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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Career Life Stories Life

We need to celebrate professional milestones as much as personal ones

I have a bone to pick with personal celebrations. I can’t be the only one feeling ornery every time I log into my social media pages only to be bombarded with announcements of classmates (both from school and university), childhood friends, acquaintances, frenemies and random neighbor #85 are either a) tying the knot, b) engaged or c) welcoming a child. Whenever I voice my annoyance out to a close friend, they assure me that no I’m not alone in my feelings, it’s quite disconcerting being harassed by surprise proposal photoshoots, engagement photoshoots (of couples who met a few months ago), or the random maternity shoot.

Maybe I’m feeling a tad bitter that I’m all alone.

Or maybe it’s because we never celebrate our professional milestones the way we do for our personal ones.

I apologize if I sound acerbic but I’m at this phase in my life where I can’t bring myself to care that another one of my classmate’s or a former friend has decided to tie the knot. While I am happy that they’ve found their life partner and thrilled to see where their marriage takes them, I’m not going to give someone a pat on their back for doing what society expects all women. I find it very hard to show my support for creative or quirky engagement photoshoots, baby showers and lovey-dovey Facebook status messages when I barely get a half-hearted good job for moving up professionally.

Maybe it’s the fact that while in university, I had to listen to people giggle about their wedding plans without thinking about where they see themselves professionally. Yes, some people aren’t ambitious or they’re okay being the way they are. But we’re in 2021, women have moved past having conversations that sound like Florence Pugh’s Oscar-nominated monologue in Little Women, on why marriage is an economic proposition.

Love or relationships aren’t the only milestones worthy of celebrations in our lives.

Which is why I can’t help but wonder every time I go through a former classmate’s wedding album on Facebook, where did life take you? Where did you end up before you had your wedding?

Why aren’t any of the STEM ladies shouting about how they were a few of the women who attended a prestigious institution?

I wish I saw more social media posts that celebrated winning a prize, getting the keys to your own home, completing that always talked about documentary film, or even completing a thesis. I, for one, would love to see a woman posting about graduating with an honors degree and then uploading a photo of the said degree onto her socials while we read a lengthy post on her journey.

I wish we had more celebrations for people who completed their one-year anniversary getting sober, moving up in a company or even landing that dream internship they took based on pure nerve. I wish we didn’t only have LinkedIn to toot our professional horns on and that too, it’s always curated in a wholesome way that makes us women come off as unthreatening in our ambition.

I  would love to see that mini-Miranda Priestly (and no, I’m not talking about the toxic work culture she created but her perfectionist attitude that made her an industry titan) in the making’s professional journey.

Why don’t we boast about the power moves and games of strategy we play to get from point A to point Z?

This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t be celebrating personal milestones, but we need to stop placing a higher value on them than professional accomplishments. The world would profit from women who were more honest about their ambition – I would have loved to see peers celebrating their dreams in a public way.

What is wrong with flexing those years of blood, sweat and tears? After all, if you don’t hype yourself up – no one else is going to.

So take this piece of advice from me, do that ‘Just Got Promoted’ photoshoot because why not, it would be great for your ego and my timeline would greatly appreciate it.

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Love Life Stories

How do I make space for love if my life already seems full?

A few years ago, I was lamenting my perpetual singledom, when a friend asked me, “But do you think you have space for love, or  a relationship in your life?” The answer was – and arguably still is – no. 

I like being busy and hate being idle. I’ve always been this way. At the time, I was studying my master’s, acting as editor-in-chief of a student newspaper, running a freelance illustration business, and tutoring a journalism course at my university. I didn’t have time for a relationship. I was goal-oriented, and a relationship didn’t form part of that goal.

Fast forward to today. My life is just as full, if not fuller. I work a full-time job as a graphic designer, my freelance illustration business is still steaming ahead, I run a few half marathons a year, and I recently started writing for The Tempest

I’m busy. Like, really busy. Weird flex, right?

Am I really too busy for love?

I love being busy. But I also love love, and I wish I could find a balance between the two. After my friend suggested I didn’t have space in my life for love, I bought a double bed. I thought maybe if I had the physical space for a relationship, I’d make space in my life for one. 

We are always able to make time for our priorities.

But physical space doesn’t translate into what I think of as ‘life-space’. Life space is about priorities. We are always able to make time for the things we deem important. We are always able to make time for our priorities. And I didn’t know if making space for love was my priority.

When my friend suggested I didn’t have space in my life for a relationship, my priority was my university degree. Now, my priority is my career.

I’m currently at a point where I need to diversify my priorities. Striking a work-life balance can be tricky, and is something I need to work on. As somebody with a tendency for burnout, I’m always being told to take it easy, to find a balance between work and play. 

I’m on a bit of a mission to find a work-life balance that will allow me to make space in my life for a relationship.

I’m on a bit of a mission to find a work-life balance that will allow me to make space in my life for a relationship. (Although there’s kinda this global pandemic going on that’s made it a bit weird and tricky).

Here are four things I’ve tried, and whether they’ve been personal victories or failures:

1. I tried taking dating apps more seriously

I’m notoriously bad at replying to men on dating apps. In fact, my dating app bio is home to the words, “Bad at writing captivating bios, worse at texting strangers. But also very alone, so maybe I’ll learn.” 

I decided to be more conscientious about replying on dating apps, but I find it difficult to find the time and effort to converse with people who I don’t care for. This helped me learn that in order for me to make space in my life for somebody, I need more of a connection than a superficial right-swipe. 

2. I created some work-life boundaries

I made some work-life rules for myself which – admittedly – worked better before we all started living in perpetual quarantine. One rule that I’ve kept up is that I’m no longer allowed to use my laptop in bed. My work can only happen at my desk, and my bed is exclusively a place of rest. Creating small boundaries like this one work as small steps towards making more space for things that are not work. My hope is that by making more of this kind of space, I’ll also make space for love.

3. I’m learning to say “no”

I developed a habit of saying yes to every bit of work that comes my way. This has meant that I often find myself drowning in work.

I’m trying to break this habit, and learning to say “no” to work that doesn’t serve me. As a freelancer, you have as much right to be picky with what work you take on, as a client has to be picky when it comes to who they hire. A good exercise in this process was to make a list of work that makes me happy, and work I find tedious. I only take on the tedious work if I have the time. Only doing work I love means that I have more time for the work I love, and the people I love.

4. I’m also making more time for the people I love platonically

I enjoy making people feel loved, but sometimes I find myself prioritizing my work over my family and friends. Finding a work-life balance is also about making sure the people I care about know that I care about them. Making life-space for my loved ones used to mean making time to see them face-to-face over a coffee. In quarantine, it means making time for video calls, sending them memes, and reminding them that they’re doing okay. By making space for my loved ones, I’m slowly making more space for romance. Or at least, I hope I’m doing that!

I’m learning that love is a priority of mine. So, making time for love should be a priority of mine, too.

Love + Sex Love Life Stories

I have a major secret about my love life

My social media feed is full to the brim of articles about things only newly single people will understand or the best techniques to mend your heart after a breakup. While I can vouch that eating chocolate and ice cream is comforting, I don’t relate to the relationship advice given, because I’ve never had a boyfriend.

I haven’t achieved the life milestone that the majority of women my age passed in their pre-teens. For the longest time, I believed this made me strange, and it damaged my confidence and self-esteem.

I started to feel the pressure to be in a relationship, even at a young age. I’ve always noticed and had crushes on boys from school. It’s a rite of passage for a typical schoolgirl.

But those crushes never really went anywhere.

As I progressed through primary school to secondary school, there was a stark difference between those who had a boyfriend and those who hadn’t. The ones who did were confident and mature and everyone envied them. Including me.

Of course, I was jealous. I was 16, and I’d never had my first kiss or a boyfriend.

When it came to family interrogations, I avoided conversations about boyfriends and ‘having my eye on anyone’ like the plague. It’s one thing having my friends know I am forever single, but to have my family know was twice as embarrassing.

For the next two years, I struggled to progress any friendship into something romantic. I was out of luck. It wasn’t until I discovered Tinder in my first year of university that I found my chance to date and possibly find a suitable boyfriend.

My first date with a guy from Tinder was going well until he asked about previous relationships. My body froze. I had two options, pretend I had a long line of ex-boyfriends or admit I had never been in a relationship before.

I chose the latter.

He was taken aback by the response and fired questions about being single for so long. I wanted the ground to swallow me whole as I tried to defend myself for not being in a relationship.

After the date blunder, it came to a point when I was no longer having fun on dates and meeting new people. The irrational fear of having to reveal that I’d never had a boyfriend was starting to have an impact on my self-confidence. I believed I wasn’t good enough for anyone.

I’d had enough of trying to find a boyfriend. It was impossible because it doesn’t just happen overnight. In order to combat the unrealistic ideal of finding love, I deleted Tinder and stopped trying to rush into a relationship.

And it worked. The time I had spent swiping left and right and talking to guys I wasn’t interested in was used more wisely. I was a lot happier and even my grades were better.

In that time I realized there’s not a time limit to achieve a milestone of having your first boyfriend. Now I sleep peacefully knowing it is not the be end and end all. It doesn’t matter when it happens because there’s no rush. I may have a boyfriend in the next week, month or year.

I may still be single and writing down my feelings about my non-existent love life.

And if I am still single and not ready to mingle, I will remind myself that it’s ok not to have a boyfriend.


7 badass ways to enjoy your single life

I won’t kid you or kid myself. We all want to be in a relationship. It’s how we’re built and it’s the basic human instinct for companionship that makes us crave romance when we don’t have it. But, sometimes your state of melancholic singleness clouds your vision, and before you know it, you turn into an ungrateful person who dwells on what they are lacking and has no appreciation for the precious gift they’ve been given – the gift of freedom.

If you find yourself down to your knees in that cloudy mist of “bluuurgh”, this is when you need to woman up and do a few things. One, recall the time you craved freedom during a past failed relationship. Two, recall the rules of the relationship game – commitment, prioritizing the partner, and compromise, compromise, compromise. Three, remember that there are millions of people in relationships out there who feel lonely and trapped, and would definitely love to be in your shoes. Four, internalize the fact that your singleness at this very moment in time is a golden opportunity and an exhaustible resource of which you need to take mad advantage. Feel positive that it will not last forever, and that you’ll soon meet who your heart desires. But, for the time being, you are absolutely meant to get out into the world and kick some serious ass.

[bctt tweet=”You are meant to get out there & kick some serious ass.” username=”wearethetempest”]

Below, I list seven things you can do as a single lady in the 21st century who literally has the world at her fingertips, the sky as her limit and every right to let her curiosity reign.

1. Trek Nicaragua on your own

While you can, explore the world on your own. Watch for Nicaraguan sharks, the only freshwater lake sharks in the world.  Plan a 10-day Game of Thrones itinerary, or go trekking across The Land of the Thunder Dragon. You have the freedom to do whatever you want really. There is so much to look at in this big world of ours other than the dreamy eyes of your significant other.

[bctt tweet=”There’s so much more to look at than the eyes of your significant other.” username=”wearethetempest”]

Not into adventurous destinations? No probs! Visit Spain and bask in the sun and serenity of the relaxing Spanish countryside.

Don’t have the funds to go to Nicaragua? Also not a problem – you can easily google “Top Instagrammable Spots” in your hometown and plan a few day trips out of that. Or take mini stay-cations using a few local Air-BnB’s! Take the time to appreciate that farmer’s market you always admired from afar, or finally sign up for that tae-kwon-do class you’ve been meaning to take.

2. Download the Meetup App

Instead of day dreaming about how things could be better with someone to lean on, start creating opportunities to discover your strengths and meet people with whom you can collaborate. Meetup is a good place to start. In there, you’ll find endless choices of activities that you’ve heard of and never heard of, with real life communities who meet up on a regular basis to share their interests . You’re bound to find lots of stuff that interests you, and it would be such a rewarding experience if you set your heart on a thing or two that are completely out of your comfort zone. The choices are endless and you will be amazed at the number of learning and sharing opportunities you can run into.

[bctt tweet=”The choices are endless.” username=”wearethetempest”]

If you’re not the type to meet total strangers in groups, you can use the help of this other totally platonic one-on-one meeting app called Peoplehunt. It enables you to meet, either virtually or in real life, with people of reciprocal and shared interests.

3. Get that hidden rainbow hair

You should be able to do this when you’re with the right person. But, since you’re single, you don’t have to ask anyone’s opinion or worry about a thing. There are tons of ideas for that hidden rainbow styles you can find on Pinterest. So get creative and enjoy that crazy, spontaneous hair makeover for once in your life.

[bctt tweet=”You don’t have to ask anyone’s opinion or worry about a thing.” username=”wearethetempest”]

If you are more of a “proper” person and feel appalled at the idea of full-on rainbow hair, you can go with one solid color, like deep purple. Still too bold? Then get a quirky new haircut for the hell of it, because this is most probably the only time you can do that without having to be accountable to someone else.

4. Walk on air

This has nothing to do with Katy Perry or Kerli’s takes on the idea, but has everything to do with investing in your own enjoyment in the most pointless manner. Do everything that gives you this feeling of euphoria and sheer pleasure even it is of no long term benefit. Don’t worry, no one is going to ask you why you want to do it, because you’ve only got yourself to please.

[bctt tweet=”Do everything that gives you this feeling of euphoria.” username=”wearethetempest”]

Learn to air walk. Go Indoor Skydiving, or outdoor if you wish.  Whatever does it for you, just enjoy the fresh emptiness and airiness of your single life, and be a glorious airhead and riiiise.

Or keep to the ground, enjoy the breeze and try Kate Spade’s instant lift of a perfume.

5. Heck, learn Japanese!


Because it looks impossible, and its characters seem frighteningly unfamiliar. But you can discover that they really aren’t, and you will be surprised at how much new stuff your brain can accommodate. Push yourself to learn things you think are too difficult to get, because you will discover that there is no such thing and if they can do it, you can do it.

Not into Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji? Then touch up on your French, German, Spanish, or any other language you learned back in high school. 

6. Take up Tai Chi

With Tai Chi, you get the fighting and meditative benefits all in one package. You could use a few self-defense techniques as a strong independent woman and benefit your mind and soul at the same time. Tai Chi is cool, girl.

And if you’re not the full-on martial arts kind of girl, take up those Body Combat and TRX classes at the Gym. They’re cool too.

7. Think Big

As you already know, the sky is your limit. You can let your dreams stop at a career or you can top that. Start your own business. Start a new political movement. Eradicate poverty. I don’t know, but I know you’ve got so much in you if you set your heart and mind to it. And I know there are plenty of ways you can follow to do something fantastic.

[bctt tweet=”Dear single independent lady, take in a deep breath right now. ” username=”wearethetempest”]

So, you can start a business of trekking the rain forests in Nicaragua and be the badass girl with rainbows in her hair and offer guided site-seeing tours for Japanese trekkers. Or you can explore life in whatever way your heart pleases, knowing that we live in an open world of possibilities that are all at your service.

Remember that relationships are not life, but just 1 of an infinite number of shots we have at life. Life is on your side just waiting for you to venture in. And stay positive that good relationships that allow you personal space and freedom to do some of the things you want do exist. So until the inevitable happens and you get involved in the relationship you want, stop missing out on life, and start using that precious situation you’ve been given to your advantage, tapping into all that potential left unexplored.