Why I’m Not Changing My Name When I Get Married

Up until a few years ago, in every relationship I’ve had — both long-term and after a surprisingly good first date — I’ve considered what my name would sound like if I married whoever I was seeing. Some of my boyfriends had uninteresting surnames, others humorous, many quite plain. While I won’t oust them here, I never felt like my first would match their last.

Now, I understand a few things here: A. I’m single, and B. changing your last name has little to do with how it sounds. But as an independent, hard-working, successful and devoted 26-year-old, I’ve worked really hard to build a name for myself.

And though it might not seem like such a big deal to forgo ‘Tigar’ in favor of some last name I don’t even know yet, when I meet this mysterious future husband … it feels like one to me.

So, I’m not changing my last name for marriage.

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The Most Important Thing to Remember in Dating

This post was originally published on eHarmony’s blog.

My ex and I broke up in September of 2011 – it was one of those dramatic, romantic comedy-esque kind of scenes: I asked for more, he couldn’t give it, he offered a half-hearted plea for me to stay and I grabbed the next cab I saw uptown to my apartment, while it rained (of course) and I cried the whole way home.

In the months that turned into years after that I’ve been dating in New York – one of those cities with a bad reputation for being more about career than love – I’ve learned a lot of hard lessons. Like – if a guy says he’s 5’11 in his online dating profile, he’s likely around 5’8”. Or when a guy says he’s not looking for a relationship, he’s not, no matter how easygoing, beautiful, sexy or sassy you might be. And that there are more than enough men who are willing to wine and dine you, but not too many that actually want to talk to you and listen. I think that’s why love is so valuable when we do eventually stumble across it, the work to get there feels really, really hard.

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Love Addict’s Acts of Love December Challenge

When this year started, I decided I would stop looking for romantic life in my own life, and I would try my best to see love in every single day – and all around me. I figured if I could just capture all of that love and savor it, then it would help me not give up on my personal journey to finding that relationship that I want.

And ya know what? I was right.

By opening my eyes and looking at the love of my friends, my family, my dog, my city, my job, my runs, my workout classes, my roommates – all of it – I became even more optimistic than I ever was before.

So for the last month of this very special year, I want to pay it back. I want to show acts of love to strangers, friends, family members, my pup and all of you by introducing…

The Love Addict Acts of Love Challenge 


It’s really easy: every single day of the month in December, do something loving for someone else. And because I believe to discover great love, you must have great love for yourself, throw in some self-love actions in there, too.

Now – this doesn’t have to be crazy, it can be really simple: taking something off of a co-worker’s plate, calling your mom more than you would, taking your dog to the dogpark for an extra long run, buying someone’s coffee, holding the door for someone, emailing someone you love and telling them just why they’re amazing, and so much more. Anything and everything that is kind-hearted, loving and comes from a genuine place – do it!

And if you would like to share some of these moments with me – and the world – please use the #LoveAddictActsofLove on Twitter and Instagram. I’ll be sharing some of my acts on my Instagram, so feel free to follow if you’d like some inspiration. I’ll pick a few winners at the end of the month to send a prize pack to – as my final act of love for the month.

So, who is with me? Who wants to pay love forward? I promise you’ll be SO impressed with how much less you worry about dating blunders, being single again during the holidays and when you’ll ever meet that right person once you take the focus off of the search, and look around you to see all the love that’s already all around you.


Why I Haven’t Given Up On Love

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 11.44.40 PMA year ago, I was out with friends when a cute guy started to talk to us. In many ways, he was the type of person I’ve gone out with so many times before: educated, handsome, tall, in banking, a little bit of an asshole and a whole lot of charming. It might have been my frustration with dating at the time or that I saw so many ex-boyfriends in his eyes, peering back at me over his vodka water – but I just wasn’t into it.

He, however, was relentless.

We bantered for a while, but as soon as my friends gave me an exit, I turned away. He stopped me and I smiled, as I calmly said, “Look, you seem great, but I just don’t think I’d want to continue this. I’m trying to be smarter about who I go out with.”

He looked shocked (rightfully so), but he grinned as he replied, “I was about to ask you for your number. But you’re right, I was mainly trying to sleep with you. How long have you been single?”

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You Never Know

I’ve now been seeing Mr. Unexpected for a while now, and though it hasn’t been long in the scheme of things, it is the most time I’ve spent with someone (who could be a someone special) in almost three years.

And even though I’ve written hundreds of blogs about dating, and even though I’ve given advice to basically everyone I know, and even though I’ve been down this uncertain road before…

…it still feels like the first time I’ve ever had, well, a crush on someone.

They say a lot of things get easier as you age and hopefully, through experiences, you earn wisdom. They also say that the point of going on dates and meeting new people is to figure out what you want, what you’re willing to accept and what type of relationship you desire. And I’ll agree with all of those things – but there are certain truths that I believe never change. Often, they are the ones that we analyze or the ones we question. They are those knots in the pit of your stomach that you always call butterflies and that you secretly teeter between hating and appreciating. They are those feelings that bubble up inside of you – and you look at them – spiraling around in your pretty little head and you (not so eloquently) think:

Why is this so fucking scary?

Before three years of endless, terrible dates (and the poor decision of sleeping with an ex for half of that time), I probably wouldn’t have thrown in a curse word, but my Southern upbringing and manners lose this time ’round.

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Why I’m Not Ready to Get Married

Originally published on YourEngagement101.com

When I was a little girl, I would wrap a white sheet around me, put on my plastic princess heels and steal wildflowers out of my mother’s garden to play bride.

Because I grew up an only child, my parents were forced to indulge my imagination: my dad serving as my grinning groom, my mom stuck as the minister. I would make my kind, patient father write and deliver vows and then I’d perform them as if it there was a studio audience that consisted of more than my wide collection of stuffed animals.

Getting married wasn’t the only thing I played make believe with though: I was also Indiana Jones, a secret spy solving a murder mystery, a woman finding her man cheating, a homeless person begging for pennies, a teacher and Lois Lane – just to name a few.

But of course, all of my adventures in pretendland always ended with a happy embrace, finding love, meeting that perfect man, having a family.

Happily ever after.

Twenty years later, a lot of things in my life feel unreal because they’ve turned out so much better than I could have dreamed up myself. I live in New York City, I’m a writer, blogger and an editor, I have the luxury to travel and explore, I’m blessed with friends all over the country, I’m healthy enough to run a half-marathon, and though I haven’t met the man I’ll marry, I’ve been lucky to fall in love a few times with some pretty great guys.

Part of me can’t wait to start that relationship – or to at least be reassured that this mythical creature actually does exist out there, somewhere, dating all the wrong women while I date all the wrong men. Part of me is afraid that I picked the absolute worst city to capture the right guys attention.

And another part of me – probably the biggest part of me – is nowhere near ready for marriage. Even if the average bride in the United States is 25 – it’s hard to imagine being wed at this point in my life.

I’ll admit it though – I scour through my Facebook friends walls, reading their engagement stories, liking all of the photos in their wedding albums. I smile at little baby bumps that grow into bouncing toddlers. I get excited thinking about when some of my best friends will get engaged and how I’ll be a bridesmaid and watch them take those sacred vows, joining together with boyfriends that I’ve started to call my friends, too.

There is no doubt that I’m a sucker for love.

It’s my driving force behind everything, and above all other things, it’s the one truth I’ll always believe in: love is powerful and it exists in so many different forms.

But it’s also something that I have faith will always be there and is never anything to rush into. As much as there is happiness and hope surrounding marriage, I think a lot of women also feel fear (I know I do): what if he doesn’t exist? What if this kind-of-okay boyfriend is really the best I’ll ever find? What if I wait too long to get married and can’t have kids? What if I really am too picky? With so much doubt and questioning, it’s easier to throw in the towel and settle down with someone who is good enough…

…but maybe not quite great.

Before I’m committed to someone, I want to commit to myself. I want to go through lots of difficult things as an individual that will make me brighter, stronger and happier. I want to be a whole person before I meet another whole person – I’m not looking to be completed by anyone else. Before I say “I do” – I want to say, “I do” to adventure and travel and experiences that don’t involve a man. Before I get into a relationship or put on an actual gown (and not a sheet), I want to know that no matter what, I’d be totally fine on my own.

Because there’s a difference between wanting a man and needing one. And I’ll know when I’m ready to get married, ready to walk down that aisle, ready to maybe change my last name when I want a partner, I don’t need one. Most fear, after all, comes from desperation, and most of our regrets are from when we were afraid.

So I’m single. I’m 25. I’m not desperate. I’m in no rush. I’m not ready to get married. And that’s better than good enough. It’s great.

The Guy I Met at the Dog Park

The sun radiated over the Hudson River, warming my face and creating shadows across the pages. I tried to look up to catch a glimpse of the sunset, it’s endless weaves of orange and yellow hues luring me in, but the light was too bright, my eyes too sensitive. This was surely the best time of the day to be at Riverside Park, a place I frequent if not for its quiet beauty but for its proximity to my apartment. The dog run is just a few blocks away and on evenings like last night, when I was too tired to run and to curious to just sit at home on Netflix, reading with a latte while Lucy plays is just about the perfect end to a hectic workday.

I didn’t put any effort into my appearance, instead, I just slipped off my work attire and melted myself into sweatpants I’ve had longer than I’ve been with any boyfriend. I pulled my hair into a crisp, loose bun and with a quick dab of Chapstick, I was out of the door and in the park by 7:30. While the sun played hide-and-seek in between the trees and stinging my eyes, I cursed myself for not bringing sunglasses, and worried that my lack of view would make it impossible to save Lucy from the occasional mean dog who mistakes her for a plush toy.

Scanning the dirt field to ensure her safety, my eyes watched a shadowy figure enter the park. I couldn’t make out any features, but I could see the width of his shoulders, the length of his legs. He threw a tennis ball and a black-and-white puppy chased after it, and through the rays of sunlight, I could make out a slight, yet gleaming, smile. I immediately look to his left hand, searching for a symbol of commitment, but hoping for a sign that he’s single. I watch the dog scatter around the park, clearly not much more than a few months old, and as if she could read my mind, Lucy wanders over to the dog, happy and eager to make a new friend.

As I usually do, I hold my breath while waiting to see if the dog of the handsome owner will be kind toward my girl, but I relax when I see them start to play and smile as I hear the stranger with a face I haven’t seen yet, come and sit down at the bench next to me. He brought a book too, though I can’t make out the cover. He glances over at me and grins. I return the gesture. With my legs curled up underneath me, I shuffle just enough to make my stretchy everyday pants look somewhat attractive, and I return my focus to the book I can no longer concentrate on since there is a possibility just a few feet away. He calls after his dog – Cecilia – and Lucy follows closely behind, most literally chasing her pal’s tail. Without hesitation, I see my white fur ball hop into this man’s lap, and though I apologize for her sudden breaking the rules of the dog run, I also make a mental note to give her some extra treats for being such a great wingdog.

“Oh I’m so sorry! She’s too friendly for her own good,” I say, quickly standing up and walking to retrieve her.

“It’s fine, really. This one is a trouble-maker too…,” he responds, looking at me for the first time. His eyes are blue. My heart clenches onto a fragile piece of hope it hasn’t felt in a long time. Don’t let your mind create romantic visions, Lindsay. Don’t do it. You’ve only just met a man, he means nothing. Not yet. Maybe not ever, I remind myself.

But it was too late, I could feel the fantasy starting to brew:

They met at the dog park on a beautiful August day in 2013. She wasn’t feeling her prettiest, but then again, her mother always told her that she’d meet someone when she least expected it and especially when she wasn’t trying at all. He saw her when he first walked in but she was devouring her book, barely looking up and he had thought she didn’t notice him at all. He loved the way she seemed so comfortable and confident, like she came to this park every single day, just to read, perhaps to play. The dogs must have known it first, before either of them could sense the chemistry that was so easily evident between them. Once she stood up, he knew he’d have to ask her out. When she looked into his eyes and finally saw his face from behind the sunlit cloud, she hoped he’d at least offer to buy her a drink. And he did. Five minutes later, they were sitting at the Riverside Park Café, looking out onto the river that wraps around the city they’re not from, but a place they both love more than anything. It had taken long enough to find one another, but here they were.

… she’s still a puppy, actually. Trying to train her and it’s really tough,” he continued, breaking me out of my daydream and back to reality, where Lucy was kicking dirt on my leg while licking my feet.

Oh, do you take her to PetCo? I really enjoyed the program when Lucy was her age,” I offered and he nodded along, squinting up with the sun in his eyes.

“I’ll have to look into that. You must be a regular here, huh?” He grins, placing his hand above his brow to look at me.

We talk about the area and raising dogs, and something tingles inside of me, even though I really do know better than to read too much into meet-cutes. He gets up and we walk around, chatting about our lives in the city, and throwing the ball that Cici chases and Lucy then chases after Cici. I can feel the tension grow, and though I try my very best to never be desperate, I desperately plead with the universe to make the sunset last longer so the darkness doesn’t come and swallow away this beautiful scenery, in this beautiful span of time, where for the first time, in a long time, I’m actually entertained talking to a man.

“Mark!” I hear as his attention changes quickly, and I realize we hadn’t exchanged our own names, just our pets’ names. I brace myself – and cross my fingers – that I’ll see a sister or a mother when I turn to face whoever is calling his name. She’s a beautiful brunette, wearing the same running shoes that I have. She looks pretty, even post-run, and Cici jumps up to greet her, and she tells her to sit in between giggles, just like I would if Lucy did the same. He goes up and embraces her, and then introduces me to his…


She shakes with her left hand – possibly because she might feel a bit threatened – and I admire her sparkly diamond. He tells her all of the helpful advice I gave him: where to get their dog groomed inexpensively, joints that allow dogs to sit at the bar stool next to you, where to get the best deal on training pads and waste bags. I nod through the conversation as his bride-to-be excitedly thanks me for all of the help, and just as quickly as it happened, they walk away, hand-in-hand with Cici… into the sunset.

Okay, not really – it was mostly dark by then, but it sure felt that way.

I knew I had two choices in that moment: I could get discouraged and disappointed that my almost-date turned out to be taken or I could remember that not everything is ever as it seems. Yes, they’re engaged, maybe they’ve even set a date. Perhaps he’s uncertain about their future and they don’t actual click in all areas of their relationship. They could argue every day and have mismatched sex drives, she could have laid down the law of the ultimatum, forcing him into engagement after several years of dating. They could be college or high school sweethearts that would rather get hitched than to figure out the dating life post-university, or he could be a terrible boyfriend that she’s settling by marrying. There could be a million things wrong with their relationship or nothing at all. But no matter of how it’s going or how it’ll end up or who those people are, I’ll never know.

And they’ll never know much more about me.

To Mark, maybe I was just an opportunity to talk to a pretty girl other than his girlfriend, or maybe as a new pet owner, he could relieve some anxiety from someone who has it – at least somewhat – figured out. I could be the symbol of freedom that he sometimes misses, no matter how satisfied he is with his relationship. He may see me as a younger version of the life he once had or wish he had, where he could just sit by himself in the park, passing time without being pulled away or distracted by anything than your own timeline, bedtime, deadline. He may envy the power of independence or long for one single day without wedding planning or trying to decide what to cook for dinner or being nagged to take out the trash. He may see some value in my current status that I’ll never see until I no longer have it.

Or it could have just been a simple, short and quite meaningless conversation on a Tuesday night.

But regardless of what it meant or didn’t mean, what it symbolized or not, the truth is that no matter what part of the pond you stand – the single or the taken side – the grass always looks a little greener. At least every once in a while, anyway.