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Dr. Goodheart's Flirting & Dating Advice
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Ask Doctor Goodheart ... Flirting Advice Column (page 2)

doctorgoodheartgoodheart

Dear Dr. Goodheart:

I have been separated for almost a year; soon-to-be divorced from a 5-year marriage. To be honest the though of dating again hasn’t really crossed mind. Today while I was on my lunch break, a new employee (who was also taking her lunch break) was chatting with me. Eventually this lady was flirting with me. I felt a bit overwhelmed, because for some reason it made me think of what my ex had put me through. Although my common sense tells me that not every female is going to put me through what my ex did, I couldn’t help but feel very uncomfortable. Even though I have a personal policy against work place romances, it makes me wonder how I would have felt she was not a coworker. Why do I feel this way in spite of what my common sense tells me? How do I get over that feeling?

Sincerely,

Single Again CPC.

goodheart

"They’re not all like your ex, but you’ll never know unless you give them a chance."

Dear Single Again,

Having been separated for a year, you’re psyche has already been through the ups and downs of separation, solitude, and hopefully, the healing process of moving on from a past relationship. All the same, five years is a long time to commit to anyone. Consequently, your past relationship will inevitably have left some impressions on your heart and mind about what a relationship should be, could be, was, and at times what a relationship is not.

Instead of letting your current, fragile psyche shut out every opportunity at companionship however, allow yourself the opportunity of at least trying to make friends. There’s nothing better than a support group, particularly when you’re going through a tough time. Considering the former “rock” of that support group is now the one person you are separating from, it is only natural that you instinctively find yourself wanting to fill the void with another potential partner, companion, friend, etc.

Though you’re probably in no place to start another serious relationship, there’s nothing wrong with allowing yourself to enjoy life and the perks of a social scene, even if it is with the other sex. Don’t feel guilty in any way for taking an initiative to proactively move your life forward in a positive direction.

That said, it sounds like you’re still quite hurt from your last relationship; as such, you are probably dealing with a lot of trust issues, which, to be painfully honest, won’t heal overnight, no matter how marvelous the potential new partner. Still, you shouldn’t be afraid to let yourself get close to someone new, old or otherwise, and vice versa. On the same note, though, to be fair to her, you should clearly articulate your reservations about getting into a new relationship because of your recent divorce; any person worth investing in will be considerate enough to give you ample time and space to prepare to step bravely back into the dating world, at your own pace, on your own terms.

Though dating someone in the work place can be risky, it can also be a really fruitful opportunty as well. Coworkers usually find that they have more than just their jobs in common since it is likely that similair personality traits drove them to apply for that job in the first place. Exploring opportunities in your career field is a great way to try to reconnect with people who share the same professional and personal goals as yourself. As long as you proceed cautiously, you may find yourself entering some very promising territory.

Best of Luck in Love & Happiness,

Dr. Goodheart, Flirting.com.

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Dear Dr. Goodheart,

I am a girl in my mid twenties and until now i never had a boyfriend. While I am attractive and smart, I am naive in love matters and dont know how to play or understand subtle language. There is a guy I like a lot and we are in the same department but not the same classes. I see him every day as we meet in the computer room to study at the same time. I am falling for him and I think he notices that i get nervous while trying to catch his attention. When I am close to him my heart beats so fast and I feel like I'm falling or choking so I cant look or talk to him. I am afraid that he will think I am too forward if I talk to him so I just don't try. Do you think I should start a conversation with him or not?

yours,

Cheeky

doctor

"Stop ‘em dead with that killer smile."

Dear Cheeky:

Considering you seem rather insecure about the whole dating thing, I think it would be best to focus on how you can best handle this situation á la positive reinforcement. It seems obvious that you are interested in this guy: note the heart palpitations and “choking.” Violent physical reactions towards a man signals more than nervousness about love; they signal an overall insecurity with dating and relationships in general…

That said, if you’ve never been involved with someone, the very concept of starting a relationship can be terrifying, even nauseating. The thought of entering the realm of the dark and unknown romantic world of dating, complete with the potential baggage of heartbreak, breakups, fights, and other messy interludes that do and often accompany most relationships, to one degree or another—sorry, just trying to be completely honest—can be quite scary. Still, it is very important to muster up enough courage to actually break out of your shell and put yourself out there for people to notice. And, trust me, people notice shy, insecure people for the very trademark gestures: choking, shaking, nervous jitters, etc., that you are afraid of exuding to your crush. Still, I do know that telling someone to just “shack up” is a lot easier than actually doing it; nevertheless, at some point your crush is going to think you have some sort of epilepsy if you don’t switch your nervous twitches out for something more assertive and self-confident. Try a simple smile; maintaining eye-contact is always good. Start with baby steps. Also, a simple “hello,” along with a smile, helps to break the ice; it also puts the ball in his court, allowing him to make the next move.

It should be noted that if he is as nervous as you are, you may find yourself faced with someone as awkwardly silent as you have also been behaving. Don’t freak out; some people may take as much encouraging as you do—hard to believe, yes, but true. On the other hand, provided he isn’t so shy, however, you should find your “hello” reciprocated with an equally friendly “hello,” regardless of personal feelings; most people with manners always return a public salutation.

Since you seem rather nervous about the whole “dating” thing, I don’t want to overload you with “rules” and suggestions for transforming you into a dating goddess. It is imperative that you first and foremost feel comfortable with who you are, and then, as you gain more and more confidence, learn to feel comfortable around others by acting more approachable and friendly. If someone thinks you’re nervous, they may not know if your nervousness stems from something they’re doing, which, ironically, can make them feel insecure and uncomfortable in return. To avoid hazardous mishaps like this, simply throw “smiling” and small salutations into your daily persona for a more approachable, confident, comfortable you that will be sure to catch the eye of that certain someone in a more positive way than before.

Best of Luck in Love & Happiness,

Dr. Goodheart, Flirting.com.

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Dear Dr. Goodheart:

Ok so I heard through a friend that you know everything and anything about relationships and well help me. The guy I like is my friends moms boyfriends nephew and room mate... if that isnt a mouth full... I dont know what to do about him, i'm a shy girl and I dont know how to come right out and tell him I like him. He must know that I do and we flirt all the time and he tell my friends mom how hot I look and all that stuff. Well we were hanging out the other night and we talked for about an hour with non-stop and it was wonderful. I felt some kind of connection there and I dont know where to take it now. I was over at thier house last night and I called him and asked him when he was coming home because he was at a friends watching the eagles game. He said soon I wanna see you! But when he came home he hung out for a little and then went to bed because he had to be up in the morning. I understand that but I want him so bad and I dont know how to go about it.

please help me

lost in pennsylvania......

goodheart

Sometimes going to bed early can be a positive thing
in the beginning of a new relationship.

Dear Lost in Pennsylvania

It sounds like your past the initial connection point. The fact that this guy left a football game to hang out with you is HUGE! Football is like a ritual for most men; its “the” thing that brings men together, allowing them the opportunity to binge on all things carbonated, alcoholic, and salty, while they trash talk about all things sporty and relationship-wise without having to offer an apology for their resorting to primitive behavior.

The fact that this guy made the sacrifice to call it a night with the guys and head home to hang out means that he is interested, on some level. The fact that he also frequently drops your name in the company of your friend’s mom is also a positive sign of attraction. In short, it sounds like you have all of the proper signals necessary for a positive attraction.

What does worry me, however, is the emphasis on the physicality of the attraction by both you and him. You say he likes to brag about how “hot” you are to your friend’s mom: “hot” not “beautiful.” And you say you “want him so bad,” rather than, “I really want to get to know him better,” or, “I think he’s someone I could really see myself with.” Not that physicality is bad, but if a relationship is primarily built on lust from the start, it’s bound to fail 9.9 times out of 10. A healthy relationship is built on positive communication, connection, and commitment.

What is encouraging, however, is that you suggested that your guy came home and went to bed after “hanging out”—which, by your word choice, I have to intuit you were suggesting that you just hung out and that’s all—hence your disappointment. Here I have to say, however, “kudos to him.” The fact that you were there when and he went to bed and he didn't initiate anything physical is a positive sign; it shows that he may be trying to get to know you before getting physically involved. Out of good conscience, I have to admit that I hope you follow the same path and allow the physical to come after you’ve established a strong emotional connection that displays the ability to sustain a relationship when the physical fails to satisfy. I realize this may not be what you wanted to hear, but I strongly believe this is the healthiest way to proceed, for both you and him. By slowing down and following a more committed, rather than physical path, you allow yourself the opportunity to more sincerely examine yours and his compatibility before sex enters the picture. It only ever complicates things in rocky relationships that rely on purely psychical rather than emotional, or communicative interpersonal dynamics.

Best of Luck in Love & Happiness,

Dr. Goodheart, Flirting.com.

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Dear Dr. Goodheart,

Recently I spotted this attractive man at the local Starbucks. Usually I frequent the place at the same time Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. After spotting him last Friday, where we made eye contact at length, I noticed he made a reappearance the following Monday. Though I didn't see him Wednesday, I did see him this past Friday. On all three occasions we made eye contact after what I believe to have been his initiative. Believing his reappearances to have something to do with my visits I am writing you to ask what, if anything, I should do. I am very interested but he won't take any action beyond the initial eye contact. Should I approach him, smile, begin a conversation? Would it be too forward to ask him out on a date ?

Thank you,

Confused Coffee Gal

Dear Confused Coffee Gal,

Since you failed to mention why you frequently attend your local Starbucks I am going to assume its close to work or home and part of the daily regimen. Whatever the case, if you have repeatedly seen this man it seems that perhaps you are spending more than a casual 15 minutes in the joint so as to have plenty of time to espy this smitten man. Having concluded that you are in fact interested in moving beyond an initial eye contact I suggest giving a more than friendly smile to him the next time he looks your way. If he seems responsive to your friendly gesture I suggest that you perhaps advance towards his table and begin with a simple hello. Generally his following response and body language will be a good indicator of his level of interest. And, if I might add, if it seems that you have been frequenting Starbucks regularly and upon your first noticing this man you have thereby frequently noticed his subsequent visits, it is possible that yes, he may in fact be going out of his way to see you and has yet to work up the courage to strike up a conversation. Therefore I suggest doing the 21st century thing and act the part of an assertive woman: A man never makes repeated eye contact unless he's interested to some degree. For bonus tips, if he's not drinking a beverage at the time you initiate conversation, suggest buying him a beverage; it's an easy way to break the ice and smooth your way into conversation.

Best wishes for love, life, and happiness,

Dr. Goodheart / Flirting.com


Dear Dr. Goodheart,

I met this wonderful woman the other day at the local daycare center. As a single, divorced man with two kids, placing my children in daycare is the best option I have at the moment while working a 50 hr/wk trying to support them. My wife died about two years back from breast cancer; luckily both the kids were very young and don't really remember much about it. But every year I spend alone I grow lonelier and until the other day at the day care I didn't think I would have found another woman I could possibly be interested in. After spending about 5 minutes discussing our children's latest macaroni projects and imaginary friends we parted ways with cordial smiles. I didn't notice a ring on her finger but couldn't imagine a woman like her not being taken. What do you suggest I do? Would it be inappropriate to initiate a conversation pending her marital status? I don't want to offend her but we seemed to hit it off and if she is by any chance in fact single, I would love to take the opportunity to possibly offer her some more grown-up company in her spare time.

Respectfully,

Desperate Daddy

Los Angeles, CA

Dear Desperate Daddy,

First, my condolences about your wife. Secondly, though on the surface it may appear that you have yourself a precarious situation: hitting on 'mommy's' is always an ambivalent event and possibly embarrassing if they end up being married. However, usually married women will wear rings, though that may not always be the case.

That said, if you two have already established an initial contact (I’m assuming a five minute conversation about each other's kids was enough to allow a proper introduction and exchange of names) then you are already two steps ahead of the game. Now, her friendly reception could just be an indicator of her personality; she may just be a friendly married woman who's very proud of her kids and eager to talk about her pride and joy, or, she could, in fact, be a single woman looking to spice up her personal life. I suggest assuming the former, that she is indeed married.

The next time you see her, if you two manage to strike up yet another conversation, in the midst of your next discourse on macaroni macramé and other daycare activities, slyly make a reference to her husband such as, "so what does your husband think of the kiddies art projects?", or "your husband must be so proud!", etc. If she is married she will happily reply to your questions without any reservations. However, if she is single; be she a divorcee, a widow, or a single mommy, she may answer slightly awkwardly to the questions or commentary, however, if she does proceed with an answer that is usually a positive indicator. Moreover, if she still seems encouraging and continues to talk with you after the semi-awkward moment, that also is an even better indicator of further potential. That said; proceed cautiously for she may be a fragile woman with a history. So long as you're interested, show her the respect she deserves and take time and interest in her past as much as your potential future together.

Best wishes for love, life, and happiness,

Dr. Goodheart / Flirting.com

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Dear Dr. Goodheart,

My fiancee and I have been living together for quite some time and though we are quite happy with our relationship we seem to have lost that spark that we had when we were first dating. I really love her and am looking for a way to show her that as much as I am excited to spend the rest of my life with her, I also want us to maintain that passion that we once had. Any suggestions on how to break it to her in a gentle and encouraging manner?

Thank you,

Curious George,

Omaha, Nebraska

Dear Curious George,

It should be expected, albeit disappointing, that in time everyone's relationship will tend to lose that initial flame. Just like the first days immediately following a wedding, the first few months of a relationship are generally termed 'the honeymoon' stage where everything is fresh and new and both of you are overjoyed with the progress of the relationship. But eventually all honeymoons must come to an end. That's not to say however, that you can maintain a spark and reignite the passion in a relationship.

Intimate chemistry is as important as establishing a life-long partner and best friend in the long run and if you already think you have settled into ways of old then you might want to give your relationship a little boost in the love department. If you're not shy about being romantic then I suggest grand yet affordable gestures which can be accomplished at a modest price and which remain impressionable in that they are rare and special moments. Some suggestions for those really 'impressive' moments would be something like sprinkling rose petals all over the bed and lighting the room with a dozen or so small red votive candles; for a more intimate twist try the same setup in the bathroom with scented bath bubbles, rose petals sprinkled atop and around the floor, and votive candles along the bathtub edge. Of course you always need the proper atmosphere which can be accomplished by romantic 'mood music' and decadent desserts such as chocolate covered strawberries and champagne on ice (which you should have waiting on a candle lit table either in the bathroom or in the bedroom).

For another extravagant idea try an all-out, without occasion, fancy dinner. You can take her to either your favorite restaurant or try some place new and exotic that you would never normally try but that she'll be sure to remember. Or, for a more personal, and some would suggest romantic twist, try making dinner for two and serve by candlelight. All of these are a great way to stage the evening as a memorably romantic moment and can be done at an affordable, some even cheap, price. Just remember, generally the more personal and romantic, the more memorable the effort.

Best wishes for love, life, and happiness,

Dr. Goodheart / Flirting.com

* * *

Dear Dr. Goodheart,

My husband and I have been married for more than four years and have what I believe to be a more than active and fulfilling sex life. That's what I thought until one night he asked me if I wanted to "try something new". I told him I was always open to being adventurous and I would do anything to make him happy. Of course that was before I knew he wanted to have a threesome with one of my friends I always believed him to find particularly attractive. I tried to tell him that I was uncomfortable with the idea but he persisted that he thought it would be good for us. Eventually I gave in and surprisingly my "friend" was more than willing to get the games started. During the process I felt like my husband was giving her far more attention than I, as if I was just there and he was taking advantage of the situation to fulfill some fantasy he had of my friend. I even ended up kind of hanging back until my friend grabbed me and began to show me her comfort level with women. Now that its all said and done I want nothing more to do with a round two but my husband constantly bugs me to reconsider. I don't know if he's cheating on me, and I don't think he is because he seems intent on asking for my permission, but if he's not cheating, then why the huge interest in her? Is it merely sexual fantasy or does he possibly want something more substantial with her? Is there anything I can do to make the situation better?

Thank you.

A Seriously Concerned Wife
Laguna, CA

Dear Seriously Concerned Wife,

I believe we may have more than a little problem here but that does not mean all is lost. To begin, I don't think your husband is cheating on you because, as you state, he is constantly turning to you to "allow" him the opportunity to have a threesome with your friend. If he was cheating I think he would avoid asking for your permission altogether. Furthermore, the fact that it is a threesome with 2 women and he approached you with the idea does suggest a desire for him to enact his sexual fantasies and it is possible that perhaps your friend is someone he feels comfortable with, and who he believes to be open enough to comply with his request. This could be a potentially embarrassing thing for a man who wants to enact a fantasy with his wife but doesn't want to incorporate say, a prostitute, a stranger, or other women that he may not feel comfortable with. Still, there is a possibility that he may be attracted to your friend and that is why he suggested her. However, the fact that she seemed very interested in you leads me to believe that your husband and she possibly discussed this before and he became aware of her openness to being sexual with both you and your husband.

That said, it is possible that you may have just been insecure and thus felt that your husband was paying more attention to your friend than you. Still, it is altogether possible that he did in fact do just as you suspect. Still, though I don't believe cheating to be an issue here, what I do find problematic is an inability for you to assert your opinions and discomfort with the situation and an inability for him to respect your decision. Also, sexual "experimentation" should be a mutual thing, if it becomes his incessant craving to include other partners and constantly have more than monogamous relations there may be something deeper underpinning his sexual needs and or problems with the relationship. I suggest you two undertake marital counseling or seek therapy of some sort, possibly even group or sex therapy. It sounds like the fundamental problem is communication here, mainly, an inability for you to openly communicate about sexual wants and dislikes which is key to sustaining a relationship (both the sex and the communication). I think you two will be okay, but I suggest seeking help so as to assist you and your husband with being honestly and openly communicative with one another. As for your friend, I believe you should talk with her one on one and let her in on your discomfort and your desire to end this. If she really is your friend she will respect your wishes. If she's not a friend, chances are she reveals it through her continual interest in either your husband and/or yourself in a manner which you are uncomfortable with.

Best wishes for love, life, and happiness,

Dr. Goodheart / Flirting.com

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