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.

Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 12.33.14 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 10.14.06 AM.png

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.

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 1.59.35 PM

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. 🙂

 

“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.

Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 11.51.17 AM.png


*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.

 

Fast Five: How To Choose Dating Profile Photos

People often ask me how to set up a dating profile that will attract the kind of people they are looking for. Here are a few of my standard tips for choosing photos for your dating profile:

  1. Choose a picture that makes you feel good and accurately represents what you look like on an average day. I started off using a few old modeling photos but ended up feeling a little insecure about them, as I don’t typically take the time to put on a set of falsies or contour my face for a date. I have a pretty natural makeup look, so quickly deleted those photos and exchanged them for some that I took on an average summer day. That way if we actually meet up I’ll feel great about my look going into the date!
  2. Your main profile picture should be a solo shot — nobody wants to have to scroll through and play detective trying to figure out which guy you are! Another good rule of thumb is not to use any photos of just you with a person of the opposite sex. Even though it’s “just your sister,” there’s no way for the girls looking at your page to know it’s not an ex. Even if you write that in your profile to clarify, some may not give you the opportunity to explain yourself and just swipe left to find a guy who is not hung up on a past relationship.
  3. Have a little bit of a variety. After you choose your profile picture switch it up a little by including some photos with friends (to showcase that you do, in fact, have some!), action shots of activities you love, and a selfie or two. This makes your profile feel incredibly real and personal.
  4. Use up-to-date photos that represent the person you are today. Despite still looking like a high schooler, my body has changed quite a bit since then, as well as my style. I’d say a good rule of thumb is to use photos that were taken within the past three years or so.
  5. Cater to the kind of audience you want to attract. For example, I like to include photos of myself with my dog so that I’m more likely to spark a conversation with a dog lover. I don’t post my more scantily clad swim photos, as I don’t want to attract someone who is only looking for a hookup.

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 11.17.56 AM.png

Lastly, don’t think too much about it and try to have fun! You’ll want to lead your conversations with your personality anyway, and we each have our own reasons we are so incredibly awesome. There will be people out there who will appreciate what makes you uniquely you; and when they do, shoot me a message so I can tell you “I told you so!”

My Blessing In Disguise

Awhile back I remember praying several times every single day the exact same thing,

Dear God, please, please, please save this relationship. I’ll do anything in the world to keep him; just please help us to find our love again and help us to actually be happy together. Please…”

I would trail off and start to cry. I wanted nothing more than for my boyfriend to love me again the way he once did. I even remember thinking if I could have one thing in the entire world it wouldn’t be for my chronic illness to be fixed. I wouldn’t ask God to help me with any of my dreams or goals, but instead I just wanted us back.

One day I told my ex this thought and that I missed the way we once were. I said I wanted him to work with me to get back to the beautiful partnership we once had together. I tried everything to fix our relationship — including compromising several of the core things that make me the person I am. I began giving away small pieces of myself until they piled up to make a mountain. I didn’t even recognize myself anymore and found I was never the best version of myself when I was with him. I became short-tempered, wildly insecure, and lost sight of what I wanted in life in order to attempt to please him.

As you know, we broke up.

I have told this story to countless people who find their own relationships crumbling. I use it when I hear people are in despair about a job, school, or anything else that doesn’t seem to be going their way. Why?

Because what I feared most not only happened, but it ended up being the greatest blessing in my life. Really.

We broke up and although that was literally the most terrifying thought I could come up with at the time, not only did I make it out alive, but I found myself again. I am no longer the miserable, frustrated, depressed shell of a girl I was when I was with him. I no longer mimic those impatient and pessimistic behaviors I was used to seeing with my family and friends, but I am able to be the joyful optimist I have always been at heart again.

The dreaded breakup was the greatest blessing God has ever given me, and it made me completely redefine the way I look at things that happen to me in life. I’m lucky to have a very solid example of a way God was protecting me in the long-term by letting me go through short-term pain; not everyone has such a concrete example of this. Moving forward, though, I remember and share this story, as I see how redirecting my path away from what I thought I wanted ended up allowing me to dodge a really big and painful bullet in the end.

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 11.30.11 PM.png

Today’s lesson: You don’t always know what’s best for yourself. Sometimes you just have to take what life gives to you and trust that God has a better plan for you than you do for yourself. I pray for my future husband often, and even though I may not know who he is yet, I know God is protecting his heart for me.

You Asked For It…

It’s been awhile since I’ve told a funny date story, so now I’m going back to my first Match.com date! Everything started out fine; we met in front of the restaurant and walked in together to get seated.

Our conversation started with the typical first meeting interview — what we’re doing with our lives, what we enjoy doing for fun, etc. My favorite question to ask is always, “What is the weirdest date you’ve been on?” People have given me such crazy answers, as most of the guys I’ve gone out with have been on other online dates. My favorite story was something that contained going to Kim Kardashian’s home, saving dogs from flooding, and a prize-winning pig, all wrapped up in one (I looked into it later and the story was, in fact, true). It’s a long story and not really mine to tell, but trust me when I say you have to ask this question on your next first date.

Anyway, our conversations were pretty normal, but this particular gentleman and I didn’t seem to have a lot in common. I like dogs, he likes cats (This is an important question in my book; I am not sure if I could date someone who isn’t a dog person, as my dream is to have around six one day). He loves hiking, I can’t do that right now. He loves politics, I am more into entertainment news. The topics of conversation flowed pretty seamlessly, even with the lack of chemistry.

My incredibly awkward moment didn’t come until the token “most uncomfortable part” of any date — picking up the check.

Goodness knows I’ve been on enough first dates that I should be used to this part by now, but I absolutely hate it. Please just let me pay my own way, I always think to myself. I don’t even know you; you don’t owe me anything. 

Right before our waiter brought over the check, this gentleman and I were talking about my dream to work in the entertainment industry. I told him that I watched embarrassing shows like The Bachelor and then trailed off before bringing up my guiltiest pleasure of all — Keeping Up with The Kardashians (Please don’t tell anyone, though. This is our little secret).

kardashian
Yes, I went out of the way to go to the Dash store in Soho. Just call me “Krista Kardashian.”

 

Anyway, he seemed to read my mind, as he slyly asked, “Do you like KUWTK?”

I blushed and nodded, “But I only really watch it when I’m at the gym.” This is a half-truth.

“Do you?” I fired back, trying to take the attention off of myself.

Enter: the waiter.

I had been fumbling with my wallet trying to grab the cash I always keep on hand for dates. After awkwardly offering — and getting turned down — to pay, we went back to chatting.

“Thanks for dinner,” I said.

“What would you have done if I had said yes?” He asked me.

I looked at him, confused. Umm, I would have totally paid for my food. I thought. I don’t expect you to automatically take care of the check; I understand that it’s our first time meeting and am happy to split it. 

It wouldn’t have been a big deal at all!” I replied.

“No, but what would you have described me as in one word?” He pushed.

This is odd, I thought. Why couldn’t you have just let me pay for myself and skip over all this awkwardness? I wondered to myself, frustrated. I wish there was a way to skip this entire part and just enjoy meeting someone new. 

“Umm, I’m not sure.” I replied, clearly uncomfortable with the question.

“Come on,” he urged, failing to sense how awkward I was feeling.

“Uh, I guess I would say you were frugal maybe?” My mind was racing. Was that rude? I wouldn’t have thought he was frugal, I would’ve just figured he wasn’t into me or maybe wanted to be friends first. I certainly didn’t want him to think I was being unappreciative for the nice dinner!

He furrowed his brow, confused. “Huh? Frugal? You know what that means, right?”

OH NO, I suddenly realized. HE WASN’T TALKING ABOUT THE CHECK. I had completely forgotten about the conversation we had right before the waiter interrupted. Darn Kardashians. You embarrassed me yet again!

“Oh,” I laughed, “I don’t think frugal is the word I was looking for.” My face was flushed. I felt like such an idiot, as I definitely know the definition of “frugal.”

“Aren’t you getting your Masters in English?” he asked with a look of concern on his face.

Crap. How do I get out of this one? What kind of English student doesn’t know what “frugal” means? Scratch that. What kind of 25-year-old doesn’t know the definition of “frugal?” Ugh, this was another typical Krista move.

I laughed it off and changed the subject as quickly as I could, ditching the Kardashian conversation as quickly as possible.

Today’s lesson: Guys, please know that paying for a meal is super awkward on the girls’ end. Whether or not you let us pay for our share, we will feel uncomfortable. If you go out with me in particular, I cannot seem to hide my flusterdness very well, so forgive whatever dopey thing I say and move on with the conversation, please and thank you.

Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 2.52.55 PM.png

Fast Five: Pre-Date Jitters

I have been on my fair share of first dates now, and I’ve figured out some pretty good standard practices to make first dates go a lot smoother. Here are a few quick tips to take some of the jitters out of a first date:

  1. Have a few different “date” outfits picked out. For example, when I first started dating in the winter I had two first date outfits I would wear depending on my mood. The first was a gray V-neck sweater with leggings and black heeled ankle boots (Right, Robert?). The second was jeans, brown leather boots, and a ballet pink lacy t-shirt. By having specific clothing as my “go-to” date outfits I never had to worry at the last minute that I didn’t feel good in my clothes. If I feel edgy I’ll switch things around a bit, but it’s nice knowing that I have two killer go-to outfits.

    lights
    Aaand summer calls for swapping out the sweater for a lacy tank! I also always paint my nails different colors — that’s my one beauty must-have.*
  2. Create a “dating playlist” to jam to on your way to the date. Even after dozens of first dates, you still sometimes get a little case of the butterflies before going out. By listening to feel-good songs you can dance around in your car and forget about any of the anticipated awkwardness.
  3. If you’re talking to a couple of people at once, go back and do a quick overview of the conversation you’ve had with your date. It’s obvious people usually have a few options, but is still kind of embarrassing when you mix someone up with another prospect. Something about meeting someone in person for the first time helps you remember details about them, but before that it can be easy to confuse one online date with another.
  4. I like looking over a menu before going to a restaurant if I am concerned about working around my food allergies (I have acquired many the last 2 years — what kind of 25-year-old doesn’t know they’re allergic to tomatoes and potatoes?!). That way I can relax and enjoy the date instead of take twenty minutes to customize an order.
  5. Remember to relax and have fun! The person you are out with agreed to go on a date with you, so there is something there. Even if you just have another notch in your dating belt after, you’ve also gained a new experience and collected another story to tell.

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 10.43.59 PM

Do you have any other ideas to make dating a little bit easier? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. 🙂


*Photo taken by my beautiful friend Audrey! Check her out if you are in the DMV and need a photographer for anything.

Fast Five: Saying Hello

There are so many questions people ask me about dating or using apps that I decided to begin writing about the more popular ones.

Today I am going to focus on the twentysomething men and what not to do when reaching out to a female. These are a few things that I personally think guys should avoid doing on dating apps:

  1. Do not under any circumstance find a girl you see on a dating app on Facebook and “friend” her. This feels like such a violation of privacy and I will delete your request and swipe left on your profile. Be patient, sometimes we need a few days to respond. Which leads me to…
  2. Girls get a lot of messages on dating apps — like, dozens every day. Which means it can be difficult to respond to each and every one of them if you get buried in the mess. If a girl doesn’t reply to your message, politely send a follow-up and then move along to the next one.
  3. Don’t start conversations with just a short, “Hey.” It doesn’t give very much to respond to, and somehow doesn’t feel like you’re as interested as some of the other guys who craft more thoughtful openings.Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 3.35.41 PM.png
  4. It isn’t a great idea to open a conversation with asking someone out for drinks that night right away. I prefer someone to get to know my personality a little bit better before going out, as I don’t like to be judged completely on my looks. It is also nice to plan at least a few days in advance — I don’t think many people are going to be free the same night you ask them to go out. I also have a reason I don’t think girls should accept an invitation like that, but I will give that in my next “tips” post.
  5. And finally, be respectful to people. I’ve been offered unappreciated “goods” on some of my accounts or called nasty names for not replying fast enough. Please try to remember that there is a person on the other end of the screen you are talking to, and that they deserve the same kind of respect you hope to be treated with. There are always a few bad seeds, but overall I believe most people are good.

Girls — do you all agree with these tips or am I mistaken about some of them?
Guys — have any of these techniques ever worked for you? I’d love for you to prove me wrong.


Shoot me a message on Facebook or write a comment on one of my posts to get your burning dating questions answered!