I have been a happily married woman for close to 11 years now. Okay, well, maybe not always happily. Sometimes I wish the man came with a remote control that I could use on him to oh…I don’t know…mute his snoring, make him stop using the top of the laundry hamper as a table, or get him to pay attention to me when I’m talking to him.
At any rate, I love the big lug, and had to endure the same process of luring him in, trapping him, and caging him that every other red blooded woman that doesn’t live in a country with arranged marriages has to go through. Sometimes I think arranged marriages might even be easier than this whole “looking for love” ordeal. At least then you know you’ll have a mate regardless, right?
I personally had to venture out into the big, wild world and repeat stage one of this process several times until I finally caught my keeper, though.
While those tales of high school sweethearts that have known no other and are now celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary are wonderful stories, they’re few and far between. For those women that aren’t living the ultimate fairy tale, well, there’s a process to go through to get from “How do you do,” to “I do”. A process that might make competing in a triathlon pale by comparison. A process that some have even given up on after several failed attempts. A process that strikes fear into the hearts of women and men alike all over the world.
The dating process.
Now, I have single friends. Several of them. Friends that I love dearly and wish nothing but the best for. I sit back and listen to their tales of dating woes time and time again, and, well, I admittedly grow weary of hearing them. Not because I already have my special someone, so I’ve now become selfish and incapable of being sympathetic to the lonely plight of the single girl, but because every fiber in my body wants to tell them exactly what they’re doing wrong. That would make me a bad friend and a bad listener, though. Wouldn’t it?
Then I got to thinking. Maybe, just maybe, I’d be a better friend if I were to finally (wo)man up and lay it all out straight for them. I’d hate to lose anyone as a friend, but I can’t sit by and watch some of them ruin their chances at happiness time and time again anymore without saying something, even at the risk of angering them.
So, I’ve decided it’s time for an intervention. Not only for my dear single friends that I feel need a little schooling from someone who’s been there, done that, and emerged victorious, but for single girls everywhere.
Consider class to be in session. Feel free to take notes as we go.
Lesson #1: Keep Your Goodies to Yourself.
Being A Christian woman, I could go on and on about the biblical ramifications of sex before marriage, but you’ve likely heard it all before at some point in your life, so I won’t.
From the point of view of your average, reasoning being, here’s what’s wrong with jumping into bed with a guy on the first, second, or even fifth date.
Every relationship in the world is built on trust; man and woman, landlord and tenant, employer and employee, and so on.
When you almost immediately give up the one thing that seals the deal and finalizes an intimate relationship with a man, you’ve completely blown it in the trust department, and here’s why:
“Well if it was this easy to get her into bed, who else is she out there sleeping with? I don’t want a girl that gets around.”
Yep, your credibility as a trustworthy woman just went right out the window for 3 minutes of fun. You’ve now been demoted from filet mignon to about the level of a hot dog.
Now, while a lot of men may see nothing wrong with throwing themselves at anything that bats an eyelash or flirts a little, this isn’t generally a quality that they’re looking for in a woman. Seems like a double standard, I know, but it’s simply human nature. I can guarantee that “a girl that sleeps with me on the first date” isn’t anywhere on a guy’s list of what he wants in a wife
So, turning your first date into a booty call isn’t winning him over. While it may have “been awhile” for you, and those hormones and pheromones and any other sort of ‘mones’ may be so thick in the room that you can cut them with a knife, you need to keep your self-control in check if you genuinely want things to work out.
You’re an adult, you can do this. I can guarantee he’ll still respect you in the morning, and if he does walk away when you don’t give it up on the first date, well, it’s pretty obvious that he wasn’t serious about a relationship with you to begin with.
Then you can simply chalk it up to a ‘bullet dodged’ and move on.
Lesson #2: Find a New Body Wash.
Look, ladies, if I can smell it on you, I can pretty much guarantee that he can, too.
While most men suffer from selective hearing and vision problems, they have a sense of smell keener than a bloodhound on a raccoon trail when it comes to unwanted emotional female baggage. They can smell the stench of desperation from a hundred miles away, and this will almost always send them running in the opposite direction, because with desperation, comes clinginess.
Just ask any man if they’re looking to give up any and all sense of freedom that they currently enjoy to a clingy woman. I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out what his answer will be.
Here’s a great way to gauge your level of desperation:
How often does he text you first? Are you almost always the one sending the first text and then just sitting there, phone in hand, checking your screen every 10 seconds until you receive a text back? Then, when he doesn’t send a text back after about 10 minutes, are you texting him again just to be sure he actually saw the first one?
If this sounds like you, girl, you need a hobby.
While he may be the hottest thing since fire and you genuinely hope a relationship with this guy is in your future, blocking out all other thoughts but him from your mind is not only unhealthy for so many reasons, it going to cause you to blow it in the end. You need to redirect your focus into other things and let nature take its course if you want this relationship to work.
Lesson #3: Slow Your Roll.
This still falls under that whole desperation category. If you’re mentally hearing wedding bells after the first phone conversation, you need to take a deep breath and go watch a movie on Lifetime or something. You’re getting attached too quickly, which will make for a huge let down and mental anguish on your part should things not work out the way you had anticipated. Don’t let your mind get ahead of the game. You haven’t even passed go and collected your first 200 yet, but you’ve already sent yourself to mental jail. Here’s your get out free card:
Knock it off.
Though waiting is one of those things that sucks to a generation that wants instant gratification, you don’t have much of a choice if you truly want things to work out. Patience is a virtue, and there’s no better time than when you’re dating someone new to be virtuous.
Also, it’s great that you had a wonderful first date and plan to see him again, but your second date or second lengthy phone conversation is a bad time to throw out the fact that you’ve had 30 failed attempts at relationships already and you’re just looking for lifelong commitment. There are challenges on Fear Factor that are likely less off-putting to a guy than this bit of information. Even if he asked you what you are looking for in a relationship, it’s still a bad idea. Why? Because he’s likely just gauging your answer to see what kind of mess he’d be stepping into should he choose to get involved with you.
This would be a good time to play it cool. “Well, I just figured I’d go with the flow and see what happens.” Is always an acceptable answer when faced with what your future relationship plans are. Stifle your need to divulge too much information too quickly.
Save your expressions of undying love for this guy and your constant text affirmations that he’s always on your mind for a couple of months down the road, too. Hook him with your personality first, before you start throwing the cutesy shmootsy hearts and flowers junk at him.
Just have fun for now. Enjoy the companionship. That’s what phase one in a relationship is all about.
Lesson #4: Don’t Be THAT Girl.
After a person has heard, “I think I’ve found the one” for the 12th time in a 3 month span, it tends to grow tiring. Then, like ‘the boy who cried wolf’, no one’s going to want to listen when you genuinely have found a lasting relationship.
I was happy for you the first time. And the second. I was even happy for you with the third guy that you fell head over heels in love with after two dates and a romp in the bedroom. We’re coming up on oh…I lost count how many now…occasions of this very same pattern repeating itself and I am becoming emotionally numb here.
I get it; I do, because I adore my man. You want to shout your joy from the rooftops and tell everyone how amazing this new guy is. Do yourself a favor, though, and keep it on the down low for a month or two until things actually do start to get more serious. Then, once there’s some indication that he’ll be sticking around for a while, by all means, share your good news with the rest of the world. I’d love to hear about how into him you are when you get to that point.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind hearing about how a date went. If you want to talk about how he’s a nice guy, and that you went out and shared a few laughs over some slices of pepperoni, by all means, tell me all about it and share some information about him. I don’t mind at all. It’s watching you go completely off the rails for each new guy that comes along that I’m having a hard time with. Hopefully you can understand.
For those of you that I know personally, and those that I’ve never met, I mean no offense. I’m just calling it as I see it. Don’t think I haven’t been right where you are now. I have. It just so happens that along the way, I learned some valuable lessons in playing my cards right. That’s why I can say with pride that I’ve enjoyed nearly 11 years of marital bliss now with a wonderful man.
It all boils down to one thing; limits. They’re put in place in many situations to keep us safe. Speed limits, drinking limits, dosage limits…dating limits.
Ladies; if you’re looking for a meaningful relationship, yet you find yourself changing love interests more often than you’re changing underwear, it may be that you need to set some tighter limits in this game called love.
If you’re only betting on the queen of hearts, don’t bet everything you’ve got. Wait until you have a full house to go all in.
That’s just my 2 cent anti.