If you’re a single dad or a recently divorced dude who’s ready to get back into the dating game but is over navigating dating apps – that all pretty much result in a few dates that fizzle out rather than blooming into a relationship – you’re in luck. There’s something very simple you can do to meet your potential new partner.
All you really have to do is try new things; go to a different cafe to get your morning coffee, get your lunch from somewhere you’ve never been to before, try a new activity after work – like a team sport – or enrol in a short TAFE course. You’re probably wondering why and what on earth does all that have to do with getting a girlfriend? Well, because of what’s called the ‘proximity effect’.
As Anna Swoboda, professional Matchmaker, certified Dating & Relationship Coach and founder of Heartmatch, explains, the proximity effect is how people are proven to “develop positive feelings towards people [they’re] familiar with”; and it’s proven that those who have been in and ended a long-term relationship are more likely to develop their next long-lasting relationship with someone they’ve met numerous times.
“Changing just one habit statistically doubles your chances of meeting your next love. Stop at a different lunch place, start a new activity you enjoy… [just] start something new, something you enjoy; put yourself in a place to meet new people multiple times, allowing the proximity effect to work its magic.”
While this can seem daunting – just think that that’s how dating was done prior to the apps – you don’t have to ask someone out right away. Just make small conversation with someone who also regularly goes to your new coffee shop or who is also learning French in your new short course and build up a rapport. Once there’s a connection there, you can essentially become friends and then make a move…
If you want some inspiration for putting ‘the proximity effect’ into action, here are 10 ways of shifting up your routine, which may help you be exposed to more new people, more regularly.
- Frequent a new cafe
- Go to a new bar
- Join a language class
- Join a sports team
- Move overseas
- Walk your dog in a different dog park
- Join a new gym
- Frequent a different restaurant
- Join a book club
- Take a self defence class
If you’re not completely convinced, and want to stick to the dating apps, Anna also has advice for how single dads or divorced men can attract a new partner.
“I see a lot of successful men in their late 30s to late 50s who have been through an exhausting divorce [and] they want to find a loving partner but have taken a self-esteem hit and are really really busy,” she said.
“They wonder how they will keep things going at work, be a good father to their kids from their first marriage and have the time to find a new partner…”
The key to dating apps is to create a very strong filter, based on potential compatibility, to avoid time-wasting and disappointment… If you are going to try online dating, here are Anna’s practical tips:
1) Create a list of what’s important to you, what you value and enjoy and want in a relationship. Who is the person you want to attract? Take the top 3 to 4 of those and build your online profile around that. That way you are way more likely to attract the right people. Be real, be quirky, stand out for who you are.
2) Put thought into your tagline. Again being real, quirky and playful works best. Women rate ‘someone who makes me laugh’ and ‘ we can have fun together’ very highly in partner selection.
3) Put aside a maximum of one hour per day for dating activities.
4) Have a phone chat or a zoom first date and spend a little time getting to know each other before you meet in person. A first date should be all about testing for compatibility. Do you value similar things and have similar interests? This will really save you a lot of time.
5) Men are visual, but often make the mistake of relying too much on looks in photos. Chemistry grows with proximity and time together. If someone is highly compatible, give it three dates. If not highly compatible, give it one date.”
So there you have it. Go forth single dads and divorcees and meet the (next) love of your life, and make sure you thank us in the speech you give at the wedding…