If you live in New York you probably know Tamsen Fadal from PIX11, the Tribune’s flagship station in New York City, where she anchors the 5pm and 10pm news. Or, perhaps you’ve seen her as host of Backstage on Broadway or Broadway Profiles on the Broadway Channel.
And if that weren't enough, in addition to her award-winning career in journalism, Tamsen has also written 4 self-help books about relationships and advised clients on finding love in a matchmaking and dating business she ran with her former husband. Together, they co-authored, Why Hasn’t He Called? (McGraw Hill), Why Hasn’t He Proposed? (McGraw Hill), and Don’t Date Dumb (McGraw Hill). They even hosted Lifetime Television’s dating series, Matched in Manhattan.
And now they’re divorced.
Talk about life taking unexpected turns! Divorced myself, also, like Tamsen, with two Chihuahuas by my side, I can relate. It’s not easy to approach divorce, or any kind of break up, with an optimistic outlook. But, there are ways to turn life’s circumstances such as these into events that shape us into better individuals.
In Tamsen’s latest book, The New Single (St. Martin’s Press), she shares the emotional challenges of divorce and how she found the answers within herself to create the life she wants to live – and feel happy doing it. I asked her for her take on being single now after having devoted so much of her life to, shall we say, not being single.
DF: Your first three books deal with dating, and focus on how to land a relationship with the right guy. Now, in your current book, The New Single, the emphasis is on what it means to have a relationship with yourself – sans the guy. While ostensibly at opposite ends of the spectrum, can you share a little about where you feel there are core principles that overlap?
TF: You'd be surprised to learn there isn't that much of a difference when dealing with the core principles. What I was most excited about as I took the leap to write The New Single is that when it comes to relationship advice, the most important place to start is with YOU. You must be sure of what you are truly looking for in all aspects of your life, only then can you present yourself to connect with another person. Caring enough about yourself to not follow a negative impulse and break free from past stumbles is the first step to rediscovering YOU.
DF. You talk about toxic patterns and how they hurt relationships. Can you give me an example or two?
TF: Too many people jump into the next relationship only to find they are repeating the same toxic patterns, or going the other direction altogether and finding someone completely the opposite of the person they were with or married to. I quickly realized that I needed to find me–by-myself first. It's actually a fantastic feeling once you "find" you CAN find that long lost you.
DF. So many women don't want to be single. They consider it a deep flaw. What is your advice to these women?
TF: I am loving the word 'single’ now. I used to fear it! But you know what? Single is not a bad word. Single is ONE, and one is a word we equate with power, but not when it comes to ourselves. It's never about yourself. When you start dating it's about the guy. It used to be about him. Then it was about 'us'. Now it’s about YOU, and it’s about time - time to embrace your life immediately as a strong SINGLE.
DF: In your book you help women embrace their new lives and selves. What are the best 3 tips you have for them?
TF: 1) Take the time to MAKE the time for yourself. Make and embrace the new discovery of finding YOU. 2) Stop looking for the negative, seek out the beauty inside you and around you. Surround yourself with what makes you feel wonderful. 3) I like to say, add an 8th day to your week, and call it SOMEDAY. Embrace SOMEDAY, because now, every day is about you!
DF: What was the defining moment that inspired you to get off the couch and move on with your life?
TF: There wasn't one big aha moment. There were many moments that added up, but there was something that a friend of mine had asked me, "Do you want to keep experiencing life from your couch, or become a part of it?" Every step of your own happiness is your responsibility, it's a privilege, take advantage of it!
DF: What is the most important lesson you want women to take away from reading your book?
TF: My favorite words of wisdom are from my father: It’s better to be alone than lonely with someone else. They are words that I live by. It's such an important lesson.
DF: Your journey has been an interesting one. Has divorce changed your view on what it takes to be happy in a relationship? If so, how?
TF: Divorce did not change my view of what makes a relationship work (or not work). I always knew what was important, but I let ALL the usual distractions step in my path. I always knew in my heart what was important for me, what I yearned for to be happy. If anything, the journey of the end of my marriage REMINDED me of what I MEAN to ME.
DF: You are known for your relationship expertise. What do you say to women now who are looking for Mr. Right?
TF: As I found my renewed inner-me and spirit, I started to understand the difference between a date that was fine for “Mr. Right Now,” but nowhere near the kind of keeper “Mr. Right” would be. We all have a list of the good and the bad, the characteristics we dream about in our “perfect” man, mate and partner; and the deal breakers too. Those “perfect” qualities don’t always add up to Mr. Right. Look instead for someone who makes you a better person, someone who makes you want to get up in the morning and say hello, or jump into bed at night to cuddle. Most of all look for someone who respects you RIGHT NOW, not who will love you when you land a more fabulous job or when you become the person who you want to be in the future.
DF: You talk about finding your own power. What does that mean to you?
TF: Every day is a journey. I am able to help other people and, perhaps just as important, empower myself to understand where I was and where I want to be. The point is self-empowerment. Accepting your new single life and making yourself priority #1 for the first time in a long time. Learn to re-love yourself before you try and learn to love anyone else.
DF: Married or single, what message do you have for women?
TF: If you care about yourself, in any stage of your life, there are no endings if you are looking forward -- just beginnings. Mistakes are okay, struggle is the first phase of WINNING. We are all works-in-progress, beautiful, wonderful and ready for our many beginnings! The end of my marriage was a great start to the true person I will always be.
Tamsen Fadal is a 4-time Emmy award-winning journalist, producer, author, and entrepreneur who has interviewed Presidents, power-players, and newsmakers from across the globe.
She has appeared nationally on The Talk, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Lifetime, and A&E, just to name a few. She is a contributor to The Huffington Post, SheKnows, Daily Worth HealthStyleNY and EmpowHer. Tamsen’s writings have been featured in publications including Elle Magazine, Moves Magazine, Complete Woman, and the New York Times. Learn more about Tamsen at www.tamsenfadal.com
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