Following on from my last post – The Vanishing Romeo – going forward I’ll be answering some of the dating questions I get emailed in over the blog, as I think a lot of readers have the same dating questions and problems 🙂
If you have a question you’d like an opinion on, I’m by no means an expert, but I’m always happy to try to help!
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact me over Twitter @30Dates
And if you feel you can help with a problem, please chip in underneath in the Comments section.
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx
Earlier this week I got an email from a blog reader. She admitted she’d read 30 Dates from the start, and had followed me on my adventures with Henley Boy. She had watched on eagerly as he returned, and then again when I finally realised he wasn’t all that! She joked that she thought she knew better. That she’d learned from my mistakes, and was able to approach dating with a more realistic outlook.
And then she’d met a guy like no other. A guy she genuinely thought might be her ‘One’ (arguably the most destructive image to single girls the world over!) And things had whipped up like a whirlwind. With talk from both sides of moving in, and children, and marriage, all in the first few weeks of knowing eachother. And then all of a sudden, it was as if she’d been dropped out the bottom of the tornado, and he wanted nothing to do with her.
Needless to say, the blog reader was gutted.
I, for one, know how she feels. And I’ve seen countless female friends go through the same thing …
The thing is, girls and guys are very different creatures.
It’s something I realised the other night, when speaking to one of my closest male friends.
He proposed to his girlfriend before Christmas, and it was interesting hearing how different their behaviour was in the weeks following their engagement.
A month after popping the question, the bride-to-be has already selected her bridesmaids. She’s found the venue, and is planning the colours and the centre-pieces. By complete contrast, the groom-to-be still hasn’t even decided on his best man.
You see there is a huge difference between girls and boys. Us girls, are conditioned to be wives and mothers from day one. We’re handed dolls to look after, and given kitchens to prepare plastic food in. Our dollies call us ‘Mama’, and we play happy families with our friends. By contrast, boys grow up with aspirations of being racing car drivers, soldiers and builders. They’re given cars, and guns, and Lego bricks.
And yes, I realise that’s a sweeping statement and not everyone is so stereotypical growing up. But I couldn’t help smiling at a cartoon I saw recently. It was a parody of the idea that giving little boys dolls from an early age might make them gay. The caption read something like ‘Quick take it away, in case one day he becomes …. a Daddy!’
The thing is though, in reality, very few boys grow up planning their wedding, or baby names. Their stag do, maybe! But in general, boys don’t grow up thinking the same way that us girls do!
Which trust me, isn’t a bad thing!
Because spending time constantly thinking about the future, or obsessing over finding ‘The One’, isn’t healthy!
We simply need to learn how to deal with it … and deal with the fact that boys often see the things from a very different perspective!
Because, the reality of the world is that men do still want to get married and have children one day. Remember, if our fathers hadn’t, then none of us would be here! But you just have to give them some time to catch up with the idea!
As my newly-engaged male friend proves, he wants to marry his fiancee (if he didn’t, he wouldn’t have asked her!), but even having popped the question, he still hasn’t given the wedding a second thought! And if you ask him what his thoughts about her in the first few months they were dating were of, I very much doubt they were images of ‘The One’, and more focussed on how hot he found her, and what a nice girl she is!
So yes … as a girl, especially one of slightly more advanced years, it’s not uncommon to have thought about your wedding. To know who you might ask as bridesmaids, and what colour dresses they might wear. Perhaps you’ve gone to friends’ weddings, and seen things you’d love to incorporate at your own. Maybe you even have a wedding book like those girls in American teen movies!
That’s all great … but for now, you really need to keep all that stuff to yourself!
Because the one part you can’t plan just yet, is who will eventually stare back at you, as you walk up the aisle.
And if you even suggest to someone you’ve met a couple of weeks ago, or even a couple of months, that that man might be him … most sane men will run as far from that aisle, and from you, as they can!!
The problem I’m trying to illustrate here, is that women rush in!
We know our emotions well, and we can understand when something or someone clicks particularly well.
Maybe it’s that childhood conditioning – the idea that our life won’t be complete until we’ve found a husband, and made babies – maybe it’s something else, but the vast majority of my female friends appear to be programmed the same way!
A lot of my closest friends are male, and it’s really only through seeing their side of relationships, that I’ve begun to understand the contrast between girls and guys at the start of a relationship.
Yes, guys can see it too if something clicks especially well. Of course chemistry takes two, and boys aren’t blind. But they’re also more guarded with their feelings, and less likely to get swept up by the excitement of it all.
In my experience, my male friends take a lot longer to come to terms with matters of the heart.
They can appreciate when something is special and exciting, but rather than rushing headlong in, they hover at the periphery and wait a little bit. And it’s while the guy waits on the sidelines, deciding his next move, that the girls tend to overreact, and go ploughing on in, with their excited expectations of relationships, and futures, and babies ….
And inadvertently, all that excitement can screw up something with a lot of potential.
Getting caught up in the excited whirlwind, until it drops them – just like my poor blog reader.
There are countless books on the subject. And games, and theories. (Some of which I’ll look at in more detail as part of the ‘GAMES’ experiment). But in essence, they all give the same advice.
Don’t get too excited. Don’t show too much excitement. Take your time. Guard yourself. Don’t scare him off!
Which I know can be really difficult advice to follow when you’re excited about a guy, and when he seems equally taken with you.
But genuinely the best approach is to just take one day at a time!
Stop getting so excited about a potential future, that you don’t appreciate the present.
If a guy you’re attracted to wants to spend time with you, then great, make the most of it! But don’t over-analyse it, or try to force it too soon into something it’s not.
When it comes to emotions, men take a lot longer to make decisions about things than women do. The worst thing you can do is try to push someone into a decision. Because even if they go with it for a while, if the decision wasn’t right for them, it will be ten times more painful when they eventually back out.
Instead of getting swept up by the flowers, and the wedding dress, and the bridesmaids and the speeches, and all those things you’ve dreamed about over the years …. remind yourself where you are. And just enjoy it!
Because if 30 Dates has taught me anything, it’s just how much fun first and second dates can be!
I have so many married friends who have read this blog, and lived vicariously through me. And no matter how down on your love life you feel at the moment, and how desperate you might be to settle down, trust me, one day you too will look at singletons, and reminisce about the excitement of being single. Because you won’t be single forever.
So don’t rush yourself to lose your single status. And don’t try to push a guy into a relationship or situation that isn’t of his own choosing. You’re not doing yourself justice … and you’ll only set yourself up to get hurt.
Back when I was bouncing excitedly around because of Henley Boy, my adoptive aunt (who had no doubt seen me the same way three or four times over the past ten years!) turned to me, and said, with a serious look ‘Remember, you’re the prize!’.
And do you know what, she’s right!
The wedding isn’t the prize. The man at the end of the altar, or the wedding ring … they’re not the end goal.
No matter what we were told when we were little children!
We are all the prize. And we just need to find someone we see as a prize, who sees the exact same in us. Because for a relationship to work, you both need to feel like winners!
So take a step back, breathe … and take it slowly.
My Dad didn’t do relationship advice very well growing up … but he did often use the phrase ‘Slowly, slowly, catchy monkey’.
So maybe where men are concerned, we should take some advice from the man who got married and eventually made me! (After ten years chilling out with my Mum first! 😉 )
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx