Why Dating and Relationship Success is an Inside Job


Greetings! Happy Labor Day.

As promised, I’ve begun my September blog extravaganza, which will be devoted to personal success and being our best selves. Or, to put it differently, getting our personal shit together.

Why is getting your personal shit together important? Because what you think, what you believe, and what you do every day — whether it’s how you spend your spare time, or what job you have, or your deepest beliefs about men and women — will have a huge impact on your love life.

That’s what I mean when I say that dating and relationship success is an inside-out job. If you work on yourself, improvement in your love life will follow. You’ll attract better people. Dating will be less painful. Relationships will be more successful. You’ll still have challenges, because that’s life, but you’ll see real improvement. The more you improve your self, the better results you’ll achieve.

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Be Ready!


Hey everyone!

Happy almost Labor Day. Hope you all have some fun (or at least relaxing) plans for the weekend. I know I do. I’m just getting over a REALLY busy period (including solar eclipses and finishing up another fiction book), and I’m freaking tired, which means I’m going to be a LAZY-ASS all weekend.


But I do have some fun news:

September is going to be a great month. Why? Because I’m making some of those changes I’ve been hinting about for a while now.

The website is getting an update (finally). I’m getting a new headshot (no, my hair isn’t that short anymore!). And….. I’m beginning a big blog extravaganza for September. For the next several months, each month will have a “theme” in terms of what sort of articles I’ll be writing.

September will be about personal success… how we can work on ourselves in a way that makes us better partners in dating and in our relationships.

October will focus on communication, everything from the Four Horsemen of the Relationship Apocalypse to understanding body language.

In November (and probably December) I will focus on mental health, mental illness, and how they impact dating and relationships. This is a big topic that may require more than a month.

January 2 is World Introvert Day, so that month may be devoted to introversion topics.

You get the point.

So, get ready. Starting Monday, I will be laboring for you on Labor Day. For September, blogs will come three times per week. It’s going to be informative, and it’s going to be fun. Join in and be part of the conversation. This is a no-troll site, so you don’t have to worry about some dumbass insulting you. That shit doesn’t fly here.

Have a great holiday weekend… and I’ll see you Monday.


Bad Parenting: Curse, or Blessing?

Ricky and his father, hashing it out.

I don’t watch sports. I don’t care about football or the NFL. I have no interest in hot chicks. But for reasons that are hard to explain (even to myself), I watch HBO’s Ballers.

In Ballers, The Rock plays a former NFL player who stumbled into the financial advising industry to help other players avoid pissing away their income during their brief stints playing professional ball (a lesson he learned the hard way).

One of the players The Rock’s character represents is Ricky. Ricky is impulsive, temperamental, and selfish. He has talent but a lot of growing up to do. He also has daddy issues, as his father bailed on him and his mother when he was still in diapers. Toward the end of the first season, Ricky gets real during an interview and shares his resentment toward his father with the world. Sure enough, Dad—a former NFL player himself who saw the broadcast—shows up to confront Ricky and an interesting conversation ensues.

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Update, Plus Hilarious Tinder Profiles

Yours truly, taking the leap at Great Sand Dunes National Park.

Greetings, and happy August, peeps!

How’s your summer? Are you going outside and soaking up the vitamin D like I am? Or are you sweating your ass off and praying for football to begin? Either way, hope you’re making the most of every day.

I haven’t been posting as regularly, but I promise I haven’t forgotten about you. I’ve been doing some heavy duty thinking about this business and this site, and where I want it to go. I’ve been brainstorming, making Pinterest boards, scribbling on scratch paper, and doing research.

I’m not finished yet. Still more to do. But I’ve begun building that foundation. And if I’ve learned anything about running a business, it’s that you have to start with a solid foundation. That takes time, especially when you aren’t especially business-savvy. Which I’m not.

So, stay tuned. This site will be a place to come not just for dating advice, but for guidance on making relationships work and for becoming your best self. After all, good dating strategy and good relationships rely on maximizing our success as individuals. They rely on understanding ourselves, understanding others, and overcoming the numerous obstacles that get in the way of achieving what we want most.

What kind of obstacles? Bad habits. Poor communication. Mental illness. And most of all, ignorance.

We’re all ignorant, of course. It’s just a matter of degree. But success in life, and in relationships, requires information, education, knowledge. I want to provide those things here. I want to provide them for you… and for myself. Because I’m going to take the journey with you, by aiming to be the best person I can be in my life and in my relationship.

I’m excited about this. I hope you are too.

Meanwhile, here’s something fun to keep you occupied until I can offer some hardcore content.

You all know about Tinder by now. The swipe-left swipe-right dating and hookup app that has fascinated and horrified singles for years.

You may never deign to Tinder, but you’ll appreciate these clever Tinder profiles. These are people who’ve taken the awkwardness of online dating and the absurdities of Tinder and used them to their favor. Hats off to them.

Here’s the link to the article.

I’ll see you soon.


Dating: Do Guys Care About Your Career?

Years ago, I attended a local dating-related event where the audience was filled with single women and men. We talked about the usual dating topics: how to meet someone, what’s attractive, the challenges of dating online, etc. Some of the experts said some things I strongly disagreed with. However, the moderator made a quip that stuck with me:

“Guys Don’t Care about Your Career!”

I found it memorable for a few reasons. One, it’s an overgeneralization about men, and I’m not a fan of those. Not all men are the same! Two, it’s insulting to tell women their careers don’t matter. And three, and perhaps most perplexing, a part of me actually understood why he said that and what he was trying to convey. While many men do consider a woman’s career choice when evaluating her, let’s face it: it’s not as important to men as men’s careers are to women.

Fast forward a few years. A matchmaker I know — a woman — posted something interesting on Facebook. She stated that a potential male client told her he didn’t care one whit what his future female partner did for a living. This irritated my colleague. It made her feel like he’d just trivialized and insulted something that women work hard for and take very seriously.

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Why Blaming the Ex is Pointless (or Badmouthing the Ex, Part 2)

Years ago I wrote a blog about badmouthing your crappy ex, and why it’s a bad idea. It’s a bad idea for a lot of reasons, most of which boil down to the fact that when you say crappy things about him or her, it makes YOU look bad, not them.

When you’re dating, your dates or potential dates don’t know you. They don’t know your character or backstory; they only have whatever data you offer them during that brief interaction. Calling your ex an asshole/jerk/bitch/idiot, no matter how true, raises a red flag that you haven’t come to terms with the past or, to put it bluntly, that you’re just not a very nice person. Not a big turn-on.

This article did generate some comments from a few unhappy readers. These people felt annoyed by the advice, seeing it as unrealistic, unfair, or judgmental. One or two others were like, hey, you chose to get with that person and that was your choice.

When it comes to a crappy ex or a painful relationship, we look for ways to come to terms with what happened. We want the pain to go away. We want the shitty feelings to disappear. Lousy exes and lousy relationships make us feel bad about ourselves, and no one wants to feel that.

When we feel bad about ourselves, when we feel pain, we often look for someone to blame. In many cases, people blame the ex. She did this, he did that, he was a narcissist, etc. This not only makes you look bad to those you’re trying to date now, it makes you look like a victim instead of someone who participated in that relationship. In other cases, we blame ourselves. I should’ve known better. The signs were there. I chose to be there and to tolerate that. This makes you feel more empowered because you’re putting the onus on yourself, but it’s also destructive in its own way.

Likewise, when people go through something difficult like a shit relationship, I see their friends pull out their own blame cards. They blame the ex: “It’s not your fault, your ex is a dick.” Or they blame you: “Hey, I told you she was crazy and you chose to be with her.”

The problem with this? Blame. Whether you blame the ex or you blame yourself, you’re still blaming. You’re still looking for some scapegoat for your pain, someone or something to pin it on. The problem with doing that is it doesn’t really help you feel better in the long term or move on, and the pain stays buried in you.

Blame throws away your power.

Relationships are learning experiences. Every single person you date, get involved with, or marry teaches you more about who you are and what you need. Every one. ESPECIALLY the shitty ones. Yeah, it’s kind of fucked up that we need to experience pain to learn, but sometimes that’s the way it is.

When you think about that lousy ex, instead of thinking about what they did and why they’re a jerk (or why you’re an idiot for getting with them), think about what they taught you. What did their lousy behavior teach you about yourself and your needs?

I recently posted on Facebook a description of the types of things a narcissist says to someone they “love.” A woman I know said that those words described her ex to a tee. When I expressed how glad I was that her current partner is such a gem (and he is), she said she would never have appreciated him if it weren’t for that narcissistic ex. That’s what I’m talking about.

A shitty ex teaches you what you DON’T want. They teach you boundaries. They show you what your true values are. They make your deepest needs clearer to you. Best of all, they becomes EXES, giving you space to find someone better. Someday, when you get past the anger, you will thank them for what they taught you.

I won’t lie: this isn’t an easy process. It doesn’t happen overnight. But it does happen. It WILL happen, if you step away from blame and focus on what you can learn, on how it will benefit YOU.

I once read a great quote but cannot seem to find it anywhere. It went something like this:

Success is rising above your many failures, rather than getting buried beneath them. 

Failure is part of life. Shit exes are part of life. How can you rise above?



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Christie Hartman, PhD


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