Written November 6, 2011
A friend posted the 'rules for dating' in her diary, taken from a book somebody or other wrote to try to 'help' women find Mr Right instead of Mr Right Now. A lot of them seem appallingly old-fashioned to me. I'm not a 'rules' type person... but the more I stop to think about it the more I realise that yes, I have 'rules' - we all do. So what are some of mine?
- Respect yourself AND your partner. Never ask your partner to do something you're not prepared to do yourself.
- Never take your partner for granted. Remember the reasons why you fell in love with them.
- Never pretend to be someone else just to make another person happy. If they don't love you for who and what you are, they don't really love you...
- NOBODY is perfect, and that includes you. You know you're not... and if you're not perfect, why should you expect your partner to be?
- Never try to make your partner change just because something they do annoys you in some way. You love them for who they are, irritating habits and all, not for who you would like them to be in your perfect world. (People DO change with time, and your partner's annoying habits may possibly disappear on their own, or eventually become endearing to you... but don't make an issue of it either way!)
- Never split the household finances down the middle and declare things 'his' and 'hers' expenses. If you are committed to the other person, it becomes OURS... if you have two salaries, that's why God created the joint bank account. (That doesn't mean that the other person has any more or less rights to the money you earn than you do. Both partners have an equal right to spend the money, and the duty to do so responsibly.)
- Don't expect married life to always be easy. It's not going to be. There's an increasing tendency for people to hit the 'exit' button as soon as things go a little awry, when building a successful lifelong marriage takes real work and commitment. It's not a case of 'magically find Mr Perfect and live happily ever after'.
- Never stay with somebody who abuses you more than once. Anything can happen once and be forgiven under the right (wrong) circumstances, but a repeat performance means there is a pattern there and it's not in your favour.
- NEVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES be the 'other woman'. If somebody is willing to cheat on the partner that they're supposed to be committed to, how long do you think it'll take them to do the same to you? You have to FULLY cut your ties to one person before you are able to commit to another. If they're finally and completely divorced, they're fair game (but see the next rule).
- NEVER get involved with a serial monogomist. One failed relationship can happen to anyone. Two can be explained away. But three, four, five...? They say it takes two to tango, and if something has 'gone wrong' that many times there's a serious problem somewhere in the person's psyche that's going to take an awful lot of work to resolve.
- There is a difference between infatuation and love. Don't be too hasty to move onto the 'next stage' of your relationship at any point. Know what you're getting yourself into! Instant infatuation is NOT LOVE. It's a serious mistake to go straight from the first (or second, or third) date to the bedroom. It takes time to really know what you're getting yourself into, and the right person is worth waiting for.
- But don't be toooooooo gunshy either. If you love somebody enough to live with them for more than 12 months straight, why aren't you moving onto the next stage and getting married? If you don't love them enough to marry them at that point, why are you still with them?
- Marriage is a serious commitment. Yes, you CAN get a divorce at any time, but that doesn't make it an easy out. The only good reasons for getting a divorce are abuse, adultery and addiction that the person refuses to admit/address.