Battle of the Sexes: Bekah’s Rules!

I spend a LOT of time talking to people.

A lot of time.  At work, at home, online, in person, at the grocery store, at the gas station, at the trash cans, at the mailboxes, at daycare, on the phone etc…

You know those personality quiz things like the Meyer’s Briggs? I scored in the 93rd percent for “Extrovert.”

I am chatty. I am kinda nosy. I am empathetic. And, usually, I have advice. If I don’t, I will research the answer or find someone who has it.  At one point I wrote for a column that was similar to “Dear Bekah…” I love information. I love research and I love people.

I should note that I have some sort of beacon that calls people to me to tell me their life story, problems, relationship drama–all unsolicited.  I will totally talk to strangers but they also talk to me. I have the gift of gab and seem to be pretty good with people and hey, I am aspiring to be someone who does a LOT of talking with people professionally. Score.

That aside.

Can you imagine what a twentysomething woman talks the most about?

Hint. Babies/Parenting/My Kid comes in SECOND.

You got it. Relationships. Men. Women. The game called love.

In fact, just tonight I had a very in-depth conversation with a long-time friend about her boyfriend woes. I am going to tell you what I told her. “Bekah’s Relationship Guidelines” Here we go!

1. Do not date a person you want to change/fix/save or otherwise alter. It will be an exercise in immense frustration for all parties involved. Everyone deserves to be loved for who they are. YES every person (man or woman) has certain habits or characteristics that drive others positively batty. Your question should be, “Can I handle the crazy?” not “I wonder how I can mold this man into what I need him to be.” Relationships are fluid, people do change within them, that’s a normal part of it all. So if you hate smokers, don’t date one expecting to have him quit for you. Chances are, it ain’t gonna happen.

2. Men and women are different. We are wired differently. We approach the world differently. We communicate differently. (Yes, I am being purposefully general.) Do not expect that your partner is going to be on the ball with you 100% of the time. MANY women lean towards a nurturing outlook towards life. It is in our nature. MANY men lean towards a protector outlook towards life. Those are not the same things. Stop trying to make them the same. You will never succeed. Now. Nurturer + Protector can = HAPPY but it takes work to understand how you can communicate well with each other.

3. If he treats his mom/sister/female friends like crap…RED FLAG! How a man treats the women in his life is a good indicator about how he is going to treat you. Seems simple enough but I have too many friends that ended up in broken relationships/bad situations and when we were discussing it the phrase, “Yeah, he hated his mom and he was such an asshole to his sister” or something similar came up. Red. Flag.

4. Do not be afraid to say “No, thanks.” Yeah, no means no is a big one when dealing with heavier things, like sex. But many women have a hard time refusing someone anyway. If you are on a date and it just isn’t going well, don’t be afraid to end it early. Be polite. Keep it classy. But end the torture. If you don’t like him, don’t date him. You owe it yourself and him to just be honest. If you aren’t feeling it but the attraction is still there, well, make a judgement call and see but seriously, don’t date someone to avoid breaking up with them. It’s stupid.

5. Be  happy with who YOU are first. It sounds like something your mom would tell you. It IS something my mom has said but it’s still true. You do not need a boyfriend/girlfriend to be functional. You do not need someone to be “ok.” Relationships are hard work. They are fun, they are beautiful but they also are WORK. I believe that after the fun and games and flirty “no YOU hang up first” beginnings, being in relationship with someone becomes a choice. Do you want to also deal with the “Seriously? You don’t “believe” in doing laundry more than once a month? That is disgusting.” moments? They happen. Make the choice because you are happy and you find someone who also makes you happy. Don’t rely on someone else for your happiness.

6. Don’t lose your identity or isolate yourself from your friends.  You need your girls. He needs his guys. It’s 100% healthy to spend time apart. Yes, you are a unit, you are beautiful together and every time you kiss angels descend from heaven to serenade with harps and glitter. We get it. Shut up about it and enjoy some girl-time. It’s good for you. It keeps you grounded. Stop flipping out if he wants poker night/bar night/lame video game LAN party night. It’s good for him too. It keeps you both happy. Co-dependent relationships are not healthy but two independent people in relationship is a recipe for success!

7. Don’t bash your partner to other people.  This is a big one for me personally. Women, we talk about EVERYTHING. We do. There are very few things (and I cannot really think of an example) that I have not at one point talked to my girls about. Venting is healthy. Vent. But so is respecting the sanctity of a relationship. Yeah, there are struggles and there are times when you really do need to say “Oh DEAR GOD that freaking man is making me crazy and I want to hit him over the head with that &(*&^* XBOX controller.” Say it. In private. To your confidant, journal or whatever. Don’t put it all over facebook. Don’t be demeaning or humiliating. And remember the humbling reminder that, “Guess what, rockstar, you can be a royal pain in the butt too.” Focus on the positive because after all, you chose to date this person. And be real, some issues that are sensitive, and they vary by couple, they shouldn’t leave the relationship. You are dating that person, not that person with the commentary of your friends.

8. If you can’t trust him, why should he trust you? This is a double-edged sword. But trust, like respect, is often earned not freely given immediately. So many relationships start off with trust issues. I get it. We all have baggage. Some of us have former relationships that were abusive, or had cheating, or were co-dependent or whatever. We all have a story. But if you go into a relationship saying that you cannot trust that person, you need to seriously step back and examine WHY you are in the relationship to begin with. Trust is everything. It builds over time but it is HUGE. And just because you have baggage, doesn’t mean you get off scott free. Trust is a two way street. Be trustworthy.

9. FIGHT FAIR.  We all lose it on occasion. I have. I will in the future. How you fight with someone is a huge indicator of how successful you will be later on in your relationship. Do you get personal? Can your fights pass the “Is this REALLY worth it?” test? (as in, would I be willing to end my relationship over this issue? question)  Life is short. People have short fuses. Sometimes you are right, sometimes he is. Sometimes you both are, sometimes you both are wrong. Don’t waste your time on the stupid crap. Agree to disagree or laugh it off and move on to making up and getting over it. (both are fun! -_- )

10. Accept the past as the past. We all have a past. We all have exes. We have that past hurt. That past love. We all come into a relationship with our slate a little smudged. Focus on YOUR future, not his/her past. The past is the past. Keep it back there.

OK. That is all my wisdom that is fit to print tonight! Enjoy life and don’t forget to tell the people you love that you love them.  Life is better with love.


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