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What do you like about dating in South Florida? What do you not like? Megan, 23: “South Florida has such an eclectic mix of people from different backgrounds and cultures, which makes dating exciting and [different] each time. Unfortunately, the [area’s] reputation as a party place means that many guys are only looking for short-term flings or hook-ups, not serious relationships.” Ryan, 24: “Dating in South Florida is great; there are so many young profession-

als to meet, especially in areas like Brickell and Fort Lauderdale.” Allison, 32: “I like that there are a ton of really cool places to explore beyond restaurants, like art shows, museums, outdoor amphitheaters, surf camps, adult painting classes. What I don’t like, sometimes, is what a small world it is. Going out on a first date and running into one or more people you’ve dated in the past isn’t the most appealing.” Celeste, 38: “I don’t like that people seem to be so shallow here.” Simon, 43: “It’s fun to meet

people from all over the world and interact with different cultural backgrounds. However, the dating scene here is very materialistic.” Laura, 48: “I don’t like it— not one bit. When you’re out in the dating pool after a divorce, you know exactly what it is you’re looking for, and what you’re not looking for. And that winnows down potential partners even more so.” Mary, 52: “Because of our weather, I’ve found that people in South Florida are much more body-conscious and dismiss women who might be potential dates

because they don’t fit the generic mold of a Barbie doll. Also, I think people are more into these active, outdoorsy, sporty lifestyles, while I prefer an air-conditioned theater.” James, 54: “I like the large numbers of low-quality men. [I don’t like] the small number of high-quality women, meaning highly educated and professional with excellent communication skills, a decent level of physical fitness and an appreciation for arts and culture.” Patricia, 55: “I don’t like anything about it. Men my age—or even 10 years older

Dating After Divorce

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hy about stepping back into the dating world? Take it from a woman who has matched hundreds of “un-coupled couples” over the past 25 years: Dating after divorce does exist. And it’s not as difficult as you might think. Local matchmaker Carol Morgan (carolmorgan.com) offers the following insights. How Will I Know I’m Ready? “The honest answer? You won’t,” Morgan says. “At least not until you try. Who knows? You may have a fantastic night out and feel that spark. Maybe you won’t, and you’ll continue working on yourself until you feel adventurous enough to try once more. Bottom line: You won’t know if you don’t at least give it a try.” There is no “waiting period” after divorce or widowhood. Many people begin to date immediately; others wait years. No one has the right to judge you for entering into the dating scene too early or too late. Your comfort is more important than their opinions. Carol began playing matchmaker for her father just months after the death of her mother. “What was the sense of waiting?” she says. “When someone has known the beauty of being loved, they need it again, and they need it as soon as possible.” First Date Overview “The first date should always be a relaxed meal, preferably in a restaurant where you can actually hear one another,” Morgan says. “This gives you time to talk and learn about each other while at the same time presenting a natural conclusion to the evening (if you’re ready for it to end.)” Some of her local clients have suggested places like City Fish Market on Glades Road since it provides a romantic lake view and a nice meal; others like

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Seasons 52 on Glades or Truluck’s at Mizner Park. Many enjoy meeting for lunch on their first date. When it comes time for the tab, Morgan is adamant that the gentleman pays. “Call me old-fashioned, but that’s part of the mating process, along with opening doors and similar considerations. It’s about generosity, but even more, it’s about an eagerness to please a woman and express gratitude for her company.” First Date Topics There is a fine line between sharing and over-sharing. It’s great to mention your kids, and they’re usually a very large and important part of your life—but ultimately this is about you. Share, but try to point the conversation in other directions too. “Talking at length about your kids or your ex-spouse can be a sign of having not moved on from your previous marriage,” Morgan says. “There is certainly a time to involve the rest of your family, but the first date is not it.” Spot the Red Flags “You should always be given a choice,” Morgan says. “Did he ask where you would like to have dinner? If not, that can be a red flag for control issues.” She also warns that you should never let your date order for you. They’re here to learn about who you are. You can’t connect with somebody if you’re not open to learning about their preferences. Further down the line, when you’ve established a more developed relationship, it’s important to see how your date gets along with your family. If he makes quick judgments and no effort to engage with them, it could be a true red flag of future struggles within your social circle. At some point, your lifestyles need to mesh. According to Morgan, “Compatible lifestyles is one of my first priorities in making a good match.” —Ilana Jacqueline

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Boca Raton magazine February 2016  
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