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The dos and don'ts of wearing your heart on your sleeve

Based out of Dallas, Texas, Mary McCoy is a writer and social worker for disenfranchised women and children. She's a single mom, lover of Texas barbecue, and a die-hard fan of yoga

How to put out (your heart, that is)

We don't always practice what we preach, but ladies across America know a thing or two about wearing their hearts on their sleeves.

We talked with a few of them and they happily provided us with a few of their dating dos and don'ts.

Sometimes the best dating advice comes from other women who have been there, done that, and sat through tearful wine nights with a group of girlfriends after everything goes wrong. Each woman we interviewed insisted that consistently following her own advice would have saved her a lot of trouble through the years.

So, first — what are the don'ts of wearing your heart on your sleeve?

“I think many women today are too aggressive with men. I know some guys are shy, but I still think a man who is truly interested in you will take the measures necessary to get to know you. When a woman becomes interested in a guy, it seems like a lot of times they go overboard with texting, calling and pursuing him, and I think that can be a big turn off in the long run.”  Erica, Hawaii.

“First of all, the longer you can keep from sleeping with him, the better chance you have of keeping him around in the long term and not letting the whole thing just devolve into a physical relationship. Second, even if alcohol is a social lubricant that helps you talk more freely, keep your drinking under control while dating to avoid mistakes and confusion later. And finally, demand respect and don’t act desperate. If you feel desperate, there’s no way you’ll be able to demand the respect you deserve.” Lindsey, Texas.

“I was an expert at wearing my heart on my sleeve when I was dating, but that wasn’t always a good thing. I think a woman needs to realize that not every man is worthy of her heart, so it’s important to consider the caliber of the man you’re dating before sharing too much of it. Also, some men are very good at saying what women want to hear, so be aware of when — and if — a man is starting to manipulate you with his words, and cut him loose before sharing your heart with him.” Elizabeth, Florida.

Then how do you wear your heart on your sleeve?

“Let him call you. Let him text you. Even if you want to lead with your heart, let him take some of the courageous steps necessary to pursue you.” Erica, Hawaii.

“Put some limits on your calls and texts. For me, I have a rule of just texting once after a date but then letting him do the texting and pursuing. Letting him take the lead allows you to put in as much effort to the relationship as he is putting in, which helps to protect your heart a little bit. And again, demand that he respect you and your feelings. Putting your heart out there if he doesn’t respect your feelings is asking for trouble.” Lindsey, Texas.

“Dating should be an opportunity to get to know the man just as much as it is for him to get to know you. Ask a lot of questions and draw out his heart. Women shouldn’t be the only ones wearing their hearts on their sleeves. If you ask questions and draw him out, then there is less risk of him manipulating the situation, and you really have an opportunity to know something about who he is before revealing too much of yourself.” Elizabeth, Florida.

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