Mothers and daughters have a very special bond that men will simply never understand. A mother is to a daughter her guiding light, words of wisdom, and perfect example as to how a woman should behave and interact with the world around them, and when the time comes, men. And for so many of us out there, we are left without proper motherly guidance, whether that’s due to death, alcoholism or drug addiction, or them leaving, or a combination of those. No matter when that happened, it still hurts all the same, and when a girl grows up to be a woman, she may lack the guidance she should have had.
Dating without proper guidance is hard and confusing and can lead us to make a great many mistakes on the path to finding who we are and navigating the world of modern dating. My hope is that this post will reach at least one girl who is in need of proper motherly guidance, and that this may give her some much needed motherly advice, all of which I’ve personally had to learn the hard way.
Keep it Kosher
It’s no secret that alcohol and drugs alter our mind and change the way we feel. Scientifically speaking, it temporarily releases extra serotonin and dopamine in the brain, giving us those “feel good” feelings. These crazy hormones make us blind to potential dangers and make us do things that we wouldn’t normally do with sober eyes. Either way, waking up the next day in someone’s bed you were out on a casual date with, completely naked, is never a good thing. And trust me when I say, if you actually liked that guy, you can almost guarantee that he doesn’t like you anymore, at least not for anything other than sex. My best advice in this situation is to always have “your girls” there to, in a sense, chaperone you, if you know that you tend to have these behaviors. Have a plan in place that will make you have to go home alone, or go to a friend’s place after. Which brings me to my next topic…
We Think Differently
Men and women think very differently about sex! Women see it as more of a bonding experience, whether or not we choose to admit that, whereas men see it as more of a physical act that needs to happen (whether or not they care about the other person). For men, it’s a physiological need to ejaculate, and although the same can be said about women, it’s still very different. Women, for the most part, will not get aggressive if they haven’t had sex in a while, whereas some men do. For women, the release of oxytocin in the brain creates a bond *FOR HER* between her and her partner, and this is amplified when no condom is used. For men, however, they don’t experience as much oxytocin release and therefore, if they haven’t committed to being in a committed, monogamous relationship with you, they can sometimes very easily stop seeing you without any thought. For men, it’s not so emotional.
Dress it Down
You know that saying, “You’re trying too hard”? Taking six hours to get ready is exactly that – trying too hard. It’s nice to be excited about a date and everything, but guys can tell when you’ve went to extreme lengths to get ready for them. And although some of them may be flattered, most of the time, they really don’t care all that much. Save your time (and money on hair and body products) while dating around. Speaking of which….
I’ve had this problem ever since I was younger where I would settle on the first guy that I had any sort of connection with. The problem with that is, the connection fades (usually quickly), and then I’m left single, again, and sad because I thought that this one was going to last.
Date around! Don’t settle on the first guy you meet. Just like buying a car where you’re going to look at different models, date multiple men to see what you like and what you don’t like. This will help you gain your bearings and create a better understanding of yourself, what you want, and where you want to go. This may also help you steer clear of potentially dangerous or abusive situations, as you will be able to see how competition makes these guys feel in a casual setting. But…
Don’t rub it in their faces that you’re currently seeing three other men. It doesn’t matter that you’re not sleeping with any of them. How would that make you feel if a guy you were really into started talking about the other girls he was seeing right in front of you? My guess – probably not so great.
This holds true for talking about exes and previous relationships. It’s okay to talk about them, and I personally feel that we shouldn’t stigmatize them and say that we can’t talk about them, but we should be aware of what we’re saying. Instead of just bitching about your ex and what he did to you, speak about what you learned from this past relationship. This will also be a good help for you to see where you have made mistakes, and how to fix them. So, treat the guy as good as, or better than, how you would like to be treated. Which is a good lead into my next topic…
If you can’t take care of yourself, then you shouldn’t be dating at all. For your own respect, you need to be able to provide for yourself – a safe place to live, good food to eat, a stable job and friends, and some hobbies. This will help keep you a well-rounded person, and will also show your potential man that you value yourself – a huge turn on! – and also aren’t going to make your whole world about this person. You have other things you like, too!
Now, once you’re in a committed relationship and you both work together to provide these things, then yes, it’s okay that one person pays the rent (especially if there’s a large financial earnings discrepancy), and the other grabs the utilities, internet, and Netflix bill, but not until you’re both living under the same roof.
Have Fun – And Know When to Cut Ties
Having fun is the whole point of dating! If you’re not having fun with this person in the beginning, then how can you possibly have fun ten years in!? Things can’t get too serious too fast with a bunch of drama because that’s a recipe for disaster.
Knowing when to cut ties with someone is another point of expertise that is honed over many years. Some people instinctively know when to cut ties with someone, but for most people it’s much harder than that. There are lots of grey areas. It’s okay to have grey areas, but you have to know when to end something with someone. For me, knowing what I want in general is key. If I’m looking for a serious relationship, but just kind of feeling things out first, that’s okay if the person I’m dating is also just feeling things out. But, if in a couple of months I want the relationship to be that – a relationship – and the other person is still just having fun, then I have one of two options. I can either be okay with the fact that this person isn’t where I want them to be right now, and choose to continue dating them to see if it ever turns into anything, or I can cut ties. I’ve learned enough about myself over the years to know that I prefer ending things because I can’t stand the thought that this person doesn’t want to be with me. Plus, in my experience, it never ends up that this person does in fact want to be with me down the line. And from my interactions with others who have also done this, it’s pretty rare that something really good comes out of this. But everyone is different and it’s not that it can’t happen, it’s just less likely.
The other ways to know when to end things with someone is if: the relationship is not adding value to your life, you’re constantly having to help this other person and receiving very little in return, the relationship in general is one-sided, they’re hurting you or abusive (physically, emotionally, spiritually), they have an addiction problem, they alienate you from your friends/family, or they’re not working on themselves and/or expecting you to do the work for them.
Sometimes these behaviors aren’t apparent in the beginning, or you may want to rationalize for this person. For instance, “They don’t have a gambling problem; they just really like playing cards. I mean, yeah, sometimes they’re broke because they lost all of their money and I help them out on their rent, but it’s only happened a couple of times – it’s no big deal.” This may not be a big deal now, but trust me, it will later. It’s better to cut ties now, early on in the relationship when you see this red flag, than ten years down the road when you’re already really emotionally invested and possibly have kids with this person.
What have you learned throughout your dating trials and errors that you would hope others could learn from?