Date Like a Grownup:

Anecdotes, Admissions of Guilt & Advice Between Friends

Dear Reader,

Loneliness makes fools of us all. And yes, I’m including myself in there. Looking for love from a place of isolation is as unwise as grocery shopping on an empty stomach. Snack aisle anyone? And despite more than $2 billion in annual spending on Internet dating sites, there are now more lonely Americans than ever.

If you’re single, you may feel alone, but you’re one of over 100 million in the United States where the phenomenon of mid and late life divorce has resulted in drastic societal change. Since 1990 the divorce rate for people 50 and over has doubled, and for the first time ever there are more divorcees than widows in this age group.

And guess what? The avenues for connection have completely changed! If you’re a divorced or widowed woman over age 40, chances are that you spent the first half of your life with a man you met face-to-face at college, on the job or through mutual friends. Fast-forward to the 21st century where social media and instant communication via texting have transformed daily life—and online dating has gone mainstream. Many of the relationship skills of youth and early adulthood are obsolete. It’s unlikely that Prince Charming II will ride onto your elevator at work. And do you really want to relive that movie? The choices are real, plentiful and often overwhelming.

The typical book on dating, with strategies to manipulate or force a relationship to “win” a guy, only compounds the problem—and is more likely to help you maintain your spot on the breakup treadmill. This isn’t a game. It’s your life.

This book contains some painful truths, shared by men and women just like you: smart, attractive and accomplished people who’ve made romantic mistakes based upon the deep human need for a connected life. It also offers straight advice, answers built around stories from the field and personal experience—Yep. Been there, done that. I am confident this book will help you find a high quality significant relationship. But I am even more confident that you will find these insights, mined from the highly personal embarrassments and heartaches of so many wise and witty women, to be valuable in building a fulfilling life. A bigger, better life.

“Desperate” doesn’t look good on any of us. Date like a grownup instead. The lighting’s better, you’ll get a better grip on the steering wheel and are more likely to move in a direction that will enhance your life.


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About the book:

When her first dive into dating after divorce resulted in a splash-down at the shallow end of the pool, Heather focused on learning better techniques and deeper truths about mid-life relationship-building. Tapping into the struggles and stories of other adult would-be daters, she discovered commonalities in both the successes and the failures. The men and women she interviewed revealed the same deep longing for a lasting relationship and frustration over their repeated failures to find one. This mindset often generated a disappointing cycle of tentative hope, need-focused decisions and increased isolation.

Her concern over the more general societal trend toward relational disconnection, the quick fixes employed by mid-life adults to fill this void and the longterm impact on future generations led to Date Like a Grownup: Anecdotes, Admissions of Guilt & Advice Between Friends, which examines the impact of loneliness and social obsolescence on men and women in their second single lives:

“Dugan says, “Loneliness makes fools of us all,” but she presents her readers with practical advice, encouragement and a toolkit for moving past the loneliness and foolishness toward a relationship built for the future. As a manual, “Date Like A Grownup” is well-organized, entertaining, provoking, engaging and–importantly–motivational…  She wraps all of this in her unique brand of humor–which both makes her point and reduces the tension inherent in midlife dating ‘desperation.” 

A finalist in both the USA Book Awards and the Next Generation Indie Book Awards for Non-fiction/Relationship books,  Date Like a Grownup: Anecdotes, Admissions of Guilt & Advice Between Friends examines the impact of loneliness and social obsolescence on men and women in their second single lives. It targets root causes for misery-perpetuating choices and provides punctuating proof that looking for love from a place of isolation is as unwise as grocery shopping on an empty stomach.

Unlike many other relationship manuals, this book does not guide the reader through game-playing and winning temporary partners. Instead, readers will develop a personalized strategy for building a life foundation that facilitates growing a “right fit” relationship. Topics include: effective filtering, social media and online dating, how to avoid isolation and the strategic growth of a larger social network. Written with unique wit and affirming good humor, Date Like a Grownup employs engaging narratives such as “The Percocet Proposal” and “Need Meets Greed” to underline specific dating principles and demonstrate that none of us are immune to bad choices.

Date Like a Grownup serves as an effective  launch point for Heather’s talk/discussions to adult singles and for media interviews on topics related to mid-life dating and the essential human need for connection. Reader and listener emails and follow-up interviews with the subjects of the book’s often humorous “From the Field” anecdotes provide ongoing insight to the mid-life relationship “do-over.”  For information on booking Heather as a speaker or guest, please include “Event” or “Media” in the contact form subject line.


About Heather:


Heather is the author of Date Like a Grownup: Anecdotes, Admissions of Guilt & Advice Between Friends, finalist in both the USA Book Awards and the Next Generation Indie Book Awards for Non-fiction/Relationship books; Pickup in Aisle Twelve and Stuffing Sandwiches Down My Shirt: Strategies and Inspiration for Crutch Users. She is currently researching the high impact friendship and connection amongst women during times of transition.

An advice columnist (, Eyes On News, South Florida Reporter, Cabernet Coaches) and contributing writer, her favored topics include: life launching; connection; divorce, dating and relationships; navigating grief and healthcare patient responsibility, as well as work/family issues. 

Founder of Cabernet Coaches, a social connection group that encourages and enables women to build bigger relational foundations, Heather is dedicated to high impact, face-to-face friendship as a means of change. Committed to active enablement, Heather preaches meaningful connection and proactive decision-making—helping others to tap into their own unique talents and self-launch via her articles, videos, speaking engagements and one-on-one coaching. She is a speaker and discussion facilitator:  "Wisdom & Wine" events (geared to adult singles) include "How to Avoid Dead-End Dating," "Getting From Lonely to Loved" and "From Big Idea to Book." More info at Cabernet

Turning challenges into opportunities for achievement enabled this divorced single mom to effect positive transformation and find value in even life's darkest places. Her career as an author, columnist and feature writer launched from the pivotal realization that extreme—and even devastating—challenges are, in fact, great fertilizer and excellent writing material. Passionately curious, Heather is both a dedicated traveler and lifelong learner. She resides in Central Ohio with her children and a wayward chocolate lab, is slightly addicted to the outdoors and would never let her passport expire.

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