Lessons in love

Is dating just a game or is it really possible to find your guy while having fun?

dating cartoon 521 (photo credit: MCT)
dating cartoon 521
(photo credit: MCT)
Dating is a lot like hiking; there are highs and lows, beauty and snakes to behold. The weather can change in an instant, you can get stuck in a downpour or get a sunburn. Basically, it’s unpredictable.
Wouldn’t it be nice to know that if you put on a hat and sunscreen and brought a bottle of water, you would be prepared, and the experience would be positive? Oh, and that you would walk down the mountain hand-in-hand with the person of your dreams? My friend Amanda, who is gorgeous, smart, fun and interesting, was glowing the last time we chatted. She had finally met the “one.”
This was no simple task for her. I’ve lived through her drama of dating, seen the cast of characters she has dated in action. Amanda has the craziest stories, including having men chase her around the world and telling her she was the one, only to disappoint.
After the last disastrous dating fiasco, she decided it was over. No, she was not going to swear off men, but things had to change, drastically.
Amanda had done all the right things to find Mr. Right: going to Jewish functions, signing up for JDate, getting set up and even going on missions to Israel.
When she tried, nothing worked. “Not trying” didn’t seem to work either. When Amanda was easygoing and kind, men saw it as a weakness and played games.
When she played hard-to-get, men chased her until she caught them in the palm of her hand. But it bored her because it was a game and nothing more.
Meeting your match isn’t simple, and anyone who is on the market and looking for a mensch knows that, frankly, it can be a nightmare.
SO WHAT changed, I ask Amanda? “I was so devastated after the last man I was dating played me, I decided it was time to take control,” she says. “I heard about the dating book, The Rules, and went to the bookstore to buy it.”
The Rules, written by Ellen Fine and Sherri Schneider, is a road map for successful dating leading to marriage.
Amanda explains that she studied as though for a college class. She read the book, underlined sections and went to the website for more information. She got in touch with author Schneider and set up a consultation.
“It was a life-changing conversation. It was different than talking to a friend or family; it was tough love,” she says. Fine and Schneider are interested in results. “They want to see their clients happily married in loving relationships, not dating little boys who will waste a woman’s time. We had a candid, real conversation and a few followups.
We discussed the basics of dating as they see it and they helped me get through the last relationship. They were supportive and did not make me feel foolish for having a hard time getting over it.”
Schneider explains, “Our philosophy is men love a challenge – they love to pursue.
It’s so important to let the guy make the first move. Men get bored when it is too easy, they want the girl who is the prom queen.
They want the girl they can’t get.”
She continues, “Men like women who are mysterious, who have an aloofness to them.
If you see a guy too often, you have to pull back if you want him to marry you. You can’t see him all the time; if you do, what incentive does he have to marry you?” Critics contend that playing games is not a solid foundation for a relationship, but Schneider explains, “The Rules is not about playing games, it is about helping women not waste time with time-wasters. Lots of guys will waste your time. We worked with a client who spent five days a week with her boyfriend and went on two-week trips with him all over the world. He kept telling her he would propose, but never did. We advised her to break up with him and she did. He never called her again.”
Talking to Schneider, I can understand why her clients go on to have better relationships; she’s direct and straightforward and her aim is to help women achieve their relationship goals.
She teaches women a strategy of how to behave while still being themselves. In a consultation she discusses everything from wardrobe choices to meeting a new guy, as well as patterns to break in order to be in a successful relationship with a future.
Schneider says, “Dating is not a game. It is about self-respect and boundaries. So many women are hurting and getting hurt by men. Men make plans with them lastminute, women sleep with men too soon and then men break up with women after being with them for two years. We are trying to prevent these occurrences.”
The Rules are all about self-esteem and changing behavior to increase self-esteem.
They teach women how to date in a way that they won’t get hurt and they will get the guy.
Amanda started following The Rules. She couldn’t follow every single one, but focused on the ones that she could. She understood one of the key messages in the book: putting herself first.
Amanda says, “Sherri stressed in our consultation I needed to keep getting out there and going to a variety of events where there were single people: at least three a week.
Going to events and parties can be fun, but after a while, they seem to be a colossal disappointment when you keep meeting the same people over and over. But no matter, I was going to persevere.”
“While The Rules seem hard to follow, such as waiting for the guy to make the first move, and they might seem old-fashioned, if you do it, you will see results,” Amanda smiles.
She recounts her story: “When I met my boyfriend, I remember thinking he was really good-looking. He approached me, and we chatted for a few minutes, but I had to leave to meet other friends so he asked for my card. I was traveling for work, so the next time we met was over a month later.”
Amanda explains that following Sherri’s advice made her spend more time focusing on herself and her own interests, which made her less available – and by default, more intriguing.
“We took everything slowly, and once we started dating I didn’t see him more than two or three times a week, as suggested in The Rules. I kid you not – the book said if he really liked me, he would complain and want to see me more. Bingo. They were right on target.”
After a few months of dating, he asked her to move in with him. Her response: “What for? I’m not looking for a roommate, I’m looking for a husband.”
Amanda and her boyfriend are now meeting with her rabbi. Who knows? they might be going for a walk together, not up mountains, but down the aisle.