Taking a Turn Into a Commuter Relationship

We went for it anyway … even though we were geographically undesirable. Love knows no bounds, right? So we flew in the face of reason and committed to a commuter relationship.
If it weren’t for the vexing distance between us, we’d be the inspiration for a Lifetime movie. His marriage officially dissolved the same week my husband died 51/2 years ago. Middle-aged, hearts trampled, we rediscovered joy and magic and all those things supposedly reserved for the young.

We’d been friends for 30 years. We met when my husband and I were soon-to-be-married sweethearts. He was an unattached young lawyer starting a career in Century City. We double dated with him and a seemingly endless string of girlfriends. There was a fiancée in there somewhere. Then he got married, and we folded his wife into the friendship. There were four of us until there were just the two of us.

Our friendship continued. We went to dinner. We went to the movies. We went to concerts. The names of my husband and his ex-wife peppered our conversations. For some time and in so many ways, there were still four of us at the table.

After about a year, we struck a deal. If neither of us had anything else to do, we would get together on Saturday nights. Most of the time neither of us had anything else to do. Another year went by and another, and we became one another’s go-to invitee, each other’s when-in-doubt plus one.

Gradually, we both began to laugh again. And once a week morphed into twice a week. Sometimes three.

No one was more stunned than I when we made the hairpin turn from friendship to coupledom, but we did — somehow glacially yet all at once.

But shacking up is not so easy for the middle-aged. If only our lives, like ourselves, were not quite so set in their ways. Being geographic undesirables was not the only issue.

He had a dog. I’m allergic. He wanted to return to practicing law after a long hiatus and was studying for the bar round the clock. I had a book coming out and was polishing the final edit and learning how to be interviewed without feeling like I was going to throw up.

Things worked themselves out as things sometimes do with a bit of serendipity. Duncan, his Cairn terrier, bit one too many hands and landed himself in a center for non-rehabilitative canines.

He passed the bar (as he had done the first go-round), and I learned about mens rea and replevin along the way.

I grew so accustomed to doing radio that I actually enjoyed spending 15 minutes sitting cross-legged on my bed in my sweats chatting with the folks in Portland, Ore., or Boise, Idaho.

During this time, however, our city’s long incipient atherosclerosis exploded into acute arterial blockage everywhere you turned. Literally, everywhere you turned: left, right, north, south, east, west.

I stuck with the 405.

He checked online traffic reports incessantly.

I tried Wilshire.

He’d call with a Google Maps update: “It’s all red.”

I zigzagged south to Olympic or Pico.

“Let’s have dinner tonight,” he’d suggest. “I’ll come over around 2.”

A.m. or p.m., I wondered.

He’d call from the road. “I’m on La Cienega.”

“That’s crazy!”

“You always think map. You have to think time,” he explained. He had driven 9.4 miles out of his way to save 5 minutes. One Friday afternoon, he actually abandoned his car and walked the 1.1 miles to my house.

On the other hand, I veritably flew home when I left his house at 7 on a Saturday morning. Late one Thursday night, he “got home in two songs.”

This made matters only more maddening. Why couldn’t it always be like this? Why does Gustavo Dudamel insist on taking the podium at 8 p.m.? Why are dinner dates with other couples at … well, dinner time? Why are there so many cars and where are they all going? And, admittedly, why are we both so stuck?

He claims to be addicted to the beach. It’s a gestalt thing, since he has set foot in the Pacific once in five years. But he does walk the shore, delighting in the neon kaleidoscope of the Ferris wheel as he strolls at night. My life revolves around people and places inland. There’s the studio where I zumba for endorphins; the neighbors who watched my daughter grow up and held my hand when my husband died. This is my home, where my roots go deep.

Some day this may change. It’s not impossible that one day the trek to see one another will be from the kitchen to the den. But for now, we find ourselves in a long-distance relationship: 7.06 miles on surface streets. 8.01 on the freeway. We may need a sherpa, but we deal with it because, stunningly, second-time-around romance turns out to be worth the irksome commute … even between Brentwood and Santa Monica.

The Happiest Moment of My Life (So Far) Was With Those I’ll Love Forever

No, it’s not what you think. The happiest moment of my life so far was a day I felt unequivocally carefree with friends I love.

The happiest moment of my life so far wasn’t the day my boyfriend asked me to be his girlfriend. Sure, that was a very happy time, but the one I’m about to tell you about was a different kind of love.

It wasn’t the day we got my dog Moe either. That too was a wonderful moment I’ll always remember. This day happened on vacation in Europe with my two best friends when I was in my mid-20s.

Here is a snippet of a time in my life I felt truly, utterly happy.

Many would probably expect me to answer this question as the day I met my boyfriend, or the day I got my dog, or perhaps something involving my family. Sure, those days are all joyful ones in my life of course, but there’s one moment in one day that I remember feeling truly and incredibly happy. I’ve always considered myself a happy person but this particular moment stood out for me for the past six years as my happiest.

It was the summer I turned 26 and I was on my first trip across the world, to Munich, Germany, Brussels, Belgium and Paris, France. A self-described hopeless romantic, I was so excited to be in Paris. I was on this trip of a lifetime with my two best friends, both males.

The three of us had become a The Hangover-like trio, even nicknaming ourselves after characters in the movie. We were constantly on all kinds of adventures. I felt safe and secure with the two, and had been in love with both of them (and very briefly dated one) at some point over the eight years previous. I was dating another man at the time and was eager to get away for a bit as I wasn’t sure exactly if I was all that excited about him (we ended up breaking up later that fall).

We gallivanted all around Paris for three glorious days. It was the time before ISIS threatened in the shadows and we could safely walk the streets without any worry. I remember seeing Versailles, Notre Dame and the Moulin Rouge. One evening, the three of us were sitting outside one of the quintessential Parisian cafés, sipping beers while taking a break from sightseeing. We were laughing hysterically at excerpts from my diary, which I had brought along to chronicle my European travels.

friends traveling and hanging out

After some loud stomach rumbling, we all agreed it was time to find somewhere to eat dinner. We stumbled upon a small and cozy-looking restaurant tucked into a corner of Paris, near the Sainte-Chapelle. From the outside, there’s nothing all that special about L’Auberge Café. Its brown and beige exterior is elegant but not too fancy.

Either way, we were excited about finally getting some food and the menu posted outside looked good. When we sat down, we took in the rustic atmosphere at the quiet restaurant. It was intimate and homey, a completely perfect surprise to us.

The dinner we had that night was for lack of a better term, incredible. There wasn’t anything too fancy about it either but it hands down was one of the most delicious meals I’ve ever had in my almost 33 years.

I had a beef tenderloin, potatoes, peas and onions in a dark, savory sauce. My one friend dined on duck, a signature entrée of the restaurant and the other chose a fish fillet. We sampled fresh prawns, spicy gazpacho and an absolutely to die for molten chocolate dome dessert with the most decadent of melted French dark chocolate inside. With a bottle of the house wine, we made sure to make it a truly incredible night.

I know what you’re thinking—this doesn’t seem like it deserves the title “happiest moment of your life.” The funny thing is, despite how brief that dinner was in the hindsight of things, while I was sitting there I felt truly completely happy. It was a moment of my life I will remember forever. It was young enough not to have to worry too much about the future but old enough to truly appreciate that moment in time.

Now, whenever I am feeling anxious or just need to take a moment to close my eyes and relax, I always recall that dinner with my two best friends in one of my favorite cities in the world—remembering what it feels like to be completely, unapologetically happy.


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What Should You Do If Your Friends Have Dropped Off the Face of the Earth and You’re Worried?

Sometimes your friend doesn’t text you, or says no to all your invites and you decide to stop trying. But, I assure you, your depressed friend who dropped off the face of the earth is not always terrible.

Reach out to them.

Love is a verb. Maintaining relationships can be a challenge because we’re taught to think, “what’s in it for me?” but sometimes kindness for kindness sake even when it doesn’t make sense to others is good enough. Here are some ways you can reach out and help them out.

And don’t forget, if you are feeling depressed because your relationships have been lingering in limbo for a while, join LOVE TV and we can help speed up your success.

1. Help Them Clean Their Room

help your friend clean up if they are feeling depressed

Sometimes your depressed friend finds leaving the house taxing. They may call it being introverted, they may call it anxiety, they may call it exhausting. If you’re friend denies your request to meet them go to them. Meet them where they are.

If they’re like me, they don’t want anyone to come over because their place is an absolute mess. If they use that as an excuse offer to help clean their place. You can spend the whole day together, talking, but also help them deal with the overwhelming weight of dread they have about the mess, and listen to music, and eat.

Hanging out is not just about where you go, but about being together with someone you care about.

2.   Check in on them during tragic incidents

check in on your friend if they are depressed

Sadly, there are so many tragic incidents in the world, that Facebook asks people to check in if they are safe. If you’re friend has dropped off the face of the earth, you might not be the only person they are isolated from.

So, if something happens, ask them if they are alright. Believe me, they will feel grateful that someone somewhere remembers they exist, because I’m sure they probably feel forgotten.

3. Ask them what they want to do

If you find yourself telling a depressed friend what you should do, where you should go, try asking them what they want to do.

Having the choice might make them feel more inclined to go. They probably won’t bail because it’s something that they put into motion. Sometimes people say no, because it makes them feel out of control. Let them have the power every once in awhile and they’ll have to keep their word.

4. Invite them over for the holidays

surviving holidays as a couple

Some of your friends may not enjoy hanging with their family on the holidays, or they may live too far from/can’t afford to/didn’t book the flight soon enough to visit family. So, please, please, if you’re having a big holiday get together, invite your friends. Don’t assume that they have plans. Maybe they won’t ask to join because they don’t want to be a burden or impose themselves, so ask them.

Even if they say no, most people will notice the effort eventually and say yes. Trust me, you don’t understand the brutality of being alone on the holidays if you’ve never been alone, so invite them if you can.

5. Pay for their dinner.

if your friend is depressed pick up their dinner check

I’ve experienced this kindness that people will just pay for my meal. I can’t tell if it’s because I portray myself as a downtrodden damsel, because they appreciate my invite, or what, but oh, man, it feels good when people buy you a drink, or buy you an appetizer, or buy you a whole meal.

I think it’s best as a surprise when the bill comes but doing it before works too. On occasion I’ll pay for things even if I think I’m a downtrodden damsel because I understand that my friendship is sometimes more important than my need to play that role.

There are tons of other ways to keep friendships alive but I wanted to give you a taste of some things that have made me feel special. Relationships, like gardens, have to be nurtured. Even if the garden will not bear anything you don’t have to let it die.

It’s beautiful existing as is. And your friends are beautiful even if you don’t speak to them or see them everyday. If you can try once a month to reach out to friends who have drifted away but whose company you enjoy. Friends come in many forms so keep the good ones around!

Reaching Out When You’re Feeling Alone and Worried Your Friends Forgot You

If you’re like me you might sometimes feel insecure and fearful everyone is off having fun without you.

But, if you’re like me you’re also laser focused on your career/passions and have tons of commitments which might make you seem unavailable. Even when your friends ask you to be available to meet them on a specific date and time, you are not always available. If they do this repeatedly they might assume you are too busy for them. In reality, you’re just not available at that specific time and date.

In the end, it might seem like people stop reaching out to you, and ultimately you start to realize your friends have grown distant.

Sometimes our isolation is not one sided, unbeknownst to us, and I am here to tell you and me what we need to do to stop disappearing from our social circles.

Also, don’t forget, if you’re hoping to cut through the insanity of the dating world, we can help make it quicker and easier if you join LOVE TV today.

1. Choose a specific date and time.

People ask me to meet them and I can’t, but as I am writing this article, I realize that I don’t always ask people out.

I may ask them to accompany to me a show or a movie, but how often does that happen? So, be deliberate. If you can recognize that you are never available when certain people that you actually want in your life ask you to be available, try suggesting a time and date for when you can meet. If they say no, keep trying.

I’ve even feared that if someone didn’t answer my text one day in December they never want to speak with me and I let that relationship die. But, who knows what happened? They were mad at me in December, but it’s March now so maybe they’re less mad and I can try again? The text didn’t go through? Their phone was turned off that day and they didn’t get the message? They forgot?

Anything could have happened and I can be mad at them for not answering that text that one time, but what if they still want to hang out with me? I can try again. At least once in March? Once in April. And if I am ignored still, well, at least I made the effort!

meeting up when you feel alone

2. Meetup

Meetup.com is a thing. A place where you can join a group for people like you. A MeetUp for left handed people. A MeetUp for introverts. A MeetUp for left handed introverts. A MeetUp for people who who want to dissect Lana Del Rey lyrics. There is a place for you.

If you’re like, “I don’t want to hang out with people” but also feel sad that no one wants to hang out with you reevaluate your thought process. Do your actions match what you want out of life? If you feel isolated, move past your discomfort and join a meetup.

Or a facebook group. There’s even a facebook group for people who have MoviePass so you can literally just go see a movie with a stranger. Not something I recommend if you’re 12, but at least in New York we meet up with random people all the time. Try doing it in public spaces if you’re nervous.

3. Go to that after office hangout.

I know we’re supposed to technically keep our work and personal life separate and that’s all well and good if you have a personal life, but come on. Many of us see our coworkers more than we see anyone else in our lives. If you like any of them, say yes to after office drinks. “I don’t drink.” Ok. And? There are non alcoholic drinks at bars, right? Order a soda. Order a lemonade.

If you don’t like your coworkers find a job where you do? Or spend time at places where you like the people? Church? Temple? Dance class? Book club? Dungeons and Dragons? Take the time to get to know people. “No one’s gonna like me.” Of course, they won’t if they don’t know how awesome you are.

What I am saying is we can’t always blame others for our isolation. Sure, it’s partially their responsibility to keep you in mind, but it’s also your responsibility. The cool thing about taking responsibility is that it gives you power. It equates to self sufficiency. It’s taking charge of your life experiences. You don’t have time? Who is in charge of your life? You. Make the time.

I remember I would see people post, f you ever feel alone you can reach out to me.” I thought those were empty words. But, do it. Reach out to your friends and say, “Hey, I feel incredibly isolated from everyone right now and I wanted to know if we could hang out. Today. Right now?”

They may say, “How about Tuesday?” Great. You have plans for Tuesday. Say yes. Then show up. Then go reach out to another friend and another friend another friend until someone says, “Ok. I’ll meet you in ten minutes.” We don’t have to be alone.

Being social takes a lot of work. Go outside of yourself to live the life you want. It doesn’t have to be Paris. It can be as simple as, “I want to do friend things at least twice a week.” Whatever it takes to get you to feel a part of the world. Just remember to keep it up!

Here Are 5 Things You Need to Know Before Joining a Friendship App

My first time on a friend app I learned a lot about making friends, swiping right, and the importance of not getting discouraged. Here’s everything you need to know before setting out to find your new BFF.

Making friends as an adult is hard. There. I said it.

In elementary school, it seems so easy to make friends. You just have to show up on the playground with a good attitude and a few Pokémon cards (kids still play with Pokémon cards, right?) and you have plenty of bffs to hang out with at recess every day.

By high school, teenagers form into cliques (you’ve seen TV shows) so sometimes it can be a little harder to make friends, but if you join a club or sports team, you eventually find your group.

But by the time you’re an adult, friend-finding feels impossible. And when finding the right partner can come from a friend or a friend’s recommendation, creating a friend group is important. You’re so busy with work and relationships (and laundry) that it’s easy to lose touch with your old friends and forget to make new friends. Suddenly you find yourself feeling lonely, and no amount of Pokémon cards will help.

Thankfully, that’s when friend apps come in.

That’s right, it’s like a dating app, but for friends, and if you’re like me, you might feel skeptical about them at first. Personally, I’ve never been on a dating app. I met my fiancé before apps were even invented (back then we all had flip phones and spent most of our time talking about how awesome iPod shuffles were), so when I first heard about friend apps, I was nervous.

There are so many of them: Bumble BFF, Hey! Vina, Skout, and Peanut (which is specifically for moms) and the whole thing seemed weird and awkward. I could just picture myself saying “hey want to be friends?” and someone responding, bluntly, “no” and then feeling totally down.

But as it turns out, friend apps are kind of awesome. They’re fun, easy to use, and they help you connect with people who you may have never met. I ended up using Hey! Vina, met some amazing people, and learned a little bit about how to become a better friend. Now, I’m hooked, and I think everyone should have a chance to find friends this easily.

Here is my list of the top five things you need to know before getting on a friend app (and meeting your new BFF!) And don’t forget, if you’re trying to cut through the noise of the dating scene, join LOVETV today.

1. Your bio is everything.

african woman texting

I’ve heard that your picture is everything on a dating app, but in a friend app, your bio takes priority. When I first got on an app I didn’t spend a lot of time on that “about me” section. I quickly typed and honest, but simple, “I like cats, pizza, and wine” and drowned the text with a crap ton of emojis.

I knew my bio was nothing fancy, but when I started swiping through profiles, I realized that I should have put some more work into it. I found that so many people had spent a lot of time describing themselves, creating descriptions that were funny, sweet, and really clever. And those awesome bios were what made me want to reach out to these cool women. I quickly made it a priority to update my profile.

I wrote more about me and tried my best to showcase my personality. By the end, I was proud of my bio, and sure enough, pretty soon I was getting more matches too.

2. You don’t have to find your perfect match.

On a dating app you’re probably looking for a great match: a like-minded person who has a lot in common with you. And that’s probably a good tactic, you need common ground when it comes to starting a relationship.

But with friends, that’s not always the case.

In the beginning, I only swiped right on potential friends who seemed to have a lot in common with me. It seemed like a good idea at first but after awhile I found that I wasn’t swiping right very often. (I mean, come on, how many twenty-seven-year-old grad students getting married in July could I have possibly have found?)

Plus, I realized that it was more fun to strike up a conversation and share experiences with someone who was in a different place in their lives or had different interests.

Don’t swipe left because someone likes country music while you’re into classic rock, or loves waffles when you’re all about pizza. You learn from people who are different from you, so embrace those friendships.

3. You want to take the pressure off your first hangout.

meeting new friends via friendship app

It’s scary to meet up IRL with someone you met online, but if your goal is to make friends, you’ll need to meet up with them eventually.

Still, asking someone if they want to have lunch one day can feel a little intimidating, and your first hangout might end up feeling a little stiff or awkward. The best way to avoid this is to simply tell your new friend where you’re planning to be one particular day, and invite them to join you.

Do you have a coffee shop that you like to hang out in on Saturdays? Are you planning on going to a local concert one day? Telling a new friend what you’re doing, and inviting them to join, is a great way to take the pressure off a new friendship.

If they can’t make it to your weekly bowling hangout, no sweat, but if they do stop by, it can be a great way to make a first meeting feel casual and natural. No pressure, just friendship.

4. You might end up using every app as a friend app.

The truth is that any social media is a great place to connect, and once you get into the mindset of making friends, you can do it anywhere.

After signing up for a friend app, I realized that I was sending more texts and direct messages to old friends from high school or college. I started reaching out to old classmates and acquaintances who had added me, and I ended up connecting with a lot of people.

Friend apps will give you a friend-making mindset, meaning you’ll always be on the lookout for friends. You might not be close with every person you’re friends with on Facebook, but you just might start messaging someone you used to be in a class with, or a friend of a friend you met once or twice.

5. Know that making friends is hard, even on an app

meeting new friends via friendship app

One of the hardest parts of making friends is forming a strong connection, and that doesn’t change on an app. But don’t get discouraged. Finding the right people, and cultivating a friendship, might take some time, but there are some great people out there.

With some time, a good mindset, and maybe a little bit of luck, you’ll find your friends—and together, you guys are going to have the coolest happy hours, the best movie nights, and the most amazing brunch dates.

Maybe making friends isn’t quite like it was when we were kids… and maybe that’s okay. Friend apps are here to help us meet our new besties, and I can’t wait to keep swiping.

New Year’s Resolutions for Better Friendships in 2020

I love New Year’s resolutions. They’re an excuse to challenge myself and set new goals for the year ahead. I’m pretty serious about sticking to them, too. I like to write my goals for the year on a piece of paper and tape it to the fridge so that I always remember my plans, and can cross them out as I accomplish them.

Usually, I make goals for my career, exercise goals, and plans for how many books I want to read that year. But this year my goals are a little different.

After a big move this year, I realized that friendships are really important to me. Not only do I miss my friends back home, but I had to make all new friends in my new city. I learned how important friendships are to me, so this year I’m making resolutions to be a better friend and have better friendships.

Here are my resolutions for better friendships in 2020.

1. Set aside time for friendships

To have better friendships, you have to be a better friend. And part of that is making friendships a priority.

Being in a relationship for so long, I’ve found that I often put friendships on the backburner, preferring to spend time with my husband rather than make plans with friends.

But I realize that I need to maintain friendships in order to keep them. When you don’t make time for a friend, they can start to fade out of your life. You both forget to call, don’t think to invite each other over, one of you moves, and suddenly you don’t know each other anymore. It’s the worst.

Of course, there are exceptions to this. I have some friends who I can not see for years and when we do finally get together, it’s like no time has passed. But especially with new friends, if you don’t spend time developing a friendship, the relationship can crumble.

One of my biggest resolutions this year is to make more time for friends. For me, making time to go out to dinner with just one friend, one time a week, is a great improvement. But maybe you’re more flexible and can make more time for friends.

Maybe your resolution could be calling 5 different friends a week. Or maybe you want to go to lunch with someone new from your office every day until you’ve met everyone. It’s easy to cater this resolution to your friend goals and no matter how you do it, you’re sure to have lots of fun.

2. Remember birthdays

One way to show your friends you care is to remember their birthdays. And I’m not just talking about about posting on their Facebook wall.

It means so much to people when you remember their birthday. It shows that you care and that you want to celebrate them. When my friends have reached out to me before my birthday, asking if I wanted to go out for a drink for my special day, it has meant so much to me. Even when friends follow through and show up for birthday celebrations means a lot.

That’s why one goal I’m making this year is to remember my friends’ birthdays. I’m looking up everyone’s birthdays and writing them down in my calendar. I’ll try to make sure we make time to celebrate but even if I just end up sending a card or even a text to friends for their birthdays, I know that it will probably mean a lot.

3. Planning activities your friends will like

I love planning hang outs with friends. But I especially love planning hang outs at places I love.

I’m always asking friends if they want to go to the local wine bar or go and see a comedy show. But somehow I never seem to be free when friends ask me to do things they like to do. I almost always turn down requests to go to restaurants I don’t like and for activities I don’t particularly enjoy. Funny how that works.

But this year, I’m changing that.

I’m making a goal to try to do more things that my friends like. When I know I’m going to see my craft-loving friend, I’ll offer to go to a knitting class and when I’m planning to see my outdoorsie friend, I’ll ask her to go on a hike.

It’s a great way to show that I value our friendship (and my friend’s interests), plus, it’s a good way to expand my own interests.


4. Double date

Hanging out with friends is a great way to bond. But going out on a double date? That’s a whole new level. It’s one thing to talk to your friend, but a whole other thing to get to know their partner (whether they be short term partners or long term relationships), and let your friends get to know who you’re with.

It can be a great way to get to know each other better, and if your partners get along too, it could be a great way to expand your friendship to include “couple activities.”

5. Be a great conversationalist

It’s so fun to talk to friends, except when it’s not. I’ve definitely had friends who were not always super fun to talk to. I know a few people who always seem to be complaining about work or complaining about other friends. I also know a few people who practically zone out when I’m talking. They’re the kind of people who wait to talk, instead of listen.

And don’t get me wrong, I can complain about stupid stuff and I can also sound like a broken record when talking about work. But it’s nice to talk to friends about interesting things, intellectually stimulating things, and to have fun when we’re talking.

So, this year I’m determined to be a better conversationalist. I’ll keep myself updated on interesting news stories, but I’ll also try to be more engaging and be a better listener.

If you’re looking to make better friendships in 2020, sometimes you have to be a better friend. These tips will help you to improve your friendships skills and friendships in the new year!