Fear of Loss in Relationships

When it comes to sustaining peaceful romantic relationships, I’m not the best. I try really hard, but I have bad anxiety, and that makes me fear the worst. My brain can get caught in a negative thought loop pretty quickly — “Will this last?” “Does he love me enough?” “What if he learns more about me and doesn’t want to be with me anymore?” Or worst, I place too much emphasis on the micro-moments of the relationship (like, what does it mean that he normally texts me around this time, but today he didn’t?) that I forget about to be present.  GAH! It’s enough to drive anyone insane.

So, basically, I’m terrified of losing, to the point where I may self-sabotage myself to subconsciously have the relationship end. Stupid, right?

I’m not sure how to get rid of this nagging feeling, other than the normal things, like going to therapy and obsessively googling self-help websites for fixes. I’ve read a lot of Buddhist teachings about how you need to recognize that you can’t be attached to anything forever. And by truly accepting that, you won’t suffer. But still, it’s hard to not feel deep attachment to someone you love.

I just know that I can’t act from that place of fear – from the fear of the relationship ending at any point. I have to remind myself that acting out of fear is destined to cause problems in any relationship I may have, because I’m not present.

One mind trick that helps me when I’m feeling anxious about my relationship is to think about the absolute worst case scenario. And when I think about how it’s not life or death, I know I will be okay.

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Can the 5 Love Languages Help Me Live Happily Ever After In My Thirties?

Have you heard of the 5 love languages? If not, you might be wondering why you’re having trouble connecting to certain people. Dr Gary Chapman, author of the book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Laststalks about 5 languages that people ‘speak’ when it comes to feeling loved and expressing love.

These languages are:

  1. Words of affirmation
  2. Quality time
  3. Gifts
  4. Acts of service
  5. Physical touch

Dr Chapman, a marriage counselor for over 30 years, says that the love language that you speak to experience love is usually the same language you speak to offer love. So if your love language is ‘acts of service,’ you might feel especially loved when your partner does the dishes for you when you’re tired or when he or she cooks you dinner. And since your love language is ‘acts of service’ you might express love to your partner by driving him to work in the morning, or helping her carry some heavy boxes, or fixing his phone.

But issues can arise if and when your partner doesn’t speak the same language as you. So if your language is acts of service, like above, and you’re showing your partner how much you love him or her by doing tasks like the ones above, your partner might not feel the love if his or her love language is ‘words of affirmation.’ A partner whose love language is words of affirmation would want to hear you say nice things out of the blue- such as ‘I love you’ – and would want you to tell him or her all the happy things you’re feeling regarding the relationship.

This is where wires can cross and you or your partner can start to feel unsatisfied. If you feel love physically, obviously sex is important, but so are other acts of touch like hand holding and hugging. But again, if you’re with someone who feels love through quality time spent together, they might spend time with you and concentrate on you, but not give you massages or put their arms around you or kiss you enough for you to feel loved.

And quality time is an interesting one, because Dr Chapman differentiates between time spent together and QUALITY time spent together. Someone whose love language is ‘quality time’ likely saddens if their partner is constantly looking at a cellphone during times together, or isn’t making eye contact or actively listening during a conversation.

I definitely feel that love languages are real, but that there are love language combos, and that most people have more than one love language, though one might be stronger than the others. Here’s a test to take to find out what your love language is: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/

My main love language according to my results is ‘quality time,’ followed closely by ‘words of affirmation’ and ‘physical touch.’ I was surprised that Words of Affirmation or Touch weren’t the highest ranking ones, but I think all three are up there. The love languages don’t have all the answers to relationship communication issues, but there’s definitely some wisdom here.

What’s your love language? Do you agree with the love languages? Do you think the love languages help you with your relationships?

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Dating in Your 30s When You Want Children

How do you date when you’re 34 and you know you want children? Not when you have the feeling of ‘well, if I find the right guy and the timing lines up,’ but the unexplainable feeling deep in your gut that motherhood is a life experience that is a very much a part of you, even if you haven’t gotten close to experiencing it. Well, I’m 34, I know I want children, and I can tell you it’s tough.

It’s tough to keep this deep desire hidden, closeted away because you know that  rationally, it’s weird/awkward/too soon and quite frankly, somewhat unfair, to bring up kids and family in the first six months of a new relationship. That’s a huge question to bring to the table when you’re just starting to get to know someone. Obviously, the very basic question of if you both want to marry and have children should be addressed. But you can’t quite talk about it at length without feeling like an intense weirdo. At least I can’t.

So how can you let the natural evolution of getting to know someone happen? How can you just play it cool? Is there even a point to playing it cool?

A few of my close friends have children or are pregnant, and for so long, our life paths were linked up – we could commiserate when we hated our jobs, or celebrate when one of us got engaged – but now, things have shifted in a big way. I can’t understand what it’s like to be married for a few years and perhaps hit a snag, or what it’s like to experience that fugue state, first year of new motherhood.

Sometimes I wonder where I went wrong – how did I get to be 34 and so close to that danger zone when I know I want children? Thirty-seven is when fertility seems to decline in a major way (according to a good old Google search). Okay, let me be honest with myself. I do know what happened. I was in a six year long relationship and I let time slide, not quite realizing how all that time spent would affect my life down the line.

While people say “You have time!,” they don’t really get it. Sure, I have time to have a baby, but there’s all that other stuff that comes before baby – getting to know someone, letting your relationship evolve and finally getting to that point. And then, you hopefully want a year or two of experiencing married life without a new baby…so no, there isn’t time.

So, what does one do? All I know is that motherhood will be a part of my life. And if I don’t make it naturally in time, there are other options. Adopting and fostering are the two that come to mind.

I think about the idea of motherhood as a concept a lot lately. It can mean a lot of different things that aren’t conventional. It’s about taking care of someone – imparting knowledge, helping bring someone to their highest potential. And there’s a lot of ways to do that.

Where Do People Meet Their Significant Others?

I’m currently reading comedian Aziz Ansari’s “Modern Romance” – a book about how modern relationships form and grow with all the new online dating technology at our disposal. It’s pretty fascinating to see how things have changed.

One of my favorite sections of the book so far explores how people meet their husbands/wives. According to the research cited in the book –

In 1940, the two biggest ways heterosexual Americans met their spouses/significant others was through family (24%) and friends (21%).

Now however, things have changed because we’ve got the internet. Between 2005 and 2012, one third of couples who got married met online. Wowza.

The most interesting surprise for me was that in 1995, the portion of people who met through friends – 40% –  fell drastically in 2010 to 28%.

Personally, I’d much prefer to meet someone through friends than online. And I don’t think I’m alone in that feeling. So why is there this big drop? We all still go out with our friends, right? We’re all looking to set our friends up, right?

Maybe it’s that we’re so absorbed in our phones when we go out that we’re not paying much attention to the people at the bar, or at the music or sporting event we’re at. Our little online bubbles provide us with much needed stimulation, but they’re taking away the opportunity to really engage with ‘friends of friends.’ What a shame.

Maybe we’ve become too cynical – and we think we have a better chance online than meeting a new friend at a bar. Or maybe our friends just assume we have our little online dating bubble and they don’t want to interfere.

Whatever the case may be, I say meeting through friends of friends can be one of the best ways to meet a future partner. So if you’re hosting a night out, why not play matchmaker and send some good karma out into the world?

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Would You Take a Dating Sabbatical?

I read about the concept of “dating fasts” in a recent NY Times Wedding announcement and was immediately intrigued. Basically, you take 6 months or longer and you abstain from dating and romance to focus on yourself and your personal growth. One might decide to participate in a dating fast if she/he finds herself/himself in a holding pattern in relationships, dating the same types of people over and over again.

Pastor Craig Holliday, a minister of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Church in Brooklyn, who suggested a dating fast to the groom (pre meeting his now wife) in the above article, said this about why someone might want to take a dating fast:

It’s important because unless you begin to identify the areas in your own life that you need help in, by God’s grace, then all you will do is jump from one bad relationship to the next because you have brought these problems with you.

So, when I deep some research into this concept of abstaining from dating, it seemed very strongly linked to religion. However, I think it’s a useful idea for secular folks as well. I recently read a quote I loved and it applies to dating and this idea of taking a sabbatical to re-assess:

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We can’t always be ‘on’ and looking for love. It just doesn’t work that way. Sometimes our minds aren’t in a romantic place – we have to accept that romance isn’t an everyday thing. During our downtimes from dating, we can discover a great deal about ourselves – who we are as individuals; what excites us and motivates us, and ultimately, what we want in a relationship and what we can give.

I love the idea of a dating fast. But at nearly 33, I’m not sure I want to take a 6 month one. Seems a bit long when I’m hoping for children and a family. But I do love the idea, and maybe a month wouldn’t be too bad an idea.

Would you ever take a dating sabbatical?

Online Dating In Your Thirties

Online dating in your thirties is awesome. It’s also terrifying. I know some people who hate online dating and others who swear by it. I’ve gone to weddings of friends who met their significant others online, and have also listened to multiple friends tell me that they’d never go on an online date again.

If you’re single in your thirties and have never given it a go, I urge you to try. Obviously, stay safe and meet in public places and all that good stuff- but otherwise, be open to new experiences. If you want to be single for awhile, that’s awesome and perfectly okay, but if you’re trying to meet someone and don’t want to do online dating because it seems scary or ‘not genuine,’ I think you’re potentially missing out. I know that some of you may swear that you only want to meet your special someone IRL (In Real Life), but I feel like online dating only increases the number of people you end up meeting, and helps you connect with people who you might have had a hard time finding otherwise.

You’re busy and have a lot of things going on in your life and career- it’s hard to meet people, especially in big cities where everyone’s busy and rushing around. You probably don’t want to limit yourself to guys/ladies you meet at bars, or solely date your coworkers. Sure I know a few couples who’ve met in one of those ways, but I believe that dating is actually kind of a numbers game, and online dating exponentially increases the number of people you can meet. And meeting new people can be fun in its own right– even if you don’t find your soulmate right away.

So without further ado, here are some free online dating sites and apps to try:

OkCupidokcupid.com

OkCupid is probably one of the most tried and true free dating apps out there. It’s been around for a long time- it launched in 2004- so it has a lot of users, which is good. It’s both a website and an app, so this is a good one if you don’t want to be online dating on your smartphone only. OkCupid is one of the most writing intensive of the online dating sites- it requires you to fill out a bunch of question and answer statements (what they call ‘essays’, but they’re not essays). It’s a great app for sheer breadth of people you can meet, and, if you’re a stickler for grammar, it really showcases whether someone is a good writer or not.

Tinder gotinder.com

Tinder is a swiping app only, and is not a website. You swipe people either left or right depending if you like them or not- so Tinder is the opposite of OkCupid, in that it’s not writing based- solely looks based. Tinder is known more as a hookup site, but isn’t limited to that…so it can be a bit on the hazy side in terms of what people want from being on the app. The swipes on this app are unlimited, so it’s known to become an addictive habit. Most people who hate online dating are Tinder users, so I don’t recommend it for beginners to the online dating world. I’m also not a big fan of Tinder anyway, because of their semi-icky nature and ageist policies.

Hingehinge.co

Most people don’t know Hinge, but it’s slowly becoming an online dating fan favorite. It works by connecting you to friends of friends on Facebook, so it’s kind of like being introduced to your friends’ friends’ friends without the trouble of an introduction.  You don’t have to do much to set it up, because, as it works through Facebook, it’s able to pull a lot of your data from your FB profile- so you don’t have to upload any new photos or write that much at all. The Hinge profile is a profile you can create in minutes. Also, although Hinge, like Tinder, is also swiping app, it limits your swipes to only a couple of people a day, so you can put down your phone, stop the madness, and have a life outside of the app. Hinge is a great app for online dating beginners since it’s easy and user-friendly, especially if you have a good amount of Facebook friends (the more FB friends you have, the more recommendation possibilities for the app).

Bumble– bumble.com

Bumble is a swiping app, like Tinder and Hinge. However, there are a few major differences. One– it isn’t known to be a hookup only app the way Tinder is. Two– It doesn’t go through Facebook. Three (and most importantly)– It only allows women to message first. That’s the Bumble catch. So if you “match” with someone (you both swipe right= “yes”to liking each other), then only the woman can say the first hello. If she doesn’t, the match disappears within 24 hours and you’ll never speak again (on the app at least). Make of Bumble what you will, but I think it’s a neat and different little marketing concept. Bumble also has unlimited swiping- a la Tinder- so it can be addicting. And Bumble was actually started by Whitney Wolfe, one of the cofounders of Tinder. And Jane actually wrote about Bumble here before.

So go enjoy! Don’t be ashamed to be single in your thirties! You may never get to have this amazing time again, and some of your married friends may even be quite a good bit jealous of you. So go date, online date, and live it up!

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A Crazy Relationship Study

Do you know that old Woody Allen quote, “I’d never join a club that would allow a person like me to become a member”? I love the quote because it so perfectly describes something so many of us experience, this somewhat deep rooted feeling of not being good enough, especially when it comes to dating. Do you ever find yourself attracted to people who aren’t interested in you? Or perhaps you’re simply not attracted to people who come on too strong and tell you how great you are?

Well, I read a fascinating relationship study the other day that reminded me of this quote. The study was done at the University of Virginia with female undergraduates. The subjects were shown Facebook profiles of attractive, ”likeable” men and then, the researchers told the women how the men felt about them.

One group of women were told that four men liked them the most, a second group were told that these men rated them as average, and a third group heard that the men might like them.

And guess what happened? Well, as you might think, women were more attracted to men who found them attractive than men who rated them average. That makes sense. But here’s what was crazy.  The women who found the men most attractive were in the third group – where they were told the men might like them.

I thought that was interesting. Is it because women also like the chase? Do we want a chance to “win someone over”? Is it because we’re ambivalent about ourselves and therefore are attracted to people who feel similarly? Unknown

Are You Dating Someone You’re Simply Tolerating?

You know that excited feeling when you’re doing something you really want to do and you’re doing it really well?

Maybe you’re totally in the zone at work. Or you’re giving a speech and people are laughing, hollering and applauding. Or you’re working on an artistic project and your creative juices are absolutely flowing. Or you’re about to see your best friend and have a blast and you’re just like ‘hell yeah!’

That feeling of ‘hell yeah!’ is one of the best feelings ever! Things just feel so right. Wouldn’t it be amazing to surround yourself only with people that give you that feeling?

When you’re with people who give you that kind of excited buzz inside, time seems to fly by and even a cup of coffee together can become an adventure. I have lots of people like that in my life who I’m absolutely thrilled to hang out with- and I’m honored to call them my friends and family.

However, in the dating and relationship world, all of this excited buzz can sometimes become an anxiety-filled drone. The rules of the exciting buzz in the friendship world seem to warp in the dating and relationship world; It’s a funny gray area where the following stressful thoughts may become commonplace:

  • How come she didn’t text me for three days?
  • What does he mean when he says he’s scared of a relationship?
  • Why is he acting moody no matter what I do? Has he stopped liking me?
  • Why is she acting distant and cold for weeks?
  • Why are his texts so short and he asks me no questions about myself?
  • How come he was nice to me yesterday but seems to be ignoring me today?

Today, Jane forwarded me a HuffPo article called “What It Really Means When A Guy Says He’s Scared.” The gist of the article is that when a guy says he’s scared of dating you or having a relationship, it’s actually total BS. I already knew this fact, but it’s a good reminder. The HuffPo article was basically a one page version of the book “He’s Just Not That Into You.” Basically, the author says that only one out of ten guys saying something like “I’m scared of dating you/being in a relationship with you/marrying you” really means it (and you don’t actually want that one guy who really means it anyway- I’ll explain why in a second).

Okay, it’s been a second. Basically, the article references something I’ve written about before on this blog, but my post was over a year ago, so I feel the message (since it’s extremely important and useful) needs repeating. Here’s the message, in so many words:

If something is not a “fuck yes!” then it’s a no. 

That’s it. This is a mantra for most of life, but it’s especially true in relationships.

Mark Manson explains it best in his brilliant article, aptly titled “Fuck Yes or No.” Here’s the law of fuck yes or no, succinctly written by Manson:

The Law of “Fuck Yes or No” states that when you want to get involved with someone new, in whatever capacity, they must inspire you to say “Fuck Yes” in order for you to proceed with them.

The Law of “Fuck Yes or No” also states that when you want to get involved with someone new, in whatever capacity, THEY must respond with a “Fuck Yes” in order for you to proceed with them.

That’s it. It’s simple. Live this law, and your dating/relationship life will get so much brighter.

So if someone hasn’t been texting you back for days, then they aren’t saying ‘fuck yes’ to you, so it’s a no. Simple. Move on.

If someone has been awesome to you on dates but then disappears until you stalk them down, it doesn’t seem like they’re saying ‘fuck yes’ to you. So say ‘fuck no’ to them. And move on.

If you’re constantly feeling anxious and stressed around a person you’ve been seeing, you’re not feeling ‘fuck yes’ around them. Cut ties. Go forward.

Most dating advice out there exists to fix a gray area: “what exactly can I say to make her like me?” “What should I wear to make him want me?” “How do I ‘play the game’ to make him call?” “What can I do to make him text more?”

But what if it’s simpler than that? If you’re uncertain for quite awhile, it’s a gray area, and therefore not a ‘fuck yes.’ Don’t you want to date someone who you know is saying “fuck yes!” to being with you? Don’t you want to have that wonderful buzz of “fuck yes!” when dating someone? Imagine NOT having to sit in that damn gray area where you’re trying to CONVINCE someone to say say ‘fuck yes’ to you! Or, possibly even worse, trying to convince yourself to say ‘fuck yes’ to someone who just doesn’t do it for you.

Here are some of the benefits of the fuck yes or no dating style, once again in the genius words of Mark Manson:

  1. “No longer be strung along by people who aren’t that into you. End all of the headaches. End the wishing and hoping. End the disappoint and anger that inevitably follows. Start practicing self-respect. Become the rejector, not the rejected.
  2. No longer pursue people you are so-so on for ego purposes. We’ve all been there. We were so-so about somebody, but we went along with it because nothing better was around. And we all have a few we’d like to take back. No more.
  3. Consent issues are instantly resolved. If someone is playing games with you, playing hard to get, or pressuring you into doing something you’re unsure about, your answer is now easy. Or as I often like to say in regards to dating, “If you have to ask, then that’s your answer.”
  4. Establish strong personal boundaries and enforce them. Maintaining strong boundaries not only makes one more confident and attractive, but also helps to preserve one’s sanity in the long-run.
  5. Always know where you stand with the other person. Since you’re now freeing up so much time and energy from people you’re not that into, and people who are not that into you, you now find yourself perpetually in interactions where people’s intentions are clear and enthusiastic. Sweet!”

Adopt this mentality, and reap the benefits of lots of ‘fuck yes’ time spent with exciting things and people who actually bring you joy!

Is Dating In Your Thirties A Zero Sum Game?

It’s funny- I didn’t even know what a zero sum game was until recently…and now I’m obsessed with the term and how it can apply to life.

The definition of a zero sum game can be found all over the internet, but it took me awhile to really GET the phrase. I put a definition link above and you can also find official and very thorough definitions here and here and here.

But if you don’t feel like clicking those links, here’s my definition: A zero sum game basically means that in order for one person to win, the other MUST lose. Tennis is a great example of a zero sum game. If Federer won a match against Djokovoch, Djokovich HAS TO lose. If Djokovich won a game against Federer, Federer MUST lose.

But can the zero sum game definition be used in the dating world? If I’m dating you, and I really like you, and you decide not to date me anymore and ghost after 4 dates (remind me to one day write another post all about ghosting), it seems possible that I have lost this round of dating you, and you have won. If I start dating a new person and he falls for me, but I suddenly feel that he and I are not working well together, so I stop seeing him and make him sad, then it seems I have won this dating round, and he has lost.

In a zero sum game, there are a finite number of prizes. So if there is only one prize and two players, only one person can win the prize. The other person, therefore loses the prize. My prize win (+1) plus your prize loss (-1) equals zero.

+1 + -1 = 0  And that is where the phrase ZERO sum game comes from.

If dating was a zero sum game, we can maybe define the winner’s prize as walking away with an uncracked heart, plus a moderately peaceful (perhaps even relieved), mental state. The loser, therefore,  CANNOT get the uncracked heart and peaceful outlook- the winner already took that. In a zero sum dating game, the loser ends up with no prize, or a negative prize: broken heart and saddened mental state.

I think dating CAN be zero sum, but it actually never has to be.Interestingly enough, though I’ve gone on what seems like an inordinate amount of dates in the past few months, with possibly enough material for my own comedy show, I don’t think that dating has to ever be a zero sum game. And the trick to stopping that loser/winner zero sum game from playing out in the dating world is simple:

  1. Change the prize

Perhaps your prizes from dating are:

a) Getting a relationship  ….or

b) Meeting someone who will fulfill your every dream    ….or

c) Getting out of dating someone you don’t like in the most peaceful, easy way possible, YAY!

I think the prizes can instead be something like

a) Getting to know and understand a new person better  ….or

b) Getting to know and understand yourself better  …..or

c) Getting to know about new things and places you never knew about before

…and you will always automatically win.

In this way, even if and when you stop dating someone, and even if your heart is breaking and you can’t stop eating ice cream iand crying in front of your television, you still win. Even if you just ran away and hope to never see your date again as long as you live, you still win. You learned about yourself, you learned about another person (good or bad, it still counts as knowledge). Hopefully you even discovered a new place.

And if the other person had the same prizes, defined above, as you, they will also win! That means there will suddenly be more than one prize to go around in the dating game, thus turning dating into a positive sum game!

Much of life isn’t a zero sum game. We don’t need others to lose in order for us to win. In dating, as in finding happiness, as in friendship, as in love, multiple people can win at the same time. It can all become a multiplier game instead.

Just make sure you choose the right prizes.

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Are You Working Too Hard On Your Relationship In Your Thirties?

“Relationships are hard work.”

I hear this a lot. And I think it’s kinda confusing.

Many things are hard work. Sometimes it’s hard work to drag myself out of bed when it’s really early. Or to figure out how to fix a laptop when it’s broken. There’s a good amount of work involved in completing a marathon. Or confronting someone when you’re upset with them. Or asking for a raise. Or building the Golden Gate Bridge.

I guess what I’m saying is that hard work is hard to define.

What constitutes hard work? What amount of work does it take… to build a relationship? Or to build an actual ship? To build the pyramids of Giza?

There’s a lot of different degrees of hard work. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and I’ve come up with a theory. I think it’s possible you’re working too hard in your relationship.

Relationships definitely take work. Most things that need to be built take some form of work. But there’s work that fits well with you and is flowing from a place of natural strength, and there’s work that doesn’t quite fit- the work of getting that octagonal peg in that frustrating triangular hole.

Let me explain. Think of the worst possible career you can imagine having. I asked a few people this question, and got some funny answers…I heard everything from embalmer to physics teacher to construction worker. One person even said ‘heart surgeon.’ Now, heart surgeon is a pretty complex and difficult career, and I can’t imagine doing it. It wouldn’t be exciting for me to have someone’s life in my hands like that on most days. I don’t think I’d be very good at being a surgeon because I’d be too anxious. I would dread going into work every day. I’d be downright afraid.

Now, if someone put a gun to my head and said “You HAVE to be a heart surgeon for the rest of your life or I’ll KILL you and everyone you know!!” I’d make the best of it. I’d work hard to make myself into the best doctor I could be. And it would be really, really hard.

However, there are people who very much LIKE being heart surgeons. It’s a competitive field! Those doctors go into the hospital everyday and are happy to work at their chosen career.

And get this- the heart surgeons who love being heart surgeons still have to do WORK….they can’t come into the hospital and go to sleep. They can’t eat Doritos in the corner after opening up a patient’s chest cavity. They can’t say “Eh, I don’t feel like it today. No surgery for you. I’m gonna go watch the Yankee game instead.”

There’s still hard work involved for a happy heart surgeon! But the work’s much easier because it goes with who the surgeon is and the career that fits with his or her personality.

Now, that same happy heart surgeon might feel like they’d have to do a ton more hard work if they were forced into a career as a model.

Do you see what I mean?

So, although it’s totally possible that you’re not doing enough work in the relationship that’s actually the right one for you (are you the happy heart surgeon eating Doritos in the corner while someone’s heart suffers?) it’s also possible that you’re doing way too much work (are you a physics teacher working your darndest to have a career as an embalmer?) Haha, okay, that’s weird, but you get the point.

Perhaps you’re following the good advice that relationships are hard work and so you’re working hard. But are you working too hard on the wrong thing?

It’s not an easy question.

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Single in Your Thirties? Here’s How to Ruin a First Date

I just saw the funniest Facebook post today about how to ruin a date in only 5 words. Everyone was commenting with suggestions, and a few of them were quite genius.

In this technological modern age, there’s more online dating happening than ever before, which basically translates into more dating happening than ever before…or at least more online penpal-ing? But anyways, with the amount of dating going on nowadays, a ridiculous multitude of dating horror stories have arisen. Of course, there are lots of really good dates, and even great dates, but the funniest stories usually come from the crazy dates. From constant texting to Facebook stalking to misrepresentations on Tinder, the dating arena’s a lot more like the wild west than it ever was before. And I realized recently that there’s a whole lot more semi-blind dating happening now than it ever has in the past. OkCupid, Tinder, Hinge (have you ever even heard of that one??) and plenty more dating apps have brought a whole new series of strange events and bizarre occurrences…at the very least! But don’t be scared- interesting dating stories are happening to anyone who’s brave enough to put themselves out there! And it’s all kind of awesome.

There’s a lot I can say about dating, and I will talk more seriously about it in another post, but for tonight, just sit back and enjoy some absolutely terrible first date comments that may just make you laugh till you cry.

Here are some of the best suggestions for how to ruin a first date in just 5 words. Enjoy!

The Obvious Issues

  • It’s not contagious anymore…hopefully
  • Honestly, your friends hired me
  • They haven’t convicted me yet
  • I know where you live
  • My lawyer says no kissing
  • When will this be over?

The Family Issues

  • You remind me of mom
  • My curfew is at 9
  • What’s your sister’s phone number?
  • My dad’s on his way
  • By the way, I’m married
  • My current wife is missing

The Political/ Cultural Issues

  • Have you considered Donald Trump?
  • I don’t believe in education
  • My role model’s Kim Kardashian
  • Ann Coulter is my hero
  • Theater is like live TV
  • I don’t believe in independence

The Technology Issues

  • I already Facebook stalked you
  • Those Tinder photos weren’t me
  • Wait, I’m tweeting about this
  • I’m only 40 pounds heavier
  • I just bought your domain
  • Hold on- texting my ex

The Seems Like Maybe Red Flag Issues

  • I figured, hey, free dinner!
  • You are really rich, right?
  • I’m high. Everything is funny
  • I only speak in rhyme
  • Yuck! I hate all foods
  • I heard you were desperate
  • Hurry! I have another date
  • I got that waitress pregnant
  • No one else was available
  • Meet my psychiatric service dog
  • My biological clock is ticking
  • I think I love you

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What the hell, Tinder?! Blatant Ageism Towards People Over Thirty in the Online Dating Sphere

Tinder recently introduced a form of “surge pricing” for its famous dating app. They’re now charging American singles 30+ years of age twice what those under 30 will pay. The app will be $9.99 for those under 30, and $19.99 for those 30 and older.

In the UK, Tinder will charge the 28 and older single crowd more than FOUR times the cost for younger generations. Converted from pounds, this comes out to around $23 compared to around $6!

The price change comes as Tinder introduces it’s new Premium upgrade, Tinder Plus. If you use the free version of Tinder, it will still be free…for now.

Tinder can get away with charging whatever the heck it feels like because it’s owned by IAC/InterActiveCorp, which controls 27 percent of of the $2.2 billion dating-services industry. Included in IAC’s portfolio are Match.com and OkCupid. Heard of them?

Although I’ve personally never used Tinder (well, I’ve swiped through on a friend’s app), this price surging strikes me as blatant ageism. It’s discrimination pure and simple! Isn’t it difficult enough to be over 30 and single? Does there really need to be a dating app pointing out that you’re too old and therefore not as valuable to the online dating scene? There’s already a shameful age bias to being single over thirty – does Tinder really need to add to it?

Although it’s TINDER afterall, and you might expect them to pull a dick move like this, it’s still making a pretty awful statement. Tinder’s singling out older daters…just because it can. Even TechCrunch wrote an article titled New Tinder Charges Whatever It Wants. They say, “older users, who theoretically have less supply and offer less demand, pay a greater amount for extra dating tools.” Tinder’s excuse is basically that it’s courting the younger crowd, who “are more budget constrained, and need a lower price to pull the trigger.

I get the idea of this excuse (younger people are poorer), but the policy still sends a crappy message to quite a large group of “older” singles (who aren’t old at all). Plus, people in their 20’s aren’t necessarily poorer than people in their 30’s anyway. And the excuse just seems like a blatant marketing lie. Wired magazine says, in their article titled Yes, Tinder’s New Pricing is Ageist Pure And Simple, “why not just be honest: Tinder is charging us more because it thinks we are desperate. Desperate to find our last chance at love and willing to pay whatever it takes.”

I’m hoping that singles over 30 boycott the Premium Tinder until this price difference is adjusted. Possibly, we should boycott Tinder altogether for making such a biased statement. Hopefully Tinder gets the message and comes up with a middle ground price that’s equal for all ages.

Do I think this is likely? Nope. Do I think dating in your 30’s is fair? Nope. But one can dream.

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How To Be a Third Wheel

The other day I went to a Barbecue in upstate New York. It was hosted by a close friend of mine and her boyfriend. When I got there, my friend said to me apologetically, “you’re going to meet a lot of people you don’t know.” What she didn’t mention was “you’re going to meet a lot of people you don’t know…and all of their significant others who you also don’t know.”

Once I went inside, I figured out that everyone at the BBQ was either married or engaged. And I felt very, very single. And very much like a third wheel.

This made me want to hide.

This made me want to hide away. At home. Somewhere inside my hoodie.

I didn’t realize that married and engaged couples would become the majority once I turned thirty. When I was in my twenties and would go to parties, I seem to remember a fair mix of singles and couples present. I also remember lots of alcohol being thrown down, and lots of stumbling home at 3am…or later. Was it a different world back then? After the BBQ this month, I caught the Metronorth back to Queens at the wee hour of 7pm (!)…with a nice newlywed couple who held hands as they told me the story of how they met.

To be fair, I was half of a couple for just about the entirety of my twenties…a serial monogamist from 21 to 29. And I basically saw the world of my twenties through ‘couple-eyes’ (yes, this is a thing)…which for me then meant: half of a couple = the definition of who I am.

So I didn’t totally get the whole third wheel stigma thing.

When I was part of a couple, I actually loved hanging out with single friends. I mean, it was fun to double date, but when I had a single friend hang out with me and my boyfriend at the time, I loved it just as much. All I wanted was for my friend to feel welcome and comfortable, single or not. A third wheel has this strange solo definition- they’re an extra piece- suddenly we have… a tricycle? A whole new entity. But that entity doesn’t have to be bad. I never thought it was bad before.

Of course, I very much understand the third wheel stigma- ‘couple-alone-time’ is important (as much as regular alone-time)- and a third person tagging along uninvited to a date night walk along the beach would probably not be the best. But the key word here is ‘uninvited.’ When you’re a third person invited along with a couple, you’re not a tag-along, you’re a guest. You’re a friend.

But when I first became single again, a few months ago, I didn’t feel like a guest. No matter how much a couple tried to make me feel included, I felt like I was invading their space and time. I felt like a lonely half who needed another. A missing piece. An extra part.

It took me awhile to remember how much I enjoyed hanging with single people when I was half of a couple…how much I wanted them to NOT feel like third wheels. It took me awhile to remember that they weren’t third wheels to me then…I saw them as full people- totally complete on their own. It’s weird how hard it is to see yourself the way you see others. Why would a couple be better than a single? What does that even mean?

I didn’t end up having a bad time at the barbecue. I’ll admit, I felt sad at first…wistful for coupledom. But then I started to have fun, once I settled in. I began to ask questions. I talked to my friend…and her boyfriend. I relaxed and ate barbecue. And I started to let go of looking at myself as an extra. I listened to stories… how couples met, where they lived, what they did. I enjoyed my ride home on the Metronorth with the newlyweds, who had a great first-meeting story and were both super nice. And I stopped feeling like a third wheel. And I stopped feeling alone. I didn’t feel like half a couple. I just felt like me.

 

 

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