Helping someone get through a breakup is hard, especially if you're asking the wrong questions.
Over the past year, I've shared over 50 lessons that I've learned in my single life to remind you that being single is more than a table for one (even when you're eating a meal portioned for two), or going dateless to you're cousin's wedding — it's a way of life. Here are my top 10 favorite rules to live by while you're single.
By college, we’ve learned that sometimes the one that we want doesn’t always want us. And at that point it doesn’t matter that you would’ve loved him for the rest of his life, or that he promised you he’d never hurt you. Because the only thing that matters when your heart begins to crack again for the first time in a long time is you.
I guess you could say I’m sort of a Grinch. It’s not because I’m bitter and single (but let’s be honest, that probably doesn’t help) for whatever reason I’m just not that into that whole sugarplums and Christmas carols thing. I can, however, get down with eggnog and tacky sweater parties. (See, I don’t hate everything about the holidays!) Come holiday season, it’s crucial to remember that it’s not supposed to be a couples’ holiday.
So many girls go around and throw knives when they talk about how every guy is a douchebag, and no guy treats them the way they deserve to be treated, like the undercover princesses they truly believe themselves to be. But it’s usually those girls who are the first to laugh in a guy’s face, a guy who braved the social discomfort that we all know tags along with making the first move.
So Glamour magazine tells you you’re supposed to wear sexy underwear even if you’re staying in for the night, and your mother says you’re supposed to keep an open mind -- even if that means going on a blind date with a family friend who you’re pretty sure used to get high on cleaning products -- and people keep telling you you’re the crazy one?
Regardless of your relationship status, there will be situations and the people that stir them up, who at any point in time, will have you questioning what’s really important in life. It just so happens, though, that probability of that sort of drama infiltrating your life spikes when you’re single.
Whether it’s a guy you know, or a total stranger in True Religion jeans, the awkwardness of the morning after a one-night does not discriminate. Do yourself a favor and get out of there fast. However, while you attempt your hasty escape, make it a point to keep your cool, i.e.: don’t frantically tear through his room to find your keys (or underwear).
There a man life lessons to be learned from television series How I Met Your Mother -- from how to craft the perfect "get psyched" mixed CD, to finding out that nothing good happens after 2 a.m. However, my most recent favorite comes from the "Mystery vs. History" episode where Ted and his date promise not to do any secret research online about one another prior to their first date.
The perfect single girl’s Halloween starts with you and your best friends, getting ready together with the perfect party soundtrack playing the background. Halloween is basically a night of dress-up, so take a little extra time getting glamorous with your girlfriends. Just think, if you were getting ready with your boyfriend, you probably wouldn’t get to interrupt applying the perfect smoky eye for a Britney Spears dance-off on the bed.
We’ve all heard the classic rule that “no man is worth losing a friendship over,” and while I whole-heartedly agree when it comes to close friends, I can't say that I agree in all instances. As girls, we all have that one friend who, for whatever reason, seems to only want to know about your dating life.
When it comes to guys, why is that the worst weeds disguise themselves as flowers? As my luck would’ve have it, the most annoying weeds that I can't seem to get rid of in my dating life were the guys that caught my eye first. This theory even goes beyond looks.
College is a pretty consuming thing. Schoolwork including homework, group projects with people you wished you’d never met and studying for exams that promise to take up most of your time that week. So if a guy doesn’t take up the majority of your life, then why does he take up the majority of things running through your mind?
Not a day goes by that there isn’t something that triggers a pang of guilt in my life. If it’s not my mother telling me to eat more because there are starving children in India (true, but I don’t see you wrapping up the leftovers and sending it to them), then it’s my accounting textbook staring me down, practically scolding me for having yet to crack it open for my test that week. There’s just something about being a girl that makes us unreasonably prone to feeling guilty at any point.
So you fell in love with a fool. Who hasn’t? And it seems that every time you’re left to your own devices, you wake up covered in his sheets and your own shame. And even though you refer to him as a soul-sucking douchebag void of emotion, he’s always been your soul-sucking douchebag void of emotion. But just because he’s a fool doesn’t mean you have to be one too.
So school’s back in full-swing and with it comes mixers that have already started to wreak havoc on your liver and your attached friends who can't help but interject with something like this, “Maybe this will be your year.” Funny how the year of the single person is supposed to be the one when they become un-single.
Last night, I dug up an old favorite, Some Kind of Wonderful, and settled into my couch. As I re-watched the classic, I found myself disgruntled with a particular quote despite having seen it several times before. The infamous Amanda Jones so famously said, “I’d rather be with someone else for the wrong reasons than alone for the right.”
Sometimes the hardest parts about being single are not the phone calls from your older sister asking you if you have a date yet for her upcoming wedding or trying to walk past the couples interlocking fingers as they walk hand in hand to class. Instead, the hardest part about being single can be the things we never really consider, like just how depressing it is to reach for a box of Just For One frozen vegetables every week.
Though there’s no one right path to overcoming the first pangs of heartbreak and its inevitable aftershock, but I can tell you what I’ve done in the past to get past heartbreak and its annoying friend, pain.
My first serious boyfriend lived in a house with four other guys, where pizza night was every night, Miller Light was considered the nectar of gods and the closest thing to window treatments were posters of Anna Kournikova. After two years of being the only girlfriend who stuck around, while my boyfriend’s four roommates’ brought by virtually every Ashley, Chelsea and Lindsey within county lines, I couldn’t take it anymore.
Sometimes as a single girl in college it feels like your dating life is split in two halves—one spent actually dating guys and the other spent in coffee shops with your girlfriends talking about dating said guys. So if half of our dating world is actually spent dating, what exactly is the other half spent on? I'd say probably too many lattes and not enough sensible advice.
There's always going to be that one girl in your group of friends who seems to take personal pride in your current single status. Regardless of whether she's single or not, or even somewhere in between (aka dating some aspiring rapper who has a recurrent gig at the local BBQ joint with his not-so-talented beat-boxing cousin), it seems the night hasn't ended until she's gone out of her way to make you feel bad about your single life.
There are certain girls who can make guys swoon with nothing more than look, a switch of the hips and maybe a cleverly timed wink. I will never be one of those girls. Unfortunately, I trip over things, lots of things, and on any given hectic morning, I’m likely to leave the house with mascara smeared on my nose. Maybe I’m not charming or adorable and I assure you that no one will ever refer to me as “the sweetest little thing they ever did lay eyes on,” but I have to admit, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
So the first three months of your new romance have you got you sleeping over at his place every night, catching every meal together and bailing on girls’ night for a cuddlefest. While I hate to rain on your “young-and-in-love” parade, let me remind you that falling in love and gambling have a lot in common - it can be easy to lose it all but not so easy to get it all back.
Safety Reserves – we all have them. Perhaps you know them by a different name - backups, the one you love to drunk dial/text, the one who never really makes it to the top of your list and is always the first to fall to the back of the line, the one you wish you could like a little more but since you don’t not get along, can’t completely block out.
No girl is “better off” heartbroken. And yet when you find yourself newly single attending your first mostly-couples party disappointingly sober, the frenemy you wish was just your enemy drops her not-so-consoling version of a consolation for your breakup – “You’re better off without him,” she says and you cant help but want to punch her.
It seems as though most single girls are reluctant to move on from an ex until they have another guy on the horizon thus never really allowing them to heal and find closure. Take advantage of your time between relationships to sift through any leftover emotions. While procrastinating may work for your Economics midterm, it’s not such a good idea in the dating world.
There’s a place I’ve been a few too many times, not nearly as sweet as Candyland or as sacred as The Holy Land and though it’s full of wonder it’s not nearly as wonderful as Wonderland. I like to call this place What-Could’ve-Been-Land. With every memory of my ex, I mentally transport myself, each time risking taking up a permanent residence in my love life’s own personal wasteland.
So it’s date number one with the perfectly normal guy in front of you and just as he launches into yet another sort-of funny story about Spring Break 2011, you cant help but wonder why your dating life lately has felt so incredibly ‘blah.’ There’s definitely nothing wrong with this guy – he’s cute, trying his best to be funny and he’s been nothing but nice – and still you have no desire for a date two. And so it happens, almost instinctively, you ask yourself, “God, where’s the spark?”
So there you are, another Friday night, another Lean Cuisine and bottle of red that you’ve already taken the liberty of gulping down as an appetizer. Content with your night but mostly with your wine buzz, just about to sink into the couch hoping for a marathon of the Real Housewives of Anywhere, your phone’s text message alert rings.
Taylor Swift has built a career off of perfectly explaining those moments where you look at someone and just know -- the way their hair falls, the way they look at you, the way the environment just seems to envelope you, the feeling that you could live in that moment forever. And as much as we grind our teeth at such cliché and cheese-tastic moments, we can’t help but hope that there’s one in our near future. So what if listening to Taylor Swift makes you feel like you’re 15 again? Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.
I’ll be the first to admit I hate change. I hate moving, I hate updating the apps on my iPhone, and I hated that Oxygen canceled my favorite guilty pleasure show (Drop Dead Diva anyone?). And yet, this past week I’ve moved from my Texas hometown to New York City, said goodbye to the guy I’d been dating as he set off to begin his career a 12-hour time difference away and packed my life into a suitcase (or three) diving right into purely terrifying, unrefined change.
If you have yet to endure the torture that is a Nicholas Sparks movie marathon, I highly suggest you look into it purely as a service to yourself. Though the sappy movies seem out of place in single girl world, they’re actually a pretty effective learning tool – of what not to do.
There’s nothing like finals time to stress you out enough to make you forget that your last few dates were total flops. Caught up in the chaos of studying for a cumulative exam created by the most cruel of professors, there is a sigh of relief in knowing that your single life is the last thing on your mind, if only for a week. But what’s a girl to do with a suddenly cleared up summer schedule and no summer romance lined up?
There you are on another Friday night, being walked to your door by yet another clueless guy after yet another date so bad it made you long for the pain of getting your wisdom teeth removed. He’s invading your personal space, closing his eyes, leaning in for a kiss he thinks is totally deserved but you can’t help but cringe. So in the words of Carrie Underwood, “you kiss that frog” and slam the door behind you, shudder and rub the traces of his saliva off your MAC lipstick and tell your roommate you’re giving up dating to become asexual.
Disney princesses from Cinderella to Sleeping Beauty, even Nala of The Lion King, have taught us from our childhood to look forward to some sort of “happily ever after.” Since our days of insisting on wearing our Disney princess Halloween costumes at completely inappropriate times (like your uncle’s wedding) we’ve desperately clung onto the notion that “happily ever after” would someday be all ours.