Single Life – The Date Mix https://www.zoosk.com/date-mix Dating and Relationship Advice for Today's Daters Fri, 15 Dec 2017 09:00:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5 5 Ways to Own Being Single During the Holidays https://www.zoosk.com/date-mix/single-life/single-during-the-holidays/ Wed, 06 Dec 2017 09:00:11 +0000 https://www.zoosk.com/date-mix/?p=15698 Embrace your freedom, dress to kill, and throw a party. This is YOUR time.

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The holidays are just around the corner, and if you’re single, it might feel like it’s at the corner of cranky and sulky. But reality check—this is actually a wonderful time to be unattached.

Don’t let the soft-focus commercials and holiday lights blind you from the fact that the holidays aren’t easy for everyone. It only seems like the streets are paved with love struck couples skipping down the lane, balancing a perfect Douglas fir between them. Even for happy couples, there’s a lot of pressure amidst the eggnog and sequins. There’s so much significance attached to holidays like Christmas and New Year’s. Because of it, many in relationships will be wondering if a proposal is coming their way, or discovering with horror that their significant other dresses up like his mother picked out his clothes. (There’s no Snapchat filter to fix that!)

So if you are a singleton, keep your chin up and embrace these five ways to, not just survive the holidays, but love them.

1. Embrace your freedom.
If you’re single during the holidays, there’s still plenty to rejoice about. You’re free of fretting about what to get your significant other. You get to be the person who only has to bring a salad or a cheese plate to family dinners. And you can wear and say whatever you like, without having to worry about getting a disapproving look from a partner. Sweet freedom is what you’ll find at the bottom of your stocking. Savor it!

2. Throw a party.
The best revenge for a singleton is to live well and have some fun. This is a great time to have a party. Try something manageable like a BYOB event or a cocktail party early on in the season, before everyone is exhausted. Personally, I’ve taken the party up a notch by hiring some handsome boy-band type bartenders. (If this is wrong I don’t want to be right.) My female friends have thanked me profusely. My male friends renewed their gym memberships. If you want to get really fancy but save some money, cooking schools are a great place to find students looking to make extra money catering. I like having two people, one to bartend and the other to serve hors d’oeuvres, which covers thirty people. You want to be free to flirt and have fun! Make sure you mix it up with old friends and new people you’ve just met.

3. Dress to kill.
I have a secret that I’m going to share because it’s genius… I had a tuxedo made for me in NYC because I was jealous of men always putting the same tux on for every occasion while I had to shell out for a different outfit every time. If you do the same, have one made with pants and a skirt so you have options. (Mine is in a dazzling deep chocolate!) Find a local dress maker ASAP. The other great thing to have is a jumpsuit. You can dress it up with snazzy jewelry or go funky with boots and a Fedora. No matter what you do, keep in mind the holidays are a time to get a little funky. Pull out that ugly sweater, wear some red sequins, and have a little fun with it.

4. Go to the movies.
This time of year is when the best films come out. It’s a luxury to just put life on pause for a few hours and be transported into another world. It’s also a good thing to do with a friend or family member you haven’t hung out with in a while. I love dissecting the film afterwards, discussing how we would have done it differently, or what star we would go out with if a Christmas miracle happened. And let’s not forget the holiday classics. A Christmas Carol never gets old.

5. Give back.
Did you know that cheering up someone that’s a little down will also buoy your own spirits? It truly is a way to give someone, and yourself, a holiday gift. You’ll also never regret volunteering at a charity or a shelter during this time. Helping others also makes you realize what you have to be grateful for.

Before you know it, the holidays will be over and you will have not only survived them, but enjoyed them in a way you never thought possible.

 

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What We Can Learn from Megan Markle and Prince Harry’s Relationship https://www.zoosk.com/date-mix/dating-advice/megan-markle-prince-harry-relationship/ Fri, 01 Dec 2017 09:00:43 +0000 https://www.zoosk.com/date-mix/?p=15671 Wondering how they made it work? Here are some takeaways you can use in your relationships.

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It’s official, Megan Markle and Prince Harry are engaged and off the dating market. And, despite your feelings of goodwill for the happy couple, I know many of you are probably thinking something similar to what Charlotte from Sex and the City famously stated… “I’ve been dating since I was 15. I’m exhausted. Where is he?” Don’t worry, your prince is out there. But until you find him, take inspiration from Megan and Harry’s relationship to learn a few things about how to grow and nurture a relationship over time.

Wondering how they made it work? Here are four things you can do to add value to your relationships:

1. Be open and honest from the beginning
When Megan Markle and Prince Harry met on their first date, they discussed what they were passionate about—everything from philanthropy, politics, and favorite foods. Don’t be scared to talk about what you’re interested in or what you’re passionate about. Push the small talk to the side and make your connection stronger with real, deeper conversations from the very beginning.

2. Invest time in the relationship.
Megan and Prince Harry were in two different time zones and 45 hours apart. That means they had to jet set across the world to see each other. Communication is important in any relationship, so make sure you put in the extra effort and make time for your significant other. You don’t have to fly across the world for someone but you do have to be there for them.

3. Stay positive when things are out of your control.
When you’re in a long-distance relationship like Megan and Prince Harry, it’s easy to get disappointed and feel like you’re not getting closer or things aren’t moving forward. Don’t let those thoughts get to you. Maybe you’re not dealing with a long-distance relationship, but at some point every relationship has it’s hiccups. Maybe your work schedules won’t line up, or your friends won’t get along. If you’re feeling a secure connection, go after what you want and know that you’re adding value to each other’s lives, even if it takes time for things to get serious.

4. Don’t give up on love.
It can be scary at times, but it’s ok to fall in love. Say this right now with me, “I’m looking for love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’t-live-without-each-other love.” Breakdown your walls and savor the moments with your significant other.

Take a look at Megan and Prince Harry’s example and remember that the heart wants what it wants. All you have to do is follow it!

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Dating Meaning: The Definition of Dating and What It Really Means https://www.zoosk.com/date-mix/single-life/dating-meaning-definition-of-dating/ Thu, 09 Nov 2017 09:00:58 +0000 https://www.zoosk.com/date-mix/?p=15517 Dating, hooking up, seeing someone... Basically, It all comes down to intention.

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“So I’m dating this guy…”

The phrase is extremely common, and so is the grey area that tends to follow it around. The trend of not defining a relationship is growing more and more common, and in the wake of this trend, “dating” has come to be a catchall term for everything from hooking up to being in an exclusive relationship, and that can make it a difficult world to navigate.

“Dating” is a word that gets hugely complicated once you unpack it, and what the term means to any given person is largely an issue of semantics, much like what a person actually means when they say they’re “seeing someone” or “hanging out” or “having a thing.”

So what does it mean to be dating somebody?

The definition of dating shows us that there’s a difference between dating someone and just dating. “Dating” means you’re going on dates. You are actively getting out there and meeting people and spending time with them. “Dating someone” means you’re seeing somebody specific, with purpose and on a regular basis.

With the understanding that the personal definition varies for everyone, I’ve laid out some pretty universal parameters.

If you can check these off your list, you are, in fact, dating someone:

1. You like someone and you’re trying to get to know them better.

2. You’re spending time with a person (or persons) in hopes of finding a committed relationship.

3. You can see yourself settling down (or at least entertain the idea) with the person or persons you see regularly.

Here are some examples of situations in which you are NOT dating someone:

1. You don’t want a relationship at all, and you’ve been clear about that to everyone you get to know/hook up with.

2. The person you’re getting to know/hooking up with has been clear that they don’t want a relationship at all.

3. You don’t usually see the same person more than once or twice before you move on.

Basically, dating comes down to intention. If you intend to get to know someone because you’re interested in seeing if there’s a future there, even if it’s not a down-the-aisle, Grandmother’s-wedding-band future, you’re dating them.

Here’s what “dating” isn’t—it’s not exclusivity. Not guaranteed exclusivity, anyway. Even as things grow more serious, exclusivity is something that always requires a frank conversation about what each party wants, and without that conversation, it’s not safe to assume the two of you are on the same page. Regardless of how much time has passed, how often you see each other, etc., two people being committed to each other, always requires that awful, painful, awkward conversation. Always.

So let’s recap—Just because you’re “dating” doesn’t necessarily mean you’re “dating someone,” however, if you are “dating someone,” you’re absolutely “dating.” All squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares. I think that’s an accurate analogy…

The difference between “dating” and “hooking up” or “having fun” or “hanging out” is intention. If you want to find someone to have a relationship with, you’re dating.

It’s not to say that something not-so-serious cannot turn into dating, but you most definitely can’t assume it will. You also can’t assume that dating will turn into an exclusive and committed relationship. If you’re foggy about what you’re doing with someone, it’s always best to have a terribly awkward chat with them. I give you permission to have a glass or three of wine first if you’d like. It tends to make things easier. But just like most issues in the world of relationships, communication is almost always guaranteed to clear up any confusion.

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How to Date When You Hate Dating https://www.zoosk.com/date-mix/dating-advice/how-to-date-hate-dating/ Sat, 04 Nov 2017 08:00:35 +0000 https://www.zoosk.com/date-mix/?p=15502 Do you hate dating but feel like you have to do it anyway? You're not alone.

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Dating is kind of the worst, right? It’s exhausting, complicated, and, let’s be honest, annoying. It makes you want to skip the process and start a relationship that’s already eight years in when you can choose watching TV over going out, and not have to make small talk because you already know everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the other person.

Unfortunately, dating doesn’t work like that. But what do you do if you’re a person who hates dating but still longs for a serious relationship? Here are some dating tips to help you fall in love with dating (or at least like it a little bit more).

1. Change up the convo. 
Most people suffer from dating burnout because they’re tired of asking and answering the same questions. You know the ones: “What do you do for a living?” “Where did you grow up?” “Where did you go to school?” Snoooooze. Instead of repeating the basic boring topics, switch things up. Be quirky with something like, “What’s your fave flavor of cheese and why?” Or dare to dig deep with, “What was one of your proudest moments of your life?” Change it up, and you might change your attitude.

2. Trick yourself into liking it. 
You hate dating because you hate dating. Meaning, instead of repeating to yourself how much you hate dating, flip the tired script in your head. Brains love making patterns, so if you keep telling your brain that you hate dating, it will look for evidence to support that notion. However, if you start telling yourself how enjoyable dating is, and how you look forward to meeting new people, then you will start feeling, and seeing, what you’re putting out there. Create a new story, and you might find yourself a new, happy ending.

3. Don’t take it too seriously.
On a related note, people who are successful and happy with their dating life seem to have a certain lightness about the whole ordeal. They don’t sweat the small stuff. If the date doesn’t work out, they tend to think, “Oh well! Onto the next one.” Or not. They date when they feel like dating, and take a break when they want to. Their lives don’t revolve around dating, which means their approach to dating is one of ease and fun.

4. Wait it out. 
A lot of us cling to a person who’s probably more meh than awesome because we’re so done with the dating process. We think, “Well, they’re good enough. At least I don’t have to date anymore!” Don’t do this. You’re just setting yourself up for failure and an eventual return to the dating pool anyway. (Not to mention heartbreak and sadness, and even more frustration.) Instead, be patient. Try to see the bigger picture of dating, which is to find the perfect match for you, not one who will just do. Remember: there isn’t a time clock. You will meet the person when you’ve given yourself the time and space to enjoy the process.

5. Stop being so judgey.
It’s easier to come up with reasons why not to continue seeing someone than to see them again, especially if they don’t cross off all your boxes or they remind you of your ex. You might think that being super selective is helping you out in the long run (like potential heartbreak), but it’s actually causing you to be more anxious and negative. By resolving to be more in the moment with your date and attempting to see their good qualities, you might find yourself having fun and liking someone new despite yourself.

6. Get real. 
Conventional dating wisdom tells us we need to play games, look for signs, and adhere to a set of rules in order to snare a new partner. This not only puts out a false impression of yourself, but also makes dating so unnecessarily complicated. Manipulating and strategizing is exhausting. Instead, try flowing with the natural rhythm of the rapport with your date, and acting from your most natural impulses. “Just be yourself” might sound trite, but there’s nothing more attractive, and easy, than being you.

Dating doesn’t have to be something you dread. It’s when you start enjoying dating as much as you enjoy your own company that you’ll probably end up meeting the date that will turn into that amazing relationship.

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Questions to Ask Someone You Just Met https://www.zoosk.com/date-mix/dating-advice/first-date-tips/questions-ask-someone-just-met/ Tue, 24 Oct 2017 08:00:50 +0000 https://www.zoosk.com/date-mix/?p=15452 Not sure how to get closer to someone you're talking to for the first time? Here are some ideas.

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Knowing what to say when you’re meeting someone for the first time isn’t always easy. Connections are organic, but they can use a little push in the form of good conversation and quality questioning. Being inquisitive is a great way to both show interest and calm your nerves by taking some of the attention off yourself. Wondering what questions to ask someone you just met? After looking into it, I found seven of the best.

A study that examined interpersonal closeness demonstrated that intimacy can result from asking a certain set of escalating questions that move from surface to thought-provoking. You don’t need to skip the small talk, but leave some room for deep conversation if you really want to get to know someone. The good news is that the more profound questions can still be asked in a lighthearted manner.

So, after you’ve gotten your pleasantries out of the way, try these telling questions to get a better idea of who the person sitting in front of you really is.

1. If you weren’t on a date right now, what would you be doing?
This is a fun way to ask about a person’s routine or what they like to do in their free time. Forget asking about hobbies or interests, which people can always make up to sound way cooler, this question will put them into imagination mode, prompting them to think realistically about their typical weeknight habits.

2. What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?
Do your interests collide? Does this person live life on the safer side? What is his or her level of adventure? These are all questions you can uncover with this question. Plus, it’s a good way to ease your date into talking about themselves and thinking about past experiences as a primer for the deeper questions.

3. How would your best friend describe you in three sentences?
The way someone believes they’re perceived by others is a reflection of how they view themselves, and a close friend is the best person to reveal that. Ask for three sentences because it leaves little room for fluff; you’ll get a straightforward response.

4. Who do you look up to the most and why?
Insight into who a person looks up to will give you an understanding of what qualities that person finds the most admirable. It tells you the traits that this person either has or would like to develop. People can admire others for a number of reasons, but you can be sure that whatever your date sees in that person, they’d also like to see in themselves.

5. What is the most memorable event from your childhood?
This question will yield more than memories of the past. It can be very telling what events stand out for someone. It shows you what importance they put on things and gives you an idea about how they prioritize events in their life, including which relationships and people are the most important to them.

6. What is one important lesson your ex taught you?
Not saying bad things about your ex is a sure sign of maturity, but being able to pull out some positives from a past relationship is commendable. Not only will you gain some valuable insight into how this person has grown, but you’ll also learn about their level of introspection and aptitude for personal growth.

7. What’s something I can’t tell from looking at you?
Perhaps this person has a hidden talent or an obscure interest. Maybe they’ve achieved some incredible accomplishment. Most people won’t share these things upfront, and you might not be able to tell at first glance. This question provides your date with the opportunity to share openly, and it gives you the chance to see them in their best light.

If you want to make a determination about someone you’ve just met, listen more then you speak, be inquisitive, and dig deeper than the surface. At the very least, this approach will confirm or deny a connection and give you confidence about the next steps.

Of course, the date doesn’t have to be entirely profound. When you’re ready to mix in some more lighthearted questions, try these.

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5 Habits of Highly Successful Singles https://www.zoosk.com/date-mix/single-life/5-habits-of-highly-successfully-singles/ Sun, 22 Oct 2017 08:00:59 +0000 https://www.zoosk.com/date-mix/?p=15435 Ever had a friend who was just really good at being single? Here are her secrets.

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Everyone knows that single person that’s just kind of unicorny. They seem to be oozing confidence, they’ve got an amazing social life, shiny hair, and they don’t get what you’re talking about when you causally mention your Netflix cave. It’s almost as if a crippling need for love and attention doesn’t dictate their self worth. Huh. Weird.

On the flip side, we all probably know the perpetually attached serial dater who tends to focus on quantity over quality. As long as they’re with someone, it beats being alone, and the most “single” they’ve ever been is juggling a handful of mediocre Tinder dates. Some people are fine with that, but more often than not these people don’t feel all that fulfilled, and aren’t having all that much fun.

So how do you become a Unicorn Single and not a Tinderella?

It’s not always easy. Everyone wants to find love, and it doesn’t happen easily or quickly for everyone. But enjoying being single makes the journey all the more tolerable. Fun, even. It’s just a matter of getting good at it.

If you’re not a natural Unicorn Single, it basically boils down to faking it till you make it. Here are five habits you can practice that will make you feel like you’re killing it at Singledom.

1. They Date Themselves
Imagine being newly enamored with yourself the way you are when you meet someone new. What kinds of things would you do to show you you care? Cook yourself an incredible dinner? Get yourself a pedicure so you look nice? Buy yourself a little gift to show yourself that you’re thinking of you?

Can you imagine the quality of life people would have if they dated themselves just a little? Realizing you’re special and worth some extended effort is a revelation, and the fact that you can dote upon yourself and feel amazing without waiting for someone to do it for you is a game changer. It increases your confidence, independence, and boosts your mood. And once you realize that you’re worth that kind of effort all the time and not just when you’re trying to lure someone into liking you, you’ll start to learn that you don’t have to rely on someone else to tell you you’re special.

2. They Trust the Process
Que será, será. C’est la vie. Easy come, easy go. Hakuna Matata. Did I miss anything?

How many stories have you heard about a friend who agonized over a potential partner that just wasn’t working out, and as soon and they stopped fretting, the love of their life fell into their lap?

It’s easier said than done, but believing that things will happen when they’re meant to, how they’re meant to, and with whom they’re meant to alleviates the need to overanalyze every text, count the minutes between when someone will open your snap and respond, and daydream about the person you’re crushing on being happy with someone else.

If you think about it, you want someone to fall for the actual you, not the version you’re presenting just so they’ll pay a little more attention to you. Be yourself. Enjoy yourself. And repeat the mantra, “I can only be me, and they’ll take it or leave it.” Worrying only solves problems that haven’t happened yet, so there’s really no point! Letting go of what you can’t control (someone else’s feelings for you) is liberating once you get used to it. Plus it’s better for your skin.

3. They Have a Dog
Or a cat, or a fish, or a succulent garden, or sea monkeys…

Dedicating some of your energy to taking care of someone or something shifts the focus off of what you’re missing and onto what you have to give. Not to mention, it gives you a sense of companionship. Being relied on makes you feel needed, valued, and important, and that can go a long way when you’re single.

Everyone is aware of that romantic comedy trope where post-heartbreak, the girl redecorates her apartment, plants tomatoes, starts a jewelry line, and begins bringing dinner to her elderly neighbor. And yes, while we can’t shake the nagging feeling that she couldn’t do all that on the budget of a budding young journalist, there’s a nugget of truth there. And that truth is that finding purpose in your life doesn’t always have to be tethered to being in love.

4. They Establish a Social Routine That Doesn’t Just Consist of Couples
Surrounding yourself with coupled bliss all the time is bound to weigh on you, making you feel the pressure of finding someone for yourself. And while you shouldn’t abandon your coupled friends altogether, setting aside time that doesn’t cater to double dates and dancing partners can be very healthy.

Establish a boys’ night out, or think of activities you can do with your girlfriends that won’t allow for the conversation to disintegrate into wedding plans. Volunteer projects or classes that will introduce you to new social circles can keep you out of the couples rut too. Even regular solo dates, like standing yoga classes or personal goals like training for a 10K can help keep third-wheel hangs to a minimum.

5. They Make a List of What They Want
Maybe not a physical list that hangs on the fridge, but successfully single people define the aspects of a relationship that are important to them, and they don’t compromise on it. This practice is important because it keeps you from trusting too much in the rose-colored glasses that come with meeting someone new. So often people are so excited by the prospect of finding someone, they’re willing to ignore traits or behaviors that would otherwise be deal-breakers. The trouble is, these issues always surface later on.

Some of the best advice I have ever been given came shortly after a break up. A friend told me to think seriously about the relationship I had just exited, and after considering everything I had learned, make a list of everything I find essential in a partner. Not just an “it would be great if…” list, but absolute essentials. It shifted my focus from, “I’m lonely and I want someone,” to “I will not settle for anything less than…” Dating became something that went from “How can I make myself more likeable?” to “What will this person do for my quality of life?” and shifting from the interviewee to the interviewer was so empowering, I felt like a whole new person.

Habits like this come naturally to some people. Maybe they’re naturally independent. Maybe they’re very extroverted, and it’s less important to them what kind of company they’re keeping. No matter what the reason, remember: everyone, even the most unicorny of single people, get lonely, needy, and sad sometimes. All the practice in the world won’t make you immune to that, and you should never feel ashamed if you need a day or two to retreat back to the Netflix cave. As long as you always remember that you are the true value you bring to any relationship, you’ll start to learn that self-love is the best love of all.

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