A new frontier.

by mssinglemama on November 9, 2008

Here are a few tidbits from one of the articles I loved titled, “8 Entirely New Ideas About Love.”

It’s good to be picky, very picky.

In a study of speed daters, Paul W. Eastwick and Eli J. Finkel, PhD, of Northwestern University, found that participants who picked a large number of matches were less likely to be picked themselves. It turns out that singles who show interest in every partner they encounter may come off not as eager and open but as just plain desperate.

Take a man as an example, one who sits there and says “she’s hot” and “she’s hot” and “that one is too.” We all have friends like this and they’re always single, aren’t they?

Finkel’s advice, “What you want is to be easy for one person to get and hard for everyone else, which will increase the likelihood of that one person’s liking you.” For more advice on this, check out my post on how to forget about men (works like a charm).

It’s not the journey, it’s the preparation

The authors suggest throwing your relationship into situational challenges before you get married. For example, a long road trip with lots of details or unexpected side roads. Well, we’re single moms so I think we’ve got the market cornered on situational challenges. See? Another bright side, we only get the strongest and best men for the job from the beginning.

It takes a strong woman to be needy

This one really hit home for me. Here’s an excerpt, “our culture tells us that to be needy is to be weak, but it’s really a tremendous strength to know what you need and to be able to ask for it. Beginning a conversation with what you need, rather than the more aggressive, ‘You never…’ or ‘You idiot’ is a way to complain that’s easier for your partner to hear and act on.”

So instead of saying, “I’m sick to death of cooking you dinner, you lazy man person,” say “You know, I’m sick of my own cooking. I think we need to go out to dinner, or have you take charge of dinner for a while.”

Coming soon: a divorce vaccine

Many couples wait until it’s too late, until their relationship is already broken, to try couples therapy. So marriage researcher James V. Cordova has created a Marriage Checkup program. Couples answer a series of questions and then get feedback. Cordova compares it to an X-ray or a blood test. In the meantime he recommends couples ask themselves three questions every year:

  • Does my partner feel safe being emotionally vulnerable with me?
  • Does my partner feel accepted?
  • Can I go to my partner for non-judgmental support?

Answering “no” to even one of these is a relationship red flag. And another cool piece of advice, avoid the most toxic relationship behavior of all – withdrawl. Cordova says, “It’s the equivalent of bingeing on Twinkies. Take – even confused, lost, sometimes frustrating talk – is always better.”

For the rest of the tips, pick up the book – it would actually make a sweet Christmas present for any woman.


What are some of the most positive lessons you learned out of your past relationships? Leave a comment and pass them on…

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[Photo credit: Robert Doisneau, Rome]

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

T November 9, 2008 at 10:08 pm

Try to see the person you are with as who they truly are and not who you’d like them to be.

I swear that is so difficult to do because we all project what we need on to the person we’re with. As soon as you find yourself saying, “Well, eventually, I’m sure he’d change…” then oops! You did it again. Just being aware of it will take so much pressure off of the both of you.

Talk about being picky… I just put up my dream man list… And its not even the entire list!!

Congrats on having a partner in your life! Enjoy him and each moment you are blessed with someone who loves you (besides that cutie baby boy Benjamin!)!!


Treemama November 10, 2008 at 12:34 am

Congratulations. Here’s to more less boring evenings!


O Solo Mama November 10, 2008 at 7:03 am

Saying what you need–that’s a biggie. It’s amazing how we think the other person should know what we need. It’s like the ultimate test of really knowing “us”. . .but you just gotta say what’s on your mind because nobody can read it!

I thought these tips were excellent, and I’m so impressed that the Oprah folks send you stuff. Also, here’s to your new *longer-term dating experience* (I won’t use the R word and freak you out). That’s just wonderful.


Wyliekat November 10, 2008 at 7:06 am

Me? I learned that, no matter how much love I put in, or how much my focus is making my partner happy, I cannot eliminate or ignore my line in the sand. That line that says “yeah. I can see all your reasons for doing whatever it is you did that pissed me off, and I hate like hell to hold this line, but frankly – you did it. And it’s not okay.”

That’s the hardest thing I ever had to do – say “it’s not okay”.


Lani November 10, 2008 at 7:33 am

I’m really happy for you.


Yaseen February 4, 2015 at 3:12 am

You relaly make it seem relaly easy along with your presentation however I in finding this matter to be actually one thing which I think I might never understand. It sort of feels too complex and very extensive for me. I am having a look forward to your next publish, I’ll attempt to get the grasp of it!


J-Fo November 10, 2008 at 8:37 am

Bring him to Michigan when you visit!!!


Leah November 10, 2008 at 9:23 am

Hooray! I am over the moon for you both. Enjoy Mr. Man and all his wonderful qualities and let him treat you like the divine goddess you are.

The number one thing I have learned from my past relationships is “radical honesty.” In the past I have lied about things large and small by omission out of fear of hurting the other person, but now I know that I hurt them (and myself) much more by keeping things to myself.


Single Mom in New England November 10, 2008 at 10:12 am

Wow, what I took away from this post was that everything can change in the blink of an eye — for the better! It was only a month ago that I was reading about your interest in the cabin man in the woods… and as soon as you shut that door, it seems Mr. Right showed up on your doorstep!! Gives me hope for the future… You never know what’s right around the corner!! Thanks for sharing… I am also excited for you as you venture on this new chapter in your life. It sounds like this man has a lot to give!! 🙂


Laura November 10, 2008 at 10:21 am

This is SOOOO totally cool!!!

I love what T said – Try to see the person you are with as who they truly are and not who you’d like them to be.


Katherine (SOLO dot MOM) November 10, 2008 at 10:53 am

First of all I also love T’s comment.

Now for what positive lesson I have taken from past relationships: One is “Be open-minded but not blind to the things you don’t want in your next companion… just because he answers a-c on your checklist… don’t forget about d-f.” For example, if he’s hot, local, and a single dad, but you also find he’s codependent and clingy…. perhaps you should keep looking. I think this correlates with “be picky” from the book you noted above.


mssinglemama November 10, 2008 at 11:39 am

All of this is really, really good advice.

T – the O Book actually mentioned this – projection is a HUGE issue, rather they suggest looking at the person in that moment, with new eyes every time. Trying to keep your own ideas about who they are away.

I think this is just another of hundreds of reasons of why it’s so important to become happily single, comfortable in your own skin before diving into a relationship.

Woo Hoo. I’ve got that one down, that’s for sure…

And Kit Kat – you’re SO right. Don’t compromise on that checklist ever because it will come back to bite you in the ass.

I can’t wait to write more about Mr. Man – you guys are going to freak out. He’s just so damn amazing. A truly inspiring person (and he doesn’t even know it – he just is who he is).


pisceshanna November 10, 2008 at 12:33 pm

MSM, thanks so much for your constant stream of good advice, soul searching and bravery. I feel guilty for sucking the marrow out of your experiences, but you really are an amazing person, and I’m so glad I can come to your corner of the internet to feel bonded with other single moms.

Thanks and congrats on your itemhood.


Solomother November 10, 2008 at 1:56 pm

Congratulations! It’s so hard to date again, isn’t it? I’ve learned to listen to my little voice more, and if I find I’m saying, “Yes, but…” and making excuses for him, then something ss wrong. It was like a brilliant light bulb going off in my head a couple of months ago when a counselor put a label on my boyfriend’s behavior. “Emotionally unavailable,” she called him, and I stopped trying to fix me and let him go. Feels GREAT!

So I guess my advice would be, listen to yourself, and know when to let go.


SingleParentDad November 10, 2008 at 1:56 pm

Fantastic stuff, I’m really glad it is working out for you.

I have no advice, other than to be yourself, what man could not love that?


Julie November 10, 2008 at 2:17 pm

I’m so excited for you! Enjoy it!


Brooke November 10, 2008 at 2:44 pm

The biggest lesson I have learned in past relationships is to listen to what your friends and family think of your partner. I’ve often had relationship “blinders” on and have overlooked very significant details about my partner. It’s very convenient.

Your friends and family want only the best for you, and can see your partner more clearly.

I’m very excited for you and Mr. Man! Congrats!


littlemansmom November 11, 2008 at 7:21 am

The biggest lesson I learned is to never loose yourself. With my ex…I ‘allowed’ him to convince me to be who I was not. I strayed from my friends, I became weak and submissive. I was a wreck! If nothing else, I took away from that relationship a new respect for myself.

Stand strong, be proud of who you are and stay true to yourself!

By they way…..did I mention….I’M SOOOOOOOOOO HAPPY FOR YOU!!!!!!!! 🙂


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