‘Am I Just a Big Mess?’

Dear Sara: I’m 49 years old. I’ve never been married, and have no children. I dated a guy for 15 years, thought we would be married and have kids, and we have been broken up for over 10 years. It took me three years to get over that relationship because he immediately found someone 10 years younger, built like a brick house. [He] moved her in, bought her a car, paid her a salary, and got engaged. I immediately started working out, thinking if I could lose weight, he would want me back because he always told me if I would just lose weight, he would marry me.

I have been a successful business owner for almost twenty years and everyone tells me I’m single because I’m intimidating to men because of that. I’ve only dated about four guys over the last 10 years and all but one seems to have used me for money or sex. … (more…)


‘Is Self-Doubt Harming My Chance of Finding Love?’

Dear Sara: A while back, I had a “come to Jesus” moment with a [single] friend/mentor when she was implying, yet again, that marriage is a sign of spiritual maturity. I argued it was luck. I said, “Tell me one thing a happily married woman (I decided to make it easy for her by excluding the unhappily coupled) knows that I don’t.” She said, “She knows how to show up in the world completely as herself.”

This resonated so deeply with me. Not only do I struggle with intimacy/shame/perfectionism issues, so do all my single friends. It made sense to me that in order to be happy in a relationship you have to be courageous enough to show up as yourself. I really appreciated your mentioning how courageous it is to continuously put yourself out there in dating, but for me, that’s social courage; I know how to present myself favorably to a wide variety of people. I think intimacy is a deeper kind of courage. (more…)


My Conversation with The Secular Buddhist

I started binge-listening to The Secular Buddhist podcast last year because the host, Ted Meisner, always has such fascinating guests and offers such a smart take on Buddhism in the modern world. So a few months ago, I summoned my nerve and asked Ted if he’d be interested in talking to me about It’s Not You and the way Buddhist teachings helped me deal with the challenges of being single and of dating. I was thrilled when he invited me on the program.

In the conversation, we talk about how I discovered meditation and Buddhist thought, how it has helped me personally, and how I ended up writing an “inspirational book” even though that phrase makes me a little queasy. You can listen here.

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Book review: ‘Labor of Love’ (The Washington Post)

Here’s my review of Moira Weigel’s Labor of Love for The Washington Post

Let’s Talk About Dating–Seriously

It’s a sad truth: No matter how much progress women have made in the workplace — and it’s still pretty limited — the message about our romantic prospects remains stubbornly mired in the past.

“I belong to a generation that grew up hearing that girls could do everything,” Moira Weigel writes in her fascinating social history “Labor of Love.” And yet Weigel, who is in her early 30s, contends that women are still judged in large part on their ability to secure romantic partnerships. “Since we were children,” she writes of herself and her friends, “we had heard that romantic love would be the most important thing that ever happened to us. Love was like the final grade: Whatever else we accomplished would be meaningless without it.”

Despite these monumental stakes, she notes, love and romance — the ways humans begin their most intimate relationships — are still dismissed as silly girl stuff, fodder for pink-covered books and scented fashion magazines.

The lack of serious conversation about dating has left Weigel with rich territory to explore, and she makes excellent use of it. MORE

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More Podcasts: School of Psych and Unclassified Women

When you do a lot of interviews about your book, you can sometimes fall into some fairly canned answers. But a great podcast host will fix that, and recently I had the pleasure of talking to two who got me thinking about things I had never contemplated before:

The School of Psych

Jared DeFife was such a delight to talk to–I kind of forgot that we were being broadcast.

School of Psych episode 4: Why Am I Still Single? A causal quagmire:

Unclassified Women

More recently, I had the great pleasure of speaking with Australian Life Coach Michelle Marie McGrath about life without kids for her Unclassified Women podcast. Childless? Childfree? Non-parent. It appears there is no good word for those of us without kids, so we talked about that and many other things.

Unclassified Women 35: Fulfillment Later in Life


Dating Advice: ‘It’s Hopeless. You’re a Mess. Why So Negative?’

This week a client wrote me about a disappointing evening. She met a guy she liked at a networking event and … it didn’t go the way she hoped.

Anyone who has been single for any length of time has probably had this kind of night. It can feel very significant in the moment, even though it doesn’t really mean anything other than that you’ve had a bad night.

Unfortunately, my client went home and read a blog post that made her feel much worse.

I hesitate to link to this post—I’ve lived happily with my husband for ten years, and it stressed me out. I also don’t mean to pick on this blogger in particular, as I’ve seen variations on this message in countless books, articles, posts, and television segments. But that is the point, so here goes: (more…)

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The Joy of Cooking For One (or Two)

When author Klancy Miller was attending culinary school in Paris, she came down with a bad cold and yearned for a bowl of old-fashioned chicken noodle soup. A single woman who lived alone, she realized she’d need to make it for herself.

The incident set Miller on a path that ultimately led to her first book, Cooking Solo: The Joy of Cooking For Yourself, which is full of bright, easy-to-prepare dishes for singles to make for themselves, their friends and their romantic interests. Miller recently spoke with me about what she loves about cooking alone, how a novice can get started, and why a good rib eye can change your outlook on life. (more…)

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‘All The Single Ladies’: Happy Women Don’t Settle

During Rebecca Traister’s many single years, she was often irritated when the men she dated disrupted her routine. She didn’t like it when they urged her to leave work earlier than she wanted, or when their presence in her apartment obstructed her weekly cleaning ritual. She was impatient with men who called too frequently, or who wouldn’t try the bars and restaurants she liked.

“I got used to doing things my way. I liked doing things my way. These men just mucked it all up. I knew how I sounded, even in my own head: picky, petty, and narcissistic. I worried about the monster of self-interest that I had become,” writes Traister, in her terrific new book All The Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation.


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Why Singles Get Such Bad Advice

Dear Sara: I am 37 years old, and I am single. I have had two long relationships but have been single for a while now. Sometimes I feel great about my life, and sometimes I feel very depressed about being single. Sometimes people are really supportive toward me, and sometimes they are not.

I discovered that my strength is that I go on dating sites, follow dating coaching, and go to networking events, etc. But I find it difficult to allow feelings of sadness to just be instead of doing things all the time to desperately change my single status. I realized that, underneath all this, I feel that I am not good enough the way I am. One date mentioned that I was too sweet. Another guy gave me the feeling that I was not rich or trendy enough. I had the feeling that in order to make us fit together I had to change the interior of my apartment into a more modern style and come across as somebody who loves to socialize a lot just as he does. (more…)