Single at Christmas: How to have a merry Christmas when you’re single

Prologue: I was such an expert at being single at Christmas that I wrote a humorous yet helpful article about it a few years ago. If you’re single at Christmas this year, I hope it makes you smile. But as of 2016, it’s looking like I won’t be single at Christmas ever again. Next Christmas, that could be you! Especially with my help. (Sorry. Shameless plug.)

Don’t let being single knock the Christmas spirit out of you

I’ve always been single at Christmas. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a Christmas and a relationship at the same time. Sure, I may have been ‘seeing someone’, but I’m yet to bring a significant other to the annual family Christmas Day celebrations. And this year will be no exception…

Now, before you break out the violins, or hand me a double-eggnog with extra cinnamon, you should know that I’m not remotely perturbed by this. It’s simply how the cards have fallen, and I’m sure the day will come when I can barely remember what Christmas was like BC (Before Commitment), as I’ve been with Mr Right for such a long time.

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Will You Accept This Rot? How watching ‘The Bachelor’ and ‘The Bachelorette’ can literally f*ck up your life, even though it’s fun.

Relationship entertainment – not relationship education!

March 2016: Well, another season of The Bachelor has just concluded. Drop-dead gorgeous and truly delightful Bachelor Ben Higgins is engaged to the sweet blonde, Lauren Bushnell. The runner-up, JoJo (although, I prefer her full name – Joelle) is the new Bachelorette – and I have no doubt she’ll be fabulous.

I’ll admit it – I love The Bachelor. And The Bachelorette. As a dating and relationship ‘expert’, it intrigues me almost every season – unless I’m completely bored or disinterested in that particular Bachelor or Bachelorette. (Juan Pablo, anyone? I could barely watch an episode of that season. I thought he was a douche. And his ‘sexy’ accent and general arrogance irritated me.)

Anyway, it’s fun to see how the various relationships develop, and try to figure out who he or she will choose in the end – and why. But while watching The Bachelor and The Bachelorette is a kick, it’s absolutely disastrous to live your love life by. And I have no doubt it’s doing more harm than good, especially to impressionable young people (particularly girls/women who are obsessed with the show), as it’s literally a what-not-to-do guide to choosing a life partner.

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What to Look for in a Partner: You’re not going to get everything you want in one person – and if you do, you won the relationship lottery.

Mr/Ms Right on paper Vs Mr/Ms Right in reality

Feb 2016: A Jewish atheist and a Christian theologian walk into a bar… and walk out holding hands after much talking, laughing and smooching. Who’d have thunk it! I’m about 6 weeks into an intriguing new relationship. (What was that I said just 7 weeks ago about it always being ‘darkest before the dawn’, and why you should never, ever, give up? If you’re feeling a little ‘ho-hum, I can’t be bothered with this dating thing’, you might want to go read that.) I very rarely meet someone who excites me (in a potential husband kind of way) and even more rarely meet someone whom I excite in return (in a potential wife kind of way), so it’s all very exciting.

He couldn’t be more different to my most recent ex-boyfriend. In fact, pretty much the only thing they have in common is that they’re both really nice guys. But that’s where the similarities end. Naturally, as my ex is my ex, my current beau and I have much more going for us as a couple (as far as I’m aware at this early stage), and the future looks bright. But is he the kind of guy I’d always pictured myself with? In some ways, yes. In many ways, hell no! And I’m not quite the girl he pictured himself with. And you know what? That’s okay.

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Online Dating Experiences: The highs, lows, and why you should never give up

Mid-January 2016: I’ve been back on RSVP (the Match.com of Australia) for two months since I moved home to Sydney from New York. And in that two months, I’ve already suffered two mini-heartbreaks plus made a special new friend, but we’ll get to him a little later. So, here are my latest online dating experiences for your interest and enlightenment. As I write online dating profiles professionally and mentor my clients to help them find love online, I think it’s fair to say I have a lot of empathy to bring to the table.

Happy Heartbreaks – oh, the irony

I see these mini-heartbreaks as both a good and bad thing. I haven’t had my heart broken by an Australian man in many years. I struggle to ‘click’ with Australian men, which is why I made a beeline for the US. My last three boyfriends (2008/9, 2013 and 2014/15) were all American. I love American men! We just seem to be a better fit. I think it’s because they’re more dynamic. Australian men, as lovely as they are (good looking, sporty, friendly, educated etc.) have a tendency to be a little too laid back for someone like me who’s quite deep, passionate and unique. In short, I think I was always meant to be a neurotic New Yorker (heh heh).

After finally obtaining my visa to live in the US (after travelling back and forth on tourist visas for years) and finding a place to live (I’d signed a lease and everything), I had to come home from New York after only three months for a number of reasons. Doesn’t mean I won’t go back (I still have my visa), but I have no specific plans to return at this point. I wasn’t going to start dating in Sydney in a big hurry. But after a month of being home, I thought what the hell, updated my RSVP profile and went live with it.

Technically, it was a hit. I made the Top 100 three times in the first month. It’s nice to be popular and all, but I wasn’t being popular with anyone I was interested in, so it meant nothing to me. Then someone special came along – let’s call him The Viking.

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Online Dating Profile Mistakes: 7 reasons why your profile sucks (no offense)

Hey, I don’t mean to be rude. But if you’re not having as much fun or success with online dating as you could, it’s probably not your BO (body odour) but PO (profile odour) that’s the problem. In other words, your online dating profile stinks. Maybe a little. Maybe a lot. In any case, it’s on the nose. But don’t worry. Think of me as your deodorant. Let me take you through the top 7 online dating profile mistakes and how you can fix them.

As an copywriter by trade (that’s a person who writes advertising and promotional material, in case you didn’t know), humorous relationship advice book author and experienced online dater, I’ve seen a lot of lousy online dating profiles. It’s heartbreaking because behind every profile is a human being who just wants a little lovin’ and doesn’t quite know how to go about it – at least, not online, anyway. In an effort to remedy the situation, I combined my writing expertise with my empathy for the online dating process and became a professional online dating profile writer and mentor.

Persuasive writing isn’t everyone’s forte, and nor should it be – we all have different skillsets. But if you’ll indulge my brutal honesty for a moment, here are seven reasons why your online dating profile sucks, and what you can do about it…

1. You suck at filling out your profile

Ironically, failing to complete your online dating profile speaks volumes. And here’s the message you’re sending loud and clear: ‘Hi, I’m lazy. I can’t be bothered to put much effort into this online dating thing, so don’t expect me to put much effort into our dates or relationship.’ Appealing, huh! If this is the approach you plan to take, good luck to you. But if you want half a chance of attracting someone special, start by completing your profile. Online dating is time-consuming. If you don’t have time to fill out your profile, you don’t have time for online dating. Or dating. Or a relationship.

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Dating with Dignity Part 3: The good, the bad, and the breakup

‘Don’t you love her as she’s walking out the door’ – The Doors

2015: So, we broke up. After eight months, two articles (here and here) and one large dollop of naïve optimism on my part, it’s over. And it took me completely by surprise. In Dating with Dignity Part 1, I told you about a boyfriend who disappeared on me, and how I came to terms with it and moved on – with the help of a little website called datingwithdignity.com. In Dating with Dignity Part 2, I told you about all the new lessons I took back into the dating world to land myself a truly nice guy. In Dating with Dignity Part 3, I’ll tell you how it all went unexpectedly wrong with that nice guy, and where to from here.

My readers are my priority

Before we begin, I just want to acknowledge that my ex and others might be a bit miffed I’m publishing this: ‘Why is she putting this online for the whole world to read? It’s none of their business!’ Firstly, let me assure you the whole world will NOT read it. (I wish! That’d mean I had a huge readership – every writer’s dream.) Secondly, I’m a writer who writes very honestly about her life – ‘funny, cheeky and fearlessly honest’ is my brand – and it wouldn’t be fair to me or my readers to share all my happy relationship news and none of the bad stuff. It’d make me look like a phoney and leave them hanging. Finally, I’d never publish anything this personal without a higher purpose – the information below has the potential to significantly help someone, and maybe even change their life. So, I’m going to try to give you as many details as possible, while also being diplomatic and respectful. Here goes…

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Dating with Dignity Part 2: How I Dated with Dignity and Found a Wonderful Boyfriend

When one man disappears, a better man appears

2014: When I wrote Dating with Dignity Part 1: The case of the disappearing man solved in 2013, I had no idea it’d end up being one of my most popular and impactful blog posts. Women continue to find and comment on it (the comments section seems to have turned into a free dating advice forum – go check it out!), and the general feedback has been that my words have helped them in some way. Talk about turning a negative experience into a positive one! It’s been about 18 months since I wrote Part 1 and I’m excited to share Part 2 with you, so let’s get started.

I know 18 months might seem like a long time, but please bear in mind after I wrote Part 1, I didn’t really date at all for about 12 months. I was in Sydney working on getting myself back to New York and, as I saw my future in the US, I didn’t see much point in dating in Australia. But once I was back in New York – this time for three months instead of one – I hit the ground running and pretty much made up for all the dating I didn’t do over the past year. Let me take you through step-by-step how I dated with dignity and found a wonderful boyfriend.

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Can Love Grow? Or does true love begin with an instant spark?

This piece was also published on The Huffington Post. CLICK HERE to check it out.

How we met

I’m a few months into a relationship that began in a most unusual way – at least for me. We met online (that’s not the unusual part) during my recent three-month stint in New York. (I’m planning to move from Sydney to NYC, and this trip was a reconnaissance mission – or ‘reccie’, as us Aussies say.) Although better late than never, the timing was a little unfortunate, as it was three weeks before I was due to leave. Weary from the notoriously arduous NYC dating scene, and running out of time to meet and get to know someone new, I responded to a Jersey boy who emailed me. He looked cute, seemed nice, and appreciated the Goonies quote (‘Goonies never say die!’) in my profile. ‘First you gotta do the Truffle Shuffle’, he opened with. This was a good start to things.

Within a few days, we were face to face having a drink at a speakeasy-style bar near Washington Square Park. Thankfully, he lived up to his profile – he looked cute, seemed nice, and we talked and laughed easily. Our first date led to a second date led to a third date led to no longer keeping count. He kept asking me out – and I kept saying yes. While we were enjoying each other’s company, we had a talk about not feeling as though this was necessarily going to go anywhere. But we liked each other enough to hang out until I left, and keep in touch thereafter. By the time I left, though, we’d become closer than I think either of us expected. Not ‘crazy in love’ Beyoncé-style close. But close.

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Dating with Dignity Part 1: The case of the disappearing man solved

When you’re finished with Part 1, you can read Part 2 here.

Ever been ‘ghosted’? That’s what it’s called when someone you’re dating or in a relationship with disappears on you. It’s very hurtful.

2013: I recently had a boyfriend of two months totally, utterly and completely disappear on me. Despite my extensive dating history, this had never happened to me before. I later found out it’s extremely common. So common, in fact, there’s a whole chapter dedicated to it in He’s Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo. I remember reading it years ago and thinking, ‘Ha! That’ll never happen to me.’ Ha! I’m such a idiot sometimes.

Anyway, MDM (Mr Disappearing Man) and I had something really good going – or so I thought. First and foremost, we just clicked. We were the same age and from a similar background, had loads in common, got along famously, had great chemistry and seemed to want the same things in life. He called me every day, took me out a few times a week and always had a lot of energy and affection for me. Sure, it wasn’t perfect, and we had a long way to go to get to know each other, build a little history and make some memories. But, on the whole, it looked very promising. I hadn’t had ‘promising’ with someone in years…

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Simple Weight Loss: 6 easy ways to always look and feel your best for dating and relationships

Losing weight is a lot simpler than it may seem

We all like to look our best. When we’re dating, looking our best gives us confidence and helps us to attract a partner. When we’re in a relationship, looking our best helps keep our partner’s eyes on us and our sex life spicy. But friend of mine recently posted a link to a new women’s fitness magazine, asking us to ‘like’ their Facebook page. While I usually ‘like’ generously on Facebook, this request stopped me in my tracks. A new women’s fitness magazine? Really? For goodness’ sake why? With all the health, fitness and weight loss paraphernalia out there – everything from books to magazines, TV shows to infomercials, personal trainers to online programs, and so on – I wondered: How many different ways can one possibly say, ‘Eat less and exercise more’?

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