About the Author
Her wildly successful matchmaking efforts have been featured on Oprah, E!, MTV, Dateline, Dr. Phil, Ellen, Tyra, NBC News, The Big Idea with Donnie Deutsch and numerous other television shows, as well as in Marie Claire, Elle, Glamour, the New York Times, Forbes, The National Enquirer, the Washington Post and many more. She is a popular guest on talk and news shows throughout the world, and is frequently accessed as a dating resource by international media outlets.
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Recovering from a bad relationship? Been on a series of disaster dates? Are you a one-date wonder? Just got dumped? Haven't been on a date in weeks, months, or years? Maybe you're a serial dater who can't make a relationship last more than two months. If you fall into any of these categories (and what single woman doesn't?) your first step is to go through Dating Detox. During this step you get to stop, take a deep breath, and get your romantic bearings. This is probably my favorite step of all, because it's all about me -- excuse me -- I mean, it's all about you. It's not about men, not about friends or family, it's not about pleasing anyone else -- you purely focus on pleasing yourself.
During this time you wrap yourself in a delicious, warm and cuddly cocoon to metamorphose into the sexy, irresistible femme fatale that's buried deep inside you. Don't even think about going out on a date. Just step back and take time to figure out what exactly it is that you're looking for and what makes YOU happy. This is a chance to get back in touch with your softer, more feminine side -- to draw men to you like bees to honey.
On a side note, don't be surprised if during your dating sabbatical, the men start lining up. As soon as you say, "I'm not going to date for a while," the bus unloads. Don't go out with them, but make sure you take reservations. Remember, the best restaurants are booked weeks in advance, why not you? You're worth waiting for.
Depending on the length of your last serious relationship, Dating Detox should last between thirty to ninety days. If your most recent relationship lasted less than a year or if you've never had a serious relationship, detox for thirty days. If your last relationship lasted for two years, detox for sixty days. If it was a marriage or a relationship that lasted three or more years, detox for ninety days. Believe me, you'll end up loving Dating Detox so much you might need someone close to you to slap you and make you move on from it.
One of the reasons this step is so delectable is that for thirty to ninety days, you're allowed to completely forget your troubles. Once you get the positive energy flowing, you'll move into a place of happiness that you'll never want to leave. This happiness will be unflappable -- you'll be able to be happy anytime, anywhere, even with the most obnoxious people around you or, even more important, alone. As soon as you learn to revel in the opportunity to be by yourself rather than languish in miserable isolation, you'll be free of that ugly and burdensome feeling known as desperation. And once you've attained internal happiness, you'll be ready for a mature, solid relationship. A happy woman makes a much better companion, and your stock on the dating market will soar.
Men love happy women. It's as simple as that. Hell, women, children, dogs, cats -- everyone loves, and wants to be with, a happy woman. The happier you are, the happier your mate will be. The truth behind the law of attraction is that like attracts like. During my matchmaking events I often see cheerful women who are not classically beautiful attracting more men than the supermodels in the room. Why? Because the supermodels are more likely to be starving and insecure,and don't exactly exude joie de vivre.
Are you that happy person? If not, ask yourself why. Many clients come to me unhappy because they don't have a man. I tell each one that her attitude will only set her back because a man will only be drawn to her once she realizes that she can be happy without him. Men see women who are with them because they choose to be, not because they need to be. Most women don't understand this. They think they're losers because they don't have Saturday night dates, but this couldn't be further from the truth. It's far better to wait for the right guy, alone in your jammies, than to be out with someone you have no interest in, wasting time and money.
Another common reason you might be unhappy is because you're weighed down by issues from your past. We all have issues. Even the happiest, most well-adjusted woman you know has had her share of problems, I can assure you. As I mentioned before, I had to overcome the issues I had with being adopted. Now is the time to tackle your demons head-on and get over them. There's a great line in the brilliant, semiautobiographical Carrie Fisher movie, Postcards from the Edge, where Lowell says, "I don't know your mother, but I'll tell you something. She did it to you and her mother did it to her and back and back and back all the way to Eve and at some point you just say, 'Fuck it, I start with me.' "
Release your past and say, "Today's the day I start with me!" Why would you want to drag all the problems you've already hashed and rehashed, ad nauseam, into a new relationship? Bite the bullet and get therapy, if you think you need it. A word about therapy: I've worked extensively with therapists and psychiatrists in my business, but I would suggest choosing your therapist very carefully and finding one that's truly right for you. And if you've been seeing the same therapist for years and don't feel like you've made much progress, perhaps it's time to move on. Like a professional athlete -- if you want to win Wimbledon, you need the right coach to get you there.
The vast majority of women in Dating Detox are going to have some unresolved man issues. We've all had them. But now is the time to say, "I forgive all the men who came before; I start with me!" Forgiveness lightens your load. One of the most important keys to dating success lies in not becoming The Bitter Woman. Men can smell this type from a mile out and will run in the opposite direction. During Dating Detox you need to learn to love and trust the opposite sex. You need to stop complaining about men and focus on their redeeming qualities. Most important, you must accept the fact that you're never going to change them.
Jenna is a perfect example of a woman mired in bitterness. She's about twenty pounds overweight and refuses to exercise or change her eating habits. "Most men are pigs, because they only focus on the physical. I'm looking for an enlightened guy who will love me for me and doesn't care about what kind of shape I'm in. Until I find him, the rest can all go to hell," she says. Guess what? She's never going to find him. He doesn't exist. And even if he did, he would be thrown off by her meagainst-the-world attitude. If Jenna ever wants to get married, and she claims she does, she not only needs to lose the weight (for her own health's sake, at least), she needs to lose the attitude.
During Dating Detox, you stop dwelling on all the Bad Boyfriends of the past, and you look forward to all the wonderful experiences you're going to have with men in the future. Take heart in knowing that most happily married women will gladly tell you it was worth going through every bad breakup, every creepy ex, every unbearable date, to finally find their True Love. Think of yourself as a great wine -- you're only getting better and more valuable with age. When the right occasion comes along and that wine is uncorked, it will be the best, most delicious nectar the lucky partaker has ever experienced. But that will only happen if happiness is a major ingredient.
I know it isn't easy to just wake up one morning and decide, "Okay, enough dwelling on the past. I'm now going to be a happy person!" The sad truth is that most women spend so much time trying to please others -- their families, their coworkers, their neighbors, their friends, their romantic partners -- that they don't even know what it takes to please themselves. When I ask you, "What makes you happy?" can you immediately list ten things that make you smile, or do you have to stop and think about it for a few minutes...hours...days?
If you're among those stumped (and I know I was, for many years), I want you to sit down during Dating Detox and make a list of the things that make YOU happy. Not the things that your mother would like to see on the list. Not the things that the Bible tells you to enjoy. Your list doesn't have to include grand accomplishments, like getting a PhD, living in a mansion, winning the lottery, or having twins. Let's take baby steps, and start thinking about life's simple pleasures. Here are a dozen quick happiness fixes for you to consider:
1. Get lost in your favorite book, TV show, or movie. Rent Gone with the Wind. Indulge yourself in your favorite chick lit. Have a Sex and the City marathon.
2. Take a long hot bath with your favorite scented bath oil or bubbles -- candles and soft music are nice as well.
3. Take a quick weekend vacation. Was there a place you used to love as a child? If not, a spa weekend is always fun. If you're on a budget, get some girls together and go camping. Or maybe go visit your favorite cousin whom you haven't seen in ages.
4. Pet, hold, or hug something soft and furry, even if it's just at the pet store. You could also offer to walk your neighbor's dog.
5. Work on your favorite hobby. Even if you haven't enjoyed it since high school, get back to painting, photography, scrapbooking, knitting, training for a triathlon, baking the best chocolate chip oatmeal cookies on the planet, or whatever it is you do that allows you to express your creativity and makes you feel a sense of accomplishment.
6. Write a nice letter. Email doesn't count. Take pen in hand and write to someone you care for and tell them how much you appreciate them.
7. Plant something. Have you always wanted an herb garden or pretty flowers by your door? Gardening is both relaxing and rewarding.
8. Listen to happy music. Forget the whiny girl stuff, the violent, misogynistic rap, and the songs that make you long for lost loves. I love you, Alanis Morissette, but you have to go. I don't care if you have to download a collection of your favorite TV theme s...