Relationships are challenging.
The process of actually finding your ideal partner can be even more of an arduous process challenge. Especially when so many conflicting sources spew outlandish advice for dating.
This is why I have comprised a few anti-rules to dating. Because let's be real, at the end of the day no one really knows what the hell they're doing.
1. Who made the rules?
“Never kiss on the first date.” “Wait a x minutes before responding to a text message so not to seem too eager.” “Let him make the first move.” “Wait at least three days after your first date before following up.” “Wait (insert arbitrary amount of time here) before having sex.” “If he asks you out last minute that means his other plans fell through and you're a backup.”
We have all heard some variation of these rules.
However, I have news for you: When it comes to dating, other than, “no means no,” THERE ARE NO RULES!
This may come as a surprise but please take this as a statement of fact. Every person you encounter who tries to subscribe you to a strict methodology of dating “rules” or “etiquette” is living in the 17th century and should take several seats.
Every relationship is unique. The individuals involved are unique. Consequently, the circumstances which surround the joining of these two energies cannot abide by some fictional rule book.
To quote Tara Stiles, “Who made the rules?” Seriously though! Who made the rules? I'll tell you, YOU make your own rules. Never live your life confined in a box. If you want to call the next day after a date DO IT! If you get asked out the day of for a date, you have no plans, and you actually want to see this person then why the f*ck not?
This is 2017. #LiveYourLife
2. Discuss problems with your partner directly.
As a friend, I don't mind listening to relationship problems and offering a bit of advice, however the issue arises when it becomes an ongoing practice.
If you and your partner are in disagreement, try to keep the details of that problem between the two of you. Constantly telling any and everyone about your dates and conversations is essentially spreading and tainting the organic energy of the relationship.
When it comes to your relationship, how much does the opinion of anyone who is not your partner actually matter? The incessant stream of opinions and tidbits of advice can only steer you further away from your own feelings. No one knows your relationship better than you and your partner. Period.
If something is bothering you, address it with your partner directly. This cultivates trust between the two of you, helps you come to a conclusion regarding your issue, and saves your friends from yet another venting session.
3. Confer with friends who are in a relationship.
If you must get advice about your guy, take it from a friend who is in a happy and healthy relationship.
These individuals tend to have a firmer and more realistic grasp on what it means to be a partner. Typically, they give advice that centers around compromise, patience and understanding instead of the standard “F*ck him! YOLO!”
4. Take advice from friends who tell you what you NEED to hear versus what you want to hear.
Friends who tell you exactly what you want to hear, I'm sorry to say are no good. IF you MUST talk with friends on your relationship, seek the advice of those who are not afraid to spit that truth tea, even if it hurts.
Consult with your ride-or-dies.
Not friends who will simply coddle you and tell you that you're right. These people have your best interest at heart and will tell you when you're falling for a f*ckboy because you're dick drunk.
5. Love yourself first.
Let's first identify the difference between “needing” something versus “wanting” something. I NEED food to live. I happen to want to eat pizza and french fries.
If you NEED a partner to love and support you then you are setting yourself up for failure. Big time. Relying on another person, romantic or platonic, to care for, love and/or support you, will ultimately lead to disappointment.
This is because because A. That is completely unrealistic, B. It's is unfair to force your partner to be your emotional crutch and C. Happiness comes from within.
Relying on someone else to provide your happiness is obtuse and naïve. What will you do if that person can no longer be there for you or leaves altogether? Get your shit together, be a boss ass bitch and learn to be emotionally independent.
6. Don't stalk on social media.
As tempting as it may be, this will only serve to hurt you.
When we stalk someone on social media, we are not getting a true representation of that person because social media accounts can be tailored to present a specific "image."
In addition, the things you see will serve to catalyze the mystification of this individual. Presenting you with rose tinted glasses that inevitably color your view of them.
Leave some things to the imagination. Wouldn't you rather hear about his vacation to Bali in person rather than see it through a screen? Get off of his Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.
Why obsess over that untagged girl in his picture from nine weeks ago? Wanna know a secret to finding out more about him? Ask him yourself! In person, face to face.
Discover the details of his life through intimate conversation instead of playing Nancy Drew.
7. Avoid overthinking!
Do you spend copious amounts of time running a text message past your friends for some hidden meaning? Do you read into small actions such as turning over his cell phone face down or bringing it into the bathroom when you're together? Calm the fuck down.
You should not misinterpret his messages, words and body language. Sometimes it's best to take things for face value. If something is truly bothering you, speak up!
The old adage, “When you assume, you make an ass out of you and me” has withheld the test of time for a reason.
8. Don't rely on the stars.
I am a Pisces with a moon in Cancer and ascendant Leo, however, I do not rely on the stars to tell me if I will be compatible with my intended partner.
Who the f*ck cares if he has his third house in Aries and that won't work because your ex boyfriend's sister's best friend, who you went on a terrible date with that one time, was an Aries?
Ask yourself this: How does he make you feel? Do his actions follow his words?
Before you go calling Miss Cleo to discover some predetermined fate, try actually meeting with him in person and getting to know him prior to making a decision.
9. Listen to what you say.
Words are powerful -- especially the words we say about ourselves. Do you utter a constant stream of self deprecation? Do you go on and on lamenting your woes about how there is no one for you and you'll be #ForeverAlone? #SorryNotSorry but STFU.
Not only is it annoying as shit to hear but if you keep putting that energy into the universe then of course that will be your truth.
Ask yourself, “What would Beyoncé do? What would Oprah do?
Enough of that weak bitch shit. At the end of the day, YOU create your reality.
10. Don't be a hypocrite. Practice what you preach.
This is simple. Please do not dole out life advice or relationship tips to your friends and yet still accept that Netflix and Chill invite from that broke ass f*ckboy you met last summer.
11. Be willing to accept him as he is.
We are humans, and as such we are inevitably flawed (except for our Kween #PraiseYoncé).
It's really that simple. Expecting every new love interest to embody Prince Charming is A. Unfair to him and B. Only sets you up to be disappointed.
When we expect guys to change themselves simply to fulfill our fantasies, we are showing an inherent lack of respect for their individuality.
Allow your partner to be their unapologetic true selves. You need to accept him for who he is, not for what he does.
12. You can't shop for guys like groceries.
“I want a boyfriend who is least 6ft tall, has a 401(k), works in finance, likes fine art, doesn't look at other women, is available all the time, dresses well, reads Alexandre Dumas, buys me flowers, lives alone, eats vegan, practices martial arts, can play guitar, doesn't smoke, and is family oriented.”
It's wise to have a general list of qualities you would like your partner to embody.
However, we have to know when we are being completely unrealistic. Perfect human beings are about as common as black people with Oscars.
Character traits cannot be cherry-picked to create your dream guy.
While these magical creatures do occur naturally in the world, you must stumble upon them. Let it happen organically. Sorry boo, but you can't track a unicorn.
13. Spend time alone.
If you have issues being alone, you need to go figure that shit out. Like right now. Go out to dinner by yourself, no cell phone, no book, no external distractions, just you and your thoughts.
See a film alone. Go for a walk. Pull a WILD. Get to know who you truly are. What are your likes and dislikes? What are your quirky habits? What makes you, YOU?
If you don't enjoy spending time with yourself, how on earth do you expect anyone else to enjoy your company?
14. Don't play games.
We are no longer in the fourth grade. Emotional games are fucking stupid and a complete waste of your time. If you like him go for it.
If he starts playing games with you, making you question yourself or his feelings toward you, talk to him about it. Use your words. If this does not provide results, then #OnToTheNext.
15. Don't put all of your eggs in one basket.
Unless you and your guy have had a specific talk regarding exclusivity, do not bank on him being 100 percent loyal to you. This is real talk. At the end of the day, he's not your boyfriend and doesn't owe you shit.
Is he still swiping right on Bumble? So what?
He's living his life and you should do the same! Go out on HELLA dates. Explore the dating world for the sake of rediscovering yourself.
16. DO NOT go through his phone.
If you go looking for trouble be certain that you will find it. In addition, if you feel such a strong amount of distrust in your partner that you have to go through his phone, there is a much bigger issue at hand.
Address your concerns with your partner directly, especially if they are burdening your mind. Learn to be secure enough in your relationship, your partner and yourself that this never needs to be done.
17. Be yourself.
This may sound cliché, but that is because it has been tried and proven true.
Be your unapologetic authentic self. If the person you are dating does not like that then FUCK THEM. Plain and simple. There are over 7 BILLION people in the world so why the fuck would you try to change yourself for ONE person?
You're amazing the way you are and if those around you do not support that then it's time to find a new squad.