There are joys and horrors — but mostly horrors — of Tinder dating. Maybe it can be better.

Once in a while, we present Adulting.tv LIVE! Subscribe on YouTube to hear about future events, and share your questions about or suggestions for our next discussions!

Show Notes

We don’t have a video, but we do have an amazing conversation about Tinder dating with Gwen from Fiery Millennials. Gwen shares some dating horror stories with some help from Miranda and how you can increase your chances of weeding out the losers from your dating pool.

Find Gwen on Twitter and on Facebook.

Listen to the audio podcast above.

Hosted byHarlan L. Landes and Miranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteve Stewart
Music bybensound.com

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Running into an ex sucks, but often it can’t be avoided. Even though everything isn’t in your control, there’s some prep work you can do to handle it well.

Breaking up sucks – especially when you get an unexpected reminder of the trauma. There’s nothing like running into a former flame to rip open wounds you thought were healed.

But an unanticipated rendezvous with your ex doesn’t have to be the end of the world. In fact, it doesn’t have to be anything more than a casual conversation with an old acquaintance.

The difference is in how you approach the situation, and how prepared you are for the buried emotions that might come rushing to the surface.If you’re worried about the potential of running into your ex, here are some ways to prepare.

Practice beforehand.

Facing an awkward situation is always scary, whether it’s a presentation at work or a run-in with your former partner. If you’re anxious about the idea of seeing your ex again, try practicing what you’d say if you ran into them. Ask a friend to role-play as your ex and run through a few possible scenarios.

Practicing beforehand can help you see the truth – there’s nothing to worry about. The real thing will feel different, but facing your fear and acknowledging it will make you less anxious. Think of the situation like a job interview.

Doing a run-through won’t take away all the nervousness, but it will make you feel more prepared.

Keep it real.

Running into a recent ex is especially difficult if they were the one to end things. You want to pretend that you’re doing great, that your life hasn’t been affected at all by them leaving. You don’t want to admit how much you think about them.

But acting fake and pretending everything is good won’t convince your ex, unless you’re a fantastic liar. In fact, making it seem like you’re on top of the world will only make you look more desperate and pathetic. If you have to insist on how well you’re doing, they’re probably not going to buy it.

Instead, try keeping it real. Don’t pretend to be aloof or uncaring. Be polite, respectful, and a little friendly. You’re not going to escape any difficult feelings the interaction brings up, so you might as well leave with your dignity intact.

Take the high road.

If the relationship ended badly, you might be tempted to say something biting and sarcastic upon seeing your ex again. How often have you fantasized about the shade you’d throw in that situation? Have you memorized the comebacks you’d throw out if they tried to apologize?

But being petty won’t make you feel better, even if it does make your ex feel worse. Even if you get a brief high from speaking your mind, being spiteful will only leave you feeling worse once the adrenaline has faded.

As hard as it might seem, taking the high road is better for both of you. There’s a famous saying that goes, “Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for for the other person to die.” Of course it’s easy to stay mad at an ex, especially if they cheated on you, but taking the low road won’t make you happier.

Keep it brief.

Unless you’re on great terms with your ex, you don’t have to discuss everything that’s gone on since you two broke up. Keep the conversation light and simple, make a joke or two and then find a reason to leave.

If you have an extended conversation, it could make them think you’re still interested. That can lead to even more awkwardness, with them preemptively rejecting you or trying to win you back. A five-minute chat leaves no room for interpretation.

Ignore them.

If you feel like you’re still too emotional and won’t be able to hold it together, it’s ok to ignore them. You might feel a little awkward just turning and walking away, but it’s better than bursting into tears as soon as they say, “Hi.”

You don’t owe anyone your attention. After a tough breakup, all you need to worry about is taking care of you.

Don’t obsess over it.

If you’re in college or live near your ex, the possibility of running into them is very likely. When I was dumped in college, I still had to see my ex every day. I dreaded walking into the journalism building and seeing his face.

Over time, I realized that my dread wasn’t making me feel more prepared. It was just extending the pain. Plus, spending all my of my free time obsessing about the next time I’d see him was pretty annoying for my friends. They made that very, very clear.

Yes, you might run into someone who hurt you – but you don’t have to let them continue to make you feel bad. Focus on your work, your hobbies, and whatever else you have going for you. Eventually, the thought of running into your ex won’t even cross your mind.

Have you ran into an ex and not handled it well? If you rocked it like a pro, what tips can you give. Tell us all about it in the #Adulting Facebook community.

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While fun, dating isn’t just about playing around. Life’s too short to entertain situations that aren’t right for you. Say what you mean so you can find who you’re looking for.

I’m currently dating (again) after a much-needed break from the single’s scene. This time around has been a lot more fun because I’ve removed a lot of the pressure that I was putting on myself to “meet the one.” That pressure caused me to say “yes” to a lot of dates that should have been immediate “no’s.”

As I navigate the murky dating waters of 2017 I find myself becoming more and more confident about when I need to say “no” to a date and pass on what, at the time, feels like an opportunity that can’t be missed.

In fact, after I finish this post I need to text a guy that I originally connected with on Bumble. He seems pretty nice and if pictures are to be trusted…he’s handsome. But, we originally connected at the beginning (or was it the end?) of July. It’s now August 31st and we still haven’t gone out.

The reason was pretty reasonable. At the time we both went on vacations and were out of town for a couple of weeks. In fact, when he contacted me last week, I had basically forgotten about him because it had been so long since I had heard from him. When he reached out I was actually confused and surprised. But, I decided to say yes to meeting up the following week. But, to be honest, I wasn’t excited.

Are you on the same schedule?

That “yes” left me with that feeling when you want to say no to a date and don’t trust your gut. Originally I was concerned about the amount of travel that this particular gentleman enjoys. I love to travel too, but, what’s the point of starting something with someone who has basically indicated that he won’t be around that often? In fact, he’s heading to Latin America in a few weeks and who knows when he plans on returning.

I’m not looking for a booty call, those are easy, I’m looking for someone to get serious with. In fact, my initial thought was to pass on this guy because he’s just not around enough for what I’m looking for.

My initial “yes” made me feel a little desperate as if there weren’t enough matches out there for me. So I said “yes” to a guy who just isn’t that into being in town.

The thing is, saying “no” to a date doesn’t mean that you won’t ever have another date again. It just means that you’re sending out consistent signals to the Universe about what you will and won’t accept for yourself.

Do you need a break (up)?

Now, if you have been dating your person for awhile and you say no to a date, that action is filed under healthy communication and potentially setting boundaries, depending on why you said “no.” Sometimes you just need to take a break from people-even from your lovers.

When you are honest and kind about why you need space, that is part of establishing honesty and respect within your relationship. Because, in all seriousness, who wants to hang out with someone who needs space or just is not in the mood? I don’t.

Are your beliefs aligned?

Here are some other moments when you should feel confident about saying “no” to a potential date. If you had a first date and you discover your would-be new person has habits or belief systems that are out of sync with yours. Remember the post that I wrote about being ghosted?

Well, when we initially met, that guy shared some political views that are a complete 180 degrees from what I believe in. In fact, we had a really good conversation about all of the things that you never talk about on a real first date. And, during the course of that conversation, I kept thinking…seriously? You believe this sh$t? So, why on earth did I say “yes” to that date with him? Desperation.

I’m trying to meet the one…but, the one will have to be a heck of a lot more aligned with my belief systems than that guy was. If we had gotten serious we would have had problems every time the t.v. was turned on! And, no amount of makeup sex would have fixed those problems.

To be clear, here is a list of reasons why you should say “no”.

  • There is way too much time between the time you initially connect and your actual date. The only exception to this if you bump into each in person and sparks fly like in the movies.
  • Your initial gut feeling tells you that it would be a good idea to pass on this person. Not because they are good or bad, but, because they aren’t the right person for you.
  • You don’t have to agree on everything, but, if your personal belief systems are so out of whack that you will potentially argue every time the TV turns on, you probably should pass on that date.
  • If there are feelings of desperation connecting to your “yes” that should be a solid “no.” You will act crazy and clingy in this situation. Don’t be that person.

Dating can be stressful, exhilarating, and fun. Avoid unnecessary drama (and the appearance of leading people on) when you say yes to a date that should be a solid NO!

Have you ever said “yes” when you knew you should have turned a date down? Any interesting stories about that date that shouldn’t have happened? Tell us over at #Adulting Facebook community.

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No cash? No problem! Fun and romance can happen without spending your whole paycheck, and may even be better for it.

My husband and I are no strangers to broke dates. We started seeing each other while interning abroad on shoestring budgets and continued to be dirt poor throughout college. Eventually, we graduated and started making decent money, but we still consider ourselves connoisseurs of the reduced-cost rendezvous.

The thing is, there’s no reason why a date needs to be pricey. In fact, those of us looking for a frugal partner may actually want to find someone who can have fun without dropping a week’s salary in the process. There are so many options for a cheap rendezvous, you can even suggest one without mentioning that you’re trying to save some money.

Here are some of the best options for dating on the cheap, pulled from my experience as a dead broke, love-struck twentysomething.

Take advantage of free admission.

Almost every local museum, zoo or other attraction has multiple free days during the year when anyone can visit for no cost. My local botanic gardens offer free admission once a quarter, while the zoo has them once a month.

Free days are usually packed with people, so it won’t be a very intimate experience – but it’s a great compromise for broke couples trying to have a little fun. Heavy crowds can also be a great opportunity for people watching.

You can find when attractions are free by searching “free admission [insert city here]” or subscribing to newsletters related to local events. Newspapers usually have an entertainment section where they list event details, and even your city’s Reddit forum will have information on when attractions are free or heavily discounted.

Get outdoors.

What better way to spend a few hours with someone special than by exploring the great outdoors? Find the best local hikes near you and pack a few snacks, water bottles, and sunscreen. You probably won’t have to pay a dime, except for the cost of gas.

Hiking not your thing? Grab a pair of old roller blades and find some quiet side streets, or take your bikes out for a ride. Being active together is always more fun than a traditional dinner-and-a-movie date, and is usually free or absurdly cheap.

It’s well known that exercising and being outdoors releases endorphins and promotes a happier mindset – perfect for a date.

If you’re not the adventurous type or don’t live near any decent hiking spots, hit up the best parks nearby or take a walk through an interesting part of town. When I first started dating my husband, we’d spend date nights taking walks around the neighborhood. Granted, we were studying abroad in London at the time so walking aimlessly was still romantic and exciting.

We didn’t have much money, but I cherished our walks, even if we covered the same ground every time.

Go to trivia events.

I’m a huge fan of going to trivia nights at my local bar. It’s one of my favorite things to do with friends, and it’s way cheaper than you might think. Trivia events usually last a couple hours, and you can order as much or as little food and drinks as you want.

Trivia on a date is fun because it’s interactive and doesn’t require you to answer repetitive questions like “where are you from?” and “how many siblings do you have?”. You’ll learn so much about the other person, like why they know Selena Gomez’s birthday or how they can list all the Star Trek captains in alphabetical order.

I always eat dinner at home before going to trivia and only order a small appetizer when I’m there, spending around $5 each time. You can find a trivia event no matter where you live or what your schedule is. Plus, it’s the perfect excuse for your friends to meet the person you’re seeing.

Cook together.

One of the most memorable dates my husband and I ever had was when we decided to make lasagna on Valentine’s Day. Neither of us had ever cooked lasagna before, but we thought it would be fun to save money and do something together.

It was a disaster. Cooking lasagna is an intense process, both in cooking and cleaning up afterward. We made enough lasagna to last the two of us for a week, after which we decided to never make it again.

But we had a blast, and I still recommend cooking together as a fun date for broke couples. Pick a recipe you’ve never tried, preferably something new or challenging like Thai Curry or a chocolate soufflé.

The point is to get you both out of your comfort zones, trying new things and embracing the challenge together. If the dish doesn’t turn out well, you’ll have a fun story to share with friends and family.

Make the shopping more exciting by visiting a local farmer’s market or ethnic grocery store together. It won’t be as easy or convenient as grabbing take-out or ordering a pizza, but you’ll have more fun and learn a new skill at the same time.

If you have any other great date ideas that won’t break the bank, let us know in the #Adulting Facebook community. See you there!

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Single parenthood can be plenty of fun. Have the best dating life ever.

Once in a while, we present Adulting.tv LIVE! Subscribe on YouTube to hear about future events, and share your questions about or suggestions for our next discussions!

Show Notes

Are you trying to date while raising a family? It can get a little tricky. Single mom Sarah Bettencourt joins Harlan and Miranda to talk about dating as a single parent. We go over the pitfalls of learning to adjust, finding interesting people to spend time with, and how to integrate children with potential mates.

Also, the cost of dating as a single parent is financial as well as emotional. How do you find the “ROI” of your first dates? We dive into figuring out how to make it work for you.

Sarah is the co-founder of Travel Foodie Mom, The Blonde Spot, and podcast host for Monday Morning Mimosas and Nerd Biscuit (coming soon). She believes life is better when you can embrace and she does just that.

Watch the video above or listen to the audio using the player below.

Hosted byHarlan L. Landes and Miranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteve Stewart
Music bybensound.com

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Intrigue leads to date number one. It should take more than that to get a second chance. Are there signs it’ll be a waste of time?

It was the end of a great date and I needed to pop into the restroom before we went on the Cruiser Ride. I had some reservations about him, but he was so cute! He was into me, leaning in, and talking about later (ahem).

But, when I returned, he wasn’t there. I had been ghosted, but at least he had paid the bill. Now, this was the first time that happened to me. You’d think I’d be upset about it. But I wasn’t.

He didn’t leave me with the bill. Besides, I should have listened to my reservations in the first place.

Let’s be honest. Should there even be a first date?

The first time we met was at a brewery.

I was with a group of friends and he was by himself, having a drink (or two, or three). This guy, like many people in Denver, was a new arrival. Somehow we ended up having a pretty lengthy conversation about the things that you’re not supposed to talk about when you first meet: politics and money.

I was surprised when he asked me out before I left, but I agreed to connect later. I didn’t think about it deeply because clearly we were too different. The initial conversation we had revealed the following:

  • He was way more conservative than I
  • He felt conflicted about life
  • He was prone to drinking way too much while out on his own

In fact, I was amazed by some of the things he said and believed because they were the polar opposite of my own personal belief system.

In reality, I probably shouldn’t have gone on a first date with him. But I loved that he worked in the financial industry. I’m a money blogger, so I find finances fascinating. He loved to travel and so do I. He loved his family and I do too.

And, hell, he was really cute. Seriously. Really cute. I was so enamored with the fact that I met someone in real life versus online that I ignored the red flags.

He made the decision for me about the second date.

Are you sticking to your standards?

When deciding on a second date, there are a couple of things you have to get real about. Those were the things I initially ignored in my first (and only two) meetings with Hot Finance Guy.

He drank. Like, a lot. I come from a family with relatives who died from the affects of alcoholism. I am not a big drinker. The amount that he was drinking made me uncomfortable. (And I’ve lived in Paris where they drink a lot more than in the U.S.!) This was actually one of my non-negotiables. I don’t want to be with some guy who drinks like a fish. In fact, I’m amazed that he looked as good as he did, drinking as much as he seemed to.

Ask yourself the following question before agreeing to a second date: would this behavior bother me if we got serious? For me? Hell, yes! This was already an issue. And it was never not going to be an issue for me.

The second way to assess if a second date is worth it is to ask yourself if the most important parts of your values and perceptions about people are in alignment. When we first met, he shared views with me that I just couldn’t wrap my head around. He wasn’t going to change and neither was I. No amount of good nookie would change how we view the world.

He had, to me, a lack of compassion towards others that I shouldn’t have ignored in the first place. Maybe I just appreciated the fact that he was upfront and honest about how he views the world. But we didn’t agree in our worldviews. Even if we had continued dating, this would have become a HUGE issue moving forward. I was already concerned about it.

He seemed conflicted about his life in general. Who needs a conflicted grown-ass man?

Finally, he didn’t seem as interested in asking about what who I was and what I was into. I actually thought this a little bit in that first date.

As I asked questions about his likes and interests, his questioning of me didn’t seem to match. Especially after I mentioned my training to do the Colorado Trail (too much walking I think?).

If you’re debating whether or not you should go on that second date, pay attention to the other person’s interest in you. Yes, he was physically interested (I could tell) but not beyond that, and that’s ok.

Pay attention to the clues.

Being ghosted was lame, but we weren’t going to be a love connection in the long-run because we were too different. I knew that I probably shouldn’t have bothered with that second date.

I’m not saying that the people you date should be exactly like you. But if the red flags are popping up everywhere, and you’re concerned about non-negotiable habits, then it’s obvious that it’s a one-and-done situation.

At least he paid for dinner before he left.

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Stop obsessing about the “perfect” relationship or partner. You want to find love with a person, not an idea.

It seems perfect. True love.

But then, somehow, it all went wrong.

Maybe you desperately want it to work still. So you make excuses and find reasons to stick around. You love someone and you’re sure you’ve found the perfect one.

When you’re in this place, there’s a good chance you’re not in love with an actual person. Instead, you’re probably in love with an idea.

The idea of love.

We like to think we’re in love. The romance. The allure of the perfect soulmate. Someone who understands us. But the truth is that, in many cases, this is an idea of love. We think we know what love means, and then we try to mold the situation (and a partner) to fit that.

Or, rather than really seeing your mate as a person, you see the “potential.” You’re in love with an idea of what the perfect romance would be, and you try to make it fit.

Here are some of the signs that you’re more in love with the idea of a person and your relationship than you are in love with the actual person:

1. You envision a future with a changed mate.

Is it all about potential when you look at your lover? If all you see is the possibility that s/he will change and turn into your ideal, you’re not in love with them.

You’re in love with an idea of them. You fantasize about how it will be different when your s.o. finally finishes school or decides that camping is really fun. Perhaps you think about all the great Broadway plays you’ll see once your lover has developed a refined taste.

When you love a person, you respect their differences and that they might not like the same things – and it’s ok. You can both enjoy your activities without the need for the other. Loving someone is about accepting that they may never come to a basketball game with you or follow the profession you think they should.

2. You live more in the future than in the present.

This goes hand-in-hand with the first sign that you’re in love with an idea and not a person.

Instead of paying attention to the present and working on yourself and your relationship, you live in the future. Your future memories and fantasies are what matter most to you.

Yes, you need to plan for the future with your s.o. But you can’t live there. Especially if your constant fantasizing about what will happen makes you grumpy that the present doesn’t live up to that ideal. You need to work on yourself and your relationship.

Living in the future puts the focus on trying to make your mate into someone else, rather than helping you become a complete person in a healthy relationship today.

3. You constantly compare your relationship to other couples.

Every couple is different. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

You run into trouble, though, when you compare your relationship to what you see from other couples. When you idolize a couple for their “perfect” relationship, and you want to do things just like they do, you’re on dangerous ground.

Rather than looking at the relationship and working on it in a way that makes you and your lover both happy, you constantly wish it could be something else.

Looking at the public face of other couples is dangerous. Mainly because what looks so perfect on social media might not actually be. You like the idea of what this couple has built, and aren’t really interested in the person you’re with.

When you compare your relationship to other couples, you spend too much time looking outside, to what others are doing. Instead, you should be looking at your mate, seeing a person, and focusing on whether or not this relationship makes sense.

4. On paper, it’s perfect.

Sometimes we look at someone and, instead of seeing them for who they are, we check boxes.

Athletic? Check.

Pretty eyes? Check.

A business major? Check.

Maybe you even share a lot of interests. You both like the same music and movies. You have similar religious backgrounds. It seems like the perfect match.

And maybe it is.

But when you focus on how “perfect” all these “qualifications” make your partner, you aren’t actually seeing a person. Instead, you’re seeing a collection of characteristics that you wouldn’t be embarrassed to present to your mom.

You’re in love with an idea. The idea that you have this great match, your parents will approve, and you’ll be proud to go to all the dinners and parties with this person on your arm.

Unfortunately, just because someone seems perfect on paper, that’s not always the case. None of us are perfect, and you need to look through the traits and see the person. Sometimes, even with the surface compatibility, you’re not actually good for each other on a deeper level.

5. You find yourself changing to meet their expectations.

Maybe instead of expecting your mate to change, you start changing yourself.

Your s.o. is perfect on paper, and things are a little rocky right now. You don’t want to lose the ideal, so you decide to make some changes. If you change to meet your lover’s ideal, then things will smooth out, they will love you more, and it will be perfect forever.

Nope, nope, nope.

We can all improve as people. Progress is about being a little better each day. But that doesn’t mean you have to change the core of who you are just to please your lover and get them to stick around.

If you are with someone who places contingencies on their affection, and they want you to change into someone else, it’s not really love. And you are more in love with an idea of not being alone than in being with this person.

Not too long ago, someone who knows I’m just not having any more children said this to me: “If you find the one, you’ll want to give him a child if he really wants one.”

Um, no.

If I find “the one” he will respect that I don’t want any more children. In fact, if someone really wants children, it’s clear I’m not the one for him. We aren’t compatible.

Sticking around and trying to change who you are and what you want out of life just to be in a “perfect” relationship isn’t love.

Don’t settle for an idea.

Don’t fall prey to the idea that you need to have someone. This is what leads us to being in love with an idea instead of a person.

Instead of trying to find someone, anyone, to fill a hole in your life, start by figuring out who you are and enjoying life on your own. Once you are happy with yourself, you are more likely to attract others who are happy with themselves – including potential partners.

Look for people, and look at them as people, rather than fantasies or ideas. In the long run, you’ll have more rewarding relationships.

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Are you in a sort-of relationship without wanting to commit? Not sure what to call it? You, my friend, are in a situationship.

There is no doubt that I love the single life.

But sometimes I find myself spending time with one person enough that things start moving into “boyfriend-like” territory. But I don’t actually want a boyfriend. And I certainly don’t want anyone moving in.

What are you supposed to do with that?

Luckily, a friend of mine came to the rescue.

This perfectly describes some of my recent interactions. It’s that weird place where you are kinda seeing each other. You’re more than dating, but one or both of you are unwilling to totally commit. It’s beyond friends with benefits, but you’re not going to take it to the next level. At least for now.

So, are you in a situationship? Let’s take a look at some of the indications that you are involved in this type of pseudo-relationship:

You don’t want to label it.

The first sign that you’re in a situationship is that you don’t want to label it. When people ask if you’re dating, you say things like, “Sort of.” You don’t want to call your … person … a boyfriend or girlfriend.

If you do come up with a label, it’s sorta lame. I sometimes refer to the subject of my situationship my “not-boyfriend.” The idea is to avoid actually committing full-on, leaving room for other dating experiences, should they come up.

You aren’t actually dating anyone else.

Have you reverted to the easiest situation? Is it easier to just hang with your not-girlfriend than go on a date with someone new?

A hallmark of a situationship is that you claim to be “free” to go out with other people, but you don’t actually do it very often. You’re basically exclusive, but you don’t feel a level of commitment that comes with true exclusivity.

If a better opportunity presented itself, you would totally bounce.

You aren’t going on dates anyway.

Forget dating other people. You aren’t even going on dates in your situationship. Instead, you hang around the house, much like a long-time couple. You might even sleep over at each other’s places sometimes. Netflix and chill is basically the order of the day and you rarely make an effort to go on a real date.

You still fly solo at events.

Family function? You go by yourself. Holiday party? Ditto.

While you might bring your situationship buddy along to some things, you’re still not “there” yet in terms of making them a permanent fixture in your life and bringing them along to all the events.

When making vacation plans, you’re not really interested in ensuring that you have company; you’re perfectly happy alone. While you don’t mind traveling with them, you’re not interested in doing it all the time.

Your friends and family might not be aware there’s someone.

By the way, do the people who know you best have any idea that there’s a Thing happening? Maybe your closest friends and family members know that “something” is going on, but they haven’t actually met your situationship person.

Or, maybe they have met the person, but only on occasion. You certainly aren’t arranging double dates with your brother and sister-in-law or planning fun couples hikes with your BFF and their squeeze over the weekend. Sometimes there’s a casual “this is so-and-so” when you do bring them along to something. You don’t make plans to do things with the couples.

Instead, you mostly try to keep your worlds from colliding. You don’t want your situationship to be part of the rest of your life. Or, at least, you’re trying to put it off as long as humanly possible.

Your Facebook status remains resolutely single.

You’re not even willing to elevate the status to “it’s complicated,” although for some people in a situationship that is an option.

You do have pictures of yourself with your situationship person, but they are relatively innocuous. They show you having fun, but they aren’t that much different from the pictures you take with your friends. You certainly don’t post all the pictures you might have of the two of you together.

Maybe you refer to yourself as “mostly single” (as I do), or you find some other way to subtly clue people into the fact that you are kinda sorta maybe seeing someone in a way that looks similar to a relationship, but you really aren’t doing the relationship thing.

Your future plans don’t take the other person into account.

Sure, sometimes you talk about the future or daydream about things you’ll do together. But, really, your future plans don’t really account for the other person. You make plans that could have room for the other person, but it’s not really your primary concern.

You just aren’t making long-term future plans together. When you think of your future, it’s attractive to you whether or not your buddy has a place in it.

Is a situationship a bad thing?

A lot of what I read about situationships seem to imply that they are bad things. However, I’m not sure it’s an awful thing to be involved in a situationship.

When you’re looking for a degree of stable companionship with someone you enjoy, but you don’t want to move in together or get married or do whatever it is that committed couples do today, a situationship can be just the thing.

The biggest risk is that you are content with the situation, while the other person starts developing stronger feelings and different expectations. What happens when the other person starts thinking about a future together and wants to level up to a real relationship? At that point, you need a Come to Jesus and figure out what’s next. That next might even be taking the plunge and committing.

If one of you is not happy with the situationship, but the other is just fine living in this pseudo-relationship indefinitely, it’s time to end it. The other person needs a chance to develop a relationship along the lines of what they want.

However, if you’re both cool with the situationship, there’s no point in messing up something you both enjoy. It doesn’t matter what those around you say. Figure out what’s working for you, and then go for it.

Are you in a situationship? How’s it working out for you? Let us know what you think about this new relationship category in the #Adulting Facebook community.

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Independence. Fire. Ambition. An alpha female sounds great. If you want to keep it great long-term, follow these tips.

For centuries, women have been told that “proper” females are demure.

Our concept of “traditional” roles are stuck on a binary that is largely a social construct. Rather than looking at individuals and preferences, we have this idea that men are providers and protectors, while women are nurturers and managers.

Today, though, with an increase in women as breadwinners and the growing social acceptability of the idea of those who identify as female becoming a little more aggressive, we’re seeing the rise of the alpha female.

Do you want to date an alpha female?

The alpha female is a woman who is confident and assertive. She usually has a career that she prioritizes (maybe even over you sometimes). She has ambition and drive. In many cases, an alpha female is at home being considered a woman, and doesn’t mind dressing up and being “girly” sometimes.

The alpha female looks like what we consider a “traditional” or stereotypical woman, but she doesn’t act that way. She’s ready to take charge and enjoy her life. Whether you’re a woman or a man, or identify as someone else altogether, the truth is that dating an alpha female can be challenging — especially if you’re mired in ideas of what a “lady” should be.

Before you start to date an alpha female, here five things you should probably know:

You need to have your own interests.

It’s fun to do things together. But sometimes work calls and things need doing. Sometimes an alpha female just wants to go do something alone or with a different group of friends.

For some, this feels like being ignored. This doesn’t mean she’s lost interest. It means she has other things to do right now. The emotional and mental stress of trying to reassure you can become overwhelming and annoying.

When you have your own interests, it helps a lot. An alpha female is her own person, and much of the time, she likes a partner who is their own person. When you have your interests, you can entertain yourself and you are less likely to get jealous when your partner is engrossed in a big project or goes out to lunch with a friend.

That goes a long way with an alpha female who wants her own space sometimes, and who is driven to the point where she wants to accomplish her goals before turning her attention to you. But realize that once that attention is turned your way, it’s most likely going to be all for you.

Make decisions.

After making a ton of decisions throughout the day, an alpha female might not want to decide where to go for dinner. Making another decision, or trying to people for another minute (if your alpha is also an introvert), can feel exhausting.

Instead, be ready to make decisions. If your partner says she doesn’t care what you have for dinner, don’t press her for a decision. At the very least, narrow it down to two or three options.

You can also suggest activities for the both of you. She might want to do something with you, but not have to make the plans. Of course, I know there are days I’m tired, done with decisions and just want to chill at home. In those cases, I’ll more than happily tell a partner I just want to watch an action/adventure/comedy and lay in his arms on the couch.

Try not to feel threatened.

I’m cis and straight. I “look” like I should be “normal” (read: “stereotypical”). However, many men I date feel uncomfortable with me once they start talking to me. I’m opinionated and happy to share my opinion. I make a pretty decent living, and mostly get to do what I want, when I want.

For some men who go out with me, especially now that I live in a culturally conservative area, it’s off-putting. They get upset when I try to pay for my own meal (and especially theirs). And they really don’t know what to do when I start talking about politics and money.

If you decide to date an alpha female, try not to feel threatened. If I ask someone on a date, I expect to pay. And if a dude lets me do it without getting all weird, I take it as an indication that he’s “man enough” (whatever that means) to actually appreciate a strong, independent woman.

One thing I’ve noticed: Many “traditional” men think it’s great that I have energy, life, and ambition. At first. Later, they feel threatened when they aren’t the center of my universe. It gets worse if I actually make more money than them.

Don’t feel threatened by your partner. She loves what she does. And if you’re not always the first thing she does, you’ll be happier if you can avoid jealousy, do your own thing sometimes, and appreciate her for who she really is, rather than wishing she was just a little more “traditional.”

Help out.

Not gonna lie. Even though I try to do everything, I really can’t. One thing that helped me recently was that I had a friend help out. He was kind enough to take my car to get an oil change while I worked. He ran a couple errands for me.

He was in between jobs and driving for Lyft, and thought he could make my life easier. And he did.

If you have spare time, help out. In any partnership, both partners need to do their share, depending on what that is. Don’t worry; many alpha females feel like they need to pitch in. They’ll pull their own weight – although it might be in different ways than you’re used to seeing.

When you date an alpha female, one of the best things you can do to show you care is make life easier by helping out.

Know when to back off.

When I get stressed and feel like I need to get stuff done, there’s nothing that helps, other than getting the shit done. Hugs and kisses are all very well, but they won’t get the job done. So I like a nice hug, and then leave me alone.

It’s not rejection. It’s just that I need to focus. For many alpha females, the fact that you’re there takes focus away from what needs doing. You don’t need to feel threatened. If your partner is stressed, ask if she wants to be held, or if she just needs you to go away for a while so she can focus intensely and get whatever is causing the stress out of the way.

This works out really well if you aren’t threatened by her independence and if you have your own interests. You can disappear for a couple hours with your friends or your hobby and when you get back, she’ll be less stressed, and ready to focus on you.

What do you think? How do you handle your relationships with people who might be considered “difficult” by traditional standards? Let us know in the #Adulting community on Facebook.

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Whether you plan a long relationship or a short partnership, you want your family to approve of bae. Get your family on board.

The disapproving in-laws have been a cliché for a very, very long time.

If you searched through ancient Greek scrolls or Mesopotamian clay tablets, you’d probably find a joke or two about someone’s hypercritical mother-in-law. It’s natural for parents to be protective of their offspring, and not surprising when those urges carry over well into a child’s adulthood.

Even though it’s understandable, that over-protective nature can be a relationship killer, both for the parents’ relationship with their child and the child’s relationship with their significant other. There comes a time to let go and allow children the agency to make their own decisions. Some parents never really learn that.

You want your parents to like your S.O., so it makes sense to do your best to bring them together. Or at least tolerate each other. Here’s how to help your parents find the potential in bae:

Talk to them.

This might seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. Your parents might have unfounded reasons for disliking your significant other, but you won’t know unless you ask.

Sit down with them and say, “It seems like you don’t really care for my partner. Is there something you want to discuss?” Maybe they’re concerned your boyfriend can’t hold a job for more than a few months, or that your girlfriend never tries to initiate a conversation with them. Before you can fix their relationship, you have to learn why it’s strained.

Examine their reasons.

Sometimes parents have a unique way of sensing a bad relationship before it sours. Maybe they see something you can’t, or have a gut feeling stemming from years of life experience.

Before you write off their attitude towards your significant other, consider things from their point of view. Is there truth to what they’re saying? Are you glossing over unsavory aspects of your partner’s character? Talk to some close friends and get their opinion, as they can lend some perspective to the situation.

Nip it in the bud.

Parents often come around after a while, but sometimes those attitudes take root and are hard to change. “My spouse and I have been married for over 30 years, and my parents-in-law (now in their 80s) are still not sure this relationship is going to work out,” said blogger Doug Nordman of The Military Guide. Try to talk to your parents as soon as possible, before their ideas can solidify. Talking to them early on might not eradicate the problem, but at least you can make it clear that their disapproval hurts you.

Try to talk to your parents as soon as possible, before their ideas can solidify. Talking to them early on might not eradicate the problem, but at least you can make it clear that their disapproval hurts you.

Plus, getting to them early allows you to point out the potential in bae. You can help them see the good aspects of your partner.

Step in.

Whoever has the problematic parents should take responsibility to curb inappropriate behavior when it happens. If your mother starts questioning your wife about how much she’s working or how she cooks, it’s up to you to step in. It’s easier for parents to listen to their child than their child’s spouse, and it will reassure your spouse that you have their back.

You have to be a team. As long as your partnership lasts, it’s vital that you present a united front.

Limit contact.

Until your parents change their behavior, you might have to limit how often you see, speak with, or visit them. Limiting contact is one of the few ways you can prove how hurt you are, and how seriously you take your relationship. This can be done for an indefinite amount of time, or until the parents in question agree to make amends with your partner — or at least attempt to see the potential in bae.

Be respectful, but firm.

Anytime you disagree with your parents, whether it’s about the person you’re dating or where you’re going for dinner that night, you should be polite but firm.

Snide comments or rude behavior will only make you look like a child throwing a fit. Try to stay calm, don’t raise your voice and keep your argument succinct. The more mature you act, the more seriously your parents will take you. Take the high road even if they start making personal attacks.

Remember how it feels.

Nordman said he and his wife are still hurt by her parents’ disapproval of their relationship, but they’ve used that lesson to be supportive of their daughter and her spouse.

Parents, he said, should never get a vote on if your significant other is good enough. “If that significant other is important to the happiness of their adult children, then parents should be glad that their child has found happiness and maybe even love,” he said.

Live life on your own terms.

If you’ve done everything you can to resolve the rift, then it’s time to stop worrying about what your parents think.

You can only change someone’s mind if they’re willing to let their opinion change – not a common trait in older generations.

Nordman said three decades of fighting with his in-laws has been painful, but it’s taught him to not worry about what they think. “Humans want the love and support of our parents, and estrangement is painful,” he said. “We deal with it by reminding ourselves that it’s their problem, not ours.”

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