The Secret to Being Attractive

Maybe it’s because I went to an all-girls school during the part of my life when my body transitioned from kid-ish to womanly. Maybe it’s because I was mostly friends with girls until I went to college. Or maybe I’m just not willing to believe that it’s okay for men to be pigs, but it’s not okay for girls to dress *mildly* attractive and not expect to get hounded by unwanted suitors.

Over the last 12 months, I’ve been hit on by guys more than I have in my entire life. It’s new. It’s kind of interesting. But I don’t like it. I probably sound like a bitch (you might tell me I’m not even that hot, get off my high horse) and I’m complaining about people finding me attractive (boo-hoo). It’s not the “finding me attractive” part that bothers me, though. It’s how a lot of guys go about hitting on girls that bothers me. I’m very choosy with who I actually date, and if you come across as a LOS-ing douche, you won’t get very far.

For example, I went to a party a few weeks ago and I had a few guys hanging onto me for a lot of the night, and the whole time they made me feel pressured. I already could tell what they wanted from me, and it wasn’t something I wanted to give them. I got texts for the rest of the night, while I was lying in bed in the room I share with my little sisters, and a guy asked me to go out to meet him. I told him I was tired and my phone was about to die, then he proceeded to beg me, then told me I was “lame” for not wanting to go out (in the cold, walking alone in San Francisco) at night to meet him.

It’s disgusting. You put on a push-up bra and people automatically assume you’re DTF. I found myself wondering on multiple occasions about whether I gave off some kind of vibe that suggests I want sex from everyone. It’s sad because they made me feel like I was doing something wrong.

Meanwhile, the whole time I was being pursued by horny losers, I slowly became more interested in someone else. He was genuinely nice to me and talked to me about things I liked. Movies, travel, types of adventures we’d like to go on eventually. He connected with me on an intellectual level and made me feel like there was more to me than having a pretty face. I can’t recall him telling me I was physically attractive, ever. That took the pressure off of me and let me feel comfortable enough to be myself. Guys like him give me hope.

What set him and the losers apart was his approach. I don’t know about all girls, but I hate being treated like a piece of meat. If I ranked the qualities I liked best about myself, intelligence, sense of humor, the ability to quote dozens of quality TV shows on command, and my identity as a grammar police would all come before beauty. I understand that other people might be flattered and into it when someone hits on them in a sexually aggressive way, but most girls I know are more attracted to a guy who wants more than a hot piece of ass.

If you want to try this highly effective approach too, here are a few pointers.

Find out what she likes and really listen to her talk about it. Don’t interrupt. Don’t nod like you’re interested while your mind is elsewhere. Be a decent human being and listen to this person talk about their passions. If you really can’t handle listening, then maybe find another person you have more in common with and will be more interested in.

Tell her about what you’re passionate about and be honest. Don’t embellish the truth and don’t pretend you’re interested in what she’s interested in — if there’s anything we’ve learned from comedies/rom-coms, this leads to misunderstandings and/or hijinks. She’ll either appreciate your enthusiasm and openness, or she’ll think you’re boring (in which case, the two of you aren’t very compatible and she isn’t a keeper).

Be genuine. This is the most important of all. Most people can tell if you’re acting (unless you’re actually an actor or are Barney Stinson), and nobody likes a person who’s dishonest. When you’re genuine, a person can tell. This is definitely the quality I find most attractive in anyone.

So the secret here isn’t really much of a secret. Be yourself, be genuine, and be interested in getting to know a person below surface level. It might seem counterintuitive but it’s much more attractive when you show interest in a person’s personality rather than their looks. This should also go without saying, but if you treat others with respect, more often than not, they’ll appreciate it and appreciate you.

–Chloe

There Are Plenty of Fish in the Sea, But Focus on the Fisherman

“You’re so young and there are so many people out there for you.”

This is the phrase I find myself telling my friends more than anything else, in regards to love advice. So many people I know (myself included) get hung up over their own relationship drama. We make ourselves miserable when things don’t go the way we want them to in our romantic relationships. But really, what’s the point?

I’ve spent so much of my time feeling bad about issues I create in my head about guys I like, which only distracts me from the awesome things I do have going for me. I’m not trying to brag, but I love my life — I have an incredibly supportive group of family and friends who love me (for whatever reason that may be), I get to travel to fun places several times a year without paying for anything, I go to a UC and have parents who are able to support me, I’m not in debt, and for 9 months out of the year, I live within walking distance of the Pacific Ocean. But most of the time, I forget all of this and let myself focus on the little relationship problems that don’t really matter.

Eventually (recently) I realized that at this point in my life, romance only holds me back from being the person I’m meant to be. When I’m in a relationship, I turn into this needy crybaby who over-analyzes every single thing her partner does. I hope to become better at relationships someday, but I know that I have to work on myself before I get involved with anyone else. Even though it hurt, I took my last breakup as a blessing in disguise. I love being in love, but I realize now that I have to take this time being single to focus on learning to love myself before I can really love another person, without being insecure and bringing myself down.

Part of my realization stemmed from things I read about what people are like while they’re in their 20s. A few months ago, a friend of mine gave me a book about how the 20s are the most formative years of a person’s life (it’s called The Defining Decade by the way, and I recommend it to anyone in their 20s). The book talks about how romantic love is important, but when you’re young, you’re not emotionally or mentally equipped to deal with the stress and other issues that come with serious committed relationships.

I thought about this and agreed —  I noticed that a lot of my relationship problems were a result of my immaturity, or the combined immaturity of my former partners and myself. I see so many other young couples going through crappy relationship problems because both of them aren’t ready to be in a non-codependent relationship in which they treat each other with respect.

Instead, I think young people should spend these formative years focusing on personal growth. We’re young, so we still have a lot to learn about the world and ourselves. Take the time to try new things and push your boundaries. There are plenty of people to fall in love with and plenty of time to do it, but you don’t have all the time in the world to be young or the opportunities you might have now to figure out what you love to do. Focus on doing what you love, and learn to love yourself.

–Chloe

Be the Role Model You Wish You Had

A while back, I was in a toxic relationship. My boyfriend fought with me (verbally) and cussed at me, got mad at me over the littlest things, and made me feel bad about myself deeply. After crying my eyes out while he yelled at me over Skype, I decided that enough was enough. I needed to do better for myself and get out of the relationship.

I’ll also mention that I’m the oldest of 6 children and many cousins in my family, so naturally I serve as a role model for lots of my younger loved ones. So when I decided I needed to get out of the toxic relationship, I knew that I didn’t just need to do it for myself, but for my siblings. They saw my crazy mood swings, from crying at home to being elated and browsing Pinterest for our wedding ideas. They didn’t mention it to me, but I could tell they knew that this relationship was taking a toll on me.

If I let my little sisters see me stay with a guy who treated me with disrespect, I’d be sending them the message that it’s okay to let someone abuse you and not do anything about it. And if I let my younger brothers see me take the emotional abuse and still give love to my partner who wronged me, they might think it’s okay to treat their future girlfriends or wives that way too.

I used the goal of setting a good example for my siblings as a driving force to be the strongest person I could be. I said goodbye to the bad relationship with the intention of never looking back.

I have strong female role models in my life, and I wanted to be the same kind of person who could inspire those who look to me as an example. I couldn’t handle if it if I saw my little sisters in abusive relationships, much less if I knew it was because they learned the passive behavior from me. So when it gets hard to try to do the right thing, I remember the boys and especially the girls who look up to me and use them as my motivation. If you have anyone in your life who has you as a role model, keep them in mind when life gets rough. Even if you can’t be better for yourself, be strong for them.

–Chloe

Don’t Look Back in Anger: Your Mistakes and Hardships Help You Grow

I won’t get into the whole story, but I ended up Googling myself today (don’t judge — we’ve all done it). One of the search results was for a wedding registry on the Knot for my ex-fiance and me, and the wedding date was set for next summer. My initial reaction was to shout “no!” from the top of my lungs. I couldn’t believe there was still evidence of that extremely painful part of my life on the Internet, especially something so easy to for anyone stumble upon. Then I went through feeling briefly sad at how things turned out, to extremely relieved. I can’t imagine how my life would’ve turned out if I’d actually gotten married. I often get upset with myself for being that dumb and naïve, for putting myself through so much emotional and mental stress, and ignoring all my loved ones who tried to advise me against it.

But really, what’s the point in hating yourself for making a mistake? Sure, I know better now, but I wouldn’t know what I do now if I hadn’t made that mistake. It doesn’t matter how badly you mess up — what matters is what you take away from the experience. I didn’t know these seemingly obvious things when I was younger, but because of this experience, I learned never to stay in a relationship with someone who wanted to control or change me. I learned that I have so much more to offer than just being someone’s girlfriend. I learned that nothing lasts forever (no matter how much you will it), but that isn’t always a bad thing. I’m not perfect now, but because of that mistake, I became the much stronger, smarter person I am today, and I wouldn’t have come this far otherwise.

You may feel like shit when you think about the embarrassing choices you’ve made in the past, the people you dated, the opportunities you missed, and so on. But you can’t change the past. What you can control are your attitude and actions in the present. So don’t be angry when you think about your past mistakes or failures. Be glad that you put yourself out there and tried, and motivate yourself with the knowledge that if you could get through this, you could get through anything.

-Chloe

Note: I feel like I always have to mention this at the end of my ex-relationship-bashing posts. I’m in no way trying to hate on/bash my ex or our past relationship. I loved him a lot and we had great times — it wasn’t always great but I learned a lot and am at a place now where I can write about it cathartically. 

How to Get Out of a Toxic Relationship

She checks his phone when he’s not looking. Or she makes him give her his phone so she can check it in front of him.

He proposes to her after they’ve dated for a month and gets upset when she wants to take it more slowly.

They have each other’s Facebook passwords. Or worse, they share a joint Facebook account.

She sees his overt jealousy as love and protection instead of mistrust and disrespect.

He suggests changes she could make in her physical appearance to make her more attractive to him, like cutting her hair or dropping a few dress sizes.

She stops telling her close friends about the problems in their relationship because he says it’s the two of them against the world.

They talk to their exes when they want to make each other feel bad.

They keep score of different times their partner has messed up in the relationship, to throw it back in their face during a fight.

They change their Facebook pictures from couple pictures to ones of them alone when they’re mad at each other.

Does any of this sound familiar? These are all examples of what it’s like to be in a toxic relationship.

I’m not proud to admit this, but I’ve been in a toxic relationship myself (and I’m going to spill my guts a lot in this post, so be gentle with me). Unfortunately, all of the above are things I’ve experienced in the past. It hurts to see people I care about going through toxic relationships, and if you think you might be in one too, think critically about your relationship. Re-evaluate what it means to you and try out these steps.

Talk to someone.

It’s easier to stay in a relationship when you’re isolated to talking to your partner more than anyone else. It’s unhealthy to have this type of codependency with your partner, and if you feel like things aren’t going so well with your relationship, it helps to get an outside, objective opinion. Talk to a close friend or family member who has your best interests in mind. It’s easy to get swept up in what your partner says to you, but when a person outside of your relationship validates your feelings or worries about the relationship, it can help you see things more clearly.

Branch out.

If you don’t have one already, create a network of friends and family who will help you get through this breakup with love and support. One of the things I fear most when it comes to breakups is being alone. But if you have at least a handful of people who you know will have your back when you go through with the breakup, it makes it a whole lot easier. Near the end of my destructive relationship, I realized how I hadn’t been in contact with a lot of my friends from high school and some of my relatives I used to be closer to. I looked past the awkwardness and vented to them without filtering any of the bad stuff about my relationship that I usually hid from people. It was a little embarrassing at first, but they each assured me of what I wouldn’t admit to myself. I had chosen a partner that was treating me poorly. With their support, I gained the confidence I needed to face him and end our relationship for good.

Make your intentions clear to your partner.

If you don’t tell him straight up that you do not want him in your life anymore, he might get the wrong idea. I made the mistake of answering a persistent ex’s calls even though I really wanted to move on with my life. I was so used to talking to him (and I even missed him) so I gave in. After awhile, I tried ignoring him, but it didn’t work. The best way to let someone know you don’t want them in your life anymore is the simplest way: tell them upfront. In a decisive yet respectful way, tell him that you want to stop talking to each other so that you can go on with your lives separately. If he tries to win you back or sweet-talk you, be even more direct and tell him that you don’t want him romantically any more and ask him to respect your decision. That won’t always work, and if it doesn’t, you’ll need to go cold turkey and block him.

Block him from your life as much as possible.

Make it a point not to contact him. At all. Delete his number from your phone (and use Mr. Number, a useful blocking app, to block his calls and texts), unfollow/unfriend him on every social networking platform you both use. If you initiate conversation or even respond to him when he talks to you first, he won’t take you seriously. He could try to wear you down, but you have to stay strong and stay away. Check out this other awesome lovescrewed post for ways to keep your ex out of your life.

Mourn the relationship, but embrace the change.

A definitive chapter of your life is over, so you should allow yourself to feel sad and cry it out if you need to. Take as much time as you need to let all your emotions out.

Now that you’ve gotten out of the destructive relationship, the worst is behind you. However, that doesn’t mean that it’ll be easy taking on what comes next. You’re alone. The thought of being alone can be really scary, but it can also be a good thing. Change isn’t always bad — it’s just different. You need to allow yourself to get used to this change in your life and recognize all the good that comes along with it. You’re out of a bad relationship. You have the freedom to explore and figure out who you are as an individual. The possibilities are endless.

Explore what life has to offer you.

It may seem like I’m bashing my ex and making our relationship out to be horrible, but that’s not how it was. We just weren’t right for each other in the end and we both had a lot of growing up to do (and I’m admitting here that I was very much at fault too). This relationship helped me to grow personally more than almost any other experience in my life, and that’s what I take away from it. Don’t look back in anger (cue Oasis song) at your relationship, no matter how toxic it was, how much you wish you’d done things differently, or how poorly your ex may have treated you. Look at it as a learning experience. Even though you may have thought this person was your world, that isn’t true. There’s a world around you full of people you can share your life with and who can help you be happier than you would be if you stayed in the toxic relationship. Appreciate this not as an ending, but as a new beginning.

-Chloe

Learn to Live Your Life for Yourself

Note: Please excuse the cliche title of this post and give it a chance before you roll your eyes and scroll on.

Recently I went through a bunch of my old stuff in the garage at my mom’s house, and I found a huge box with all my old diaries (at least 20 journals). Since my grandma gave me my first journal at age 5, I’ve documented my thoughts and feelings through writing up to now. I took my time reading through a few of my main diaries, laughing at the entry in which my 7 year old self wrote her first curse word (it was “bitch”), pausing at the poems I wrote about how miserable I was when my parents were getting divorced, and wincing at how worked up I got over my former romantic interests.

After reading through my diaries from ages 6-15, I noticed a pattern. I had formed chapters of my life based on the boys I had crushes on (I’d even sectioned the chapters off with post-its: “Niko love” and “Harry Potter” were two of the earlier ones). When I really thought about it, I realized that I often think about my life chronologically based on who I “liked” at the time.

I also was a bit disturbed with how obsessed my younger self was with boys. Of course it’s normal for little girls to have crushes, but I got worried after reading months and months of entries about one guy I liked in middle school. The only account I have of my life as a tween is her ramblings about wanting desperately for a boy to like her back, planning on how to get him to ask her to a dance, dissecting every word he said to her to find his true feelings for her, etc. I read her angry words about a girl she “hated” because this guy liked the other girl instead, and now I realize that my past self was deeply hurt.

It’s almost scary to me to see how much I let my life be dictated by feelings of attraction (or even obsession) over boys, who (no offense intended) weren’t actually all that great anyway. From a young age, I began to base my sense of self-worth on whether or not my crush liked me back. (By the way, that first curse word was used when I was calling my 2nd grade crush’s crush a “bitch”) Reading all the diaries just made me realize that I continued that pattern for years — and I still catch myself doing that now.

I wish I could go back and teach little Chloe, and especially teenage Chloe, to learn to love herself. Not to sound egotistical, but I think I was a pretty cool kid and I had a lot going for myself self-esteem-wise, until the awkwardness and insecurities of puberty kicked in. I saw all my classmates in middle school get “boyfriends” and I felt that if I didn’t have one too, there probably wasn’t anything good about me. So I became obsessed with getting a boyfriend, and this continued on probably until this year.

I feel like kicking my past self because I really did have a great life growing up, with so much to be grateful for, instead of pining over people who had no idea I was interested in them. I think the hardest part of all for me is trying to turn these realizations into something positive. Yeah, I spent a lot of my life feeling bad about myself because I couldn’t get guys to notice me, but there’s no use crying about it now. The best thing I can do for myself is to try to remember that I have a lot to be grateful for, I still do have an amazing life, and there is so much more to me than being somebody’s girlfriend (which sounds so obvious, but I wouldn’t have believed it deep down even just last year). The worst thing that could happen is that in another decade or so, I look back on my journals from my 20s and realize that I continued that pattern of low self-esteem and wasted my time thinking about how others perceived me when I know now that I was better than that. My journal from here on out will reflect my thoughts and feelings on subjects deeper and more personal than “why won’t he text me back” or “I hate him for breaking up with me.”

So after this long-winded self-reflective post, I urge anyone reading this to know that you are wonderful. You don’t need anyone’s approval to be your beautiful self. Although it took me 20 years to figure that out for myself, I hope you already know that, or at least know it now.

-Chloe

Treat Yo Self: Fun “Me-Time” Dates to Take Yourself On

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If you’re single, these dates will be especially fun. You have no one but yourself to worry about, and that freedom can be an absolute luxury.

And if you’re in a relationship, here’s some good news: these dates will still be super fun!

Most of these dates will require some effort (or maybe a lot of effort), so make sure you go in with a positive attitude and willingness to pamper yourself and get to know yourself.

DIY/craft day

Try something new! There are unlimited things you can make and do. For example, I love making friendship bracelets with my sister, embroidery is fun (and makes great gifts), making handmade cards, sewing, etc.

Learn something new

Learning something new helps you to learn more about yourself in the process. You may figure out you like something you never would’ve thought you’d like before, or you might see that you’re better at something than you thought you were. This date may require you to go outside of your comfort zone, and that’s where the real magic happens.

Check around your area to find a small class you can take — it could be anything from cooking to self-defense.

Try out a new recipe. Plus you can Instagram whatever you cook or bake #FoodPorn

Learn a skill from a YouTube tutorial. Personally, I like to watch drawing or Adobe Illustrator tutorials, but your topic of choice could be anything you want.

Movie marathon

I watch an embarrassing amount of television, but I don’t usually spend as much time watching movies unless I have someone to join me. But if you have an occasion like this, it’s a lot more fun. It’s good to have some self-indulgence every once in awhile, so set aside a day or a chunk of hours when you can relax, watch a bunch of awesome movies, and stuff your face with your favorite snacks.

A few ideas for movie marathon themes:
Chocolate Decadence: Chocolat, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (you can even make the marathon a Johnny Depp double feature with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), Like Water for Chocolate. Make sure to stock up on all your favorite kinds of chocolate to make this marathon even more delicious (than it already is with Johnny Depp).

Flashback Friday: Childhood/90’s favorites. This may vary depending on what you liked to watch as a kid, but some possibilities include Disney animated films, Pokemon movies, musical children’s movies (Mary Poppins, The Wizard of Oz, etc.).

Guilty Pleasures: Basically all the movies you secretly want to see but are too embarrassed to actually ask anyone to to watch them with you (and have them still respect you afterward).

Musicals: Don’t be afraid to sing along, either! The Sound of Music, Grease, Hairspray (or the remake too), Moulin Rouge!, Singin’ in the Rain, Pitch Perfect (does this count?), and so on (I’ve omitted Les Mis because it’s probably too depressing to watch while you’re having this alone-time date).

Harry Potter: This one’s pretty obvious (especially if you know me) and will take forever to watch all of them, so you could just watch your favorites if that’s more convenient.

Judd Apatow: Some of my personal favorites. The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Funny People, This Is 40.

If you’re a scaredy-cat (like I am), you might want to avoid horror or thrillers — you don’t want to end up with paranoia or nightmares while you’re alone. Unless you’re down, in which case you can hit me up for a list of my favorite horror movies, as I’ve become a self-proclaimed connoisseur of the genre over the past few years).

Dinner date

Dress up for yourself. Or let loose and wear your sweats, since you probably wouldn’t have the freedom to be that comfortable on a regular date.

Cook yourself a meal with different courses — foods you’ve wanted to try out but never got around to it, or your favorites. If you’re up for it and want to go all-out for yourself, you can make a meal with appetizers, entree(s), and dessert (apps, tray trays, and ‘zerts).

Pampering

Treat yourself to a mani/pedi or eyebrow wax, massage, the works (if you’re up to it or have deep pockets).

Do an at-home pampering day, with a bubble bath (add soothing music, incense, candles, bath salts, or flower petals for ambience). Treat yourself for no cost with a DIY mani/pedi or facial.
You can even give your place a spa-vibe with a pitcher of cucumber water, use a bathrobe/slippers, or put out a platter of fruit or light cookies for yourself. Plus you could make a mimosa or cocktail/blended fruity drink for extra relaxation 😉

Exploring

If you don’t want to spend much, just try taking the bus out downtown and wander wherever your fancy takes you.

Check out a store you’ve never been in or go out to a nearby park (butterfly preserves are beautiful) and enjoy nature. You might discover something wonderful in a place you used to think was ordinary.

Be careful choosing where to explore, though. It wouldn’t be a good idea to go hiking or rock climbing alone without letting anyone know about it (unless you want a 127 Hours situation on your hands).

Beach day

If you’re near a beach or can take public transportation to get to one, do it. If not, this date also applies to any other waterfronts near you, like lakes or rivers.

If the weather permits (this is a great time for this date because it’s summer), put on a bikini and shorts/tank or comfy dress, grab your shades, a good book/magazine, a few healthy snacks (fresh or dried fruit, a bottle of water, some nuts, chips, crackers, sandwiches, cookies), lie out on a blanket and soak up the sun. Don’t forget sunblock, of course!

Give yourself the time and space to enjoy the beauty of the ocean or other waterfront and relax.

-Chloe

Making the Choice to Date Yourself

After six years of serial monogamy and seriously fucking up my heart, I decided that I needed to take the time to date myself before I could date anyone else. I’ve always been most comfortable with a boyfriend, who serves as a best friend, cuddle buddy, someone to listen to me talk 24/7, and most importantly, a validation of my worth (note: in response to a reader’s comment, I mean that I used to think that having a boyfriend was a validation of my worth). As long as I had a boyfriend, that meant that someone found me desirable and interesting. After lots of journaling, soul-searching, and heart-to-heart conversations with my close friends and family, I’ve made the most wonderful discovery: I don’t need a boyfriend to validate me! And here’s the best part: neither do you. The truth is, you don’t need anyone but yourself to be happy. And if you’ve gone through as much relationshit as I have, you owe it to yourself to date yourself, too.

I got the idea about dating yourself from one of my role models, Rashida Jones as Ann Perkins (from the TV show Parks and Recreation). Ann, despite being the “beautiful tropical fish” that she is, dates a slew of losers and is in a relationship more often than not. Eventually, she realizes that she needs to take time to date herself instead of losing herself in a relationship (basically changing her personality to match those of her different boyfriends). Although Ann is still making arguably rash life decisions, this idea was really useful to me.

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If you do decide to date yourself, you should make some promises to yourself. Later on, if you feel that you’re slipping into a relationship just because it’s what you’re used to, you can refer to this list to remind yourself why it’s important to honor this commitment first.

  1. Focus on your own happiness. When you’re in a regular relationship, you’re expected to put your partner’s needs or wants ahead of your own (at least some of the time). When you date yourself, you put your needs and wants first, always. If you plan on getting married and/or having kids later, this may be the only chance you’ll get to really focus on what you want and learn about who you are as an individual. Take advantage of that freedom and do what’s right for you. Do what makes you truly happy. And if you don’t know what makes you happiest yet, try a bunch of different things out until you figure out what does. Only then can you love yourself enough to have a good relationship with mutual respect and love with a partner, in the future.

  2. Remember that you don’t need attention (romantically or otherwise) from anyone to be happy. Your worth isn’t based on whether or not you have a beau to show off to all your friends. It’s defined by the choices you make and the way you see yourself as an individual. Make the choice to make yourself happy instead of relying on someone else (who may or may not be as awesome as you are) to give you a sense of validation.

  3. Be faithful to yourself. Just as you would in a normal 2-person relationship, be true to the commitment you’re making to yourself. This means that you can’t get into a relationship with another person, because at this point, you might end up backsliding and being a version of yourself you don’t like. For example, you might be a needy, codependent or jealous partner. If you stay faithful to your choice to date yourself, you can concentrate on going through your personal journey of learning to love who you are.

  4. Don’t forget — you’re awesome.  It’s easy to feel crappy about yourself when you don’t have a significant other to constantly tell you you’re pretty/smart/cool, and a lack of self-confidence can cause you to search for a partner to give you that ego boost. But remember, you don’t need anyone but yourself. You chose to date yourself, and why would you date someone who isn’t awesome? Should you ever forget this, keep a list of things you love about yourself to remind you exactly how awesome you are.

I’ll admit that choosing to date yourself is difficult. It’s a big commitment. Often I feel tempted to give in and look for potential partners. After all, I usually assess the people I meet to see if I’d like to date them or not. But it’s important to look past our habits of getting into relationships because we’ll never learn to be comfortable alone if we don’t force ourselves to go through the discomfort of being alone. And it isn’t until you’re alone, with nobody but yourself to think about, that you really learn who you are. So if you’re willing to sacrifice the comfort of having someone to cuddle or take cutesy couple pictures with, for the priceless gift of truly loving yourself, you might want to try dating yourself. Chloe and I started dating this summer (I’ve learned that she’s pretty amazing) and I think she may be “the one.”

-Chloe

How to Stop Stalking Your Ex Online

Check yo self before you wreck yo self

We’ve all been through our fair share of breakups, and if there’s one thing that delays emotional healing more than anything, it’s social media sites. Let’s not beat around the bush — it’s incredibly easy to stalk our exes online (but don’t worry, we’ve all done it). With a few simple taps on your smartphone, you can easily dig up information better than a C.I.A. agent and see what your ex is doing; who he’s hanging out with, what he’s eating, where he’s hanging out (I say all this at the risk of sounding extremely creepy, but that’s just how it is). So before you go stalker-mode on your ex, read these tips and save yourself from some unnecessary heartache.

Stop and ask yourself why you need to check on him. What good would come out of it? What do you have to gain? You’re only going to make yourself feel bad — plus it’s probably not the best idea to spend your valuable time creeping on someone who doesn’t deserve your attention. If you see him having fun in his Instagram pictures or see him tagged in a photo with a hot girl on Facebook, you’ll just feel worse about yourself. If you see there isn’t anything interesting going on with him through his online profiles, you’re still comparing yourself to him, and that’s unhealthy (not to mention useless and pretty embarrassing).

Don’t compare your life to his, especially online, because that’s an inaccurate measurement of real happiness and success. If it seems like he’s moving on faster than you are, then that’s fine. Stop and take a deep breath before you go and cut the bitch who’s posting on his Facebook timeline. If he’s not moving on quickly, then that’s fine too. It doesn’t matter. You are your own person, unrelated to him. His life is not a reflection of yours, and vice-versa. Just focus on your own personal growth, and do whatever it takes to make yourself genuinely happy.

Instead of putting your investigative skills to use, do something positive for yourself. Here are a few ideas:

Talk to a friend or family member.
Take a moment to be grateful for what you have in your life (including the awesome people who do love you).
Dance like crazy to your favorite song.
Smile.
Listen to soothing music.
Write.
Draw.
Just don’t succumb and stalk him online.

Remember, he probably wasn’t perfect. Maybe he flirted with other girls or didn’t make you feel like the most special girl in his life. Maybe he only listened to top 40s. Maybe he never watched Community despite the number of times you recommended it to him. Maybe he didn’t get along well with your best friend. Even if you thought he was the next best thing to Ryan Gosling, there were probably things about him that you don’t miss — and now you don’t have to deal with them!

By simply reading this article, you’ve proven that you’re willing to try to move on with your life and hang up your private investigator hat — that’s a huge step in itself. So give yourself a pat on the back and enjoy the single life, because you’re awesome!

Note: I use male pronouns referring to the “ex” throughout this article (without intending to be gender exclusive) but feel free to switch them to female pronouns if you are/were dating a girl!

-Chloe