Making Peace with the Past


How to Move On and Get Different Results in Life

By Mary R. Dittman, M.B.A.

Regret.  We all have at least one relationship we look back on and wish we’d done things differently.  Or wish things had been different.  Or wonder what we could have done or not done to cause things to turn out differently.

Sometimes, that regret is hard to shake because we keep repeating our mistakes.  We start to feel like it’s just the same heartache over and over.  Actually, that’s valid.  Sometimes we truly are experiencing the same heartache, just with different people, because we are doing the same things over and over.

One of the best ways I have learned to make peace with the past is to use a tool from Alcoholics Anonymous: the Fourth Step.  In the Fourth Step, the alcoholic makes a “searching and fearless moral inventory” of herself.  This is where you write down everyone you’re resentful towards, why you are resentful,...

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What to Do When You're Feeling Sad About Singleness


You're Not Alone!

By Mary R. Dittman, M.B.A. 

I am in several Facebook groups for single women.  This morning, I read a post from a young woman who is struggling with singleness.  She’s tired of going everywhere alone.  It seems like all of her friends and family members are coupled.  She dreads the questions from her mother about when she’s going to find someone and settle down.

I think most of us can relate to how she’s feeling.

Even those of us who have been single for a long time and who have made peace with it still struggle with feelings of sadness.

I spent a lot of years feeling sad, left out, and left behind.  Even though 95% of the time NOW I am at peace with singleness, I still have hours (and days) where I feel sad because I would prefer to be married and have a family.  I feel lonely, and I grow weary of so much time by myself.

People who don’t know me sometimes have the impression that I prefer singleness. ...

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Are You Really Giving (Hint: You're Probably Not)


How to Tell if You're a Giver or a Manipulator

By Mary R. Dittman, M.B.A.


Well, it’s almost Thanksgiving again!  We hear a lot in November about being grateful – and that’s important.  But, the second part of the word is “giving.”

As singles, we bemoan the fact that we “have so much to give,” only nobody to give to. 

However, I find many times that we aren’t so interested in giving freely – we are more interested in giving to get. 

The relationship is less of an offering plate and more like an emotional vending machine.  I give A, B, and C, and I get back X, Y, and Z.  

I give my time, energy, and attention, and I get back love, security, and hope for a future.  But, when we’re giving to get, we’re not really giving…we’re manipulating.  Ouch.

If you’ve ever found yourself recounting all you’ve done for someone, you are keeping score.  If...

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Make This Season Count


Don't Waste This Time in Your Life

By Mary R. Dittman, M.B.A.


I’m writing this after having spent the weekend sick.  Confined to my couch with a box of tissues and lacking the energy to do anything but whimper, I spent three days watching my to-do list grow longer and more intimidating.

One of the things I hate about being sick is that I enjoy being productive.  I get a lot of pleasure and purpose from checking things off my list of tasks and having results to show for my time.  Because I lacked the ability to do much of anything, I was becoming anxious about the amount of work that I knew I would need to catch up on once I felt better.

Knowing I was facing several days of being down, I decided that I didn’t want to waste this crisis.  That’s not an original thought: I heard “don’t waste a crisis” somewhere.  I also remembered the words of one of my favorite authors and teachers, Iyanla Vanzant, who, when...

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3 Ways to Leave Your Pretend Relationship - Because It's Wrecking Your Life


How to Quit Being the Basic Groupie

By Mary R. Dittman, M.B.A.

In The Rules 2”, the sequel to the best-selling relationship book, The Rules, Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider advise the reader not to “Waste Time on Fantasy Relationships.”

This sounds like a no-brainer, but a lot of us find ourselves in fantasy relationships all the time.

See if you recognize any of these scenarios:

  • The guy at the gym who always runs on the treadmill next to you - even when there are plenty of other ones open.  He compliments you, asks about your life, but never asks you out.  You figure he’s shy, and you’re wondering if you should suggest a post-workout smoothie.
  • The guy at work (or school) who always smiles at you, asks how you’re doing, flirts with you, and seems to make up excuses to talk to you.  But, he hasn’t asked for your phone number or suggested going out to dinner.  You think he’s afraid of things “getting...
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3 Ways You're Devaluing Yourself in Relationships


How You're Keeping Yourself Single and Unhappy

By Mary R. Dittman, M.B.A.

I just wanted him to love me.  But he didn’t.

My mother asked me what I wanted in the relationship and all I could come up with was, I want him to love me. 

I had no concept about what I wanted from a relationship or how I wanted to feel in my own life.  I just wanted a man to love me.  I wanted to get married and have a family. 

But I hadn’t clarified what I was willing to accept and unwilling to accept in a man and in a relationship.  It seemed that the only qualification necessary to date me was that a man act like he might eventually love me.  That was enough for me to hang in there.

That’s how I burned up years on relationships where I was devalued, taken for granted, and left feeling like I’d been used.

In one relationship, I tolerated a man going on and on about his ex-girlfriend and thought it was a compliment when he told me he felt like he...

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3 Things You'd Better Be "Picky" About When Dating


But Only If You want a Good Relationship

By Mary R. Dittman, M.B.A.


If you’re single and you’re over 40, you’ve probably been asked if (or told that) you’re too picky.

Like, you shouldn’t have any standards.  After all, you’re over 40 - you need to be more accepting because nobody’s perfect.

I find it interesting that when you go to the grocery store, you examine the produce because you don’t want to pick the tomatoes that are squished, or the apples that are bruised, or the lemons that are mildewy. 

But, God forbid that you have standards for a relationship!

I was dating a guy and learned that he had been divorced 4 times and had declared personal bankruptcy twice.  I told one of my friends I was going to dump him, and her response was that I was too focused on money.

OK - broke in your 20’s, starting out with nothing and building something together is romantic. 

Bankrupt in your 40’s with 4...

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3 Reasons Why He Left YOU for HER


And How to Stop Obsessing About It

By Mary R. Dittman, M.B.A.


Have you even wondered why “he” chose “her”? 

This wondering may show up in two scenarios:

(a) you wonder why that man (guy you know, celebrity, athlete) chose the woman he’s with; or,

(b) you wonder why the man you wanted (or were with) chose someone else.

Let’s focus on Scenario B today: “your” guy chose her instead of you.

I was dating someone once, and right after we broke up, he started seeing someone who had a less-than-sterling reputation.

To the outsider, it’s clear that his interesting choice had nothing to do with me and everything to do with his own character.

But when you’re inside the scenario, it’s normal to wonder if there’s something wrong with you.

I think there are two issues here:

  1. He doesn’t want to be with you
  2. He does want to be with her

They may be correlated, but not causal.  That’s fancy...

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3 Reasons Why I Finally Left

Why I Broke Things Off - And Maybe You Should, Too

By Mary R. Dittman, M.B.A.


 How do you know when it’s time to end things?

How can you know if you’re doing the right thing? 

At the right time? 

What will the consequences be? 

When you’ve been with someone for years, you feel comfortable.  Even if the relationship doesn’t feel quite right, or isn’t what you really want.

I’ve ended a lot of relationships, but this one was tough. 

I broke up with my old website.  Sure, I took my domain name, but I left the old platform, website, and even 3 years worth of blog posts. 

It’s scary being out here all alone with my new site.  I’ve had to start over.  I can’t refer back to old articles. 

I know - you want to hear about leaving a REAL relationship.  I got you - my One-Derful tips will apply to your situation! 

1.  I was settling

I’ve always prided...

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