Somehow, I’ve been subscribed to a newsletter called Divorce2Dating. Every couple of weeks, I now receive tips on getting back into the dating game after a divorce I never had from a marriage I’ve also never had.

The last newsletter gave me seven tips for dating in the new year. Some things, like “don’t talk about your ex on dates” and “refrain from oversharing in the early stages,” were on point. But others were the kind of words of wisdom you get straight from the self-help section of a bookstore, or your grandmother: Be yourself! If you are not happy, you won’t be happy with someone else! Excuse me while I barf.

Still, the newsletter did give me an idea for a dating column. For in addition to pledging to eat better, work out more and start that book you’ve been meaning to write, there’s really no better time than the beginning of a new year to refocus your dating life.

If you’re unhappy with it, I’m sure you’re already planning on making some dating-centered resolution, whether it be getting over an ex, putting yourself out there, or falling into a healthy, stable relationship.

So, here are some hopefully useful tips for 2013 in an era of iPhones, iPads and Facebook, sans the warm and fuzzies. I prefer tough love.

• Don’t be stupid with text messaging. This applies to all circumstances. Post-breakup, do not text your ex, no matter how many cocktails you’ve had, no matter how cold it is at night, no matter what hope a Lifetime Channel movie gives you, and no matter how much a viral video of a chimpanzee hugging a kitten reminds you of them. Don’t. Oh, and don’t text them back, either.

If you’re new to the dating scene, don’t overtext too early. You don’t need to text “Good morning” every morning to someone you’ve just met. And ease up on the smiley emoticons. If you’re in a relationship, do not have important conversations or arguments via text message, as you will get nowhere.

• Don’t be afraid of online dating. I don’t have a single friend who hasn’t at least filled out a profile. Online dating isn’t just for people who must have something wrong with them, and when you end up on a few dates with people that are really weird (because trust me, you will), don’t give up.

• Keep the Facebook stalking to a minimum. Sure, it helps the dinner conversation flow on a first date if you already know that you both like photography because you both like to photograph what you ate for dinner. But photos with exes, flirtatious wall posts and differing stances on the latest political issue will only spoil what might have been. Just imagine what your profile, which likely still features photos from college keggers, suggests about you.

Moreover, posting hearts to his wall on a daily basis — even when you’re in a serious relationship — doesn’t make him love you more, it just gives his friends ammo. And as for your ex, for the sake of your sanity, unfriend.

May you have a happy, healthy and breakup-text-free year.

Jess Lander is a former Napa County sports reporter now based in San Francisco. Email her at

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