Thursday

Ditch the Rules


Photo By: addisonmagazine

Ditch the Rules

by Marie Forleo

A long, long time ago, the path from courtship to marriage was clear. Women waited for men to ask them out, allowed men to pay for every date, and breathlessly anticipated a marriage proposal.

Back then, the rules of courtship were clearly defined. There were things a woman did … and things she should NEVER do. Only a vulgar and shameless woman would pursue a man.

Many of today’s so-called “time-tested secrets” for meeting and attracting Mr. Right come from that era, an age in which men were MEN, and women were WOMEN, and gender roles kept them an arms-length apart.

Playing by those rules today isn’t just old-fashioned; it’s just plain limiting. Today, we as women have more freedom than at any other time in human history. We can work in whatever job we want, live wherever we want, and date whomever we want! Why, then, would we willingly step back under the yoke of courtship Do’s and Don’ts designed in a culture that’s long past and good riddance?

Because, in the often-confusing modern dating world, rules make us feel safe. Do’s and Don’ts can keep us from making mistakes. Dating “rules” (like ending a phone call first, or not accepting a weekend date after Wednesday) can prevent us from getting rejected.

Or can they?

If you keep yourself from doing certain things around men and make yourself do others based on FEAR that you’ll make a mistake or FEAR that he’ll reject you, then you’re setting the foundation for a relationship based on insecurity.

It’s the same error our grandmothers and great-grandmothers made so many years ago: they looked to the MEN to define whether they were in a relationship, what form it would take, and how long it would last.

As a result, the only way women were able to influence the outcome was through indirect means – such being mysterious, playing “hard to get,” and not letting on how they felt – to get what they wanted.

Today, it’s wonderful that men and women both can be so open, honest, and direct about topics that were taboo just a few generations before. But with this freedom comes power … and a great deal of confusion.

Even though the old rules were restricting, at least they gave us the confidence of familiarity. We knew what to do. We knew what the man’s role was, and we knew what the woman’s role was.

But if men and women each have an equal say in dating and relationships, then who is supposed to make the next move … and what even IS the next move?

The old dating Do’s and Don’ts simply are not flexible enough to account for the way society has changed and the diversity of cultures that exists.

That’s why I believe it is so important that we develop a new paradigm for dating and relationships that reflects who we are as modern women in a modern dating world.

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