The last installment of this series. If you missed them, here are Part I, Part II and Part III.
#9: Don’t have sex until you’re in a committed relationship.
Please don’t misinterpret this as my taking the women’s movement back 50 years. I’m not trying to restrict anyone’s sexuality. If you want to be Samantha Jones from Sex and the City, far be it from me to stop you! But don’t expect it to land you anything meaningful or long-term. Just like Sam, the best you can expect from sleeping around are many short and superficial relationships that end as quickly as they started. Our culture still holds a double standard when it comes to sex and you’ll be hard pressed to find a man who will stay by your side if you put out too soon.
I know there’s a lot of pressure to put out when dating, I’ve felt it. In fact, it turned me off from dating for such a long time. Given our present culture, a guy is more likely to think there’s something wrong with a woman if she doesn’t sleep with a man by the third or fourth date. The guys who are willing to wait tend to be more on the religious side which may not be what you’re looking for, either. It’s really hard!
Don’t give in to the pressure! If a guy can’t give you the time you need to make sure he’s the right one for you, RUN in the opposite direction. He is not the one for you. There are guys out there who will wait, and in fact, will ENJOY waiting for you because they want it to be special and meaningful, too. I know this might mean having to walk away from a lot of guys. GOOD! Maybe it will help start a new dating scene, one where all paces are respected and have room to maneuver. Weed the impatient guys out so that you can get closer to finding the right person for you.
#10: Hold on to yourself (Don’t lie to yourself).
One of the most important things I can share with my readers is the importance of not giving up your independence. I don’t mean to encourage stubbornness or make it difficult to find compromises with your partner. No relationship will survive without the ability to compromise. What I do mean is that you shouldn’t forget all the things you love to do for and by yourself.
I have spent most of my life being single. Toward the later years as a single woman, I learned to really enjoy the time I had with myself. I went to movies by myself, traveled as a single woman and treated myself to nice dinners regularly. I learned how to value myself the way I wanted to be valued by a man. But I also developed my own interests and passions that define who I am as an independent person.
Being in a relationship is about interdependence; it’s about being who you are while connecting with another person at the same time. It is not about losing yourself and forgetting the things that define who you are. Take time every week just for yourself. Go for a walking tour, catch up with your girlfriends, window shop in SoHo and do it all without your partner. Reconnect with yourself. It makes dealing with the hard parts of relationships easier because it strengthens your self-confidence no matter what anyone else might say, and that in turn will help you weather the down side of relationships and keep perspective much better.
These ten tips are guidelines I believe in strongly. They’ve worked for me and they could work for you. They also could not. Don’t take my word for it; try them out for yourself and then decide.