A Dating Manifesto For Single Days

(Picture from when I was single and at DUCK BEACH. Yes, I went to Duck Beach. It’s known as the Mormon spring break and literally thousands of single people from around the country go. Has anyone heard of it?)

To you, my dear single friend,

I am sending you some solidarity today.

Because dating is HAAAARRRD stuff.

In my early twenties I found myself wanting so badly to have a relationship that I began compromising. A lot. Too much.

And even after I had a clearer head on my shoulders in my early thirties, I was STILL tempted to compromise. Luckily I didn’t.

If I had thought of it then, I would have written up a Dating Manifesto for myself.

Here are some good things I could have put on it:


If a relationship doesn’t feel right for any reason, GET OUT. Do not give him/her the benefit of the doubt. Honor your own intuition instead. Moving forward will never feel fully warm and fuzzy if it feels against your intuition.


Don’t end up dating someone just because you’re both available. Or because there’s no one else. Or because the other person won’t give up and really, really likes you (even though that feels goood). Or because you really would love to have a friend/partner/lover. Date people you would admire, even if you saw them from the sidelines.


Are they expecting you to do all the work to nurture a relationship? If someone isn’t putting just as much energy (and excitement) into the relationship as you are, GET OUT. Rip the bandaid.


Do they seem afraid to commit? They are probably a really great person that you wish you could be with, but if they are hesitant to commit, they are not ready for a relationship (right now). Stepping away is HARD. But I say don’t be the one to force or persuade them into it. It feels much better to be with someone who enthusiastically wants to be with you. 


Do they insult you or others? Perhaps they nit pick about your appearance? Perhaps they wish you were different in some way? Perhaps they don’t respect women? Perhaps they imply that you aren’t good enough just as you are? GET OUT THIS SECOND.


Are they always wanting you to be on their turf, at their home, with their friends, on their personal errands and activities, and involved heavily in conversations about THEM? (And never or very seldom vice versa.) GET OUT.


Honesty and transparency is necessary for respectful dating. Don’t be annoying by accepting future dates you aren’t interested in or by misleading someone in any way. Not cool. Not fair.


Dinner does not mean something is owed. A kiss does not mean something is owed. A visit to the apartment does not mean something is owed. If someone seems to feel something is owed, SAY NO. Don’t regret not using that voice of yours! SPEAK YOUR MIND VERY LOUDLY, if necessary.


If your dearest friends or family you trust are giving your dating partner the side-eye…think twice. Talk about it openly with your friends. Don’t ignore herds of people you respect if they’re all saying the same thing.


Do you feel embarrassed? Do you feel ashamed? Do you feel excited? Do you feel unsure and anxious? Do you feel proud and full of smiles?


Let your personality, talents, hobbies, and interests shine. Don’t give up or hide or diminish who you are for another person. If you feel stifled or held back, take note.


Sending you love and hope for your life! I have such a soft spot for those who are single and dating- because while it can be so, so fun at times, there are also so many sticky situations to navigate. If you need a mentor now or during a relationship or break-up, we’re available. Sign up HERE.

And if you like this post, please share it or leave a comment, below.

With all my love,


Register now for our Body+Soul Camp in Ecuador Oct. 11-17. It’s right around the corner!! We’ll teach you the nitty gritty of how to be deeply happy. We’ll teach you tools for living your BEST life!

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  1. Anonymous September 17, 2015 at 1:46 pm - Reply

    Great post, and great timing for me. I am 48 and recently divorced. It is a strange place to be right now, since I never really did date much before marriage, I met my ex-husband as a teenager. Some of these tips sound so simple but still I find I need to be reminded of them. I am hopeful and happier than I have been in years, your blog has been a great resource for me.

    • mara September 17, 2015 at 3:10 pm - Reply

      SO glad this post was helpful to you! I wish you the absolute BEST for this unique phase you're in. Try to embrace it. Try to have fun. Try to learn from every new experience you have. One cool thing is when you're older, you have so much more wisdom/confidence about what kind of life you want. All the best to you, M

    • Caroline September 17, 2015 at 3:54 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Mara! I really AM embracing it, constantly looking for fun and working on truly loving my new normal. There are so many positive experiences out there for me, I can just feel it. Whenever I feel frustrated, sad or down, I go back and reread many of your post, especially the self-worth themes, since that part of me was a victim of my marriage.

  2. Alyssa September 17, 2015 at 1:53 pm - Reply

    Dating is hard. Yes, I feel like I've compromised again and again. I've been that person who feels like "Well, I just do better in a relationship so I'll just stick this out." And then I get trampled on, by people who aren't kind or good necessarily. Sometimes they are kind and good, but not good for me. And I'm learning to know the difference more quickly. I've dated some good men, who have a lot to offer, but we weren't right for each other or the timing wasn't right. Lately, I've been repeating the mantra " If this isn't working out, then can you imagine who God has waiting for you?" That's given me lots of hope.

  3. Nat September 17, 2015 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    Hi Mara! I've been so excited to see all of your adventures lately, and I'm SO excited you guys are back to blogging!

    I love this post and agree with almost all of what you say! However, the suggestion that you should get out if it doesn't "feel right" is one I think is too easy an out for people with relationship anxiety. I find the idea that you should "just know" or that the "right guy" will make you feel like your life is now complete can be a very harmful, Disneyfied ideal to live up to. I agree that a good relationship is one in which you will feel positive, excited about the future, can see journeying through life together, lift one another up when you are down, etc – but that doesn't mean that you will never feel doubts or anxieties, and my view is that often those anxieties are a sign for us to look inward at ourselves. Red flag issues (abuse, commitment issues, etc) notwithstanding, if you tend to be a highly sensitive and anxious person, those qualities can easily transfer themselves to your relationship.

    As a person who is always working on her anxiety (something that began in my mid-20s), I have realized that my anxiety can manifest in a variety of ways, and one of the things it does is latch onto is my relationships. Obsessing over whether someone is ______ enough can masquerade as intuition or gut feelings, when in reality, it's fear. Learning to trust myself and separate my true feelings from fear is something I have to keep working on! When I am feeling fully present with myself and feeling good about myself, I feel the same about my relationship, and that is hugely telling. When I am in an anxious spiral, anything from my career to my boyfriend's irritating habits becomes fodder for my fear.

    Even in the best relationships, there is always the possibility that it will end due to one circumstance or another, whether within our control or not, and for me, that has been a very scary thing to accept! Moving forward can sometimes feel like a more frightening prospect than not trying. In addition, no one tells you that being fully met and showing your full self in a relationship can be very frightening, especially if you've made a habit of choosing relationships where the other partner remains distant. If you have anxious tendencies and aren't yet aware of them and looking to heal them, it can be much easier to continue on in a relationship with the idea of a person than with an actual person who shows up every day with his whole self, wanting your whole self.

    Bolting out the door is often the easy answer in these scenarios, and I often think being single seems easier than being in a full, healthy, honest relationship which encourages growth in both partners. I'm a big fan of Sheryl Paul's work on this topic; for a peek into her views, take a look here http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-21222/38-hard-truths-about-relationships.html.

    As she says, "intimate relationships are one of the places where we're invited to grow our capacity to love and be loved, to widen our tolerance, to increase our patience, and soften into compassion." That's not always easy stuff, but the reward is well-worth the effort.

    Her website is here for those other anxious ladies out there! http://conscious-transitions.com/

    Thank you so much for this post, just wanted to throw my two cents in for anyone else who might find it helpful!

  4. Anonymous September 17, 2015 at 5:07 pm - Reply

    Wow! You guys are so great at giving me the kind of advice exactly when I need it! I've been going on a few dates recently, and it's hard(!!!) not to get discouraged in the process. But I couldn't agree more with your advice in this post. Intuition is so important…I experienced this recently; I really liked a guy I went on a first date with recently…the dare went well, but I just got a feeling he wasn't interested in a second date. I decided to listen to that instinct and move on quickly (whereas, in the past, I might have tried to make something happen). It saves a lot of time and, potential hurt feelings/negativity. Thank you!!! Xo Nisha

  5. Ashley September 17, 2015 at 7:13 pm - Reply

    I really needed this today. Thank you.

  6. Michelle Bunt September 18, 2015 at 4:26 am - Reply

    Aw Mara, This was so beautiful. I couldn't have written it better myself. I just turned 32 and am single, and have a desire for long-term relationship but lately I am finding dating so draining and exhausting. It is hard work putting myself out there and remaining open and enthusiastic and constantly finding guys who are not willing to commit, and are not open

  7. M September 18, 2015 at 4:41 am - Reply

    Fantastic post. I'm married, but I read this and immediately wanted to teach this to my kids. I think this is critical information for teenagers. Not that they'll listen, but if they hear this often enough maybe it will reach them. But the problem is, NO ONE is teaching children this. We teach kids to "be nice" and don't spend enough time teaching kids to use their intuition and how to choose friends and form relationships.

  8. jhessa September 21, 2015 at 3:58 am - Reply

    Wow! This was really great! I'm not single but when I read this post I remember my friend who experience a tragic relationship with her past."HONOR YOUR INTUITION" which means If a relationship doesn't feel right for any reason, GET OUT. Do not give him/her the benefit of the doubt. (as you said in your post) was truly right! . I agree the you need to move forward and don't let the past imprison you. GET OUT with that wrong box and find big and better. In finding true love you must "LISTEN TO PEOPLE YOU TRUST" because they will never let you put with the situation that will ruin you. I already have special someone and we are now 1yr and 4months. I already have him in my life but I never stop making him happy. I think I need to share with you the blog that that really helps me regarding this matter. http://www.lipatbahaymanila.com.

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