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The List

July 11, 2016

17. He keeps a clean house. Sure, he leaves his shoes in the middle of the thoroughfare and he can really destroy a kitchen when cooking an amazing meal. But he’s tidy. He makes the bed. I wash the laundry, and he folds it. (I’ve clearly gotten the easier end of the bargain.) Don’t even get me started about what a stellar grocery shopper he is. I am incredibly fortunate to have a partner who contributes equally to our life together. 

29. He does cute stuff that makes me smile. After a fun vacation at Clearwater Beach, I had a bad case of the Post-Vacation Blues. (You know, when you’re all, “Oh crap, now I have to go to work five pounds heavier and what in the world did I spend so much money on last week? I don’t want to go to work!). To cheer me up and make me feel like we were still on vacation, he turned down the bed and put out a weather report and a chocolate just like they did at the hotel.

Weather Report

38. He always seems to have new jokes. Just the other night when I was reading him an article that referenced Confucius, he said out of nowhere, “Confucius say: Man who live in glass house dress in basement.” I snorted with laughter at this incredibly random joke. Bigger picture, he’s super funny (#9) and can make me laugh like no one else.

7. He has a great family. I mean a really great family. They have this incredible amount of love and support for us and his mom makes my heart smile. I can’t think of any other way to describe it.

8. He treats my family like they’re his family. We’ve had some tough times recently. My mom had a terrible accident at work and was in the hospital for two weeks. She is doing better now, thank God, but is still in a wheelchair for several more weeks. He visited her in the hospital while I was at work and brought her lunch and a few needed laughs. He took great care of me so I could take care of her, which was an absolute blessing to have been able to do. Whenever he does a thoughtful thing for my family and I look at him incredulously, he says simply, “We’re family.”

Mom and me hospital

Mom’s first field trip outside of her hospital room

3. I can talk to him about anything and everything. Because he truly is my best friend.

10. He is an incredible cook. Thanks to his kitchen skills, eating at home for me is like eating out at a fantastic restaurant where the head chef knows exactly what you like and don’t like, as well as which diet you are trying to stay on this week.

31. I love his handwriting. I had no idea I could ever love something so simple about someone as their handwriting but I actually do. See sample below. Also these dinner suggestions are another example of #29. He obviously knows my skill level in the kitchen very well – beginner.

Dinner tips

14. He humors my craziness. Like the time with passion and gusto he joined me in my favorite thing – eating ice cream in bed. Which is harder to execute than it sounds. You have to first make sure you are definitely ready for bed. Wash your face, go to the bathroom, pack anything up for work, plug in your phone. Put the ice cream in the bowls, then SPRINT upstairs to as quickly as possible jump in the bed to eat ice cream before it melts. Then realize that you’ve forgotten to do like three different things and you actually aren’t ready for bed yet. Get those three things done and get back in bed before the ice cream melts. Whew! I have to say, he did pretty well for his first time.

Even more, he is starting to buy into my random theories. Like how I believe water is the best first defense against anything that doesn’t feel well – headache, stomach ache, hypothermia, whatever. Have a glass of water and then see how you feel. Hehas also become as superstitious as me (we “knock on wood” so often that it’s becoming a nervous tick. My case is so bad my team at work bought me a block of wood for my desk so it was easily accessible.)

Knock on Wood

5. He’s ambitious and a hard worker. I was raised to always do your best and try your hardest. It’s incredibly sexy to be with a man who shares the sames values, is driven and works hard to achieve his goals.

19. He’s terrible at killing bugs. I simply don’t think he can be mean enough. And somehow I find this endearing and indicative of how caring he is for others and genuinely good inside. Even though one time he “killed” a centipede and put it in the trash, only to have it crawl around, taunting us. It was a very creepy mbie super bug. I’m now the lead on bug killing.

11. He almost always beats me at Words With Friends. That’s because he’s smart. I love that the things he’s smart about complement the things I’m smart about. He also cares about what’s happening in the world. Do you know how few people care about what’s happening in our world? It’s a travesty. (That’s probably one of his Words with Friends words. As I’m writing this, he just played “adagio” for 43 points. SERIOUSLY?!)

4. He is my biggest cheerleader. He supports my ambitions and encourages me every step of the way. Whether he’s motivating me in my career or to keep working out, he supports me wholly and authentically. He doesn’t just verbalize his support, he takes actions that help me meet my goals. He makes me feel like I’m part of the absolute best team.

1. He believes in me, believes in us, enough that he asked me to marry him. And I said yes.

As this post goes live, we’re flying to Jamaica to celebrate our wedding with 22 of our favorite people on earth.

I am about to make the biggest promise I’ve ever made. I’m promising to dedicate my life to someone else. It’s kind of epic, especially when you consider the road it took to get here. (The perfect road, I know in hindsight.)

It’s exciting and overwhelming, but not at all scary. Not like it used to be. I’m more certain than I’ve ever been in my life. Because of these reasons and because of a hundred other reasons, I know Chef (hereby known as Nick) is the perfect partner for me to spend the rest of my life with.

Now we’re off to Jamaica. 

Engagement party 1

Jamaica 2



This will be our view until our wedding on Saturday!

Living Proof

June 27, 2013

I recently found myself watching – enjoying – a Say Yes to the Dress marathon.

Three short years ago, I purged my life of everything wedding. My bridal magazine subscription haunted me and I avoided checking the mail for weeks on end. For longer than I’d like to admit, I dreaded attending weddings. Even though I was happy for the couple, I was miserable inside. Whether it was jealousy that it wasn’t me in the white dress, sadness from losing my own special day, or general negativity over the institution of marriage, I never thought I would be OK again.

Then, at a wedding a few weeks ago, after the vows were said and the reception began, I had Chef spot me as I climbed in four inch heels up on a tractor. For a photo opp, of course.

woman farming in a dress

Just doing some light farming

Please note the importance of this picture: This is me having fun at a wedding.

I’m living proof.

Proof that you are going to be OK.

Proof that time does heal your wounds.

I’m not saying this just happened recently. It happened slowly, with big moments of progress and subtle moments of silent change, over the past few years. I got better and then I got worse. And worse. I found myself a changed person, and I wasn’t sure how I would ever trust again. But at the same time, I was getting better, finding ways to make myself happy, trusting and loving and believing while not always knowing it was happening.

This isn’t just about being able to watch wedding shows with reckless abandon again – it’s much bigger than that. There’s no more almost in almost over him.

I receive a lot of emails from readers who are just beginning this journey. The pain is raw right now. They still reach for the phone to call him, only to realize he’s not going to be at the end of the line. They don’t know what to do on Saturday night, because that was always their date night. Maybe they just found out about a deception that they never could have imagined and now they can’t breathe without feeling pain in their stomach, their chest, literally in their heart. Maybe it was a slow, quiet ending – they moved apart until someone finally ripped off the relationship band aid.

No matter how or why it ended, it hurts. More than other people understand. And the pain doesn’t just go away because you want it to. For anyone going through this, I want you to know that it’s going to be OK. I’m living proof.

But it’s going to take time. Everyone says that, but damn it, it’s true.

When my ex got married, it served as a painful closure. After that, I no longer wanted to write about him or what I was going through. And it felt really good, freeing, not to give him my thoughts or energy anymore. My advice? If you are thinking about him, if you are talking about him, stop. Talk about you; think about you; take care of you. That’s the best path to moving on.

Believe that this is part of a bigger plan. Everything happens for a reason. If it’s God for you, or fate, or whatever, just know that you are experiencing this hard time to get you ready for a better time. You are learning lessons now that you’ll need in the future. You are becoming a stronger person. It may not make sense now, but it will, in time.

And then there is forgiveness. Wow, forgiveness is so tough, especially if you’ve been deceived.

The word forgiveness puts so much pressure on the forgiver. The forgiver has the burden to accept the transgressor’s apology, let go of the pain and somehow grant forgiveness to the person who has done them wrong. That’s a lot to ask of someone, especially when they are in pain.

Oprah has a favorite quote that has really stuck with me and helped me along in my journey:

“Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could be any different.”

Included at the end of this post is her full explanation of this quote. But here’s a snippet.

“I think for myself and I know many of you, you think forgiving means accepting what has happened to you. Well, it is accepting that it has happened to you. Not accepting that it was OK for it to happen, it is accepting that it has happened, and now, what do I do about it? Forgiving is giving up the hope – not holding on, hoping, wishing – that it could have been any other way than it actually was.”

This quote, this definition of the word forgiveness, has changed my entire perspective the past few years and helped me get here.

Are you living proof? Will you share some of your story in the comments?

Copyright 2013. Simply Solo blog by Catherine Gryp. All Rights Reserved.

The Next LOL

June 13, 2013

Ok let’s just put it out there: It’s been, um, eight months since I wrote a blog post. About seven months ago, I could have quietly sneaked my way back into blog world without anyone being the wiser. Five months ago, I could have told a funny story and all would have been forgiven. Three months ago, sharing a dramatic life event would have sufficed and you would have shown me some comment love. Now, it’s been eight months, and half of you think I’m hiding a bun in the oven.

Never mind that I’m very much out of practice. For example, I probably spent the last 15 minutes deciding if “sneaked” or “snuck” was the correct usage in the second sentence. This conundrum damn near made me wait another eight months to write again.

It seems I’ve got some explaining to do. Will you believe I’ve been busy?

1. I’ve been busy scaring my neighbors

You may remember, I put an offer in on a house. I was super excited. Couldn’t have been happier. But shortly after they accepted my offer, all the horrendous things that could go wrong started to race through my mind. What if there is an annoying dog next door that yaps all night? What if the hot water heater doesn’t get water hot at all and “taking a cold shower” no longer has a frisky meaning but is literally the only kind of shower I can take? What if the toilet seats aren’t comfortable? I checked everything, paid for an inspection, even had my parents come see the house, but I didn’t check out the toilet seats! I was foolish not to try the goods first, considering the average person spends three years of their life on the toilet. In reality, that’s probably the first thing I should have checked.

“I think you are really going to like the size of the master bedroom,” my realtor would say.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa. Slow down there. First things first: I’m going to have to pee in each bathroom. Got any TP on hand?”

The what ifs continued: What if there isn’t an adequate Mexican restaurant nearby? What if my house is actually right beside a bus stop for some private school that opens at the crack of dawn? What if the Baskin Robbins down the street (the nearest scoop ice cream) closes? What if my neighbors are weird or mean? What if there are bugs? Dear GOD, what if there are centipedes?

Chef was kind enough to add a what if to my list: What if it’s actually wonderful and a great decision? Damn him and his unbridled optimism.

Last October, I finally closed on the house and moved in. Things were going pretty well. I hired movers, because I firmly believe that after the age of 26, one should never ask their friends to help them move. I see some of you shaking your heads, protesting, “What if I make it fun and buy beer and pizza?” I’m here to tell you that no amount of beer or pizza (or even ice cream) justifies a moving party after 26. I don’t make the rules, I just report them.

Notice my cutoff is 26. Considering I had my last “moving party” at 25. Ahem.

Ok, so last October, I moved into the new house. You know the enormous amount of time you spend searching for boxes before a move? It becomes an obsession; an endless quest to get the perfect boxes to move all your crap. This Seinfeld stand-up routine explains it perfectly.

But then once you are all unpacked, you have to do something to get rid of all those boxes. Score! I forgot that now that I bought a house, I have my own trash can I can conveniently roll to the bottom of the driveway on trash day.

But wait. No one told me when trash day was in my new neighborhood. This posed a problem. The first night in the new house, Chef and I were outside, and noticed everyone had their trash cans at the bottom of their driveways.

“Sweet! Trash day is tomorrow,” Chef said.

“UNLESS trash day was today, and they just haven’t brought the trash cans back up yet,” I countered.

Champagne to celebrate the new house

Champagne to celebrate the new house

We were in a pickle. So I did what any normal, new homebuyer who had been celebrating with a few glasses of champagne and wanted to make her boyfriend laugh would do. I jokingly pulled my black hoodie over my head and sprinted toward my next door neighbor’s trash can. To check if it was full, of course.

Like clockwork, my neighbors walked out of their house. I couldn’t quite tell if they saw me mid-sprint or if they just caught a hooded figure lifting the lid of their trash can.

I had some explaining to do. “Um, sorry. I just moved in and I was trying to figure out when trash day was,” I stammered.

“It’s tomorrow,” they said coldly. Nothing like making a first impression. Now I’m the crazy neighbor.

In other news: I also have centipedes. That’s all I want to say about that.

 2. I live with a boy.

In a world of high stakes dating, I upped the ante. Chef and I moved in together. Yes, I’m proud to announce that I am officially living in sin. The last time I moved in with a boy, there was this whole pretense that we must be engaged first (so much so that he proposed the day I moved in). No need for that here.

I was really nervous about moving in with Chef. I maybe had one or two Monica moments where she laments, “I have to live with a boy!!”


I worried we wouldn’t like living together. We’ve both been living on our own for years, so we really like our space. And, because of his work schedule, we’ve never spent a ton of extended time with each other. Cue the questions. What if we move in together and fight all the time? What if he’s messy? What if he deletes my shows off of the DVR? What if he finishes the ice cream without replacing it? What if HE brought the centipedes? I digress.

ice cream

The wide selection of ice cream I bought on a recent shopping trip

Well here’s what happened: He makes the bed; I constantly move his shoes out of the thoroughfares and pick up his socks. He cooks me delicious dinners and I … well … I take pictures of the food and post them on Facebook. He tells me I’m pretty every day (even when I’m not looking so pretty) and I keep the freezer well stocked with ice cream to avoid World War III.

He makes me happy almost every single day. It’s not so bad living with a boy.

3. Creating the next LOL takes time.

Ever wonder where LOL, SMH, TTYL and JK started? Yeah, me too. Sorry, I don’t have any answers for you. But you are witnessing the creation of the next LOL. And I need your help spreading the word.


What the heck is TYS, you ask? Well, don’t Google it too thoroughly, because a few wrong souls have identified it as Thank You Sir. That’s a fail if I’ve ever seen one.

TYS = Told You So

If you’ve ever needed a really easy way to tell someone, “I was right and you were wrong!” TYS is your answer.

If you simply don’t have enough time for the “told you so” song….


…TYS is your play. Text it. Call someone up on the phone, announce it and hang up. Consider writing it next to a smiley face on a small slip of paper, like when you ask your boyfriend to take out the trash because trash day is tomorrow, and he says he will do it later, and you say he’ll forget and should do it now, and then the following night the trash is stinking up the kitchen and he clearly forgot.

Stick a post it note to that trash, ladies: TYS.

Learn it. Love it. Spread it. And you can be part of a movement.


This picture makes me want to be on vacation again, ASAP

This picture makes me want to be on vacation again, ASAP

So those are my excuses. Besides all of this, I also started an awesome new job, went on a fun beach vacation, visited San Francisco, played with my sister’s baby (who is somehow already crawling), became obsessed with Princesses: Long Island, bought a floppy hat and listened to the Great Gatsby soundtrack at least 5 times through.

What’s new with you? Since I’ve introduced you to the next LOL, will you forgive my absence? Have a TYS you want to brag about?



Copyright 2013 Simply Solo blog by Catherine Gryp. All Rights Reserved.

Finding My Voice

April 3, 2013

Today, I’d like to share a guest post written by Joan, one of the strongest women I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. I hope you enjoy her post and can identify with what she’s overcome the past few years after she suddenly became single following a more than 40 year marriage.

Quick shameless plug: Do you have a story to tell? Advice to offer? Did you just have literally the worst date of your life and you must write about it? I’d love to have you as the next Simply Solo Spotlight! Find out how you can be the next writer for Simply Solo here!

Simply Solo Spotlight: Finding My Voice

I remember, maybe, vaguely, faintly, having a voice at one time in my life. It may have been when I was born and learned to cry, which is one’s first means of vocal communication. Somewhere along life’s path, I lost my voice. I allowed it to be taken from me and I freely gave it up without realizing or thinking about it. I’m not sure exactly where and when that happened but, if I trace it back, I am sure it was in my early, formative years. Isn’t that the acceptable answer? Blame things on others and early childhood experiences, in other words, our parents, siblings, society, and upbringing.

Joan says her experience has been like a butterfly coming out of its cocoon. Photo courtesy of Greg Foster

Joan says her experience has been like a butterfly coming out of its cocoon. Photo courtesy of Greg Foster

Well my friends, let me tell you, I found and reclaimed my voice. Yes, after being separated for more than 60 years, I found it and treasure it more because something so precious that was lost for so long is now back with its rightful owner – ME. Trust me when I say if any attempt is ever made to remove or wrestle it from me, there will be so much wrath leveled upon the offender they will never regroup. My promise to myself as my own best friend and to my voice is I will never let life, circumstances, or anyone rob me of my voice again. I now have a voice to say what I want, need, and expect. Additionally, life experiences have given me the abilities to think independently, stand on my own two feet, and clearly articulate my wants, needs, desires, and dreams.

After all is said and done, I am sure the events of the past two and a half years played a major part in finding and reclaiming my voice. Curious minds may want to know what happened during this time. Well, you don’t need to read the Enquirer, as you won’t find it there. Also, you don’t need to listen to gossip, as we all know how gossip chains work. How much credibility do they have? Less than none in my book, which I could put in analytic terms such as R-Value, Confidence Interval, etc., but I won’t bore you with those. Gossip chains thrive on DRAMA, which is always more intriguing than just the plain Jane facts, ma’am.

What are the plain Jane facts, ma’am? Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF as we like to call it) is that after 43.5 years of marriage; 48-49 of relationship; surviving the trials and tribulations of military life in support of (ISO) my soldier husband’s military career; raising a tight-knit, loving family and the two most absolutely marvelous children a mother could ever wish for let alone have; losing our first Grandson under devastating circumstances; arrival of precious Grandchildren; medical issues ranging from the routine and minor to the not so minor such as a mini-stroke suffered by my loving husband; and finally setting a target date to step into retirement, I found myself no longer the cherished and loved wife and person I’d always believed I was. Yes, it rocked my world and a lot of others’ that are near and dear to me.

However, life goes on, we put one foot in front of the other; endure the mourning process for the loss of the old life and everything we built together, the plans, hopes and dreams of retirement, and begin a new chapter in life on a fresh page, creating new memories while cherishing fond memories of days gone by.

I learned a lot through life experiences and the breakup of a long-term relationship with the only man I ever truly loved other than my father. What happened? Who knows (do you see my shoulder shrug and eye roll here?). To begin my journey transitioning from what I thought, for the most part, was a happy marriage, I had to determine what was in my hands and sphere of influence to control. Knowing that I cannot make someone love me, how do I accept the rejection (as I saw it then) and step out on my own?

Please keep in mind my comment on “as I saw it then” because it is not how I see it now, two and a half years later, much wiser and stronger. I was brought up that in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, for better or worse, is how life and marriage is. Divorce was a big red-letter word and instant ostracization (black-balling) from the entire community and world. The big scarlet letter “D” was stamped on a woman’s forehead for the entire world to see.

Luckily for me, that is no longer the case and divorce is more the rule than how I was raised believing that you make the best of everything. In other words, if life isn’t to your liking, well then, live in a self-created dream world. Is that what I did? Again, who knows? I just know that a lifetime of love, happiness, relationships, hopes, and dreams were destroyed and thrown away like trash in a matter of seconds with no recognizable forewarning. Talk about sudden death….WHEW!!.

Well, getting back to the original topic of my voice, again, I am not sure of the exact time or circumstances under which I discovered it missing and reclaimed it, but I know it was somewhere in the last two years. Where was my voice all those years? It must have been hiding somewhere within my mind, body, soul, or maybe someone had it in safe-keeping for me when I eventually realized that I lost it, needed it and now was equipped to use it. Maybe it was my sister, my Mom, my Dad, or some other loved one who departed this life. However it returned, I thank my lucky stars, the planets, constellations, and any other entity(ies) that played a hand in its return. You know, maybe it was Aunt Jo, who I loved dearly and always looked out for me too. As a child, I remember wishing with all my heart that I could go live with her. I rest assured in the belief that we will all be reunited, just as I was with my voice.

Having my voice back allows me to stand on my own two feet and, in my newfound clear voice, state what I:

  • Want: to be treated with respect, honesty, and dignity in all actions and communications; to be loved and respected for who I am, not who someone thinks I “should be.”
  • Expect: to have my voice heard; what I say listened to and respected, even if you disagree; to afford the same courtesy and respect to those whose voice I hear.
  • Need: to ensure my wants and expectations are met; be my own best friend.

I also found my voice can quite clearly articulate that if one cannot interact with me respectfully, honestly, and cherish our friendship; they are not worthy of my friendship or time. I hear my voice as it tells those who don’t treat me kindly, in a loving manner, to MOVE ON OUT of MY life. Yes, because it is—it is MY life!

Is Divorce and the choices people make good or bad? I’ll leave that to the sociologists and behavioral scientists to debate. In the meantime, I can say unequivocally that it was the right path for me as I emerge a new person, free to experience life, make my own choices, take care of myself, and not worry about taking care of, picking up after, cooking for, doing laundry for… anyone but me. Yes, it is a little bit selfish…but is that bad? Ask the professionals that one too…I’m too busy enjoying life and looking forward to my next adventure to worry about it. Some will say that is really being hedonistic…but again, I punt that to the pros and everyone else to worry about. See you all on the happy side….:-)

Oh dear! What? Did I hear someone say something about hogwash and sour grapes? Whoa! Rest assured the “hogs” are either out of my life or well on their way. Don’t waste your time or money, as I don’t need anything to wash them with. As for “Sour Grapes,” heck, I turned them into a mighty fine beverage of choice a long time ago that I now share with special people in my life – those who truly love me, like me for who I am, and respect my voice as well as the person I’ve become. Life is good and getting better for my voice and me, just like the finest wine.

Copyright 2013. Simply Solo blog by Catherine Gryp. All Rights Reserved.

Breaking Up After Living Together

February 14, 2013

Happy Thursday! Okay, okay, today also happens to be Valentine’s Day. People put so much pressure on this day, whether they are single or coupled. If you have someone, do something nice for them. If you are not dating anyone, do something nice for yourself. (Shouldn’t we be doing this anyway, every day?) But please don’t get all wrapped up in the hype or let it get you down. It’s just another Thursday. And remember from last year’s Valentine’s Day post, today doesn’t have to be about a romantic partner!

Today we have a guest post from relationship expert Dr. Michelle Callahan, who will share tips for dealing with a break up when the stakes are high – when you live together.

Quick shameless plug: Do you have a story to tell? Advice to offer? Did you just have literally the worst date of your life and you must write about it? I’d love to have you as the next Simply Solo Spotlight! Find out how you can be the next writer for Simply Solo here!

How to Decide Who Stays and Who Goes after a Break Up

February can be hard on folks – coupled and uncoupled alike. The couples have to deal with the pressure and expense that Cupid inevitably brings and the uncoupled often feel they are actually celebrating “Singles Awareness Day.” What about those in between love and loathing though? It’s hard enough going from fairy tale to “it’s complicated” or “it’s over” without being (circumstantially) forced to live together too!

According to a survey of 1,000 renters issued by, 38% of renters have ended a personal relationship with someone while still living together and 62% of those stayed for a month or much longer (up to a year!).

Other findings from the survey:

  • The majority of renters, 56%, said that actually moving all of their stuff was the hardest to deal with in terms of the logistics.
  • More than any other reason offered, 33% of renters said they stayed because they couldn’t find another apartment they could afford.
  • 32% of renters said that if they were to move in with someone again, they would save more money in case it didn’t work out – more than any other precaution.

Dr. Michelle Callahan, relationship expert, has created tips for the recently-singled to decide how to split the goods so they can split for good:

  • Who lived there first?  Probably the easiest way to determine who should get the space is to decide based on who lived there first. The person whose name is on the lease usually gets first priority. If the person whose name is on the lease decides to give the space to their partner, that person should be sure to get the lease transferred to their name so they have a legal right to live there.
  • Who can afford to move?  A recent study conducted by found that 33 percent of renters said they continued to live with their former partner after a break up because they couldn’t find an apartment they could afford.  After sharing rent and household expenses, it becomes a challenge for people to save enough money to find an apartment they can afford on their own, in addition to moving expenses and a new security deposit.
  • Who needs the space? If one person works from home or cares for children or pets living in the home, that person likely has a greater need to maintain consistency and remain at that location. If the apartment is particularly close to one person’s job, that’s another benefit that might tip the scales in their direction.
  • Who loves the space the most?  Sometimes one person has grown very personally attached to the space. They may have invested a lot of time in decorating or selecting that apartment and as a result they feel more attached to the space.
  • Who wants to separate sooner than later? The breakup may be more painful for one partner than the other. In that case, the person who finds it hardest to share the physical space with their ex may be more likely to voluntarily leave the apartment in the interest of their own well-being.

Below is an infographic with some more details on breaking up while you live together.

2013-02 Breaking Up Infographic

Have you ever lived with someone after you broke it off? Why did you keep living with him/her?

Copyright 2013. Simply Solo blog by Catherine Gryp. All Rights Reserved.

“I Have a New Girl” – My Personal Wakeup Call

February 8, 2013

Happy February! I know, I know, you don’t hear from me much these days. I’m so sorry about that! I miss you guys, but I’ve just been too busy with work to keep up with Simply Solo. Please know that things are going great and I’m super happy! Anyway, when I can, I like to share guest posts that I think you’ll enjoy. To that end, today’s post is written by Cassie Callahan, a freelance writer who is passionate about the topics of dating and relationships and writes for the Ex Recovery System.

Quick shameless plug: Do you have a story to tell? Advice to offer? Did you just have literally the worst date of your life and you must write about it? I’d love to have you as the next Simply Solo Spotlight! Find out how you can be the next writer for Simply Solo here!

“I Have a New Girl” – My Personal Wakeup Call

I never considered love and relationship as priorities.  In fact, I prided myself in not being “one of those girls.”  You know, the ones who are so romantically involved with their boyfriends, it’s almost like they have tunnel vision.  Then they cry and are miserable when it’s over, and of course I’m there to support them, ‘coz that’s what friends do.  And though I won’t say it out loud, I’m thinking, “About time you got rid of that jerk.” 

I was the girl with this invisible force field around her.  But love finds a way and when it hits, it hits hard.  At least it hit me hard. 

It started out perfectly, as it should.  He was perfect, as he should be.  Now the honeymoon period usually lasts for six months.  Ours lasted about a month and a half.  He started to distance himself, but I thought that was normal.  I let him be, but I wanted to be assured that he was still there.  I would call him, I would text him, and I couldn’t help but think that I was starting to act like a clingy girlfriend.

“There’s something about him that I don’t like.  I think he’s going to hurt you.”

That was the opinion of one of my closest friends (let’s call her Sandy).  She said she didn’t like my boyfriend because she could sense that he was not right for me.  It’s amazing how your friends can see things that you can’t.  But that’s what friends do and that’s what I did when it came to their relationships.  And like a good friend, I listened to her, but I didn’t believe her.  I should have known better.

Eight months of heartache, of wondering if he’s going to call me, of listening to him criticize me, of knowing that it’s time to let go, but damn it, I’m hooked!  I became my own worst nightmare – the clingy girlfriend who couldn’t let go and couldn’t survive without her boyfriend.  He wanted to break up, but I couldn’t!  It’s like he became my lifeline and no matter how bad treated me, I couldn’t let him go.  I didn’t want to let him walk away and leave me behind.

I felt helpless, hopeless, and disgusted with myself.  I’m an adult, damn it!  But love does hit hard.  Funny thing is, breakups hit harder.

“I have a new girl.”


look at text message

Photo courtesy of Moritz Petersen

He texted me those very words after I finally asked him why he was being like this.  What had changed?  Well, I got my answer.  It was 5:35 am on a Friday and I became wide awake.  I didn’t feel angry, or hurt, or betrayed.  I was in shock and before I knew it, my fingers started moving.  I deleted his number from my phone.  I couldn’t do it before when I was too busy holding on to him.  But I guess the words “I have a new girl” have that effect on me.

I met Sandy at our business, our own little Internet café.  She immediately knew something was up, but I told her I was just tired.  When our shop closed for the night, I broke down.  The numbness was gone and there was just pain.  I couldn’t help but think, “Why the hell do people keep falling in love when this is what could await them?”  My friends were right, I should have just let go.  I kept thinking it was my fault, I did this to myself.  If I wasn’t such an idiot and just agreed to break up with him, I wouldn’t be this crying, sniffling mess.

Sandy told me I was going to be okay.  I didn’t believe her.  But again she was right.  But it took so long, I don’t know how those characters in the movies did it.  But breakups can’t be solved with ice cream and chocolate.  The pain doesn’t go away in 3 weeks, then you find someone else.  Sometimes, it takes longer.

In my case, it took me nearly 2 years.  But I realized something about myself.  I’m a lot stronger that I thought.  I held on for dear life, I crashed and burned, but I survived the breakup. 

It’s nearly impossible to let go of someone you love.  He may not be the one for you, he may treat you badly, but still you’re one of those girls with tunnel vision.  I saw him in a different light, I thought the relationship wasn’t that bad.  But like they say, love is blind.  I couldn’t see what others saw and so I held on.

I guess all I needed was a wake up.  “I have a new girl” was like a punch in the gut.  It woke me up from the illusion that what I had was worth it.  And now the tunnel vision is gone.  He’s not my world anymore.  Lesson learned: we all have to wake up sometime.

What about you?  What was your wake up call from a relationship?  How do you know when it’s time to let go?


Copyright 2013. Simply Solo blog by Catherine Gryp. All Rights Reserved.

Surviving a Long Distance Breakup

January 17, 2013

Your guest blogger, Laura!

This week’s guest post is written by Laura Thomson-Bache, a British-born New Zealand marketing graduate planning on spending the next few years traveling the globe. Laura loves painting, all forms of chocolate and hopes to one day have a successful blog and PR career. You can read about Laura’s adventures on her Tumblr account.Quick shameless plug: Do you have a story to tell? Advice to offer? Did you just have literally the worst date of your life and you must write about it? I’d love to have you as the next Simply Solo Spotlight! Find out how you can be the next writer for Simply Solo here!

Simply Solo Spotlight: Surviving a Long Distance Breakup

I remember reading blog posts a year ago warning me of the turmoil long distance relationships bring. At the time, I was in the midst of head-over-heels love for my then-boyfriend. He would be moving back home to the other side of the world soon enough, abandoning me to finish my degree as he had finished his here in New Zealand. I remember thinking to myself, “We’re not like all those other couples. We’ll be able to handle the late night Skype sessions, the ongoing calls for hugs and kisses that won’t be answered. Our love is what keeps us together – not hands!”

A year later, and I’m coming up with excuses to encourage him to break up with me. I’m a wuss avoiding the potential burden of regret as the breaker-upper. I’m telling him I won’t be able to move to Canada for another year, it’s too expensive, it’s not going to work. And he agreed. He accepted what I said and we broke up. I cried over Skype, begging him to join me in my sudden resurgent wish to fix us, a mere grasp at straws for the fear of being alone and unloved. We haven’t spoken since.

Long-distance sucks, well and truly. Whilst in the relationship, the need for stronger trust and dedication to keeping in constant contact can be tiring and disillusioning. Whilst you’re getting ready for bed, they are just getting up, ready to do something with their day without you. The relationship is an attempt to mesh two worlds that don’t align. Because of this, I had made the decision after much brain wracking that I would visit him. Despite this decision requiring me to miss weeks of classes and spend all of my savings, I thought, “It’s worth it. This is the love of my life and we’ve come this far already. This is going to be an amazing trip that will cement our relationship’s strength and will create beautiful memories.”

Little did I know, whilst I was in Canada, the so-called “love of my life” would continue to display characteristics I thought would long be gone by now, characteristics that should disappear when you’ve put so much into the commitment of another from great distance. Something that shouldn’t be happening when this distance is finally closed and you have a long lovely month to appreciate each other’s company.

I was wrong. Touching up girls in sexually inappropriate ways, sending flirty sweet texts professing his love to girls who were not me; this was not what I signed up for. My mind was constantly thinking things over and spinning round in circles during my trip. If he was doing this while I was living in his home, what on earth was he like when I was back at mine on the other side of the world?! The demise of my trust for him was on its way, and by the time I had arrived back home, my trust was practically non-existent. Hence, I pushed us into arguments with lies that I couldn’t return to Canada, just so I didn’t have to deal with being called a “whining, complaining girlfriend” for bringing such “petty” things up as I had experienced before. He thinks we broke up because of the distance and the arguments. In reality, we broke up because I realized I didn’t deserve to feel like an idiot.

Considering I am usually an emotional wreck post-any situation that causes the slightest bit of stress, I have been recovering rather well over the past few months. I had this vision of my recovery post-breakup; an aftermath of countless months lying in bed and a red, puffy face stuffed with ice cream. The reality has been significantly less movie-esque. My heart sometimes aches, but instead of aching for him like I thought it would, it is more a deep sadness that he stole a year of my life. A year that could have been spent with someone who respected me enough to be faithful and wouldn’t crush my self-esteem in the process.

I have learnt a lot about long-distance relationships and the ensuing breakups. There are both pros and cons of having a breakup with a partner on the other side of the world. Whilst you’re not going to bump into your ex and your surroundings are unlikely to remind you of them, a relationship built so strongly on constant conversations and an emotional rather than a physical bond leaves you feeling empty inside when it is torn away, something a simple rebound just cannot replace. This however has forced me to seek new avenues to fill the void that is heartbreak. I’m planning my travels to new continents, signed up for classes over the summer, and I’m bettering myself day by day by putting time into me, rather than a dead relationship.

Having no contact has helped a lot, and is easier to maintain in a long distance breakup. No contact allows you to distance yourself from the memories rather than constantly creating new ones through ongoing conversations with an ex-partner about their new life without you! Simply block all avenues of online and mobile conversation and voila, you are free from the unwarranted misery that drunk dialling/Facebook stalking can cause.

As I graduate and figure out my plans for traveling the world, I’ve realised I don’t need my ex and I never did. I have put things into perspective and realised that if we stayed together, I would have moved to Canada to be with him. I would have been adopted by his friends, adopted as a part of HIS life – I wouldn’t be making mine. In long distance relationships, there is always this notion of sacrifice. I have learnt that although I’m willing to sacrifice money and time for a long distance relationship, I’m not willing to sacrifice my dignity, self-respect, or my life.

What’s the biggest sacrifice you’ve made to maintain a long distance relationship? Do you think recovery is easier or more difficult post-LDR breakup?


Copyright 2013. Simply Solo blog by Catherine Gryp. All Rights Reserved.

Self-Worth vs. “True Love”

January 8, 2013

Hello and Happy New Year! Today’s Simply Solo Spotlight is written by Sanika, an 18 year old currently living in Mumbai, India. Sanika is about to head off to college in the UK to study journalism and recently started a blog of funny and emotional stories. I hope you enjoy her guest post – please show her some love in the comments!

Quick shameless plug: Do you have a story to tell? Advice to offer? Did you just have literally the worst date of your life and you must write about it? I’d love to have you as the next Simply Solo Spotlight! Find out how you can be the next writer for Simply Solo here!

Simply Solo Spotlight: Self-Worth vs. “True Love”

We have all gone through the internal struggle of trying to decide when to say, “enough is enough,” how many chances is one too many, and trying to decide if the pain we are repeatedly subjected to is worth it. Simultaneously, we have all made the mistake of not saying, “enough!” giving away too many chances, and undervaluing ourselves whilst clinging onto the idea of the relationship.


Recently, I was able to think objectively about this after seeing someone else go through this struggle, and what I saw both baffled and angered me.

First, it is important to understand that at some point or another, everyone is going to make a mistake in a relationship. At the end of the day, no matter how hard we try, we are all human. We make mistakes. We say or do the wrong thing; we take a lot of stuff for granted; we don’t give enough credit where it’s due; we get angry for petty reasons; we cheat and lie; our ego gets in the way. So no one should be naïve enough to think that these things won’t happen, because they are too much in love to do anything that would hurt their significant other and vice versa.

The unanswerable question is how many times can we forgive mistakes? There’s no mathematical formula that links the number of mistakes, pain caused by mistakes, and happiness felt in the relationship to give you a final answer “YES” or “NO” as to whether you should call it a day and move on. We are all required to make one judgment call after the other, and often our judgment is simply wrong (something we all painfully realize in the end).

Not surprisingly, I’ve seen that the more people value themselves and the more they believe they deserve, the less bullshit they will tolerate in a relationship. This makes perfect sense. If you truly believe that you don’t deserve to be treated a certain way, and you truly believe that there is someone out there who won’t subject you to this kind off hurt and confusion, then why would you stick around for more of the same?

Unfortunately, very few people have enough confidence and faith to understand that. Most of us are lonely, and we don’t believe we are good enough for a number of things, so we let too many things slide. We let people hurt us, and sometimes we even blame ourselves for others’ mistakes. This is exactly what I saw happening, and it made me sad, angry, and exasperated because no one deserves to be treated badly in exchange for the overrated comfort of a few good moments. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy, so to see it happening to my close friend, well you can all imagine what that felt like.


So I just want to make a universal announcement right now. We are all good enough, we all deserve people that understand us with all our quirks and bad habits and insecurities, and no one should have their heart broken repeatedly by the same person who doesn’t know how to learn from their mistakes. Please don’t be afraid to want more than that.

I know that being single can sometimes be lonely, but it beats being hurt, confused, heartbroken, and feeling lonely even when you are in a relationship.

I hope that this will help some of you to strive for the happiness of which you are worthy. I hope that in the future, if someone takes one too many swings at your heart, you will know to point them toward the nearest exit.

How many times have you given someone a second, third, fourth chance? How many chances do you think is acceptable before calling it quits?

Copyright 2013. Simply Solo blog by Catherine Gryp. All Rights Reserved.

Love Lessons from Alana Stewart

December 19, 2012

alana20stewart20reuters20660.jpgSeveral weeks ago, I interviewed Alana Stewart about her new memoir Rearview Mirror. Alana is an international model, actress, talk show host and filmmaker. Alana has an interesting love history, as she was previously married to actor George Hamilton and singer-songwriter Rod Stewart. Don, the producer I met on the plane to Los Angeles earlier this year, introduced us. (You may remember that Don also set me up with an interview with supermodel Beverly Johnson – many great love lessons in that post!)

I’ve been way too busy at work to focus on Simply Solo, so it’s taken me far too long to write up my interview. I wanted to make sure I posted this before the holiday, though, because Alana has some great advice to share, and her life story is incredibly interesting. Maybe you know someone who would like this book as a stocking stuffer?

Alana’s life is truly a rags to riches story. She grew up in a poor, rural part of Texas. When she was 19, she was raped at knifepoint. This experience gave Alana the courage she needed to get away from Texas, move to New York and become a Ford model. According to the book’s description, Rearview Mirror chronicles Alana’s “unstable, chaotic childhood, her traumatic sexual abuse, and her struggles with bulimia, depression, and self-confidence. She also writes about her marriages and divorces with two iconic stars, actor George Hamilton and singer Rod Stewart, raising three children on her own, the devastating effects of drug addiction in her family, and the tragic deaths of her mother as well as her best friend, Farrah Fawcett.”

Alana and I spent much of our interview talking about surviving divorce and heartache. “A good amount of my book is about heartache,” Alana told me. “Some people think that if you are a celebrity, you don’t feel it as much. It’s always difficult to go through a breakup – your heart is hurting, and nothing makes you feel better.” One of the hardest parts of her divorces, too, was that she had to see her heartache plastered all over the magazines. “It’s kind of humiliating,” she admitted.

What’s the best cure for heartache?

Alana told me that her breakup with Rod Stewart was transformational and incredibly hurtful for her. She realized in the breakup that she had not dealt with many issues of her past, and they all came back up.

During this particularly tough time, Alana met with a minister, who told her, “If you get involved in any spiritual teaching and study for two years, your life will change for the better.” After this, Alana used her breakup as an opportunity to heal herself spiritually, through mediating and reading inspirational writings.

Breaking the cycle – “I’ve always been attracted to unavailable men.”

Alana admitted that she’s always been attracted to unavailable men. She has had a pattern of pursuing one man after another who wasn’t available for a consistent, stable, nurturing relationship – whether they were a workaholic, alcoholic, cheater, whatever.

Alana noted that we tend to seek out men who are like our fathers, and that therapy and twelve step programs have helped in her journey to get to know herself and finally address the deep secrets she’s kept her whole life. “Therapy is helpful for anyone who has grown up around alcoholism or drug addiction. Therapy helped me understand my patterns. Twelve step programs changed my life. Hearing your own story in various forms over and over makes you feel less alone.”

The result of all this work? “I think today I know what love is,” Alana says. “I had no clue when I was younger. I would fall passionately in love with someone, but I didn’t have a deep relationship with either of my husbands, because I was emotionally unavailable myself.”

What makes for a healthy relationship?

Alana says the most important things you must have in your relationship include kindness, respect and appreciation.

Communication is also essential to a relationship – the ability to “talk to each other about yourselves, your deepest feelings. A relationship cannot be focused on the other person in an unhealthy way, but in a healthy way. You have to want the best in them, and not want to change them. You have to accept men as who they are and support them and celebrate who they are, as opposed to looking for all the things that are wrong [with them].”

Alana is currently single. As we talked about marriage, she said, “I don’t think marriage is meant to last forever. Some may, but sometimes I feel like marriage is to provide a lesson for you. Sometimes it’s possible to learn your lesson, and then move on.”

Alana’s love lessons for Simply Solo readers
“The one thing I would advise is to get to know someone before you get involved,” Alana said when I asked what love lessons she wanted to share with my readers. “If you get involved too quickly with someone without getting to know who he is, you set yourself up for disappointment.”

“Do something to help you grow as a person. So many young women are looking for that man, that man is the answer. I don’t think that any one person can ever be the answer. You need to make yourself a more well-rounded person, not hope for someone else to fill in the spaces. Then you can meet someone.”

Copyright 2012. Simply Solo blog by Catherine Gryp. All Rights Reserved.

How To Make Friends After a Breakup

December 4, 2012

Today’s guest post is written by Paul Sanders, author of the eBook Get The Friends You Want. Paul teachers people how to overcome social hesitation and make friends. In his eBook, Paul shares advanced strategies on how to meet new people, talk to them in a way that makes them want to be your friend, make plans that people will LOVE to join you in, all without doing too much “work.” Download it here: Get The Friends You Want – Risk Free Trial

Quick shameless plug: Do you have a story to tell? Advice to offer? Did you just have literally the worst date of your life and you must write about it? I’d love to have you as the next Simply Solo Spotlight! Find out how you can be the next writer for Simply Solo here!

How To Make Friends After a Breakup

breakupIf you’ve been through a breakup, you probably know how lonely it can feel after “he” or “she” is no longer part of your life.

That void that your partner leaves behind starts to scare you and make you feel a little depressed.

The best way to avoid feeling that boring, depressing void is to meet more friends, more often.

But, as it so often happens, when you are in a relationship, you tend to spend less and less time with your friends. You barely have time for your close friends… and NO time for casual friends.

So, after you break up, you ask yourself, “Where are my friends?” By that time, you realize two things… one: you need to “catch up with your friends,” and two: you are late!

So it’s time to make some new friends, right?

But, how do we usually feel after a breakup? A little down on confidence, vulnerable, and lonely… is that a good emotional state for making new friends? NOOOOOO.



By some weird biological mechanism, loneliness “tricks” your mind into believing that:

  • Going to meet people is dangerous
  • You’re going to get rejected if you go to socialize

If you don’t believe me, go ask John Cacioppo, who spent something like 20 years studying every aspect of loneliness. And while you’re at it, make sure you get an autographed version of his great 330-page book, named “Loneliness.”



#1 Avoid “The Loneliness Trap”

The loneliness trap is a concept I named after what happens to us when we get lonely. Your mind “tricks” you into believing that you need to get away from people. Which makes you even lonelier, which makes you fear people even more… and it can go on like that for years.

I’ve seen people start to really think that there is something wrong with them, when in fact, they’re just trapped in the walls of loneliness.

What you need to do is to understand that loneliness is just a set of feelings and worries. Don’t take it seriously.

Most importantly, you need to start to socialize even if it has been a long time. You’re going to be surprised how it’s much safer than you thought.

#2 Learn To Keep A Conversation Going

If you can keep a conversation going with a new person that you meet, chances are, you’re going to connect with that person. The more you know how to do this, the more friends you’ll have, and the happier you’ll be.

One technique you can start using right now is to remember the stories you hear and use them in conversations with people when you’re talking about a related subject. You can use any story, EVEN IF IT’S NOT SOMETHING FROM YOUR LIFE.

Use stories from other people’s lives, stuff you see on TV, on YouTube, in movies, books, documentaries, even stuff that happens in the street.

This is NORMAL to do with your old friends, but we almost always forget to use it with people we meet for the first time. That can cause the almighty problem of “running out of things to say.”

I wrote an article to share another technique on How To Keep A Conversation Going.

#3 Meet Friends That Know Each Other – Build A Social Circle

There is a way to make friends and continue meeting them that prevents loneliness, if you happen to break up with your partner. You can do this while also attracting hotter members of the opposite sex to you.

It’s a habit of making friends, introducing them to each other, and going out with them as a group.

Most people don’t do this. And don’t know how. So they miss out on it – big time.

You need to make sure that you gather the friends you have, in order to form a group that meets regularly. And when you get into a relationship, you can keep meeting with your group of friends, WITH your partner.

That way, you get a life full of social and emotional support, no matter what happens in your relationship.

What tips do you have for building strong friendships that will outlast any romantic relationship?


Copyright 2012. Simply Solo blog by Catherine Gryp. All Rights Reserved.