5 Self-Defeating Thoughts You Have When You’re Single — How to Silence Them

Being single can be a slog. And after a while, it can be tough to fight off visions of yourself choking to death on a grape in your tiny apartment alone surrounded by cats. But there’s no need to freak out — that’s not going to happen. Let’s put the panic and cynicism away, starting with these useless thoughts that we’re all guilty of entertaining:

Everyone else is coupling up — I must be doing something wrong. You’re not on The Bachelor —  falling in love is not a competition that involves waiting to be picked. And if it’s not a competition, you don’t need to worry about what everyone else is doing, right? Just because your girlfriends have found boyfriends or gotten engaged doesn’t make them better than you. It just means their time came. Yours will come too and when it happens, it’ll be amaaaazing… Focus on that. In the meantime, do you.

If I were hotter/skinnier/smarter/more interesting, I’d have someone by now. Insecurity is one of the most useless emotions. Think about it: What has it done for you lately? Not a goddamn thing, right? Except maybe bum you out and keep you down. And the worst part: because confidence is the single most attractive quality a person can have, focusing on your weaknesses actually makes you less attractive. No matter what you look like or what your shortcomings are, love yourself — the more you behave like a desirable woman, the more men will respond to you like one. So the next time you catch yourself having self-negating thoughts, tell yourself to STFU.

All the good men are taken. No, they’re not. Sure, it feels that way when you’re going on crappy date after crappy date but remember: it only takes one. And like the princess in the fairytale, you’re going to end up kissing a hell of a lot of frogs before you find him. That’s not a bad thing — it’s just the way it works. The frogs are lessons; they teach you what you want/need and help you become ready when the right guy appears. So don’t get cynical. Rest assured that there’s a fantastic guy out there who’s trudging through his share of lame girls looking for YOU.

I’m too picky — I should just settle. As long as you don’t have outlandish expectations — like, he needs to look like a model and be kind and be rich — you’re probably not being too picky. You’re probably just looking for a guy that fits well with you and that’s okay. In fact, that’s exactly what you should be looking for.  Just because it’s taking a while — which is no surprise because a real connection can take some time to find — doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong. And the next time you catch yourself wondering if you want too much, remember: the biggest difference between people who have more and those who have less is that the ones who have more believe they deserve it. In other words, what you expect is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Accept less, become less, get less… Expect more, become more, get more. So, keep an open mind but do not settle for anyone that’s not worthy of you.

I’m running out of time if I want to have kids. We totally get it. The biological clock is a total bitch. But even if you don’t find your boo by [insert your panic age here], that doesn’t mean you’re destined to be manless and childless. Chances are you’ll fall in love with plenty of time to spare — how many women do you know that never found anyone in spite of trying? probably not a lot — but even if you end up being a late bloomer in love, you’ll be just fine because, these days, there are tons of ways to start a family once you’re ready. Not only do plenty of women get pregnant naturally in their 40s and have healthy babies, but the ones that don’t often find success with frozen eggs, IVF, donor eggs, surrogacy or adoption. So, instead of living in a panic, acting like you’re going to turn into a pumpkin at midnight, relax… Being young and single is awesome — don’t squander it worrying about something that will likely never even be an issue in the end.

Read more:

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  • An STD Left Me Unable To Have Kids
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  • I’m Pretty Sure That The Guy I Marry Will Cheat On Me & I’m Okay With That
  • Unless These 13 Things Are True, He’s Probably Not Trying To Be Your Boyfriend
  • They Might Not Seem Like It, But These 12 Things Are Emotional Abuse

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5 Things to Remember AFTER a Date So You Don’t Lose Control

As much as we don’t want to admit it, the stereotype that women start planning the wedding right after the first date is not entirely false. We’ve all done it… We’ll go out to dinner with a guy who’s hot, fun, smart, kind and seems to have his crap together and by the time dessert comes, we’re sure he’s the one. It’s a little insane. And, it’s this very tendency to fall hard and fast like a brick in the ocean that’s responsible for us being disappointed so often. So:

Let’s quit it, ladies.

Starting right now, let’s all take a much more balanced approach to the manhunt and pace ourselves. To that end, here are some things to remember after your next date:

You are not easy. You are extraordinary. That means you have expectations that need to be fulfilled and standards that need to be met. You had fun and flirted your ass off but you also have sense: you don’t prematurely fall for a guy just because he put his hand on the small of your back or because his finger grazed your thigh, right? It takes a lot more than that to get you. Wait and see what happens next.

Make him earn your attention. Any guy can be great for ONE date. What is that — 2 hours? After you’re done hanging out, go home and forget he exists. Try not to gush to your mom and your girlfriends about how he was this and that, and how the connection between you was SO intense, and definitely don’t let him take over your head, overwhelming you with feelings. Make him show you, over at least a couple more dates (not to mention the days in between) that he recognizes you’re fantastic and that he’s worthy of you. Until he earns your interest, you shouldn’t give him a second thought — effort is the price of admission.

A guy who wants you will make it known. If a guy is into you, it’ll be obvious. Don’t make excuses for him (“Maybe I should text him because I did come off kind of cold”) or create opportunities for him to demonstrate interest. Any guy worth dating doesn’t need your help to show he cares — he’ll just come after you. And if he’s not chasing you, he’s either not interested or not someone you should be messing with. If you text him, sure, he might ask you out again but you know how that’s going to end? Probably with you crying. Just sayin.

Who he is now is the best he will be. How the guy behaves after your date is almost more important than how he behaves during the date. At this stage, he’s bringing his best… If his best sucks — he takes too long to get in touch, doesn’t try to give you notice before the next date, doesn’t seem interested in who you are, or just makes you feel unappreciated — take note. It’s only going to go downhill from here.

He’s not the last single man. If this guy ends up being the one, fantastic. But if he doesn’t, it’s really not a big deal. There are tons of great men out there so don’t freak yourself out by making the stakes feel higher than they are. It’s just a date. There will be others. You’re not going to die alone – your future husband is out there and you will find him. We promise.

Read more:

  • Is He Your Future Husband or a Waste of Time? Here are 18 Differences
  • Do You Act Like A Hot Girl Or An Ugly Girl? Here Are 20 Differences
  • I’m Pretty Sure That The Guy I Marry Will Cheat On Me & I’m Okay With That
  • 12 Texts You’ve Definitely Received If You’ve Got An Amazing Boyfriend
  • “Breezing” Is The New Dating Trend We Should ALL Be Following
  • “Kittenfishing” Is The New Dating Trend Even YOU Might Be Guilty Of
  • Incredible Women Often Have The Worst Dating Lives — Here’s Why
  • Do You Have Sarmassophobia? It May Be Why You’re Single

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19 Annoying Things Single Women Have to Deal With

There are a thousand reasons to love being single — and we’ve covered a lot of them — but sometimes, you’re just over it. We empathize. Here are some of the things that drive us crazy:

Couples holding hands everywhere. How many of them you’ll see on any given day rises in relation to how lonely you happen to be feeling.

Couples slobbering all over each other on Facebook. No shame.

Going weeks/months without sex. Your annual breast exam suddenly feels intimate.

Things that go bump in the night. Was that the dry cycle on the dishwasher kicking in or a serial killer?

The flu. Going to the drugstore when you have a fever is BS.

No one to tell you how hot you look. Except construction workers and your girlfriends.

Online dating. It’s like a part-time job. Who has the time??

Online dating fees. They add up. A nice new handbag would be a much more satisfying purchase. And then at least you’d have something to show for the $ you spent.

Blind dates. Oh, the anticipation… and then you meet him. Is it rude to leave before he notices you?

Weddings. The slow dance. The bouquet toss. Being seated at the losers’ singles’ table.

Zipping up your dress by yourself.Ouch. Shoulder cramp.

Taking off your boots by yourself. Ouch. Back pain.

Fixing stuff. A girl shouldn’t have to unclog her own toilet.

Spiders. A girl shouldn’t have to kill things either.

Valentine’s Day. Barf.

Bills, rent, etc. At a minimum, you should have someone to go halfsies with you.

Cooking for one. Making chicken parmesan would be fun but ordering pizza – the practical choice – always ends up winning.

Masturbating.Boooooring. So mechanical at this point.

Watching something scary/sad/funny. Screaming, crying or laughing out loud when you’re alone just feels pathetic.

Read more:

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  • 7 Subtle Signs You’re Hotter Than You Think
  • 10 Bad Habits No Grown Woman Should Have
  • Do You Have Sarmassophobia? It May Be Why You’re Single

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Ladies, Don’t Blame Yourselves For Being Single – 5 Reasons It’s NOT Your Fault

Being single isn’t something that anyone needs to be blaming anyone for — it’s not a disease or a character flaw; it’s actually a pretty awesome time in your life if you can manage to let go and just enjoy it. But if we’re going to talk about accountability, here are 5 reasons single women shouldn’t blame themselves for not yet having found love:

You’re not entirely in control. You — and what you want and the decisions you make — are one piece of the puzzle to you finding love. There are other pieces too, like the guys you come across and what they want and how they behave, or where you live and what dating culture is like today. It’s complicated. At some point though, all the pieces will fit together and suddenly it won’t feel complicated at all. Funny how that works. In the meantime, cut yourself some slack — you can’t blame yourself when you’re not totally in control —and let yourself enjoy the adventure of being single.

Hookup culture doesn’t help. Finding a long term relationship is hard enough, let alone during a time when it’s all about the hookup. If you’re looking for something real, you have to work that much harder to find it. Of course, you can’t just stand there blaming the world for being tough — you have to rise to the challenge and make your life happen — but when every other guy wants something casual, it’s okay to acknowledge that there are factors which make it hard to find good guy. And it’s certainly not your fault if you’re still working around those challenges.

Male commitment anxiety is a real thing. Let’s face it, hookup culture or not, men are hard to pin down. While our biological clocks make us want to settle down, their need for freedom makes them want to delay commitment. That clash is real and when you’re a single woman in your 20s and 30s, you experience it all the time. It sucks. But no worries — like we said above, at some point the pieces just come together… You’ll find a guy who’s ready, or who’s willing to get ready for you. It’ll happen. Until then, don’t blame yourself — as long as you’re doing your part and exercising good judgment, it’s okay to blame the game a little because the game can get really exhausting when there’s a clock thumping inside your head.

The more amazing you are, the harder it is. There are tons of guys that would be great for the average girl but if you’re special, the number of men you can truly connect with gets smaller because you need a really unique guy. Until you find him — and you will — there will probably be some tough times, like when you think it’ll never happen, that he doesn’t exist, that your ship has sailed, that it’s all your fault. None of that is true. He’s out there and nothing you’ve done is keeping him from you… It’s just not easy for two really unique people to find each other. But there’s a magnetic pull that will eventually bring you together. And when it happens, whoa… It will be awesome.

Being single is necessary education; don’t hate. The experiences you’re having while you’re single — both the good and the bad — are preparing you for the relationship you’re looking for. Instead of blaming yourself for still being on your own, appreciate everything that’s happening, what you’re learning, and who you’re becoming. Don’t resent this time and blame yourself for it — in the end, you’ll see that it was the perfect amount of time for you to learn what you needed.

Read more:

  • Incredible Women Often Have The Worst Dating Lives — Here’s Why
  • They Might Not Seem Like It, But These 12 Things Are Emotional Abuse
  • Is He Your Future Husband or a Waste of Time? Here are 18 Differences
  • 10 Times You’re Accidentally Sexy – And It Drives Us Guys Crazy
  • “Breezing” Is The New Dating Trend We Should ALL Be Following
  • I’m Pretty Sure That The Guy I Marry Will Cheat On Me & I’m Okay With That
  • 21 Questions to Ask at Your Next Visit to the Gynecologist
  • You Know You’re In An Almost Relationship If You’re Sending Him These Texts

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5 Dating Apps That Don’t Exist But Totally Should

No one said dating would be easy, but with the technology we have today and the myriad apps we can download to help with our daily lives, it’s kind of weird that there aren’t a lot more apps available to make swimming the dating pool little easier. Pay attention, super smart person out there who knows how to make apps, because we’re straight up giving away great ideas that are bound to make you a millionaire.

FreakDar We’ve all been there before. You’re out with someone and the date’s going great! The conversation is flowing and eventually, it leads to the topic of hobbies. That’s when he suddenly blurts out, “I’m a furry.” Come again? If only there was something to let you know ahead of time that this debonair accountant only gets wood when he wears a chicken costume to bed – an app you can customize that gives you a warning for freaky fetishes. On the other side of the coin, you can also use it to find like-minded freaks like you, because you can’t be the only one who has a thing for fruit roll-ups, right?

Peen-Sta-Gram Ah, penis pictures. What would we do without them, ladies? Wouldn’t life be a little less magical if we didn’t get at least one (or ten) badly lit, close up photos of a stranger’s meat popsicle? After all, who wouldn’t want to open up their text and suddenly see something that more or less looks like a severed toe stuck in a drain full of hair? The answer to that is “ALL women” and yet, here we are, living in a world where random penises invade our phones and singe our eyeballs. There needs to be an app where we can at least have fun with these disgusting, unwanted gifts – an app that looks upon the male peen as a blank canvass for glitter stickers, mustaches and googly eyes and that turns a badly lit picture of a throbber into a work of art that you can then share with your friends on social media.  We all need to laugh to keep from crying (and violently vomiting).

Dealbreakers Ask single girls what kind of guy they’re looking for and you’ll get varied responses. Some women know exactly what they want, while others are still busy trying to figure it out. However, almost all women know exactly what they DON’T want in a guy. Can’t see yourself with a preachy vegan? Input your own dealbreakers into this app and it’ll tell you if you’re about to go out with a kale snackin’, tofu burger-havin’ cabbage humper.  This app could save all of us ladies some serious flirting hours if we knew right off the bat that the Channing Tatum lookalike you’d been eyeballing at work hates Friends and uses the term “It is what it is” all the time.

Ejector Seat A sad but true fact about dating is that it can be dangerous. Even though we have the ability to check someone’s social media profiles and do online background checks, there’s still the possibility that someone potentially dangerous/creepy can slip through the cracks. With Ejector Seat, you can input up to five people your phone will call when you need to escape a situation that might be leading up to something potentially hazardous for your health.  Enter a secret 3 digit code that only you know and it will give your 5 contacts your real-time GPS location so they know exactly where you are. It will also give them the ability to communicate with each other, as well, so everyone can make sure someone’s coming to bail you out and that you’re safe.

Soul Mate Finder It’s a long shot, but if this was ever invented by a magic app genie, all the things we hate about dating would forever disappear.  With just a fondle of a finger to your smart phone, you could see exactly who you’re supposed to be with and when you’re going to meet him!  Feel that? It’s a burden being hoisted off your sad, single shoulders.  If you know you’re not due to meet your soul mate for another 3 years, you can happily have a Netflix binge while making medium pizzas your bitch and inhaling the entire thing.  Think about how much fun you would have in early relationships, unencumbered by the stupid “Is he the one?” question, knowing that the experience is just a stepping stone that’s helping you grow into the person that your soul mate falls in love with a few years from now.  No more bitter break-ups and exes – there will just be smiles and consciously uncoupling people throughout the valley.  Not to mention, with this app, you now know exactly when not to wear those granny panties out in public.

Read more:

  • 13 Deeply Intimate Things To Do Besides Sex
  • Unless These 13 Things Are True, He’s Probably Not Trying To Be Your Boyfriend
  • 16 Reasons The Best Women Often Stay Single The Longest
  • Incredible Women Often Have The Worst Dating Lives — Here’s Why
  • They Might Not Seem Like It, But These 12 Things Are Emotional Abuse
  • You Know You’re In An Almost Relationship If You’re Sending Him These Texts
  • What’s Your Sexiest Quality? Here’s What Your Zodiac Sign Suggests
  • 10 Times You’re Accidentally Sexy – And It Drives Us Guys Crazy

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6 Things You’re Probably Doing That Scare Men Off

While it’s true that opposites attract, the differences between men and women can also spawn a lot of eye rolling. Men aren’t perfect by any means, but women aren’t completely innocent, here. I’m sorry to tell you, but there are some things that you should vent about or only do with your girlfriends. After all, guys don’t need to or want to hear their women being catty bitches and gossip queens. Ladies, take notes!

You discuss reality TV as if you actually know the cast. The two “B” words are the biggest offenders in the minds of men when it comes to this issue: BRAVO and The Bachelor. There’s nothing that will drive a man out of a room faster than discussing hot messes like the Real Housewives. The male stance? You don’t know them. You watched them behave like idiots for an hour of your life that you’ll never get back, and now you’re analyzing their antics? Who cares? If you must rant to your guy about how you think Andy Cohen would be your Gay BFF if he could just meet you, or how so-and-so clearly has an anger management problem, you can… but it will most likely fall on deaf ears (or just make him wish he was deaf).

You talk BS about other girls you find on social media. We’re all stalkers – don’t even pretend you haven’t trolled a friend of a friend’s cousin’s Instagram who you met one time and gone through every single one of her pictures. Not only did you look at all of the photos, but you formed very strong opinions about each of them and the girl. Guess what? Guys. Don’t. Care. They would rather spend their time focusing on the things they like – you know, like Xbox and football. Rarely do you hear men critiquing other men and succumbing to social media bullying or negativity. If you don’t actually know the person you’re bashing, there’s really no point wasting time and energy that could be better spent doing something fun with your man. If you do know them, you don’t need to sit in judgment of someone who’s supposed to be your friend. And if they’re your frenemy, they deserve even less of your attention.

You ask for a guy’s opinion, only to ignore it and do what you want anyway. Men don’t mind giving you their opinion. They actually like being included in your decisions, even if you’re asking their opinion on an outfit. What they hate is going through the trouble of giving you their opinion and trying to help you make a decision, only for you to completely disregard what they said and do exactly what you were going to do anyway. Nothing annoys men like having their time wasted, so if you’re not going to take their advice, it’s best not to ask.

You’re two-faced towards your girlfriends. No matter how hot you are, guys don’t want to be dating a Regina George. When you spend your time nit-picking your girlfriend’s wardrobe or significant other behind her back and then telling her how much you love everything about her to her face, men take notice. First of all, they realize that if you’re saying one thing to your friend’s face and another behind her back, you’re probably doing the same thing to them. It’s also tedious for them to keep track of the truths and lies and they just get exhausted. It’s best with men to ditch your inner mean girl and practice that whole “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” mantra… even behind people’s backs.

You drag him along on your shopping sprees. While men may outwardly complain about being coerced into stopping into Victoria’s Secret at the mall, they get their own secret pleasure out of watching their gal shop for lingerie. Being forced to look at things you can’t afford and will never buy, like Hermes china or a diamond Tiffany & Co. ring, is another story. Let’s be honest: You’re not buying cutlery that costs more than your car payment and men hate browsing for the sake of browsing, especially for long periods of time. If you feel the need to window shop, it’s best to leave your boyfriend at home and bring your BFF.

You use the word “fine”. There are maybe a handful of occasions where the adjective “fine” is appropriate for a situation and properly used. Whatever you’re using it to describe isn’t good, it isn’t great, and it isn’t bad – it just is. Women don’t lack emotion, so when we use the word “fine”, a red flag goes off in a man’s head and he knows it’s time to mentally prepare for battle. They’ve come to realize that “fine” is a placeholder word and that at some point in the near future, you’ll make them aware that whatever was said to be “fine” really wasn’t. Stop doing this! You aren’t fooling anyone and even if you’re trying to let something go but can’t, saying it’s fine wastes everyone’s time. Men aren’t mind readers, so it’s best to just come out with whatever you have to say instead of prolonging the inevitable.

Read more:

  • “Breezing” Is The New Dating Trend We Should ALL Be Following
  • 10 Times You’re Accidentally Sexy – And It Drives Us Guys Crazy
  • Incredible Women Often Have The Worst Dating Lives — Here’s Why
  • Are You An Assertive, Badass Woman? 12 Signs You Take No Crap
  • 12 Texts You’ve Definitely Received If You’ve Got An Amazing Boyfriend
  • 14 Little Things That Look Like Love But Are Actually Manipulation
  • Do You Act Like A Hot Girl Or An Ugly Girl? Here Are 20 Differences
  • 12 Reasons You’re Single Even Though You’re A Catch

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5 Terrible Photos His Dating Profile Could Do Without

They say pictures are worth a thousand words. In the world of online dating, the photos you include in your profile are often more important than the 500 word description about yourself. In some cases (cough, Tinder, cough), the photos you choose to post are everything. After a while, you start recognizing the same pictures. Has everyone climbed Machu Picchu, taken a picture with a tiger and ridden an elephant in Thailand? If there was ever something predictable about online dating, it’s the photos that end up in 90{5bc55beb08889ad05a7e7a6b77d532c6a271732d053bf26757b0ccd6cd3a3c03} of profiles.

Thanks for being original, guys. And for making it easier for us to decide who isn’t getting a message back.

The ‘Where’s Waldo’ Group Shot It’s great that you’ve got an active social life and a big circle of friends, but we’d really like to know who we’re talking to. There’s always that one guy who has 7 group photos to sift through but not a single solo picture (likely with good reason). Without abandoning all hope that you’re the hunk second from the left in picture number 4, we’ve already prepared ourselves for the fact that you’re likely the short guy with the awkward smile beside the Ben Affleck in picture number 2. Chances are, we swiped right on one of your friends. Hey, is he available?

The ‘I Lift Things Up and Put Them Down’ We get it – you lift. But nobody cares to see the 100lb weight that you lifted over your head one time (while awkwardly grunting, of course). Aside from your circle of meathead friends, no one is interested in how much you can bench, how big your bicep is when you curl or how many presses you do on leg day. If we’ve resorted to online dating, we’re likely not interested in the gym rats that gawk at us when we’re doing squats. And we know that’s exactly who you are.

The ‘Ex Girlfriend Collage’ Hey, who’s that girl in all of your pictures? She’s too young to be your mom, and you look awfully chummy to be siblings. Yup, it’s your ex girlfriend. The same ex you were with for the past 3 years. The same ex you almost married. The same ex you will talk about on every date. And inevitably, the same ex who is still a very central part of your life. We already know how this one ends, and it’s not with us walking down the aisle. It likely includes a long, apologetic message somewhere along the lines of “I’m not over my ex”.

The ‘Here I Am 5 Years Ago’ All too often, women find themselves caught off guard when they meet up with someone who looks oddly familiar, but not quite the same as the guy they’ve been talking to online for the past couple weeks. And then it hits us. We’ve been catfished. We all want to put forth our best self online, but you’ve put forth your 25 year-old self. Whether you’re now bald or 20lbs heavier, it would be nice to know this before wasting our Friday night on deception. If you’re posting old photos from your prime years, you’re probably not secure with what you look like now. Most women don’t mind a bit of hair loss or even a few extra pounds, but there is nothing less attractive in a man than insecurity and dishonesty. If you don’t look like your photos, you better be prepared to buy us enough drinks until you do.

The ‘Penis Pic’ What goes through a guy’s head when he decides to post a photo of… his other head? It’s no secret – women do not want to see your junk online. It does nothing for us. We don’t find it arousing, we are not going to send you a naked photo in return and it doesn’t make us want to meet you. Even if you have a big, thick, nicely man-scaped package, the second it becomes one of your online dating profile photos, you may as well have a hairy, pencil-width 2-incher. You are not coming home to meet the parents, you are not getting laid, heck, you are not even getting a message back. Hate to tell ya, but your trouser snake is probably just going to end up in a group chat with our besties. #sorrynotsorry

Read more:

  • Is He Your Future Husband or a Waste of Time? Here are 18 Differences
  • You Know You’re In An Almost Relationship If You’re Sending Him These Texts
  • Unless These 13 Things Are True, He’s Probably Not Trying To Be Your Boyfriend
  • Are You An Assertive, Badass Woman? 12 Signs You Take No Crap
  • They Might Not Seem Like It, But These 12 Things Are Emotional Abuse
  • “Breezing” Is The New Dating Trend We Should ALL Be Following
  • 12 Texts You’ve Definitely Received If You’ve Got An Amazing Boyfriend
  • Incredible Women Often Have The Worst Dating Lives — Here’s Why

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How to Not Get Killed by Your Tinder Date

So you’ve met this guy online, and he seems to be pretty cool. You’ve messaged back and forth, stalked all his pictures, and maybe you’ve even had a phone call or two. You think you’re ready to take the next step and meet him in person… but how can you be sure it’s safe?

Whether it’s for a hookup or a happily-ever-after, connecting with someone can be a wonderful experience. Unfortunately, when this connection starts online, there tends to be some risk involved. It’s true that not all men you meet while online dating are creeps; there’s as good a chance you could run into one of those in line at Starbucks. Still, there’s just something about hiding behind a screen that can give some people the balls to do things they wouldn’t otherwise do — like lie about themselves, or their intentions. In any case, it’s probably wise to take some precautionary measures.

Make sure he is who he says he is. It’s frighteningly easy for people to lie about themselves online, especially if the interaction is mostly text-based. While video chatting has risen in popularity, watching that dazzling smile over Skype won’t tell you any more about the sordid details of his past than his charming emails do. A background check, however, will. What if he’s secretly married? Or isn’t actually from Rhode Island? If he’s lying about these things, what else could he be hiding? (A sex offender registration, perhaps?) While it’s nice to take people at their word, it’s much safer to be sure. There are a lot of people out there – especially in the world of online dating – who are willing to take advantage of the anonymity of the Internet. Getting a background check can help prove whether or not this guy is one of them.

Secure an Emergency Extraction Person. This is a trusted friend who is willing to be “on-call” for the duration of the date. When meeting someone from online, we all know it’s important to tell a friend where we’re going and who we’re going with; but if something were to go wrong, how can you be sure that friend will help? What if you need to get picked up, or a reason to cut the date short? Your friend should not only know where you are, but be ready and waiting to help you out if things start to go south fast.

Set up a safe call. A safe call is a pre-planned phone call to let your EEP know that you are, well, safe. To set it up, you’ll need to agree on coded phrases to let your friend know if things are going great or if you need immediate assistance. Try to pick something that won’t tip off your date; for example, “I’m having a great time!” could actually be code for “I’m literally dying and need you to call back in 10 minutes so I have a reason to bail.” Or, you could flat-out tell your date that you’re planning to call a friend to let them know how things are going. If a man is understanding about your concern for safety, then he’s probably on your side.

Send your GPS location. While this can always be found after the fact if you ever go missing, you probably won’t want to get to that point in the first place. There are apps like this one that let you share your location in real time with a trusted few people. This is especially important if your date is picking you up, or if you plan on going back to his place later. That way, if a guy who seemed okay at first starts getting all weird on you in his apartment, your EEP will know where you are and can send for help so that you don’t end up stranded in an uncomfortable situation.

Snap a pic of his license plate. It’s right out there for everyone to see, and it’s perfectly legal to do. In the absolute worst-case scenario, you want your EEP to have as much information as possible to get you the help you need. With a license plate number, anyone can find out the name, address and type of car your date is driving. (And if you think this is scary, imagine how much scarier it could be if you find yourself caught up in some serious stuff, and your friend doesn’t have this info.) If you want, you can tell the man you’re with that you’ve got a pic of his car tags; even this could be enough to deter potential predators from acting out. Besides, a good guy should have nothing to hide.

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6 Dating Disasters That Actually Make You Stronger

Wouldn’t it be nice if the next guy you date ends up being “The One”? It’s a nice thought, but things rarely work out the first time around. That’s not a bad thing – it just means you have a chance to learn from your mistakes and figure out, over and over and over again, what you don’t want. After all, some of our worst dating experiences teach us the most… at least that’s the idea, anyway.

Being stood up. No girl likes wasting an hour of her life sipping an overpriced, watered down vodka cran and glancing at the door every five seconds, only to end up putting that drink on her credit card and making the trek back home. At least if the guy made an appearance, she’d have something to report back to her roommate at the end of the night. But nope, not in the cards. This may seem more like a non-experience, but the fact that even you, wonderful you, can be stood up, will remind you to stay humble. Nothing is guaranteed, and all you can do is pull up your bootstraps and trek on.

A horrible blind date. You’d think your friends (and in desperate circumstances, your family) would have some idea of what you’re looking for. But let’s face it, blind dates rarely turn into relationships. He may be as dull as dishwater, but look at you, you’re putting yourself out there! A terrible date will always be a good story later, and you can see this one as a warm-up date. Practice your one liners, hone your small talk skills, and by the time you are on a date with an actual contender for the position of Future Husband, you’ll be unstoppable.

Getting cheated on. Depending on how serious your relationship was, finding out your boyfriend’s a cheater is going to affect you in different ways. If he wasn’t taking it as seriously as you were, it’s better to know now. If you thought you guys were solid, the infidelity revelation is a hard pill to swallow. Whether you decide to stay together or not (and either choice is okay), going through something like this and coming out the other side of it fully intact is something to be proud of. How you handle it will teach you a lot about yourself, and what you can and cannot forgive. We all think we’d dump a cheater immediately, but sometimes forgiveness is just as viable an option.

Being tricked by his Tinder pic. A dating app that gives you literally nothing but appearance to go on? Big shocker that people alter their pics just to up their chances of getting a date. They probably think that once you get to know them, you won’t even notice they’re 20 pounds heavier, 10 years older, and balder than their pics. Starting a relationship out on a lie is never a good idea, but maybe this will teach you not to get sucked into the shallow abyss that online dating can sometimes be. Give everyone a chance, because it’s true – looks aren’t everything.

Running into an ex while on a date. Think about it: you probably put some level of effort into your appearance, you’re enjoying a social life, and clearly you aren’t at home pining after him, so embrace this opportunity! Stay calm, introduce your date and act like this is no big deal. Because it really isn’t… unless you’re still hopelessly in love with your ex. You may want to get on top of that if you want this whole dating thing to work out. What can you learn from this? How to roll with the punches, because this is dating, and it isn’t going to get any easier.

Embarrassing yourself. This could mean anything from the dreaded wardrobe malfunction to downing a few too many of those vodka crans to tripping over your own feet on your way out of the restaurant. A date is supposed to be about making a good impression, and if you go home thinking your really blew it, don’t worry. You still have options. A decent guy isn’t going to write you off because you did something a little dumb. Swallow your pride and send him that “thanks for the date!” text anyway. If you bury your head in the sand in shame, he’ll never have the chance to show you that he’s a keeper by never mentioning how you probably shouldn’t wear high heels before you actually learn to walk in them.

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6 Reasons to Let Your Bestie Take Over Your Tinder Account

Tinder can by trying – the sheer volume of men to swipe through that could potentially be the love of your life can be intimidating. Why not let your BFF take over your Tinder? Not only will it save your pointer finger the anguish of seemingly endless swiping, but chances are, if you’re on Tinder, you need a little outside help picking the perfect partner.

You’ll see that looks aren’t everything. It’s easy to get caught up in swiping left or right based solely on appearances, but if you don’t actually click on someone’s profile to see if you’re compatible, it could be all for naught. Sure, you need to be attracted to your date or mate, but attraction and chemistry can also grow with time. Your bestie will have your best interest at heart and knows that a good brain and good heart is a better match for you than rock hard abs.

You’ll get what you need. We may think that we know what we want out of a potential partner, but it’s not necessarily what we need. Since your BFF has been around for your past romantic blunders and failed relationships, they’re able to clearly see the types of qualities you need in a mate that you may not even know you’re looking for. They also know what kinds of guys are your weaknesses that you should avoid like the plague.

You’ll be pushed out of your comfort zone. Life’s silly sense of humor usually has us ending up with people who have qualities we thought we’d hate. If you always stay in your comfort zone, you’ll never know. Some of those dates probably won’t go anywhere, but it’s always better to test the waters than always stay on the beach on the sidelines. Your bestie taking over your Tinder will ensure you don’t play it safe.

You won’t be able to over-analyze. When there’s potential with a guy and you start to crush on him, you begin to overanalyze all of his messages and send them to three people to approve before you send it to him. If your BFF controls your messages, you won’t be able to agonize over whether using an exclamation point will make you seem desperate or overeager, or if using a period shows a lack of enthusiasm.

You’ll finally get to keep it PG. It’s really easy to get carried away with flirting, especially when there seemingly aren’t any consequences. You don’t even know each other’s last names, for God’s sake. But getting too flirty too fast is a huge mistake – and Tinder is a hotbed of unwanted penis pics. If your best friend is manning your account, he or she will be able to make sure that both the messages you send and receive are appropriate and respectful.

You’ll be excited by the mystery. If you give your bestie full reign of your Tinder account and allow them to set up dates for guys they’ve vetted, it’s not technically a blind date. Meeting a guy who’s crossed all of their Ts and dotted all of their Is and gotten your bestie’s seal of approval is exciting. You may not have chosen this guy, but someone who knows you and wants to find someone amazing has. As agonizing as it is, life wouldn’t be exciting if we knew exactly who we are going to end up with. Allowing your BFF to take the reigns allows you to be full of anticipation and hopefully after you meet, you still have butterflies in your stomach.

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