The vast majority of women in Dating Detox are going to have some unresolved man issues. We've all had them. But now is the time to say, "I forgive all the men who came before; I start with me!" Forgiveness lightens your load. One of the most important keys to dating success lies in not becoming The Bitter Woman. Men can smell this type from a mile out and will run in the opposite direction. During Dating Detox you need to learn to love and trust the opposite sex. You need to stop complaining about men and focus on their redeeming qualities. Most important, you must accept the fact that you're never going to change them.

Jenna is a perfect example of a woman mired in bitterness. She's about twenty pounds overweight and refuses to exercise or change her eating habits. "Most men are pigs, because they only focus on the physical. I'm looking for an enlightened guy who will love me for me and doesn't care about what kind of shape I'm in. Until I find him, the rest can all go to hell," she says. Guess what? She's never going to find him. He doesn't exist. And even if he did, he would be thrown off by her me-against-the-world attitude. If Jenna ever wants to get married, and she claims she does, she not only needs to lose the weight (for her own health's sake, at least), she needs to lose the attitude.

During Dating Detox, you stop dwelling on all the Bad Boyfriends of the past, and you look forward to all the wonderful experiences you're going to have with men in the future. Take heart in knowing that most happily married women will gladly tell you it was worth going through every bad breakup, every creepy ex, every unbearable date, to finally find their True Love. Think of yourself as a great wine—you're only getting better and more valuable with age. When the right occasion comes along and that wine is uncorked, it will be the best, most delicious nectar the lucky partaker has ever experienced. But that will only happen if happiness is a major ingredient.

I know it isn't easy to just wake up one morning and decide, "Okay, enough dwelling on the past. I'm now going to be a happy person!" The sad truth is that most women spend so much time trying to please others—their families, their coworkers, their neighbors, their friends, their romantic partners—that they don't even know what it takes to please themselves. When I ask you, "What makes you happy?" can you immediately list ten things that make you smile, or do you have to stop and think about it for a few minutes . . . hours . . . days?

Become Your Own Matchmaker by Patti Stanger. Published by Atria Books. ?? 2009


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