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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Gender & Identity Love + Sex Love Life

Being a serial monogamist taught me how to be independent

As an extrovert, one of my greatest fears has always been ending up alone. For much of my teenage life, I longed for a boyfriend. That desire was mostly fueled by romantic comedies, hormones, and society’s practice of reminding us that we will never be happy unless we find “the one.” As an awkward, weird only child, I never quite fit in. Sensing my vulnerability, I was often teased until the end of high school. Imagine my amazement when I got to college and discovered that I wasn’t disgusting or unlovable – people could actually find me attractive. Maybe it was because of my need to always be loved and accepted or maybe it was because of my astonishment at being found remotely interesting, but the minute I found someone who liked me back, we stayed together for almost three years. Thus began my life of serial monogamy.

In the beginning, it was strange, awkward and new, but it was fun. I was dating! It was such a new, wonderful experience for me. Perhaps because it was so new, I didn’t want to let it go, or maybe I thought I had just got lucky and would never meet another guy again. Whatever the reason, we stayed together, despite the fact that we each studied abroad, making us long distance for roughly a year, even though it was clear mid-way through that we weren’t right for each other. We fought often and he once told me felt like “a babysitter” in the relationship. I’m sure I made mistakes too, but let’s just say we weren’t happy. It was clear that we were ripping apart slowly, but we continuously tried to patch the relationship up again and again. When he broke up with me without warning, it was like ripping a bandage off. I knew it was coming and it hurt, but I also drew a sigh of relief.

Though I was ready to be on my own, I also hated being on my own. It took a lot of getting used to. Casual hookups and one-night stands were just not my cup of tea. I had to face facts that I was simply too much of an emotional being. When I meet a new friend, if we click on the first day, I immediately want to become best friends. I fall in love with dogs I meet on the street. I decided I was done with that brief, semi-fun but also confusing part of my life. For many people, the next logical step would be to try that elusive, strange place known as the dating world. But for me – the serial monogamist – this meant that I reconnected with an old friend and immediately fell head over heels.

This is how I came to be with my current partner in a happy and healthy relationship, six years later. Let me be clear, I don’t regret my choice and I love being with him. I consider myself someone who is better when they are in relationships. When I’m alone, I binge watch entirely too much tv, I don’t go out very often, and I eat way too much mac and cheese. My creative spirit and energy thrive off of surrounding myself with people who love me and interacting with people on a daily basis. Being in a relationship for me means always having someone to spend time with who loves and supports me. But because I have spent much of my adult life in relationships, I’ve warmed to the idea of being independent and on your own. I enjoy my solitary moments more now because they are less frequent. It’s time that I can devote purely to my interests and well-being. This has given me the opportunity to think about what I want out of a relationship, out of life, and out of a partner. For some, dating (or not dating) is how they reach the same conclusion, but I just came about to it in a different way. Ultimately, I think it’s made me understand more about myself and that’s something worth striving for. 

I would argue that being in a long-term relationship can help you discover yourself in an entirely different way. Getting to know a person – and really getting to know them – takes a long time. Navigating your way through this can also help you realize what you like and don’t like about yourself. It can also give you some insight into what you expect out of a partner. Working through this can be a bonding experience that leaves you more fulfilled and happy. Also, finding someone you click with so easily, someone who appreciates you when you are being purely yourself without any judgment is hard. If you do find that person, I think it’s worth sticking it out.

As to those who plan not to marry or just don’t see themselves with a long-term partner, I equally applaud you. We are so often pressured to meet someone and marry quickly that we don’t always stop to think if we are ready for it or even want it at all. Figuring out what works for you and what makes you happy is most important, above any relationship. That’s worth fighting for.   

Love + Sex Love

My boyfriend cheated on me with another girl – but I didn’t feel jealous at all

I remember the first time I ever felt jealous about a romantic partner. It felt like my chest was splitting in two. For the first time, I understood why they called it ‘heartbreak’: it physically felt like my heart was cracking, and it winded me so much I couldn’t breathe.

This was actually a panic attack, but my 13-year-old self didn’t know that. She thought she was in love. She thought that the pain in her chest was a sign that she should actually be with the person that was making her jealous. After all, only your soul mate could make you feel something so deeply, right?

Fast forward to when I was 18. My boyfriend at the time cheated on me with another girl, who he ended up dating. There were many things I felt when I realized he cheated on me: hurt, betrayed, angry.

But one thing I didn’t feel? Jealousy. I didn’t envy the poor girl who became his girlfriend. I didn’t feel possessive over him. I didn’t want him.

I was surprised that my heart didn’t crack in two like it had before. This strange reaction prompted me to do a lot of soul-searching. At first, I asked myself why I didn’t feel jealous, but then, I asked myself why I thought I should feel jealous. After all, why would I want someone who mistreated me?

Sometimes, jealousy is about feeling unwanted – it is for me, anyway. We might feel jealous when we see our crush with someone else because we feel unwanted in comparison. We also might feel jealous when our partners pay more attention to others because we feel insecure and we think it’s a threat to the relationship.

When my boyfriend cheated on me, I realized it didn’t mean I was unwanted. It wasn’t a reflection of me at all, it was a reflection of him. I had no reason to feel insecure, so I didn’t.

Of course, jealousy isn’t always rational. Often it comes out of nowhere, and there’s no reasoning yourself out of it. But this epiphany stuck with me, and since then, I’ve hardly ever felt jealous.

When I tell people this, they assume it means I don’t have any real feelings for my partners. This isn’t true. I’ve loved people fiercely and deeply without feeling a pang of jealousy at all. To me, my lack of jealousy didn’t mean I didn’t love my partners, but it meant that I loved myself and was incredibly secure in my own self-worth.

Learning about non-monogamy and polyamory has also expanded my understanding of jealousy. Many people are able to love more than one romantic partner at once. For many people, having more than one partner is possible because their love isn’t a finite resource.

Think about it: if you can have multiple children or multiple pets while loving every single one of them, it makes sense that some people can have multiple partners and love them all the same.

By this token, some people can find more than one person attractive at the same time. If I’m dating someone who finds someone else attractive, that doesn’t mean they don’t find me attractive. And if they don’t find me attractive, that’s a separate issue – one that has no influence over my worth.

Many people believe that jealousy is an indicator of love, so much so that they’ll make their partner jealous to ‘test’ their love. This is a common trope in rom-coms, and I often see it with acquaintances and friends of mine. We’re taught from a young age that love hurts, so we confuse the ache of jealousy with feelings of care and partnership. This attitude is troubling because it can romanticize people being over-possessive, and even abusive, towards their partners.

It’s okay to feel jealous. There’s nothing wrong with you if you experience jealousy. That said, we should stop romanticizing jealousy and we should stop equating it with love.

Love shouldn’t crack your heart in two – it should mend it. Whether it comes from a friend, a romantic partner, a family member, a pet, or yourself, love should be a source of support and energy, not pain.


7 extraordinary wedding traditions from around the world that you probably never heard of

You know it’s real when a bride and groom slaughter a chicken together on their wedding day.

Weddings are as old as society itself, and their traditions differ within every culture, religion, or ethnicity.  What makes a ceremony auspicious or memorable can be anything from having a religious cleric officiate the event to looking for lucky signs in a chicken’s liver like some Mongolian wedding couples do.

Here are a few wedding traditions from around the globe that you may not have heard of.

1. Beating the groom’s feet (South Korea)

M2 Photography
M2 Photography

Falaka, or beating the groom’s feet with an old cane or dried fish, usually occurs right before the newlywed can leave with his bride. It’s not malicious and is usually done in good fun, with wedding guests taking turns and even quizzing the groom’s knowledge as he’s beaten.

2. La Soupe en la Toilet Bowl (France)


Have you ever wondered what to do with all those wedding leftovers? Well, look no further because in some French weddings, guests will gather leftover food and drink, and serve the concoction to the newlyweds to help “boost their performance” on their wedding night. Yet another example of how the French continue to be leagues ahead of everyone else when it comes to romance.

3. Spitting on the bride (Massai Nation, Kenya)

Nothing bonds a father and his daughter better than a little spittle. The father of the bride will usually spit on her head and breasts as a means to ensure that he doesn’t tempt fate into ruining his daughter’s special day by being too supportive himself. The bride then goes on with her husband and is advised not to turn back lest she is turned to stone.

4. Zaffe (Arab cultures)

Zaffe or zaffah is the ultimate pre-wedding hype up, as friends, family, musicians, and professional dancers shout, dance and make merry as they escort the groom to his bride’s home. It announces that the wedding is about to start as the entourage joyously claps, shouts and the throws flower petals on the happy couple.

5. Kiss and Don’t Tell (Sweden)

At any point during the wedding, if the bride isn’t in the room, the ladies at the reception are free to steal a kiss from the groom. This work both ways of course, so if the groom isn’t present, the bride is also free to be smooched by any of the groomsmen.

6. Crying Prep (Sichaun Province, China)

For about a month in advance, the brides of the Tuija people spend an hour a day crying in anticipation of her wedding. Each week, she is joined by her a mother and grandmother gradually until all the female members of the family are weeping with her. They’re tears of joy though, no worries.

7. The Blackening of the Bride (Scotland)

A day before the wedding, the bride and groom are captured by friends and family, covered head to toe in all sorts of things from flour to rotten eggs to curdled milk to even molasses and then paraded around the town. Although it’s done in good fun, its original purpose was to ward off evil spirits.

So go forth with your new knowledge and ideas for your future weddings. These wedding traditions are the threads that bind cultural and personal memories together on your special day. Even if they seem a bit unconventional.