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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve seen just how much the world of dating has changed. While we were once limited to the city limits of our hometown and the heteronormative stigmas of finding partners and abhorrence of casual sex – we find ourselves in a new era.

An era of dating apps, acceptance of all kinds of love (although we have a long way to go), and finally breaking away from the bounds of monogamy.

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Q: DEAR EMILY,

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I’m a 27-year-old female, and I’ve basically been single my entire adult life. I’ve had relationships, but nothing longer than a few months. I’ve wanted to be in a relationship for as long as I can remember, but I also try to put it out of my mind so I don’t obsess about it. I have met a few guys at work or on a dating app, but it seems that they just want to text every day and not actually meet up.

So I want to know: How can I meet a good guy? And if I am talking to a guy via text, how can I make a date happen?

—Lyndsey

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Q: DEAR EMILY,

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I’m a single mom and my daughter is 2 years old. I’ve told my friends that dating for me will be harder because I’m a mom, and my daughter is still very young. I’ve tried online dating apps, but the guys I’ve matched with fade off after a couple of days. What should I do? Do guys get intimidated when they meet single mothers?

I’ve lost hope in finding a relationship. Please help me, Emily!

Thanks—and love your podcast!

Nadine, 24, Texas

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Q: DEAR EMILY,

I am a 23-year-old lesbian, and my dating pool seems more like a puddle. I’m shy, so walking up to a woman in a bar isn’t really my thing. Conversely, I’m very feminine and have been told that women can’t easily tell that I’m gay, making me unapproachable for women who are too scared to ask.

Last but not least, I’ve noticed that I’m attracted to older women and find myself being intimidated by them because I’m not very sexually experienced.

Basically, I need suggestions on where to meet women and how to be more confident and put myself out there.

Please help!

Cassie, 23, Kentucky

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Think back to those middle school/high school days. Remember that algebra class or those standardized-tests the state forced you to take every year? Do you get a little queasy thinking about the exams you studied for? The sweaty palms, the foot-tapping, the chewing on the eraser end of your pencil…?

Even as grown-ups, there’s no shortage of stress-inducing situations we find ourselves in; only difference is, we’ve learned a few tricks to handle that “fight-or-flight” feeling a lot better than we did in math class. I’m willing to bet that for many of us reading this, social confidence has been one of our new “rites of passage,” and the reason for many of those anxious-filled stories. Able-bodied or not, stress and anxiety can throw you off your game at school, at work, and definitely when it comes to dating and relationships.

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