Feature Friday: Kalika, Ben, & Trina

Kalika and I have been good friends since my freshman year of high school and I feel so incredibly blessed to still have her in my life today. She is one of the most creative, empathetic, bubbly, and thoughtful girls that I know. Kalika loves dogs as much as I do, and is currently the mother of one adorable crooked-tailed pups out there.

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Single In The Suburbs:
Where did you and Ben meet? What were your first impressions and how might they have changed over time?

Kalika:
Ben and I were both interns with Campus Special during the summer of 2012. We met at a training conference in Atlanta while waiting for the elevator. I immediately thought he was handsome and particularly liked his blue eyes. His nametag showed that he was the University of Delaware rep, and I know a few people that went there (thanks, Kate!) so I struck up a conversation.

We went to my first NBA and MLB games that weekend where I learned pretty quickly about Ben’s schemes, like sneaking down to better seats that were still available on StubHub right before tickets are taken down before the game (he’s only gotten better at scheming since I’ve known him).

My first impression of Ben was that he was shy and quiet, but that is not the case! As we got more comfortable with each other, he’s shown his true colors as SUCH a goofball. He makes the most ridiculous faces, sings along to songs with the wrong words or in goofy voices, wears collared shirts with sweat shorts in public, and makes me laugh all the time. When we had been dating no more than 2 weeks, he showed me a video of him singing “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz that he made for a high school class. It was so ridiculous (and a little cringeworthy) – I couldn’t believe he showed it to me that early in our relationship!

I should note that it was not all sunshine and rainbows and dates immediately after meeting. I visited Ben and my friend/his sales partner Eva at the University of Delaware a few times during the summer and liked Ben more than he liked me. We fell out of touch during 4th year (that’s UVA speak for “senior year”). Ben moved to DC after graduating in 2013. Eva was visiting me in northern VA while I was home for a month before moving back to Charlottesville to start my job. We were at Mellow Mushroom in Adams Morgan when Eva suggested we meet up with Ben. I was reluctant since it had been a while and he wasn’t interested in pursuing a relationship with me but thankfully, Eva insisted.

Ben met us at Maddy’s for drinks and we hit it off again. Surprisingly, we continued to hang out after Eva’s visit, going to a few Nationals games and on our first real date in Arlington. In September, Ben came down to Charlottesville for the first time to attend the annual Top of the Hops beer festival. Once we arrived and started seeing many of my friends and coworkers I asked Ben, “How should I introduce you?” He replied with a smile, “You can introduce me as your boyfriend.”

SITS:
When did you first know Ben was the one you wanted to spend your life with?

Kalika:
I can’t think of an exact moment but I’d say sometime in the first half of 2015. I was already in love with Ben and really excited for him to move down to Charlottesville in May. I knew that living together would confirm that we would never be apart again!

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“One thing that affirmed that Ben was ‘the one’ is the way he is with Trina. He is such a great dog dad and I love how he snuggles with her and loves her so much.”

SITS:
What is your favorite memory with Ben?

Kalika:
Oh gosh, I definitely don’t have just one: our first first kiss on a bench at the University of Delaware when he finally opened up to me; our second first kiss after our first date in DC; relaxing in romantic hot springs in Costa Rica; hearing him say “I’d be down to come back next year” on day 2 in India; enjoying Valentine’s Day dinner that Ben put so much work into (see below); waking up next to him (which I really appreciate after 2 years of long distance); and feeling so at home while snuggling on the couch with him and Trina.

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Also, this isn’t a memory with Ben, but I love how he’s made friends with my friends and can hold his own with my family without me present. When Ben lived in DC, he didn’t have a car, so he would ride down to visit me in Charlottesville with my friends and get to know them one-on-one. He stayed an extra day in San Fransisco with my cousins and has gone out to dinner with my dad without me. He’s come a long way from the “quiet” guy I thought he was in 2012!

SITS:
How has your life changed since you got engaged?

Kalika:
1. Our day-to-day life is pretty much the same but with the addition of wedding planning!  In the spring we took venue tours, and now we are going to meetings and doing vendor research (and bugging Ben to fill in his addresses for the save the dates). I think we’ve done a good job of splitting responsibilities, for example, Ben’s managing our relationship with our caterer while I’m working on save the dates and photography.

2. We talk about our future more often and talk about long-term plans now that we know we will always be there for each other.

3. I get scolded if I forget to put on my ring (I don’t sleep with it on since that’s when the chance of a stone popping out is highest, and it doesn’t happen often, I promise!).

SITS:
TELL US ABOUT YOUR ENGAGEMENT CELEBRATION IN INDIA!!

Kalika:
What a whirlwind of a day… First let me explain that I had been expecting a pretty casual ceremony at one of my relatives’ houses, just involving a quick blessing by a priest. After traveling for over 20 hours, we arrived in Jaipur the morning of our engagement celebration and immediately went to my aunt’s house for mehndi. We were greeted by a loud traditional drummer and thrown into a dancing circle with several of my cousins. We had lunch, got our mehndi done and relaxed until it was time to get dressed. My dad and uncle whisked Ben away to get his outfit while my aunts dressed me up like a “Rajput princess” (warrior class), in an outfit very similar to what a bride would wear for an Indian wedding.

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Photo credit: Erin Kwon

We all drove together to the venue (an event lawn outside my uncle’s restaurant) but the car stopped on the side of the road before we were quite there. We were instructed to get out of the car, and into a horse-drawn carriage! After making a dramatic entrance, we were seated on a throne/couch/bench? in front of all the guests. Traditional dancers performed for us, spinning around with jugs of water then flaming pots on their heads. A CRAZY guy danced on nails and swords sharp side up with jugs of water on his head. He also breathed fire while Ben and I looked on in disbelief. I asked my dad if this performance was planned to ensure we stayed awake! After greeting many, many relatives, the night ended with dinner and fireworks. Ben said “if we had to turn around and go home right now, I’d be OK with it, but I’m glad we have 7 more days.”

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Photo credit: Erin Kwon

SITS:
How do you manage having time for your calligraphy, work, a relationship, and friendships? What tips would you give girls for creating balance in their lives?

Kalika:
This is not easy. I still struggle with this all the time. I’ve learned to not try to do everything every day; balance is much easier for me when I allot one evening to grilling with friends, one evening to riding, and one evening to calligraphy, for example. I’ll even use my Google calendar to block off time.

Ben is really good about helping out around the house when I’m hustling to meet a deadline, but encourages me to make sure it doesn’t happen too often. So, after a few stressful nights, I’ve learned to give myself more time to complete a calligraphy order than I think I’ll need.

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Can’t get enough of Kalika? Neither can I!! Check out her amazing calligraphy work on her Facebook page or Instagram (She designed the Single in The Suburbs logo on my Twitter and Facebook!). Check out her website for beautiful wedding invitations, decorations, and pretty much anything paper-related you could ever dream of.

If you’re like me and love dogs more than anything, follow her pup Trina on Instagram. She is one of the most adorably quirky gals I know. 🙂

(Be)a(you)tiful

Giving away even small pieces of yourself at a time will eventually leave a big hole in your heart.

I’ve always hated seeing friends lose part of themselves when they met a guy. One thing I initially liked about my first serious relationship was that I was unapologetically myself, whether or not my ex liked it. I stayed true to my values and didn’t get rid of any of the activities that made me happy; I simply added my boyfriend to my life instead of working everything else around him. Being myself regardless of where I am or who I am with has always been one of my strengths.

Towards the end of our relationship, though, I lost so much of myself. I compromised on morals that I held close to my heart to try to fix a broken relationship, I gave up on several of my own dreams, and I decided my boyfriend was not only the most important thing in my life, but he became the only thing that was important to me. Since our love story was clearly coming to an end I felt crushed. I could never fully concentrate on anything that was going on in my life in Virginia because my mind was always with him.

When we broke up I quickly snapped back to reality (Oh, there goes gravity!) and realized I never wanted to become so lost in someone else that I, in turn, lose myself again.

This is easier said than done once you’ve given so much of yourself to someone else. Dating again was refreshing, but I have made an incredible effort to stay self-aware in every relationship that I have cultivated — whether it is with a guy I go on one date with or someone I am hoping to be exclusive with one day.

The new harmful pattern that had developed in the last few months with my ex shined brightly with the first guy I liked since we broke up. It happened with the handsome athlete from school and I noticed it as soon as I began to backslide. You see, this particular gentleman had seen my blog and absolutely hated it. He told me that he thought it was a terrible idea to write about my dating life and that he thought I was “better than that.”

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Dang it, I thought, If he doesn’t like my writing every great guy out there is going to hate it too!

I quickly began to rethink my decision to write about dating. Even though I didn’t want a relationship anytime soon, I did eventually want to meet someone. I was afraid that if this sweet, classy guy judged me for writing about my experiences that every single “good guy” out there would feel the same way. After going home and really meditating on it, I decided that I would just have to eventually find a different gentleman who actually did enjoy my writing and would be okay with the fact that I am so open about my life. This didn’t mean that he would be need to love being written about, but he at least couldn’t be someone who would judge me harshly for something I genuinely love to do. This particular man just wasn’t the right fit if he didn’t understand my writing, sense of humor, and ultimately the intentions of my heart.

Single In The Suburbs has become something that’s important to me and although I’ll give up the “single” part of my life one day, I won’t give up the things that I value, such as sharing my life experiences and trying to help others — whether it’s through my sense of humor or sharing mistakes I have made in my own life.

I am a huge advocate for being comfortable in your own skin and not changing just so people will like you more. The right people will love you for the things that make you unique, and the others just aren’t people who are meant to be a big part of your life.

Today’s lesson: One of the best ways to find the right people to surround yourself with is being unapologetically you and paying close attention to who sticks around. There is not a single person in the world who will be liked by everyone; no matter how nice or thoughtful you are, there will always be haters. The more genuine you are, though, the easier it will be for you to find relationships that will be a good fit for you. As Oscar Wilde once said, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

My Anniversary With POTS

Yesterday was my three year anniversary of being diagnosed with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. I actually went back to the scene of the crime — the beach — this weekend, and although it felt bittersweet being somewhere amazing and having to take frequent breaks to rest, it got me thinking about just how far I’ve come.

I decided to take a little time to list a few things I’ve learned the past couple of years. This has easily been the most I have grown in my entire life, as new challenges seem to arise every step of the way fighting for recovery. Having something life-changing pop up so quickly drastically changes every aspect of your life, but I do believe there is a reason this happened and that there are several positive things I have learned from this experience.


Things You Learn From Having A Chronic Illness

1. You learn how to ask for help. I have always prided myself on being incredibly independent, so one of the most difficult things with getting sick has been learning how to tell people I need help with really simple tasks. When I first got POTS I couldn’t even climb up a flight of stairs, so was constantly asking people to grab things from my room for me or running errands to get the salty snacks I needed so often.

It can still be frustrating, embarrassing, and uncomfortable, especially since I look so normal and sometimes have to enlist complete strangers to give me a hand. Although I am still working on asking for help when I need it, this has taught me just how beautifully kind people can be to one another. I have collected so many wonderful stories that I don’t even know which one I should choose for this post.

I suppose I’ll tell a very simple story that this person probably doesn’t even remember, but that left an impact on me. Last year in one of my PWR (Professional Writing and Rhetoric) classes, we had to gather a small collection of textbooks from the library and carry them back to our classroom. It was the first day of the semester and I didn’t know anyone in my class, but had to swallow my pride and ask a guy in the class to help me carry my backpack full of books back to our room, as I am not supposed to carry more than five pounds. He smiled, told me it wasn’t a problem at all, and asked me about other things in my life, rather than focusing on the illness that I had tried to quickly explain to him. I felt so much more thankful than this gentleman could ever know, and to this day remember this little act of kindness when I see him in class.

2. You lose friends, but also get to learn who will be a part of your life forever. I was shocked to see some relationships I thought would be lasting friendships crumble when I got sick. Towards the beginning of my illness I couldn’t do very much other than lie on my couch and chat. Sometimes I felt well enough to sit up and play N64, but that was only on a good day. Some of my friends decided they didn’t have anything in common with me anymore since I couldn’t really go out, and others just gradually drifted away. The most wonderful thing about this, though, was that I also learned that I have fiercely loyal friends who have kept in touch and loved me so selflessly since I got sick. Most of these people haven’t suffered from an illness themselves, but try their hardest to and realize I still have the same heart (Even if it does beat much faster than it used to sometimes) and am still the same person, despite not being able to do many of the same activities anymore.

Overall I have actually gained even more friends than I used to have in my life. Some people who have read my story on social media have reached out and formed friendships with me, and I have been able to empathize with so many other people I would not have originally realized I had things in common with. It’s great being able to empathize with people who are struggling with big life changes, as we can lean on each other for understanding and support.

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3. Meeting new people is a little strange. I’m different in so many ways since I got sick. I can’t control that I have to be high maintenance sometimes now, so even though my mindset is the same and I don’t like to inconvenience anyone, I have a little laundry list of things I must do to keep from fainting or feeling sick every day. I’ve had to be vocal about changing around plans a little when they don’t work for me or I sometimes miss out on activities I normally would have loved to partake in. A big part of my personality used to be that I loved playing sports and doing anything and everything outdoors. Now I have a hard time being out in the heat too long and I can’t really play a lot of my favorite games because of the chronic pain I deal with. The bright side of everything, though? I have actually found new activities that I really enjoy. I now love playing a few different video games, baking, listening to podcasts, strategic board games, and I still have room for my favorite activity of all — writing!

My new friends may not know the Krista that was carefree and crazily spontaneous, but they do still get to see my thoughtfulness and kindness towards others in our relationship. I have struggled a lot the past few years, but I like to think of the positive qualities I have gained, rather than the physical limitations that are now a part of my life.

4. People want to help. I’ve learned that so many people have such beautiful hearts and actually go out of their way to make things easier on me. I have a few friends in particular who consistently drive several hours to come and hang out with me since I can’t drive more than about fifteen minutes at a time without really feeling it the next day. My girl friends have gotten so used to helping that I don’t even need to ask them to carry my Smart Water around anymore — they just grab it from my hand without missing a beat.

5. God is good. I felt devastated when I first got sick, but I somehow have had an overwhelming peace with everything the majority of the time I have dealt with the loss of a normal body. I never in a million years would have thought I could deal with something like this, but I have been given a strength that absolutely blows my mind when I think about it. I am not someone who is just naturally great at dealing with curveballs life throws at me, (I’m actually notoriously bad at dealing with change) and the only logical thing I can attribute this to is Jesus and all of the people who have been praying for me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.


Having POTS has changed my life in so many ways. If I could heal myself now I would in an instant, but I also would not trade everything that I’ve learned for the world. I have found the value of compassion and empathy. Dealing with a chronic illness has taught me to cherish the relationships I have and it has taught me just how important it is to choose people to be with who can handle hardships in a relationship.

I still don’t feel like some parts of this are real. Sometimes I feel like I’m going to wake up one day and this whole ordeal was just a bad dream and that I’ll have my old body back. I daydream about playing volleyball or running again. I sit by the ocean and remember the days that I used to skip around and play in the water and what it was like learning how to surf. Waking up one day and being completely better is pretty unlikely, but I’m going to work as hard as I can to have a normal life again, and if nothing else I realize how lucky I am for getting so much better. Even if I can’t play sports right now, I have so many things to be joyful for, and I thank God for these blessings each and every day.

Thriving During Your Breakup

We all hear tips about “surviving your breakup,” which is sometimes necessary in the very beginning when wounds are fresh and still open. After you take a little time to mourn the loss of your relationship, though, it’s time to get back on your feet and realize you are not only going to still make it in this world, but you are going to kick ass.

Hopefully you have a good squad to help you get through this rough time, but I decided to make this small list in case you need someone to remind you that everything isn’t just going to be okay — it’s going to be great.

1. Realize that although it hurts and you might miss your ex, this was the right decision. Something wasn’t working in your relationship, whether it was on your end, on his, or both.

2. Which leads to the realization that this was not the person you were supposed to spend the rest of your life with. Do you know what this means? You just made room for someone even more amazing and incredible! It may take time to find them, but I definitely believe there are several people who would work with each person. That was certainly not your one and only chance to find love.

3. There are so many other people in your life who love and care for you. Share your time and experiences with them awhile before looking for another relationship. Always remember to keep these people in your life whether you are or are not dating someone. Friends can be forever, while boyfriends aren’t necessarily always going to be around.

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4. You get to spend your entire life with yourself! When my ex and I broke up I went to my room, looked in my mirror through my tears and smiled because I realized that although he didn’t get to have me around anymore, I still get to be with myself — for forever! Learning to love yourself while you’re single is so important so you can feel okay even if things end with a SO.

5. You. Will. Be. Okay. Take a deep breath and realize that although you feel all kinds of broken that time does help you heal. I seriously thought my broken heart would never be fixed, but here I am almost a year later feeling so much better than I did in a messy relationship. The time I used to spend feeling sick thinking about my ex when we were together I now fill with experiences, friends, and love.

I tell every single one of my friends that if I of all people can get through heartbreak, anyone can. I have very strong feelings, whether they’re up or down, and I used to think dealing with a breakup would just about kill me. But it didn’t even come close. That breakup was one of the toughest things I ever had to do, but I have come out the other side stronger, wiser, and more compassionate than I was before. Now I’m enjoying my life, and open to meeting my real Mr. Right.

Men Are Not Dogs

Well this is a strange headline, huh?

What I mean by “men are not dogs” is that men, unlike dogs, do not need to be trained. Yes, they should be raised to be respectful and kind, but when you are looking for a grown man to date you should absolutely not go into it with a mindset that you need to teach him how to treat you.

“I can train him to buy me flowers,” or open doors, or hold my hand, or [insert task you want your dream boyfriend to do]. It isn’t your job to mother a man, and one really surefire reality of life is that you can rarely change another person. Sure you can tell someone what you like and watch their actions closely after a conversation, but you should never go into a relationship expecting someone to change a laundry list of things for you.

I’m going to share a personal anecdote to show how I learned this lesson the hard way.

I used to date someone I really liked, but our relationship just didn’t feel  very romantic. I am someone who absolutely loves the little things in life. I adore little gestures that say “I love you” like leaving each other notes, cooking for one another, and yes — I love chivalry.

Boy #1

This first person that I dated wasn’t into showing me he loved me in any of the ways my heart wanted. I remember even telling him at one point that I thought it was nice when he opened the car door for me and I really appreciated when guys did that; this struck a pretty strong nerve for him. #1 told me he didn’t know why in the world I wanted him to do something like that and that it wasn’t worth fighting about.  I didn’t realize something like this was fight-worthy, I thought to myself. I wasn’t trying to argue, I just thought it would be nice for him to know that I appreciated the gesture so there might be a repeat. Later I realized “the door” wasn’t really even about the door at all. It was about the pile of things I felt I wasn’t getting out of this relationship. That was the most one-sided relationship I have ever been in, and although I gave up so many of my dreams for this gentleman (huge mistake; I will write about this another day!), bought him presents and little gift baskets to show that I cared, and even abided to his wishes of talking to him less,* I never felt fulfilled in our relationship, even when he did.

This wasn’t because he was doing anything wrong, though. He just didn’t show love in the ways I need to feel loved. Back then I thought I was being kind by giving him “tips” on simple ways to love me in ways I understood better, but now I realize we just weren’t the right fit.

I want someone who will remember our anniversaries and enjoy celebrating them together, someone who gives me his time, and someone who is as kind and caring to me as I am to him.

*In hindsight it is hilarious that I once “showed someone I loved them” by agreeing to cut off most of our communication.

Gentleman #2

This second person is the complete opposite of #1. He is someone I’ve often wondered how I had the pleasure of meeting, as he is one of the kindest and most thoughtful people I have ever met.

On our first date he was chivalrous, but this behavior continued seamlessly into our 30th date. He opened my car door any time we went out, always wanted to be the one to pick me up and take me out, and goes above and beyond to show me that he cares. He has written me letters, cooked complicated five course Italian dinners, and often called me during his lunch breaks just to say “hello.” This is someone I think is so incredibly special that I don’t know how I got lucky enough to meet him and see that many of the sweet little joys in life aren’t just “Krista things” that are unrealistic traits to want in a boyfriend. There are men out there who are a million times better than the ones you see in the movies. They’re real, raw, and far from perfect, but they love you so fiercely there isn’t any room for you to question where you stand in their life.

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Today’s lesson: Dogs are smart, loyal, and loving companions. You really can’t expect any human to measure up to this amazing animal, but wait for the person who does make you feel loved in the same way your dog loves you. This is a kind and selfless love with so much joy that your heart feels like it might explode.

Guys: What NOT To Put In Your Dating Profile

There are certain things that are red flags to girls, and I figured I would help y’all make your dating profiles just a little bit better. Here are a few things I have seen time and time again and hope you don’t have in your online profile:

“I’m one of the good guys. Everyone else on here is a tool and will use you.”

I don’t like this because the fact of the matter is that it’s just not true. I have been out with so many really nice guys who just haven’t worked out because of a lack of chemistry or things in common — this just makes it seem like you have trouble getting along with others. I’d like my future boyfriend to have his own group of friends, as that’s a sign he’s likeable and can maintain a relationship.

“Don’t message me if you’re just looking for validation.”

Okay, I get it. There are people who are on dating sites just there to swipe and never meet up. That doesn’t mean everyone is the same, though; you’ll be able to figure out pretty quickly why someone has a dating profile. If your plans keep falling through with the same person just move on to the next one!

“Not looking for a high maintenance girl.”

Let’s be real. Relationships do take some sort of maintenance and this makes me feel like you might really not be willing to put work into ours down the road. I’d say for a girl I am require a medium amount of maintenance, but I also enjoy putting work into a romance to make things special for my guy too. I understand you don’t want a girl who is going to take advantage of you, but that’s what going on a few dates is for — getting to know the person you might eventually become exclusive with!

“Only swipe right if you actually look like your pictures.”

Okay, I agree that you should try to accurately represent yourself in an online profile, but this just rubs me the wrong way. Most guys I’ve been out with have said they’ve had a similar experience with this in that a girl doesn’t look like her photos — I can relate; I’ve been there before too. It isn’t your job, though, to police these girls with your profile. If anyone is trying to be deceitful hopefully they will quickly realize they are only hurting themselves.

And if you go out with a girl like this? Be nice, and sit through a drink with her before excusing yourself. If you’re open to getting to know someone’s heart you might just make a great new friend.

“My friend made me make this account.”

Or any variation of “I only did this because someone else told me to,” or, “I know this is lame, but I’m not a typical ‘online guy.'”

This, in my opinion, is one of the biggest time-wasters on a dating profile. Why? Because I’m on here too, so I clearly don’t think you are lame for having an account. You don’t need to explain yourself; just tell me a little about what makes you you! If anything this statement makes me feel like you aren’t that into going out with people you meet online since you think it’s so silly.

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What do y’all think? Do any of you have this information in your profile and disagree with me? Let me know in the comments. 🙂

 

Is Honesty The Best Policy?

I decided to create a brutally honest dating profile to see what would happen. Some questions I had going into this were:

  1. Would strangers accept me the way I am — flaws and all?
  2. How would this profile compare to the previous ones I have set up?
  3. How might people react to the fact that I have a chronic illness?
  4. What would strangers focus on as “important” in getting to know me?

A way I could have made this experiment even better would have been to use photos of myself with absolutely no makeup (contrary to popular belief, men, I do wear some!) and gone into even more detail about myself. I suppose I could have written that I have a dating blog, but I wanted the responses to be genuine without people wondering whether they would be written about.

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Within 24 hours I got just over 100 messages, 576 visitors, and 796 profile “likes.” Thanks for that, OK Cupid.

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When I broke it down there were some people who clearly did not read my profile at all (I even compared some of these gentlemen with a friend who has the app and they sent her the exact same messages!), but for the most part people had sent messages crafted to directly address something I had mentioned in my profile.

I was surprised to find that nobody really got my reference from The Office (littledoglover), but I was shocked at how many people opened with a line about Pokémon, as they noticed the Ash Ketchum hat in my profile.

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No, that’s not the point though!
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Sigh.
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YES, you get it!

Some people asked me about my chronic illness, but it didn’t really seem to be a turnoff anyone who messaged me (Obviously there is no way for me to know how many people didn’t send me a message me because of it), even when I told them what it was called and how it affects my every day life. For the most part people skipped right over that and asked me questions about other things I had listed. Some enjoyed the pictures of my dog and I that were posted, others commented on the board games I liked or some of the goofy nerdier things I love.

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Hahaha, I like it.
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OK, this kid has me pegged.
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Good question. Step 1, be the banker. Step 2, give yourself enough money to buy a bunch of hotels. Step 3, win.
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This was my absolute favorite.

Honestly I think what guys liked most about this profile was how genuine it was. I don’t think I’d say I’m great at a big list of things, but I would say that I am always myself no matter what situation life puts me in. My dating profiles always have a strong reflection of my character, but it’s interesting that not many things change even when you throw in a little too much information.

Today’s lesson: If you decide to create a dating profile don’t try to be fancy, different, or stand out — just be your beautiful self and you will surely attract the right people.

True Life: Pokémon Go Has Replaced My Dating Life

“Single in The Suburbs” is clearly the name a dating blog, right? Why has it been so hard for a dating blogger to write about her life experiences then?

The answer is simple. Pokémon Go was created.

Ever since its release I haven’t been motivated to go out into the world and gather stories. I have, however, been incredibly motivated to catch the 101 Magikarp necessary to evolve into Gyarados, though (On a related note, Northwest DC is crawling with them).

I have come to the conclusion that Pokémon Go can effectively take the place of my dates for several months. Here are the ways I believe PMG can replace dating:

  1. Finding a new Pokémon is similar to the adrenaline rush you get during a first kiss. Although you don’t have the same interpersonal bond, studies have claimed that when you capture that new Arcanine you’ve been wanting, dopamine is released, causing the same kind of pleasure you might get from a first kiss.
  2. Pokémon are cuter than any date you’ll find. Sure DC has a lot of good looking people, but it’s hard to beat out this sweet face.Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 4.04.29 PM.png
  3. You know your date is going to be a lot of fun. I still haven’t felt bored or antsy to get home when I’m out with Pokémon. In fact, I’m always happy to extend my time playing; time flies while I’m running around with these little critters!
  4. You meet lots of new people playing PMG. I’ve actually made some new friends going out to different meetup groups or even while sitting at a Poké stop. I have made a couple of lasting friends from online dating, but for the most part we stop talking if we don’t see any sort of romantic connection. With PMG the more the merrier!
  5. I used to stay out late with guys; now I stay out late with my new Poké-friends. Whether I’m taking over a gym, running around to hatch an egg, or attempting to catch a Snorlax, late at night seems to be prime-time to play PMG!
  6. Pokémon Go is a great way to bond with new people and a fun way to spend time. Casually dating around doesn’t necessarily change my life in any major way, but it gives me little stories and teaches me life lessons. PMG has done the same thing by offering me an opportunity to explore new areas of my town. It is an easy way to connect with people — since we all enjoy playing the same game, it’s a great way to break the ice and then get to know more about strangers.
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#TEAMVALOR

Actions Speak Louder

Once upon a time I dated someone who meant the world to me. We often talked about the excitement of conquering our dreams together, hand in hand. We were young, in love, and unsure of a lot in life — but we were certain that we wanted each other around.

After we had been together for some time he told me that he realized he wanted me to be his forever and always. He said that he wanted to hurry up and put a ring on my finger so he could snatch me up before anyone else had the chance. It was romantic thinking about how badly this gentleman wanted to be with me, especially since I felt the same way about him.

We were both at transitional points in our lives, and we had lived with a looming uncertainty as to where we would end up and when we could be together again. His solution was that he would find a job near me. There were so many options thrown out, and we excitedly talked about how he could even bartend for a few months until we had made a decision about school or a career move. Nothing mattered as long as we were together. Until he left. Or rather, never came back. Nothing happened. None of the words that were used in our conversations ever materialized, and instead of creating our love story together, he had a new one with someone else as the lead — himself. We were no longer partners in crime, but instead I became a sidekick in his story.

I held on to his words when I felt confused by a pile of broken promises and I begged for more when I was heartbroken about our stagnant relationship. Words were what kept me around even when his actions didn’t match up. I felt like the promises being made were all I had left of him; I was fine with taking any of the scraps he was willing to give me since I had been hungry for more for so long. The very words that I would swoon at had they been written from a stranger to his love became my source of torture. It was a constant roller coaster of “he loves me, he loves me not,” and I didn’t know how to get off because every time I tried he reeled me back in with sweet nothings about our wonderful future together. I just needed to wait around a little longer to see them materialize. Everything he was doing appeared to be selfish, but he reasoned that it was all for us. He was doing everything “for me.”

Some people tell you they love you. If you’re lucky, though, you’ll meet someone who shows you that they love you and don’t stop once they have you. They’ll keep showing you that they care through their actions, words, and by demonstrating forgiveness in every day life. Love isn’t always easy, but it is absolutely always worth it.

Today’s lesson: Words are beautiful, powerful things. They are what I use to express myself and part of the way I show people I love them. When actions don’t match up to the words that are used, however, the characters become meaningless. Someone could have the best intentions in the world, but if they don’t have the hustle and determination to back them up the beauty is taken away and they just become bland poetry from a stranger.

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“Bean” The Marine

Apparently I have a thing for military guys — noted.

When I first started dating again after my ex and I broke up I realized quickly how many people you don’t click with online. Whether it’s because you have different morals or nothing in common personality-wise, I learned that although talking to a bunch of guys was a lot of fun, it took some work to find people who might have a chance at working out for a second date.

I started off my dating ventures giving a lot of people very different than me a chance. I think you can learn a lot from people who aren’t like you, so I enjoyed meeting people from all different walks of life. After being on a handful of first dates that didn’t materialize into anything I realized I wanted to go out with someone who was more or less on the same page as me.

Then I met “Bean.” Obviously I changed the name and won’t mention where we met, but his name was something that rhymes with “Bean.” You’re smart– you can figure it out. 😉

Bean was smart, witty, loved dogs, and yes — he was hot.

We had a deeper connection than most of my other online conversations, and I was actually really excited about going on a date with him. I daydreamed about going on a date with Bean and felt like regardless of what happened after, it would be nice to have a really good first date with someone. And sparks! It can be difficult to tell whether or not you’ll have chemistry with someone you’re chatting with through a computer screen, but I had a good feeling about this one.

As we were talking about our favorite books — we happened to have a few in common — he asked me for my number. Finally! I thought. It’s about time he asked me out!

Another thing that drew me in to this mysterious marine was that he didn’t just jump right on asking me out. He made me wait a little, which is actually quite intriguing. Kind of like a first kiss, it’s nice letting the anticipation build up a little bit before going in for the kill.*

I sent him my number and waited for the text… And waited. And waited.

What the heck? It had been a few days since our last contact, and it was becoming pretty clear that Bean wasn’t going to be messaging me.

At first I was really disappointed. This guy had been one of the first people who really got me excited about a first date. Then I realized a few things. First, I didn’t really know this guy. The things I knew about him were:

  1. He was cute
  2. He had good taste in books
  3. He was a Marine
  4. He had good grammar

That was about it. Sure I had a little crush and that was okay, but it was more of a Theo James kind of crush — because let’s be real, I think I tricked myself into thinking this guy was “such a great match” because he was someone I thought was super-attractive.

I don’t know what happened to Bean. I’ve seen him on a few different dating apps, but haven’t tried to pursue that any further. We weren’t a match, he never texted me, and you know what? That’s just fine. There are a million other fish in the sea.

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*Guys, don’t take this as a tip to make a girl work too hard for you, though — that’s not a good idea either, as we’ll just move on if we think a guy is uninterested. There is a very precise art to playing “the waiting game,” and I don’t want you to miss a shot with someone you really like because you’re playing games with her. This is more of a “playing it cool” technique.