How to Know if You're in a Pretend Relationship and What to Do About It


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...
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Why Men Don't Respect You


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...

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3 Biggest Mistakes I’ve Made in Relationships that Have Kept Me Single For Years


And 2 Quick Fixes that Will Save You Time and Heartache

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

Do you ever feel like you’re in a dating-version of the movie “Groundhog Day?” 

You keep having the same experience: you meet a guy, think it’s good (or could be good), then things don’t work out.  And you’re back to square one.

It’s easy to believe that there just aren’t any quality men out there, or that your “picker’s broke,” or that there’s just something wrong with you because you “keep attracting these guys.”

While it’s true that there are fewer “high-value” men over 40 than there are women, the problem may be that you’re wasting so much time and energy on the low-value ones, you aren’t available for the high-value gentlemen!

I’m WAY past 40.  Even though I’ve always longed for a husband and a family, I’ve never been married, and I don’t have...

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3 Fantasies That Are Keeping You Single


You've Gotta Get Real if You Wanna Get Happy

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

Thanks to Hollywood and social media, we believe a relationship is going to make us happy.  Prince Charming is going to come along, give meaning to our lives, and waltz us into a technicolor world.

We think success or money or love will be the solution, but if that’s true, why is the divorce rate over 51% on first marriages? 

Why do people who "have it all" end their own lives?  Why do celebrities get strung out on drugs and alcohol?

The reason?  There is NO situation or circumstance that is going to make you happy.  Well, it may make you happy, but it won’t bring joy.

Happiness is based on the external landscape; joy is based on your internal landscape. 

This is why Paul and Silas could sing praises in prison. 

This is why Tibetan Buddhist monks can be peaceful under persecution. 

This is how some people are able to maintain their equilibrium...

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Fear Not!


You Will Still Have a Happy Ending!

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

What if it never works out for me and I end up alone?

This is the question I began struggling with when I was 29.  

“What if I’m 35 and still single?”

Then, “What if I’m 40 and still single?”

Then, “What if I’m 45 and still single?”

Well, in the words of Job, “That which I feared has come upon me.”

I’ve never been married, but many women who are divorced have found themselves in this same situation. 

And, while there are women who do not want marriage - or don’t want to be married again, there are many of us who do want marriage, but have not found it.

I know many women who have never been married, but always wanted to be.

Ideally, we wouldn’t be stuck in this fear from 25 onward. 

We can make the argument that the fear itself repels the love we want, keeping us stuck in our singleness.

But, if you’re like me, and...

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You Don’t Need to Settle!



No, The Universe Isn't Sending You Losers

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

Just because a man shows up, it doesn’t mean he’s “supposed to” be in your life.

One evening, I went to a basketball game at the university where I teach.  I had tried to get a couple of different girlfriends to go with me, but none were available.  So, I went by myself.

During the second half of the game, one of my friends came over and asked if I was dating anyone.  When I told him I wasn’t, he said he wanted to set me up with his brother.

Flash forward a couple of weeks, and I had a dinner date with the brother.  He was super-cute, had two kids, and seemed like a nice, stable guy.  We share the same faith, he’s funny, and in case I didn’t mention it: super-cute.  I really liked him.

I thought, wow - good thing I went to that basketball game alone. 

If I’d been with pals, my friend never would have approached me...

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How to Be Confident In Your Singleness


Maybe You're Super Successful at Avoiding Bad Relationships

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

I just can’t get it right. 

Ever thought that?  Ever looked at the relationships in your rearview mirror and recognized yourself as the common denominator. 

And if you’re the one who keeps having relationship failures, well….it’s easy to feel like YOU’RE the failure.

I’ve always wanted to be married, but I’m over 40 and I’ve never been married.  I’ve dated a lot, and I’ve been in love, but nothing that lasted. 

I used to see my string of broken relationships as proof that I was a failure at love.  While it’s true that I’m not the best person to tell you how to get a man to commit, I’m definitely an expert on what doesn’t work.

One of my readers commented once that she wasn’t sure I was “qualified” to give relationship advice - having never been married. 


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Is God Mad at Me?



Your Singleness ISN'T Divine Punishment!

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

I used to believe God was punishing me with singleness.  Or, at least, that I just hadn’t gotten good enough to “earn” a man.

If you grew up in church, you’ve probably heard of Psalm 37:4 - “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

I took this to mean that if I didn’t have the desire of my heart (i.e., marriage and family), I must not be pleasing God. 

When you think God is mad at you, you’ll start jumping through hoops to be good enough.  And the major problem with this is that when you think God is mad at you, you cannot have peace.

I read one story about King David (who wrote Psalm 37) .  His heart’s desire was to build a new temple for God. 

But, God told David that He would not accept a temple built by David because there was too much blood on David’s hands. 

Unable to...

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What is Duty Dating?


Listen to this episode 

Sounds Like Work (And It Feels Like Work)

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


If you’ve read anything about dating, you may have heard the term “duty dating.”  This phrase was coined by Dr. Pat Allen, and the idea is that you go on dates with several men - even if you’re not necessarily interested in them.

Millionaire Matchmaker Patti Stanger has a similar approach: a pair and a spare.  Two guys you really like, and one that you think is nice, but may not really be Mr. Right.

The reason to duty date is that it keeps you “out there,” not getting hung up on one guy.  It allows you to “practice” dating and to keep meeting men because you never know when you’ll meet The One.

Many times, women take themselves off the market when they meet someone they like, but then when it doesn’t work out, they have wasted time and energy and feel more hurt because he was the focus of their...

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How to Be a Good Friend


Free Your Friends By Detaching

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


I think we’ve all had the experience of the friend who gets a new man, then you don’t hear from her unless he’s out of town or they break up.

If you’re like most of us, maybe you’ve been that friend!  In my younger days, I would ditch a friend to accept a last-minute date with a guy.  Or, I’d go on a date even if I was sick with a terrible cold, but cancel on a girlfriend because I was tired or just “didn’t feel like” going.

It is completely natural to want to spend every possible moment with your Mr. Right.  It’s easy to let your friendships slip away and just focus in on your beloved.  Part of that is how we’re wired as women, but we also need our girlfriends!  And not just the ones we double date with!

What if you and your beloved break up?  Many times, the couple you hung out with feel like they have to choose sides, and...

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