Your Greatest Mistake?

What was it? What mistake was your greatest? The biggest, best mistake ever?!

As you may know from some previous blogs I am a podcast lover. I really enjoy listening.  Mostly I listen to other authors podcasts.  I wish I had more time to read but I don’t… so, I listen to their podcasts and then if I find myself say YAAS!!! High fiving the air, I buy their books.

On a recent podcast I heard the interviewer ask the author: what was your greatest mistake? What was you best mistake?  As someone who lives without regrets I have to admit I was caught off guard.  I didn’t understand why anyone would want to think of their lives and highlighting mistakes. But, then I got to thinking about all of my “mistakes.”  I thought about the stupid boys I dated.  The jobs I have had.  Not saying yes to some experience,  or saying no to someone.  Then I thought about where I am today.  I realized I had some great mistakes.  I have had some of the best mistakes ever–I am so happy I have had them.

Let me explain, I believe everything happens for a reason.  Not that anyone of us deserves bad things to happen, but that sometimes things that feel bad, seem bad, or just are bad are part of our path to greatness.


When I left my ex, it sucked.  I felt terrible for hurting him. I struggled financially, emotionally.  I questioned for a bit whether or not it was the right decision.  In the healing process I thought about the “Red Flags” of our relationship. I didn’t want to repeat my past.  I realized that had I said no to one of the dates in the beginning, had I dated others had I stopped things when my gut said to.  We probably wouldn’t have made it 5 years. We wouldn’t have probably made it past a few months.

But, if I hadn’t dated him I would not have learned what I know now about myself.  I wouldn’t have written my first book most likely.  I wouldn’t have known what I need out of a relationship. I wouldn’t have been prepared to meet the man I was meant to marry.

So, one of my greatest mistakes were all the bad dates I went on that got me here today.   Had I not had all those I would never have realized true love, true romance, true teamwork and true partnership.   Who would think that thousands of bad dates, and a perfect-on-paper relationship would lead to a happy marriage to someone else, a book, and many other successes, including this blog?!?

You may be sitting here, reading this and saying “Lesley! I am in a huge issue now. This could be the biggest mistake of my life. It doesn’t feel good. ” Like I said before, it didn’t feel good after all the bad dates. I truly wish I could go back to my twenty something self and tell her “this is going to suck at the end. But there will be a pot of partnership gold at then end of the storm.” Oh, how I wish! Sadly, readers, we don’t get that. We can’t take our future selves to our present selves and tell them “Everything will be ok.”


We can trust, though. Trust ourselves. Trust the Universe. Today prepares us for tomorrow, next year and fifty plus years from now. If you are feeling like you are in the worst mistake ever and you don’t know what to do. Here are some tips for you:

  • Don’t make any decisions right away. Get your breath back to normal.
  • Tell yourself how much you Love yourself, trust yourself and want and deserve nothing but the best for yourself.
  • Remind yourself you are being molded for the future. You are growing. Growth spurts don’t feel great while they are happening. But when you’re “taller” you can see the bigger picture.

  • Journal. Write and write and write. The first half will be your brain the second half will be God.
  • Get grounded! Lay on the ground. Put heavy blankets on top of you. Eat heavy foods (yes, I am saying to eat heavy foods) warm and heavy foods. Drink hot fluids. You need to feel whole and warm and soothed.
  • Just Keep Swimming. It’ll all make sense one day. That day isn’t today. Lucky you, you don’t have to have the answers now.

This brings me back to the beginning, what was your greatest, best mistake? Share them with us and our readers. The beauty about life is we are not alone. Your story can help so many others grow!

Xx~LL

If you have a comment scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com   We LOVE your feedback!!   Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!

101 pieces of advice

We started out this blog, 99 posts ago (a whole year and a half ago), because we are told we give good advice and are always asked for it. Self-proclaimed, self-help junkies—we love and absorb ideas, knowledge and advice. We both love to expand the mind, quest for happy living, and search for analysis and reasoning in human behavior. Here are our 101 favorites from our blog, and from a few of our favorite bloggers (note that if you want to read more, just click the link at the end of each quote!):

  1. “OWN being in transition.”  Transitions
  2. “Help yourself out. Sort through all the issues in a simple and effective way: Make a list.”  Regain Control of your life- Make a list!
  3. “Things, life, kisses, don’t always happen the way you dream or plan.” First Kisses
  4. “Change needs to happen. Not all of it is drastic. Sometimes little change is good. It keeps you on your toes.” Patterns vs Change
  5. “You already know the answers.”  Breaking up was RIGHT to Do
  6. “It’s completely OK to know what you want but not want it now.” Don’t want it now
  7. “You really don’t need to keep things. Really.”  5 things I have learned from Moving
  8. It doesn’t matter where you lay your head, as long as you have a place to lay it.5 things I have learned from Moving
  9.  Be vulnerable. Take a breath. Ask for what you need. “ 5 things I have learned from Moving
  10. “… remember to breathe through the painful moments and just keep moving forward. If nothing else, you’ll figure it out as you go.” 5 things I have learned from Moving
  11. “Like any good relationship, a good friendship brings out the best in ourselves.  If you’re not seeing your best, you’re not in the right relationship anymore.” Growing out of Friends
  12. “Its time we make connecting in real life a trend again!”  Eye to Eye
  13. “Cut out the excess chatter and find that peace within.” Text-a-Bitch
  14. “It’s tough out there but don’t try giving advice that 1) wasn’t asked for 2) puts your friend in a place that makes her second guess herself 3) that isn’t leading to a positive feeling towards oneself.” No more projections please
  15. “‘No’ is a full sentence.” The Olsen Twins said that.  Basically…life’s too short to do anything you don’t want to do, or anything that makes you uncomfortable. You always have a choice.–Honestly Libby’s Blog
  16. “A flirt is really just a compliment of you being alive and in this spot at this moment.” Flirting: A How To Guide 16332829367_ddb088af60_k
  17. As cliché as it sounds, love will happen when you least expect it… The most important thing to do is make sure you are living a full life. Fill your days and nights with the things you love, your passions, your family, your friends. Don’t wait for love to happen.–This That and The Other Thang’s Blog
  18. “…. do it with bells on—figuratively that is.” Duty Dating
  19. “Statistics are like a bikini – what they show is interesting but the important stuff is covered up! In a world where we rely heavily on data, it’s people who are at the heart of what really matters and numbers can paint a very different picture, whether good or bad.”– Aloada Bobbins’s Blog
  20. “We all have our lists of wants and needs in a mate. If you don’t experience it in the flesh how do you know its something that is a deal maker or breaker.” Duty Dating
  21. Treat dating as a hobby. If you’re too busy with life, or not having fun, stop. Don’t stop your life, just do it in your spare time. First, dating should never be your number one priority.”  Duty Dating
  22. “Whatever happens, we are responsible for our own happiness and success.”– Lessons From My Daughter’s Blog
  23. “Truth sometimes hurts, but lies are ultimately more painful. Let’s stop lying to each other and make this a more truthful world.” Lying: is it really worth it?1438336432_0904c3f0be_o
  24. “..not every date will be someone you want to date again. It’s nice to set boundaries until the date becomes the partner.” Whats in a Name? 
  25. “Maybe you want to be distracted by a 6 out of 7, but 7’s and 7 Plusses do exist, and are out there for the finding.” Move On From a “No”
  26. “If you want it and are willing to work for it, you can make it happen!  “It” can be anything.”–Lessons From My Daughter’s Blog
  27. “The thing about callings is that once you’re called you have to answer!” Leap of Faith
  28. “Chances of winning the lottery are increased significantly by actually buying a ticket.”–Suzie Speaks’ Blog
  29. “If you want to buy fancy undies, or fancy wine, or have a fancy shave: do.” Am I an Amy
  30. “It’s wonderful if they call, it’s great if they take you out, but if you’re not being introduced to friends or other people in their lives after a month or so, there is a reason.” Professing
  31. “…forgiveness isn’t letting down the protection walls. Its more of the mental version of just releasing unneeded tension and relaxing your shoulders.”  How to Apologize to Yourself
  32. “Only tell others things that you wouldn’t mind the rest of the world knowing unless they have consistently proven that they are trustworthy.”–Suzie Speaks’ Blog
  33. “…acting like a queen means watching and kicking lots of jester’s to the curb but one day your king—do not settle for a prince!—will show up.” RESPECT
  34. “You can change anything in your present.  You can take steps to cure your own unhappiness.” Stick Your Neck Out
  35. “Sex one time or multiple times does not a mate make. If you’re having sex to land a mate…” The Best Sex
  36. “My advice for you is dream big.  Work that dream backwards until you have something “small” to work with.” Climbing the Career LadderSONY DSC
  37. “…moving and doing creates options.”  Round Peg Square Hole
  38. “…the excuse “he/she is not my type” is out the window. If you’re single and alone, its obvious your type hasn’t exactly gotten you a home run. So, try on a different pair of ‘jeans’.” Because He ASKED
  39. “If something makes you want to scream, it’s the absolute wrong answer. Step back. Put the item down.”  Holiday Sanity
  40. “Desire: the sexy Live ClareLesley way to prepare you for a positive path for your future! It’s the Fuck Yes way to set your “goals”. If you don’t desire the outcome, it’s a Fuck No!” Desire
  41. “Happiness is ALWAYS just a perspective.” Happiness
  42. “Sudden change of who you are shouldn’t happen just because the calendar changed, but instead because you want to become a better, upgraded version of your current self.”  New Year, Same You: Upgraded
  43. “Once you start sneaking in the time to create, you’ll start making time for yourself to create.” Competitive Progress
  44. “Get off that “woe is me” train! Grab you happy side up ticket and drink a glass of Self Love.” In Your Social Face
  45. Make your own damn plans.”  Valentines Survival
  46. “Shed those red flag preventing glasses and see your own wants, desires, happiness.”  Red Flags
  47. “Don’t make yourself smaller for a mistake.” Stop Saying I’m Sorry
  48. “ANYONE that you kiss, sleep with does NOT a Relationship make.” Sex with Friends
  49. “Remember, the right one isn’t “out there” but instead is inside of you.”  How to be Single
  50. “You’re exactly where you need to be right now. Isn’t that Amazing?” Climbing the Career Ladder
  51. “We decide when we want something to be done, and we arbitrarily pick dates and times and abilities that we think we should be able to do.” New Year: Same You. Upgraded
  52. “Remember, breathing is the opposite of nerves—if there is plenty of good warm breath in your stomach, there aren’t room for butterflies!”  Nerves: Squish Those Butterflies
  53. “You rest, you rust! Seriously. When I think about rust I remember this old wheelbarrow out in the back yard where I grew up. Do you really want to become and old wheelbarrow?”  Love the Skin You’re In
  54. “…dating should be fun. It should be treated as a hobby. No one freaks out about or overthinks yarn, book club, or collecting stamps.” Dating:  Straightforward From the Beginning
  55. “Texting does not a relationship make.” No Waiting Dating
  56. “Get your face out of your phone. Actually talk to people, see what happens.” Crying wolf on social media
  57. “Sometimes we set goals and then we grow out of them. Luckily we write goals on paper, not in stone.” How To Stop Avoiding Your Goals
  58. “How do you fight the distortion?  Fight it with truth. Get down to the nitty gritty. Get naked.  Find a full length mirror you trust, and take it all off.” Love Your Skin Now
  59. “It’s nice that someone is contacting you. Wallpaper is nice my friends; your relationship should not be just nice.”  Texting is not a relationship
  60. “If you don’t eventually demand your worth, people will think you’re worthless, or worse, take advantage of you.” What Is Your Worth?
  61. “Sometimes the dream we have had in our head since childhood isn’t the one we really want to achieve.” 5 questions to help you focus your dreams
  62. “You are a beautiful snowflake, and you travel however you want to.” Age–Does It Really Matter? 11445631923_df52846c49_o
  63. “Be ok with changing your timeline.” Are you in a trough of sorrow?
  64. “It is great to be altruistic, but you have to take care of yourself if you are going to be any good to anyone else.” Rest IS good for you
  65. “Just like a stockbroker doesn’t put all his money in one companies stock. Don’t out all your stock in dating online. Keep yourself available to meet people multiple ways.” 5 ways to change up your dating game
  66. “I will survive my crisis. You will survive yours.” How to survive your own personal hell
  67. “Your life shouldn’t be supporting your business; your business should be supporting your life.” 5 steps for getting out of your own way
  68. “Even if you walked the same path, at the same speed as another person, you would have a completely different experience. If you open up your eyes and have no expectations, you’ll have enjoyed the journey much more; you see more, experience more, gain more.” Age–Does It Really Matter?
  69. “Slowly progress into the schedule you need to hit the goals you have.” Love the Skin You’re In
  70. “What do you really want? Re-tailor your life to that dream!” 5 questions to help you focus your dreams
  71. “Go, picture the life you want to live, ignore the negative voices, try something new and have fun while doing it.” I Said Yes
  72. “Understand you are not on a timeline/time crunch/expiration.” 8 tips to survive your friends wedding announcements
  73. “Be careful what you say: your brain is listening.” Be careful the things you say: Your brain is listening
  74. “Love the person, leave the label off, and let your expectations and demands on a relationship fall away.” Labels are for Soup, Not People
  75. “You will not die from rejection.  The odds are better than any other form of gambling.” Just Ask Already
  76. “Build your business around your lifestyle not the lifestyle around your business.” 5 Steps to get out of your own way
  77. “You are never “too” anything… so stop thinking that way!!” Why the word “Too” is just an excuse
  78. “That is the first thing you have to understand and realize is that all “single” means is that you’re not in a pair.  It doesn’t mean that you’ll always be–unless you choose it.” How To Be Single
  79. Wouldn’t you rather be your own original story? Knockoffs and remakes are rarely as exciting as the original.” How to deal with a barrage of green grass 2680294816_e710a43d3b_b
  80. “Partners take time. Just like friendships take time. They deserve to take time. Like a fine wine, tea or beer…fermentation is a good thing.” Sex with Friends
  81. “Focus on yourself. In this time that you’re waiting, think about things to do for yourself, or that you need to accomplish.” 6 Ways to Stop Your Waiting Anxiety
  82. “Stay Hydrated. Drink in lots of self love, big picture thinking and how this storm will prepare you for the future.”  5 tips to beat the heat of life
  83. “Don’t value the actual money more than you value time.” What is your WORTH
  84. “Don’t create realities that aren’t really happening.” Make like a Blondie Song and Call Me
  85. “Breathing may be difficult, but you’re the only one who can control that. So it is up to you to keep breathing and keep moving on.”  How to Survive Your Own Personal Hell
  86. “You are in control of your life and your thoughts. Remember you have choices.”  5 tips to beat the heat of life
  87. “Maybe you’ll succeed. Maybe you’ll fail. No matter what you’ll try something new and you’ll learn something.” How writing a novel made me a better person
  88. “The thing is, you’re never alone in your crap.”  What to do when Shit Happens
  89. “Forget about “you only live once.” You only die once, and its getting closer every day.”  How to Face your Big Fears
  90. “Change it up! If freestyle isn’t working there are other strokes out there. The important thing is to take action. You’ll feel more in control of your situation.” Just Keep Swimming
  91. “Remember the beginning is always slow, but you have to just slog through it. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and you’ll get there eventually.”  How writing a novel made me a better person
  92. “Take a look around you. Say a general thank you to the positives in your life.”  The Power of Thank You
  93. “Let’s stop being virtual recluses!  Go forth and have conversation.” Make Like a Blondie Song and Call Me
  94. “Being yourself, having fun and making eye contact are all things that attract someone to you and your personality.” Could your next date be at the grocery store?
  95. “Sitting around complaining about it and doing nothing to change it seems pretty silly don’t you think?  Unless you do something to change your situation, nothing will change.”  How to Let It Go2512983749_ee38b41e0d_b
  96. “By creating a new schedule for yourself the bad stuff won’t seem so bad because you are living the lifestyle you desire.”  5 Steps to Getting Out of Your Own Way
  97. Make mistakes. Make choices. Take chances.How to Listen to Life Lessons
  98. “I understood that I would be even more unhappy and unfulfilled in my life, which would actually be worse than the possibility of failure and the humiliation.”  How to Face Your Big Fears
  99. Being kind only takes a moment of time, but it will earn you moments, hours, and years.–Clare
  100. The true definition of luck is when preparation meets opportunity. You can be the luckiest person in the world if you want to be.–LL
  101. Go out and be great.  Or at least enjoy the ride!–LCL

Thank you!  Here is to hundreds more blogs, stories, and pieces of advice!

xoxo–Clare and LL

If you have a comment scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com   We LOVE your feedback!!   Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!

Photo credits–all photos from Flikr Creative Commons: 100 (by Ash); lightbulb (by Beat Kung); Create (by Dana Bateman); Truth (by T); Snowflakes (by MayYeo); Dream Big (by Heidi); Ant Heart (by uditha wickramanayaka)

5 Tips for changing up your dating game

“We had an amazing time! He walked me to my car, I drove him to his and he kissed me. Then he asked if he could call me. I gave him my number. He texted me right then, so I would have his. Haven’t heard from him since.”

That’s the short version of a friend’s latest Tinder date. The long version has even more details of a positive experience. They met and messaged through Tinder, so if he ever wanted to call her, he had to ask for her phone number. However, he also didn’t have to ask. He could have just said “have a great night!”  Her sadness is something I’m sure you all know someone or have gone through this before. Great date, no call. What the (insert your own explicative word here)?!

I am not a proponent of online dating. I have talked about it in Eye to Eye. I think all the dating apps keep our eyes on our devices and not on the present surroundings. Where there happen to be people! But no one is looking up so no one is meeting any one. Try it, walk into a cafe or restaurant and see if anyone is actually looking up? Aside from the fact that it’s terrible for your posture and spine strength you cannot meet people with you head down.

All the social media in the world has actually made us more lonely. Less connected. Now, these apps also make us believe that there are plenty of fish in the sea. Everyday more options, matches flood your inbox or app. You wake up and right there in your inbox or alerts is a fresh batch of new matches. People the app thinks are perfect matches for you! It’s not that much of a mystery why there was no call after a great date. They got home and after the typical 48 hours they already have had 10-30+ “matches”. Why wouldn’t they want to try out these other options first?

Dating websites do best the more people who are signing up for their services. The more profiles the more matches you’ll get the longer you stay on their site and the more money they make. Sure, they do need to make actual matches to have “success” stories. But, one thing dating websites and apps cannot do…make people actually go past the first intro, first communication or even a first date.

When I did online dating it was more to test out my Red Flags and Duty Dating. I’ll admit I wasn’t looking for Mr. Right. I was using Mr. Right Now to get me back in the dating saddle again. But, I fell into the temptation too. The massive amount of matches it’s easy to hit “like” on a profile then swipe to the next and hit “like” again. I felt like I was putting clothes on a wish list or adding men on a Pinterest board.

I had nothing invested, other than the time I was wasting, roaming the Internet dating site much like a flash sale on shoes. I put a bunch a men in my basket and then before checking out moved onto the next site.

So, can I blame this guy for taking her number then getting distracted? No. Do I blame him? No. I blame us all. I blame the social media marketing.  This situation is a mess.

Do I think there one person for everyone? No, but there are not as many fish in the sea as dating apps and sites would have you believe. The 30+ matches I had each week from match I probably spoke to one or two a week via email. Went on 1 or 3 dates. E-Harmony actually set me up with my Ex (who by the way I met online and was told he was a 91% match…I can honestly say we were not).

I do not think that many people on those sites are actually ready to commit even though they say they are.  I think they are on there so that they feel they have their finger on the pulse of dating. Because, it is easy to get a date off a site then in real life. The rejection of a date online is not as tough as the rejection of asking out someone in person..face to face. Honestly, what’s so terrible about rejection anyways? Isn’t it better you get rejected then to always wonder what if?

So, what are you to do? What’s s single person trying to meet someone to do?

1) make sure your honest in person and online

2) be bold: if you see someone out and about that you’re attracted to make eye contact and maybe even say something. Start a conversation.

3) have fun: dating is the fun part, if it leads to a relationship or marriage awesome. If it doesn’t better to find out sooner than later. But it should be fun in the beginning.

4) say yes if you mean it. Don’t be so focused on dating that you date or want to date someone so much that you trick yourself into having feeling for someone you don’t.

5) try something new. I’m not just taking new hobbies but new people. The “he/she is not my type” is lame and out dated. If your type was working for you then you’d be living your happy ever after.

My friend from the date is moving on. This one not worthy of another thought. She told me she likes a friend of a friend (I think she’s been interested for about a year). She’s going to get bold and invite him for a drink. The worst thing is he says no. She won’t die. The best thing it works out! I’d say the risk is worth it.

My dears, get off your apps and your phones during the hours you can be in public meeting people and living life. I know there plenty of people who fall in love and live happily from online dating. But, not everyone does. So, just like a stockbroker doesn’t put all his money in one companies stock. Don’t out all your stock in dating online. Keep yourself available to meet people multiple ways.

Xx~LL

If you have a comment scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com We LOVE your feedback!! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!

Red Flags: Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore

“In the beginning, what red flags did you ignore?” My therapist asked me in my second session post break up. I sat there speechless for a moment. At first, I wanted to get defensive and say there weren’t any.  Then as I opened my mouth to say so, I realized it was probably not true.  She told me that there are always red flags, some flags are redder than others, but there are always red flags.  She sent me home with homework: I had to think back and spot all the red flags that I ignored.  What were they?  Why did I excuse them? How red were they?

Sitting in that office on that couch I just couldn’t admit to myself that there were red flags in a relationship that seemed so perfect.  After being out of the relationship for more than a year, I can tell you every red flag and how red it was. I can even tell you the day one flag was waving, so bright and shiny like it was waiting for a bull to come charging, and instead of paying attention, I brushed it away. Actually, I rolled it up so quickly and shoved it in a trunk and put that trunk in the back of a garage and then put things in front of that trunk hoping to pack away the existence of the flag.

Of course that never works. If you’ve been in a relationship that didn’t work out you too can look back and see the signs. If you can’t I beg you to go back. Like Clare says in Patterns Versus Change  we’ll continue the same patterns until we learn from them.

I am not saying that any of us are free of flags. I think that we all have our own flags in a variety of colors and that’s what makes us unique. But some flags should be hints while others are red alert warnings. Not every person you date will be the right match for you. My last relationship was the picture of perfection. What every girl is supposed to want. I ignored the flags because society’s idea of “perfect” trumped my idea of “perfect.” Working on my therapy homework, I unpacked the garage after leaving my session and started looking at the flags I ignored. What an eye opener that was!

What happened next? My confidence in dating, trust within myself, my own choices, and eventually, love. I grew up, grew strong, and got honest.

As a coach for relationships and goals there’s often lots of red flags that I hear about.  My Duty Dating was the perfect red flag training ever for my life. As I listen to friends, clients, people at coffee shops (I do eavesdrop, but it’s all in the name of research), I ask myself “how red is that flag” for me?  As an outside observer, things look different.  Flags that are really really red to me, might be orange to you.  Its not my job nor my place to interfere or interpret your flags. Side note: friends want your advice that doesn’t mean you can judge their flag coloring (see No More Projections Please). However observing others is a good and less invasive beginning to viewing your own flags. I want you to practice recognizing the red flags that pop up or stand out in your life and in those of others, and then also observe what patterns or feelings arise.

Lately there’s been some sadness and disappointment in the dating world with my friends, clients, even from some of you readers. You meet someone, there’s excitement, smiles, something to look forward to and plans for your weekend. Then a few dates later, combustion!  Or worse: silence. We’ve all been there, I’ve been there. Can you get upset, sad, disappointed and or stab a voo doo doll?  Sure, for a moment.  Maybe you give yourself a day; mourn the loss of “what could have been.” Then pick yourself up! Dust yourself off, and ask yourself the tough question. The honest question. What Red Flags did I ignore? What behaviors did I pay no attention to or excuse away?

Dating can be hard. Life can feel lonely. But do you really want to be with someone just so you’re not alone? I didn’t think so! Get excited about a date but remember while you’re hoping their into you make sure you’re into them! Show off your colors and take a look at all of theirs. There are two people in a relationship. Even if one of you walks away, or stops calling you, at least you will not have been a participationless bystander. You were a an equal partner in the relationship (again at least should have been). Not that I want you to think that if something didn’t work out its your fault! I am absolutely not saying that. We all have choices. We choose what to pay attention to, who to give our attention to, and how we deserve to be treated.

On your next date, instead of excusing the guttural reaction because someone is cute, your type, the first date in five years, dig deeper.  Ask the tough questions. You may be surprised. Something you thought was red is orange. Something you thought was yellow was bright freaking RED.

We have no control of others actions. We can only control our controllables. If you are honest with yourself, totally love and value yourself, those red flags will stand out like a Viking at the Art Museum (not that Vikings don’t go to art museums just that Vikings stand out pretty much anywhere).

You won’t “fall” for every opportunity…not because you’re pessimistic but because you’re in control of your ship. You have awareness of your wants, needs and desires. Red flags just get in the way of those things. They delay your happiness. Why oh why, my loves, would you let your own self get in the way of your own happiness?

Shed those red flag preventing glasses and see your own wants, desires, happiness. Let those in who support you. Show them who you are and see them for their true selves. See the red flags. See the other colors of them. Make a decision, and try it out. If it doesn’t work with this person, at least you were honest. Try the next person; maybe their flags are the right colors for you! Then you two can roll around in your other colored flags and run off into the sunset holding your sans red flags hands high!

Xx~LL

In Your Social Face

It’s happened to many of you. You open your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc app and the universe and filters magically put your Ex’s status front and center.

Not just any old status either. Nope, that would be too fair. In fact, if it did that everyday you probably wouldn’t notice their status, tweets or #tbt! Nah, inevitably when their post catches your eye it’s the “kissy face”, “relationship status change” or in my case “She THE ONE”.

Before you feel sorry for me: stop. This post is not about how I felt punched in the gut, cried, ate a box of cookies, or how it sent me into a spiral of drinking and sleeping around to avoid feeling lonely or jilted.  Actually this post is the opposite! Why? Because we all need to stop the jealousy, stop the whining and the freak outs that ensue when the Ex moves on. Jealously works the opposite way you want it to.

See I left my Ex. I left because after 5 years we just weren’t right for each other. He “wanted to want to marry me” (stay tuned for the Live Clarelesley book that goes into all the details of my break up). So, I left. A year and a half later we are both in different relationships. I’m happier than I’ve ever been in a relationship.  Then one day when I opened my Facebook and there it was. A status from my Ex. “She’s THE ONE”. I actually out of habit just scrolled right over it.  When my brain caught up, I scrolled back. Did I really see what I thought I saw?  Yep!  There it was.  I was thrilled.  Seriously very happy for him.  He had never “professed” like that about me.  I knew he meant what he was saying.

The other day another “profession” came through my newsfeed. Side note: somehow FB knows when something is unusual or a big deal since I never get the general, uneventful posts by my Ex. He proposed! Interestingly enough, I sat there feeling very proud of him.  I know that my reaction can be hard to believe. He’s my EX after all and he’s moving forward and is happier than ever. How can I be excited and proud for him? Simple I am excited, happy and proud in my own life.

I try to focus on living my own authentic life. One with love for myself. Not in a narcissist way. Just in the normal “I deserve to be happy and loved” way. I didn’t spend an ounce of time on jealousy of him or anyone for that matter.  I also kept in my mind all the reasons We didn’t work in the first place. How can I be jealous?

Why am I telling you all of this? Because you need to hear it! Your Ee boyfriend, girlfriend or even ex friend will pop up in your newsfeed when you least expect it! It will happen at the most inopportune time. Ready to literally “ruin” your day.

If YOU let it.

Yep, you have all the control in the world to how you react to a situation. I realize it can be an unexpected shock. But is it? Even if it is does it even really matter?

I began writing this post because my friend who left her ex a few months ago opened up her newsfeed and there it was. The kissy face picture. Her Ex with a new girl.  Kissing.  Of course she was shocked. They had  just broken up. It really opened up freshly healed wounds. Break ups recovery time, even if you were the one doing the breaking.  However, that kissy pic really took over her day. Did it deserve that much of her time?  Her thoughts?  Her brain space?

I’m not saying she or you shouldn’t deal with the feelings that these posts bring up. I’m saying ask yourself what is it that bothers you most?

  • Is it that they’re happier with someone else? Then perhaps do a happy check on yourself. What would make you feel happier?
  • Is it because they’re moving on? You broke up for a reason or reasons! Review those. Also, just because someone posts something doesn’t mean it’s honest. They could be posting to get a rise out of you. They could be posting to make people think they’re happy.
  • Is the post bothering you because they have “something” you want? Remember what I wrote earlier: “Jealousy works the opposite way you want it to.”

While you’re sitting there stewing, they are off living their lives. In fact, while you’re busying your mind on them the whole world is moving forward.

Get off that “woe is me” train! Grab you happy side up ticket and drink a glass of Self Love.

If you do this, you make a habit of doing this. I promise those statuses won’t even catch your eye. Like I did you’ll scroll right on past. Then if you do happen to take note. You too will smile and be excited for their new life.

Here’s some easy tips:
1) Self Preservation
you can “un friend” anyone, “hide” or even “block”. Do what you need to do to keep you from becoming a “green eyed monster” or sad all together. You can always change that when you’re ready

2) Remember Remember
Why you split in the first place.  Why you’re in a better spot NOW.  There were good reasons that the relationship ended.  We always tend to remember the good stuff, but keep yourself in check by remembering the reasons you walked away from that relationship.

3) TAB (Click to see our blog on this subject!)
Not to complain but to reach out to someone who loves you and can turn that frown upside down. War in do not call the friend who will get angry or jealous and frenetic. Call the stable, “bright side up” friend.

4) SELF LOVE
I will never stop telling you to love yourself!

Xx~LL

 

Finding Closure

Here we are in the third week of January. Can you believe its 2015? Last year wasn’t too terrible, but a lot happened to me. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to close the door to 2014 so I can move forward. Let’s find our way towards closure, together!

My amazing roommate has found herself unwillingly in a closure situation. A good friend of hers is in a terrible relationship. The proof is there that the man that the friend is seeing is cheating, in multiple ways. He is also leaving the country to go home to his own country for good in three months. Its obvious to everyone, including my roommate that her friend is in a relationship that is going nowhere and is a terrible situation. The friend just needs to walk away. My roomie talked with her all night long, and finally convinced her friend to kick the dude out. The next day, friend was standing up for the dude to my roommate and saying that he had no place to go, that he wasn’t really that bad, that she had misread things and none of the cheating was really as bad as she thought…. And so on. The reason the friend knew all of this about Cheater Dude was that she went back for closure—she needed to ask (and be answered) why he would cheat on her. Isn’t she more important in her own life to allow that kind of treatment? My question for her is: why do you need to know?

This has happened to all of us! Eeek!! You’re in a situation that you know is wrong. It just is. Its bad for you. It’s deteriorating your life, your sensibility, your soul. You walk away, or really you start to take steps in the direction that leads away, only to proverbially look back over your shoulder, catch a glimpse of what you’re leaving, and you run back looking for confirmation that you’re retreat was best for you. Only to find out information that you didn’t want to know.

When you read it all written out in a hypothetical, it sounds rather silly. However, it is human nature to look for closure. Humans are a species that likes to tell stories. We have proof that cave men and women painted pictures to tell tales. The Egyptians are famous for hieroglyphics that tell their history and stories. Disney makes millions and millions of dollars on stories that parents across the world are exhausted of watching over and over (if anyone sings to me one more time about wanting to build a snowman…). What do you do when you go out with friends—you tell stories about the things happening in your life! One thing about stories. They all have endings. We have trained ourselves as a society to look for endings. Everything that begins has to have some sort of close. Although we may, from time to time, refute this fact—it is true. Everything has an end. Every chapter has a final period. Every book has a final sentence. Every movie has rolling credits. There is seemingly an end to everything.

In every day life, credits don’t roll. There isn’t a final punctuation mark or thought or sentence. Sometimes there is just the quiet sound of someone giving up. Or being fed up. Or generally not being invested or interested anymore. It happens. Life is short. Just like when the book we are reading or the movie we are watching ends, we move past it because its over. Our attention span is only so long, and we move on to another event or person in our life. Sometimes we don’t even finish that book or movie.

In relationships, curiosity always gets the best of us, and pulls us back into situations that we know are wrong. We need to know the answers, we need to figure out what we did wrong, we need to know how to fix it or do better next time. Because of our story telling culture, with their morals and their tidy endings, we feel that we need to make everything end with a tidy final sentence with the bad guy going off to something horrific, and with a lovely scrolling “The End.” Roll credits. My lovelies, this is life. It’s harsh, it’s insane, it’s chaotic. There are rarely satisfying endings in life. Life is most satisfying when you take the reigns, go out and make it your own. If you don’t like the way a relationship or friendship or job situation is playing out, approach it. Work it out. If it isn’t work out-able, move on. Sometimes you have to let things go, and let them work themselves out. Sometimes you have to run, don’t walk, away from Cheater Dudes and Dudettes. Sometimes you have to end relationships with friends. Sometimes you have the chance to see them later in life and enjoy Schaudenfreude at their expense, and sometimes you have to remove them from your Facebook because you can’t stand to see continual happy pictures of them at family gatherings, weddings, with babies, etc.

Yes, it is an attractive thought to look up people and friends from past lives. With so many social media outlets that are at our fingertips, it is just too easy to look up people or groups that we have left behind, but still need to connect to, or confirm that our leaving was best. I fell into the trap of looking up an ex’s profile the other day—I felt good about myself because, oh my goodness is he still in the same exact place he was when we dated, and is seemingly going nowhere! But then I started to feel horrible—how could I ever have dated that person and why did I spend so much of my time at the end and after it was over, bemoaning the loss? Of course I spiraled for a bit, feeling sorry for myself. Anyway, the point is: had I not indulged and went to take a look at his profile, I wouldn’t have spiraled. I should have left that door closed, instead of seeking to find more closure on the subject. Because, here is another point: nothing would have satisfied me. Nothing. Even if he had died, I still would have been sad. Even if he had been ripped apart by dragons, his parts divided between aliens, and then eaten by worms on their separate planets, I still wouldn’t feel quelled. It was better to just not think of him at all. I made my closure when he left my life the first time, and I should just leave it at that.

I’m going to tell you a secret about closure: its within you. Yup. Serious. You’re in charge of all of the closure you get. Which is great because you’re in control of when the story ends. You can walk away at any time. You can choose how the story ends. However, when you return to someone else for closure, they have the power. Don’t let them have it. They’re probably the one who is in control of you anyway because you let them be. Stop the insanity. Take control. Make the closure happen. Walk away. Tell yourself positive things like: they were sucking the soul out of you and now you can actually thrive; single is much better than being someone’s puppet; that friend was making you into something you hate; you’re better than the ick that was happening to you; you’re a sensitive, wise individual who deserves better. Get up and get out. I promise you once you step away from the bad things, new and better things will replace it. Remove yourself from the toxicity.

I had a really “great” job several years ago. You might hear me reference this job several times, because having that job, actually losing that job was a huge catalyst in making me head in the direction I was meant to go. For now take my word on it that it was a good amount of money and benefits, but it was squashing my soul. I made some mistakes in the job, which led them to find more reasons to let me go. The thing is, to this day, I’m still curious about what happened to that place. They made me feel so terribly about myself in the time span I was working there, that I wonder if they’re still in business. I sometimes even find myself opening up a search engine and start to type in their name to look them up. But really, it doesn’t matter. I’m sure they’re still surviving. More importantly, I’m thriving. My life is all the better for having been kicked to the curb. That door was closed, and I’m leaving it that way.

My roommate chose to take closure into her own hands, too. She told her friend she could be friends, but could no longer listen to or be a part of her friend’s deterioration. My roommate stepped away from her friend—which wasn’t easy. We still don’t know what happened with the friend, and her straying beau.

We search for closure all of the time because we are trained to find the ends to stories, the results to equations, and the outcome of everything. Life is messy, and really only ends when you’re dead—and even then it’s questionable. Depending on what kind of mark you put on the world, you could live on in infamy like Marilyn Monroe, Al Capone, Robin Williams, Maya Angelou, or Mother Teresa. As an actress, I go to so many auditions that I never find out the results to—I could sing my face of and act my heart out and not book the job for any number of reasons. The same goes for any job interview, college application, house buying opportunity, great first date that never amounted to anything, or missed opportunity. Things end or don’t even get started. Sometimes the why isn’t important.

The biggest thing to know about closure is that it too is like a book or a movie—you have the ability to watch it again, or open up the book and start from the beginning. However, you already know the story. You know how it will end. You know that you didn’t enjoy it the first time… so why put yourself back in that situation. Instead, put the “book” back on the shelf, and the “movie” back in the case. Look at it from time to time to know that you lived it, and move on. Psychologically, we remember mostly the good things, and forget all of the bad. This is awesome; however, we have to remember that the toxicity is not for repeated indulgence. There are much better stories out there with much better plots, and more worthy of our time. Don’t reach out for closure. Close the story within yourself, put it away, and reach for a better one. Start 2015 by closing the door on the past!

–Clare

Our Top 5 of 2014

As this is the week of new years, we wanted to say goodbye to 2014–a great year because it was the launch of the Live ClareLesley movement!  We want to thank all of our followers and readers–you all are amazing!  We’re so glad you’ve decided to Live ClareLesley!

This week we wanted to revisit some of our FAVORITE posts.  Please read, re-read, and share!  Come back each day this week to see what’s next!

Day 1 of the 2014 Picks: Growing Out of Friends— maybe its time to clean out your friend list, as well as your closet!

And make sure to stop back next, and every Wednesday for new blog posts!  Better yet, follow us and we’ll let you know when we have a new one up!  Also follow us on Facebook or Twitter @liveclarelesley  Also, feel free to #liveclarelesley and share and post!!

xoxo–LL and Clare

Professing

In my first weeks of post relationship I read dating books upon dating books! Ok, that’s not the point of the blog,its just my disclaimer (Men…Don’t skip this post there is some tidbits just for you) . When I first became single I read Steve’s book “Act Like a Lady Think Like a Man” and “He’s Just Not That Into You” by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo.   Both contain the absolute truths to dating. When you read them you will have many disagreements with them, you will love parts and hate parts (Clare read He’s Just Not That Into You and threw it across the room in exasperation). You will question, doubt and become annoyed. But, their advice is spot on. Sorry. You WILL probably date LESS. This is because you will be dating SMARTER. But, I am still digressing.

So, I read both of those books back to back and it was as if someone had given me the keys to the kingdom of my dating life. There will be more examples of this in future blogs and the Live ClareLesley book. But, today I want to talk about Professing. The first time I heard about this and realized how important it is in a relationship was in Mr. Harvey’s book.

In the past, girls would get “Pinned” or wear their boyfriend’s letterman’s jacket. These were symbols that they were someone’s girl. I know that are opinions that these could also be symbols of ownership, claiming etc. But, for the purposes of this post, let’s look at them as signs of love and endearment. Of a man Professing his relationship and commitment with the one he wants to be with.

Once we left high school there are no iconic ways to claim and be claim. No letterman’s jackets. There are no pins. So, how do you know a man is Professing that you are the one he is proud to have on his arm? (Men, how do you prove that the person you’re dating is yours, to others?) There are the signs, including being introduced as his “girlfriend” when you meet friends, families and co-workers. By the way, this means if he is introducing you only by your name and/or as his friend, then your name, he is not Professing you as his. He’s fine to be seen with you, but he’s keeping his options open. If you don’t like it, don’t date him. I know you’re thinking “But Lesley…” Do not “but” me on this. Clare will tell you, I won’t listen. Walk away and find a real man who is proud to Profess his commitment to you.  Back to the point: There is also the new way of Professing with the “in a relationship” relationship status change on Facebook. My ex and I in the 5 years we dated, never had ourselves as “in a relationship.” His reasoning was for work. Hmmmm…and somehow we didn’t work out.

But, what if you don’t want to make a beeline for the relationship status change? I will be the first to tell you: do not make a beeline for the relationship status change. I will go into this status change more below. Well there are other signs to be aware of:

1) How are you being introduced? Are you being introduced at all?

2) Whom are you being introduced to?  Close friends, acquaintances, co-workers, family? If you are not meeting anyone in his life, well that’s a BIG neon sign, my friend.

3) Are there posted pictures of you on social media (if they have any pages)? If they have social media and they actually use it yet you’re nowhere to be seen on it, again, it’s clearer than water that they’re not Professing. A change in profile pictures is a pretty good sign you’re in!

It’s wonderful if they call, it’s great if they take you out, but if you’re not being introduced to friends or other people in their lives after a month or so, there is a reason. If you don’t want to call them out on it, you don’t have to today. Just be aware. If you want to be the Girl Friend and not the Girl Friday, check out the signs he’s sending to the world about you and the two of you. This is not to say that after the first date you should see yourself being announced from the status bar, tagged in every check in. Professing is gradual. It should be. Dating is a two-way interview. You should probably want to make sure you want him to Profess about you in the first place. I know no one wants to be single but don’t be so desperate to be a “We” that you change your relationship status for the first guy who winks at you.

Now, the relationship status change. Ok, I have not made a clear stance on this yet. Part of me thinks it’s sweet and a great way to announce to the world that you and your guy are a “We.” It also definitely keeps those online lurkers moving onto the next profile (or at least it should). For me, I have never changed my relationship status. I know I would if I were engaged and married. I think that changing it for a boyfriend or girlfriend situation is personal, and there are no hard lines for me on this. I think it’s more important to the relationship that the couple have clear communication with each other on what their status is. Meaning: are they open to seeing other people? Committed to only each other? We put so much of our personal lives out in the world via so many social media handles. The relationship status change to “in a relationship” is not as important to the “Professing” as Facebook would like us to believe. In my opinion, it’s the in person, in public (real public) and close circles of friends and family that’s most important.

Guys, as promised. Here’s why from a Lady’s perspective Professing is NECESSARY: If she knows who she is to you and your life she will:

1) be proud to be by your side

2) support you, massage you, (ahemm) you and make you look like a rock star

3) will have your back more than anyone will

4) is loyal to the core to you

5) love you, get excited for you, get you excited and…more

No girl likes to feel used. The limbo, purgatory, in between time is important. Women—if you’re not sensing Profession, demand it or get out. Men—if you like who you’re dating make it known to those who matter in your life. If you don’t, that’s ok, too. Let her go sweetly, to find the man who will.

Like life, nothing is black and white. There is the gray that is personal to each individual. But, The Steve’s, and Greg’s, and Liz’s have written it. I have read it, lived it, and am here to say to you men and women: it’s time to take notice, be present in the relationships you are in. Life is too short to be anything else than present.

LL

Move On From A “No”

There has been a recent resurfacing of Mark Manson’s F’ck Yes or No article—it’s a good one, go read it. I’ve had three friends send it to me in the past few weeks… and I read it last year when it came out. He makes such a great point: don’t stick around if the relationship doesn’t work for you or isn’t what you want. And don’t live in the grey, indecisive land of a possible relationship if its not a firm “yes.”

So, that being said, what do you do when you like someone but you need to move on? Maybe you’ve been on a few dates, maybe you’ve just been in a few social situations together, and even though there is chemistry—or at least you feel like you get along well, nothing has happened, and you’re holding on to a “no.” If you’re one of those people who can move on quickly, bravo to you! What about a job you didn’t get or a family member who always gets under your skin and you don’t understand why? If you can let these things roll off your back, you can skip over this part and go read some of out other articles. Or, maybe you should read it and understand that you might be the catalyst, and let the other person have some sort of sign that they should move on with life. However, if you are a hopeful wisher, watching and waiting for a reason to step forward, or make a relationship happen, or do the perfect thing at the right time, and the other person will flip on like a light switch and finally see you standing in the middle of the room, just waiting for them… well, come with me. This journey is one you need to take.

I probably have close to fifty versions of this same story when it comes to these “kind of sort of but not yet really a relationship thingys”… for all intents and purposes I’ll call them “crushes.” I meet a boy/guy/man, there is some sort of zinger connection, and I am, for better or (mostly) worse, hooked. In any quiet moment, I sit and think over and over and over that moment of connection, the one that I swear to remember to bring up over a fifth date, and an important anniversary, possibly a wedding speech, and I analyze it. I think about and hope for other chance meetings, I look to see if his name is on invites for events, and if he’s confirmed his attendance, I’m more willing to go. And to bake something to bring. I’ll admit it sounds mildly psychotic. But first, I admit that I think like this. And better yet, second, I’ve learned how to stop myself.

Let me give you a scenario. One Saturday night, I go to see a friend’s show. Before the show, I’m chatting to a mutual friend I know and Mr. Tall and Handsome comes over to say “hi” to the mutual friend. T&H and I are introduced and I feel a zing in my stomach. Mutual friend is called away by someone else, and so T&H and I stand and chat. Now, I’m a great chatter. I’m also great at flirting—but more on that later (for how I do it go check out Flirting). I’m attracted to this man, who I’ve learned after about five minutes of talk is older than me, used to be in the arts but has now moved on and has a steady 9 to 5 job, and makes a steady pay check. Um… pause. In five minutes I’ve found out that this person who just randomly walked up, and I was left alone with has 5 out of 7 on my list of qualifiers—don’t judge, we all have them. (Turns out he made it to 6, has college degree, but found that out later in the evening). Since it was open seating, we sat next to each other and enjoyed the show. After the show he continued to chat with me while we waited for our friend who was in the show to come from back stage. The three of us chatted together for a bit, and then she went off to greet other guests. They were closing up the venue and the three of us head to get a slice of midnight pizza, and then we all ride the train home together, as we are only a few stops from each other. Show friend gets off first, and T&H and I have six whole stops to ourselves. Chatting continues. My stop arrives. He doesn’t ask for any way to contact me, (and this year I had turned over a new leaf, I was not going to offer mine—I used to be one of those gals who gave you every way to contact me possible if you seemed interested… I know. But not this time. If he wants to contact me, he’ll ask for my info) and resolutely, I give him a hug and a kiss on the cheek and walk off the train.

Two weeks go by. I wonder if he’s thought of me at all. He obviously hasn’t called, or texted, or emailed, or found me through social media. I wonder if I should have turned around and waved at him when I got off the train. I wonder if I should see if he has a Facebook page. I try to remain empowered by the thought that I didn’t throw myself at him, but instead stood tall and true to myself.

Third weekend since our first meeting arrives, and I’m attending a house party, that he has also been invited to—he is on Facebook, and he has been a “maybe” to attending. My hopes have rollercoastered all week, but on the day of the party, I’ve had such a packed day, I don’t even think about it until the friend (who rode the train home with that fateful night), texts me saying that he just confirmed he will be at the party. I do that panic/excitement thing where I think way too much of it in the first five minutes, and then try to remain calm and collected for the next two hours until I actually see his face.

At the party, I’m cool and collected when he comes in. Having a good time, enjoying myself. He comes right over, says hi, and kisses me on the cheek as we hug a hello. On the cheek. His lips squarely on my face. Outside I was calm and collected, trying to convince my knees to stay firm and steady. On the inside, I was jumping up and down, doing a touchdown dance, and screaming that I’d won the jackpot. All night long we flirt, and talk, and at one point we are even sitting next to each other on the sofa, and there isn’t much air between us. End of the night, party is winding down. T&H and our train buddy decide to walk to the train together, while I head off in a different direction. The party was in my neighborhood, so my apartment wasn’t far enough to take the train. Don’t panic, she has a boyfriend, and clearly knows my interest in this guy, so she doesn’t snag him out from under me. I find out a week later, though, that she asked him how he felt about me on their stroll. She says he said that he “likes me but is not in a place to date right now.”

So, what do you do with that? Obviously, he doesn’t want to date me, we’ve now interacted twice and no exchange of digits took place and he’s actually said that he isn’t interested. He hasn’t tried to find me outside of these social interactions. But he’s a 6 out of 7 so I should keep hope alive just in case in a few weeks he finds himself in a place to date, right?

Wrong. As Lesley and I conversed about this section, she said to me “Maybe you want to be distracted by a 6 out of 7, but 7’s and 7 Plusses do exist, and are out there for the finding.” She is exactly right—I say this to friends all the time. But why can’t I say it to myself when these instances come up? I need to move on down the road of life. Maybe, someday when he feels like he has all of his stuff together, his ducks in a row, his life as he needs it to be, maybe he’ll come looking for me. In the meantime, I need to get my own life, stop thinking about future scenarios in my head, stop hoping he’ll call, stop looking at his pictures on Facebook—we’re now friends so I can officially do that, and stop falling asleep dreaming of him. (Yeah, in black and white, it feels really horrible to read all of that. I’m cringing as I type it… and hoping that Lesley will edit this section, so I don’t have to read that confession again. All I can say is that, yes, even tall, beautiful, talented people fail at life sometimes.)

So, how did I move on? Well, a great deal of will power, and the lovely toolbox I’m about to dole out to you.

Above, I mentioned this also works for jobs and family members. It does, just adjust for whatever you cared about and were waiting around for a change to occur, that still hasn’t happened.

First, I used to get over these things by trying to make myself dislike the person (workplace, family member, etc.), thinking of the worst qualities, or attributes, or even making things up if I didn’t know any. This isn’t the best idea—in fact it’s probably the worst. One, it is negative, and there is enough negativity in the world, we don’t need to create more. Two, healthy people live and let live, and just move on in the world. Three, and this one is not a hopeful statement to get you (or me) wrapped up in hope, again, you never know when and where you might run into that person again—life has a funny way of reinserting people in my life. And finally, thinking about the worst things draws you into the person more, whether its thinking about them generally or whether you have a “bad boy/girl” complex that sucks you in, its just not a good idea.

What do you do instead: when they pop in your head, think about it for a moment, possibly send them light and love (this is what Elizabeth Gilbert suggests), and then tell the thought to leave you alone. I know it sounds corny, but it will work. If you acknowledge the thought, it won’t fester in your brain. If you put a positive spin on it, and let it go, its even better. It’s a mini-forgiveness. Let it all go: the person doesn’t deserve to be in your life, and neither does the thought of them.

Second: And this one may seem really obvious or repetitive, but live your life. If you’re a regular Live ClareLesley follower, you know that we preach this! But it’s the truth! Really throw yourself into the things you enjoy, especially the things that get you out and moving and being physical. Join sports teams, join a book club, go to yoga classes, go to the book store, go to a movie and dinner with a friend, get up and out and moving. The more you fill your time, the more you prove to yourself that you’re a worthy person, and you don’t need that crush or that few date person in your life to make you feel fulfilled. You can do that on your own. In fact, any person that you bring into your life can make you feel a certain fulfilled way, and really—and here is the kicker—they’re just reflecting you. Yup. Let me restate that. The people you bring into your life are reflections of your life at that time, and therefore can give back to you what you’ve given out. Therefore, go out, live your life, and find people to reflect your happiness.

Third: Get out of your comfort zone. If you find that you’re generally attracted to the same types of people, figure out where you keep finding them, and steer away from it and find a different place (Go read Lesley’s “Duty Dating” and review your picks—do you continually date the same type?). I’ve now made a personal edict, I should not date any actors. Ever. They’re always so handsome and they always suck me in, but It just never seems to work out—probably because actors have to be very self-involved in their careers, and never know what direction they’re headed next. I need someone more stable than that. I’ve spent the last year trying to date any type of guy that is not an actor. I haven’t had a ton of success, but I do know what I don’t want now. For a job, apply for ones you have qualifications for but wouldn’t apply for normally. Or apply for those that seem really interesting that you might not be quite qualified for, and write an amazing cover letter! Family members: approach them in a way that you haven’t before. Remember change in a family usually received best when coming from a caring place.

So to reiterate, move past the old person by getting out and living life. Once you’ve done that, you can start looking again. Go read Lesley’s chapter on Duty Dating. You’ll enjoy yourself, and it will distract you. Remember that dating is a hobby and you should treat it as such—when it becomes confusing/frustrating/questionable, STOP. When it becomes a relationship, then, you can allow yourself to be in a tractor beam, but until then, live your life and stand up on your own two feet! The amazing thing is, a few months from now, or after you decide to let go, you’ll think about the person. It will be a random, drifting thought through your brain, and you’ll say to yourself, “huh, I haven’t thought about that person in… I don’t know, a while. Which is weird because I was so invested at the time.” Its really ok. There are many relationships on the journey of life. You have to experience and live though all of them to find out who you are, and to live your best life. Move through both the good and the bad, and try not to let it damage you. Instead, grow through and move on to the next!

Clare

Duty Dating

Duty Dating. It’s the “post breakup” dating. The “back in the saddle again” dating. The get off your couch, stop feeling sorry for yourself, get felt up, flirted with and kiss or more with someone new dating.  I like to call it Duty Dating you may call it “rebound.” It really doesn’t matter which you prefer. It’s more important to realize that you should DO IT then what label you place on it. Oh, and do it with bells on—figuratively that is.

I might be the only person I know who treats Duty Dating this way (although I’m working on starting a trend). Now don’t get me wrong I wasn’t very excited about the idea. I had been dating the same person for five years. But, how else was I going to find out who and what I wanted if I didn’t get out there and go and test the waters. Actually, maybe we can think of it as a good buffet (yes, they exist I like the one at the Wynn in Las Vegas). You can’t commit to the first thing you see, there’s so many options. You really have to get little bites of everything you’re attracted to and then decide if you want to go back for seconds or if you’d rather just meet a girlfriend for a drink instead.

Basically, it’s the rare occasion the first guy you date post break up will be the one. It can happen but for the majority of us we have to date around to find “The One” and to figure out our deal breakers. Can Duty Dating actually help us weed out, or find the one? I believe the answer is YES.

So how do you duty date? How did I? I started with familiar before I went out with people I didn’t know. This helped me ease back into it all again. It’s like baseball. You spend some time in the minors before playing with the Pro’s.  I dated someone younger than me that I knew; I hooked up with a couple friends (Yes, this can work! Another day I’ll tell you how we are still friends); and I dabbled in the online dating for a brief very brief window… There were many terrible dates I had, which are now great to share with friends over drinks.  I’ll share the craziest with you tomorrow.

Looking back on your post break up’s have you jumped right into the next relationship? Did you do rebound’s? Tell me about your experiences.

As I promised, some of the best worst online dates I had in the brief window of my online dating trials:

There was a date with a financial adviser and break dancer (yep he couldn’t stop talking about that). I wish I was making this up. He was cute, successful, set the date up and was absolutely lovely. I just could not deal with the love for break dancing. Side note: there is nothing wrong with break dancing. Just not my thing.

Next the attorney from Pasadena. Not only was he geographically undesirable (I live on the West Side and love it! If you are unfamiliar with the LA lifestyle it means a five mile radius limit. Seven if you’re willing to cross the hill). He had similarities to Ex so doomed from the start. I learned that posture was a deal breaker for me. He had the “desk” posture.

There was the guy who was awesome at planning two dates and making me feel like a total Queen. Seriously, total Queen. Then two nights in a row while talking on the phone mentioned he was on a sleep aid…I’m pretty sure it was drugs. The next day he would act as if he had no recollection of the conversation…Thank goodness it was just two dinners. This was the date I was thrilled I never allowed any of these “onliners” to pick me up at home.

There were the ridiculous emails from many men on these websites that I have kept for comedic purposes. Two still stand out. The first guy whose profile said he was a “non judgmental person” made sure I knew that while he lived near Venice he was definitely not a “Venetian” he hated the “Venetians” and how they dressed. As luck would have it I was in Venice when I read his email. Dressed perfect for my “Venetian” excursion as I happen to LOVE Venice. The other email which is too long to really tell basically was about inviting me to swim with dolphins and have sex under the stars as he “loved everything about me.”  Hmm sorry “onliner” you don’t even know my name.

I quit online dating and went out with those I knew, those I could be set up with and those I met by making Eye to Eye contact.  I hooked up with a friend, a friends friend, I threw another attorney into the mix (pretty sure that’s the last one of those) I was set up with my “perfect match, wrong time” man.  Some people would say just be enjoy being single. I would respond with “I am!”  I do not believe you can plan when you will meet your next partner. You have to “dress” for the occasion. Be ready. However, I was having fun going out and meeting people and most importantly really getting to know me, my wants and my needs. I was enjoying “trying on” new mates.

At first my Duty Dating was to just get used to being with a different guy; to feel sexy and wanted. Then the Duty Dating was for getting out, meeting people, finding out what turned me off or turned me on. We all have our lists of wants and needs in a mate. If you don’t experience it in the flesh how do you know its something that is a deal maker or breaker. When I was actually on a date with a man who possessed a specific “want” or “need” of mine, it was funny when I realized I did not want it as much as I thought. Or even funnier, when I discovered a whole new deal breaker!

As I date now, if something is said or done by the other person, a trait that turns my inner guide on, I take note and trust myself. I ask myself why I’m feeling, seeing, hearing it. Instead of making excuses for it, I acknowledge and move on. It is extremely important that you stay listening to your inner guide or “gut” during Duty Dating. Do not make excuses for behaviors and traits that make your hairs stand up. Red flags come in all shades of red. Notice them and how they make you feel. I know dating is tough. It takes energy and strength. Will power. But, you deserve to be with the best one for you.

Do I want a man to open doors? Yes, of course I want to be treated like a lady. I want to be with a man who commits. I want to be with a man who wants to treat me nicely. Supports my goals and dreams. I also need a man who is confident in himself to love how independent I am. You’ll have your own needs and wishes, some of mine might sound familiar to you. On my list, I also have: positively handles a gluten free, dairy free diet.  What’s on your Mate List? What have since taken off? I think it’s interesting that what I thought I wanted at 25 has changed at 31. Be careful what you List for! What you put out in the Universe you will get.

There are a few regular questions I get on the “Duty Dating” subject. Here they are and my answers or suggestions. (And yes, for those of you who came back for the Fiancé story, its in there, too!)

1) When does the “Duty” fall off? When does it just become Dating?

Well that’s entirely up to you. Sorry, I know a total non-answer. But, really it is a personal thing. We all come from such different dating backgrounds. I am not a serial monogamous person. I date and enjoy dating, then I settle in with someone. I have really only had three serious relationships. Each relationship was a major improvement from the last. Each one getting closer to the life I want to live with someone. In my singleness, I used the duty to weed out things that I liked and didn’t like. For me the “duty” fell off after about 8 months. I began circling back to someone who had caught my attention early on in my single life. For you, pay attention to how you are feeling when being asked out. The duty will fall off on it’s own, most likely. One day you’ll realize you stopped accepting dates that didn’t light your fire.

2) Is Duty Dating a serious thing, or do you approach it as fun?

Dating should be like any other hobby—treat dating as a hobby. If you’re too busy with life, or not having fun, stop. Don’t stop your life, just do it in your spare time. First, dating should never be your number one priority. You, your life’s goals and dreams should be. Focusing on making yourself a whole person is so important. (see Opportunities: https://liveclarelesleyblog.com/2014/07/30/opportunities/ ) In fact, the more you know and love yourself the more attractive you are to The One and the duty dates will fall away. You will recognize them as they come and when they are not “enough” for you.

3) What are the “rules” to Duty Dating? Can you have a second, third date and still be Duty Dating?

It’s Duty Dating, fun dating, enjoy yourself dating. So, if you’re not having fun and enjoying yourself then stop with that person. Second and third even sixth dates do not make a relationship. Pat Allen would say: keep three in rotation (no sex) and may the best one win. Steve Harvey says: no “cookie” until commitment. Do what you will with that information.

Reflect after each date. Was I me? Was I having fun? Do I want to try that again, go back for seconds at the buffet? Or would I prefer a new option?

I firmly believe that my Duty Dating taught me more about what I needed, what I wanted and who I was as a partner than not dating at all. I learned so much about my last relationship mistakes. Things I didn’t do, didn’t want to do and things I should not have ignored.

4) How long should you Duty Date?

This is similar to when the “duty” falls off. But it leads me into my story I promised you. I did a lot of Duty Dating in a short time period. About 6 months. Then I just dated. Some people spread their Duty Dating out. Or, start their Duty Dating later into their single life. Others have one duty date and are ready for their next adventure. Don’t believe me? Well, my dear friend ended up single after many years with a “good enough” partner. Not the type to go out dating a ton of people, she went out one night with an old college acquaintance. On paper, this dude was one you could take home to Mom and Dad. In real life, after she realized he was after sex with her, and she wasn’t interested. She left. Annoyed and disappointed. The very next day she met her now Fiancé. The juxtaposition of this man compared to the duty date allowed her to realize she had met the partner for her. Today, she’s glad she had that Duty Dating experience.

Have you done your Duty Dating yet?

LL