For every girl watching “He’s Just Not That Into You”, scanning Audible.com for self-help books or making their best friend’s ear bleed with exhausting inner monologues about the boy who hasn’t responded to any texts; listen up! It’s about time we stop bullshitting ourselves and stop taking bullshit. So after years of bad dates, great dates, loves, losses and the things I don’t have the balls to say to my friends’ face, I’ve compiled some tips for girls dating in 2014. I’ve applied these to my own life, and I’ll just say I wasn’t crying or giving myself bangs this Valentine’s Day.
1. If you don’t want to be treated like an option, stop making yourself an option.
Eliminate the words “or”, “maybe” and “thoughts?” from your dating vocabulary. When you give a man options, you give him the power. Your feelings become expendable, your number becomes disposable and after time, you’re barely memorable. If you want to be taken seriously, be serious about how you want to be treated.
My friend, Caroline* was “dating” this guy for months. She would text him ‘options’, like “Would you like to meet up at This Bar or maybe grab a bite at This Burger Place?” He quite literally had her in the palm of his hand, and he knew it. Sometimes he took her up on an offer, but most of the time he opted for a better option. Oh, and spoiler alert: They never ended up as a couple.
2. Let him chase you.
The biggest dispute in the past five years has been “Is it okay to call/text/approach a guy first?” While the answer lies somewhere between ‘yes’ and ‘no’ depending on the circumstance, one thing is certain: if he can’t muster up the courage to chase you, he’ll never work up with energy to date you either.
I noticed that a string of courtships had started with me initiating the first move. I also noticed that they ended with me doing all the work in the relationship, even the task of breaking up. So let him ask you on a date, let him add you on Facebook, let him chase you. (You can drop hints, but don’t drop the ball.)
3. When he talks, listen.
So often, I will get a call from a girlfriend that goes something like this…. “Hey, he said he doesn’t want anything serious and just wants to keep things casual. Do you think he’s just scared? That he’ll fall in love with me over time?”
No, I don’t. I think that he wants to have sex, have dinner and have his freedom. All while being ‘honest’, so the moment he inevitably dumps you, he’s ‘not an asshole’ and you’re just a ‘psycho b*tch’ when you delete him on social media. Actions speak louder than words, but listen to them anyway.
4. Stop romanticizing the asshole that did the Dougie on your heart.
You can look back, but don’t forget what it looks like. A man(child) who abuses you, cheats on you or leads you on emotionally does not deserve your energy, your attention or your compassion. And he likely doesn’t want it either. Care about yourself, your happiness and the future love of your life enough to take off the rose-colored glasses, unload the baggage and move on. Do not overcomplicate the simple truth; he doesn’t love you and you deserve love.
5. Date your equal.
Opposites attract, and it’s beautiful when people from different backgrounds and social classes can let love reign over societal norms. However, there is a difference between dating an Average Joe and dating a loser. Know the difference.
If you pulse on ambition or romance, stop dating the college dropout or lazy, stiff dud. Chemistry is more than witty banter; it’s balance between goals, conversation, values, emotions and personalities. You would never pair Seth Rogen with Beyonce, so stop pairing yourself with guys that read “Dead End”.
Of course, I am still learning, loving and hurting every day in relationships. But I’ve gathered this much, and hope I can save a fellow girlfriend money on a self-help book or Swift album.