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Cheering each other on


Dating Decisions: Should You Settle in Love?

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

I don’t know if you watched the new show Nashville last night, but being a Connie Britton fan, I had the show’s debut date saved on my iCal. Luckily, I loved it! And one part of the show made me think of the struggle we sometimes have in love. But before I tell you which one, I must say…

Connie Britton as Rayna James in "Nashville" (Image:

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t yet seen the Nashville premiere and want to, watch it before reading this post!

The big question on the show was how veteran country star Rayna (Connie Britton) would handle her poor concert sales. She could either A) agree to “co-headline” and open for the former teen mean sensation Juliette (Hayden Panetierre), or B) she’d be on her own, as her record company would no longer promote her album. In other words, should she settle for sharing the stage with someone she didn’t believe in or try to make it on her own?

As Rayna told the record company executive: “You can kiss my decision as it’s walking out the door.” And that’s how I think we should handle those same cheap decisions in love.

When I think back to my dating days, I come across all kinds of dating “deals” I nearly or actually did settle for:

• I either A) only got to see the guy I liked if I met him at some bar after midnight or B) I’d be on my own to find someone who wanted to see me for breakfast, lunch and dinner, too.

• I either A) hung around with a guy I liked who only saw me as a friend or B) I’d be on my own to find someone who wanted a romantic relationship like I did.

• I either A) stayed in a relationship with someone I wasn’t my best self with or B) I’d be on my own to find someone I could shine with.

On paper (or, hey, on computer) these seem like easy choices! But we all know that in love, it’s hard to choose the tougher path. It can be lonely and sometimes scary to be on your own, unsure of what’s to come.

But like Rayna showed last night, it’s really the only way. If you believe in yourself and want the happy, fulfilling life you deserve, then you must choose the path that takes you there. It may be the tougher path. It may be the scarier one. But it’s the only choice you can make if you want your happy ending.

The foundation of dating optimism is that you believe you can have a great love on this earth. So the next time your date or hookup or friends-with-benefits or partner is making you feel “less than” the greatest catch on earth? Tell them they can kiss your decision as it’s walking out the door, too.

Big love,


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A Positive Rant: You Are a Catch, You Know




“Q&A: Should I settle for a nice guy I don’t really like?”

Your Ballet of Long-Lasting Love

Monday, June 27th, 2011

My friend Dave forwarded this commercial to me. As he was celebrating his seventh wedding anniversary with his wife in London, he remembered this commercial that he felt was a great representation of how a relationship grows together over time. And since it’s for the mobile and broadband company “Orange,” I’m clearly meant to share it.

Here, dating optimists, is the ballet of long-lasting love you’re looking for:


Let this be a great visual reminder of what you can think about when you focus on your future half-orange: a relationship in which you feel you fit together as a great team, in which you’re working toward the same happy life and taking gentle care of each other along the way.

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The Complete Love Strategy


Big love,

Your Two Steps to Winning in Love

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

I’m coming a little late to one game: Friday Night Lights. Until two night ago, I hadn’t seen an episode, but when a guy friend told me that it’s the only show that’s ever made him cry, I was in.

Coach Taylor's advice works for all of us. (Image: NBC)

Gus and I have only seen three episodes so far, but we’re loving it. And loving Kyle Chandler—remember him from Early Edition? I used to watch that show over a decade ago, when he got the one-day-ahead edition of the newspaper and then spent his whole day trying to stop all that bad news from happening. Kyle’s even better in this, as Eric Taylor, the new coach of the number one Texas high school football team, the Dillon Panthers. And every time he needs to give his team a pep talk, he closes with a line I think we would all do better in life to follow:

“Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.”

It’s just like dating. Because those two short steps can lead you just where you want to go in love. Here’s how:

How to have clear eyes: Pay attention to the person you’re meeting. Really see them for who they are—not who they dress like, who they act like, the job they’re in, the car they drive. Don’t let one or three glasses of Sauvingnon Blanc get you too tipsy on a date to miss how you interact with one another on a real, personal level. If you say, for example, you’re looking for a relationship and would like to be married with kids someday, pay clear attention to what they say and do next. Things like sweating brows and laughter, or saying things like, “Yeah, I’m just seeing where life takes me,” or “Now? Geez, I’m nowhere near ready for that” are big signals. If you want a relationship (yes, now), and the person across from you does not, then they are not the right person for you right now. Clear eyes will let you see things like this. Open your eyes, open your ears and let people tell you who they are.

How to have a full heart: Come to your dates with a big heart. Focus on how your heart feels when you’re with people you meet. It’s easy to get so used to the dating game that it becomes like a work To-Do list: Email three times to set up a date, meet for one hour, ask these questions, judge on these criteria. But the connection you will make with your other half—your half-orange—will be one from your heart. It will be true and full and real, and the only way you can tune into that connection is by focusing on it. Don’t let practicality and busy schedules and crazy fun times drown out the sound of your heart. Come into your dates and interactions with your heart full and ready and tune into how it feels.

What Coach Taylor tells his team works for all of us in life and love: Come at your next dates with clear eyes and a full heart, and whether you find love today or not, you can’t lose. You will be led in the right direction, toward the right person.

As I head back into the next episodes of the show, get your Friday nights lighting up in the best ways, too.

Big love,

The Weird Benefit of The “Never Date Again” Strategy

Friday, January 7th, 2011

The what?!? I mean, let’s be honest, this isn’t a strategy for people who want to be in a relationship, is it? Well, not for the most part, no. But when the idea came up on the most recent episode of Parenthood, I couldn’t help but see some dating optimism in one character’s funny anti-dating message. (Check out my other Parenthood post, too, Why You Must Put Yourself Out There.)

Julia and Sarah Braverman, who hang out for girl's night. (Image:

The scene: Sarah (Lauren Graham) walked into her lawyer sister Julia (Erika Christensen)’s office and announced she had a new plan. This is what Sarah said:

“I made a New Year’s resolution, one I can really keep. I have decided, I am never going to date anyone. ever. again. Right? Because I want to have fun this year, and my relationships are not fun. Ergo, to wit, don’t have any. (I’m using a little legal jargon there for your comfort.) I’m gonna do fun things. I’m gonna go to museums and, uh, you know, read more. I’m gonna have a girl’s night out with my sister.”

The girl’s night out ended up being a funny wine-fest in (followed by a morning in the kitchen that made me laugh out loud when Sarah said “We’re flavored-coffee-drinking losers!”). And Sarah didn’t change her feelings about dating during the episode. So what did I like about it?

I liked the wise idea to take the focus off of dating for a minute. The way I see it, your path toward love isn’t about the guy or girl you want in it; it’s about you. Don’t just find three people who will go out with you and schedule some quick dates for next week; instead, make sure you’re in a place where you are mad happy with who you are and excited about the prospect of sharing your awesome life with someone before you go on those three dates!

Sarah was just burned by love and may not be able to come at dating with an open mind just yet. But she has a great idea here. If you’re not wildly in love with your life yet—if you’re not giddy about the person you are and certain that the right guy or girl will be lucky as hell to be with you—then find a way to fall in love with your life. Do fun things. Go to a museum. Read more. Knit. Box. Mountain climb. Dance. Learn Italian. Volunteer. Go out with your friends to places you’re not likely to meet someone (uh, senior citizens Bingo night, anyone?) so you don’t feel the pressure to work it.

Find a way to feel damn great about who you are and what’s coming down the pike in love and you’ll attract your half-orange faster, and be ready as ever for them when you meet.

Right? Is there anything you can think of that you could do this week that would make you feel happier with your life? What would make you feel so proud of you, you couldn’t wait to date a great person to tell them all about it?

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Big love,

Are You Stuck on The Cliff of the Confused?

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

I want to tell you about a Cliff I know about. Funny enough, I was reminded of it this weekend by Saul on Brothers & Sisters.

What's Saul doing now? (Image:

Now, I haven’t always been a fan of Saul (played by Ron Rifkin). He just always seemed to cause some kind of trouble, didn’t he? He was always making the wrong choices at Ojai Foods, or doing deals on the side he wasn’t supposed to be doing, or having meetings he wasn’t supposed to be having. My husband, who would often overhear the show from another room, would walk in, see that people were crying and ask, “Oh, geez, was it Saul? What did he do now?” and I’d laugh, explaining that yes, Saul had shaken things up again.

But this week, I loved Saul for the struggle he’s been going through and the way he bounced out of it. Saul, you see, is a sixty-something man who recently came out as gay and also found out he is HIV positive. This week, he went on a few dates with a man he really likes—Charlie, played by the Seventh Heaven dad, who I love—but was too scared to reveal his HIV status. Saul’s nephew Kevin and Kevin’s husband Scotty (played by Matthew Rhys and Luke MacFarlane, respectively) suggest that Saul tell him and get it over with. So, Saul reveals his secret, but Charlie backs away, not wanting to have to watch Saul get sick like his last partner.

The moment I loved was hearing Saul explain how he felt about it. As he told Kevin and Scotty:

“Come on, if you hadn’t had pushed me, I’d probably still be standing at the edge of that cliff, afraid to jump. So I jumped, I hit the rocks, it hurt like hell and I’m still standing.”

Kevin and Scotty push for more, but Saul insists:

“I’m fine. I’m better than fine. Look, I realized how lucky I am, okay? Charlie’s lover died, I’ve been symptom free for probably thirty years, and we know that could change, right? So the next time I’m on the edge of that cliff, I’ll probably leap even faster, just keep pushing me. I could always use a little shove.

Getting stuck on that cliff happens in dating all the time, right? Maybe you like someone and you don’t know how to make a move. Maybe you have a crush on a friend of yours, but you fear ruining the friendship by saying so. Maybe you’ve had a few dates and because the phone calls and texts are so erratic, you can’t tell where you stand with them. Hey, that’s dating. But there is a potential problem with all of these scenarios: When you’re stuck all alone on The Cliff of the Confused, you get stalled by fear, and you may find you don’t open yourself up to anyone else because  dealing with your unresolved “relationship.” How do you know you’re stuck?

Signs you’re stuck on The Cliff of the Confused:

1. You check your phone for messages or texts from the person you like, and the messages aren’t there more often than they are.

2. You feel like you have to work hard at coming up with irrational ways to involve the person you like. Like, “Ooh, maybe I’ll call him to and say my company needs the recipe of those burger buns he said his cousin made once.”

3. Your friends have devolved into responding, “Uh huh” or “Yep” when you circle the same rationalizations about this same dating situation (again)—or someone finally just says, “Just do it already!”

See, when you’re stuck on The Cliff of the Confused, you’re so busy checking your texts, and talking about the person and working so hard to be around them, you don’t even notice the cute new single person who was smiling at you at the party.

I’m not saying that every time you like someone you should take the leap and lay a big ol’ smacker on them right away. But if you feel like you’re treading water with someone, maybe it’s time to resolve where you stand once and for all. Free yourself from the questions of “Does he or doesn’t he?” “Would she or wouldn’t she?” and “What if…?” Take the leap off and find out! Maybe, like Saul, you’ll jump, hit the rocks and it’ll hurt like hell. But you’ll notice too that you’re still standing and that you may actually feel lighter for the leap. Because at least now you know.

The right love doesn’t make you feel like you’re on a cliff all alone. Your half-orange is either up there with you, or down below ready to catch you when you jump. So do yourself a favor and when you’re getting dizzy up there, remember this and take the leap. We could all sometimes use a little shove.

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Big love,