Dating advice you will love… An Interview with Carolyn Martinez, Author of Finding Love Again
By Silvana Nagl
‘What if the best day of your life hasn’t yet happened?’
The gift of being a writer is that you can examine, extrapolate and integrate those life experiences that leave you wondering, “What just happened?” Such is the talent of Brisbane writer and publisher, Carolyn Martinez. In Finding Love Again she explored the world of single-dom at the end of a long-term relationship.
Dating Advice: Fluff or Fact?
Martinez discovered that there were many fluff pieces available online, that obscured the important research findings of qualified professionals. Carolyn needed information that acted as a bridge between hard data and yet was easy to read. So, she set about creating a manual for the heartbroken called Finding Love Again.
When you feel like ordinary chuck steak:
‘I wrote Finding Love Again because I was utterly unprepared for the reality of dating when I found myself single again at 32 years old. I went from being prime rib fillet in the dating world in my early 20s to ordinary old chuck steak in my 30s.’
Through the passage of time and immersing herself in her new identity, Martinez discovered the joys and pitfalls of being single. Particularly repellent to her were some of the ‘labels’ that this new world imposed on her.
‘It was ludicrous how often I was categorised – sight unseen might I add! – as desperate to have children immediately. Simply because of my age. I was infuriated and offended to be pigeonholed.’
Heartbroken when her first 12-year relationship ended, Martinez realised some time later, that she’d made many mistakes. Such as excessive drinking and dating the wrong kind of men for her. It wasn’t until she finally met Mr Right, her current husband Saul, that she stopped and analysed what she’d experienced. She then turned thorns into gems of wisdom.
A new and loving space:
In this new and loving space, she felt the time had come to reflect on her experiences and write the book she wished was available when she was single.
‘I wanted to create a kind of best friend in a book, one that would warn you about those pitfalls and help you avoid the mistakes I and others made,’ she said.
To gather all the collective wisdom of those who’d faced similar relationship challenges, the former journalist interviewed men and women across Australia. She also interviewed a relationships expert to compile helpful advice for second-time around singles.
One of the stand-out pieces of advice that came from her research was the need for self-reflection exercises.
‘One of the major recommendations in Finding Love Again is that you need to understand your own personal values. Understanding which of these is Negotiable and which are Not is critical. It’s easier said than done. The included self-reflection exercises guide readers to uncover their personal answers.’
Martinez’s favourite part of the book is the sample questions that the Relationships Expert suggests. ‘You ask your new date open-ended questions that give you real data to compare your values against theirs. Open-ended prompts stop you sounding like you’re asking ‘laden’ questions,’ says Martinez.
Internet Dating, yay or nay:
So, what does she think of internet dating? ‘I didn’t make recommendations either way, but my personal view is that it’s better to meet someone in person. If you’re trying to match yourself to a stranger you’ve met online, it’s easy to fall into the trap of becoming someone different to suit their likes and interests.’ She believes that socialising with like-minded people means that when you meet someone in your new circle of friends, you’re likely to have similar interests and values.
‘I think it’s important to feel strong and resilient and put yourself out there (outside your home and computer). Meet new people and develop your own interests, that way, you can truly ‘find yourself’ again after a break-up before you start dating someone new. Ultimately, by doing this, you end up putting yourself in the best places to meet the right person for you.’
That’s not to say there isn’t a place for online dating with many people using sites such as Arab Lounge. There are people who would prefer to get to know some a little better before meeting them in person as being introduced to lots of new people can be daunting. It can also be difficult to meet people through friends when you’ve just moved to a new city or country. It completely depends on the individual.
Martinez hopes that Finding Love Again will bring hope to those feeling a little hope-less, and leaves us with her favourite quote from the book. ‘What if the best day of your life hasn’t happened yet?’
For those looking for love, let’s hope that reading Finding Love Again means that ‘best day’ is just around the corner.
You can source ‘Finding Love Again’ by Carolyn Martinez here.
If you’re in the mood for a feel-good romantic novel, you might enjoy ‘Holding out for a Hero‘ by Amy Andrews.