How To Date Yourself and Be A Better Partner

Can you date yourself to become a better partner?

For the past few years relationship experts have been talking about how unhealthy it is to rely on one person to meet all of your needs. Some needs are met by our romantic partner/s – but other needs aren’t. That’s why we have friends, family, acquaintances, game night buds, baristas, doctors… I’m getting pretty literal, but you know what I mean.

At the center of this network, this community, is you.

Here are some ways you can date yourself that might help you become a better romantic partner:

  1. be true to yourself, aspire to be your best self
    • When you go out on a first date, a nice general rule to abide by is be yourself, while also putting on your best face. For me that means making a conscious effort to both know who I am and deeply show that I care who that other person is. When you’re dating yourself you can always take the time to check back in and think “if I was sitting across me at a table, would I want a second date?”
  2. take the time and effort to look nice 
    • In a long term relationship people, bodies, and styles will change with time and age. Making an effort to look nice is about what makes you feel your best. For some people that’s just a quick face wash, some moisturizer and some jeans. Others prefer being creative with makeup and fashion.
  3. care for yourself, be your number one ally
    • Looking good doesn’t always equate to feeling good, especially if you’re battling depression, anxiety, or another condition that deeply impacts your state of mind. It’s tricky because if you are depressed it can be hard to reach out to get help. In relationships we always want our partners to care for themselves as much as we care for them. Try and build up a support team with the resouces available to you. You can start with inexpensive methods like going on long walks, meditating, or listening to funny podcasts.
  4. consider dating landmarks: are you helping yourself grow, or holding yourself back?
    • In the last 5-10 years, how have you grown, and how have you changed? One of the biggest roadblocks to growth is internal. Fear of success. Procrastination. Distraction. Pure, sweet, delicious avoidance for things that are just easier. Don’t let your relationship with yourself stiffle your growth and development as a person.
  5. try new things by yourself
    • Trying new things with a partner is fun. Learning something new together can be a great bonding exercise. But trying new things by yourself is also a great way to further your own growth. Especially if you’ve always wanted to learn something your partner isn’t that super into! Growing and developing on the side, apart from your partner, gives them new and exciting things to continue learning about you as you continue to evolve as a person.
  6. take yourself out on a date 
    • Dates aren’t just for couples. You work hard and you love yourself. Take yourself out for a treat: a happy hour snack, a glass of champagne, a movie, a new sweater. Go frugal and take a nice walk, window shop, write some letters to friends, journal, read a book. I took myself out to my first solo movie this year and it was one of the most relaxing things I’ve ever done solo. It felt like a private screening just for me.
  7. have tough conversations, challenge your bullshit
    • I’m constantly telling myself bullshit stories about what’s real or isn’t real. I can’t do this, I can’t do that, I’m this way, I’m that way. We lie to ourselves and then those lies get passed on as truths to others. Learn to get better at seeing your own bullshit, challenging your own bullshit. We do this in our relationships because it’s easy to see when someone else isn’t being completely honest. But it’s much harder to see it in ourselves and then make change happen. Challenge yourself. When you hear yourself say “I can’t do this thing” try to do it. See what happens.
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Five Tips for Maintaining Your Hobbies When You’re Really Busy

I used to write upwards of 3-5 posts per day when I first started blogging. I was publishing around 100 posts per month; the amount of blogs a small company with interns usually churns out. Everything is different now.

When I got my first job I was still able to blog fairly regularly but I started to wonder how to better negotiate my time. You have to do that all the time when you get really busy. Negotiate your time.

Can I have three hours today for writing? Now here’s why I think I should have three hours today. It’s really going to show you results, Lorelei. 

With my new job, I’m even busier, so here are some ways I’ve been able to maintain my hobbies:

Drop anything that’s not incredibly important to you

The first thing I did, first due to lack of choice, was drop off my freelance work. I was no longer seeking new clients and any marketing I had been doing for my own work went away entirely. This put into perspective how much energy running your own business really takes. I realized I was no longer interested in chasing that career path so I slammed a big pause button and let it go.

Your hobbies are your life

The things that I enjoy doing the most are the things that naturally become a part of my life. Falling asleep reading a book or drawing while I watch television. These hobbies were most important and I didn’t struggle very hard to keep them afloat. There’s the simple truth, and sometimes a hard pill to swallow. When something is important to you, you’ll naturally make time for it. If you’re not making time for something, if you don’t want to make time for something, maybe it’s not as important as you think it is.

Make tech-free zones, tech-free times

My goals is to eventually have a drop spot by the door where my technology departs for the evening into little sleepings pods with chargers. Phone, laptop, iPad, kindle, bluetooth headphones, anything with a gentle buzz when you go near it. I think learning how to fight the itch of “what am I missing?” is healthy. When I intentionally go an hour or two without my phone I realize just how much I can truly accomplish. Time seems to double and my productivity goes up.

Devote yourself to one or two things

Some people want to dip their toe in a little bit of everything and be a little bit good at all the things. I’ve been trying to separate myself from this and focus on the hobbies that get joy from, not the hobbies that other people think I should try. Go back to basics. What makes you happiest to do? Spend a whole week just devoting an hour or 30 minutes a day to that one thing.

Write a to do list every morning

Create a mental reminder for yourself to do your hobbies by creating an abbreviated task list for yourself each morning. Jot down any important pieces of work you need to do and then write a little reminder for yourself that your hobby is its own piece of business. Create. Write. Read. Play Golf. Play Chess. Paint. Run. Cook. Add anything that will help you direct that hobby. A recipe you’ll make, a goal for your hobby (finish that painting!) or a new personal challenge (8 minute mile!)

 

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How We Set Up Our Joint Checking Account

We did it, guys. We set up a joint checking account. We are sharing our finances. I’ve had a couple people ask how we set it up and how it’s been working since we started so I’m sharing a pretty detailed breakdown of what we do. It’s easily customized based on what your expenses are! How do you and your partner handle money?


1. List your recurring shared expenses

Our recurring shared expenses are:

  • Rent
  • Electric
  • Comcast
  • Netflix
  • Hulu
  • Apple iCloud
  • Spotify

For each point we broke down how much each person would pay for that thing. For everything except rent we split it 50/50 down the middle.

2. List your recurring shared expenses pt 2

The above items are fixed and recur every month, on an automatic basis in most cases. But there are a lot of other things we spend money on together that aren’t on that list.

  • Groceries
  • Eating Out
  • Entertainment
  • Shared Home Purchases
  • Our Kitten
  • Gifts for Friends
  • Laundry
  • Gas

3. Set a Budget

For part two we set a budget. We looked at how much we usually spend on groceries per month and then determined what would be a good place to try and stick to. Then we figured out, for each bullet point, how much each of us could contribute to that budget. Sometimes one partner might care more about one category than the other. Sometimes one partner might make more than the other so it makes more sense for them to add in a bit more money. Discuss until you come up with numbers that feel pretty fair on both sides.

Between these two lists, and after discussing a budget, you should each have an individual number that you will be contributing every month to your joint expenses.

4. Optional: Savings Account

I really liked the idea of putting aside a set amount of money each month for shared savings goals. Big ones for me are travel/vacations, an emergency fund, and larger house items (furniture.) You can tuck this money aside and watch it build until there’s enough stocked away for x-emergency or x-fun thing.

5. Budget What’s Left

After I had a number for our joint account, I subtracted that from what I make each month. Whatever was left was “my money” and I created a separate budget for that. This is where my money usually ends up:

  • Individual bills
    • Health bills
    • Credit card payments
    • Phone bill
    • Other various payment plans
  • Books
  • Craft supplies
  • Blog fees
  • Happy Hour with friends (when J isn’t with me)
  • Eating dinner or lunch out (when J isn’t with me)
  • Snail mail (stationary, pens, greeting cards)
  • Gifts for J

6. Set up a Recurring Transfer

You could go straight to your workplace and have the direct deposit go to two different accounts. I’ve gone the other route and have all of my money deposited into my personal account and then transfer over to our shared account. Because I get paid every two weeks, I divided my share by two, and make two transfers each month.


So far our system has worked very well. It’s nice to not have to think about who paid for what and when and have to transfer money back and forth through Square Cash. It also created a really nice feeling of partnership. We’re working together to save money, we’re working together to spend smarter, and we’re enjoying the money that’s in our account, together. Ultimately this step into togetherness is why I was interested in the shared account, to begin with. The fact that we share mostly similar ideas about money and are both working full time made a big difference.

I always thought people who fought about money were silly. Money isn’t worth an argument. The older I get, the more I see how important creating clear ideas about money is. It’s wrapped into how we want to live our lives, how we want to grow old, how we feel about being prepared.

Don’t belittle these conversations and don’t run away from them. Think of them as multi-faceted conversations about what you feel is most important in your life and what kind of life you want to have with your partner. Then start preparing to make that happen as best as anyone can.

Have any questions? Need advice? Submit now!

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My Ultimate Fall To Do List

What’s on your list? Have suggestions to make any of mine better? Leave ’em in the comments! (Crossed out means I’ve done them this year!)

 

  • Get a new pair of rubber boots [1]
  • Go pumpkin picking[1]
  • Get hot apple cider
  • Make mulled wine [1]
  • Make pumpkin bread
  • Create a fall door wreath[1]
  • Finish re-watching Stranger Things S1
  • See a horror movie in theaters 
  • Take a long walk in the rain
  • Watch the Swifts fly in [1]
  • Re-watch the original IT mini series
  • Gather pinecones from the park for free decorations
  • Make roasted vegetables
  • Watch all the fall television    
  • Do a corn maze
  • Throw a football
  • Make fondue 
  • Make pumpkin pie 

 

  • Make pecan pie
  • Throw a classic thanksgiving dinner
  • Write ‘thankful’ letters to friends
  • Plan a 29th birthday party 
  • Create a cozy blanket bed to cuddle in with the windows wide open
  • Go to the coast
  • Make butternut squash soup
  • Go to a winery 
  • Re-learn how to knit
  • Break out the wool socks
  • Journal (regularly) at night with hot tea
  • Go to a haunted house 
  • Hand out halloween candy to kids
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Ways to Prevent Your Coworkers From Finding Out You’re a Scared Little Girl Hiding in Adult Costume

Buy Adult Pants

Drive to the furthest Banana Republic, Gap or J.Crew from your home. Turn off your phone so you can’t be tracked. Find a salesperson and with hushed voice, ask what the most adult pair of pants they sell is. When they direct you to the pants, make up a lie like “these aren’t quite as adult as my last ones I bought on my business trip to Guatemala but they’ll do.” Guess your size. You gotta get the fuck out of dodge.

Drink black coffee

Proclaim loudly throughout the day the following series of coffee related phrases:

  • I totally can’t work until I’ve had my coffee
  • This is only my fifth cup
  • I don’t even know what creamer is
  • I have a tattoo of an aeropress on my left asscheck
  • I need to make my late afternoon coffee run
  • I prefer a light roast because it has more caffeine

Have a desk plant and a photo of yourself and your significant other (your ex-boyfriend or platonic male exchange student friend works) in a custom frame from an actual frame shop where you know the name and beard style of the man who opened the store

If someone asks you what kind of plant it is, just laugh hysterically like they’re the biggest idiot you’ve ever seen. Swivel your chair in the opposite direction. Practice swivel first so you don’t accidentally swivel all the way around to face them again.

Utilize words like Utilize, and the following

  • life plan
  • retirement
  • ira
  • accomplishments
  • scope
  • direction
  • contract
  • client
  • management style
  • due process
  • google calendar
  • document
  • warmly
  • connect
  • partner
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Representation Matters

My Heroes Were Women

When I was a kid, my heroes were women. I loved Nala from the Lion King because she had spirit. I loved Jasmine from Aladdin because she knew she wanted to be free from her father and the palace. But their stories were shadowed by the male narrative. Young feminist me may have been able to surmise deeper meaning, but that’s not how those movies were marketed. They’re about the male story. They’re named after the male protagonists.

Even movies like Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty indicate that the male holds the power. The prince presents the shoe and saves princess. The prince uses his sword to rescue the princess. I never saw these women as weak. Sometimes it felt like the male role had been written in later. A young girl scrubbing floors could just as easily learn how to battle, study code in her free time, start a bakery, or find any other way to be self-sufficient in her freedom. Simba could have enjoyed the freedom in the forest, choosing not to fulfill his duty as King. I’m pretty sure Nala could have figured it out. But that doesn’t really fit with the masculinity narrative.

In 2017, there isn’t much tiptoeing around. Moana is about a woman. It’s named after a woman. And a man doesn’t save her. She saves a man. The same could be said for Wonder Woman.

Sometimes to achieve equality you have to start with finding some semblance of equity. That means giving women more opportunity to make up for the historical and systemic lack of equality. More movies. Bridge the gap. Break the ceiling. Let it in.

Let’s Take Stock

I read in the newspaper today that the representation of women has changed in stock photos. Ten years ago the photos look light and innocent. Women laying in beds, eating salads, looking mute and disinterested. Today they’re hiking, climbing, mixing chemicals, coding, standing in front of their women-owned businesses with tags like CEO. PRESIDENT. BOSS.

I didn’t see these images when I was a kid.

I imagined my heroes as the leaders of their own show. I had no misconceptions about their independence. But in some way, it was a kids fantasy. Taking what was given to me and making it what I wanted it to be.

I didn’t grow up having anyone tell me that I could be the boss of anything. I just got told that I could do anything. That’s abstract, that’s good parenting. But it comes from a generation that doesn’t see what we see now. The details of what you can do anything means. The struggle that you have to take on to do anything. The privilege some people have that makes it easier. The tools to make anything really happen. The books that line the shelves at Powells. CODING FOR KIDS with a little girl on the cover. The feeling of pride when, briefly, we really believed that we had a chance at the first female PRESIDENT. Hearing podcasts like GIRLBOSS and being members of movements like BINDERS FULL OF WOMEN.

I feel like I’m climbing the edge of a cliff wet and slick with the tears of everyone who came before me. Bare hands, red knuckles, blisters and sweat. But my kids are getting climbing gear!

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How to Cope With The Existential Dread of Monday

Monday is crap, but let’s be real, so is Tuesday.

I’m always zonked after Monday but then Tuesday rolls around like Monday-Again, reminding us that we haven’t even made it to the middle of the week. I can be one of those people that jumps out of bed Monday morning ready to take on the week. But that’s a learned response to the complete existential dread I feel when I don’t actively try to be excited that the weekend is over.

Always have a routine that get’s you excited

I usually get myself a latte on Monday morning but really just remembering that I can drink coffee again is enough to get me out of bed. If it’s a really bad week I’ll get a butter croissant too.

By Monday my clothes are usually all washed and clean so I get to wear my favorite outfit, too. You know, the one that’s usually the first thing you go for after you do your laundry. Then it’s dirty again and ffs why don’t you buy more than one if you like it so much.

Finish your shower with uncomfortably cold water

I read this in a book once and it was probably written as a joke but now I can’t stop doing it. When you shower, keep the water on as cool as you can. Apparently it prevents your skin and hair from drying out, but it also helps wake you up a bit. Then when you’re about to step out, turn the hot water all the way off, and dunk your head for as long as you can stand. On days when I actually follow through with this last part my hair is shiny and manageable.

It also gives you a nice boost of adrenaline.

Find sexy underwear that is also comfortable

Especially on days where you have to wear a suit or some other business professional clothes. No one’s going to know that you’re wearing a hot red silk thong, but you will. You will. 

In addition, I like wearing one other thing that reconnects me to the reality that one day the work day will be over. A ring I can spin on my finger. A necklace I can grasp onto and fiddle with. Or a watch, to look at periodically, wondering how time works differently here.

Don’t wear any makeup

Instead of putting on makeup this Monday, wash your face, apply a nice skin purifying mask, douse yourself with toner and slab on a thick layer of moisturizer. A bit of eye cream will go a long way for the dark circles (although you should permit yourself just a little concealer if it’s really bad.)

The more days I go makeup-free during the week, the better my skin looks. The better my skin looks, the better makeup does apply on days I decide to wear it. Go makeup free and spend the day drinking lots of extra water. You’ll even get that nice “god, I can rub my eyes and nothing happens” moment.

Clean your home before the weekend ends

There’s nothing better than waking up Monday morning to a clean house. It makes you feel like you finally did something right with your life. Everything is where it should be, you can walk around without stepping on anything, it just feels good. This, in contrast, to the feeling when you wake up on Monday to beer bottles everywhere, the smell of slightly stale pizza, and strangers clothes heaped over your couch that they forgot in a drunken stumble. You’re dehydrated, your mouth tastes bad because you forgot to brush your teeth, oh god.

If you don’t have time for a full weekend clean, at least give yourself an hour before bed to get your life in order. Future-you says thanks.

Make a list of what you have to do

Yep, any time I make a list, “make a list” is on the list. So make a list of what you have to do every Monday morning, and go over it. Now that I need to know what’s going on for several different projects (personal and professional) I’ve been using Wunderlist to keep track of what I have to do and when. It’s really helpful to set up recurring tasks. Now every Monday I can see what horror awaits me that week. And, well, it’s slightly reassuring.

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Blogger Desk: My New Anatomy Prints

A couple of months ago I saw these prints on the Duvet Days Instagram and I had to have them. I’m a complete sucker for anything that combines floral and anatomy. (As noted in the floral brain anatomy up top c/o s/c 💞)

 

Duvet Days was created to support those “affected by rape and domestic abuse, using design to create awareness, self discovery, and a space for self-love.” You can read the whole story here. I chose the clitoris, menstrual cycle, vulva and uterus designs and made prints.

 

They’re an instant conversation piece for anyone who comes over and notices we finally hung something new on the wall (okay, and the fact that you can see that vulva from across the room.) And the best part is they’re Button approved, she hasn’t tried to knock them off the wall once. That’s a strong endorsement.

 

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Learning You Are Capable Through Experience

When you’re a kid, you are capable in part because you don’t know better. Then you enter this nebulous where lesser adults walk around on stilts and Wah Wah at you, afraid of your inevitable pain and hurt. Eventually you relearn that you are, actually, capable. Then, if you have kids, the cycle repeats itself to some degree.

I am at my first ever job that provides health and dental insurance. Tomorrow I get to call the marketplace and tell them that the $100 bill they sent me is no longer applicable. I get to make appointments for massages and acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments and pap smears and birth control and dental cleanings and xrays.

Bye bye, baby

Because I’m changing insurance providers I’m also entering closing sessions with the therapist I’ve been seeing for the last year and a half. It’s eased in part by the fact that I had been ramping down our sessions with my new work schedule. Call it mental health weening lite. If you can work it this way, I’d highly recommend it rather than going cold turkey. Once I go off I’ll start the process of finding someone new.

First six months – weekly appointments

Next six months – bi weekly appointments

Last six months – monthly appointments

Further Introspection

Jason and I have both been focusing a lot on introspection the last year and looking at our own lives and where our own weaknesses and strengths are. It wasn’t something we could completely do for each other, even though we were, technically, doing it together. Now my therapist asks me how I think I have grown in the last year and I have real tangible answers for her. I am better able to articulate my concerns. I am less anxious overall. I put up with less bullshit. I let things go. I embrace negative emotions.

For the first time I can differentiate between “I want to do something” and “I understand how to do it and feel capable.”


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Going to Bed at The Same Time as Your Partner

J and I always go to bed at the same time. It has become a habitual synchrony. I pop my routine like vitamins and the next day, for having done so, I can tell the difference.

There’s something I’ve come to especially enjoy about being a morning bird, though. The quiet of the morning is different than the quiet of the night. The quiet of the night has a buzz like phone lines along the highway, an undercurrent of electricity. It’s too loud and too heavy with expectation. The morning presents itself as an empty slate.

It’s 9:00pm and I’m in bed. I’m in the middle of a mystery novel I’ve been trying to finish for months. (Tana French, In The Woods) J is reading the same series, four books down the line. I lean over and make guesses about the killer. He plays a poker face. I’m pretty sure I’m on to something.

I flop the same leg over every time. He sleeps on his right side. I sleep on my stomach with one leg up, stretching my hips as I sleep. Sometimes we spend an hour talking. Sometimes it’s hot and I’m grumpy. Sometimes we play the-bed-is-lava. Almost every night we make up a song, replacing the actual words with the name of our cat.

One of our alarms goes off, usually around 6:00am. If it’s his that goes off first my body

click click click

and shoves him like an automaton.

If it’s my alarm that goes off first, I usually jump halfway up in the air, the volume still turned all the way up from the night before.

With our life in sync like this I think about all of the little moments we share that we would otherwise miss. Our time alone together is already so limited that those extra few moments together can make all the difference.


Do you go to bed at the same time as your partner? Why or why not? What are some synchronicities that you love in your relationship?
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