Useful workshops for singles?
March 26, 2009 1:27 PM   Subscribe

I'm a man in his 30s, with generally attractive qualities. I'm kind of in a dating rut right now though and am looking to make a meaningful change, though I'm not exactly sure where. I was wondering if you have taken any useful workshops for singles about dating/relationships? What was your experience of them? What would you recommend or not?
posted by blueyellow to Human Relations (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
As a man entering his 30s and feeling like he's in a bit of a dating rut -- I'm avoiding them at all costs after talking to a lot of people in my social circle who have gotten married in their 30s. I suppose it depends on your taste, but ... most of the workshops seem to me to aim at broadening your perceptions of what's acceptable and increasing your abilities to soften and work out conflict.

These aren't BAD things, but in my opinion, they allow you to get into relationships that aren't really ideal in any way, shape or form and then put up with the stress of being in a non-ideal relationship. The guys I know who have been through these seem to be married to strong women in a relationship where ... well, she wears the pants. Personally, that doesn't seem to be the way I want to live the rest of my life. I'd rather achieve the partnership that other friends have achieved.

Then again, I'm still single, so what do I know? Look up the lyrics to the Neko Case song "That Teenage Feeling" ... I'd rather be the brave friend.
posted by SpecialK at 1:51 PM on March 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

It might be useful if you could give some more specific background on your particular situation. What strategies have you tried that have given you disappointing results? Also, if you're asking for in-person workshops, you should tell us what city/town/village you live in, in case someone can recommend a specific workshop there.
posted by Jaltcoh at 1:57 PM on March 26, 2009

Profile indicates OP is around New Brunswick, NJ.
posted by baphomet at 2:07 PM on March 26, 2009

Response by poster: What's my situation .. nothing particularly out of the ordinary. I tend to go out with people I meet online, meet through friends or just meet randomly. Sometimes they turn into relationships, usually not. I'm not sure I'm always that great a judge of character as I've gotten into relationships that I should have walked away from early. Also, I tend to get invested too early and I'm not too great with rejection, sometimes taking it too personally. It just feels like if I keep doing more of what I'm doing I'll likely get more of the same luke warm experiences rather than what I would like which is a relationship that I really like ..

Yeah, I'm in NJ, but NY/Phili are easily accessible.
posted by blueyellow at 2:20 PM on March 26, 2009

I was in an insanity causing rut. I just stopped doing it. Actually was advised to by a thread I posted on here. It's been really good. I tried it once before, and was feeling great, and then fell for a hot girl in a dance class who turned out to be really nuts. I'm not just saying that. I immediately fell back into my rut.

This time I've stuck with it a little longer (like 4 months pretty much dateless). I'm throwing myself at things I'm interested in doing, (music and getting in shape and school) and not putting too much time into dating. I look online sometimes and went out on one non-date...the woman looked interesting and I told her I was mostly looking for friends right now.

That's the weird thing. I'm realizing how miserable dating made me, and I did a lot of it. So now...I'm not dating, I'm doing other stuff that kind of makes me happy (not always, but sometimes). I've made friendships with women lately that are sort of intense, where we hang out a lot, backrubs, that kind of thing, which I probably would have either freaked out and ran away from in the past, or pushed physically and ruined.

Anyway, just a thought. Easiest way to get out of a dating rut is to not date anyone for a while. I hated hearing it from other people but I can't say I'm not happier now. It actually freaks me out to think about going on a plain ol' date at the moment.
posted by sully75 at 3:01 PM on March 26, 2009

Quit dating, live for the moment and catch-as-catch-can. I've been doing this generally - with a few exceptions from time to time - for the last ten years or so. Although I'm a little older than you guys (52 in April).

I'd also recommend seeing younger girls. They're less apt to want to get in a relationship or "settle down." Plus they're hotter on average and most appreciate an older guy who's knowledgeable in the sack. NTM most chicks my age look older than my mom (literally). It helps to stay in shape and cultivate a youthful appearance.

If you're wanting to get a mate, settle down & raise a family - you may have missed the boat on that particular cruise ship. Pickings will become increasingly slim & the hot:ugly/sane:crazy ratios start getting severely out of whack.

Good luck!
posted by torquemaniac at 3:26 PM on March 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

New Brunswick, NJ - I feel your pain.

It sounds like you are dating people you don't know very well.

I think you need to stop going on dates and start building friendships. I know there is a risk that once friends, it will be awkward to turn things in a romantic direction, but it will also be easier to get a sense of mutual chemistry with someone you know better before you get too attached romantically. It will also be easier to see if they are really likely to be compatible with you rather than "a mistake."

But regardless of your tactics, it also sounds like you are having some trouble with self-esteem. Dating people you should probably realize aren't a good match for you, and getting attached too easily, are both signs that you don't feel confident in yourself and your worth as a potential partner. I am not a therapy person but it might help you. When I need to work on my self-esteem I do so by filling my life with interesting activities and people so I feel a sense of accomplishment and something to look forward to.
posted by mai at 4:49 PM on March 26, 2009

Check out from David DeAngelo. Pure spun gold.

No "techniques." No "pick up lines." No lies. No cheese. Just a seminar on what works and most importantly why it works. Knuckle under and get the DVD set ($250 last time I checked). The first section is fantastic and takes a look at attraction from a genetic point of view. It looks at what works in the animal kingdom, why it works, and what that means for us humans. The second section is the "meat and potatoes" of his seminar with the understanding that 95% of communication is non-verbal. The forgotten/ignored art of body language is explored and you learn that HOW you say something is far more communicative than WHAT you say. (Very important) The third section contains comments from a panel of experts and quite frankly I could have done without them (he's probably updated the DVD set over the past several years)

I've been a pilot, skiier, athlete, adventurer, scientist, engineer, thinker, and couch potato. Lo and behold I've found my dating life to be far more satisfying in my pilot/skiier/adventurer/athlete life than my scientist/engineer/thinker life. I knew why but couldn't quite put the pieces together until I got the DVDs. Then (seriously) it made a whole lot of sense. I got it. Totally. And I wish I knew this stuff when I was 18.

In closing let me put a little perspective on the whole dating scene--a point of view I developed as a result of the DVDs. This assumes you live in America:

There are 300 million people in America. Half are women. Of those women let's say you are interested in dating only 9s or 10s. That's the top 20% (sorry folks, guys are visual creatures). That leaves 30 million women in America that meet your preliminary standards. Now, of those women 70% fall into the following categories: bitter, happily married (not to you), psycho, play for the wrong team, happily involved with another man, or otherwise simply not interested in you. That leaves nearly a million women out there who are gorgeous (by your own standards) and interested in you or in other words "your type."

This should be extremely encouraging.

It means try something new, embrace rejection, and learn from it. And if you screw up just don't worry about it. Don't worry about messing up a first encounter, a first date, a first flirt, etc. You've got about a million more chances to get it right.

Fortune favors the bold! (and by the way, so do a lot of women. You see where this is going?) Dating should never be a drudge or a chore. It's an adventure! Have fun!
posted by Lord Fancy Pants at 5:15 PM on March 26, 2009

Whoops! I said I was a scientist/engineer but I never said I was good at math.

There are about 10 million gorgeous datable women out there. You have about 10 million chances to get it right. Not 1 million.

That's 10 times as encouraging as I originally wrote.

Torquemaniac makes some excellent suggestions if you can "read between the lines." And I'm certainly no fan of the "friends first before romance" approach. A woman sizes you up in about the first 10 seconds. In that time, you're either doomed or you cultivate possibilities. "Friends" who become "lovers" only happens in the movies or to couples who are themselves lost and in the dark (usually ends up clumsy and broken).

Me? I'm in my first and only marriage. I married a gorgeous, fun, vivacious, intelligent, caring woman. And I got married at the tender young age of 38. With the right perspective there's always hope.
posted by Lord Fancy Pants at 5:57 PM on March 26, 2009

I'd also recommend seeing younger girls. They're less apt to want to get in a relationship or "settle down." Plus they're hotter on average and most appreciate an older guy who's knowledgeable in the sack.

I'll grant you that I'm a single woman of 39, but -- for the love of God, blueyellow, don't listen to this. There are plenty of older women who are "hot", who don't want to "settle down" yet, and appreciate people who are "knowledgeable in the sack."

Adopting this attitude means that you miss out on a lot of women who actually may be suited to you, because you've written them off over something as arbitrary as age.

But that's actually not what you asked about anyway (so, actually, now I wonder why torquemaniac went on this vein).

The best advice I got on dating was -- and I recommend this book so much I should get stock, I think -- a little book called "If The Buddha Dated." This has been the one and only book on dating or relationships that has ever made any sense to me; any other advice book/workshop/what have you was overly focused on assigning me a code of behavior I should adhere to, or pointing out a code of behavior I should avoid. Sometimes these suggestions were astute, mind you, but it always was about "change who you are in accordance with what someone ELSE says is right". "If The Buddha Dated" was more about getting in touch with your own self, what you wanted and didn't want, and really getting to know that about yourself; and also was about being open to the other person just as they were, without any expectations, just seeing what happened, and just being more conscious of each other during the whole dating process. And once you're more conscious of how your head is actually working, that helps you decide for YOURSELF on the code of behavior you should adopt or avoid.

It honestly helped me see some patterns that I had been falling into that I didn't know were there, and helped me figure out why they were there -- and how to deal with them and how to process them.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:09 PM on March 26, 2009 [4 favorites]

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