‘He Heard From His Ex. Now We’re Both Confused.’

Dear Sara: I started dating someone in the beginning of November. Everything was going great, [until] he called to tell me he heard from an ex. [He said it] messed with his head, that possibly down the line we could open back up communication again. I have been continually hurt by men, and I started dating him because he was the opposite of what I normally go for and he made me laugh. After his comment about possibly texting one day, I just hung up, later sending a message that I was blindsided … (more…)

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Friends Want to Help You Find Love? Ask Them to Do This.

Harvard Business School might not seem like a likely place to find dating advice, but a recently published working paper has good insights for anyone wishing to perform well under pressure.

The study, which I learned about from the Science of Us blog, shows that people who receive positive feedback before undertaking a stressful task were calmer, more creative, and made a better impression than those who did not.

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‘Why Are My Married Friends So Smug?’

Dear Sara: What goes on psychologically that causes people to brag about their relationships and then chastise single friends for wanting the same thing? I’ve read studies before saying that happiness actually causes selfishness, and that if you’re down, it’s best not to talk to a friend who’s very happy with their life because they’re too far removed to be sympathetic.

I was talking to a girlfriend the other night who just got married and was going on about how happy she is, and how she feels like her life has finally started (at 27). She knows I’m older, have been single and have had my heart broken over and over for a very long time. But her attitude towards me: Well, God would never give you more than you can bear. WT-?! (more…)

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‘What If I DON’T Have a Rockin’ Career or Tons of Friends?

Dear Sara: I read an article you wrote [about being single for a very long time] last year while house-sitting a married friend’s cats–as only a single girl can do! Then I ordered your book. I have read EVERY SINGLE book on the market on “What was wrong with me?” Well no more! Your book made me realize for the first time in my life that I am fine as I am.

I was just wondering though–what about those of us unmarried girls who DON’T have a career as such or tons of great girlfriends? I related to everything you said, except when you talked about your career (which sounds so good!) and you have ALL those nice friends to have dinner with AND they listen to you! The few friends I have, I DO NOT share anything about ‘my situation’ with because they just pity me (or plainly just don’t care). So that’s a whole other level of failure for me to think about! No man AND no career or many friends!  Have you heard from many of ‘these’ girls? —C

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What does it mean to be a ‘Spinster’?

Until recently, the image we associated with the word “spinster” was fairly universal: a bottled-up woman in a high-neck shirt, hair pulled into a tight bun. So it was a good sign of progress when the term was discarded and replaced with “single woman.” With an interesting career, great apartment and lots of cocktail-party invitations, this new archetype enjoyed a life of freedom and fun, even if she sometimes imbibed a few too many cosmo-tinis.

Now author Kate Bolick is attempting to revive the more antiquated term. In her new book, Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own, Bolick writes of her “spinster wish” that was inspired by five strong-willed women writers of the past, including poet Edna St. Vincent Millay and New Yorker columnist Maeve Brennan. Though none were lifelong spinsters, their lives are characterized by both gravitas and independence, making them an inspiring contrast to all the old stereotypes.

Bolick writes about spinsterdom as a firm choice. She and her muses not only have interesting careers and the means to support themselves, they also have the power of refusal with men—these women could have married, but they chose a different path. But for many singles, it’s a bit more complicated than that. (more…)

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A reader asks “What would you say to your 35-year-old self?”

Dear Sara: I’m two months away from turning 35. Despite my trying to stay away from depressing media and articles, I find myself getting sucked in anyway. What would you tell yourself as a single 35-year-old, knowing what you now know? —R

Dear R: When I turned 35, I had been unattached for four years, and that birthday hit me really hard. I had spent age 34 in a state of panic, thinking I just had to meet someone before this looming deadline. (more…)

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You’re More than Your Checklist

I frequently hear from readers who are confused about why they’re single, and their letters very often include a detailed list of their attributes. They typically go something like this: “I have a great job, lots of friends, work out regularly, am active in my church and frankly look pretty darn good for my age.”
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