Consciously Uncoupling, the Most Zen of Break-ups

A couple of weeks ago, I observed the first ‘we’re in splitsville’ announcement on facebook. Not by any rockstar, supermodel or reality TV D-lister, but by an everyday person. It was written in the style of a celebrity breakup, minus the ‘request for privacy at this difficult time’, and inclusive of a statement that the message was not posted in a call for sympathy, but just to avoid having to tell everyone one by one when they next met. A momentary quandary ensued as I contemplated whether pressing ‘like’ was appropriate. But there’s something efficient and appealing in this mechanism, and having been a person who announced her marriage breakup to her parents by text message some three months after the event, I can relate to delivery of news in that fashion.

What is far more tedious is the procession of celebrity breakup messages, and this week they were all topped by Gwyneth Paltrow announcing the end of her marriage to Chris Martin. Now I find Gwyneth particularly loathsome at the best of times, and on more than one occasion have wanted to inform her what she could do with her authentically-ancient rustic earthenware bowl of quinoa, hand-roasted grain by grain and nestling meditatively in a nest of shredded kale, but I have a general philosophy not to stoop to twitter trolling. She topped it this week by trying to out-zen every celebrity breakup that has gone before, describing it as a decision to ‘consciously uncouple’. In a week bereft of any kind of humour this proved to be fodder for every radio station, comedian and commentator as we all tried to understand if this was gluten-free-speak for divorcing.

From someone who has named her website after nothing (Goop) and her child after a fruit (Apple) we should be unsurprised to note new phraseology emerging from the Paltrow camp. However it seems to be very Gwyneth-esquely grounded in its origin from a term used by two divorce specialists in LA who aimed to bring ‘wholeness to the spirits of both people’ during the process (which is about as LA as you can get)

uOOwsJconscious-uncoupling-gwyneth-paltrow-separation-divorce-ecards-someecards

I’d imagine Gwyneth has had some time to contemplate (whilst inhaling bergamot essential oil and pondering the perfection of a lotus flower) the best wording of such an announcement, with the benefit of reviewing the announcement content alongside subsequent behaviour on the part of the couples in question. Here’s what she could have learned from those who inhabit the celeb-stratosphere.

Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries

From Kimmy,

“I had hoped this marriage would be forever” (cue collective groan as we all understood that it had been 72 days, which meant at flat-line amortisation rates the grotesquely OTT engagement ring had cost close to a lazy $28,000 per day)

kim and kris

“We remain friends and wish each other the best”, slightly at odds with Kris’s ‘I’m devastated to learn she filed for divorce” and comprehensively at odds with their subsequent behaviour which included him suing her for a divorce based on fraud whilst Kim worked simultaneously on a new handbag line and becoming impregnated with Kanye West’s child.

Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher

From Demi:  ‘there are certain values and vows that I hold sacred, and it is in this spirit that I have chosen to move forward with my life’

ie – you cheated on me, you SOB, and its going to be messy. And expensive.

demi ashton split

Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt

I realise we are going back to the archives here, but there was a nuance in this breakup announcement that was a little unique ie ‘we would like to explain that our separation is not the result of any speculation reported by the tabloid media’, said media being in a frenzy much like a Western Australian shark population circling a coconut-oil-basted clutch of surfers.

Sure, it was not a result of that speculation but a more fact-based scenario where Mr and Mrs Smith were taking their conjugal duties seriously off-screen.

For the record and in the interests of full-disclosure?

I’m #teamaniston.

jen ange

Marc Anthony and J-Lo

J-Lo…the roots of the Anthony downfall were grounded in the fact that she ever ditched Ben Affleck in the first place (actually, that whole thing was incomprehensible to me…)

However once the Anthony era was done, her statement that she had ‘come to an amicable conclusion on all matters’ seemed to only have the tiniest discrepancy – that the scope of the amicable conclusion was unlikely to extend to her installing boy-toy back-up dancer as boy-toy back-up daddy to the Lo-Anthony twins.

As for you Gwyneth? My predictions are these:

One – You will shortly understand that immediately after conscious uncoupling you will undergo a period where

  • your blender moves away from green smoothies to hi-octane margaritas, and
  • shortly thereafter conscious uncoupling becomes unconscious coupling

Two – You and Russell Brand will be swapping yoga mats and harem pants in a Hollywood heartbeat.

Mark my words……

If you are taking your online dating alittle more seriously than this blog, check out this website for fabulously simple online dating advice.

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Tough Breakup? Here’s Your Social Media Strategy

There was a brief moment when I turned away from writing fluffy blogs, spawned as they are by a glass of sauv blanc and characterised by overuse of celebrity references and hard-won dating stories.

Instead readers, as incongruous as it sounds, I attempted to focus equivalent energy on trying to be a grown-up and furthering my career in my day job (which is about as far removed from dating blogging as Jennifer Aniston is from a grandchild)

In that phase, about as long-lived as a double episode of The Biggest Loser, I subscribed to all manner of Female CEO/Business Chicks/Glass-Ceiling Busters/Lean-In Coaching sites in effort to educate myself on what was required (without having to invest time and energy in actually attending something in person)

What I understood from this, is that just as every gal in the 90s required a brick-like mobile phone, an embossed business card and a Holden Commodore company car,

1382778_old_brick_cell_phone

the 2014 everywoman needs only this…..

 A Social Media Strategy

Unfortunately, I lost interest in this with similar speed to John Mayer dumping his latest chick-on-the-rebound.

john Mayer

Intead, I spent quality couch-time trying to define the following variant

 A Social Media Strategy For The Newly Heartbroken

I had a vague notion that this should resemble a 12 step program, until I realised that the current era has NO TIME for a 12 step program and I should try to nail the description of this baby in no more than 6.

no time for that

Here goes….

 One – Unfriend

 Upon being ditched (lets assume this is how it went down rather than one of those ‘amicable breakups’ that really means that you got ditched and are being sooooo  brave) you need to immediately de-friend the ex.  You will reap an immediate sense of achievement if you are the first to execute the un-friend transaction.

Secondly, in those moments of Chardonnay-fuelled weakness, this will prevent you scrolling through his FB page analysing every event posted since the moment you broke up.

Hang on – who are we kidding?  You aren’t going to ONLY do this self-destructive trawling in alcohol fuelled moments of weakness, you are going to track that guy over morning coffee before tackling work email, on a lunchbreak over sushi and, if time-pressed, you will skip over those news feed articles that alert you to a cancer-busting diet so that you can scan the feed for entries that are any indication of your ex’s state of mind.  You may think this will only happen for a month, but there is a never-ending stream of trigger events ahead that will have you clutching at those facebook straws.

Tip: Don’t BLOCK the ex.  This will prevent him having any access to your carefully chosen procession of changes to your profile pic which will show you having a riotous time in his absence.

 Two –  Instagram peeping is taboo

 Don’t be getting all righteous about having executed step one while you continue taking sneaky peeks at his instagram account.  Unfollowing his instagram account is an even easier step than defriending on facebook, and equally important in severing that digital umbilical cord.

Don’t compromise the healing of your inner self by un-following him on Instagram and subsequently sneaking peeps of him and his new squeeze using the ‘explore’ function.

You may be just as culpable as the guy who first merged Vodka and Red Bull without realising, that on the whole…

NO GOOD CAN COME OF THIS

 Three – Twitter – unfollow

unfollow

 Again, there is going to be a certain satisfaction in being the first to unfollow.

In fact, my brief entrepreneurial research suggests that if I was vaguely serious about pursing a life beyond my current day job I’d be working day and night on an app that was along the lines of ‘DITCHEM v1.0’ which would allow for instantaneous severing of all FB, Instagram and Twitter ties in a single transaction with an optional pop-up box that allowed for some commentary on dontdatehimgirl.com for a little review narrative just like you do when you’ve had some sub-standard service at a trendy new bar.

Anyhow (let’s count to ten while someone else reserves the domain name ditchem.com) unfollow immediately and try to resist the temptation to check hourly whether he has also unfollowed you.

Same rules apply as above – don’t then be checking his Twitter account manually.

I repeat – no good can come of this.

 Four – avoid the social media stalk of the new chick

 If you have ignored all of the above, you have no one but yourself to blame when, sooner (John Mayer) or later, your replacement makes her appearance.

At this point, you need to make EVERY POSSIBLE EFFORT to avoid doing the stalk on her.

There’s only the tiniest possibility of redemption in this, in the event that you find that she is less athletic, less blonde, less svelte or less accomplished (assuming you also sink to the depths of a Linked-In stalk) than you.  Only in a Nora Ephron movie  (and may the goddess of chick-flicks rest in peace) will this happen.

Even if you have a momentary thrill from the realisation of any of the above, it will be short-lived if your heart is still in a state where it will not be salved by any of the above because the fact is that he is not with you.

All this sounds kinda negative right?

Best that we devote our final two strategies in the half-baked version of the 12-step program to positive social media strategies that you can implement….

 Five – overachieve, very publicly

 If you’ve subscribed to the advice above, you’ve cut some cords.  However, in a strategy so cunning you could put a tail on it and call it a rat (props to Blackadder), we’ve not disconnected you from your various mutual friends.

So this is the time to use your various social media outlets to

  • Post pics at a hot new club opening (even if you are merely a photo-bomb participant with no more than a peep-toe on the red-carpet or fingertip on a velvet rope)
  • Publish commentary on the new activities that you have taken up (salsa dancing, bikram yoga, crossfit anyone?)  Extra points if they are like the examples here and will result in the honing of a hot new body.
  • Overachieve career-wise – talking blithely about your move into managing a team the size of a small suburb (with, of course, the support of a small entourage that you can now regard as your own)

Six – go silent

After doing the overachieve, there’s a distinct advantage in then disappearing entirely off grid.  It gives an air of mystery, of having moved on.

If you still living in the fantasy world of him keeping track of you, you can potentially assume this is giving him some pause to wonder what is keeping you so busy that you can’t even FB

If he has no concept of this because he’s stopped caring about you – as is likely if he did the dumping – then you still have the benefit of being off enjoying life without the compulsion to post about it.

Hint: akin to that tree falling in the foreset- a sunset is still beautiful sunset, even if you don’t get a chance to post it on FB.

So, tuck these hints away in case you even find yourself in the been dumped/need strategy scenario.  Better yet? If you want to hark back to that simpler time of Commodores and Brick Mobiles, go all old-school and don’t just bookmark this post.

Tap into your 90s Officeworks hardware and LAMINATE this sucker.

If you are taking your online dating a little more seriously than this blog, check out this website for fabulously simple online dating advice.

Tinder. No. Just no.

So.  I have this friend who feels like her early 40s single life has hit rock bottom.  Why does she believe this? Not because her dates comprise men with the looks of Sheldon Cooper, the intelligence of Joey from Friends and the relationship longevity of John Mayer.

sheldon joey john

No. She thinks she has bottomed out because she is trawling for love on RSVP.

But I have tremendous news.  It’s on a par with the glad tidings of comfort and joy that we celebrate at Christmas (and who doesn’t love a festive free pass for unlimited alcoholic beverage intake and a day-long calorific binge, punctuated by naps?)

It’s a short message. It’s going to be ineptly expressed. It’s scientifically and statistically unproven, but I am here to tell her that I have executed an experiment that proves that she has not in fact hit the true dumpster-diving low of online dating.

My dear friend, you have not hit rock bottom.  Why?

Because you are not yet on Tinder.

I can’t discount the fact that Tinder News linked to one of my previous posts,
which makes this one the equivalent of:

  •  Kicking Zuckerberg  in the head in the playground then hoping Facebook ads will make me millions
  • Holding out on Steve Jobs until the 4s in 2012 and then going all i
  • Dissing James Packer , and therefore never getting even an entry level job in his media emprire.

But I do believe firmly in there being something a teensy bit more involved in finding true love than playing a version of ‘Snap’ online.

If RSVP is the equivalent of a fairly harmless one-too-many Sunday afternoon Sauv Blancs or a dabble into the lightest of recreational drug habits, Tinder is the moment that you look sideways at crystal meth and think that ‘heyyy…… that sparkly stuff ain’t all bad’

Why?  There are many perils my friend.

 One – its entirely about photos, not words.

I get the ‘picture tells a thousand words’, but I’d like at least, MAYBE, the 25 words or less that it takes to win a supermarket cat food competition in order to snag me. Tinder makes this entirely optional. In fact, in your haste to sign up, you can just throw in any old selection from your facebook pics and need not say a word about yourself.

So instead of scanning a written profile for your top 5 danger words?  You’ve got nothing.

You have, instead, a hastily, app-generated concoction of photos.

What will this mean?

In many of these photos, you’ll be unable to discern who the chap of choice actually is.  Is he that hot guy in the middle of the three? Or one of the two very average blokes serving as bookends? Although slightly more likely to be successful than Tatts, it’s still not the kind of odds that would have you dashing to the TAB.

 Two – he’s local

 If you don’t pay due attention, your Tinder settings mean you sign away your location rights as blithely as your Friday night check-in at Ponyfish Island.  So anyone you swipe in the affirmative knows the approximate location of your abode with all the potential menace of that regrettable fling that is now the subject of an intervention order.

So if you haven’t taken pains to only post on Tinder your Masquerade ball pics or the brunette moment you had in July last year, you may very well be recognised at the local Safeway.

 Three – There’s no ‘I take that back’ button

The tinder universe is a minefield, just waiting for a rookie mistake,

You have to be on your guard and have military-sniper-like concentration to avoid pulling the trigger prematurely on the Heckler and Koch and SWIPING RIGHT ON THE WRONG GUY.

If you do this, please understand that if you fire without due consideration, there is no going back.

swiped right

I now understand, that if your focus was momentarily distracted by a Sunday afternoon re-play of The Blacklist, or a lunch where carbohydrates were outweighed by Cab Sauv that your Tinder hotlist now comprises of a guy:

  • in full Gene Simmons Kiss makeup
  • wearing a beanie with bear ears
  • who has no visual identity and has chosen to portray himself as a cute Whippet

If you do this, be aware that the Tinder gods give you no ‘Undo’ button to allow you to STEP AWAY from the consequences of your inattention.  Gene Simmonds guy is now going to pursue you to the ends of the earth.

At first glance, there is no unfriend button on Tinder

 Four – Shared Friends

 In some ways this might be good, in that the guy where you squint your eyes, look sideways and take into consideration the cuteness of his whippet makes you think that he’s worth consideriing…then heyyyyy… he knows someone you know!

Instantly there is an avenue where you can validate his single status, his lack-of-stalker-ism and his level of prior baggage.

Alas, this is only useful if your friend in common is someone with whom you are in recent contact as opposed to someone you might have shared a West Coast Cooler in the 80s whose opinion was only valid when it came to the social validity of white-ankle-boots in high school.

white boots

But there’s upside………….

But hey, there is always an upside! You can revert to semi-content-rich RSVP, or the attraction-algorithmically charged e-Harmony at any time.  And if you are feeling down about yourself?

Just swipe LEFT at will and plaster a big fat NOPE on all of them until you feel better. You aren’t at rock bottom if you are dispensing rejection at will…..

nope

If you are taking your online dating a little more seriously than this blog, check out this website for fabulously simple online dating advice.

Why You Won’t Find Love On A Plane

No one wants to gain all of life’s single-girl learnings through personal trial and error, so we owe it to the sisterhood to share life’s hard-won lessons.

Here’s two

One – Don’t date John Mayer.  Granted, probably not a stumble we are all likely to make, but bear in mind that girls more famous than us fell into this trap. Rebound guy, professional heart-breaker and kiss’n’teller,  Mr Mayer is only useful as short-term breakup-recovery fodder.

john Mayer

Bet Katy Perry wished she knew this before releasing that cringeworthy duet with him. (just google it, I am not going to legitimise it by posting it here)

Two – You won’t meet the man of your dreams on a plane. 

Logically, if your airline travel takes you to grown-up capital cities frequented by savvy business travellers, you would think that you’d be more likely to meet an intelligent eligible male with prospects than in a random bar because:

  • you are not travelling Garuda Airlines with hordes of ‘end of footy season’ lads clad in Bintang singlets, headed for Bali.
  • If you are mingling with the frequent flyers you are likely to encounter the ‘been married but too many airmiles put paid to that’ set who hopefully have no more baggage than that carry-on-limit-flouting mini-tank that they are trying to wedge into the overhead compartment.

ie …its just not to going to happen.

The reason why a long haul flight won’t magically matchmake you with a compatible co-traveller?  That co-traveller will be this guy:

 One – Mr Chatty

Before you even set butt on seat, Mr Chatty is eyeing off your magazine collection, your paperback, your hand luggage brand and has his head cocked to one side to take in the scent you are wearing.  Why?  He knows them all.  Not in a creepy ‘has stalked you since check-in’ kinda way but because he just knows everything. Period.

Your paperback, only released two weeks ago?  He’s read it and he’s going to talk you through it in excruciating detail (ncluding spoilers) before you are even through the safety briefing.

He knows your destination.  How? He’s read it upside down from the boarding pass clenched in your teeth as you awkwardly tried to stow your cabin baggage to avoid exposing your midriff (you regrettably wore a T-shirt a touch too short for airline travel).

Re: that destination, he’s preparing to tell you every immunisation you should have had before this journey if your work schedule had only permitted a window to consult with the travel doctor.

t shirt geek

There’s no escaping Mr Chatty.  You can pull on your fab, noise-cancelling headphones (Note: his are better) and try to watch your fave chick flick where you already know the ending so he can’t spoil it.  He’ll still tap you on the arm and tell you the 10 things no one knew about Julia Roberts before the movie Pretty Woman.

Unless you have a large dose of the celebrity-snooze-aid Stillnox, you aren’t going to be able to pass the time easily.

 Two – Mr Quirky

This guy is slightly less annoying than Mr Chatty, but will subject you to a long-haul parade of random.

He’s a faith healer that sensed ‘a distortion in your aura’ from the minute you sat down. In reality?  That distortion in your aura was the speed-wobbles caused by descending the aerobridge in heels after three sneaky Sauv Blancs in the airline lounge.

He’s a life coach that can sense that you are not in fact on a journey that will fulfil your life’s purpose. (anyone could guess that from the fact that you are carrying a copy of Gourmet Traveller and you are headed to Townsville)

He’s got a fear of travelling that will cause him to grip the armrests, go rigid, and rummage in your seat-pocket for an extra sick bag at the slightest hint of turbulence.

None of these seem to immediately resonate with you.

Three – a colleague

Much as we may enjoy the daytime company of our colleagues and even chit chat over a 5pm beer, no one ever really wants to fly, eat, sleep next to, and wake up drooling beside a colleague on a long-haul flight.   There are precious few in the world that I would share that level of intimacy with and none of them are on the same payroll as I am.

No one wants to hear office rumours come back about the weird ‘phhhhrruuugh’ sound that you make whilst sleeping.

I have been known to take extreme evasive action to avoid being seated with a colleague on a long haul flight including (but not limited to)

  •  Hiding in the Ladies upon seeing a colleague in departures so that they don’t beckon me to join them in a shared check in
  • Declining the opportunity to car pool which would again imply joint check-in by suggesting that I was coming not from home but from a non-existent bayside holiday house
  • Choosing to travel Melbourne to Singapore via Perth

Do these things.  No one wants to find an unauthorised photo of themselves slack-jawed and dribbling on the office gossip’s instagram.  (that was so #lastyearsxmasparty)

 Four – an eligible version of George Clooney

george 3

This all sounds good, and you may have to paper-cut-slice-yourself with the corner of the infight magazine to make sure you aren’t dreaming, but be aware that all you have here is some mocking at the hands of the airline gods.

Why?  Pretty as HE may be, these are not going to be YOUR finest hours.  You might start all freshly made up, clothing neatly ironed and with the sparkle that is the combination of some bronzer-testing in duty free and a Bollinger in the first class lounge, but its all going to go downhill from here.

You won’t be wearing the skinny jeans that have a spanx-like effect on your thighs, simply because the last time you did this on a long-haul you felt like you gave yourself an entire-lower-body case of deep vein thrombosis.  Therefore your thighs will spread horizontally, taking all available real-estate with the zeal of Lindsay Fox reclaming some Portsea foreshore.

Instead, you’ll be wearing a cargo pant.  In a stretch this means you have something in common with the off-duty supermodel but only if paired with high heels. You know you won’t do that as you’ve already learned that trying to stuff fluid-engorged feet into stilettos has all the grace and finesse of  trying to get a sleeping bag back into its little sack.

No one can do this.

About mid-way during the flight your facial skin, perfectly prepared for the journey with hydration that would green the Nullabor and a raw food vegan diet that would have Gwyneth genuflecting, will FAIL in its ability to wake up with acceptable plane-face.  You will look like you put your face into a 90 minute industrial tumble dry cycle on hot.  Every hour of plane travel ages you a year.  I know this.

So your Clooney-like neighbour will dismiss you from contention whilst ogling your trash-mag to see if there is a Di Caprio cast-off he can snag *

(*men do not suffer the aircraft ageing process)

But don’t despair.  Just regard your likelihood of meeting a new partner on a plane as low as snagging an unexpected upgrade from economy to first class, and you won’t be disappointed.