By Susan Winter
Rule #1: There are no rules.
There are no “rules” to modern dating. When applying the rules of romance from former time periods, we force modern-day individuals to squeeze themselves into a smaller version of who they are. Our current social climate includes vast changes (including female empowerment and open sexuality), and therefore calls for new ways of being. Each needs to create a new design of their own making, and one that is in alignment with their specific goals. Roles of defined behavior cannot work in a consciously emerging world. That’s why self-awareness is key to all our outer behaviors in dating.
The more we know of ourselves, the more we can take responsibility to creatively enter partnership in a way that works for us. All attending anxiety is due to conforming to outdated standards by which we seek to apply a cardboard cutout version of love. Those rules jail us, rather than liberate us. (And they don’t necessarily get us what we want.) When we release the need to superimpose a specific code of behavior on our partner, as well as ourselves, we are free to act naturally in accordance with our true disposition. From that standpoint, our authenticity calls forth similar “others” willing to participate in life with us. Greater love and resonance has the possibility to flourish.
Rule #2: Both sexes are free to initiate connection.
Some women are comfortable in asking men out. Others aren’t. If this is a new twist for you, I recommend doing so in a way that doesn’t shout “date.” That relieves the pressure on both sides. I propose the “inclusion” technique. Let’s say you’re meeting up with friends… it’s a perfect opportunity to ask a man to join you. This low stress message says, “I’d like to get to know you.” Or, state directly, “Why don’t we get together sometime?” Whichever style you prefer, the choice to be proactive is now mutual turf.
Rule #3: Sex happens when both partners feel ready.
This is sticky ground for most modern women. Ten dates? Three dates? In a time of “no rules” everyone seems to be asking, “When’s the right time for sex?” That decision that lies within each woman and can vary greatly. The right time for sex is when the woman feels comfortable with that decision.
“Too early” is for a man’s convenience and shows a lack of listening to one’s inner guidance. The difference between a hook-up and the possibility of “more,” is in how a woman presents herself to a man. The question here isn’t timing. It’s content. I’ve interviewed couples that had sex their first night together and have long-standing marriages. Others took months to get to know each other before sex. Whatever the choice, the timing of entering sexuality must feel right to both parties, to be right.
Rule #4: Knowing ourselves makes every decision easier.
When we know “our truth” we can trust ourselves to move beyond antiquated rules and respond in an authentic fashion that suits us. We are living and dating in a precious time-period. In the absence of “rules” we’re forced to make choices from our inner knowledge. We can trust ourselves to try new behaviors and still be intact at the end of any new journey. We may just discover a better way of dating and mating that resonates for who we are in today’s world.