Have you ever tried to date someone, they said they were interested, and yet kept holding you at an arms distance away? And no matter how hard you tried to please them and respect their wants, needs, and desires, you never seemed to make any headway. It just might be their unwritten rule of dating.
What are your rules for dating?
We all live by rules in our lives. Most of them are unwritten because we know them so well. You generally don’t need to share them because they’re your rules. In bed by 11:00, up by 6:00.
No snacks after 8:00. No phone calls after 10:00. If you go out, you’re home by 12:00. Workout every morning, no exceptions.
Rules can help keep order in your life and in many cases, make it easier to cope with and navigate the world around us.
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But what about your dating rules?
We all seem to have so many rules about what to do, how to act, and how to be treated. Do you even recognize them? Rules like the guy must make the first move. He must make the first phone call. He needs to open your door. He needs to continually pursue you.
When he wins my heart, you change the rules and start pursuing him. You expect him to date you even though you’re not divorced yet.
He needs to give you gifts. He needs to show you love and affection the way you want it shown. If you don’t respond to texts in a timely manner, you’re not really interested.
If you don’t sleep with him by the 3rd or 5th date, he’s gone.
Does any of this sound familiar?
Some of your rules are great, some may be unrealistic, and some are downright pathetic.
Guys, we have plenty of unwritten rules too! We all have rules.
The point is, these rules are unwritten so the only person that knows about them is you! When a guy wants to date you, how is he supposed to know what you’re looking for?
Sadly, the pathetic jerks that expect sex within the first few dates will gladly tell you what they expect. When you say No, they’re gone. And that’s a good thing because any relationship would be all about him and based primarily on sex.
Learn to share your dating rules quickly.
This is where you need to start communicating early. If you’re interested in a man, how is he supposed to know you want him to make the first move? You tell him. You say something like “If you’d like to go out sometime, you’ll have to call me.”
One of my rules of dating is to communicate equally. I don’t mind making the initial contact and even initiating the first few conversations. However, if you’re not engaged enough to start conversations by sending a text or dialing the phone, I’m out.
I’m not going to put in all the effort to ignite the flames of a relationship. This is where it must start to become a join effort. Sadly, I just gave up on someone for this very reason.
Don’t play head games.
Head games make dating…and life so much more difficult. Playing coy or pretending you’re not interested are games that you play in high school, not as an adult.
Learn to be open. You should be able to have a reasonable conversation and set expectations. There’s nothing harder to do than try to read someone’s mind. It never works well.
There’s enough going on when you try to date someone. Trying to guess what the rules are shouldn’t be part of the equation.
Until now you might have not realized that you have rules.
If this is the case, it’s time to sit down and start thinking what a guy has to do to date you. What are your expectations of him?
Guys, the same goes for you. What are your dating rules?
It would even be helpful for you to start writing them down. This isn’t a list that you necessarily need to give to every guy you date. It’s more to make you aware of what you put guys through to be able to date you.
Take a serious look at all of your rules. Are they all reasonable expectations? Things like being a gentleman, opening doors for you, or initiating the first few phone calls and dates are generally reasonable.
Expecting him to chase you continuously or keep him guessing as to whether you’re interested in him aren’t that great.
Learn to recognize rules of toxic relationships.
When you’re heading into a toxic relationship, here a some of their rules that they’ll use but won’t tell you about.
They may demand that you spend more and more time with them. They will typically want you to associate with only their friends. They’ll start distancing you from your family and friends.
They may try to convince you that every problem they have is your fault. They’ll get you to start questioning your own judgment.
They may go out of their way to go with you on every appointment, errand, or girls/guys night out just to show how much they care.
Some will not hold you accountable for your bad decisions or mistakes. They will help you make excuses or take the blame themselves thinking that you will love them more for it.
Some will shut you out for periods of time as punishment for something you may have said or done that upset them. Some will cheat on you and say they did it to teach you a lesson.
Whenever you come across someone that plays by these “rules”, it’s time to run in the other direction.
Take some time this week to identify the dating rules that you live by. Write them down and keep track of them. Evaluate them. Are they realistic or are they inhibiting your dating life?
If you’re not sure, share them with a friend or email me a copy at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll help you with a quick evaluation.
I hope I’ve given you some insights to make some healthy decisions for yourself. Make this a personal challenge to take one small step at a time to keep your dating life moving forward.
Please share your successes and your missteps to help others see that you can get better one step at a time. Leave a comment below or drop me an email at email@example.com.
Have a great and blessed day!