How To Rate Your Date—Before Getting Hooked

Though her official title is Life Strategist, Suzannah Galland is a bit more than that: Not only does she give clients specific and actionable advice, but she uses numerology, and, well, intuition, to understand all the personalities and factors at play. This can be applied to anything—whether it’s an audition room, an interview, a marriage, or, as luck would have it, a virtual relationship.

Whether you’ve been married before, are married now, or have yet to find a committed relationship, Galland’s advice below about using gut checks to understand intention is applicable to pretty much any situation. But when it comes to the realm of online dating, where many women are perceived as vulnerable, it’s invaluable. As Galland explains, if you want real love, you must learn when the motivation is pure, or, “as we Brits say, it’s just to ring the bell and get the coconut!” Below, she outlines how to train yourself in understanding your own intuition, which will never lead you astray—no matter how compelling the profile photo.

(Meanwhile, for more from Suzannah, see Profiling For Intent: When Our Thoughts Run Away From Us and Getting Smart About Love.)

He’s handsome. Chiseled features. Strong jawline. Likes fishing and yoga and travel and good wine. Has a good job, a passion for philanthropy, a naughty sense of humor. Loves a good book. This is it, you think giddily with the click of a mouse as the first date is set. He’s everything and more. What could possibly go wrong?

For many women, online dating is an invitation for the thrill of a candlelight dinner and seductive conversations with a very spicy someone. Yet, time and time again, what starts out as totally fun attention bubbling with sexual tension ends a few weeks later flat and lifeless. Seduced, and then ignored or let down, yet again. We update our profile with a sexier pic and again we seek out another. And another. It’s exhausting.

How can we turn it around? Most of us get so caught up in Phase One of the dating game that we forget we’re jumping into a cyber world fully stashed with hot players who know that sexy smiles and a little attention is all it takes to trap you. So I want to give you some tools to set up the first phase of a relationship—the courtship—with a big smile, transforming burnout into something to get excited about again. We’ve all heard wonderful stories of online dating matches who find their way to the altar, or at least a committed relationship. If you’re looking for at least some degree of commitment, it’s time to alter your approach to the online dating game.

Remember men often see online women daters as vulnerable. While we women think we’ve got what it takes—with our perfect portrait and profile—we are being, for lack of a better term, hunted. Online dating may have changed the way we do business but it doesn’t change the business. In general, men are the proverbial hunters. Women, on the other hand, are receptors.

No one, no one, not even you are what you seem in a dating profile. We are not who we are perceived to be online. That’s an impossibility. Be prepared for disappointment or at least expect to be surprised.

But there is a sharp difference between a somewhat amended reality to turning up to a date with a downright lie of a human being. What can we do to spare ourselves from being seduced by lies, from becoming cyber-hooked by the wrong person—the one who leaves us pining for more while he or she is already flirting with the next best digital option? We’ve got two smart moves of our own: The first is to use our intuition and the second is to up the bar—because we deserve better.

Cyber Man Versus Intuition

Whatever you’re in it for, online dating, backed by algorithms galore, will fail considerably against your own gut hits. You have your own dynamic set of nature’s algorithms built inside you—your intuition—which is your finest resource for attracting a love match.

How do I know? As a life strategist, I specialize in using my perception and ability to offer “quick hits” on people and situations. By offering a clear picture of what’s really happening in any given situation, I help clients solve their problems and fast. I have coached many online daters and helped them to find that special mate. Yet, there are some clients who walk in with heart in hand, suffering from a form of virtual blindness. Often, they’re not aware of how to play the love game. They’re caught up in a whirlwind of deceit and are clueless to the perils of online traps. My job is to gently, or at times sharply pull them out of a drowning vat and give them permission to have some downtime to dry out. Only then can I help them to reboot their lives and remind them of how fascinating they truly are.

So many of the online daters I’ve helped show me time and time again that it’s all too easy to allow our ideal of a mate to overshadow the real person. Acting on impulse, we literally trick ourselves into believing “he’s the one,” based on a photo, a paragraph, a few chats, and perhaps a first meeting. Intuition overrides this tendency to delude the truth. Intuition is never wrong.

I define intuition spiritually, as a thought-form that originates at a soul level—that core part of us that always tells us the truth, no matter what we might prefer to think, no matter what we might want to hear. Intuition is our most conscious link with this supravital force. Each of us has enormous intuitive potential. This is not something that just a few gifted people possess. It is a skill we can all develop.

Listening to our intuition, or what I like to sometimes call “gut hits,” is the one skill we need to navigate success for our virtual match. When we pair this skill with some higher standards, we’ve got our very own cocktail for success—a Vesper martini, shaken, not stirred.

Raising the Bar

How do you perceive yourself? How do you perceive your love life? What do you expect to get from online dating? To break this cycle of dead-beat dating, raise your standards.

First, look at your photo and your profile. What are you really saying? What are you telling others? How honest are you being? Having a suggestive look is fine but too provocative spells out, ‘I’m a bad girl and I need to be…’

Next, consider what kind of person you really want. Is loyalty a primary value you seek? Is it safety and security? Or a casual love mate with similar interests?

Waiting 10 months for someone who’s right is far better than dating an on again off again guy who’ll let you down, betray you, lie, and leave you staring into space wondering whether you’ll ever fall in love again. On top of it, sleeping around is an arduous process. And very few women can do this without having their energy zapped out of them. It’s seriously unhealthy and, once the brief, sweet sounds of adoration are gone, there’s little you can do to get up again until you ride the pain.

In the online dating game, it’s easy for men to validate today and, once they’ve conquered, so to speak, move on to validate another. With virtual dating, it’s almost too easy for men who are charismatic enough to pull it off. When we raise the bar, we protect ourselves from the nasty game of hunt or be hunted.

Before you even work on your next pursuit, let’s work on you. Trying to improve your love life is exactly like trying to improve your home. Look at the space around you: Are there comfortable places, alluring colors, is your bathroom stocked with nourishing oils? Fill your space with reminders that you are enjoying your sensual self. Step by step, give yourself a makeover—clothes, living space. If you want a man to buy you flowers, buy yourself some flowers. Give yourself the very things you want to receive from your beloved. Because if you can’t make that visible, if you won’t invest in yourself, others won’t either. Your inner reality will be painfully reflected back to you.

Take an extra moment to cherish yourself. When you feel cherished, sit down and rewrite your profile and upload a picture that reflects this more beautiful and desirable you.

What Could Be Wrong With “Pumped Pecks”?

Sarah, a fashion manager at a retail outlet on Rodeo Drive and a client of mine, visits me about once a month, or whenever she needs help making a difficult decision. In our last meeting, Sarah was transitioning from a painful breakup. She admitted her days were spent yearning for her ex to call, or text, or anything…just not this. She hated the silence. Sarah would do anything to bring back that magic spark, and Internet dating provided the perfect fix.

Sarah is an avid shopper and had just returned from a spree in preparation for her date (who hadn’t called her, as of yet). She produced an elegant bra and lingerie set, essential body oils, and a long pearl necklace that she wanted to wear with red stilettos. After tucking her purchases away, she pulled out her iPad and with several swipes of her finger found the profile of her latest passion—”Pumped Pecks.’ She had met him for drinks a few times and was unable to resist his seductive charms. She was excited to hear my take and handed me her iPad.

“What’s your hit?” she asked.

I quickly reviewed Pumped Peck’s profile: * He likes people who are happy * His life is an adventure * He’s humbled by nature * He’s easy to talk to . . . tattoos.

I continued to read their online flirts, which were tarnished with mumblings about why she should sleep with him. Looking at Pumped Peck’s picture, I could see that he is incredibly handsome with an air of arrogance and is covered in tattoos. Yet his profile has little or no story about body art. When a man gets his spouse’s name tattooed on his skin, you can be sure that there’s a hell of a story. In this case, there was little to profile. It was clear that his motivation was, as we Brits say, to ring the bell and get the coconut! A clear path for disaster.

I took a minute and asked her, “Do you really want to hear the truth?”

“Yes,” she said, “Please don’t sweeten it up for me.”

I shared my quick hit with Sarah: He is a narcissist, bored, and emotionally detached. His techniques are crude and set up to invite a newbie to prove herself. He may enjoy a playful tease, much like a coyote that toys with its prey before the kill.

Sarah was devastated to hear my profile. Another case of virtual blindness. To most of us the obvious is not always apparent and, as baffling as it is, we need to find a way to support our sister friends through these trying states.

I decided to ask Sarah how she felt about him. Sarah felt a connection, a deep longing to meld. She knew they would hook up and knew how to lure him to cave to her needs. She looked at me with puppy-like eyes, filled with tears: “I like him. I just know I can have something special with him. I feel it.” That was all I needed to hear. She was cyber hooked, and it was clear her intuition was offline. Caught up by the seduction, it was better to have some “bad” attention than none at all.

Hit Before You Run

Our bar is up and we’re ready to play the dating game with a fresh perspective. If we’re going to take the time to play the game, we can make the effort to know how to play. The basic rule: hit before you run. We’re best served when we refrain from impulse reaction and follow our gut reaction, or our “quick hit,” before we make a move.

To help you exercise your intuitive muscle, I’ve come up with the 6-Second Rating Game you can use whenever you view a profile that piques your interest. Using your gut will pull you out of the mire to unearth a potential date’s dominant drive. The first six seconds can tell you everything you need to know about whether his profile picture really illustrates who he is and whether his profile is just window dressing or skin. It’s easy. Let’s begin.

The 6-Second Online Love Score

To keep it simple, we’ll use a scale of 1–10, with one being the lowest. Now take a moment and remember a person you know who has a very low, unhappy, negative energy. Maybe he broke your heart. He’s deceitful, irresponsible, and emotionally abusive. Set that up in your mind with a rating of just one. Move on now to envision an engaging, respectful, inviting, romantic, sensual, and secure energy—the person you’ve upped the bar for. Label this “energy” a 10. So now there is a spread in your perception from one to 10 that you can use to evaluate the next guy that pings in with a “hello.”

Using your energy scale, you can start training your mind to evaluate, or rather sense, people and situations. When you do this with intention, a number will pop into your head. Do it throughout your day. Practice on anyone and everyone—people at the office, the grocery store, a restaurant, the cab driver. The more you do it, the better you’ll get. If you find that your mind is blank or fluctuating rapidly, take a moment, breath in and out while focusing on your heart area, until your stress stops inhibiting you.

For a date, you’re looking for anyone above a seven. These people are exciting, engaging, and this is the sign you need to know to move forward to the next step. If you accept anything less—a six or below—you’re allowing yourself to be pulled into a place that may suck the living life force out of you.

Phone calls are an excellent time to practice using your energy scale. With the written word, we tend to reveal who we think we are (or, we flat out lie and say what we think others want to hear). The voice is an energy of its own and gives you additional cues. If you don’t get an instant flash of a number, pause for a moment, continue with your call and, after you’ve finished, allow yourself to reflect and wait for something to come to you.
When you meet dates for the first time make sure to exercise your perception right of the bat. The first impression that comes to you is always the right one. It’s essential to know who you are dealing with—as well as what you truly want out of the entire experience. If your date feels gray or rattles your mind, try not to judge him. After all, a person can be right for someone else, just not you.

The Energy Scale:


Avoid at all costs—seducers, addicts, gamblers, liars, and serial daters.


Too emotional, depressive type, drag you down, will turn you into his mother.


The closest thing to a love match. If you want marriage or at a minimum to avoid drama you can build a relationship with a 7–10. They have worked on themselves, are learning to be considerate, admit their ways, accept responsibility for their actions, and are reliable. Above all, they are ready for a commitment. You feel safe, loved, cherished, and you can trust them.

This technique really helps broaden your perception and in no time you will know how to assess anyone from a serial dater to a love match.

What To Do If You’re Trapped By an Online Like

My client Jennifer is a jewelry designer who recently went through a very vulnerable time. After a series of self-defeating, obsessive, and manipulative relationships, she hoped for something vastly different. At age 40, she was suffering from online burnout yet remained obsessed with online dating.

Her latest cyber mate, Brent, virtually “liked” her. She looked at his picture and was hooked. She was impressed by his verve. He was her type, age 46, and owned his own surf company. He lived locally and in Hawaii, she said. “And I loved the Hawaii card.”

In one of their chats, he wrote “You are gorgeous”—magic words to Jennifer.

“I need you to know that I’m not a bootie call,” she retorted.

He replied, “Can I call you?”

He started to phone her, and the attraction felt easy. She stared at his photo; she liked his baby-blue eyes and physique.

“I’m not a slut,” she exclaimed to me. “I just thought it would be okay to make out with him a little. So one thing led to another and he’s like Peter Pan,” she sighed with delight. “He’s 46 but he feels like he’s 28 or 30. Nothing jars him . . . he’s super cool.

My concern for Jennifer was: How exactly will that work? A casual love mate still depends, no matter what, on who the other person is. How well did you know the person before you became physically intimate? Once you have sex, no matter how committed you both are to being just buddies, it requires a new definition of boundaries. Casual lust struck me as impossible for Jennifer.

Sexually, Brent was a highly confident man. It was clear they had a complementary sexual magnetism, and the relationship they gravitated into was very appealing for her. Above all, she thought it would be a good idea for her to learn how to have a casual love mate. This is what he asked for, as they became steady lovers, and although she preferred love to be all-or-nothing, she thought: “Why not?” Perhaps not getting too closely involved would spare her the usual obsessive dramas. She felt safe.

However, her usual pattern up to this point had been not only to fall for a man but to fall madly in love. She couldn’t help it. There were deep psychological reasons for this, but it was also in her personality. She has a passionate nature. She didn’t quite grasp how much she was denying and deluding herself by playing along with this casual sex partnership.

My gut hit was that Brent was too savvy, too passionate on the get go, and calculating. I felt he was crafting very clever little seduction pieces to entice her.

Even so, they started to have this casual relationship. They had seven or eight days together that were pure bliss: passionate lovemaking and nights of wonderful warmth; an ability to simply sleep, be together, and hang out.

Just as she was beginning to relax inside the affair, he began to drink more and more. He began to act out and hurl abusive remarks. His behavior then followed a predictable outline. He was filled with remorse, apologized profusely, and then took her to lunch to make his amends face to face. But then, halfway through one of his apologies, he glared at her coldly and burst out-of-the-blue: “I’ve been seeing someone else.”

Jennifer is a deeply intelligent woman, very well-attuned to such traps. But her heart is starving for love. By being impulsive and not checking into with her gut sense, she fell into a black hole, unable to pull back. She began to lose her grip and mourn for the good they had briefly shared, tormenting herself with his online profile, asking questions like, “Why am I alone? I was happy. I want it back.” It was like watching someone pulled into a void.

“You’re addicted to the idea of dating,” I told her. “You’re attracted to the dream romance rather than to the person. You need to treat this as an addiction.” I recommended that Jennifer go cold turkey, so to speak, and refrain from any further contact with him. On the sixth day she couldn’t help herself—she had to call him. When she did, she felt worse than before.

This is an experience common to us all. Jennifer would have put up with anything, suffered whatever it took to breathe him in again and relive the good times. In reality, she had lost something that will never happen again and can never happen again. By clinging to it, she kept herself in purgatory—longing, dreaming, crying out.
I asked Jennifer to do the following: Take a deep breath, breathing in and out of you heart area for just a few moments. Now gently close your eyes and know that you’re at peace with your life and everyone in it. Take a moment and let yourself know how that feels. You’re feeling relaxed and at ease and ready to use your intuitive mind to help you know how you feel about Brent. Now slowly gage from 1 to 10 how you see him. Take your time. What number pops into your mind? She blurted out a 1. She was shocked at her answer. How could she have fallen for a one? And what did that say about her? Was she a one, too?

Virtual blindness will get us each and every time as long as we allow impulse to override intuition.

If It Feels Off…It Is

With a fresh new spin on life, you are now an eight to 10 yourself. Your standards are high and that means you are attracting the same. It also means you know how to politely and respectfully decline anyone who’s not up to par—unless he’s a complete ass, in which case duck and dive your way out fast. And if you find yourself accepting your first meet and greet and in hindsight feel that it’s wrong or your circumstances have changed, just use a tad bit of common sense and throw in the “I feel awkward having to tell you this…” and then get out of the date. My mantra reads, “If it feels off…it is.

Once you’ve embedded that heavenly whisper neatly into your psyche, you’ll know unequivocally when you’ve met your love match—when 10 meets 10—and when you’re ready to embark onto Phase Two of your relationship.

Whether you’re fortunate to have found that someone special or have forgotten what it means to be loved, our greatest mystery, the ultimate secret, is about the power we have with one another when we fall in love.

Suzannah Galland is not a typical Life Strategist. Her work combines her innovative MindSense Method with compelling strategic and tactical guidance. She uses intention profiling (“both those of the subject, and the intentions of people in their lives”) to give her clients immediate access to their desired results.

Suzannah is a licensed HeartMath coach, and licensed in Kinesiology by Brain Gym. She also has Management & Leadership training from Cornell University’s certificate program in Executive Leadership.