There a million reasons why my generation sucks at dating. We’re all hooking up with each other casually and confusing the titles of friends, partners, and lovers. We have so much instant access that we get bored easily and move on without putting in very much work. We can track our crushes online on a myriad of social media sites so we think we are closer to them than we actually are. We are more delusional than ever in our career pursuits (according to the Baby Boomer generation) so we are putting off long term relationships and marriage to allow ourselves to be selfishly focused.
But I think the thing that trumps all of that in our modern dating world is the fact that we have blurred the lines of gender roles. I’m not saying that we should go back to the 50’s when women had no voice and were beautifully submissive housewives, but I do think that in terms of dating there is a certain black and white blueprint that should be followed.
I am a very strong, independent female. I have no problem being in a position of power and I like to be in control of all the things in my life. That has often translated to my love life as well to disastrous results. Waiting for a man to ask me out and to call me and to pursue me seemed like a terrible idea because I had to relinquish so much control. But by being in that controlling position I was taking away all of my femininity and turning men off.
There is this book that I used to think of as The Bible called, “The Surrendered Single” by Laura Doyle that I got into when I was desperately chasing men. She completely changed all of my beliefs about dating and forced a mirror into my face that was hard to look at. I couldn’t handle the idea that I would have to wait patiently for men to approach me when I wanted to be in a relationship so badly. Why couldn’t I just make it happen myself?
For decades and decades before us that has always been the formula for how relationships worked: man pursues woman, woman responds, man and woman become an item. It’s in a man’s nature to hunt and gather. To go after what he wants. When that is taken away from him, all the magic is gone. The game is over. Why do we keep taking that away from them?!
The older us girls get the scarier it is to let go of control and let fate do the work. But how nice is it when a man wants to date you? How not nice and insecure do you feel when you are trying to control everything and make something happen that may not be there? Men are fairly simple. When they want something, they go after it. If you are doing the courting, how will you ever know how he feels about you? You will be completely unsure because he isn’t taking any action. You are doing all the work. It’s not natural for either one of you and I can guarantee you will enjoy doing it the other way more.
I have several girlfriends who I have been trying to teach this principle to. They are all in these situations where there is a guy that is interested in them and instead of sitting back and enjoying the ride, they are texting/snapchatting/gchatting these dudes and then asking them out for drinks whenever they themselves are free. None of these situations have had any longevity and when I told them why I thought that was, they all disagreed with me. “No, it was because he couldn’t handle a really strong, independent woman.” Okay. Keep telling yourself that and see where it gets you.
I went out with a guy a couple weeks ago that I was TOTALLY into and was feeling very nervous and excited about. After our first date I didn’t hear from him for a while. So I had two choices, I could either call him and ask him to go out again or I could wait and let him make the next move. I chose to wait and nothing happened. This showed me that he clearly wasn’t interested. If I had tried to set up another date I would’ve been rejected or ignored or the guy would’ve gone out with me once more and I would continue to be confused by his silence.
If the guy ain’t into it, he ain’t gonna pursue. He will let that shit die. And so if you want to keep asking this guy who isn’t pursuing you to grab drinks or dinner, you are just setting yourself up to be disappointed. I am not a therapist and I am not a professional on this subject but in ALL of my experience and the experience I’ve had second hand with my friends it will only work if we do it the old-fashioned way.
I have been single now for FIVE AND A HALF YEARS. (Just let that sink in for a second.) I have had loads of experience and have had to do A LOT of work on myself to figure out what my problem was. It also took me another two years to stop being stubborn and really shelve my former ideas and go back to exercising the way dating was meant to be.
Dating is a game. The way the game works is that there has to be something that draws a man in. If a woman is hitting a guy up on the regular in the beginning, then she has lost the game already. Anything worth having takes some work. Guys have to play the game too, but in a different way. If they are too aggressive or needy early on it can be a huge turn-off.
Think of all the girls you know who are in relationships. Are they feminine women or are they controlling man-eaters? I’m not saying there is no place in this world for strong female leaders, there is. In the professional world it is necessary. But as far as dating is concerned it is confusing the gender roles when a woman doesn’t take a backseat. The girly girls are the ones who are in a relationship. Real talk.
This is where everything gets convoluted. A lot of girls have switched into the male power role. Men nowadays are used to girls hitting them up and asking to hang out and so they aren’t having to try as hard or at all. But 7 times out of 10 (I said 9 times out of 10 but one of my male friends convinced me otherwise) the girl that they actually end up with is the one they had to pursue. Bet me.
This is not a new idea. John Gray’s book “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus” discusses women needing to be in the “receiver” role in dating. Men just want to make a woman happy. Women need to just relax and enjoy that. It seems so simple and yet we have such a hard time putting it into practice. We are not a prize to be won and guys shouldn’t have to “chase,” but if both the man and the woman are pursuing it’s confusing and it takes away all of the mystery.
Of course there are exceptions to every rule and many guys will say, “oh I think it’s a HUGE turn-on when a girl takes the reigns”. But would those same guys be comfortable with a girl asking to be exclusive, asking him to move in, asking him to marry her? Doubtful. Even with our exceptionally advanced ideas about modern dating some things should be kept traditional. I’m not saying that a woman should sit with her thumbs up her ass while her best years are spent waiting on a boy to man up and take the next step, but 7 times out of 10 (according to me, 9/10) it comes out as an ultimatum and pushes the dude further away.
I am a former tomboy and athlete and am the only girl in a family of four brothers. I have taken on a few masculine traits which I am fully aware is not what men are attracted to. Men want to be with their opposite, not their equal. Don’t be one of the boys, be the yin to their yang. Relax and enjoy being pursued!