Monday, August 30, 2010

Want to meet someone? Leave the house.

A total “duh” answer, I know, so bear with me: this is one that crops up again and again even among those of us who swear we go out ALL THE TIME. Lethargy, feeling disenchanted with the whole dating scene and being just plain tired of trying, all sit securely in the “there’s no point, so why try” cheering camp. Before we know it, we’ve spent both weekend days inside our apartments — reorganizing the closet and/or spice rack, playing video games or just chilling in our own company. And the days? The days are when it happens. People are more low-key and relaxed during the day and so it’s much easier to have those awesome, random conversations that can turn into more than just “that fun guy/girl I met in the coffee shop/bookstore/park.”

Don’t get me wrong — there’s nothing wrong with a little self-imposed hibernation now and again. If anything, it’s needed and healthy to take a staycation from our lives and put aside some time to do that weird stuff that occupies our time when we live alone (or at least have our own room in a shared house). However, staying in ALL the time is bad news for our love lives because unfortunately, rarely is the pizza or sushi delivery guy or gal as sexy (and willing and available) as we dream them to be (or as they always seem to be in porn).

The excuses for not leaving the house are plentiful and easy to come by, largely because it’s must easier to chill at home in our Snuggies or Slankets than it is to get dressed, find a reason to leave and go out. The next time they try to seduce you into yet another Project Runway marathon, give these excuses the finger. Weekend morning coffee drinker? Bring a book or your favorite newspaper and go sit at your local coffee shop for a couple hours on Sunday. Bored? Peruse a bookstore or check out that new art gallery down the street. It’s not necessary to have a point every time we go out — we can simply be out for the sake of being out, and for the sake of interacting with other breathing, warm-bodied (hopefully attractive and cool) fellow humans. And if the peeps aren’t available? Go without them. Being out by yourself is a fantastic way to make new friends, and who knows — you might just meet your next date.

Yours in avoiding spice-rack organization, S

Photo Credit: Infrogmation

Originally published on the blog (a new dating site that matches people based on music, movies and book likes and dislikes), where I am the weekly love/relationships contributor.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

5 More Don'ts for the First Date After Divorce

With the recent release of Eat, Pray, Love, a movie about bouncing back after a series of breakups, self-discovery and self-growth, many of us have started fantasizing about going to Italy, India and Indonesia as well. The story is one of finding happiness, finding yourself and then finding love -- a beautiful tale and one that I'm pretty sure we all aspire to. Somewhere along that road, however, comes the First Date -- that momentous day when you go on your first date after a big breakup. Here are the second five of fifteen tips to make the First Date a little easier.

1) Be yourself. When you've been with someone for a long time, it's hard to remember what it's like to be by yourself. Relationships affect us in countless ways, and every new person we become close with teaches us something about them, about us, and about how we interact with others. As a result, "being yourself" after a breakup is challenging, because you probably don't know this new you that well. This limbo period makes us vulnerable to acting how we think others want us to act. Resist this and do your best to be you -- incenserity, no matter how well meant, is a turn-off.

2) Move at your own pace. The first date after a breakup is a big deal and it's easy to get pushed at a pace faster than you're perhaps ready for. Even if you feel great about this new person, making a concious effort to move slowly so that a real connection develops can do wonders to make the whole new relationship thing a lot more comfortable. It's scary letting someone else in after a traumatic situaiton like divorce, so give yourself a break and let things develop as they will -- don't pressure yourself into doing or being in something you're not ready for.

3) Expect awkwardness. It's going to be slightly awkward, so spend zero time stressing about that aspect of it. The first date back is usually after a long hiatus from the world of flirty small talk, and it's totally natural to be a bit rusty. If you can, enjoy the awkwardness -- it can be an ice-breaker if you can find a way to laugh about it.

4) Don't worry about what they think. Emotional confidence can be at its lowest after a breakup, and going on a date again will absolutely make you think of your last relationship, no matter how much progress you've made on the recovery road. Having an unexpected reminder of the very thing you're trying to move on from can be a bummer and a confidence suck. Ignore it and remember that the person you're on the date with wants to be there. It wouldn't be happening if they didn't.

5) It's totally fine if the date bombs. If things jump on the bullet train to hell on your long-anticipated date, don't worry about it. It happens. We're not compatible with everyone we meet. Plus, once you're through the first date, you won't have to have the "first date after divorce' again. From then on you'll just be dating.

Divorce and breakups can do a number on our emotional well-being and confidence and it's so important to remember to let yourself recover at your own pace and not worry about the "should"s: I should be dating again, I should be over it, I should be totally fine. Try not to stress about the date and enjoy getting to know someone new. If the date is fun, fantastic. If not, now you've gotten through the worst of it -- the first date back.

Originally published by BounceBack, LLC on, where I'm the dating expert.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Dating Dish: Seattle Does It Best – Friends First

This is the next installment of my monthly column, Dating Dish, for Girl Power HourDating Dish is a monthly feature that brings you hot dating tips and sassy how tos to keep your dating life sexy. Enjoy!

Seattle Does It Best - Friends First

Sunday, August 8, 2010

5 Don'ts for the First Date After Divorce

What to expect and how to behave on that most momentous of days -- the first date after a bad breakup or a divorce -- is often a mystery. Even if the relationship didn't last that long, when the breakup is traumatic enough to negatively affect your life, it doesn't matter how long or short the relationship was. When we dive in to something deeply enough, we forget what it is to be without that person -- and that is what makes the breakup so difficult. We have to learn to be single again, and how to date as this new person we've become. All of this adds up to making the first date after the breakup a Really Big Deal.

Here are the first five of fifteen tips to make the first date transition a little easier.

1. Don't talk about your past relationship. It may be tempting -- after all, that relationship may be all you've known for the last two or ten or thirty years. Instead, talk about things that you like to do, books you've read, movies you like, and places you've visited. If a funny story fits into the conversation that your ex was a part of (because, say, you were on vacation together when this event occurred), gloss over it by not mentioning your ex at all, or by referring to them as your ex and leaving it at that. No further explanation needed. After all, your ex is (hopefully) not the point of the story and serves no greater relevance than setting the scene.

2. Don't let the fear rule. Instead, expect fear and embrace it. Unless you're a superhero with iron-clad confidence, it's totally natural and normal to be freaked out about a first date. So instead of focusing on the fear and letting it rule your day or week leading up to the date, acknowledge it and let it go. It's there. It doesn't deserve any further attention than a "Hello."
 3. Don't have any expectations. Instead, expect nothing from the date. This date may turn out to be a ton of fun, or it may tank, or it may be mediocre. You have no way of knowing ahead of time what will happen. First dates can be nerve-inducing when they're just everyday first dates. When they're the first date after a big hiatus? It's easy to work yourself into a flurry of what ifs. To avoid this and enjoy the evening, get rid of any and all expectations about them, about how the date will go, and any potential outcome of the date. This will allow you to enjoy your time getting to know this person without stressing that things are or aren't going as you expected.

4. Don't rebound. This person does not have to be your next relationship. In fact, unless you're totally and truly over your past relationship and are totally happy and secure with yourself, it's probably a good idea to get used to the dating game again (and to get used to being single and getting to know yourself as a whole rather than one-half of a relationship) before you dive into something new. Focus on making friends and if something happens down the line? Great. If not, no worries.

5. Don't pressure yourself. Recovering from a major breakup can sometimes take years. So go at your own pace. When you're ready to date, you'll date. There's no set, proper time-frame for bouncing back and moving on.

Divorce is one of the most traumatic events in our lives. It just sucks. That first date after your divorce is a physical representation to yourself that you're ready to move forward with your life, and as such can be a totally scary, nerve-wracking, nervous sweat-inducing event. Taking the pressure off yourself and what the date means can do wonders for making it fun rather than scary. And when you're bouncing back and trying to move forward, scary is bad. So, be yourself, don't pressure yourself into feeling or doing anything you're not ready for, and most of all, remember to enjoy it for what it is: a fun couple hours with a potential new friend.

Originally published by BounceBack, LLC on, where I'm the dating expert.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Happy and Tenacious Wins the Race

(I’ve been running (okay… jogging) a lot recently, so please bear with my dating-as-a-footrace metaphor.)

Dating, if your goal is to find a long-term, awesome-for-you someone, isn’t a sprint-until-you-hurl situation. It’s way more a jog/run/walk ultra-marathon that will take a lot out of you in effort, but for which the end result is worth it. (Not that sprints don’t have pay-offs as well, but puking is never pleasant. I’m trying to make the point that slow and steady is a better way to go.)

There will be ups and downs. Yes, it’s going to suck at times (enough that you’ll want to hurl), and yeah, sometimes it’s going to make you feel like you just did the world’s best feel-good upper. The point is that it’s a long haul, and if we sprinted through it, we’d get burned out. Burning out and giving up are not ideal places to be when you’ve got an end-goal of finding your perfect-for-you person in mind. So, while we’re on the emotional roller-coaster of crushing, dating, crying and crushing, finding our happy place to finish the race is completely necessary. Even when you’re in the throes of rejection-induced depression (or it-didn’t-work-out-AGAIN rage, or why-do-I-keep-dating-the-same-type ennui), try to remember that you 
can crawl out of the current hole and keep going.

And for the record, I live in the camp of taking a break to get your head back where you want it and find your good attitude is 
not the same as giving up. Sometimes these breaks last a day, sometimes six months. Go at your own pace, give yourself time to catch your breath (there’s that running metaphor again), and keep the end-goal in mind.

Having a good attitude is key not only because it makes the whole process more fun, but also because it helps you let the bad stuff roll over you. If you’re already in a place where you think that you’ll NEVER MEET ANYONE and an internet date turns out to be a disaster, it’s going to suck way more than if you subscribe to the “I know I’ll meet my perfect-for-me person someday” mantra. Plus, bad attitudes can breed desperation, cynicism and depression — none of which rock for finding and cultivating a healthy, happy relationship. The next time things suck, remember to banish the bad attitude and focus on the good — and maybe the finish line will be closer than we think.

Yours in streaming a dating, jogging Pollyanna, S

(Credits: Image by 666isMONEY ☮ ♥ & ☠)

riginally published on the blog (a new dating site that matches people based on music, movies and book likes and dislikes), where I am the weekly love/relationships contributor.