So how is the mate-dating going? Did you try out any of the free options in last month’s Date Your Mate article? Or any of the great ideas shared in the comment section? Well, whether you’re a slow-starter and looking for more options before you get rolling or a savvy dater who already exhausted last month’s suggestions, here are more ideas to follow the advice of experts and date your mate – for free!
All Things Food – call gourmet food or cookware stores to see what scheduled demonstrations are coming up. Or check out videos from your local library. Oh sure – the food you cook has a cost to it, but you were going to eat anyway – it might as well be that impressive dish with the new ingredient you just learned about!
Crafts/Projects – I see the guys wincing as scrapbooking images loom large. And hobby stores are a good place to check out free classes. But did you know hardware stores often offer free classes/demonstrations in things like tiling,building a deck or sandbox, using new tools and gardening ideas? Now is that a dream date or what??
Languages – Whether you check out selections from your library video section or tape classes from educational TV, this is an option that has you meeting on a regular basis, bonding over homework, and motivating you to save up for the ultimate date to the land that speaks your new language!
And more – If you are interested in topics like history, culture, or politics, check with higher educational institutions for free lectures and seminars that are open to the public. Libraries often offer classes on topics that come up in daily life. From couponing (yes, that is now a verb) to financial issues to social media tutorials (you can be FaceBook friends with benefits!) there is something to snag the interest of everyone.
C’mon – admit it: you’re starting to actually get enthusiastic about date night! And we’ve just scratched the surface of cost-effective ways to have fun outings with your mate. Let’s meet back here next month with part three of this Date Your Mate series. Meanwhile, please keep those great free(ish) date ideas coming in the comment section below!
You don’t have to make every relationship work. The whole point of dating is to get to know someone. Whether you’re looking for current companionship or an eventual long-term commitment, dating is an evaluation period. So evaluate.
If an aspect of the relationship makes you uncomfortable, don’t be quick to dismiss it because you’re in serious like. Or because they have the cutest dimples you’ve ever seen. Or because your knees get a little jelly-like when you kiss. Gut reactions and hair rising on the back of the neck is a body’s way of trying to be heard over the noise of a palpitating heart. Listen. It might be trying to alert you to one of the following red flags that it’s time to date elsewhere.
I’m not saying it’s easy or painless to end a relationship with someone you care about. I’m saying it’s less difficult and less painful to snatch your hand back from the scorch of a candle flame than to avoid being consumed by a forest fire.
Evaluate. Be discerning. Dating is a time of exploration as you head toward a long-term relationship. Each experience is an opportunity to learn and grow. Take all those well-learned lessons and find a fit for you that has no flame-red flags.
What was the warning sign you picked up on that enabled you to avoid making a bad long-term decision? Was there a warning sign that you, unfortunately, missed or ignored? Please comment below.
We’ve all heard it – if you want a better marriage, make time for you and your mate. Have a date night – once a week. Or at least monthly. Go. Do it. Date. There are lots of good reasons. Psychologists are telling you to do it. Counselors, pastors, wise family members and authors are telling you to do it. But is anybody telling you how during those times when the month lasts longer than your paycheck?
OK – so maybe somebody mentioned something about going to the park, taking a bike ride or stashing the kids at a neighbor’s to have a movie night at home. Not bad options. But let’s get a little more creative. Following are ways to date your mate for very little cost. (I know it says “free” in the title – that was to get your attention. It would be more accurate to say “free-ish” – but I’m pretty sure that’s not a real word.)
In addition, call factories’ human resource departments and talk to people you know who work in manufacturing. Sometimes factories that don’t have public tours will allow employees to show someone around. When my husband worked at General Motors he was allowed to schedule times to conduct private tours (seeing a whole car assembled was fascinating!). A client took me around the Coke plant. Visitors we met at a mutual friend’s arranged a private tour at the Pepperidge Farm plant when we visited family in Florida. Not only do you learn something new, but there are often samples. Although the GM factory didn’t allow us to take their product home, the food places had edible samples, the tennis shoes had discounts, and the brewery had repeat tourists!
And that wasn’t even every town within a 45 minute radius. Imagine if I had more time to look and added another 15 minutes to the allotted drive time – I could have monthly spousal dates booked up for the rest of the year. This category is why I had to qualify ‘free’ with a ‘low cost’ option. You will want to bring at least $7.00 to try one of the tasty treats available at these functions. I mean, who wants to go to Fried Onion Burger Day and leave burgerless? Or go to the Medieval Fair without noshing on a turkey leg the size of Rhode Island?
Take time to have a fun outing with your spouse – to do something different while enjoying each other. Now that you know it’s (almost) free, there’s no excuse not to!
Next month I will post Part 2 of this Date Your Mate series. Meanwhile, if you have a suggestion for a way to date the one you used to date for free(ish), please let us know in the comment section below.
The best way to avoid divorce is to not marry the wrong person. There’s no 100% guarantee when you pick a mate it’s the right choice. There is a way, however, to improve the odds. How? Glad you asked!
If you are buying a new car, you would likely look on the internet and find out everything you could about the model you’re interested in. Have there been any recalls? What’s its safety rating? What kind of mileage does it get? How will it hold up over time? The better informed you are, the better your judgment in making the decision about which vehicle you are going to invest in.
We should be no less informed about a person we are contemplating allowing into our life in more than a casual way. We need to know ahead of time – before investing time and emotion – if they are safe, honest, trustworthy, reliable. If you are considering dating somebody with a hope or possibility that love will bloom, it is smart to have some basic information about the character of the person you’re dealing with. Not taking the time to look for those answers makes you foolish. If you have children, it also makes you negligent.
So, what are we looking for? And where do we find it?
If your state has court dockets on-line, check there, also. Not only will you be able to see what the actual crime(s) they were charged with, you will be able to see what the disposition was – whether or not they served time, are on probation, or if something is actually pending. Many states have sex offender registries on a separate site.
Some law enforcement entities will disclose if there is an existing warrant for arrest. Helpful to know so you can avoid being in a situation where a routine traffic stop with your new pal turns into an episode of “Cops.”
Informing yourself is not cyber stalking – you are not employing any deception. You’re not even hiding your activity. When you mention something you learned about them on-line, are they flattered that you looked them up, or angry that you “invaded their privacy?”
There is no reasonable expectation of privacy with public records and information tossed out in social media. Peeking into someone’s briefcase when they leave the room, checking their caller ID while they refill your drink, and searching their medicine cabinet while using their bathroom is invasion of privacy. In contrast, looking up your potential more-than-just-a-friend’s criminal, civil and social media behavior is just common sense.
Oh yeah – while you’re at it – Google yourself so you know what they’ll see when they check you out!
If you have a tip about a helpful site to check or have had an experience that could have been avoided had you checked on-line resources, please let us know in the comment section below.
Actually, these questions should be asked before you even say “I might.” Once the invitations have been sent out and a deposit has been made on the reception hall, it becomes more difficult to get honest discourse about expectations after marriage. By the time the flowers have been ordered and the gifts start arriving, the blissful couple focuses all attention on THE BIG DAY and the “happily-ever-after” is left to fend for itself. The earlier in the relationship that realistic expectations are discussed, the more likely that bad matches will be weeded out – leaving the parties to find someone whose marital philosophy is closer to their own. These 4 questions should be asked before wedding plans are discussed.
The best time to tackle these topics is in the getting-to-know-you dating period when learning about jumbo philosophical life-style differences aren’t traumatic. Differences are what make relationships interesting – most people aren’t looking for an opposite-gender clone. But some differences can be so divisive that, if not approached with realistic expectations, can turn an “I do” into a “Wish I didn’t.”