Category Archives: Dating

10 Life-Changing Habits Happily Single People Do Every. Single. Day.

happy woman

Get ready to LOVE your life!

Happy single people are just like happily coupled people.

Yep, you read that right!

Why? Because we know one of the greatest — and simplest — secrets in life. Every day, we get to hang out with the most amazing person we know … ourselves!

And this doesn’t change when we find our perfect someone, because that person should never “complete” us; they should complement us. “Loving yourself” isn’t just a lip service concept — it’s a real way of life, whether your life is a partnered or not.

Entrusting the sacred task of caring for you to anyone else can feel like a delicious perk, but it’s far from a necessity. And what better time to start putting yourself first than while you’re flying solo?

Happy-making habits will get you a long way towards not only being “content” as a single person but towards truly loving your single self too. So, to help you along here is some advice from those of us ALREADY rocking the happy single life. Here’s what we do that makes solo living so amazing:

1. We revel in our autonomy.

We do what we want to do, the way we want to do it, and on our own timeline. Why? Because we can! We appreciate not having to negotiate conflicting schedules, deal with remembering to update anyone on our whereabouts or make concessions for differing preferences.

2. We don’t wait around.

We ask ourselves, “What do I want to do?”, and then we do it (Or we don’t — it’s up to us.)

We don’t wait to get paired up to have whatever kind of fun we feel like having. If we want to go out, we go solo or wrangle a friend. We know that all activities are ours just as much as they belong to the coupled crowd.

Like what, you ask? My answer is anything — had off to a romantic island with a pal, travel abroad on your own, or explore neighborhoods in your city. Go to plays, museums, and films, eat in five-star restaurants, host Taco Tuesday for the gang, or just snuggle up in bed with a good book or film.

You can do it whether it’s unaccompanied or with someone else — be that someone else of the furry-friend variety or the friends-with-benefits sort, it’s your choice!

3. We make sure to get what we need.

Learning what’s needed to be in top mental, emotional, and physical shape is an individual journey.

Anytime you notice you’re cranky, upset, irked, or just all-around off-balance, there’s something you need that you’re not getting. Happy single people pay attention to having enough sleep, physical movement, companion time, alone time, and fun time — and when the crankypants alarm bells start going off, we take action!

4. We do things that make us genuinely happy.

We get a massage, buy ourselves flowers, grab a cupcake after lunch, or soak in a bubble bath. We indulge in life’s little luxuries.

5. We tend to our serenity.

Whether it’s a lunch-break walk at an urban park, a three-minute quickie meditation practice, or a hike with the dog, quiet time (and especially time outdoors if you can swing it) feeds us a healthy dose of calm between the many storms of everyday life on our own.

6. We nurture love in all of our relationships.

We spend focused love time with our dog, our cat, our pot-bellied pig, a close friend, or a family member (just maybe not the annoying family members). We volunteer at a local animal sanctuary or at another organization where we care about making a difference.

Love comes in many forms, and it’s there for the giving and the taking almost everywhere you look.

7. We spend time with lots of people.

We make random acts of kindness happen. We look forward to the friends we haven’t met yet, and invite sexy people to connect with us, to flirt with us, to lean in closer.

We make room for strangers just to make our day a little bit brighter and hopefully add to the joy of their days, too.

8. We keep a morning gratitude list.

It takes very little time, so why not? We write down three things we’re grateful for to remind us what’s good, what’s worth it, and what makes the human experience something to be thankful for each and every morning. Sometimes, I write mine in steam on the bathroom mirror.

9. We use the buddy system.

We cultivate deep friendships with other happy single people (think of it as your single crew’s very own social network) where we enjoy each other’s company, see each other’s pain, comfort each other when things are rough, cheer on each other’s victories, and most importantly, witness each other’s lives.

10. We build and tend to a life we love.

We decide what flavor of life we want and we get right to work on mixing up a batch of it. We don’t ask ourselves, “How much more of this can I stand?” but “How great can I stand it?” and we take it from there.

We make plans for the future, we build businesses, we write books, we make friends, we travel, we create art, we get involved in what matters to us. We love ourselves.

In short, truly happy single people make our lives COUNT!

I’m Wendy Newman, a media-celebrated author & trusted dating, sex & relationship advisor.  Pick up my book, 121 First Dates: How to Succeed at Online Dating, Fall in Love, and Live Happily Ever After (Really!) here!

By Wendy Newman, originally published on

10 Predictable Stages on Your Journey to Finding Love

Source: 123RF Stock Photo

#1 Ready to Date

Recent & Kick-ass Profile Photos

A Winning Profile

#2 Overwhelmed & Excited

#3 Nervous & Curious

#4 Disappointed & Discouraged

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Source: 123RF Stock Photo

#5 Elation

#6 Confused, Frustrated, or Lost

#7 Ready to Quit

#8 Fear of Hope

#9 Confidence Restored

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Source: 123RF Stock Photo

#10 Your Love Arrives

Three Weird Things That Make Men Fall In Love (And Stay In Love)

makes him want to stay

What makes him want to stay?

What makes men fall in love and stay in love is my jam. I’m obsessed. Seriously. I’ve spent the last 16 years researching the topic, and I’ve asked thousands of guys what sparked it for them.

Sometimes their answers are obvious, but my favorites are the ones that leave me picking my jaw up off the floor, like when one man said, “When we had sex in a moving vehicle that neither of us were driving.”

Or the time another said, “I fell in love with my wife on our third date. We were making out at a lookout point and eventually she had to pee. She said, ‘It’s okay, I’ll go in the bushes,’ and she did! No bathroom to find, no problem to solve, and we didn’t even have to leave the lookout point. I kinda loved her at that moment.”

When it comes to what makes men fall in love, as you would expect, sex often makes the top of the list (duh), but that’s not just a dude thing — that happens for us, too.

Cooking usually ranks much lower than we might expect, although, for the men who value culinary skills, it’s not a want so much as it is a need. (“How do you boil water again, honey?”)

How men fall in love and what makes them fall is often comprised of things we would never think to prioritize, if we ever thought of them at all.

Here are 3 kinda weird things that make men fall — and stay — in love:

1. The warmth of your happiness.

The phrases “No one’s happy unless mama’s happy” and “happy wife, happy life” didn’t just come out of nowhere. A man doesn’t marry or partner with a woman if he doesn’t think he can make her happy. They will leave, and when they do, they usually say something like, “You deserve to be with someone who can make you happy.”

Our happiness is a generous gift we can give if we’re feeling moved to express it.

I know a man who’d been unemployed for much longer than he was comfortable with. It was really taking a toll on him, and he was feeling pretty bad about himself. When his 20-year class reunion came up, he was hesitant to go because he was so embarrassed about where he was in his life.

His wife decided that, when she walked into that room on his arm, she’d be the happiest woman in the room. They had an incredible night, one that he’ll never forget; in fact, he told me this story a decade after his reunion. She lifted him up with her happiness and positive outlook.

2. How you get him.

You might think a man will fall in love with you once he knows what a bada*s you are. I mean, come on! You are the whole package: educated, funny, accomplished, worldly, and not bad looking, either, if you do say so. But it’s your mad listening skills that will take you from interesting to magnetic.

We can be pretty impressive when we’re sharing things about ourselves, and that’s important stuff, but if you really want to draw a man to you, listen. I mean really listen, as in give him your undivided attention.

Not the fake patience of waiting for him to stop talking so you can tell him that thing you’ve been holding in your head for the last eight minutes until it’s your turn to talk again; really be present and hear him out, and you’ll be one of the best conversationalists he’s ever had the privilege of talking with.

We all want to be seen, heard, and understood — listening fosters intimacy.

3. Your irresistible imperfections.

Wait, what? Yes! That gap tooth you never quite got around to getting fixed? It’s adorable. The way you pronounce the word “Worcestershire” or how your right breast points straight out while the left one points to the left? Sexy. And those things on your waist — they don’t call them “hate handles” now, do they?

Our “flaws” make us memorable and often even more lovable. Men see us and take us all in, and when they love us, they accept us — all of us — for exactly who and how we are.

Mark Darcy didn’t tell Bridget Jones that he liked her with slightly thinner thighs or perkier boobs, after all (who doesn’t remember Colin Firth smoldering, “I like you, very much. Just as you are” at Renée Zellweger?)

Embrace your imperfections. He will.

Despite the fact that I’d swear by the truth of these three things, I don’t want to sound like an article from Good Housekeeping circa 1951. I’m not dishing up a new standard to beat yourself up with when not at your happiest or not in a listening frame of mind, but rather point out to you the many natural gifts to which you already have access on your path to lasting love.

Use listening as the powerful tool that it is, remember to show and express your happiness when you feel it, and love the imperfections that make you uniquely you.

Above all, nurture the authentic expression of your essence, and watch as all kinds of men fall in different kinds of love with you: your lover, your children, your coworkers, and your friends.

I’m Wendy Newman, a media-celebrated author & trusted dating, sex & relationship advisor.  Pick up my book, 121 First Dates: How to Succeed at Online Dating, Fall in Love, and Live Happily Ever After (Really!) here!

By Wendy Newman originally published on

The Jealousy Hack That Creates Happy, Healthy, Passionate Relationships

woman green with jealousy

You don’t have to be such a slave to jealousy.

Jealous (adj.): Fearful or wary of losing one’s position or situation to someone else, especially in a sexual relationship. —American Heritage Dictionary

Jealous much? Don’t hide under that green hoodie—it’s easier to get a handle on than you think. Jealousy stirs within you because of love (or lust), but it’s the very thing that can kill these things, too.

Luckily, this jealously thing is fixable, but whatever you do, don’t look to the lessons you learned as a kid (or teen, or even adult) for the fix. Our society has a bizarre relationship with jealousy that has screwed us over royally, so we’ll need to do some unpacking first.

7 bizarre societal lessons you’re taught about jealousy that mess you up (that are total myths):

1. It’s something that just happens to you.

You have no control over it. It comes out of nowhere like a glitter bomb at a nightclub.

2. It means you care about or love someone.

In fact, if you’re not jealous, do you really love him? Not a jealous person?

Maybe it’s not really love, then.

Wildly jealous? They must be The One.

3. It’s what makes a relationship hot.

Seriously? Yikes.

Let’s pause here. When you were in grade school, you probably learned all kinds of lessons about pushing up against the boundaries of what’s acceptable. One thing you likely learned was that it’s not okay for friends to be jealous of each other’s time, possessions, and other friends.

So maybe you made a friend when you were younger. A good friend. You had lunch with her every day, played on the playground together at recess, and told each other everything. Friendship is awesome!

Then, one day, she decided to have lunch with a different friend, and you freaked out. (Or maybe you were the friend being freaked out on.) This lesson eventually taught you that yeah, it’s super-not-okay to try and monopolize another person’s time and affection.

That was a hard lesson, wasn’t it? Turns out friends are allowed to have other friends—end of story.

Even if you learned this important lesson about friendship when you were about six, you were probably taught that it’s normal, okay, and even desirable to be jealous of a lover or spouse. It’s okay to act out jealous feelings. It’s okay to try to control your partner because of those feelings.

As you grew up, you were also taught that feelings are not an excuse for inappropriate behavior.

Chances are that by the time you were old enough to buy beer, you knew that a person couldn’t say to a judge, “I’m really sorry I murdered those people with an axe. But I was really sad, okay? My mom just got diagnosed with cancer” and get off from a murder charge. That’s not how it works.

But we are taught this exact thing about jealousy. We even have a name for acting out our jealousy or other intense feelings (often, though not always, related to sex and/or relationships) to the extreme:

4. Jealousy inspires crimes of passion.

This kind of offense often gets a lighter sentence than premeditated crimes.

5. If you’re experiencing a negative feeling that you don’t want to experience, then it must be somebody else’s fault.

That’s right, you’re feeling what you’re feeling, but the blame lies 100% with someone else. And whoever caused that feeling in you is responsible for fixing it.

If you’re angry at something I did, then your anger must be my fault. If I’m angry at something you did, then my anger must be your fault. Sound about right to you? Which leads to…

6. The responsibility of you not being angry (or jealous) anymore is on someone else.

Wait…what? That’s right. That’s what society has taught us.


Are you ready for an update to this agenda? Are you ready to say, “Screw you, jealousy, I want something better!”

Good, me too. On that hopeful note, here are three grown-up life steps you can use to get on the path to overcoming jealousy and living a happy, fulfilled life.

Step 1: Own your own feelings.

When you feel angry, hurt, scared, or jealous, notice the emotion. Maybe it’s a response to something someone else has done or said, or maybe it’s not.

But consider this: it isn’t that person who has to fix it. They’re your feelings.

Your feelings are yours like your toenails are yours. It’s all part of the package that is you. And you wouldn’t want to disempower yourself by giving me that kind of sway over you, would you? I mean, what if the other person doesn’t want to fix your feelings?

Maybe the person is a narcissistic asshole who doesn’t care about you. And if they’re responsible for how you feel, that would be terrible for you, right? Your life is now one continuous experience of misery because they don’t feel like fixing how you feel.

If they’re not showing you the love, consideration, and compassion you need but they’re showing favoritism towards others, your job is to recognize this and then to say, “Oh, I’m jealous and hurt. That’s mine.” Only then can you address their behavior from a place of constructive emotion.

Step 2: Locate the root cause.


“What’s that about for me?”

“Why do I feel hurt by that?”

“Why am I jealous over that?”

Maybe it has nothing to do with the other person. Or maybe it does. You won’t know until you stop and ask yourself these kinds of questions.

Step 3: Ask for help from a place of partnership.  

Try, “I’m trying to sort out some feelings I have. Would you be willing to help me with this?”

You might say, “Would you say these words to me, and mean them? ‘I love you, and you’re the most important person to me.’”

Now, if you asked the other person that, they could say, “No way. See ya!”

But as someone who loves you, they’re more likely to say, “Oh my God, of course, I’ll say those words, I’m so sorry if you’ve been feeling any other way.” They’ll probably also give you a ten-minute speech about what you mean to them, and how amazing they think you are.

People who love you want you to know you’re loved by them. That happens every day. But what’s not common is for hurt humans to handle jealousy in this way.

Saying, “Oh, I’m jealous and hurt — that’s mine” is not normal.

It’s not common for folks to say to themselves, “I own my own feelings.”

What’s typical and predictable is the rant, “I’m upset. Say you’re sorry because you hurt my feelings. Fix it.” We go on the defensive instead of looking for ways to own our experiences and find common ground with which to address problems.

Jealousy and the lack of accountability for it is an intimacy and relationship killer. It weakens your position in the relationship and it interferes with mutual trust and a willingness to be vulnerable with each other.

While you can’t cure jealousy, you can harness it. You can use it for a highly constructive purpose—as a valuable signal to look inside and repair your own sense of self.

Whether you’re dating or married, experiencing jealousy at work, competition with other women, if you want to know how to curb someone else’s jealousy, or just get better about figuring out your needs and setting boundaries, grab this 32-minute audio recording Overcoming Jealousy here.

By Wendy Newman originally published on

The #1 Game Over, Flaming Red Flag You Should Never Ignore On A Date

If he does this on a first date … don’t see him again!

“Consent” is a hot word right now. And it should be. I hope it’s here to stay. Because when a date does something against your explicit wishes, it’s game over, right?

But, I’ve noticed the “consent” conversation largely hovers around sexual consent only (and the trauma caused when consent is absent and sexual assault occurs). —

Yet, men often show you on the very first date whether they care (or not) about honoring your boundaries.

A 52-year-old woman I know shared this story: “I knew he wasn’t the guy for me two minutes after we sat down in the booth. He talked about himself incessantly, and he didn’t ask me a single thing about my life. When he offered a second drink, I said, ‘no.’ But when the server came, he said,’‘Two more, please.’ In total, he ordered six glasses of wine — three for him and three for me. I left that last one full, sitting on the table.”

The sad part is — the pressure to speak up and tell the server, “Excuse me, please bring just one,” was too great for this woman — a situation many of us surely relate to.

From a distance, it seems like one of those “duh!” no-brainer moments, yes? But, nearly every woman I know, from my clients to my friends, tells me one story after another each week that involves a cardinal dating sin: not speaking up for themselves. (And I’ve had plenty of moments when I’ve said nothing, as well.)

The pressure to “go along to get along,” not rock the boat and avoid displeasing the other person at all cost is the cultural training many of us received as little girls. It touches us to our core. Our inner self whispers, “Just get through this. Be nice.” Unfortunately, some people (let’s just call them what they are: jerks) count on this and are more than willing to take advantage.

It’s a true dating dilemma. One that’s even trickier to address when your boundaries are violated by a man you truly like. 

While writing this article, my phone rang for a coaching call with a client who filled me on a great date she had that, sadly, went awry.

“We have so much in common, and we have this uncanny rare connection!” Sandra said. “He’s attractive, charming, quick-witted, and he’s on the same par with me intellectually — finally. Except there’s one problem; he wanted to go a little further sexually than I was comfortable with this early on.

I told him I wasn’t ready for where he was taking us, but he pushed. When I called him on it, he deflected and didn’t own what he was doing. I decided to give him another chance because I saw real potential with him, and I can usually go with the flow. But he kept trying to take the date to places I just wasn’t ready for. Do you think it’s wrong of me to stop seeing him or should I give him another chance?”

(Once again, it’s alarming how difficult it is for so many women to say “no,” or speak up for themselves at all.)

So, how do you know which men are likely to violate consent boundaries?

Spotting a dangerous man when you don’t like him is easy. But noticing his negative traits gets a bit fuzzy when he’s hot, or smart, or funny, or charming, or, oh boy, all four. In these cases, I have a pro tip for you, sister:

No matter how “nice” he is if a man doesn’t honor you saying “no” on the little things  RUN!

Because, nice ass(ets) or no, he has just committed the #1 dating no-no! He may as well have said to you, “I care more about what I want than what you need.”

Of course, this behavior shows up differently from guy to guy. I put men like this in three categories:

1. The ‘Nice Guy:’ This guy would never intentionally push your comfort levels if he knew you wanted to bail, or that you need to slow things down.

2. The Sneaky Good Guy: This guy is basically a decent person who is heavily steeped in bad information. We cannot discount the huge impact our culture has on training young men to believe women “play hard to get,” and that, with any sign of waffling on her part, it’s perfectly OK to push her further. You know, because women “secretly want it.” (Oye, giant sigh!)

3. The Total Asshat: This jerk hears you say, “No, thank you”, loud and clear and orders you another drink anyway. Or sticks his hand where it isn’t welcome. Yeah — that guy. By disregarding your explicitly stated wishes, he’s practically slapping you across the face with that red flag.

Want to know how a man will treat you long-term?

On the very first date, clearly, articulate a need or boundary. (Yeah — it’s that easy.) How he responds to your boundary or request shows you how he’ll treat you now and in the future. If he doesn’t honor your “no” about the second glass of wine, he’s unlikely to honor your “no” sexually.

Drawing a line in the sand is never easy or fun. I know, I’ve failed epically at it dozens of times. But I got better at it with practice, and you can, too. Practice saying “no” and holding your boundaries with a close friend or in front of the full-length mirror.

Go ahead: try getting these words out with some grace and strength behind them:

  • “No.”
  • “No, thank you.”
  • “No, this is my last one.”
  • “No, thanks. We’re only here for drinks, not dinner.”
  • “No, I’m not available for that.”
  • “No, I’m not ready for this yet.”
  • “No, I’m not OK with you putting your hand there.”
  • “No, I won’t be staying.”

Seriously! … Practice this in your everyday life, as much as you can. I double-dog dare you, because when you need to use that “no,” to be fair to your date, you’ll want to state it clearly. And to be fair to you, you’ll want to mean it.

“No” might seem like, well, a negative word, but it’s actually one of the most powerful tools you have.

Being confident in your “no” shows others they can trust your “YES!”

I’m Wendy Newman, a media-celebrated author & trusted dating, sex & relationship advisor.  Pick up my book, 121 First Dates: How to Succeed at Online Dating, Fall in Love, and Live Happily Ever After (Really!) here!



By Wendy Newman originally published on

A Valentines Double Dog Dare

Funky heart 200x300Did you know while Valentines was created to celebrate a saint, it’s first association with romantic love came along in 18th-century England? Yup, that’s long before Hallmark Cards ever made the scene (Jan. 1910).

In the 18th-century, Valentines became an occasion similar to what it is today — a day where lovers express love for each other by offering flowers, candy and yes, sending those sometimes adorable, sometimes sappy valentines day cards. In Europe, they weren’t rushing around trying to find a $$$ restaurant with a 7:30 spot on Instead, Saint Valentine’s keys were given out as a gift of love and as an invitation to unlock the giver’s heart.

Now, I’m down for going with convention when it serves me, but I always think convention should be questioned and thought through newly. I mean there might be a good reason for it, but that good reason in 18th-century England might not make sense in 21st-century America. So several yeas ago, and as a single person, I did just that. I thought about conventional Valentine’s day and  I redesigned it to suit my needs, I gave it a bit of an update. I found one concept worth keeping: an invitation to unlock the giver’s heart.

Every year I create Valentines newly. It’s the most flexible holiday in my calendar, it can mean anything I want it to as long as I use it as an invitation to unlock the giver’s heart — my heart. I mix it up, some years are big, other years are subtle, but they all have the same theme: Give love and invite yourself to unlock your heart.

I have a double-dog-dare challenge for you: Make this Valentines Day a day of gratitude, love, and giving. Skip the dozen red roses, they’re three times the price this week. Cards? You get to say. Will you make them or buy them? Will you vulnerably share your adoration, yearning or appreciation for someone(s) and sign your name or will you send the love notes anonymously? Will you love on your single friends? Will you take time to nurture yourself?

After I updated my relationship to this holiday I learned that celebrating single or coupled no longer matters. No more, “It will be better next year when I have someone” or “It will be better next year when I have a different someone.” This holiday is delicious now — as long as you’re willing to spread your love around and unlock your giving heart.

Happy Valentines Day! I love you — Wendy

I’m Wendy Newman, a media-celebrated author & trusted dating, sex & relationship advisor.  Pick up my book, 121 First Dates: How to Succeed at Online Dating, Fall in Love, and Live Happily Ever After (Really!) here!

The REAL Reason Women Who Try To ‘Have It All’ End Up With NOTHING

Stop the madness!

“I can bring home the bacon … Fry it up in a pan … And never let you forget you’re a man … Cuz I’m a woman!

The lyrics to that insidiously catchy 1980s Enjoli perfume jingle (and the brand’s slogan: “An 8-hour perfume for the 24-hour woman”) have stuck with me long after the scent faded.

By my early teens, I had already learned that, as a woman, I needed to go-go-go (I’m the 24-hour woman, right?) in order to “have it all.”

Success as a woman meant being a top-dollar breadwinner, a great cook, and a flawlessly sexy, attentive wife — all poured into a slinky cocktail dress that I’d wear while churning out award-winning articles with one hand and mouth-watering appetizers with the other. No pressure.

Growing up in the 70s, my single mother became the first policewoman in our state, and movies like “9 to 5” showcased empowered women challenging sexist bosses and breaking down the walls of the old boys clubs. We were bold, we were strong, and we were taking over — it was exhilarating.

But that powerful feeling of knowing that I could be or do anything shifted to thinking that Ishould have it all — or else.

The concepts of freedom, possibility, and choice suddenly started to feel overwhelming instead of inspiring. Our friends and family, the media, and society at large are constantly telling us we deserve this thing called “Having It All”.

“Of course you can have it all!” and “Don’t settle — you deserve everything!” are statements I’m sure most modern women have heard bandied around the sisterhood — well meant, sure, but packing a hell of a pressure-cooker punch, too.

For many of us today, success as a woman looks more like a day in the life of Michelle Obama. Impressive? Yep. Attainable and sustainable? Well…

You’re encouraged to pick a job that helps you make a difference in the world. But not just any job, mind you — you must “lean in” and aim for an influential CEO or CFO position, or maybe become a scrappy (but definitely successful) entrepreneur. You should also obtain at least one master’s degree from an Ivy League school (but a Ph.D. is even better!).

Meanwhile, stay in peak physical health and beauty at all times: strong, flexible, stylish, lean, and toned, and eat only healthy, organic foods.

While conquering the world (and looking effortlessly hot while doing so), it’s important to also be a fun, perfect wife and mother; effortlessly balancing the demands of your household and your business affairs. Of course, you’ll also have time to complete darling Pinterest crafts, give back to your community, and head off on multiple Instagram-worthy vacations each year (because #YOLO).

See what I mean about PRESSURE?

When we don’t measure up to these standards, most of us feel disappointed (like we’re failing) — and yet, we’re still out there trying anyway, and it’s killing us and ruining our relationships.

On the love life side of things, we expect a slightly stronger, taller, all-around better version of ourselves as our ideal partners. How tall are you in those 6-inch heels? Mr. Perfect must stand four inches taller than that. You’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company? Mr. Perfect must boast an even more impressive title, of course.

When we try to choose our mate based on the same impossible standards we often set for ourselves, the pool gets very small — think kiddy-sized.

This isn’t going to help you find or keep your ideal mate, just like that First-Lady list above probably won’t help you lead a life that’s fulfilling on an individual level.

However, none of this means you should settle for less than what you need or just give up looking when it comes to life and love.

Over the years, I’ve learned to define my “Having It All” list on my terms. I started by thinning my never-ending, impossible-to-complete-in-real-life to-do list. As I sat there frustrated and exhausted at the end of each day with 19 items still left, I asked myself, “If I can’t do it all, then what’s enough?”

“What’s enough?” is an awesome question. It applies to everything.

What’s enough exercise? What’s enough effort on this work project? What’s enough money?

When I was single and dating, I did the same thing. First, I made a list of the perfect man. I called it my Unicorn List, and it was 9-pages long. Then, the list was complete, I ran through it item by item to see what would shake out and stick in real life.

For example, “Would I rather be alone than being with a man who doesn’t think I’m beautiful?” The answer is I’d rather be alone so that one stayed.

“Would I rather be alone than be with a man who didn’t like the same music I liked?” Nope, that’s not as important (I have headphones), so I crossed it off.

This is how I identified my deal breakers. I got that monster list down to four pages, and this informed me about the man I was truly looking for.

Guess what? I found him.

“Having It All” is a tricky little sucker, whether in the boardroom or the bedroom.

It can creep in when no one’s looking and take a stranglehold on your life.

My advice is this: When you feel the almighty “Having It All” pressuring you, treat it as an opportunity to ask yourself, “What’s enough?”

When I do this, I shift from “I must have it all” to “I’m leading a happy life on my terms.” And isn’t that really what we’re all after?

I’m Wendy Newman, a media-celebrated author & trusted dating, sex & relationship advisor.  Pick up my book, 121 First Dates: How to Succeed at Online Dating, Fall in Love, and Live Happily Ever After (Really!) here!

Don’t talk. And talk. And talk. And talk. And talk…

When you’re Internet dating it’s possible to get too connected by phone before meeting. This is a rookie mistake worthy of avoiding whenever possible. When we do this, we get hooked, and guess what? Most men know in the first five seconds if they’re attracted to you (or not). The odds that it will work in real time for you and for him are much, much smaller than the fantasy of the telephone.

In 2008 I went on my first meet-and-greet coffee date (Date #13). Date #13 and I spent our first six hours getting to know each over the phone. I was charmed by him, as was he by me. His deep voice made me shiver, and I know I give pretty good phone too, so when it finally came time, we couldn’t wait to meet.

Within 15 seconds of being face to face at the Barking Dog Cafe, his disappointment of the in-person me was palatable. The warmth and animation I experienced over the telephone line were nowhere to be found. He hardly made eye contact, he drank his coffee as quickly as he could and was out the door in ten minutes flat. As a rookie, I was shocked and deflated.

So Why Do We Do It?

One of the reasons we like to connect by telephone is we want to vet him. We think we can learn about who he is before we waste our valuable time. We want to pre-qualify him for the job of boyfriend. This is an inefficient strategy. Think about it: You meet online and you write back and forth a few times, that’s 20-60 minutes of crafting the perfect email(s) and replying. Then you spend time on the telephone, like in my case, six hours. When you’re not writing or talking to him, you’re daydreaming about him. And about 90% of the time, it’s over in an instant.

Try this instead:

You could be out your front door, meeting someone at a café or wine bar within a mile of your home, and back from that date all within an hour if you timed it right. If you like his profile, go!

I’m Wendy Newman, a media-celebrated author & trusted dating, sex & relationship advisor.  Pick up my book, 121 First Dates: How to Succeed at Online Dating, Fall in Love, and Live Happily Ever After (Really!) here!

Stalking Your New Date Is Never a Smart Idea

woman looking at computer

So, you met him online. He’s amazing. He has all the qualities you admire and he’s totally sexy, too. Good for you. Here comes the hard part: After the first date, you’re going to want to…ah…” visit” him online. You’re curious, and you want to gather as much information about him as possible. You think maybe if you reread that profile again, you’ll learn something new. Plus, when you visit his profile, you feel connected, and that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, right? Wrong.

One night, you do a drive-by past his online profile and notice his status says “ONLINE NOW.” Instantly, you experience a moment of terror. Yes, it’s true. He’s looking at other women. Other women who could out-attract you. You just know it. He’s talking to the woman that has every quality he wants that you don’t. They could be emailing back and forth right now. You can forget any plans you had with him for the upcoming weekend because he’s moving on. Oh wait, he hasn’t even set a future date with you yet? Your insecure reaction just magnified tenfold.

Somehow, you muddle along anyway. The two of you keep dating, and when you feel like connecting with him, you check his status instead of shooting him a text or email. It seems like he’s always online, and he’s not emailing you at the rapid rate you’d like. After experiencing this repeatedly, one day you log on for a visit, see the “ONLINE NOW” status, and blurt out, “Fuck you!”

It’s official. This process has turned you into a crazy person—one who’s blaming him when he hasn’t done one thing wrong.

Raise your hand if you know what I’m talking about.

The last time I encountered this problem, I was two months (and seven dates) into seeing a man I was wild about. Unbeknownst to anyone else, I’d become a total stalker, mostly because I wasn’t getting the attention I needed from him. I ended the craziness by logging off the site completely. I didn’t tell him I was leaving, and I didn’t ask him to, either. I quietly took down my profile. I did this because left to my own devices, I was untrustworthy.

As women, one thing that makes us feel safe, loved, and sane is a constant connection with the people we care about. Stated simply, when you connect with your (potential) man, you instinctively feel safe. When you go online and you see he’s not connecting with you—worse, that he’s connecting with other women—the only person you’re hurting is yourself (and your self-esteem). Hopping online for a drive-by is not kind to your spirit, and in doing so, you lose your capacity to be your best self when you’re with him.

You might think checking in on him online isn’t that big a deal. And to be honest, it’s not…when you’re looking at the ones you don’t like that much. I recommend you try hard—very, very hard—to avoid peeking at the ones who could be keepers. The truth is, it’s not going to help your chances. In fact, it could be damaging them. It’s one of the things that drives women away from online dating and drives off potential partners, as well.

Most men use dating site apps on their smartphones. Once logged in for a quick check, the phone will keep them logged in for the better half of the day, making it appear as if he’s always online.

Keep in mind that you’re dating a single person. Single people are free to date anyone they wish, as often as they wish—it’s one of the perks of being single. Until you’re exclusive, he doesn’t owe you his undivided attention (nor do you owe him yours).

When you’re dating someone offline, he could be dating other women and you just don’t have the ability to witness it. I believe wholeheartedly that, in this case, ignorance is bliss.

Need another reason not to let yourself turn into a stalker? On most sites, your views are public. That’s right, stalker, he can see you looking at him! Some sites are smart enough to charge you for a privacy feature, so you have to pay them to stalk privately. Do you really want to make a dating site rich because you can’t control your impulses? (Says the woman who paid by the month for the privacy option on OkCupid. I write what I know.)

My friend Leslie had a brilliant perspective on the topic. When I described this phenomenon to her, she said, “Oh, so you’re snooping. You mean you just poke your nose into his private business?”

Holy shit! I’d never thought of it that way. (She’s a genius.) In real life, I’m not a snooper. I’ve never read a man’s email, checked his phone, or looked up anything on him. I’m not compelled to do these things, and frankly, I don’t understand women who are. I think it’s weird. Even if I felt I had something to concern myself with, I wouldn’t go about getting the information behind his back. I’d sort it out with him directly. So, it was shocking to realize that even I (a self-proclaimed adamant non-snooper) have in fact stuck my nose right where it didn’t belong online. It’s none of my business, online or off. And let’s face it, snooping never turns out well.

I have to give mad props to my girl Leslie for her brilliant insight and teaching me some dating 101. I never did it again. Not that it was any less tempting, mind you, but once I saw his profile as his personal business, I saw it for what it was: an integrity issue. I just couldn’t do it.

What’s a smart gal to do instead? You can start by printing out or downloading his profile. That way, you have your very own file on your hard drive or desk for your handy reference whenever you need to remember if he said he likes sushi or Mexican (or want to take a peek and his pics again).

Then “hide” him from view by clicking “don’t’ show him anymore” out of your search results once you’ve saved his profile. This is different than blocking.

After the drop and drag, go get yourself a bigger life. Use that time you’d otherwise spend looking for his online-now to go to a café and read a book, take a hike, see a film, or have drinks with girlfriends. Here’s a novel idea: Use the time to keep dating other men! You’re single, remember?

Here’s what we learned:

  • Being a stalker is uncool at best, and downright creepy and untrustworthy at worst.
  • Snooping into his personal business starts with an innocent “visit.”
  • Your time is precious and valuable. Don’t spend it obsessing over whether some guy’s online or not.
  • Viewing his profile over and over will burn you out, and make you hate the dating process just ever so slightly more than you already do.

I’m Wendy Newman, a media-celebrated author & trusted dating, sex & relationship advisor.  Pick up my book, 121 First Dates: How to Succeed at Online Dating, Fall in Love, and Live Happily Ever After (Really!) here!

Top 5 Dos and Don’ts for Online Dating

Your Profile

Use a friend, family member or coach to help proof your profile. They can provide valuable feedback for content and point out typos and grammar errors as well. You’d just never guess how many of us are sticklers for spelling, and shocking as it may be, some of us think a well-placed semicolon is hot.

Be out there representing falsely. Don’t shave numbers off your age, try to stuff that body into a different body type classification, or give yourself a big, fat raise. 5’10” is not code for 5’ 7”, yo. Seriously, do you really want to make someone call you on it face to face?

Your Correspondence

Reply to every thoughtful email. You will most likely need to write a “no thank you” email at some point. So before you even start your dating process, write up a few kind, short rejection emails and store them in a Word document. When you need one, simply cut then paste a fitting one into a reply, and then tailor it by inserting their name if they provided it. You could say something like, “Thank you for writing. After reading your profile I can see we’re not quite a match. Good luck out there.” The response makes you a good citizen dater. The Word doc cut/paste system makes you an efficient dater.

Bother replying to the “drive-by” emails. You know the ones. They are usually about four words and start with “Hey baby”… and end with “nice ass.” Think of it this way: If the email has the tone of a construction worker cat-calling you from a worksite, you can pass or respond, but passing is acceptable in this circumstance. Unless you want that kind of attention, in which case, enjoy – no judgment here.

Your Candidates

Give people a chance. You may learn the very valuable lesson that you can date outside of your type but not outside of your tribe. You don’t know who’s in your tribe until you’ve given them a chance.

Treat online dating like When you meet someone lovely, spunky and sincere, date him/her. Don’t see them and simultaneously compare them against everyone else you see online. This is a person, not an exchangeable item you can return for an upgraded model. You’re better than that.

Making it Real

Meet right away. It’s okay to get a little excited about a profile, but you may want to assume he/she isn’t real until you’re standing next to each other at the local coffee house or hot date spot. Chemistry and true connection are rarely found through words on the page.

Reveal confidential information about yourself before you meet. Give out your cell number? Sure (unless valuable information is provided when one Googles your cell number). Your home address? I’d save that for later. Your last name may give them more information than you want them to have prior to meeting up. Your photo can be dragged off your profile and dropped right into the search bar of Google, followed by a click on “image.” If you have that same image posted anywhere else on the web, one can obtain even more information about you. Scary, huh? We are living in the Google age, people.

Your Demeanor

Be yourself. Authenticity rules.

Be aloof, come with a script, or try to play it cool. That’s a sure-fire way to miss a possible real connection.

I’m Wendy Newman, a media-celebrated author & trusted dating, sex & relationship advisor.  Pick up my book, 121 First Dates: How to Succeed at Online Dating, Fall in Love, and Live Happily Ever After (Really!) here!