Earlier this week I met a guy on OKCupid and set up a date for last night. Not much information was exchanged, we just made plans to meet. It started well enough, though when I asked him about his life, he seemed slightly exasperated with the questions. After that, it seemed to just keep getting worse as the night went on. To give you a taste, toward the end of the night, my date reached over, grabbed my breast and proclaimed, "I can't feel anything! There are no boobs here at all!" It is ridiculous, some of the things people do when they are nervous? stupid? drunk? I don't know.
My point is that dating can try your patience and make you want to quit all together. But I can't. I feel like there is too much there, too much good stuff in dating to give it up just because sometimes you get stood up or felt up or what have you. That is why, as I think I might have mentioned before, I have rules.
While some people might argue that rules keep you from living in the moment, or being present, I don't operate in the dating arena without them. They are necessary to my state of mind, emotion and spirit. Basically, they are in place so that I don't get pissed off and quit dating. I will outline them here, with an explanation, so that the true intent of the rules can be understood.
- If I am meeting someone for a first date who I have met via a dating website, and they are more than 15 minutes late and have not texted me to give me the heads up, I leave and they do not get a second chance. This rule is in place so that I do not become resentful about wasting time on a person I do not know yet. Being angry with or about someone I don't know seems like a waste, and my time is valuable. I can spend about fifteen minutes of it waiting before I start to become annoyed, and life is just too short to be annoyed by a perfect stranger. Additionally, if this is how an individual behaves before we get to know each other, and they are supposed to be bringing their A game, how is it going to be when time has passed? Once we're in it? I will look back at this first thing and think to myself, "self, you kinda saw this coming." In this situation, I will only have myself to blame because I put up with less than desirable behavior from the beginning.
- If we are dating and you cancel on me within an hour of our date three times, I write you off. It is my three strike rule. The reasons for this are much like the first, except that once you know someone, and they keep coming up with reasons to not see you, chances are they just don't want to see you bad enough and are too afraid to tell you. I view my decision as a way to help them out. I am letting them off the hook by not tolerating behavior that is communicating that I am not high enough on their list of priorities to spend time with.
- If, after a certain amount of time has gone by and you prefer to have sex with me from your back, it is time to exit the sexual relationship. Sure, we can be friends, but if you can't get off your back to interact with me, if you can't make the effort to fuck me properly, then there really isn't much there for me. This comes back to not feeling resentful. I am the kind of person who loves to please in all areas of my life, and especially in bed. If the dude can't get off his back to do the same for me, I will start to be foul-tempered. I will be cranky. As SATC's Samantha Jones once said, "Fuck me bad once, shame on you....."
- If I keep having to initiate meetings with you because you are not doing it, I will lose interest. Women like to feel wanted. I am a woman. Do the math. Reach out and ask me out once in a while. I won't say no. I know this seems a bit like I am expecting a person to read my mind, but I think it comes back to wanting to feel wanted. Everyone deserves that. If I feel like I am not wanted, I simply go somewhere that I am, and then, I am happier.
- I do not compete. If you are still entangled with someone from your past, or become entangled with someone in the present to the point that you are wondering if you have made the right decision, or you are spending less time and attention on me, I want you to do what you need to do, so I will withdraw. Competing for an individual's attention is just degrading. I am sending myself the message that I have to work harder to get the attention of someone who is supposed to be paying attention to me. I have had this happen in the past. When the situation presented itself and my boyfriend told me he was going to therapy with his ex because she was reconsidering their relationship, though he asked me to wait, I decided to withdraw and I was able to keep a friendship with this individual and my self respect remained intact.
That said, this type of thing very rarely happens. This is, in effect, the reason I have rules, so that when this stuff happens, I remember my rules and take care of myself. I also remember that the only exceptions to the rules are the ones I make for myself. I do love dating and I want to be able to date for many years to come. I know that I will be able to do that if I am happy and not putting myself in a position to be hurt.
So, think about making some rules for yourself. Relationships will be easier. Life will be easier. And dating? You will get more out of it if you make sure to put yourself in the position to be treated kindly.