"It needs to involve getting to know each other and having a sense of romance.

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Whether you’re trying to find your way through the Paris Metro or the London Underground, haggling over a painting in Mexico or choosing where to bed down in the Badlands, traveling by yourself builds a confidence you simply can’t get any other way. The pints of Ben & Jerry’s in front of the cable TV.

In an unfamiliar place, you have to make decisions by yourself, for yourself every day, which will build a self-reliance you’ll always treasure—even when you become part of a twosome. Yep, getting dumped is beyond awful, but guess what?

” The single life means a single bank account and an excuse to blow a wad of cash without (some of the) guilt.

So, make yourself happy and buy something you crave, whether it’s an expensive vintage movie poster or a macked-out mountain bike.

Learn to woodwork, play acoustic guitar, speak French, DJ on turntables, or make digital short films for fun.

Of course you can (and should) still have hobbies when you’re dating someone, but your solo time is prime time to devote yourself to something that makes life more interesting for you—and makes Hop-scotching from one relationship to the next can do you a disservice. Because you’re never more ripe for self-reflection than when you’re on your own—and the more you know yourself, the more likely you are to find someone who’s right for the real you.

I would love to spend a day roaming the park or checking out a museum, instead of feeling like I'm on a timer." date is, after all, only a click away.

Everyone is working longer hours and over-scheduling; even 35 percent of women in relationships say finding a time when both parties are free is a barrier to date night. Dating is—like rock 'n' roll, blue jeans, and microwave popcorn—an American invention.

Oh, and one more gift with purchase: Think about how much fun you’ll have telling your next date about your daring experience.

Being solo shouldn’t keep you from cooking for yourself, so learn how to make an impressive meal for one (even if it’s mac and cheese with your own three-cheese spin).

Going on actual dates and not just "hanging out," texting, or hooking up means you are more likely to find better romantic choices, says Helen Fisher, Ph. "The test of a relationship is how your personalities mesh, and you can find that out only when you sit down and talk one-on-one.