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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.

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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.

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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.

 

LONELINESS IS A TRICKY BASTARD

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.”

 

THREE SOLID TIPS TO MAKE FRIENDS AFTER A BREAKUP

#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.

Inspiring Love in Film: Better Options Than Bridget Jones

November 14, 2012

This week’s guest post was written by Laura Reed, a journalist and cinema connoisseur who works in independent web-magazines and collaborates as a consultant in the making of a few movie scripts. She is also a passionate social network user, present mostly on Twitter and Badoo.

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!

Inspiring Love in Film: Better Options Than Bridget Jones

We may not like to admit it, but there is a mini-Bridget lurking within all of us. She’s waiting, unlit fag in hand, to spread chaos at the most inopportune moment. She just needs the right catalyst: like those times at parties where a veil of silence falls across the group and, just as you clear your voice to fill it with a witty and insightful contribution, she claps on the social blinkers and the gap between your own expectation of yourself and stubborn reality suddenly becomes a yawning chasm. Everyone looks at you as if you’re an idiot and you spill chardonnay dow215px-BridgetJonesDiaryMoviePostern your dress.

When it comes to love and life, however, I’m sure that we all at least hope that the Jones archetype doesn’t apply to us. Even as Bridget seemingly manages to hook Mr Right at the end of the first film, from the very start of The Edge of Reason (2004), it is clear that hers and Darcy’s is an ill-fitting relationship; plagued by obsession and stiffness compounded by Bridget’s indomitable lack of grace.

So what else does the cinematic world have to offer up to those of us still waiting to link arms with The One under a petal-strewn glen and stroll off into the sunset planning babies? Well, there’s quite a bit of tragedy. Titanic (1997), a classic story of love vs. the class system, turns out to be more than doomed when Arctic sea ice gangs up against the lovers to sink their blossoming romance. The benchmark for star-crossed lovers overcoming social divides was probably set by Love Story (1970), where Oliver Barrett IV’s dedication to working class Jennifer Cavilleri results in the golden-tap flowing from his Harvard-graduate father’s estate being cut off. After failing to conceive, it becomes apparent that Jennifer is terminally ill and, after months of financial hardship and multiplying hospital bills, Oliver is reconciled with his family at Jennifer’s death-bed with the immortal (and, perhaps, misguided) line: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

Do our relationship archetypes have to involve either Disney fairy-tales, Bridget-style flops or the death of either party? Why is it that The English Patients of film win the Oscars? Actually, romantic cinema has been quite good at appealing to the modern zeitgeist and communicating the trials and tribulations of the everyday relationship.

Films like when Harry Met Sally (1989) and Sliding Doors (1998) offer visions of relationships that any one of us could recognise mirrored in our own experiences. But what I find really inspiring in cinema is the recurring theme of “second chances.” When you think about it, this is the best message a film can ever convey to us. After all, life may be amazing for Jake and Rachel or whoever in the end, but I don’t live Rachel’s life – and I don’t have a Jake. It’s great when a film says to us, “Hey, x or y may have happened to you but you know what? If you keep going and move on through this, there can be something up ahead that will make it all worth it.”

In The Notebook (2004) we listen as grey-haired narrators yarn the tales of their life’s love in a beautiful life-affirming story of a couple only temporarily eclipsed by World War II. But second chances aren’t always about pulling through hardships with your partner. Sometimes our partner is the hardship and our second chance is, simply, someone else. One of my favorites in this category has to be Lost In Translation (2003), a story of an unlikely love blossoming between disillusioned actor Bob and frustrated twenty something Charlotte in the claustrophobic confines of a Tokyo culture-shock. Despite the age gap, this is also a story about second chances. Bob’s failing marriage, Charlotte’s dissatisfaction with a partner who has changed too much and the solace that they find within each other’s companionship in an alien megacity subtly mirrors the lives of many of us who find themselves surrounded by people but still managing to feel alone.

My absolute number one second chance story though is Wong KarWai’s pretty, neon-candy English-language debut: My Blueberry Nights (2007). In the aftermath of a painful breakup, Elizabeth finds sanctuary eating blueberry pie every day in Manchester émigré Jeremy’s café in Manhattan. The whispers of something between them are cut short by Elizabeth’s cross-country drifting, supported by a series of waitressing jobs as she chases a dream to mend a broken heart. Her intermittent postcards to Jeremy, however, conceal her location and place of work and he tirelessly calls up restaurants in the area in an effort to find her, later writing herculean amounts of postcards to any and every restaurant in desperation. After working through her own emotional turmoil via encounters with various lost-souls, Elizabeth returns to Manhattan to a reserved seat in Jeremy’s café – and the realisation of his reciprocated feelings.

So what have I learnt? Well, an inspiring love story can definitely be made by overcoming adversity, but it can also be made by submitting to it. What really inspires me though are the films where love flowers from the mundane, transforming all our frustrations and insecurities and assuring us that we are never too old for a second chance. Or a third.

What are your experiences of second chances? Have you and your partner ever faced something which seemed insurmountable only to come out shining the other side? Or did your experience with a flop somehow flip into the best days of your life? What’s your favourite movie about love?

 

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

The Sweetest Revenge

November 1, 2012

First of all, yes, I’m still alive. The past few weeks have been absolutely crazy. I’ve been working my butt off (interestingly, my pants aren’t any looser); I went to San Francisco for work/excessive eating (explains the pants); I closed on and moved into the new house; and I’ve had some other major life changes. Things are going fantastic, but I just can’t seem to catch my breath and find time for Simply Solo.

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Aditi

However, the other night I was reading some blog emails, when I came across a guest post submitted by Aditi Lalbahadur. I loved the post so much that it forced me to make some time for the blog. (I promise I’m doing my best to get back in the swing of things soon!)

Aditi is an Indian-born South African researcher who is trying to save the world, one research report at a time. She loves chocolate pinotage, chatting with friends and dreams of being a writer when she grows up. I hope you enjoy her post today and 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!

 

The Sweetest Revenge

Sunday 9 a.m. marked the exact one-year anniversary of my discovering that my ex was a lying cheating bastard. I found an email on his laptop while searching for humane ways to kill a mouse (a mouse had taken refuge in the house and had been outsmarting our traps for weeks).

It turned out that while I was in Scotland that year completing an MA, my then fiancé of two years (we lived together for seven), decided to shack up with his colleague IN OUR HOUSE (I have yet to figure out if she had anything to do with the mouse)! She’d moved out just in time for me to move back in, but they managed to keep their affair a secret for another two months while I was home. The ensuing events were all very dramatic. Let’s just say that it put my newly acquired MA in Peace and Conflict Studies to the test! Eventually though, I moved out. And the next day she moved in (pleased as punch, no doubt, with herself that she ‘won’).

Since then I have gone through the soul-crushing, simply exhausting journey of picking up the pieces of … pretty much everything. First, it was myself. Physically. From off my best friend’s kitchen floor (eventually she hauled me up). Then, my hopes, my dreams, my heart. Through the disbelief, the grief and anger, all I have wanted for him was sweet, sweet revenge.

I used to day dream all the time that he would come back to me, shriveled and soaking wet (because he would be caught in a freak thunderstorm, obviously) cold, shivering and miserable on a bitterly cold winter’s day. It would crush his heart when I opened the door to my apartment looking gorgeous and slim and barely dressed (because it would be warm in my apartment!) with a hunka-hunka sweet (and topless) man doing something very manly in the background.

And then, at some unknown point, with me barely even noticing, the revenge dreams stopped. I started to realise that my pain and grief were my own. And that actually, while I was grieving for my lost life. I was also grieving for my lost self – the person I’d thought I always wanted to be. The person I could have been.

I began to realise that I had a lot of my own stuff that I needed to deal with. How did I make such a bad judgment call with him? Who was I without him? What do I work towards now? What did I want for my career? … DID I want a career? What was the meaning of life???

Wading through that stuff has been exhausting! It still reduces me to a helpless freak-ball of tears. Without fail, once a month, you will find me lying naked in my bed with crazy-hair, howling like an orphaned child. Because seriously, discovering the purpose of life is HARD!! And while I haven’t figured it out just yet, I have made awesome discoveries about me – the habits I don’t like, the aspects I want to keep and the person I want to become.

I’ve learnt that I’m ok to be alone, as long as I’m happy. I’ve realised that I want to live a full life – to be the best person that I can be; to travel the world; to enjoy exciting new experiences; to meet incredible people; to cherish every moment and learn what I can from these. I want a lot of things for myself, and I’m finally discovering how to get them ALL ON MY OWN!

I’m starting to see my power, my strength, my courage – my perfect imperfection. I can see that the one thing I have absolute control over is me. I see that I will be happy – because it’s my choice. I am not a victim to life. I am responsible for it. And I am responsible for me.

It’s starting to give me great pride to think that I have faced my worst fear, and to realise that I came out of it just fine! It’s not peaches and roses, but I’ve come a very long way from off that cold cement floor nine months ago. From all this, I have grown, I have changed, I have become a wiser, smarter, stronger, more caring and compassionate, I have stronger bonds with the people in my life. And suddenly the world is a space of infinite possibilities …

… And then last night it hit me. The sweetest revenge would be for my ex to never face a life-changing experience. The sweetest revenge would be for him to never be forced to look at himself; to confront his demons and have the opportunity to overcome them.

The sweetest of sweet revenge would be for him to stay just the same.

 

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

How to Bag the Perfect Guy for You

October 10, 2012

Today’s Simply Solo Spotlight is by Twoo.com, a social discovery platform that puts people in touch, fast. According to ComScore data, the site has more than 8.8 million monthly unique visitors, while being only just over one year old. Twoo is available online, on mobile and tablet devices and as a location based Android or iPhone application.

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 Bag the Perfect Guy for You

Meeting a new man, be it online or in real life, can be a bit like being given a lovely, gift-wrapped present. At first, you’re not sure what this unfamiliar, though excitingly shaped, new item is. Your mind whizzes with possibilities as you remove layer after layer of shiny paper from the package (steady on ladies!). You get all excited about the glorious future that’s about to unfold with this thrilling new something in your life and then… oh… it’s a two-year subscription to Industrial Engineering Weekly magazine.

The point is that meeting someone new is a lucky dip and you can never be sure what you’re going to get… or can you? While we can’t claim that clairvoyance falls under the otherwise fulsome list of our skills at Twoo.com and therefore we can’t guarantee that the man you’re chatting with is Mr Marriage-and-Babies, we do have access to information about what guys are looking for and what kind of characteristics in a woman attract what kind of guy.

We’ve been doing some research, quite a lot really, so much so we’ve written an entire whitepaper about our findings. In this post we are looking specifically at what the data around age showed us; which bracket to go for to bag the man of your dreams.

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We looked at data asking guys to list their perfect partner’s best body part and, guys, you did pretty well. Smile and eyes were top trumps for all age groups, which suggests that those guys who appear to be talking to your chest might actually be shy as opposed to pervy, but from here on out things vary quite wildly.

If you’re looking for a man who will love you for your fierce intelligence rather than your booty, then you should look to the upper end of the age bracket. 14% of men aged 20-24 listed “ass” as their perfect partner’s best body part and 8% said “brains,” compared with guys from the 50-59 age bracket, 1% of whom wanted you for your behind and 15% for your brains. Interestingly, “chest” scored quite low consistently, apart from the 40-44 year old age bracket where it shot up to 10%, which perhaps can be identified as prime mid-life crisis territory. One thing you ladies might want to consider is that guys couldn’t give a monkey’s butt about your hair; this characteristic never struggled above 2% in any age group, so put down that curling iron and do something useful.

If your focus is marriage, then you should be looking for a man around about the age of 30. 37% of 20-24 year olds said they were “too young to think about it,” but they change their tune when they hit the 30-34 age bracket with 43% of them saying it’s an important commitment. If you’re dating an older guy, then you may find that that ship has sailed – 36% of men aged 50-59 don’t think marriage is relevant for them any longer. You may have thought that younger guys would be less interested in marriage than their more traditional elder counterparts, but the opposite is true, so you might want to pick a younger model if you’re after more than just a quick roll in the hay.

Well girls, one thing’s good to know, at least we can all stop worrying about our hair, huh? I don’t think so. Perhaps the most important stat was that on marriage, if you want him to put a ring on it, you better get in there before he hits 50, the good news is that gives you plenty of time.

What do you think on the findings? Do you agree? Does it resemble your own online dating experiences? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to share with others.

Twoo has 8.8 million monthly active users that are based all over the world: the site is live in over 200 countries, and is available in over 35 languages. The areas of study for these findings: United Kingdom, France, United States, Belgium, Australia and Germany, among Twoo’s busiest countries. Twoo’s data is based both on profile information and behaviour. Profile information is filled in by the user when they join the website, to give other users a clear idea of their personality and lifestyle. Our behavioural data is focused around what makes a particular user, or groups of users, popular on the network. You can see the full whitepaper here.

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

How to Deal When YOU Cancel Your Wedding

October 3, 2012

I’m excited about this week’s Simply Solo Spotlight, considering this topic is (for obvious reasons) close to my heart. After reading and commenting on today’s post, please visit Stacy Austin’s blog, Stacy Laughs, and follow her on Twitter at @stacylaughs.

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 Deal When YOU Cancel Your Wedding

Once upon a time, I had the perfect boyfriend, we lived in the perfect condo, and we were planning the perfect wedding together. Except, it was only perfect on the outside. For a long time, I knew our relationship had problems that couldn’t be fixed and we shouldn’t get married, but I labeled those feelings as “cold feet” and pushed them aside. It was hard to imagine living any other life other than the one we built together. In my scenario, we grew up in the same hometown and went to the same university together, so we had grown up together and our entire lives were intertwined.

Then came a night when I couldn’t sleep. It was a month before our wedding and I knew that going through with it would ultimately be a mistake. It took all the strength in me to start that conversation with my fiancé. Fortunately, he understood, and he agreed. We both felt like getting married wasn’t the right decision.

Unfortunately, he did not want to cancel the wedding. He fought me tooth and nail. He was embarrassed. “What will other people think?” he asked me. He was scared about our future. “Do you still want to be with me? What are we going to do about the mortgage?”

The questions were endless and overwhelming. For the first time in a long time, the future was unknown. I cried. A lot. I felt terrible about the situation, and the worst thing is that it was my fault. I felt like the stress and anxiety were real entities that were physically crushing my chest. Through the process, afterwards, and to this day, I had feelings that I was an evil person who was hurting everyone by not going through with a wedding that I felt in my heart was wrong. It could easily replace one of the higher circles of hell in Dante’s Inferno!

While Catherine has done an excellent job of providing guidelines of what to do after a canceled wedding, I thought I would provide a special spin for those souls out their in their own special hell of being the one who caused the breakup.

Take charge of the situation

Yes, immediately start canceling that wedding. You will need to multi-task as your significant other is probably reeling from the news. If you ask them for help, definitely follow-up on their completed tasks. Since I felt I was forcing the news on him, I did the brunt of the work. No time to fight about petty things; just get things done.

When unmarried couples break up, there are little laws to protect them and their belongings. Try to be as amicable as possible. Think about what is important to you in the split.

Grieve and heal

After the dust has settled, you are going to feel really, really sad. Yes, being broken up with is extremely painful, and it’s not a contest, but being the first one to say out loud “this relationship isn’t working” opens up a whole new world of heartache and guilt that nothing seems to cure. You will miss him and your old life. Most of all, you will miss the person you used to be. You might look at old photos of you in your old life, and be unsure what to do with those feelings.

I recommend seeking counseling and building a good network of friends and family to reach out to. You will have a lot of conflicting feelings, and may want to go back, but like my mom constantly reminded me, “You can never go back to exactly how things were.” She’s right. You’ll never be able to go back to how things were, and you two will never be the same people again. Also, it didn’t feel right to you for a reason. Are you prepared to try to make it work with all the new baggage you’ve created?

Be prepared for the anger

Even the best ex is going to be angry with you after you break up with them. His anger I could handle, because I vaguely understood it. Sure, I was confused, because why would he want to be with me if he agreed that it also didn’t feel right? Regardless, being broken up with sucks, so yes, I understand he was angry with me. His anger included serving me with legal papers to remove my ownership of his items and immediately removing all traces of my existence in our condo. And it was painful when he asked me to move out from the home we built together, but he was more financially secure to handle the expenses, so I did as I was asked with little resistance.

wet leaves on the ground, rain-soaked leavesKnow who else is going to be angry? Your ex’s family. Going to my ex’s parents’ house to tell them the news was the most difficult drive of my life. We both sat, parked in the car, in the driveway for what felt like hours. I remember my heart beating so hard (as if it were going to burst from my chest) while my fiancé kept asking me not to do this to him, to us. I felt like my world was in slow motion as I opened the car door and walked to the front door.

His parents perpetually have the television on, and I remember the wedding episode of The Office playing as I tried to have the difficult conversation with them. His dad shook his head while his mom had a mean rebuttal for every reason I gave for canceling the wedding.

“I feel like we’re rushing into this,” I said.

“Rushing? Really? You’ve only been dating for six years,” she spat at me.

I felt like I deserved it. Again, I felt like it was my fault. I started this whole thing. I took my licks and I got out of that house. I knew I would never have to see them again.

Know who else is going to be angry? Your ex’s friends. As a reminder, my ex and I grew up together. We grew up with our circle of friends from the playground to the work force. Since it was assumed (and later known) that canceling the wedding was my doing, I lost some friends. It hurt. A lot. I noticed I wasn’t being invited to annual events, and one by one, I saw I was being unfriended on social media websites. My immediate reaction was to fly into a rage and ask “Why?” Then, I realized that if they weren’t going to be there for me in my greatest time of need, they weren’t good people and not worth my time or deserving of the label as my friend.

Know who else is going to be angry? You. You are going to be so angry with yourself. You will think you made the wrong decision. You will worry that you will never find anyone again or that your life is ruined. It’s easier said than done, but nip those negative feelings in the bud. Life is too short to be angry or unhappy. Take care of yourself. After a long-term relationship, you will need time to find and take care of this new person you’ve become.

Move on

When you are ready to date again, you are going to have all sorts of new baggage and trust issues. But dating is so exciting! Be excited about every new moment and sensation. I am confident that if I could live through this experience and become a stronger, happier person, that anyone can. Good luck. You can do it!

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