Resources for singles, daters, and broken hearts.
*None of these links are sponsored
Rejection is painful: emotionally and physically. Research shows evidence that pain centers light up when people are asked to recall a recent rejection. This article discusses the evolutionary origins of the pain of rejection and summarizes coping strategies including eliminating self-criticism, enhancing feelings of self-worth, and fostering social connectedness. Following Guy Winch’s advice can lessen the blow of a rejection and help you bounce back faster.
This long but worthwhile read of an article is thoughtful and ambitious, discussing the emerging dating gap in society since the decline in male employment and education and the rise of women. As a result, women are left with a narrower choice in the dating pool - choosing between a “deadbeat or player.” While this has been occurring in the African American community for some time, the trend seems to be permeating into all ethnicities in the US. Bolick describes the origins of this dating gap, the evolving conception of marriage, and the rise of being single, all the while seamlessly weaving in personal anecdotes, history, and research to support her argument. From her international research on this topic, she provides us with some interesting alternatives; suggesting that we (specifically women) can learn from other cultures and the variety of intimacy and kinship out there in the modern world.
Before thinking that everyone has a hotter sex life than you, this podcast shares different stories of people who are sleeping alone at night. The reasons vary: from a loss of interest to a bad breakup and even contracting an STD, these stories help to normalize the experience of celibacy.
Death, Sex & Money
Can you fall in love at first sight? Yes, but only to 11% of us, according to a study from the University of Israel that asked 493 people whether they had fallen in love that way. Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist, explains that we are programmed to determine whether we like someone within the first few seconds of meeting; a skill that helped our ancestors distinguish between friend or enemy. When it comes to choosing our mates, it takes a few minutes to know whether we are attracted to someone. First comes appearance, than the tone of voice, and finally, the content of their conversation (we are drawn to people with similar levels of intelligence, values, and beliefs). For the rest of us, the more time you spend with someone you like, the more attractive they can be. In other words, some potential partners can start as burning flames and other are slow burns. Both can lead to love.
Helen Fisher, PhD
Amy Webb shines an intelligent and hilarious light onto the process of online dating, a process through which more and more people are finding both short and long-term romantic partners. Taking us through her elaborate and incredibly well thought out strategy for marketing herself online to a targeted pool of men, she reinforces to the viewer the ultimate importance of developing ones own specific set of standards and sticking with your guns: no matter how many times your grandmother admonishes you for being “too picky.” In the end, she found her “jewish prince charming” and is now happily married with a young daughter. However, even those looking for more causal relationships should still find this talk incredibly fun and informative. After all, just because something is “casual” doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be quality nor does it mean it has to stay casual forever.
We love this blog post by Katherine Wu. It clearly outlines the neurobiology of love (in as much as we can understand it scientifically) with easy to understand graphics. Broadly we can understand lust, driven by testosterone, as the drive for sex. Attraction is based in the brain’s reward system, associated with the release of dopamine and norepinephrine that make us feel energetic and excited. When dopamine levels rise beyond a threshold it has the same addictive quality as cocaine, causing some to act recklessly (we can probably all identify at some level). Another pitfall of being in love is the deactivation of neural pathways that help us make judgments about others, hence “love is blind.” We fall in love blind, dumb, and addicted but hopefully emerge with a more stable attachment based relationship.
This book came recommended by a couple of single non-psychologist friends who described it as “eye opening” and “a must read.” Attachment, our style of intimacy in romantic relationships, influences how we respond to our crushes, dates, and partners. Broadly attachment can be divided into categories of secure (comfortable with intimacy), anxious (preoccupied with relationships and worried about rejection), and avoidant (discomfort with intimacy and independent). ‘Attached’ helps you examine your own attachment style, recognize the attachment style of others, and improve communication in romantic relationships. This is an excellent primer to understanding attachment and offers useful strategies for self regulation when the attachment system is activated. However, we caution against thinking too simplistically about attachment. Our attachment style is fluid and can shift with time or changing contexts.
Amir Levine & Rachel S.F. Heller
Is it possible to create the feeling of falling in love? Psychologist Arthur Aron thought so. He developed an experiment in which he had heterosexual strangers pair off and ask one another 36 questions and then stare into each other’s eyes for 4 minutes. Six months later, two pairs of those subjects got married and invited the lab to their weddings. Len Catron describes her own recreation of this experiment with an acquaintance of hers, with whom she was mildly romantically interested in. The questions are intended to really see person, both literally and metaphorically. The result? She fell in love of course!
Mandy Len Catron
We put this book in the Singles category because it’s about the self work necessary for improving psychological well being. Dr. Richo guides the reader through an exploration of the impact of childhood experiences, understanding negative emotions such as fear, building self-esteem, and maintaining boundaries and intimacy in relationships. Dr. Richo helps you process your own stuff so you can feel more free and authentic in your life and effectively function in relationships. It’s a short book but a long read. Every page is packed with helpful insights and advice that take time to reflect on. Reading the book alone is a great starting point for building self-awareness but we also recommend discussing your personal insights with a therapist who can help you further unpack your self discoveries.
Since the dawn of time dating has been a challenge and often times one wonders how so many people ended up with partners in the pre internet age. Online dating gives us the illusion of endless options and the idea that we are more likely to find “the one.” In the end we swipe, go on dates, do more swiping, and go on more dates in a seemingly endless search for something better. The process feels efficient (it’s a numbers game right?) but the opposite is probably truer. Relationships take time and investment, which directly counters the online dating model, “little effort on lots of people rather than lots of effort on few.” If you’re dating, our advice is to read this article, take a deep breathe, slow down, and spend time with people rather than running yourself ragged in the dating race.
Alone and in pain, heartbreak can take us to a depth of despair we didn’t know was possible. If you’re a heartbroken dude this article won’t take the pain away, but it will hopefully help you understand your symptoms and provide you hope. This article illuminates why those feelings make scientific sense and the course you can expect them to take. It’s written for straight men but the takeaways are useful for anyone. After a breakup don’t do things that make you feel out of control. If you're heartbroken there will be grief and sadness to work through and accepting that is the first step to mending a broken heart. On average, heartbreak lasts about 3 months. During heartbreak spend time with people you love and remember to be kind to yourself.
Born from the mind of a former Google employee and modeled after pre-existing fitness and brain-health health apps, Mend started as a newsletter that focused on recovering from heartbreak. Users find the large support network to be an invaluable source of solidarity and the app is already downloaded in more than 100 countries. With an aim to erase the shame and taboo surrounding heartbreak, Mend acts as a personal trainer of sorts, coaching the heartbroken through the trials and tribulations of a break-up and loves addiction-like qualities much the same way a fitness instructor would help a client train for a marathon or a sponsor would support a fellow recovering addict through stages of temptation.