From Girlfriend To Fiancée

Wow, the past few months have been crazy in the best way.

Robert and I got engaged in November and I had plenty of time to breathe and enjoy our new titles as “fiancée” and “fiancé” (Side note: did you know that the word differs in spelling for a man and a woman? Two “e’s” mean the word is for a female, and just one makes it male). Now that I’m in month five of being engaged I want to tell you all how everything has been and what kind of advice I have for people when they first get engaged too.

First, one thing I did that I would absolutely do over and over again is that I kept the engagement off social media for a little over a week. It was so special having this little secret with Robert and all my loved ones, and it made that time so memorable and easier to live in the moment. Rather than getting hundreds of calls, texts, and well wishes online, we were able to hold hands and be quietly excited at the thought of getting to marry each other one day in the near future. It felt a lot more intimate and all of the new changes had time to sink in before announcing our new status to the world.

Screen Shot 2018-03-27 at 12.19.34 PM.png

Second, I recommend actually searching for venues after taking a few weeks to let everything sink in. My initial response to the dozens of “Have you set a date?!” question was, “I am just taking some time to enjoy being engaged.” While that is all fine and dandy, I knew I wanted to get married in the fall. We got engaged in the winter, and wanted a fall wedding. Had I started right away I would have had about a year to plan, whereas I knocked off about a third of that to just sit back and relax. Luckily, everything on that front has worked itself out and I’m really happy with the way our plans are materializing, but the Washington DC area is super competitive, even in the wedding industry. If you want to get married on a certain date or time of year, you should keep that in mind while figuring out how long you are going to be engaged and when to start planning.

Third, there is no right or wrong timeline. Some engagements are short, others are long, and there are a million in between. Figure out what you think is right, then just go for it! Planning such a big event is definitely a new and unique challenge, but it’s also a lot of fun once you stop dipping your toes in the water and just jump into planning. Luckily, all of the research I’ve done in college and assignments I had at Seventeen are really paying off, because it takes a lot of work to find the right vendors to create a big event like this.

Screen Shot 2018-03-27 at 12.51.46 PM.png

Finally, enjoy second of being engaged and make sure to still go on date nights and do things outside of planning your wedding. Time goes by so fast, and before you know it you’ll be a husband or wife instead of just a fiancé(e)!

Date Smarter, Not Harder

Dating is something I would definitely say I was super-good at. I’m not the best mathematician, I am terrible at remembering everything I learned in history class, and I don’t know anything about camping or surviving in the wilderness, but I’m really good with people and feelings.

Just because you’re great at feeling things and reading others, though, doesn’t mean dating will be easy. There are a million different things that go into this process, some of which is circumstantial and just plain luck. A big part of dating is being able to control your emotions and think logically. When you can sync your heart to your brain and make them work together, you become so incredibly efficient in weeding out the people who aren’t right for you while keeping around someone who might be a good fit to be your forever and always.

Getting into a healthy relationship is so much easier if you have the right tools and cut out the bad habits that are holding you back from meeting people. So if you feel like you’ve had a hard time dating and letting go of crush after crush, I am going to give you a little dose of tough love and list a few behaviors to give up for 2018.

Screen Shot 2018-01-09 at 4.13.31 PM.png

  1. Realize that most people are not the exception to the rule. Sure, sometimes a bad boy can make for a great husband, the guy who plays hard to get can be a good catch, or the one who ghosted you on Bumble only to message you five weeks later on OK Cupid actually did just make a little mistake, but for the most part you can take things at face value and trust your gut. Stop trying to force things or make a crummy situation less painful by telling yourself stories that justify bad behavior. There are too many fish in the sea to pardon the ones who aren’t swimming in the same direction as you!
  2. Cut out the commitmentphobes. If you’ve been “talking to someone” for months with no signs of settling down, stop waiting for them to change their mind about the status of your relationship. A guy will know if he likes you pretty soon after y’all have started dating and if he doesn’t see what a great catch you are it’s his loss. Don’t try to show him what he’s missing out on or try to create scenarios where he’ll begin to fall for you. Your time is absolutely valuable, so move on to find someone who will recognize your worth without even trying.
  3. Stop chasing after indecisive guys. If you’ve been seeing someone for a little bit and he is still conflicted about how he feels about you versus another prospect, make up his mind for him and let the other girl have him. You do not want to be with someone who can’t see your worth, and it’s not your job to make him miss you once you’re gone. Block him everywhere and get excited about eventually meeting a guy who only has eyes for you and can’t wait to try to steal your heart.
  4. Don’t settle for behaviors that don’t show you respect. Yuck! People who aren’t respectful of other humans make me feel sick. If he pressures you physically, exhibits any signs of emotional or physical abuse, or throws cruel words at you, get rid of him. I hate hearing people say that gentleman don’t still exist because they absolutely do. Look for role models in your family or friend circles and remind yourself of them when you’re feeling a little defeated in the dating world. Even though these are all platonic examples, they will be great partners for another girl one day, which means there are people out there for you, too.
  5. Steer clear of people who don’t have the same values as you. If you want to date someone who is the same religion as you, wants the same kind of family, and prioritizes the same important things in life, don’t date the guy who is a polar opposite. This is wasting time on both ends of the relationship and will only end in heartbreak. Unless he changes his views — which is unlikely (see #1) — your heart will either be crushed by a breakup or a deep sadness in the relationship. It’s worth holding out for someone who will be your partner in the important parts of life.

Screen Shot 2018-01-09 at 4.13.46 PM.png

If you give up these five little destructive thought processes I promise your dating life will become much more bearable and efficient. Getting rid of duds seems tough in theory, but when you know what you’re looking for it becomes quite a bit easier. I always like having logical and practical actions to follow in the dating world because it can be really easy to let your heart take over and run away with your brain. By having a certain standard set for yourself, you eliminate some of the unnecessary heartache that comes along with dating the wrong guy. This may not be the most romantic blog post in the world, but it is so, so important and is definitely some of the best advice I’ve given on here. Let me know what your biggest dating frustrations or victories are, and I’d love to write more about that in my next post!

Where Do I Begin with Dating?

Ask Krista


Hi Krista, how would you respond to someone who doesn’t know where to begin with dating? It’s a big, scary world, and there aren’t any manuals on starting at square one.

Oh my gosh, I loved this question so much that I wanted it to be the very first of my new “Ask Krista” series. So many people reach out with dating questions that I decided I need to start featuring the ones that I think might be more common and could help others.

The dating world is so big that it’s hard to figure out where to start and can feel overwhelming. Starting all the way at square one, I’d say you should first give yourself a mini pep talk. Or better yet, I’ll write one out for you.

Dating isn’t very different than any other interpersonal interaction you have with someone on any given day. It’s all about getting to know people on a deeper level and figuring out whether or not they’re someone you want to keep seeing. Don’t overthink it too much. Enjoy putting yourself out there and realize that there are so many people in this world that if a date goes poorly you’re just going to move on to the next person. You are unique and special in your own way, and someone out there is going to absolutely love you for that.

After you’ve given yourself a little push it’s time to figure out where exactly you want to start. There are apps, websites, and networking events that are all dedicated to finding love. It’s difficult to sift through the dozens of options, but it’s definitely not as daunting as it seems. My advice is to start small. Begin with one or two dating techniques. For example, choose two dating apps that seem to be good for you. You could do one swiping app like Bumble that is built for more casual dates, and add one profile app such as OK Cupid. I’d refrain from spending money on a site at least the first few weeks so you can just adjust to how the online dating world works, then you can better navigate the other sites with a little more ease.

dating.png

Be yourself online. Don’t worry about being “cool” or impressing your suitors; you’ll have more long-term success in the dating world if you don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. If you aren’t naturally witty or clever, don’t try to come off that way on your profile. One thing I noticed when I was dating was that everyone seemed to love camping and the outdoors. I haven’t been into that since I got sick with POTS, so I actually made a joke about how much I hated hiking and that didn’t know a lot about sports. Guys messaged me and thought my transparency was funny. I also met more people that I actually got along with since I was open about the fact I am not into hooking up, I am a Christian, and I have a natrually silly personality.

When you’re talking to people to go on dates with proceed with confidence and know that you are a great catch. Realize your worth and know that you are doing an amazing thing by putting yourself out there and trying to find love! You are brave, you are a catch, and you are doing your best to find the relationship you are looking for. At the end of the day as long as you are trying you are being productive in your dating life.

Lastly, don’t let the dating world get you down after one — or even a dozen — bad dates. The odds of you meeting someone to settle down with after just a few dates are so incredibly slim. If you really don’t hit it off with someone or do something to embarrass yourself (it happens to the best of us! See hereherehere, and here), just laugh at the situation and move on. You probably won’t have to see your date around again, so don’t even give it another thought!

The more you date the closer you are to finding someone who is right for you. In the meantime you will learn so many different things about yourself and other people. Just keep your heart and mind open, and don’t give up hope. Dating works differently for each individual and sometimes it takes people kissing a lot more frogs to find their Prince Charming than others. You can be excited and think about what you are working towards, but don’t forget to enjoy each day of your life. One day you’ll be married and settled down and might look back on your twenties as being one of the most confusing and lonely times, but you can also make it one of the most adventurous and freeing times of your life. Make the most of your youth while it’s still here, and create fun and beautiful stories to tell your spouse about later when you meet them. Good luck, and remember that persistence pays off.

Quality Time

This is the last of my five Love Languages posts. If you missed the other ones, here they are:

And now it’s time for my favorite of the five — quality time!

Quality time has always been high on my priority list, but the past couple of years it’s really been bumped to the top. Doing a deployment with someone you love is one of the hardest things I can think of. There are so many reasons I find it difficult, but a big one is that you don’t get to spend very much quality time with them — for like, almost an entire year. This has given me a great appreciation for the time I get to spend with Robert now.

RK.png
Robert and I both have quality time as our #1 LL. We went to my first Red Sox game recently and it was one of the best days!

Make sure you are fully present when you are spending quality time with your partner. This means putting your phone away, not running through a checklist in your mind of things you need to do, and temporarily pushing aside any worries or concerns you might have in your life to live in the present with them. When you are using quality time as a love language with someone, the emphasis should be on the word qualityTime is something that you sometimes have to give to things you do and do not care about. You go to the doctors office because you have to make sure you stay healthy, and you give your time to your employers in return for a paycheck. Giving time to a loved one needs to be different. It should be offered as a caring gesture and given because you want to bond and grow closer to someone.

Here are a few ways you can incorporate quality time into your love life:

  • Run errands together. This is a big one, guys! Errands are an inevitable part of life, and they are something every single person will have to do, likely several times a week. Going on outings to get groceries together or running to the post office as a team are so important for your growth as a couple. You get quality time in the car together and time to chat and bond while you pick out what you want to have for dinner that week. Do not split up when you go shopping just to make things faster; stick together and find each item as a team so that you can experience life together. It may not be as fast that way, but it’s a whole lot more valuable.
  • Make time for regular date nights. No, ordering takeout and watching football doesn’t count unless that’s something you both genuinely enjoy doing. Go out into the world and try a new restaurant or explore a new town together. Quality time doesn’t usually care where you are, rather it focuses more on enjoying each other’s company fully. Exploring new places is an awesome way to learn new things about each other — no matter how long you’ve been together — and it forces you to keep up with your plans of having a set date night.
  • Don’t always choose television. I know it’s so easy to get sucked into the tube, especially after a long day at work. TV is a great way to relax, but it isn’t always going to fulfill the quality time aspect of your partner’s life. Make dinner together while singing along to Taylor Swift, or take your dog for a nice, long walk.
  • On the other hand, having a weekly TV show you tune into together is a great way to bond. That way you have something fun to talk about together and can giggle or scream at the TV when something unexpected happens. I love watching The Bachelor with Robert, and he likes watching football or basketball with me. We started watching Big Brother this season, which has been a really fun topic of conversation for both of us. We’ve loved cheering the same people on, and debating who would be a more exciting winner — Josh or Paul. Now that the season is over we are going to start watching The Office because Robert has never seen it and doesn’t think he likes it… That was a dealbreaker that I suppose I overlooked when we first started dating because of his witty charm and strikingly handsome looks. Now that we’ve been seeing each other for almost two years, I think we have to change this about him. Please leave comments of encouragement and excitement about The Office so that Robert can see that it’s everything you could ever want in a TV show and more.

QT.png

Quality time seems like it would be a simple love language to master, however if it’s not something that comes naturally to someone it can be difficult to understand how to use this LL properly. If there isn’t a genuine desire for a connection, being in the same room doesn’t really fill the emotional needs of the person who craves QT. If this isn’t a natural desire of your heart, the more you venture outside your box of usual activities, the more you might get excited about spending time with your significant other.

Figure out what your Love Language is today, and perhaps more important, what your partner’s Love Language is. It is absolutely a game changer in a relationship and can make your bond just that much closer.

Someone For Everyone

I strongly believe there is someone for everyone in the world. No, that doesn’t mean I think that everyone should — or will — be in a relationship or get married, but I do believe if you want to have a romantic partner there is someone out there who will be a good fit for you.

There are so many amazing examples I’ve seen of people who thought they would never find true love because they were too quirky, too sick, too old, too tall, too short — the list goes on. I would like to argue, though, that the only thing that would ever really hinder someone from finding true love is being too picky. None of the other “too’s” are going to deter every single person in the world from dating you.

Something to remember in the world of online dating and infinite choices is that nobody is perfect. You will never have a partner who has every single quality checked off on your “list,” or who doesn’t sometimes get on your nerves, but that’s normal. The most important thing to remember is that if your relationship is overall a really big asset to your life, the little annoyances you sometimes have are so tiny in the grand scheme of things.

shoes.jpg

Luckily we aren’t all attracted to the same kind of person. That would make life pretty boring, and the journey to find love way too competitive — kind of like an ongoing episode of The Bachelor. People have different “types” that they’re into, and just because you are rejected by one person doesn’t mean the next one who comes around won’t like you.

I don’t know why it takes some people longer than others to find a partner when their heart is ready. Sometimes I think it really is because dating is a numbers game. The more dates you go on, the more people you meet, and the more likely you are to find someone you really click with. Other times, I think people get in their own heads about dating and can take things too seriously too quickly. I know how hard it is to want the beautiful, loving relationship that you picture in your head, but remember that love and trust take time to build and you can’t force things.

Writing people off without getting to know them is another thing that can really hurt your dating life. Whether it’s because you don’t think you’re good enough for someone or because you don’t think they’re the right fit for you, sometimes it can be really beneficial to give people who have the important things in common with you a chance. When I first became single my motto quickly became “It’s just a date.” By having this attitude I was able to chat with guys, get to know them, and give them a chance. If you really dig deeper into my own life, did it make sense that I went on a date with a soldier who was getting ready to leave for a long deployment? It doesn’t seem like an ideal situation — especially for someone who isn’t keen on doing long distance — but going on that first date with Robert and giving him a chance was one of the best decisions the best decision I have ever made. Seriously, I could not have known two Octobers ago that going out to a little Italian restaurant with someone I met online was going to be a life-changing moment for me, but it was, and despite all the hard times we had during the deployment he was worth every single one of them. Giving this cute, funny stranger a chance gave me one of the most important things I have in my life — us.

Regardless of how dating has been for you, the only way you can find what you’re looking for is by putting yourself out there and trying again. I hate heartbreak so much, but the great thing about loving and losing the wrong person is that you are another step closer to finding the person who is right for you. Hearts are fragile, but they’re resilient and can heal, even when it feels like they are smashed into a million different pieces. Hang in there, and be gentle with yourself.

No Longer Single In The Suburbs

As y’all know I haven’t been single for a long time now, and when I first created this website I thought I wouldn’t be in a relationship for a pretty long time. The joke was on me, though, because I met someone really great a lot faster than I anticipated.

Screen Shot 2017-03-05 at 10.43.53 PM.png
Guys. This is us on a date… IRL!! It’s seriously so nice living right down the road from one another.

Single In The Suburbs is always going to be a part of my brand, but it’s time for me to change to something that’s going to reflect my life today and for years to come.

I’ve been meaning to do this for a long time, as I’ve been resting on my new domain, and I finally finished saving all my drafts and posts just in case something terrible happens when I change websites… Which is probably good because I’m having so much trouble trying to figure out how to get my darn WordPress site to connect to my new URL (I’d like to give a shoutout to my blogging friend Rosie, though, for giving me some encouragement with this big change, as she just did the same thing last week!).

So if you’re having trouble accessing my website, you’re definitely not the only one. I can’t see it anymore either, so I am going to bring in the big guns and get my brother to help me with this mess later this week. My site might be down for a couple of days, but I will absolutely be back! After that you won’t find me on the “Single In The Suburbs” WordPress anymore… You’ll be redirected to my new Dating and Lifestyle website, KristaLauren.com. 🙂

krista_profile.jpg