With so many rules to the dating game, it’s no wonder we find ourselves in a constant state of confusion.
Do this but don’t do that. Allow this but don’t allow that. Where does one turn with so many restrictions and advice plastered all over the internet and from the shelves upon shelves in the bookstores?
It’s easy to see why so many give up and just give in to feeling like they are destined to be alone forever.
After my divorce eight years ago, I found myself in a whole new world. Like many others, I knew I didn’t want to be alone. We all want to share our free time with someone who holds the same values as we do. We look for common interests and things that we can talk about that will make our hearts smile.
Being new to this game after so many years, I did what I naturally do when I am feeling out of my element: I turned to books, friends and the internet to figure out how to navigate this unsteady ground I felt I was on.
Well, eight years later and still single, I found myself questioning all that I had learned from these so-called dating rules. After careful consideration of what was not happening, I decided that the rules are not for me and I am breaking free of everyone else’s preconceived notions on how this is supposed to happen.
Here are a few things that I found that have helped me.
Smile at everyone and anyone who comes across your path. Make it a genuine smile, though. People can smell inauthentic behavior a mile away. We all have little things in our lives that bring a grin to our face. Focusing on those can really wash away the pain that is causing our frown. When you show off your pearly whites, others are attracted to your inner happiness.
Wandering through the bookstore one day, checking out what I wanted to treat myself to, a gentleman approached me and said, “You have an amazing smile and I just wanted you to know that I noticed it,” then he walked away. I had apparently really been enjoying my browsing of the books I was looking at. He noticed and took a chance on telling me. Needless to say, I was blushing from my hairline down.
2. Be You
So you’re a little on the crazy side, who cares? Who cares if you’re a wallflower who finds it difficult to start a conversation? The only person who cares and worries about that stuff is us. That’s who. The people who look at us when we are in our comfort zone and judging us for it are not people we need to be around.
If you have to act or be a different version of yourself for certain people, move on. They will not appreciate you for who you are ever. When I am free to be myself, I shine, sparkle and light up a room. People are drawn to me when I am in this state. How do I know this for sure? They tell me.
3. Trust Your Intuition
You know that little voice you haven’t been listening to? Start. It holds more power than most people understand. Our body has a way of sensing what is not right for us. It will give us the signals that we need to know when to stay, walk away or run as fast as possible from a situation.
4. Throw Away all the Dating Books You Have
Better yet, burn them. We need to get them out of our houses and our thoughts. What works for one, does not work for another. The fact that so many of them claim to be the answer to our prayers should tell us right then and there that this is a set up. Sure, they might have worked for your sister’s best friend’s neighbor’s co-worker—but you are not her/him.
5. Stop Playing Hard to Get
We wouldn’t go to a job interview and then make them beg us to work for them, would we? So why would we play this game with another person? You like him. He likes you. Go for it.
So, there was this guy. We had hit it off and I was playing by the rules. One night he texted me around dinner time. I was following the rules. I waited the “mandatory” three hours that the rules told me to wait. I missed an opportunity to attend a play that his boss had given him free tickets to for that evening. A missed opportunity because I didn’t follow my instincts and message him right back. Definitely my loss on that one!
6. If It Feels Good, Do More of It
Within reason, of course! Everything in moderation. If you find a smile slowly warming your face if he/she leans into you, let him/her. If you like the way he/she touches your hand as you are standing in line at the movie theatre, let it happen.
We are so busy listening to the rules that we are forgetting to just live in the moment.
We could go back to the rules if we want. The ones that tell us to not answer his text for three hours. Or the one that tell us to not accept a date with him if he hasn’t prescheduled a week in advance. You could also never dial his number even though you are dying to share some crazy idea that just popped into your head.
Or, we could trust our instincts and have a little fun. This guy may or may not be “the one,” but if you don’t allow him in and if you aren’t yourself around him, how will you ever know? That girl smiling from across the room at you might be your Ms. Right, but the rules tell you to let her come to you. She may be following a different set altogether and poof! Opportunity just walked out the door.
My number one rule that I follow in the dating world is that I trust my own judgement. So while it may not be raining men, I am having a ton of fun with the one that has showed up in my life.
Author: Debbi Serafinchon
Editor: Emily Bartran