What's Love Got to Do With It?

A Guide to Modern Love

Sister Act

Although this next rule isn’t “required”, it should be heavily considered for those who prefer generous partners:

Lesson #11: Date Men Who Have Sisters

Studies show that the more female family members a man has, the more generous and “warm” he is as a person.  Perhaps many boys grow to become protective of their sisters.  Who knows?  My observation has shown me that men who have sisters tend to be more giving as people.

Independent Woman

A wise woman once said, “You should never leave your happiness in the hands of others.”  This brings us to our next food for thought.

Lesson # 10:  Maintain Your Independence

I realize that independence means different things for different people.  Whether it’s financial, emotional, and/or social independence, you must maintain some autonomy in at least one of these areas to help ensure your happiness with or without your significant other.

As children, my sister and I watched as a philandering father came and went as he pleased and treated my mother with the utmost disrepect.  At the time, mother was entirely dependent on him on every level.  From that point on, my sister and I made a pact that neither of us would ever be financially dependent on a man.  People don’t plan for accidents, divorces, and neglect (among other life-changing perils).  Maintaining at least some independence is like having insurance–if it turns out that you never need it, fanastic.  But if and when you do, you’ll be glad you got it.

All of my male friends have confirmed this: men love women who have lives of their own.  There’s “we” time and there’s “me” time.  You must have both to sustain a healthy relationship.

Don’t Be the Cheshire Cat

A colleague and I recently had a discussion about sales strategies and he shared with me his 3-step program–preparation, execution, and disposition.  During our conversation, I couldn’t help but think, “This strategy could also apply to interpersonal relationships.”  So, here goes–business strategies translated into dating/relationship guidelines:

Lesson # 9:  Don’t Be the Cheshire Cat (Know Where You’re Going)

In the story of Alice in Wonderland, Alice comes to a fork in the road, looks up, and sees the Cheshire Cat smiling down on her.  The cat asks her where she would like to go.  “I don’t know,” says Alice.  The cat replies, “Then either road will take you there.”  The morale of the story is that you must know where you are going in life–you must know what you want in order to achieve your goals.  In other words, start with the end in mind.

When I was (much) younger, my attitude toward dating was, “I’ll give anyone a fair chance.  I’ll dive into the relationship with good intentions and everything will be just fine.”  What I didn’t know at the time was that not only was I supposed to be extra picky (in terms of selecting only marriageble men to date) but also that good intentions and hope, although wonderful and necessary in any and all relationships, were not enough to to get me to Happily Ever After.  Only when I fine-tuned my dating methods and guidelines did I then get on the right track.

Knowing what you want is a critical step toward finding Mr. Right, as well as achieving other goals in your life.  This process does not come easy and takes quite a bit of time.  To know what one wants is to also know oneself.  Part of the fun in dating is the exploration of various possibilities and scenarios while learning about yourself–all at the same time.

Puppy Love

This guideline, of course, is optional but highly recommended.  If you don’t already have one and are (physically, financially, and pyschologically) able to, get yourself a dog.  Why?  Dogs force you to get out and about.  It’s that simple.  In addition, they encourage you to be less self-centered.  Plus, they’re fantastic listeners and feet warmers.  Not only do they provide people with quality company, dogs encourage people to live healthy lives.  Studies show that dog-owners tend to live longer than those who don’t have pets.  Not a bad deal, right?

If it weren’t for Morty (my 5-year-old Shih-Tzu), I would have never met my Mr. Right.  Because of Morty, I met my friend, Kim (who was also walking her dogs at the time).  She and her husband then set me and Mr. Right up and the rest is history  :).

Although a diamond is nice, I think a dog is a girl’s true best friend.

Less Talking, More Watching

Men often say that women talk too much.  I agree.  When it comes to dating, women do talk too much.  Women must learn that when they take the time (and patience) to observe men during the early stages of relationships, this will take much of the guesswork (along with the heartache and agony) out of dating.  What’s left is dating without all the fillers and artificial ingredients.  By watching how a man behaves (rather than listening to the words he says), you can learn just about all you need to know to make an educated decision.

All in the Family

When it comes to dating, it’s best to meet your significant other’s parents (particularly father) early on in the relationship because as the saying goes, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”.

Fathers play an extremely important role in romantic relationships. How? Men learn how to be husbands from their fathers. Women learn about the type of men they want (or don’t want) from their fathers. As children, we watch and learn about male and female dynamics through our observations of mummy and daddy. Watching how dad treats mom (and other women) teaches a boy a lifetime of lessons on how to interact with the opposite sex.

When you’re meeting your sweetheart’s parents, pay close attention to how his father interacts with his mother (or to and about women in general if his mother is out of the picture due to divorce, separation, or death). Other than personal experience (i.e., divorce), a generally good predictor of a man’s attitude toward women is that of his father’s. Remember–like father, like son.

Be Happy

Before you build a successful relationship, you must be happy with yourself.  Although this site serves to be a guide for those seeking committed and meaningful relationships, it also encourages people to put things into perspective.  Yes, it would be ideal for you to find the love of your life and live happily ever after.  But keep in mind, also, that it is always better to be alone than with the wrong person.  Simply put, if the worst thing that ever happens to you is your ending up single and having only to take care of yourself, that’s a pretty good deal.

Lesson # 8:  Be Happy With and By Yourself

I say this because it is imperative for every one to be happy being by (and doing things by) herself/himself before she/he can be truly happy with another person.  Being open to true love is one thing.  Being desperate is another.  You are not desperate.  You are not seeking someone to complete you.  Rather, you are seeking someone who compliments you.

Now that we have that established, get out there and do some fishing!

Act Your Age

When it comes to love, age is just a number.  However, when it comes to dating (most of the time), age may be a critical issue.  I say this because from my observations and personal experience, the following tends to hold true:

People who are non-marriageble and/or not marriage-ready should date women and men in their early 20s. 

Why?  The reason is simple.  The parties are brought together by circumstance.  A 50-year-old man who just finalized a nasty divorce is in no position to commit to any one.  He may want companionship, but getting re-married is the furthest thing from his mind.  Similarly, a college co-ed or a recently graduated woman in her early 20s is likely to not be on a “time line” with respect to marriage.  Her primary goal at this point in her life is to build a career.  Both people, at this time, agree that marriage is not a priority for them.  And so, the meeting of the minds (and bodies).

I am and have always been a proponent for May-December relationships.  Many cultures outside the US encourage them and/or think nothing of them.  For some reason, May-December relationships still remain a taboo in this country.  The bottom line:  if more people were to engage in relationships such as the above, the supply of marriageble men (and women) would then increase and meet the demand of those seeking the same.  Think of it as a social “food chain”.  In the wild, lions prey on zebra and other mammals to keep the population “in check”.  Therefore, if everyone (marriageble and non-marriageble) were to “do their part”, there would be more balance in the dating ecosystem.

What does this mean for you?  If you are non-marriageble and/or know people who fall into this category, it might help to know and spread the word that there are ways to go about dating that encourage mutual agreement on expectations and intent.

Beauty is Skin Deep

When it comes to relationships, (external and physical) beauty is skin deep.  Period.  The fact of the matter is looks do not matter when it comes to marriage and infidelity.  That is the truth.  Physical appearances go out the window when a man decides to marry you or cheat on you.

Commonly, a man dates several women at the same time during the early stages.  The woman he marries is rarely the most physically attractive of the bunch.  This is because men, too, go through an “evaluation process” when deciding on who they are going to spend the rest of their lives with.  A family friend once said, “Men have simple tastes but complex needs.”  Physical appearances fall into the “simple tastes” category.

As for infidelity, do you ever notice that if a man cheats on his wife, he usually cheats “down”?  In other words, nine times out of ten, the appearance of the mistress falls short to that of the wife.  The JFKs of the world are rare finds.  Generally, men who cheat do so with women who are convenient to them.  Bill Clinton, Prince Charles, and Tiger Woods are just a few examples.

Here’s the moral of story.  Women need to stop obsessing over their looks and appearances and have more confidence in their own beings.  Your persona and personality are what seal the deal.  Also, the fact remains that there is someone for everyone.  We all have “types” and not all of us find the same qualities appealing.  That’s what makes life so beautiful.

Calendar Girl

There will always be exceptions and extenuating circumstances (high school or college sweethearts, family friends, etc.).  But generally, there is a one-year courtship.  Period.  If you are dating a man (and all goes well) and he does not propose in one year, throw him back in the pond.  No ifs, ands, or buts.  As mentioned in an earlier post, men know very early on whether you are “short-term only” or “long-term potential”.  My male friends have confirmed that no, most men do not require more than a year to determine whether or not they want to marry you.

What do the Taj Mahal, Mirabell Palace, and Chandor Gardens all have in common?  They were built in the name of love.  Men are capable of extraordinary feats for women they love.  It is said that a man can move mountains for the love of his life.  Therefore, it is not unreasonable for a woman to expect a proposal within one year.

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