Following your own dating rules
When I first started dating, I had no idea there were any relationship rules to follow. The only guidance I received was from my dysfunctional heart. I learned from my mom to “be nice” and from my father “obey and don’t talk back.” Of course, after years in the singles circuit these wonderful words of wisdom did more damage in my love life than good. I was a doormat to womanizers and left heartbroken too many times to count. Like me in my single days, many of my clients struggle with the right code of conduct to follow to be effective in dating.
After following from my parents teaching that didn’t seem to work, I started listening to my girlfriends who told me about the book, “The Rules”. Honestly, I don’t know which was worse. My friends told me to be a bitch because guys like bitches. OK, well I am not a bitch so anytime I tried to put on a scowl my efforts seemed fake, almost desperate. Guys were definitely running away from the psycho girl who got mad at everything and demanded too much in the first few weeks of dating. Nothing was working and I felt that maybe there was just something wrong with me.
After throwing out others rules, I decided to make my own. Instead of trying to act in a way to please a man and manipulate him to love me, I refocused my efforts on me. I found a way to build my confidence and made my own dating commandments. The commandments weren’t what I expected of the man as much as what I expected of myself. I set forth what was natural for me and what I needed to feel good in a relationship. Then, the right type of guys would come to fill my opening for the position of love of my life instead of me being a chameleon to win them over.
When you have your own rules set up before you start dating, you won’t be forced to make them up as you go or, worse, decide that someone’s behavior is acceptable because he is really cute. Being sure of how you should handle yourself prevents you from getting a consensus from the girls. You won’t need to pour your concerns over wine and late nights on the phone as to what you should do when he doesn’t call or cancels at the last minute. No one knows what you need in a relationship more than you.
This tactic not only simplifies the dating process for you and alleviates those confusing times when the guy acts out of line, but having standards in place also increases your confidence. If you have to teach a man to treat you nice by manipulative behavior and dating tricks, you give away your power and allow him to be the prize to be won. Why would you want that jerk anyway? Worse, you have to keep up your act and tricks throughout the entire relationship. Being confident in who you are and what you deserve makes you more attractive and you can be the decider and experience love that lasts.
After you design your rules, find a way to build your confidence so that you can be sure that you stick to them. You can start by having the rules apply outside of dating to all areas of your life. How are you treated by your boss, co-workers, clients, friends and family members? Knowing that you deserve love and respect is the first step. As you stand your ground in other areas, it will become natural for you to date with power. You can’t demand respect until you believe that you deserve it.
Once you have the general “treating me with respect” down, you can fine tune the rules to apply to dating. Do you go out with someone at the last minute? Do you sleep with the person on the first or second date? Do you put up with substance abuse or physical abuse? Is it okay for him to be critical or negative? Remember that these are your rules and you don’t need to get your friends’ approval or feedback. If you find that one is not working, you can always edit them as you get to know what you really want and need in a relationship.
After years of justifying bad behavior, I finally reached the point where my love for myself was greater than their handsome charms. I turned away the guys who were non-committal and literally said, “I deserve a lasting committed relationship.” Two weeks after dumping my last temporary man with those exact words, I met my true love. Ultimately I realized that the only rule I had to follow is to love and respect myself. Then, I easily attracted someone who mirrored my inner beliefs.
I cringe at some of the dating advice I hear others teach that leaves a woman powerless or claims that you need to fix yourself to be good enough for a man to love you. Once you realize that you are the prize, you find the power has been inside of you all along to attract the love of your life anytime, anywhere at any age.