The Ultimate Guide to Dating Love + Sex Love Advice

Here’s why your single friend always gives the best relationship advice

Not to toot my own horn, but I think I give excellent dating advice. However, if you were to ask me for my dating credentials, I would hand you a blank piece of paper.

For some, being serially single is not a choice. But for me, it’s a lifestyle.

I have been single for all of my adult life, and I thoroughly enjoy the independence and solitude—which I know freaks people out. While some single people date, I do not.

So how does this make me—and other serially single people—expert at giving dating advice?

Let me let you in on a few secrets of the trade.

The first secret is not actually a secret but a well-known fact: Almost all forms of content are about love.

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Even content that exists outside of traditional romance genres usually includes love and sex. For example, that action movie you just watched, was there a romantic arc in it?


Most movies, television shows, and books have provided blueprints for all kinds of relationships. A lot of these blueprints have helped me understand what healthy and unhealthy relationships look like.

I’ve also read more than a fair share of fanfiction. Honestly, when you asked for my dating credentials, I could have sent you the link to AO3 and, if you’ve ever read any fanfiction, you’d have immediately understood why this gives me so much credible dating insight.

Even being someone who grew up alongside the Internet has made many of us mini experts on random topics. Most of us didn’t necessarily seek this information out; it just appeared on our Tumblr, Twitter, or Instagram feeds.

Here’s the real secret: All relationships are the same.

Whether platonic or romantic, open or closed, monogamous or polyamorous, all relationships are made of the same ingredients. The dictionary definition of relationship describes the connection between people. And we all have experience with that. I may not date, but I do have lots of friends.

Some of my friendships have failed while others have thrived. This has helped me gain insight on communication, boundaries, and respect—insight that applies to both platonic and romantic relationships.

I’ve also watched most of my loved ones experience all kinds of different relationships. As you can imagine, being single gives those of us who are serially single plenty of free time to observe other people’s relationships—and, if you’re a Virgo like me, judge these relationships in order to perfect the advice we give to those who may (or may not) ask.

Just because your single friends haven’t dated anyone—casually, seriously, or at all—doesn’t mean we’re not familiar with the territory. All of our observations add to our dating advice credentials.

In fact, we’re kind of like therapists.

Because we’re removed from romantic situations, we have clarity uncolored by personal bias and experiences.

Most importantly, your serially single friends arguably have the most experience with prioritizing themselves and their needs. This makes us adept at keeping your best interests top of mind if you come to us for romantic advice.

We want you to be yourself and to love who you are. We will encourage you to take the time to learn more about your wants, needs, and goals before diving further into romance.

The best advice I can give as a serially single person is to try out being single. Being single has a lot of perks, the top of which is that it can give you the time, space, and energy to explore you who are.

I’m not saying everyone should be single. I’m just saying don’t knock it till you try it.

And, don’t worry. I promise I won’t say “I told you so” when you realize being single helped you become a better romantic partner.

Happy dating!

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Love + Sex Love Life Stories

After the breakup, I forced myself to be single – for one major reason

When I’m in a relationship with someone, I utterly and completely unfold for them. I give it everything I’ve got and there’s no half measures or middle ground. Instead, there’s an all-encompassing effort in an attempt to be the best girlfriend, the sexiest woman and the most supportive partner.

While being an overachiever can be a good thing, when I’m in a relationship it means I rarely leave anything for myself. By the time I’m done loving my man, I’ve barely got any crumbs left for myself. So as another relationship ended in which I realized I had once again given far more than I had ever got, I committed myself to the single life.

Despite the stigma, the sympathetic looks (of which there are many) and the crushing spinster stereotype, I realized that if I was unable to master the fundamental tenets of self-care, I had no business being with anyone at all.

Most people are afraid of being alone. I, however, was terrified I would give myself away again to the next man that came along. Giving yourself away once is painful enough, but doing it twice over the last five years has split me in ways that I’m not always sure I can recover from. Sometimes, things that are broken can’t be put back together in the same way. The pieces don’t always fit like they once did.

Deciding to remain single, despite the possibilities that arose over the past year, has given me an enormous amount of time and space. The time to understand the things I want and the space to fall for myself. It’s remarkable the shifts that happen when there’s no one in the picture and by no one, I mean there’s no romantic involvement, boyfriend, someone you like or a situationship going on.

In short, you’re not waiting for anyone to message you, which in itself is a liberating feeling. No matter how strong we are, we’ve all felt the agony of staring at our message screen waiting for those grey ticks to turn blue and the ‘typing…’ sign to appear.

I’ve found that being single is a lot like standing alone in a vast marble hall and every time you call out, your echo returns to you. Which is to say, you are utterly alone with only yourself to come back to and within that hall is infinite possibilities. I’ve been standing in that hall for over a year now, and instead of loneliness, I’ve felt all the love that normally flows out of me into another person, flow straight back into me.

Being single gives me the energy to selfishly chase every dream I’ve ever harbored. I can pick up and travel to Australia for two months, because I’m not worrying about when I’ll see my man. Even if I wasn’t worrying about it, I know that if I was madly in love with someone, I wouldn’t want to travel around Australia for two months because I would miss them and feel the pull of their arms calling me home from oceans away.

I can stay up late or hole myself away for weekends at a time writing as many novels as I like, never worrying about someone else’s schedule. Leaving those worries and the expectations you place on yourselves to always ‘be there’ for your lover is liberating as hell. It’s like breathing the freshest air you’ve ever tasted.

I’ve also learned that single seems to be a synonym for time. When I’m in love, in that gut wrenching, tremble every time you see their name kind of way, I spend time writing messages, rephrasing messages, having long FaceTime conversations, watching what they’re up to on social media, worrying about outfits and buying new lingerie every time they come around. I know I don’t have to do any of these things, I know the men I’m with don’t expect it, but I know that the person I am does it anyway. It makes me feel good and sexy and I love talking to the person I’m with.

So believe me when I say that my single life has given me so much free time, and I’ve put it to better use than I would have done having a four-hour conversation with some guy who gives you FaceTime because he can’t give you much else.

But time is a small thing in the grand scheme, and the lessons single life gives you are golden. Being alone means you’re confronted with yourself when normally you can hide in another person. It means you have to figure out how to make yourself happy when you’re sad. There is no one else to take you out and cheer you up. You have to understand your triggers, and learn how to talk yourself off the ledge when you’re in bad spaces.

Above all things, you must learn how to be so complete alone, that no matter who might come along, they could never take parts of you away. That’s the golden lesson, the best thing I’ve ever learnt and the reason I’m trying to persuade anyone who will listen to stay as single as they possibly can.

We’ve learned from childhood that we need a partner to save us, and I’ve spent years learning how to save myself and that’s something I’ll need forever, even if the love of my life turns up tomorrow.

He still can’t save me and it’s good to know that I’ve got my own back.

Movies Pop Culture

I’m addicted to romcoms, and here’s why I need to quit

Romantic comedies, for me at least, function as a guilty pleasure – a very guilty pleasure. While some may be progressive, the majority of romcoms spit out some pretty problematic ideas.  What I really hate is that Runaway Bride wedding scene, where, at the end of the movie, the protagonist makes an epic speech, sending the perceived love of their life a plea to leave their almost spouse and run away with them.

Usually, the plea is made by a man to a woman. The hidden (but not really) subtext of this is that the woman doesn’t have the wherewithal to know what she wants.

The Graduate has one of the most notable wedding crash scenes. After Benjamin (Dustin Hoffman) convinces Elaine (Katharine Ross) to ditch her fiancé and they are sitting on the bus, they both seem to realize that what they just did was crazy and there’s a whole lot of nonsense they’re going to have to figure out. But what most romcoms fail to do is acknowledge the consequences that come with running out on a wedding in such a dramatic fashion. The drive off into the sunset is viewed through rose-colored glasses.

Romcoms are a good hour and half of not-so-subtle manipulation. There are grooms that go from decent guy to asshole in a flash, last-minute romances that, on a logical level, aren’t very sound, and brides that can barely think for themselves. Hopefully, when someone is getting married, their relationship has some kind of good foundation, that the relationship has weathered some storms and come out stronger.

Instead, as viewers, we enter into a situation where cold feet turns to altar abandonment consistently. When it’s the groom having second thoughts, however, there is typically a deep thinking session where he evaluates the state of his relationship to the bride. Instead of someone objecting on their behalf, they get around to doing it themselves.

Recently, films have tried to subvert these stereotypes. How to Be Single had a scene specifically poking fun at this, where Alison Brie’s character laughs at the cockiness of her friend thinking he could just make a speech and she’d leave her fiancé.

The wedding scene isn’t the only problem with romcoms.

They create unattainable expectations of what romance is and sometimes have not-very-obvious sexism, but I’m not going to stop watching them. The reason they keep being made is because the formula works. And while refusing to watch them might be one way to stop the machine that pumps them out, I find romcoms very delightful and they make me happy. Sometimes, you just want a love story with good jokes and a satisfactory ending.

It’s the same reason why Michael Bay and Michael Bay-esque films are popular. They are non-thinkers. Progressive media shouldn’t be sequestered so just the so-called “elite” can enjoy it. 

Ultimately, though, these female characters deserve more development beyond leaving one man for another.

Love + Sex Love

Being a single woman in Egypt is almost like getting a death sentence

There’s a special moniker for the word spinster in Egypt, Anees. It is never used as a compliment. Women are graced with this scarlet letter once they are unsuccessful in claiming a husband within twelve months of graduating college. In case you’re wondering, yes, it’s always the woman’s fault if she doesn’t get married.

It’s quite literally considered a fault in Egyptian society to be an unwedded adult female.


Well-meaning aunts and elderly neighbors, who are also called aunties, hem and haw in search for suitable suiters for the lone spinster in the building. They pimp you out to anything with a penis and a willingness to accept a bride of the ripe old age of 28. They visit your mother, their offerings in tow. They contemplate their matchmaking efforts, “he comes from a good family. He owns a car and a reasonably sized apartment, and he has a job. What else could she want in a husband?”

They’ve already shown him your photograph, but you only get a holistic description. “Men are not faulted for their appearance,” they say, when they really mean that he’s bald and fat. Nevertheless, you must accept, begrudgingly, to meet him in an outing that has already been arranged. You are given a date, time, and location, just like a drug drop off.

[bctt tweet=”You are given a date, time, and location, just like a drug drop off.” username=”wearethetempest”]

You don your best outfit. You get your hair done. You put on makeup, but not too much makeup. Your mom gives you a hug before you leave and reminds you, “laugh at his jokes and answer his questions politely. Ask him some questions, too, you want him to know that your interested in getting to know him. But don’t ask him too many questions, it’s not an inquisition.”

And you head off to your blind date, to be examined like livestock in an auction. Sometimes, both mothers tag along to chaperone and pass judgement. Then, a few hours later, you go home and never hear from him again.

[bctt tweet=”They pimp you out to anything with a penis.” username=”wearethetempest”]

The matrimony council gathers for a postmortem.

“She’s too shy, she needs to lighten up.”

“She’s too boyish, she needs to act more demurely.”

“She’s too focused on her job, she shouldn’t take her career too seriously.”

Of course, it’s the woman’s fault that she didn’t get asked out for a second date. It’s always her fault.

When you decide to apply for graduate school, people assume you’re only doing it to stay busy until you get married, or perhaps you hope to bag one of your colleagues, or better yet, a professor. If you’re friendly with married male acquaintances, then you’re definitely trying to lure him away from his wife and family.

Attending weddings as a spinster are the worst.

Everyone you meet at the ceremony immediately asks you, “so, when are we going to celebrate your nuptials?” The well-meaning aunts console you with, “Don’t worry, habibty, God will send you a good man to take care of you.”

Why do I need a man in the first place?

Towards the end of the wedding, the doting mother of the bride makes a beeline to your table and drags you to the middle of the dance floor, thrusting you to the front of a group of giggling twenty-somethings waiting to catch the bouquet. She signals her daughter to aim her floral projectile your way. And she reminds you to pinch the bride’s knee, so that her good fortune rubs off on you and you get betrothed within a week.

[bctt tweet=”Pinch the bride’s knee, so her good fortune rubs off on you and you get betrothed.” username=”wearethetempest”]

During large family gatherings, you get placed at the kids table, while much younger married cousins sit with the grownups. No one knows how to talk to you beyond the obligatory question: how is work? Because, let’s face it, without a family, what do you have you going on in your life? All discussions are reduced to three topics: the weather, traffic, and politics. Of course, what would a silly little 35 year old know about politics? So, instead of engaging you in a meaningful conversation, people simply talk over you.

[bctt tweet=”Surprise! I have balls of brass to survived Egypt as a single independent woman.” username=”wearethetempest”]

Your Masters and Ph.D. are merely distractions, while being selected as a wife is considered an ultimate achievement, topped only by motherhood.

When you save up enough money to buy your own place, people ask you if you’re going to rent it out. “What need do you have for an apartment?” they wonder. When you finally move into the apartment that you paid for with your hard earned cash, the home owners’ association asks if they can talk to the man of the household.

Surprise! I have balls of brass to survived Egypt as a single independent woman, so you can talk to me.

Love Advice

I’m tired of dating this guy – but my family’s pressuring me to get married

Hey Madame Lestrange,

I’ve been seeing this guy for about a month and he really likes me. I think he’s cool but not so sure I want to actually date anyone right now. Focusing on school and friends has been great. But my parents and friends and everyone else are also always asking about why I’m not with someone or that I’m not married yet. I don’t know what to do.




Hey Tempestina,

If you’re not in a place in your life where you want to be dating, don’t! There is absolutely NO reason for you to be in a relationship or in anything serious if that’s not what you want right now. And there is nothing wrong with that, either. I think it’s shitty that so much of what we’re meant to be proud for or happy about or live for is romantic relationships. Especially as a woman. If you’re satisfied with focusing on school and friends…if that’s what’s keeping you happy right now, stick to it. At the end of the day, your happiness is what’s important.

[bctt tweet=”Maybe this is your gut telling you he’s not right for you.” username=”wearethetempest”]

It’s also completely possible that since you’re not actively interested in being with someone else, your gut is letting you know that the person you’re seeing right now isn’t for you. Even if everything in your life is going amazingly well, I think that if someone really good for you came around, you’d want to be with them. You’d make time for them. You’d be actively interested in adding this person to your already spectacular life.

Maybe this guy isn’t your one. And since other parts of your life are satisfying, you have no need to waste your time.

[bctt tweet=”You’ll never have to sacrifice friendships or your passion for the right person.” username=”wearethetempest”]

Don’t listen to everyone in your life pressuring you to get with someone. It’s obnoxious as hell and pretty much omnipresent. But it’s not a good reason to date someone when (1) you’re not fully interested and (2) you have other things going for yourself that you wanna focus on. Don’t let them make you feel bad for focusing on things in your life that not only make you happy but are also legitimately important. 

Having friendships is vital to your happiness. Getting your degree and studying what you’re passionate about is vital to your happiness. Don’t let them block your shine. Unfortunately, not many people feel that they’re totally happy with their studies and work and friends – people get lonely and want a significant other. But if you’re not there in your life, then WHATEVER! Do you and be happy.

Do you and be happy.

When the right person comes along at the right time, you’ll know, and things can shift around then. And always remember – you’ll never have to sacrifice friendships or your scholarly (or other) passions for the right person. When someone is a good fit for you, they’re a good fit for every aspect of your life. Let this guy go if he’s not that, and keep being awesome on your own.

You’re welcome,

Madame Lestrange


Do you have any questions for Madame Lestrange? She’ll answer your questions on love, sex, and relationships. 

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Love + Sex Love

3 reasons why Valentine’s Day is way more fun when you’re single

Valentine’s Day is coming up – lovebirds and palentines – follow along with our Vday series right here

Whether you are in a new relationship, have been married for 30 years, or are just plain single, there are so many ways to enjoy this holiday of love. But to be honest, I think Valentine’s Day is a lot more fun when you don’t have to stress out about what to get your significant other. So often online, we see way too many BuzzFeed videos and tweets about being #foreveralone on a day that is known for spotlighting the glory of relationships.

Yet there are so many reasons why Valentines Day can be so fun for those of us who aren’t in relationships.

1. No sharing!

With no one you are obligated to share your heart shaped chocolates with, you are totally free to keep the whole box for yourself! So, don’t be afraid to hold back! Order the extra banana peppers your ex would have hated for your family size pizza, sit back and enjoy!

2. You get to spend extra time indulging in self care

Whether you are a corporate workaholic, a student or a stay-at-home mom, I think we can all agree that sometimes life can just be a bit too much. Self care is ridiculously important especially considering how it pertains to mental health. So, since you don’t have to worry about taking care of someone else, go ahead and treat yourself! Take a bath with a colorful bath bomb or bundle up in a warm Snuggie!

3. Netflix and chill, but on your own free will

Being single on Valentine’s Day is even more of a reason to take advantage of having the remote to yourself. So I highly encourage you to literally just Netflix and chill. Why think about the slang meaning of the term when the literal meaning is so much more relaxing?

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