Meet Mandy Hale, The Southern Carrie Bradshaw

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Mandy Hale The Single Woman
The blogger and newly-minted author speaks out about happy singledom.

What is a key requirement for someone you're dating/married to?

I always say two things are required of the person I'm going to spend my life with: That he loves God, and that he loves to dance. My thinking behind that is: If he loves God, truly loves God … that's going to take care of the respect, love, honesty, loyalty, kindness end of the spectrum. And if he loves to dance, that means he doesn't take himself too seriously and he loves to have fun. So those two qualities to me = the perfect man.

What couple do you most admire? The pair can be from real life, history, fiction, film, etc.

I've always loved the story of Johnny and June Carter Cash. I love how she stuck by him through thick and thin, and how she got down in the trenches with him and helped him battle his demons. Their love just seemed so intense, unconditional and unbreakable. It took them a while to get together and they had a bumpy road initially, but once they finally pledged to spend their lives together, they were in it through thick and thin, for better or worse … and their love seemed to make them both better people. They seemed head-over-heels in love until the very end, even passing away only a couple of months apart. It was almost like Johnny couldn't stand to live in a world without June in it. Not a lot of people fight the good fight anymore to stay together. It seems people just give up on love and marriage so easily. It's a beautiful thing to see two people so determined to make it work and to keep their love alive, year after year, through incredible triumph and tragedy and ups and downs.

If you could tell your younger self something you've since learned about love, sex or relationships, what would that be?

I would tell myself that no matter how broken your heart may be, you will get through it, and there is love, hope and happiness on the other side. When you're younger, you think every broken heart is the end of the world. It feels like you'll never love again, which is why it's so hard to let go of a relationship even when it's not working — you think you couldn't possibly ever feel that way about somebody again. But the good news is: You can, and you do, and you will. Every broken heart is just making you a little bit stronger and a little bit wiser. And even a wrong turn can take you to the right place. So feel the pain, deal with the pain, and heal from the pain … because life does go on … it does get better … and you will love again.

So, when do you feel sexiest?

Honestly? Anytime I'm at the beach, in jeans and a T-shirt and bare feet, with tousled beach hair and not a lot of makeup … that's when I feel sexiest. Who knows if that's when I look sexiest, but that's when I feel sexiest. I just feel comfortable in my own skin, happy and carefree.

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