The longer I work in the dating industry, and the more I come to understand the dating world, unfortunately the more bad dating advice I read. Anyone can call him or herself a dating expert, and one of the reasons I was so keen to set up industry awards was to shine light on those giving real, helpful advice, when there is so much dodgy stuff out there. ‘Dating’ is a very wide net, which covers everything from websites where you can find an affair, to Pick Up Artist techniques.
One of the areas of the dating industry I’ve never felt very comfortable with is the book ‘The Rules’. I read the book some time ago, and remember being really put off by some of the stuff it said, particularly about female appearance. For reasons I will touch on in a second, I don’t have the book to hand any more (it’s in storage) but when I do dig it out, I promise to write a full review of it and explain my stance on ‘The Rules’ with some quotes.
Last year I came into contact with an expert who bases her teachings on ‘The Rules’. I have to admit I haven’t been following her work, but when something appeared yesterday on my Facebook newsfeed, I felt obliged to speak out.
The ‘expert’ had written the following:
“Co-habitation – i personally don’t understand why any smart girl would put herself in this limiting position, That’s how I see you, it limits you. He can look after himself and do his own chores. Sooo much time to play wifey once you’re married. Until then have your own life, by that I mean do whatever you want (within reason) without having to consider him. Smart girls don’t cohabit #girlpower”
The opinion immediately had my blood boiling, on a number of levels.
First, I will point out that I appreciate some people don’t live together before marriage because of religious beliefs. That’s your decision, and you have a very different motivation to the comment above. The following comments aren’t in relation to religious beliefs, because the opinion stated above isn’t citing religion as a reason not to live with someone.
1) Living with your partner does not limit you.
It’s a necessary step in a relationship, to get to know one another properly. If I’m going to commit to someone for the rest of my life, I want to know what he’s like 24/7. I don’t just want to know what he’s like on date night, I want to know what he’s like at 7am, or when the weather is awful and we can’t leave the house. I want to learn his stance on things like dividing household tasks, or doing grocery shopping. I need to know our lives, and our schedules are compatible.
2) Living with someone brings you closer.
The more someone is in your life, the closer you become. And when you live with someone, and share a bed each night, it’s inevitable that they become your best friend (or you realise why you’re not compatible at all). It’s an important part of an adult relationship.
3) Living with someone does not mean ‘playing wifey’.
It’s a living arrangement, and it’s completely up to you how you split household tasks. Even once you’re married you shouldn’t be ‘playing wifey’.
4) You have your own life regardless of whether you’re single, in a relationship or married, and regardless of whether you live with a partner! If you don’t there’s something really wrong with your relationship.
5) If you’re in a relationship, you should be considering your partner when you make decisions, whether you live together or not. If you’re in an adult relationship, and you’re not thinking about them … why aren’t you thinking about them?!
6) It all just seems like a game?! The Rules are about playing games and manipulating situations to make yourself attractive to a man. And this advice seems an extension of that theory – keep him ‘wanting more’ until he ‘puts a ring on it’. Is that really the way to conduct a relationship in 2015? Especially with someone you want to be your partner for life?!
For me this stance on living together is really damaging. We live in 2015, and unless you have religious beliefs to the contrary, moving in with your partner is an important step of an adult relationship. It’s a way to get to know each other better, and understand the dynamics of your relationship, before you legally commit to one another (if you believe in marriage).
Interestingly, the reason I can’t get to my Rules book is because it’s in storage. And the reason it’s in storage, is because I’m currently living with the Rugby Boy. I had decided not to say anything on the blog, because I moved in with him far quicker than I would have expected, purely due to circumstance. My landlady needed to move back into my flat quickly, and the easiest option was to move in with The Rugby Boy. It was a suggestion he came up with, and a decision we made together.
And when I chatted to him about the dating expert’s comment above last night, he pointed something out. In his opinion, the older you are, the quicker you might want to try living together. Because it’s an important relationship test. And if it doesn’t work out, and you are at an age where you’re thinking of settling down, and there’s a biological clock ticking, well it’s not necessarily a bad thing to work out sooner rather than later that something isn’t working out.
The irony is, I currently live in the smallest flat I’ve ever lived in, with the largest man I know. And yet whenever anyone asks how it’s going, it’s great. We get on well enough to be able to overlook the fact our bedroom is also the kitchen and the living room! And if anything, the hilarity of the situation, and the need for compromises which have arisen from it, have brought us closer together. I certainly feel like I know him better than I did a few months ago. And luckily the new sides I’m seeing are all ones I like.
Anyone can give you dating advice. In fact, anyone can give you advice full stop. The key is making sure the advice you get is right for you, and your situation. Just because someone tells you they’re an expert, don’t panic if you don’t agree with what they tell you. We’re all entitled to our own opinion. (Though interestingly, some of the opinions shared on the Facebook page, which didn’t support the dating ‘expert”s view have been mysteriously deleted overnight!!)