10 Dating Rules I Broke And Still Got My Forever Guy

Dating stinks for women sometimes because of all the “rules.” We have to be careful about who to get intimate with and when because the timing has to be right. We can’t nag too much or get too distant or too clingy or even too ambitious. Well, balls to that. Guys love women who do all the don’ts. Mine did and here’s why:

I went makeup-free (dating included). Makeup is so not my thing. Yes, I’m decent looking. Yes, makeup can help me look ravishing. And like every other girl, I do like to dress up every now and then. However, I don’t put on makeup to look younger, hide any scars, or to get double takes. Makeup doesn’t define me or make me better than what I am, so on our first date, I went fresh-faced as a daisy. And guess what? He loved my all-natural look then and he still loves it now to the point that he sometimes wrestles my lipstick tube away…

I pigged out when I wanted to. I’m a whole-bodied woman. I’ve got curves and I like to eat. I love sushi and tempura and chocolate-coated butterscotch drops. I love a good Mississippi mud pie or even a sinful bacon burger with the works. I was never uncomfortable with my appetite or my love of many things delicious. I was never pretentious, especially in the company of awesome flavors. In fact, he now complements me for developing his palate too. Besides, the finer things in life become better in great company.

I was independent but reached but when in need. I never made rules about this. I was always my own person—I asked for help when I needed it but declined it when I knew I could carry through on my own. I wasn’t weak or strong. No one word could define me. I’m a Bohemian that way. I was me being me. Did my guy think I was sending mixed signals? Nope, he thought I was one straightforward gal! Still thinks so more than a decade down.

I concentrated on my career. As a writer in a prestigious group at the time, I needed to put in those extra hours. My guy worked for the competition, though he was in marketing. But I never let my job interfere with us and I never let our relationship get in the way of my work. There would be days I came home at four in the morning and left again at 10:00 am. Sure he complained—I mean, who wouldn’t?—but I never hid the fact that I was and still am a career-oriented gal. Things have been bumpy at times but never uncomfortable. He’s used to finding me sitting in a nook with my laptop, tapping away at odd hours of the night. He makes me a coffee or hot chocolate and drops a kiss on my head. Yes, I am lucky.

I was all for disclosure. There’s never a good time for a no-holds-barred conversation. It’s always awkward and the longer you wait; it gets harder to unpack all that baggage. Also, I didn’t like the idea to emotionally invest in someone and then confess it all, only to have it all dumped on me later. So I offloaded all the baggage I had pretty early on. I let him know that being with me would be a challenge on even the best of my days. He stayed and he’s still up to the challenge.

I called him to let him know I missed him. Women aren’t supposed to nag or to be too clingy. I wouldn’t classify myself as a “leech” but yes, there were times I needed him. I needed to see him, hear his voice or feel that skin on me, so I was never afraid to reach out. Did I irritate him? Sometimes yes, but he felt wanted and loved as well. It’s always nice to feel loved. Besides, there were times he was “clingy” too—and I loved it right back.

I let him be when he pulled away. Commitment is often a problem with many, right? My guy was no different. As much as someone loves you and wants to be with you, the final step can loom large for many. So when it came to the final step for us, he didn’t exactly balk but he wanted some time. So I let him have time. In fact, I let him be to the point that he got to know what life would be for him without me in it. I pulled away a little too—not to punish him or as twisted revenge but to give him the real picture. It worked for us; he missed me while I cried buckets. But there were things that were non-negotiable for me. Turns out, he needed to see that he too was already on the same page.

I never used sex as a lure or as a weapon. I’ve read so much about how you need to get intimate with your guy at the right time while dating, not too soon but not too late. When you’re in a relationship and it feels right, it’s right. This could be the first date or the 50th. For us, if dating sites are correct, it was too soon, but I was honest and so was he. I’ve never regretted that first incendiary moment. Sex for us has been natural and wholesome, and we’ve been in a relationship for more than a decade now. Never has intimacy been an issue or a weapon to use against each other. This also means that if a month or so goes by without us having had sex because of kids or life or work, it’s not a worry point. It’s natural to have a famine every now and then. Makes the feasting all that special.

I was honest. Bitterly honest at times. I don’t sugar coat but that doesn’t mean that I’m rude or hurtful. Still, I don’t pussyfoot around an issue that can snowball into something far uglier later. I bided my time, yes, but I was always straightforward about anything that I didn’t like or found lacking or hurtful during our dating period and even now. Sometimes he saw the light. Sometimes I saw the light and sometimes we agreed to disagree only to see the light later.

I didn’t play hard to get. Men like the chase but I’m not prey or lure or bait. I don’t need the chasing and the catching in dating. In real life, relationships don’t work on chase and give-chase premise. Sometimes he asked me out, sometimes I did. Sometimes he wanted to get hot and sweaty, other times I nearly attacked him. We fell in love, honestly and naturally, and it’s a beautiful, beautiful thing…

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