Hey everybody!! My husband and I are in an interesting position in our lives. My husband was the very last of all his close friends to get married. I was the very first of my close friends to get married. That means that my husband has gotten a lot of dating advice and I have given a lot of dating advice. What we have discovered is that you won’t find the one until you start breaking the dating rules.
There’s a Game
Okay, this post is probably mostly about the dating game and the rules that go with it. I can still remember, clear as day, the moment I was sitting in my apartment one afternoon, talking to my roommates and some friends about this very thing. I spoke up about the dating game and how I think it’s stupid. I talked about how I don’t believe in all the “rules.” My roommates and friends kind of teased me about that. One guy even said, “That’s just what people say when they don’t have game. Trust me, it works.” Well, I’m not trying to sound spiteful or anything, but that was a couple years ago now and I’m married and he’s still in the thick of “the game.” So you tell me what works.
I bring that up not to be a brat, but to suggest that perhaps we worry too much about the game and not enough about our real feelings! I’ve come up with a list of “rules” that I think need to be broken if you want to actually find the one.
The Must Be Coy Rule
It’s a rule as old as every movie and TV show ever made. You see each other across the room. You make eye contact and then look away. Girl waits for boy to approach her, talk to her, make a clever remark or compliment her. The exchange is a success if the guy gets her number before the night is through. Well ladies, I say this is a rule you can and should break! In this generation and the up and coming generation, social skills are diminishing. People don’t know how to talk anymore, they don’t know how to approach strangers and start a conversation. It is no longer the boys sole responsibility to approach you and it is no longer your job to be coy. It’s time for bravery and boldness. It’s time to quit being afraid and start mingling! Put your phone away. Don’t act too cool. Talk to the handsome guy across the room. Talk to the guy standing next to you. Talk to the guy who just walked in! If you wait all night to be talked to, that may never happen. And for crying out loud fellas, talk to all the girls!! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to set people up with each other, and both people are interested, but nothing ever happens because they’re both waiting around for the other one to communicate. sigh
The Three Day Call Back Rule
When my husband and I went on our first date, he was fully planning on not calling me about another date for at least three days. Thank goodness I didn’t wait for that!! Since when did it become a rule that if you enjoyed yourselves you can’t talk to each other right away? You do not have to wait.
The 24 Hour Text Back Rule
This one is similar to the call back rule. Who is to say that you can’t shoot your date a text right after they drop you off? Why can’t you tell them you had a good time and can’t wait to see them again?? Sure, if the person isn’t interested you’ll come across as too eager, but if the person is interested you will make their night by validating that you had a wonderful time with them!
The I-Don’t-Want-To-Ruin-Our-Friendship Rule
Okay, I wrote about this one in my letter to myself. Listen up. This is important. It may even be the most important paragraph of this entire post. If I hear one more friend say they can’t pursue someone they like because they’ll ruin the friendship, I will scream. It’s as simple as this: some day you’ll be married, and if you’re not married to that friend your friendship will be ruined anyway. So, why not “ruin” it by testing the waters?? If it gets awkward, well your friendship wasn’t going to be the same when you married (or even started dating) someone else anyway. People, this is such a simple concept. Quit being afraid! Who knows, a friendship you were afraid to ruin, could turn into the romance you’ve always dreamed of. I’ve actually tested this out in my dating life! I put myself out there for guy friends I was interested in, they rejected me, it got awkward, but then I met my husband and now he’s my best friend and I don’t talk to those guys anymore anyway. So it worked out! And the best part is, I never had to wonder about the other guys and what could’ve happened because when I met my husband and I had already given it my all with every other person I had been interested in. Therefore, I was all in with my husband and gave our relationship everything I had, no regrets and no what-ifs.
The I-Must-Be-Cool-And-Not-Talk-About-My-True-Feelings Rule
We live in a world that is easily jaded, cynical, and pessimistic. This culture bleeds into our relationships by making us cold and guarded. However, this attitude is normally an act! One of the dating “rules” I want to do away with, is the one where you pretend to be too cool or beyond feeling. We build walls and pretend that we can’t be reached, can’t be hurt, can’t be loved, and don’t care regardless. News flash, we care. A lot. One of our basic human needs is to love and be loved! When we hide our true feelings or get afraid to tell someone we care, we are not fulfilling our basic need or their basic need. My husband and I discussed this topic when we were dating. We were very open with each other about our feelings, but both of us felt nervous we were going to smother each other or freak each other out with our professions of love. Guess what? When you’re on the same page in a relationship, you can’t possibly smother each other by talking about how you really care. It’s scary, but don’t over think it! Your feelings may be as simple as actually telling someone that you had a good time on your date, or you appreciated the way your date took care of you, or you loved the activity they chose, etc. It doesn’t have to be a profound profession of love. Don’t be too cool to talk about the little things you like.
The DTR Rule
Okay, this is another one I want to throw out the window because it is so prevalent in dating today. Let me try to make this as clear as possible: if you have to define the relationship by having some big huge conversation, one or both of you is not secure in your relationship. Let me just tell you what this looked like for my husband and I.
After a couple weeks of seeing each other we each had people asking us if we had had a DTR yet. I had roommates and friends asking me, and my answer was always no. One such conversation went something like this:
Have you guys had a DTR yet?
Nope, we haven’t.
Well, then how do you know if he likes you?
I just know!
Well, are you guys exclusive?
I mean, we spend all our time together. I’m not seeing anyone else, and he spends all his free time with me.
But you haven’t established that?
What’s there to establish? We’re on the same page already!
But are you guys boyfriend and girlfriend?
We go on lots of dates, hold hands, kiss, so yeah!
BUT YOU HAVEN’T ESTABLISHED IT??
I mean, I think I introduced him to somebody as my boyfriend…
Literally, the fact that we hadn’t had a DTR drove people crazy, but can you see how unnecessary it was??? My husband asked me to be his girlfriend as an afterthought after I had already agreed to marry him!!
My point is that from the beginning, we knew where we stood with each other because of our other communication. We always let each other know how we were feeling about the other person. We expressed our interest in each other in ways that were bold and clear. Because of that, we never had to have a sit down where we hashed out what we were, because we already knew! We were secure in our relationship. Forget the DTR. It’s so much pressure, and you should feel solid in your relationship without having to hash it all out.
The Time Line Rule
The timeline rule is probably the biggest thing my husband and I broke. We met, five weeks later we were engaged, eight weeks later we were married, ten months later we had a baby! Our timeline has been lightning fast. And you know what? That has been exactly perfect for us. We didn’t listen to the critics telling us there was a certain way to do these things. We knew what we had was special and lasting, so we jumped in! And it has been the best decision I’ve ever made. I’m not suggesting that everyone should get married as fast as we did. I’m not suggesting that at all! What I am suggesting is that we cast out the ideas of how it is supposed to go. Who says you have to date for a time, be engaged for a time, and then get married? I say, do what feels right for you! Do what works! But for heavens sake, don’t be afraid to do it your own way! Some of the best advice I’ve gotten about big life choices is “don’t hurry, but don’t wait.” You will know what that means for you, but don’t let someone outside your relationship dictate your timeline.
I will try not to make this a soap box, but let me finish by saying that falling in love should be fun. If it’s giving you an ulcer or if you find yourself hating “the game” maybe it’s time to step back and break the rules. I’ll tell you this, I spent quite a few years trying to play the game. It wasn’t until I stopped that I found the man of my dreams. From the day I met my husband I can count on just two hands the number of days we have not spent together. If I was worried about the game that would be a big no no. But it was never a game for me with him. It was real life. My life is not a game. I’m grateful I snapped out of it long enough to see the man of my dreams. Don’t be blind! Keep your chin up! Be bold! Love fiercely! I’m telling you, there’s something to this.
Thanks for stopping by! I hope this helps you maneuver the brutal dating world out there. You couldn’t pay me to go back to being single. As always, God bless you and yours!
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