Lessons in love: Patti Stanger's best relationship advice
She may not have written the Book of Love, but Patti Stanger's signature brand of brutal honesty has served as CliffsNotes to thousands of women and men for more than a decade. So who better to school us on matters of the heart than our favorite Millionaire Matchmaker? How long should you date a guy before hooking up? When's the right time to start talking about marriage? We've put together the best of Patti's pointers on relationships to spare you the late-night cram sessions... and at least some of the heartache.
No sex without monogamy.
It's one of her most infamous dating rules, along with the two-drink maximum, but after all these years, Patti's not budging on this one (trust us, we've tried to change her mind once or twice).
Before getting physical, Stanger urges couples to get to know one another without the distraction and added complication of sex. To put it boldly as Patti does best: "You spend more time getting a mortgage, buying a car, getting a house than you do letting someone inside of you. So you gotta think about the logic of that."
The payoff? Waiting helps you build a stronger bond, which in turn translates to a longer-lasting relationship. And when you decide that it's time to "go all the way," make sure you both agree that you're going to be monogamous.
Tell him what you want.
No one wants to be in a relationship for a year and then suddenly find out that while you've been daydreaming about a house in the suburbs and 2.5 kids, he's planning on the two of you jet-setting around the globe.
While you wouldn't bring up marriage and the whole nine on the first date (a huge no-no!), at some point in the first three months, you need to be certain that both of your happily-ever-afters are at least in the same book. Otherwise, you're wasting your time.
"That's the thing that we have to realize -- if you want to settle down and have children and you don't want to work because you want to be a stay-at-home mom, you have the right to ask for that," says Stanger. "And if this guy can't give you it, then next -- just next!"
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Show him you care.
Who doesn't love a little ego boost? Men are certainly no exception. And though flowers and candy may not be his thing, it's important to find little ways to express your affection.
Keep Patti's 4:1 rule in mind: "Once he takes you out four times, do something nice for him. Whether it's making him dinner, baking him cookies or whatever you can. It shows you care and that you're trying, too."
Tone down the technology.
According to Patti, texting is the equivalent of passing notes, and we're not in junior high anymore. Communication is key, and if you're compatible (another of Stanger's 3 Cs), your daily dialogue will require much more than 140 characters and the occasional emoticon. A text, email or instant message every now and then is fine, but don't rely on them too heavily.
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Remember: Pobody's nerfect!
"Most people can't find love because they're picky, they overanalyze and they find things wrong in people," Patti explains. Chances are, if you're looking for flaws, you're going to find a few.
In a healthy relationship, both partners need to be willing and able to accept that the other is going to have a couple of shortcomings. That's not to say that either of you should settle, but if you're expecting perfection -- in yourself or others -- you're setting yourself up for disappointment (read: Lonely days ahead).