and you get particularly stressed about what others think regarding your love life. It's on your mind 24/7, and it can create a sense of desperation and hopelessness in you.

    This will see you go to people and ask them for their thoughts about what you're doing wrong in the dating game. You're hungry for tips, advice, strategies and dating techniques. You also crave re-assurance from them that things are going to be OK. To hear from them that there is someone out there that's right for you and that you won't be alone for the rest of your days.

    Most of your conversations will typically be around dating, romance, your love life and how you can find a long-term partner. You'll try to focus on other people and their issues, but inevitably you'll turn things back to you and dating.

    If you're already seeing someone new, then you'll also look to others for guidance about how to proceed. Where should you take them on a date? When should you start having sex? How can you make a good impression on their friends? How can you be sure that they're keen on you?
    You'll frequently ring, text and organise catch-ups with your friends to make sure you're on track and doing the right thing. You'll hang on their every word and ruminate afterwards about how you're going to put their suggestions into practice.

    The problem however, with all of this, is that your focus is on what others think - rather than on what feels right to you. Your words and actions are guided by the advice of others instead of by your instinct.

    To avoid falling into this trap - go the other way. Turn inwards and rely on yourself. As long as you're listening and trusting in your instincts, then your decisions are yours - no regrets. At the end of the day, you're the one living your life - not your friends and family.

    It may sound scary - but in the end you need to start taking control of your approach to romance rather than leaving it in the hands of others.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, as seen on ABC's new series Making Couples Happy, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy: How science can help get relationships back on track (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    10 key flirting tips for singles

    flirting

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    For many of you the act of flirting will come quite naturally. You can simply turn it on anywhere, anytime and get the attention of others around you. Whether it's your eye contact, banter, body language, appearance and/or sense of humour - you've got it. And as a result, dating is a process that you enjoy and get really excited about.

    For others however, flirting can be like a foreign language. A way of interacting with others that is very unnatural, it feels awkward and uncomfortable. A confusing process that usually ends with you feeling deflated and anxious about the future.

    If you're in this camp, then help is on the way. Here are 10 key flirting tips to assist you in making a positive impact on other singles.

    1. Make eye contact
    It all begins with the eyes. Getting someone's attention can be done by making eye contact and letting them know you're interested. Don't stare them down - that's going to make them run the other way! Instead, just do enough to let them know you're keen. And when you're with them, look them in the eye and show them that you're present and having a good time.

    2. Smile
    When you smile at someone you're showing warmth and interest. It creates a great chemistry and lets the other person know that you're enjoying them and their company. It takes the nerves out of the situation and makes everything seem more relaxed.

    3. Ask questions
    Everyone loves to talk about themselves. Rather than trying to carry the load of keeping a conversation going - ask questions. Let them contribute to the discussion. It shows them that you want to know more about them - and that you're curious. If also tells them you're not 'all about you'.

    4. Listen
    It's a basic skill - but it's one that really has an impact. Forget about looking at your phone for texts, responding to calls or scanning the room for other attractive singles. Listen to the person standing in front of you and make them feel heard and important.

    5. Use humour
    One great way to flirt with someone is to be humourous and show off your funny side. To tease a little and engage in some good-natured banter. I'm not talking about trying too hard to be the comedian in the room - just give them a glimpse of your lighter side and have some laughs.

    6. Don't talk too much
    Avoid talking about yourself too much. Some self-disclosure is important so that you don't have a one-sided conversation - but don't make it all about you. Make sure you give them the space to get into the flow of the conversation and allow the spotlight to fall on them.

    7. Pay compliments
    Everyone loves to receive a compliment. Be aware to play it safe and avoid getting creepy or too intense with your praise. Just drop in the odd bit of praise so that they feel special, attractive and gives them a sign that you're interested.

    8. Avoid cheesy one-liners
    Never, ever, ever try to flirt by using cheesy one-liners. It will come off as being too practiced, you'll appear desperate, and the exchange won't feel natural. You want to be yourself when flirting and show off your real personality rather than one that's insincere and needy.

    9. Respect their personal space
    When you're flirting with someone let them breathe and have their own personal space. Don't get in their face and become smothering, intense and touchy-feely. They need to feel safe to engage with you and have some fun - crowding them is only going to push them away.

    10. Be aware of your body language
    When your talking to another person be aware of your body language. Avoid crossing your arms and closing off to your potential love interest. Instead, be open in your stance, have a strong tall posture, and give off an appearance of confidence and poise.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    How to deal with a clingy partner

    clingy

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    It's an absolute relationship killer. You get involved with a new love interest and everything seems to be going along fine - until your partner starts to shows signs of being clingy and needy. Rather than feeling relaxed about the state of your new relationship, you now begin to get more and more scared about being smothered and losing control.

    The reason why clinginess is such a problem in romantic relationships is that it becomes overwhelming and suffocating. The desperation of your new partner to be with you 24/7 is exhausting - and a little scary.

    Some of the more tell-tale signs that you're going out with a clingy person include:
    • They contact you too much (e.g. phone calls, texts, Facebook, face to face catch-ups)
    • They lose contact with their family and friends to be with you
    • They always want to make plans with you
    • They let go of their interests and hobbies to be with you
    • They can't spend time on their own
    • They crave your approval
    • They get jealous and possessive of you
    • They constantly express their loving feelings for you
    • They're insecure and need regular re-assurance about the relationship


    If you find yourself involved with someone like this - all is not lost. You need to create more space in your relationship and get on the same page about your expectations moving forward.

    Here are some key suggestions when dealing with a clingy partner:

    1. Schedule in alone time
    Make a point of scheduling in alone time during the week so that you can both get comfortable in your own company. It's healthy and allows a good balance between togetherness and independence.

    2. Catch-up with family and friends separately
    Avoid the mistake of making your partner the center of the universe and giving up on your close support networks. Instead, catch-up with friends and family separately on a regular basis and keep having fun with them as an independent person.

    3. Limit frequency of contact (Phone calls, texts, Facebook)
    Cut down on your daily contact with each other. Put in place rules around how often you text, call and Facebook each other. This will let your relationship breathe and you won't feel obligated to always be speaking with one another.

    4. Pursue individual interests/goals
    Make time to continue to pursue your own individual hobbies and interests. As well, whatever your goals are, keep striving to reach these and maintain your levels of personal ambition.

    5. Avoid heavy/intense conversations
    Too much talking about each other's feelings, the state of your relationship, how many kids you're going to have, when and where you're going to get married and pushing to meet each other's friends and family will simply burn things out. Instead, have fun and keep things light and casual in your conversations. Particularly early in the relationship. There'll be plenty of time down the track to get into the more heavy topics.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Setting your deal-breakers for better matches

    deal breakers

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    We all have deal-breakers - those things we just can't budge on when we are dating. Your particular dating deal-breaker may well override almost all other elements and clearly rule people out as a potential date when you're searching for singles or reviewing matches.

    Our research shows that age, photo and location are within the top five factors that influence who Australians will contact when dating online. So recently, RSVP introduced a new deal-breaker feature to improve our matches.

    The deal-breakers help you to control your matches even more. Age and location are automatically set as deal-breakers while all other Ideal Partner criteria (from whether the member has a photo, children or pets, right down to physical features) can be chosen as a deal-breaker. The deal-breaker feature is designed to ensure that you are only sent matches that answer your particular brief in these areas.

    If you don't set the factors most important to you as deal-breakers then you will receive some matches that are near to your ideal partner criteria but not exact. Remember, your matches are different to the "Have you considered" suggestions you may also receive. Unlike your matches, these members have been chosen based on the experiences of people similar to you on RSVP. The more people you contact, the better these recommendations get.

    To review and set your deal-breakers - log in, click on the search tab. Under the subhead of "My Saved Searches" you'll find an edit button for the "My Ideal Partner". It's up to you but remember that the perfect partner might be living a couple of kilometres outside of your ideal range or be a year or two older or younger than your settings.

    If your using our mobile app, the way you set your deal-breakers is a little different. Simply log in and click on your profile image, then select "edit my profile". From there you will be able to set your deal-breakers under the "Ideal Partner Criteria" section.

    Our advice is, if you're not happy with your matches try out the deal-breakers feature and set one or two to see how it goes. Most people only have a couple of deal-breakers, but if you find you'd like to widen or tighten your search, you can always revisit your deal-breakers at any time.

    Also - we often get asked if other members can see if you've set something as a deal-breaker. They can't see your deal-breakers, so you won't be accused of being ageist or location-ist.

    The RSVP Team

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    What is co-dependence?

    jpg

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    Co-dependence is a term that you hear often when people talk about in relationships. It's a way of interacting with your new love interest that sees you care and do too much for them. If it's left unchecked - it makes for an exhausting and one-sided relationship.

    Co-dependence sees you let go of your own needs and instead turn your attention to rescuing and taking care of the needs and wishes of your partner. It's all about them and making sure that they're looked after. In return, this behaviour makes you feel needed and wanted - it gives you a very important role to play in their life.

    People prone to co-dependence have often grown up in families where, from an early age, they have always tended to rescue others. It might be that you had a family member who was sick or mentally ill, was an alcoholic or a drug user or a problem gambler. Whatever the case, the focus and attention was always on them, and your role was to keep on giving.

    Now you can imagine the drawbacks of doing this with your long-term partner. You can become exhausted with all this giving, you feel used and taken for granted, and you rarely get your own needs or wants met. You can come across as being controlling, you get overcommitted with responsibilities, you do too much of the domestics, and you constantly feel anxious about being liked and needed. In the end, it's a one-way street and you end up pandering to them all the time. Nothing comes back your way.

    To help change this, you first need to recognise it's a problem for you in relationships. So here's some tell tale signs you're co-dependent:

    • You always try to solve your partners problems
    • You feel responsible for them
    • You like to rescue and nurture too much
    • You put your needs last and their's first
    • You feel the need to control them
    • You constantly give out advice, solutions, reminders
    • You worry and carry the burden of their problems
    • You defend them and make excuses for them
    • You struggle to say "no"
    • You try to avoid conflict
    • You blame yourself for their issues/problems
    • You make your partner the center of your world
    • You're desperate to be liked and needed
    • You put more energy into the relationship than they do
    • You find it very difficult to break-up from a bad relationship


    If this sounds like you - then it's time for a change. This pattern is exhausting, one sided, and you're always going to end up going out with people who are broken and need saving. Instead, start putting yourself first and prioritizing your needs. Focus on you and let them be responsible for their own problems and issues. In the end, you'll have a much healthier relationship if you can free yourself from co-dependence.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Dear John - Part 3

    ja

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    This week, RSVP's Dating and Relationship Expert, John Aiken, continues to answer your questions about online dating, success and etiquette.

    Hi John,

    Against my better judgement I joined RSVP about three months ago. Since then I have met four men in person, and have had extensive email and telephone contact with another from Victoria. In every instance, the men have been very poor communicators in that they are excessively verbose to the point of making any real conversation virtually impossible. Enduring two hours or more with them over coffee or lunch is excruciatingly boring.

    Each has expressed an interest in seeing me again, but as I might as well be a cardboard cut-out sitting at the table with them that is never going to happen. It seems to me that men in general need to be taught the dying art of conversation, and the crucial importance of listening. They need to do the women they meet the courtesy of showing an interest in them, their ideas, experiences etc.

    Based on my limited experience of RSVP I will not be renewing my three-month membership, but nevertheless wonder if there might be a possibility of your conducting courses in effective communication as it seems to me, most men are seriously lacking in that area.


    You make some very interesting observations about communication. I would totally agree that one-sided conversations are very boring - whether they occur from men or women. If I were in your position, I would look to take control of the situation in future, by asking your date in a light and casual way to include you more (e.g. "when are you going to let me join in this conversation?") Turn it around so that they know you want to be involved in all this talking!! Good communication happens from both sides, and it's time to for you start directing the flow. As for upcoming courses in communication - I think it's a great idea - and RSVP will look into this further. Thank you.


    Hi John,

    I have been on RSVP for a while now and I must say I don't have a popular profile, my picture seems to drive people away and I don't attract anyone because I am not good looking.

    I know you would get a lot of request but was hoping if you can offer me some advice about my profile my judgment is very clouded and I don't know what to say on my profile after trying many times.


    Profile creation is a constantly changing process for everyone. You're not alone in this. If it's not working, or you're getting the wrong type of interest, then you need to keep changing things up. You need to get two very good photos of yourself - perhaps get a friend to help take some portraits of you. Then write your profile from scratch with their assistance, being specific, interesting, and humourous. Avoid making any spelling or grammar mistakes, and think about what person you want to attract when compiling your profile. Stay positive and patient, and remember that all singles go through this process until they get a profile that works for them.


    Hi John,

    I thought you might be able to enlighten me on something which has always puzzled me on RSVP. Why do women respond to a kiss saying they want an email and contact and then when you respond you never hear from them again? I don't know what's going on here.

    I know it has something to do with their behaviour in real life, probably deep rooted somewhere in their past but it just seems strange as it costs nothing to respond or be polite, it doesn't mean you have to meet the person or do any thing except exchange a few words ...it's got me beat!!


    This is one of the many challenges about dating. Sometimes you simply don't know why a potential love interest doesn't reply to your advances. Is it poor timing, something your said, are they still hung up on an ex, or have they got huge work deadlines? The fact is, often you're not ever going to know why they decided to pull out. What I can say - is that they were absolutely wrong for you, and luckily you found this out sooner rather than later. Consider it good fortune. You don't have to waste any more time on them. Simply move on to the next opportunity. It's about them not you, they're not ready for a relationship - it's their baggage - case closed.


    Hi John,

    I am a RSVIP member, I would like to ask a question, you will probably think it is a silly question but I'm curious why some men look at your profile many times over a period of weeks sometimes look again a month later but never contact you.


    This is all part of the dating process. Singles out there are constantly weighing up whether to jump in or stay on their own. It's a big step to open your life up to someone new, particularly if you've been single for a long time. Anxiety often gets in the way and this can see a person look but not take action. The fact that they're very interested in your profile is a great sign. However, if they're not able to jump, then probably that's telling you that they're still too anxious and unsure about being in a relationship. Stay patient, and wait for the right person who is prepared not just to look - but to also take action when it comes to love.


    Hi John,

    Do you think the cougar/cub relationship can last in the long run say within 10 years of each other? I am a fan of Patti Stanger and she advocates no more than 10 years. I am a young 40's woman so look and feel a lot younger so attract and like younger men in their 30's as well as my own age and about a decade or so older - if they look good and take care of themselves.


    Fantastic to hear! Forget about rules and restrictions when it comes to age gaps and dating. It can work if you're committed to the relationship. Absolutely it comes with some differences to dating someone of your own or similar age, but it certainly can be very successful. You just need to make sure you're on the same page about your relationship expectations (marriage, kids, career etc.), socialise with each other's friends, share decision making and financial input, and be a unified front in the face of criticism or negativity. If you like younger or older men - jump right in - it can certainly work out in the long run!


    Hi John,

    My question is about how to deal with rudeness on this site i.e. people who will not respond one way or another to a kiss and even worse those who say they want an email from you and then they don't bother responding at all or respond with about 3 words because all they are really interested in is being in the top 100. I am sure I am not one of only a few that has experienced this. Perhaps we should have a name and shame type feature. This will certainly be a disincentive to those who do not have basic manners on this site. It is frustrating, annoying and it should not go "unpunished" in my opinion. If we say there are only genuine people on this site, let's make sure that those who are not genuine and/or those who do not do the right thing are exposed. Just a thought! I don't mind if my comments are not anonymous.


    You bring up an important point about online dating and I totally agree with you. Meeting new singles on the internet requires the same amount of respect and civility as any other form of dating. Etiquette such as taking the time to read people's email responses, responding back within reasonable time frames, being polite with your language, and honest about your position on things is expected and required. It takes a lot of courage and confidence to put yourself out there to meet someone special, and that means everyone online has a responsibility to treat other singles gently and with kindness. RSVP agree and encourage people to be aware of how they are performing in this area by clearly showing each member their reply rate on the Mailbox page. Those members with a good track record are rewarded by their profile appearing higher in search results. However, if you ever feel like a person's behaviour is particularly inappropriate, you can always take it one step further and report it to RSVP to see if there's anything that can be changed about the situation.


    Hi John,

    I seem to lose an unusually large number of connections after the first or second email.

    How long do people on the site usually wait before replying to previous messages? I and others wouldn't want to appear to be 'too keen' by emailing back too quickly, but appearing to 'play games' could also be bad. Also, what tends to be the number of messages one usually exchanges prior to going on an actual date?


    In short, there are no particular rules about when you should respond or how long you should wait before going on a first date. Your instinct must play a role in all of this. If it feels comfortable to go ahead and respond, then jump in. If you're unsure of the person or where you stand, then slow it down and take more time. Every person is different on this one. What I would also say, is that if something's not working for you - don't keep doing it. Have a look at your approach and change anything that you feel isn't getting you the outcome you desire. The key in all of this is how you feel and listening to your gut on your dating approach. It will guide you.


    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)


    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Disclaimer
    The information and advice provided is for general information purposes only. Whilst we endeavor to make the information useful, RSVP and John Aiken make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability or suitability to your personal circumstances. Any reliance on this advice and information is therefore strictly at your own risk. In no event will RSVP or John Aiken be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising in connection with, the use of this advice.

    What is success in online dating?

    online success

    Posted by Sex therapist and dating coach, Bettina Arndt on

    Do you get put off when you see the same old faces on RSVP? It's a common complaint. Many people assume that the online dating process doesn't work because some people seem to be there forever... or disappear only to come back a few months or years later.

    Of course there are people who struggle to do well in online dating - although the fact that they remain active online suggests something is working for them. But there are a plenty of others who meet each other online, go off the site for a while and then reappear.

    That doesn't mean online dating isn't successful but simply that relationships aren't easy. It takes time to see whether you can live with her toy poodle, or whether you still have something to talk about when that heady knee-trembling romance is over and you face each other bleary-eyed over the breakfast table. And the older you get, the harder it is to maintain that magical first connection. Your beloved grandchildren might prove irritating little sprogs for him. And very few women see their new mate's snoring as some exotic mating call. It's a prickly business bringing together people who are used to living on their own.

    Romances come unstuck, people return to RSVP. The online dating process works well - it's the settling down that's hard. But I'm intrigued how many of my dating clients report staying friends with people they've met through RSVP. Many of my more mature clients find they've moved on from the drama and angst which accompanied failed relationships in their past to realising they can still enjoy an ex-lover's company. And it needn't even be someone with whom they've been intimately involved. People do meet possible suitors who aren't quite right for them but tick enough boxes for the two to want to keep in touch and share activities together. I know women who've spent years in long marriages and never had any single male friends who now delight in having male companions happy to come along to a trivia night, or go to the movies or the theatre.

    Online dating isn't just about searching for soulmates. It's about expanding your social circle, making new friends, getting to know new, interesting people, hearing other people's stories, relaxing and having fun in the company of the opposite sex. But that won't happen if you approach every first date as make-or-break. It's far better to worry a little less about the destination, the search for The One, and focus more on enjoying the journey - the entertaining business of just getting to know people, enjoying what they have to offer rather than fixating on flaws, and honing your own dating skills. People who've been out of the dating game for a long time are often very rusty and need wooing practice. Online dating is the perfect WD40 - just the thing for getting back into gear, ready to embrace romance when it happens.

    Bettina Arndt is a sex therapist and dating coach - visit her website here.

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Dear John - Part 2

    ja

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    This week, RSVP's Dating and Relationship Expert, John Aiken, continues to answer your questions about online dating, success and etiquette.

    Hi John,

    After 3 months of intensive dating I declared my love for a woman who gave me every signal that she really wanted to be with me. I sent her flowers with a nice card. After that she wouldn't return my calls. I am at a loss to know what happened.

    The woman concerned is a single mother who works 4 days per week, has shared custody and studies at Uni. Yes she is busy but she often initiated contact and would drive from the Gold Coast to see me in Brisbane. I would take it turn about and drive down to see her.

    Can you give me any advice? Would it be prudent to just let her go? Or should I leave it for a few weeks and to make contact again?


    This type of running away can happen from time to time when you start to date someone new. They seem keen and make all the right noises - but when you begin to look to the future and try and get serious they pull away. Essentially, she thought she was ready - but then realized she had too much on her plate and backed off (e.g. working 4 days a week, solo mother, Uni student). So it's time for you now to step back and don't chase. Let her go, and if she wants anything in the future, she'll need to do the hard yards to win you back.


    Hi John,

    I've been on RSVP and prior to that another dating site for about a year and a half and I have never been on a date. I'm considering just deleting my account because it's not working but perhaps I'm doing something wrong.

    The excuse I seem to be getting is I don't have time for dating right now and then they disappear. Maybe my photos aren't good enough but I don't like my photo being taken and I also think its a bit shallow to only be judged on a photo. Perhaps its my portfolio or just bad luck.

    Any advice?


    Shake it up and get creative. If the old way hasn't worked - try something different. It's always good to be considering your profile and refreshing it on a regular basis. Certainly, you must have several good photos of yourself as this will get 11 times more interest than a profile with no photos. It's not shallow - it's simply human nature. Most singles want to know who they're talking to online. I would also enlist the help of a friend to overhaul your profile, get the best photos of you and change up your description. Often they can see things you don't, and it will give you confidence to continue to get out there and meet new singles. Good luck!


    Hi John,

    As an older woman (52) I command a fair bit of male attention. Attracting a man is not a problem. The issue I would like help with is on honesty. I find so many men are dishonest about who they are, what they look like, how they see the world. This initial dishonesty destroys any hope of a relationship and it seems to happen time and time again.

    Short of creating a survey for men to answer, asking for a copy of their licence and doing a background check lol...how do you get someone to be honest. I understand no-one wants to reveal themselves completely but dishonesty just creates issues from the start.

    Any ideas????


    It's quite simple. To get a guy to be honest - ask him very direct questions. It doesn't matter how direct the questions are - they need to be specific and clear. Are you married? Do you have kids? How many? Do you want to get married again? How long do you typically wait before having sex? When was your last relationship? How long did it last and why did it break-up? You also need to be totally up front with him as well at this time, and model for him the honesty you expect in a relationship. Then observe how he responds. If you get vague answers, resistance or defensiveness - he's got something to hide and you need to move on.


    Hi John,

    How long should u wait before asking a girl to meet up for a coffee? Is it too forward to ask after 3 or 4 emails back and forth?


    Everyone is different in terms of when they decide to meet up for a first coffee date. That's one of the great things about online dating - you control the pace. Go with your instinct. If you feel really comfortable with this person and you're getting a sense that they're really excited about meeting you then push forward. Remember, it's just a casual coffee. It's a very relaxed and safe way to see if you want to take things further. Good luck!


    Hi John,

    Would you know please:
    • the proportion of the dating population that uses online techniques?
    • of these, how many result in marriage?


    Thanks for your help.


    Every year, RSVP commissions a research project called the Date of Nation Report whereby approximately 3500 Australians are interviewed to find out their dating and relationship patterns. In the most recent 2013 survey, it was found that 51% of Aussies have used or would consider using online dating and that it was the third most popular way of meeting new singles.

    The research also shows that 16% of all Aussies have married or established a de-facto relationship as a result of online dating. Furthermore, 19% of RSVP members have got married as a result of using the site. So the take home message is - online dating is popular, the stigma has gone, and there are lots of success stories out there. So jump in and enjoy the ride!



    Hi John,

    Do you have any advice for dating a man and being in a relationship with a guy who has female friends who he spends time with and comments on how lovely they are and look. I find it a bit challenging as it brings up my insecurities that I am not good enough to be the main woman in his life. I know that both he and I have free will and his happiness does matter to me.


    I take a pretty black and white view to dating. You should do things that make your partner feel special and brings them close. If you act in a way that pushes your partner away - then you need to stop doing this. His comments about the looks of other women hurt you so he needs to change this. Bring this up with him, tell him how it makes you feel - "insecure", "unimportant", "not good enough", and then ask him to keep his compliments for you. If he argues, resists or dismisses you, then you either have to accept this behaviour or find a guy that doesn't treat you like this. Remember - tell him how terrible it makes you feel and this will make him stand up and take notice.



    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)


    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Disclaimer
    The information and advice provided is for general information purposes only. Whilst we endeavor to make the information useful, RSVP and John Aiken make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability or suitability to your personal circumstances. Any reliance on this advice and information is therefore strictly at your own risk. In no event will RSVP or John Aiken be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising in connection with, the use of this advice.

    Putting the fun back into first dates

    cafe

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    It is often said that first dates are terrifying and the RSVP Date of the Nation Report 2013* shows that over 40% of single Aussies don't think the first meeting is "fun".

    The Report also shows that single women are less likely than single men to enjoy first dates. 40% of single men say they don't think first dates are fun compared to 45% of single women who say the same.

    So why is this? What is it about first dates that we don't enjoy? Is it the nerves taking some of the fun out of the experience...

    Apparently yes... the research shows that the top three things that make us most nervous before a first meeting are -
    1. Whether the conversation will flow and if there will be awkward silences
    2. Worry over whether the other person will like them
    3. How they look

    If the threat of awkward silences gets you worried, remember there are a couple of things you can do before the first date to reduce the likelihood of going blank and being unable to make conversation.

    If you've met someone online, you have the advantage of being able to review their profile before the date and get a feel for their tastes in things like music and film. This information gleaned from their profile and your online chat will give you topics to fall back on if there are breaks in the conversation.

    The key to enjoying first dates is not to put too much pressure on yourself in the lead up to the meeting but rather set your expectations realistically. If you go into a date with the mindset that it's an opportunity to get to know someone a little better rather than your chance to fall in love and live happily ever after - it's more likely that the conversation will flow, you'll be natural and the other person will feel more comfortable too.

    Easier said than done but first dates are meant to fun - they are about testing the chemistry and seeing if there is a spark. Not every first date is going to lead to the love of your life so look at it as an opportunity to make a new friends and see where things go from there...

    *Now in its fourth year, the RSVP Date of the Nation Report 2013 surveyed more than 3,500 Australians and results are weighted to the population. Research conducted by Nielsen.

    The RSVP Team

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Dear John - Online dating

    ja

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    Last week, we asked you to send in your questions on online dating. Thank you for getting in contact - there were so many interesting issues raised in relation to dating and etiquette especially.

    Because there were so many questions and popular topics, John will provide responses to a selection of questions over the next few weeks. Starting below...



    Hi John,

    I started a friends with benefits relationship with someone I met online. I know I'm not the only girl in his life. How do I get over the fact that this is all he wants and not to properly date? Also is it strange that I only see him once a month even though he is aware I live alone?

    The lesson here is that when you meet a new love interest and they tell you they only want a "friends with benefits" arrangement then that's exactly what it means. They only want fun and casual, with absolutely no commitment. Don't invest your energy trying to change their dating approach. Instead, you move on to a new person who wants the same thing as you. You're looking for long-term love - so sets your sights on this, be selective and get good at saying "no" to the wrong ones.


    Hi John,

    My question concerns a problem I've noticed over several years of online dating. That is, talking about previous relationships. Of course one can mention briefly their recent history - that's fine. Talking about ex-spouses is also appropriate, particularly if contact has to be maintained because of children. What I'm talking about is over-sharing, particularly on first dates. Hearing about ex's is a giant turn-off, especially as you go on to further dates. Same with gushing about the opposite sex: as a man, I find women that do this annoying at the very least; at worst, I think it's disrespectful. My question is, why do women (and I'm guessing men) do this? It's not relevant, not helpful, and in longer relationships can lead to feelings of resentment and insecurity. In my experience, this issue seems to be getting worse. First date-itis I call it - doing everything you can to make the other person feel unattracted to you!

    I actually ended a relationship last year, citing this as one of the main reasons. Constantly referencing her dating history, blurting out inappropriate stories, talking endlessly about the men at her work, and even providing specific sexual details regarding past partners - you get the picture. After nine months I quit.

    I'm now seeing someone new, and after one month (despite making it clear that I don't like to dwell on the past) it's happening again! Help, I'm tearing my hair out.


    You're absolutely right - bringing up an ex early on in the dating process is a passion killer! And it's true that both men and women do this. The problem with hearing about an ex all the time is that it ruins the chemistry between you both because it suggests the person isn't over the past. It creates fear and worry that the person you're dating has baggage and they're not ready to move on. My advice would be to keep on looking for someone who's ready to focus on the present and the future rather than dwelling on the past.


    Hi John,

    Yes I do have a burning question about etiquette. On one occasion, after many RSVP emails then texting I progressed to a date and we've gone out to dinner, I thought we mostly got on well. Didn't think he was "the One" but still I sent a text thanking him for his hospitality. I did not get a reply. So I didn't follow up again. I'm dying to find out what it was he didn't like about me etc... What could I have done to find out with out pulling teeth?


    It's very normal to feel confused and anxious when you go out on a date and they don't ring back. You want to know the "why". However - you say that he wasn't the "one" - so I wouldn't give it anymore thought. Dating is a numbers game - and you're eliminating the bad to get to the good. He didn't meet your needs, so it's time to move on. Don't take it too personally. To help you with this - focus on why he wasn't right for you (not the one) rather than why he didn't ring back!


    Hi John,

    How long should u wait before asking a girl to meet up for a coffee?

    Is it too forward to ask after 3 or 4 emails back and forth?


    Everyone is different in terms of when they decide to meet up for a first coffee date. That's one of the great things about online dating - you control the pace. Go with your instinct. If you feel really comfortable with this person and you're getting a sense that they're really excited about meeting you then push forward. Remember, it's just a casual coffee. It's a very relaxed and safe way to see if you want to take things further. Good luck!


    Hi John,

    John I believe that who ever wants to be on RSVP should have a photo up. As this puts everyone in the same position when viewing a profile. It also prevents each other wasting their time when waiting to find out what that person looks like. You would never meet some one on a blind date so why have or start up a relationship with someone you've never meet before.

    So I feel that if should be compulsory to have a photo up when registering with RSVP.

    Also people's photos should only be 12 months old as this can be very misleading for the other person.

    I also feel other people should not write their profile as the person who is on RSVP needs to come across in the way that they know themselves - not their best friend's opinion as they can be biased in so many ways. What they think is really great and a wonder quality in a person might not be the same for someone else.

    So I feel it's best that they write there own. Do you?


    One of things about online dating is that it's all about choices. And for some people they don't feel comfortable putting up a photo, or they need the help of others to write their profile. It's a choice. Now that doesn't mean that it will necessarily help them in the dating process, however RSVP statistics show that a profile with a photo gets 11 times more interest than a profile with no picture. But at the end of the day, singles have choices about how they want to portray themselves on dating sites. So my best advice for you is to focus on your approach and avoid those that don't have the profiles that match your needs.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)


    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Disclaimer
    The information and advice provided is for general information purposes only. Whilst we endeavor to make the information useful, RSVP and John Aiken make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability or suitability to your personal circumstances. Any reliance on this advice and information is therefore strictly at your own risk. In no event will RSVP or John Aiken be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising in connection with, the use of this advice.

    Tell tale signs you're still hung up on your ex

    jealousy

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    It's often easier said than done - breaking up with a love interest and then moving on with your life. Ultimately you want to become free to meet someone new - but often your ex can get in the way. They can become an ongoing obstacle in your life that keeps you single for years.

    There are many reasons why it can be difficult to let go of an ex. Some of you'll continue to hang on because you don't want to hurt their feelings, you don't think they'll cope without you (too fragile), or it's all very comfortable and you want to keep mixing in the same circles.

    It might be that you still have strong feelings for them and hope to re-kindle romance down the track, you rely on them for support and guidance, or you have children together. Whatever the case, the boundaries between you both are blurred, you continue to stay involved in each other's lives and it you find it almost impossible to move on.

    The first step to overcoming this issue is to become aware of the tell tale signs that you're still living in the past. Consider the following red flags and if they apply to you, it's time to think about doing things differently when it comes to your ex.
    • You think about your ex all the time
    • You constantly talk about your ex in conversations
    • You contact them too often (ring, text, email)
    • You rely on them for advice and reassurance
    • You have "ex sex" with them on a regular basis
    • You hold onto to feelings of reconciliation, lust, romance
    • You continue to socialize with them
    • You catch-up regularly with their family and friends
    • You get jealous if they date other people
    • You continue to check up on them through social media
    • You drive by their house and keep tabs on them
    • You turn down other opportunities to date people
    • You keep old photos, letters, gifts from them
    • You continue to celebrate anniversaries


    Now I realize that some of you will have children with your ex. I'm not saying that you shouldn't have ongoing consistent contact with them. However you must have clear boundaries so that you can both move on and meet other people.

    In the end, if your ex is occupying much of your thinking time and you gear your life around them, then it's time to acknowledge this, step back and make some changes.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Breaking the ice online

    breaking ice

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    So, you've sent a kiss, received a positive kiss reply and now you want to send an email... but first, you need to figure out how to break the ice over email.

    It can be quite daunting - especially if you're new to the online dating experience. Where should you start? How do you approach someone and get the conversation flowing?

    There is a simple answer here - don't over think it. Just ask yourself - what was it about their profile that caught my eye?

    Was it their hobbies, where they live, their humour or the creativity they showed in their personality description? Was it their username that stopped you in your tracks?

    Have a think about this and then focus on what it was that appealed to you and start from there.

    If it was because you share a hobby or interest - then perhaps use this as the basis of the first online conversation. You can rest assured that you will strike common ground and because it's a mutual hobby, you'll both enjoy talking about it.

    How you compose the email will be a matter of personal style and how you like to communicate. However, once you've said hi and introduced yourself, perhaps offer a comment or complement on their profile and then pose a couple of questions.

    Questions are really important - they show you're interested, help the banter flow and generally ease things up (as a general rule - people like talking about themselves!).

    For example, you could kick things off with something like... "Hi there, I'm so-and-so. I really enjoyed reading your profile and saw you're into water sports. So am I. What's your favourite? I love this time of year when the whole summer is ahead of us... etc"

    You can then go in to providing some details about yourself and providing an insight into your personality, but it's important to also show that you're interested in details about them. Asking questions makes it less awkward for the person responding to your email - it gives them a starting point too!

    If you're not new to online dating, then this advice will be second nature to you. We'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences on what makes a great opening email...

    The RSVP Team

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Can men and women really be platonic friends?

    mates

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    Most of us will have some form of male and female friendships in our lives. Some will be more significant than others. You will spend more time with some rather than others. Activities, conversations and interests will vary from friend to friend. The big question however is - does this actually work? Can single men and women really be platonic friends?

    This can be particularly challenging when you experience a break-up. It would be nice to think that because you shared something very special and intimate with your partner, that you can now simply tone this back and still stay friends. Continue to see each other for coffees, go out to movies, work out at the gym together, socialise with the same circle of friends...

    All good in theory - but not so easy to do in practice.

    It's true that men and women can be platonic friends, but there must never be sexual, intimate, lustful or romantic feelings involved at any time. As long as these feelings don't occur - then there can be lots of positives to this friendship. You can get their different point of view on things, share new experiences together and get outside your normal male/female comfort zone, as well as widen your friendship base with members of the opposite sex.

    On the other hand, if there's any romantic feelings to begin with or that emerge along the way - then it's not going to work. In this situation, your friend may begin to become jealous, try and consume your time, stop you flirting and meeting other potential love interests and be uncomfortable with you making plans without them. Things will get awkward if you do start dating someone new and they won't be there to support you through the ups and downs of falling in love.

    Remember this - friends don't want to sleep with each other.

    So, if you have friendships with members of the opposite sex and there are no romantic feelings involved - great! There are lots of positives to be had from this. If however, you know that they or you want something more, then reduce contact and put your attention elsewhere. Free yourself up to become single and available, otherwise it's all going to get way too complicated!

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Tips for sustaining sex drive in relationships

    sex

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    When people get into a relationship and the honeymoon period is over - a key issue that comes up for many couples is one partner complaining that they are not getting enough sex. As a relationship psychologist, I hear this complaint often and usually from men.

    Now this may have been an issue in your last relationship or it might be an issue in your next long-term relationship, so it's important to understand the link between emotional support and sex drive.

    Sex drive is something that can easily come and go for everyone. One of the key passion killers for every couple is the way they emotionally support each other. For instance - cruel put downs, lack of time for each other, excessive pressure for sex, constant sarcasm, sulking, never discussing feelings, disagreeing with each other all the time and always trying to be right can severely reduce your desire to get naked with each other.

    In short, the less emotional support you provide each other, the less you're going to want to have sex.

    Now when I put this to many of my male clients, they seem to get a strange puzzled look on their face. Often they will tell me that emotional supportiveness has nothing to do with sex. Rather, you should just be able to get your clothes off and go for it whenever you get a chance. Wrong.

    Being emotionally supportive to your partner is so important because it builds intimacy and a sense of respect and fairness between you both. It says - "I'm here for you, I appreciate you, and I've got your back". The more of this going on, the greater the urge to get naked.

    So the lesson is clear. If you want more sex, then be more emotionally supportive and focus on being there for your partner.

    Here are some tips for maintaining supportiveness, and in turn, the passion in your next relationship:
    1. Give out compliments
    2. When you're in love, say "I love you"
    3. Appreciate your partner and thank them daily for their efforts
    4. Compliment them in public
    5. Speak to them with a soft tone about issues
    6. Cuddle them on the couch, give a foot massage, hug them and hold their hand when you're walking down the street
    7. Make time to listen to their worries and stresses (turn off TV / put phone down / close computer)
    8. Be respectful with your words and actions
    9. Take an interest and ask them questions
    10. Reassure them

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Can two alphas have a great relationship - or will they fight for oxygen?

    alpha

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    We've discussed tips for handling the power issues that can arise in relationships when one person becomes more dominant than the other. Essentially, one of you becomes a CEO and ends up taking charge of making all the decisions, while the other person plays an employee role and is happy to be led. From time to time however, two very forthright and strong willed people can fall in love, and the end result is two CEO's fighting for control. This is a match-up that can work, but it takes some discipline and involves compromise and teamwork - elements that some alphas can struggle with.

    When two alphas meet each other, it's easy to see why they might find one another attractive. Both of you will admire the strength and dedication in each other, the decisiveness, the ambition and drive and preparedness to express opinions. You'll enjoy the excitement of both being competitive, independent, and goal driven, and you'll both feel comfortable with taking charge and leading from the front.

    However, things can also become very challenging when two alphas fall in love. That drive to lead and be in control can mean you end up arguing with each other a lot about who is in charge. Alphas can also be inflexible, domineering, stubborn and bossy - and the end result can see lots of conflict, cold shoulders, anger and lack of compromise.

    Rather than getting caught in a power struggle, here's some tips to help two alphas get along:

    1. Share decisions
    Make a point of sharing the decisions in your new relationship. One person is not responsible for managing the couple. Avoid excluding your partner and assuming you have the final say on outstanding issues and organizational tasks. Be inclusive.

    2. Share expenses
    Be up front about this early on and be open to the idea of both of you sharing expenses rather than one trying to look after everything. You're in this together and you both need to feel equal and respected.

    3. Understand each other's position
    So often two alphas won't listen to each other. Instead they get into a game of point scoring and try to persuade the other that they're right. Instead, look to hear each person's view and validate this even if you don't agree.

    4. Alternate date nights
    Put in place the 'surrender date' rule where one night one person organizes everything on the date while the other person surrenders and says 'yes'. Then the following date swap roles. This is great way to share power and control and it can be lots of fun.

    5. Solve problems as a team
    Whatever issues come along in a new relationship, it's important to take these on together. Avoid trying to fix everything on your own, but rather throw around solutions for each issue and see what you both think about how to handle things. It's a joint process, whereby you can combine your talents to get through difficult situations.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Making sure your needs are met in a relationship

    happy couple

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    There's a lot to be said for making a great impression on someone by putting them first and being able to compromise. It shows that you have flexibility, you're understanding and you're not overly controlling. However, if you do too much of this, and give up most of your needs in a relationship to please your new partner, then ultimately things will fall over.

    There are several telltale signs that you tend to give up your needs in a new relationship:

    • You please too much
    • You struggle to say 'no'
    • You let your partner make all decisions
    • You agree with them all the time
    • You let go of your hobbies and interests
    • You stop seeing your friends and family members
    • You keep your feelings inside
    • You frequently change your plans to suit them
    • You do all the chasing
    • You spend a lot of time waiting for them
    • You try to avoid conflict


    The big problem with not meeting your needs in your new relationship, is that you ultimately give up your own power. You stop being an equal in the relationship, and you take on more of a submissive, needy role.

    As a result, you'll no longer challenge your new partner and they'll inevitably start to lose respect and take you for granted. They'll drift in the relationship, knowing that you always put them first, they'll get bored, complacent and eventually lose interest.

    You might think that sacrificing your needs for your new love interest will make them want you more - but the opposite is true. They'll start backing away because you lose your identity and strength.

    So don't be afraid to put your best foot forward and meet your needs in your new relationship. Speak up, say 'no', make decisions, express your opinion, stick to your plans and pursue your own hobbies and friendships. It makes you interesting, independent and attractive.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    10 signs you have a fear of intimacy

    fear

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    It's all good and well to create a profile, jump online and start meeting other singles. It can be exciting and gets you closer to meeting someone special. However, if you have a fear of intimacy - finding and keeping someone special is going to be much more challenging.

    In this case, a fear of intimacy is a general anxiety about being involved in a close intimate relationship. As a result, it will see you avoid dating and put up obstacles to keep you out of long-term relationships. So what does a fear of intimacy look like?

    There are several tell tale signs that you're scared of getting close:

    1. You get overly anxious when thinking about dating/relationships
    When you're scared of intimate relationships, you'll find that you get overly anxious just thinking about getting close to a new love interest. This will see you lose sleep, become agitated and nervous, get shortness of breath, muscle tension, headaches and racing heart, and the overall feeling of being on edge and out of control.

    2. You feel uncomfortable talking/sharing feelings
    You'll generally find it difficult and awkward to discuss your feelings with your new partner. Conversations about deep and emotional topics will be scary and you'll generally avoid these at all costs.

    3. You get prickly and negative when meeting new love interests
    You have a guarded and difficult personality when you meet new love interests. Rather than opening up and being warm and engaging in dating situations, you tend to become prickly and negative. This can see you put yourself down, become cynical and bitter, be standoffish and defensive, and withhold personal information.

    4. You avoid new social and dating opportunities
    When you're scared of getting close, you'll tend to turn down social invites and cancel or postpone dating opportunities. You'll have plenty of reasonable excuses for doing this, but at the end of the day, you stay away from meeting and forming close connections with people.

    5. You only have one-night stands
    Even though you might be getting naked with someone, it doesn't mean this creates intimacy. Far from it. Casual sex is very physical release, but there is no real emotional connection with someone you don't want to see the next morning.

    6. You avoid displays of physical affection
    Anything that can be seen as a sign of softness and affection generally scares you. So you'll tend to prefer to avoid cuddling, holding hands, PDA, spooning, foot massages, kissing, hugging and walking down the street with your arms around each other.

    7. You fear losing your identity in a relationship
    There can be a general fear that if you get close to someone you'll lose control and give up your identity. You worry that your partner will dominate you, be overbearing and inflexible, and will take away your power and decision making abilities.

    8. You fear being rejected in a relationship
    There can also be a fear that your new partner will leave you once they get to know you. Essentially, there is a worry that deep down you are not good enough, and your love interest will eventually figure this out and then dump you.

    9. You have a history of going out with the wrong types
    When you look at your relationship history you have a pattern of going out with the wrong types (e.g. can't commit, cheaters, alcohol/drug users, unemployed, gamblers etc.) These people are not able to have long-term committed relationships and can never give you intimacy - so you choose to chase after them.

    10. You have been rejected/abandoned in your upbringing
    During your upbringing, there have been times when you've been abandoned/rejected/neglected or abused by significant caregivers. This has given you the expectation that intimate relationships cause pain and therefore they need to be avoided.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, as seen on Ch 7's the Morning Show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy. www.johnaiken.com.au

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Dating tips for single Dads

    single dad

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    Father's Day is upon us, and that means it's a perfect time to remind ourselves about the dating do's and don't s for single Dad's. And for those of you that find yourself in this position, I'm sure you'll all agree, that dating comes with a lot more challenges compared to when you're young, carefree and without kids or an ex! To help make dating a lot more simple - here's some tips for solo Dad's that want to enjoy the process.

    1. Take things nice and slow
    The biggest mistake you can make as a solo Dad is to dive right into a new and intense relationship. To rush things along and have sex too soon, introduce your new partner to your kids, change all your daily routines, and start having sleep over's with your new partner. Instead, take it very slow, get to know a new love interest, hold off on having sex, and don't introduce them to the kids for at least 6 months. There's no hurry here.

    2. Your kids must always come first
    Regardless of how great the chemistry is or how much you want to spend time with your new love interest - don't put them ahead of the kids. You and your children have been a team right the way through - they need you and continue to look to you for stability, strength and security. Nothing changes when you're dating. Your kids must always come first - and the person you're seeing needs to know this up front.

    3. Keep your family routines in place
    When you're dating you can easily get caught up in the swirl and excitement of it all. In this state, when your head is full of feel good chemicals - all you want to do is be spontaneous and spend lots of time with your new love interest. In short, dump your normal routines and fly by the seat of your pants. Don't fall into this trap. Your kids depend on daily family routines for security and it gives them a sense of calm and control. Keep these in place at all costs, and make your dating work around them - not replace them.

    4. Establish boundaries around your ex
    Being a solo Dad means you have an ex that's likely to remain in your life for the rest of your days. That's great if you still get on well, but if you don't, it can play havoc on your love life. Ex's need fences! You must make sure that when you're dating, you have clear boundaries with your ex so that they don't complicate things. That means limiting contact, having no ex sex, clear drop off and pick up times, shared care arrangements, and no discussing inappropriate personal information with each other. This will allow a new partner into your life and not feel threatened by the relationship you have with your ex.

    5. Do you want casual or serious?
    Because you have kids to think about when you're out in the dating scene, you need to put some thought into what you want from a new partner. Do you want casual and fun, or are you looking for a long-term serious relationship. Being clear about this before you jump in allows you to have a plan with your dating style. Be up front with this. If you meet someone and they want something different from you - don't waste time - move on to the next opportunity.

    6. Don't take things personally
    Being a solo Dad means you've probably been out of the dating scene for years. Now that you're separated, you have to face the challenge of dating all over again. One of the biggest obstacles is having to cope with dating disappointments. There are now so many ways to meet new singles, it means there's also going to be more people that don't quite work out. That's ok - but you can't take this personally. Remember - it's a numbers game. It's a process of elimination not rejection. Stay patient and be selective - and don't blame yourself if a date doesn't work out.

    7. Lean on your mates
    Dating will certainly have its highs and lows, and doing it on your own can be a real challenge at times. For this reason, it's really important to lean on your mates and use them for support. Spend time with other solo Dad's that are in the same boat as you, and get advice from those that have been there and done that. When you have a dating disappointment - turn to them and let them build you up rather than losing our confidence.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, as seen on Ch 7's the Morning Show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy. www.johnaiken.com.au

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    The most common profile mistakes

    mistake

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    Bad spelling, photos with the ex, negativity or a beige description of yourself...these are some of the worst offenders when it comes to profile writing mistakes.

    There is no doubt that writing a profile is hard. Most people find it challenging to summarise themselves - so don't fear, you are not alone.

    This week, we look some of the most common mistakes that people make when creating their profile. If any of these apply to you, revisit your profile and refresh it for better results.

    1. No photo
    If you have a profile without a photo and are wondering why you are not attracting much interest - the answer is clear. Profiles with photos get 11 times more interest so include one!

    2. Cropping someone out
    Now this could be an old photo with an ex cut out - but the viewer can still see their arm or some of their hair. It doesn't matter if the photo is with your mother, brother or best friends, someone viewing it is likely to assume it is your ex that has been cropped out of the shot and jump to the conclusion that you are very fresh to the dating scene - why else would you not have photos without your ex-significant other. This will dampen the interest of other members because you look like you are still caught up in the past.

    3. Spelling
    Check it! A profile with spelling and grammar mistakes makes you look sloppy. It gives the impression that you are careless or not really serious about the first impression you are going to make. It's one issue that often cited as a major turn off.

    4. Negative tone or language
    Starting your profile with a list of what you don't want in a relationship or a partner is going to give the impression that you're a negative person, perhaps a little jaded by the past...This will deter other singles from contacting you. Your profile is meant to be where you put your best foot forward so don't sell yourself short by being negative about yourself or others.

    5. Being bland
    Use some specifics to help people get an idea of who you are and what you are like. Avoid the generic descriptors that apply to 99% of the population such as "I enjoy a night in as much as a night on the town". Make yourself stand out and provide a bit of insight into your lifestyle and tastes.

    The RSVP Team

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Been through a separation? Tips for getting your house in order

    finances

    Posted by AMP Financial Planner Claire Esmond on

    While it's natural to be wary of entering a new relationship if you've been emotionally and financially hurt in the past, it's important not to allow fear to take over when you start dating.

    Remember the line from the famous poem, Desiderata: "...for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals."

    Scars from a separation or divorce don't have to hold you back from finding love again.

    If peace of mind is what you need. why not explore what steps you can take to protect your assets by getting your finances in order before getting into a relationship? That way you don't have to worry about something that may never happen.

    First of all - it's good to know the facts.

    When you are just dating remember that 'defacto status' usually only comes in to play, in the eyes of the law, once you have been in a relationship for at least two years and have been spending several nights a week at each other's place.

    Defacto status means that if the relationship ends, your former love could make a claim on your property and assets.

    If you've been through a messy separation - you may be scared by the idea of becoming defacto. Some people find this makes them reluctant to let a new relationship blossom for fear of going through it all again and potentially suffering long-term financial losses.

    But it doesn't have to be this way. To maintain your financial independence and get your finances in order before embarking on your next relationship, here are some tips from AMP Financial Planning:

    Claim back your money mojo
    If you've been through a difficult separation or divorce and want to set yourself up and protect your future, start by reviewing your financial situation - undertake an audit to see how you are going with spending, saving and investing. Think about your goals - both short term and long term - and consider if you're on track or if you need to work out a new road map to get there.

    Feeling positive about your future and finances - your money mojo - is important. Are you in a glass half full or a glass half empty frame of mind? If it's the later, you can improve your money mojo by taking full control of your finances, starting today.

    If you don't already have a plan in writing for your finances, draw one up - don't forget to include your retirement plans, investments, key insurances and budget.

    Update your estate plans
    This is important. Re-marriage revokes a will, but divorce does not. This means that if you are divorced and you now want your estate to pass to your children but you've not updated your will, your estate will go to your ex if that's what you directed in the will you created whilst married.

    Your estate plans set out what will happen to your assets on your death and one of the best ways to protect your assets for the sake of your family, is to make sure your will is up-to-date. To make sure your plans cover all bases and are watertight, don't just get a DIY kit - do it properly and get advice from a financial planner and/or a lawyer.

    Get your super back on track
    When a relationship ends, superannuation is usually the last thing on people's minds. But it's actually very important to get your super sorted as it is one of the keys to planning your future - and it's a great thing to do before you embark on another relationship.

    Review how much you now have in super post separation or divorce and work out how much you'll need in retirement to live the lifestyle you imagine you'll want to live. There are some very handy online calculators that can help you predict this and are extremely simple to use - AMP has a good one available here.

    Once you know how much you are likely to need, put together a plan of how you'll reach this goal - it's never too late to seek financial advice on retirement planning and can really pay to do so.

    Nominate a beneficiary of your insurance and superannuation policies

    Nominating a beneficiary, where possible, is extremely important because it ensures that the right money passes into the right hands, at the right time. Most insurance policies allow you to nominate a beneficiary and this is useful if the money is needed by your loved ones to pay off debt or provide for other specific needs.

    Nearly all superannuation funds will allow you to nominate a beneficiary - as long as your beneficiary is your spouse, a dependant in the eyes of the superannuation laws (this includes adult children who are no longer financially dependent on you) or your estate.

    A valid beneficiary nomination on an insurance or superannuation policy will bypass your will, so can be a very useful tool. If you do not make a valid beneficiary nomination, any proceeds on your death will be directed to your estate, or to your spouse - including a defacto.

    Don't go it alone - seek advice!
    It pays to be informed. Seeking advice when you're thinking about what you want your future life to look like is a smart move. It can help remove emotion from the equation and puts in writing what you want to achieve and, importantly, how you are going to achieve it. Advice is also critical if you've left a relationship and are suddenly having to plan for retirement on your own rather than as part of a couple.

    Claire Esmond is an Authorised Representative of AMP Financial Planning Pty Ltd, ABN 89 051 208 327, AFS License No. 232706. Any advice given is general only and has not taken into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this, before acting on any advice, you should consult a financial planner to consider how appropriate the advice is to your objectives, financial situation and needs.

    No part of this editorial constitutes legal advice and readers should seek their own legal advice specific to their personal situation before acting.


    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Rejection or ruling out the unsuitable...it's up to you

    rejection

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    Rejection is never easy. And getting rejected as part of the dating process can feel particularly painful.

    When you apply for a job and get rejected, you may feel disappointed but you can shrug it off as 'not having the right skills'. You might even be prepared to accept that 'the chemistry was not quite right' or there was a 'personality clash' with your potential employer.

    Apply this thinking to the online dating scenario...You've been exchanging emails with someone, maybe you've been out on a date and then they let you know they don't want to take things any further...Your emotional response to this is so much more personal. Even if you knew the chemistry was all wrong and you weren't that into them, it's still harder to accept than not getting that job.

    Now this is fair enough. Dating is personal. With dating comes emotional vulnerability. You've got to put yourself out there and be open to opportunities. But you've also got to realise there are going to be some disappointments along the way and you are not going to hit it off with everyone. Here are some suggestions for managing those disappointments and staying upbeat:

    Be realistic
    If you've sent out 30 kisses and only had what seems like a handful of responses, it could feel like this rejection thing is happening a lot. But put this in perspective and don't forget that you may be making more advances (sending Kisses!) online than you've ever done before or you'd normally do in an offline situation. So be realistic. Not everyone is going to like you. Just as you might not like everyone that approaches you. If you asked 10 people out on the street, they wouldn't all say yes... So be realistic, some knock backs will happen.

    Change your thinking - a knock-back can be an opportunity
    Don't think of it as rejection - think of it as eliminating unsuitable prospects. If someone decides you are not for them, it's more than likely to be a good thing. They probably weren't right for you anyway. View a knock-back as leaving the door open for Mr or Mrs Right to walk in. You wouldn't want to be wasting time with 'nearly right', when 'perfect' is just round the corner. Keeping yourself free for a more suitable match is a good thing.

    Don't take it too personally
    Okay, this is definitely easier said than done, but it is the best thing to do. Don't jump to conclusions like 'I'm not attractive enough'... 'I'm too old'... 'my profile makes me sound boring.' None of these things may be true. It may not be personal at all, but rather situational. The other person could be busy chatting to someone else (we have actually just added an extra Kiss so you can let people know this). Or they may just have a particular deal-breaker (like not liking dogs) that rules you out...so it might not be you, it could be the pooch they are allergic to. People can have all kinds of reasons for deciding that someone is not right for them...you might look too similar to an ex, or someone at school that was mean to them. Don't try and second-guess them or worse still, blame yourself. Often it is nothing to do with you at all. So hold your head up high and think "NEXT!".

    Don't try to avoid it
    You need to take a chance when you date. If you don't Kiss anyone, you'll be waiting a lot longer to find your prince or princess charming. By avoiding rejection, you're just limiting your opportunities. If you get a negative kiss reply - smile, wish them the best and move on. Don't hang on to it. A potential new suitor can sense negativity or baggage when you interact, so this may end up actually putting more people off and becoming self-fulfilling prophecy. Happy positive people attract more of the same.

    Be polite
    Last but not least - if someone gets in contact to let you know they don't want to take things further, be polite and thankful that they respected you enough to let you know. After all, it's better to know things aren't going to go further than be left hanging.

    The key to dating is to take things in your stride. There will be up and downs, but it is always important to try and stay positive. Put yourself out there but try not to put too much pressure on yourself. Keep your expectations in check and be open to opportunities.

    The RSVP Team

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Safe Dating Reminder

    safety

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    At RSVP, member safety is paramount so we aim to regularly remind you about protecting your personal safety when dating.

    As with any type of dating, it's important to always use your common sense and trust your instincts. Rather than getting caught up in the moment, remember that you are getting to know someone new so there is no need to rush things.

    Here are some simple guidelines to help you date safely:
    1. Use the RSVP anonymous email exchange system so you can protect your identity until you are comfortable revealing personal information or contact details such as your mobile phone number or email address.
    2. Never provide financial information or financial support to someone you meet online.
    3. Choose sensible date venues - make sure all your dates are in public places which you are familiar with. Meet your date at the venue - make your own way there and don't accept lifts.
    4. Have a buddy system - tell a friend where you are going and who you are going to meet, check in with them during and after the date to tell them how it went.
    5. If you are communicating with someone on the RSVP site and suspect they are not above board, report them to the RSVP team.

    Even if you feel like you have established a bond through your email and phone exchanges, keep in mind that you don't know this person and it will take time before you can trust and understand them. Think about it - you wouldn't accept a lift from someone you met in the pub or on the street? Apply this thinking to people you meet online. You wouldn't give the guy or girl you met at a coffee shop, your credit card details - so don't do it online.

    Really it is no different to any new person you meet in your life - take things slowly and establish trust before you invite them into your world.

    This week John Aiken recaps some safe dating tips. View the video here.

    The RSVP Team

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Foods to get you in the mood...

    oysters

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    In South America, ants have traditionally been given as wedding gifts. Their energy producing vitamins are known to bring liveliness to the newly-wed bedroom...perhaps bringing new meaning to the term 'ants in your pants!'

    And in Afghanistan, lambs testicles are the somewhat unusual alternative to Viagra, along with the yak's penis in Bejing - 14 inches, boiled, peeled and skinned, apparently makes a good stew (and gets you in a stew!).

    Across cultures, there are many folklore legends of foods said to be powerful aphrodisiacs. While suggesting a cook-up of testicles could well scare your date off, there are some more common foods known for getting us in the mood...

    Oysters: Packed in zinc, the most potent of the sexual minerals, these little critters trigger testosterone. Eating them from the half shell is also considered a bit saucy.

    Honey: The nectar of Aphrodite, honey is believed to aid fertility. It used to be a traditional drink for the couple after their wedding - hence the term 'honey-moon'.

    Pomegranates: Apparently the antioxidants in this symbolic fruit protect the lining of blood vessels, allowing more blood to course through them...

    Caviar: The eggs represent fertility...no need to say more.

    Chocolate: Apparently Casanova's favourite food. It causes the release of the feel good hormone serotonin in the brain.

    Chilli: It increases the heart rate, triggers endorphins, increases circulation and stimulates nerve endings so you might feel a little flushed and a lot more turned on.

    So what is it about food that sets your mojo rising? Is it the instant chemical reaction to the vitamins and nutrients, the long-term benefits of regularly eating these superfoods or simply the pleasure of indulgent and perhaps somewhat exotic food?

    There's an old fashioned saying - the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Now...good food is endearing no matter if you are male or female, eating it at home or out in a restaurant. If the chemistry between you and your date is right, sharing a great meal together is likely to make you feel a little amourous or at least affectionate. Throw some chilli in the mix and you might be getting hot under the collar...

    What do you think? Are foods really aphrodisiacs or is it more about the setting and the company?

    The RSVP Team

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Love's a funny thing...

    laughing

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    Now not all of us are stand-up comedians or jokesters that can make people smile and laugh. However, being able to show some humour with your new love interest certainly can help in forming chemistry with them.

    In this year's RSVP Date of the Nation Report, 91% of Australians considered a sense of humour to be important or very important. In fact, it was one of the top 3 factors that Aussies said was indicative of a person being good relationship material.

    And it's not surprising. People with a sense of humour can be very attractive. One French researcher, psychologist Nicolas Gueguen, examined this very topic and found that having a sense of humour increases your desirability in the dating game.

    In his experiment, he found that women were three times more likely to give out their phone number to a man who made them laugh versus ones that didn't. The humourous men were also seen as being more attractive, intelligent, funny and sociable. *Read full article

    And when you think about it - there can be lots of benefits to being with a partner who has a sense of humour. They can lighten tension between the two of you, they can bring up issues in a less confronting way, they can socialise well and be entertaining with your friends and family, and they can make you laugh and get you out of your negative mood states.

    But beware - humour is all about timing and context. It should be remembered that it can also hurt your chances if used inappropriately.

    For instance, a cheesy pick up line or heavily practiced opening joke is not going to impress a love interest. Giving someone a backhanded criticism and then saying "just joking" - will be poorly received. Being crass, overly sexual and inappropriate with your humour will also turn your date off.

    Trying to be funny or laughing something off during a serious discussion can push someone away. Telling unfunny jokes to your partner's friends can be embarrassing and ruin your chances with them, and humour can be annoying if you just want to have quiet time together.

    So by all means show off your funny side when you're next out on a date. Singles generally find this amusing and value this personality trait. However make sure you're aware of the context and have your timing right, otherwise things can tend to fall a little flat.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7¿s the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy


    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Timing in relationships

    clock

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    One of the great mysteries of falling in love is that you don't know when, where or how it's going to happen? And of course, the person that you meet may be in a totally different headspace to you. Specifically, the timing might be right for you but not for them. So what exactly does this mean for your chances of a long-term relationship with them?

    There can be a number of different reasons for bad timing when you first meet someone. For them, it could be that they're still working through a messy divorce, they're about to move cities or countries or they're currently seeing someone else.

    They might be younger than you and only want something casual, their job could involve long work hours and travel commitments, or they're really struggling at present to manage their kids as a solo parent. Whatever the situation, they are emotionally more capable of dating rather than forming a serious committed relationship with you.

    So what does this mean for you both? Well, you have several options.

    The first is to look at this as a short-term and causal arrangement. You know that they're not in the same place as you in terms of commitment - but you decide to spend what time you can with them and have some fun. It's not going anywhere, but it makes you both feel good, so you jump in knowing that it has limits and it's only temporary.

    The second option would be to let it go. In this case, you understand that it only has short-term potential, and because you want more, you therefore take a deep breath, acknowledge this and move on. You wish them all the best and go your separate ways. I know this can be sad and frustrating, but that's life sometimes. You can see that the two of you would make a great couple together and would have lots of fun - but it can't happen right now.

    The other option would be to wait. However I would generally not recommend this position, as you can end up losing years of your life hoping that the timing might finally work out for the both of you. That your love interest will finally get through their divorce, break-up with their partner, get a job in the same city as you or want a long-term commitment.

    My advice would be - don't wait for this to happen. Get on with your life, and if they are going to change, then they'll come after you.

    Life's too short to wait around for the timing to be right. Live your life to the full, and if things are going to work out, they'll make it known to you that they're available and ready to commit.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    An age-old question...

    age gap

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    When you go online to find someone special, how much do you really think about their age? Is this a deal-breaker for you? In the end, does it matter if you fall in love with someone who is significantly older or younger than you?

    In the RSVP Date of the Nation Report 2013 we examined this very question. The results showed that the age of a potential partner is the most significant factor that influences who you'll contact via an online dating site (Australians 18 years - 50 years).

    So the answer seems to be a clear 'yes' - age does matter when it comes to dating. And this makes sense. Despite the notion of cougars, sugar daddies or toy boys - there are some inherent issues that can arise when you date a person that is significantly older or younger than you.

    If there's a large age gap, then there can be an ongoing power struggle between you both as the older partner often tries to take charge of everything (e.g. makes decisions, pays, organises and plans things). There can be a mismatch on the friends' level where both individuals struggle to mix with significantly older or younger networks. The younger person may also have a lack of experience and interest in the ways of the older partner and vice versa. Additionally, you may be on the receiving end of criticism from people around you about the age difference.

    There can also be differences in levels of health, energy and sex drives whereby the younger person has got much more to give. And perhaps most importantly, there can be a difference in the levels of commitment and relationship expectations. Specifically, the younger person may want children - the older person may not. The younger person may be in no hurry for marriage - the older person may want this desperately. The younger person may want to play the field and keep things casual while the older person wants exclusivity or vice versa depending on your relationship history.

    However, with all this being said, you can still make a relationship work when there is a significant age difference. It just takes more work. You have to be on the same page early on when it comes to your relationship expectations, decision making, making the effort to mix with each other's social circles and being open to new opportunities. You also have to support each other if people around you make judgments or level criticisms at you for your choice of partner.

    So the decision is yours. Age does make a difference when it comes to dating, but you can overcome this as long as you manage the challenges as a team.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Winging it

    wingman

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    A few weeks ago, 850 members completed a survey, sharing thoughts on the 'wingman theory' to help us find out if it actually works and why.

    Well, according to what you guys told us - having a wingman by your side when you're out on the town significantly increases your dating chances.

    47% of respondents said having a wingman has helped them approach someone new.

    So, what is it about a wingman that makes them so effective? Of course, there is the fact that they keep you company, can let you know if you've got something in your teeth... but one of the key benefits of a wingman is that they boost your confidence.

    In fact, 60% of respondents said having a wingman or wingwoman (shall we just say wingperson) gives you more confidence to approach other people.

    Is this because your wingperson psychs you into approaching other singles or because they act as a safety net against possible rejection? A combination of both perhaps...

    For a wingperson to be effective, it's critical to choose them carefully. You'll need to find someone that you know you have fun with, someone that makes you feel great and who you are not going to feel like you are competing with.

    Why is the no competition rule so critical? Well, 48% of single respondents said that a wingman had stolen the show at some point.

    To make sure it's a winning wingman partnership, look for a single friend that is of the opposite sex or that you know has different tastes in dates to you. This will help you avoid any conflicts.

    So next time you're planning to head out to a singles event or a party - enlist the support of a wingperson so you can both boost each other's confidence.

    Then, when you're considering how to best approach someone that's caught your eye - remember to keep things simple. 90% of survey respondents said the best way for someone to approach them is to simply walk over and introduce themselves. This is preferred over being bought a drink at the bar, sending a wingman over to see if they are interested or giving them a business card.

    Good luck and most importantly, have fun!

    The RSVP Team

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Do similar education levels matter in relationships?

    education

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    Is it really necessary to be on the same level as your partner when it comes to education? After all, there are so many factors to think about when choosing a compatible partner - is this one really that important?

    Certainly you can choose to go out with anyone you like. Regardless of their level of education, you can make a commitment to someone and dive right in. However it must be said, that this can make your dating and relationship journey slightly more challenging.

    Having a similar education level as you partner has a number of advantages. For starters, you can talk to each other about topics, areas and ideas that you both understand well and have opinions on. You may also have a number of hobbies and interests through your education that you can share with each other (e.g. reading, study, writing etc.). You could also do very well in terms of having strong earning potential between you both. And you might also find it much easier to mix with each other's friends who have similar levels of education as well.

    And it makes sense that people tend to be attracted to others with similar types of dimensions such as education levels, beliefs, values, intelligence and financial status. This is a process of "like attracts like" - or as anthropologists call it "positive assortative mating". At the end of the day, it's going to be easier for you to get along and survive with your partner if they're on the same page as you in key areas.

    So by all means date whomever you want. However keep in mind that things can tend to run a lot more smoothly when you have similarities on dimensions such as educational levels.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Sex on the third date?

    couple rd date

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    I love this time of year! RSVP puts out their annual Date of the Nation Report whereby 3,500 Australians tell us about their dating, sex and relationship behaviours. And, the figures we have from the 2013 report make for some very interesting reading!!

    Over the next few months, we'll be bringing you some very interesting findings from the Report but this week let's focus on some of the sexual trends of Aussies. Specifically, how long do they wait before having sex?

    Australians have told us that date three is the magic number for sex. It's the most popular time to have sex with a new partner and 23% of Aussies will have sex at this stage in the dating process.

    16% of Australians will have sex on the second date and 10% will have sex on the first date.

    So, what does that mean for singles out there? What I take from this is that Aussies are trying to slow things down somewhat and 74% are waiting until at least the third date before getting naked.

    Now I would like this trend to continue and hope that singles wait even longer before having sex in the future (say date 8-10), but this is a great start! This stat is telling us that when you first meet someone and there's a strong chemistry, lots of sexual sparks and a great connection - nearly three in four Australians still manage to hold back until at least the third date before jumping into bed.

    Excellent!

    The reason why I say this, and the reason why I would hope that this trend for waiting for sex continues to grow, is that we can make bad judgments when we're intoxicated by first date feelings. Instead of waiting to get to know somebody, taking your time and seeing if there's a real fit between you both, sexual urges can get in the way and you can end up moving things too fast.

    The end result - one-night stands - and feelings of being used, lonely and disrespected. Worse still, you create the habit of continually attracting "players" that only want sex with no commitment.

    The only way to flush these types out and stay away from them is to hold off on having sex. If you wait, they simply get frustrated and move on.

    Remember - if you want to find someone special and have a long-term relationship then you must slow things down.

    It's great that many Australians are waiting until date three before having sex, but don't be afraid to stretch this out even further. If someone is keen on you and wants the same things - then they'll be happy to wait for as long as it takes.

    Respect yourself and your body. There's no need to rush things when looking for your ideal partner.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Finding your mojo

    mojo

    Posted by Sex therapist and dating coach, Bettina Arndt on

    Here is a very interesting story from one of my recent dating clients. I'd been working with a Melbourne woman, helping her put together a lively profile and select great photos. Just as she was ready to put her profile up on RSVP she went to a dinner party and met a man. Within days it was on for young and old.

    She even had a rash on her chin from three days of non-stop kissing. Quite embarrassing for a 50 year-old. Her lovely new partner has learnt to shave a little more often! Six weeks later it is looking good.

    It's intriguing how often this happens. People start to think seriously about online dating and potential dates start popping out of the woodwork. I discovered that last year when I was giving advice to three women who were blogging about their online dating experiences on Wendy Harmer's website The Hoopla

    One of the women, Lou Lou (a single 34 year-old), discovered all sorts of men in her normal life started approaching her soon after she started dating online. "I've found my mojo rising! It is red-hot and on fire, people!" she wrote, suggesting that she had internet dating to thank for that: "This time last year my love life was barren and dry, not even a cheeky wink to wet my whistle. Now, I have more action than a Masterchef kitchen."

    Lou Lou's explanation was that "Internet dating has reminded me that male attention makes me feel alive and buzzing. But in order to receive it, I must be open to it. That means I'm now considering men I wouldn't have looked at in the past. It's like shopping and stumbling upon animal print. I normally wouldn't consider it but now I've given it a go, and guess what - it looks and feels good!"

    So many of the people I work with have gone for years with a sold sign on their foreheads - they simply weren't interested in meeting new partners and that message came through. But after starting online dating, they start to think differently, they send out a different vibe and their mojo kicks in.

    As my successful client points out, the process of writing her profile and thinking through what she was really looking for in a man also helped her be realistic about her priorities. She got real about not expecting one man to tick all her boxes and decided what she really wanted was banter - a man who offered lively, intelligent conversation. And she found that, in a man who once might not have appealed to her but with her new, more open mindset, really lit her fire.

    Bettina Arndt is a sex therapist and dating coach - visit her website here.

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Do nice guys/girls finish last in the dating game?

    nice guy

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    It might seem like a good idea to be overly nice to a new love interest when you first start dating. To always put them first and constantly be ready to change your plans to keep them happy. Surely if you do this, then they'll ultimately want to spend more and more time with you?

    Unfortunately, it doesn't tend to work out this way. Nice girls and guys typically come last in the dating game.



    If you're 'too nice', then you'll tend to do the following behaviours:
    • Say 'yes' too often
    • Try to please all the time
    • Change your plans to fit in with a love interest
    • Let them lead and make decisions
    • Avoid expressing opinions
    • Over-apologise
    • Avoid conflict
    • Have sex too quickly
    • Ring/text/Facebook too often
    • Let go of your friends, interests and hobbies for them
    • Do all the chasing
    • You try to spend all your time with them


    The reason why you'll do these types of behaviours, is to make your new love interest feel special. To put them first and show them that you're keen and want them to be in your life moving forward.

    You interact in this way believing that the more you're nice too them and put them first - the more they're going to appreciate you and love you back.

    However this is where it goes wrong.

    Your new love interest wants an equal. A person who will challenge them, take the lead, have their own life going on, sees their own set of friends, and is happy to say 'no' and to have their own voice.

    Relationships work when the power is shared, roles are balanced and there are equal amounts of respect.

    Unfortunately, when you please too much and you're too nice to a new love interest, they'll tend to start to take you for granted. They'll begin to see you as being desperate and clingy, needy and insecure. As you give your power away, your new partner will ultimately begin to lose respect for you and want to be with a stronger person.

    When this happens - it's all over.

    So if you're someone who tends to be 'too nice' when you're out meeting new singles then it's time for a change. By all means be respectful and polite. Show that you're interested and treat other singles with care. But don't give your power away.

    Be strong, have your own voice, make your own decisions, stick to your plans, keep prioritising friends and hobbies, hold off on having sex too quickly, let them chase you and be prepared to say 'no'. If you're scared to do this, just remember - the other way doesn't work. Singles ultimately want to fall in love with an equal who they respect and can challenge them. So it's time to step up and show them this side of you.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Think like a traveller for great dates

    couple

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    coupleWe sometimes hear from singles that they have run out of good date ideas. This complaint can come from singles living in regional centres, tiny towns or Australia¿s largest cities.

    No matter where you live, it's easy to come up with fun date options. You just need to get a little creative... One simple trick to get the creative juices flowing is to switch your mindset and think like a traveller. Consider being a tourist in your own town...

    When you've lived somewhere for a while - it's natural to fall into routines and patterns of going out to the same places, shopping in the same areas and eating at your favourite establishments.

    With this regularity comes complacency.

    Some people have lived in Sydney and driven across the Harbour Bridge a hundred times but never walked across it like so many tourists do every day.

    Perth residents may have forgotten about the simple pleasure of watching the sunset at Cottesloe Beach.

    If you're in Brisbane, how often do you think about jumping on a river cruise or taking a river ferry to your dinner or lunch date?

    Travellers from around Australia and indeed the world, dream of heading up to the Barossa for some great food and wine. If you're from Adelaide, why not take a day trip and pick up some delicious goodies along the way?

    Often, we take the things around us for granted rather than experiencing them. So if you're stuck for a great date idea, change you thinking and ask yourself what would I do if I were a tourist visiting?

    It might simply be visiting your local botanical gardens, a museum or spectacular lookout...what does your hometown have to offer?

    The RSVP Team

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Tips for finding your ideal match

    vid perfect match

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    The great thing about online dating is that you can be really specific about who you want to attract. This week, John Aiken provides tips on how to find your ideal match on RSVP and getting the balance right between being selective and picky.

    One of the areas John talks about is dating deal-breakers? It's important to know what you want. It's also essential not to take this too far and rule out people who could be great for you by being overly restrictive in your search criteria.

    The key to finding your match on RSVP is being really clear and honest about what you are looking for and what is important to you. This not only means writing a compelling and authentic profile but also taking the time to really think about what you want from a partner before you set-up your Ideal Partner Criteria. Your Ideal Partner Criteria is vital, what you nominate as your deal-breakers influence which profiles are shown in your searches and also what matches you get sent.

    Matches and Search are not the only ways to find a potential partner on RSVP. Have you ever wondered how RSVP chooses who to present in 'Have you Considered?'. Members shown in this section may not fit with your ideal partner criteria, but have been picked because they are likely to be interested in you. These members have been chosen based on the experiences of people similar to you on RSVP. The more people you contact, the better these recommendations get!

    View the video here.

    The RSVP Team

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Does your new partner need to get along with your family?

    family

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    familyOne of the interesting questions that will come up for you when you start to date a new partner is how they get along on with the people around you - particularly your family? Are they able to shine in social situations and make a good first impression? Or do they struggle to mix and usually stand back and keep to themselves?

    For some people this can be a very real issue. While for others, it's only a minor obstacle that doesn't really influence overall compatibility. The key factor in all of this will be how important your family is to you, and your expectations around your continued involvement with them in the future.

    For some people, there may be a very close and ongoing relationship with family. In this case, you might get daily phone calls from them, see them weekly for Sunday night dinners, always spend Easter, Xmas and New Years with them, and run regular errands for each other. I've met some individuals who work in the family business and rely heavily on other family members for advice, financial assistance and ongoing decision-making.

    If you're in a situation like this, when you meet a new partner there will be a strong expectation that they must get along with your family. It will usually be a deal-breaker if they don't, because the family is so important to you and your future moving forward. In short, you come with a package - your family. If your new love interest wants to be in your life - they need to get along.

    However, you might be in the opposite situation. You may have a distant or 'hands off' relationship with your family. In this case, you might only ring them once every 3 months, pop over for Xmas lunch each December, make your own decisions without consulting them, keep most personal information to yourself, and live a very independent and family-free life.

    If this sounds like you, then when you meet a new partner, there won't be an expectation that they need to get on with your family. Sure, it might be nice if they're polite whenever you do occasionally catch-up together, but overall you don't need them to mix with your family at all. Instead, you can develop your own intimate relationship with your new partner regardless of whether your family members like them or not. It's all about you and your partner, the family doesn't really come into it.

    So take a moment and give some thought to these important questions:

    1. "How important is my family to me now and in the future?"

    2. "What role does my family currently play in my life?"

    3. "What expectations does my family have of me?"

    4. "Does my new partner need to get along with my family?"

    Know where you stand on this, and when you find yourself in a relationship make sure you talk about this topic. Be transparent and honest about how important your family is to you. If they're a major part of your life, then your new love interest needs to get along. If they're not, then you can go on your merry way with your new partner and family approval won't come into it.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Finding "the one"

    the one

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    The findings are in from the RSVP Date of the Nation Report 2013* and it shows that romance is alive and well.

    In fact, 77% of Australians want to spend their life with 'the one'.

    Furthermore, 54% of Australians say they expect to have less than four partners before finding that special person.

    So how do you find that special partner?

    We all know that looks come in to the equation in the dating process because physical attraction plays a very important part of the initial stages of dating.

    As the relationship develops, looks become less important. In fact, the top three factors that help Australians judge whether someone is relationship material are consistently personality, followed by morals and sense of humour.

    And how about keeping that relationship going strong? Australians say that the keys to a good relationship are trust (60%), friendship and respect (55%), along with good communication (49%).

    So where are people meeting then? The most common reason that people are going online is to meet people they would not otherwise have access to. Dating online gives you more choice - it means you can be selective and find someone that you really fit with.

    It's also interesting to look at the notion of relationship success in 2013. Although 19% (or nearly one in five) RSVP users have got married as a result of using the site - it's not all about marriage. For some it will be about expanding their network and making new connections, for others it will be about starting a family, or perhaps moving in together. It really depends on where you are up to and what you want.

    So how about you? Are you one of the 77% of Australians wanting to spend their life with 'the one'?

    If you are looking for the one - you're not alone. It's what three in four people want. It's important to keep clear on what you want in a partner and a relationship at this particular stage in your life. Be honest with yourself and others and you're more likely to find success.

    The RSVP Team

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Finding time for romance

    blog

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    I often hear complaints from singles about the problems they have trying to find someone special. They can become very negative about the lack of quality potential partners out there. However for some of them, the real problem is not the lack of good ones out there, but rather the lack of time they have to meet them!!

    One of the biggest obstacles that you can face when going online to meet someone new is being time-poor. It may be that you work 80 hours a week, travel constantly, are finishing off your University studies, caring for the kids or are doing two gym classes a day. Whatever the case, you don't have enough room for letting someone special come into your life.

    Sure when people ask you about your love life, you might tell them "all the good ones are taken." But in the end, the real issue is that you're not making time for romance. You're not making it a priority in your life.

    The equation is simple. For a new relationship to grow it needs time. You need to see your partner in different settings, with different people, at different times of the day, for different lengths of time. That means prioritising them and saying 'no' to other things that are not essential. Letting the relationship evolve and using the time to get to know them.

    If you really want to meet someone special it has to become a major priority for you. Not an afterthought. Not a casual part of your life that you can push to one side when life gets busy.

    With this in mind - follow these tips so you can make more time for romance:

    1. Go online regularly
    If you're going to fall in love you need to be going online regularly. Spending time chatting to people, getting to know them, doing your research and being available to flirt.

    2. Limit your work hours/travel
    Long work hours and travel will destroy your ability to connect with other singles. When you do meet someone, you want to spend quality time with them - not stand them up due to work or travel commitments.

    3. Say 'yes' to social invites
    Always be on the look-out for social invites and whenever they come up jump in and say "yes". It may seem unlikely that it will lead to anything - but you never know who you may meet along the way. Be ready to get out of your comfort zone and meet new people.

    4. Reduce your weekly commitments
    Have a look at your current weekly commitments and make a decision to drop the ones that are too time consuming, holding you back and not essential. In the end, to let someone new into your life - you need to create the space.

    5. Work to a calendar
    It's time to start managing your week more efficiently. Look at making a plan on Sunday night that allows you more time to date and to meet new people. Block out times in your weekly calendar where dating comes first. Make the decision today to prioritise romance in your life.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, as seen on Ch 7's the Morning Show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy. www.johnaiken.com.au

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Power issues in relationships - should the balance be the same?

    couple tugwar

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    When you first meet and begin dating someone you're generally pretty happy to start on the same page in terms of power and control. You both want to make a good impression on each other, and therefore you'll be prepared to take charge as well as to compromise. However as time rolls by, this can often shift, an imbalance in power can occur and issues of control can become a real problem.

    The reason that power issues can be such a big challenge in a relationship is that one person ultimately assumes the role of decision maker. If you're the one with the power - then you're going to end up deciding on where to go on dates, what social circles to mix in and who pays for what. You're the one who'll organise, lead, initiate and be responsible.

    On the flip side, your partner is going to end up being a passenger in the relationship. They're going to wait for you to make decisions, ask you for advice and direction, lean on you for reminders and defer to you for your opinions and ideas.

    This power imbalance can be seen in all aspects of your relationship. From organising concert tickets and restaurant bookings, deciding on whose place to stay over at, when to have sex, to who's paying for dinner, where to spend the long week-end and when to meet each other's parents.

    The end result of this pattern of power, is that one person has too much control in the relationship and the other not enough. This will see the powerful one start to feel burdened with responsibility, frustrated with organising everything and bored with the lack of equality.

    By contrast, the less powerful person will resent not having a voice, feel childish for being micro-managed and told what to do all the time and will become angry about not being respected. At this point, the power imbalance usually wins and the relationship will fall over.

    So for this reason - it's important to try your best to share power in your new relationship. To help you on your way with this, here are some easy tips to follow:
    1) Share decisions from the beginning
    2) Express your own ideas and opinions
    3) Say 'no'
    4) See friends equally
    5) Schedule in time apart
    6) Pursue your own interests/hobbies
    7) Share paying for things
    8) Take turns organising dates
    9) Both initiate intimacy
    10) Both say 'yes' to each other's suggestions

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Winter grooming

    man shaving

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    Don't let the cooler weather lead you to think that grooming is not important at this time of year. How you present yourself is very important no matter the season or the occasion. It is even more important when you're dating or on the look-out for love.

    With the colder mornings, it might be tempting to put off preening rituals like shaving or hair washing for a day, instead opting for an extra 15 minutes in bed. This is fine if it's a Sunday and you've got nothing on and don't plan on leaving the house...You know how it goes - if you bolt down to the shops un-showered and in your trackies, then you're bound to run into someone you know, work with or even worse, fancy.

    To help avoid this kind of mishap, here are some tips for keeping yourself looking and feeling great this winter:

    1. Keep the maintenance up
    Don't stretch your regular routines when it comes to shaving or washing your hair. Don't put off that haircut or appointment at the beautician. By keeping the maintenance up, you'll look great and enjoy the added benefit of getting a confidence boost too.

    2. Look after your skin
    Winter is drying on the skin so adapt your routine to make sure you are drinking lots of water and moisturising as much as necessary to keep dry skin at bay. Men - this applies to you too!

    3. Make sure your clothes are crisp
    Don't underestimate the power of a trusty old iron to make you and your clothes look fresher and newer.

    4. Incorporate practical accessories
    Brighten things up with a woollen scarf. Not only will this type of accessory keep you warm - it will also make your appearance a little more inventive and breathe new life into old outfits.

    5. Keep moving
    Try a new sport or organise regular workout sessions with a friend to keep you motivated. The exercise will keep you in good shape mentally and physically.

    The RSVP Team

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    When to take things offline...

    offline video

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    If you're dating online - the aim at the end of the day is to take things offline, meet face-to-face, test the chemistry and see if you have a connection.

    If you're new to online dating, you might be unsure when and how to move things from within the RSVP site to a meeting in the real world.

    This week, RSVP's relationship expert and psychologist John Aiken offers some tips for transitioning from online to offline dating.

    John covers what you should learn about someone through your email exchanges and phone calls before you organise to meet in person. These tips will make sure you stay in control of the pace of the dating process and also help you identify more clearly the people you are likely to enjoy dating.

    View the video here.

    The RSVP Team

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Tips for the "Getting to know you" dates

    jpg

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    There are lots of factors that go into the mix to determine whether a date is going to be successful or not.

    Chemistry, attraction, nerves and mood are just some of the elements that will come in to play during a date. If it's a first date, then these factors will be largely unknown until you meet face-to-face.

    Thankfully, after a couple of dates your nerves will have settled and you'll have a clearer indication of the chemistry and attraction. Instead, you'll be evaluating your love interest and trying to work out if things are going to progress. You'll both be trying to learn more about each other but will have already asked a lot of questions. You'll be picking up other signals and using this information to assess each other's potential.

    This is a really important time when getting to know someone and although you want to learn more, you may well have question fatigue. You may be searching for ways to get to know them without asking and answering a million questions. You may be looking for some experiences to share...

    Here are some practical tips to help you get to know one another and make these dates go more smoothly -

    1. Take it in turn to organise dates
    If you're into someone and have had a couple of dates which they organised, take the initiative to set up the next one. This will take the pressure off the other person. No one wants to do all the asking or organising. It will also reaffirm that you are interested in them.

    2. When suggesting a weekday date, consider their work or living location
    Suggest a venue that is convenient for both of you. Having to rush across town to get to date after work on a weeknight is not going to set you or your date up for a great experience. It's more likely you'll be tired and stressed so if it's a weekday opt for something local.

    3. Branch out and make it interesting
    After a couple of dates, you'll need to extend yourself beyond the usual date options of drinks and dinner. If you are both members of the same RSVP group (for example Mans Best Friend, Sports Fans, Arts and Culture or Shall We Dance) suggest a date that incorporates these interests or hobbies. Take the dogs to a park, watch a football game, visit a museum or go to a dance class. Make it fun.

    4. Take cues from your discussions
    Show them you've been listening. If you've been chatting about a new restaurant they want to try - then make a booking. If it's a day trip to the coast or getting along to a new theatre show - suggest it. Doing this will show that you care and have been paying attention to what they want.

    5. Keep up the momentum
    Although you might have a busy work, family or social schedule - it's important to make plans and keep things bustling along. If you leave it too long between dates or phone calls, the other person might go cold on you or meet someone else.

    The RSVP Team

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Winter Dating Inspiration

    winter

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    As the cooler weather sets in and things get a bit chilly, don't let winter dampen your dating spirit. Rather than hiding away indoors, winter is actually the perfect time to venture out and make some new connections.

    Whilst we may feel more social in summer, this time of year can be perfect for your first meeting or date. It is far better to negotiate your way through that slightly awkward first date chatter in a place where you can actually hear yourself talk and are not squeezed up too tightly to the table next-door.

    In winter, the restaurants, cafes and bars can be a little quieter - this offers many advantages including making recognising your date from their profile picture a little easier...

    If you live in one of the cooler states, why not take advantage of the chillier climes by finding a place to meet that is cosy and warm. Think red wine and an open fire to create some romance.

    If you're a little further along the dating process and in the getting to you know you phase, wintery weekend afternoons are great for lingering over a long lunch or bunkering down and cooking up a slow roast feast.

    The cooler weather brings a sense of indulgence and a slower pace. Close to home, you can happily catch a daytime movie without feeling guilty that you are not outside. For those who want to get away, why not venture into your local wine country for some tastings?

    If you are looking for something more active, take on one of Australia's many coastal walks or hiking trials. You won't have to battle it out against the summer sun and insects.

    For the nature lovers out there, whale watching can be a cold weather date to remember. All the way around the Australian coastline, whales appear at different times during winter as the annual migration takes place. Check out the exact months in your area.

    And if the outdoors isn't your thing, there is a plethora of art and culture across the country this winter. You can make a date with Monet in Melbourne or Turner in Canberra (known as a key figure of the Romantic art generation).

    If you're looking for something quintessentially wintery - get your skates on. Most big cities have an ice-rink and if you're in Sydney, Bondi runs a Winter Festival, with an ice-rink right on the iconic beach. If you're a little wobbly - even better - a good excuse to hold hands and help each other out before warming up over mulled wine or a hot chocolate.

    So don't get the winter blues. Who knows, if you put in the groundwork now, by spring you may have found romance.

    The RSVP Team

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Managing Dating Expectations

    expectations

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    One of the great aspects of online dating is that it gets you in touch with a huge pool of singles that are motivated to get out there and mix. It allows you to connect, and then opens up the opportunity for you to get to know them before meeting face-to-face. However this means that you have to keep your expectations in check before you meet in person.

    The reason for this lies in the fact that you can get so much information about them from in depth online conversations. You can ask all sorts of questions about a person's beliefs, childhood experiences, likes and dislikes, career ambitions, perspectives on health and fitness and relationship expectations - well before you've even had coffee with them!

    Now this is great in terms of finding out more about your level of compatibility and like-mindedness - but it can also lead you to setting up unrealistic expectations about how perfect this person is for you. Although you might think you know them - this is only one step in the dating process and you have to remember that you haven't tested the chemistry in person yet.

    I realise it can be hard not to get too far ahead of yourself when connecting online and developing an impression of someone. Particularly when you seem to click so well. But it's best to slow things down and keep your expectations in check. There's no rush here, and you're only at an early stage of dating so don't put people on a pedestal before you have met them and really got to know them.

    So to make sure that you keep realistic about all of this - follow these 6 steps below:

    Step 1 Make your online introductions - learn about each other
    Step 2 Have numerous follow-up phone calls
    Step 3 Organise a casual/ relaxed first meeting
    Step 4 Date regularly
    Step 5 Wait before having sex
    Step 6 Mix with their friends

    By going through these steps you'll get more information about the person your dating and this will lead to creating more accurate impressions about their long-term compatibility. Remember - you control the pace of this, and you need to take your time to really get to know someone.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, as seen on Ch 7's the Morning Show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy. www.johnaiken.com.au

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    First Date Tips

    video st date

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    No matter if you've been on five first dates, 15 or 50 - it's likely they still make you nervous. And this is perfectly natural - dates are nerve wrecking and we know that many singles don't really love them.

    This week, RSVP Relationship and Dating Expert, John Aiken, looks at some practical tips to help prepare for first dates and overcome some of those nerves. From advice on your wardrobe choices to venue considerations - John's advice will help you have more fun dating and meeting new people.

    We'd love to hear your thoughts - what makes or breaks a first date?

    View the video here.

    The RSVP Team

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Dating Do's

    dating dos

    Posted by Dating - How One Guy Sees it: Clint Salter, Guest Blogger on

    When you're on a date you, only have a couple of minutes to make a good impression and then about 30 minutes to build some type of emotional chemistry. That's all you get, so it's important you put your best foot forward to identify whether there is anything there - from both sides of the table.

    If you've read my other blog, "How To Make Dating Fun", then the only thing left to do is to listen and talk about topics that give insights into the type of person you both are.

    Here are some things to do during your next date...

    1. Look Hot. If you can, spend at least an hour at home before the date to get ready. Put on your favourite playlist, pour yourself a glass of wine, shower and start making yourself look and feel the best you possibly can. The getting ready part of a date can sometimes be the best part as you leave the door looking and feeling a million dollars - and I can assure you if you feel like that, you're date will think you're smokin'!

    2. Tick Tock. Be on time. Don't play games and get there 10 minutes late just so you don't have to sit at the table by yourself and look lonely. Get there early or on time and if the other person isn't there yet, soak up the atmosphere or go check out the bathrooms. I often find bathrooms the most interesting place (design wise) at a flash restaurant or bar.

    3. Tailor the conversation. From a previous phone conversation or from what you've read on their profile, tailor the conversation to his or her background.

    4. Laughter goes a long way. Deep conversations are great, but a conversation that has light and shade is better. Light hearted and intriguing conversations show you have a sense of humour and that you don't take yourself too seriously.

    5. Open your ears. Listening is the key. If you're like me, you can do the listening face really well, but you actually have to pay attention and not be thinking about work, the kids, what's happening on Facebook etc. Stay present in the moment and listen to every word they say.

    6. Don't be afraid to ask questions. If you're listening then I'm sure that you could easily come up with a few questions. These questions should come to your mind naturally if you're truly engaged and showing a genuine interest. If they are speaking about something that you're not clear on, ask them to explain it.

    7. Bat your eyelids. Subtle flirting on a date is fun and makes you feel special, especially when you're feeling the chemistry. This does not mean you have to put your hands on legs or play footsie under the table. Cheeky smiles and laughs, a slight touch on the shoulder or arms are all great ways to show the other person that you're having a great time. Don't be scared - just go with the flow without waking up the next morning in their bed!

    8. Look into their eyes. Keep focused during the date. There is nothing worse than when you're talking with someone and they're looking around the room (generally to see if there's anyone better around). Even if it's not your soul mate, show some respect and pay attention. There will be plenty of other times for you to be distracted and uninterested in life so give your full attention!

    There are my 8 tips to gain the most from your dates early on. It's all about having a great time so don't forget most importantly to enjoy yourself!

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Is music more important than sport?

    afl

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    To make your online dating experience more fun, we've invested in research to identify online dating success indicators and quantify just how much they impact your dating chances. We got the experts in to analyse the behaviour of more than two million members over the years.

    The results show that even though Australia may consider itself a sporting nation - sport interests are less important than common music tastes when it comes to dating.

    Singles with a mutual interest in classical, blues, jazz, folk, latin and soul all have more success with people who share the same music tastes.

    Meanwhile, mutual sport interests are far less important when deciding whether to pursue someone.

    Now, this trend holds true across sports with the exception of AFL.

    AFL is one sport where a common interest leads to substantially more success. In fact, your chances of success are increased 23% when there is a mutual interest.

    We know AFL fans are passionate but are they more passionate about the game than supporters of other codes? Or is it because a larger percentage of their supporters are women?

    And what about the differing importance of sport versus music tastes?

    Perhaps, Australians can put up with an hour or two of a sport they don't like but the thought of long car trips listening to music that makes their ears ring is just not acceptable...Is it because you would have to put up with someone else's music tastes for potentially much longer periods of time or is it because we feel music actually tells you more about a person than their favourite sport does?

    With so many people online these days - it helps to have some guidelines to help focus your search on people you are more likely to be compatible with. So next time you are deciding whether to send someone a kiss, have a quick look at their music preferences...

    The RSVP Team

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Realising what you offer in a relationship

    woman

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    After coming out of a long-term relationship it can be very easy to get down on yourself. To take the blame and think that there's something wrong with you. Worse still, to jump to the conclusion that you're not good at relationships and completely overlook all the wonderful things you have to offer. Rather than getting into this spiral, it's time to start tuning into the good, and being positive about your skills and talents.

    Like all unpleasant events in our lives, you determine how you want to deal with them. In terms of a break-up, you may decide to take it personally, focus on your flaws and imperfections, beat yourself up for making mistakes, and become bitter and cynical about the future.

    On the other hand, you may decide to take a more positive approach. To consider a more objective view of what happened, lean on friends for support, acknowledge your strengths, make new fresh changes and become hopeful about what the future brings.

    My point is - it all comes down to you. It's your choice.

    So with that being said - here's some practical tips to help you realise what you have to offer in a romantic relationship:

    1) List what makes you good at relationships
    The first way to realise what you have to offer in a relationship is to write it down. Ask yourself the question "what makes me so good in relationships?" and this should get the ball rolling. Think of all the reasons why you're great to go out with, and the wonderful things that you can offer a potential love interest.

    2) Talk to friends about your relationship strengths
    For some people it may be very difficult to highlight their strengths and talents. You might simply feel awkward or shy about doing this. One of the easiest ways to get around this is to enlist the help of a trusted friend. They can sit down with you and point out things that you have to offer in a relationship.

    3) Remember your past relationship triumphs
    Often after a break-up you tend to look at the negatives and everything that went wrong. Instead, think of times in your past relationships where you did some amazing things. When your quality character traits came to the surface. It might be during times of crisis or during times joy and happiness. Whatever the case, remember these important moments of the past when you were great in your relationships.

    4) Visualise your new ideal partner
    Put aside 10 minutes each day to visualise about falling in love with your new ideal partner. Dream about going on different dates, meeting their friends and family, being intimate, and staying up late and talking for hours. This will make you feel great about the future and remind you of how great you are in relationships.

    After coming out of a long-term relationship it can be very easy to get down on yourself. To take the blame and think that there's something wrong with you. Worse still, to jump to the conclusion that you're not good at relationships and completely overlook all the wonderful things you have to offer. Rather than getting into this spiral, it's time to start tuning into the good, and being positive about your skills and talents.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert and seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning Show (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    How Do I Make Her Happy - By Dr John Gray

    johngray

    Posted by Dr John Gray - Relationship expert and International Best Selling author on

    John Gray, relationship expert and International Best Selling author of "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" is heading Down Under in June 2013 following the release of his new book "Work with Me". He will be holding one business seminar and one relationships seminar in each city, focusing on communication and relationships both personally and professionally.

    John has been observing differences between men and women for many years and has sold over 50 million copies of his books. So, this week, we invited him to share a snapshot of his views with us at RSVP...

    A man cannot make a woman happy. He can only make her happier.

    I still believe a woman is like a wave. When she is feeling really good and loved, she will reach a peak as her self-esteem rises and falls in a wave motion. But then suddenly her mood may change and her wave crashes down. Luckily, this crash is temporary. When she reaches bottom, her wave begins to rise back up as her mood shifts towards feeling good about herself again.

    A woman's ability to give and receive love in her relationships is generally a reflection of how she is feeling about herself. When she is not feeling good about herself, she is unable to truly accept and appreciate her partner. When a woman is in her down time, she tends to feel overwhelmed or can become more emotionally reactive. When her wave hits bottom she is more vulnerable and needs more love. It is crucial that her partner understand what she needs at these times.

    Unfortunately, men are naturally motivated to communicate in ways that will lower stress in men. They have no idea that this may increase a woman's stress levels. To release stress, a man tends either to solve the problem or to dismiss it in some way. A woman looks for a warmer, more supportive response. He thinks he is simply expressing his opinion to be helpful, while she feels he is being either cold or heartless, or he simply doesn't understand what she is saying.

    Men will often say things like:
    "Don't worry about it."
    "Just let it go."
    "It's not that important."
    "Don't get so upset about it."
    "It's not such a big deal."
    "You shouldn't feel that way."

    Men feel these short comments would be supportive, but women consider them insulting. When she is upset and looking for support, these words sound dismissive and condescending. She needs him simply to listen and ask more questions. The more she feels heard and understood, the better she is going to feel.

    But I will say it again. A man cannot make a woman happy. He can only make her happier.

    For thousands of years, women did not rely on men to generate most of the support they need. They counted on the help of women in their community, while their husbands hunted or later earned a living away from the home all day. Historically, the man has been a provider and protector. Though men still hold that role, it is not as significant, because women can provide for and protect themselves.

    A man can only fulfill a small portion of the support women need to cope with the stresses they face today. Instead of looking to a man to fulfill most of her needs, a woman must adjust her expectations. This attitude makes a huge difference in the dynamics of men and women in a relationship.

    Dr John Gray is touring the country during June with his world renowned relationship seminar. As an RSVP Member you'll receive 10% off the ticket price plus go into the draw to win a meet and greet with John along with a signed copy of his book. Visit our event page today, click on your state then the workshops tab for all the details.

    The RSVP Team

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Tips for beating loneliness

    loneliness

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    One of the biggest advantages of meeting someone special is that you get to spend quality time with your new love interest and leave behind those feelings of loneliness. However, until that time comes along, being single can be an isolating experience.

    This can become particularly difficult during public holidays, long weekends, and Christmas and New Year. It can be made even more challenging when you live in isolated and remote area (e.g. miners, farmers, tradies). For those of you in this situation, it's vital to stay positive and put in place practical strategies to beat feelings of loneliness.

    Here are some key tips to keep you upbeat during those lonely times:

    1. Maintain a healthy lifestyle
    One of the quickest ways to overcome feelings of loneliness is to get active and keep a healthy lifestyle. That means daily physical exercise, following a good diet, limiting alcohol use and getting enough sleep. This will give you energy to keep busy and occupied throughout your days.

    2. Organise weekly catch-ups with friends
    Make the effort to organize a catch-up on a weekly basis with friends. Don't wait for them to come to you - be proactive. Reach out and be the organizer. And whenever social invites come your way - say "yes" and jump right in.

    3. Pursue individual hobbies/interests
    Having a number of interests and hobbies is a great way of staying busy and having fun. It might involve reading, watching movies, cooking new recipes, or working on your car. Whatever it is - make time for it during the week and this will lift your mood.

    4. Use technology and social media
    Technology has made it easier than ever before to connect with people all over the world. Get familiar with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Skype. Touch base regularly with friends, family and new acquaintances to get a sense of connection and support.

    5. Create a plan over the holidays
    One of the most difficult times for singles is during holiday periods. Whether it's a long weekend, Christmas, Easter or New Year's - it can be very hard being on your own. Rather than having nothing in place for these extended breaks - create a plan. Schedule in daily activities and social events throughout the holidays so that you stay busy and have plenty to look forward to.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, as seen on Ch 7's the Morning Show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy. www.johnaiken.com.au

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Stay Smart Online - the importance of passwords

    awareness week website ba

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    RSVP is a partner in National Cyber Security Awareness Week, an initiative run by the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy to raise awareness of how Australians can improve their online security and protect their personal information when using the Internet.

    It doesn't matter if you are social networking, banking, shopping or just browsing the web - one very important aspect of online security is passwords.

    According to research released by the Department today, the average Australian internet user is likely to have more than 12 password-protected accounts. Some people have up to 30 password-protected accounts.

    And it's not just the youngsters that are managing all these accounts and passwords.

    63% of Australians aged 55+ enter between one and five passwords in a single day, another 18% enter between six and ten.

    At RSVP, we are always reminding members to create unique passwords for their accounts. So how do you keep your passwords unique when there are so many to manage?

    First and foremost, avoid using short, obvious or linear number passwords. Incorporate numbers, symbols and upper/lower case letters where you can. The longer and more complicated your password is - the harder it is for a would-be hacker to guess.

    If you are worried about remembering your password for a particular site, think of password that you personally relate to that site. For example, if a friend suggested that you start an account on RSVP, perhaps use their nickname (with some numbers or symbols) as your password.

    If you still forget your password, many online services will send you an email to a nominated recovery address asking you to reset your password. So make sure you know you can log into that email account.

    Now that you have some tips for creating good, strong passwords, make sure you put them to good use.

    The research also shows that nearly half of Wi-Fi users aged 55+ use the default password rather than a unique and personal one. Similarly, older Australians are less likely than younger Aussies to have a password to protect their mobile phone.

    So if you are operating with any default or weak passwords - it's time to update them and protect your information.

    The RSVP Team

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Stay Smart Online - RSVP security tips for online daters

    awareness week website ba

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    RSVP is a partner in National Cyber Security Awareness Week, an initiative run by the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy to raise awareness of how Australians can improve their online security and protect their personal information when using the Internet.

    Whether you're banking, shopping, communicating or dating, it is important that you can use the internet confidently and securely. Over the coming week, RSVP will be sharing information about how you can protect your personal information when doing things online.

    To get started, here are some tips from RSVP that should guide your online dating behaviour and how you communicate with other singles.

    Like so many things we do online, dating is secure as long as you follow some simple principles and exercise commonsense.

    TIPS FOR CREATING A SECURE PROFILE

    1. Carefully select an online dating username
    RSVP asks you for a username for the purpose of protecting your personal information. Your username should be a reflection of your personality but not be a derivation of your real name.

    2. Create a unique password for your online dating account
    When deciding on a password, make it unique. That means differentiate if from your other online passwords and don't use something simple and easy to guess like your first name with a number before or after it.

    3. Never share personal or identifying details in your dating profile
    That means no details about your family, work or where you live and definitely no private contact details. Remember your online dating profile is published publicly - you would not give out your home address and phone number to someone you met on the street, so don't do it online.


    TIPS FOR SECURE ONLINE DATING

    1. Use the system to protect your privacy
    RSVP provides members with an anonymous and secure email address. When you communicate through the site, your personal information is protected by this anonymous exchange. It is designed to enable you to get to know other members before exchanging personal information. You have 30 days of unlimited communication with another member once a Stamp has been used and you've begun exchanging emails. Use this system until you are ready to meet and don't let anyone rush you to take things offline or to other communication channels such as your personal email, mobile etc.

    2. Be alert to early declarations of love
    If someone you are in contact with starts declaring their love for you within a matter of weeks (or even days), be cautious. The emails may be long and romantic, so be careful to use your best judgement. If you are unsure, get a second opinion from a friend or suggest a phone call with them to help you make a decision about this person's intentions or legitimacy.

    3. Beware of anyone who talks money
    Be on the lookout if there is any mention of financial difficulty and the need or request for financial assistance. This can come in the form of requests for money to pay for a visa, an airfare or medical expenses. Beware of anyone asking you to use a wire transfer service or provide your financial details.

    Similarly, beware of anyone who offers money to you. These are always scams. Why would someone you don't know want to give you money?

    Put simply - under no circumstances should you provide bank account, financial details or money.

    4. Do not follow links to other sites
    Emails that ask you to follow links to other sites are likely to be part of a scam activity and should not be clicked. Reputable dating sites like RSVP do not have links to photos on other sites.

    5. Report suspicious behaviour
    If you come across a profile or meet someone online who seems suspicious, report it to the dating site and request that the member is investigated. It's better to be safe than sorry.

    For more information on National Cyber Security Awareness Week, visit the Stay Smart Online website.

    The RSVP Team

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Challenges of relocating for a relationship

    relocating

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    Being single and putting yourself out there to meet someone special takes plenty of courage. You have to be proactive and be prepared for plenty of challenges along the way. However it's even more confronting when the person you do finally fall in love with happens to live a long way away!

    In this situation, you may be required to re-locate to share your life together. When this is the case, it's not something you want to do in the spur of the moment. Rather, it's a time for careful consideration and planning so that the move runs smoothly and you feel comfortable in your new surroundings.

    So if you or your new partner are facing re-location, here are some tips to make things a little easier for you:

    1. Maintain family contact
    If you're close with your family, then it's very important to keep up regular contact with them after you move. This may mean setting up weekends to go home and visit, ringing them on a frequent basis, and staying in touch through Skype, email, Facebook and twitter. They need to remain an important part of your life.

    2. Lean on your old friends
    Be prepared to rely on your old friends for continued support throughout your relocation. They know you well and can lift you up during those difficult lonely times. They can make you laugh, and keep you included in the goings on in your social network. Technology has developed so much that you can have instant contact with them at any time of the day.

    3. Consider career/work opportunities
    You want to make sure that you're going to a place where you can be active and have a purpose to your day. There may be career opportunities for you in the new area, or you may be moving to live on a farm. Whatever the case, it's important to think about how you're going to use your time productively throughout the day and have plenty of daily activities. This will give you a sense of achievement and motivation. If needs be, set something up before you arrive so that you can hit the ground running.

    4. Spend time with your new partner
    One of the biggest mistakes that new couples make is that when one partner relocates to be in the relationship - work gets in the way and you both end up feeling lonely and neglected. Talk about how much time you want to spend together once you relocate and schedule in plenty of rituals of connection. Date nights, daily time for talking, weekly sex, morning coffee, walking together and going to bed at the same time. Schedule it in and make it happen.

    5. Develop new social networks
    Once you arrive in a new area, make it your goal to develop your social networks and grow your friendship base. Put yourself out there, get to know the neighbours, join some different clubs and take up a new hobbies/interests. You're there to stay, and you need to commit to letting new people into your life.

    6. Get to know the area
    Be open to the idea of becoming a local and getting familiar with your new surroundings. Get out and about and make a point of learning about the new area so that you start to feel comfortable. Get out of your comfort zone and be open to exploring your new home. Soon you'll feel confident and secure about your move.

    7. Reach out to your partner for help
    When you relocate it's very easy to fall avoid talking about your fears and worries with your partner. Instead you want to show them that everything's great and that you're settling in smoothly. But in all honesty you're going to have problems, issue and challenges. You have to bring these up with your partner and deal with them as a team rather than suffer in silence. Reach out for help when you need it.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, as seen on Ch 7's the Morning Show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy. www.johnaiken.com.au

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Dating Etiquette

    etiquette

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    Etiquette - online and offline - is always a hot topic and this week John Aiken is covering online dating etiquette and the importance of manners.

    The principals of etiquette are the same when dating online and offline - courtesy, respect and manners should guide all your interactions.

    The RSVP Date of the Nation Report 2012 showed that manners rank within the top five characteristics that Australian singles rate as being very important when looking for a long-term partner.

    So what are good manners when dating online? It's replying to Kisses to let members know if you are interested or not, it's letting people down gently, its accepting that not everyone is going to be your perfect match and being respectful of other people's opinions.

    When someone sends you an email, it is important to remember they have used a Stamp to do this. Think of it like someone buying you a drink in a bar - even if you're not interested, it would be rude to not acknowledge the gesture. You can always say thanks but no thanks. So, if someone sends you an email and you are not interested or no longer interested - you should always be polite and let them know that you don't think it would work out or that circumstances have changed.

    And when someone does let you know that they are not interested - be gracious and move on.

    Did you know being courteous and replying to Kisses and emails is not only good manners but it also improves the position of your profile in other members' searches. It's a win, win!

    View the video here.

    The RSVP Team

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Identifying lessons learned in past relationships and putting them to good use

    jpg

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    It's very easy to feel somewhat anxious about dating again as a mature single person. Your mind can play games with you and this can create doubts about finding someone special who has long-term potential.

    However, I think you can view this very differently. Being a mature single person gives you experience and knowledge that allows you to make better judgments when it comes to love. As long as you've learnt from the past.

    When you're young and inexperienced, dating is all about having fun and meeting different types of singles. It's about getting out there and learning what you want and don't want in a long-term relationship. You're like a sponge - soaking it all up and educating yourself about love. There are ups and downs along the way, and you find out a lot about yourself and your level of resilience during the process.

    However when you're a mature single person, the dating experience can be very different because you bring plenty of experience. You're no longer the new kid on the block. You've likely been in several long-term relationships (maybe even been married), and you've been exposed to many challenges. You've rolled with the punches and have come out the other side.

    This can then really work to your advantage in the dating scene as long as you've remembered to do one thing along the way - learn from your past mistakes. If you take these lessons with you - then you're dating with knowledge and wisdom. You have a high relationship IQ and you can make more accurate judgments when it comes to choosing the right partner and working as a team in a relationship.

    So to make sure you've learnt from your past relationship mistakes, here are some questions to think about moving forward:

    • What types of person do I usually go out with / get involved with?
    • When do I know a person isn't right for me (e.g. warning signs)?
    • What type of mistakes do I often make when dating / in a relationship?
    • What do I need to do differently when I'm dating / in my next relationship?
    • What do I want to be different in my next partner?
    • What are my deal-breakers (things I simply cannot embrace - smoking, drinking, cheating, gambling, lateness etc.)?
    • What are the traits of my ideal partner?
    • What are the new goals/dreams I want to achieve with my new partner?


    With these learnings from the past, you can now hold your head up high and go into the dating process with confidence. You're not going to simply repeat bad relationship habits, but rather get a better outcome with someone who is better suited to you.


    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines

    Identifying your deal-breakers

    dealbreakers

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating & relationship expert on

    We've all got them. Certain things that we can and cannot embrace in a relationship. Deal-breakers. Those issues that you see as being 'no go zones'.

    Deal-breakers are very personal and can span a range of issues and areas such as religious beliefs, views on cheating, smoking, drug taking, getting married, having kids and violence. They might relate to certain political views, values around raising kids and spirituality.

    So often singles don't give much thought to their relationship deal-breakers while dating. Instead you just jump in and see where it takes you. While this is a courageous and spontaneous approach, it doesn't take into account what's important to you in a relationship and a partner.

    So before leaping in and getting serious or committing to a long-term relationship, think about the following 20 issues, views, habits, behaviours and patterns. Ask yourself how important they are to you? Ask yourself if compatibility in theses areas is a deal-breaker?

    1. Religious beliefs
    2. Political views
    3. Getting married
    4. Having kids
    5. Infidelity
    6. Smoking
    7. Drinking
    8. Gambling
    9. Violence
    10. Verbal abuse
    11. Sex drive
    12. Flirting
    13. Lying
    14. Unemployment
    15. Living arrangements - e.g Still lives with parents
    16. Questionable hygiene
    17. Serious debt
    18. Unhealthy lifestyle habits (no exercise)
    19. Workaholic
    20. Obsessive hobbies/pursuits


    It's also worthwhile spending some time prioritising these views, behaviours and patterns in order of significance to find out your top five deal-breakers.

    Keep these in mind as you move into the dating scene and be selective. Rather than trying to change someone who has a deal-breaker, move on to someone who's more compatible. You'll save yourself a lot of heartache down the track.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, as seen regularly on Ch 7's the Morning Show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy. www.johnaiken.com.au

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    What do you want in your next partner and relationship?

    couple

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    It's very easy to simply get swept up in the moment when you fall for a new love interest. They can take your breath away, talk with you for days about anything and everything and the sexual chemistry can be overwhelming! You can spend hours on end thinking about them, contacting them through texts, phone calls and emails, and making plans to introduce them to your inner circle.

    But wait!

    Before you go too far with all of this - take a moment to think about what you want from a relationship. What are your expectations and deal-breakers? Rather than just jumping in and seeing how things develop, it would be wise to first identify your relationship needs.

    When you're clear about what's important to you in a relationship, then you make good romantic judgments, and don't waste your time with potential partners that aren't on the same page.

    The best time to evaluate your relationship expectations is when you're single. That way when you do date someone, you'll be armed with a clear knowledge about what you want and don't want in a relationship.

    Ask yourself the following questions:

    • Do I want a serious or casual relationship?
    • How important is sex to me and how frequently do I want this?
    • Where do I stand on monogamy and cheating?
    • Do I want to be married and how many kids do I hope to have?
    • What do I think makes for a good parent?
    • How do I want to manage money in my relationship?
    • How important is my career?
    • What do I need in terms of communication and affection from my partner?
    • How much does my partner need to get on with my friends and family?
    • What importance do I place on health and fitness (e.g. exercise, drinking, diet, smoking, partying)?
    • What are my core values around religion, spirituality, schooling, discipline, domestic roles, day-care, and commitment?


    Once you know the answer to these questions, it's important to think about how you want to discuss these with a new love interest. Do you jump right in on the first date and get these out on the table or do you hold back and feel things out for a month or two?

    I tend to think that this will depend on your age and stage in life. If you're young and there's no urgency about finding a long-term partner, then you may hold back on discussing some of your relationship expectations until several months into the relationship. Take things easy and gently bring these up as the trust builds.

    However if you're older, and perhaps at a point in your life where you're looking to get serious and don't want to mess around with time, then you would get your relationship expectations out on the table sooner rather than later. Tell your new love interest what you need and want moving forward in a relationship and see if they're on the same page or not.

    It you have the same relationship expectations then push forward, it not, be polite and move on to other options.


    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, currently seen on Ch 7's the Morning Show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy: How science can help get relationships back on track (www.johnaiken.com.au)


    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Would you cross footy codes for love...

    footy codes

    Posted by Paula Ward - Know The Game on

    Footy is a religion to some. When this happens, it's usually because you've been born into it - because of where you live or who your family support. Lines can be drawn mid-household and the lounge room rivalries can be fierce.

    In the 80s and 90s it was clear, Queensland and NSW equalled rugby (generally, league for public schools and union for private schools) and Victoria, SA and WA meant AFL. Tasmania was... well... maybe AFL... but more so cricket. And, the territories didn't seem quite so footy obsessed.

    Each code then spread its wings. AFL has at least two teams in each mainland state, rugby (league and union) moved south and the A-League has delivered a game that is now drawing an audience broader than just those who herald from a UK/European football stronghold. Football aka soccer may be 'The World Game' but it's taken a long time to penetrate the Aussie market.

    A-League crowds have reportedly grown by 23% this season. The AFL boasts of having a female membership base of around 48%, while rugby union continues to be the perennial favourite of the corporate market (unless you're in Melbourne where AFL reigns supreme). League, despite its off-field ups and downs, continues to pull a loyal following.

    What footy code is your passion? Who do you support?

    Would you cross codes in the dating game?

    How far would you go for love...could your allegiance be changed?


    Paula Ward created Know The Game to help people learn about Australian sports. In our sports-obsessed nation being able to comfortably 'talk sport' is a great way to get the conversation going at work, home and when you're out and about. It helps you to engage and be included. Learn more at www.knowthegame.com.au


    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Dress to impress

    dv

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    When deliberating about what to wear on a first date, the most important thing to keep in mind is...it's always better to be over rather than under dressed!

    Putting some effort in and presenting yourself well is worth it. If you turn up looking like you've just rolled out of bed, you're not likely to make a great first impression. And we all know - first impressions tend to stick.

    It doesn't matter if you are male or female - the same principals apply. So, here are some tips on wardrobe direction for first dates:

    1. Check the scene
    First of all - consider where you are going and what the other people are likely to be wearing. What is the dress code? You don't want to look (and in turn feel) out of place. For example, a suit in a hipster bar...wearing thongs to a well-heeled bar...or vice versa.

    Feeling like you fit in with the surroundings is important because it will help you relax. First dates are nerve-wreaking enough without extra pressure of looking awkward by default.

    2. Power Dressing
    Second tip - wear something that makes you feel great. Clothes impact how confident and natural we feel as well as our comfort levels.

    New shoes giving you blisters, a shirt a size too small making you feel squeezed in, a woollen jumper overheating your body - all these types of factors are going to make you physically uncomfortable and this will show in your body language and mood.

    Select something that you've worn before and you know makes you feel fantastic as well as attractive.

    3. Keep it fresh
    The power of looking and smelling fresh is not be underestimated. If you are meeting up after work - you're going to be limited as to what you can wear and your date will expect this...but you can freshen up.

    Looking fresh and crisp will help impress your date. Feeling fresh will energise you after a long day. Think about how far you want to take this. Do you want to pack a spare top or shirt in your bag so you can do a flying change as you leave the office? Is a quick splash of water on your face enough? Do you simply need a light spray of cologne and you're out the door?

    Keep these tips in mind next time you are prepping for a date. Remember - you may want to appear cool and casual but you also need to make it clear that you have put some effort in. This is going to work in your favour if you want to secure another date...


    The RSVP Team


    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Making RSVP work for you

    video

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    New to RSVP? Feeling a little overwhelmed with all the options. What is a Kiss? Why do I need Stamps? What are the benefits of secure email and chat? What is RSViP and why would I use it?

    This week, John Aiken covers some of the basics around RSVP's product range to help you navigate the best way to use the site to get the most out of the experience.

    Got more questions? Also visit How It Works

    John finishes the blog with advice on being pro-active. We'd love to hear your views on this. Who should make the first move? Do you find pro-activity a turn-on? Or is the chase important, even in the online world?

    View the video here.

    The RSVP Team

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    What can you realistically change about a partner?

    change

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    One of the biggest challenges I see singles try to take on is attempting to change a new love interest to be more like them. Rather than looking to simply embrace and enjoy each other's differences, you instead think about how you can mould them into something more suitable. But is this realistic? Can you really change your partner to be more compatible?

    The answer to this question really lies in the types of differences you're talking about.

    Everyone brings with them their own beliefs and values, past experiences and future goals and aspirations. These are the very core aspects of an individual that are very unlikely to change. For instance, think about a person's religious beliefs, political views or their strict nutritional needs. Consider their stance on smoking, drug taking, monogamy, their parenting responsibilities or their career aspirations. These will be deeply held values that make them who they are. These won't be changing anytime soon.

    But outside of these core aspects, people are more likely to take suggestions on board and adjust their behaviour.

    Think of this in terms of their preferences. Like ice cream. They may love chocolate, but are willing to try French Vanilla to get closer to you and understand you better.

    In terms of relationships, this may relate to doing things like travel, mixing with different friends, changing their dress code, exercising and going to movies. It could involve trying different sporting pursuits, going to new clubs and bars, swapping five star hotels for camping and outdoor activities. Whatever the case, these are more surface preferences that are open to negotiation. On these you can expect some compromise and change.

    But a word of warning.

    When you go into a new relationship your focus should never be on trying to change your partner. That suggests you're already unsatisfied with them and they need to evolve more just to be with you.

    This will only create resentment and opposition in your new love interest as they will see you as being controlling, domineering and hard to please.

    Rather - go in with a curious mindset of getting to know them - but not to change them. There will be some compromise on surface preferences and you can negotiate this together. But understand that they have their own identity that needs to be respected.

    Be their cheerleader rather than their teacher. Look to embrace their differences and learn from them rather than getting them to try and be more like you.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, as seen regularly on Ch 7's the Morning Show, and author of the new book "Making Couples Happy".

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Cheers to that!

    food habits

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    It might sound straightforward but if you're approaching members with very different food and drink preferences, then you're probably getting mixed results...

    Analysis of RSVP member behaviour shows that you should consider at someone's eating and drinking preferences when you're deciding whether to send them a kiss or an email.

    In fact, non-drinkers are 31% less successful with drinkers than non-drinkers. Meanwhile, drinkers are 20% more interested in drinkers than in non-drinkers.

    Similarly, vegetarians have 37% more success with other vegetarians than in general, while people with no dietary preference have 14% more success with others the same than with vegetarians.

    When you think about it - this is natural and actually very practical. It's much easier for two drinkers (or two non-drinkers) to come up with a suitable and mutually enjoyable date idea. Non-drinkers aren't really going to be thrilled by an evening of wine tasting and conversely, social drinkers are likely to want to calm the first date nerves over a cocktail.

    To help members have more fun online dating, we've looked at the behavioural trends of nearly two million members to name online dating success indicators and quantify just how much they impact your dating prospects. Our aim was to distil and confirm the elements that determine whether you are likely to hit it off with another member online and then build these indicators into the algorithms behind your match suggestions.

    The research confirmed that compatibility in terms of drinking and eating habits is indeed important.

    This isn't to say that people with different drinking habits or dietary preferences can't have a great relationship - we all know couples that successfully mix their lifestyle preferences.

    What we are saying is take these factors into consideration when you're deciding who to contact online because it's more than likely you'll start to have more success and enjoy dating more.

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Managing your sexual health: tips for women and men re-entering the dating game!

    sexual health

    Posted by Deborah Bateson, Medical Director, Family Planning NSW on

    RSVP is committed to helping Australian singles date safely and one important aspect of this is providing information to members about sexual health. Our friends at Family Planning NSW have put together some practical information and tips for singles.

    Getting back into the dating game after the end of a long-term relationship can be daunting. We hear a lot about the rise of sexually transmissible infections (known as STIs) across all age groups and it is easy to feel anxious about the 'risks'.

    It is important to be armed with the facts so you feel confident and prepared when it comes to managing your sexual health and navigating new relationships in a positive way.

    First and foremost, practising safe sex means condoms. Women and men should feel comfortable buying them, carrying them, talking to their partner about them and, most importantly, using them. Condoms come in different sizes as well as latex and non-latex varieties, especially useful for people with a latex allergy.

    Secondly, get tested for STIs if you have ever had unprotected sex with a new partner (it happens!). Don't feel anxious about talking to your doctor or nurse - medical professionals are all trained to talk about this important area of health.

    • Most STIs are 'silent' which means they have no symptoms. This is why STIs can be so easily passed on to other people. You cannot tell whether someone has an STI by looking at them - so it is important to ask. Asking in a direct way -"have you ever had an STI?"- is most likely to elicit a straightforward answer.
    • STIs are easy to diagnose. For the common STIs like chlamydia this usually means a simple urine test (both for women and men), although women can also be tested by a swab.
    • Chlamydia is the most common bacterial STI and it is increasing in all age groups including older women and men. More than 90 per cent of infections are 'silent' but in women it can cause symptoms such as bleeding after sex or between periods, painful urination and pelvic pain. In men it can also cause painful urination. The key is to diagnose it early. If you have had unprotected sex or show any of the symptoms described, you should visit your doctor for a test. Treatment is usually a single dose of antibiotics although a longer course of treatment is sometimes needed. We always treat your sexual partners as well to make sure the infection doesn't 'ping pong' back and forth between you. Having a repeat test three months later is also advised to check for a repeat infection.
    • Genital warts are caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and are easily treated by freezing or application of special creams or ointments. HPV is also associated with pre-cancerous changes on the cervix as well as cervical cancer so it is important for all women who have ever been sexually active to have regular Pap tests up to the age of 70.
    • Genital herpes usually presents as painful blisters which last for about five days. Outbreaks of the blisters may be frequent or infrequent. Websites are available to help you find out the facts, work out the best way to control outbreaks and gather tips on how to talk to your partner about herpes (Factsheet: www.fpnsw.org.au/herpes.pdf).
    • Last but not least, we need to be aware that while the risk of HIV is low for most people, the number of new infections has increased in recent years. In Australia, most infections occur among men who have sex with men but heterosexual transmission is also increasing. If you have any concerns, talk to your doctor so you can work out if a blood test is appropriate for you.


    Communication is really the key to preventing and treating STIs. Not just communication with your doctor but communication with your partner. Talking about using condoms, talking about STIs and talking in general is the only way to go.

    Deborah Bateson
    Medical Director
    Family Planning NSW


    For information on STIs go to www.fpnsw.org.au or call Family Planning NSW Talkline on 1300 658 886 for confidential information and referral advice.

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Proof that politics matter

    politics

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    We all know it's not a good idea to talk about politics on a date, however, what not everyone realises is that your political view significantly impacts your chances of even getting that first date...

    When you're searching through the membership base for people that look interesting - do you pay much attention to political persuasion or are you more focused on their photo and personality description, age and location?

    Although photos and personality will attract you to particular profiles, RSVP trends show that politics should be taken into consideration in this initial stage. Political compatibility has a significant impact the likelihood of getting a positive response to your kisses and emails.

    In fact, if you are a left wing voter, you are likely to be 35% more successful with other left-wingers than in general.

    If you are a right wing voter, then you are likely to be 39% more successful with other right-wingers than in general.

    Naturally, those members without a strong political persuasion will be attractive to both sides of the political spectrum.

    To make your online dating experience more fun, we've been investing in research to identify online dating success indicators and quantify just how much they impact your dating chances. We got the experts in and looked at the behavioural trends of nearly two million members over the years. Our aim was to distil and confirm the elements that determine whether members will have success approaching one another. With so many people online these days - it helps to have some guidelines to help focus your search on people you are more likely to be compatible with.

    The results of our analysis shows politics are important every year, not just in an election year...So keep this in mind next time you are searching the membership base and reviewing your kisses.

    The RSVP Team

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Paint a picture with your profile

    blog

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    When you first join RSVP, it can be pretty daunting writing your profile. As human beings we are not conditioned to 'sell ourselves' and it is all too easy to let modesty to get in the way.

    Whilst no one likes a show-off, you need to ensure you stand out from the crowd and appeal to your desired match. It is important to ensure your profile is expansive enough to give other members a true representation of who you are and what you are looking for in a partner.

    This week John Aiken's video blog provides tips on how to approach writing your RSVP profile.

    For those of you who have been on the site a little longer, we'd love to hear some of your tips for what gets your attention. Whilst there is no denying that profile photos play a big part in attracting the attention of other members, the picture you paint with words have a big influence on whether they decide to actually contact you.

    View the video here.

    The RSVP Team

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Is travelling together a good test for a relationship?

    travelling

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    One of the key stages in an early relationship will be deciding to go away together on holiday. It can all be pretty exciting and romantic! Hotel rooms, good food and wine, scenic walks, beaches, tourist attractions, and plenty of time for late nights and sleep ins. I see this as not only a great way to have fun and spend quality time with your partner - but it also provides a good little test for your relationship.

    Not only does a holiday together give you the chance to share new experiences together, it will also show you how well you cope as a couple in different situations.

    Holidays together may involve a weekend away or a trip overseas. Each holiday presents unique challenges for a couple. For starters, you'll become immediately aware of how well you plan together and how you work as a team. Does one person take the lead and become dominating and controlling or are decisions shared? Is one person more organised than the other? And how do you both manage finances?

    When you actually embark on your trip together, you'll then get to see how you both react to unforeseen challenges and difficulties. Do you problem solve as a team, or do you get into the blame game, sulk, lose your temper or simply crumble under pressure? How well do you both cope with flight delays, weather conditions, traffic, foreign languages, problem accommodation or illness?

    A trip away together will also get you up close and personal with each other on a 24/7 basis. You'll eat, sleep and spend most of your days together. There'll be plenty of times when you won't be looking your best or you'll be feeling vulnerable with each other. Can you cope with this? Do you embrace each other, or do you get turned off and want to run away?

    And what about the romance and intimacy? This will hopefully be one of the great benefits of travelling away together. You get the chance to unwind with one another, and spend lots of time being affectionate and having sex. However for some couples this is not the case due to the stress of the holiday and the arguments that occur.

    Finally, travelling away together is a wonderful way to see how you both talk and connect with each other. Do you banter and laugh, ask questions and take an interest in one another? Or do you find that you have nothing to talk about? Do you argue all the time, get sarcastic and critical or go quiet?

    In the end, a holiday away together not only gives you a chance to have fun and spend quality time with each other, but it can be a really good test for your relationship. You get to see how well you work as a team, the way you talk to each other, your levels of intimacy and your ability to be yourself around one another.

    My advice - keep an open mind and start with a small trip away and build up to something bigger once you know you work well as a team.


    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, currently seen on Ch 7's the Morning Show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy: How science can help get relationships back on track (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Comments are welcome. We love to know what you think and constructive discussion on the blog topic is encouraged. But please note, if any comments are troll-like or off topic, they will be actively ignored and deleted. For more details, please refer to our Comment Moderation Guidelines.

    Talking turkey - get your finances in order

    money

    Posted by AMP Financial Planner Claire Esmond* on

    Finding someone you click with later in life can give a restored sense of faith in love, but there is something serious and often unspoken that a new partner might bring to a relationship - debt.

    When love is blooming, many people avoid discussing their personal finances for fear it will put a dampener on their romance. But it can be a real shock if a person discovers later on that their partner has several maxed out credit cards and a high-interest personal loan.

    People often don't reveal their debts because they feel ashamed and their partner may avoid asking questions because talking about money is considered taboo or rude. However, it is important for couples to have a 'money talk' before they get too seriously involved, in order to avoid heartbreak down the track. Although a person is solely responsible for any debts in their name, there could be financial implications for the other partner in the future.

    For example if one person has a big credit card debt, it may affect a couple's ability to get a home loan. Also, if one party defaults on their credit card payments, the bank may come after a couple's joint assets.

    AMP's tips for talking about money in a new relationship:

    Be honest about money with your partner
    Both partners should be totally upfront about any debts they may be bringing into a relationship. Don't try to hide your money problems due to pride or embarrassment.

    How should you bring the subject of debt up?
    Sometimes it's best to take a direct approach with a comment like: "I'm really serious about you, so let's talk turkey. How are you going financially?"

    Ask your partner how much debt they have and what kind of debt it is
    Find out how many credit cards they have and how much they owe on each card. Also, ask them whether they have store cards, a car loan, personal loan or home loan.

    Find out if they have a strategy for paying off the debt
    Ask them how long they've had the debt and what steps they are taking to pay it off. If they've had credit card debt for many years, they will need to make more than the minimum repayments to pay it off.

    Ask them whether they have a clear credit rating
    It is a good idea to know your partner's credit history if you want to borrow money together in the future. Find out if they've ever been declared bankrupt or placed on a rental tenancy blacklist.

    Debt will never be the first thing on a couple's mind when embarking on a new romantic relationship, but it is a far too important issue to push aside.

    Love comes first, but it's important for people to be aware of their partner's financial circumstances before they let Cupid's arrow strike.

    *Claire Esmond is an Authorised Representative of AMP Financial Planning Pty Ltd, ABN 89 051 208 327, AFS Licence No. 232706.

    Any advice given is general only and has not taken into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this, before acting on any advice, you should consult a financial planner to consider how appropriate the advice is to your objectives, financial situation and needs.

    Compatibility: Are people with different skills sets a good match?

    skill sets

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    How similar do you really need to be when it comes to having ever-lasting love? Do you have to match each other on every level, or can you be different? Surely, it's a good thing to bring new ideas, beliefs and skill sets into a relationship to keep things fresh and interesting.

    My answer to this is that it's best to be similar on big-ticket items such as your values around religion, money, parenting, monogamy and future goals. However, when it comes to skills sets - the more varied the better.

    I think of my wife, she grew up on a farm and has a great DIY skill set. This sees her fix, build and put together anything. She loves the challenge and is great at it. I on the other hand - do not excel in this area.

    I see this as one of her many talents that she brings to the table that I respect, embrace and lean on. And when she's focused and wearing her DIY hat - I simply step aside and let her go for it!

    Some people are great cooks, understand fashion, know the mechanics of cars or are fitness fanatics. While others have an in-depth knowledge of films, theatre and the arts, have a passion for interior design or can resolve any type of computer/technical issue.

    In my mind, being a couple with different skill sets is a real advantage as it allows you both to deal with a greater range of issues that come your way. Compare this to the couple that have the same talents and argue over who's right and who's wrong.

    So, by all means be similar on your core values, but don't be afraid of being different with your talents and skills. Instead, look at these as an advantage for the team and then embrace them. Know when to step back and let your partner step in and use their expertise. Lean on each other and appreciate your different strengths.

    Make a point to get to know what your skill sets are, and how you can use these to your advantage as a couple. It can certainly bring you closer and increase your overall sense of teamwork.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    How to make dating more fun

    dating fun

    Posted by Dating - how one guy see's it - Clint Salter, Guest Blogger on

    Most people want to skip the date and get straight into the relationship, but for me, dating has always been an enjoyable experience. Anyone who is currently in a dating phase of his or her life should be having fun, so if you're not, keep reading!

    While you go on a date to hopefully meet The One, don't forget that dating is also about learning and experiences. Remember, knowledge and experience are invaluable, and no matter what your date is like, he or she is going to give you something invaluable during your time together.

    It's crucial to remember that even if your date is not the one you see yourself walking down the aisle with, he or she may have a brother, sister or friend who might be. You never know whom that person will know and could introduce you to. Don't limit your thinking and actions to that one person.

    It's also important to remember when you organise a date that you're guaranteed to get something positive out of it. Is there a restaurant or activity that you've been dying to try? Why not make that your date? This way you have something to look forward to and you also know that something good will come from the date even if you don't meet the love of your life.

    You want to be prepared the next time you're asking someone out or being asked out on a date, so here is a great way to ensure you're guaranteed a fun date each and every time.

    Grab a glass of your favourite wine, find your preferred spot in the house to sit and remember to take your note pad, pen and laptop with you. Dedicate the next hour to writing your FDOG (Fun Dating Options Guaranteed) list. This is your dating wish list - a list comprising of fun activities you've always wanted to try - from pizza making classes, wine tasting and diving, to rock climbing and film festivals. There are no limits to this list!

    Once you have completed your activity wish list, do the same with restaurants. Research any new hole-in-the-wall places that have received rave reviews or places you've always wanted to go but never got around to. Select restaurants in different price ranges so you can always suggest a place no matter the colour of your date's credit card.

    You should now have two very long lists filled with fun activities and delicious restaurants you would be more than happy to try. You are now prepared for the next time a date is organised and the inevitable question of, "What do you want to do?" comes up.

    As the insightful Terry Hawkins says, "There are only two times in life, now and too late".

    So what are you waiting for? Time to cross off your first activity or restaurant from that list!

    Breaking negative relationship patterns

    neg patterns

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    So you've been through a tough break-up and you're now a single parent looking to date again. Things are very different - you have kids and you've been out of the dating game for a long time. Although you're looking for romance, it's natural to feel confronted by the thought of letting someone new into your life and opening yourself up to being hurt.

    To handle this dating situation successfully - you need to make sure that you break your old relationship habits so that you get a different, more positive outcome the next time around. But where do you begin?

    Rather than just simply jumping into things and trying to find love as quickly as you can, you need to take a step back and breathe. Dissect your previous long-term relationship and identify the problem patterns and then come up with a plan to change.

    In the end, to get someone different you're going to need to do things differently.

    Answer these five questions to help you identify and break old problem patterns before jumping into your next relationship:

    1. Why were they wrong for me?
    Get specific. Look at the very things that your ex partner did that meant they were wrong for you. Gambling, drinking, unemployed, drug taking, violence, soft parenting style, workaholic, cheater, smoker, put their parents/friends first, travelled too much, couldn't commit, bad with money, low sex drive etc. List as many things as you can that turned you off about them.

    2. How did I contribute to the break - up?
    Now turn your attention to you. What exactly did you do that pushed your partner away and contributed to the break-up? What would your ex-partner say about your limitations? Did you try to please too much, work too many hours, turn off sex, let go of your health and fitness, nag, yell, stonewall or get defensive? What did they keep criticising you about?

    3. What do I want different in my next partner?
    Now start thinking about what you want in your next partner. What specifically must they be like so you can have a positive healthy relationship? Someone with a good work-life balance, non-drinker, engages in regular exercise, same values and beliefs, has let go of his ex, wants commitment, listens and communicates well etc. Be clear on this.

    4. What am I going to do differently in my next relationship?
    It's not only about them. You also need to think about how you're going to change moving forward. What do you need to do differently in your next relationship? Are you going to join a gym and get fit, expand your social networks, initiate more sex and affection, stop drinking, be more consistent with your parenting, save money, spend more time with your partner, and be more spontaneous.

    5. What action steps can I take today?
    Now that you've fully dissected your past relationship, identified problem patterns and have a blueprint for doing things differently - take action. It's time to commit to change. Begin taking steps today to get a new outcome. Clear out your old wardrobe and go shopping, start running, go to different bars and clubs, work less hours, save money, get some counselling, let them chase, say 'no' to the wrong types etc.

    Learn from the past and make a commitment today to break old habits to get a better relationship in the future.


    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert and seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning Show (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Blog Topic Suggestions

    blog

    Posted by The RSVP team on

    Over the last 18 months, the Dating Advice blog has covered many different topics and provided a platform for a handful of different voices.

    From personal stories and accounts of online dating, date suggestions and checklists through to expert tips for handling complex relationship issues - we endeavour to keep the content and tone varied. This has been requested by members - so you'll see some content is jovial and light-hearted while other posts are more serious and thought provoking.

    There are more than 450,000 singles online at RSVP every month - that's a lot of singles with different interests and opinions.

    Naturally, some blog topics will be immediately relevant to your needs and interests while other topics may hold greater appeal to other members - younger members, older members, single parents, new members etc.

    It's been a while since we last asked you guys to write in with blog topic suggestions for John to cover and we've received some great ones lately.

    If you have any topics that you would like to hear an expert opinion on, please send these in to media@rsvp.com.au with BLOG TOPIC in the subject line.

    We look forward to hearing from you.

    The RSVP team

    A picture is worth a thousand words...

    video

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    On average, a profile with a photo gets 11 times more interest than a profile without one. So just imagine what good photos could do...

    RSVP has a busy customer service team who spend time checking and approving photos before they are uploaded to the site - 1,000s of pictures get sent in each week.

    To help you get the most out of the site, we wanted to share some tips that will ensure your photos adhere to our guidelines and get uploaded first time. Here are the top reasons a photo may get rejected -

    • Duplicated photos - The member has worked out how to upload after emailing RSVP the photo as back-up.
    • Image file not large enough - The photo is too pixelated to be used
    • The photo is not in focus, blurry or too dark
    • Group shots where it is not clear who is the member
    • The photo contains sexual other offensive content
    • Celebrity photos
    • Photos that show children
    • Your member photo gallery is full!


    For further tips, this weeks' video covers practical tips for choosing good profile pictures because we all know it's so important when trying to make a good first impression.

    RSVP relationship psychologist and dating expert, John Aiken, explains the importance of current photos, variety and ditching the sunnies.

    Even if you're not a new member, these tips will come in handy if you're thinking of refreshing your profile.

    View the video here.

    The RSVP Team

    Love in the online

    keyboard

    Posted by Aleisha McCormack, Comedian and Playwright on

    In this super social, hyper-networked world, it's hard to imagine that meeting the love of your life can often be so elusive. At least it was for me. Not to have tickets on myself but for the love of God I couldn't really understand why I was single. What guy doesn't want to go out with a confident, attractive, outspoken brunette who loves to travel and have good times? Apparently lots of guys.

    'Guys don't want to go out with someone funnier than them,' a colleague advised.

    Well I never claimed to be funnier than anyone...

    'Guys don't want you to be assertive...they like to be in control,'

    Who are these 'guys' and why was I listening to advice from a colleague who had clearly been watching too much Mad Men?

    What was I putting out, that they weren't picking up?

    After three years of singledom, exhausting most of my friends of friend's contacts, going to weddings with high expectations of meeting an eligible bachelor and unsuccessfully (and probably illegally) flirting with workmates, I gave up. Well not really gave up, I just got tired of wanting. I retired from the share house world, got my own place and thought 'bugger it, I'll focus on work... I'll put my head down, power on and forget about the love hunt'.

    That lasted for about ten minutes.

    After years of being told 'Men know when you want it too much', and my personal favourite 'stop thinking about it and it'll happen', (all said by smug marrieds), I stumbled across a nice guy by accident on facebook.

    He looked nice, we had a lot of shared friendship groups and damn it... he lived in England.

    We emailed. He wrote long, funny and informative prose. He seemed to like that I was as Beyoncé would say an 'independent woman'.

    We clicked. We skyped and we skyped some more. Soon my days were filled with longing. Watching the clock and trying, with my appalling math skills to work out what time it was in London and when I'd hear from him next. After two months, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I bought a ticket to London.

    'You're an idiot, you've handed him all the power', a friend mused.

    Sure it was a risk but in three years I hadn't met anyone like Rich and come to think of it I still hadn't actually met Rich but I felt like I knew him. Without being able to touch one another, we talked and we learned. I knew more about him than a lot of my friends knew about their boyfriends and they'd been going out for years.

    This was my risk to be taken and what was the worst that could happen?
    That he was actually a robot?
    That the connection and our banter would fall flat in person?
    That this was a plot in a Truman Show style reality TV show?
    Stuff that. I'd done my research and we knew people in common.
    He could be 'it'.
    The one.
    If it all went to shit (or if it worked) at least I could write some comedy about it...claim it on tax. Everyone's a winner.

    And that's what I did. 'How to get Rich' is playing at The 2013 Melbourne International Comedy Festival and is my story of finding love online... Set on a plane, How to get Rich is about, taking a risk for love, bad bikini waxes and how many worse case 'relationship scenarios' you can conjure up during a 23-hour flight.

    Aleisha McCormack is a Comedian and Playwright.

    Separated by geography? How to date long-distance

    blog

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    Let's be honest. Communication can be difficult at the best of times when you're sitting in the same room as your date. Imagine how tricky it can be when you're separated by distance or different time zones.

    Dating when there's long distances involved can be tough. You don't get to have the same daily and incidental interactions as you would normally have when you're going out with a love interest in the same city. When you live in the same area, it's easy to make a call, send a text, catch-up for a spontaneous drink, grab a coffee or head out to enjoy the weekend weather together.

    During the early stages of dating, personal sensitivities are sometimes more pronounced as you get to know each other and learn about what pushes each other's buttons. If you live in the same city and upset each other, you simply make contact, go over and see them, say sorry and make up. Any misinterpretations can be quickly corrected, and misunderstandings can be resolved. This on the other hand, is much harder to do when you're in dating from a distance.

    With geographical separation come communication barriers that other couples don't tend to have to contend with during the initial stages of dating. Poor mobile coverage, time differences, lack of frequency of contact, misunderstandings being left to fester too long before having more contact, ongoing fatigue and tiredness.

    So - if you've meet in person, hit it off and now want to make long distance dating work, then you're going to need to have very disciplined and thoughtful approach. Here are some tips to help you on you way:

    1. Consider time zones and routines
    Get prepared. If you're going to communicate successfully in long distance dating then you need to understand time zones. Figure out when is the best time to ring - so it works in well with both your routines and you are in a similar mindset when you chat.

    2. Have frequent contact
    Even though you can't arrange frequent dates, you can have frequent contact. Make each other feel special and talk, text, email and skype.

    Leaving it too long between encounters (whether they are in person or over the phone) will leave the other person wondering if you have lost interest.

    3. Avoid vague messages / texts
    Be aware of your messages and texts. It's nice to send these to show you're being thoughtful, but they can also be misinterpreted. So read and re-read your written words before sending anything, to make sure there's no room for misunderstandings. Remember you don't know each other very well yet and humour can be hard to read in text messages.

    4. Ask questions and learn
    When you have an opportunity to talk, it's important to remember not to make the focus all about you. Instead, ask questions and take an interest - and really look to learn about your date's world.

    5. Use the distance to be romantic - send cards / letters / flowers
    I realise this is somewhat old school - but it's a very nice way to communicate in a long distance relationship. It gives your partner something tangible that they can hold, refer back to and read, smell and touch. It keeps the fires burning.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, as seen on ABC¿s new series Making Couples Happy, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy: How science can help get relationships back on track (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    How to get the most from RSVP - New video series

    blog

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    In response to feedback, we've produced a series of short videos to help our members get the most out of their RSVP dating experience. The videos are bite-size tips from our relationship psychologist and dating expert, John Aiken.

    Over the next few weeks we will be sharing the videos in the Dating Advice section of RSVP.

    The first video in the series is 'Getting Started on RSVP' and John provides some tips on making an impression, deciding on a RSVP name and protecting your privacy.

    The videos are quick and easy to watch while you are browsing the site. Over the coming weeks, we will cover topics such as writing your profile, choosing your profile pictures, etiquette and first dates.

    If there are other topics you'd like John to cover, let us know.

    View the first video 'Getting Started on RSVP' here.

    The RSVP Team

    Getting Relationship Ready: The importance of having a shared vision

    running

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    So the final episode of the series Making Couples Happy aired last night and in this episode we saw the couples finally come out the other side happier and more equipped to maintain a better relationship.

    The focus of this episode was all about the importance of moving forward as a team with shared goals. This applies to all couples - even when you're starting out in a new relationship, it's still vital to be on the same page.

    For instance, if you've met the love of your life but they're not looking for anything serious - you've got a problem. If you want to stay living in the same city and they're moving away to be overseas then this is going to be an obstacle. If you want to hold off having sex, and they want to get naked right now - then this is going to be an issue.

    What I'm saying is - having a shared vision as a new couple is very important so you can move forward as a team. Without this common ground you're going to feel disconnected, uncertain about the future, frustrated and anxious.

    So with this in mind, here are five key areas to discuss with your new love interest to make sure you're on the same page:

    1) Serious or casual?
    It's one of the first things you need to find out with your new partner. You're simply wasting your time if one of you wants long-term while the other wants fun and casual. So - get this out in the open and find out where you both stand in terms of commitment.

    2) Career ambitions?
    Talk about career ambitions as this can really give the both of you a sense of the way life is going to be in the future. The work hours involved, the travel, the financial return, the sacrifice and the achievements. Where do you both sit in all of this, and can this work for you long-term?

    3) Attitude to health and fitness?
    This is all about how important a healthy lifestyle is for the both of you. This relates to alcohol use, drugs, exercise, diet and work/life balance. It can of course change over time, but you need to know if you have similar views about maintaining a healthy approach to life.

    4) Travel plans?
    Find out about each other's travel plans and the possibility that one or both of you might be looking to live in a different city or overseas. It's very hard to get serious if you're not going to be around to see each other, so consider travel and living location in all of this.

    5) Expectations about sex?
    Often this part of a new relationship never gets discussed. You just jump into bed and go for it. However it's worthwhile talking about your expectations around sex, how important it is to you in a relationship, how frequently you want it and the things you will and won't do. You want to be compatible in this department.

    6) Thoughts on kids?
    Finally, as you get to know them more you need to find out about their thoughts on having children. Neither of you may be sure about exactly how many kids you want - but it's important that you know if kids are in the picture. If one wants a family and the other doesn't, then this is only going to lead to massive disappointment down the track.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, currently seen on ABC's new series Making Couples Happy, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy: How science can help get relationships back on track (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Alcohol Free Zone - dating ideas

    no alcohol

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    First dates. These can be nerve-wrecking experiences, and the most common way to deal with them is to opt for a date at a bar or pub, and use a couple of glasses of wine to take the edge off.

    However, although alcohol may help ease the nerves and get the conversation flowing, we all know that it can also lead to beer goggles and bad decision-making.

    Even if you are not taking part in Parched March, Dry July, Octsober - doing an activity together (not based around drinking) is a good first date option, for several reasons.

    First off, it enables you to get to know someone with a clear head and not make hasty or wrong decisions. But even better, it is a really good way to find out if you really do have things in common. Sporting activities for example can bring out traits like competitiveness, and are a quick and easy way to find out an individual's true colours! Learning a new skill together can also show you if they are caring, patient or may be just a show-off. Foodie catch-ups can also show unsightly habits or elegant table manners...and turn you off or on!

    Doing something a little outside the box on your date will also take the pressure off because it helps create conversation and banter as you try out new things and have fun, without those awkward first date silences.

    Obvious activities involve the energetic ones - tennis, kayaking, a surf lesson, getting out for a beach walk. All are great opportunities for a giggle and a chat at the same time (though you may be a little out of breathe chatting and playing tennis depending on your skill level).

    For those less inclined to break a sweat, try a cooking class or a visit to a gallery. Even if art is not your area of expertise, nothing provokes conversation more than a visit to a modern art gallery.

    Breakfast activities are also a good option. How about getting up early and visiting a Farmers Market and then grabbing a coffee and snack as you wander round? The good thing about morning activities is that you can establish upfront that you have other commitments later in the day. This puts time limits on the date and takes the pressure off it dragging out if the chemistry just isn't there. And if things are going well, you can turn breakfast in to brunch.

    And finally, how about doing some good on your date? Cooking for the homeless or clearing bush. If the date doesn't work out, you've not wasted a day and you may make some additional like-minded friends in the process.

    Fancy meeting singles in an alcohol free zone? Check out our new activity based events for singles in Sydney. Strap on an apron and get to our singles cooking class or enjoy a coastal walk and lunch in Bondi.

    The RSVP Team

    Getting Relationship Ready Series: Learn how to better connect

    connect

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    So the third episode of the new series Making Couples happy aired last night and the four couples are well on their way through an 8 week boot-camp to get them happier. In this episode we really focused on the importance of connecting more with your partner. Again, this is an important issue for new and old relationships.

    Now when I talk about connection, I'm speaking about making time for each other to be present and to engage with one another. It might involve an uninterrupted conversation with your new love interest, going out together on a date, initiating touch and affection, or sharing in a novel new experience together for the first time (e.g. new restaurant, gym class, beach walk).

    At the beginning of a relationship, connection is usually strong because you are swept up in the excitement and want to spend as much time together as possible - talking, going out, getting physical. However if you're not careful, connection can start to wane as the relationship matures and 'life gets in the way'.

    Connecting and truly engaging with your partner builds a sense of intimacy, it makes you both feel special and you operate more as a team. Without this constant connection, then you'll drift apart, lose interest and resentments will occur.

    So to give your next relationship the best chance of going the distance, here's five key ways to connect more when you're seeing someone new:

    1) Talk most days:
    Once you've been going out for a little while, make sure that you make the time to talk. I realise that you're probably in contact through texts, Facebook and twitter - but this tends to be impersonal. Connect and make each other feel more special. You don't have to talk for long, but touch base and find out about their day and how they are.

    2) Do novel things together:
    As you get to know each other better, you can get complacent and fall into familiar habits and routines - the same café, bar, clubs and restaurants. It's fine to have some of this - but you need to always sprinkle in novel things as well. So, make sure once a week you¿re getting out of your comfort zones and doing something for the first time together.

    3) Schedule in weekly date nights
    As your relationship progresses, make sure you still schedule in date nights are a great way to connect and have fun. Try doing "surrender dates" whereby one person organises everything from pick up times, what you both wear, restaurants, ordering off the menu, tickets, clubs etc. while the other person simply 'surrenders' and says yes. Then the next week swap roles.

    4) Initiate touch
    Touch is such an easy way of feeling connected with each other, and this should be very easy to do in the early stages of your new relationship. But don't just think of it in terms of leading to sex (although this can be one of the great benefits!). Instead, think of hand holding, massage, cuddling on the couch, walking with your arm around your new partner, and kissing as a way of connecting and showing them they're special.

    5) Compliment each other
    Words of appreciation are a great way of making each other feel special and connecting. You're taking notice of each other and highlighting what you like. So look out for things that you appreciate about your new love interest and tell them. For example, what they wear, how they turn you on, their great choice of friends, their punctuality, their confidence in social settings, how well they listen etc.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, currently seen on ABC's new series Making Couples Happy, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy: How science can help get relationships back on track (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Pets appeal

    Dog

    Posted by RSVP on

    Have you ever walked down the street with your furry friend and noticed the admiring looks you get from the opposite sex? You hope they are looking at you, but then you realise they are smiling at your pooch. So, it should come as no surprise that this 'pets appeal' extends from the offline world in to online dating as well.

    The boffins at RSVP spend a lot of time analysing what makes the perfect match and trying to understand what are the traits that make one member attract more interest than another.

    There are some obvious characteristics, such as being a 'non-smoker' and 'recreational drinker' (rather than heavy or teetotal) that have greater appeal - which we'd all expect. However, in a recent study RSVP uncovered that pets do more than just add cute factor. Having a liking for pets really does up the ante when it comes to receiving more Kisses.

    This is particularly true for our male members. RSVP single males who have a pet are 44% more likely to be contacted than male members in general. And although men seem to be a little less turned on by a pet, women who have one still have 14% more chance of being contacted than female members in general.

    So, why is this? Is it an ice-breaker or is it because owning a pet means you have a nurturing side? Without explicitly saying this, the mere ownership of a pet demonstrates to a level of reliability and an ability to care for another. It shows a softer side.

    On top of this, we know that profiles that have photographs get 11 times more attention than those without. So imagine what adding a pet to your profile pictures can do!

    So next time you go to update your profile, make sure your pet gets a mention (we don't have research on snakes and reptiles, but we are guessing they don't work as well as dogs). And take some snaps of you and them to show that caring side - and you too could soon be receiving more than just 'puppy love'.

    The RSVP Team

    Discreet Dating

    Discreet Dating

    Posted by Bettina Arndt, Sex therapist and dating coach on

    Putting pictures up with your profile is usually the best way to go. You'll attract far more attention that way. But there are times when it pays to be more discreet - if you're a well-known figure about town, a celebrity or a man or woman in a big job. There are many people who need to keep their personal life under wraps but that doesn't mean they can't handle online dating.

    I know a Melbourne woman in her fifties who's been using RSVP for about eight years - with some great relationships in between. She moves in a pretty select social circle but noone knows that the occasional new man who enters her life is the result of online dating. Many people tell me how surprised they are to meet high profile people via online dating - but believe me, they are out there and it works well for them.

    With my dating coaching clients who need privacy I suggest they use RSVP because key features of the site make it the stand-out for people in this situation. For a start, you can hide your photos and only make them available to people you choose - something you can do on very few dating sites. I've been advising some older professional women who are too nervous to post their photos but are willing to show the pics when they send kisses to suitable prospects - which means they are much more likely to get a response. It's very tough for women to get replies unless they let men see what they look like.

    The same isn't true of men.. Plenty of women realize some of the more interesting men, the men in professional or high profile jobs, will hide their photos. These highly desirable men still attract a good response, even though some women wrongly assume men must have something to hide if they aren't prepared to be visible. Many men get swamped with responses, particularly men who tick lots of women's boxes, like older, handsome, well-educated or successful men. I've known men who receive over fifty kisses and emails each day, which makes online dating hard work. It's a job in itself sorting through such a barrage and unfortunately many men just opt out.

    There is a solution. That's where RSViP comes into its own because it allows people in the most popular categories to keep their profiles hidden and simply choose to reveal themselves to people they find appealing. It gives you more control but also means you have to be active and willing to make the first approach but that's far less time-consuming than trying to find suitable matches in a tsunami of kisses. I've talked to many people using RSViP and finding it offers the protection they need - such as a doctor concerned about patients knowing too much about his personal life, and a company director nervous of his professional reputation.

    So there are ways of handling the online dating process if you are too nervous to let the world see who you are, or if you find being too popular makes the whole thing overwhelming. Discreet dating can be a great way to go and the day may come when you are ready to show your face.

    Bettina Arndt is a sex therapist and dating coach


    www.bettinaarndt.com.au

    Getting Relationship Ready: How to show support to your new partner

    Getting Relationship Ready

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    So the second episode of the new series Making Couples Happy aired last night and the journey of the four distressed couples through their 8-week happiness boot-camp is underway. In this episode, we really focused on the importance of showing support to your partner.

    This is absolutely vital at all stages of a relationship - particularly early on when you're dating. You need to start out how you mean to go on, and showing your new love interest that you're there for them builds trust and makes them see you as having long-term potential.

    Now, there are many different ways you can be supportive when dating someone new. There are of course the practical ways of doing this. Changing your plans to fit in with them, running an errand for them, offering to pay when out on a date, making the effort to meet their friends and ignoring your mobile phone when they're talking to you.

    Then there's the emotional ways of showing support. Listening to them when they're talking to you without offering advice, giving them a hug when they're upset, standing beside them in a daunting social situation, complimenting them in front of others and giving them space when they want to be left alone.

    At the end of the day, your new partner needs to know that you're there for them. That you have their back. So that when things get tough, when they have doubts or fears, you're always going to step up and be there for them.

    So in keeping with this, here's 5 key ways to be supportive when dating:

    1. Share the decision-making:
    Rather than stepping in and taking over all the decision making with your new love interest - share it around. Both take turns in making plans, coming up with suggestions and organising dates. And be open to saying 'yes' to each other.

    2. Take an interest in their day:
    It's important that you show interest in your partner on a daily basis. Ask them questions about their day and understand how they're coping with things. This will make them feel special and important.

    3. Send thoughtful texts:
    Make a point of sending little thoughtful texts to your love interest on a regular basis. It sends a message that you're thinking of them and that you consider them to be a priority.

    4. Celebrate their accomplishments/dreams:
    Be a cheerleader with your partner and at every opportunity celebrate their accomplishments. Also, when they talk about their future goals - be positive, interested and optimistic. There's nothing they can't do!

    5. Encourage independent time:
    Be open to the idea of encouraging each other to have independent time on a weekly basis. You can both then catch-up with your friends separately, pursue your own hobbies and interests and keep your own sense of identity. It's a great way of being supportive to one another.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, currently seen on ABC's new series Making Couples Happy, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy: How science can help get relationships back on track (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Catch up on the series here.

    Getting Relationship Ready: 10 Communication commandments

    Dating Mistakes

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    You may've seen the first episode of the new ABC show Making Couples Happy last night, where I take four distressed couples through an 8-week boot camp to get them happier. While it's on air for the next four weeks, I thought we would translate some of the lessons from the program into practical tools that are useful for singles as they get themselves 'relationship ready'.

    First up - let's talk about communication skills and the problems that occur when people attack each other and don't listen. One of the key areas you need to think about when getting relationship ready is - how good is my communication and what skills do I need to work on so I can have a better relationship with my next partner.

    Communication is without doubt the most important skill you're going to need to master if you want a healthy long-term relationship. Because if you can communicate well - then you're going to be able to bring up any issues as they arise, problem solve as a team and manage conflict. You're going to understand each other and feel connected.

    However, if you get this wrong, then you're in for a difficult time. Your relationship will be characterised by arguments, yelling, personal attacks, defensiveness and sulking.

    Rather than letting this happen, here are ten communication do's and don'ts (based on the work by psychologist John Gottman) that will help you get ready for your next relationship and improve your communication skills:

    Communication Dont's
    1. Interrupt and talk over each other
    2. Use phrases like "you always" or "you never"...
    3. Blame your new partner and bring up past mistakes
    4. Dish out advice when your new partner is discussing a problem
    5. Start a conversation with an angry tone
    6. Attack their personality traits (e.g. you're being lazy, selfish, arrogant etc.)
    7. Keep your feelings inside
    8. Get distracted and lose eye contact (e.g. focus on your mobile phone, computer, TV)
    9. Tell your partner what you don't want them to do (e.g. don't run late next time around)
    10. Argue loudly until you get overwhelmed and walk out

    Communication Do's
    1. Allow your partner to finish talking
    2. Use phrases like "you sometimes" or "you often..."
    3. Take responsibility and use "I" statements (e.g. I find this difficult...)
    4. Listen to your new partner's problems and don't fix or offer advice - just empathise and side with them
    5. Start with a gentle tone when bringing up an issue 'Honey, how would you feel about..."
    6. Focus on problem behaviours not personality flaws
    7. Express your feelings "Darling I feel..."
    8. Give eye contact and stay focused when listening (e.g ignore your mobile phone when talking)
    9. Tell your date what you do want in the future (e.g. please pick me up 10 minutes early in the future)
    10. Take time out when arguing and have 30 minutes break before coming back to the issue

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, currently seen on ABC's new series Making Couples Happy, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy: How science can help get relationships back on track (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Modern Dating and technology: How to communicate with someone when taking things offline

    blog

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    Times have changed in the dating world. The way in which you flirt and connect with a new love interest is different now. Technology has transformed dating customs and expectations - especially when pursuing someone new.

    A recent RSVP survey found that 55% of singles under 30 will text rather than call in the early stages of a relationship. 63% of those surveyed are using social media every day and 60% think that social media and technology has made it easier to manage personal relationships.

    So the message is clear. When you're taking it from online dating to offline - many singles will rely on texting as a preferred early method of contact before you meet in person.

    Now that's not a bad development. Texts are a great way to connect easily with a new love interest. You can show off you're sense of humour, keep them posted with your daily experiences and let them know that you're thinking of them. It doesn't take a lot of time, it's immediate, and it can be fun and flirty.

    But it doesn't stop there.

    You also need to be prepared to move it to a more personal level if you want to get closer to this person. That means phone calls and face-to-face meetings.

    During this stage, you both need to take the responsibility to ring each other. Ask questions, have fun, flirt, and be open to talking about yourself so they can get to know you. This is a great way of finding out if there's a chemistry and good banter.

    Remember - the key here is to show interest, ask questions and listen. People love talking about themselves.

    Once you've spent some time on the phone, then move on to organising your first date. Do this together, and choose somewhere that you are both comfortable with. Agree to meet during the day, in a public place, make it time limited and choose a relaxed and informal setting (e.g. meet up at 11am for brunch at a popular cafe).

    Remember there's no rush during the process. Go at your own pace and take your time to get to know your new love interest. By all means use texts to connect in the early stages, but also be prepared to phone and meet up face to face so you can get to know each other at a deeper level.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Valentine's Day - go-on, be brave

    Dating Mistakes

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    Valentine's Day - a day that fills single people with dread. It feels like the cards, teddy bears and flowers have been in the shops since Christmas, rubbing it in your face that you are on your own and romance is a dim and distant memory, if a memory at all. Depressing huh?

    Well no - why should couples have all the fun?

    Think about it this way...How many mismatched couples (they didn't use RSVP!) have you seen actually looking bored in a restaurant on the big V Day? There's really no need to be sad about Valentine's Day - it's time to reclaim it for the singles and have some fun.

    There is actually no better time to put your best foot forward and reach out to other singles. Other than the week after New Year's Day, Valentine's week is actually one of the busiest times on RSVP, with more members joining and more Kisses sent. In fact, we are expecting over 80,000 Kisses to be sent on the Sunday before Valentine's Day.

    And unlike when you walk in a bar, you know that everyone on RSVP is actually single - so you can 'get your flirt on' in the knowledge that you are in like-minded company. You can also choose who you flirt with...unlike when your mates or your mum set you up on a dodgy blind date.

    At RSVP, we get contacted every day by people who have met someone special using the site and want to share their story. In fact, 8% of Aussie's met their current or most recent partner online.

    So, how do you get the most out of RSVP this Valentine's, and maybe even get a date in time for the day? The best advice is to be pro-active. The people who have the most success with online dating are a little bold. Don't just wait for other members to approach you. If you see someone you like, go-on, send them a Kiss (that includes you ladies). Sometimes you might be rejected, but what have you lost...fortune favours the brave and by reaching out to more members you are increasing your odds.

    And everyone likes to receive a compliment, so you have probably helped make someone else's day. And who knows where that Kiss could lead if you take their fancy too...

    The RSVP Team

    Is a mutual interest in sport a deal breaker?

    Sport...deal breaker?

    Posted by The RSVP Team
    on

    The Australian Open wrapped up last weekend and now Aussie sport fans will be getting back to their regular routines and bedtime...no more late nights glued to the TV, thriving off the on-court tension.

    If it's not the tennis keeping you up at night, maybe it's the cricket that has dominated your small screen for the last few weeks. Perhaps you like early morning Grand Prix sessions or midnight Tour de France monitoring.

    There are lots of sports fans out there that won't miss a game when their team of choice is on the field. Some people's commitment to supporting a team or sport is a lifestyle choice...

    So this week, we ask the question - can you have a relationship with someone that doesn't share your passion for watching sport or a particular sport?

    Do you think it is important to be able to sit and watch the tennis or cricket together in a stadium or on TV and both enjoy it equally?

    We'd love to hear your thoughts. Is a mutual interest in watching sport a deal breaker?

    Classic Dating Mistakes that Keep you Single

    Dating Mistakes

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    The beginning of the year is a great time to look at your current dating approach and make some adjustments to improve your love life. Put simply, whatever you've been trying to do that hasn't worked - replace it with something else. However, one of the difficulties when doing this, is that often you make dating mistakes unknowingly and these can end up keeping you single and unhappy.

    With this in mind - I've outlined 10 key mistakes that you need to be aware of because they maybe ruining your current dating chances. If any of these mistakes sound like you, make a commitment now to change it up and apply a new dating approach for the rest of the year.

    Mistake #1: You have a negative mindset
    In this case, you're guilty of focusing on how difficult it is to meet someone, you complain that all the good ones are taken and you put yourself down about being bad at relationships. Essentially, you're bitter and cynical about your love life and feel disillusioned about the future.

    Mistake #2: You're only attracted to the wrong types
    Become clear about the types of potential love interests you need to avoid moving forward. Think about some of the key issues in your marriage and the behaviours and traits of your ex that you no longer want in your life (e.g. heavy drinker, low sex drive, workaholic, unsociable, player etc.)

    Mistake #3: You're too clingy and nice
    You have a bad habit of becoming desperate when you first meet someone and start chasing too hard. You give yourself away, please at all costs, ring or text too often, have sex too soon, change your plans to fit in with them, and spend a lot of time waiting around for them. You end up getting taken for granted and used.

    Mistake #4: You're too dramatic
    Everything in your life is sooooooooooo dramatic. You complain, get hysterical, catastrophise, and melt down constantly about your life on a daily basis. You don't ask other people questions or take an interest - it's all about you. Everything evolves around you and your dramas - and it's exhausting to listen to.

    Mistake #5: You're hung up on the past
    The baggage from your past is always coming up for you. From relationship break-ups and upsetting events of your upbringing, to recent disappointments and long-held grudges. You dwell on them and are weighed down by all the hurts that you like to talk about on a regular basis.

    Mistake #6: You hang around with toxic friends
    The friends you mix with are holding you back from finding someone special. They might party too hard, love to play the field, and have a negative view on relationships and settling down. Or else, they constantly get into 'victim talk' about how hard the dating game is and how there's no hope for the future.

    Mistake #7: You put work before romance
    This sees you put your career ahead of your love life at all costs. As a result, you work late, go into the office in the week-ends, stand up dates and miss important events, spend hours on your computer, iPad and mobile phone with work commitments. Your ambitious and focused on getting up the career ladder, not on finding a long-term partner.

    Mistake #8: You drink too much
    This can be a key problem for many singles who use alcohol to relax when out trying to meet someone special. The bottom line is - it's unattractive to drink too much as you end up looking worse for wear, you lose your power of communication and you can end up in some very regrettable situations.

    Mistake 39: You're only into one-night stands
    If you want a long-term serious relationship - don't jump into bed with people on the first date. It sends the wrong signal (e.g. not serious) and you will go away feeling used and alone. If you want players to stay away - don't have sex for at least six weeks when you are dating and you'll end up with the committed ones that respect you and want something serious.

    Mistake #10: You have a problem ex
    You won't have any success in the dating world if you have a problem ex on your hands. This is an ex who wants to spend all their time with you, is still in love with you, is a source of advice and reassurance and whom you're best friends with. It will simply scare away potential love interests who can't be bothered with the complication.

    For more classic mistakes to avoid - check out John's best selling book - Accidentally Single: the 15 Mistakes that ruin romance and how to avoid them.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)


    Dating again after divorce

    Dating after divorce

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    Once the dust has settled and you've come up for air again after your divorce is finalised, you now have the challenge of getting your head back into the dating game. For some, it can be an exciting time whereby you get to flirt, have fun and experience different opportunities. For others, it can be a daunting and overwhelming time that generates feelings of self-doubt and fear. Preparation will be vital in getting ready to date again after divorce.

    One of the keys to dating successfully after divorce is to make sure that you've learnt from your mistakes and you're now 'relationship ready'. Avoid the temptation of just throwing yourself into a new relationship without first looking at what happened and then creating a plan to do things differently. Otherwise, you'll simply keep repeating the same relationship mistakes over and over again.

    So prepare, prepare, prepare.

    Put simply, you'll need to overhaul your dating approach and get 'relationship ready'. It's time to know exactly what you want and what you're going to avoid, and how you're going to be different with your next partner. You'll also need to use your friends in this process. After all, things are going to be very, very different since you were last out there in the singles scene!

    Remember - you've now got to deal with the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, and texting. The rules have changed, dress codes are different and relationship expectations have transformed.

    So take the opportunity now when you're single to prepare for dating after your divorce and bring with you a clear game plan. Here's some key tips to help you along the way:

    1. Learn from the past
    Set aside time to dissect your previous marriage and look at what went wrong. Why were they wrong for you, and what did you do that contributed to the break-up? Pinpoint your mistakes and lean from these - and know how you're going to be different with your next partner.

    2. Avoid the wrong types
    Become clear about the types of potential love interests you need to avoid moving forward. Think about some of the key issues in your marriage and the behaviours and traits of your ex that you no longer want in your life (e.g. heavy drinker, low sex drive, workaholic, unsociable, player etc.)

    3. Define your ideal partner
    Also turn your attention to your ideal partner. Don't simply have a shotgun approach whereby you go out with no focus and simply see what comes your way. Get selective and zero in on the key traits and behaviours you want and need in your next long-term partner. Be specific - social skills, sex drive, parenting style, sense of humour, ambition, health and fitness, communication etc.

    4. Have an appearance make-over
    Things have changed since you were last out in the dating world. Before launching yourself into it all - give your appearance an overhaul. Throw out the old wardrobe, get a haircut, put some time into your grooming and get yourself looking fabulous. It will lift your self-confidence and give you a sense of taking control.

    5. Pursue individual interests/hobbies
    When getting out there again, you need to make sure you're an interesting person with plenty going on in your life. Take some time to pursue your own interests and create a full and exciting life for yourself. You're not just sitting around waiting to meet someone special. Instead you have a busy life that's attractive and exciting.

    6. Maintain a positive mindset
    Avoid the temptation of becoming bitter about the hurts of the past or disillusioned and negative about dating. If you're going to commit to getting out there again, then you need to get positive. Prevent yourself from talking negatively to others about the past (especially other dates), and always, always be positive about your future chances in the dating game.

    7. Lean on your friends
    You need support when jumping back into dating the scene, and who better to lean on than your friends. They can not only give you feedback about your appearance and dating approach, they can build you up when you're having doubts, help you with your partner selections and support you after setbacks.

    8. Always prioritise your kids
    If you have kids from your marriage, it's vital that you don't get caught up in the romance of a new relationship and push them to one side. Instead, keep all your routines with them, answer their questions, reassure them and if your kids are living at home, avoid having sleepovers with your new love interest.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)


    Sharpen your profile - starting with your personality description

    dinner and movie

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    Although getting online is relatively straightforward, writing your profile can be pretty time consuming, complicated and even a little confronting.

    But don't worry - it's quite natural to find it challenging because when you're completing your profile, you're forced to think about who you are and what you actually want in and from a partner. And, this might be the first time you've formally and seriously considered these types of questions.

    One of the areas members find especially tricky is writing a personal description. This is because it's a bit like writing a short personal biography and many of us haven't actually written one before. Some will have written a corporate CV but even company directors and CEOs can find it hard to brag about themselves on paper. It's often their support staff that have to sharpen their bios and make sure they're not selling themselves short.

    Don't underestimate the importance of how you describe yourself. Your personality description and photo are the two key factors that influence whether other singles will contact you.

    Tips for writing a good personal description

    1. Think of it like writing a social biography and get your support people to help you. Ask a close friend to read your description before you put it online or review what you currently have up. More often than not, they will have some helpful suggestions for you. Remember - how you see yourself is often very different to how others see you.

    2. Once you've listened to their feedback, consider this alongside ways that you can make your description different from other members. Don't play it safe and make your profile look like everyone else. Name your points of difference, provide some insight into what makes you tick, your sense of humour, lifestyle and tastes.

    3. Importantly, check your spelling and grammar before you go live. It sounds simple but makes a world of difference!

    Then see how you go. If you find you're not attracting the type of people you want - revisit your profile and try and identify why this is. Tweak your profile here and there and see if you get different results.

    Have fun and good luck.

    Balancing family commitments and dating

    singlepar

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    One of the biggest mistakes that divorced singles with kids can make when they get back out into the world of dating is to put their love life ahead of their family commitments. Time and time again I hear horror stories of solo parents getting swept up in romance at the expense of the more important aspect of their life - their children.

    One of the reasons why this happens is because when you start dating again after a long-term relationship, it's all very exciting and new. You may've been out of the scene for many years so getting back into dating can be an eye-opener. You're getting attention from members of the opposite sex, going out to new bars and clubs and meeting new groups of friends. It can be intoxicating.

    Not to mention the fact that if you've meet someone special you'll be experiencing all those feel-good love chemicals. At this early stage you will experience "limerence" which sees you become fixated with your new partner, wanting to spend all your time together and get physical with them as often as possible.

    The end result is that you can run the risk of losing balance and letting go of family commitments by focusing much of your time and attention on your new love life. This is a big mistake and ultimately will hurt the ones closest to you - your children.

    The fallout can be immense. Your kids can start to feel abandoned, excluded, lonely and scared by what's happening. Their routines can be disrupted to the point where they get anxious, confused and frightened of their changing day-to-day plans. They might start acting out and rebelling in response to the lack of focus on them. And your ex can begin to get angry as they see your new dating behaviour as having a negative impact on the kids.

    Rather than letting go of your family commitments - keep these as the priority and instead make your love life fit around these. Keep it simple. Family comes first. This will give you the balance you need to manage your dating and home life.

    Here are some practical tips that can help with doing this:

    1) Discuss dating expectations with your ex:
    This is not always possible, but if you're going to balance your family commitments with dating, it helps to have an agreement with your ex. If you can, talk about your dating expectations and try and establish some common ground. Particularly around when to introduce kids to new partners, pick up and drop off timetables and no bad mouthing each other to the kids.

    2) Prioritise your kids' daily routines:
    This has to be a priority above all else. Kids need certainty and routine. It creates a sense of safety and control for them. Even though you have separated from your long-term partner, they know how their daily routines run. Stick to this timetable, and avoid breaking plans for your new partner. They're not as important as your kids and if they're really keen on you, they'll be flexible.

    3) No sleep-overs
    Avoid having your new partner sleep over at the house when your kids are there. It might seem like a no-brainer, but this is something that happens frequently when parents start dating again. It's simply too soon for your kids. They need months before meeting your new partner let alone having them sleep over. It's confusing and scary for them, and rushes things forward too quickly. Instead, wait until the kids are staying over with your ex before you consider this option.

    4) Lean on friends for support
    It can be very helpful to reach out to your friends for support when you start dating again. Hopefully, you have a trusted network of people that are reliable and the kids know well that can share some of the load. To do a pick up run, take an after school sports practice, or come over for a babysitting night - so that you can see your new partner without disrupting the kid's routines.

    5) Plan ahead rather than be spontaneous
    It might sound a little boring, but now that you have kids, you need to run your life to a weekly calendar rather than be spontaneous. You have plenty of family commitments to prioritise, so book things into a schedule and stick to it. This will stop you getting overcommitted and making dating plans that ultimately don't work out.


    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert and seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning Show (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    A miners guide to long distance dating!

    dinner and movie

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    Dating can be a challenge at the best of times. It may take several months of going out with a person before you really start to feel comfortable with them. That being said, spare a thought for those trying to date someone in a different city or country!! There's no doubt that long distance dating can work, but it also has it's own unique set of obstacles.

    For starters, you simply cannot get the one-on-one in person dating experiences that others get by going out on regular dates. As well, you're not able to become affectionate or intimate in a way that other couples do. Time zones can be a nightmare for trying to connect and technology can let you down - bad Skype connections, poor mobile phone coverage and computer meltdowns.

    And then there are the feelings of loneliness, jealousy, disappointment and frustration as you spend so much time apart, longing for each other. On top of this, when you do manage to get together in person, there can be an awkwardness and pressure to get along because you haven't seen each other for such a long time.

    Although there are some real challenges to this type of dating, there are things you can do so that it runs more smoothly. Follow the tips below and make the most out of your long distance dating situation:

    1) Establish expectations and long distance rules
    Creating a game plan is vital in this situation. You both need to be clear about your expectations around your long distance relationship. Know exactly where you stand in terms of exclusivity. Also, set up rules around when and how you're going to contact each other. Do your research around technology and time zones so that you connect on a regular basis and get on the same page about how this needs to run. Don't leave it up to chance.

    2) Communicate clearly and raise issues immediately
    It's very important to be clear about your communication in a long distance dating situation. Beware of mixed messages with your texts, emails, twitter comments and Facebook updates. Also, if it's an important issue - talk about it on the phone or Skype and give yourself plenty of time to do this. And, if you have a burning problem, bring it up immediately rather than stew on it for weeks.

    3) Have regular visits
    Long distance dating is only going to work if you get some regular one-on-one time in person. That means you have to plan to have frequent visits with each other so you can connect and be intimate. One or both of you will need to travel to see the other person at set times during the year. Without this, you'll simply start to lose interest and the relationship will fizzle out.

    4) Remember important calendar dates
    Being away from each other means you'll miss out on being with your partner on some of the important events throughout the year. So, get out your calendar and go through the year together and circle key dates. These might include birthdays, Valentine's Day, graduations, family events etc.

    5) Set a deadline
    If you're going to pursue a long distance relationship you must have an end point in mind. You need to agree on a deadline where you will then come together and be a couple living in the same area. It doesn't matter who decides to make the move, but one of you will need to compromise so that you end up being a couple who exist together in each other's company rather than separated by geographical distance.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert and seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning Show (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Tips for making long distance dating work!

    dinner and movie

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    Dating can be a challenge at the best of times. It may take several months of going out with a person before you really start to feel comfortable with them. That being said, spare a thought for those trying to date someone in a different city or country!! There's no doubt that long distance dating can work, but it also has it's own unique set of obstacles.

    For starters, you simply cannot get the one-on-one in person dating experiences that others get by going out on regular dates. As well, you're not able to become affectionate or intimate in a way that other couples do. Time zones can be a nightmare for trying to connect and technology can let you down - bad Skype connections, poor mobile phone coverage and computer meltdowns.

    And then there are the feelings of loneliness, jealousy, disappointment and frustration as you spend so much time apart, longing for each other. On top of this, when you do manage to get together in person, there can be an awkwardness and pressure to get along because you haven't seen each other for such a long time.

    Although there are some real challenges to this type of dating, there are things you can do so that it runs more smoothly. Follow the tips below and make the most out of your long distance dating situation:

    1) Establish expectations and long distance rules
    Creating a game plan is vital in this situation. You both need to be clear about your expectations around your long distance relationship. Know exactly where you stand in terms of exclusivity. Also, set up rules around when and how you're going to contact each other. Do your research around technology and time zones so that you connect on a regular basis and get on the same page about how this needs to run. Don't leave it up to chance.

    2) Communicate clearly and raise issues immediately
    It's very important to be clear about your communication in a long distance dating situation. Beware of mixed messages with your texts, emails, twitter comments and Facebook updates. Also, if it's an important issue - talk about it on the phone or Skype and give yourself plenty of time to do this. And, if you have a burning problem, bring it up immediately rather than stew on it for weeks.

    3) Have regular visits
    Long distance dating is only going to work if you get some regular one-on-one time in person. That means you have to plan to have frequent visits with each other so you can connect and be intimate. One or both of you will need to travel to see the other person at set times during the year. Without this, you'll simply start to lose interest and the relationship will fizzle out.

    4) Remember important calendar dates
    Being away from each other means you'll miss out on being with your partner on some of the important events throughout the year. So, get out your calendar and go through the year together and circle key dates. These might include birthdays, Valentine's Day, graduations, family events etc.

    5) Set a deadline
    If you're going to pursue a long distance relationship you must have an end point in mind. You need to agree on a deadline where you will then come together and be a couple living in the same area. It doesn't matter who decides to make the move, but one of you will need to compromise so that you end up being a couple who exist together in each other's company rather than separated by geographical distance.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert and seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning Show (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Tips for long distance dating

    dinner and movie

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    Dating can be a challenge at the best of times. It may take several months of going out with a person before you really start to feel comfortable with them. That being said, spare a thought for those trying to date someone in a different city or country!! There's no doubt that long distance dating can work, but it also has it's own unique set of obstacles.

    For starters, you simply cannot get the one-on-one in person dating experiences that others get by going out on regular dates. As well, you're not able to become affectionate or intimate in a way that other couples do. Time zones can be a nightmare for trying to connect and technology can let you down - bad Skype connections, poor mobile phone coverage and computer meltdowns.

    And then there are the feelings of loneliness, jealousy, disappointment and frustration as you spend so much time apart, longing for each other. On top of this, when you do manage to get together in person, there can be an awkwardness and pressure to get along because you haven't seen each other for such a long time.

    Although there are some real challenges to this type of dating, there are things you can do so that it runs more smoothly. Follow the tips below and make the most out of your long distance dating situation:

    1) Establish expectations and long distance rules
    Creating a game plan is vital in this situation. You both need to be clear about your expectations around your long distance relationship. Know exactly where you stand in terms of exclusivity. Also, set up rules around when and how you're going to contact each other. Do your research around technology and time zones so that you connect on a regular basis and get on the same page about how this needs to run. Don't leave it up to chance.

    2) Communicate clearly and raise issues immediately
    It's very important to be clear about your communication in a long distance dating situation. Beware of mixed messages with your texts, emails, twitter comments and Facebook updates. Also, if it's an important issue - talk about it on the phone or Skype and give yourself plenty of time to do this. And, if you have a burning problem, bring it up immediately rather than stew on it for weeks.

    3) Have regular visits
    Long distance dating is only going to work if you get some regular one-on-one time in person. That means you have to plan to have frequent visits with each other so you can connect and be intimate. One or both of you will need to travel to see the other person at set times during the year. Without this, you'll simply start to lose interest and the relationship will fizzle out.

    4) Remember important calendar dates
    Being away from each other means you'll miss out on being with your partner on some of the important events throughout the year. So, get out your calendar and go through the year together and circle key dates. These might include birthdays, Valentine's Day, graduations, family events etc.

    5) Set a deadline
    If you're going to pursue a long distance relationship you must have an end point in mind. You need to agree on a deadline where you will then come together and be a couple living in the same area. It doesn't matter who decides to make the move, but one of you will need to compromise so that you end up being a couple who exist together in each other's company rather than separated by geographical distance.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert and seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning Show (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Things you should know: Menopause - essential facts for women (and their partners!)

    meno

    Posted by Dr Deborah Bateson, Medical Director at Family Planning NSW on

    Menopause is a time of change and one of the best ways to manage change is to be armed with information. Deborah Bateson, Medical Director at Family Planning NSW has provided information about what happens at the menopause and some simple tips for managing some of the health issues that can occur at this stage of life.

    So what exactly is menopause?

    Menopause is the absence of menstrual periods for 12 months. While the average age of menopause for Australian women is 51 years, some women may experience early menopause from the age of 40.

    What happens in the lead up to the menopause?

    The lead up to the menopause is associated with fluctuations in hormone levels. Certainly the 40s can be a time of hormonal turbulence when periods may become heavier and premenstrual symptoms such as breast tenderness become heightened. Periods may come less frequently than before, sometimes with several months from one to the next, but some women experience an abrupt stop to their menstrual cycle. Even though the chance of a pregnancy at this stage of life is very low, it is not necessarily zero, and contraception can still be an important consideration.

    What changes can occur at the time of menopause?

    Menopause is associated with a reduction in oestrogen levels which results in hot flushes and night sweats for some women. These can range from severe and debilitating to mild and barely noticeable. Reduced oestrogen levels also cause changes to vaginal tissues which may cause discomfort, particularly with sex, for some women. Mood changes are also not uncommon at this stage of life but they may relate more to life events such as children leaving home (or not!), caring for elderly parents as well as career challenges, than to hormonal changes. It is important to see a doctor if mood symptoms are severe and to make sure a diagnosis of depression or anxiety is not missed.

    While menopause affects women in different ways, it is fair to say that for all women it is a time of change.

    What do women (and men) need to know?

    Communication is the most important ingredient for women and their partners at the time of the menopause.
    If a woman is throwing off the bedclothes as a result of drenching night sweats while her partner is shivering with the cold, the best solution is to talk it through to come up with a plan that works for everyone.

    It is also a good idea to see your local doctor or family planning clinic to discuss any concerns either partner may have in relation to menopause. Women with debilitating hot flushes need to be aware that hormone replacement therapy can be a very safe and effective option for controlling these symptoms. Similarly, specially designed vaginal lubricants and oestrogen creams or tablets can be a blessing for sexually active women during this stage of life.

    The importance of healthy lifestyles

    By far the most important ingredient for this stage of life, however, is ensuring you have a healthy lifestyle. Keeping body weight in check, watching alcohol intake and stopping smoking are all essential, and a healthy diet plus plenty of exercise promotes heart as well as bone health. Other preventative health measures include regular Pap tests as well as 2-yearly mammograms.
    For women and men embarking on a new relationship, talking to your partner about condoms is an important strategy when it comes to preventing common sexually transmissible infections (STIs) like chlamydia. If there are any concerns about STIs, then seeing your doctor for a simple STI test, usually just a straightforward urine test, is essential.

    Ensuring you have the facts when it comes to staying healthy at the menopause is the secret to getting this stage of life off to a good start.

    Hear more from Dr Deborah Bateson, Medical Director at Family Planning NSW on Menopause on this clip:





    For further information www.fpnsw.org.au or contact Family Planning NSW's information and referral telephone service which is staffed by experts in reproductive and sexual health 1300 658 886.

    You can also find further information on menopause on the following websites:
    www.menopause.org.au
    www.jeanhailes.org.au

    New Year, New Dating Habits

    dinner and movie

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    The New Year is here and it's a great time for singles. Apart from the festive feel in the air and the excitement about the holiday period, it's an opportunity to set some new personal goals. In particular, to review your dating approach and to establish new positive habits that improve your love life.

    It's a great time to decide to take action and move in a different direction. It's a window of opportunity for you to evaluate how you're living your life. To pinpoint what doesn't work and then let it go. Then zero in on how you're going to do things differently and commit to new habits, including your dating habits.

    Remember - "if you want different, you have to do different".

    Keep in mind, however, it can be very challenging to change your habits. Studies have shown that a about 50% of people that set New Year's resolutions have fallen back into old habits at 6 months, and by the end of the year 90% of people are back to their old ways (read more).

    With this being the case, you need to have a clear and methodical approach to establishing your new dating habits for the year ahead. Leaving things to chance is not going to work. If you want to have a different outcome - it's going to require a disciplined approach.

    Here are some key steps for creating new dating habits for the year ahead:

    1) Understand why you need to change
    Before coming up with some new habits for the upcoming year you need to know why you're changing. What's so bad about staying the same? What's the worst thing about keeping your old dating habits? These questions will get you clear about your motivation for changing.

    2) Identify your problem dating patterns and mistakes
    To find out what needs to change you need to look back at your past dating experiences. This will show you the error of your ways. Think about the last five people you've dated. What was wrong about them as a potential match for you? What were the warning signs? What mistakes did you make? Why didn't it work out in the long run with this person?

    3) Create new dating habits
    Now turn your attention to creating dating new habits. Ask yourself, what am I going to do differently moving forward? What do I need to change to meet someone special? Get specific on your new habits and write them down in a list. Consider the following examples:
    - Drink less alcohol
    - Wait 4 weeks before having sex
    - Let them chase
    - Limit texts/phone calls in the early days
    - Update your wardobe
    - Work less hours
    - Daily exercise
    - Cut off contact with the ex
    - Stop criticizing self in public
    - Avoid wrong types (e.g. players, workaholics etc)
    - Change my online photo and update my profile

    4) Get feedback from a friend
    Once you've created your list of new habits, take this to a trusted friend. They will be able to give you some honest feedback about what needs to change and they may even add to your list of new habits. Often you can do things without awareness, and your friends can bring problem patterns to your attention.

    5) Go public with your new habits
    Once you've got clear about your new dating habits it's time to go public. Tell close friends and family members about your new approach. Declare this and by so doing you're making a commitment to do it differently. Your supporters can also keep you on track when the going gets tough or when you start to lose your focus.

    Happy New Year!

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, and seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning Show (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    How important is finding a partner with a similar intellect?

    dinner and movie

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    There are many qualities that singles look for in a long-term partner, and this differs from person to person. For some, it's all about looks and appearance. For others, it's about values or financial security. But what about intellect? Do you need to be on the same page intellectually to be compatible?

    Well, it's certainly a factor that is relevant when talking about compatibility. I often hear singles telling me that they broke up from their last relationship because the person they were with wasn't intellectually challenging enough. Put simply, they got bored and moved on.

    In recent research coming out of the UK, Dr. Marcel Zenter from the University of York found that men are increasingly valuing intellect and character in a female partner over their looks (read more (here).

    RSVP's Date of the Nation Report 2012 revealed that 63% of men and 69% of women rated personality as being very important in a partner. Intelligence was rated very important by 33% of single men and 52% of single women. While only 20% of men and 16% of women rated physical attributes as being very important.

    The take home message here is that singles value intellect and it plays a role in terms of compatibility. It's not the only factor, but it one of many elements that come into the equation.

    The reason for this is due to the fact that having a similar intellect to your partner encourages equality and respect and it keeps things interesting. It can foster debate and entertaining conversations. You can pursue similar intellectual interests together (e.g. reading, study, writing etc.) Power, control and decision making can be shared - rather than taken over by the smarter partner. And you can dream and aspire to things together with the same intellectual approach.

    At the end of the day, when you've been together for many years, intellect will keep you interested and curious in one another. So when you're dating, consider brainpower and chose someone on your level. Then sit back and enjoy each other's minds. It will keep you entertained for years to come.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, and seen weekly on Ch7's the Morning Show (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    How to Have a Merry Christmas When You're Single

    xmas

    Posted by Elly Klein, author of Men are Like a Box of Chocolates on

    I've always been single at Christmas. In fact, I don't think I've EVER experienced a Christmas and a relationship at the same time. Sure, I may have been 'seeing someone', but I'm yet to bring a significant other to the annual family Christmas Day celebrations. And this year will be no exception...

    Now, before you break out the violins (or hand me a double-eggnog with extra cinnamon), you should know that I'm not remotely perturbed by this. It's simply how the cards have fallen, and I'm sure the day will come when I can barely remember what Christmas was like BC (Before Commitment), as I've been with Mr Right for such a long time.

    So, I guess you could say that, inadvertently, I'm somewhat of an expert on being 'all by myself' (Bridget Jones-style) through the holidays. And if this is what you're facing in the coming weeks, I'm here to tell you that it ain't so bad. In fact, it's kinda fabulous!

    What's that? Can't bear the thought of being alone during mistletoe season? Well, here's a customised Christmas carol just for you: 'Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way. Oh, what fun it is to ride... solo on Christmas Day, hey!' No? Okay...

    First, let's address WHY you're single, as this is what family and friends seem to be the most interested in. It's not because no one wants you (despite what some of your pitying relatives might think) - or, my favourite, because you're too picky. ('Yes, Aunty Joan, I know the fat, bald, toothless stamp-collector 25 years my senior likes me. But if it's alright with you, I'd like to be attracted to, if not in love with, the person I'm dating exclusively.') The real reason you're single is because, while you have an infinite number of candidates auditioning for the role of 'boyfriend' or 'girlfriend' (right?), none of them, as yet, have made the cut. You have no interest in lowering your standards in time for the December 25 deadline, and why should you? Tis the season to be jolly... and there's only so much turkey you can handle in one day.

    If the reason for your new-found singledom is a recent split, prepare for a little damage control. Breaking up with your partner might not be the Christmas present your mum had in mind. But as with the superfluous scented candle or lavender body lotion someone's likely to give her, she's just going to have to pretend to like it. If you're hurting, you may feel as stupid wearing a smile as you do wearing that paper crown from the Christmas cracker but, in both cases, being festive will serve you well. If you don't seem bothered by being minus a +1, and you're able to talk optimistically about your New Year, you shouldn't have any trouble re-directing the conversation to your cousin's cute baby or your niece's nose piercing. Deflect and defeat!

    So, how does this seasoned single gal spend Christmas Day? Well, if I'm in Perth, where my extended-family live, we have a big Christmas lunch with lots of food, presents, relatives, friends and air-conditioning. (Christmas Day in Perth is always a scorcher.) Being sans bloke, I have all the time in the world to catch up with my aunts, uncles, cousins and other Perth pals. If I'm in Sydney, my hometown and current place of residence, I spend it with my Little Sister mentees (I mentor four underprivileged teenage girls - three from the same family), and usually take them to Bondi Beach. Before I started mentoring, my mum and I volunteered at a community lunch, and it was awesome! I learnt a lot and really enjoyed it. I thought it was brilliant that we all sat down together to eat, rather than 'us' serving 'them' - smart, simple, meaningful.

    The lead-up to Christmas is always a lot of fun, too. For a night owl such as myself, shopping at midnight (alone or with friends) is a dream come true, and I never tire of the novelty of the malls being open 'til all hours. As I work for myself, it's been a long time since I attended an office Christmas party, but I dare say they're a riot when you're blissfully unattached (albeit a little dangerous if there's a workmate you fancy and have to face again on Monday morning or in the New Year). In any case, there's a buzz in the air. The weather is warm (if you're in the Southern Hemisphere), and people are more relaxed and friendly as the year draws to a close. It's a good time to be single.

    So, are you on board yet? If being single at Christmas equals pathetic to you, you need to shake off the 'bah, humbug'! To me, being single at Christmas equals freedom; sweet freedom - ah, it feels more exhilarating than flying through the air on a reindeer-powered sleigh. Okay, maybe not that exhilarating. But in the absence of a loving relationship, I believe it's better to be alone than wish you were. I've never seen the point in keeping up appearances with my own, personal Ebenezer Scrooge. In fact, I believe the only people who should be putting on a show at Christmas are the kids in the nativity plays. Santa's not the only one making a list and checking it twice: I can't find one good reason why you should introduce Mr or Ms Right Now to your family, especially if it's unlikely you'll still be together by Valentine's Day, all because you're terrified of being labelled the family spinster/bachelor/loser. As Bridget Fonda's character, Janet, puts it in the cult '90s film, Singles: 'Being alone. There¿s a certain dignity to it.' Touché!

    So, dear singles, I wish you the merriest of merry Christmases. Sit back, relax and just enjoy this annual event for what it's worth. And if all else fails, help yourself to another piece of fruitcake with lashings of custard... hey, that's what New Year's resolutions are for.

    How do you feel about being single at Christmas? Do you have a helpful coping strategy you'd like to share with us? Leave a comment below.

    Elly Klein is the author of the humorous (and delicious) relationship advice book, Men Are Like a Box of Chocolates, which is now more than a book - it's a decadent hen's night event (based in Sydney).

    Exclusively to RSVP members, get your signed copy of for ONLY $11.97 - SAVE 40% + free shipping! Use Password "love" (all lower case). Redeem now!

    Hope Springs - finding love (again) after 50

    hope springs copy

    Posted by Roadshow Entertainment on

    Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) are a devoted couple, but decades of marriage have left Kay wanting to spice things up and reconnect with her husband. When she hears of a renowned couple's specialist (Steve Carell) in the small town of Great Hope Springs, she attempts to persuade her sceptical husband, a steadfast man of routine, to get on a plane for a week of marriage therapy. Just convincing Arnold to go on the retreat is hard enough - the real challenge for both of them comes as they shed their bedroom hang-ups and try to re-ignite the spark that caused them to fall for each other in the first place...

    Roadshow sat down with Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones & Steve Carrell for a chat about their characters and finding love (again) after 50...

    What's essentially wrong with Kay & Arnold's marriage do you think?

    Kay wants to reconnect with her husband, Arnold. She wants to feel connected, to feel intimately involved with him, to feel that he's intimately interested in her. But I think Arnold, if you asked him, wouldn't think anything was a problem at all. If you were asking him where they are in their marriage, he'd say, 'I don't know - about the middle.'

    And Tommy, what are your thoughts on Arnold?

    "He's a pretty complacent fellow. He's sort of accepted his fate in life. He doesn't do a lot of thinking about the state of his marriage. He's not the kind of person who challenges the status quo."

    Do you think their marriage is typical of modern society?
    ¿As our attention becomes atomized and spread out, it intensifies the longing we have to connect with each other. These questions of intimacy and wanting, yearning, longing to be seen and to be understood and loved is central to our culture."

    Steve, you play Kay & Arnold's marriage therapist, what makes this movie so appealing?
    "I think a lot of people have an idea of their relationship - where it is, where it needs to go to succeed. I think that's what makes this movie so funny - people can see what Kay and Arnold are going through, and relate to that and laugh at it."

    To celebrate the Blu-ray, DVD and digital release of Hope Springs, Roadshow Entertainment is also offering RSVP members the chance to win 1 of 3 Kindle Fire HD tablets and DVD Packs valued at $370! Click here to find out more!

    Hope Springs is available on Blu-ray, DVD and to download on 21 December.

    A survival guide for singles over Xmas

    xmas

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    Christmas is fast approaching and if you're single it can be a really difficult time of the year. For many of you, it's that month when you're surrounded by happy couples in love, you feel lonely and excluded, you constantly get asked by friends and family "what's happening in your love life?" and there's lots of down time to think about things.

    According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics there are now more than 5.8 million singles in Australia - approximately 35 per cent of the adult population. Relationships Australia reports that Christmas can be the loneliest time of the year for some people. One of their recent surveys discovered that up to 15% of the country reported frequently feeling lonely at this time (http://www.raq.org.au/media-centre/news/alone-christmas).

    So, if this time of year is one that you don't look forward to, all is not lost. There are certain key strategies you can put in place to survive the Xmas period.

    1) Plan Your Xmas Day:
    Always go into Christmas Day having made a clear plan of how you want things to run. Don't leave it up to chance or try to be spontaneous. Instead, consider what time you're going to get up to, what activities you're going to do and who you're going to spend it with? This will keep you busy and create a sense of accomplishment.

    2) Spend time with your friends:
    Throughout the Xmas period you need to reach out to your friends and get social. You'll probably spend more time with your single friends than couples, but both can be great for making you feel special.

    3) Exercise:
    Getting active and doing some physical exercise on a daily basis is vital for your well-being. Walk, run, cycle, gym - it's a quick way to lift your mood and make you feel alive. It's also great for your overall health and gives you a sense of focus and motivation.

    4) Moderate your drinking:
    Be disciplined over the holidays and avoid drinking too much alcohol. Getting drunk will only make you feel lethargic and low, hangovers will make the days go slowly, it's expensive and it's bad for your health.

    5) Review and set new personal goals:
    Look at your victories over the past 12 months and take a moment to congratulate yourself for what you've accomplished over the year. Then turn your mind to the upcoming year ahead and get specific on your personal goals - romance, career, health and fitness, finance, friends, and family.

    6) Travel:
    Take some time out to travel over this period. It might be a week-end away or else go overseas and experience somewhere new. It will open your eyes to new people, places and situations, and this can be very uplifting and revitalising.

    7) Pursue interests and hobbies:
    Focus on you during the holidays and look at pursuing your own interests and hobbies. It's time to target your passions. Whatever the activity, take action - cooking, movies, books, sports, music etc.

    8) Be positive about being single:
    Regardless of how many times people ask you "why are you still single?" or "what's happening in your love life?" - always, always be positive. No more putting yourself down in public or getting negative about your relationship chances. Have a key phrase that you repeat to anyone who asks: "I'm ready, and waiting to be inspired."

    9) Focus on your strengths:
    Take some time to consider your strengths. Get out a piece of paper and write down as many positive qualities about you as a person and you in relationships. Do this for 5 minutes, and then come up with your Top Five traits. Refer to this on a regular basis.

    10) Buy yourself something:
    Don't forget that it's Xmas time and you need to celebrate! Don't leave the present giving to chance. Put aside time to do some research and give yourself some presents on the big day. You matter. You're important. You deserve to feel good. So get out there and give yourself some things that you want.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert and seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning Show (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Do looks matter as we age?

    man

    Posted by John on

    There are so many people jumping online now to meet their ideal partner, particularly those of you that are 50 and over! It's such a fantastic way to meet like-minded singles and to fall in love.

    However, as you pluck up the courage to put yourself out there, many of you may be worried about your looks and what role this plays in the dating process? Does appearance really matter when dating?

    Well, regardless of your age, appearance is an important factor in terms of first impressions. It's certainly not the most important aspect in a successful long-term relationship, but it counts.

    Psychologists studying this area have found some very strong links between looks and first impressions. Dr Vivian Diller outlines some of the key associations we make with appearance - including smile, skin, eyes, hair and teeth. Read more

    A wonderful review of the literature on physical appearance and attractiveness by Dr. Jeremy Nicholson (aka. The attraction doctor), suggests that grooming, clothing, and posture can all play a strong role in making a great first impression. Read more

    As well, RSVP research shows that if you post a photo with your profile, you're going to attract 11 times more interest than a profile with no photo. It's human nature.

    So what does all this mean?

    It tells you that regardless of your age, appearance plays a role in the way others perceive you. Looks matter in the dating game. And it's an area that you need to pay attention to - from your wardrobe, shoes, hair, make-up, accessories, fitness and skin.

    Don't get me wrong. It doesn't mean you need to be a supermodel. However it's important that you understand this link between appearance and first impressions. The key is to do the most with what you've got - regardless of your age - and show your date that you bothered to put some effort in.

    Also, keep in mind that looks and first impressions are only one element of the dating process. You also need to get on with your date, show off your sparkling personality and see if there is chemistry.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, and seen weekly on Ch 7's "The Morning Show". www.johnaiken.com.au

    20 tips to boost your self confidence

    woman

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    We can all go through highs and lows when it comes to self-confidence - particularly as a single person out in the world of dating.

    There can be times when you feel unstoppable and everything seems to be going right for you. And then there are other times when you wonder if there's something wrong with you?

    The key to boosting your confidence, is to use small strategies on a daily basis that make you feel more resilient and strong. By doing this, your confidence levels stay stable regardless of what gets thrown your way.

    When you are dating, you'll be confronted with a number of different challenges on a day-to-day basis. For instance, you might have met someone you're really keen on, but they don't call you back after the first date. You may have friends and family that keep asking you "what's happening in your love life, why haven't you met anyone?". Or you're best friend falls pregnant while you've been unhappily single for several years.

    All of these types of circumstances can take a toll on your confidence levels. For some people, they get back up and keep on pushing forward. However for others, they start to feel fragile, and may even give up on romance altogether.

    Rather than getting into a negative spiral, here's 20 small practical tips to boost your self-confidence and keep you positive throughout your day:

    1) Focus on your strengths
    Take out a sheet of paper and write down as many positive character traits about yourself as you can in three minutes. Refer to your strong points on a regular basis.

    2) Speak positively about yourself:
    Make a pact to stop putting yourself down in public. Be positive to others whenever someone asks you about your love life - e.g. "I'm waiting to be inspired".

    3) Express gratitude
    Make a point of giving thanks and showing gratitude at the end of each day. Identify at least five things that you're thankful for and begin to turn on to the good.

    4) Accept compliments
    Whenever anyone gives you a compliment - force yourself to accept this with a simple "thank you." No more downplaying or deflecting the positives.

    5) Say no
    Whenever something doesn't meet your needs, step up and say "no". It's time to create boundaries and stop being taken for granted.

    6) Stop comparing yourself to others
    Your focus now needs to be on you and how you're moving forward with your own goals. Let go of comparing your progress with others.

    7) Look good/ focus on your grooming
    Pay attention to your appearance. First impressions count and this will give you an immediate sense of confidence.

    8) Exercise
    Get fit and be active on a daily basis. It will improve your health levels and gives you a sense of accomplishment and control.

    9) Pursue individual interests/ goals
    Take a sheet of paper and write down your 12-month and five-year goals. Focus on the following areas: romance, health, finance, career, friends, family and travel.

    10) Stand straight and smile
    Posture can give you a real sense of presence. Wherever you are and whomever you're with - stand up and smile.

    11) Attack procrastination
    Kick-start your system by attacking the tasks you've been putting off. Start with small challenges and tick them off one by one.

    12) Review your successes
    Look back on your last 12 months and review your achievements. Make a list of all the things you can be proud of.

    13) Visualize success

    Take 5 minutes a day to visualize being successful in a certain situation. For instance, asking someone out on a date, walking into a busy bar with confidence etc.

    14) Fake it until you make it

    Make a decision to go through your day acting 'as if' you have a strong level of confidence. What do you do differently and how does it feel? Observe this and do it again.

    15) Surround yourself with positive friends/ mentors
    Be disciplined and keep the company of people who are positive and want you to succeed. Find a mentor that can keep you positive and motivated.

    16) Focus on future solutions not the past
    Your attention now needs to zero in on future solutions rather than dwelling on the past. Ask yourself "How am I going to do this differently moving forward?"

    17) Treat yourself
    Take time out on a regular basis to treat yourself. It doesn't have to cost you anything - just do regular activities purely for you e.g. walk, hot bath, movie, book, cooking a new recipe etc.

    18) Stop over-apologising

    It's time to stop saying sorry for things that aren't your fault. No more apologies with your texts, emails, phone calls or face-to face-conversations.

    19) Make decisions on your own
    Rather than going to others constantly for advice and reassurance, turn inwards. Listen your intuition and make small decisions for you. It's time to step up and be responsible.

    20) Keep a confidence journal
    Keep a daily journal that monitors all your little victories you have each day. Write down at least three good things you achieved on a daily basis.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, and seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning Show (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    A Travel Opportunity for Singles

    travel

    Posted by Arendezvous Travel & Leisure on

    Maybe you've done your fair share of solo travel or perhaps it's not your idea of fun to travel alone? Just because you're single we don't think that means you HAVE to travel solo - there should be another option, right?

    Did you that know RSVP has been partnered with Australian travel company, aRendezvous Travel & Leisure for the past 5 years - offering holidays to destinations around Australia and across the globe all exclusively for single travelers?

    Singles Holidays are an opportunity to join like-minded people and experience new cultures, cruise the high seas or kick back with a resort package. You're guaranteed lots of laughs, chill-out time and plenty of options to join in the group festivities.

    Top reasons to join a 'Singles Holiday' group


    1. Take advantage of the room-mate matching service to save with the twin share price
    Solo travelers always tend to draw the short straw - they find a holiday they would love, but the single supplement makes it cost prohibitive. However, if you are happy to share a room, then you can take advantage of the room-mate matching service and benefit from the twin share price - and maybe even meet a great new friend in the process. Of course, there's still the option of taking a single room if you prefer your privacy.

    2. Age-matched holiday groups

    A proven ingredients to a successful group holiday is an age matched group - so, all our trips have a defined age range to ensure you'll be traveling with singles in your age group.

    3. Travel with like-minded singles
    You're all on the trip for a same reason - to satisfy the traveler and adventurer in you. Singles Holidays are a great opportunity to meet other singles that share your passion for travel.

    4. An instant group of new travel-mates
    After visiting a geographical marvel or a historic landmark, what better way to finish an exciting day than to share stories over a meal and glass of wine. Before you depart, aRendezvous will also give you the option to get-acquainted with your new travel mates with their Pre-departure Contact Service.

    5. Early bird savings with many tours
    If you're able to plan your holiday ahead of time, you'll also benefit from the early bird specials available for many of the trips.

    Imagine traveling to exotic destinations like Vietnam, Bali and Fiji, or making a lifelong dream come true on a trip to South America or Alaska. Or explore our own backyard and see more of this great country on one of our walking tours to Australia's top spots.

    If travel is on your 'to do' list this year, it's time to put your plans into action and start planning your next trip!

    Visit our Singles Holidays page to find a trip that suits you!

    We'd love to hear from members who have attended a Singles Holiday or have booked an upcoming trip. Please share your experiences here!

    Your RSVP Profile Checklist - 30 Things You MUST Get Right

    laptop

    Posted by Elly Klein, author of Men are Like a Box of Chocolates on

    Happy holidays, singles!

    Isn't this just the best time of year! The weather is warm, the year is drawing to a close and Christmas/New Year's celebrations are just around the corner. It has put me in such a festive mood, I wanted to give you a Christmas present: It's an RSVP profile checklist to assist you in finding some summer lovin' that, hopefully, carries you into 2013 and beyond.

    Now, I KNOW you've probably read 'how to' articles before about writing a killer online dating profile. Well, this one is different in two ways: 1) It's RSVP-specific, and 2) It's interactive - print it out, grab a pen and check off how many items your profile fulfils.

    Let's take it from the top, shall we...

    Photos

    Being an author, I can assure you that a book is judged by its cover. And, like it or not, so are people. So, it's crucial you get your photos right. The reality is not everyone's going to find you attractive. (I know, right - shocker!) But that's okay. It's not a beauty contest. It's a Meet the Right Person for YOU contest. And the right one WILL fancy you. To survive and thrive in the online dating game, your photos:

    1. Must be reasonably current (taken within the last 6 months, as a guideline)
    2. Must be a flattering representation of you
    3. Must be an accurate representation of you
    4. Must be an accurate representation of your personality (such as outgoing, adventurous, serious, glamorous, casual, artistic etc.)
    5. Must include at least one close-up and one full-body shot
    6. Must have no exes or friends cut out of the photo (it's tacky)

    What to do if you weren't able to check off all of the above: Have a shower, do your hair and (for women) make-up, put on one of your favourite outfits (preferably casual), select a plain background (for instance, a wall at home) and either take some selfies (NOT in the mirror - just hold the camera in front of your face or set up a tripod and use the timer feature) or get a friend to take some decent shots of you. Choose the best one/s and upload. If you choose not to have visible photos, that's your prerogative, but please be aware that you may be limiting your chances of finding that special someone online, profiles with photos receive 11 times more contact. That's a compelling stat!

    Headline

    People, this is an ad, and the product is YOU! Just as in a print ad or newspaper article, if the headline doesn't catch your attention, you don't usually read any further, do you? To survive and thrive in the online dating game, your headline:

    7. Must contain no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors
    8. Must be unique (Scope out your competition to ensure your headline stands out from the crowd.)
    9. Must be interesting ('Nice guy looking for nice girl.' More like 'Boring guy looking for boring girl.' Fix immediately! Likewise: 'Hi, how are you?' Snooze!)
    10. Must reveal something about you, but just enough to whet the appetite
    11. Must show - not tell. (If you're funny, don't SAY you're funny. BE funny.)
    12. Must not cast a wide net. (You're not trying to appeal to everyone. You're trying to appeal to those who will be right for YOU. So, there's nothing wrong with saying, 'Three favourite things: Strong cappuccinos, salty beach air and going to church.' Yes, all the non-church-goers will turn and run. But that's okay. You're not looking for them, anyway.)
    13. Must not be corny ('I like candlelit dinners and long walks along the beach in the moonlight.' Puke!)
    14. Must not be clichéd ('I'm the guy your mum warned you about.' You mean the guy devoid of originality, as I've just read the same headline about ten times? C'mon, fella. You can do better.)
    15. Must not be plagiarized (Don't steal other members' headlines. That ain't cool.)
    16. Must not state an aversion to online dating. ('I can't believe I'm doing this!!!' You mean actively looking for love online, like thousands of other people? Welcome to the 21st Century!)

    What to do if you weren't able to check off all of the above: Even though it's only a few words, your headline is just as important, if not more important, than the body of your profile. So, it's worth spending some time on it. Sit down and go through other members' headlines to get a feel for the good ones and bad ones. Come up with at least 10 varied headlines of your own. Perhaps even give it the 'Overnight Test' by sleeping on it and then choosing the best headline the following morning. You can update your headline whenever you like.

    Description

    Here's your chance to give prospective partners an idea of who you are. 50% should be revealed by what you say. 50% should be revealed by how you say it. To survive and thrive in the online dating game, your description:

    17. Must contain no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors (They're easy to miss when you've read over your profile about a thousand times, so consider getting a friend to proof read it for you)
    18. Must be succinct, unless it's particularly interesting and/or well-written
    19. Must not be TOO succinct (Someone who puts little or no effort into their profile sends a clear message that they're probably not going to put much effort into their relationship, either.)
    20. Must be broken up into short paragraphs or bullet points, so it's easy to read
    21. Must accurately reflect your personality (If you're funny, it should be funny; if you're serious, it should be serious, and so on.)
    22. Must not list an itinerary of every country you've ever been to (Australians have tendency to brag about their travel adventures, but unless it's a particularly major part of your life, keep the travel tales to a minimum - prospective partners want to know about YOU, not about how many frequent flyer miles you've racked up.)
    23. Must not contain any negative statements ('Losers need not apply' will turn off both losers and winners, which is entirely counterproductive.)

    What to do if you weren't able to check off all of the above: Spend some time on it. First thing in the morning is best, as this is when you're at your most fresh and creative. Read some other profiles for inspiration (but don't copy). You'll start to get a feel for what you want to say and how you want to say it. Sit back and ask yourself, 'Based on this profile, would I date me?' If not, keep at it.

    Ideal Partner

    This is tricky. It's important to say what you're looking for, but it's also important not to limit yourself. To survive and thrive in the online dating game, your Ideal Partner sections ('What I'm Looking For' and 'At a Glance'):

    24. Must be specific (Say what kind of person, and what kind of relationship, you're after. There's nothing wrong with saying you just want to date casually, and there's nothing wrong with saying you're ready to settle down.)
    25. Must not be too limiting ('6"4', dark hair, blue eyes, earns over $250K a year' might be a little limiting... In all seriousness, though, just be flexible.)
    26. Must not be negative (as you will risk coming across as jaded)
    27. Must include deal-breakers (The 'At a Glance' section gives you the chance to say whether or not you're willing to date a smoker and how you feel about children, so you don't have to say it in the 'What I'm Looking For' section.)
    28. Must be open-minded when it comes to age (Ladies, you might want someone a little older than you. And fellas, you might want someone a LOT younger than you. But, when it comes to age, Mr or Ms Right can really surprise you. So, if you're over 30, whether you're male or female, I suggest you broaden your age range a few more years younger and a few more years older than what you'd consider ideal. Also, fellas, if you're over 30 and truly looking for love, you're probably not going to settle down with an 18 year-old, so don't have it on your profile. It might turn Ms Right right off!)

    What to do if you weren't able to check off all of the above: There are only three ways you can mess this up: 1) By not filling it in at all, 2) By being limiting about the wrong things (kids is important, eye colour is not), and 3) By being too negative, aggressive or alienating (thus revealing that you're a little jaded and probably not over the heartache from your past). Most people get this section right.

    'My Interests': Music, Reading, Movies & TV, Sport, Other Interests

    U-oh! You might not like all the same musical artists, books, films/TV shows, sports and activities... Well, life would be pretty boring if you did! To survive and thrive in the online dating game, your 'My Interests' section:

    29. Must give an idea of what you like to listen to, read, watch, play and do.
    30. Must, potentially, be said in an interesting way (For instance, 'I make a mean curry' is more fun to read than, 'I like to cook.')

    What to do if you weren't able to check off all of the above: There's nothing wrong with listing your favourite musical artists, books, films/TV shows, sports and activities - most people do. But another option, especially if you're someone who likes to be a little more private, is to keep it broad - for instance, 'rock, hip-hop' (music), 'crime thrillers, Sunday papers' (reading), 'comedies, dramas, docos' (movies & TV), 'gym workouts, watching the footy' (sport), 'wine-tasting, walking the dog, Sunday drives' (other interests).

    How Did You Score?

    If you've checked off 30/30, you should have a damn fine profile. Well done! The idea is not to create a masterpiece, but to give you the greatest chance of finding The One. If, clearly, your profile needs some work, that's easily fixed - work on it! With holidays coming up, you should have plenty of time to mend some of the kinks in your RSVP armour.

    RSVP members, here's wishing you the merriest of merry Christmases and a super-happy New Year, filled with love, laughter and tantalizing possibility.

    If you have anything to add to the checklist, please leave a comment below.

    Elly Klein is the author of the humorous (and delicious) relationship advice book, Men Are Like a Box of Chocolates, which is now more than a book - it's a decadent hen's night event (based in Sydney).

    Exclusively to RSVP members, get your signed copy of for ONLY $11.97 - SAVE 40% + free shipping! Use Password "love" (all lower case). Redeem now!

    The weather's heating up... time to spice up your date menu

    couple

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    This time of year can be a little crazy thanks to a hectic combination of Christmas parties, work and family commitments, shopping and tying up lose ends before the end of the year.

    It can also be a heady time thanks to balmy weather, long nights, varied social engagements, dating opportunities and the endless possibilities bubbling on the horizon of the New Year.

    So if you're looking for some date idea inspiration that will get you out there embracing the warmer weather and perhaps taking things up a notch - here are some fun thought starters to spice up your dating menu.

    1. Take it outside - catch an outdoor movie or concert. Whether it's moonlight cinemas, a Shakespeare production in the park or a festival event - summer nights lend themselves beautifully to outdoor entertainment.

    2. Get out on the water - if you're feeling adventurous, why not sign up for a sailing, kayaking, paddle boarding or surfing lesson together.

    3. Be a tourist in your own town - have a think about some of the things visitors find so enticing about where you live in summer and get out an experience it. At the very least, you're likely to fall in love with your hometown again.

    4. Find the perfect spot for sundowners - it might be a pub on the water or a park bench with a view, search out the perfect setting to cool down with a drink and marvel at the twilight sky show.

    5. Share a summer favourite - think about your favourite or iconic summer experiences and work these into your date plan. It might be as simple as strolling with an ice cream after dinner or perhaps getting fish and chips at the beach rather than a restaurant. What is a favourite summer treat? It will give you a talking point while providing insight into your lifestyle.

    Spicing up your dates can mean planning entire dates around the warm weather or just incorporating a little summer flavour into your date plan.

    Get out there - make the most of the season and invite someone to join you lap up some summer fun.

    How do you spice things up in summer? Share your favourite summer date ideas below.

    How do you introduce your new partner to your kids?

    singlep

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    This is a question that I often get asked by solo parents who have found themselves back in the dating game again after their long-term relationship has ended. How do I introduce my new partner to my kids?

    It requires a shift in mindset. Previously when you were dating it was all about you. Meeting and flirting with other singles and falling in love. Then, you enjoyed the ride as you put each other first and did anything and everything to spend as much time together as you could.

    That's not the way it works now for a single parent. You come as a package - you and the kids. And that means you need to be very aware of putting them first throughout the dating process, including choosing how to introduce a new partner into the family unit.

    Here are some key tips to guide you through this process:

    1) Wait several months

    It might seem like there's no time to waste - you want to get things moving forward quickly. And that means getting your kids to meet your new love interest asap. Don't fall into this trap. Your kids may be still be hoping that you get back together with your ex and you still need to get to know this new partner. So take it slow. Wait several months and really get to know them before introducing them to the family unit.

    2) Be committed to each other

    Make a point of knowing exactly where you stand before organising a meeting with the kids. This needs to be a committed relationship that is long-term rather than fun, flirty and casual. If you don't see a future - don't let them meet the kids.

    3) Talk to your kids and listen

    Once you realise that this partner has long-term potential, start to gently bring their name up in conversation. Begin to talk to your kids about them. Ask them how they feel about you dating someone new, answer their questions and be available to reassure them about their safety, security, importance and the future. A lot of ground work needs to be done before they meet your new partner. And remember to talk to them in a language that matches their age level.

    4) Create a plan

    Take the time to talk with your new partner about a plan around meeting your kids. Be crystal clear about your expectations and how you want things to run before it happens. Avoid being spontaneous. Your kids are too important for this to taken lightly. Explain to your new partner that this is a big deal and they need to approach this with respect and caution.

    5) Consider your ex

    It might sound a bit strange to be thinking about your ex during this exciting new stage of romance, but it's likely they're still involved in your kids' life. It's ideal if you've already talked to your ex about your expectations around introducing a new partner to the kids and have an agreement in place. Following on from this, do you need to have a further conversation with them before organising a meeting with the kids? Think this through.

    6) Organise relaxed, neutral and time limited first meetings

    Once you've decided to get everyone together, think about the setting and how it needs to happen. Choose a neutral place, one that's relaxed and make the meeting time limited and short so it doesn't drag on. You may want to go somewhere with activities or open space like a park, so there are things to do and it's informal and fun.

    7) Avoid touching and showing strong displays of affection

    Always be aware of displays of affection with your new partner in front of your kids. Kissing, hand holding, cuddling, and walking with your arm around them in the early stages can be frightening and unsettling for your children. Hold back and do this in private until things are much more settled.

    8) Hold back on sleep-overs

    There's no hurry for your new partner to be sleeping over with you. Take things really slow and keep separateness between your house and their house. There's no rush to bring them into your family unit and have your kids try to adjust to the idea of this new person being there at night and being intimate with you.

    9) Don't get your new partner to parent

    Under no circumstances should you ask your new partner to step into the parenting role in these early stages. They are not here to replace your ex, and this will only produce feelings of fear, anger and resentment in the kids. You're the parent and that means it's your responsibility to set the rules and boundaries and to dish out the discipline.

    10) Make time for just you and the kids

    When a new romantic partner enters your life it's very easy to put all your time into them instead of your kids. Instead, make a point of scheduling specific time for just you and your children. This will allow them to feel safe and important, and it will encourage them to talk and still feel that bond with you.

    At the end of the day, they are your kids and you know them best. Hopefully, these tips will help make the process smoother. The key thing to remember is that the security and happiness of your children is of utmost importance.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, and seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning Show (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    For all Foodies - Your Next Adventure

    food

    Posted by aRendezvous Travel & Leisure - RSVPs singles holiday partner on

    If there is anything you're going to do on a holiday, no matter what time you wake up or what tours you have scheduled, you are going to eat and some of us might even drink some tasty elixirs; Its 5 o'clock somewhere, right!

    But besides planning your itinerary based on what you want to see, why not plan your trip based on what you could eat?

    Yes, this may sound a little far-fetched as you can probably get any cuisine right down the street without having to board a plane. But is it fresh? Authentic? How adventurous is it really to try the new Italian restaurant down the street when Italy is waiting to serve you their scrumptious pastas and pizzas? How about sparking your taste buds with some spices and curries form Thailand or India?

    This is truly a foodies way to holiday; to not just see, hear or touch a country, now you can taste and smell it too! Talk about sensory overload.

    If you haven't taken the hint, yes, we are suggesting that you plan your next trip based on your appetite! You're single, likely eating out often, and you are probably due for another getaway; seems like the perfect opportunity to have an experience beyond those you hear of so often. "Yeah, I went to the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre." Just the same as everyone else! Now being the foodie that you are, why not go back home saying, "I watched monkeys swinging from trees in South America as I sat and enjoyed freshly caught fish and drank a glass of Malbec!"

    Whether you're a food connoisseur or an amateur, wherever you decide to travel, it will be worth the discovery - because in every corner of the earth there is a distinct dish that you won't want to miss.

    So, you know you're yearning from some new experiences and are already throwing around destination ideas in your head. Why not consider our Italian Rendezvous for 18 days or Italian cuisine or our Vietnam tours for singles to experience the local Pho. There's more to choose from - visit our travel page for the complete line up of holidays, exclusively for single travelers.

    She Met Her Dream Man...

    couple

    Posted by Robyn Partridge, author of Meeting your Dream Man and Keeping Him on

    In 2003, I was recently divorced and in my early forties. I thought there would only be a slim chance of meeting anyone to fall in love with. I had come out of my marriage feeling exhausted and with low self-esteem. At that stage of my life, I realised I didn't have the luxury of time to meet someone so I took my friend's advice and placed my profile on RSVP. When I realised there were other people my own age and in the same situation - my spirits were lifted and I realised there was the possibility of finding true love.

    As a child I had watched a program called Hart to Hart about a couple who worked and travelled together, leading a wonderful life full of love and fun. I never forgot that program and desired this relationship of true love with all my heart. After two weeks of dedicating myself to contacting and talking online to candidates that I thought could be possibilities, I narrowed it down to two people and ending up having a five-hour lunch with my dream husband. We have been together nine years and married for six.

    During the past nine years, I've come across so many women looking for love and this prompted me to write a book, so I could share my journey and personal hints on dating, meeting your dream man and keeping him.

    I'm excited to say, my book 'Meeting Your Dream Man and Keeping Him' is now available at www.meetingyourdreammanandkeepinghim.com.au.

    Best of luck in your dating journey and finding your dream partner!

    Ever wondered... why hasn't he called? Should I send another txt? Is he into me?

    rabbit

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    Well, RSVP is pleased to announce the launch of a new iPhone dating app, 'Happy Rabbit', which will help answer some of these questions.

    The fun new dating tool helps guide single women through these and other common dating dilemmas, so you can make the most of the dating journey.

    Helping answer the age-old question 'Is he into me?' the app allows users to track dating communication and interactions with a few clicks each day. By monitoring who initiates the contact and the tone of each interaction, Happy Rabbit helps you keep a balanced perspective about how a romance is developing.

    The results of a recent RSVP member survey showed that when newly dating someone, 73% of respondents said they reply straightaway or within a couple of hours to a missed call or message, if they are interested in the person.

    It's natural to want to contact someone frequently when newly dating, and this new app will help ensure they are contacting their dates at the right frequency, and not boil the bunny!!
    hr
    Ladies, with this app you'll be the bunny that spends her days soaking in a hot tub. As you start dating someone new, add them to your hot tub and the 'nibbling' begins! Get rewarded when things are going well, but make sure to keep an eye on the temperature of the tub. The temperature will rise if you are over eager (don't boil your bunny!), or drop if things are cooling off.

    You can track your dating interactions with a few clicks. Send too many unanswered messages and you run the risk of 'boiling' your bunny! Get too many cold responses from your date and you may decide to 'pull the plug' and move on to greener pastures. Keep a flirty balance of interactions and watch your tub and real-life relationship get 'hot and steamy'.

    The Happy Rabbit app helps you:
    - Track your dating communications with a few clicks and stops you from over communicating
    - Calculates who initiates the most contact
    - Shows what type of contact gets the best response
    - Helps you gauge his interest level in you
    - Helps you determine if you are dating Mr. Right
    - Provides advice on what your next move should be
    - Records your relationship history... it's easy to lose track!
    - Helps you have more fun dating!

    What are you waiting for? Hop to it and download now and you'll receive 10 free nibbles.

    Members, once you've had a play we'd love to hear:
    - Is navigating the dating world tricky?
    - Do you have to stop yourself making too much contact?

    Tips to make it work with someone of a different faith

    jew

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating & relationship expert on

    A couple of months ago, we opened up discussion on the importance of shared beliefs in a relationship. The majority of responses stated that it is very important and partnerships can be more challenging without this common ground.

    Well, what happens if you find yourself falling for someone who holds a different sense of spirituality or belief system?

    Although this can make things harder for a new couple - it doesn't mean that it can't work. It all comes down to keeping an open mind and understanding the differences rather than judging them.

    If you do want to explore a relationship with someone of different beliefs, the key is mutual respect. Accept you're different - they're different, now let's make it work.

    Here are some practical tips to help you with this process:

    1. Become familiar with their religion/faith
    Take the time to really understand and appreciate the core fundamentals of their religion/ faith. Read the relevant books and ask questions so you can get to know this important part of their identity.

    2. Participate in their activities
    Be open to going along and experiencing some of their weekly/monthly/annual religious or faith based activities. You may only want to be an observer or else throw yourself into the experience entirely. It's over to you, but it shows you're prepared to embrace their choices.

    3. Mix in their social circles
    It's very important to make sure that you have joint friends rather than just separate social networks. Take a deep breath and dive in and mingle with your partner's friends. Get to know them and make them feel comfortable when you're doing the entertaining.

    4. Respect different food choices
    Rather than getting frustrated with certain dietary rules and expectations, go with them. If your partner is a vegetarian and you like eating meat - then cook 2 meals and enjoy the night. It might take more effort - but this is the way it has to be if you're going to do this successfully.

    5. Learn their language
    If your partner speaks another language, make the effort early on to embrace their culture and religion by learning their language. This may take some time, and you may only ever get a basic understanding of this, but it shows you're committed and you accepting this into your relationship.

    6. Don't try to change them
    One of the biggest mistakes you can make when going out with someone of a different religion is to try and change them. This will only create friction and conflict, because you're asking them to give up a part of who they are to be in the relationship. Instead, look to learn to live with your differences and respect each other's values.

    7. Discuss key relationship expectations
    At some stage you're going to need to discuss your relationship expectations with each other to see if you're on the same page. For instance, sex before marriage, living together, having children, what religion do the kids receive, schooling, creating specific religious relationship/family rituals etc?

    If you can come to clear agreements about these core relationship expectations then you can move forward together. However if there's no common ground then it's probably better to move on to someone who's more on the same page.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, and seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning Show: www.johnaiken.com.au

    Can a relationship work with someone with different beliefs?

    man

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating & relationship expert on

    A couple of months ago, we opened up discussion on the importance of shared beliefs in a relationship. The majority of responses stated that it is very important and partnerships can be more challenging without this common ground.

    Well, what happens if you find yourself falling for someone who holds a different sense of spirituality or belief system?

    Although this can make things harder for a new couple - it doesn't mean that it can't work. It all comes down to keeping an open mind and understanding the differences rather than judging them.

    If you do want to explore a relationship with someone of different beliefs, the key is mutual respect. Accept you're different - they're different, now let's make it work.

    Here are some practical tips to help you with this process:

    1. Become familiar with their religion/faith
    Take the time to really understand and appreciate the core fundamentals of their religion/ faith. Read the relevant books and ask questions so you can get to know this important part of their identity.

    2. Participate in their activities
    Be open to going along and experiencing some of their weekly/monthly/annual religious or faith based activities. You may only want to be an observer or else throw yourself into the experience entirely. It's over to you, but it shows you're prepared to embrace their choices.

    3. Mix in their social circles
    It's very important to make sure that you have joint friends rather than just separate social networks. Take a deep breath and dive in and mingle with your partner's friends. Get to know them and make them feel comfortable when you're doing the entertaining.

    4. Respect different food choices
    Rather than getting frustrated with certain dietary rules and expectations, go with them. If your partner is a vegetarian and you like eating meat - then cook 2 meals and enjoy the night. It might take more effort - but this is the way it has to be if you're going to do this successfully.

    5. Learn their language
    If your partner speaks another language, make the effort early on to embrace their culture and religion by learning their language. This may take some time, and you may only ever get a basic understanding of this, but it shows you're committed and you accepting this into your relationship.

    6. Don't try to change them
    One of the biggest mistakes you can make when going out with someone of a different religion is to try and change them. This will only create friction and conflict, because you're asking them to give up a part of who they are to be in the relationship. Instead, look to learn to live with your differences and respect each other's values.

    7. Discuss key relationship expectations
    At some stage you're going to need to discuss your relationship expectations with each other to see if you're on the same page. For instance, sex before marriage, living together, having children, what religion do the kids receive, schooling, creating specific religious relationship/family rituals etc?

    If you can come to clear agreements about these core relationship expectations then you can move forward together. However if there's no common ground then it's probably better to move on to someone who's more on the same page.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, and seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning Show: www.johnaiken.com.au

    How to handle differences in faith?

    christian

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating & relationship expert on

    A couple of months ago, we opened up discussion on the importance of shared beliefs in a relationship. The majority of responses stated that it is very important and partnerships can be more challenging without this common ground.

    Well, what happens if you find yourself falling for someone who holds a different sense of spirituality or belief system?

    Although this can make things harder for a new couple - it doesn't mean that it can't work. It all comes down to keeping an open mind and understanding the differences rather than judging them.

    If you do want to explore a relationship with someone of different beliefs, the key is mutual respect. Accept you're different - they're different, now let's make it work.

    Here are some practical tips to help you with this process:

    1. Become familiar with their religion/faith
    Take the time to really understand and appreciate the core fundamentals of their religion/ faith. Read the relevant books and ask questions so you can get to know this important part of their identity.

    2. Participate in their activities
    Be open to going along and experiencing some of their weekly/monthly/annual religious or faith based activities. You may only want to be an observer or else throw yourself into the experience entirely. It's over to you, but it shows you're prepared to embrace their choices.

    3. Mix in their social circles
    It's very important to make sure that you have joint friends rather than just separate social networks. Take a deep breath and dive in and mingle with your partner's friends. Get to know them and make them feel comfortable when you're doing the entertaining.

    4. Respect different food choices
    Rather than getting frustrated with certain dietary rules and expectations, go with them. If your partner is a vegetarian and you like eating meat - then cook 2 meals and enjoy the night. It might take more effort - but this is the way it has to be if you're going to do this successfully.

    5. Learn their language
    If your partner speaks another language, make the effort early on to embrace their culture and religion by learning their language. This may take some time, and you may only ever get a basic understanding of this, but it shows you're committed and you accepting this into your relationship.

    6. Don't try to change them
    One of the biggest mistakes you can make when going out with someone of a different religion is to try and change them. This will only create friction and conflict, because you're asking them to give up a part of who they are to be in the relationship. Instead, look to learn to live with your differences and respect each other's values.

    7. Discuss key relationship expectations
    At some stage you're going to need to discuss your relationship expectations with each other to see if you're on the same page. For instance, sex before marriage, living together, having children, what religion do the kids receive, schooling, creating specific religious relationship/family rituals etc?

    If you can come to clear agreements about these core relationship expectations then you can move forward together. However if there's no common ground then it's probably better to move on to someone who's more on the same page.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, and seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning Show: www.johnaiken.com.au

    Summer, sport and dating

    dinner and movie

    Posted by The RSVP Team
    on

    Not too long ago, we did a survey and RSVP members told us that they think summer is a great time for dating. There are obviously a number of reasons behind this, one such reason is that singles feel their sexiest in the hotter months. Perhaps it's the balmy weather, living more active lifestyles and having more flesh on show...

    Another great thing about summer dating is that there are so many date activities on offer. With the warmer weather and extra hours of sunshine each day, there are loads of options you can easily put on the dating menu and many of these are sport based.

    Here are some ideas to get you started...

    Tennis
    Cash in on the extra hours of sunlight and swap the after work drink for a game of tennis at twilight. With a little planning, you can easily book a local court (and racquets) to get the endorphins going. Then, there's always the option to grab a drink or dinner after your game.

    Kayaking
    For a weekend date, why not head down to your local harbour, river or lake and hire some kayaks. It's a great workout and you'll see your local sights from a different perspective.

    Biking
    Rent some bikes and depending on the level of adventure you're after - do some laps of the park, navigate your neighbourhood or tackle a mountain bike trail.

    Beachcombing
    Why not meet at the beach for a morning walk, swim and breakfast? By getting up early, you be able to enjoy the beach before the summer crowds arrive.

    Cricket
    Summer and cricket is a quintessential Aussie combination. If you feel more like watching than playing, grab some tickets to a Twenty20 game. We wouldn't necessarily suggest signing up to a five-day game but if you're both into cricket, try a short match.

    So, if you know you've both got an interest in sport or getting physical - incorporate some summer sports into your next date and get out there and enjoy!

    Tell us your great summer date ideas below!

    Summer and sporty dates - a great match!

    dinner and movie

    Posted by The RSVP Team
    on

    Not too long ago, we did a survey and RSVP members told us that they think summer is a great time for dating. There are obviously a number of reasons behind this, one such reason is that singles feel their sexiest in the hotter months. Perhaps it's the balmy weather, living more active lifestyles and having more flesh on show...

    Another great thing about summer dating is that there are so many date activities on offer. With the warmer weather and extra hours of sunshine each day, there are loads of options you can easily put on the dating menu and many of these are sport based.

    Here are some ideas to get you started...

    Tennis
    Cash in on the extra hours of sunlight and swap the after work drink for a game of tennis at twilight. With a little planning, you can easily book a local court (and racquets) to get the endorphins going. Then, there's always the option to grab a drink or dinner after your game.

    Kayaking
    For a weekend date, why not head down to your local harbour, river or lake and hire some kayaks. It's a great workout and you'll see your local sights from a different perspective.

    Biking
    Rent some bikes and depending on the level of adventure you're after - do some laps of the park, navigate your neighbourhood or tackle a mountain bike trail.

    Beachcombing
    Why not meet at the beach for a morning walk, swim and breakfast? By getting up early, you be able to enjoy the beach before the summer crowds arrive.

    Cricket
    Summer and cricket is a quintessential Aussie combination. If you feel more like watching than playing, grab some tickets to a Twenty20 game. We wouldn't necessarily suggest signing up to a five-day game but if you're both into cricket, try a short match.

    So, if you know you've both got an interest in sport or getting physical - incorporate some summer sports into your next date and get out there and enjoy!

    Tell us your great summer date ideas below!

    Things to Consider When Planning an Outdoor Adventure

    bush

    Posted by Arendezvous Travel & Leisure on

    So, you have chosen to take part in a grand outdoor group adventure? Now what? Well for starters whether it is your first time or not, give yourself a pat on the back - you have just made the life changing decision of joining a group of thrill seekers! But you may be wondering what you should do between now and the start of your adventure.

    For starters, here's a few things to keep in mind to ensure you can have the best possible experience:

    1) This is not about being perfect, it's about enjoying a peaceful environment and clearing your mind as you learn your strengths and weakness

    2) Everyone is at a different level and on these trips it's all about team effort, so don't have an 'individual' approach, and

    3) Speak up, if something is too challenging, say so, this way everyone can help find a solution.

    Next, you'll need some information and a few tangibles to have a smooth hiking trip:

    1) Read the pre-departure notes! You need to know where you are going, where you are staying, what you're going to be doing, and what is included in your package.

    2) Check the weather. A simple Google search will give you an idea of weather to expect and guide the all important packing.

    Now that you're armed with as much information as possible, check you have the right gear to meet the needs of the trip.
    For a comfortable and safe hike, it's important to dress to suit the climate.

    Winter Climates:
    A) Thermals - they act as a second skin that hugs your body and keeps you warm and cosy. Shivering as you hike won't be any fun.
    B) Socks - bring extras, so if you need to layer you'll still have a fresh pair for the next day.
    C) Jacket - depending on the temperature, you can use a windbreaker or a heavier jacket, - just ensure it's easy to move in.

    Summer Climates:
    A) Sweater - something sporty and light just in case the wind gets a little chilly.
    B) Shorts and cargo pants - make sure they're comfy and you can move in them.
    C) Short sleeved shirts that are breathable.

    Quick tips:

    * Lots of pockets are great for those small essentials that tend to get lost at the bottom of your bag.

    * Sunscreen and Chapstick! Sunburn when hiking is horrendous, so remember to slip, slop slap!

    * Shoes! Yes, these are kind of important during a hiking trip. Best to break in those 'bad boys' before your trip. Brand new and out of the box will have you begging for mercy; and once you start a hike, there is no going back.

    * Insurance - some adventurers are more prone to injury than others but none of us are invincible, so get a policy that covers at the the basics and covers medical evacuation.

    * Snacks - most trips include meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) but those energy boosters in between meals aren't always included, so pack a few non-perishable products that can fit in one of your many pockets. High protein is great to keep you going.
    Last but not least, be sure to pack your sense of humour

    With all of the above said, most importantly just have fun and take lots of pictures!

    P.S. Don't pack too heavy, your back will thank you at the end of each day.

    Did you know that RSVP offers a range of exciting adventure hikes, all exclusively for singles?
    Check out our upcoming trips including Cradle Mountain, the Bay of Fires, and the Great Ocean Road Walk. Trips cater to a range of age groups from 20s through to 50 and beyond.

    If you're looking for a little adventure, check out the trips on offer.

    How do you get over first date nerves?

    farmer

    Posted by John Aiken on

    It's game time. You've met someone you like over the internet and exchanged numerous emails and your phone number. The follow-up calls have gone really well and you're now faced with the challenge of getting ready to meet face-to-face for the first time. Typically, however, you get nervous and flustered. So how do you get over your first date nerves?

    Before getting into the specific tips on how to relax on first dates, it's important to realise that this reaction is entirely normal. Don't beat yourself up for getting nervous about going out with someone new. Regardless of how confident and self-assured you are, it can sometimes be daunting and we can all experience anxiety in this area from time to time.

    The reason for this is that you're wanting to make a good first impression and hopefully experience some great chemistry together. You want it to go well, and for them to like you. So this means there's going to be some sort of nerves. It's like going to school on your first day. It's normal to have some jitters.

    So remember to go easy on yourself.

    In saying this, here's some practical tips that can ease your anxiety as you prepare for your first date:

    1) Get ready in the right atmosphere
    Make the process of getting ready for your first date an enjoyable and entertaining one. Give yourself plenty of time, and don't rush things. Put on fun music that makes you feel happy and excited. Pay attention to your appearance and leave the house when you're ready to shine.

    2) Wear your favourite outfit
    When thinking about your appearance, make sure you choose an outfit that you feel great in. It doesn't matter too much what your flatmate or friends think - you have to be the one that wears it, so you decide. Pick an outfit that has worked for you before and gives you confidence.

    3) Go to a familiar place

    If you're organising the date, then choose a place that you've been to before and you feel relaxed in. If you've been asked out, go to the venue with a friend in the lead up so you know what it's like and what to expect. Doing some research never hurts.

    4) Organise the date during the day with a time limit
    It's a great idea to have the first date during the day and with a time limit attached so that it's more relaxed. Lunch, brunch or a late afternoon catch-up for a coffee or a bite to eat takes the pressure off. And after an hour, you can go to your next commitment without any hassle or expectation.

    5) Ask questions and listen
    A lot of first date nerves occur as a result of singles worrying about the conversation and having awkward silences. The easy way around this is simply to ask people questions. Have some general ones prepared if that helps. At the end of the day, people love talking about themselves - all you need to do is to show interest and listen. Things will flow from there.

    6) Don't try to force things

    One of the biggest drivers to first date nerves is putting yourself under too much pressure to make this date 'the one'. Instead, just look at this as an opportunity to meet someone who you're going to get to know. If there's chemistry then you'll see them again, otherwise you'll simply move on to the next opportunity.

    7) Use friends for support

    When preparing for your first date, by all means speak to your friends for support and re-assurance. They can remind you of your good points and build you up in a way that allows you to relax and enjoy the dating process.


    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, and seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning Show www.johnaiken.com.au

    How to keep the jitters in check when dating

    geek

    Posted by John Aiken on

    It's game time. You've met someone you like over the internet and exchanged numerous emails and your phone number. The follow-up calls have gone really well and you're now faced with the challenge of getting ready to meet face-to-face for the first time. Typically, however, you get nervous and flustered. So how do you get over your first date nerves?

    Before getting into the specific tips on how to relax on first dates, it's important to realise that this reaction is entirely normal. Don't beat yourself up for getting nervous about going out with someone new. Regardless of how confident and self-assured you are, it can sometimes be daunting and we can all experience anxiety in this area from time to time.

    The reason for this is that you're wanting to make a good first impression and hopefully experience some great chemistry together. You want it to go well, and for them to like you. So this means there's going to be some sort of nerves. It's like going to school on your first day. It's normal to have some jitters.

    So remember to go easy on yourself.

    In saying this, here's some practical tips that can ease your anxiety as you prepare for your first date:

    1) Get ready in the right atmosphere
    Make the process of getting ready for your first date an enjoyable and entertaining one. Give yourself plenty of time, and don't rush things. Put on fun music that makes you feel happy and excited. Pay attention to your appearance and leave the house when you're ready to shine.

    2) Wear your favourite outfit
    When thinking about your appearance, make sure you choose an outfit that you feel great in. It doesn't matter too much what your flatmate or friends think - you have to be the one that wears it, so you decide. Pick an outfit that has worked for you before and gives you confidence.

    3) Go to a familiar place

    If you're organising the date, then choose a place that you've been to before and you feel relaxed in. If you've been asked out, go to the venue with a friend in the lead up so you know what it's like and what to expect. Doing some research never hurts.

    4) Organise the date during the day with a time limit
    It's a great idea to have the first date during the day and with a time limit attached so that it's more relaxed. Lunch, brunch or a late afternoon catch-up for a coffee or a bite to eat takes the pressure off. And after an hour, you can go to your next commitment without any hassle or expectation.

    5) Ask questions and listen
    A lot of first date nerves occur as a result of singles worrying about the conversation and having awkward silences. The easy way around this is simply to ask people questions. Have some general ones prepared if that helps. At the end of the day, people love talking about themselves - all you need to do is to show interest and listen. Things will flow from there.

    6) Don't try to force things

    One of the biggest drivers to first date nerves is putting yourself under too much pressure to make this date 'the one'. Instead, just look at this as an opportunity to meet someone who you're going to get to know. If there's chemistry then you'll see them again, otherwise you'll simply move on to the next opportunity.

    7) Use friends for support

    When preparing for your first date, by all means speak to your friends for support and re-assurance. They can remind you of your good points and build you up in a way that allows you to relax and enjoy the dating process.


    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, and seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning Show www.johnaiken.com.au

    Who should do the asking out?

    wom

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    This is a question that comes up quite often from singles, particularly those that have been out of the dating game for a while and now have to up-skill in flirting etiquette. From the newly divorced, to the young and inexperienced, to the shy 50 somethings - there's a curiosity as to "Who does the asking out?" Should it be the men or the women?

    In the annual RSVP Date of the Nation Report 2012 that surveyed over 3300 Australians the answer was clear. In terms of the typical dating habits of singles there was an overwhelming trend:

    68% of men are comfortable making the first move
    46% of women are comfortable making the first move

    And interestingly there were only 6% of men who said they don't ask women out, while there were 28% of women who said they don't ask men out.

    So the figures suggest that a traditional attitude still remains in the dating world whereby men are expected to do the asking out more often than women.

    But does this mean that you have to follow this trend when out trying to meet new dates at a party or online? Well if your approach is working for you then I would suggest that you should carry on doing this. Follow the principal - If it's not broke then don't fix it.

    However if it's not getting you in front of someone special and you're missing out on dates with people you are interested in, then I would break the tradition and shake things up.

    Specifically, that means if you're a single woman and you see someone you like, then step up and make an impact. Take the lead and ask them out. On the other hand, if you're a guy who tends to do all the chasing then it might be time to step back and let things develop more naturally.

    What you must always consider in this process is how you're dating. What are you doing that works and what's not getting you results? What do you need to change to get you closer to connecting with someone special? In this case, think about how you ask potential love interests out. Does this need to be adjusted? If so, then make a decision to do things differently and evaluate the results.

    You've got nothing to lose and everything to gain. It's totally in your hands and you can decide who takes the lead on asking someone out.

    There's no hard and fast rules - simply do what works best for you and feels right.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, and seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning Show (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    RSVP launches a new TV ad - 'Groundhog Dates'

    ad

    Posted by The RSVP Team on


    "So, how was the date?"... Heard this familiar phrase?

    This week we are excited to launch our new TV advertisement dubbed 'Groundhog Dates'.

    The ad features a single 30-something woman experiencing some challenging dating situations until she finally gets fed up, heads to her computer and looks for her ideal match on RSVP.

    We won't spoil it for you though... watch the new ad!




    Our ad agency also made a fun behind the scenes clip - The Making of Groundhog Dates...

    Our indefatigable actress must have said "I ate a pie" at least 200 times!

    The flatmate's boyfriend on the sofa ate his way through 5 litres of ice cream!

    The result... you'll have to watch the ad!




    So tell us, are you a Modern Day Romantic and what does modern day romance mean to you? We'd love to hear your thoughts.

    Is it a date or a mate?

    manwoman

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    Have you ever been out with someone who had a number of great upsides - sense of humour, healthy, good group of friends, ambitious, solid career - but something was missing? On paper they should be a keeper, but instead you feel only friendship for them. In short, they're a mate not a date, and in the long run you're looking for the "X" factor not the friend factor.

    It can happen to all of us at some stage of our dating lives. We finally meet someone who we think could be ideal for us but unfortunately every time you're with them, there's just no spark. They make you feel relaxed and happy when you're around them, but you don't want to take it the next level.
    For some this can be a very confusing time, and you end up being unable to make a decision on this.

    To help you out, here's some telltale signs that the person you're dating is just a mate:

    * You don't want to have sex with them

    * You flirt with other singles in their company

    * You don't have any plans to commit to them

    * You're not in love or have intense feelings for them

    * You're too busy for them

    * You often change your plans with them and let them down

    * You shy away from being affectionate with them - particularly in public

    * You don't rush to return their calls/ texts/ emails

    * You feel uncomfortable when people ask if you're a couple

    * You usually try to only go out with them in groups

    * You call them friendly names like "buddy", "matey"

    * You tend to take advantage of their kindness, time and efforts

    Now if you're confronted with this, it's important not to try and fight through it or downplay the signs. Instead, you need to see it for what it is. This person you're dating is lovely - but you're simply not into them in that way.

    Your friends might want you together, your family might think they're perfect for you, and on paper they may outshine a number of other potential love interests. It doesn't matter. If your feelings are not there then you need to move on.

    Be honest about this with them and never ever lead them on. You can certainly still hang out with them, but both of you must be clear that it's not going anywhere romantic.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, and seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning Show (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    The art of compromise in dating

    blog

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    When you first meet someone it's very easy to fall into the trap of hanging on too tight to your old single world. After all, you may've been single for some time and the idea of letting someone else get close can be frightening. But it's important to remember that a little compromise can go a long way when starting to get to know somebody.

    We can all be guilty of being a little inflexible in the early days of a relationship. It keeps us safe and allows us to feel in control. For many singles, a relationship can mean letting go of control and losing power, so it's much easier to simply keep to your routines and schedules and avoid bending.

    The great problem with this approach is that it puts you in a battle for power and control with your love interest and you can come across as being overbearing and inflexible. For instance, when they try to take the lead you overpower them. If they make a suggestion you dismiss them and do it your way. When they need you to re-arrange your schedule you dig your toes in. In time, they will begin to see that a relationship with you is all about "your way or the highway" and go looking for something more equal.

    After all, people want to grow together in a relationship. To share power and control and to enjoy a sense of teamwork. To compromise and be able to hear each other's position.

    Rather than getting caught up in your little bubble and keeping a tight hold of the reigns, learn to give a little. Consider the following tips and enjoy the fruits of compromise.

    1) Share decisions
    Be open to the idea of sharing the decisions in the early stages of dating. Both of you can organise dates and surprise each other. Bounce off each other and be a team. It's empowering and you send a strong signal that you're equals in all of this.

    2) Say "yes" to their suggestions
    Remember to say "yes" when your new partner makes a suggestion. It might take you out of your comfort zone and seem a little scary but you want to grow with them so jump right in. You can both show each other a whole range of new experiences.

    3) Adjust your plans
    It's not a sign of weakness to change your plans to fit in with your new partner. Far from it. This is an indication that you're interested in them and this is not all about you. Bend a little - it will make a huge difference.

    4) Mix with their friends
    When you start dating it can be very easy to get your partner to spend all their time with your friends only. To prevent this from happening be sure to mix with their social network as well and show them that you're prepared to get to know the important people in their world.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, and seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning Show (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    10 signs they're into you

    thinking

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    Being single and putting yourself out there can be a challenging process. It requires lots of patience and plenty of courage to keep pushing forward to find that someone special. You'll meet plenty of potential love interests along the way - but not all of them will fit. However when you do experience chemistry with another person and start dating - how do you know that they're into you as well? What are the signs to look out for?


    1. They'll chase you
    One of the initial signs someone is keen on you is the fact that they'll be happy to chase. You'll hear from them by phone, text, email and Facebook. You won't go days without hearing from them, instead, they want to be in your life frequently.

    2. They're reliable and punctual
    Someone who is keen on you will be trustworthy and reliable. They won't break promises, stand you up or keep you waiting. When they say they're going to do something, they get it done. They follow through and always walk the talk.

    3. They'll wait for sex
    When the person you're dating is keen on you and wants something long-term and special, then they'll be happy to wait before jumping into bed. They won't pressure you for sex or make you feel bad or strange. Instead, they will let you take the lead and be respectful when it comes to getting intimate.

    4. They'll meet your friends/family
    Someone who's into you will be relaxed about meeting your friends and family. Obviously they won't be expecting to do this too early on in the dating process, but when you want them to step up, they won't hesitate. They want to be with you and get to know the people close to you.

    5. They'll compliment and praise you
    When a person likes you it will be common for them to heap praise on you. They'll focus on your physical attributes and appearance, but also your character, interests, values and goals. This will make you feel really special around them.

    6. They're an open book
    When someone is keen on you then they won't be difficult to contact or speak to. They'll give you their whereabouts, be open about who they're with and what they're doing because they're happy to let you into their life. They want you involved and so have nothing to hide.

    7. They'll want to introduce you to their inner circle
    Not only will someone who is keen on you be delighted to meet your friends, but will be excited about introducing you to their nearest and dearest. They'll be proud to show you off and let the people close to them get to know you.

    8. They'll listen to your problems
    If you're with a person who's into you then you'll feel supported. That means if you've got a problem or a drama, they're going to listen and support you. They'll make time to be there for you and hear what you've got to say rather than dismiss you or run away when there's a problem.

    9. They'll make future plans with you
    Whenever a potential love interest initiates future plans with you it means they want to see you again and are determined to make it happen. Whether it's a dinner date, going to a concert or going away for a weekend together - they want you there.

    10. There are no mixed messages

    One of the key signs that a person is into you is that you know where you stand with them at all times. There are no mixed messages, vague answers to questions, uncertainty about future catch-ups, or inappropriate flirting with other singles. They're keen on you, and you have no doubt about this fact.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, and seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning Show (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Food inspired date ideas

    food

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. If you're a foodie - it doesn't matter whether you're male or female, sharing good food with people you are dating is a rewarding and pleasure-filled experience.

    Regardless of whether it is the first date or the fourth date, food experiences can form the cornerstone of your dating agenda but it doesn't all have to be fine dining and degustations. Here are five food-based date ideas to get you inspired:

    Expand your repertoire with a tasting
    In most areas you will find local specialty stores or producers hosting cheese and/or wine tastings. Sign up to one of these and take your date along. It doesn't matter if both of you aren't wine or cheese connoisseurs - it's an opportunity to learn more and share your knowledge with your date.

    Feast on a picnic
    Set an afternoon date for some serious indulgence between meals. Create your ultimate tasting plate with samples of your favourite morsels - grab some of your favourite cheese, pate and fruit with the perfect wine to match. What better way to spend a weekend afternoon, than relaxing in a park, soaking up some sun and sharing your favourite food.

    Put some romance on your grocery list
    Get up early and head to your local growers or farmers market to get your fresh seasonal produce for the weekend or for a meal to cook together. Wandering around the markets is much more fun than battling out the queues in your local supermarket.

    Master a new skill together

    Always wanted to learn more about traditional Italian cooking, pastry making or macrobiotic menus - then book yourselves in for a cooking course and master a new skill.

    Eat cake

    Skip the meal and just go out for desert. This is a great way to end an evening if you've been to the movies, a show or play together. Wander in to a restaurant after the peak dinner service and enjoy the desert and the sticky wine lists.

    What are your favourite food inspired date ideas? We'd love to hear how you like to share your passion for food.

    What's the difference between lust and love?

    lust

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    When you've been with someone for a while you may find yourself questioning whether your romance is driven by lust or love? Do you have a real connection with this person, or is it all about sex and getting physical?

    Well there are several physiological factors that come into play when considering this question. Specifically, being in lust involves different biological reactions compared to being in love.

    Helen Fisher, an anthropologist at Rutgers University and one of the most well-known researchers in the science of love, has spent years examining these types of changes. She outlines three stages of love - lust, attraction and attachment.
    Based on this work, if you're lusting after someone then this will be generated by the sex hormones testosterone and oestrogen. It's solely about sexual desire, gratification and fulfilling your sexual needs. It's a very powerful state to be in. In fact, studies have shown that being in this state of lust can light up the same area of the brain as when an addict gets a fix of cocaine.

    Whereas being in love will result in a rise in dopamine, norepinephrine, and over the long-term, will be driven by hormones such as vasopressin and oxytocin (known as "the love drug"). As time rolls on, this state is all about attachment, spending time together, trust, companionship and close levels of intimacy and communication.

    With these different types of biological reactions comes different associated signs of lust and love. If you're not sure what the difference is between love and lust, here are some key signs to look out for:

    Lust:

    * You're attention is totally focused on having sex with this person
    * You avoid discussing personal feelings
    * You're not keen on meeting their friends and family
    * You not interested in getting to know them
    * You don't want to sleep over
    * You don't see a future with this person
    * You've only know them a short time

    Love:


    * You enjoy spending lots of time with this person
    * You talk about anything and everything with them
    * You express deep feelings of love for them
    * You discuss a shared future together
    * You're happy to mix with their friends and family
    * You're committed to this person
    * You're sexually exclusive with them

    Having an understanding of how these two states differ can help you be clearer about the future. If you've been seeing someone for a while and the feelings haven't shifted from lust to love, then perhaps you don't have a long-term future together. Casual relationships based on lust can be fine as long as both people in the relationship have the same expectation.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, and seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning Show (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Safety and security update for single parents

    sp

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    When you're dating, it's tempting to get caught up in the excitement of it all but it's key to keep a couple of safe dating guidelines in mind - especially if you have children living at home.

    It doesn't matter where you are meeting new people - through friends, in a pub, through a club or online - getting to know them is the first step. You need to spend time with people you are dating and decide whether you trust them before inviting them into your life and introducing them your family and inner circle.

    With kids in the picture, this is especially important and your dating life should not disrupt your family and its routines.

    Here are some tips from RSVP to help single parents enjoy the dating process and maintain the privacy of your family:

    Your profile should be about you, not your family
    Just as you don't use your full name as your RSVP name or your home address as your location, you also shouldn't include detailed information about your children in your profile. To help protect your privacy, RSVP will not publish profile photos that include children. Your profile is about you, not your family. You may want to mention that you have children as they a big part of your life but don't get too specific in your profile - there is no need to provide this level of detail. You can reveal this on a one-to-one basis as you get to know people better.

    Take it slow
    There is no rush when you are getting to know someone. When you're dating online, you'll meet a lot of people and it's a good idea to take your time and get to know other singles over email and instant messaging. Remember with RSVP, one stamp opens up a secure communication channel for 30 days. This is designed to maintain your privacy while you are getting to know people you've met through the site. Use this time to see if you have good online chemistry and banter - you don't have to disclose your entire life story over email. Only when you feel comfortable, should you start providing personal details.

    Don't be rushed
    When you are getting to know other people, be wary of anyone that expects identifying information (such as home address and phone number, your place of employment or where your children go to school) from you too soon in the dating process. Just because someone asks you for identifying information, doesn't mean you should provide it.

    Remember you are in control
    Be cautious of pushy or aggressive people. If someone tries to move the relationship along quickly and you are not comfortable with this - slow things down and tell them you need to reduce the pace. They should understand this and if they don't, then walk away.

    Be selective
    Children are impressionable and it's important to only introduce them to people once you are in a committed relationship. Dating is about getting to know the other person, seeing if there's a spark and deciding whether you'd like to continue the relationship. In the early stages of dating, your children should not be involved. Being introduced to lots of new people that you're dating can be very disruptive, so make sure you only introduce the kids when you've got to know someone well and you really trust them.

    At the end of the day, you know your kids better than anyone. You will know when it's time to talk about your dating and introduce someone new into your family unit. Keep these tips in mind, use your commonsense and judgment. Have fun but remember - there is no rush!

    Why Solo-Travel Rocks - Wild Adventures and Top Tips

    blog

    Posted by Elly Klein, author of Men are Like a Box of Chocolates on

    One of the worst things about being single is not having anyone to travel with. And one of the best things about being single is not having anyone to travel with - you never know who you might meet and what adventures you might share with them!

    Having been commitment-free most of my life (still am), I've done a fair bit of solo travel. When I took off on a Qantas flight to university in Vancouver, Canada, on my 20th birthday, I stopped in Honolulu for a few days on the way - and, because of the almost-24-hour time difference, had another 20th birthday upon my arrival. Bonus! The hostel bought me a cake, everyone sang Happy Birthday and I made a lovely new friend who I'm still friends with. He met up with me in Vancouver and we did Victoria Island and Seattle together. Then, between semesters, I travelled across British Columbia (stopping in Kelowna along the way) to Calgary, Banff, Lake Louise and back. I met a hot Australian ski instructor in Banff who taught me more than how to parallel...

    For my 30th birthday, I did a solo round-the-world trip with stops in Hong Kong, LA, New York and London. Hong Kong turned out to be the setting for one of the wildest nights of my life - my friend and I spent the entire next day praying to (and sharing) the porcelain god until we felt safe to do it all again the following night, as every night in Hong Kong is like New Year's Eve. In LA and New York, I got asked out more times in two weeks than I had in my entire life (gosh, I love American men!). By London, I was exhausted, and a bit sick, so that part of the trip was fairly tame.

    But the wildest time I had as a solo-traveller was the ski season I spent working at Whistler/Blackcomb (Canada). It was like Hong Kong, but for five months straight. Okay, it wasn't that bad, but let's just say I let my hair down when it came to drinking and dating. Oh, and my skiing improved a fair bit, but not as much as my ability to bounce back from a hangover.

    My four months in Whitehorse (capital of the famous Yukon Territory, Canada, which is up near Alaska) and six weeks in Europe were shared with my Canadian boyfriend. Although we're still friends and I have fond memories of our time together, we fought pretty much the entire journey. (To be fair, we were both young, immature and ready to break up, which wasn't ideal.) Flipping through my photo album, there are pictures of us at the Eiffel Tower (Paris), by the statue of David (Florence) and walking down La Rumbla (Barcelona) but, in my head, the captions all say the same thing: 'We had a fight here', 'We had a fight here', 'We had a fight here'... so, as you can see, travelling with a partner isn't always rosy. (Thankfully, we can laugh about it now.) Likewise, in more recent years, various trips to Boston and New York to spend time with my American boyfriend, who was completing a Master's at Harvard, were fraught with issues that made for a less-than-harmonious travel experience. Point being: Be careful what you wish for. As you gaze longingly at loved-up couples in holiday-mode, don't assume everything's going swimmingly. There's every chance they're looking at you and thinking, 'What I wouldn't give to be ALONE on this trip!'

    Top Tips for Solo Travellers:

    1. Just book it! A trip will give you something to look forward to, and you never know who you might meet. Hostels are always teaming with singles up for everything from a holiday fling to happily ever after. And if you're the type of person who'd be open to a singles getaway, RSVP Travel has got you covered. Adventure-based trips including hiking, four-wheel driving or sailing are a great way to meet like-minded people. At the very least, you're almost guaranteed to have a good time.

    2. Get over solo-travel nerves by taking a friend along or braving the trip on your own. As soon as you get chatting with people, you won't feel lonely anymore. And if you're flat-out trying to fulfill your sight-seeing agenda or shopping up a storm, you won't have TIME to feel lonely!

    3. Let your hair down. Once you're finally in that loving relationship you've been searching for, there will be no more opportunities for a secret rendezvous with an attractive stranger (well, if you believe in monogamy, as the majority of people do). Enjoy your freedom - you'll be the envy of all your coupled friends!

    4. Re-invent yourself.
    When you travel solo, you can be anyone you want to be. So, if you feel like mixing it up a bit, here are some of the things you could do: Change your hairstyle. Revamp your wardrobe. If you're shy, be flirty. If you're the life of the party, be as cool as a cucumber. If you spend most of your time in a corporate suit, wear nothing but sun dresses or Hawaiian shirts for a week or two. Experiment. Have fun.

    5. Be safe. This is a boring, but important, tip. Just because you've boldly booked a trip, overcome your solo-travel nerves, let your hair down and reinvented yourself, doesn't mean you shouldn't still keep your wits about you. Remember the friend I met in Honolulu? Whenever he arrived in a new country, he'd ask the cab drivers which streets and areas of the city to stay away from. I thought that was a great tip. Here are a few of my own: To avoid ending up in hospital, don't do anything too dangerous, don't drink to excess and don't take drugs. To avoid ending up in prison, don't carry a stranger's bags (ever!) and don't break the law (dah!). To avoid being taken advantage of, don't act like a dumb tourist in a shady area, and always walk with confidence, even if you have no idea where you're going, especially at night. To avoid things going seriously pear-shaped, don't be alone in a hotel room or unfamiliar place with a person, or people, you don't trust. To maximize your safety and enjoyment, learn how to say 'yes', 'no', 'please', 'thank you', 'food', 'water', 'toilet' and numbers 1 to 10 in the native language, be aware of, and respect, local customs (check Google or your Lonely Planet guide) and be overprotective of your passport, credit cards and valuables. In short, be alert and you'll be alright.

    Now, over to you: Tell us about some of your most memorable solo-travel experiences, or offer us your top tips.

    Bon voyage, singles!


    Elly Klein is the author of the humorous (and delicious) relationship advice book, Men Are Like a Box of Chocolates.

    Exclusively to RSVP members, get your signed copy of for ONLY $11.97 - SAVE 40% + free shipping! Use Password "love" (all lower case). Redeem now!

    Must Visit, Must Experience and Must Eat of a Lifetime

    dinner and movie

    Posted by Arendezvous Travel & Leisure on

    It's impossible to see all of the "must visits", do all the "must experience" and indulge in all the "must eats" in one lifetime.

    Having to narrow down where to go and what to eat in a matter of weeks or even days can be difficult. It's a lot easier to focus on a few countries and set an achievable goal. For me, Europe is a "must visit" destination and Italy and Spain rank high on the list of "Must Do's" for their overwhelming amount of art and culture on offer.

    A favourite among travellers is always Rome. Rome is the capital of modern Italy, full of history everywhere you turn. It has many ancient monuments, interesting medieval churches, beautiful fountains, museums and renaissance palaces. Modern Rome is an active and lively city that has some excellent restaurants and nightlife. The Vatican and St. Peter's are also found in Rome; from the busy Piazza Venezia, a transport hub and home to the Vittorio Emanuele Monument, go up to the Capitoline Hill, where you will have a fabulous view of the Roman Forum. It was breathtaking. Many locals of Rome suggest Palazzo Nuovo, which has Greek and Roman sculptures and Palazzo dei Conservatori also has decadent art galleries, sculptures, and frescoes. Be warned however, it will be hard to leave after witnessing the beauty of Rome.

    Another impressive Italian city that you must include is Venice, a unique city built on water in the middle of a lagoon. Venice is one of Italy's most beautiful and romantic cities as well as one of the most popular for visitors to Italy. The heart of Venice is Piazza San Marco with its magnificent church, many museums, and palaces to visit.

    If you can manage to head east, then Spain is also a very beautiful and memorable destination. Barcelona, of course, is the first to come to mind. Catalonia, the northeastern-most of Spain's seventeen autonomous communities has a different feel than the rest of the country and the province of Barcelona is unique in Catalonia. Perhaps it is the uplifting contribution of Gaudi's architecture or the sensibilities of the Catalonian people; whatever it is, Barcelona is one of the best places to visit in Spain. Start your visit with a walk down La Rambla, then, see the Gaudi's famous, in construction basilica, Sagrada Familia. Take in as much of the city and as many of Gaudi's creations as possible. Also, visit the Barcelona Cathedral and the surrounding Gothic Quarter, where you will be surrounded by medieval buildings and centuries of history. Don't miss the Picasso Museum or the Palau de la Musica Catalyunya. Madrid is also a remarkable capital city with numerous interesting attractions and an important history.

    The "must sees" of the city include "Old Madrid", the Museo Del Prado, the Palacio Real (Royal Palace), and its gardens, Retiro Park and the city's many fine and famous plazas. A fine day trip from the city to El Escorial, the impressive palace of King Phillip II, Madrid is known for its "Golden Triangle" an area of art museums that includes the world famous Prado, the Thyssen-Bornemisza and the Museum Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia.

    The most important part of the trip whether it's Italy or Spain, was the "feel" of the countries. The beauty of a sunset in Rome, or having a glass of wine and tapas in Spain outside a local café, it is something that sticks with you, even when you get back home.

    Did you know that RSVP offers Singles Holidays? Through our partner Arendezvous Travel & Leisure, we offer quality group holidays exclusively for single travellers. From short tropical escapes to adventure trips and leisurely overseas tours, all trips are age-matched and enjoyed with a group of like-minded singles.

    Click here to view the Highlights of Spain & Morocco trip departing April 2013.

    Click here to view the upcoming Italian Rendezvous trip departing May 2013.

    Please share your must visit, must experience and must eat experiences with your fellow arts & culture groups members below.

    Armed and Dangerous: The Best Dating & Relationships Advice Books

    blog

    Posted by Elly Klein, author of Men are Like a Box of Chocolates on

    I started reading dating and relationships advice books from the age of 11, which I'm sure sounds extremely young, but that was around the time I started liking boys. I was terribly curious, and reading about boys was far preferable to experimenting with them, where I could learn from a safe distance in the comfort of my Laura Ashley-decorated bedroom (I'm showing my age here!).

    It wasn't long before the teddy bears, board games and My Little Ponies were replaced by Girlfriend, Dolly, Cosmo, CLEO, the entire Sweet Valley Twins series (which I still have in mint condition - surely they're worth something by now) and a collection of self-help books that indulged my boy-mad brain. Thus began a love affair with love affairs - and I wanted to be armed and dangerous for when I finally stopped reading about it and started living it (which, much to my frustration, didn't really happen until I was 15/16 - damn private girls' school education).

    The first relationship advice book I ever read was Girltalk About Guys - Honest Answers to Candid Questions, by Carol Weston, which was published in 1988. It was brilliant. I still think it's brilliant. I have it on my bookshelf, covered in clear contact, and will never part with it. You can still purchase one called Girltalk but, sadly, I think Girltalk About Guys is out of print.

    The book that became my bible in my early-20s was The Real Rules - Finding the Right Man for the Real You, by Barbara DeAngelis. It was a counterattack on The Rules, by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider, which was the 50 Shades of Grey of 1995 - an unexpected and controversial phenomenon, minus the sex - and encouraged women to go back to 1950s-style dating in order to land a husband. The Real Rules was published in 1997. It's still in print, and I'd highly recommend it. It's short 'n' sweet - and simply fabulous! It's basically about cutting the BS, the games and the pretence, and getting yourself into a real, loving relationship. That's not to say there was absolutely NOTHING to take away from The Rules but, on the whole, it preached a fairly disastrous approach to dating. Leave that one in the mid-90s where it belongs!

    My adoration for Barbara De Angelis continued into another one of her books, Are You the One for Me? This is a great book for when you're finally IN a relationship and want some guidance as to whether or not it's likely to last. She explains why love, although an essential ingredient, is not enough to sustain a relationship long-term. She takes you through the 10 relationships that won't work, fatal flaws and compatibility time bombs - and outlines your options. But it's not all doom and gloom. She also takes you through what qualities to look for in a partner, and how to know when it's "right". (Psst: You'll never know 100%, but you'll have a fairly good idea after reading this book.)

    I had a break from relationship advice books for a while until an absolute game-changer came along in 2004: He's Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt (a Sex and the City comedic consultant) and Liz Tuccillo (a Sex and the City scriptwriter). I have a girlfriend who hates it, and we argue about it all the time, but I absolutely love it. It was the book I WISHED had been written before I was a teenager - frustratingly simple advice that I was embarrassed I hadn't known all along. Clearly, I wasn't the only clueless one, as it was an international bestseller, and Greg was on Oprah (twice) preaching the gospel to fellow naïve females. Oprah said it was "six words that will change your life". Well, it certainly changed Miranda Hobbs' life - the Harvard Law-educated Sex and the City character. You can catch the episode that sparked the book, Pick-A-Little, Talk-A-Little, halfway through Season 5.

    He's Just Not That Into You is a book every woman should read. Not only that, it's a book I'm sure every MAN wishes every woman would read, as men have a tendency to do EVERYTHING and ANYTHING other than tell you they're just not that into you in an effort to squeeze you out of their life. I've had men swear black and blue that if it wasn't for their career/ recent break-up/childhood trauma/the fact that they live somewhere else (ever heard of moving?!) or the classic "I'm just not READY for a relationship right now", we'd be together. And I believed them. Why wouldn't I! When you're an honest and verbal person, as I am, you take people at their word, as you expect them to take you at yours. Ladies, it's crap. In some instances, he may not even realise it himself, but it's crap. For whatever reason, he's not stepping up to the plate, and that's all you need to know. Don't waste a second psychoanalyzing it, waiting for him or forging ahead with the relationship anyway. Take it as a flashing neon sign that he's not "The One", and move on. I'm able to do that now, with finesse, thanks to this book. I think one of the best lessons you can learn in relationships, and life, is to know when to move on from something that's not meant to be.

    I'd also recommend Greg's other books, It's Called a Break-Up Because it's Broken (the absolute break-up bible) and It's Just a Date! (the absolute dating bible). Great stuff. Love Greg. And guess what - he signed all three of my books when I met him, and the incomparable Janeane Garofalo, after a stand-up comedy gig at the Sydney Opera House. Sweet!

    The last relationship advice book I read, which was a couple of years ago now, was Marry Him - A Case for Settling for Mr Good Enough, by Lori Gottlieb. Published in 2010, this is a good one for women who are too picky - or, more specifically, picky about the wrong things. If you're serious about finding a life partner, it's worth a read.

    As with any advice, whether it's a book, a course, a tip from your mother or something a friend SWEARS by, you need to exercise good judgment. And be particularly wary of advice that says "all" men are like this or "all" women are like that. If only it were that simple. Everyone, and everything, must be treated on a case-by-case basis. So, never take anything too literally. Arm yourself with all the information you possibly can, and then act according to the situation. Be smart, and you'll be alright.

    Relationship advice books aren't the only books that can help you with your love life. Self-help books that aim to improve you as a person will go a long way to assisting you in finding, and keeping, that special someone. Developing your self-esteem, inner peace, communication skills, anger management or spirituality will set you on the right path. Here are some of my all-time favourites for that:

    Life Strategies, by Dr Phillip C. McGraw (yep, that's Dr Phil, but I can assure you his books are WAY better than his talk show - this is my No. 1 favourite self-help book)
    How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie (a classic, first published in 1936, and still relevant today)
    Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart, by Gordon Livingston (one of the best bits is his three-part secret to happiness: something to do, someone to love and something to look forward to)

    Now, I think I've rambled on long enough. Over to you! Please help make this blog post a timeless resource of dating and relationships advice by telling us:

    What dating/relationships advice books you'd recommend?
    What dating/relationships advice books we should avoid?
    The top tips you've gleaned from dating/relationships advice books and/or personal experience?


    Happy dating.

    Elly Klein is the author of the humorous (and delicious) relationship advice book, Men Are Like a Box of Chocolates.

    Exclusively to RSVP members, get your signed copy of for ONLY $11.97 - SAVE 40% + free shipping! Use Password "love" (all lower case). Redeem now!

    Is it superficial to focus on looks when dating?

    dinner and movie

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP Dating and Relationship Expert
    on

    When you initially meet a potential love interest, first impressions will play a key role in determining whether you want to pursue this person or keep moving along. One of key the factors that can influence these impressions is how someone looks.

    Should you pay attention to this or focus more on the personality and the chemistry you have together? Should you even care about looks when going out with someone?

    My position on this is yes. Looks and presentation matter. Looks are a component of attraction but remember what you find to be good looking is completely subjective and individual.

    When you consider online dating - RSVP's Date of the Nation Report 2012 shows that a photo is the number one influence on people when they are deciding who to contact. RSVP knows that if you have a photo with your profile, you'll get 11 times more interest than you would without a profile picture.

    There are a couple of factors at play here - people feel more comfortable contacting you if they have seen a photo of you because this removes some of the unknowns. Certainly looks are not the only thing that you focus on when looking at someone's profile, however they are important. You'll still need to go further and see if there's a connection and chemistry, but appearance does play a role.

    Many times I've spoken to singles that haven't been physically attracted to a partner but liked their personality so decided to go out with them. Time and time again, I would hear them say that it got boring, and they went their separate ways because they ended up becoming "just good friends". The physical spark wasn't there in the beginning, and they struggled to be intimate with them - particularly as time went on.

    Is it superficial to acknowledge this? No. As long as you're taking the whole package into consideration rather than just focusing solely on someone's physical appearance. It's a factor - but not the only factor when making a decision about dating someone.

    In saying this, I think it's entirely reasonable not to go forward with a person if you're not physically attracted to them. After all, you wouldn't like to be on the receiving end of this situation - knowing that you're with someone who isn't into you.

    This will only become even more problematic if one or both of you meet a new person who you are turned on by, and suddenly you realise what it feels like to be interested in a person who you're physically attracted to.

    Rather than having this awkward situation arise, why not simply wait for someone who you do find attractive, and has a personality that engages you. Then take it from there.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, and seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning Show (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Is anyone immune to first date nerves?

    nikki at gillette

    Posted by Dr Nikki Goldstein, Sexologist and Relationship Expert on

    With a Bachelor in Psychology, a Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling and a Doctorate of Human Sexuality with San Francisco's esteemed Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, Dr Nikki Goldstein is one of Australia's most in demand sexologist. This week, she writes a guest blog on first date jitters.

    Unlike most people who thrive on the nerves of the first date, I hate it! Hate is a strong word, but there is something about first dates that I enjoy as much as I enjoy visiting the dentist. Sometimes it has to be done, but it can be also uncomfortable and even painful. I do enjoy meeting new people, but when you feel as though you're being interviewed for the position of future girlfriend, wife and mother of future children, a feeling of dread tends to set in. It is as though there is a spotlight shining on my face and all faults are being judged and analysed (I feel nervous even just describing it). Not to say I'm perfect, but as someone who analyses people for a living, I can't stand it in return.

    If you share my feelings of the dreaded first date jitters, here are some tips to help you get through and work out the duds from the datable.

    1. If you are not sure about the person you are meeting or are a little on the shy side, avoid committing to a full meal with someone. This is where the casual coffee or cocktail can work best and if you find you are really hitting it off, it can always lead to meal, movie and much more. (I once had a 12-hour first date, let's just say we got over the first date jitters quite quickly).

    2. Know as much as you can about your date before you actually go out with them. It's not enough to just know what they do and where they are from. You need to know enough to have some information to ask interesting questions - so make sure you've read their profile well and paid attention to things they have told you about themselves.

    3. One of my biggest dislikes is when someone describes what they are looking for in a partner during the date. It is as though they are saying, "this is what I like and if you don't fit into the mould take a hike." You can affirm when your date shows a quality you like, but don't give them you list of requirements straight up. If you don't meet their list of requirement or even worse, exactly the opposite, it can be a teeth-grinding situation with you or them wanting to bolt out of there. And for those who have their requirements, ditch the list and get to know the person sitting in front of you for who they are.

    4. To pay or not to pay. This is probably the worst part about a first date for me. Everyone has a different view on who actually should pay and it has the ability to can become quite awkward. Personally, I really want my date to pay but feel as though I should at least offer. Some males want a girl to offer but will pay and some believe you should go dutch. I know for some women and for some men, you get this wrong and it can be a deal breaker. My advice to females is offer to pay firmly but not so firmly that they don't have a chance to stop you. As a male, jump in quickly followed by a reassuring statement of your intent to fork out for the bill. Females, instead of doing the dance, "no let me pay", smile sweetly and thank him.

    5. A tip for the men - take pride in your appearance. First impressions count. You can be sure that your date has made the effort to look as sharp as possible and so should you. Having recently been involved in a survey together with Gillette into people's preferences when it comes to facial hair, the preference for a clean shaven face was overwhelming. Over 90% of respondents agreed that a clean shave is the best option when going out on a first date. And if things are going well and a kiss is on the cards, it is time to get out the Mach 3 as you don't want to leave your date with a painful, pash rash reminder of your time together.

    I hope this helps, and remember it's just a first date to get to know someone, not a job interview nor a marriage proposal. Keep is light; keep it fun and try and enjoy it as much as you can.

    Xoxo

    Dr Nikki Goldstein, 'Sexologist and Relationship Expert' www.drnikkig.com.au

    Sidelined or in the sidecar; tips for involving your partner in your interests

    bikeblog

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    A recent blog raised the question - how important are shared hobbies? There were some interesting comments about the value of having different hobbies but also the importance of making sure your partner can be involved in your passion rather than sidelined.

    Part of the process of getting to know someone is introducing them to your hobby or passions. If you don't want your love interest to be sidelined from your extracurricular activities, then it's important that this introduction goes smoothly and they feel included, not intimidated. After all, it's something you love doing in your spare time and you want to be able to share the experience with them.

    For wine buffs this might involve a trip to a local winery for a tasting, art lovers might head to their favourite gallery or even interstate to see a exhibition, bikers might want to head out of town to find roads with the perfect camber.

    No matter what your thing is, one of the fun aspects of dating is that you get to share your interests with someone else. In turn, they gain an insight into your world and what makes you tick.

    So if your date doesn't list cooking, game fishing, art or motorsports on their hobby list and you do - this isn't the end of the world, heralding the end of your potential romance. Rather, it's an opportunity to broaden each other's horizons, try new things and get to know one another better.

    The "induction" to your hobby should be a pleasurable experience for your partner - you want to look after them, show them why it's an activity you love so much and pique their interest to learn more.

    So, if you do have different hobbies/passions/interests and you're introducing a date to yours, here are some tips:

    1. Put yourself in their shoes. If your date has never been on a bike before - expect some initial nerves amongst the excitement. It would be like someone throwing you on the back of a horse or putting you on a boat for a regatta - so be empathetic and remember they are new to this.

    2. Be supportive and patient. If it's completely new to them, they might not pick it up straight away or be immediately comfortable. This is especially true when there is a level of skill involved. On the other hand, they may take to it like a duck to water and be a natural - be ready for anything and check in with them to ask them how they are going throughout the experience.

    3. Brief them and manage their expectations. Before you set off together, make sure you give your date lots of information and set their expectations. Prepare them for anything they may need to bring to make them more comfortable. We all know it's hard to enjoy something if we are cold, hungry or getting sun and wind burnt.

    4. Whet their appetite, don't overdo it. Remember you only want to give them a taste of your hobby so they can see if they like it. You don't want to overwhelm or exhaust your partner. The epic adventures can follow. But if you're making a weekend of it, plan some alternative activities that you already know your date will enjoy. This will help show them how your interests and theirs can fit together.

    5. Be open to exploring their hobbies too. Keep an open mind about how you like to spend your spare time and how others spend their time. It's all about give and take. You might have never considered a particular activity because you simply don't know much about it or how to go about getting involved - that doesn't mean youre not going have fun when you give it a try...

    The weather is warming up and the days are longer - it's a good time get out there. We'd love to hear your thoughts on how to best share your interests with a new partner.

    The RSVP team

    It's an easier conversation to have with your clothes on!

    lbd final copy

    Posted by Dr Deborah Bateson, Medical Director at Family Planning NSW
    on

    According to Family Planning NSW, a leading provider of reproductive and sexual health services, the safe sex conversation is much easier when you have your clothes on!

    With the support of RSVP, Family Planning NSW has launched its Little Black Dress campaign. An Australian-first, the campaign is specifically aimed at over 40 year olds with the message - Safe Sex is an easier conversation to have with your clothes on.

    Family Planning NSW's ground-breaking research, undertaken with the support of RSVP in 2009, made international headlines when it revealed that women aged over 40 were more likely to agree to sex without a condom with a new partner than younger women.

    There are a number of factors at play here. Women may find it difficult to raise the subject of safe sex with their GP, post-menopausal women don't have the additional incentive of needing to use a condom for contraception and people in their 50s and 60s may simply not be part of the "condom generation".

    Since sexually transmitted infections (or STIs) don't discriminate on the basis of age so it's important to practice safe sex with new partners, no matter your age.

    Family Planning NSW's message is all about communication and the importance of both partners being upfront when talking about safe sex. Having an honest and frank conversation about using a condom, and having that conversation early before being swept up in the heat of the moment is the way to go.

    Family Planning NSW surveyed almost 2000 women and consulted with more than 70 RSVP members to create a message that would resonate with women aged over 40 years who are either contemplating or starting a new relationship. The result - "Safe Sex - it's an easier conversation to have with your clothes on".

    Click here to watch the video


    The campaign aims to raise awareness about using condoms in new relationships, equip people with the information they need to practice safe sex and highlight the importance of being tested for sexually transmissible infections (STIs) if unprotected sex does happen.

    As part of the campaign, unmarked safe sex packs for women are available and can be sourced online here. Family Planning NSW is planning a similar research project for men.

    Family Planning NSW will be providing regular articles on health related issues. Further information is also available from fpnsw.org.au and Family Planning NSW's confidential information and referral telephone service 1300 658 886.

    Dating communication - The do's and don'ts

    blog

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    When you first start dating someone new, it's very easy to get caught up in the excitement of it all and give in the desire to contact them a little too often.

    When you are excited about someone, it's natural to think about them a lot. A bi-product of this is an increased desire to contact them. Because you can't stop thinking about them, it's easy to start frequently texting, phoning, emailing and messaging them on Facebook. Unfortunately, this will work against you in the long run, so to help things progress smoothly, you'll need to put limits around this and exercise some self control.

    The reason why contacting your new love interest too much will typically backfire on you is because of the message that it sends. In short, it says you're too keen and too desperate to make this work. You want them too much. Although it's not always the case, people generally assume that you are on your best behaviour at the beginning of the dating process. Therefore, it's likely they will jump to the conclusion that if you are needy now, this will only get worse over time.

    Another reason why too much contact can harm your dating chances is because it suggests that you don't have much of a life outside of your date. Constant chasing tends to indicate that your life is one-dimensional and is focused on getting and keeping a partner.

    Sure, it's important to show that you're interested when you're dating. But to chase too hard and become clingy will ultimately scare people away.

    So what do you do? Obviously you want to grow the relationship and get to know your partner, but at the same time not come off as being desperate or needy.

    Here's some key dating communication Do's and Don'ts to help you on your way:

    Don'ts

    * Do all the chasing

    * Send long emotional emails or texts

    * Ring several times a day. If you leave a voicemail - wait until they call you back. There are plenty of reasons they might not get back to you immediately - they might be caught up with work, family or friends

    * Contact when you're intoxicated. In the harsh light of day, we all know that it is hard to put your best foot forward when you're drunk

    * Express intense feelings out of the blue. You need to be honest about how you feel but remember you are excited and this is all new. Rather than gushing to them, talk to your friends or family about how you are feeling

    * Immediately return all calls/ texts/ emails. Don't play games but don't always drop everything you are doing to reply to a text, call or email.

    * Send mixed messages

    * Always talk about yourself

    Do's

    * Share the chasing. Make sure you are both making an effort to plan your next date

    * Keep texts/ emails concise - try to limit rambling

    * Return calls/ texts/ emails when you're available

    * Contact them when you're fresh and sharp and unlikely to be distracted. It's hard to have a good conversation when there is lots of noise from passing traffic, other people are in the room or you are multitasking

    * Keep loving feelings to yourself. At the beginning of new relationships it is important to make sure the other person knows you care and value them but remember your hormones are running rampant, so try and control the urge to confess your inner most feelings straight up

    * Send clear messages - make sure you are being honest and straightforward

    * Ask questions - this is the best way to get to know someone

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, and seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning Show (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Profile Writing Tips for Over 50's

    bettina

    Posted by Relationship commentator, Bettina Arndt
    on

    It is not easy describing yourself but it's important to get it right. Think of internet dating as a job search with the profile as your carefully crafted resume. Here are some tips on how to nail it:

    Play to your audience
    Women, your friends may love your feisty, take-no-prisoners attitude to life but that's not a great selling point for most men - particularly battle-scared, divorced men. Men, you might want to hide your yearning for home cooking - women who've raised families have often had enough of cooking regular meals. It's not about pretending to be something you're not but if you're selling a house you hide mouldy bathroom walls under fluffy towels instead of highlighting possible flaws. There's plenty of time to reveal yourself, warts and all, as you get to know each other.

    Don't guild the lily
    Be honest - don't pretend you are much younger or slimmer than you are. That first meeting isn't going to be the start of something wonderful if your date's face falls when he or she first sees you. Take time to write your profile - and use spellcheck! Ask a good friend to help you describe, in a warm, witty way, not just what you want but what you have to offer. How will you make that new man or woman wake up with a smile on their face?

    Walk the walk
    Show your personality, don't just describe it. I know a guy who started his profile mentioning a French novelist and attracted 85 responses in the first hour it was posted. Sydney's book club ladies came flocking. Don't just claim you are well-educated, show it. And instead of boringly stating you have a GSOH, say something funny.

    Photos are a big deal
    Why do so many men use travel shots? It's annoying trying to make out blurred features of a man posed next to a huge pyramid or stalking animals in an African game park. And you won't get away with the glazed Blinky Bill look that comes from holding your iPhone camera at arms-length. Bite the bullet and get a friend to take some attractive, natural photos. Remember many people search only for profiles with photos so if you choose to keep yours hidden, be brave and send out kisses complete with photo password so the good catches don't pass you by.

    Be realistic
    Know your market value. As a fifty year-old you might love the idea of a nubile young thing but if you come across as a wannabe sugar daddy or cougar, you'll put off the people you might realistically attract. We all need to get real about the type of person who's likely to go for us and look for the good in the people we meet.

    Bettina Arndt is one of Australia's best-known relationship commentators, renowned for her witty, intelligent insights into how men and women tick. Having trained in clinical psychology and sex therapy, she's spent over 30 years appearing on Australian television and radio shows and writing for major newspapers and magazines.

    Bettina is now also offering a Dating Coach service, particularly aimed at helping 50s plus men and women who'd like a helping hand in getting involved in internet dating. She's available to help beginners write their profiles, and learn how to maximize their chances of meeting the right partners. And she'll work with people struggling unsuccessfully with the dating process to revamp their profiles and increase their chances.

    If you are interested in more information on this service go to bettinaarndt.com.au/dating-coaching.php or contact her at bettina@bettinaarndt.com.au.

    Spice up your dating life with these fun ideas!

    dinner and movie

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    Meeting for a coffee or a drink is a sensible option for a first date. When you're meeting face-to-face for the first time, you want it to be in a safe and relatively casual environment that doesn't require an over-commitment from you or your date. Given you have not spent time together (in person) before, you never quite know how it's going to turn out but that's part of the process.

    Some first dates are brilliant and the connection is instant. Others are not quite so comfortable - and can you imagine anything worse being committed to a seven-course degustation with someone when the chemistry is all wrong? So, our advice is to start off casual - you can always step it up from there. If the first date drink goes well, then you can suggest extending the date to a meal or plan a second date.

    So what to do on that second date then? First dates are about testing the water, seeing if there is a connection and making a good impression. Second and subsequent dates are about getting to know more about each other, having lots of fun and getting out into the world together.

    Dinners are an intimate setting - ideal for chatting and learning about each other's views and opinions. Although you might want to share what you believe is the best steak or gelato on offer in your area, don't just stick to your old favourites. Try new places together. Grab a Good Food Guide or Time Out magazine so you can be kept up to date on new venues and what they have to offer.

    Making your way around your city, sampling local restaurants, cafes and pubs is all good and well but there will come a time when you need to spice it up a little and inject some creativity into your date plans.

    This can be simple. Instead of dinner in a restaurant, grab a picnic rug, some fish and chips and take it to the beach or local park. Rather than just catching a movie, get tickets to a film festival or outdoor cinema. Investigate what's on at your favourite museums, sign up for a cooking class together, look up bands that are touring and check out art or food festivals in your community.

    Getting amongst the culture of your city doesn't need to be expensive. There are free events and festivals run by local councils and community groups - so keep an eye out and sign up to interesting lifestyle newsletters that will inspire you.

    Once you've surveyed what's on, consider your date's interests and suggest some fun and different date ideas that you're both likely to enjoy. It doesn't always need to be dinner or drinks - put a little more creativity in to it and you're likely to impress.

    So what have been your favourite date experiences? We'd love to hear what impresses you and makes dates a little bit different.

    Dating & Dining - A Food & Wine Lover's Guide to Dating

    dinner

    Posted by Elly Klein, author of Men Are Like a Box of Chocolates on

    Hello, Food & Wine Lovers!

    This is my first post for you guys but, in case you missed it, you can read all about my RSVP matchmaking skills here, and my personal online dating experiences here.

    Clearly, this group have their heads (and taste buds) screwed on. I mean, who DOESN'T love food and wine? That's like not loving air! When you're dating a fellow food & wine lover, life's a buffet. Every meal is a sensual experience but, hopefully, you'll be salivating for each other by the end of each date.

    Food & wine lovers can be split into two groups - those who love to cook and those who love to eat. I hate to admit it, but I'm definitely more of an eater. In fact, I have both a poster and fridge magnet that says, 'I kiss better than I cook', which I'd like to think is a reflection on my stellar kissing expertise but, truthfully, it also says a lot about my lack of mastery in the culinary arts. I think part of the reason for that is I'm currently single, and the idea of whipping up a gourmet feast for one is as depressing as shaving my legs on a Friday night - I know I'm not going to be sharing it with anyone (although, for the record, while I rarely whip up a gourmet feast, I still shave my legs regularly).

    Have you ever noticed how much dating and dining have in common? No? Let's peruse the menu, shall we...

    Entrée

    This is your first taste of a potential life partner. On RSVP, it's looking at their profile, feeling a connection, sending cyber-kisses, exchanging emails, organising to meet and looking forward to what's to come. It's important for an entrée to whet the appetite. It must be light, flavoursome and leave you wanting more. Or, as they say in the advertising biz, "Sell the sizzle; not the sausage". Pick a particularly lucid moment (sometime in the morning, when you're fresh, is ideal), take a nice, long, objective look at your profile and ask yourself, "Is this inviting? Is it an accurate, and alluring, reflection of me? Does it attract the type of man/women I'm looking for?" If not, work on it. Punch it up a bit. Get a trusted friend to help you. Beyond your profile, when it comes to cyber-kisses, emails and arranging the first date, be sure to come across as warm, considerate and genuinely interested in the person you're contacting. Form emails that look like a combination between a resume and a covering letter, and have clearly been cut and pasted to everyone, are a huge turn-off. Make it obvious you're writing to that particular individual. Say what you liked about their profile and what you have in common. Be thoughtful, positive and interesting, and you're sure to make it to main course...

    Main

    Welcome to your first date! There's nothing more nerve-racking than arriving at the restaurant/café/bar/pub and greeting the person you've built up in your mind for the first time. You hope you like them - and that they like you.

    Finally, you spot them, say hello, sit down and order a drink. Wine is fine, but I'd advise against drinking too much. On the subject of wine, men and women, like a fine wine, only improve with age, don't you agree? The wisdom, experience and stability that comes with age is well worth a few extra wrinkles, in my opinion. And it makes for much more harmonious relationships than those in your younger (and, in many cases, hotter) years.

    As far as food is concerned, try to avoid anything too smelly (garlic) or too sloppy (spaghetti), at least for the first date! First impressions count, and this is your chance to shine. Sharing is caring, so tapas, pizza or Asian might be the way to go.

    Get comfy, look your date in the eye, ask meaningful questions and get to know them. As you're both food & wine lovers, discussions of favourite dishes, restaurants and gourmet travel experiences are ideal table topics. Bonus points for impeccable manners, politeness to service staff and leaving a tip. (Even though we don't really tip in Australia, it's a nice touch on a first date.)

    For initial RSVP dates, I believe in going Dutch. Fellas, I know this isn't fair, but some women will still expect you to pay. In any case, try not to come across as stingy. Spend just a little bit more than her (an extra drink, the majority of the split bill etc.) and she should be satisfied. Alternatively, if you really don't want to navigate that minefield, I suggest you make your first date just a drink.

    Dessert

    Things are going well and it's time for dessert. No, not THAT kind of dessert, my cheeky readers. Real dessert. You know, the coffee/cake/gelato kind. (Preferably all three, in my case.) If a food & wine lover skips dessert, I'm afraid there's a 98% chance he/she is "just not that into you". However, if you're happily chatting away, indulging your sweet tooth and watching as the staff start stacking chairs and switching off lights, that's a good sign. As one of my favourite quotes puts it: "A happy marriage is a long conversation that always seems too short." - Andre Maurois. By this stage, you're convinced he's sweeter than crème brulee and she's more delectable than chocolate soufflé. Time to go home (separately) and digest the whole experience - and plan your next mouth-watering get-together.

    Well, now that I've squeezed the life out of that dating/dining metaphor, I hope you've learned a thing or two about how to maximize your online dating experience with your fellow food & wine lovers. Here's to your relationship always feeling like a three-course meal at a two-hat restaurant - exciting, satisfying, exceptional.

    So foodies, we'd love to hear your recommendations on the best restaurants in your city that set the tone for the perfect menu to unfold...

    Happy dating!

    Elly Klein is the author of the humorous (and delicious) relationship advice book, Men Are Like a Box of Chocolates.

    Exclusively to RSVP members, get your signed copy of for ONLY $11.97 - SAVE 40% + free shipping! Use Password "love" (all lower case).

    "Good riddance. I've moved on..."

    ltme

    Posted by Rachel Smith, advice columnist for Reality Chick on

    Convinced nothing could top your last break-up? Head over to lettertomyex.com, where an ever-growing community of letter writers from the dating trenches are getting it all off their chests.

    As an advice columnist, I've heard it all - especially when it comes to exes. Mostly, people want to know how to deal with them. How to get over them. Whether you should play hide the sausage with them. (That's a no, really, if you're doing your best to move on.)

    It's no surprise, then, that studies show getting over an ex can be like trying to get over a drug addiction. My readers often ask me, how can I stop feeling this crazy and obsessive? Where do I put these mad, sad feelings and thoughts? How the hell can I move on? Well, I've got the answer. It's called Letter To My Ex.

    So often after a split, we're left feeling we never articulated all the things we wanted to say at the time. Regrets can still linger years later. Maybe you feel you have an apology to make. Or want to give thanks for a break-up that propelled you onto a happier path - because not all break-ups are bad, after all! Or perhaps you're mad, and just have a burning need to get the words out, clear your head and move on.

    Writing a letter to your ex can be a healing thing - and a speedy way to get that person out of your system. Because a funny thing happens when you write it all down. Suddenly, you don't care as much. You feel better. Lighter. Relieved and maybe even a tad empowered. Writing a letter helps with closure, putting you in a good position to start afresh.

    At Letter To My Ex hundreds of Australians are getting closure. For some, a letter to a past love fits nicely in the category titled 'My Awesome New Life'.

    "The guy who replaced you made me realize exactly what I was missing in a relationship. He's intelligent, funny, absolutely gorgeous, caring and so thoughtful..." Read more

    For others, it's all about the 'It's Over, Move On' category...

    "You can't just say oh, we're over, but I expect you to still always be there for me to love me and comfort me. Seriously, it doesn't work that way." Read more

    One of the most popular categories at Letter To My Ex is 'What I Wish I Told You'. And for this guy, it's about giving ALL his exes a message. At once.

    "Dear, Kristina, Jenny, Genevieve, Kirsty, Pamela, Sandy and Nicola,
    Thanks for stringing me along for months on end only to either:
    A. dump me for a bloke with more money or
    B. cheat on me with a man with more money.
    I'm just sorry it took 7 consecutive broken hearts, over 8 wasted years of my life, to figure it out... "
    Read more

    Some letter-writers just want to say sorry to an ex...

    "Saige, I can't express in words how horrible I'm feeling without you in my life. Somewhere along the line I stopped realizing how amazing you were and took you for granted..." Read more

    While others fit squarely into the 'Still heartbroken' category...

    "My heart still aches for you. I haven't been interested in meeting anyone else since we broke up and I have been pretty bloody miserable actually."
    Read more

    And then there are those who take venting to a whole new level.

    "I wish I told you what a coward you are.
    I wish I told you our sex life was the most boring thing I had ever experienced. Seriously, missionary is not as good as it gets..."
    Read more

    So, no matter what stage you're at, if you've ever wanted to pen a letter to a past lover, Letter To My Ex is the place to do it. It's not about dwelling on your past. It's about letting it go.

    We've all been there. We can all relate. And let's face it, writing a letter is far less hassle than texting, stalking or spray-painting your ex's car in the middle of the night, right?

    ~ Rachel Smith is an advice columnist at www.realitychick.com.au and moderates the letters at lettertomyex.com. Feel free to pop on by if you need RC's advice - or are itching to write a letter to YOUR ex.

    If you have any other tips for getting closure and moving on from a past relationship, share your helpful advice here.

    Add some creativity to your date plan repertoire?

    dinner and movie

    Posted by The RSVP Team on

    Meeting for a coffee or a drink is a sensible option for a first date. When you're meeting face-to-face for the first time, you want it to be in a safe and relatively casual environment that doesn't require an over-commitment from you or your date. Given you have not spent time together (in person) before, you never quite know how it's going to turn out but that's part of the process.

    Some first dates are brilliant and the connection is instant. Others are not quite so comfortable - and can you imagine anything worse being committed to a seven-course degustation with someone when the chemistry is all wrong? So, our advice is to start off casual - you can always step it up from there. If the first date drink goes well, then you can suggest extending the date to a meal or plan a second date.

    So what to do on that second date then? First dates are about testing the water, seeing if there is a connection and making a good impression. Second and subsequent dates are about getting to know more about each other, having lots of fun and getting out into the world together.

    Dinners are an intimate setting - ideal for chatting and learning about each other's views and opinions. Although you might want to share what you believe is the best steak or gelato on offer in your area, don't just stick to your old favourites. Try new places together. Grab a Good Food Guide or Time Out magazine so you can be kept up to date on new venues and what they have to offer.

    Making your way around your city, sampling local restaurants, cafes and pubs is all good and well but there will come a time when you need to spice it up a little and inject some creativity into your date plans.

    This can be simple. Instead of dinner in a restaurant, grab a picnic rug, some fish and chips and take it to the beach or local park. Rather than just catching a movie, get tickets to a film festival or outdoor cinema. Investigate what's on at your favourite museums, sign up for a cooking class together, look up bands that are touring and check out art or food festivals in your community.

    Getting amongst the culture of your city doesn't need to be expensive. There are free events and festivals run by local councils and community groups - so keep an eye out and sign up to interesting lifestyle newsletters that will inspire you.

    Once you've surveyed what's on, consider your date's interests and suggest some fun and different date ideas that you're both likely to enjoy. It doesn't always need to be dinner or drinks - put a little more creativity in to it and you're likely to impress.

    So what have been your favourite date experiences? We'd love to hear what impresses you and makes dates a little bit different.

    Are you a relationship junkie?

    addict

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    Are you one of those people who has a long history of being in relationships? A serial monogamist who bounces from one long-term partner to the next, spending very little time on your own?

    If this sounds like you, and you're currently single and desperate to get attached again, then take a step back and pause. It's not working for you and it's time to do things differently.

    There are plenty of tell-tale signs that you're a relationship addict:

    * You have a history of being in long-term relationships
    * You don't like being single
    * You need a relationship to feel worthy or happy
    * You try to spend all your time with your partner
    * You lose contact with family, friends, and interests when in a relationship
    * You schedule your life to fit in around your partner
    * You tend to let your partner lead and make decisions
    * You replace your individual goals with couple ones
    * You prefer to stay in a bad relationship rather than be single

    Now if this rings true for you, it's time to step back and break this pattern. When you engage in this type of behaviour, it ultimately puts too much pressure on your partner and it will burn them out.

    Not only that, when you do find yourself single you'll tend to pick the wrong types for future relationships because you're so anxious about being on your own. This will see you do anything just to get involved with someone, and that means making bad choices.

    Instead of repeating this pattern over and over again, take some time now when you're single to learn a new relationship approach.

    Start by spending more time on your own and becoming comfortable in your single life. Create your own interests and goals and stick to them - particularly when you meet someone new. Look back and identify your problem relationship habits (for example becoming too available to your new partner, losing contact with your family and friends or giving up your own goals) and make a commitment to break these habits.

    Get clear about your ideal partner and then be disciplined about waiting for them rather than settling for the wrong type.

    And finally, adjust your attitude about being single. Rather than looking at yourself as being a failure if you're on your own, turn this around and remind yourself that you're being selective and you have high standards. This will take the pressure off.

    In the end, if you're going to get a long-term relationship to stick, you're going to need to get comfortable being in your own company and having your own life to live.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, and seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning Show (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Add a dose of activity to your dates

    dinner and movie

    Posted by The RSVP Team
    on

    Although having a drink or dinner creates a romantic environment to chat, exchange ideas and learn about your date - there are only so many evenings you can spend staring into each others eyes across a dimly-lit table before you need to mix things up and start exploring other date options.

    Sporting or activity-based dates are a great idea at the beginning of a relationship. Doing an activity together takes some of the pressure off while helping you get to know your new love interest.

    We all know the feeling - you've been on a handful of dates and done so much talking, you really like this person, have strong chemistry but feel like you're interviewed out and want to do something different next time you see them.

    Sporty dates give you a chance to be active and have some fun together.

    You'll gain some insight into how your date navigates the world and handles situations when they're in action. Getting out and doing something together will show you more about your date's personality than they can tell you over a glass of wine. For example, whether someone is highly competitive, patient, a team player or a good sport is going to shine through in a game of tennis or touch football (or Pictionary for that matter).

    As well as learning about each other, doing something together helps you bond by giving you a shared experience and memory.

    But before jumping straight in and suggesting a sport centred date - there are a couple of things to consider to make sure that the shared memory will be a good one.

    Have a think about what your date has listed in their profile and told you about activities they like. Suggest something that is going to appeal to these interests. It doesn't have to be an activity they already do. One of the great things about dating and meeting new people is that they open you up and introduce you to new experiences. So don't be afraid to suggest something new - just think about what you know about this person already and suggest something they're likely to get a kick out of doing.

    It's also important to think about their fitness and experience level in relation to the activity you are proposing. If you've never been kayaking before - a couple of hours on the water might be fun but a whole day out there is likely to be overkill. Likewise, you might be a keen cyclist, clocking 30kms before work most days, but someone who occasional gets on a bike, will tire of the scenic ride much more quickly than you.

    With the weather warming up - it's the perfect time to get outdoors and find some adventure together. How about sailing lessons, horse riding, bike riding around your city, coastal walks, indoor rock climbing, trapeze lessons, lawn bowls...just some food for thought.

    We'd love to hear about the best sporting dates you've been on.

    Being a good sport and dating

    dinner and movie

    Posted by The RSVP Team
    on

    Although having a drink or dinner creates a romantic environment to chat, exchange ideas and learn about your date - there are only so many evenings you can spend staring into each others eyes across a dimly-lit table before you need to mix things up and start exploring other date options.

    Sporting or activity-based dates are a great idea at the beginning of a relationship. Doing an activity together takes some of the pressure off while helping you get to know your new love interest.

    We all know the feeling - you've been on a handful of dates and done so much talking, you really like this person, have strong chemistry but feel like you're interviewed out and want to do something different next time you see them.

    Sporty dates give you a chance to be active and have some fun together.

    You'll gain some insight into how your date navigates the world and handles situations when they're in action. Getting out and doing something together will show you more about your date's personality than they can tell you over a glass of wine. For example, whether someone is highly competitive, patient, a team player or a good sport is going to shine through in a game of tennis or touch football (or Pictionary for that matter).

    As well as learning about each other, doing something together helps you bond by giving you a shared experience and memory.

    But before jumping straight in and suggesting a sport centred date - there are a couple of things to consider to make sure that the shared memory will be a good one.

    Have a think about what your date has listed in their profile and told you about activities they like. Suggest something that is going to appeal to these interests. It doesn't have to be an activity they already do. One of the great things about dating and meeting new people is that they open you up and introduce you to new experiences. So don't be afraid to suggest something new - just think about what you know about this person already and suggest something they're likely to get a kick out of doing.

    It's also important to think about their fitness and experience level in relation to the activity you are proposing. If you've never been kayaking before - a couple of hours on the water might be fun but a whole day out there is likely to be overkill. Likewise, you might be a keen cyclist, clocking 30kms before work most days, but someone who occasional gets on a bike, will tire of the scenic ride much more quickly than you.

    With the weather warming up - it's the perfect time to get outdoors and find some adventure together. How about sailing lessons, horse riding, bike riding around your city, coastal walks, indoor rock climbing, trapeze lessons, lawn bowls...just some food for thought.

    We'd love to hear about the best sporting dates you've been on.

    Dating - things have changed!

    over

    Posted by RSVP on

    A lot of things have changed in the last 15 years. Remember when mobile phones were the size of bricks, supermarkets were not open 24 hours a day and paying by cheque was commonplace...

    We all know technology, social media and smart phones have changed how we do business, manage personal admin, correspond with our closest friends and also how we date.

    Before RSVP launched as Australia's first online dating site 15 years ago, online dating was for early adopters and most Australians would not have dreamt of meeting love interests on the internet. Today, it's very different - 48% of single people have tried online dating and it's the third most popular way to meet new partners.

    The fact that it's mainstream to be online and meeting other singles is not the only change technology has brought to our dating customs. We recently surveyed more than 820 RSVP members to get more of an insight into how you're using technology in personal relationships and how this is changing dating etiquette.

    One of the key findings of the poll was how, during the early stages of dating, the preferred way of contacting the object of your affection greatly depends on your age. For 18 to 40 year olds, text messaging is the preferred contact method. And for those of you aged over 41 years, picking up the phone and putting a call in is the most popular way to get in contact.

    For Australian singles aged over 41 years, the second most popular way to contact each other in the early stages of dating is email followed by text.

    Top three most popular methods of contact in the early stages of dating:
    41 - 50 years - 54% call, 23% email, 20% text
    51 - 60 years - 61% call, 24% email, 11% text
    61+ years - 62% call, 35% email, 1% text

    Generally, we are accustomed to using technology and social media to communicate and manage our relationships. 63% of those surveyed are using social media every day and 60% think that social media and technology has made it easier to manage personal relationships.

    But where is the line between what is appropriate and inappropriate when it comes to using relatively new technology and old technology when you are "courting" someone? Or is the idea of courting completely out of date?

    Countless times you hear people saying, "if they can't pick up the phone to ask me out, then I'm not going put with them" But in 2012, when you consider how we use Facebook, email and text messaging to organise social events and catch ups with family and friends, does this notion still ring true?

    We'd love to hear your thoughts on the best way to communicate with someone you are newly dating. Is it ok to ask someone out on a date via text message, email or even Facebook?

    The RSVP Team

    * Online survey of RSVP members conducted in June 2012 totalling 823 responses

    Wooing in 2012 - the text message versus the call

    geeks

    Posted by RSVP on

    We all know technology, social media and smart phones have radically changed how we do business, manage personal admin, correspond with our closest friends and family, and indeed how we date.

    Before RSVP launched as Australia's first online dating site 15 years ago, online dating was for early adopters and most Australians would not have dreamt of meeting love interests on the internet. Today, it's very different - 48% of single people have tried online dating and it's the third most popular way to meet new partners.

    The fact that it's mainstream to be online and meeting other singles is not the only change technology has brought to our dating customs. We recently surveyed more than 820 RSVP members to get more of an insight into how you're using technology in personal relationships and how this is changing dating etiquette.

    One of the key findings of the poll was how, during the early stages of dating, the preferred way of contacting the object of your affection greatly depends on your age. For 18 to 40 year olds, text messaging is the preferred contact method. And for those of you aged over 41 years, picking up the phone and putting a call in is the most popular way to get in contact.

    So what are the reasons behind thi s- RSVP's relationship expert and psychologist John Aiken tells us that there are a number of factors that influence our dating etiquette in 2012; "Younger Australians have grown up with technology and more relaxed social conventions and these are just some of the reasons they are more likely to text."

    "Text messaging is also less a confronting option for some people - there is no threat of awkward silences or nerves getting in the way."

    Generally, we are accustomed to using technology and social media to communicate and manage our relationships. 63% of those surveyed are using social media every day and 60% think that social media and technology has made it easier to manage personal relationships.

    But where is the line between what is appropriate and inappropriate when it comes to using relatively new technology and old technology when you are "courting" someone? Or is the idea of courting completely out of date?

    Countless times you hear people saying, "if they can't pick up the phone to ask me out, then I'm not going put with them". But in 2012, when you consider how we use Facebook, email and text messaging to organise social events and catch ups with family and friends, does this notion still ring true?

    We'd love to hear your thoughts on the best way to communicate with someone you are newly dating. Is it ok to ask someone out on a date via text message or Facebook?

    The RSVP Team

    * Online survey of RSVP members conducted in June 2012 totalling 823 responses

    How technology is changing our dating etiquette

    dinner and movie

    Posted by RSVP on

    There's no doubt that technology has changed how we date and manage relationships.

    Before RSVP launched as Australia's first online dating site 15 years ago, most Australians would not have dreamt of meeting love interests on the internet. Today, it's very different - 48% of single people have tried online dating and it's the third most popular way to meet new partners.

    The fact that we are going online to meet other singles is not the only change that technology has brought to our dating customs. We recently surveyed more than 820 RSVP members to get more of an insight into how you're using technology in personal relationships and how this is changing dating etiquette.

    One of the key findings of the poll was how, during the early stages of dating, the preferred way of contacting the object of your affection greatly depends on your age. For 18 to 40 year olds, text messaging is the preferred contact method. And for those of you aged over 41 years, picking up the phone and putting a call in is the most popular way to get in contact.

    So what are the reasons behind this? Our relationship expert and psychologist John Aiken tells us that there are a number of factors that influence our dating etiquette in 2012; "Younger Australians have grown up with technology and more relaxed social conventions and these are just some of the reasons they are more likely to text."

    "Text messaging is also less a confronting option for some people - there is no threat of awkward silences or nerves getting in the way."

    Generally, we are accustomed to using technology and social media to communicate and manage our relationships. 63% of those surveyed are using social media every day and 60% think that social media and technology has made it easier to manage personal relationships.

    But where is the line between what is appropriate and inappropriate when it comes to using relatively new technology and old technology when you are "courting" someone?

    Countless times you hear people saying, "if they can't pick up the phone to ask me out, then I'm not going put with them". But in 2012, when you consider how we use Facebook, email and text messaging to organise social events and catch ups with family and friends, does this notion still ring true?

    We'd love to hear your thoughts on the best way to communicate with someone you are newly dating. Is it ok to ask someone out on a date via text message?

    The RSVP Team

    * Online survey of RSVP members conducted in June 2012 totalling 823 responses

    The good, the bad and the ugly - a personal account of an online dating journey

    elly

    Posted by Elly Klein, author of Men are Like a Box of Chocolates on

    Hello again, sexy RSVP members!

    The first time we met, I launched into a bragging frenzy about my RSVP matchmaking skills; detailing the fix-ups of two of my closest friends. I concluded with some hot tips to help you on your RSVP journey.

    This time, I'm going to tell you about my own, personal online dating experiences - the good, the bad and the ugly (literally, in some cases) - and, again, leave you with some ideas to apply to your own online dating life.

    Let's dive in, shall we...

    For me, online dating has had a few unexpected fringe benefits that have more than made up for the fact that I have not yet met Mr Right. About 10 years ago when I first started to dabble in this new way of meeting people, I dated a lovely guy who introduced me to his lovely best mate who introduced me to his lovely girlfriend. That girlfriend's name was Lisa. And while those two lovely guys are now long gone (both relationships parted on good terms), Lisa and I remain friends to this day. Lisa introduced me to a group of women who are now my core group of girlfriends. Our regular catch-ups are priceless to me - very Sex and the City - and I'm so thankful that my initial foray into online dating yielded such life-changing results. Win! Lisa is not the only friend I made as a by-product of online dating. I met Alyssa through an RSVP contact. And I met Mel when I decide to use a stamp to make a new friend rather than chase after blokes I felt half-hearted about. The opening line of my email was: "First and foremost, I am not a lesbian!" Mel later said, "I'm glad you made that clear upfront, as I wouldn't have read any further otherwise." (Sorry, fellas, but most straight women see other women as potential friends; not potential hook-ups - heh heh.)

    But, as I'm sure you'll agree, we're not here to make friends. We're here to make lurve! (Gosh, that was corny.) But seriously, it's all about dating and, hopefully, finding a life partner. Well, I can tell you that, on this very site, I have found three delightful things: true love, mind-blowing sex and the antidote to the All Men Are Bastards affliction... unfortunately, not all in the same man. Let me explain...

    Six years ago, true love came along in the form of a smooth-talking media-type (much like myself) who I fell for immediately after reading his profile - and had it confirmed immediately after our first date. Thus began a relatively short on-again-off-again relationship. I only ever wanted it to be on, but he felt otherwise. Alas, after six months of false starts with a man I thought, naively, was my 'soul mate' (or one of them, anyway), we parted ways.

    Comfort came in the form of the best sex I'd ever had. (Not bad, huh!) This man and I had a lot in common but, for some reason, the only place we really hit it off was in the bedroom. It was out-of-this-world for both of us, and we couldn't figure out why we didn't feel romantically towards each other, as we both really wanted to be in a steady relationship. Our attempt at being a couple lasted about two weeks. Instead, we opted for being 'just friends'... well, with benefits, as the benefits were the best part! And so we were... for many, many years. Today, we really are just friends - no benefits.

    As I was still wounded by the departure of my aforementioned soul mate, this was the perfect time to meet the man I consider to be the antidote to the All Men Are Bastards affliction... that bitter mindset women sometimes find themselves in after they've dated a succession of men who have treated them badly. Well, this man was sugar personified. Tall, muscular and the definition of a gentle giant, our short-term relationship quickly morphed into a friendship, which we were both happy with. I couldn't believe someone like him existed. He didn't have a nasty bone in his body. I completely trusted him. And hanging out with him always reminded me that there are some genuinely good men out there.

    Naturally, after a decade of intermittent online dating, I'll concede that it hasn't all been sex, love and rock 'n' roll. The truth of the matter is that online dating can be tough-going. I think the main thing any online dater must wrestle with is disappointment: Disappointment over not connecting with anyone, disappointment over first dates that don't live up to expectations, disappointment over being rejected at any stage of the game, disappointment over devoting time, energy and funds to a worthy cause (your love life!) and then having the anticipated return-on-investment elude you. When it's not going well, it can be brutal. But when you finally make a significant connection, you're so incredibly grateful for this awesome technological tool.

    Yes, I've turned up to dates only to discover that his profile picture must have been taken from an extremely flattering angle, that there's nothing 'non' about his non-smoker status and, on one occasion, that I'd been stood up. (Well, not quite. Thankfully, I was smart enough not to venture out until he confirmed our plans, which he never did.) I've been on the receiving end of rejection, inconsiderate behaviour and just plain awkwardness. So, what's a gal to do? Allow bitterness to set in, surround herself with cats (even though I'm a dog person), lock herself inside every evening with a DVD and a pint of gelato (actually, that doesn't sound too bad...) and give up on love? Hell no! Ladies and gents, there is only one option: Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep going. The next cyber-kiss/email/date/relationship could be your last i.e. The One. So, what are you waiting for?

    Top 5 takeaways from this blog post:

    1. Online dating is a fabulously effective way of meeting a life partner. Remain hopeful and optimistic - no matter what. If necessary, take a little break, but never give up.

    2. Disappointment and rejection are par for the course. A thick skin will serve you well. If you don't already have one, start cultivating one immediately.

    3. Move on from non-connections as quickly as possible. If you're happy with your profile, pictures, online dating manner, who you are as a person and what you have to offer, don't waste time analyzing why it didn't work out. Everyone deserves to find someone who appreciates them. Get back on the pony. Giddy up!

    4. If you're sick of approaching potential dates, why not spend a stamp or two on making a new friend (as I did). You can get together, discuss your online dating experiences and maybe even help each other out with searches (as, chances are, you won't have the same taste in men/women). Also, you never know who that new friend might introduce you to offline.

    5. Only go on RSVP dates with members you're willing to have a drink with. If your motivation for meeting is because you think they're going to be 'so hot' and they turn out to be 'so not', you'll be tempted to turn and run, which is not fair to your date. You owe them at least half an hour of your time. As a result, you might enjoy a pleasant outing, engage in a stimulating conversation, receive a compliment, make a new friend or colleague or be surprised when you warm up to them. Yes, a life partner is the ultimate prize, but I can almost guarantee you won't come away from online dating empty-handed.

    Now, it's your turn. Tell me and your fellow RSVP members:

    - Your best online dating experiences
    - Your online dating pet peeves and top tips
    - How you manage the inevitable disappointment and rejection in the dating ga
    me

    Elly Klein is the author of the humorous (and delicious) relationship advice book, Men Are Like a Box of Chocolates.

    Exclusively to RSVP members, get your signed copy of for ONLY $11.97 - SAVE 40% + free shipping! Use Password "love" (all lower case). Redeem now!

    10 Dating Tips for Single Parents

    sp

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    Dating as a single parent can be fun, exciting and full of fresh challenges. It requires good boundaries and skillful time management. After all, it's not just about trying to put your best foot forward with new love interests in your life. Single parents need to juggle the routines of kids, work and personal commitments while finding time to date.

    Going online is a great first step, as you get to gradually dip your toe in the water and get clear about what you want and don't want from someone new. You can be selective and pace yourself throughout the process, building up your confidence while learning how the new dating landscape operates. This can be made even easier by enlisting the help of a trusted friend who can support you through the whole online process and in the early stages of dating.

    The benefits can be many as you can find out what's it's like again to fall in love and have an intimate connection with another adult. You get to re-engage with that side of you that is sexual and flirtatious, and you get to feel things that you may've shut off for some years. It's also a great opportunity to see that your past relationships don't have to define you. There are different types of partners that are out there who behave differently, and you can enjoy a totally new dating experience with the possibility of so much more.

    However, mixed in with all of this is the added challenge of raising your children - which must always come first. How do you manage your new love interest with the daily schooling and family routines? How soon should you sleep with a new person, tell the kids or your ex about dating again and who pays for what? How much should you talk about the past, when do you introduce someone new to your family and friends and will your kids like them?

    With so much to think about, here are 10 tips to help you get by as a single parent in the dating scene:

    1) Take things slowly

    Jumping back into the dating game as a single parent can hold many challenges. For this reason, it's worthwhile taking things nice and slowly. You've got children in the mix and there's no rush for you to get into a whirlwind romance. Instead, get to know people really well, taking your time to see if they're compatible with you.

    2) Always prioritise your kids and family routines
    Parenting never stops whether you're single or attached. So it's vital that you don't get carried away with dating and loose sight of your major priority - the kids. The routines and daily family rituals must continue. Avoid disrupting their school, childcare and travel expectations, and always make sure that you follow through with your promises to them.

    3) Hold off on introducing a new person to your kids
    It doesn't matter how keen you are on your new date, they don't need to meet your kids early on in the dating process. Your relationship with the kids is too important to bring just anyone into the family. You need to go out with them for some time and know that this is real and has long-term potential before they get an introduction to your kids.

    4) Listen to your kid's questions and worries
    As you begin dating again, it's important that you talk to your kids and tell them what you're doing. Keep things short and simple, but answer any questions they have. Being honest right from the beginning is important - and be available to reassure them and listen.

    5) Be clear about your relationship expectations
    Before jumping back into dating as a single parent make sure you get clear about your relationship expectations. Do you want causal and fun or serious and long-term. Whatever the case, when you meet your date - make this clear to them early on. Your days of playing games are over. You don't have the time or energy!

    6) Avoid talking about your ex or the kids all the time
    Make a point of limiting how much you talk to your date about your kids or your ex. They know that you come with strings attached, but they don't want to think you're too complicated and totally unavailable for love. Focus your conversations on your hopes, dreams, and interests and let your personality shine!

    7) Don't have sex too soon
    I know that it's tempting early on to jump into bed with your new love interest. You may have been a single parent for some time and are excited about having a new sexual partner but you still need to get to know this person well before you take it to the next level. Wait four to six weeks and let them really romance you. If they're keen they will definitely wait. Avoid sleepovers and public displays of affection in front of the kids.

    8) Avoid getting them involved in the parenting
    It can be easy to lean on your new love interest to help you out with some of the parenting duties. After all you've been juggling a lot of this on your own for some time. Don't fall into this trap. You're the parent to the kids, not your new love interest. The kids may resent this or have expectations about your new love interest that can create problems moving forward.

    9) Don't use your kids for relationship advice
    If your kids are older, it can be very easy to use them as a confidant in your dating experiences. Telling them all about your dating ups and downs and getting their thoughts on whether they like your new partner. Avoid this as they'll feel caught in the middle, they may have mixed feelings about you dating and might even still want you to get back with your ex.

    10) Be patient and selective
    Getting into the dating scene again can be daunting and you'll find that there can be some tough disappointment along the way. Dating is a numbers game and you need to keep eliminating the wrong ones to get to the right one. It can and does happen, you just need to be patient and keep your standards up!

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, and seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning Show (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Take a hike in some of Australia's Top Spots

    go

    Posted by Arendezvous Travel & Leisure on

    Australia has some of the best areas for bushwalking and for any lover of the great outdoors, there's a great array of destinations to explore with various terrains and climates. If you haven't yet experienced bushwalking, but love getting up close and personal with nature - and you're reasonably fit, there's no reason why you shouldn't give it a go!

    For the novice, it's always a good idea to mimic the bush walking experience in your regular exercise routine by including some outdoor training in all weather conditions and if possible, some training on off-road terrain. When you're doing the real thing, you can easily find yourself rock-hopping or making it down a creek bed, which can be tricky if you've not tried it before!

    With our immense area of undeveloped land, Australia is one of the best countries in which to participate in bushwalking. Some of our largest cities even have National Parks that are open for exploring. Here you can really switch off from the stresses of daily life and be at one with nature.

    Fun fact: The name "Bush Walker" was taken from Sydney's first hiking club that was open to both men and women.

    RSVP offers hiking trips exclusively for single travellers to some of Australia's most renowned hiking spots. Destinations include:
    - The Blue Mountains, New South Wales
    - Bay of Fires and Cradle Mountain in Tasmania
    - Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory
    - The Great Ocean Road, Yarra Valley and the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria.

    These trips span a few days and are great opportunities to meet new people. The beautiful scenic walks are the perfect backdrop to strike up a conversation and get to know your hiking buddies. After spending a few days walking natural off-road trails, you'll truly appreciate the majesty of nature.

    If you'd like to sign for a singles group hiking trip, options are typically between three to six days duration. You can expect sleeping arrangements to consist of cabins or camping, or a combination of both. All trips are fully supported with camping and food supplied by the organiser, and for the majority of trips, all cooking and camp set-up is done for you, so you can relax after a day of walking and enjoy the company of the group.

    Did you know that RSVP offers singles holidays? Through our partner Arendezvous Travel & Leisure, we offer quality group holidays exclusively for single travellers. From short tropical escapes to hiking trips and leisurely overseas tours, all trips are age-matched and enjoyed with a group of like-minded singles.

    If you're looking for a little adventure, check out the bushwalking trips on offer. View upcoming trips

    Key signs your date is commitment-phobic

    blogcommitment

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

    One of the most frustrating aspects of dating for singles can be when you meet someone who you think might be relationship material but turns out to be unable to commit. There may be chemistry and sparks, but they don't have long-term potential. It can be disheartening and confusing, and often sees you waste time hanging on in a state of limbo in the hope that things will change.

    Here are some key signs that you're currently dating a commitment-phobe:

    * They tell you they're not looking for anything serious
    * They avoid making future plans together
    * They don't have a history of long-term relationships
    * They avoid expressing their feelings
    * They don't pursue you
    * They break promises and back out of plans
    * They don't introduce you to their friends
    * They're only interested in sex
    * The're hard to contact and track down
    * They seem hot and cold

    If this sounds like the person you're dating, then it's time to change your plan of attack. You have to turn the tables on your commitment-phobic love interest and see how they respond.

    1) Stop chasing
    You must immediately stop pursuing them. Be the flame and not the moth. No more chasing and being too keen to catch-up with them. Delay responding immediately to their texts, emails and phone calls. You'll quickly see if they're interested or not.

    2) Focus on your own friends and interests
    Focus on yourself and pursuing your own interests and spending time with your friends. Make a point of having a full and varied weekly schedule with lots of plans and activities. No waiting around for them or putting your own plans on hold. Make them work in with your timetable.

    3) Keep it fun
    You're dating someone who is afraid of heavy conversations, making plans, talking feelings and being tied down. That's fine. Avoid discussing any of these types of topics and instead keep things light and fun. It's still very early days. Enjoy each other's company and let them bring up these topics if they want to.

    4) Move on if there's no change
    If you've taken this approach for several months, you need to move on if there's no change. That means that if they're still not chasing you, making future plans with you, telling you how they feel, following through with promises and you haven't met any of their friends - cut them free. They're not looking for a commitment and you deserve better.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, and seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning Show (www.johnaiken.com.au)

    Travel Tips for Single Travellers

    travel

    Posted by Arendezvous Travel & Leisure on

    Travelling can be an immensely enjoyable and rewarding experience and most people like to take a trip once or twice a year. If you're a single traveller, making plans and travelling with people in your social circle can be challenging. You may find you have conflicting schedules or different holiday preferences... but that doesn't mean you should have to miss out on the fun. Travelling by yourself can be one of the best experiences because you are not inhibited by others. You'll have freedom to explore and meet lots of new people.

    Single Supplement

    Anyone that has ever travelled alone will be well aware of the dreaded single supplement; the extra cost to have a single room. The supplement is anywhere from 25 to 100% more than what you would pay if sharing a double or twin room. To avoid paying this fee, look for a tour operator that offers room matching. This does mean that you will be sharing with a stranger but this is a good excuse to get you motivated to meet new people!

    Dining

    Many people, not just solo travellers, have a fear of eating along in restaurants so here are some tips to make you more comfortable.
    - Eat at cafes and diners - these types of places are more casual and less intimidating, and more people here will be eating alone.
    - Bring reading or writing material to stay occupied.
    - Chat with the service people. Beyond being a nice gesture, you can also learn a lot about the area you are visiting from restaurant staff.

    Safety First

    One of the obstacles stopping many people from travelling alone is the fear of being taken advantage of or the victim of a scam. However, there are ways of blending in wherever you go so as to not become a target.
    - Know how far your hotel is from the airport. If you expect to arrive at night, have an airport transfer pre arranged so that you do not have to wait around. Knowing routes to the hotel will also allow you to know how much it will cost to get there. This can prevent cab drivers from taking you on a scenic route!
    - When exploring an area walk with confidence and do not look like a lost tourist - don't keep your nose in a map! Instead, go over maps and information before the trip, whilst in the privacy of your hotel room.
    - When asking directions, do not divulge that you are travelling alone. If asked, mention that you are meeting your travel companion.
    - Keep two forms of identification on you, preferably in different places (one in your purse/wallet, and one in a backpack).
    - Little white lies never hurt if you feel safer to conceal your personal identity. Make up a pseudonym if you like. Get to know people, but do not give away your entire life history, especially on first meetings.
    - It is also a good idea to leave your itinerary with a friend or family member. That way someone knows where you are at all times.

    Group Trips for Singles

    You may be single but if travelling solo in not your thing, why not take a singles group trip. The options are varied, from relaxing resort getaways and cruises, to tours and activity based trips. You'll travel with a group of single travellers, who like you are looking to explore new places and meet new people in the process. By the end of the trip (if not after the first day), you'll have a new group of travel buddies. You'll have the option to spend time alone exploring or relaxing, or joining the group when you feel like some company.

    Did you know that RSVP offers Singles Holidays? Through our partner Arendezvous Travel & Leisure, we offer quality group holidays exclusively for single travellers. From short tropical escapes to adventure trips and leisurely overseas tours, all trips are age-matched and enjoyed with a group of like-minded singles. Check out the RSVP Travel page for range of group holidays for single travellers.

    Do you have any tips for travelling alone? Or if you've ever gone on a Singles Holiday, we'd love to hear about your experience. Let us know your thoughts below...

    Finding love in remote locations

    miner

    Posted by John Aiken on

    Being single and trying to find a partner can be challenging when living in a major city. But it can be even more complicated for those singles who live and work in rural or remote areas. Put simply, because there is a smaller local population, there are less eligible people to choose from and geographical distance can be a major obstacle.

    However, it's not time to give up on romance, fun and love if you find yourself in this situation. Instead, consider the steps below and put yourself out there on the journey to find someone special.

    1) Create a positive attitude


    You must start by taking on a positive mindset - believe that it's possible to meet a compatible partner in your remote location. So many singles take themselves out of the game before they even begin by believing romance will never happen for them in their current situation. It can and will happen, but you need to be upbeat and optimistic about this. You don't know when it's going to occur, but be positive that love will come along in the future.

    2) Get out to events

    It's not going to happen for you if you don't make the effort to get out and about. That means saying "yes" to all the social opportunities that come your way. Get involved with community gatherings - dances, sporting events, fairs, local clubs etc. Also, make the effort to mix with others at pubs, bars, and restaurants. As well, be committed to traveling into the nearest city/township on a regular basis to socialise.

    3) Make the most of being online


    Even though you might be physically isolated, it doesn't mean you can't interact with people online. It's very important to up skill in technology and go online. Start dating, have Skype conversations and talk to people in chat rooms so that you can expand your pool of eligible singles and connect with potential love interests.

    4) Develop your social networks


    Friends and social support networks will be key in helping you find romance in your remote location. They will encourage you to get out and about, and they may know eligible singles that they can introduce to you. On top of this, when you find the going tough in terms of dating and loneliness, they can pick you up and keep you positive and optimistic.

    5) Be respectful and consider your reputation

    When you live and work in a remote area you need to be even more mindful of your reputation and how you treat people who live in the same area. Don-t burn your bridges and be disrespectful. It's likely you're going to bump into them again and again. Don't make things harder for yourself and create a reputation that's going to work against you. Be respectful and kind to people you date - regardless of whether it works out or not.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, and seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning Show www.johnaiken.com.au

    How to find love when you live on the land

    farner

    Posted by John Aiken on

    Being single and trying to find a partner can be challenging when living in a major city. But it can be even more complicated for those singles who live and work in rural or remote areas. Put simply, because there is a smaller local population, there are less eligible people to choose from and geographical distance can be a major obstacle.

    However, it's not time to give up on romance, fun and love if you find yourself in this situation. Instead, consider the steps below and put yourself out there on the journey to find someone special.

    1) Create a positive attitude


    You must start by taking on a positive mindset - believe that it's possible to meet a compatible partner in your remote location. So many singles take themselves out of the game before they even begin by believing romance will never happen for them in their current situation. It can and will happen, but you need to be upbeat and optimistic about this. You don't know when it's going to occur, but be positive that love will come along in the future.

    2) Get out to events

    It's not going to happen for you if you don't make the effort to get out and about. That means saying "yes" to all the social opportunities that come your way. Get involved with community gatherings - dances, sporting events, fairs, local clubs etc. Also, make the effort to mix with others at pubs, bars, and restaurants. As well, be committed to traveling into the nearest city/township on a regular basis to socialise.

    3) Make the most of being online


    Even though you might be physically isolated, it doesn't mean you can't interact with people online. It's very important to up skill in technology and go online. Start dating, have Skype conversations and talk to people in chat rooms so that you can expand your pool of eligible singles and connect with potential love interests.

    4) Develop your social networks


    Friends and social support networks will be key in helping you find romance in your remote location. They will encourage you to get out and about, and they may know eligible singles that they can introduce to you. On top of this, when you find the going tough in terms of dating and loneliness, they can pick you up and keep you positive and optimistic.

    5) Be respectful and consider your reputation

    When you live and work in a remote area you need to be even more mindful of your reputation and how you treat people who live in the same area. Don-t burn your bridges and be disrespectful. It's likely you're going to bump into them again and again. Don't make things harder for yourself and create a reputation that's going to work against you. Be respectful and kind to people you date - regardless of whether it works out or not.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, and seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning Show www.johnaiken.com.au

    What's in an RSVP name?

    blog

    Posted by The RSVP team on

    Names are interesting. We are given them by all sorts of people throughout our lives - parents, friends, workmates - and this seems to happen quite naturally.

    Picking one for ourselves, however, can be more problematic. For many people, it's not straightforward. Self-proclaimed nicknames never really seem to stick like the ones you acquired in school.

    So how do you choose an online dating name?

    It's important to put thought into all elements of creating your online profile. From choosing good photos, considering the factors you would like in a partner and recognising what are your non-negotiables, through to writing your description and choosing your RSVP name - it pays off to put some time and effort into the process.

    The process will help you understand more about what you are looking for in a relationship as well as a partner. It sounds obvious, but the end result - your profile or how you portray yourself - will determine the type of people you attract online.

    Together with your photo, your RSVP name is the first thing other members see when you come up in a search - so it's important!

    Although your RSVP name won't give away too much about you, it will create an impression of who you are and how you see yourself. After all, it's how you have chosen to be identified and it is how other members will identify you.

    A couple of things to consider when deciding on your RSVP name:

    Protect your privacy

    You will have noticed that most members tend to choose between a variation on their name (or nickname) and a phrase or word that sums up their personality or signals to their passions.

    The type of name you choose will be instinctive 0 do you strongly identify yourself with your given name or can you select a word that describes you succinctly? If you are the type to go with a variation of your name - we suggest that you maintain your privacy and don't use your entire or real surname as the basis of your RSVP name.

    Keep it simple


    Keep it relatively simple. Interested singles will remember you by your profile name - so although you want it to stand out, you don't want to make it so tricky that other members will have trouble remembering it.

    Walk the line

    Humour or wit can be clever and intriguing - so using it in your RSVP name can help attract lots of interest and kisses from other members. On the other hand, a joke others might not understand or bragging in your RSVP name can also get you lots of attention, but not necessarily the type you're after.

    Remember your user name will create a distinct impression on other members and your name is the key feature they will recall when thinking about you.

    Ask yourself the question - does it represent me in the best possible light?

    You chose it, you can change it

    After setting up their online profile, many members look back on their RSVP name and feel it's not quite right.

    If you've come up with something better, more fitting, more fun - you can change your RSVP name at any time by visiting 'My account' from the menu of your 'My Home' page, and inputting a new RSVP name under 'My Details'. Click 'Save' and you're done.

    We'd love to hear your thoughts on what makes a great RSVP name. Tell us what you think below.

    5 Steps to a Successful 'Dinner and a Movie' Date

    dinner and movie

    Posted by Elly Klein, author of Men are Like a Box of Chocolates on

    Hello, Arts & Culture group!

    I am definitely one of you. I love movies, music, reading, architecture, art... and combining all of the above with a coffee!

    For my first blog post for you guys, let's talk about movies. Specifically, the classic date: dinner and a movie.

    Dinner and a movie dates are for your second or third date and beyond. (I think the first date should just be a drink and maybe a quick bite.) They are the foundation date for most relationships, as they offer the perfect mix of chatter, plus a relaxing shared activity (preferably involving cuddling), followed by more chatter - dissecting the movie afterwards is one of the best parts!

    So, here's your 5-step guide to a successful dinner and a movie date:

    1. The most tentative aspect of any dinner and a movie date is the movie selection. Really, truly, try to pick something you BOTH want to see. Ladies, don't sit through blood 'n' guts if it's not your cup of chai. And fellas, don't endure 'the romance film of the year' if all you're going to do is give it a five-turd rating. Nobody likes a movie-pooper. You can't control how you're going to feel about a film coming out of it, but you can control how you feel going into it. Make sure it's something you're both looking forward to.

    2.
    Once you've selected your film, cinema and session time, start with dinner. This will give you a chance to get to know each other or, if you already know each other, catch up. Also, you'll be well-fed, so you're less likely to pig out on popcorn and feel like one big, buttery kernal by the time the credits roll. If your movie-going experience is incomplete without a tasty (and over-priced) treat, feel free to indulge - but try not to over-indulge. (More about that later.)

    3. How you behave in the cinema says a lot about you, so be sure demonstrate impeccable cinema etiquette. Show courtesy for those around you by keeping it down (talking, munching and, if you're lucky, smooching). Avoid putting your feet on the seat in front of you. And remember to switch your phone to silent - bonus points for abstaining from texting, tweeting and status-updating altogether! Try not to talk through the film or ask your date too many stupid questions. ('Psst, why did they kill that guy? I thought the guy with the moustache was the bad guy. Oh, he's really her father. I get it. Then who's the woman in the polka-dot dress?') And, contrary to pop culture, if you've never hooked up before, this is NOT a good time to crack onto your date with the classic 'yawn + arm around the shoulder' manoeuvre. If it doesn't go according to plan, you could be in for an extremely awkward two hours. Here's how you find out if your date is up for any physical contact with you - sit shoulder-to-shoulder. If they're comfortable touching you, you're in. If they move away, they're not ready. If it feels right, you may want to gently touch their knee or hold their hand. In any case, don't rush it - a little anticipation goes a long way.

    4. I don't know about you but, as a cinephile, if a potential partner can walk out of a film without discussing it, he's not the one for me. Art, be it a motion picture or a painting, is, at worst, a talking piece and, at best, has the power to change your perspective and your life. Plus, this is your big chance to turn your date on with your sexiest body part - your brain - by giving an intelligent opinion. Be honest, but try not to be too harsh. You're on a date - not filling in for Margaret Pomeranz or David Stratton.

    5. Go out for coffee afterwards. Or ice cream. Or a drink. Or just a stroll. This will give you a chance to chat about the film in more depth or pick up where you left off after dinner. It's also a chance for you to decide whether or not you want to end this classic date with a little intimacy. You may have heard people say that 'dinner and a movie' dates should really be 'a movie and dinner' dates, so you can discuss the film over a meal, but I disagree. No matter how attracted I am to someone, the last thing I feel like doing straight after a main meal is getting my gear off. I feel full, heavy and unsexy. I need a couple of hours, hence my reason for eating first and then trying not to pig out in the cinema. Assuming your dinner and a movie date has gone swimmingly, you might want to end it with a kiss (if not more). Ah, dinners, movies, kisses... three of my favourite things!

    Now, it's your turn. Tell me (and your fellow Arts & Culture group members):

    Have you ever been on a particularly good or bad dinner and a movie date? Details, please!
    What are some of your favourite date films, and why?
    Popcorn or choc top?

    Elly Klein is the author of the humorous (and delicious) relationship advice book, Men Are Like a Box of Chocolates.

    Exclusively to RSVP members, get your signed copy of for ONLY $11.97 - SAVE 40% + free shipping! Use Password "love" (all lower case). Redeem now!

    How important are shared beliefs when it comes to dating?

    spiritual

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating & relationship expert on

    Have you ever tried dating someone who doesn't have the same religious beliefs and values as you? Who differs in core fundamental ways to you regarding their faith and lifestyle principles? Well if you have, then you'll know it can be a tricky process.

    The reason why this can be so challenging is that so much of what you do and say on a daily basis can be linked to your religious beliefs and core values. This can range from the foods you eat, the activities you do in the weekends, the language you use, the way you treat your body, the career you have and the social networks you mix in. This will then have flow-on effects to how you, as an individual, approach dating.

    On top of this, beliefs and values are a central part of each of us and they are ingrained by the time we are adults. They make up our identities and are not there to be easily changed, adjusted, or overhauled. Beliefs and values need to be embraced and celebrated. If you don't share beliefs with a partner, then it can mean there is a constant gridlock in your relationship unless you are prepared to consider adjusting some of your beliefs and make allowance for your differences.

    When you're on the same page with your new partner's faith and core fundamental beliefs then your relationship has fewer differences to manage. You both follow and understand the same religion, the expected practices, the rituals and traditions, the beliefs around food, alcohol, lifestyle practices and particular social etiquette. Generally speaking, things are likely to be smoother. You will have the ability to fit in easily with each other's social networks, embrace rather than battle against core principles and philosophies and be able to plan a future together that incorporates shared values.

    When there is a common ground between you both on the most core fundamental issues - this bonds you together and creates compatibility. It also breaks the ice and allows you both to explore discussions about deeper more substantial topics such as faith and values.

    Now, that doesn't mean that you can't date people with different religious beliefs and values to yours. Many people do this with great success. However it does mean that there are going to be different challenges compared to when you start seeing someone who is on the same page as you in terms of their religion and beliefs.

    Be aware of this as you move forward in the dating process. Know that similar attitudes and beliefs can play a major role in terms of how compatible you are with someone and if you are dating someone of another faith - be patient, empathetic and work towards educating each other about your spirituality so you can accept, celebrate and embrace your differences.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, and seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning Show: www.johnaiken.com.au

    Is it a deal breaker if someone doesn't share your beliefs?

    jewish

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating & relationship expert on

    Have you ever tried dating someone who doesn't have the same religious beliefs and values as you? Who differs in core fundamental ways to you regarding their faith and lifestyle principles? Well if you have, then you'll know it can be a tricky process.

    The reason why this can be so challenging is that so much of what you do and say on a daily basis can be linked to your religious beliefs and core values. This can range from the foods you eat, the activities you do in the weekends, the language you use, the way you treat your body, the career you have and the social networks you mix in. This will then have flow-on effects to how you, as an individual, approach dating.

    On top of this, beliefs and values are a central part of each of us and they are ingrained by the time we are adults. They make up our identities and are not there to be easily changed, adjusted, or overhauled. Beliefs and values need to be embraced and celebrated. If you don't share beliefs with a partner, then it can mean there is a constant gridlock in your relationship unless you are prepared to consider adjusting some of your beliefs and make allowance for your differences.

    When you're on the same page with your new partner's faith and core fundamental beliefs then your relationship has fewer differences to manage. You both follow and understand the same religion, the expected practices, the rituals and traditions, the beliefs around food, alcohol, lifestyle practices and particular social etiquette. Generally speaking, things are likely to be smoother. You will have the ability to fit in easily with each other's social networks, embrace rather than battle against core principles and philosophies and be able to plan a future together that incorporates shared values.

    When there is a common ground between you both on the most core fundamental issues - this bonds you together and creates compatibility. It also breaks the ice and allows you both to explore discussions about deeper more substantial topics such as faith and values.

    Now, that doesn't mean that you can't date people with different religious beliefs and values to yours. Many people do this with great success. However it does mean that there are going to be different challenges compared to when you start seeing someone who is on the same page as you in terms of their religion and beliefs.

    Be aware of this as you move forward in the dating process. Know that similar attitudes and beliefs can play a major role in terms of how compatible you are with someone and if you are dating someone of another faith - be patient, empathetic and work towards educating each other about your spirituality so you can accept, celebrate and embrace your differences.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, and seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning Show: www.johnaiken.com.au

    How soon is too soon to say "I love you"

    iloveyou

    Posted by John Aiken on

    One of the key milestones in the early stages of a new relationship is expressing your loving feelings to your partner. Dropping the "L Bomb" and saying "I'm in love with you."

    If it goes well and they feel the same way, then things are great! But if you don't get the same response from them, then fear and insecurity will follow.

    So how soon is too soon to say those three magic words?

    First off, you don't want to be doing this if you're emotionally unsure. Do you feel uncertain, insecure, confused and/or ambivalent about your developing relationship? These feelings are warning signs, and if they're not consistent, strong and positive, then it's not the right time.

    Also steer clear of the L Bomb if you haven't met each other's family and friends yet. You can learn a lot about your partner in the dating process through their support networks. As well, if they don't want you to meet their inner circle, then that's telling you that something is not right and you need to hold off.

    Don't express your undying love if you haven't discussed your general relationship expectations with each other. Find out where they stand on having children, career plans, marriage, health and fitness, and family. Understand their values and lifestyle (and relationship) goals before disclosing your most intense feelings.

    Avoid the "I love you" conversation if your partner is behaving in a way that makes you doubt the relationship. For instance, if they're hard to contact, keep you waiting, avoid making future plans, inappropriately flirt with others, lie to you, drink too much, put you down and criticise you and/or are controlling and possessive. These are negative indicators for your future together.

    Finally, although everyone is individual and the pace of your relationship will be different, it's often a good idea not to say "I love you" in the first few months of dating. I realise this will be hard to do. Everything is so new, you're getting to know each other, there's lots of sex and excitement, and you want to spend all your time together.

    Complicating things early on in a relationship is a stage called "limerence" where your brain is being flooded with lots of feel good chemicals that make it difficult to form accurate judgments. So, be aware of this and give yourself some time to get to know the person rather than rushing in.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, and seen weekly on Ch 7's The Morning Show www.johnaiken.com.au

    How important is shared Christian beliefs in finding a partner?

    christian

    Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating & relationship expert on

    Have you ever tried dating someone who doesn't have the same religious beliefs and values as you? Who differs in core fundamental ways to you regarding their faith and lifestyle principles? Well if you have, then you'll know it can be a tricky process.

    The reason why this can be so challenging is that so much of what you do and say on a daily basis can be linked to your religious beliefs and core values. This can range from the foods you eat, the activities you do in the weekends, the language you use, the way you treat your body, the career you have and the social networks you mix in. This will then have flow-on effects to how you, as an individual, approach dating.

    On top of this, beliefs and values are a central part of each of us and they are ingrained by the time we are adults. They make up our identities and are not there to be easily changed, adjusted, or overhauled. Beliefs and values need to be embraced and celebrated. If you don't share beliefs with a partner, then it can mean there is a constant gridlock in your relationship unless you are prepared to consider adjusting some of your beliefs and make allowance for your differences.

    When you're on the same page with your new partner's faith and core fundamental beliefs then your relationship has fewer differences to manage. You both follow and understand the same religion, the expected practices, the rituals and traditions, the beliefs around food, alcohol, lifestyle practices and particular social etiquette. Generally speaking, things are likely to be smoother. You will have the ability to fit in easily with each other's social networks, embrace rather than battle against core principles and philosophies and be able to plan a future together that incorporates shared values.

    When there is a common ground between you both on the most core fundamental issues - this bonds you together and creates compatibility. It also breaks the ice and allows you both to explore discussions about deeper more substantial topics such as faith and values.

    Now, that doesn't mean that you can't date people with different religious beliefs and values to yours. Many people do this with great success. However it does mean that there are going to be different challenges compared to when you start seeing someone who is on the same page as you in terms of their religion and beliefs.

    Be aware of this as you move forward in the dating process. Know that similar attitudes and beliefs can play a major role in terms of how compatible you are with someone and if you are dating someone of another faith - be patient, empathetic and work towards educating each other about your spirituality so you can accept, celebrate and embrace your differences.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, and seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning Show: www.johnaiken.com.au

    Sydney Theatre Company presents 'Sex with Strangers'

    sexstrangers

    Posted by Sydney Theatre Company on

    Sydney Theatre Company presents
    SEX WITH STRANGERS
    By Laura Eason
    Season runs 28 SEP - 24 NOV 2012

    Meet Olivia. She's your typical literary type: bookish, private and deeply disinterested in technology. With a failed novel behind her and an almost complete manuscript in front of her, this thirty-something is having a crisis of confidence.

    Enter Ethan Strange. He's a Gen Y blogger who has topped the New York Times Best Seller list with his book Sex with Strangers, a conquest by conquest chronicle of his year on the singles scene. His bank account is brimming but even Ethan knows his writing is empty.

    Despite not being a match that RSVP would make, when Ethan and Olivia meet they instantly click. But it's not long before their online life threatens to destroy their real-life connection.

    This quirky intergenerational love story from Sydney Theatre Company starring Jacqueline McKenzie (Desperate Housewives, CSI: Miami) and Ryan Corr (Neighbours, Underbelly) explores what happens when our online and offline identities intersect.

    STC are exclusively offering RSVP Members adult tickets for ONLY $65 (normally $75).


    Click here to book now. Simply choose your date and use code word RSVP in My Cart. All tickets to be used on Monday - Thursday evening performances or Saturday matinee performances only.

    Travel Tips for the Over 50s

    over

    Posted by Arendezvous Travel & Leisure on

    You're over fifty, you're fabulously solo and your desire to travel is at boiling point, right? Well, whether your travels are a distant memory or this will be your first big journey, the time has come to live some dreams!

    Before you begin the planning process you need to determine whether or not you want a travel companion. This is the person with whom you will share every moment, will be in most if not all of your photographs and for Facebook aficionados, tagged in all your Facebook posts. Weigh up your options - going it alone, choosing close friends with the same interests or joining an organised travel group. Each has pros and cons; it all comes down to individual taste.

    Either way, when planning your trip you first need to decide what do you want to do? Yes, this is an open-ended question, and rightfully so. You're about to embark on a journey with endless possibilities. Are you after pure relaxation, sight-seeing, outdoor adventures or a genuine experience learning what it means to live like a local? The best way to come to this conclusion is make a list of the things you¿ve always wanted to do. The trick is not to include things you can do close to home.

    This is your guide for the next two decisions you will make - where to go and for how long? "Everywhere" and "forever" are great answers but unless you are a millionaire with a private jet, you'll need to make some choices.

    Since "forever" isn't an option, how long do you want to remove yourself from your everyday life? A slow and steady pace is about 3-5 days per city. Pros: You get an in depth impression of your destinations. Cons: You see fewer cities. Or maybe a mad-dash is more your style so 1-3 days per city will be best for your taste. Pros: You get to see more. Cons: You rarely relax. Just keep in mind through this process that this is your chance to be your own boss and say when, where, and how (much)!

    Ah yes, so "how much" do you need to make your dreams become a reality? Your best bet is to set a budget that gives you a little wiggle room. Travel Tip: Advise your credit card companies of your travels to avoid holds due to suspect overseas transactions. You wouldn't want to get declined in the middle of happy hour!

    Now for timing.
    Although the season of choice is country specific, the universal rule is avoid the peak of summer and winter. However you may also want to see if there are any large celebrations going on that you would like to experience! Oktoberfest, Carnival, Chinese New Years, St. Patrick's Day maybe?

    So, hopefully your head is not spinning and you have gotten as far as booking your trip and feeling the excitement. But when you come closer to the departure date, take a look at the weather! This is undoubtedly important when you begin to pack what feels like your life on wheels. Essential considerations: cold and hot weather attire, loungewear, activity specific wear, shoes, accessories (use caution with expensive items) and most importantly, a small medicine box with your-over-the-counter medications.

    Now, for packing of your all important "carry on". Keep it simple by only carrying your money, passport, visas (some countries require these), electronics, a full set of clothing (just in case your bags don't arrive), and any prescription medication you need. And don't forget to check the bag weight and dimension restrictions with your airline. Note: keep all medications in their pharmacy container and carry a doctor's note for any medications that may contain narcotics. You don't want the headache of getting them confiscated in customs especially if it's a medication you rely on. It's also smart to check if your destination has any restrictions on medications that for us are "the norm" but in another country are prohibited.

    Over all, just remember whether you are part of a group or solo, you are on a mission to have a memorable time. Being over 50 has never been better celebrated than through the trip of a lifetime!

    Did you know that RSVP offers Singles Holidays? Through our partner Arendezvous Travel & Leisure, we offer quality group holidays exclusively for single travellers. From short tropical escapes to adventure trips and leisurely overseas tours, all trips are age-matched and enjoyed with a group of like-minded singles.

    Check out upcoming trips now

    Meet our guest blogger - Dating advice with a twist!

    elly

    Posted by Elly Klein, author of Men are Like a Box of Chocolates on

    Hello, RSVP members!

    I am absolutely delighted and honoured to be a guest contributor to the RSVP blog. I think RSVP is one of the best dating websites in the world (and I'm not just saying that - I've done the research).

    While your resident contributor, John Aiken, is here to arm you with sound professional advice on dating, relationships and matters of the heart, I'm here purely for entertainment value - so don't take my advice too literally! If I say I've conducted a "poll", it means I've put a status on Facebook and about three friends have answered my question. If I start a post with "A funny thing happened to a friend of mine", followed by an embarrassing story, I'm invariably referring to an experience of my own. And if I make a definitive statement about something, it's entirely open to interpretation. There. You've been warned. In any case, I hope you'll join the discussion by commenting below - I always enjoy a good banter.

    So, let's get down to business...

    I thought I'd spend this first post bragging about two couples who wouldn't have met on RSVP if it wasn't for me (although, I'll concede that while I've successfully matched up two of my closest friends, I am yet to successfully match up myself). One met his partner over five years ago and they are now married with a baby. The other met her partner over six months ago, things are going swimmingly and they've just moved in together.

    The first is my friend, Mike*. This Generation X-er insisted that he would NEVER try internet dating. Well, that was until he saw how much fun I was having meeting people on RSVP and wanted to join the party. Before he went live with his profile, he emailed me a copy of it, to which I responded, "Um... no." I was surprised. Mike was smart, warm and creative. I didn't think he'd have any trouble knocking together a few words about himself. But his profile made him sound boring, serious and a bit cold. I said, "You need to say what you do for a living. Being a photographer is sexy!" and "Why don't you say something like you make a mean curry. There's nothing in here about the fact that you love to cook." I emailed back about half a dozen more tips like that. I also told him that he's really funny (funny "ha ha"; not funny "weird") and his profile should reflect that. (First rule of advertising: Show; don't tell. If you're funny, don't SAY you're funny. BE funny!) He re-wrote his profile, shot it back to me (it was a lot better) and I edited it so that it flowed beautifully and was grammatically correct. I also assisted in the profile pic selection process - I thought he was a lot better looking than the shots he initially picked out gave him credit for. Talk about under-selling yourself! Anyway, once we were satisfied with the finished product, it went live. Mike went on three dates... I repeat THREE DATES... until he met his wife. She was lucky No. 3. She liked that he was a photographer, could cook up a delicious curry, made her laugh and expressed himself eloquently. Well, how about that!

    The second beneficiary of my RSVP match-making skills was my friend, Anna*. I was on RSVP myself at the beginning of this year (my profile is currently hidden - I'm busy with work) when I came across this young, good-looking, outdoorsy, well-travelled man... in other words, WAY too good for me (heh heh), so I passed him on to her. (I just thought they were well-suited.) I sent her a text with his RSVP name and suggested she make contact, which she did. Best decision I ever made, as I've been friends with Anna since high school and I think he is one of the loveliest blokes she's ever dated. He treats her like gold and I couldn't be happier about it. She deserves it.

    So, what does any of this have to do with you? Well, here are a few takeaways I think you can derive from my ramblings:

    1. For goodness' sake put some effort into your profile. It's your relationship resume. If you're going to do this internet dating thing, you may as well do it properly.

    2. It might be worth asking a trusted friend what they think of your profile. Ask them for feedback and insist that they be honest. Does it reflect your true (and best) self? In their opinion, what are the strengths and weaknesses of your profile? Can they help you improve it?

    3. If you have a single friend who is also on RSVP, chances are you have different tastes in men/women. When conducting searches, consider helping each other out the way I did with Anna. Searching can be time-consuming and two heads are better than one.

    4. You can never hear too many RSVP success stories. The process works. You may not get as lucky as Mike and meet "The One" within two weeks (damn him!), but if you hang in there and keep your profile - and your attitude - fresh and upbeat, you should eventually have some luck.

    Happy dating!

    *Names have been changed.

    Elly Klein is the author of the humorous (and delicious) relationship advice book, Men Are Like a Box of Chocolates.

    Exclusively to RSVP members, get your signed copy of for ONLY $11.97 - SAVE 40% + free shipping! Use Password "love" (all lower case). Redeem now!

    How to deal with a jealous love interest

    jealous

    Posted by John on

    It's great when you meet someone, they're totally into you and they want to spend lots of time hanging out and having fun. However, it can become a real turn off if they take it too far and start to become jealous and possessive of you. Dating should be exciting and enjoyable - not smothering and controlling.

    You'll know that you've got a jealous love interest on your hands because they'll try to stop you spending time separately with your own friends and doing your own thing. You'll get interrogated by them, they'll cancel their plans to make sure they're with you, and they'll often try and make you feel bad about being away from them.

    They can be angry and aggressive, become suspicious of your friends and work colleagues, blame you for being selfish and accuse you of inappropriate flirting.

    You'll quickly start to feel smothered and controlled. Angry and frustrated. You might begin to second guess yourself, be anxious and worried and find yourself walking on eggshells around them.

    If this sounds all too true, then it's time to deal with the situation and set some boundaries for your jealous partner. Follow these steps to regain some control in your life and have a healthier, and in turn, happier relationship.

    1. Outline jealous behaviours - tell your new love interest what type of specific behaviours you find controlling or jealous. Be clear about what you don't like - for example constant phone calls, not being allowed to see your friends, interrogation etc.

    2. Set new dating guidelines - define the positive dating behaviours which you expect from them. Again be specific and clear so there's no room for misunderstanding - for example one phone call per day, time to see friends separately, have a set number of nights apart each week etc.

    3. Encourage separate time - it's important for both partners to create time away from each other during the week. This will stop you feeling smothered while creating space so you both can enjoy your own friends and see family. Also, use this time to pursue individual interests and hobbies.

    4. Be honest about plans and don't hide things - make sure you're being clear about your plans so you both know what's going on. This reduces misunderstanding and anxiety and should naturally lead to less interrogation.

    5. Break-up if jealousy continues - be strong. If their possessive behaviour is affecting you negatively and they cannot or will not change, then it might be time to break it off before things get too involved. It is a sign of things to come, and if they're controlling this early on in the dating process, it's likely things are only going to get worse.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, and seen weekly on Ch 7's "The Morning Show"
    www.johnaiken.com.au

    Does your partner need to share your love of riding?

    bike

    Posted by John on

    When you sit down and consider writing your online profile you're immediately confronted with the challenge of considering what you want in your ideal partner - as well as describing what you're like as a person. It gets you to think about your likes and dislikes, preferences, hobbies, interests, and values - what's important to you. But does this really matter when it comes to dating?

    Absolutely. It can have a number of advantages.

    When you meet someone for the first time and you have similar interests it gives you an immediate talking point. You can connect straight away about topics that you both find exciting and this can relax the whole exchange. It breaks the ice.

    As well, similar lifestyles mean you can be on the same page when it comes to such things as philosophies, the way you want to run your life and what's important to you. It might be politics, religion, food, culture, sport, health and fitness, travel - these are all areas that you can both explore together with the same passion.

    Sharing interests and lifestyles can also encourage you to spend more time with your new partner. Put simply, if they enjoy the same things as you then you're going to be around each other more doing these various activities.

    As well, having the same hobbies and lifestyle approach can develop greater social networks with like-minded people. Through your new date you'll get to mix and mingle with their friends and be introduced to other people who share the same interests. It can open you up to new groups, clubs and classes that really enhance your support structures.

    This also allows you to focus on developing a friendship first with your new love interest. By sharing interests and passions, you can talk a lot, spend time with each other, get to know them in different settings, and develop a greater understanding of them at a deeper level. You have much more to connect with them about, and you can bond over things that are both important to you.

    Now that doesn't mean that you have to be in sync with every single interest and lifestyle approach of your new date. Far from it. You're an individual and you'll bring with you new fresh perspectives and interests to the table. And this is a good thing as it keeps up some mystery and excitement, and introduces both of you to new ideas and activities.

    But in the end - it certainly can help you to be dating someone with similar interests and lifestyle preferences. It can make the early stage of dating much easier and smoother, and allows you to connect quickly in a number of areas.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, and seen weekly on Ch 7's "The Morning Show"
    www.johnaiken.com.au

    Is it important to share an interest in arts & culture?

    art

    Posted by John on

    When you sit down and consider writing your online profile you're immediately confronted with the challenge of considering what you want in your ideal partner - as well as describing what you're like as a person. It gets you to think about your likes and dislikes, preferences, hobbies, interests, and values - what's important to you. But does this really matter when it comes to dating?

    Absolutely. It can have a number of advantages.

    When you meet someone for the first time and you have similar interests it gives you an immediate talking point. You can connect straight away about topics that you both find exciting and this can relax the whole exchange. It breaks the ice.

    As well, similar lifestyles mean you can be on the same page when it comes to such things as philosophies, the way you want to run your life and what's important to you. It might be politics, religion, food, culture, sport, health and fitness, travel - these are all areas that you can both explore together with the same passion.

    Sharing interests and lifestyles can also encourage you to spend more time with your new partner. Put simply, if they enjoy the same things as you then you're going to be around each other more doing these various activities.

    As well, having the same hobbies and lifestyle approach can develop greater social networks with like-minded people. Through your new date you'll get to mix and mingle with their friends and be introduced to other people who share the same interests. It can open you up to new groups, clubs and classes that really enhance your support structures.

    This also allows you to focus on developing a friendship first with your new love interest. By sharing interests and passions, you can talk a lot, spend time with each other, get to know them in different settings, and develop a greater understanding of them at a deeper level. You have much more to connect with them about, and you can bond over things that are both important to you.

    Now that doesn't mean that you have to be in sync with every single interest and lifestyle approach of your new date. Far from it. You're an individual and you'll bring with you new fresh perspectives and interests to the table. And this is a good thing as it keeps up some mystery and excitement, and introduces both of you to new ideas and activities.

    But in the end - it certainly can help you to be dating someone with similar interests and lifestyle preferences. It can make the early stage of dating much easier and smoother, and allows you to connect quickly in a number of areas.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, and seen weekly on Ch 7's "The Morning Show"
    www.johnaiken.com.au

    Finding a partner who shares your passion of travel... a deal-breaker?

    travel

    Posted by John on

    When you sit down and consider writing your online profile you're immediately confronted with the challenge of considering what you want in your ideal partner - as well as describing what you're like as a person. It gets you to think about your likes and dislikes, preferences, hobbies, interests, and values - what's important to you. But does this really matter when it comes to dating?

    Absolutely. It can have a number of advantages.

    When you meet someone for the first time and you have similar interests it gives you an immediate talking point. You can connect straight away about topics that you both find exciting and this can relax the whole exchange. It breaks the ice.

    As well, similar lifestyles mean you can be on the same page when it comes to such things as philosophies, the way you want to run your life and what's important to you. It might be politics, religion, food, culture, sport, health and fitness, travel - these are all areas that you can both explore together with the same passion.

    Sharing interests and lifestyles can also encourage you to spend more time with your new partner. Put simply, if they enjoy the same things as you then you're going to be around each other more doing these various activities.

    As well, having the same hobbies and lifestyle approach can develop greater social networks with like-minded people. Through your new date you'll get to mix and mingle with their friends and be introduced to other people who share the same interests. It can open you up to new groups, clubs and classes that really enhance your support structures.

    This also allows you to focus on developing a friendship first with your new love interest. By sharing interests and passions, you can talk a lot, spend time with each other, get to know them in different settings, and develop a greater understanding of them at a deeper level. You have much more to connect with them about, and you can bond over things that are both important to you.

    Now that doesn't mean that you have to be in sync with every single interest and lifestyle approach of your new date. Far from it. You're an individual and you'll bring with you new fresh perspectives and interests to the table. And this is a good thing as it keeps up some mystery and excitement, and introduces both of you to new ideas and activities.

    But in the end - it certainly can help you to be dating someone with similar interests and lifestyle preferences. It can make the early stage of dating much easier and smoother, and allows you to connect quickly in a number of areas.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, and seen weekly on Ch 7's "The Morning Show"
    www.johnaiken.com.au

    The benefits of dating someone with a similar lifestyle for single parents

    singleparents

    Posted by John on

    When you sit down and consider writing your online profile you're immediately confronted with the challenge of considering what you want in your ideal partner - as well as describing what you're like as a person. It gets you to think about your likes and dislikes, preferences, hobbies, interests, and values - what's important to you. But does this really matter when it comes to dating?

    Absolutely. It can have a number of advantages.

    When you meet someone for the first time and you have similar interests it gives you an immediate talking point. You can connect straight away about topics that you both find exciting and this can relax the whole exchange. It breaks the ice.

    As well, similar lifestyles mean you can be on the same page when it comes to such things as philosophies, the way you want to run your life and what's important to you. It might be politics, religion, food, culture, sport, health and fitness, travel - these are all areas that you can both explore together with the same passion.

    Sharing interests and lifestyles can also encourage you to spend more time with your new partner. Put simply, if they enjoy the same things as you then you're going to be around each other more doing these various activities.

    As well, having the same hobbies and lifestyle approach can develop greater social networks with like-minded people. Through your new date you'll get to mix and mingle with their friends and be introduced to other people who share the same interests. It can open you up to new groups, clubs and classes that really enhance your support structures.

    This also allows you to focus on developing a friendship first with your new love interest. By sharing interests and passions, you can talk a lot, spend time with each other, get to know them in different settings, and develop a greater understanding of them at a deeper level. You have much more to connect with them about, and you can bond over things that are both important to you.

    Now that doesn't mean that you have to be in sync with every single interest and lifestyle approach of your new date. Far from it. You're an individual and you'll bring with you new fresh perspectives and interests to the table. And this is a good thing as it keeps up some mystery and excitement, and introduces both of you to new ideas and activities.

    But in the end - it certainly can help you to be dating someone with similar interests and lifestyle preferences. It can make the early stage of dating much easier and smoother, and allows you to connect quickly in a number of areas.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, and seen weekly on Ch 7's "The Morning Show"
    www.johnaiken.com.au

    Are a similar lifestyle and interests important for 50+s?

    tennis

    Posted by John on

    When you sit down and consider writing your online profile you're immediately confronted with the challenge of considering what you want in your ideal partner - as well as describing what you're like as a person. It gets you to think about your likes and dislikes, preferences, hobbies, interests, and values - what's important to you. But does this really matter when it comes to dating?

    Absolutely. It can have a number of advantages.

    When you meet someone for the first time and you have similar interests it gives you an immediate talking point. You can connect straight away about topics that you both find exciting and this can relax the whole exchange. It breaks the ice.

    As well, similar lifestyles mean you can be on the same page when it comes to such things as philosophies, the way you want to run your life and what's important to you. It might be politics, religion, food, culture, sport, health and fitness, travel - these are all areas that you can both explore together with the same passion.

    Sharing interests and lifestyles can also encourage you to spend more time with your new partner. Put simply, if they enjoy the same things as you then you're going to be around each other more doing these various activities.

    As well, having the same hobbies and lifestyle approach can develop greater social networks with like-minded people. Through your new date you'll get to mix and mingle with their friends and be introduced to other people who share the same interests. It can open you up to new groups, clubs and classes that really enhance your support structures.

    This also allows you to focus on developing a friendship first with your new love interest. By sharing interests and passions, you can talk a lot, spend time with each other, get to know them in different settings, and develop a greater understanding of them at a deeper level. You have much more to connect with them about, and you can bond over things that are both important to you.

    Now that doesn't mean that you have to be in sync with every single interest and lifestyle approach of your new date. Far from it. You're an individual and you'll bring with you new fresh perspectives and interests to the table. And this is a good thing as it keeps up some mystery and excitement, and introduces both of you to new ideas and activities.

    But in the end - it certainly can help you to be dating someone with similar interests and lifestyle preferences. It can make the early stage of dating much easier and smoother, and allows you to connect quickly in a number of areas.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, and seen weekly on Ch 7's "The Morning Show"
    www.johnaiken.com.au

    How important is having similar lifestyles and interests?

    tennis jpg

    Posted by John on

    When you sit down and consider writing your online profile you're immediately confronted with the challenge of considering what you want in your ideal partner - as well as describing what you're like as a person. It gets you to think about your likes and dislikes, preferences, hobbies, interests, and values - what's important to you. But does this really matter when it comes to dating?

    Absolutely. It can have a number of advantages.

    When you meet someone for the first time and you have similar interests it gives you an immediate talking point. You can connect straight away about topics that you both find exciting and this can relax the whole exchange. It breaks the ice.

    As well, similar lifestyles mean you can be on the same page when it comes to such things as philosophies, the way you want to run your life and what's important to you. It might be politics, religion, food, culture, sport, health and fitness, travel - these are all areas that you can both explore together with the same passion.

    Sharing interests and lifestyles can also encourage you to spend more time with your new partner. Put simply, if they enjoy the same things as you then you're going to be around each other more doing these various activities.

    As well, having the same hobbies and lifestyle approach can develop greater social networks with like-minded people. Through your new date you'll get to mix and mingle with their friends and be introduced to other people who share the same interests. It can open you up to new groups, clubs and classes that really enhance your support structures.

    This also allows you to focus on developing a friendship first with your new love interest. By sharing interests and passions, you can talk a lot, spend time with each other, get to know them in different settings, and develop a greater understanding of them at a deeper level. You have much more to connect with them about, and you can bond over things that are both important to you.

    Now that doesn't mean that you have to be in sync with every single interest and lifestyle approach of your new date. Far from it. You're an individual and you'll bring with you new fresh perspectives and interests to the table. And this is a good thing as it keeps up some mystery and excitement, and introduces both of you to new ideas and activities.

    But in the end - it certainly can help you to be dating someone with similar interests and lifestyle preferences. It can make the early stage of dating much easier and smoother, and allows you to connect quickly in a number of areas.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, and seen weekly on Ch 7's "The Morning Show"
    www.johnaiken.com.au

    Does playing hard to get ever work?

    blog

    Posted by John on

    There's an old saying that we've all heard at some stage of our single lives - "treat em' mean - keep em' keen!" In short, rather than coming on too strong and getting too keen when dating someone, you hold back and let them chase you. As a result, you never appear desperate or needy. It's nice in theory but does playing hard to get really work?

    You bet.

    As long as this approach is time limited, and after dating a while you warm up and start showing an interest in them. You never want to be disengaged and hard to get for your entire relationship. That just creates frustration and arguments and will ultimately turn your partner off.

    But in the early stages of dating absolutely - treat em mean and keep em' keen!"

    The reason why this works is that the single biggest turn off and passion killer for members of the opposite sex is desperation. You can be the most intelligent, most sociable, most glamourous, most sexy, most wealthy, funniest person - it doesn't matter. If you get needy early on in the dating process then you have no chance.

    Singles will always pick up on needy and clingy behaviour. For instance, you ring/ text too much, talk about your intense feelings, change your plans all the time for them, sleep with them too soon, push too hard to meet their friends and family and pressure them to create future plans. Once your partner sees any of these signs it's game over.

    Too keen means you're smothering and desperate and potential love interests will run the other way!

    The advantage of playing hard to get is that it stops these desperate behaviours from occurring. You essentially do the opposite of needy - and this will keep your potential love interest keen and motivated.

    For example, you'll wait awhile before ringing or getting back to them, take it slow - and hold off on having sex, and stick to your set plans. You'll have your own set of independent friends that you'll see separately, spend plenty of time apart, let them chase you if they want to see you, and hold back on discussing feelings or making long-term future plans with them.

    Not only does this approach show strength, but it also allows you to see how motivated they are. If they're keen then they'll chase. However if they're not that interested then they'll fade. Good.

    You don't want to waste time with singles that just want a casual fling. By playing hard to get, you¿re going to end up with a motivated person that's prepared to do what it takes to have a relationship with you.

    Now once you know that they're in and they want to be with you, then let go of this approach and start showing them interest. Remember, this is a strategy for the short-term not long-term.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, and seen weekly on Ch 7's "The Morning Show"
    www.johnaiken.com.au

    Can you really have no-strings-attached sex?

    manwoman legs

    Posted by John on

    This is one of those topical questions that often come up when you're sitting around with your other single friends chatting about your approach to dating. Are you looking for fun, casual, one-nighters with no-strings-attached? Or are you hoping for a more long-term serious type of relationship?

    Well for some, you may just want sex without commitment. And this is a definite option for some singles. If you're one of these people, then you'll love the excitement of the chase. The challenge of meeting a stranger and trying to sleep with them in the same night. When you're getting ready to go out, you're thinking about having sex later on in the evening. You'll be planning for this by going to places where this is more likely to happen, carrying protection with you, and going out with friends that have similar sexual goals.

    When you meet eligible singles, you'll be more focused on flirting, being physical and moving things forward rather than taking it slowly, planning on follow-up dates and trying to get to know them. And once you've slept with each other, then there¿s no further contact. It's a casual one-night stand with no-strings-attached.

    No promises - no commitments. Just a physical connection.

    Now although this is a very real possibility for singles, it doesn't mean that it's necessarily that fulfilling. Sure it may allow you to feel desired and result in an exciting physical exchange. But it also comes with some limitations.

    You can feel empty, shallow and used afterwards. You can put your health at risk (i.e. STIs), be vulnerable to unplanned pregnancies and create a sexual reputation for yourself that's only about having fun with no commitment.

    It can also hurt the feelings of those you sleep with who hope for something more. As well, it's time limited with no long-term future. It keeps you stuck in your single state with no chance of moving things forward with someone special.
    So travel with caution if you have a no-strings-attached approach to sex. You can certainly take on this approach but it has its drawbacks and ultimately will never get you any closer to meeting a long-term partner.

    And in the end - isn't that what most of us are looking for?

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, and seen weekly on Ch 7's "The Morning Show"
    www.johnaiken.com.au

    Update to Moderator Guidelines

    blogguidelines

    Posted by RSVP Moderator on

    RSVP moderators publish comments on blog posts provided they do not breach the Comment Moderation Guidelines

    Off topic

    Sometimes comments and conversations on the blog posts slip off topic. Within the boundaries of common sense these will continue to be published. However, from time to time, off-topic posts have become personal banter between contributors appearing to have no value to other readers. We would appreciate it if you refrain from contributing these types of posts. Once-off posts and replies may be acceptable but continuing personal banter will be declined. If you wish to contact a contributor directly, you can use RSVPs email system.

    Long posts

    Recently, some contributions have been quite long, overwhelming other comments to blogs. In consideration of all readers, we ask that you to keep your comments concise. As a guide, a word count around 200 would be an appropriate maximum length; shorter posts are very welcome! Further, the lack of spacing or paragraphing may result in contributions being declined. In the near future we may introduce a 1500 limit character count which will equate to about 200 words.

    Editing

    Contributions may be edited if they breach the Comment Moderation Guidelines and/or these new guidelines. Asking moderators to edit spelling or grammar cannot be accepted. Nor can the moderators be asked to move posts from one blog to another. However, requests to have posts deleted by the post¿s contributor will be accepted.

    Footnote: Please note the above has been written in under the proposed 1500 character limit ¿ 1468 characters with spaces to be precise. The post is written in 235 words.

    What boomers look for in a partner

    oldies

    Posted by RSVP on

    Across age groups and the sexes, personality is the top ranking feature that makes men and women attractive partners. Then it's a mix of sense of humour, chemistry, morals and manners as the top five elements that men and women look for when looking for a partner.

    Every year, we conduct a major research project, the RSVP Date of the Nation Report*, which talks to more than 3000 Australians to gauge attitudes on sex, dating and relationships and this year we've uncovered some interesting findings on how older singles differ.

    Whilst Gen Y and X singles are relatively similar in what attributes they consider to be important when looking for a partner, for you guys - the over 50's - things get a bit more interesting...

    1. The key criteria people over 50 look for is someone to make them laugh

    60% of baby boomer singles rank sense of humour as a very important factor when looking for a partner... even more important than personality which was rated as very important by 58% of respondents. When comparing with Gen X and Y, senses of humour was rated very important by 54% and 56% of respondents respectively.

    2. Someone to spend quality time with

    The report shows that over 50s want to meet people with similar interests to spend time with, with shared interests being more important to this group than other singles.

    41% of singles over 50's rate shared interests as very important, compared to 31% of single Gen X's and 28% of single Gen Y's.

    3. A partner with the smarts and manners

    Australians singles over 50 years place greater emphasis on manners and intelligence. Not surprisingly, manners are rated as very important by 55% of single Boomers, compared with 45% of single Gen X's and 42% of single Gen Y's. Intelligence was rated as very important to 53% of single Boomers, 45% of single Gen X's and 34% of single Gen Y's.

    Furthermore, when it comes to the factors that help online daters decide who to contact, education ranks within the top three factors for 20% of Boomers (compared with 14% of Gen X singles and 8% of Gen Y singles).

    So it seems that mature singles are looking for partners that are well mannered and of equal intelligence and education level. At the same time, you've told us you're after someone that takes care of themselves, is good fun and has time to pursue similar hobbies and passions.

    Interestingly, with greater life experience there comes less conservative approach, and you're less likely than your Gen Y and Gen X counterparts to feel that you're expected to be in a relationship.

    So - we hope you¿re having fun dating and enjoying the Over 50 & Fabulous group with features we introduced based on your feedback. We'd love to hear your feedback on this community and what you are looking for in a mate as a fabulous Over 50 single.

    The RSVP Team

    RSVP Date of the Nation 2012 Report
    The RSVP Date of the Nation Report is a comprehensive annual study into the behaviours and attitudes of Australians. During February and March 2012, research was conducted by Nielsen and more than 3,000 Australians were surveyed. Statistics weighted to Australian population.

    Do you have a surrogate partner?

    guygirlbike

    Posted by John on

    When you're single you'll tend to surround yourself with all sorts of different social support networks. From parents and family members to work colleagues and old friends. They provide you with support and company through all the your dating experiences. However sometimes these friends can actually hold you back from meeting someone special.

    One such person is called "the surrogate partner". This individual is a close friend of yours of the opposite sex who has no romantic feelings for you, but has become an obstacle to you finding love.

    The reason for this is that the two of you are inseparable and spend all your spare time in each other's company. You'll have regular coffee catch-ups, go to movies, drink and socialize together, and travel away on holidays. You'll share your intimate secrets together, lean on one another for support, advice and re-assurance, and you always put each other first.

    Even though you're not going out romantically, you act as though you do. The very things that you would expect to have in a long-term relationship - you have with this friend - with the exception of sex. It's comforting and secure, you're totally relaxed with one another and it stops either of you from feeling lonely or anxious.

    However the problem with type of friendship is that it makes both of you unavailable for love. You might think that you can fall in love AND have this relationship at the same time but you would be wrong. Every minute you're spending with your surrogate partner is time you¿re not out on your own dating and meeting potential love interests.

    So if you're really serious about falling in love, then you have to make space for this to happen. I'm not saying that you need to get rid of you're surrogate partner. But you will need to put boundaries around this relationship.

    Tell them gently that it's time to have more space and then create some new expectations in your relationship. That means have more time apart, rely on others for advice and solutions, go to movies with your single same sex friends, mix in other social circles, and cut back on the coffee dates and daily phone calls and texts. This is not just for you, it's also about empowering your surrogate partner to get out there and become available for love as well.

    In the long run, both of you are going to find someone else to share your life with on an intimate level - and that's a good thing.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, and seen weekly on Ch 7's "The Morning Show"
    www.johnaiken.com.au

    How important is the approval of your partner by your friends?

    friends

    Posted by John on

    When you meet someone special, the first people you generally want to tell all about it is your closest friends.

    You're excited and hopeful, manic and bursting with energy. You want to tell them everything about the amazing person that has arrived into your life. But just how important is it for your friends to approve of your new love interest?

    Well, for most, it's very important. For some people it can even be a deal-breaker. They simply won't go out with someone if their friends don't approve. They can't imagine a long-term relationship with a person that doesn't get along harmoniously with their inner circle.

    For others, it's not as crucial but it still matters. And the approval of others will feature strongly in their overall decision to go ahead with a relationship or not.

    The reason for this is that your friends have been around for a long time. You have history with them. They've seen you through your ups and downs. They've supported you and picked up the pieces when you've had your heart broken. You trust them and their opinions. You know they want the best for you.

    Not only that, you want to have all these friends in your life moving forward. They are part of your future. So for this to happen, your new love interest is going to need to get along with them and be accepted by them.

    It doesn't mean that they have to be BFF's with your friends. However, it does mean that it's preferable for them to make an effort to earn the respect and approval of your inner circle, so everyone can work in together.

    If this isn't the case and your friends don't get along with your partner, then it's likely your relationship will come under strain. Your friends will not wholeheartedly support your relationship and may even start to avoid you, leading to a situation where you become isolated and potentially spend all your time with your partner. Ultimately, this can become lonely and will often burn out your relationship.

    So the take home message is this - the beginning of a relationship is a time full of questions and new learnings about yourself and the other person. When you meet someone special, trust your instincts, form your own opinion about whether they are a good fit for you but remember your friends are an important part of your life so it helps if they get along with and approve of your new lover.

    Consider whether they bring out the best in you, if you are satisfying each other's needs and making each other feel valued and special. Then look at whether your friends endorse this partner and will support the relationship. At the end of the day, you are the only 'insider' that can really judge how good your own relationship is, however, the approval of friends will help give you confidence moving forward.


    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, and seen regularly on Ch 7's the Morning Show www.johnaikenadvice.com

    La Dolce Italia - Australia's premier Italian event

    la dolce logo

    Posted by RSVP on

    La Dolce Italia August 10th-12th

    La Dolce Italia is offering RSVP members a 10% discount on general admission tickets to Australia's premier Italian event.

    Buy tickets today! enter promo code RSVPLDI2012.

    La Dolce Italia is a unique celebration of everything Italian and will be held over three days (August 10, 11 and 12) at Melbourne's historic Royal Exhibition Building.

    25,000 people are expected to attend Melbourne's newest and largest festival showcasing the best Italy has to offer when it comes to food, wine, fashion, sports, arts and crafts.

    Some will come for the fashion, some for the food and wine. Some will be there to attend a cooking masterclass by a Michelin star chef or to simply meander around dozens of makeshift Italian restaurants and stalls to try something new.

    La Dolce Italia will attract all generations. Families can wander through while their children are entertained in the Bambini Playground. Others will pay $495 for a six-course VIP luncheon and $850 for a nine-course VIP dinner.

    Art lovers will be able to see the work of renowned Italian/Persian artist Howtan Re for the first time in Australia.

    La Dolce Italia is the brainchild of event directors Dario D'Agostino and Connie Paglianiti. D'Agostino is a well-known chef, a qualified Australian Culinary Federation judge, the youngest ever president of the Victorian branch of the prestigious Executive Chef Association Les Toques Blanche. Paglianiti is an accomplished event manager and the driving force behind the La Dolce Italia street festival held in Lygon Street in 2010 and 2011.

    "The success of the previous events and demand from renowned international partners to be involved has enabled us to expand the program and create La Dolce Italia 2012 as an expanded, standalone event," Dario says.
    "Our goal is to enable attendees to experience everything Italy has to offer without leaving the city. It's a fantastic way of bringing together the community and celebrating Melbourne's prolific Italian culture."

    The event is endorsed by the Italian Consul General of Victoria and Tasmania, the Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Victoria and The Italian Institute of Culture.

    RSVP members receive a 10% discount on general admission tickets - Promo Code RSVPLDI2012.
    buy tickets

    La Dolce Italia are also offering two lucky RSVP members a chance WIN a $495 six-course VIP degustation lunch at Melbourne's most exclusive Italian table!

    To enter simply tell us in 25 words or less what is your favorite thing about Italy or Italian culture?

    For more information or to purchase tickets visit www.ladolceitalia.com.au enter promo code RSVPLDI2012.

    You must be an RSVP member to enter this competition. Log in or Join Now for free

    Competition closes midnight 31st July 2012 EST. Only winners will be contacted.
    Terms and conditions.

    How do I let go of the past?

    breakup

    Posted by John on

    For everyone, there will be a time in your life when you can get bogged down in the past. When you experience a devastating break-up that shakes you to the core and knocks you off your feet. It can make you retreat from the world around you and go numb. The key is not trying to avoid this from happening, but knowing how to bounce back quickly when it happens.

    You'll know when you haven't moved on from a break-up because you'll think about your ex all the time, talk about them to anyone who'll listen, and secretly hope that you'll get back together in the future. You'll continue to see them regularly, catch-up with their family and friends, still rely on them for advice and re-assurance and occasionally even go back for a little 'ex-sex'.

    It may be comforting but it signals one thing - you're still hung up on the past.

    To move on it's time to break old patterns and start creating a new life for yourself. Follow these tips and become available again to meet someone new.

    1. Stop contact with the ex
    It's time to cut contact with your ex. You need to start spending time away from each other and getting used to the idea that it's over. Develop your own independent lives. No more mixed messages - no hanging on in hope. If you've got kids together, co-parent responsibly, but also be clear on your boundaries and make it as uncomplicated as possible.

    2. Understand what happened
    Anytime you experience an upsetting event like a break-up you need to make meaning of it so you can learn from it and move on. You must look at both sides of the story and get closure rather than blame yourself. Use questions like "why were they wrong for me?" and "what do I want different in my next partner?" and this will get you moving forward.

    3. Stop bringing up the past
    This can be very difficult and takes a lot of discipline - but you need to stop talking about your ex and the break-up. Whether it's with friends or family, it's now time to turn your attention to moving forward and being positive about the future rather than getting bogged down in your regrets, hurts and disappointments.

    4. Have an appearance make-over
    One of the quickest and most powerful ways to start letting go of the old you is to have an appearance make-over. Go through your wardrobe and throw out the old, then go shopping and bring in the new. Have a haircut and spend some time getting making yourself feel good on the outside. It will lift you immediately.

    5. Prioritise a healthy lifestyle
    Avoid falling into a self-destructive spiral after the break-up that sees you partying, drinking, doing no exercise and depriving yourself of sleep. Make your health and fitness a priority on a daily basis and let yourself heal through a positive lifestyle approach.

    6. Mix in different circles
    It's time to expand your socials circles. That means mixing with different friends in fresh and new places and trying your best to avoid bumping into your ex. Also, let go of catching up with your ex's family. They need to be allowed to move on as much as you now.

    7. Pursue your own interests and goals
    Focus on all the independent hobbies and goals you had but tended to put off due to your relationship. Now that it's over, get cracking and start going after all those dreams and interests that you've always wanted to. You've got the time and the freedom now to go after anything you desire.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert

    www.johnaiken.com.au

    You can also see John as a regular on Channel 7's The Morning Show

    Time management: Making room for a relationship

    blog june

    Posted by John on

    One of the biggest obstacles for singles looking to meet someone special is how they manage their time. For some it's very easy to organise their daily timetable and make room for letting someone new into their life. For others, it's a real struggle that often ends up resulting in their new partner getting frustrated, not feeling like a priority and potentially losing interest.

    The bottom line is that dating is going to be more difficult for those of you that are time poor. This is because like everything, if you want to be good at it, you need to give it the proper attention and commitment. You need to be prepared to make room for love and allow your world to open up to the arrival of romance.

    There are some key signs that you're bad with time management and have little room for love in your current lifestyle:

    - You work overly long hours
    - You're always rushing
    - You constantly have to cancel commitments
    - You forget to return calls
    - You're difficult to contact
    - You struggle to make time for friends/ family
    - You have a lot of clutter in your life (e.g. office, home)
    - You're stressed out and anxious
    - You have an unhealthy lifestyle approach (e.g. lack exercise, poor diet, sleep deprived)
    - You avoid taking holidays

    If this sounds all too familiar then you're time poor and your dating life is going to suffer.

    When you date someone they need to feel special and desired. They absolutely don't want to get a sense that you're preoccupied, distracted and have more important things to attend to!

    So if you're really motivated to meet someone special make the commitment - create room in you life to let romance in. Follow these tips and start getting organised.

    1. Start saying "no"
    You need to get good at putting up boundaries and stop over-committing to people and saying 'yes' to all their requests. Instead, take a deep breath and begin to say "no" and put yourself first. This will free up your time to pursue love interests.

    2. Pursue a healthy and balanced lifestyle
    You need a balanced and healthy lifestyle when you're dating. This will give you energy, control and will allow you to look and feel your best ¿ so to attract your ideal partner. Make time for exercise, eat well, reduce your alcohol use and get plenty of sleep.

    3. Attack procrastination
    Create momentum in your life today by writing up a list of activities that you're procrastinating on. Then work through this list and deal with each outstanding activity. This will deal with the clutter and mess in your life, and free you up for meeting someone special.

    4. Manage your workload
    You need to create new rules around your work practice to stop it overwhelming you. Establish clear boundaries to deal with your workload. For instance be strict on work hours, limit going into the office on the weekend unless it's an emergency, no emails/ work calls after 7pm, and always try to take a lunch break. This will allow more time and headspace for dating.

    5. Socialise
    To meet the right partner you need to make time to get out and mix in different social circles. It's easy to simply sit at home and not make the effort, but this will always see you miss out opportunities for love. And you never know where and when it's going to happen.

    John Aiken RSVP dating and relationship expert
    www.johnaiken.com.au
    You can also see John as a regular on Channel 7's The Morning Show

    Do I really want a relationship?

    amiready

    Posted by John on

    How do I know if I am ready?

    Being single is a great time for reflection. You have the chance to sit back and look at your own wants and needs when it comes to dating. You can be honest with yourself and look at how motivated you are to be in a long-term relationship. Are you really ready to commit and to let someone in?

    Often you may think that you're available to have a serious relationship, but when the opportunity arises you end up sabotaging this because deep-down you're not ready. To stop yourself falling into this trap, here's some key questions that will help you know if you're ready for love.

    1. Do you work too many hours? (y/n)
    Are you a person who tends to put career ahead of everything else in your life ¿ friends, family, and loved ones? Are you guilty of cancelling on commitments, working longs hours in the weekends and being chained to your computer and work cell phone all hours of the day? This will simply frustrate love interests and push them away.

    2. Are you hung up on the past? (y/n)
    Do you dwell on issues and events of your past? Are you guilty of telling your dates about your long-standing scars and hurts that you're still trying to come to terms with? If you're consumed with your baggage then you're going to send a message that you're too complicated and you're not ready to get serious.

    3. Have you got a problem ex in your life? (y/n)
    Do you spend far too much time catching up with your ex - coffees, movies, drinks, phone calls and texts? Do you typically go to them for advice, re-assurance and ongoing support? This will turn off potential love interests as they won't want to compete with your ex and they'll think you're not over them.

    4. Do you party too much? (y/n)
    Are you guilty of drinking too much, going out on binges and partying most nights of the week? Do you lack sleep and tend to put your health second behind getting messy and loud? This may be fun way to live, but it's not going to find you a serious partner.

    5. Are you only into casual sex? (y/n)

    Do you tend to have a habit of having one-night stands or casual flings with love interests? Are you generally just looking for a physical connection with no strings attached? This sends the signal that you¿re not interested in anything serious and just want things to be light and fun.

    6. Do you have a negative attitude about being single? (y/n)
    Are you often negative and pessimistic about finding love and can you regularly put yourself down when it comes to dating and relationships? Do you tend to get flat and disillusioned about your love life and do you try to avoid being on your own? Nothing turns other singles off more than negativity and hopelessness.

    7. Are you overly dramatic and crave the spotlight? (y/n)
    Do you find yourself constantly complaining and getting flustered about everyday issues and events? Are you someone who tends to crave the spotlight and looks to get the attention of others? This makes it very hard to have a relationship as drama typically exhausts people and sends a message that you don't have any time for others.

    If you answered 'yes' to any of these - then you're not quite ready and you need to deal with this particular area of your life before meeting someone special.

    If none of these apply to you then it's a good sign. You're generally ready for a relationship and it's time to jump in and meet someone special. However if some of these areas are a problem for you, then make the decision to change today. Get started now and pull down any obstacles that hold you back so you can be ready for love.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert
    www.johnaiken.com.au
    You can also see John as a regular on The Morning Show on Channel 7


    Travel adds to your appeal

    Travel

    Posted by RSVP on

    It appears travel makes you more attractive.

    That's what you've told us in a recent member survey - thanks to everyone who shared their views in the recent poll*.

    We thought you'd be interested in the findings. Some of the highlights of the survey include:

    - Over half (55%) of respondents thought having travel listed on another person's dating profile makes them more attractive
    - 96% of travel lovers search for an adventurous partner
    - Nearly one in two singles have had a holiday romance

    So it seems that a bi-product of travel is that it adds to your sex appeal. Perhaps this is because travellers are generally thought to be curious about the world, open minded and adventurous.

    Daring travellers were named as the most alluring, with 23% of respondents nominating adventure seekers as the most attractive, followed closely by the off-the-beaten track traveller (22%) and then the cultural connoisseur (16%).

    As we're sure you're aware (you're part of this Travel Bug group after all) - 96% of singles interested in travel are also looking for someone who has a passion for seeing the world. When looking for a long-term partner, shared interests and lifestyle goals are very important - and for many people travel is a key lifestyle choice that you hope future partners will share. What's better than being able to travel and explore the world together?

    The survey also confirmed the fact that other singles are the preferred travel partner for unattached people - cited by 59% of the 880 RSVP members surveyed.

    Speaking of which, holidays seem to provide lots of opportunities for romance and almost half of singles surveyed (49%) admitted to having had some holiday loving.

    So what's the most romantic holiday date - a picnic in Tuscany ranked highest (26%) with a classic day of sightseeing in Paris the second choice (19%).

    Europe was voted by single travellers as the most interesting destination to appear on people's travel profiles (44%) - so we've been working with Intrepid Travel who is offering two 'singles-only' trips. The Barcelona to Rome trip takes in three of the world's most romantic countries and departs on April 27, 2013 and costs from $2785 AUD. From strolling along Las Ramblas in the heart of Barcelona to soaking up the glamour of the French Riviera, walking the breathtaking Cinque Terre and admiring the architecture in beautiful Siena, this is a trip made for romance!

    For something a little closer to home, the Active Thailand trip will thrill adventure lovers and fitness enthusiasts. Departing October 13, 2012 and costing from $1410 AUD, the Active Thailand trip reveals another side to this popular destination.

    So if you're keen to travel with other singles and maybe find a little romance, more information on the Active Thailand and Barcelona to Rome 'Singles-Only' trips can be found at www.intrepidtravel.com or booked through Intrepid Special Groups at RSVPgroups@intrepidtravel.com.

    We'd love to hear your thoughts on what makes travellers so attractive.

    The RSVP Team

    *Total sample size was 882 single Australian adults. Survey was undertaken during April and May 2012.

    Winter dating

    winter

    Posted by RSVP on

    Well, it's officially winter.

    We know Aussies love to date in the summer months because the heady combination of Christmas parties, holidays and warmer weather encourages us to get out and about - but don't let the chill in the air slow you down this winter. Who knows, by spring, you may have a new partner on your arm.

    Every winter, we see a bunch of new members join RSVP looking to meet new people for dating and relationships. Perhaps this is because with a seasonally slower social calendar there is less opportunity to meet other singles at parties and events, maybe there's more time to prioritise relationships or possibly you've just realised it's six months into the year and the traditional dating avenues haven't presented any exciting love interests for 2012 so far. Whatever the reason, there are millions of people online and interested in dating.

    So although the colder temperatures might make us want to turn up the heater, pull out the uggies and crawl under a doona - don't let the weather keep you indoors or stop you getting out there.

    Here are some tips from RSVP to make sure you make the most of winter:

    1.Don't let your health slip
    It's easy to be put off by the fresher temperatures and fewer hours of daylight but it's important to look after yourself in winter.

    Keep up your exercise routine and stay healthy. Exercise pumps up your endorphins, so keep moving and you'll feel better, be more positive and have more energy.

    2.Take advantage of the season
    Look for activities that make the most of the cooler temperatures - these can also make fun date ideas. How about getting comfy in a wine bar and sampling some big reds, escaping reality at the movies, going to a cooking class together, checking out the winter festivals in your city or rugging up and going for a walk at the beach = you certainly won't be battling the usual crowds.

    And for the times when you are indoors - use it productively to learn something new, get your personal admin done (accounts anyone?), finish a project - or at the least - that book that's been on your bedside table for months.

    3. Don't hibernate
    It might be colder, but this is not a reason to stay home. Keep your calendar busy with family catch ups, meeting friends for coffee or drinks, checking out new places - the more you're out and about, the more chances you have of meeting new people and getting enthused about winter.

    We'd love to hear your tips for making the most of winter and any great cold weather date suggestions.

    The RSVP Team

    Ingredients of chemistry

    chemistry

    Posted by John on

    When you think about chemistry, what tends to come to mind? Is it the butterflies that rush around your stomach? Does it relate to the flirting and banter that goes on when you're out on a first date? What about the sexual energy that occurs when you initially kiss someone? We all hear singles talk about the importance of having "chemistry" with someone, but what exactly does this mean?

    Well RSVP has done some recent research into this as a part of the annual Date of the Nation survey and uncovered some interesting results from the 3,000 men and women surveyed. RSVP looked at what singles find attractive - the things that turned them on - and they found that both men and women prefer substance over style.

    - 63% of single men rate personality as very important
    - 48% rate sense of humour as very important
    - 47% rate sexual chemistry as very important
    - 42% rate morals as very important
    - 38% rate manners as very important

    - 69% of single women rate personality as very important
    - 67% rate morals as very important
    - 64% rate sense of humour as very important
    - 55% rate sexual chemistry as very important
    - 55% rate manners as very important
    - 52% rate intelligence as very important (versus only 33% of men)

    Whereas only 16% of single women and 20% of single men rate looks as very important. To me, this is giving some indication about what chemistry is all about.

    The key ingredients that get sparks flying are not just about appearance, looks, body type, touch, or sexual energy. Rather, personality, sense of humour and morals feature highly for both men and women.

    This shows us that chemistry and attraction is more than skin deep - it's heavily influenced by our personalities. Specifically, it's what you talk about, your beliefs, the interests or hobbies you have, your different experiences and how this clicks or resonates with others. Throw into the mix your sense of humour and the morals you carry around with you and you've got a blueprint for creating some chemistry.

    I'm not saying that you shouldn't put some time and effort into your appearance and health and fitness, and that physical attraction doesn't play a part but personality really counts. When you meet someone, look your best, but remember to focus on showing off your personality. If the fit is right, this is what is going to get the butterflies going.


    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert www.johnaikenadvice.com

    Managing your own expectation

    expectations

    Posted by John on

    One of the biggest challenges that singles can face when dating is trying to manage their own expectations. When you decide to take the plunge and go online to meet someone, you bring with you certain hopes and assumptions about the whole process. You need to be realistic about these otherwise you can put pressure on yourself and end up getting upset, anxious and disillusioned.

    To manage this better, take some time to get clear about your dating expectations. Try answering the following questions:

    1. Why am I doing this?

    It's worthwhile considering what you really want out of the process. Is it for a fun, light and casual experience? To meet a like-minded person to share some good times with? Or is it about meeting your ideal partner and getting into a serious long-term relationship? Whatever the case - you need to be clear about this and be honest with the people you meet.

    2. What type of person do I want to meet?

    You also need to know your expectations around the type of person you want to meet. It's no good wasting time and having a shot-gun approach to dating. Instead be focused about the type of person you're looking to be with. Not only that, you should also know the warning signs of the wrong types so you can stay away from them and not get caught up in the thrill of a romance with someone that does not want the same things as you.

    3. How honest should I be?

    In all dating situations, you will try to put your best foot forward and make a good impression. However it's never healthy to lie or deceive others in the process. You need to start off how you mean to go on and that's all about being honest with who you are and what you want. This will save you from disappointment and embarrassment later on down the track.

    4. How long should I wait before having sex?

    Another assumption that you will have around dating involves sex. Specifically, when to take it to the next level and get intimate with a new person? You might think that you have to be intimate early on to show you're interested and to keep them keen. However, this expectation is likely to set you up for heartache. Instead, hold back on having sex too early on and instead give yourself time to see if you click together. If they're not prepared to wait - then they were never right for you in the first place.

    5. How quickly should I expect to meet someone special?

    There are also expectations about how successful this whole dating process will be in terms of finding your ideal match. You might be somewhat negative and think it's going to be a minefield that will take forever. Or else you might go in overly optimistic and expect to find true love in the first week! Instead of putting this pressure on, take it slow, be patient and take your time. The more dates you have with someone, the more you're going to understand if they're the right fit for you.

    6. How much do I need to be liked?

    It's only natural that we all want to get on with others and be liked. However in dating, you simply won't be a fit for everyone you meet and vice versa. That means that your expectations around being liked have to be realistic. Don't take things personally. You'll have some successes and some disappointments. That's ok. Be resilient and know that not everyone has to like you - just the one you want to spend the rest of your life with.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert

    How do you know when it's right

    question

    Posted by John on

    It's a key question that everyone asks when they've been dating someone for a while and they're considering moving it to the next level. Is this person right for you? Well, if you know what to look for, then you can have a very happy relationship moving forward. However if you're confused about the whole thing, then you'll leave yourself open for disappointment and heartache.

    To get to the bottom of this issue and work out if 'it's right' you need to consider several important questions. Answer these and you should start to get a better understanding of if they're the right or wrong fit for you.

    1. Am I in love with them?
    Think about your romantic feelings. You want to feel head over heels for them rather than just luke warm. You need excitement and butterflies, hope and positivity.

    2. Can I talk to them about anything?
    It's important that you feel relaxed in conversation with each other. You can talk about everything, the silences are easy, and you're both happy to praise and compliment each other.

    3. Do they get on with my friends/ family?
    You need to consider their social skills. They need to get along with your inner circle and be able to stand alone and look after themselves in social situations. No baby-sitting or feelings of being embarrassed by them.

    4. Are they reliable and trustworthy?
    Being able to follow through with plans and commitments is a key factor in being the right person. You need to know that they walk the walk and can be trusted to deliver on all fronts.

    5. Are we good in bed together?
    They need to hit your sexual buttons and make you feel great. Things need to be relaxed, and the chemistry needs to be strong. This is a great way for them to make you feel loved and connected.

    6. Do we have similar relationship expectations?
    They need to be on the same page about the relationship. Think about areas like getting engaged, marriage, having kids, moving in together? Cheating, parenting, religion and handling finances. Where do they stand?

    7. Do you find each other attractive?
    You want to be really attracted to this person and have a strong sense of desire for them. You can see yourself having sex with them for many years to come and they turn you on in all sorts of different ways.

    8. Am I rushing things at all?
    Stop for a minute and be honest - are you guilty of rushing things at all? Have you pushed this along too quickly and not taken the time to really get to know this person? If this is the case, slow it down and give yourself extra time to make the decision.

    9. Are we able to plan together?
    This person is someone that you'll want to make plans with. Whether it's going to a concert, overseas travel, Xmas holidays, meeting the family - it will be easy to discuss this and the planning will be fun. Together you will find setting future plans an easy task that's exciting and feels great.

    10. Are there any doubts?
    You want to look at whether there are any concerns you're having about this person. If they're right for you then there won't be doubts - but rather a happiness and positivity about being with them and getting serious in a long-term relationship.

    By asking yourself these ten questions and trusting your instincts - you should get a clearer idea of whether 'it's right'.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert

    How Attraction Works

    attraction

    Posted by John on

    Have you ever taken a moment to think about what makes you attractive to a love interest? Is it your body language, your conversation, your appearance or your life experience?

    Is it your level of ambition, your relationship with your family/ friends, your strong beliefs or the commitment you have to your health and fitness? When you're dating, it's worthwhile giving some thought to this and putting your best foot forward by playing to your strengths.

    Consider the people that you've dated and been in relationships with over the last few years. This will give you plenty of information to begin to understand what makes you so attractive. In short, think about what these people particularly liked about you and what you liked about them?

    Break it up into the following areas:

    Conversation
    Your ability to ask questions, listen, make your partner feel special and important. Letting them finish talking, getting to know what makes them tick, being interested and curious about them.

    Appearance/body language
    The way you look when you're out on a date. The clothes you wear, your accessories, how much effort you put in. As well, your non-verbal communication - eye contact, posture, how close you sit, touch.

    Beliefs/ values
    The things you feel strongly about. What's really important to you - politics, the environment, religion, education, parenting, relationships and health. What drives you and why?

    Competence/intelligence
    Your accomplishments, achievements, your skill base and your knowledge. Your education, the books you've read and the courses you've studied.

    Social networks
    The people you hang around with and what you do together. Your different groups of friends and the individuals that you spend your time with.

    Career/ambition
    The goals that you have and your drive to reach them. How you are committed to making a difference and where you see your life in the years to come.

    Interests/ hobbies

    Your different passions. The activities and pursuits that really excite you and make you a more interesting person.

    Life experience
    What you've done in your life. Your travel experiences, career highlights, past relationships, concerts, eating experiences - lessons learned along the way.

    Consider all of these areas and any others that you think are relevant. Ask yourself "What makes me attractive?" If you're struggling to do this then remember back to what your dates and previous partners told you. What did they compliment you on? What impressed them about you? Why did they want to go out with you? These are your points of difference.

    Now if you're happy with these strengths - continue to focus on them when youre dating. For instance if you're a great conversationalist, really concentrate on this and show your partner how good you are at talking and listening.

    If, on the other hand, you think that there are other factors that make you attractive but people don't really know about, then make some changes. Start to show off these new factors. For example if your passion is the outdoors, let them know, show your enthusiasm and ask if they would like to share a new outdoor experience with them on your next date.

    As part of understanding what makes you attractive, it's also important to think about what you are attracted to in other people. It's the combination of the factors listed above, and of course chemistry, that creates an attraction. It's going to be different for everyone, and you want to stand out and shine in your own special way so be authentic and make a great impression.

    John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert

    The exclusivity talk

    exlusivitychat

    Posted by John on

    So you've been dating someone for a while and you're starting to fall head over heels. You think they have similar feelings for you, but you're not entirely sure and there could be the possibility that they are still dating other people as well? It's an awkward state to be in and you'll need to address it if you're going to see your new relationship move forward. But how do you do it?

    Before you leap in and start asking questions about exclusivity, it's important to take a moment and consider your new love interest. How do you feel about them? Are you really ready to be exclusive? What does the future look like with them? Do you have any doubts about them? Are there any danger signs?

    Do they follow through with their promises? How do they feel about you? Have you met their friends yet? Have they got any ex's still on the scene? Do they have a history of playing the field? Have they mentioned future plans with you?

    Look at what you know so far and consider the facts. Do you get a strong indication that this person is keen on you and will want to be exclusive with you? And can you make the commitment to do this as well? If the answer is 'no', then leave the exclusivity question alone. However if the answer is 'yes' and you're ready to take it to the next level, then it's time to address the situation.

    Specifically, you want to know if they're happy to be committed to you and to only date and sleep with you moving forward. It's a black or white question that needs a cl