Did you know there are very lengthy and complex rules for dating and love?
Yet we hear about them all the time. How soon after a first date can you call? Is texting appropriate in lieu of a call? Does it carry a different set of time limits? When do you have “The Ex” conversation? Who should pay for a date? Is it true that the person who says “I Love You” first loses? How do you win? And on and on and on.
As someone who married young and only began dating as an adult post-divorce, it’s all terribly confusing. The confusion is compounded by the fact that I’m not one who tends to play games, nor do I have some global dating rule book to follow. So apparently I break the rules all the time. The irony is that in the e-dating world (my primary modus operandi given the demands on my time and schedule) SOO many of the profiles I read say they are looking for a woman who doesn’t play games. Great! Right? Not so much.
I’ve been told I have to hold parts of myself back. That I should try to be more reserved while getting to know someone. Why? Wouldn’t that be a kind of false advertising? Let’s be honest—I’m me. And the sooner you know exactly what that entails—good and sometimes-slightly-offensive and never politically correct—the better for both of us. It would be wretched if someone thought of me one way, then we got “comfortable” with one another and he discovered that wasn’t the real me. After all, I can be pretty traumatizing to the uninitiated.
However, apparently there is such thing as too much honesty. Some game playing is at times necessary in this dating game. But why? Is it the need for mystique? The hunt being intriguing? Do men need to feel challenged in order to make the idea of pursuing a woman worthwhile? Isn’t that exhausting? It brings to mind visions of the TV Show “The Dating Game” with the 1970s hair and a woman who giggles incessantly and is trying to be coy with her sexual innuendos and fire engine red lipstick. Are we really still there? Of course flirtation is great and fun. I have no problem with that. But if you say you’re in sales and marketing, that conveys a different message than saying you work in a “massage parlor” that features happy endings. Stop trying to put lipstick on a pig…it’s still just a pig…or a really tasty slab of ribs that just haven’t been cooked yet…mmmmm…ribs….grilling season is coming…
That was a weird segue.
Personally, I like honesty. I like directness. Sure, it hurts sometimes when the person just out and out says they’re not interested. But that is a million times better than letting something drag on endlessly when there really is no chance of something materializing. Or even worse in my opinion is when you’ve been communicating with someone and they just disappear.
I also find myself laughing at my friends. They are a phenomenal group of well-meaning people who are doing a bang up job of holding my hand through the jungle of dating. Of course their advice is a double edged sword because it comes from the perspective for the most part of people who have been in long term relationships for a long time. Interestingly enough apparently the Rules of Love are an ever evolving playbook—which just gets back to the question of how the heck are you supposed to follow them???
So I’ve given up on “The Rules” so-to-speak. I’ve decided to play by my own rules. There’s only one really...NO RULES.
I’ve decided to just be me—take it or leave it. I will answer pretty much any question I’m asked, and honestly too. I will be open to new experiences and meeting new people, and be okay with the fact that not all of them will like me. I suspect Mr. Right is out there somewhere. I also suspect he’ll get me and appreciate me. Otherwise he wouldn’t be Mr. Right. I also have a feeling he won’t be so into rules and protocols himself. That should make things fun.