Archive for the ‘Dating’ Category

Top 10 Ways to Meet Singles

In Dating, Health and Body, Mental Health on January 22, 2010 at 8:15 pm

Dear Yenta,

Cliched as it may be, I’m reaching the age where my friends are
starting to couple off and have kids. I’m happy for them, really,
but it gets old to constantly be the one single person at dinner
parties. My remaining single friends have mostly moved away, and I
live in one of those cities where people are obsessed with their
careers. I want to make new single friends, but am not sure how to go
about it. Any suggestions?

-Single and Stuck

This guy made friends body painting in the woods.

Dear SAS,

Hoowah, meeting single people is EASY. There is a simple process then tackle approach. Basicamente, you need to figure out what you love and what you love to do. This makes it way easier to make new friends. Three step plan: 1) Determine strongest interests 2) Find like-minded humans 3) Party hard.

Once you make single friends they usually have single friends and a new universe forms around you. It is way simple, you just have to be brave and you have to put yourself out there. One good resource:

Ten ways to meet new single friends:

1) Religious Epicenters. Think church mixers, Shabbat dinners, Buddhist Sanghas. Choose your poison. The religious singles scene provides instant community, frequent meals, and a bunch of events to lace your social life. Check out local Jewish and Christian community centers, if that’s your leaning. Chabad is an amazing resource for young Jewish people no matter where in the world you are. Shambhala centers nationwide offer a community for the Buddhist in you. And there is a church on every other street corner, so get to praying. Obviously, if you are Muslim, Sikh, Hari Krishna, Sufi, Agnostic, whatevs, there is a community for you.

2) Coffeeshops and Bookstores. This sounds cliché but if you want to make single friends, go to a coffeeshop or bookstore regularly and start talking to strangers. Just beware, though, that you pick your strangers wisely. Depending on the coffeeshop they house the wandering drug addict philosophers of our world, and while these people are intriguing, they may not be the singles crowd you seek.

3) Stitch N’ Bitch. Do you like knitting? There is a wave of stitch N’ bitch circles across the nation. These are basically amped up knitting circles for cutting edge humans. Not only will you make cool stuff, you will develop a community, stat.

This goes for all crafts. Look for sewing, quilting, model building circles. Take art classes, pottery classes, collage your old Cosmo, do whatever it takes to get those creative juices flowing in the company of others. Another good thing to do: work towards a goal like selling at a craft market, for example, Crafty Bastards in DC or, start selling online at Etsy. So easy. SO fun. Instant creative community. Other arts options: volunteer at a museum.

4) Volunteer. Doing volunteer work on a regular basis is a fantastic way to meet new single people while doing good for the world. Click here to find a place to put your skills. Even if you work a rigorous 9-5 you can make this happen on the weekend, regularly.

5) Work at your local Farmer’s Market. This might be the very best way to see a smattering of all the local singles, the health-conscious rosy-cheeked ones. Many markets let you volunteer on the weekends in exchange for produce. This way, you meet pretty healthy people and get prettier and healthier in the process.

6) Move Your Body. This is probably the easiest option. Join a kick-ball or softball or soccer league. I know in DC this is a crazy and active single’s scene, including a social life after the games. Check your city for its sports leagues. Also look for Hiking clubs and skiing, snowboarding, yoga, any type of recreational physical activity. Depending on your region, there should be a whole slue of options. Just go online and look for a local community.

Or, Dance class! Take tango or salsa or merengue or line dancing or contra dancing or samba dancing or hip hop or whatever. Dance class is the best way to make new friends. You are in a positive self-expressive environment where you meet people intimately, and if it’s a regular class, you see them all the time. Also try cooking classes.

7) The Bar Scene. Disclaimer: Alcohol can yield odd choices when seeking new people in life. Be cautious. If you choose this route, choose Karaoke. Karaoke can be awkward, but so can life. My friend’s dad goes alone and makes friends. Rock on. Sometimes singing in public like a fool is a friend magnet. Try this.

Hand-in-hand with karaoke is Happy-Hour. I am personally grossed out by happy hours everywhere. Don’t ask why, it is just a visceral reaction. But…these are good to go to, so I hear, with your work friends. Lots of drunk 9-5ers enjoying being single, or drunk and married, should yield some results. Alcohol, however, isn’t the ideal road to community building.

8/ Sexual Interest Groups. If you are looking for naughty singles, go to a BDSM meeting and meet your mate. Whatever tickles your fancy, search for a group of people with similar sexual prowess. Try a group like Black Rose or search for furries, fetishists, whatever it is that makes you tick. Again, though, beware. This scene might require some extra emotional self-protection. Not a vanilla avenue.

9) Music. Music is a good way to find friends. Join a band, go to concerts, find other people that like going to concerts. Start singing, attend open mic nights.

Open mic nights are fantastic for meeting new people, especially if you attend and perform, or witness the performances on a regular basis. Check your local arts section or alternative weekly for a long listing of Open Mic nights in every city. Again, this scene can be awkward, but awkward brings some sense of human truth which brings true friends.

10) Start Your Own Group. Whether it be a Spanish language lunch hour or a writing workshop at your kitchen table, put yourself out there and recruit a small group to pursue interests with. Masters of Warcraft fanatic? Start a competition. Join or start a book club.

Again, Craigslist or a local alternative weekly are great places to publicize your new group. Just be careful: some strangers are sketchy and always use precautions when bringing internet nobodies into your somebody life.

All in all, search for activities or locations that you can frequent on a consistent basis. Familiarity breaks the ice and builds groups and communities faster. Your interests are probably way broader than what I have listed. Every type of interest is represented in most cities, just use Google and Craigslist to find some buddies.

Be careful, though. Depending on what you love, your cohorts could be dangerous. Use your intuition when making new single friends: ie, if they give you a stomach ache when they talk, politely excuse yourself and exit. New friends should make you feel light, happy and smiley: not brooding, angsty, etc. Anything you enjoy doing will bring out the best in you, which, in turn, will attract a flock of bright new friends. Good Luck!

Have a burning question for Yenta? Ask anonymously via merissag[at]gmail[dot]com through

Do I Tell Him I Cheated?

In Dating, Drama, Roommates, Sex on January 22, 2010 at 1:35 am

Guilt sucks, but sometimes it is our duty to bear it. Photo courtesy of

Dear 27-Year-Old Yenta:

My ex-boyfriend Randy and I did a really good job of “being friends” a year after our breakup. He earned an internship at an engineering company located 3 miles from my house and a long 2 hour drive from his. I agreed to let him stay in the alcove of my studio apartment while I dated someone else. We were cool the first 2 months, but one day it was too much to bear. We ended up having wild fuck-sex for hours while my real boyfriend was out.

My present boyfriend isn’t stupid, he knows something’s not right but there
is nothing he can pinpoint. I know you’ll probably say honesty is
the best policy but I know he’ll leave me if I tell him. And what’s
the point, Randy moved out, so it’s not like it’s going to happen
again. So why ruin a good thing?

-Guilty As Charged

Dear GAC,

I had a cousin who once, sitting at the bar of the restaurant where I worked, whispered to me that women must always have a few secrets. I don’t know if my entire moral compass agrees, but my instinctive response is to tell you to suck it up and guard this secret with all of you.

Honesty may not always be the best policy. In this case, if it was an accident and will never happen again, then why hurt the man you love? Further, there is something to be said for the valiance of shouldering the guilt rather than passing on the pain. This is your business and your problem, so manage it.

There is always the question, though, “What would you want your boyfriend to do in the same position?” Would you want him to tell you? Is honesty everything? Or are there moments and secrets that are yours, and his, and not to be shared? Some people believe that sexual indiscretions are unrelated to commitment. Some people believe that a physical moment in time does not compromise the deep and real love for your partner.

This is not to say that it is ok to make Randy moments like that habit. It is not ok.

Ultimately, I don’t know what you should do. Only you do, because only you know your own heart, your own man, your own relationship, and your own capacity for self-control. Just be sure to remember your heart, AND his, in your decision-making process.

Have a question? Ask anonymously via directed to merissag[at]gmail[dot]com.

Dating a Divorcee

In Breakups/Divorce, Dating, Drama on January 17, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Dear Yenta,

I am sleeping with a man going through a divorce. Is this inherently a bad idea? How do I go about making sure he is not expecting me to fill his ex’s shoes?

-Dating a Divorcee

Are you his baggage receptacle? Photo courtesy of

Dear DaD,

First things first: what are your intentions? Are you looking for a husband, a lover, a partner, a boyfriend, a one night stand, a sugar daddy? Where are you putting your energy and why? If you want a one night stand or a fling, enjoy the man, the sex, and his sudden newly cut strings. If you want more, then read on.

When dating a man for serious whom you know just emerged from another woman/man’s bed, take a few things into account. This man, whether his former relationship was long dead or recently altered, has ties to another human and their personal business. Careful that that drama does not suddenly become yours.

Even if he is with you, and loving you, and amazing, he still has a piece of himself sorting through yesterday’s baggage. This could be as simple as transferring a suitcase from home to home or as complex as dealing with the leftover shards of a cheating/lying/deceptive relationship that may have hurt him. The only thing to be truly wary of in dating a divorcee is this, being fully aware that you may not be receiving the entirety of the man resting in your arms.

Everyone is compartmentalized to some degree. Everyone has some doors to their hearts open, and others not, so in this case it is extra important to communicate. Don’t fall too hard in love with a man with a recent ex without being sure that baggage was shipped to Tahiti with a one way pass. The last thing you want is to be head over heels with a man who suddenly announces he is a) not ready for more commitment b) not over his wife c) not that into you.

Or, as you seem to fear, make sure he doesn’t just want a new version of the old love. Watch him, listen to him, use your intuition and see: is he wounded and seeking you as relief? Or has he moved on, coming to you not as a wet rag, but as a strong and equal partner?

Just keep an honest line to your own heart open, and another line open in conversation with his. Divorcees deserve love too, but the first person you should be worrying about is not the divorcee in distress, but how the whole mess might effect your personal well-being. Don’t get sucked into saving a wounded man if that’s your secret thirst.

Depth with the recently-divorced is like dating two people, the man and his ex, so just remember that and be slightly protective of your heart and very patient. That, and enjoy the wild emergence of a possibly previously repressed man. If your relationship is well-rounded, you will know because you will feel strong. If you feel drained and exhausted, like a giant human band-aid, maybe seek a new lover.

Ask Yenta anonymously by e-mailing merissag[at]gmail[dot]com via

Relationship: Now or Later?

In Dating, Mental Health on January 15, 2010 at 10:41 pm

Hey Yenta,

The older I get the more I seem to be confused about what I want in a
relationship and who I want to have it with. I always thought that as
I got older this would get easier, but it turns out that as I accrue
more life experience I’m more interested by new kinds of people, by
new ideas and different experiences. I’m eager for a relationship
but am overwhelmed with the possibilities and often write things off
before they can develop, thinking they’re not what I want.

Can you offer any help?

-Quarterlife Angst

Maybe you are meant to be making chocolate in the rainforest right now, instead of making love.

Dear Quarterlife Angst,

If you are at the quarterlife mark then I will place you at 25, because I want you to live to 100 with this person you will eventually find.

There are all kinds of people. Some, by 25 or 27 are ready to settle down. They have committed to a career-choice or a city, have found someone that they can see being with for the rest of their lives. Those people might have a second youth in their fifties when their children are raised, or when they decide to retire. Others, however, do those youthful fifty-something years earlier on, in their twenties. Those people, people like you, are not quite ready for partnered love despite the knee-dropping question-popping happening all around them.

Maybe you are in love with the world, your heart passed to many daily, instead of to one. To find lasting one-on-one love I like to think you need to first love yourself and your own life. If life is giving you newness and opportunity right now, then take it and run with it. It is probably teaching you and showing you things that you can later use in relationships.

If every potential mate you meet seems sub-par, they may very well be. There are tons of people in the world, but only a few that should be brought close to your inner sanctum. If you feel the suitors are unfit, so be it. Being picky is not stupid. Being single is not a sin. Time is not running out. Your heart is made of gold and should only be offered to someone you can be sure will honor and appreciate it as such.

If, however, you think you SHOULD be ready to commit NOW, then seek assistance exploring the reasons each date feels wrong. You can do this on your own, in fact, you should do this on your own. Keep tabs on the qualities that turn you on and turn you off. A vision for your future, a clear picture of the type of love you seek is a good thing to cultivate. That way, when love, the right love, finally does come along, you will not think twice because you will recognize it, trust it, and be ready to finally make that commitment.

Live it up, soak it up, enjoy your twenties and the rollercoaster they provide. Try to ignore social expectations and to follow your own heart. Read Sonia Choquette’s cheesy but valuable, insightful and helpful Trust Your Vibes: Secret Tools for Six-Sensory Living. That stable committed life will come, and when it does, you will be glad you chose this time to experience all you could.

Have a question of your own? Ask Yenta anonymously at merissag[at]gmail[dot]com via

Gift-Giving to Suck Her In

In Dating on January 11, 2010 at 3:06 am

Well Yenta,

I know this sounds douchy but my boyfriend is actually too nice. It makes me feel like a bad person but I can’t keep up with the gifts, the kind gestures. How do I let him know that he needs to back off and let me be nice to him cause I want to and not because it is payback?

-Sweet Tooth Sucks

Diamonds are not always a girl's best friend.

Dear STS,

There is such a thing as killing you with kindness. Some nice people are nice for the sake of nice, and some are nice because it is an easy way to control a situation. By giving, and giving, and then giving some more it is a perfect way to suck someone in to committing and standing by your side.

This is not to say that this man doesn’t love you, I’m sure he does, but it is to say that his sweetness might be fear-based, and a subconscious form of manipulation. Why would a man manipulate his girlfriend into wanting him around? Duh, because he likes her, so so much that it might scare him.

Vulnerability can really blow, and people cope with hating this release of control in a billion ways. Basically, if you love this man and want to keep standing by his side, then view all this excessive kindness as a siren sounding that he is in fact vulnerable, and does in fact like you.

That being said, be gentle and be kind. All the time. If you want him to be able to receive you need to build this giving tree from the roots to the branches. Some people are amazing at taking and suck at giving. Some are great at giving and have a terrible time taking. Some are balanced. (Who?)

So, if it is hard for your man to receive, then you need to show him that it is safe to do so. You need to give in little ways, unexpectedly and consistently, so he sees a few things. For one, he will see that these gifts are unprompted, not a reciprocation but a genuine expression of adoration. And second, so he sees that they are consistent, and that acceptance of your love is not something that will corner or manipulate him.

Some things you can do to show you love him? Send him a sweet mid-day text, make him a dinner for two, leave little notes for him in random places, dress up in his favorite fetish, buy him something you know he wouldn’t buy himself, bring home cookies, give him a foot rub, a back rub, a neck rub, a face rub. Gifts that are small and sincere are best, because they won’t scare him or make him feel like you feel, like you are buying his love and smothering him with kindness. Even just verbal reminders of how much you appreciate him will suffice.

Everyone learns about love in a million ways and part of the crappy growing up process is fixing the wrong ways were were taught to show we care. So be patient, this dude might have a past that conditioned him to give to protect, rather than to open his heart. He may have been hurt every time he opened himself to receive. It can be terrifying, letting someone love you, so show him patiently that you are for real and eventually, my guess is, that the giving and taking will even out between you.

To pose your own anonymous question, click here and send your e-mail to merissag[at]gmail[dot]com.

Unobtainable Boy Toys

In Dating, Mental Health on January 10, 2010 at 8:22 pm

Finding holes in hearts shows us better how and where to patch them.

Dear Yenta,

I have constantly fallen into a pattern of choosing guys who are emotionally unavailable, yet continue to stay with/obsess about them. Why is this? How do I break this pattern?

-Vapid Dates

Dear VD,

I would say half the humans in the world do what you do, and the other half somehow found a way not to. You are not the only fool in love, I guarantee. That being said, there is a deeper implication to choosing emotionally unavailable humans to whom you willingly hand over your heart. It is like putting your eggs in an obviously broken basket.

In the words of the great Jenny Lewis, “You are what you love, not what loves you back.” When you choose a lover, you are always subconsciously aware of what they will hold for you. Their heart is a mirror of your own. People are wise, even if they don’t always admit it. You know from a lifetime of living what mannerisms, facial expressions, body language and general demeanor imply in a potential partner. Whether we pay attention to what we know is a whole other story.

The problem is rooted in your own heart. Subconsciously you wittingly choose to love people who are unavailable, choosing the love you think you deserve. What are you trying to tell yourself? As Martin Buber suggests we ask in The Way of Man, “Where art thou?” This is a simple question, one meant not to chart a GPS location, but a more emotional and metaphysical grid. Where are you? What drives your thirst for these partners?

When choosing unobtainable love it is often a way of revealing that a piece of your heart may be wounded. As Jenny Lewis sings:

This is no great illusion
When I’m with you I’m looking for a ghost
Or invisible reasons
To fall out of love and run screaming from our home.

Perhaps you aren’t ready to be loved, and by choosing these men, you are physically illustrating the state of your own interior. That, and cutting love’s aorta before it even begins to pump any blood. Ie, you choose the love you think you deserve, which is not love at all.

One way to cure this habit it to watch yourself. Get all Buddhist on your mismo, and begin to observe your thoughts around men, your drive for desire, your reasons for choosing each partner. Watch, breathe, release judgment, notice, observe. Click here for very basic meditation instruction. Your life choices are trying to reveal something to you so you can, in fact, find a partner that loves you as much as you love them. A broken heart is just a bump on the road to learning how to really love yourself and, eventually, another.

For more clues, evaluate your past, bring on the Freud, and begin to look at what patterns raised you. Was one parent always giving and the other taking? Is your model for love one based in neglect and/or abuse? Or is it less complex? Are you simply not ready for love, and therefore attempting to jump in based on social expectation, and sinking dreadfully because of a lack of preparedness?

Only you know your heart, where it has been, and where it wants to go. Intimacy can be really difficult if your trust was broken along the way, and choosing love as torture might just be an old habit that does not want to die. Check in and see what love means to you, if it is about support and growth and a sense of safety, or if you are still living the wild high school edge of pining for the senior boy that was out of reach, but the thirst was thrilling enough.

To pose your own anonymous question, click here and send your e-mail to merissag[at]gmail[dot]com.

Sayonara, Don Juan

In Breakups/Divorce, Dating, Drama, Sex on January 7, 2010 at 12:54 am

He might be pretty, but next to him, you are invisible.

Dear Yenta,

I started dating/sleeping with a guy I recently met in my social group. After a short time I realized he’s an egomaniac, and the sex isn’t as good as I thought. How do I end it and still make it feel okay to see him socially?

-Doing a Narcissist

Dear DAN,

Gross, sex with an egomaniac can’t be good. I just imagine you two on a bed while he watches himself in the mirror, posing in all sorts of odd positions, you naked in his peripheral vision.

If you want to stop sleeping with him AND preserve the love, you need to step up and be the mature and amicable adult. This means give him a little hug and say you are through, that’s the easy part.

I consulted a sage on the topic of ending casual sexual relationships and his advice is as follows:

“I would say
End it in a nice way
Offer a hug or whatever

Say you still want to be friends

And then it’s up to you to be comfortable around him, even if he doesn’t take it well at first.”

The hard part is two-fold. A) Sticking to your decision to leave a man once you announce an exit can be hard when the relationship is only about sex. You will have to be strong and hold to your word. This not only keeps you honest, but also works towards issue B. B) You need to smile and be a warm friendly presence when you see this dude again if you want friendship. It is basically up to you to keep things as un-awkward as possible. So, vow to be normal and nice in the future, and see if you can handle your decision.

Awkward is contagious, and so is grace. But beware, some men have a resistance to forgiveness and feel generally castrated by the ending of a sexual relationship. Others take a hot minute to come around after being dissed, so be patient. If in time he can’t handle being as sweet as you choose to be, then cut your losses at that. What’s worse? Dissatisfactory sex with a self-stroking egomaniac, or, life without him as you search for a proper lover?
Have a burning question? Ask me anything by clicking here and sending your e-mail to merissag[at]gmail[dot]com.

Bedside STD Whispers

In Dating, Sex on January 5, 2010 at 6:38 am

If the condom comes expired, opened, or with a hole in it go to 7-11 for more. ASAP.

Dear Yenta,

I enjoyed your recent guidance regarding avoiding STD’s, but I’m
struggling with the practical implementation of some of your advice.
Specifically, how exactly does one politely ask a potential sexual
partner if he or she is presently infected with a venereal disease?

What would the Yenta say in such a situation?

And moreover, if the person is forthcoming enough to reveal an
infection how do you politely tell the person that you are no longer
interested in pursuing a physical relationship?

Safest Sex

Dear Safest Sex,

When I was a sex educator in high school, we were taught all different ways to tell if someone had an STD. What we learned, besides that if you wrap a man’s penis in a towel soaked in vinegar that spots might show if he has sub-surface warts, was that you really can never tell who has an STD.

Some STD’s have no symptoms, others take up to six months to show and go in and out of remission. This is just meant as a reminder of how vital the “talk” is. Part of having a healthy sex life is being able to talk about sex. If you can’t talk to your partner about sex, then chances are you aren’t ready to be having it.

That being said, the question is not so much, “do you have a venereal disease?” as much as a general discussion around exposure. All of us should be getting tested with our partners, and this conversation is one that revolves around the potential for sex. “Hey honey baby, I like you and things have been heating up. I think we should be safe if we decide to go further. Can we talk about this?”

Safe includes, “when was the last time you were tested for STD’s? Have you been sexually active since then?” This is a question about health maintenance, not so much about “are you infected?” For those who love a one night stand, a good litmus test for how things will go in the sack is how your lover can handle this simple question.

The truth is, though, with sex-hungry strangers: they might lie. The only way to truly prevent STD’s is to not have sex until tested WITH your partner. (Or become a devoted masturbater.)

That being said, let’s say your lover is infected. Before deciding it is grounds for dismissal, I think it is really important to research how to enjoy sexual activity with STD’s. Basically, avoid connecting open wounds, etc with blood, semen, and general body fluids, use a condom/dental dam, etc., and be creative. In 40 Days and 40 Nights the sexual chemistry was so intense, Josh Hartnett used an orchid to provoke an orgasm without even laying a finger on his lady-friend.

For those of you with STD’s wanting to talk to your partner about having one, click here for more help. One thing I loved on this site was this woman’s advice about how saying you have an STD is not a confession, rather, it is a discussion. There shouldn’t be filth or shame attached to divulging the truth. Anyone could have one. There is no moral code to venereal disease.

For those of you with STD’s who feel doomed to sexual solitude, try Way easier to start with the truth and go from there.

And finally, if you feel that an STD is grounds for dumping your partner, then chances are you didn’t love them too much to begin with. Be honest, “I can’t have sex with you if you are infected, but it was fun while it lasted.” There is no polite way to dismiss someone for their disease. Follow the same code you would use if you were ending a strictly sexual relationship. Usually it starts with the door.

Best thing to do is to ask yourself what you would do with your lover if you knew they had an STD before having the conversation. If the answer is, “walk,” then walk first, before hurting someone. Getting physical isn’t worth causing people emotional pain. Sex is fun, but if you really care about someone, you will find a way to make love to them, regardless.

Long-Distance Loving

In Dating on December 31, 2009 at 12:01 am

In the words of the great Bette Midler: From a distance, you look like my friend. Photo courtesy of

Dear Yenta,

I am curious if it is healthy to desire having relationships across the world and yet not have one that is in my home area?


Dear LD,

What is “healthy?” Oye. The relationships we choose today aren’t necessarily our relationships forever. If right now, the intimacy and space you can handle with love is with an 8,000 mile gap, so be it. You sound self-aware enough to know if it is a problem.

The fact that you ask the question at all means you know you might, in time, desire a love closer to home, one that you can see and feel and have in your life in a more immediate capacity. But if this week, month, year you aren’t ready for that, it doesn’t mean you are “unhealthy” as much as maybe just not ready.

There are all kinds of equations for relationships. There are Manhattan couples who are married and live in separate apartments, Vermont Mommas who never leave their husband’s sides. There are people who make it work from Turkey to Costa Rica, and others who are married and live together in some perfect California town and absolutely hate their lives.

Healthy, to me, is attempting to be honest with yourself, kind to your loved ones, and true to your dreams. If you dream of sharing a home with your partner in France, but can’t seem to stop falling in love in Tibet, then perhaps seek some assistance exploring your fears of bringing love closer to your court.

Choosing a partner in a far off land might mean you are worried about being seen in your entirety and therefore rejected for your flaws.
As Tai and Cher put it in Clueless:
Tai: Do you think she’s pretty?
Cher:No, she’s a full-on Monet.
Tai: What’s a monet?
Cher: It’s like a painting, see? From far away, it’s OK, but up close, it’s a big old mess.

Maybe just work on liking yourself more, positive affirmations, “I am cool, I am nice, I deserve a homeslice,” in order to cultivate either a stronger long-distance relationship, or to move towards one on U.S. soil. Intimacy can be a struggle, but there is a difference between fearing it and simply not having found a hometown lover.

For more check out “Long Distance Relationship: Love the Distance or Distance the Love?” from

Breaking Up Sucks

In Breakups/Divorce, Dating, Mental Health on December 28, 2009 at 12:00 pm

Dear Yenta,

I’m a 23 yr old man who recently got his heart broken after being in a committed relationship with a woman. We broke up after three months of being apart (when I went to visit her). Another month and a half had passed, and now she’s back and reaching out to me. To be honest, I’m feeling kind of scared – my instincts are telling me to avoid her, even though I know we need to talk and gain closure. Even tough the breakup was really hard on me, she was abroad having a great time, so maybe it’s not real for me. This is all uncharted territory to me. What do I do?

-Closing Up

Dear Closing Up,

To me, the post-relationship window is a lot like many other life crises. It is like leaving home, or graduating college, comparable to culture shock when moving back from a foreign nation, or perhaps it is more like going abroad alone. What all of these stages have in common is a loss of comfort zone and a stepping out into new personally uncharted territory.

Life can sincerely suck while we learn lessons, for example, how to re-open our hearts after someone stomped on them. I was so relieved to hear you admit how scared you are. That takes real guts and self-awareness. It is scary. Last night I heard a woman do a spoken word performance about leaving the comfort of her job as a second grade teacher. She described jumping out into the unknown, and how thrilling and terrifying and very important the whole process was to her.

In some ways being in a relationship is like building a ship. You and your partner learn to navigate life together and then when the ship sinks, you have to re-learn how to swim. Couple that with the life questions, career choices, etc that come with age 23. In your case it also sounds like this woman suddenly feels like a stranger, because of the loss of trust. That can flip your world view completely, when you deeply trust something or someone and suddenly you no longer can.

My advice? Worry about number one.

It is up to you to sew your heart back together, closure or no closure. You get to choose if now is the time to talk to her, or if you need to wait. You get to choose if you need space or if you need a hug. As hard as it is to stomach, post-relationship you don’t need to be worrying about what is best for her, just you. The only key, though, is being respectful of yourself and this woman as you decide what that is.

Leaving a loved one is all of the aforementioned, leaving home, a sinking ship, going to a foreign place. Be easy on yourself as you navigate this new space of pain and loss. A woman on a plane today told me, “If you only get your heart broken once in a lifetime, well, that’s some kind of achievement.” When we got to talking we agreed that a million broken hearts could also be a blessing, because with each we learn how better to love ourselves and in the end, how to better love another.

On an airport shuttle I asked the psychotherapist sitting next to me what he would do for a man with a broken heart. He suggested you seek the counsel and leadership of one Sparrow Hart, facilitator of Circles of Air, Circles of Stone.

Whatever you do, know that when put towards the next hearts that enter our lives, the lessons we glean from heartache yield a bigger, more swollen version of love.