Wavering after a Breakup


We’ve all been there – that limbo place after a relationship has ended but before a new one has yet to be found.

Sometimes our resolve wavers. We wonder: Did I break it off too quickly or without a good enough reason?  Perhaps the question is: Why did he break it off and can we go back to being a “we”?

This is not an easy topic. I recommend indulging in comfort food as we ponder the issue.

Let’s focus on scenario #1 in which you broke off the relationship. Perhaps you had a good four-fifths of a partnership but the other poor quality fifth was too damn important to ignore. That fifth could be a major difference in outlook on life, sexual compatibility, the role of family, or for a certain age group, whether to have children. Whatever the reason, the fact that this aspect of your coupled life was seriously inadequate ate away at you until you finally realized it was time to move on.

So, you broke it off. And it was damn hard because that other four-fifths was good. And nothing is perfect, right? So should you swallow and go back to Mr. Almost Right?

Here’s a suggested game plan for your wavering, quivering heart.

*Recognize that it’s going to take time to heal.

*Remember what it felt like to not have that important one fifth. Ask yourself, “Do I really want to live with that situation?”

*Rely on your trusted friends for companionship, moral support, and a bigger picture outlook

*Revive your independence and explore fulfilling activities that bring you joy.

*Reach out to expand your social network through Meetups, social clubs and activities, online dating sites and apps.

*Reflect on your ideal romantic partnership. Realize that although you can’t have everything, you should strive for having the most important things.

*Restrict any desires to reconnect for at least 6 months. Distance and time will help you to see more clearly.

*Relish a new relationship if you are lucky enough to find one.

*Rev up your support system if the new relationship is short lived.

*Realize that if you are not in a new relationship – and you want to be in one — you are vulnerable to returning to Mr. Almost Right.

You should follow a similar game plan if Mr. Almost Right called it quits. Although you didn’t choose to end the relationship, it’s important to think about what worked and didn’t work from both of your perspectives.

If Mr. Almost Right gave you a reason for the breakup, ask yourself whether the relationship met your needs. As hard as it is, try to critically evaluate your time together. Talk to people, including therapists as needed. Read about relationships. Ask yourself: Are there things you would have done differently?

You can’t make someone love you–or vice versa, but you can learn from a breakup.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.





Survival Tips: Dating Dry Spell

The dreaded words: dating dry spell. We’ve all had them and I’m in one right now. The weekend is here. I’m writing a blog focused heavily on dating.  And I don’t have any dates lined up.

Coincidentally I saw an old episode of Sex and the City while working out at the gym. Carrie Bradshaw just happens to be in a dry spell too. “I’m in a dating desert,” she complains. “They’re gonna have to change the name of my column to just “…and the City.”… Last night I actually started writing about my sock drawer. Men as socks. “Socks and the City.”

I don’t plan to write about socks. There must be other alternatives! With no dates on the immediate horizon, I am trying to remember that these spells don’t last forever. In fact, since by definition, they happen after you have stopped dating someone, I plan to seize the moment to pause and reflect. Then, after a decent period of relationship mourning (short relationship, short mourning), I’m going to try to get some positive energy.

With more time on our hands, we can have a long lunch of herbed green pea soup with a crusty loaf of bread, and a glass of sauvignon blanc (we’re in a dating dry spell – we deserve wine).

Here are my survival tips for a dating dry spell. This is a perfect time to update your profile and photos. I just did that after receiving some feedback from a man on OkCupid. He had reached out to me but was 20 years too young and 2 inches too short. We ended up chatting online and I offered some edits to his profile which he greatly appreciated since he had grown up in another country and felt his writing skills needed improving. I figured turn-about is fair play so I asked him for some feedback on my profile. He had some good suggestions, which I then incorporated into all 3 of my dating profiles (OkCupid, Match, Plenty of Fish).

Mr. 40 something recommended a new introduction to my “about me” section. He said my list of attributes was too run-of-the-mill and I should write something that better reflects what I am passionate about. He also suggested I answer the OkCupid question about the most private thing I’m willing to admit. It doesn’t have to be about something sexual, he said, just something that provides a glimpse into who I am. Time will tell whether these profile updates bring me some good prospects.

While working on your profile is always good, a dating dry spell should not just be about how to date again. It should also be a time for personal renewal. On cue, my dating dry spell coincides with spring. Take some time to enjoy nature. I am planning two different field trips to see the Cherry Blossoms in DC and Maryland. Wherever you live, find a garden in bloom or a park trail where you can re-energize and also think about constructive and fun things to do.

While you’re walking or biking on your nature outing, you’re also exercising. A dating dry spell is a great time to ramp up your physical activity. Increase your endorphin levels with a favorite or new activity. Have you tried hula hooping as an adult? It’s lots of fun and good for your waist.

Not necessarily fun, but definitely constructive – get ready for spring and good things ahead by cleaning out your wardrobe. Move those winter duds to their usual off-season storage and toss anything that needs to be retired from lack of use or overuse.

Then, go shopping for at least one new item. Shopping can be therapeutic – just don’t go wild. If funds are low, head to a consignment, thrift shop. I do some of my best shopping at Reddz, a local DC-area vintage and designer consignment store.

It goes without saying that you should get together with friends – old and new. Re: new friends — I have committed to some of my Meetup group events over the next couple of weeks.

Schedule some activities just for you. This is a good time to strengthen your inner resources by planning and enjoying some alone time. Go to the movies by yourself. I have never done this but I’m waiting for the next rainy day to try it out.

What about a short road trip – all by yourself? I have driven to the beach – but relatives or friends were waiting for me there. What about a road trip with no predetermined soft landing of relatives? Stay overnight for a day or two to see what it’s like. If you’re shy like me, pretend you’re not and see if you can connect with some other tourists or locals. Perhaps there’s a local Meetup gathering you could attend.

Consider this experience a test for a possible BIG vacation as a solo traveler. A lot of women are doing this and blogging about it. See: Finding the Gypsy in Me

You can’t count on always being in a relationship when you want to go somewhere new. As a young woman, my sister went on a solo journey to Europe. She had a great time and also met her future husband there…. so there are advantages!

Solo traveling is about being bold. Think of other ways you can step out of your comfort zone. When you’re on your nature walk, instead of taking a selfie in front of a blossoming tree, ask a handsome stranger to take your picture. Just say you’re not very good at taking selfies. See what happens. If nothing, at least you will have a good picture you can send me so I can witness your boldness.

This reminds me of another strategy for conquering a dating dry spell. Be accountable for whatever new adventure you plan. Tell a friend your idea or send me a comment with your intention. I find that writing down a goal is motivating. Similarly, writing this blog is motivating me to try new things – so I can write about it – and hopefully help you.

Here’s a recap of strategies to survive a dating dry spell:

  • Update your dating profile (s) and photos.
  • Focus on personal renewal
  • Make time to be outside in nature
  • Get ready for spring by cleaning out your clothes closet
  • Shop for at least one new or gently used item
  • Get together with new and old friends
  • Plan and enjoy alone time – activities, travel
  • Be bold and step out of your comfort zone to meet new people
  • Be accountable – tell me what you are going to do

Happy dating!



Breaking Up is Hard to Do; 4 Scripts to Help you Through It

break up cookie image

As the song goes, breaking up is hard to do. It’s hard irrespective of the method of delivery: in person, on the phone, by text, or via e-mail. It’s hard irrespective of the length of the relationship – or pre-relationship. Yes, it’s even hard to “break up” after a first phone call with someone who wants to meet you in person.

Ok, maybe breaking up after one phone conversation isn’t technically a break-up. However, if you’re engaged in online and meet-in-person dating, you’re going to come to various relationship-ending crossroads not only after you have been dating someone for awhile but sometimes at the very beginning of establishing contact.

For the purposes of today’s conversation, a break-up is defined as cutting off a relationship after a phone call, a first date, 2 or 3 dates, or a several-month relationship. And the focus of this conversation is what to say and how to say it when you’re the one instigating the break-up.

Since today is Pi Day, let’s have some vegetable quiche while we talk about breaking up when you’re the initiator.

For me, the difficulty with this whole process is my hesitation to hurt someone’s feelings. I don’t want to look into someone’s eyes (or have to avert my gaze) while telling him I don’t want to see him anymore. My brother thinks it’s safer to not turn down a “new” guy in person since he could get angry and I don’t really know how he handles anger. I hadn’t thought of that and it makes me feel like less of a difficult-moments coward.

I recall two first dates where I actually had the balls to say there would likely not be a second date. In both cases, the guys were so over-the-top strange that I felt less anxious about hurting their feelings. I hedged when they asked about going out again and said, “Perhaps. I need to think about it.”

Guy A asked me to rate him and our Starbucks date after 10 minutes! Guy B couldn’t stop approaching strangers to gab while we were strolling down the street and then proceeded to tell me about— and show me pictures of — the nude beaches he liked to frequent. Sigh. So, you can see why I was less worried about their reactions.

If there’s really nothing wrong with a guy, but I’m just not interested in him, then I find it easier to email him my rejection after the date. If a man hasn’t asked me out for date #2, but it’s clear he wants to see me again, I’m proactive and let him know where I stand. Otherwise, I wait until he asks me out before delivering this last message.

My response expresses my feelings about the fledging relationship in terms of two key components of romance: chemistry and connection. No one can deny these are important and that the lack of these essential ingredients means it’s time to hit the delete button. Chemistry and connection can also be used in your script when you don’t want to meet a man you just had a 2-hour phone conversation with.

If you’re breaking up with a guy you have been dating for 2, 3, or 4 months, you’ll need to be more specific about why the relationship is not working for you.

4 Break-up Scripts: What to Say or Write in a Nice Way

Adjust the phrasing of the following “scripts” as needed to match your style and comfort level and to incorporate any relevant details about your relationship. These explanations were emailed to the men in question. If you’re going to speak them over the phone, they may need personalization so the phrasing sounds natural for you.

  • After emails and a phone call: Hi his name, Although I enjoyed our conversation, I came to realize we are not a match. After doing the online thing for awhile, I’ve gotten pretty good at figuring out early on who I will click with in a relationship. So sorry about this and I wish you luck in finding “the one.”
  • After 1 date: Thank you for a nice lunch  I’m sorry to say I did not feel the connection or chemistry I am looking for.  I certainly was hoping for it and you are a very nice guy – and a good hugger.  Well I wish you luck in finding your match. Take care, your name.
  • After 2 or 3 dates: You know I try to be a straight shooter. I want you to know that I think you’re a very nice guy but I’m afraid I’m not feeling the chemistry that I am looking for in a relationship. I wish you good luck and hope you find what you’re looking for. I am so sorry about this.
  • After 2 to 4 months: Although we have had some very good times, I am starting to feel some distance from you. I’m afraid that I’m no longer feeling the connection the way I would like to. BE SPECIFIC ABOUT WHAT IS NOT WORKING BETWEEN THE TWO OF YOU (e.g., lack of communication, lifestyles are too different, he has no time for you, etc., etc.) END WITH A POSITIVE NOTE IF POSSIBLE.

I wish I had some more bullet points in this list and suggestions for how to break up after a year or two, but I haven’t made it that far in any of my post-marriage relationships. As far as my marriage goes, I did not initiate the breakup so I can’t speak from the dumper’s perspective.

Final Words

Sometimes you don’t need to say anything to your no-longer-a-possibility guy. The relationship just fades away. Hearts beat slower. Conversations get shorter. Emails are sent less frequently. Then, one day, you’re looking through profiles again.

Hey, it’s Saturday night; I can be morose if I want to. Oh, yeah, I do have a date Monday night.


Ciao until next week,