While some women have trouble with breasts that droop or low-hanging butt cheeks, my heart has always been my least-resilient body part. Like Chet Baker once crooned, I fall in love too easily. And once it ends—especially when it’s not my idea—I tend to have a little trouble getting back up on that passion pony. The worst time was after a six-year relationship went kibosh (translation: he dumped me). I didn’t so much as kiss another man for two years. I know. It still makes me shudder.
Sure, I was busy moaning, moping, sobbing, and sighing for the first six or eight post-dump months, but by month 10, I thought I was ready to move on. For the next year and a half, I kept wondering, mostly aloud, to anyone within earshot, why nothing was happening. It was only in retrospect that I noticed what a basketcase I’d become…
1. Ex-Chatter: Kvetching about your ex to someone you’re interested in dating is a universally agreed upon very bad idea. Yet it bears repeating. In my case, he was all I could talk about. After all, he had been the main person in my life for the past six years, so most roads led back to him. A sensible person could’ve let the occasional reference drop and move on from there, but my mistake was a tendency to let those recollections lead into a sobbing reenactment of our break-up. Hot, right?
In short, “I went to Greece with an ex” is OK. Anything involving descriptions of his muscles, or stories that make you burst into tears or start hollering about the big jerk, are not.
2. Fixating on the Wildly Inappropriate: Prior to my Enormously Huge and All-Consuming Breakup™, my gaydar had become a finely-tuned instrument. Never once had it let me down; in fact, sometimes it was a little overzealous, and I was forced to break the news to boys who hadn’t realized yet where their proclivities were headed. But after EHACB, my gaydar went on the fritz. Big time. Luckily, the objects of my affection managed to make things clear before anything embarrassing happened, but there were a couple close calls.
The point is, crushing on gay guys is your heart’s way of telling you that you’re not ready for a relationship.
3. Broadcast News: There are few things more cringe inducing than the woman who tells anyone in earshot exactly how long its been since she’s made the beast with two backs. Especially when she has it nailed down to the hour. The only men who want to get with that girl are evil, predatory types. Luckily for me, even those types were put off by the all-consuming black hole of need I so obviously was.
4. Gun-Jumpers: Just because your last relationship lasted for six years, it doesn’t mean the next dude who says hello wants to be your insta-boyfriend (just add water and mix!). He probably just wants to say “Hi.” You’ll only frighten the poor lad if you clutch him with a death-grip and share your thoughts on bridal bouquets. Believe me, he has no idea what a Calla lily is and doesn’t care that you’re hellbent on naming your first-born Skylar.
Instead, relearn the lost art of casual dating. Instead of auditioning replacements for the Love of Your Life, have a little fun instead. Lighten up, and quit looking at every guy who crosses your path like a famished lioness staring down a chunky antelope.