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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Office Hours with Dr. Jim > Responding to Heartache

Office Hours With Dr. Jim
by James Houran, Ph.D

In this column, "Dr. Jim" honestly and candidly answers your questions about dating, love and sexuality. He doesn’t tell you what you want to hear – he tells you what you need to hear. Dr. Jim is committed to offering you guidance based on responsible clinical practice and hard data from the latest scientific studies. Send Dr. Jim your questions today for consideration in an upcoming issue.

 



Responding to Heartache by Starting a Blog

I frequently speak to online daters in focus groups, research surveys and even when I happen to meet them by chance. One such random meeting occurred recently in New York City, where I was privileged to run into a young, savvy woman named Pooja who shared with me her stories of break-ups and heartaches.

What was extraordinary about her experiences -- and instructive for Online Dating Magazine readers -- was how she coped with the “struggle” of finding a romantic partner. She decided to start a blog that would allow her to deal with the thoughts, feelings and insights that bombarded her in the search for lasting love. It was a coping mechanism that worked for her, and I thought it might work for some of our readers too. Without suggesting that everyone start a blog to rant and rave about their personal lives, the idea is that hearing about the experiences of other people can be inspiring or at least calming. If found Pooja’s blog to be entertaining and insightful. I hope you take a few minutes to check it out.

That blog has a solid and growing following, and it’s aptly named “Table for ONE” at: http://poojavir.wordpress.com/.   Read on to learn more about this excellent site and what it has to offer you. Here’s the beginning of a special two-part Q&A with Pooja.  I thought it would be important for all the readers to understand how and why this progressive blog was born.

 

How did your blog “Table for ONE” come to be -- what’s the story behind it?
I needed a distraction from spending entire days and nights feeling sorry for myself! Just over a month before I started writing my blog the relationship I was in ended suddenly. The Ex and I had been seeing each other for 8 months and I was joyously in love with everything the relationship was promising to be. At that time the end seemed to have come out of the blue and I was not prepared for it emotionally or physically. I saw the end of this relationship as the Ex rejecting the best version of me and my spirit and self-esteem were at an all time low. 

I remember the day I started writing my blog. I was sitting at a brand new London hot spot sobbing about my sad story. At one point that evening, I told myself to take a break! During that break I realized that the only thoughts that kept my mind from wandering back to the sadness in my heart was when I thought about the menu, the décor and the chef of this restaurant. I wrote my first blog post right then and there (yes, on a cocktail napkin J).

The Ex and I had food in common, and spent many meals in many restaurants. The thought of now going back to my old favorites and the never-ending list of new restaurants in the city, all by myself, was not exactly appetizing. The blog gave me a new spirit and I was determined to explore what goes on in the head of a single diner. The last paragraph of my first blog probably describes the story behind my blog best:

“…I’ve managed close to 3 hours on my first night out alone. This is less scary than I thought it would be. It’s still lonely though. I want to not miss the Ex but all the Skye Juleps in the world won’t do that tonight. On my way out I sneak a look at the dining room – intimate and electric, with chefs at work in the immaculate open kitchen. Now this is more like it… soon I’ll be brave enough to actually ask for a Table for ONE.”  

How often do you update your blog, and what do you personally get from the experience?
I write a blog post at least once a week. I didn’t want to force myself to write for the sake of writing, nor did I want to get lazy about it. Writing once a week is a mildly difficult project I am enjoying my commitment to.

The public platform allowed me to share the news of the break-up with my dearest friends and family without the uncomfortable and completely unhelpful “you’re too good for him” conversations. I’ve always believed that in order to encourage someone else to share their heart with me, I would have to trust my heart with them. I needed help with my healing and I trusted the readers of my blog with my heart. Their warmth and support has been overwhelming, so first and foremost, this blog has helped me heal with massive support of my dearest ones.

Now I realise that the blog has also served a greater purpose – it seems to have reassured my loved ones that I’m doing okay. With every joke their smiles widened. Another post meant I was well on my road to recovery.

Through this blog I am also trying to get to know myself better. Intellectually I know that there isn’t always someone for everyone, that a lot of people very successfully find their own happy version of an ever after. But that has never been enough for me. How do I now convince myself that it is okay to not want someone who will want to share my life, and want me to share his? Today the blog is helping me my own happily ever after.

You know what its like when you really want something? And you don’t know whether you really want it or that you’ve waited for it for so long that you ought to want it? Its questions like these that my blog is helping me answer for myself. I have finally come to accept that without forgiveness old wounds will never heal

.

What impact has your blog and insights had on its followers?
I am joyously overwhelmed by the feedback, encouragement and appreciation the blog posts have generated. Three friends have started writing their own blogs, my mother sleeps better at night knowing I am not crying myself to sleep, and yet another friend was forced to reconsider a destructive relationship because of something I wrote. This is more than I had ever hoped this blog would achieve. One of the best compliments I received was from a complete stranger. He wrote:

“I read all your posts just now and I can't help but think that you are born to eat and write. Your writing is poignant without being self-pitying, hopeful without being over optimistic and above all has a sense of gravity. And your words flow so smoothly. You seem at peace with yourself. Definitely someone worth reading everyday.”

Will there ever be a time when you would retire the blog -- when will its function be fulfilled?
I hope not! As I write more I find that the purpose of the blog has actually evolved. The healing that I was hoping for has remained a liberating constant. But along with that has come a reassurance. I have learnt to enjoy my own company and learnt how important it is that I like myself.

So as life happens I would imagine that I will always want my Table for ONE. We spend so much time and energy building relationships with other people at work and play; I find that my blog and my meal alone are the best ways I have to build and nurture a relationship with myself.


 


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