The times have changed for women in the world today. We want to “have it all”-a career, loving husband and family. Not only that but we are searching for a deeper love and connection in our relationships. It is no longer OK to settle for a marriage of convenience or a “comfortable roommmates” scenario. We want love, romance and a best friend.
Remember the revolutionary dating book “The Rules” by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider. The book was a huge breakthrough for professional woman, who wanted the big career, the success and financial freedom that came along with it AND also in their heart still yearned for their prince Charming to hold the door open for us, take out the trash and pick up the tab at dinner. The Rules liberated professional women giving us not only permission, but guidelines, to have the kind of relationship we all yearned for.
Some examples of The Rules are: “don’t meet him halfway or go dutch on a date”, “don’t call him and rarely return his calls” and “don’t expect a man to change or try to change him”. The Rules state that when you follow the Rules you learn how to be a “creature unlike any other” – confident, happy radiant.”
What did following these Rules accomplish? What do they really mean? What is it that the Rules are really trying to teach. Well lets start with what we know does not work. Being desperate, clingy, or needy does not work. Revolving your whole life around a man does not work, especially a man you have been out with one or two times.
What also does not work is to pursue a relationship with a man like he is a goal. A client of mine, Amber, is a driven, hardworking graduate student. She is dating a man she really likes, but sometimes feels exhausted by the relationship because she has to work so hard. She says he is “passive” and the relationship would never “go anywhere” if she did not take the initiative.
It is not fun being the girl who sits by the phone waiting for the guy who may or may not be into you to call. And how many of you have spent HOURS on the phone with your girlfriends analyzing any scrap of attention he may sent your way. Or justifying his behavior when he doesn’t call or only can find time to see you on Thursday after work and before football with his buddies. Translation- he’s just not that into you. Sound familiar? Most women at some point in their lives have been there, done that, agonizing over a guy who does not like you as much as you like him.
“It’s very tempting when you really want to be with someone to settle for much, much less — even a vague pathetic facsimile of less — than you would have ever imagined. Remember always what you set out to get and please don’t settle for less. These guys exist because there are a lot of women out there who allow them to.”
So what is the solution to this problem? Can you return his phone call the next day and still have a loving caring relationship? The answer is YES! The solution is standards. Set standards for yourself and how you expect to be treated in a relationship. And then do not settle for anything less. Do not allow yourself to be treated as anything less than as the beautiful, interesting, intelligent woman that you are.
Here are some tips for setting your standards:
- Don’t manipulate, nag or beg to try to get him to do what you want him to do. Ask directly for what you want and if he is not willing to work with you- let him go.
- Take your time getting to know him, you will never lose anything worth having by taking it slow.
- Don’t try to turn him into someone you want to be with, What you see is what you get, people grow but they don’t change.
- Get a life! Find your own fulfillment, cultivate your interests, and develop the talents God gave you.
- Know your mandatory requirements for a partner and do NOT settle for less.
- Commit to your own growth No Matter What. You will be gorgeous radiant and sexy AND able to return phone calls!
- Trust yourself not to allow someone to disrespect you because you respect yourself!
- Don’t be afraid to move on if it is not working! If you are living a vital and fulfilling life it is only a matter of time before you meet Mr. Right, not Mr. Alright!
So how do independent women fall into the trap of neediness, making excuses, justifying poor behavior and settling for so much less than our ideal partner? Because despite all the financial and professional success women still long for love and connection.
Always know that no matter what Your True Love IS coming. So enjoy your life in the meantime. Embrace your hobbies and interests, commit to your personal growth. When you set your standards high you have a much better chance of getting what you want than if you settle for less and hope it will work or get better in time.