Have you ever asked yourself this question: What are my rules for dating and relationships? What are my boundaries, what must I do, and what must I have? And what will I simply not tolerate in myself or in others?
Too often I talk to women who stayed in unfulfilling relationships or have a history of dating jerky men. When I ask questions and get their story, here's what it is usually about: the man was interested so they went along. They thought that he was all they could have, they didn't want to hurt his feelings, they just wanted a man in their life…there are several reasons.
What they have in common is their lack of self reflection. Months and sometimes years went by without paying any honest attention to their own needs and desires. And to what they bring to the table as a partner.
One of my coaching clients, Tania, is a perfect example. She is 56, beautiful, successful, and wonderfully kind. She had jumped very quickly into a relationship with a man who was very controlling. It lasted 2 years. A year ago she found the strength to end it.
Tania wants to find a good man and fall in love, but her search has gone nowhere. Not surprising; she had no clarity about her qualities as a partner, what she wants and how she's going to find it. It's like she's playing a board game with a big You Win! Box at the end…but there are no rules to tell her how to get to the dang box.
That's what we do as part of my 6-step Find Hope and Find Him program; we set the rules. My 3rd step is "If I'm So Fabulous What's the Damn Problem?" Here we define what's standing in your way, what patterns need breaking, and what you will do to get past your barriers.
Then we take what you learn and create your ground rules. And here's the important part: These aren't the rules for him, girlfriend; they are for yourself.
It's about setting yourself up for dating success by creating a foundation that assures you get to that You Win! Box with grace, dignity and with a good man by your side.
The best way for me to bring this home is to show you examples of Tania's rules:
- I will take my time getting to know a man. I will not allow him to rush me into a relationship, rush me into being sexual or anything else.
- I will “be present” on dates by listening to what he says, asking questions or commenting on what I hear, and not be afraid to do so. I will be open about myself (within reason) and my interests.
- I will not allow a man to snap at me or be judgmental towards me without me calling him on his behavior.
- I will not retract into my shell if he disagrees with what I have to say or want to do. I will no longer go along to get along. I won’t disagree disagreeably but I won’t be silent either.
- I will think about whether I like him and use that conclusion to decide whether I want to see him again. I will no longer focus entirely upon whether he likes me and be insecure about him breaking up with me.
- I will not be afraid of disagreements or feel threatened by the idea that he won’t like me if I don’t do what he says or don’t agree with him.
- I will no longer be afraid if the relationship does not work out at any stage and I will feel free to end it if I don’t feel it is working for me.
There you go. Tania rocked it. Now it's your turn.
Gotta go. Be good to yourself.
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