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Fed Up With Tinder And Instagram DM Slide-Ins This Latina Decided It Was Time To Give Up On Dating And Marry Herself

Our recent social platforms have made it certain that dating in today’s era is tough. Talk to your abuela about dating in her age, and she’ll probably tell you a story of waiting by a phone for a call and meeting up with a suitor at the local sock hop. She didn’t have to: swipe right and left on her Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, and OkCupid profiles. Or, check her DMs on Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat to find out if someone she was interested in was down to “hang out” on a Friday night. Nope. Not like we have to. 

One woman in Los Angeles became so fed up with the dating game and committing herself to the chase of apps that she decided it was time to commit to herself. So she did just that. On her 25th birthday.  Over the weekend, 25-year-old Janis Valdez said, “yes” to a life of putting herself first.

In a recent post to her Instagram page, the Mexican-American revealed to family and friends that she’d gotten married. To herself. 

“Sometimes you just gotta vow to love yourself cause no one else will do it for you. Nothing more I could of wanted from this birthday ???????????????? #MarriedToMyself,” she captioned her post. 

This woman also isn’t the only one to have gone this route in recent years. It’s beginning to become a trend that experts have coined “sologamy” –– but heck, call it whatever you want. 

Last year, on Valentine’s Day an Australian woman married herself in a beach ceremony in front of her three close friends. In 2017, another Italian woman put on a white veil and walked down the aisle to marry herself. And so on. 

When asked about what led her to make the choice to give up on the dating scene – for now – and marry herself, Valdez told FIERCE by mitú: “After many ghosts, booty calls you thought were serious, and [people playing] catfish, you can only take so much. So I decided, I’m turning 25. It’s time for a quarter-life crisis moment.” (She’s only half-joking, y’all). 

Valdez said her decision to say “I do” to herself was in an effort to change her perspective and approach to life.

“It’s for a life change,” Valdez explained. “It’s time I actually love myself because clearly… looking for someone else to love you in a city of complete vapidness and ego, no one’s going to love you for you.” 

Speaking about her decision to marry herself, Valdez told us that she decided to have the ceremony on her birthday because “what’s a better way to bring in 25 than to fucking marry yourself? I thought it was pretty badass.” 

But remember, Valdez’s decision to mary herself is about commitment to herself, not necessarily about committing to a life without a partner.

 Writer Lea Rose Emery explained to Brides Magazine in the article Sologamy: Why More and More Women Are Marrying…Themselves that “some self-marriage proponents are bound to keep flying solo, many who choose to self-marry by no means plan on being alone. It’s not about replacing or preventing a potential partner. It’s not about being alone—it’s about being enough.”

Valdez  says she told her family a few years ago that she was “probably going to end up marrying herself because dating was not working out.” She says she sort of made a pact with her sister, that if they reached their thirties without being married they would marry themselves but still throw an extravagant and fabulous ceremony together so their parents could have that to look forward to. Of course, since then both sisters have been in relationships. Valdez’s sister is currently in a committed one and Valdez was in one that she describes as “a very serious long term relationship” for some time until things ended. Pursuing relationships after the breakup proved to be rough, however, as Valdez explains “dating since my break-up has been horrible.”

Valdez isn’t letting that experience completely take over her life and she seems to be taking matters into her own hands – prioritizing herself and learning to love herself first and foremost.

Valdez also creates videos on YouTube where she not only chronicles her life in the city with her friends but also has a series called, “Dating in L.A.” 

If you watch, she says, you’ll get a glimpse into how horrible dating in L.A. really is.

And she’s not the only one who feels this way about dating in L.A. or other huge cities for that matter. Los Angeles Magazine published an article earlier this year titled, “Dating in L.A. Sucks. We Did the Math.” 

In it, the writer states: “Relationships are hard. Relationships in Los Angeles are harder. Maybe the 405 is to blame for canceled dates? Perhaps Peter Pan Syndrome prevents substantive connections? No matter the cause, single Angelenos are approaching the dating game with apathy rather than intent, and that’s unpleasant.” You can say that again. 

Dating in L.A. can be a downer for many reasons. We’ve got a list longer than CVS receipts.

For Valdez, she says she isn’t much into the bar or clubbing scene and she’s a homebody. “I’m so closely tied to my friends that it’s honestly a hard position I put myself in to meet new people,” she explains. “So of course, I turned to apps. But [many times] people never looked like their pictures. [Other times] people are just looking for matches and validation.”

And the list goes on. She also says her experiences with dating apps meant that people were simply “matching with her” but not reaching out or just ghosting her straight up. She was fed up with those experiences that left a bad taste in her mouth. She says it was also harder for her to date around as a bisexual woman. 

To other bisexual women in the dating, she would say, “Be picky with the guys you date and when and how you tell them you’re bi. I’m sure I’m not the only one to get ‘threesome?’ A lot of the time, too, I’ll tell a guy that I’m bi and that immediately sexualizes me [in their eyes] and they can’t see me in any other light.”

So she advises other women in similar situations to “just do what feels right to you at the moment. So if you don’t have a feel for this person right off the bat, maybe try to get to know them a little more and make sure it’s not someone who’s going to be ignorant [about you and your feelings. But also be yourself.” 

But despite her experience with dating in L.A., Valdez isn’t letting that make her completely close off. 

If Valdez meets someone and there’s a genuine connection, she says she’s not going to turn that down just because she’s married. 

“I put myself first. That’s what’s different after marriage. I’m someone who maybe prioritized my significant others too much, or above myself. And marrying myself was the first step in really changing that behavior,” she explains. “I am the most important. I will do right by me and if I’m right by me then I can do right by others. All that stuff. But I’m done with the meaningless casualties of dating. I don’t feel like putting effort into people who couldn’t care less about me. I just feel empty when I do that. So if something genuine and deep and real and meaningful comes, I won’t shut it down.” 

Cheers to that! 

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Have A Virtual Hot Date? Here’s How To Make Sure It Doesn’t Suck

Culture

Have A Virtual Hot Date? Here’s How To Make Sure It Doesn’t Suck

MixMedia / Getty Images

For the single introverts among us, lockdown might seem like the perfect opportunity to re-charge our social batteries and have some much needed alone-time. But no, thanks to the wonders of technology and just how damn adaptable human beings are, virtual dating has totally become a thing. 

For better or for worse, people are dating just as much as ever – albeit through a screen. So if you’re using dating apps during lockdown, arranging video dates and looking for virtual date ideas, here’s a handy guide on how to stay safe and how to ace virtual dating.

Make a damn effort

Act as if the date was in person and get ready accordingly. Shower if you haven’t already that day — it’ll make you feel a lot better — and put on your favorite outfit. Even if it’s not seasonally appropriate, who cares? Wear the sundress pushed all the way back in your closet. Put on makeup if that’s your thing, and do your hair. 

It makes all the difference not only in how you present yourself but by how you perceive yourself. You’ll feel better on the date, more like your “usual” self. 

Figure out your camera setup beforehand

Pro-tip: Do all this the day before, or at least an hour before, the date starts. That way you’re not scrambling and worrying about your angles. Decide if you’re going to use your phone or computer. Put it at eye-level, if possible. If you’re using a laptop, you can place it on a stack of books, but you can also DIY it by leaning your phone against your laptop screen (which can have its own book stack setup) or anything else you can find. 

And…lighting…lighting….lighting! Set yourself up with some good, flattering lighting before you start the call. Find a place that’s the most flattering in your house. Be sure you’re not backlit by a window which can wash out your face.

Simulate real date ideas

Credit: Luis Alvarez / Getty Images

Although you obviously can’t “grab a drink” together, you can simulate that. Text before the date and decide if you’ll be drinking wine, coffee, or eating dinner “together.” You can even do a twist on “Netflix and chill,” simultaneously using Netflix’s “party” function; if you go that route, choose something campy or that you’ve both seen before so you can chat easily during it.

Trust your instincts

“A nip slip may not be appropriate for a date with a new person,” Moraya DeGeare, a licensed marriage and family therapist, joked to Refinery 29. “It’s modern times, so I think there will be the temptation for people to be really bold and ask about FaceTime sex. People are horny and trapped in their houses. On one hand, that’s okay, but on the other, you’re risking someone taking screenshots,” she cautions. “Listen to your intuition and don’t do something you don’t feel comfortable with.”

She adds that you shouldn’t take the call from bed, because “you’re immediately sending all these other signals unintentionally.” Generally, she says you should conduct the date as you would in person.

Expect awkwardness to happen, because it will happen

Credit: Peter Dazely / Getty Images

Awkwardness isn’t necessarily a bad thing and, when dating is involved, it’s inevitable. First dates in real life have their own clumsy moments, so don’t beat yourself up if your camera freezes for a moment, or if you talk over the other person. It’s going to happen! Just laugh about it and move on.

Stay safe and comfortable

Although it may seem like common sense, being cooped up inside for so long has left many of us lacking some of the most basic people skills. Remember to not give out any of your personal details – think home address and bank details – and watch out for any suspicious links that might come through in the chat.

Before the date, it’s also a good idea to do some recon on your date’s social media to make sure they are who they say they are. Also, don’t show your face on camera if they’re not showing theirs, that’s a serious red flag.

And lastly, know that you can end the date whenever you want to. You don’t owe anybody anything and it’s totally fine if you’re feeling uncomfortable or in danger to just end the call. But remember, basic dating etiquete also still remains so don’t just close your computer screen without saying goodbye because you’re just not feeling the vibe.

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The Dominican Republic Finally Outlaws Child Marriage After Years of Campaigning by Girls’ Rights Activists

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The Dominican Republic Finally Outlaws Child Marriage After Years of Campaigning by Girls’ Rights Activists

Image via Getty

Outside of the U.S., some good news has occurred amidst a week that has otherwise been full of mayhem and chaos.

On Wednesday, the Dominican Republic’s Executive Branch approved a law that unilaterally bans child marriage in its country.

In the past, children younger than 18 were allowed to marry with a special exemption from a judge. These exemptions happened often. Now, no woman or man under the age of 18 are allowed to marry under any circumstances in the Dominican Republic.

This move is significant because the Dominican Republic has the highest rates of child marriage in Latin America and the Caribbean. Official government figures show that 36% of Dominican girls and adolescents marry or enter into “unions” before the age of 18. In 12% of these relationships, the female partner was less than 15 years old.

More informal “unions” where a girl simply moves into an older man’s household are also common in the DR. These are very common in higher poverty communities where many girls are considered a financial burden on their families. Unions like these will be harder to penalize because there is no formal documentation of their partnership.

There are multiple factors that play into the Dominican Republic’s high child marriage rate.

One of the main factors is the culture of machismo that informs the way that young men and women approach relationships.

According to research conducted by Plan International, 81% of Dominican girls said they preferred men that were five years older than them. This statistic is in stark contrest to 39% of Dominican men who prefer their partners 18 or younger because they found them more “obedient” and “adaptable”.

Not only that, but there is also a strong cultural expectation for girls and women to become mothers and wives. These cultural beliefs have simply stoked the practice of child marriage.

“Child marriage and early unions are seen as normal in society. It is driven by machismo that sees the role of a woman to be just a mother and wife,” said Rosa Elcarte, UNICEF’s representative in the Dominican Republic, to the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “Ending early unions will require years of work to change cultural norms.”

Feminists and human rights activists consider this law a win after many years campaigning to put an end to this practice.

But on a bittersweet note, many advocates realize that one law doesn’t dismantle the patriarchal structure of their culture that enabled this practice for so long. There is still a lot of work to be done.

“Our girls and adolescents will be protected … and cannot be forced into marriage in their childhood or adolescence, which in the past was often carried out by parents and legally allowed,” said Sonia Hernandez, an associate director of the International Justice Mission, in a statement to NBC News.

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