Avoid the Heartbreakers & Pick Up Artists


Finding someone to date would be difficult enough, if not for the heartbreakers and pick up artists out there. They make the dating field seem like it is filled with landmines.

Wait. What are heartbreakers and pick up artists?

Well, pick up artists are the scum of the earth. To them, everything is about the score. Together, they brainstorm and implement psychological hacks to essentially trick unsuspecting “targets” into sleeping with them.

Heartbreakers are just that, people that lead you on or let you fall in love with them that have little or no intention of returning the emotional connection. Again, most heartbreakers might just be looking for sex. And the troubling part, which makes them far more dangerous to us Hopeful Romantics out there, is that they might be willing to fake an entire relationship.

Heartbreakers also like to use the line “oh, I’m not really looking for a relationship right now”, or some other similar bullshit line. But don’t get tricked by this. Whenever there’s physical intimacy with the same person over a period of time, an emotional connection occurs and someone’s heart is sure to get broken.

Here’s a very brief list of things you can do:

  • Don’t ever sleep with someone on the first date.
  • If you ever hear a casual line about not wanting or having time for a relationship, politely explain that you don’t want to waste your time then, and be on your way.

Stay safe out there, Hopefuls!

Photo via Flickr user whappen

A Philosophy of Happiness

Napoleon Dynamite Follow Your Heart That's What I Always Do Just Listen

So much of my identity and self-worth in high school and into college was based on having to be with someone romantically in order to be happy. From what my research revealed about love, and based on my (failed) personal experience, I realized that I needed to be happy on my own before I could find someone to be happy with. In order to meet this requirement, I developed a personal philosophy of happiness.

The basic tenant of my philosophy is this: Each and every moment, each and every person is doing what they most want to do – what makes them the happiest, or really what they think will make them the happiest. Take someone who hates their job. They still put up with it, because they need the paycheck. They know that they will be worse off if they didn’t have the money that this bad job provides. And every decision, no matter how important or insignificant, is driven by our desire to be happy.

It should be noted that people don’t always make obvious decisions (to the external observer) that improve their happiness. Some people might sacrifice to make others happy. This helping of others makes them happy, even if that might not seem the case to the outside observer. Still others might engage in self-destructive activities like drugs – they might be drawn to the instantaneous happiness (high) that the drugs provide, maybe they are looking for something to cure their boredom, or even just looking for attention from their family or friends. Whatever the reason(s) may be, on the most fundamental level their decisions are based on their personal happiness.

At some point in college, I took ownership of my decisions. I realized that I alone decide what to do next in order to increase my personal happiness. My family and friends may think they know what is best for me, but I make my own decisions. I’m allowed to follow any path my heart desires. Once I knew I was working towards the goals and dreams that I truly wanted to pursue (especially in regards to education and career aspirations), I was free to be happy in the moment – because I knew that at every single moment I am right where I most want to be.

If the path you are on is not your path, or if that path is not making you happy (or if you don’t know if it will make you happy once you get to the end), consider changing paths. It’s why so many kids in college change their major so many times. You’ve got to find something that is right for you, because you alone are responsible for your own path and your own happiness. Get on the right path, and you’ll be surprised how soon the right person comes along.

Edit: It looks like there is already a Philosophy of Happiness. Cool!

Money Management for the Happy Couple


Money – the cause of, and solution, to all of the world’s problems. For the long-term relationships, where the couple has moved in together and is sharing expenses, money then becomes a major point of contention.

Melissa and I try as hard as we can for equality in our marriage, especially when it comes to chores and money. Don’t get me wrong, we still argue from time to time about these things, especially our finances. That is why it is so important to talk about money with each other so you have the same expectations as each other.

Here are just a few tips that help Melissa and I keep money from ruining our lives and our marriage:

  1. Non-essential expenses are evenly split between us. Melissa likes new clothes, I like seeing concerts. These expenses essentially off-set each other. On pay day, I don’t immediately go to the casino and drop $200. And all major purchases and investments are made by committee.
  2. Learn the lessons from Dave Ramsey. For $79, you can gain access to the online version of his course; they send you a bunch of supplemental material, too. Make an hour appointment each week to go through an entire lesson. It’s 14 lessons long, I think. One of the basic tenants he teaches is that you have to do a budget every single month. And you should allocate every single dollar before you spend it. It may be tough to stick to it the first few months, but you should eventually get the hang of it and hopefully you’ll soon get to start saving and/or paying down your debt.
  3. This is kind of a meld between #1 and #2 – both of you should know how to pay every bill. That includes keeping track of website log-ins, knowing where the checkbook is, and how to pay the rent or mortgage. From a functional standpoint, what happens if the usual bill payer needs emergency surgery and is in the hospital for a month? But there are other reasons, too. When one person is always responsible for paying the bills, not only does it get stressful when there isn’t enough money from month to month, it’s too easy for the other person to blame the bill payer for any money problems. The budget for each month must be created and then approved by both parties. It can typically be made by one person, but then the other person needs to review it and make at least one change – otherwise they can still blame the bill payer when the budget doesn’t work out. (This is another tip from Ramsey’s program.)


All in all, it pays to stay ahead of any money problems that will develop. Ramsey, among others, advocates having an emergency fund – $500 to $1000 for those in significant debt, and then saving up to 3 to 6 months of living expenses as you can afford it. This does two things. First it helps you cover unexpected expenses that pop up from time to time that you can’t afford in your monthly budget. And secondly, it helps take away some of the worrying and stress about money. Struggling to pay the bills from month to month is one of the most stressful things any of us will have to go through. Having even a little emergency fund goes a long way to help relieving that worry.

Bottom line – Hopeful Romantics make healthy money decisions together so money doesn’t cause any unnecessary stress or arguments.

Photos  by Flickr user Tax Credits and Images_of_Money


Book Review – To Fall In Love Is Foolish


Written in 2004, To Fall In Love Is Foolish was my first self-published book on love and relationships. It encapsulated my thoughts, experiences, and opinions at the time. It was rather personal in nature, so I retired it long ago, but I review it now to give some background on my current project.

In the first chapter, which the book draws its name, To Fall In Love Is Foolish, I described my understanding of falling in love – a completely one-sided affair that is done before the person falling in love knows anything substantial about the other person. I used to do this all of the time in grade school and high school – before even asking the girl out. Once I did ask the girl out, it wouldn’t work out for one reason or another – and I would be heartbroken.

The second chapter, To Be In Love Is Cute, deals with what can happen when two people fall in love before they hardly know anything about each other. The premise being, that if two people fall in love with each other, then they can just as easily fall out of love with each other. (This would be fairly common in high school relationships.)

The third and final chapter, To Grow In Love Is Gorgeous, was then my “solution” to this problem of falling in and out of love. Instead of falling in love right at the beginning of a relationship as many of us are prone to do, a better course of action is to slowly grow in love.

When I tried to apply this from the start of my next serious relationship, I discovered something – yes, growing in love is the right way to start a relationship, but once you know you’ve found somebody great (based on time together), you can’t be afraid to fall in love with them.

Learning that lesson, I’ve incorporated that concept into Chapter 6 of The Hopeful Romantic – Grow In Love, Then Fall In Love – something I was successfully able to do in my relationship with Melissa.

Petie’s Love Newsletter – A Short History

Petie’s Love Newsletter was born in the summer of 2000, before my senior year in college. By that point, because of the Paavo Running Camps and Missouri Scholars Academy, I had developed friends throughout Missouri and the Midwest – and they all knew I was infatuated with love.

Having collected quotes, poems, and little tidbits on the subject since 8th grade, I decided to share those insights (along with some personal updates) in a newsletter I printed off and sent to my friends. Remember, this was back in the day before every teenager started using e-mail.

I managed to save the first two issues and present them here for all to see. (There was one section of the first issue that was a little too embarrassing, though.)




Why This Book Is Needed


The Hopeful Romantic is needed because there are too many hopeless romantics out there. They know that someone is out there for them, but they don’t know how to find, attract, date, love, or propose to them. This book will offer practical steps on love and relationships based on my years of research and experience. By shifting the focus to a hopeful one, the reader will be able to transform their attitudes and actions that will greatly increase their chances of finding love.

This book is unique in that it offers a complete overview of the process and steps necessary to find a lasting and worthwhile romantic relationship. Other books on the subject either focus on one or two areas, or they will explore ways to increase love in all aspects of your life, not just romantically. The Hopeful Romantic has a direct and complete approach.  

Photo by Flickr User pol sifter

A Note On Unrealistic Expectations

“You didn’t marry a Betty Crocker…

or a Mother Teresa.”
-my wife, Melissa Peterworth

This quote was said to me about nothing in particular; it was just Melissa realizing her own limitations. I don’t expect Melissa to do all of the cooking and cleaning, and I don’t expect her to be a saint all of the time either. I expect her to be herself, and I love her unconditionally and appreciate her for who she really is. And I’m sure she does the same for me.

Practice Making Eye Contact


I came across this great blog post on the web today that reinforces some of the techniques I picked up for meeting someone new. In the beginning, it is all about “saying hello” with your eyes before you even say a word to each other. I’ve written previously about The Art Of Smiling. But the post today reminded me of an important developmental step I did in high school.

STEP 1: Practice Brief Eye Contact With Strangers

While you walk down the sidewalk (during daylight hours!) look at the eyes of every person walking towards you long enough to see their eye color. Less than a second. Then look away. This is the best technique I know for building solid eye contact skills quickly. In my experience, if the eye contact is brief enough, no one minds at all, and you get tons of practice in.

That’s right, when I was in high school I used to walk around the mall making brief eye contact with girls my age. When coupled with the smiling technique, you’ll be able to say “hello” IRL, not just in your head.

[Four Hour Work Week via Lifehacker]

[photo by Flickr user Jessica Garro]

Bite the Bullet (Break Up)


Breaking up is hard to do, but you need to do it anyways. Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t wait. If you honestly feel like you can’t be happy with the other person, find the courage to do what needs to be done – breakup.


The problem is that far too many of us don’t think our personal happiness is a valid enough reason to breakup with someone. So we do one or two things – we either wait for the other person to mess up, or we mess up ourselves. Of course, the biggest “mess up” is cheating or another similar unforgivable action. Yes, some people cheat to create an excuse to get out of their relationship! Don’t fall into this trap. People’s feelings get unnecessarily hurt. And if you are the one doing the cheating it hurts your reputation moving forward.


Please, if you can’t be happy with the person you are with, find the words and courage to breakup with them.


Photo from Flickr user katiew