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Teenage Problems/Helping my friends and dating issues


OK, so my friends asked me for advice. I've decided to come here.
I'm 28, bisexual, in a relationship with a great guy, mostly attracted to women, but some men as well, generally more romantically inclined to women and sexually inclined too. But in more recent years I've dated blokes, well, for the past 3 years anyhoo.
Anyway, onto the main issue. I've got two friends who have issues with dating (referred to as A and B for anonymity).

   A is 28, last relationship was 2 years ago. He's tried meeting women through online dating, they click, but when he eventually does meet them they either want MFF threesomes (a turn-off for him) or demand he buy them gifts on the first date. The last time he met a girl via online dating, it didn't end well, she wanted an MFF threesome, the friend she'd brought along to the date was pretending to be there for her safety, but it was just an excuse to have an MFF threesome, he'd later found out from one of the girls' Twitter feeds (the girl he met via OKCupid gave him her Twitter, he followed her, and then was humiliated when the girl posted about not getting an MFF threesome). He genuinely liked her and they clicked, met up after 6 weeks.
   B is 29, his last relationship was 18 months ago; it ended as the woman went to live in St. Albans for work reasons. He is attracted to American, Australian, Indian and Asian women, but feels he has no real way to meet his ideal girl, or as he describes it, "his American Girl". He said he first started liking American women around 2007-2008, was fed up with the chavvy girls he'd dated who just wanted him for sex, showed no interest in him as a person, but an American woman he'd met in 2008 (who was a student at the time) showed interest in him, they met in a local pub, dated for 3 months, but he never saw her again, she went back to the US. Now he's asking me what's the best way to meet American, Australian or Indian women, he said it's too expensive for him to go to the US. He said he'd tried online dating, but no-one showed any interest in him, aside from one profile that was just a scammer trying to sell him Cialis (pretending to be a pretty girl). But, overall, he's not got relationship issues aside from a specific type of woman he likes and worrying over where to meet them. He said it's not like an "Asian fetish", it's just who he likes.

I can't really introduce them to single friends of mine, since they're guys, gay/bi guys, well, I go to gay bars every so often (you know, the Canal Street ones here in Manchester), and they're single guys, my friends mentioned above are straight blokes. My girl friends are in relationships or engaged already, so no dice there.

OK, so now I've explained it to you, how would you help them? These 2 blokes are my close friends, and I've known them since I was around 19, so that's a long time.
I'd appreciate your help.

Dear Steve,

Thank you for taking the time to write to me and I hope that I can help.

It is always difficult when you have people coming to you asking for dating advice because we all have our different approaches and ways of meeting people that are unique to us. Some of us can have really positive experiences of meeting people both online and offline and the first person we meet, in some cases, can be the person that we end up having a positive relationship with. However, sometimes, it can take a random meeting that causes sparks to fly when we were not expecting them to that helps us to meet new partners. It all depends upon where we are looking, our expectations, our confidence and our willingness to accept that not every person we meet will be ideal but you just have to keep going.

Dating is very much a numbers game and it is not about being put off by a few bad experiences.
I have a saying: 'To find a good egg, you have to crack a few bad ones first' and it is true. The more people that you meet, the more people that you find are not suitable, the closer you become to finding that person that is actually going to be the one that is good for. Another thing for your friends to remember is that with each negative dating experience  that  they have, they learn more about themselves and how best to present themselves to prospective partners. For example, if after a first couple of dates your friends find that the their prospective partners are not contacting them again, is this because they are coming across as being too needy or having too high expectations? If this is the case, then by the next date they can think 'well maybe we won't talk about that this time...' etc. It is about not only trying to find the perfect partner for us but by developing ourselves into the best presentation of ourselves so that we appear attractive to other people. Dating is a two way game, we may be looking for an ideal partner but so are they, so ask your friends to judge prospective dates by what they think is being judged about them.

Another issue that you yourself may have become aware is that if you are gay or bisexual, the opportunity to meet people (especially men) becomes slightly more easier on the likes of Canal Street or the surrounding bars where men are more open to starting conversations with each other because there is the expectation that the reason you are there is to meet someone. This is not necessarily the same case in the 'mainstream' bars where girls would go out, not necessarily to meet someone but to be sociable. This means that trying to pick up women in bars runs the risk of looking letchy rather than sincere and romantic.

When I was doing my degree I had to write a paper for a module called 'The Psychology of Intimacy' and one of the topics I looked at was whether or not internet dating was more successful as creating longer lasting relationships than traditional dating (such as dating through friends and blind dating etc). what I found is that the rates of relationship success is equal in both scenarios and both come with their own pitfalls.

People on the Internet are, by nature of anonymity, more likely to embellish on or create truths that may not be real that cannot be avoided in reality. For example, online, you may describe yourself as 'slim' when you may not be. In the setting of a blind date, this is not something that you can conceal. People online can also put across a more positive persona than they may actually present in real life which again cannot be concealed when meeting on a blind date for example. All of that said, I found that because people who meet online tend to have a longer conversation via online media than those who meet on a date, it tends to get rid of some of the awkwardness and allows each other to talk about their expediencies of each other prior to meeting. This should mean that when the people finally meet each other, there are clear expectations about what each wants from each other. Dating is complicated and there will always be people that claim to want one thing but in reality are out for a quick 'fix' (sexually) and it is about making sure that your friends attempt to tease this out of the people they may prospectively meet prior to meeting them so there is no misunderstanding of what is going to happen.

With regards to friend 'A', there are a couple of things that I would recommend that he consider doing if he is definitely averse to offline dating. There is nothing wrong with him putting specifically on his profile that he is only interested in meeting 'genuine, single women who are interested in having a relationship' as well as putting 'not interested in women who are into other women or are only after sex'. These brazen comments, as honest as  they are, should mean that people will think twice before sending him a message and almost setting him up. He can also include things like 'I like independent women who are able to pay for themselves and do not have an expectancy of gifts or money'. This should mean that he will rule out people who think they can manipulate him into buying them things. There will always be an expectation to the rule but one of the things that we, as men, are not very good at in general is stating explicitly what we do and do not want from a relationship and a partner. Sometimes we are so scared of being alone that we do not want to scare off potential partners by appearing to be too picky of specific. Rather him get no messages for a while than a batch of women who are all going to make him feel rubbish because they have used him. Failing that, if he does not know really what to say or write, why don't you ask him if you can register him for something like 'mysinglefriend' where you and his friends get to write his bio description and can vet people before he meets them. This way, you are all making a judgement call and if it goes wrong, it is shared responsibility.

If 'A' if finding that online dating is not working, then he should look at the alternatives such as speed dating and if necessary, go along for support. Gone are the days of sitting around tables and having to sell your wears to different women in thirty seconds (although this does still happen). More and more nowadays, activities are organized that are aimed to take away the awkwardness of having to do this by engaging singles in activities that are fun and break the ice. For example, there are singles art classes, cooking classes, cocktail making etc all of which do not have to be terrifying. They also have the plus side of being able to do something social without feeling like you have to meet someone...if you get someone's number, great, if not, he can just go along to the next one. This may take some convincing on your part but if you think about it, how likely is someone to turn up to one of those events just wanting a threesome or someone to buy them gifts? It will be equally nerving for them.
With regards to 'B', the likes of Eharmony and Elite Dating websites both offer the opportunity for people to meet from all over the UK and from all Nationalities, so he does not have to go to the US; just potentially be prepared for a more professional dating service. He also needs to treat his dating profile like he is marketing a product and aim it at his specific audience. For example, if American women like driven, ambitious and confident men and his bio describes him as everything but these, then that could explain why he is being overlooked. I am not suggesting that he lies but I am suggesting that he has a re-read of his biography to make sure it is positive and upbeat. Research has shown that those who use negative words or talk about negative experiences in their bios on websites do not attract women because women want security and someone to make them happy. If they do not get this message from a person's profile, they tend to translate this person as being unreliable and hung up on past experiences in real life and won't waste their time contacting them.

Other than trawling the bars of Manchester and beyond with an ear out for an Asian or American accent, there is little that he can do without appearing to stalk people. Online dating if he is that specific about his group may continue to be the way forward; or, failing that, he may need to accept that he needs to widen his net. Not every girl/woman in this country is Chavvy and the characteristics he may find attractive in American women (confidence, honesty etc), he will be able to find providing he is looking in the right places. If he goes out on a night out, is he going to the up market bars where these kind of women will hang out or is he hoping to meet Mrs American Right in Wetherspoons? This is something else to consider as well as, again, looking at the persona he is both presenting online and offline to see whether or not this could be the start of the problem.

I hope that this information is helpful and that both 'A' and 'B' find the people that they want to in order to settle down. You, as their friend, can only do so much. You found your own happiness and they are responsible for finding their own. The only real thing you can do is to get them to think about the things we have discussed and to see whether or not change is needed.

I hope this helps.

Teenage Problems

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Daryl Taylor, BSc (Hons) Psychology, PGDip (pending certification)


My expertise covers everything and anything to do with growing up, being a teenager or a young adult or being the parent of one of the pre-described. I can cover issues on identity, sexuality, love, relationships, families, drug/alcohol abuse and anything and everything in between.


I have volunteered for for over ten years now, but even before that I was trying to use my experience to help others by working with, and even Lycos and Ask Jeeves. My experience comes from being a teenager primarily but this lead me to work with young people from the age of 13. I have worked front line, face to face and over the telephone, e-mail and webchat for a government department called Connexions UK (aimed at young people aged 13-19); as well as being student counselor in New York, a Peer Mentor, a student teacher and working for my school, college and University to help raise the aspirations of young people. My life has not been easy and I have been through my fair share of issues; so there is little that I haven't been through in reality opposed to just reading it from a book or from my academic studies. I have been featured as a case study as achieving through adversity for a number of magazines and I have featured in a couple of books on both sides of the Atlantic; even though I am UK based.

The Albert Kennedy Trust

Relationships: Cathy Senker, 2012, Raintree The Dean and Chapter Positive Nation GTEN Television Aim Higher

BSc(Hons) Psychology Post Graduate Diploma in Multidisciplinary Design Innovation Basic Counselling Skills Effective Listening Skills Mental Health First Aid

Awards and Honors
Outstanding Student achievement Adult learner's Award

Past/Present Clients Connexions Direct

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