In the six years of having my autoimmune disease, I've learned what I need from a person in order to view them as a potential long-term partner.
Note: Let me begin by apologising to anyone hoping this article will be a humorous piece about dating mishaps. If that’s you, I’m sorry. Today’s post is actually about the five pieces of crappy dating advice everyone uses, which only serves to keep good people single. So let’s begin…
1. You should wait 3 days before calling, so as not to seem too eager.
Pardon me, what’s wrong with being eager? Sure, no one wants to date a loony who is likely to steal their underwear and wear it as a party hat, but a little enthusiasm never hurt anyone. Ok, I lie, maybe it did hurt someone. But who wants to date a sourpuss anyway?
Fact is, most rational people find it charming when they get a call the night after giving out their number. You shouldn’t be calling everyday, three times a day, while heavy breathing down the phone; but the good old ‘three day rule’ is old and should be thrown out the window, never to return again.
If someone thinks you being interested enough to call right away is a put-off, I’d say good riddance to them. That person will probably end up boring you to tears soon anyway.
*On a personal note. I had one guy call me three weeks after getting my number. No surprises I pretended to forget who he was, hoping he might one day get the lesson. My point is, in the end, no one wants a partner who plays it too cool.
2. Treat ‘em mean, keep them keen.
This flows on from my previous point. Many people worth their salt will have a ‘treat me mean, you’ll never see me again’, approach to this rule. Generally, well-adjusted people don’t want to tell their future babies that when they met the love of their life, they were a total pain in the ass to be around.
This applies to other sly behaviour. Things such as using the opposite sex to keep your partner on jealous footing.
Now the sane people out there are probably thinking, “Who does that?” But I’ve known 40-year-olds who believed the strength of their relationship relied on their ability to keep their partner ‘on their toes’. By this I mean saying things to make their partner jealous. Do that to any self-respecting person and I can promise you it won’t fly for very long. If at all.
The popular Game or PUA technique to dating will have you believe that backhanded compliments (negging) work. But then even the guys behind the movement, will admit that comments like, “Hey I like your outfit, my mother has one just like it,” will only attract a certain type. Unfortunately if you try it on a half-clued in person, you’ll likely ruin your chances forever.
And ladies, you play nice as well.
If you meet a nice man who’s interested in you, don’t treat him mean to keep him keen. In fact, just don’t treat him mean. That behaviour will only lead to bitterness. If you’re being mean because you’re not interested, let him know and be direct about it. Don’t ruin a good man for the next girl who comes along.
3. Date someone with similar interests.
No, just find someone who is open to your interests and who shares common life goals.
When I met my partner he was a meat eating, software developer, while I was a vegetarian, singing teacher/ writer. I have no idea what Cryptography Engineering is, and he’s yet to open the book of Khalil Gibran poetry I bought him over a year ago. While he’s a nerd, and I’m a scatterbrain. While he plays computer games, I read romance novels.
Since we’ve been together he’s done more travelling than he’s used to and I’ve picked up basic coding skills. Sometimes I’ll even cook him a big meaty hamburger. What we do is compromise, though neither of us would say we’ve given anything up. If anything, we’ve gained from each other’s differences.
I’ve dated men who felt emasculated at the idea of going to the ballet with me or who didn’t even want to leave the house. Though I don’t expect my boyfriend to let me paint his nails, what drew me to him was the fact that he embraced the things I’m passionate about. I never expected him to be just like me and it’s not our interests that keep us together, but our common goals and the way we treat each other.
4. If you want them bad enough, it’ll happen.
No, just no!
If you want it bad enough and they don’t want you, let it go. This goes double if they already have a girlfriend, boyfriend, husband or wife. Part of becoming an emotionally mature adult comes from learning to move on. I know. There’s nothing worse than loving someone who doesn’t love you, but life’s too short. Practice believing that love doesn’t need to be that hard.
5. You should look for ‘the spark’, if there’s no spark it’s never going to work.
We’ve all heard stories of people who claim to have felt a ‘spark’ when they first met their partner. You know, that instant feeling you’ve met ‘the one’. You’ve only known each other for a week, but it feels like you’ve known each other forever. Yeah. No. Run away. ‘Sparkiness’ at the beginning of a relationship can be a red flag that you might be dating a sociopath, narcissist or psychopath.
Now I’m not discounting anyone’s experience. Sure, the ‘spark’ thing can work, but I’ve seen many more exceptions to the rule, as well as watched a lot of people waste a lot of time looking for ‘the spark’. It took a long time to figure out the ‘spark’ didn’t work for me, but when I did, I reaped the benefits and started giving people I wouldn’t normally date go.
The truth is the best relationships take time. It’s boring, but it’s true. Time helps you figure each other out. Time gives you the chance to get to know someone who isn’t your usual ‘type’. This harks back to my earlier point about only dating people with similar interests. You just never know who you’ll get along with, until you try.
If you date only for that sense of familiarity, you’re likely limiting your own personal growth and missing out on a whole world of interesting people.
In my opinion, love isn’t a game of rules and tricks. If you like someone, let him or her know. If they aren’t open to it, move on. And while you’re doing that, leave a comment and let me know if you know any other dating advice that keeps good people single.
Reprinted with permission from The Good Men Project. Want more?