August 3, 2018
Single Girl Problems
Single? Dating? Coupled? Whatever your relationship status, it’s time to take responsibility for your own happiness. Andrea Bain, host of the “Single Girl Problems” podcast joins Jess to share insights and advice for both couples and singles.
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Pick up a copy of her book, “Single Girl Problems: Why Being Single Isn’t a Problem to Be Solved”, here.
Here’s a summary of the dating and relationship advice Jess and Andrea discuss in this podcast:
- Don’t treat a date like an interview. Do not get hung up on assessing their assets and deficits. Instead, just stay focused on how you’re feeling in the moment. How you feel about yourself in the presence of another person is a very good measure of the relationship. Think about it — it applies to your boss, to clients, to work teams, to your parents, your lovers, your siblings. Stop measuring and start feeling. If that sounds too abstract, let me get a bit more specific. Each time you catch yourself assessing a date or analyzing your compatibility, wiggle your toes to distract yourself from those thoughts and come back to the present moment and get in your feelings. Take a breath and feel what’s happening in your tummy or in your body. This is so important for relationships and sex — in general — whether your single and dating or in a relationship. Because we fall into the habit of spectator-ing – instead of enjoying or experiencing the moment, we look in from the outside to see how it’s going like a spectator. In the bedroom, this detracts from pleasure and arousal and actually can lead to sexual issues. In fights, it can be a problem because we focus on winning an argument or telling our partner that they’re doing something wrong instead of focusing on the issue and feelings at hand. When we become a spectator – on a date, at the dinner table or in the bedroom, we can’t be present and if you aren’t being present, you’re not giving your partner or your date what they deserve. So if you catch yourself assessing the situation, cut it out. One breath, a giggle, a joke, a flirtation, a touch of the hand, a sip of wine — do something physical to bring yourself back to the present.
- I’d love to see all first dates happen in groups. If I was dating right now and I met someone online, I’d invite them to join me on an outing I already had planned with friends — something short and casual like grabbing a drink after work or inviting them to stop into a birthday party I’m already attending, but I like the group date for two reasons: your friends not only influence your relationship (if they like your partner it can have a positive effect on your relationship) and younger folks are doing this — the group dating thing — and I think they have a better approach to relationships – they talk about them more, they aren’t as jaded and they get that what works for their best friend may not work for them. The over 30 crowd doesn’t seem to get this, so let’s learn from the teens and 20 somethings and do the group date thing. I suggested this to a client last summer and they tried it a few times with a few guys they met on Bumble and she’s in a relationship today — almost a year later. It’s one case, but it’s worth giving it a try.
- Lastly, I’d like to emphasize that I’m a fan of online dating but only because it broadens your pool. I’m certain that it really doesn’t matter how you meet – in person or online because all relationships regardless of how you initially connect can grow into something amazing…but if you’re dating online I also suggest that you date in person and you make an announcement. If you’re single and looking, tell people! Stand up and tell your friends at the dinner table – tell them what you’re looking for and ask them to make introductions.
- And I have one more thing to say because it’s my podcast so even though I said I had three things I’m changing my mind to four — couples – stop leaving single people out. Invite them along! Include your single friends. Three is not a crowd. You can learn so much from them and vice versa. If you’re going on a weekend trip and it’s all couples don’t assume your single friend or friends don’t want to join. They like to do stuff too and they like you — even though you hide out at Home Depot on the weekend and only post pictures of your boo and your kids. And if you’re a part of a couple, hang out with single friends separately. They probably do more fun things and don’t’ just hang out and watch Netflix. You might have been more fun when you were single so go do single person things!
- Don’t feel you need to live the same life as your friends. Be friends with people who have made diverse choices instead of surrounding yourself with those who live a similar lifestyle to your own.
- Choose friends who inspire you! Even a little jealousy can be productive if you use it as motivation to craft the life of your dreams.
- Remember that marriage won’t’ make you happy; if you’re happy you’ll find someone happy and live a fulfilling life. Even you’re unhappy, one person cannot revolutionize your life. It’s up to you to make the changes that make you feel fulfilled.
And here are a few notes on the benefits of being single:
- Single people are often more social — they go out more, meet new people and seek new and challenging experiences.
- The growth mindset is well-aligned with being single, as seeking these new experiences encourages you to push your comfort zone and grow. This ‘growth mindset” carries a host of benefits including self-compassion, stronger relationships, greater achievements (at work, for example), higher self-esteem and more.
- New research suggests that singles report higher levels of fulfillment, self-determination and personal growth.
In terms of practical strategies for those who are single and might feel that they’re surrounded by couples:
- Cultivate a relationship with both parties and consider making plans with one member of the couple at a time. you don’t always have to hang out with them both.
- Know that you get the best of both worlds — social support as well as the freedom to grow. You can travel, eat and explore with couples, but leave as you please when you need space. Self-expansion has been shown to be vital to healthy relationships and it’s one area in which many couples struggle.
- Anecdotal evidence also suggests that hanging with couples means that you get many free meals and set-up (blind date) offers if you’re interested.
- And of course, be happy for them!
Note: Couples sometimes worry that they’re not having as much fun as their single friends and can become jealous of their independence and freedom; singles may feel that they’re missing out on companionship or the idealized lifestyle of being partnered. This may be explained by normative idealization: we not only idealize and rationalize our own lifestyle, but we derive comfort and confidence in our choices from the belief that everyone else would benefit from following in our footsteps. We rationalize our relationship choices so that we feel better about them.