Wifeys and Gentlemen,
Happy Belated Thanksgiving!!!! I hope it rocked.
Has this not felt like the longest week ever? Sometimes I think that when we have things to genuinely look forward to, the universe makes us wait for them. We are (in some kind of cosmic-karma-filled way) being taught delayed gratification and appreciation for the good things in life, often against our will. As I go into the highly anticipated (hehe) part II of my “12 Rules for Successful Dating”, I wanted to make sure I took a moment to reflect on this notion.
Why is it easy to wait for things like a vacation, a new car, new clothes, promotions, a fun event, etc, but when we ask ourselves to wait for a good relationship, we are crawling out of our skin?! We either continue to say “yes” to the things that are sucking the life out of us, or we say “no” to something good out of fear, constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop.
That, my amazing Wifeys, is why I decided to write this blog. No, I do not think that these “12 Rules” are gospel (or even that they are the most elegant rules ever written on cyber-paper) but I write in the (vain) hope that perhaps something somewhere in here will inspire or motivate us to try something new. To help us be our best selves!
& with that, let’s rock this 5-8:
5) Alternate between being a “leader” and a “follower”.
In our society gender roles often define the position we think we are supposed to have in a relationship. Men are the “leaders” of the family and women “follow”, making moves behind the scenes. Obviously, this isn’t always the case; some of my wifeys love other wifeys, some of my gentlemen love other gentlemen, and some of us enjoy a wide variety of gender defying relationships that even I can’t even begin to cover fully in my little blog.
Personally, I think that’s awesome!
In a world where “anything goes”, I think it is the perfect time to celebrate and experience doing things you might not have considered before. Are you accustomed to being the “leader” of your relationship? Try taking a back seat now and again! Let your date decide how things are going to go. On the flip side, if you’re used to following the cues of someone else, now is as good a time as any to take the reins and step outside of your comfort zone. Find out what you like! Shake it up!
You never know who you’ll surprise or impress with your willingness to take risks! (Personally, I’m hoping you’ll surprise yourself the most)
6) Put down the phone!
Last week, I told you all a little story about myself and a former boyfriend. I mentioned the constant (and yes, I mean constant) texting. Ask anyone who knew me then, I never put my phone away. Not having it gave me anxiety. It was dreadful.
Look, I’m not dumb. I’m 27.5 years old and I have grown up in the dawn (and rise) of the technological age. I use my phone for everything and I HATE TAKING CALLS. I would just as soon text everyone, all the time. It’s so easy! But let’s get real, we can’t do this when we are trying to find the love of our lives! We just can’t.
Texting and messages should be used for quick communication or cute quips when bored or lonely, not for important things and not as your only source of talking to the person you’re dating.
T – A – L – K.
Your first “I love you” should not be expressed in emoticons. Your first argument should not be immortalized in “the cloud” on your cell phone history.
Honestly, if you remember nothing else from the entirety of this blog, please remember to talk to each other. Say what you are feeling, in person. Get to know the person you like by sharing your ideas together; voice on voice, face to face.
7) Social media is NOT (always) your friend.
This piggy backs off of rule #6 but needs to be separately addressed:
We all document our lives and put our best faces forward on our profiles. Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram are all great ways to keep in touch and (let’s be real) do a little bragging about the cutie we’ve been going out with recently; don’t deny it! We all have been there!
Please remember, like texting, being glued to our devices 24/7 alienates us from people! Studies are beginning to show that despite the illusion of constant, over-communication, we are training our brains to be less and less capable of appreciating the moment we are in and truly forming connections to others. I’m not saying it’s all bad. But (especially in the early dating stages) you don’t always have to ‘check in’ at that movie you’re seeing. There isn’t always a need to ‘take a selfie’ at that party or instagram your romantic meal.
Disconnect (sometimes). Let moments exists for just the two of you.
Don’t roll your eyes, just trust me, okay? 😉
8) Teach them how to treat you.
In these last 5 rules, I am going go ahead and say that, while they are the most abstract and ambiguous of the 12, they are by far (in my humble opinion) the most important. This is because, so often, when we are getting to know someone new, we can’t help but over think it. We analyze every little thing because we want to give our best impression. Does she like me? Does she think I’m too fat? Should I pay for his dinner? What if his friends think I’m stupid? Our brains get caught up in those more ‘tangible’ symbols of comfort and affection. We want our new “thing” to think we are cool and perfect in every conceivable way.
My mama always says (& she is really smart so listen up), you must teach people how to treat you.
This does not mean that we treat the people we are dating (or the people we befriend) like dogs who need training. However, it does mean that we cannot deny who we are and what we want. This principal is best explained by way of another, story-time example (a quick one, I swear):
My boyfriend took a trip (years ago) with one of his best friends; a cross country road trip that took about a week. During that trip, I did not hear from him once! I’m not exaggerating when I say this, I mean: no phone calls, no texts, no emails; there was no communication to indicate that he was alive and well (aside from tweets and Facebook pokes) and I was hurt, confused, and furious. During that time, I considered many options; breaking up with him, screaming at him, or even just ignoring it & being “cool”. A good guy friend of mine even told me “don’t take it personally, he’s a guy.”
I remembered this rule, and came to a better conclusion.
We had only been dating for a bit (less than 6 months) and I knew that if I didn’t talk about it and express my concerns, the next time it happened, I’d have no one to blame but myself. Ignoring it would tell him that it was okay with me when it wasn’t and overreacting would tell him I was insecure (which is no good when you wanna be “cool new girlfriend”).
So, when he got back from the trip, we talked about it; actually, I sent him a pretty clever, passive-aggressive poem to break the ice. I was terrified, but I did it for myself. He heard me out and apologized. I heard him out and ended up apologizing myself. & now, when we are away from each other like that again, we will know what to expect and how to deal.
This rule means that if you don’t like something, say something. It means that if you really love something, show it! It means that if you are hurt, upset, angry, or overjoyed about the way your date is treating you, speak up, EARLY! You and your sweetie will be thankful you did. You’ll know how to navigate each other in a mutually respectful and beneficial way.
And so concludes rules 5-8. I promise that not all of these posts will continue to be so long. My rationale? We gotta learn the rules before we can decide how to bend and break them! Bare with me for one more week, rules 9-12 are by far my very favorite!
Until then, carry on wifeys!