Dating should be simple in today’s device-attached world with singles overly glued to their smartphones.
Does this mean finding a love online should be as easy as a few right swipes?
With the enormous and colorful bouquet of singles using dating apps and those hanging their hats on dating sites, it’s a big, beautiful digital playground, but how do you find your needle in the digital haystack?
To help with the cause, Joanna Coles, former editor in chief of Cosmopolitan and current chief content officer of Hearst magazines, published a new set of rules to help singles find love IRL.
In her new book, Love Rules: How to Find a Real Relationship in a Digital World, Coles compares food and dating in a menu-style list of 15 new flavorful rules and advises singles to use their love calories wisely to have an overall healthy life.
I spoke recently spoke to Coles about her new book and why the search for ‘the one’ is so exhausting.
JS: In your book, you make the dating process more fun, by comparing it to a perfect delicious menu and going on a love diet. Why are food and dating so similar?
JC: I think food and dating are similar because we have huge appetites for both. We can’t live without them. When they are delicious, nothing tastes better. When they are junky and toxic, they put us down. You need to use your love calories wisely.
JS: How did you come up with this idea?
JC: I spent a lot of time at Cosmo hearing about dating apps and what they were doing to people. They were swiping endlessly to make a connection, but women were having lengthy text relationships and spending a month or more texting back-and-forth. Then when they’d meet, it was often a disappointment.
JS: What’s your opinion of dating apps?
JC: Dating apps help us meet more people you wouldn’t run up against, but it can feel transactional, like supermarket shopping. People are still searching and craving true intimacy. Dating apps are great as long as you don’t think you’ll find ‘the one.’ with one swipe. Let the app and algorithms do their work. They’re a wonderful arrow in your quiver and can greatly expand your social network.
JS: You believe singles should stop texting and get on the phone. Why is the phone date so important?
JC: The benefit of phone dates is enormous. People think they can fast-forward or microwave the first stages of the relationship. With texting, you get a false sense of intimacy that’s one-dimensional. When you move to a phone date, it takes it to two-dimensions. Singles bring so many expectations to these phone dates and real-life dates with the hope that they will be “the one.” You will know so much just by hearing the sound of their voice.
JS: You list 15 new rules or love hacks. What are you five favorite rules?
JC: 1. Stop with the comfort foods. It’s okay to be a little hungry.
Sleeping with an ex is like eating a doughnut at 4 pm. It’s easy to reach out into your past to get something sweet and familiar, but one hour later, you’re filled with remorse and are still hungry for the real nutrition.
The bottom line: You don’t have to sleep with your ex.
JC: 2. Hookups are like french fries.
There’s no such thing as a casual hookup. Once you have sex with people, feelings start getting involved. Hookups and french fries are both delicious in the moment, but you’ll wake up full of dater’s remorse.
The bottom line: It’s OK to have a hook-up every once in a while if you can handle it.
JC: 3. Porn is like chewing gum—all artificial flavor.
Porn sex is not real sex. It’s done from the viewfinder of the camera, and not from the point of what feels good. Eating ‘Chicken McNuggets’ because you’re hungry isn’t the same as eating organic chicken.
The bottom line: Porn isn’t a role model for intimacy.
JC: 4. Look for relationship role models.
Dating is like being on a job interview, where a future employer will ask, “Who’s your role model?” You know who your relationship role model is, but you’d never ask your date who their role model is.
To find your relationship role model, Coles suggests you jot down a list of couples you admire and those you see supporting each other. They could be your parents or a mentor. Share your relationship role model with your date. Then, ask your him or her who their role model is and listen to their answer.
The goal is to look for someone with similar qualities as your role model.
The bottom line: It’s a unique question to ask to determine your date’s values.
JC: 5. Life is a feast. Take your place at the table.
Embrace imperfection and find a mate who loves you for yours.
The bottom line: Finding love is like fine dining, where take the time to go through all of the courses on the menu.
Not everyone is perfect, but someone will be perfect for you.
The big takeaway from the book is to not solely on dating apps, to pick up the phone to hear the sound of someone’s voice, and to realize you’re on a journey to find love by creating a better quality and happier life.
CLICK HERE to purchase a copy of Love Rules.
Julie Spira is America’s Top Online Dating Expert and Digital Matchmaker. She’s the CEO of Cyber-Dating Expert, and as an early adopter of Internet dating, has been coaching singles on finding love online for over two decades.