If you’ve been dating someone, and been paying attention, you know their likes and dislikes. And you hopefully also know what attracted them to you in the first place! Whatever lured this person to you is probably also your most effective tool in your toolkit for keeping your match happy with you. So, use it! First of all, it works. Second, withdrawing what attracted your date breaks an implicit promise you made about the quality of a dating life with you. And lastly, it will help keep your date hooked. Use the bait that drew your date to you as a base line, and provide more of it – not less – during your time together.

Here are some of the common types of “bait” with ideas on how to keep it fresh:

1. Sex

If it was great sex that reeled in your love, get more creative… not less. Be an innovative choreographer about ways and methods, take initiative, and fill in with sexy language or by simply telling them they are extremely desirable at unexpected times.

2. Affirmation

If your date needs words of praise (and don’t we all), then do become expressive and complimentary. Use every possible medium – cards, post-it notes, singing, saying, whispering, letters, emails, texts, telegrams, and memos. Don’t hold back – too much is not too much.

3. Helpfulness

Does your date want your help? Do vacuuming, errand running, cooking, home repair, or garden maintenance give pleasure? Then make “what can I do for you” or “how can I help” become your new motto. Also, be perceptive. See and intuit what she or he needs (not what you want them to need). Then do it – and score big points – really big points.

4. Quality Time

Is just getting to be around you what your date likes best? Then don’t be stingy with yourself and your time. Make room for mutuality while doing ordinary chores or relaxing, and schedule together time regularly. Create generous amounts of quality time alone together, with friends, traveling, while working out or watching or playing sports.

5. Gift Giving

Is your date someone who feels particularly delighted when receiving gifts? Do tokens of your affection seem to help prove you care? Then become a shopper or ask for help to figure out the best gifts. (And I do mean gifts. Gifts are what is wanted. Presents are what you want to give.) Your tributes don’t have to be big. In fact, small, well-chosen gifts given with great frequency trump bigger bucks spent once or twice a year.

6. Beauty

If your looks were the bait, then amp them up. Now isn’t the time for a radical appearance change. Snagging a regular date is not the time to get sloppy. If appearance matters, and you no longer make an effort, your match will definitely feel less pleased and possibly tricked.

Women are visual too. Picture a guy lying on a couch in old boxers with a large belly hanging out, no shave, dirty hair, watching TV at a high volume, and stuffing junk food in his face. If this is you or a nightmarish version of you, even if only sometimes, and appearance is what pleases her, then it’s time for a reform. Make your date proud while you’re out and try not to lose too much ground when you’re in.


Love Story:

Put on a “Happy Face” and while you’re at it, decent clothes as well.

Denise, a very attractive French/American, is particularly good at always looking her best. She is a strong believer that women should always look like women. She’ll cut some slack for illness, but other than that, she doesn’t cut slack ever! Denise offered her friend Becca, a busy social worker wanting to be more stylish, help with her wardrobe, and together they went through the clothes piece by piece. She held up old shoes, over-large blouses, blanket style cardigans, asking, “Are these exciting? Are these sexy?” before tossing them into the discard heap.

When Becca tried to salvage abandoned apparel, Denise disdainfully said, “Wear them for work if you must.” The worst was yet to come. Denise found a fluffy bathrobe, discolored, baggy, and worn, the likes of which are hanging on many a bathroom door. Her jaw literally dropped. “Well, I wouldn’t wear it around a man,” Becca said defensively. Denise’s rapid retort was “How can you wear it around yourself?”

Denise had a point. Even home alone, you are still with your concept of yourself. That doesn’t mean being “done” all the time – which is much too bothersome. But why even get a glimpse of yourself looking shabby or dirty? It will only induce low self-esteem, even if that is exactly the way you are feeling that day. Brushing your teeth, choosing flattering colors, and putting on just a little lip gloss can be mood lifting.


You have heard that marriage or a committed relationship is hard work, but it isn’t hard work if it’s working. Choose well, and only date someone with true relationship potential. Be dedicated to providing essential relationship maintenance, variety, and enhancement (we all need a change up from time to time, no matter how good a relationship is), then it works. Positive expectations, plus effort, produce positive results – and that applies to love just like anything else!


Click here for a complete list of all Dr. Janet Blair Page’s articles.
Janet Blair Page, PhD, author of Get Married This Year: 365 Days to “I Do”, is a psychotherapist with more than thirty years of experience in private practice in New York and Atlanta. She teaches at Emory University and has been in the New York Times, Glamour and on CNN, FOX, Good Morning America, and The Early Show. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
One Comment
  1. not to change the subject but, why are all the women emailing me 3-10 yrs. older ….what’s going on ?

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