Can You Find The Love In Being Single?

 

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Before I got married, I had an on-again/off-again affair with being single. When we were on and things were good, I loved it; but when we were off, I hated it.

There’s a lot to love about being single: you’ve got freedom and independence, you can come and go as you please, and you can do what you want when you want. You can go out, get laid, and not have to answer to anybody.

It’s the life!

If you’re not actively dating, you don’t have to shave your legs or get bikini waxes on a regular basis. And if you’re a guy, you can scratch your balls and fart all you want.

Now that’s what I call freedom!

Being single can be the greatest time of your life, or a hell you can’t escape. If you’ve ever been a singleton at a couples dinner party, or at a wedding without a +1, or dateless at a family function, you know the hell I’m talking about.

For years, a girlfriend of mine has been throwing dinner parties attended mostly by her married friends or fellow school parents. Even though I was single, she would invite me, and I accepted because I adore her. The evenings were glorious events, filled with incredible food and wine, beautiful settings, and fabulous people.

And it was brutally tough to get through.

My singleness made me feel like an outsider, like an alien from another planet. I was neither a member of the married club nor the mommy club, and it was made painfully clear to me especially if one of the wives gave me the stink-eye.

Want to know what hell is? Being the only single woman in a room full of married people.

When you’re single, people judge, stare, ask questions, whisper and gossip– especially if you’ve been single an eternity like I was. They make assumptions and jump to conclusions. They ask why you’re not married or have kids, and wonder what’s wrong with you.

There’s a stigma attached to being single, and a word for it too: “Singlism,” the technical term for holding negative beliefs about single people or treating them unfairly because of their single status.

The good news is if you stay single long enough, eventually the questions will cease. When my mother stopped asking when I was getting married and started asking if I had received my AARP card yet, I knew she had given up.

But some people aren’t so lucky– the questions keep coming.

Just ask Jennifer Aniston, the subject of relentless rumors about her marriage and maternal status– stuff of no one’s business. She finally told everybody to fuck off and stop speculating about her happiness in a recent Huffington Post piece, For The Record, and I will tell you the same:

You don’t need to be married and have kids to be happy, so STFU already!

 

proxy-jpgSingle gal blogger Michelle L. Torigian echoes Anniston’s sentiments in her post For the Record, I’m Fed Up Too, as does Dr. Karin Anderson Abrell in her book, Single Is The New Black.

Dr. Abrell, a fellow dating expert and late blooming bride like me, got married when she was 42 after suffering the same single girl experiences that I did— both good and bad.

In her book, she emphatically contends that nothing is wrong with you if you’re still single. You just haven’t yet met “The One,” and that’s OK. Being single is not a curse or a crime or something that needs to be fixed or ashamed of. It’s just where you are in life, and the sooner you stop defining yourself by it, or beating yourself over it, the better.

This got me thinking: while you’re looking for love, can you find the love in being single?

It’s possible and here’s how:

BE YOUR AUTHENTIC SELF

Don’t conform or change for anyone. Stop apologizing and making excuses for who you are. If someone doesn’t appreciate you (or your choices, personality, sense of humor, smarts, values, circumstances, etc.) then they’re not for you. Period. Don’t waste one minute of your precious time trying to be something you’re not. Love who you are, whatever you are.

LOSE THE EXPECTATIONS

If you want to be a happy single person, do yourself a favor and stop pressuring yourself about dating, getting married, etc. Stop checking the time, and tapping your watch– love happens when it happens and not one minute before. As I’ve said before, you can have aspirations, just not expectations—they’ll set you up for disappointment and defeat.

MAKE FRIENDS WITH YOUR SINGLE STATUS ASAP

You’re single, deal with it. Own it, accept it, and stop bitching about it before you become bitter. The strongest statement you can make as a single person is to live life on your own terms, and show the world you don’t give a shit.

FIND YOUR HAPPINESS ELSEWHERE

You know when love finds you? When you’re busy with other pursuits and pleasures. Get involved, volunteer, hang with your friends, find a hobby, do the things that bring you joy. It’ll take the edge off being alone and it’ll keep your life full.

DO THE WORK

Along with finding your happiness elsewhere, it’s important to find your healing too. If you’re single, that means you’ve got time to work on yourself. So go inside, tie up loose ends, resolve old issues, and bring closure to things that might be impeding your progress. Being single is a job, so take care of business.

BE OK WITH BEING SINGLE FOREVER

Single friends, this is a tough one to swallow, but I’m here to tell you that your “Happily Ever After” could be right now. You might be single for longer than you want, or even forever, so you better make peace with it.

When I turned 50 and still wasn’t married, I did something bold: I blew off marriage altogether.

On my 50th birthday, I made a life-changing decision. If I was going to be single, then I was going to be happiest single I could be. I would live my life unashamed and proud; I would refuse to feel self-conscious or stigmatized; and I would never allow myself to feel incomplete just because I didn’t have a husband or kids.

I decided to find the love in being single, and it freed me.

Then something weird happened. After my come to Jesus moment about being single forever, I found “The One” and suddenly gained membership to the married club.

Those days of being single, not shaving my legs, and letting my pubes grow out are now over. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted!

NOTE TO THE GUYS READING THIS: As I’ve learned, you can still scratch your balls and fart all you want—it’s called marriage.

My Life As A New Wife: The Year In Review

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Farewell newlyweds, hello old married couple.

Celebrating my first wedding anniversary made me feel kind of like Miss America coming to the end of her reign: triumphant, honored, and just a little bit sad to give back the tiara and say goodbye to my title of newlywed.

But I must, because now at end of Year One, I am officially a wife – with a new title and new duties. If longtime pageant MC Bert Parks was still alive, he’d be singing me a new tune.

What a difference a year makes.

No longer a swingin’ single, no longer subsisting on Trader Joe’s frozen entrees, and no longer letting my laundry pile up until I run out of underwear, life looks a lot different now that I’m Mrs. Scharf than it did when I was Miss Brandon.

For starters, I now shop at Gelson’s, I do a load of laundry every few days, and I have more food in my pantry than I know what to do with. The year has had much personal growth, changes both big and small, and lots of groceries to put away.

Yep, I’m a real housewife of Beverly Hills, alright.

Year One has been nothing short of a mind-blowing, eye-opening, waist-expanding experience and here’s why:

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Robby Scharf, a most fascinating creature.

I NOW HAVE THIS FASCINATING CREATURE CALLED A HUSBAND

I don’t know about all husbands, but mine is so interesting, I find myself observing him like an exotic animal. He’s sophisticated and elegant, but he loves to burp and fart like a 10-year-old; he’s strong and stoic, but tears up when watching CBS Sunday Morning; he’s an alpha dog, but he loves funny cat videos; he’s a manly man, but he loves to shop; he’s never been married, but he’s got some serious game as a husband.

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Say hello to my mac & cheese.

I LEARNED TO COOK

As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog, I was raised by a working mom who excelled more in the office than she did in the kitchen. Not that Sonjia Brandon couldn’t cook; she just preferred to make deals rather than make dinner. So when I got married, I donned my apron (a bridal shower gift) and got down to business.

It’s been a year of “firsts” in the kitchen for me. I made my first short ribs, my first macaroni & cheese, and my crowning achievement as a wife (drum roll please) MY FIRST BRISKET. I can’t emphasize the importance of this major milestone for this Jewish girl.

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Good news! Nina and Nancy didn’t throw up from my lasagne.

I can’t take all the credit though. I have to thank my friends Nina, Nancy, and my many Facebook friends for their recipes and culinary guidance.

It truly takes a village to make a meatloaf.

Yeah, I made that too.

 

 

 

I WATCH A LOT MORE SPORTS

I’ve always been a sports nut, but I definitely met my match when I married Robby. The guy is a total sports junkie, particularly when it comes to televised sports. It’s not unusual for him to have a few TVs going and a couple of iPads tuned in, especially during playoff season.

He may be the bigger sports fan, but I’m the sports bettor in the family. I say who needs to watch the game when all you need to know is the spread?

THERE’S ALWAYS MUSIC IN OUR HOUSE

This is the benefit of marrying a guy who plays the bass, attended Berklee College of Music, and has been performing with The Cowsills for over 25 years. It’s almost daily that I’m in earshot of a rehearsal or treated to an impromptu jam. And when I want some peace and quiet, I put on a pair of incredible Sennheiser noise-cancelling headphones (shameless plug – Robby works for the company).

But what really makes a Robby a rock star? He does the dishes.

NEWS FLASH! OOPS I MEAN HOT FLASH!

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Year One…and they said it wouldn’t last.

Poor Robby. Two seconds after we get married, I hit menopause (or rather menopause hit me). Great timing Mother Nature thanks a lot! Nothing like having to navigate your new married life with night sweats and mood swings. Plus, between the hormonal brain fog and the occasional senior moment, I can’t remember shit.

Has it really been a year already?

It’s true what they say: Time flies when you’re having fun, watching sports, eating a lot, and making beautiful music together.

Now if you don’t mind, I must attend to my next wifely duty: making my first turkey.

A Career Dater Finally Quits Her Job

b1110503da138461db47e9ad8643011dOther than a few squabbles about bulk buying at Costco, the transition to married life has been thoroughly exhilarating, horizon-broadening, and perfectly natural all at the same time. It’s new, but not weird. It’s an adjustment, but not a tough one. It’s a life change, but one that I welcomed.

After living alone and being on my own for so long, you’d think that marriage would be a total culture shock – and it is – but it’s really not that shocking. Or crazy. It’s kind of normal actually, kind of like I’ve been a wife all my life. Weird.

No, the crazy part of transitioning into marriage was transitioning out of dating, a way of life for me for nearly 50 years.

I was a career dater. I dated all the time, at all times of the day. Breakfast dates, coffee dates, lunch dates, dinner dates, drink dates, even a driving date to the mechanic to pick up my car.

I’ve had blind dates, online dates, chance meetings, dates disguised as business meetings, and one Facebook encounter that would lead to the date of all dates. Thank you Robby Scharf, for ending the longest single streak on record (next to yours of course).

After a long and illustrious dating career – one filled with some triples, a couple of doubles, an occasional home run, and lots of times at bat – I finally and gladly retired. I happily hung up the jersey, emptied out my locker, and said goodbye to the game. I’m using a lot of baseball metaphors here, but you get the point.

I left the business.

I didn’t realize how much work went into being single until I got married. And let’s face it people, dating is like having a second job. I don’t care if you’re a guy or a girl, dating is work. Looking good, spending money, getting out there, going to parties, going to the gym, being charming, being social, being “on,” making an effort, making eye contact, strategizing, chatting, flirting, schmoozing, is all very time consuming, not to mention exhausting.

Online dating alone is like a second job. You spend hours managing your sites, then dealing with all the emails, winks, flirts, and instant messages. You have to sort through profiles, respond to inquiries, assess potential prospects, distinguish between the suitors and the posers, coordinate schedules and make plans. Just weeding out the weirdos is work!

So you can imagine when you’re used to doing it 24/7 and all of a sudden you stop. It’s like quitting a job you’ve had all your life. This is why the transition has been so peculiar – I mean, one minute I’m hanging out at Wolfgang’s happy hour with my fellow single girlfriends, the next minute I’m joyfully making my husband a meatloaf.

Two words I never thought I’d say in the same sentence: “husband” and “meatloaf.”

Some feminists might gag at this, but I have also discovered that I love doing his laundry, underwear included. Every time I fold a pair of his boxers, I think: Wow look at me! I’m a wife! And the fact that Robby hasn’t thrown up yet from my cooking must mean I’m doing something right.

Dating might have felt like a second job at times, but I always did it with a smile on my face and a good attitude. The key for me (and for any single person out there) is to not take it too seriously, have fun, and always keep your sense of humor. That way, it won’t feel so much like a job.

And here’s the great news when you’re ready to retire: instead of getting an office party and gold watch, you might just get a diamond ring and a wedding.

I Like Big Rebuttals And I Cannot Lie

IMG_4549And now a few words from Robby Scharf, my late blooming husband:

Ah, my wife Treva. I love her like I’ve never loved anyone before. As beautiful as she is talented, she possesses a wonderful ability to convey in words what many of us think, but may not express.

Her last blog post, “Women Are From Venus, Men Are From Costco,” https://thelatebloomingbride.com/2014/08/05/women-are-from-venus-men-are-from-costco/ is so great, that I literally did LOL, and mean it for what might be the first time ever in history. As funny as it is, I feel there are a few points that need rebutting.

It’s true what Treva said about my gear. Guys have a lot of it and I’m guilty as charged! There was quite a bit of stuff I needed to get rid of when I made the move to Beverly Hills. Along with my office stuff, I also had recording equipment, many computers, about 20 guitars, power supplies, gadgets, and lots of cables – all of which I had to keep.

Also in her blog, Treva mentioned LED light bulbs and her love of the environment. Well, one of the first things I noticed when we first started dating were the large outdoor floodlights inside her apartment. These overly bright, heat-inducing, very inefficient lights are great if you’re shooting a movie in your living room, but not if you’re using them for recessed lighting.

I knew that these were going away as soon as I had any say about it. I purchased some great LED light bulbs that got just as bright (and even dimmed) but Treva hated them as soon as they turned on. She was “gracious” enough to give them a chance (for about 3 ½ minutes) but that was it!

We actually got in to a couple of rows over this. We’re presently in a semi-state of compromise as we have the old lights back in the hallway and the new LEDs in the bedroom (but that could change any minute).

As for Costco, there’s nothing wrong with shopping there! Costco is a mecca for good stuff (Who doesn’t know this? Oh, right, my wife).

And while you’re getting a half a year’s worth of toilet paper, a couple months of Skippy, 3 lbs. of coffee, 48 AA batteries, and two dozen bagels, you can also enjoy samples of Luigi’s Chicken Parm cutlets, Bernie’s Gyozas, and Mamma Joe’s Lowfat Chocolate Pudding, and then get a delicious Costco hot dog and drink for $1.50!

And the booze selection and prices at Costco are excellent! Anejo Tequila for $19? Alright, it’s Kirkland, but it’s really good! (Mixed with Simply Lime makes a great Tequila Gimlet).

See? You don’t have to be a father with kids to love shopping at Costco!

Sure, I’m guilty of overbuying things every now and then, but Treva will go to the market today for something today, and not think about anything else she may actually need tomorrow or for the rest of the week. So she ends up going to the market multiple times in a week (sometimes just for one item). This causes me to scratch my head.

I was quite surprised to learn that Treva grew up not having some “basic” staples in her household. For example, early in our relationship, I went to her bathroom and asked where she kept the Kleenex. She answered, “I don’t use Kleenex. Use toilet paper instead.”

I scratch my head again (good thing I bought that gallon of Head & Shoulders at Costco!)

Some other things Treva never had in her house growing up: ice makers, electric fans, Saran Wrap, and toaster ovens. I recently walked into our kitchen and saw Treva remove a piece of burnt toast on a paper towel (which she was using as a plate) that was on fire from the toaster oven!

As Treva and I continue to navigate this thing called marriage, I’m sure there’ll be more to write about – and lots more to rebut – so stick around.

(For more of my views on marriage, sports and politics, please feel free to follow me on Twitter: @Robby525)

Women Are From Venus, Men Are From Costco

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Robby’s happy place: Costco and me.

It was either me move into his man cave/bachelor pad in the heart of gritty, urban downtown L.A., or him move into my charming, old French Normandy apartment on the Westside. Downtown L.A. is cool and groovy if you’re a guy, but not if you’re a princess from Beverly Hills.

We had just gotten married and needed to consolidate and start cohabitating, so Robby came out West. Just like Jed Clampett, he loaded up the Prius, and he moved to BEV-ER-LY. Hills, that is: swimming pools, movie stars, and me.

As he proceeded to cram the contents of his 1,850 square foot loft into my teeny two-bedroom, something occurred to me: MEN ARE FROM COSTCO. They are different animals. They don’t live like us women. They have lots of man stuff: junk, supplies, gear, equipment, electronics, toolboxes, miles of cable and cords, unexplained wires, and gadgets of all kinds and sizes. If men aren’t from Costco, then they’re from big box stores for sure.

Maybe I’m just not used to a man around the house, or maybe I’m too used to living alone, all I know is that Robby moving in has been a fascinating study in how men live and function. Remember, I’ve never even lived with a guy, so this is all new and intriguing. I feel like I’m Marlin Perkins of Wild Kingdom, observing a most unusual creature: my new husband.

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A little light shopping.

My Baby Buys In Bulk

If you’re single and anything like me, you buy just enough food for a week. A couple bags of potato chips, a loaf of bread, a few frozen Trader Joe entrees, some wine maybe, and not too many perishables lest they go bad (single people dine out a lot).

Robby, as I’ve discovered, likes to buy in bulk – everything from bulk paper goods to bulk food. This I don’t understand. What single guy without kids shops at Costco? Where exactly are you going to put those 24 rolls of paper towels?

You should see my pantry now. It’s now stuffed to the brim with industrial size jars of peanut butter, and crammed to an inch of its life with canned goods. I get claustrophobic just looking at it.

If you ever run out of toilet paper though, come on over. We’ve got enough to cover everyone for the next two years.

Guys Like Projects

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Drill baby drill!

Robby loves a project. The minute he moved in, he started retrofitting, wiring, re-wiring, installing, hooking up, dismantling, and assembling. He tossed out all my ancient cordless phones, and replaced all my light bulbs with energy-saving LEDs, which I hate, but marriage is compromise, and I love the environment, so the bulbs stay. He’s outfitted our place with lots of other much-needed things, which as a single woman, I never thought to buy.

For this reason, he’s made up a song for me. It’s called “The Absence Of A Man,” (sung to the tune of “The Shadow Of Your Smile”).

Robby is very handy. He loves to build shelves, organize stuff, and hang things. And I let him because I love a Jew with a drill.

Men And Their TVs

Robby wasted no time in giving away my old TVs, and installing his new big screens into every room of my apartment. You know the fancy kind with all the bells and whistles and super complicated remote controls? The HD quality is fantastic, but now I don’t know how to change the channel.

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Welcome to NASA West.

He also promptly renegotiated my cable bill, which was way too high. Who knew?

Hey Time Warner, stop ripping off your female customers!

Robby loves his TVs, and his laptop, and his iPad. His office looks like a cross between Mission Control and Command Central.

Houston, we have a problem: NASA is now in Beverly Hills.

So now we’re all settled in, but the debate still rages on whether women are from Venus and men are from Costco. As soon as I get back from shoe shopping and Robby returns from stockpiling jars of relish, the discussion will certainly continue. So stay tuned (to one of Robby’s TVs of course).

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Need. More. Condiments.

My Vows: A Dream Writing Assignment

Treva Brandon and Robby Scharf WeddingFinally getting the chance to write my marriage vows was more than just this bride’s dream come true. It was this freelance writer’s finest hour.

The dream assignment that had previously been out of reach for so many years, was now mine. I had waited patiently and worked tirelessly, but I finally got the job. Without delay, I immediately put pen to paper and began crafting my vows. God knows I had a lot to say.

Truth is, I’ve been writing my vows in my mind for 50 years so I already knew what they were going to include: expressions of my love and affection, my hopes for marital bliss, and tons of heartfelt promises and praise for my future husband. My vows would also be tear-jerking and knee-slapping all at the same time.

All I would need was the right guy and a mic, and I’d be good to go. I got both: Robby Scharf and a great Sennheiser microphone (P.S. Robby works for Sennheiser so I got the package deal).

That’s right, not only did I finally get to write my marriage vows, I got to read them aloud too! What a gig!

My vows weren’t fancy or flowery; they were just a 439-word count of my love and delivered right on time – just like a good freelancer.

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MY VOWS

“As a writer, I’ve written all kinds of things: from copy to content, branding to blogging, but I’ve never written marriage vows – a dream assignment I’ve waited a lifetime for.

And the most wonderful part of this assignment is that I get to write about an amazing product: Robby Scharf.

When I first met Robby, I knew I dug him; when he told me he liked sports, I knew he wasn’t a pussy; when I heard he was a Jewish rocker, I knew he was no ordinary Jew; when I found out he watched MSNBC, I knew it was a match; when my father gave him thumbs-up, I knew he was something special.

And when I watched him volunteer with the disabled athletes at Special Olympics, I knew I had to have him.

But when I fully experienced the depth of his caring and character, I knew it was love.

Robby, you are my champion, my protector, my BFF, my favorite comedian, my trusty ad court partner, my own personal IT guy, and my new emergency contact number.

You are my Mr. Right in every way.

You are the Ashford to my Simpson, the Burns to my Allen, the Kool in my Gang, and the Earth and Wind to my Fire. You are music and laughter, safety and comfort, strength and support, everyday of my life.

Treva Brandon and Robby Scharf WeddingI vow to you: my love, my heart, my soul, and my spirit. I vow to keep my racquet head up, and keep my eye on the ball. I vow to keep my only child tendencies in check, and I vow to keep the spare toilet paper in the bathroom instead of in my office closet. I vow to keep an open mind about moving to the Valley, and I vow to learn how to make a brisket and spend more time in the kitchen.

As your wife, I vow to keep you happy, healthy, and fit – whether you like it or not. Remember, you are marrying a personal trainer so deal with it.

To your father Eddie, I vow to make a good daughter-in-law. Good, in that I will never stand in the way of you and Robby and Major League Baseball.

And finally, to your mother Fran who is not here with us today, I vow to make her proud. I promise to take good care of her son, and honor the extraordinary man he has become.

E052414A-0605I’ve dreamed of writing these vows all my life, and now, this moment is here. Thank you Robby for making me your Mrs. Scharf, and for making all my dreams come true.”

One Last Blast Before Take Off

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The gang gathers for the big send off.

When you’ve been single as long as I have, every night is a sort of a bachelorette party. With no husband, no kids, not even a pet, I’ve been able to come and go as I please. I can get wild, go crazy, live it up, party hard, stay out late or not come home at all.

Let me tell you, single life might sound exciting, but it gets old and boring especially after so many years of it.

I’ve seen it all, dated it all, experienced it all, and have sowed every last wild oat. I have memories and stories and lots of secrets and stuff that I’ve shared with my curious married girlfriends. You know, like the time me my friend and I ended up in a limo with Rick James and his entourage, or the time I had to take a blind date to the emergency room because he got bit by a scorpion, or the like the time I tripped on pot brownies in the middle of the ritzy El Paseo shopping area in Palm Desert.

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A few shots in.

You get the picture.

I look at my single life as one big horizon-broadening learning experience for which I am grateful. Sometimes it was challenging, sometimes it was painful, but mostly, it was a wild, wacky, and wonderful ride that made me who I am today. Now, after 50+ years of bachelorette hood, it’s time to move on to something a little quieter, a little more stable, a little more permanent, and a lot more domestic.

Not before one last blast though! Bring on the bachelorette party, middle-age style, that is!

No male strippers here, no tequila luge, no body shots, no stripper poles in the party van, and no puking at the end of the night, although some of us did come close. We were just a bunch of old friends ready for some fun, a few laughs, and a chance to stay up past 10pm.

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Official bachelorette head gear.

I’d share with you the naughty things we did and who got drunk as a skunk, but you know what they say: “What happens at the bachelorette party stays at the bachelorette party.” The only people that will ever know for sure are our Uber drivers.

I’m ready for take off. I am ready to start this new chapter of my life. The best way to say goodbye I’ve decided, is to let my good friend Joanne Sala do it for me. This was her toast to me; it wasn’t so much a farewell to single life as it was a warm WELCOME to married life.

“I cannot believe your single days are behind you. How am I going to live vicariously through you if you’re not going to have any more crazy single girl escapades? I guess it’s goodbye stolen kisses, brazen flirtations, and hysterical dating horror stories.

This marriage thing is going to be a major adjustment for you, but I know you’re ready. As someone who’s been married for 23 years, I can tell you that you have to be loyal, faithful, trustworthy and have sex with your husband at least once a month, whether you want to or not. But bonus – take it from me – being married means never having to swallow again!

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Joanne Sala, former single gal, current married sage.

But seriously, I wish you and Robby every happiness in the world. My advice to you is to be good to each other. Be kind. Patient. Put each other first. Resolve conflicts quickly. Don’t hold grudges. Let the phrases: ‘I’m sorry,’ ‘You’re right honey,’ and ‘I don’t know, what do YOU want for dinner tonight’ roll off your tongue.

Enjoy this next phase of your life as the happy honeymooners I know you will be. I love you guys so much.”

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See ya later single life. It was fun, but I can’t say I’ll miss you.