Scrap the Dating Rules

When I was in my 20s dating was so easy. I was carefree and spirited. I did what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. My focus in life was enjoying life and now and then I would run across someone that I wanted to have a relationship with. It was wonderful and I had the time of my life. Well after two kids, many wrinkles and a marriage gone bad, I found myself back in the dating world. My entry into dating was merely to have some fun and meet some new people. I wanted back a little bit of the fun I had in my younger years. It didn't take long at all to meet a wonderful man that I immediately knew I wanted a relationship with. Things were different this time around, I didn't have the same carefree confidence that I had when I was in my 20s so I doubted my every move.

Mistake number one was I started reading dating books - I devoured everything I could find to tell me what I was supposed to do to keep a good man in my life. There were so many rules, play hard to get, make him chase you, don't have sex too soon, don't tell him about your past relationships, don't seem insecure or needy, don't cook for him too soon, don't answer the phone every time they call, and most importantly never say I love you first. I wondered what was allowed besides standing in a corner acting aloof but they're the "experts" so they must be right.

The first rule I broke was cooking. I like to cook and I love to cook for other people. Its always been something I did for people in my life. I love a good meal at home with good company. I've always found men to be appreciative of a good home cooked meal and it just gives me a lot of pleasure when people enjoy what I have prepared. Guess what, he didn't run out the door screaming after our first meal. He in fact loved it and is excited every time I invite him to dinner. I've not only cooked for him, I've cooked for his kids and they love it even more than he does. I spend even more time with him now just because they all love me to come over and cook a good meal.

The next rule I broke I had to learn by almost loosing him. I tried to not always be available but what ended up happening is that he started to think I wasn't interested. He started asking me if I even wanted a relationship with him. Come to find out this man had feelings and also liked to know that the woman he cared about was excited to talk to him and wanted to spend time with him. That knocked out 1/2 the rules I've been given. I hated those rules anyway - life's too short to not talk to the people you care about.

The hardest rules were not sharing my past or my own insecurities. Come to find out, if a man knows nothing about you he also doesn't know how to treat you. How is he to know that a certain behavior really bothers you if you never let him see the weaker side of you? This one was the hardest because its the one I broke down on emotionally. I kept all my past and my insecurities locked down so deeply that one bad night after a couple of glasses of wine, they all just came spewing out. Luckily for me the man I care for took the time to listen to me and to understand. Emotions will eventually come out the trick is to find a way to let them out positively. For me if I hold them in they typically come out in a negative way.

One big lesson I learned is that because I didn't share much or tell him what I needed that he started to think I didn't really need anything. When it finally came out I found he thought I was the most low-maintenance woman he ever met. I acted so secure in myself and never expressed any needs, so he didn't think he needed to do the sweet romantic things he normally did for women. Talk about backfire - it goes without saying that if you want something you might need to let other people know or you might never get it.

As for the big rule of making them say I love you first, well that's just hogwash. I'm realizing now that men also fear rejection. They also don't want to say those words many times out of fear that they wont be returned. So why if we both feel the same way is it acceptable for the man to put his heart on the line but not the woman? For many women its easier to say these words then it is a man, so why should we feel that he has to go first. Could it merely be that the dating experts are selling more books to women then men? That the purpose behind these books is to empower women more than help someone have a healthy relationship?

So after all of this I'm realizing that the reason dating used to be so easy is that I was myself. I had fun when I was casually dating and didn't take it too seriously. Once I got to know someone I continued to be myself and acted the way I wanted to. Sometimes they worked out and sometimes they didn't but I was true to myself. I will never again listen to a "dating expert." I will talk, answer the phone when he calls, tell him my dreams and fears and I will cook till he cannot eat another bite. If he runs away from this then it wasn't meant to be. I will never again treat a man as a case study, I will understand that he has feelings too, that he needs to feel loved and that he sometimes just wants to be treated like a man. I will understand that not all men are going to be into me and its best to just let those go but when a man is very much into me I need to love him with my whole heart and treat him exactly the way I wish to be treated.

If it doesn't work out then I will deal with that but at least I know I'm being true to myself and living every moment the way I want to and not the way someone else says I should. So no more rules for this girl and I have to tell you it feels wonderful to be free.
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What Guys Said 16

  • Great article by someone who knows and isn't quoting rules from some book!

    I think rule #a is be yourself, and you can't do that if you are following someone else's cookbook.

    Anyone who advises hiding your insecurities and emotions is telling you to lie and deceive, and can you really 'get away' with that if you want more than ONE casual date? Nearly everyone can quickly see that you're hiding things. Nothing people get angrier about than being deceived in a relationship.

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  • I like your views!

    Here, this is for you (you probably don't know it) :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPk5wHb8UPo&feature=related

    Lyrics: http://www.metrolyrics.com/free-again-lyrics-barbra-streisand.html

    :D

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  • Outstanding! The dating rules for men need to be thrown on the scrapheap right after.

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  • Screw the rules, except for the sensible ones!

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  • Dating rules are stupid. I'm not going to pull out a manual from my back pocket and say "okay babe you just violated dating rule number 243 section 6."

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  • I think I should write a dating book that is 300 pages of just "Be yourself" over and over again in bold. I think that'd be the best dating book ever, personally.

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  • *true

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  • "Don't be insecure" has some validity imo. However it should say "too insecure." Things like saying "No, I'm not. I'm ugly." after a guy calls you beautiful, still being afraid of being naked with him even when you've already been together a long time, etc, are real turn-offs. And I'm pretty sure that goes both ways.

    "Don't talk about your relationship" is sort of through, it should have said "too early" though. It's no first-date material, keep that for when you're getting more serious.

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  • Pretty good summary of things.

    I'd like to add that playing hard to get (not sexually, but for a relationship) works on one type of guy, and one type only : The player that wants what he can't have and dumps you the minute after he got in your pants.

    "Don't have sex too soon" is a decent rule though. Some men have the ability to lie, deceive and fool you with sweet words, just to get in your pants. Waiting for a couple of months filters out those kind of guys from the kind that wants to date.

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  • Fantastic:D

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  • so your okay asking a guy out? initiating?

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  • I share your feelings. Dating and Relationship books are a product of an industry that by and large wants to make people feel insecure and inferior so that they open their wallets and plunk down their hard-earned cash for a book, video, magazine whatever that promises them happiness but ultimately doesn't deliver.

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  • This ideology applies to both sexes very much.. the vast majority of dating books/websites are out there to make a quick buck and are actually hindering you instead of helping you. Great article.

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  • If only younger girls read this and put it into play.

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  • If more women were like this, the dating world would be a much happier place.

    Yes, most of these rules are about female empowerment. The problem is that they're marketed as dating rules (required for use in courting) as opposed to exploitation rules (to be used for scoring free dinners). It's ruining our potentially good women.

    If a woman can't accept me calling in two days instead of three, then it's probably a good thing that I'm not dating her anymore.

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  • I think if women stopped taking dating advice from women and men they wouldn't want to sleep with, everyone would be better off...

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What Girls Said 9

  • I love this(: Great Article.

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  • I think some of the "rules" are grounded in reality. I have had the opposite experience of doing as I think is fine only to have it backfire. In the end, I find that it isn't about "rules" but about understanding that you do need to take it slow and be honest with yourself and your partner about what you want. I think too many people mess it all up by trying to have insta-relationships and jumping into sex too soon.

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  • Thank you for your insight,

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  • TC123

    funkadelic5

    martyfellow

    Gregs

    AGRRED.

    & Actually really these books are not about empowering anyone. waiting being passive inert is not Empowered. Being encouraged to act and trust yourself is empowering. these books thrive on self doubt insecurity and extreme criticizing.

    doubting yourself os a imprisonment- opposite of power.

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  • TC123// Dating and Relationship books are a product of an industry that by and large wants to make people feel insecure and inferior so that they open their wallets and plunk down their hard-earned cash for a book, video, magazine whatever that promises them happiness but ultimately doesn't deliver. &This ideology applies to both sexes very much.. the vast majority of dating books/websites are out there to make a quick buck and are actually hindering you instead of helping you. AGREED. :)

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  • Good to see a story about being real not being really stupid :)

    one part- I dk if t was intentional or typo. but as far as him thinking you are low maintenance. well I wouldn't want a guy doing things he did not actually want to do but only did to keep me in good condition. Its not genuine&either feel objectified in a way or he'd get bitter. Just like I show people how care about them in a way I'm cool with and they like. To do something only out of obligation would feel like business deal-not <3

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  • AMAZING, INSPIRING!! Everything you mentioned is so true. Everyone feels rejection and yes it is us women buying into the dating books and going to dating experts for advice. Best advice is be confident and yourself. If things work out as planned it's meant to be. If they don't then someone close down the road will find you.

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  • Thanks for sharing your story! I tottaly agree I've read stuff about relationships and dating but honestly it doesn't matter what they do or say. If it's the RIGHT TIME and you are with the RIGHT PERSON, you will just know and feel it <3 Not everyone is perfect and Not everyone is playing the mind game or the rules. Some people are actually clueless and just being themselves and that's the way it should be! Don't pretend to be someone you're not because dey probly like you jus the way you are! =)

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  • Thats good :]

    you have a very "be true to yourself" article here,

    and these guidelines are a lot more refreshing than stupid rules

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