The Dos and Don’ts of Dating

How many times have you seen that as a title of an article on Yahoo! or MSN? If you’re single like me, I’m sure your eye has wandered over the title (and similar titles like “How to Get a Man to Notice You” or “The Secret to Successful Dating”).

I wrote a post a while back about the Self-Help section of a bookstore and how overwhelming it can be. I’ve decided in recent months though, that the internet is actually eons more overwhelming. I started just taking a poll of how many days in a row I would see a dating-themed or get-a-guy themed article on both Yahoo! and MSN and you know what? There still hasn’t been a day that’s passed where I haven’t seen one.

I’ve read some of these articles too. I won’t deny it. Whether you’re dating someone or not, I would advise against actually reading about 99% of said articles though. Not because it’s sad or pathetic to actually read (or want to read) them, but because the articles themselves are usually sad and pathetic. They’re rarely written by psychologists or anyone who actually knows anything about dating. They oftentimes take all of the cliches and stereotypes and wrap them all into one neat little 10-point list. Even worse, they usually contradict themselves. One will say to do this then the next day, a different article will say the complete opposite. About 9 times out of 10, these articles are aimed at women too, not men. I think I’ve seen a “How to Get the Girl” article maybe twice.

My point in this particular soap box rant is that it can be extremely overwhelming to date. Just the process itself can be daunting but then, even if you get out there and you get the ball rolling, there’s dating articles 101 to help you question everything you thought you knew…including yourself. I’m not saying these kinds of things don’t have a place, some of them certainly do, especially if they’re coming from a place of empowerment rather than conformity. But with the internet, comes the ability for pretty much anyone to put in their two cents on topics like dating. And when you’re dating or just met someone and you want to try navigate all of the feelings and fears that come with that, it’s natural to want to look for advice or help. It’s just unfortunate how much contradictory information is out there which usually just ends up leaving us all dazed and confused rather than helping in any way, shape, or form.

I’ve spent a lot of my life thinking about guys, trust me. From the age I could first utter the word “boy” I think I had a crush on one (Zack Morris holds the true title of my first crush however). As I’ve said before, a lot of it stems from my disability. I grew up believing that being in a relationship was the most significant way to be perceived as “normal” and like everyone else which as we all know, was something I spent most of my life striving for…until recently. So for me, reading more and more material about the subject really ends up being more detrimental than helpful.

So I’ve organized a bit of a boycott of reading any of these articles. In fact, I’ve organized a boycott of thinking about guys in general. Pun not intended as pointed out by my friend Ryan. When you’ve spent what comes out to be about 20 years of thinking about the opposite sex, you really just want to give your brain a break. That’s not to say I don’t still want a relationship or to meet someone. I genuinely do. I just don’t want to sit around, exercising all my brain power around the topic and not living my life in the process. I still want to meet someone but I want to have fun and just be me at the same time; to have my thoughts tied up in how I can be a better person and how I can be a better citizen of this world too.

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4 thoughts on “The Dos and Don’ts of Dating

  1. Love this article, Jackie! I believe and support this 100% even if I’m in a relationship, especially because I know there are so many benefits to being single and enjoying your OWN life without worrying about anyone else. Love you and keep up the awesome articles.

  2. “One will say to do this then the next day, a different article will say the complete opposite.”

    I think one of the issues with dating advice is that people come at dating from all different directions and levels of psychological health. The dating advice conflicts because different things work for different people. I’ve done a lot of studying in personality theory and I can tell you that my own relationship challenges differ greatly from those of my ex-wife, my fiancée, or any of my friends, and these differences can be described pretty plainly in these theories.

    As with so many things, I think this is a situation where someone finds something that works for them and then throws it out there, thinking it will work for everyone. One look at the average “pick-up artist” advice book or website will demonstrate just how horribly wrong that line of thinking can be.

    So here’s what worked for me: find a means to understand the self first. For me (and my fiancée) that was personality theory, specifically enneagram and Jung cognitive function theories. Now that we understand who are, what we want and what we fear, and can approach our relationship with mindfulness, we have a pretty great thing going. It’s certainly a far cry from what we had with others in the past.

    Best wishes to you. All I have to go by is your writing on this blog, but it seems to me that the person for you, when he finds you, is going to be a very lucky man.

    1. I think that’s such a great point, thank you for the comment! We are all different therefore one piece of advice that may work for one person won’t work for another. I am definitely on board with the self discovery first which has largely been what 2012 has been for me (and part of the reason for the mental boycott). Thank you again for the insight!

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