Being Single and Happy

“Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.” ~John Allen Paulos

Over the past ten years, I always had a man by my side. I was always in a relationship.

I was in a relationship for eight years before my ex and I got engaged, then broke it off because of the distance—my ex’s reason. Not long after that I got into a two-year relationship with a man who loved, yet cheated on me. It was a messy break up.

So after ten years in relationships, I found myself alone.

I’m 31 and single!

Recently some questions have bounced around in mind: What happened to me during those years? What did I get, gain, achieve in these two relationships? Why am I now alone? What will I do? How do I do things by myself?

Now what? Where to start?

I started to panic, to hyperventilate—until I found this quote:

Single is not a status. It is a word that describes a person who is strong enough to live and enjoy life without depending on others.”

Yes I am scared. I was so used to sharing everything. I was so used to having someone around.

But the reality is I am my own person, and if I can’t enjoy being single, how can I enjoy being with someone else?

So I started reading about being single, and interviewing other happy single people. Surely I wasn’t the only 31-year-old person who felt uncertain about her new singleness. I needed to find proven ways to be happy as a single adult woman.

In my research, I learned some important truths about being single:

1. Being single gives you time to be by yourself, with yourself.

Finally some me time. This is the time to reconnect with myself, a time where I can talk to myself, debating all the questions and answers that are bouncing in my head. 

This is the time of reflection. This is the time of acceptance and letting go, which brings me to the second point…

2. If you don’t let go of the past, you will never appreciate the present.

Yes I have fond memories of my exes, but that was in the past. I know I will always cherish those memories, but I need to stop clinging to them to live for today and plan for tomorrow.

Buddha said every day you are born again—that means new experiences and adventures for today!

3. It’s only after you have lost everything that you are free to find out what you were missing.

During those ten years, I lost love, a pregnancy, and my health. I truly believed I had lost everything. I can’t even start telling you how many tears I shed during those difficult times.

Now that I’m single, I have an opportunity to do all the things I put off while I was putting all my energy into my relationships. I have to believe that I will eventually have the things I lost, but for now I’m taking this time to enjoy myself and complete myself.

Single and Would Rather Be in a Relationship? 8 Reasons to Personally Decode

Clearly, some people are single because they choose to be. They are simply not interested in being in a serious relationship at this time in their life.

Others are single due to the circumstances of their lives. They may have just gotten out of a meaningful relationship or have dated relentlessly and just haven’t found someone with whom they’re truly compatible. The point of this article isn’t to stereotype all single women or men or to put anyone in a box. However, for people, particularly those over 30, who are looking for answers to the puzzling question “why am I still single?”, here are some unconventional answers that lie within.

When it comes to dating and relationships, it’s hard not to feel that you are a victim. After all, others can be cruel; you will get hurt, and no, it isn’t always your fault. But the reality is that we hold more power over our romantic destiny than we often think. To a great degree, we create the world we live in, although we are rarely conscious of this process. We can, in fact, make a choice whether to see our fate through a victimized lens or choose to be goal-directed and take power over our lives. We benefit from focusing on what we can control and not what we can’t. We can become aware of the myriad of ways we influence the reactions we get from others, even the negative reactions. So, the question for the single person looking for love is: what are the internal challenges I need to face?

1) Defenses

Most people have been hurt in interpersonal relationships. With time and painful experiences, we all risk building up varying degrees of bitterness and becoming defended. This process begins long before we start dating, in our childhoods, when hurtful interactions and dynamics lead us to put up walls or perceive the world through a filter that can negatively impact us as adults. These adaptations can cause us to become increasingly self-protective and closed off. In our adult relationships, we may resist being too vulnerable or write people off too easily.

If, for example, you were raised by parents or caretakers who were negligent or cold, you may grow up feeling distrusting of affection. You may feel suspicious of people who show “too much” interest in you and instead, you seek out relationships that recreate dynamics from your past. You may then choose a partner who is aloof or distant. It isn’t always easy to see when we have our defenses up. As a result, we tend to blame our singleness on external forces and fail to recognize that we aren’t as open as we think.

2) Unhealthy Attractions

When we act on our defenses, we tend to choose less-than-ideal relationship partners. We may establish an unsatisfying relationship by selecting a person who isn’t emotionally available. Because this process is largely unconscious, we often blame our partner for the relationship’s failed outcome. We tend to feel devastated or hurt by the repeated rejections without recognizing that we are actually seeking out this pattern.

Why do we do this? The reasons are complex and often based on our own embedded fears of intimacy. Many people have an unconscious motivation to seek out relationships that reinforce critical thoughts they have long had toward themselves and replay negative aspects of their childhoods. These may be unpleasant, but breaking with old patterns can cause us a great deal of anxiety and discomfort and make us feel strangely alien and alone in a more loving environment.

Our fears of parting with the image we developed of ourselves early on and starting to see ourselves in a more positive light paradoxically make us feel uneasy and may trigger self-attacking thoughts like, “Who do you think you are? You’re not that great.” These fears may cause us to hold on to relationships without potential or to feel attracted to people who aren’t really available, because they reinforce our negative image of ourselves, which feels more comfortable and familiar, albeit painful.

3) Fear of Intimacy

As my father, psychologist and author Robert Firestone, wrote in his article “You Don’t Want What You Say You Want,” “Most of us profess that we want to find a loving partner, but the experience of real love disrupts fantasies of love that have served as a survival mechanism since early childhood… Pushing away and punishing the beloved acts to preserve one’s negative self-image and reduces anxiety.”

Our fears surrounding intimacy may manifest as concerns over someone “liking us too much,” an understandably irrational reason not to date a person. Or we may punish the other person by being critical, even engaging in nasty behavior, essentially making sure we don’t get the loving responses we say we want. The reality is that most people can only tolerate a certain amount of closeness. We are defended about letting someone else in. In effect, on a deeper level, we don’t necessarily want the love we say we want.

Meet a Great Catch… Here Are 10 Places

It seems like meeting people these days has become virtually non-existent. People just don’t seem to want to make connections anymore, particularly those that are single.

Whatever happened to meeting someone out and about at the local neighborhood café, or at a get-together hosted by one of your friends? It seems as if we leave school and forget how to speak to people. We become like kids at a high school dance, with boys on one side of the room and the girls on the other.

One thing I’ve observed is that singles tend to look in the wrong places for a quality mate. If you’re looking for a quality mate, bars, clubs, and happy hours are (probably) not for you. It’s not to say you can’t meet someone there, but your chances are slim to none that he or she will be the one you take home to meet the parents.

The truth is that many people who go to these places, particularly men, aren’t really looking for long term mates; rather, to “hang out,” and if they’re lucky, have a one night stand with an unsuspecting woman.

While we’re on the subject of questionable places to meet men, let’s talk about the most obvious, including online dating, churches and the gym. These places are a hit or miss when it comes to finding someone. Of course, by now everyone knows someone who met on or, yet they also know plenty of others who haven’t met anyone significant online and have yet to find that person.

Churches and gyms are decent places to meet someone, but you need to develop consistency because the singles that frequent these places tend to spot the ones that drop in on special occasions, like Christmas or New Year’s, and then you never see them again.

So, you may wonder, “if I can’t meet him or her in a bar, and my chances are slim with dating online, then which places do you suggest would increase my chances of meeting the right person”? Great question.

There are actually plenty of great places to meet people. I’ve listed a few below, but please keep in mind this list is not an all-inclusive list. Based on some of the ideas on this list, you may come up with some of your own to add as well. This list is just to get you started thinking in the right direction.

Top 5 Quality Places to Meet Men

1. Volunteer Activities

An example is an Usher or a greeter. This is a great way to meet men because they’re at your mercy to help them. No matter how you look (although you should still look polished and professional), they need your help. If you maintain a warm and friendly presence while answering their questions or giving them instructions, they will remember that and hopefully chat with you later after your shift is over. You may not have been someone they would normally speak to, but because you’ve helped them get where they’re going, you have earned a star in their eyes.

2. Sports/Fitness Events

Okay, this is obvious, but it bears repeating. There is no better way to meet men than through sports and fitness events. Men love games and anything that has competition in it is a winner in their eyes. It’s not just athletes who can involved in these type of events, just someone who loves to watch a game periodically and/or stay healthy and fit.

3. Business Networking/Entrepreneurial Events

Whenever there is financial opportunities, men will be there. Any type of networking event can lead to future business deals and eventually money, which attracts men to these types of events in the first place. This can also be business/entrepreneurial classes or seminars where there is a potential to make money.

4. Political Events

Men love power, plain and simple. Wherever there is a chance to gain more power and respect, men are sure to follow. There is no better way to earn more power and respect than politics. Whoever controls or influences business, and eventually the money flow, is usually holding power. Politics offer these opportunities, which is why men like it .. like bees to honey.

5. Financial Wealth-Building Events

As I’ve noted before, whenever money is a promise, you will find lots of men. Very rarely do I find lots of women at a financial type seminar, unless of course it’s aimed primarily at women. Usually, these types of seminars attract men from every age and income bracket. Women tend to shy away from these events, but if you do decide to attend them, there is always the potential that the man sitting next to you could be the next Donald Trump (without the hair, of course).

I’m Single and I Officiate Weddings

I have discovered my Perfect Man does this…

To get something out of the way right off the bat, I see it. I see the cliché dripping from my every word, so pointing it out is unnecessary. I see the cliché in recognizing one’s own cliché. I am 33, I am single, I live alone. I do not have a cat, but only because I’m allergic to cats. I schedule my masturbation. I leave toothpaste clumps on the sink. I leave flossers in the bed that poke me when I roll over. I cry at everything. I exercise religiously for two weeks, then give it up entirely for three. I eat in my bed. I think about dying alone. Like, really think about it. Not just conceptually, but actually dying alone. If I hit my head or have an aneurism, who cleans up the mess I leave behind? I didn’t used to believe in marriage, but now I believe it to be the most amazing thing a person can do. You are signing a contract that says, “You have to deal with this mess when I die.” I can’t imagine that.

I eat alone, I shop alone, I travel alone. In the rare instance where I find myself travelling with someone else, I panic. I feel the need to divulge all of my flying quirks in one hurried breath in the security line because I want my companion to have an out should they want one: I have to be chewing gum as the plane takes off. I have to have the window seat, even though I am 100 feet tall. I have to have a book, which I will not read. What I will do is mildly overdose on Dramamine and sleep fitfully for four hours. I will not wake up in a good mood or in my right mind when we reach our destination. And I have to, HAVE TO have a Hershey bar when I fly, which I will not eat. My mother always had one and I’m pretty convinced that they make the plane stay up. If you fly without a Hershey bar and your plane has never crashed it’s because someone else on board has always had one. Think about that.

The men in my life are bountiful. They are kind. They are handsome and flawed and they smell like laundry and they are passionate and wise. They are comedians and actors and teachers and entrepreneurs. They are fathers and brothers and uncles and they hold coats and know my drink order. They build things and write things and are feminists and warm huggers. These of course, are my friends. My boyfriends, my sex partners, my endless causes of scrunched up eyebrows have been many of the aforementioned as well. Just not for me. Or they possessed those qualities exactly and my head was turned elsewhere. Or some outside distraction had their attention, like an ex-fiancée or a new job or a drinking problem.

Real Life Dating vs. “The Bachelor”: Two Different Journeys

So, as we approach a new year of 2017, and season #847 (I lost track long ago) of The Bachelor, which began this week with 30 women competing for the love of a mop-haired dude  named Nick who mumbles and has a lisp –  I thought it might be fun to do a humorous but accurate comparison of reality-show life in the dating world, vs. real life in the dating world. Hey, I’m a 45 year old widow who just moved back in with her parents because I can no longer afford life as an adult in NYC. What else do I have to do right now, besides create comparison articles that give me another excuse to lightly mock the hilarity that is The Bachelor? Answer: Nothing. So here we go ….

Meeting for the First Time: 

The Bachelor In real life
On The Bachelor, a first meeting with your new guy starts off by pulling up to a literal mansion, in a limousine, followed by 29 other women who are also meeting your guy/their guy for the first time. You get about 20 seconds or less to make your first impression and say hello – and on this week’s premiere episode, we saw everything from girls feeding Nick maple syrup from their fingers, to a girl dressed up in a dolphin costume. (although everyone on the show insisted she looked more like a shark, but whatever.) Also, if you really impress your new man, you just might receive a “first-impression rose” from him. But, there’s only a 1 in 30 chance of that happening, so the competition is fierce. You also have to worry about what all the other girls are doing, wearing, how they are behaving in comparison to you. In this week’s premiere, more than 15 of the 30 women showed up in red dresses. This was a major cause of trauma and stress for them, and caused them to drink more wine. (what doesn’t on this show?) Also, when meeting your new man, and sharing a moment with him outside laughing or kissing, there is a very good chance that you will be interrupted mid-conversation, by one of the other 29 wine-swilling, red-dress wearing, determined ladies. Just trying to complete a conversation with your new love interest, in reality-tv land, is a huge challenge. Lastly, the first night you meet, might also be your last. If he doesn’t find you appealing enough, he will send you packing on night number one. Harsh. In real life, a  first meeting with your new guy might be the result of friends hooking you up, or of taking a chance on one of the many dating sites offered to us regular folk who don’t go on television to meet our future partners. If you live in a major city, your date probably doesn’t have a car, and you might not want him knowing where you live anyway, in case he’s a serial killer. So it’s really best to meet in the city and just jump on the subway. If you live in the burbs, I still think most people when meeting for the first time, probably meet at said date location. Again, he might be a serial killer. If you really impress your new guy on your date, he may or may not buy you dinner. Where this dinner takes place is another fun mystery! It could be The Ritz, or it could be McDonald’s. Or he could be really cheap and take you for coffee. Either way, there’s no guarantee that he will buy your dinner, (or coffee) as sometimes you meet ungentlemanly dudes who slide the bill over to your side of the table after dinner, and say with a smirk: “Time to settle up.” (not that that’s happened to me personally or anything).If you make a good impression, you may or may not get a goodnight kiss, or sometimes you may mutually decide to go much further, and turn it into a goodnight “hookup.”  Then it may get all kinds of awkward the next week, when he never calls you back or texts you even, after exchanging bodily fluids and drinking way too much wine. So, the first night you meet, might also be the last night you ever hear from him again. Or, he might turn out to be a serial killer. Harsh.


The Living Environment:

On The Bachelor, your new love interest lives in a mansion, paid for by a television network. There are lots of cocktail parties and pool parties at this mansion, and there are always lots and lots of other girls at these parties too. YOU also live in a different mansion, or sometimes in various beautiful hotels, whenever your man decides to travel somewhere “amazing”on this “journey” that the network also pays for. You do not live by yourself though. You live with all the other women who are also desperately competing for your man’s love. There are lots of roses given out at random times, and also, during a “ceremony” where multiple girls receive roses. If you get one, you get to stay longer in the mansion or hotel.

The living environment you will be in is extremely emotional. You will be living with loads of women, and these women are hormonal, have periods, and have been cut off from the internet and television while on this reality show.

In real life, your new love interest hopefully lives on his own, in a house or an apartment that he rents or owns himself. This is not a guarantee, however. You may be dating a guy who lives with his mommy, or who is “separated” from his wife, but in reality, he’s “never going to leave her.” Your alcohol situation is up to you in real life, so the amount of wine you choose to drink is optional. If you receive roses or other flowers from your man, it is because he really likes you, and you should thank him. You will not be living with multiple women, unless you live in NYC – then you may live in a 2 bedroom apartment with 21 people. If you go on a date with your new man, at least you know that at the end of that date, you won’t be asked to leave your own home. Its pretty much guaranteed that as awful as your date is, you will still be allowed to return home when it has ended. No sad rejection limo necessary. In fact, no limo at all.
The producers also supply them with endless amounts of wine and other alcoholic beverages. They drink wine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Whenever food appears, nobody eats it. They only drink more wine, and they drink it out of the hugest wine glasses you have ever seen in your life. Your roommates will walk around sometimes in bikini tops, towels, mini-skirts, and sometimes they will make innuendo comments about not wearing underwear. There is a lot of crying. Endless amounts of sobbing coming from all of these women, and you may find yourself sobbing too, should your new man not be paying enough attention to you on a particular day, or should you find yourself out of wine for an hour or more. In between dates, you will spend a lot of time at the mansion, gossiping about other people’s dates with Nick, and making assumptions and probably crying. There is also a lot of sitting around and staring longingly out various windows, like in those commercials for depression medication.
Your roommates will also do a lot of the same, because apparently nobody on this show works, or they have fake jobs that allow them to take 3 months off to film this ridiculous show. You will be rooming with a lot of dental hygenists (there are a minimum of 3 in each season – I think its in the contract), spokesmodels, “dolphin-enthusiasts”, small business owners, and other made up careers that don’t actually exist. There will be a lot of sitting around in hot tubs, holding your giant glass of wine. You may go on a date one night, and come back to find your suitcases sitting out by the front door of the mansion. This means that Nick has sent you home, and you have to go ride in the sad rejection limo.


The Dates:

The Bachelor In real life
On The Bachelor, you should be prepared emotionally and physically for some pretty bizarre dates. You will or will not be chosen for the honor to go out on a date with your new guy, via a “Date Card” that is send via host Chris Harrison. Should you be chosen for a date, you may be lucky and receive a “one on one” date with your man, where you actually get to be alone together for a few hours, or you may be selected as one of a dozen or so others, to participate in a “group date”, which sounds like an orgy but it’s not. Group dates often involve silly activities such as pretending to be comedians and telling jokes about your man onstage, playing a sport of some kind to compete for more time with your man, or other silly-ass things. You will have to find a way to stand out in the crowd on this group date, like maybe pretending to fall ill or faking an injury during the sport playing, so that said man-meat will come running to your rescue. Your man, and other women on the show, may use words to describe the date or to describe anything at all, like “journey”, ‘amazing,” or “terrified.” Please know that in the world of this reality-show, everything is always amazing, and everyone is always terrified. Terrified of getting their heart broken, terrified of rejection, terrified that they won’t get the rose tonight. Terrified, terrified, terrified.

If you are lucky enough to get a one-on-one date with your new man, who, in this case is a mumbling fool named Nick who says stuff like: “I don’t know how to sit sideways on a couch” – you will be in store for an incredibly cheesy, manufactured romance-filled day. It may start out with a picnic on a beach or in a park. You may be taken on a helicopter ride over some exotic island somewhere (this show looooves helicopter rides almost as much as they love the word “journey”), or you may be asked to jump off a cliff or skydive or some other risky thing, with your new man, to show that you can trust each other and take chances together. Because everyone knows if you can skydive together and not die, that means you are compatible for marriage and for life. Your date may include dinner, which nobody in the history of the show ever eats. You will drink wine, because not a day goes by without wine drinking. Cameras will follow you everywhere, and you may or may not receive a rose on your date. If you do not receive a rose, you may be asked to get into the rejection limo and go home, because your new guy doesn’t see a future with you. Sorry.  If things go well, your date may end with a “private performance” outside somewhere, by some random country artist that is supposedly famous but that nobody has ever heard of. You may make out during this dance, because you get so lost in the moment of thinking that any of this is real in any way, shape, or form.  You may tell the cameras that you felt so special and that this was one of the best nights of your life. Then, the very next night, Nick will go out with someone else, and it will probably involve a helicopter or picnic or rock climbing, and you will be sad and jealous. Enter more wine. If you should be one of the lucky ladies to make the top three choices for Nick’s heart this season, your last date with him will be an ‘overnight date”, that comes with the option of staying in the “fantasy suite”, where they turn off the cameras so the two of you can sleep together.  If you are the third girl of the three women on dates, you should be aware that this man-whore has probably just got done sleeping with another chick, and then another chick before that – just hours before you sleep with him.  In the morning, you will enjoy breakfast with your new man served in bed, and then you will leave promptly so he can get ready for his next date soon. Nothing like feeling special!

In real life, you should be prepared for some pretty bizarre dates. You never know what you’re getting into on the dating sites, or through friends, or out at singles bars. Once you are dating your person for awhile, and have gone on some dates together, you will probably decide to see each other exclusively, and so you will not be competing with a bunch of other women. Yay! You may decide to stay home one night as a date, and rent a movie together and cuddle. No cameras will be following you on your date, so you can do as you please. You can keep getting to know each other, and let yourself be adaptable to different things happening on your dates. Explore new places and conversations. You may get lost in the moments, and there may be intimacy. Enjoy it. When you date someone, whether its two times or for 7 months, try to think of it as getting to know someone new. Making a new connection. If you look at it that way, then no connection will ever feel pointless or like a waste of time. In real life dating and in life, every connection serves a purpose. As for intimacy, I prefer the real life way to the reality show one. Both parties involved in the relationship shall decide if and when the time is right for intimacy. You will not receive a creepy invitation from TV host Chris Harrison, inviting you to stay overnight and supplying you with a key. Instead, you and your partner will make these decisions together, like adults. Real life sex is very complicated and messy, and not as seamless as they make it look on TV. Sometimes you might be having your period. Or the condom doesn’t work right. Or he can’t perform right with the condom. Or you aren’t sure if this guy is really worth you starting up a whole new birth control plan (its a huuuuuge pain in the as, and expensive!) for. Or one of you just isn’t in the mood. Or one or both of you has children, so you have to figure out WHERE to do it and when the kids won’t be around. And then after you have sex, a whole new set of emotions emerges. Things become closer. More intimate. In real life relationships, there are no producers or cameras or manipulating tactics going on. Its all up to the two of you, and where you want to go next.



















The Proposal: 

The Bachelor In real life
On The Bachelor, should you survive the creepy and tacky “Overnight Date”, and make it into the top two choices for the best wife, you will then have to wait around anxiously, wondering if you are the one that Nick will propose to, or if your love story will end with a sad limo ride to the airport and nothing to show for it. Your man will meet some key members of your family, on television, in a contrived visit where they all get to know him in the course of an hour or two. You will meet his family as well, and they will all pretend as if this is all a perfectly normal way to meet the person you choose to spend your life with. Your man will be visited by a man representing an expensive jewelry store, and he will choose engagement rings, not only for you, but also for the other woman who may become his wife if you don’t. You will get up on the morning of your proposal/non-proposal, and you will stare longingly out at some gorgeous ocean or misty skyline, as you sip your coffee in your silk bathrobe and cameras film you pondering life’s events. Eventually, a limo will pick you up, you will be all dressed up in an elegant gown, and you will walk down a ridiculously long and complicated path to get to your future fiance or your future ex-boyfriend jerk who dumped you on national television. He will take your hands in his, he will review your entire few weeks relationship so the TV audience has a nice build up, and then he will keep us in suspense just a bit longer before either letting you go, or proposing.


In real life, a marriage proposal can happen anytime, in a number of ways, places, circumstances. Real life families are messy and dysfunctional, and their involvement will depend on your relationship with them. A proposal can be planned or spontaneous, and can happen in so many different ways. My husband proposed to me the Sunday before Christmas, in NYC, underneath the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. It was magical, and meaningful for us, because I’ve always been a christmas freak. A friend of mine proposed to his now wife while they were sitting on the couch together watching a movie. He just decided in that moment that he wanted to be with her like that every day, so he turned to her and said casually: “Would you do me the honor of being my wife?” She said yes, and they went out ring shopping the next morning after breakfast. Every kind of proposal in real life is beautiful to me, because it is so real and it is two people deciding to blend their lives together. There are no cameras or pomp and circumstance (unless you want that), like on a TV show, but to the two people involved, it’s the biggest and most important thing in the world. And it should be. Love IS the biggest thing in the world, and it always will be.
 If you are proposed to, you should know that literally 5 minutes earlier, he just dumped the other chick.  You should also know that as soon as just a few hours ago, he wasn’t even sure which of you he was going to choose TO BE HIS WIFE. Again, way to make someone feel special! If you are proposed to, sweeping music will play under you as you kiss and he picks you up and spins you in the air and you laugh and laugh. Three months later, you will be all over People magazine, there will be some weird cheating scandal, and you will break up.

So, after this humorous look at reality-TV dating and love versus real-life dating and love, what do you think? Which sounds better to you? For me, I think I will stick with real life. I don’t really like wine enough to stand around drinking vads of it on the daily, I cant see living in a giant house with 29 other women, and there’s no way in hell I’m going skydiving to prove my love for someone. Even though there is a lot of risk in real-life dating of getting your heart broken, or getting rejected – life is all about risks, and taking a chance could often lead you to the most wonderful, beautiful thing in the world. Everything beautiful starts with somebody making that first move, and then it just grows from there. I think that most of the audience for The Bachelor is young women. At least from what I have seen, a lot of women watch the show. I don’t think they watch it because they WANT what they see on the show. I think they watch it because it’s a form of escape, its a form of fantasy, and it’s a form of silly, meaningless fun. This might seem like a strange comparison, but I think that a lot of women watch The Bachelor for similar reasons that men watch porn. We KNOW none of it is real, we know its all fake and manipulated and that most of the couples that get engaged on the show end up breaking up later anyway – but watching it is a turn-on anyway. It brings to life that image of the knight in shining armor, coming to rescue us. More importantly, we see ourselves as that final girl that was chosen. Out of all those women, he chose HER. We see ourselves as HER, and then we think about the relationships we have in our own lives, and consider how lucky we truly are – because that person, my person, chose me. Out of everyone in the universe they could have chosen, they chose me.

Limos and roses and exotic islands and hot tubs aside, give me real-life romance and love any day of the week. Fantasy is fun and a nice escape to look at, when you don’t feel like thinking about anything. But real life, true, intense, beautiful, all-encompassing love??? That’s hot!!! And I don’t even have to rush out of the Fantasy Suite the morning after, so they can prep it for the next girl.

I Took a Relationship Hiatus for 18 Months

What abstaining from romantic love taught me about myself.

A while ago, I ended an unhealthy relationship and decided to give dating a wide berth for the foreseeable future. That turned out to be 18 months. I made the decision not out of bitterness or because I didn’t want to love again, and not even because my heart had received a sucker punch. It definitely had (multiple times).

But I realized that after my last relationship, I didn’t recognize myself. I felt so far removed from the person I wanted to be. I knew I needed to get to know myself, not a man.

Women spend so much time learning who we’re supposed to be that we forget to pay attention to who we actually are. The fear of being alone drives us towards men with whom we are ultimately (and sometimes glaringly) incompatible.

And one day it occurred to me that I was unfit to be anyone’s partner until I could stand to be myself.

Step 1: Face down my own emotions

I took some time to feel what I hadn’t let myself feel: all of the pain, abandonment, insecurity, etc. that had accumulated throughout my adult life. It socked me in the jaw. But I faced it down and began dealing with it. At first, I was terrified. I felt the suffocating loneliness of dating withdrawals. I panicked when, with no one else around, I stood face to face with my own demons.

But here’s the incredible thing: it didn’t last forever. After a few months, I learned new, healthier ways to deal with loneliness. The negative voices gradually softened. Like exercising a new muscle, my confidence and sense of self-worth strengthened.

Step 2: Date myself

It started with simply learning to be with myself. I took long walks and I thought. I took time to do exactly what I wanted to do. I wrote a novel. I read my favorite authors and watched my favorite films. I realized that while I love company, I don’t necessarily need it to be happy. Everything I need is already contained within me. Self-soothing is a wonderful skill we somehow acquire as babies and promptly forget once we reach adulthood. I’m proud to say I rediscovered it.

Step 3: Rekindle platonic love

Then I focused on my platonic relationships. I received so much more love than I could ever have anticipated. My friend recently told me I’m much easier to be around now than I was a year and a half ago. Taking this time to clear my own head opened up myriad possibilities — I cultivated friendships and relationships with family that I had neglected, began a new career path that I had dreamed of but never had the courage to pursue, and above all, in committing my love to those dear to me, I learned how to love myself.

Step 4: Set new #relationshipgoals

Affirming my choice not to date was liberating. I know now that if and when I do enter into a new relationship, I will do so as a more capable and compassionate partner. I also learned that I’m fine being alone. I faced my demons and came out alive.

There were times when I miss being kissed. I miss holding a man’s hand or the back-and-forth repartee that accompanies a first date. But I also recognize that it’s worth waiting for. I refuse to accept anything less than exactly what I want.

If it’s not out there, so be it. I’ll be ok. I have friends and family who love and support me. I have a new career that constantly challenges and rewards me. I’m enough.

Loved this? Discover more stories about finding yourself while single on Love TV.

7 Ways to Empower Your Incredible Single Friends During the Holidays

The holidays can be challenging for single friends or friends who just moved to a new city. Here’s how you can help.

For those worried about single friends over the holidays, now is the time to step in and show them they’re not alone and they’re loved.

Think about what works best with your friend; whether you should be funny, light-hearted or affectionate. Everyone is different and has their own unique needs.

There are several benefits to being single, however. Suddenly, you’re not being pulled in a million directions for where to spend the holidays. Presents certainly can fill credit cards up quickly. There’s the freedom of not needing to impress your significant other’s family or stress about what to get their mother.

While finding the right thing to say might vary, here are seven things you can do with your friends that show them the holidays are about your friend-family too.

1.Take your single friend to a fun holiday party.

single friends party

Whether through work, charities or friend parties, there are always gatherings around the holidays to share in food and fun. Find one that gets your single pal out for a night to enjoy the season and your friendship.

2. Ask your friend to donate their old flame’s belongings to your favorite charity.

single friends donation

While there is nothing more cathartic than seeing your ex’s stuff go up in the smoke from a bonfire, there are so many families that are in need. For parents who struggle every day to make ends meet, gently used clothes, games, action figures, books and more can be the perfect donation to a local charity. Your friend can burn the toothbrush, though.

3.  Sit down in front of a fire and help your friend write a Santa Wish List for love.

single friends sit down in front of fire

December is a great time to think about what the next year will bring. While we always set goals and New Year’s resolutions, this can be a perfect opportunity for your friend to make a new relationship plan.

Take stock in that last relationship and talk about what worked and what didn’t work. What did your friend learn about themselves? How did the ex make your friend a better or wiser person?

Then make a Santa list for what’s next. What are the things your friend now realizes they need in a relationship? What kind of lover or lovers are they seeking to bring into their love life? Let your friend dream about their next amazing lover! What qualities does that person have? The possibilities are endless and it helps your friend look love forward and not dwell in the love past.

4. Give your friend a “sexy stocking” to get them in the mood again.

single friends sexy stockings

Breakups can be a hit to the heart and libido, especially if you’re not over someone and having a hard time getting back out there and meeting people. Don’t let your friend go without. Spice up their stocking with some secret treats to encourage your friend to move forward. What a perfect way to bring sexy back into your friends life this season.

5.  Surprise your friend with a LoveTV membership to speed up their success for love in 2018.

single friends LOVE TV membership

If your friend is ready for a new love story better than they have had historically, but tired of wasting time and feeling drained by facing the same dating challenges over and over, LOVE TV can help. LOVE TV’s membership puts the ease and fun back into their dating and relationship building experience. Your friend deserves to create a positive love life future. At LOVE TV, we can jump start that process.

6. Introduce your friend to someone in your social network whose status is “single.”

single friends social network

Who do you know on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram or other social media sites that might also be single right now? Take a look through your contacts and think about who could be a good person for your friend.

7.  Let your friend know just how loveable they are.

loveable single friends

When you are single during the holidays you need your friends more than ever. Once can default into self-doubt, anxiety, and sadness over their relationship life. Do your part in helping your friend go down the love and life affirming road this holiday season.

Find ways to let your friend know why they’re a special person in your life. Express how grateful you are for what they have brought to your friendship.  Help remind them what a catch they are for that special person. Most importantly, help them remember that loving themselves and especially during the holidays is an amazing opportunity to attract lots of love into their life.

Remember that we’re always here at LOVE TV to help you and your friend begin their next adventure in love. We are an empowering resource and guide for moving forward and finding new ways to love again.

karinna karsten

15 Exciting Holiday Adventures For Single People

Single this season but still looking to have some fun? Here are some unique ways to enjoy yourself this holiday.

Isn’t the holiday season the best? Single or attached, I’ve always loved celebrating all the magic of this time of year. When I was single, I got a little more creative to assure I had a blast in December.

Here are just some ideas on how to have a wonderful time as a single woman this season.

1. Throw your own party.

I adore entertaining and have hosted a holiday party every year since I left college. When I was single, I adored getting to see all of my friends in one place. It was fun to catch up over cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Pinterest has tons of party ideas to make sure your holiday party is the can’t miss féte of the season.

2. Take a staycation.

Chances are, where you’re currently living has plenty to offer. Take advantage of special holiday adventure hotel deals, spa treatments and more and book a staycation. Consider taking yourself out to dinner too. It may feel over indulgent or awkward at first but by simply taking a deep breath and relishing in the moment, you’ll begin to feel it.

What is “it” you may ask? Consider this, as a single woman you won’t have to worry about finding the perfect gift for your significant other or going through the stress of meeting his parents over the holidays.

3. Let loose at a holiday party.

You’re unattached, why not have some fun? Don’t feel bashful about going to a holiday party you’re invited to solo. Who knows, you may find the perfect person to steal a kiss under the mistletoe.

4. Start a new tradition.

Being unattached means you get to do what you want. Now is a great time to start your own traditions. Whether it’s grabbing a peppermint mocha and taking a walk to check out the Christmas lights, or ordering in Chinese and watching Christmas Vacation, embrace the chance to create memories all your own.

winter leisure

5. Reconnect with old friends.

When you’re home for the holidays, you don’t have to worry about entertaining a significant other. Instead, use the time to reconnect with old friends you’ve lost touch with. Not only will you be making personal connections again, there are also multiple opportunities for networking.

6. Volunteer.

Use the holiday downtime to consider volunteering at a local organization near you. If you’re feeling lonely or unfulfilled during this season, getting involved with a place you’re passionate about could work wonders.

7. Get to know your neighbors.

Apartment life can get lonely sometimes. Knock on your neighbor’s door this season and invite them to coffee or lunch. I mean, it did wonders for Leonard and Penny in The Big Bang Theory.

8. Get to know your city.

While everyone else is frantically figuring out what to wear for the ultimate holiday date night, you can have the opportunity to really get to know your city. Try that new restaurant or bar around the corner, or visit the museum you’ve always wanted to check out. Some holiday romance may be just outside your door.

9. Embrace hygge.

Hygge, pronounced “hygge,” is a Danish term that refers to a general sense of coziness and charm, whether alone or with friends, in your home or out. By embracing this philosophy, your solo holiday season may become just a bit brighter.

friends on vacation

10. Take a holiday-themed class.

Look for classes on ornament making, wreath designing or cooking a holiday dish. Before you know it you just may turn into the next Martha Stewart!

11. Take your little nieces and nephews to visit Santa.

Relive your childhood with a trip to the mall to see Santa. Get nostalgic and jump in for a photo yourself!

12. Buy yourself a sexy new outfit.

You’ve given so many gifts this season, it’s time you treat yourself. Head to your favorite boutique or clothing store and pick out a sexy new holiday outfit for all the parties you’ll head to. Buy some lingerie to match too for some extra oomph.

13. Organize a holiday-themed girls’ night.

Get all your best girlfriends together and see a holiday movie (may I recommend Bad Mom’s Christmas?) and go out for drinks after. No boys allowed!

14. Visit your local ice-skating rink.

Unleash your inner Tara Lipinski and head to your local ice-skating rink with your best friends. Enjoy an evening under the stars, laughing as you glide over the ice and fall down a few times too. End the day with some spiked hot chocolate back at your place.

15. Host a tree-trimming party.

Visit your local Christmas tree stand and buy a tree to put up in your home. Invite all your friends over for a fun evening decorating your tree.

Stay positive as a single person this season with these fun holiday experiences.

Being single during the holiday season isn’t a sentence for six weeks of loneliness. The truth is, being single over the most festive time of the year is a great time to enjoy yourself, have fun and explore new opportunities and experiences. These ideas don’t require lots of time and money, just an open mind and lots of optimism during this sparkly season.

If you’re still feeling lonely, check out these tips on how to cope with the blues this season.

Here Are 15 Essential Tips for Dating in Your 30s

Your 30s are an interesting decade and if you are single, we put together some tips on dating.

Whether you’re just getting out of a long-term relationship, divorcing, or seem to be perpetually single, dating in your 30s can often be tough yet eye-opening. So, we put together a guide for those who might need some extra dating help.

Don’t forget, we can help break through the noise of the dating world and streamline your success. Join LOVE TV today! 

Here are 15 tips on dating in your 30s.

1. Don’t settle!

This is the number one piece of advice for women not only in their 30s, but any age. Your 30s in particular though are the in-between, often confusing decade. You are no longer a teen or 20-something but not quite an experienced 40-something. It’s important to remember that you never, ever have to settle. Everyone has been single at some point—you were a strong and independent woman then, why not now?

2. Don’t get too giddy about each new date.

couple on a date

I’m all for getting excited and optimistic about things (you should see me at Christmastime). However, with dating it’s important to stay calm and focused and remember to really think about whether or not you’re truly compatible with the person. Sure, there’s physical attraction, but know that will eventually fade. You’ll need to think about whether or not you can be best friends with that person.

3. Don’t get too hung up on your age.

If you’re 35, so what? Even if you’re approaching 40, who cares? Age is really just a number. I’m not saying date the first 18-year-old you meet, but remember that if you’re compatible with someone significantly younger or much older than you, it’s okay to go for it. You never know where the relationship will go.

4. Do use apps.

This one is for those getting out of long-term relationships. Chances are, your ex-husband or boyfriend was not met over one of the numerous dating apps out there. Now that you’re newly single, check out the options. I have known many, many people who have met over online dating apps and ended up married or in a wonderful, loving relationship.

5. Take advantage of work events.

Work is probably where you spend most of your time, right? Those happy hours or networking events are great places to meet people. Even if you’re not into anyone from work or don’t believe in dating someone you work with, you could meet a friend of a friend. That friend of a friend could be perfect for you!

6. You’re not as young as you were.

passionate young couple

This may sound harsh, but it’s essential to remember that you might not want to meet someone at a bar. In your 30s, you may find the love of your life at the gym, in the grocery store or even waiting in line at the post office. Never lose the optimistic romantic views you once had in your 20s, but keep an open mind as to where you could meet someone.

7. It’s okay to be confused or on the fence about someone.

You may read about people feeling so confident or knowing exactly what they want in their 30s, but it is totally and completely fine to not feel that way. Not freaking out about your confusion is important. Just take things one step at a time.

8. Know what is make-or-break for you and stick to it.

If things like faith and family are important to you, stick to your guns. Same with any sort of values, be it political, drugs, alcohol, or just plain being kind to others. If someone you meet does something that is just not okay, don’t stick around just for the sex, or just to be in a relationship. It’s not fair to you or to them either.

9. Kids can complicate things.

This one is especially for those who’ve been previously married. If you ended up with kids and are now finding yourself single, just remember that dating can be hard. Many men can be scared that you already have kids or just plain don’t want them. It’s important to weed out those types of men and find one that you and your children especially adore and love.

10. Issues get heavier and darker.

As sad as this one is, be aware that the older you get, the more life happens to you. You could meet someone dealing with a sick parent or a parent that has passed away. Others can be dealing with health issues themselves, including things as serious as fertility problems to more everyday concerns like changes in diet.

11. Don’t be so set in your ways that you aren’t open to new experiences.

couple on a date

You swore you’d never date a Republican. You said your whole life you would never ever be in a relationship with someone who was a fan of your most hated sports team. Things like that are better off abandoned in your 20s. In your 30s, it’s crucial to be able to keep your mind open to new experiences and not become a curmudgeonly old biddy decades too early.

12. Nobody, and I mean nobody, is perfect.

Absolutely nobody is perfect and it’s so critical to remember this, especially in your 30s. You will never find a flawless man. After all, isn’t that what love is about—knowing and accepting a partner’s quirks and differences?

13. Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve, but it’s okay to be vulnerable.

This may seem like contradictory advice. However, it is true. Don’t open yourself up to just anyone. As I previously mentioned, you may have more baggage in your 30s. Not being completely trustworthy of someone right off the bat is okay. At the same time, even if you’ve been hurt in the past, it’s okay to open yourself up to that vulnerability. It will be scary at first, but I promise it’ll be worth it.

14. Be aware you may be intimidating to younger men.

You may not have officially reached cougar status yet, but being aware that you may be a little on the terrifying side to young ones is an aspect of your age to remember. Embrace your age and use it to your advantage. Feeling sexier, more confident and beautiful is a great asset to being in your more experienced 30s.

15. Have fun!

Last but not least, life is short. Have fun dating. If anything, you will have some wonderful, hilarious stories to share with friends and loved ones.

Looking for ways to meet people besides dating apps? Check out this piece.