Kimmay wearing Chantal Thomass in Paris TITLE how to date yourselfI have been in a committed, monogamous relationship with a wonderful man since 2006. That’s over a decade, folks. When people talk about long term relationships and marriages, they often say “don’t forget to keep dating each other” or “keep things fresh” or “try new things together to keep the spark alive”. And that is so true. Trust me. I highly suggest continuing to date your honey as the years go by.

What most people don’t really talk about is the importance of continually deepening your trust and connection with this person. How you need to constantly unfold and watch them unfold as the two of you evolve and blend your lives together. Fostering time to nurture the deep, dark, emotional parts of a relationship with someone is super important. That’s the part of dating and getting to know each other that needs to keep going, too, in order to have a healthy, joyful, and intimate relationship.

And what people most certainly do not talk about is how you should do both of these things with yourself.

I am a firm believer that dating yourself is of the utmost importance. This is true when you’re with a partner or not. It’s true before you find the love of your life, and it’s true after you’ve been together for decades. Dating yourself is not selfish, it is not weird, it’s not even difficult to start. And in the end, getting to know yourself and caring for yourself will help you get to know and care for others. I truly believe that taking a step toward loving yourself more opens up a deeper well from which you can draw love for others. You have to nurture yourself first before you can fully nurture others.

I have an example and an analogy for you. My own example is that I was dating in New York City for a few years and had had enough. I was dating a guy who was older than me – about 8 years older – and he was wonderful. But something (well, many things) were off. And the most important one that I realized was that I wasn’t quite sure who I was yet. I was only 20. I was working full time and going to school full time. And all of my precious free time was spent getting to know him. I was spending a great deal of effort into forcing him and I to be an us, that I really lost site of what I wanted, what I valued, how I felt, and who I was.

I will give myself so much gratitude and props for doing what I did. I broke up with him (super painful, really sad, and a topic for another post, I’m sure) and went on a self imposed “man ban”. This was not because I hated men. It was because I wanted to love myself. On the rare occasion that I was out with girlfriends for the evening, I wouldn’t even let a man flirt with me or buy me a drink. I would literally look them in the (sometimes very handsome) face and say “I’m sorry. I don’t want to be a bitch, but I don’t have time for you. I don’t want to waste your time. That girl over there is very pretty, and very willing to have a drink with you. Have a great night!” This was often met with a “WTF?” kind of look. I even had a lovely guy* ask me out in September, and I told him I didn’t have a free night until December. This was true – I was working and studying and going to school every single day for four solid months. And, I knew what little time I did have I wanted for myself. I was reserving my energy for me. I needed it. For something big was about to come my way.

What I was doing, I realized, was putting myself first. And, in essence, I was dating myself. I got to know myself and what I wanted, what I didn’t want, and who I really was without the distraction of a partner. I didn’t know it at the time, but I needed this time to date myself so I could be prepared to date someone else. And thank God I was prepared, because about a year into my man ban, I met the man I would marry. It and he were completely against my plan. (In short: I wanted to get married at 30 to a sophisticated man who was from Europe and had a yacht. I was 21 and this was a sports dude from Ohio. It all worked out.) And I was thrown into emotional chaos as I fell in love with him.

So I’m glad I had gotten to know myself before I got to know the man I was going to marry. Because I found myself losing myself in other relationships. I got caught up in dating them and never got to know me. And – that doesn’t stop. I am always changing, and dating myself hasn’t stopped, it’s just taken on different methods.

So here’s the analogy. I came up with this when one of my best friends was lamenting the Tinder relationship that had gone sour. This lovely woman is still in grief after a tragedy. And the man she was dating clearly had a lot of personal issues to work on. And while there will always be “things to work on”, I do believe that relationships work best when you have a strong start. You have to think of yourself as a bicycle. Your bike has two wheels and can function on its own. And it requires maintenance, regular tune ups, and air in the tires. You must take care of it, keep it from getting rusty or weathered. You may accessorize it with a seat that suits you, or handlebars that fit your needs. And then, once your bike is tuned up and ready, you’re SO more prepared to match up with another bicycle. Having a partner means you two have four wheels instead of two. And together you can go farther and faster. But both of you must maintain your bike and keep it working properly. And should the two of you ever split, you’ll still be OK on your own.

Those tune-ups and maintenance to me are dating yourself. It’s self care, self love, and self respect. And it ultimately makes you a stronger person – with or without a partner.

*(By the way, that guy who asked me out in September actually did follow up with me in December which was one of the most flattering things ever, and I turned him down. Not because he was awful, but because I had spent months getting to know who and what I wanted, and learning to yes and no without feeling guilty.)

OK enough jabbering. I hope I’ve enticed you to at least dip a toe into the deep pool of dating yourself. I hope you understand the value of continuing to cherish and get to know yourself. Valentine’s Day is a day for lovers, and that includes you + you. Think of the qualities you want in a partner and be that to yourself. Think of the activities you want to do together, and try it solo. Think of the way you want to be seen in their eyes, and look at yourself with the same adoration.

Here are a few ways you can test out dating yourself, along with some of my photos from the Paris #HurrayVacay!

Promise yourself that you’ll try some, and schedule them into your calendar. My friend Danielle puts “DDN” on her calendar for “Danielle Date Night”. I love it! Test these yourself and see how you feel, and share your advice with us, too!

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Kimmay at movie theater in Paris -Date Yourself blog Hurray Kimmay

{Style notes at the very bottom of this post}

Go to the movies. In my earlier years, I would never even think to go to the movies alone. To me, going to a movie was a social activity. The movie theater was a social experience to be shared with friends or loved ones. When I first started dating my husband, I was shocked that he would often go solo to the movies. What the heck was he thinking? Sitting alone in a dark theater seemed very odd to me. But now, I realize it’s precious time to enjoy entertainment and your own company.

Compliment yourself. Not kidding about this. Look in the mirror and compliment your own body. Give yourself credit for being kind or coming up with a stellar plan. Show appreciation for your great cooking. I love to get compliments from other people – but what about myself? Instead of waiting on or relying on someone to notice your awesomeness, practice seeing and vocalizing it yourself. No one else even needs to know. Dedicate some time to find the goodness in yourself and to write, say out loud, or record your compliments. Find the best in yourself, and celebrate it. It’s not selfish to find the good in you. It’s downright truthful.

Kimmay wearing pink dress -Date Yourself Blog Hurray Kimmay

Style notes: I rented this dress from LeTote. It caused quite a scene in Paris at a fashion show. Apparently the French are a little less bold with with their clothing color choices. Hurray for standing out and being myself! Use that link with my referral code to get $25 off. Photo by Becky Yee.

Get dressed up for you. It’s really fun to get dressed up and looking your best for a partner. So how about doing it for yourself? Whether you have a date or not, put on your fanciest dress and high heels (or whatever makes you feel your very best) and strut around the house, down the street, or out on the town just for you. Admire yourself in the mirror. Soak in your own stunning reflection. Walk with pride – just to be seen with yourself – down the street. If you could dangle off your own arm like arm candy, what would you wear and how would you feel? 

Treat yourself with respect and compassion. Respect and compassion are two absolute requirements of a loving partner. So they are must haves in your relationship with yourself, too. Be respectful of your own time and compassionate when you make a mistake or are hurting. Show yourself the same love you would require from a mate. Or, the love you would show for your mate. Be the kindest person you know – to yourself.

Kimmay at a Paris cafe -Date Yourself blog Hurray Kimmay

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Take yourself out to lunch or dinner. I used to fear the “are you dining alone?” question, and what I thought were judgey looks. But really, I was just judging myself. One of my favorite memories was being alone on a work trip in Ft. Lauderdale, and sitting down to a gorgeous meal by myself. There was barely anyone in the place. I realized that I felt uncomfortable there by myself because I had no one to talk to. But really, I had no one to distract me. I kept reaching for my phone. I kept trying to read and re-read the menu. Finally, I vowed to just live in the present moment, enjoy my surroundings, and enjoy my own company. I was able to take deep breaths and simply enjoy sitting, eating a nourishing meal and some wine, and take in the view of the ocean. It’s hard to describe the subtle shift I made then and how it’s grown into a giant wave. That subtle shift was something like “You’re OK just as you are” and grew into more and more steps toward a better relationship with myself. All from having a solo meal.

Kimmay wearing Gossard slip -Date Yourself Hurray Kimmay blog

Style Notes: Slip by Gossard. Photo by Becky Yee. Apartment by Cobblestone Paris Rental apartment.

Buy yourself lingerie. Of COURSE this is on my list for dating yourself! Did you know that I have never been given lingerie by a lover? NEVER. That’s because I started in the lingerie business pretty early (I was 19, just about to turn 20) and have only had a few partners. And they all know that I have my own very specific tastes and standards when it comes to lingerie. But this is not the case with all women. In fact, many times a woman’s first taste of actual lingerie – as opposed to her basic, neutral colored, smooth bras and seamless underwear – comes in the form of a gift. And in most cases, the lingerie that is given is to the liking of the person who is giving it, not who may be wearing it.

And, if a woman does buy her own lingerie, she often has her partner’s tastes in mind when purchasing it. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard women say “I like this set, but I’m not sure he will”, or “Wow this is spectacular, but he really likes the color blue, and this is black.” I get it. Pleasing a partner is a lovely thing to do. It feels good to let him or her know you bought something with them in mind. And pleasing yourself first is almost always a better idea. Because in many cases, your partner will not notice if your chemise is blue or black. They will notice if you feel amazing in it. They’ll see this beautiful goddess strutting toward them, feeling like a million bucks. Hur-freaking-ray. Confidence and feeling your best is ALWAYS attractive.

Kimmay wearing Passionata by Chantelle in Paris -Date Yourself HK blog

Style Notes: Bra and panty by Passionata at Orcanta in Paris. Photo by Becky Yee. Apartment by Cobblestone Paris Rental apartment.

And on the entirely other side of things, keep in mind that you can buy lingerie, or well fitting basic bras, or sexy little panties, even if no one else sees them. I am so fortunate to have a very loving husband who finds me very sexy. And yet, he could pretty much not care less if I wear lingerie or not. He appreciates it when I feel sexy, but that’s about it. When I wake up and put on bright colored underwear, or a lace bra, I don’t know (or really even care) if he is going to see it. I wear it for me. I wear it because it feels good against my skin, and because I know I have on something beautiful and colorful on my most sacred parts of my body. It puts a pep in my step. It brightens my day. It helps me tap into my personal power. It makes me feel beautiful. If he gets to see it, lucky him. If not, that gorgeous lingerie has still served its original purpose: to make me say hurray.

Kimmay buying flowers in Paris, Date Yourself HK blog

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Buy yourself flowers. Don’t wait for a lover to give you beautiful things. Purchase flowers – or any other loving gift – and let yourself know you care. Every time you see those flowers, remind yourself that you are loved. By you. Hurray!

Protect yourself. One of the best things about having a partner in life is that they’ll protect and keep you safe. I’m totally thinking of that scene in Outlander (spoiler alert – please skip ahead to the * if you don’t want to read this) where Jamie rescues Claire from (one of many predicaments) the witch trial, and tells the crowd that he swore an oath to God to protect this woman, and he would not be stopped from doing so.* Wow, right? I mean, talking about coming to your loved one’s defense. And you don’t have to be a damsel in distress to practice protecting yourself. On a daily basis, we have the opportunity to protect and safeguard ourselves.

Granted, protecting yourself may look very different than what Jamie did in Outlander (at least, I hope so). But that same fierce love applies. How can you love yourself so much that you’ll do anything to keep yourself safe from those who mean to harm you – emotionally or physically? If you were your own best friend or partner, what advice would you give yourself when it came to doing something risky? How would you step in and say “I’m thinking of your well being when I tell you to please do this or not do this”.

A few examples: Wear your seat belt. Don’t text and drive. Stay away from poisonous friendships. Use the buddy system when traveling late at night. Keep your purse zipped up. Don’t get into a car with a driver who’s been drinking. Stop using harmful drugs. Eat more nutritious foods. Don’t binge drink until you blackout. Wear a condom. Be smart. Look out for yourself. Protect yourself fiercely, in a loving and compassionate way.

Kimmay at l'arc de triomphe Paris, Date Yourself HK blog

{Style notes at the very bottom of this post}

Make yourself laugh. Humor is one of the most sought after attributes in a mate. You know you’ve heard women say that all the time! “He has to make me laugh”, right? Humor is sexy. And laughing with your honey feels so dang good. So if you want to love on yourself, make yourself laugh! Don’t take yourself so dang seriously. Lighten up. Find the humor in a solo situation. Bring levity to your encounters.

Ex: when you drop something or make a mistake, instead of saying “Damn it, I’m such an idiot!”, let out a chuckle or a full belly laugh for the fact that “You are just too silly, you. It’s OK. It’s just a mistake. Let’s laugh about it.”

Humor is often a way to show you love and care and trust someone. (Have you ever tried to share a funny moment with someone you despise? Not easy.) Try it with yourself.

Stand by yourself. Standing by your man is great, but it’s hard to stand up for someone else without first doing so for yourself. Know your own values, know what you stand for, know what you’re asking someone else to stand by with you. When you say something, mean it. When you do something, fully show up and really do it. Stand up for what you believe in. Voice your concerns. Don’t be run over by others beliefs or needs if they’re not in line with your own. Be supportive of your dreams. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt.

Kimmay wearing Chantal Thomass underwear in Paris, Date Yourself HK blog

Style notes: Wearing a (gorgeous) sheer panty from French lingerie brand, Chantal Thomass and an H&M crop top while in Paris at a (gorgeous) Cobblestone Paris Rental apartment. Photo by (the gorgeous) Becky Yee.

Get Sexy. Sex is a great way to connect with a lover, and you can use it to connect with yourself. Set aside some time for self-pleasure, and get to know this gorgeous body of yours and what it craves. Just like many other acts of self care, it will help you have an even stronger connection with a loved one (or ones, no judgement) in your life. Try Lelo for some top of the line sexy toys, or just use the hand God gave you. Check out my friends Kait and Kate (two wonderful sex educator ladies) for some solo sexy time information and experimentation advice.

Be curious about yourself. When you’re in the first stages of dating and falling in love, it’s so natural to want to know everything about that person. You want to know where they grew up, what they love and hate, how they feel about a polarizing topic, who they really are. This sometimes stops in relationships after awhile, because you feel like you know everything about them now. I don’t think that’s true. I think as people evolve, you can remain curious about who they are. And people are complex. There are always more doors to open and truths to lovingly uncover. The same goes for ourselves.

Have you ever really sat down and gotten curious about yourself? Have you ever wondered why you love a certain color? Or why you get so upset over certain things and not others? Have you dived into your family history? Have you explored what you really love and hate? Get to know the real you. The one that isn’t presenting herself to the world. The one who is deep within, behind several closed doors. Ask her lovingly who she is and what she desires, just like you would a lover.

Travel solo. When I go on Hurray Vacays, people always ask if my husband went with me. Sometimes, he does join me. More often than not, he does not. And though I often travel with my photographer and colleague, Becky, we sometimes have differing schedules. That means I may find myself in Paris, like our last trip, totally alone. Traveling or exploring a destination alone is totally different than with a partner, or a friend. And just like eating or going to the movies, doing it alone can uncover a lot of wonderful things you didn’t even know about yourself.

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Your Turn: Have you ever considered dating yourself? What suggestions from above can you test out? How does it feel to date yourself? What makes you nervous about it? What’s 1-3 things that you can commit to trying out this month or week?

xoxo kimmay

PS: Photos by my #HurrayVacay travel buddy and colleague Becky Yee. Zero photo-shopping or airbrushing of my body. As always. The apartment was courtesy of Cobblestone Paris Rentals. If you are in Paris and want to stay someplace where you can feel like a pampered local, contact them. For real. Such a wonderful experience and lots of unique, beautiful properties in the best parts of Paris.

Some lingerie items were bought with my own Euros in Paris, while others were samples on loan to me from the brand to share here. This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. As always.

Style Notes for the outfit I’m wearing outdoors: Coat by BCBG, glasses and sunglasses by Warby Parker, jeans by NY&Co., scarf by Madewell, boots by Ralph Lauren, hat bought from a street vendor on a bridge over the Seine River underneath the Eiffel Tower for 8 Euros.

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