So, last week I laid down the first half of my top ten relationship mistakes I’ll never make again (unless they’re fun, am I right, ladies?!!). Anyway, here’s the second half including my number one mistake I will avoid at all cost.
5. I’ll never ask a guy out again
Let’s get the second most contentious one out of the way first. Hear me out, ladies before you start tweeting me pictures of your burnt bras and copies of The Female Eunuch.
Correct me if I’m wrong, fellas, but when it comes to dating or seeking something beyond the casual, men need the hunt. They need to work for the thing they want to appreciate its value which, of course would explain why “easy” is a pejorative term used in reference to women.
I’m about to give the best or possibly worst analogy to explain this (you decide). I was outside this beachfront shop one day and started playing fetch with the owner’s border collie. After the dog politely dropped his disgustingly slimy tennis ball at my feet I obediently threw it (the ball not the dog) and watched Shep tear off into the distance after it. A moment later he returned, depositing the ball back at my feet. With nothing better to do, I continued to play fetch with the dog for a while longer.
After, I noticed the sheer delight when he really had to chase the ball down but when I messed up my throw (because I throw like a girl) and the ball casually rolled passed his face, old Shep couldn’t have been less interested if I’d offered him a tofu burger.
I know some chicks won’t like this at all and I get that. We want to feel like strong, empowered women who are capable of seeing what we want and taking it and that’s lovely but here’s the thing. When we ask guys out, we deny them the chase. We also deny ourselves the opportunity to find out how much he really likes us. I know some men complain that they sometimes don’t want to ask women out because of the fear of rejection but to that I say “Nugget, please!” If you really like her, you'll really ask. And anyway, girls, do you really want to date a guy who doesn’t have the clackers to even ask you out?Rather than this being an inhibitor, this rule is a filtering system!
The problem with asking guys out is, men are generally nice people and if a girl invites them out, unless they find her abhorrent, they’ll probably say yes just out of sheer politeness.
In the short term, the victorious woman may celebrate bagging her man but in doing so she loses the chance to find out, would he have got it together to approach her and worse could set up a dynamic in her relationship where she constantly has to take the lead. I guess if you're the bossy type who snags a bloke with mummy issues that won’t be a problem, but it you’re looking for a real man then you could be setting yourself up for a bowl of disappointment for table number nine.
Here’s the funny thing, I adopted this policy a few years ago and haven’t been asked out once since (sorry but I cannot count being tweeted “DATE ME”. That goes in the weird file) Why am I happy about this drought? Because it means that when someone does ask me out, IN PERSON, he’ll mean it.
I’m a strong bird who’s done her fair share of asking but bottom line is, women are in a greater position of strength as the askee not the asker. We have the right to say yay or nay and that’s a much more powerful position, we just have to realise it!
I know someone will have examples of women asking out men where it’s worked out just fine. There’s always exceptions but do you want to take the risk of starting a wonky relationship in the hope you’ll be the exception too?
4. I won’t be in a rush again
In my long term relationships I have always had an objective in mind, usually marriage and so, to varying degrees, I’ve had a nagging impatience to hurry things along, to get the spare toothbrush in the bathroom so we can get to the I-love-you’s so we can get to the holiday to get to the whatever-comes-next. This creates a fug of anxiety that hangs over the relationship and frames every conversation about the future. A guy friend told me he was casually musing about where he'd like to live one day when his girlfriend launched into tirade about how he wasn’t factoring her into his future. I’d like to say, wow, what is she like? But I can’t because she, is me. Not on that particular occasion but certain at some point I’ll have allowed the hurry I’m in to override just being with the person.
If we remove the pressure of having a destination in mind, i.e. a wedding or children, then the time together can just be about getting to know each other, learning to dance together, figuratively that is, and allowing things to simply unfold. The greatest source of human suffering is when we tell ourselves things should be different than they are. Rather than trying to shape a relationship into our idea of what it should be perhaps we should all learn to dance in the rain a little more.
3. I won’t take him not being into me personally
When I read He’s Just Not That In To You, I laughed – a lot, I gasped at the brutal accuracy the authors observed not just the behaviour of men who aren’t into us but of the justifying thoughts women use to explain away this behaviour. It was a joyfully harsh read and for me, a timely wake up call.
Us girls are forever making excuses for guys when the truth is often way more obvious. He’s not into us. I was watching some talk show and an audience member told the panel of relationship experts that she was at a loss as to how to snag a guy she’d been chasing. She moaned “I’ve tried everything. I’ve practically thrown myself at him” I sat bolt upright and screamed at the TV “He’s not into you!” I probably screamed loud enough for her to hear me in person. I wish someone had been there to do this for me back in the day. When a girl finds herself having to write love letters, constantly orchestrate chance encounters or shamelessly and persistently flirt, truth is, he’s probably not into you.
Probably my most pointlessly complex ruse involved borrowing a work manual from a colleague I fancied. Then when I returned it, I ‘accidentally’ left a note inside addressed to someone else with my phone number on. Nooooooooo! Why, Lord? Now, in the end, me and this guy did get together but it was a totally casual thing for him where as I wanted his babies. Because I’d flung myself at him, I was always going to be the ball rolling past the bored collie. Don’t be the ball, ladies, never be the slimy ball!
OK, but before us girls turn Ice Queen on all the men we encounter, know that, if a guy does like us, we have to give him a sign, a little encouragement that he’s barking up the right tree (see, in my analogy it’s OK for the men to be dogs). There’s no point being Mrs. Frosty McFrosting and then acting all surprised when he doesn’t ask you out.
If you like someone but they are not reciprocating, rather than make it his problem, why not take it as a signal that for whatever reason (except your general awesomeness) this guy isn’t interested. After all, getting together with someone who is even vaguely close to what you’re looking for is such a precise alchemy that by the law of averages, MOST of the people we get involved with should be totally and utterly wrong and/or not into us. Remember, we’re all only looking for that special one (unless you’re a Mormon in which case, you’re on your own).
Someone not being into us is in no a reflection of our value even though sometimes that’s how we choose to interpret it. It’s a favour they are doing us. Liking someone isn’t grounds enough for a relationship. Who would want to be with someone who has to be convinced of our sheer magnificence? Do we convince the collie that the slow rolling ball is actually a succulent T-bone steak in disguise and if he would just give it a chance, he won’t regret it? No. We roll on, people. We roll on.
2. I won’t remain entangled when it ends
Technically this shouldn’t be on the list, except it should because of when people take a dumb pill and get back with their exes! And before you gasp and give me more examples of exceptions to this (again), if you or someone you know has successfully rekindled a flame, I’m not talking about that. I’m also not saying that it shouldn't or can never be done, in fact it’s heart-warming when people who have become estranged find a new way to be together. I'm saying, if you get back with someone following a break up do it consciously, with thought, not just because the knot in your stomach called loneliness is becoming too much to bear. Like gas, it will pass.
I know as well as anyone that it’s very easy to stay entangled with someone long after a separating. It took me over a year to break up with one guy (actually I think we might still be together).
It’s hard to do, I know because you don’t stop loving someone just because you’ve called time on your relationship but it’s the only real way of ensuring you get over each other and make space in your life to first, heal, then find someone who is right for you given where you are in your life which hopefully, isn’t at home wailing along to an Adele album lamenting what could have been. Break ups are tough. I’ve initiated them, had them dumped on me, fought them and feared them but they are a rough sea that passes, with the magical ingredient, time.
The longer you stay embroiled in your ex’s life, the longer it will take to move on and the less chance you’ll have to meet someone as awesome as you. Of course it’s tricky if you work together. In which case do what I did to one ex who egregiously dumped me without warning. I drafted a fake letter from a company I knew he’d had an interview at telling him he’d got the job (I didn’t really do it but I was so, so close but karma’s a bitch, right?)
Roll on, don’t look back, you are far too awesome for that mess.
Today's blog is a little longer than usual but there’s so much to say. Kudos for making it this far. As a reward here’s a picture of me as a human bird Christmas hybrid known as an 'angel' - so innocent and check out the microphone hair.
1. I’ll never sleep with a guy on a first date (caveat:… unless perhaps it’s also our last)
Anyway, where was Oh yes, NOT SLEEPING WITH A GUY ON THE FIRST DATE! This is a classic case of being the slow ball but to clarify first, there’s nothing wrong with getting physical with someone you’ve just met. At the end of the day, girl’s gotta eat, am I right, ladies? BUT us girls have got to make a distinction between the ones that are just for tonight and the ones that are forever.
In Steve Harvey’s dating book, Think Like a Man Act Like A Lady, he says don’t give up the “cookie” (his words not mine), for three months. His advice is to use that three month period to get to know the guy. It’s not about simply holding out like it’s some kind of sex lent. Girls should go into it with a spirit of “let’s see what this guy’s made of, let me see if I like him and if it’s right, after three months, we both get a reward!”.
Rules and mistakes aside, the most important thing is to trust our intuition and expect the best for ourselves, why? Because we’re awesome. All of us deserve to be with people who feel that way about us and equally, we feel like that about them. We should all want to go into a relationship where we are each other’s biggest fans not competing, where we look for ways to make each other happy, not undermine each other, where there is an ease of being, where we celebrate each other’s successes and support each other through tough times, where our closeness allows us to be vulnerable but never suffocate each other, leaving no room to grow, that we see the light in them because we see and love the light in outselves too.
Other blogs you may enjoy, well last week's one - obvs, 10 Relationship Mistakes I'll Never Make Again pt1, That's The Book of Love - a review of four dating books and Importance of Being A Queen - attracting a better quality of man