Archive for May, 2010



Monday, May 17th, 2010

Welcome to the very first HALF-ORANGE OPTIMISM WORKSHOP!

Update your Big Love List! (Image:

The project: Revising a Big Love List. One of the most important pieces to attracting your half-orange is knowing what kind of orange seed you want to plant—i.e. what kind of relationship you want in the first place. I walk you through the process in Meeting Your Half-Orange so some of you are now tackling your own lists.

The plan: I take one reader’s Big Love List and make some notes so you can see how to revise your own to bring your half-orange even sooner! Meghan, you see, asked for a little help with her list, and I thought it would be helpful to show you her list (with her permission) along with my thoughts on it. That way, you can help hone your own list so you know how to really work your Orange Buzz.

Here’s what Meghan wrote:

“I don’t know if I will ever know what I want fully…I guess this is a jumping off point. At the end of the day, I want someone who:

—Makes me feel I am the only person in the room
—Challenges me mentally, physically, emotionally
—Creates space for us to grow as a couple and for us as individually
—Can tolerate my family and reminds me that they are not what define me solely
—is honest, communicative, and authentic
—believes deeply in who he is and is open to pursuing his own emotional health
—is stable in his finances
—who makes me feel incredibly sexy, even when i am in my pjs
—is open to a spiritual journey
—finds the humor in the mundane and in the big events
—enjoys dogs and will put up the idiot one I own
—is adventurous, not only in travel, but in life
—can appreciate that I enjoy sports
—is a gentleman, yet respects my independence
—is educated and knows the importance of an education
—wants a family
—fights fair
—appreciates the arts and is willing to invest in them”

Here’s what I have to say about this list: I love it! I love the first item—because you should feel that special with your other half! I also love the idea of seeking a relationship with a man who is open to pursuing his emotional health, and with someone who will not only get along with your family, but support you with them. And of course I grinned when I read that he should find you sexy even in your PJs.

Really, it’s not up to me to comment on every item, because each of us wants something completely different from a partner and in a relationship.

But I do have one big suggestion, Meghan, and it’s this: Re-frame the list. As it is, this Big Love List is a checklist of what you want in a guy. You want a guy who is adventurous. A guy who is stable. A guy who appreciates the arts. But here’s the thing: You don’t want a guy…you want a relationship! This may sound like a small distinction, but as I explain in Meeting Your Half-Orange, it’s a big one! Let me explain:

—You don’t want a guy who “finds the humor in the mundane and big events.” What you want is a relationship in which you’ll laugh with your partner at the mundane and big events.

—You don’t want a guy who “is a gentleman.” What you want is a relationship in which you respect your partner and how he treats others, and in which you feel respected and appreciated for your independence.

—You don’t want a guy who “wants a family.” What you want is a relationship in which you have or create a family, with love, together.

See, when you put all of your focus on a guy, you’re taking the power and the energy out of yourself and focusing it on him. It’s kind of like you’re shining a flashlight beam out there to find that sole person who will be all of these things. Instead, flash the beam back toward yourself. Give yourself the power and the energy by tuning into how you want to feel in a relationship. Forget the guy…what will make you shine?

What you can do from here: Re-frame your Big Love List! This is for Meghan and anyone else open to love. On a piece of paper, write six to ten times: “I want a relationship in which I feel…” and fill in those blanks! Once you do this, you’ll notice a change in how you see the world around you. It will open up the world to you in incredible new ways! Once you revise your list, you’ll find yourself walking into parties or coffee shops and instead of scanning the guys to see if they appear to “fit” the guy you’ve built on this checklist, you’ll know that it’s about how you feel when you talk to him—and if he matches how you want to feel on your new list.

Big love,

10 Reasons You Should Never Settle in Love!

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Trust me, all singles get to that place. Oh, you know the one…

Stand strong for the love you deserve! (Illo by: Amy Spencer)

You’ve been single for a while, and since you really really want to be in a relationship, you start to bargain with yourself. You think, “Maybe I could just settle for someone I like just enough” instead of waiting for one who will truly make your heart floweth over. Well, here’s the sign I’d post in that puddle of pessimism: No settling allowed!

As anyone who’s already read the preface to Meeting Your Half-Orange knows, I’m all about being picky.

(If you haven’t read it, click to read the excerpted pages “Are You Being Too Picky?” straight out of the book!)

To make it clear why I don’t think you should settle for “eh” when it comes to a lifetime love partner, here are 10 reasons why settling works against you. Don’t settle for love, because…

#1: …settling is a choice made from fear. Don’t choose a relationship because you’re afraid to be alone. Or because you’re afraid you won’t find someone better. Or because you’re afraid you’re not good enough to attract someone who’s nuts about the real, true you. Be strong, not scared! You’re a tough cookie and you know you’re meant for more, so don’t let fear make decisions for you. Trust in the good life can bring you.

#2: … passion is like a hot pepper in a good soup. In other words, it changes in flavor, but it doesn’t diminish. If you choose a relationship with a passion and attraction to the whole person (not just their looks), the rewards of that emotional attraction can still be there decades later. But choose a relationship without that emotional passion? You could end up with a soup with no flavor at all.

#3: …friendship marriages are different than deep, romantic ones. Yes, some people can commit to an arranged marriage and still stay together for the long run. But it can take years to develop any emotional zing—if ever they do at all. Relationships can offer so much more than someone who cleans the toilet or puts gas in the car every other time. You can have more if you want it.

#4: …love isn’t a business contract! I read a quote from a woman who says she feels okay that she settled for her partner since marriage, after all, is like “a mundane non-profit business.” A mundane non-profit business? Goodness, what kind of marriage is that? Personally, I prefer to be alone than spend time with people who don’t speak in some way to my heart. Don’t you? Marriage or your big relationship should be the same way! Let your heart have a say.

#5: …When the novelty of coupledom wears off, you’re stuck with each other! All day. All night. All weekend. All the time. Watching not just your favorite shows but theirs. Withstanding not just their acceptable habits, but their annoying ones, too. Do you want to spend all your quality time with someone you wouldn’t give your high-quality stamp of approval?

#6: …settling is a sign you’re pessimistic about your future. It says you think you’ll never meet someone who adores you, who’s healthy and right for you, and who you love wholeheartedly in return. Be a dating optimist! If you want to feel happy, challenged, smart, pretty, safe and attracted to your partner, you can. You first have to believe the right partner is out there for you, and then begin asking for him or her to come rolling on into your life.

#7: …you deserve more! If you want to feel amazing about yourself and feed your healthy self-esteem, you should partner with a wonderful, respectable person you’re madly attracted to in some special way. Settling with someone you don’t respect and adore is a way of diminishing yourself. You deserve someone as great in heart and soul as you are.

#8: …if you settle, there may come a day later in your life when you feel you’re missing something. Are you prepared to battle with that? Someday, when you see couples who seem to care deeply for each other in palm-sweating, butterfly-churning ways, do you want to think, “What have I done? I never had that…” or do you want to smile, hug your honey and say, “Love is amazing. We have that, too.”

#9: …you deserve a big, bad, wonderful love! Long-term commitments are marathons, not sprints. If you’re going to go the distance, you want someone next to you that makes the run worth doing—through the highs, the lows, the effort and the exhaustion. Give yourself the gift of a wonderful life for the whole long run.

#10: …if you’ve settled with a so-so someone, you won’t be open when your half-orange comes along! Your other half is so desperately hoping you’ll be open. Do yourself the favor of making sure you are. Don’t lie down into a relationship if it’s not going to make you stand up and shine. Celebrate yourself and the love you’re meant to have, and don’t settle for anything less!

While you’re at it, you should also read:
10 Reasons to Be Thankful for Being Single!
10 Things All Singles Must Do
8 Reasons to Go Out Tonight!

Big love,

Well…Why Not?

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

I keep thinking about last week’s episode of Cougar Town. A show, by the way, I now love.

Jules had the right answer, er, question. (Photo:

It went from a manic show where I couldn’t understand a word anyone said to a laugh-out-loud funny one I look forward to every week. And the line that stuck with me from last week was a simple one.

After Jules (played by Courteney Cox) and Grayson (played by Josh Hopkins) started becoming friends with benefits, she suggested the two of them try—really try—having a relationship. When Grayson asked Jules “Why,” she said one thing: “Why not?

Well, I think we could all use a little more “Why not” in our lives—especially if you’re single or dating. Why take advantage of a three-day weekend to take a last-minute discount flight to the Bahamas with your friends? Why not? Why go out with the guy who’s six years younger but absolutely, utterly nuts about you? Why not? Why talk to an interesting-looking stranger at a party instead of your same-old crew in the corner? Why not? If you’ve read Meeting Your Half-Orange, then you know that I’m all about putting your desire for a relationship out there, and then letting life bring you your big surprise. For all you know, your next “Why not?” may just be the thing you need.

So don’t let what you’ve always done get in the way of trying new things. And don’t let fear or rules or someone else’s expectations dictate what you say yes to. This week, branch out and give yourself a “Why not?”

You might also like:
Cougar Town Tip: Do You Need to Cut the Strings?
What’s the Upside? The Tale of the Halo

Big love,

VITAMIN OPTIMISM: What Are You Holding Onto?

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Green PillYour dose for today…

What's still burning in you? Drop the coal.

“Holding anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”


When someone hurts us in love, it’s like the longer we hold onto it, the more it symbolizes how deeply this got us and how truly jerky the fool who hurt us was! We want to shout from the rooftops for all to hear: “Can’t you see how awful this person is? Can’t you see how stabbed and stomped on I was? Please, feel this with me! Understand!” We can’t help but simmer in it: Real pain doesn’t go away in a day, right? But here’s the thing: Like Buddha said, that pain doesn’t hurt the other person. It hurts us.

Yes, hurt takes healing, and allow yourself that. But don’t hold onto the pain longer than have to. If you’re tired of feeling angry and bitter and hurt…then let go. Like a hot coal, holding onto anger about the past means you are the one who gets burned. So drop the coal, cool your hands, calm your heart and move forward—away from anger and straight to love.

Big love,

Amy Signature 4

The Ageless Path You’re On

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

I love to find dating inspiration in all kinds of couples. I recently found it in Lois Hjelmstad, author of the new book This Path We Share: Reflecting on 60 Years of Marriage.

Who'll share the path for your 60 years?

I was interviewing her for a relationship piece I wrote for Redbook magazine, and was tickled by Lois’ sense of humor and sense of marriage. She was almost 18 when she married her 26-year-old husband and they’ve been married for 61 years. Now, says Lois, “I am 79 and my husband will be 88 in April. We’re older than dirt!”

But what I loved most about Lois’ story was that their path to each other wasn’t identical, but their commitment and core values were. As Lois explained:

“We are very different: He was Big Man On Campus; I was the wallflower of the century. He likes sports; I hate them. He is a laid-back Norwegian; I am an anal-retentive German. After years of living in poverty, he wanted to spend every penny we earned; I wanted to keep track of everything. He lived life day to day; I planned years ahead.. I think up redecorating projects and trips; he pronounces, “It won’t work.” But our love is so deep and so passionate, that the differences have not derailed us. Our core values are compatible. We do not have a date night. . .but we go to lunch together every day at McDonald’s. It’s a good time to talk.”

It’s a great reminder that you don’t have to be the same people when you reach each other, but you do have to want the same things from life and each other. That’s what will keep you grounded to the path. As Lois said, people are shocked when she tells them “how crazy in love we still are.” Whoever your half-orange turns out to be, and however long you have together, I wish the same for you.

You might also like:
The Duet You’re Dating For
3 Love Lessons from It’s Complicated

Big, longlasting love,