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Desperation Dating: A Major Turn-Off

A year into grad school I found a wonderful place to live. It was a loft in downtown San Francisco’s SoMa district. It was large, airy, and had a fantastic view. The owner was interviewing prospective renters and I was one of them. I made it known that I wanted this place and that I would do anything to get it. I jabbered on about how much I loved the place and the area. Thinking back to that day, I cringe a little. I sounded, quite frankly, like a 'house stalker'.

My best friend Michelle came with me to the interview. She watched as another woman discussed the price, the amenities, and parking in a cool and calm manner. Two days later we found out the loft had been given to woman.

"What happened?" I asked Michelle. "The owner seemed to like me! Where did I go wrong?"

Michelle minced no words. "You looked and sounded desperate and that made the landlord uncomfortable."

Moral of the story: If you want something desperately and let others know how badly you want it, it will not work to your advantage.

Fast forward to 2014 and the rules of dating. A man I know who is recently divorced is very anxious to "get back in the game" of dating. He's a nice guy, good-looking but he's having trouble getting second and, sometimes even first, dates. The problem is that he is too eager and this is a dating turn-off. Women who may be initially attracted to him seem to back-off when he comes on too strong.

As one female told him, "Look, I'm going to be blunt with you. Your talk of houses and babies is way too much for me. I just want to have a simple relationship. I'm not ready for a serious commitment."

"You're coming on way too strong. This is just a first date, not a commitment, all right?" said a woman with whom he had dinner.

A male friend said, "You need to take it slow, buddy. The way you act shows that you're on the rebound and have a desperate need to feel desired and validated. That's a turn-off for women."

While you may not even know you come across as a desperate dater, it shows in how you act and in what you say. Seriously, nothing will send a woman or a man running away faster than a desperate, needy date. You can avoid this by following a few simple rules of dating.

Take it slowly. Most, say almost all, people want a relationship to progress naturally and not listen to you weave tales about your future as a couple. You need to get to know each other before even thinking of introducing anyone to your family. Activities like "meeting the parents" after two dates is scary.

Have other interests. After a break-up or divorce, dating should not be your only goal in life. If you have no other interests, friends, or activities that you enjoy, you send out the message that you really have no life outside of dating this person. No one, no matter what the poets say, wants to be your 'everything'.

Don't micromanage your entire life and existence around one person. Respect for other people and things in your life should never be given short shrift simply because you need to be available for that "one special person". That "one special person" you're trying to impress will lose all respect for you and bail out of the game as soon as possible.

Be realistic. No excessive calling, emailing, and texting and, definitely no 'I love you' after a few dates!

You've heard of the smell of fear? Desperation has its own scent and it isn't pleasant.

Maybe the dream is for us to end up with one special person but there's an advantage in casual dating without a hard-core commitment. You find things out about yourself and about what you find interesting and pleasing in a potential mate. The most attractive people are those who are real, confident, and comfortable in their own person.

If you're looking in the dating pool, you'll find the person for you eventually. This isn't a race. Relax, date, and enjoy. When you least expect it, your own wonderful self will attract who is right for you.

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© 2014 copyright Kristen Houghton all rights reserved.

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