Dating as a Plus Size Princess can be… interesting! Here I’ve chronicled all of my dating adventures here from online dating as a big girl, to the “BBW” club scene in NYC. Hopefully reading my stories will remind us that it is possible to find love at any size.

Have You Ever Dated Someone Who Just…Vanished?

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Have you ever had someone “ghost” on you? I’m not talking Patrick Swayze, sappy music, and a pottery wheel. I’m talking about when a guy or girl that you’re dating just disappears off the face of the planet — and you’re left wondering what happened. If I have a first date and the guy never calls back, that’s not ghosting; it’s just life. But, if I’m seeing someone regularly and circumstances or feelings change, I’d like to hope everyone will be grown-up enough to communicate that. When someone ceases communication without warning and you never see them again? That’s a ghost situation.

My ghosting experience happened with Adrian. We had been dating for a few weeks when he asked me to be exclusive. But, of course, there was a catch — he also needed to take a month-long work trip to Turkmenistan to help save the endangered snow leopards. I can’t make this stuff up.

The idea of being exclusive right when Adrian was going to be gone for a month didn’t sit well with me, so I told him I’d rather wait until he returned. The night before his flight, Adrian wanted to sleep with me (one of the intimate perks that, for me, comes with being exclusive) — but I told him that wasn’t going to happen. He was respectful, told me he’d miss me, and promised to e-mail me as soon as he landed the next day. I never heard from Adrian again.

The first few days, I tried not to freak out. I went about my day with a quiet storm of thoughts running through my head: His flight was probably delayed. Maybe he doesn’t have Internet in Turkmenistan. Did I give him the correct email address? What if he’s getting bounce-backs? By week two, I was officially losing my mind. I called his work; when the receptionist answered, I froze. I could have said, “Hello, I’m calling to see if one of your employees was eaten by snow leopards, or if he’s ghosting on me, can you help?” Instead, I hung up the phone and called Ghostbusters, a.k.a. my girlfriends. We spent the night collectively trying to stalk Adrian over cocktails, but we didn’t have much to go on. We decided that closure was needed in the form of one final, saucy voicemail.

I put my phone on speaker and dialed his number. The number was disconnected — Adrian had really vanished. Now, I was angry. I couldn’t believe this was happening. After another round of drinks, we decided that the only thing to do was to offer an “R.I.P.” to that relationship and keep moving. I couldn’t make Adrian call me, and I couldn’t text a snow leopard to see if he had been spotted in the wilderness. The whole situation was out of my hands. I reminded myself that people do crazy things to avoid confrontation.

I decided that I wasn’t going to spend more time mourning Adrian than I spent actually dating him. I snapped out of my funk, and was suddenly grateful. The desire for a relationship can be an overwhelming feeling (more on that single-girl problem here), but I was glad I’d followed my instincts and pumped the brakes when Adrian wanted to be exclusive. Can you imagine how crazy I would have been if I never heard from my “boyfriend” again? I can’t help but wonder if his whole exclusivity chat was just a ploy to hook up before his month out of the country. Who knows?

It all boils down to trust, which for me, has to be earned. I really liked Adrian, but in the few weeks we had been dating, he hadn’t earned the trust required to be my long-distance boyfriend. I could have let my desire for the “girlfriend” title trump my desire to build a long-lasting and real relationship, but instead, I chose to stay single and let Adrian show me just how trustworthy (or not) he could be. He certainly showed me.

Ever had a guy ghost on you?

Read More of my work at CeCe Olisa for Refinery29

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How to Walk Out Bad Dates: 3 Easy Tips

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So, last week I shared some of my bad dating experiences in this post. I explained that it’s 100% okay to walk out on bad dates, but I realized I didn’t give you girls tips on how to walk out on a date that isn’t going well.

I never felt good about myself after suffering through a bad date. I did feel good about myself when I valued myself enough to end bad dates early. So if you’re in the dating game right now, here are three tips that helped me escape bad dates.

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Video Recap:

  1. “Put the Date in Perspective” If we’ve already decided that our entire romantic future depends on the person we’re meeting for a first date, its going to be really hard to walk away. Remind yourself that you don’t know this person, they don’t owe you anything and if they aren’t what you’re looking for, there’s no need for you to waste your time energy and self esteem on whatever nonsense they’re putting you through.
  2. “Keep it Convenient” The more we invest in something, the more we want out of it– that includes travel time. If I take trains, planes and automobiles to get to a date I may stay longer than I want to just to make the trip worth it. I always try to choose date locations that are convenient to my job or apartment so that if I need to leave, its not a big deal
  3. “Make Plans” Have plans with yourself in case the date doesn’t go well. Scope out a movie time or museum nearby (I left a date to go get a manicure and it was perfect). This way if you need to leave the date, you’re not left all dressed up with no where to go.

Dating can do a number on our self esteem, but its up to us to remember how awesome we are, no matter what our dating situation is. You are valuable, your time is valuable and you don’t need to spend time with people who don’t see what you’re worth.

Hope these tips are helpful to you! xo

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When It’s Okay To Walk Out Of A Date

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Walking into the new, chic bar in Harlem, I had the usual jitters that arrive when you’re about to meet someone you’ve been talking to online. I was nervous — but also excited — to learn more about J.R., the guy I’d been chatting and texting with for a few weeks.

From the moment I saw him (sitting, hunched over his phone, texting), I had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. I approached him in spite of it. We introduced ourselves, but instead of getting up and heading to the bar with me, he stayed fixated on his phone. After about 20 minutes of this — his phone getting way more attention than me — he excused himself to take a call. You can probably predict what happened next: He never came back. I sat alone in the bar, fighting back angry tears.

CeCe Olisa When It's Okay To Walk Out Of A Date

And yet, from the moment I’d laid eyes on J.R., my instincts had told me I wasn’t walking into a good situation. My Jerk-O-Meter had gone off, and I’d ignored it. Why had I stayed when my gut was telling me to leave? Why had I made feeble attempts at small talk when his body language was clearly telling me he wanted nothing to do with me? Well, I did it because it was the polite thing to do. I let manners trump my instincts. And, I realized with some dismay, it wasn’t the first time I’d allowed my inclination to be considerate overrule my need to stand up for myself.

Related: How to Deal with Rejection

I don’t think I’m alone in this. Women are practically trained to “be nice.” We want to be liked, and so we often act politely — even in the face of someone’s rudeness. Being nice to guys I dated, including ones I knew didn’t deserve it, was something I’d just always done. When J.R. defended his phone fixation with a sarcastic remark and still wouldn’t give me the time of day, I could have — and obviously should have — turned and walked out. But, I kept fighting to be polite. I’m not to blame for J.R.’s bad behavior, but my sitting down and continuing to engage with him indicated that I was okay with how he was treating me, which probably only made him think he could disrespect his future dates, too.

It was this horrible date with J.R. that gave me the impetus to throw my good manners out the window when I deemed it necessary. From now on, I was going to put myself first — even if it meant I had to be a little rude. Enough with the niceness all the time! I was quickly learning that it was not always the best policy. Now, if a date makes me feel disrespected, I have the right — and the obligation — to leave. And, I’m proud to say that’s just what I did the last time a guy I went out with turned out to be a jerk.

Related: Is Online Dating Different for Plus Size Women?

I’d met Pete online, and after some nice email exchanges, we decided to meet in person. Pete picked a coffee shop downtown, which fit my rule about meeting in neutral, safe locations. When I walked in, Pete waved at me, with a smile, from a table in the corner. “What’s up, CeCe!” he said, giving me one of those cool-guy chin nods. I hesitantly sat down. We’d barely said hello when Pete began to talk about himself, non-stop, while also checking out other girls right in front of my face. I looked at my watch (never a good sign during a date), which confirmed that the date had been going on for exactly six minutes. I waited for Pete to ask me something — anything — about myself. But, that never happened.

If this was Pete putting his best foot forward, I’d seen all I needed to. “Actually, I’m going to head out,” I said. “It was nice meeting you!” I picked up my purse and went to get a manicure.

Sometimes, being nice is overrated.

Have you ever walked out on a date? …ever wish you had?

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“You’ll Find Someone When You Stop Looking” Is Terrible Advice

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When I was single, I was obsessed with getting dating advice from my married friends. I figured their success with coupledom could teach me a thing or two. Now that I’m straddling the single-married line, I see the problem with that point of view: Once you find someone, it’s easy to forget how hard it can be out there.

Advice is often dispensed with a certain forgetfulness. So, before my memory of being single fades, I’m gonna tell it like it really is. The most offensive thing that married people say is: “You’ll find someone when you stop looking.”

This statement is ridiculous. In what other area of life do we apply this kind of logic? Do we find a job when we stop applying? Or a pair of shoes when we stop shopping? If we want to find a loving relationship, how is shutting down the search a wise move?

I’ll admit, before I met my boyfriend, I would “stop looking” a few times a year. I would delete all my online dating profiles, spend nights at the gym, and go to dinner with friends. I would walk around the city wearing big sunglasses and headphones. Unsurprisingly, I wouldn’t meet anyone new. Of course, this was not what I wanted, and I wasn’t doing myself any favors by following this advice.

When people say love will happen when you’re not looking, what they really mean is to relax. One of my worst dating mistakes was being too ready when I was out. I was always looking for that rom-com connection, that instant attraction that would magically turn into love by the end of a song on the dance floor. Most of the time, I probably just ended up looking kind of desperate.

I met my boyfriend at work when I was going through a breakup. So, technically, I wasn’t “on the hunt” at the time our paths crossed. In fact, I didn’t even think of him as a prospect because I was nursing a heartache.

Because he was a coworker, I was super relaxed around him. I wasn’t CeCe the Single Girl, I was just me. And, by the time I decided to flirt with him, I found out he was already attracted to me.

When my married friends weren’t instructing me to stop looking, they were asking if I was making myself available enough. Of course, this piece of advice made me second-guess my not-looking strategy. So, I’d reactivate my dating profile, skip the gym in favor of happy hour, and confidently strut around the city wearing an approachable smile.

When it came to making myself available, my friends weren’t entirely wrong. I did actually meet a few men that way. There was the guy I met in a coffee shop who took my card but never called. And, one guy I dated for a hot minute before he suddenly went MIA. The difficulty of opening yourself is that you face rejection again and again.

Part of my problem was my inclination to reject before I could be rejected. But, when I began to embrace vulnerability, I was more available than ever. Allowing myself to be available without giving up my amazing independence was key. And, that willingness helped to secure my current relationship.

Figuring out how to make my married friends’ advice work for me wasn’t easy, but it can be done. You can be both not looking AND available.

Wedded friends like to tell you to enjoy the single life while smiling adoringly into each other’s eyes. And, it’s time to call BS on this.

Here’s how this advice usually happened to me: I’d share one of my single-girl horror stories, and they’d promise me I actually had it really good. The “till death do us part” bit they’d signed off on? Well, it was just terrible.

But, they couldn’t fool me. I was sure they went home to their partner after their conversation with me and sighed with relief that their single days were a thing of the past.

I get that marriage isn’t rosy all the time, and I believe that being single can be amazing. I’m the first to admit that I wasn’t prepared for the hard work of a relationship when I finally found myself in one. But, focusing on the challenges only tells part of the story.

As they say, hindsight is 20/20. I suppose it’s easy for married folks to look back and see how their dating woes led them to their spouse eventually, and then wrap it all up into little bumper sticker-like advice. But, for those who are trying not to be discouraged by dating, it’s helpful to be allowed to be irritated and frustrated at times. It’s also helpful to know that the advice of married people isn’t the Holy Grail.

So, what cliché dating tips do you get that drive you nuts?

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Couples Yoga! #PSPfit

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Mr. Man told me to be ready at 4:30 for my Valentine’s Day surprise. Just as I was putting the finishing touches on my outfit (thanks to everyone who helped me choose!) he called me and said “whatever you’re wearing take it off, pack it in a bag for later and put on some workout clothes.”

An hour and a subway ride later, he walked me into a yoga studio with roses and candles everywhere… my Valentine’s Day surprise was a couples yoga class!

Let me start by saying that Mr. Man is not the “yoga type” at all. I’ve suggested that he come to a yoga class with me and he wasn’t completely thrilled with the idea. I actually didn’t even know couples yoga was a thing, but I guess he’d been researching it on the low *cheesy grin*

Doing a Yoga practice with my honey was a really cool experience, using him for balance and deeper stretches made the session really impactful. I was able to get into certain poses more easily because he was there with me. Its definitely something I’d do again.

Something I shared with the #PSPfit bootcamp babes is that even though our fitness journey begins and ends with us, there are times when the people we’re in relationships with need to be involved with what we’re doing. Maybe its asking a friend to go walking instead of going to Happy Hour, asking a spouse to find room in the budget for our gym membership or asking coworkers to order you a fruit tray instead of a birthday cake. Sometimes we need to tell the people in our lives what we need from them to help us stay on our path… it can be awkward to ask, but the people who truly love us will always be happy to help us do/be better.

In my case, I was finding that Mr. Man is super supportive and always behind me as I go deeper into my #PSPfit lifestyle, but every once in a while I need him next to me. The fact that he chose V-Day to show his solidarity to my healthy curves journey was just… everything.

At the end of this weeks vlog, you’ll see the Valentine’s Day dress I chose and my giddy face at our couples yoga session… Subscribe to my YouTube channel here

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How to Have an Awesome Valentines Day When You’re Single

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It was so annoying when I was single and my friends were in relationships. Even if I didn’t notice the difference in our relationship status the rest of the year, on February 14th, there was no escaping the fact that they had a bae and I did not. The weekends away, the roses, the awesome dates… and I was just at home like

Especially with Valentines Day falling on a weekend this year, instead of one day of “have fun, everyone but me!” it can can feel like an entire weekend of “womp womp!” for single girls, but it doesn’t have to be that way. I’m all about celebrating love, period (family, friends, self) so here’s a weekend itinerary for an awesome Single Girls Valentines Day:

How to Have an Awesome Valentines Day When You're Single

Friday

Manicures! I know a lot of couples do the massage thing for V-Day, so I’d skip that but I think nail salons are pretty much a date-free zone during V-day weekend. Go and get a fun design, or if you don’t want to shell out the $$ for professional nail art, order some nail wraps in a fun design here and do it yourself!

Movies! There are a few movies coming out on Friday including “The Last 5 Years” based on one of my favorite musicals and certain movie might be *ahem* all shades of fun to see. If none of the new releases sound good, fire up nexflix; some of my favorite romantic movies are Baz Luhrman’s Romeo & Juliet, Dirty Dancing, Love & Basketball and The Notebook, obvi.

Saturday

Morning Yoga! I don’t think any Valentine’s Day dates will start before 12pm, so a morning yoga class should be a great way to avoid couples and give a little love and attention to your body #PSPfit! I’ll be inviting my girlfriends to take yoga with me before I start getting ready for my night with Mr. Man.

Make a Yummy Meal! Restaurants are going to be nuts, so I’d say either grab some chipotle and call it a day or maybe try to cook one of the many pinterest recipes you’ve pinned, but haven’t actually made yet.

Wine & Chocolate: I love pairing wine with chocolate, its so decadent and fun. You can do this based on your budget; a cheap $12 bottle of red wine and dove chocolate from the drugstore, or you can go for a more expensive bottle and Godiva, do what works for you!

side note: I’d say wine & chocolate is a good idea for a group of girlfriends, instead of a solo thing. I don’t know about you, but being alone with a bottle of wine and a box of candy could mean a slippery slope from cute to catastrophe! lol

Sunday

Brunch!!! Brunch is a great way for girlfriends to get together and dish about V-Day dates (or lack-thereof) over mimosas. Brunch is my favorite meal, so I’ve actually asked Mr. Man to come to brunch with my girlfriends this Sunday as part of our V-Day weekend plans. I’ve always done something with my girls for V-day and I don’t want to break that tradition.

What would you add to the list?

Whatever we do this weekend, the most important person to show love to is ourselves. Once we have a great relationship with ourselves, everything else is a breeze!

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