Our personal development coach Jo Barnett shares the secrets to successful relationships!

I still love my ex – but he only cares if I’m thin
Dear Jo
I’m 29, Jewish and a large girl. My ex is 38 and I was very much in love with him. We dated for a year and during this time he lost his father. We eventually split up and, three years later, his friend asked if I would be willing to date him again. I agreed that we could be friends and recently, he told me: “I would have put a ring on your finger, but you are fat and I do not like big girls. I love your soul, but not the outside.”
This shocked me to the core. We are now just friends and I’m trying to lose the weight (not for him, but me). Should I continue with this relationship? He said he loved me, but I have to be slimmer before we can move forward. I still love him and am so confused. Please help.
Sam

Hi Sam
Wow! This is a tricky one.  You love this guy and he loves you – but only if you are slim!  First, I suggest you start thinking about what you want. You have put his needs first for long enough and have always been there for him. Ask yourself what type of man you want to be with. Does your friend have these qualities?  Do you want someone who loves you with conditions, or who will always love you for who you are?
I think you already know the answer, but I doubt he really knows what he wants and this is the dangerous part.  Let’s say you lose your weight, (I am delighted to hear you are doing it for you), the two of you get married, and in a few years’ time you put the weight back on – then what?  My advice is to take a step sideways and see this
relationship from a different angle. Explore what you see and then decide if it is right for you. Best of luck.

When can i introduce my kids to my dates? 
Dear Jo
I am a 39-year-old guy and am going through a divorce. I am ready to meet someone, as I was unhappy in my marriage for many years. I have started dating online and have been on some really lovely dates. I have three children who spend weekends with me and I am wondering when it’s okay to introduce them to a girl I am seeing.  It feels like I am leading a double life – the one with the children and then the social life!
Elliot

Hi Elliot
These are good questions you have raised on such a sensitive topic. It’s great you feel ready to move on so quickly and have already started to build a new life. What you must consider is that your children will not be in that frame of mind and will need a longer adjustment period. It’s not good for them to see a string of partners in your life at a time where they just need to see that for them, nothing has changed. What they need is stability. You can still go out and date, or even book a babysitter at the weekend, but keep your dating life separate from the children for now.

When your divorce is through and the time comes that you have a steady girlfriend of about four to six months, then you can introduce her. Your children will want to see you happy and can be part of your new life as well – just let the dust settle first and keep them protected longer.

I don’t get replies to my dating site messages
Dear Jo
I have been online dating for a year and have not got anywhere with it. I am frustrated and ready to give up. Every time I send messages, I get no response. I spend hours looking at a guy’s profile, I think of something clever to say, and then still get ignored.
I know I need to change something in my approach, but I don’t know what. Can you help?
Suzie

Dear Suzie
You are not alone in your frustrations with online dating. I hear concerns from clients every day. The funny thing is that nobody thinks they are doing it right – perhaps there is no right or wrong! Online dating is like a big, tropical jungle. You need tools and courage to navigate it and not be afraid of getting hurt!

I suggest you get help rewriting your profile and make sure it’s fun, engaging and shows something interesting and unique about you. Mention a hobby or a pastime you love or your favourite city to travel to. You are aiming to create a connection and have the person at the other end form a picture of what you might be like. Add some new pictures that show you in some different settings, out with friends, at a bar, in the park. Give something away of yourself and have fun with it!
As for the content of messages, use open-ended questions such as: “What’s your favourite music?” rather than: “Do you like rock or
funk?”

I always recommend that clients do not rely on online dating alone. Book some of the singles events available to you and get out as much as you can!

 

Find more on Jo’s dating website – www.datingcoach.me.uk