eHarmony Blog http://www.eharmony.com/blog eHarmony experts’ take on dating, relationships and the science of love Mon, 02 May 2016 22:46:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 How to Stay Positive When Your Friends Are Hating on Dating http://www.eharmony.com/blog/stay-positive-friends-hating-dating/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/stay-positive-friends-hating-dating/#respond Mon, 02 May 2016 22:46:08 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=20742 Your friends can be a great source of inspiration and consolation when you’re looking for love. They’ll laugh with you about a dud date or help you decode a baffling text. (Not sure what to write back? The smiley face emoji always works!) They’ll dust you off when a promising romance fizzles or simply remind […]

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Your friends can be a great source of inspiration and consolation when you’re looking for love. They’ll laugh with you about a dud date or help you decode a baffling text. (Not sure what to write back? The smiley face emoji always works!) They’ll dust you off when a promising romance fizzles or simply remind you to “hang in there” when you’re losing steam.

Yet certain negative friends don’t always help your cause. Their sour outlook seeps into your consciousness and zaps some of your enthusiasm for dating. Your friends might not even realize they’re being discouraging, but the toll of their negative vibes is undeniable. When you’re feeling vulnerable, it doesn’t take much bad juju to nudge you into a hopeless place.

Have you experienced any of these toxic friend dynamics? (Note: I’m referring mostly to women’s relationships because that’s what I know. Some might apply to the “bro code.”)

  • The Generalizer: When I moved from New York City to San Diego a year ago, several women offered to give me the lowdown on San Diego men. “They’re totally passive,” said one. “They’re self-absorbed and boring texters,” said others. The funny thing is that I heard the same “truths” about Manhattan men.
  • The Basher: Mention that a match asked you for a last-minute brunch? “Typical!” says your friend. “Men are such bad planners.” Your friend has a talent for trotting out every gendered dating stereotype. You can fight the statements in your head or even out loud. “Well, that’s not true. His son had an unexpected play date,” you might say. But no matter your efforts to stay positive, you can’t escape the subtle sting of their words.
  • The Consoler: “Don’t worry. You’ll find someone!” she tells you in an unnaturally upbeat voice. Never mind that you’re doing just fine. Her tone suggests you’re on a difficult mission and that you need her unsolicited encouragement.

How do you know your friend is too negative? You just kind of feel bad. Their comments make your shoulders tense or stomach lurch. Or they make you question your own judgment and actions. You can count on dating to bring enough self-doubt without your pals piling on more.

The problem is that your friends aren’t necessarily trying to bring you down. Yes, there’s always the scenario of a friend sabotaging your happiness because she doesn’t want less of your time or attention. Or your friend is jealous. But usually they think they’re being helpful or “real” by seeing your dating adventures through their own wounded, slightly misguided filters. They’re not speaking universal truths; they’re just reflecting their own disappointing experiences.

What should you do?

  • Tread lightly on dating talk

Be mindful to change the topic as soon as the vibe shifts. And spare the “analysis sessions” of what you should do in a particular situation. Sometimes it’s better to stumble around on your own rather than get bad advice from people who see the downside in everything.

  • Surround yourself with positive people

This includes people who generally seek and find love in the world – or at least believe it’s available to them and everyone else, no matter their age, weight or income. Boost your own outlook by surrounding yourself with emotionally healthy people.

  • Don’t go hunting with them

Go out with your friends to enjoy their company or engage in an activity together. If you’re going out with negative friends with the intent of meeting potential love interests, it never ends well.

  • Remember your own reasons

Sometimes friends’ bad vibes can be helpful – if only to reinforce your own motivations. “I’m not going to be like her!” you might vow to yourself. “I’m going to do whatever it takes to find love.” Use their negativity to keep you on the right track.

How do you handle your friends’ downer attitudes?

About the Author:

Sarah Elizabeth Richards is a journalist and the author of Motherhood, Rescheduled: The New Frontier of Egg Freezing and the Women Who Tried It. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Marie Claire, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Slate, and Salon.

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How to Not Lose Heart http://www.eharmony.com/blog/not-lose-heart/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/not-lose-heart/#respond Thu, 28 Apr 2016 17:03:37 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=20734 “All my relationships have failed.” “There must be something wrong with me.” “As I get older, it’s going to be harder for me to date.” For some reason, we human beings have a bad habit of letting upsetting thoughts take over our brains. We fret and churn, convinced that this is somehow productive. Most of […]

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“All my relationships have failed.”

“There must be something wrong with me.”

“As I get older, it’s going to be harder for me to date.”

For some reason, we human beings have a bad habit of letting upsetting thoughts take over our brains. We fret and churn, convinced that this is somehow productive.

Most of the time, it’s not. “Almost always, self-critical thoughts of this nature do not motivate us to take effective action,” writes psychologist Russ Harris in The Happiness Trap. “Usually such thoughts (if we fuse with them) just make us feel guilty, stressed, depressed, frustrated or anxious.” These feelings can in turn trigger counterproductive actions—for example, you feel bad about being overweight, and then eat more.

It’s not that negative thoughts are always bad—actually, they’re essential for survival. They’re what inspire us to get flu shots, double-check our tax returns, and avoid strangers who give us the creeps. The problem comes when we treat every dark thought as if it were extremely important and the absolute truth. Harris calls this process “fusion” and offers a simple and quite effective strategy for “defusing” thoughts:

  1. Think of a thought that has been troubling you, such as “I’ll never find the right person.” Spend ten seconds really immersed in that thought—believe it as much as you can.
  2. Now add the phrase, “I’m having the thought that…” Take ten seconds and repeat that to yourself: “I’m having the thought that I’ll never find the right person.”
  3. Add a final phrase: “I notice that I’m having the thought that I’ll never find the right person.” Repeat to yourself for ten seconds.

When I ask my clients how they experienced this exercise, they say that with each step they gained distance from their thoughts. They realized they were … just thoughts. They weren’t immutable truths; they weren’t prison sentences. They were just momentary blips that passed through their minds.

By developing the skill of defusing your thoughts, Harris says that you can keep them from dragging you down. “You don’t have to like them, want them or approve of them; you simply make peace with them and let them be. This leaves you fee to focus your energy on taking action, action that moves your life forward in a direction you value.”

You might argue that your thoughts are true. Harris says this doesn’t really matter:

“You can waste a lot of time trying to decide whether your thoughts are actually true,” he writes. “Again and again your mind will try to suck you into that debate. But although at times this is important, most of the time it is irrelevant and a waste of energy. The more useful approach is to ask, ‘Is this thought helpful? Does it help me to take action and to create the life I want?”

Yes, you might face legitimate obstacles in your search for a partner. Maybe the demographics in your city are bad. Maybe you hate parties. Maybe you work in an industry where the likelihood of meeting single people you’d like to date is slim.

None of these challenges means you’re doomed—they just mean you might have to work a little harder to find that person than, say, someone who met their partner in college.

So save that energy for the act of actually seeking a partner, rather than letting a lot of self-defeating thoughts suck it away.

 

its not you sara eckel

Sara Eckel is a personal coach and the author of It’s Not You: 27 (Wrong) Reasons You’re Single. You can get a free bonus chapter of her book at saraeckel.com. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook. Ask her any questions here.

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A Reader Asks ‘Am I Undateable?’ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/reader-asks-undateable/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/reader-asks-undateable/#respond Mon, 25 Apr 2016 21:12:42 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=20727 Dear Sara: I loved the letter that you posted from the young lady who was struggling with dating at first. She eventually realized that she enjoyed being single and meeting all types of people and loving them. Are some people just undateable (excuse my made-up word)? I am beginning to think I have been single […]

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Dear Sara: I loved the letter that you posted from the young lady who was struggling with dating at first. She eventually realized that she enjoyed being single and meeting all types of people and loving them. Are some people just undateable (excuse my made-up word)? I am beginning to think I have been single so long that I no longer am appealing to men, and men aren’t appealing to me. Sigh. When I look at my ‘matches,’ I just … no enthusiasm, no zest for checking profiles, etc. — T

Dear T: When I coach women about being single, many times I’ll have a conversation that starts something like this:

“So I’ve been seeing this guy …” Long pause, sad sigh. “He’s really, really nice.”

They do fun things together—movies, museums. And it’s so nice to have someone to take to weddings and family events—their parents approve!

The longer these women talk, the sadder they sound.

They’re just not into their men. And for that, they feel profoundly guilty. They have had it pounded in their heads that basic decency is all they should ask for in a partner—that passion, connection, and great conversation are luxuries women their age can’t afford.

Here’s where I think this conversation gets confusing. There was a time when this was probably true. Before women were able to earn a decent living on their own, they had lower standards for their spouses. Does he have a job? Is he a nice guy? Does he have decent anger-management skills? Will he stick around after the kids are born? For most of human history, these were the primary standards a woman used to make her choice—if she had a choice.

Women have higher standards now, and that’s great. But it’s not always easy. Once you add the requirements of passionate love and connection, you soon realize that you don’t always meet that person by 23—or even by 33 or 43 necessarily.

So you do your best. You go online, try to meet people at parties, etc. If you feel “meh” a lot, that’s probably because most of the people you meet probably aren’t a great match for you. That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you; it’s hard to find a great match.

Here’s the key question: Do you feel unenthusiastic about everything in your life, or just the online profiles you’re seeing? Outside of dating, are there things that interest and engage you? Do you have friends who delight you? Are there activities you enjoy?

If you find that you aren’t able to get excited about anything, then you might be suffering from a mild depression and I’d suggest talking to your doctor or therapist. This is not necessarily a big deal. A few years ago, I went through a phase when nothing seemed interesting or enjoyable to me. It lasted about a week, and then for no reason I could identify I was back to my old self.

But if there are things in your life that you are enthusiastic about: your work, your nieces, ultimate Frisbee, Game of Thrones, whatever. Then my guess is that you’re feeling uninspired because you’re not meeting potential partners who inspire you.

Women have been conditioned to believe that it’s not just our job to be desirable; it’s also our job to desire anyone who is interested in us. But the human heart doesn’t seem to work like that. A person can meet all of our “requirements” and do everything right, but sometimes there is just a missing X factor. Sometimes you want to fall for someone and you just … don’t.

I spent most of my twenties and thirties wondering what was wrong with me that I couldn’t will myself to get excited about a lot of very good men. There was nothing wrong with these men, but when I spoke of them I sounded a lot like my coaching clients: guilty and sad.

Then I met my husband, who is a really nice guy. But he’s also much more than that: He’s my best friend, a person who, ten years later, I love spending time with every day.

We can debate the merits and risks of holding out for this kind of connection, but my sense is that women like us don’t really have a choice. Settling, however tempting or reasonable-seeming at times, is simply not an option.

Still, it might be worth taking a chance on some of the men behind these profiles. Many people don’t come off terribly well in an online write-up, so consider taking the risk of meeting them in person–or at least by phone call. If your initial instinct is correct and you’re not into them, no problem—commend yourself for your good intuition and release them to find people who will adore them. If you’re wrong and they turn out to be a lot more fun than expected, great!

So no, I don’t think you’re undateable. I think you’re a modern woman who has appropriately high standards, and I suggest you keep them.

 

Yours,

Sara

 

its not you sara eckel

Sara Eckel is a personal coach and the author of It’s Not You: 27 (Wrong) Reasons You’re Single. You can get a free bonus chapter of her book at saraeckel.com. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook. Ask her any questions here.

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The 3 Most Controlling Types of People http://www.eharmony.com/blog/3-controlling-types-people/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/3-controlling-types-people/#respond Mon, 25 Apr 2016 20:35:54 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=20720 Can we all agree that being controlling is one of the most frustrating traits a person can have, especially when it comes to dating and relationships? In all likelihood, you have dealt with at least one seriously controlling individual, whether it was a parent, friend, boss, or romantic partner. Controlling types can actually be appealing […]

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Can we all agree that being controlling is one of the most frustrating traits a person can have, especially when it comes to dating and relationships? In all likelihood, you have dealt with at least one seriously controlling individual, whether it was a parent, friend, boss, or romantic partner. Controlling types can actually be appealing at first because they come across as strong and confident, and we tend to be drawn to those traits. But once you truly get to know someone who is controlling, this trait becomes extremely repellant and all you really want to do is break free from this person’s grip. There are three types of people who tend to be the most controlling, and I will review each one and share what makes them unique

The Jealous Type

We can’t talk about the controlling personality type without talking about its absolute worst offender: the jealous guy or gal. Jealous individuals are extremely territorial in relationships because they carry the underlying fear that they will be left or abandoned if they don’t hold on tight enough. These types of men and women tend to be highly emotional and often volatile, and it often seems as if they are looking for a fight or argument. Sometimes dating someone controlling gives you the false sense that they get jealous because they care and love you that much, but what a misguided version of love that is! Being jealous and controlling is all about fear, and it has nothing to do with how much you are liked or even loved.

The Codependent Type

Imagine for a moment the couple who does everything together – they only socialize together, and are almost never apart from each other. With codependent couples, if you get one, you automatically get the other. Codependent men and women often don’t come across as aggressive or domineering; they often seem sweet, easy to get along with, and fun. But make no mistake about codependents: They are very controlling with each other, though they are careful to not let most people see their anxious, needy side. Codependent men and women have a leash around their partners’ necks, even though they would never own up to trying to control their partners. An example: Out with a group of friends recently, one especially codependent couple was trying to decide what to do when the group was deciding to split up and go to different bars for cocktails. One member of the couple decided to go one place, but it was not the place the other wanted to go. As soon as the one realized that his girlfriend wanted to go somewhere else, he didn’t say anything – but he sure gave her a look, and that look said it all. With normal, healthy couples, they should be able to separate from each other once in a while! What keeps codependent couples glued together is the fear that if one goes in a separate direction, he or she will find something else more appealing and he or she will be lost forever.

The Narcissistic Type

In a nutshell, narcissistic men and women are individuals who have a hugely inflated ego (what therapists call a grandiose sense of self). They crave being seen as superior to others, and they are extremely focused on their image and how others see them. Narcissists have little insight into themselves and they will rarely admit when they are wrong because keeping up the superior, always-good, always-happy pretense is the absolute priority. Though they can be difficult, narcissists can also be charming and likable, and they usually excel at seducing others. Sadly, narcissists are extremely controlling in relationships. Above all, narcissists want compliance from their partners. They look for partners who will conform to what they want, which means that the partners of narcissists almost always end up feeling resentful and unhappy.

How to handle these personalities when you encounter them in dating:

The best thing you can do to protect yourself from these 3 controlling types of people is to always tell them what you want and what you need clearly. You must speak up for yourself constantly with these types or they will steamroll over you and exploit you. Many times, men and women spot controlling traits early on but don’t say anything for fear that the relationship will end if they say how they really feel. The ugly truth is that there is no way to win or to have a healthy long-term relationship with someone controlling. You will end up unhappy either way. Consider this question: Would you rather walk away soon or wait until later when you’re deeper in the relationship when it hurts even more to leave?

book_Dr_Seths_Love_Prescription_lg

About the Author:

Dr. Seth is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, Psychology Today blogger, and TV guest expert. He practices in Los Angeles and treats a wide range of issues and disorders and specializes in relationships, parenting, and addiction. He has had extensive training in conducting couples therapy and is the author of Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription: Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve

 

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What is your “So What Now?” http://www.eharmony.com/blog/what-is-your-so-what/ Tue, 19 Apr 2016 17:13:52 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=20708 “It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable.” ~ John Baptiste Moliere I saw a cartoon the other day that said, “Divorce is like algebra. You look at your X and ask Y.” When I ask people going through a divorce what they might […]

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“It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable.”

~ John Baptiste Moliere

I saw a cartoon the other day that said, “Divorce is like algebra. You look at your X and ask Y.”

When I ask people going through a divorce what they might do differently next time, the first response I normally get is, “Not marry him (or her) in the first place!” Humor is good. Divorce is frequently such a stressful, sad time, that a little laughter goes a long way and is so good for the soul! It reduces anxiety and stress! But, underlying that question is a serious request for which I am seeking an honest answer.

I am a fan of some of the great things that Mahatma Gandhi had to say. For example; he said, ““It is wrong and immoral to seek to escape the consequences of one’s acts.” So often we hear the term “accountable” when it comes to the “other person” in our divorce. We hear, “He must be held accountable for his affair,” or “She needs to be held accountable for drinking too much.” What about our own personal accountability?

It is much easier to place blame on others, and say that all of the accountability lies with them. I get that! Trust me, I do! But, we also owe it to ourselves to turn that mirror around and find out what piece of personal accountability we each own.

I have often said that if you go through a divorce, even if you didn’t “do anything wrong” (that’s loosely defined), you still owe it to yourself to become introspective and ask what you might have done differently. If we don’t ask this question of ourselves, how are we going to become even better as individuals, even better in other personal relationships, and even better in any potential future romantic relationships, marriages or partnerships? What can we learn about what we went through that will make us a better person as we move on in life?

For some people, that introspection will result in a realization that they didn’t give priority to their spouse. It might be a realization that everyone else came first (work, the kids, the parents, the friends, the hobbies … always expecting that the spouse would wait patiently). It might be an awareness that you stopped letting little things that were “cute” when you were first married remain little things, and instead allowed that to become big items which led to rolling of the eyes, incessant nagging, and fights.  It might be an understanding that you grew tired of being the one who was “always trying” and that you ultimately just gave up and stopped expending the energy and the oxygen that your marriage needed to survive.  It could be that you quit taking care of yourself, that you quit trying to be healthy, that you quit trying to impress your spouse like you did when you were first dating or first married, and just expected them to understand.

My request today is to challenge each of us to question our own actions and find out what we are responsible for and what we can hold ourselves personally accountable for! You don’t have to share this with others; just be sure to be honest with yourself about what you might have done differently or what you will be sure to do differently on a go-forward basis.

I’m not saying this is easy to do. In fact it can be quite difficult to do, especially if you don’t feel you had any “blame” in your divorce. I hear people say, “I wasn’t the one who cheated. I wasn’t the one who squandered all of our money. I wasn’t the one who decided I didn’t want kids. I wasn’t the one who changed.” Then they say … “So I’m not accountable in any way, shape or form for my divorce.” Maybe … and maybe not.

I argue we can all learn a thing or two about who we are, what makes us tick, and what role we might have played in being part of a failing marriage. Accountability isn’t about personal blame and about tearing ourselves apart. It is about taking a life experience and learning from it. If you don’t learn from your own mistakes, you will keep making them.  Turning that mirror around and discovering your own personal accountability is only part of it.  It answers the who and the what. You still need to ask yourself, “so what?”  So what now? So what will I do differently? So what have I learned about myself?

Personal growth comes from turning that mirror around, taking a deep look at yourself, accepting what you see at face value, and then doing something differently with that learning.

“Everything you do is based on the choices you make. It’s not your parents, your past relationships, your job, the economy, the weather, an argument or your age that is to blame. You, and only you, are responsible for every decision and choice you make. Period.”

What do you think? What might you do differently next time? What is your “so what?”

About the Author:

Author Monique A. Honaman wrote “The High Road Has Less Traffic: honest advice on the path through love and divorce” (2010) in response to a need for a book that provided honest, real, and raw advice about how to survive and thrive through one of life’s toughest journeys, and “The High Road Has Less Traffic … and a better view” (2013) to provide perspectives on love, marriage, divorce and everything in between. The books are available on Amazon.com. Learn more at www.HighRoadLessTraffic.com.

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Dating Advice: ‘It’s Hopeless. You’re a Mess. Why so Negative?’ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/dating-advice-hopeless-youre-mess-negative/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/dating-advice-hopeless-youre-mess-negative/#respond Mon, 18 Apr 2016 21:39:51 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=20700 This week a client wrote me about a disappointing evening. She met a guy she liked at a networking event and … it didn’t go the way she hoped. Anyone who has been single for any length of time has probably had this kind of night. It can feel very significant in the moment, even […]

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This week a client wrote me about a disappointing evening. She met a guy she liked at a networking event and … it didn’t go the way she hoped.

Anyone who has been single for any length of time has probably had this kind of night. It can feel very significant in the moment, even though it doesn’t really mean anything other than that you’ve had a bad night.

Unfortunately, my client went home and read a blog post that made her feel much worse.

I hesitate to link to this post—I’ve lived happily with my husband for ten years, and it stressed me out. I also don’t mean to pick on this blogger in particular, as I’ve seen variations on this message in countless books, articles, posts, and television segments. But that is the point, so here goes:

The post begins with a letter from a woman named Betty, who is in her late 30s and having a hard time finding men her age to date—she noticed that the men who approached her online were usually ten to twenty years older. Naturally, she was frustrated and worried.

The blogger, identified only as Moxie, confirmed that her situation was very bad indeed, and proceeded to make some very disheartening, blanket statements about men. The guys who wanted children would surely look past her, but she would also have a tough time with men who didn’t want kids: “A 40-45 year old man who’s not interested in having children is going to want a woman who isn’t dead set on having kids. Most will assume that a 38-year-old woman will want kids. And soon.”

Moxie concurred with Betty’s observation that men on dating sites were mostly only interested in women decades younger than themselves, but bars were no better: “Guys in bars are looking for the 25-32 year old gal. Or they’re looking for desperate women who will be easy to get in to bed.”

The only bright side to such a conclusion is that at least the reader can know it’s not her fault. It’s just math, and men are too timid or shallow to date women their age.

But that’s not where Moxie goes. The dating market is brutal, and Betty is screwed up:

“I haven’t met one person over the age of 35 who’s still single who wasn’t that way for a serious reason. And it’s usually one of these: We want it all right now. We want to know where we stand. We want to know what’s what right now. We aren’t willing to sit back and allow things to unfold at a natural pace. We assume that if someone doesn’t feel the same way we do when we do then they aren’t right for us. We grow resentful of those people who do have an easier time meeting someone and that resentment morphs into bitterness and negativity. All of that stuff comes from a place of fear. A fear that we will never meet anyone, that we will end up alone. A fear that we will be hurt or left or abandoned or that we won’t be in control of the situation. If you continue to feed in to that fear you will end up alone. Or, worse, you’ll settle.

Once again, a space for compassion and sanity opens up. Wanting to help liberate Betty from that crippling fear, Moxie could have suggested she take some of the pressure off by accepting herself as she is and allowing her life to unfold at a natural pace. No one has complete control, no one is perfect, but we all deserve love. So why not relax, enjoy your life and do your best to find a man who has the good sense and maturity to appreciate a woman his age?

Moxie doesn’t go there. Instead she proceeds to stoke that fear:

“You’re competing with women younger, possibly thinner, and probably making just as much money as you are and are equally successful. Either step up or move on to another league. And by step up I mean do the work you need to do to compete. That could be simply reorganizing priorities to dropping 10 pounds to going in to therapy to taking up yoga to learn how to relax. Is there something about you physically or personality-wise that might be turning men off? Because that might be it.”

The final fix — an attitude adjustment:

“People who tell themselves that there is ‘no one’ out there for them or who focus on how they don’t have someone will continue to have bad luck in the love department. You literally have to stop yourself from saying things like ‘Every women/man’ is this or that. You have to de-program yourself from thinking negatively.”

In short: After overgeneralizing about men and women, Moxie tells Betty not to overgeneralize about men and women. After assaulting Betty with sweeping proclamations about her low value in the dating market and her messed-up attitude (a diagnosis that appears to be based on nothing more than a single email query), she tells her not to be negative. After pumping the reader with fear, she tells her to stop being so fearful.

Now that’s Moxie.

Like I said, I’m writing about this post not because it says anything new, but it because it reiterates a message that women have heard again and again and again. And I’m really, really tired of nice, smart. and utterly sane women buying into it.

The next time someone tells you to “be positive,” I’d suggest asking “about what exactly?” Does being positive mean “embrace the fact that you’re 38 and have the wisdom and crow’s feet to show for it”? Or does it mean “capitulate to a culture that tells women over 35 they have little value”? Does being positive mean “be kind to yourself” or does it mean “mold yourself into someone else’s idea of a desirable female”? Does being positive mean “stand up for yourself and don’t take anyone’s crap” or does it mean “bow to the status quo”?

I’m sure you know where I stand on this. Does taking my advice guarantee you’ll find the partner of your dreams? No. But at least you won’t have to hate yourself in the meantime.

its not you sara eckel

Sara Eckel is a personal coach and the author of It’s Not You: 27 (Wrong) Reasons You’re Single. You can get a free bonus chapter of her book at saraeckel.com. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook. Ask her any questions here.

 

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Why Sundays Are the Loneliest Day of the Week http://www.eharmony.com/blog/sundays-loneliest-day-week/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/sundays-loneliest-day-week/#respond Fri, 15 Apr 2016 18:29:32 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=20693 It’s a myth that date-less Saturday nights feel the most depressing when you’re unattached. I’ve heard many daters claim those long stretches of Sunday solitude are worse. That’s especially the case if you’re newly single and your former Sunday Fun Days suddenly have big gaping holes in them. Maybe you and your ex used to […]

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It’s a myth that date-less Saturday nights feel the most depressing when you’re unattached. I’ve heard many daters claim those long stretches of Sunday solitude are worse. That’s especially the case if you’re newly single and your former Sunday Fun Days suddenly have big gaping holes in them. Maybe you and your ex used to spend Sunday mornings in your jammies making waffles and watching old movies. Or if you’re recently divorced and trying to get used to a new custody schedule, being alone on the day you used to spend with your kids can feel like a kick in the gut. Or maybe you’ve been flying solo for a while and would just really appreciate some company on your Sunday morning runs.

You know you should make more plans. Yes, you should fill up your Sundays with nurturing, exciting, and fulfilling activities that will not only make you less lonely – but also an extremely well-rounded person who’s interesting and attractive to future matches.

Well, it’s not that simple. Sundays are traditionally rest days spent socializing with friends and family. Or they’re filled with meaningful events or fun day trips that later will be posted on Facebook.

In other words, they’re emotionally charged. Saturdays, on the other hand, are usually dominated by giant to-do lists. You don’t feel quite the same soul-piercing ache running to the grocery store, exchanging shoes or doing laundry.

Here are some tips on how to make Sundays fun again:

1) Know your triggers

Everyone has favorite Sunday rituals, and it’s important to decide which ones you’re comfortable enjoying by yourself. During my single Manhattan days, I felt as if I was missing out whenever I walked by cafes full of people eating brunch. Another friend told me he hates being alone on Sunday evenings because he loves cooking an early dinner with a girlfriend and chatting about the week ahead.

The point is to anticipate which situations trigger feelings of isolation so you can plan around them. I didn’t mind spending a Sunday evening by myself, but I always made sure to have brunch plans.

2) Repurpose the day

Sunday doesn’t have to be all about relaxing. If you’re prone to the Sunday blues, make it your errand day or catch up on work. Sleep in on Saturdays.

3) Go on a planning spree

Use your free time to figure out what you want to do on future Sundays. Did you make a mental note a while ago that you’d like to take more cooking classes? Start training for triathlons? Take up gardening? Get more involved in a local non-profit? Look up events. Make an attack plan. You’ll feel as if you’re taking charge of your life. You’ll also feel more hopeful.

4) Make some dates

Yep, your matches probably want some company too. Take advantage of Sunday afternoons to break out of the mid-week coffee shop or wine bar rut. Check out food and art festivals. Meet for a bike ride or sunset walk. Go strawberry jam sampling at your farmer’s market.

5) Accept it for what it is

Sundays might feel extra lonely right now, but they won’t always feel that way. There might be a time in the future when you’d kill for some time to yourself. So enjoy your own company now, even if it’s more than you’d like.

What are favorite activities to do on Sundays?

About the Author:

Sarah Elizabeth Richards is a journalist and the author of Motherhood, Rescheduled: The New Frontier of Egg Freezing and the Women Who Tried It. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Marie Claire, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Slate, and Salon.

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The Joy of Cooking For One (or Two) http://www.eharmony.com/blog/joy-cooking-one-two/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/joy-cooking-one-two/#respond Fri, 15 Apr 2016 17:58:30 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=20686 When author Klancy Miller was attending culinary school in Paris, she came down with a bad cold and yearned for a bowl of old-fashioned chicken noodle soup. A single woman who lived alone, she realized she’d need to make it for herself. The incident set Miller on a path that ultimately led to her first […]

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When author Klancy Miller was attending culinary school in Paris, she came down with a bad cold and yearned for a bowl of old-fashioned chicken noodle soup. A single woman who lived alone, she realized she’d need to make it for herself.

The incident set Miller on a path that ultimately led to her first book, Cooking Solo: The Joy of Cooking For Yourself, which is full of bright, easy-to-prepare dishes for singles to make for themselves, their friends, and their romantic interests. Miller recently spoke with me about what she loves about cooking alone, how a novice can get started, and why a good rib eye can change your outlook on life.

Why did you decide to write this book?

I had always cooked for myself, for my family, for special occasions, etc., and my parents suggested I write a cookbook because I have so many recipes. Then I read an article about Eric Klinenberg’s book Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone. He talks about how single people are now outnumbering married people, how there have never been as many single people as there are now, and the fact that it’s not just a trend in the U.S.—it’s global. That was exciting to me and I thought, Single people need a cookbook! Most cookbooks serve four or six or more, and I thought, We should have a cookbook that is more representative of what it’s like to cook for yourself.

Many people say that cooking for yourself is too much work—with all the pots, pans, cleanup, etc. What’s your response to that?

I don’t think everyone should be cooking all the time. That’s why restaurants exist. But if you have the energy, it’s a nice treat. I see it as a meditative act; it’s also very practical. It makes me a little sad when people say ‘It’s just me. Why should I do it?’ I think we all deserve nice experiences.

If you’re not used to cooking for yourself, or at all, what’s the best way to start?

Start simple. Don’t dive into Beef Bourguignon. In my book, there is a recipe for a Curried Tomato Omelet and a salad, which is a perfectly fine, breakfast, lunch or dinner. In any cookbook, you can peruse the list of ingredients. If there are under ten ingredients, chances are it’s probably going to be a pretty simple recipe. It doesn’t have to be a major masterpiece. It can be avocado on toast or grilled sardines. If you have good food, you can make something really simple and delicious without much effort.

When you made that chicken soup for yourself in Paris, you were really taking care of yourself. Is that part of what you like about cooking alone?

Yes. I’m very slow in the kitchen. I take my time and that can be very enjoyable. I like the process of, on the one hand, being present while I’m preparing a meal but also working through some thought or problem. Also, I like knowing what I’m putting in my food. That’s the big difference between cooking for yourself and going to a restaurant. I love going to restaurants, but you will never necessarily know what’s in your food. The way I feel after eating out at restaurants several days a week is different from when I cook for myself several times a week.

There are times when I have cheered myself up over a meal. I have a recipe in the book for a Mood-Boosting Rib Eye, which I made for myself on a Valentine’s Day. I have been single and coupled on Valentine’s Days, and I usually don’t care about it, but about four years ago, for whatever reason, I was really bummed that I was single. So I went out of my way to make a really luxurious meal for myself. I was living on the Upper West Side [of Manhattan] and went to Fleisher’s in Brooklyn and got a luscious rib eye and they told me how to cook it. Then I went to Little Italy and got an awesome bottle of Italian wine. I felt like I had attained a certain level of bliss by the time I finished the meal—it was so good. And I was really able to laugh about my feeling down because I was single.

What’s the difference between cooking for yourself and cooking for others?

When you cook for yourself, there’s no pressure. If you make a total mess of things, no one has to know. There’s also no compromise. If the person you’re dating or everyone in your family is gluten-free and you’re not, you can go to town on the pasta.

It’s also great practice for cooking for others. Because I cook for myself on a regular basis, I’m not nervous to cook for other people. When you know what you’re doing and have a few recipes that you’re good at, you can then give them to others.

Like someone you’re dating?

It’s a very nice thing to do with a date or romantic interest. I remember reading a column about the 36 questions to fall in love, and I thought, People just need to have more in-depth conversations or be in places where it’s possible to make more of a connection. In general, cooking a meal for or with someone is a very intimate experience. I think it can be a really good way to get to know someone, and it’s a generous act to offer a home-cooked meal. And it’s really fun!

Cooking Solo is available at major booksellers. You can also visit Klancy on Tumbler, Twitter or Instagram.

 

its not you sara eckel

Sara Eckel is a personal coach and the author of It’s Not You: 27 (Wrong) Reasons You’re Single. You can get a free bonus chapter of her book at saraeckel.com. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook. Ask her any questions here.

 

 

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How to Spot Someone Who’s Fake (and Avoid Dating Them!) http://www.eharmony.com/blog/spot-someone-whos-fake-avoid-dating/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/spot-someone-whos-fake-avoid-dating/#respond Wed, 13 Apr 2016 21:33:30 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=20674 One of the most confusing and frustrating traits in another person is fakeness. Part of what makes dealing with fake people so difficult is that it sometimes takes a little while to discover who someone really is. Because fake people excel at pretending, it makes sizing him or her up even more confusing. You can […]

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One of the most confusing and frustrating traits in another person is fakeness. Part of what makes dealing with fake people so difficult is that it sometimes takes a little while to discover who someone really is. Because fake people excel at pretending, it makes sizing him or her up even more confusing. You can look for the signs of fakeness, but it often takes knowing someone for several months at least to see them in action and see just how fake they really are.

If you’re like most people, you are fairly straightforward and don’t have a secret agenda. Fake people, however, usually have one clear agenda: to be liked by everyone and to be seen as the favorite, whether among a group of friends or at work. Someone who is very fake will say negative things about one person but then act like their friend the next minute; agree to hang out socially but later come up with excuses about why they can’t; and cast themselves in the best possible light in every situation. Fake men and women are extremely image conscious, and their goal is to look like they are all things to all people at all times!

Fake people are usually anxious, insecure, competitive, and jealous. Fake men and women are extremely aware of social hierarchies, so they are always ranking who is more attractive, smarter, or better liked. Very few people know who they are deep down, and the few who do are usually a spouse or immediate family members. Fake men and women get threatened very easily, and they are usually total control freaks. After all, think how hard they have to work to keep up that fake front.

Fake people try to appear as if they’re always happy.

The main sign of a fake person is someone who never shows that they feel upset or angry. Fake people hate real emotions because real emotions get in the way of the one dimensional facade they work so hard to project. Deep down, these people are more insecure than you would ever believe, and they learned somewhere along the way that they will be most liked and appreciated if they act compliant and happy. I’ve heard it said that fake people have zero emotions, but this is not actually true. Fake people have emotions like anyone else, but they are control freaks and fear that showing their real feelings would make them vulnerable. They fear that things could spiral out of control if they were to start acknowledging how they really think and what they really feel.

Fake people constantly contradict themselves without even knowing it.

I find fake people so confusing. In one moment, Mr. Fake will say how much he loves to volunteer, and then a few weeks later you could hear him say that he hasn’t volunteered in years. They may say they love sports to one person, even though you know perfectly well that he or she hasn’t hit the gym or played a sport in ages. The point is that these individuals say something because they want to project that image even though they make no attempt to match their words with their behavior. With fake people, it’s like you need to carry a clipboard around with you and keep track of what they say so that you can make sense of the constant contradictions.

Dating or being friends with someone fake is a t-e-r-r-i-b-l-e idea.

In short, fake people are immature to the point that you can’t have a deep and consistent friendship or romantic relationship with them. Someone fake is most interested in being liked and adored by everyone, so they will never be too committed to you. Someone fake needs to be loved and paid attention to by everyone, not just one person. Fake men and women frequently lead others to believe that they are romantically interested, and it usually takes weeks or months of broken plans or false promises before you get the hint. The key to avoiding fake individuals is to look for someone with a proverbial backbone, meaning a person who will take a stand for what he or she truly believes in. You don’t want someone who acts adoring to everyone because some people are not so nice and don’t deserve it. The goal is to find someone who has moral principles they live by, and real principles are solid and constant.

With fake people, the only real law they live by is to be liked by as many people as possible and to fool others for as long as they can. Taking your time in getting to know someone and not rushing things is the best strategy to avoid falling in love with someone who is fake and disingenuous. Proceed with caution, ladies and gentlemen!

book_Dr_Seths_Love_Prescription_lg

About the Author:

Dr. Seth is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, Psychology Today blogger, and TV guest expert. He practices in Los Angeles and treats a wide range of issues and disorders and specializes in relationships, parenting, and addiction. He has had extensive training in conducting couples therapy and is the author of Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription: Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve

 

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If I Want a Relationship, I Should Get a Dog? http://www.eharmony.com/blog/want-relationship-get-dog/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/want-relationship-get-dog/#respond Mon, 11 Apr 2016 22:59:46 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=20665 If you’ve decided you’re looking for a serious, long-term partner, one of the best ways to get ready for a relationship is to get a pet. You could get a cat, dog, or any other pet, but getting a dog is going to be the best, savviest route to achieving your goal. You’ll understand why […]

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If you’ve decided you’re looking for a serious, long-term partner, one of the best ways to get ready for a relationship is to get a pet. You could get a cat, dog, or any other pet, but getting a dog is going to be the best, savviest route to achieving your goal. You’ll understand why in a moment!

Why is getting a dog helpful? It practically goes without saying that dogs require a lot of care and consistency. If you are a good parent to that dog, you must constantly be thinking about that dog’s needs. I work with some men and women in their 20s, for example, and they are simply not ready for a dog. On any given weekend, they may be meeting friends for a long brunch and then hit the movies or try some other activity afterward. With a dog, you aren’t free to indulge every social whim, and you need to be home a fair amount of time in order for the dog to be happy. Having a dog keeps your schedule predictable and reliable, and this reliability is an important foundation when you are trying to find a serious relationship.

The importance of commitment. Because having a dog is a big commitment, you will be focused on something other than yourself, and this is a very positive consequence. Men and women who have dogs are more comfortable with commitment, so any time you meet a new date who has a dog, understand what a powerful, positive trait that is in your new date.

Being comfortable with dependence. If you meet someone who has a dog, you can also infer that this individual is comfortable with someone or something depending on them. I hear so many people say that they could never handle the responsibility of a dog, or that they have no interest in having to be home at a certain time to feed or take the dog out to go to the bathroom. These people may not be selfish, but they also may not be ready for a person to depend on them or require commitments from them, either. But having a dog is a great practice run at having a serious relationship because it forces you to think about the feelings of that dog, and it will be a lot easier to commit to a person once you have gotten used to committing to a pet.

The social and dating benefits of having a dog. If you’re single and you have a dog, you already know about the benefits. You know that you meet new people when you take the dog for walks, and you know that there are plenty of dog parks where you can meet and chat with other dog people. When you have a dog and you are single, take that pup out so much that you run he or she ragged! Rotate the parks you visit, and rotate the times of day when you go to maximize your chances of seeing fresh faces.

Yes, dogs are expensive – but it’s doable! One of the challenges with having a dog is that they are some pricey animals to care for! Paying for occasional doggy day care, a dog walker, occasional boarding, and food and treats adds up. At the same time, remember that having a dog means that you will also be spending quality time at home – not out spending mindless money. The vast majority of men and women can afford a dog. Think of it as making an investment: You are investing in something that will help prepare you for a relationship. When the right person walks through the door, you want to be sure that you are ready for commitment.

The most important benefit of having a dog has to do with your mood. Yes, getting a dog builds a great bridge to finding a relationship, but the real benefit of having a dog is that having an animal to love and love you back has a profound effect on your mood. Sometimes your dog will calm you, and sometimes your dog will put a smile on your face and lighten your mood. Never forget that being in the right mood has everything to do with meeting someone new!

 

book_Dr_Seths_Love_Prescription_lg

About the Author:

Dr. Seth is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, Psychology Today blogger, and TV guest expert. He practices in Los Angeles and treats a wide range of issues and disorders and specializes in relationships, parenting, and addiction. He has had extensive training in conducting couples therapy and is the author of Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription: Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve

 

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