You haven’t had a date in three years. You haven’t attended a party or other social event in two years. You work, go home, watch television or spend time on the computer, go to sleep, get up the next day and do it all over again. In short, you’re in the singles rut. A friend persuades you to go out and socialize at some event over the weekend. As you get dressed, your heart starts racing and your anxiety climbs. You are in the Panic Zone - terrified of putting yourself out there again.

But in the singles rut, you are in your Comfort Zone - it’s easy to stay in your routine, not challenge yourself to move out of it. Because you have clung to your Comfort Zone for years, you are unprepared for something new and you zoom into the Panic Zone. Learning stops happening when anxiety climbs to very high levels. Most people “get sick” at that point or find some other excuse to avoid the activity.

The Stretch Zone, however, is the optimal place to be, the optimal learning zone. You stretch yourself when you force yourself to get out regularly, even when you would prefer staying home and renting a movie. You stretch yourself when you make yourself interact with new people, even when you would prefer standing in the corner of the room eating and drinking by yourself.

You stretch yourself when you force yourself to look ahead in your life, to create a vision for something more than single and lonely. You stretch yourself when you make the small, incremental changes in your lifestyle that support a future relationship.

People who stretch themselves as singles are more prepared for the challenges of maintaining a loving relationship over years. You can’t be the person you are now without any flexibility and also include a new person in your daily life, with all of his/her flaws and foibles. So it turns out that being in the Stretch Zone while single sets you up for future relationship success.

Author's Bio: 

Nina Atwood is a licensed therapist and nationally known relationship expert with three published self-help books on communication and love. Nina’s web site,
is accessed daily by thousands of single men and women seeking leading edge relationship advice. Nina’s newest book, Temptations of the Single Girl: The Ten Dating Traps You Must Avoid, is scheduled for release by January 2008.