I have a special Thoughty Thursday treat for y’all today. We’ve got Natalie Hartford in the house! I love her post, and I hope you do too.
Be sure to ring those cowbells for her down in the comments!! 🙂
Hold on to your hats and pull on your big girl panties…Jenny handed me the More Cowbell reins and I am taking over her Thoughty Thursday to dish some dating dirt.
While I am weaving words over here, Jenny is TEARING it up over at my digs so be sure to check her out! BAM!
It all started with a teeny weenie post I wrote in July on how long to make a guy wait before giving the goods. Good lord, you’d have thought I had told women everywhere to withhold sex for years.
My mere suggestion of a 4 to 8 week no-sex waiting/dating period for women looking for a long-term relationships (please take note…this seemed to be a bone of contention for some readers…I was talking about women in search of a life partner, not a bootie call) caused quite an uproar.
The post generated quite the debate in the comments section. For some, I might as well have suggested women wear penis-biting (can I say that word here???) chastity belts for at least the first five years of a relationship for all the HEAT I took. I nearly had to break out my troll/delete authority…it was touch and go for a minute or two.
ANYWAY…not to rehash…my new point! A couple weeks ago a new commenter found the post and asked me this question:
I totally appreciated where Sarah was coming from.
I don’t see anything wrong with hanging with a Mr. Potential at his house fairly early on (as long as you are sure he’s not a serial rapist…obviously) but it is good to ensure you aren’t giving the “wrong” impression…if that’s not the impression you want to give…IYKWIM.
So my suggestion to her was:
And this comes to the crux of my point.
Why are we so afraid to just be honest, upfront and shoot straight from the hip with people we are dating?
I remember hearing it from my Mom when I was a teen.
“Honey…just be yourself…”
I will admit it wasn’t until I entered my 30s that I finally understood what she meant and why it is so important. Best. Dating. Advice. Evahhh!
When hubby and I started dating, I was very upfront about who I was, what I thought, and what my values were. Fairly early on I told him that I had a 90-day no bootie rule. Yes, I ended up breaking my own rule and we consummated our relationship at around the 6-week mark but what was important was that I put it out there and he didn’t run screaming.
I am not saying on date one we should launch into a rant about our rules and boundaries in an aggressive “love me right now or get the hell out” but I do think shooting straight from the hip in an assertive, non-fear way gives us the opportunity to show Mr. Potential who we are, what we are about and what our values are from day one.
If Mr. Potential runs screaming, then he wasn’t really Mr. Potential now was he?!
Too often my single gal pals ask me if they should do this or that…if they should say this or that…or worse that they won’t tell him this or that until much later on. My answer to their questions is usually the same.
What do you WANT to do? If you want to text him and ask him why he hasn’t called in a week, go for it! What’s the worst that can happen? He bails? All it means is that he is not a fit for you.
Good riddance. There’s the door, don’t let it hit you on the way out. Bye Bye! Next!!!
Why are we sometimes so afraid to just be ourselves and show who we are? Usually the answer is that we are too afraid to lose the guy or scare him off and that just goes back to my point. If he’s a scaredy pants, wouldn’t you rather know early?!
Or…we hide our true selves out of the fear of rejection. I’ve seen too many beautiful women turn straight to the mirror when a guy bailed and ask, “What’s wrong with me? Why didn’t he like me?”
In dating, we are looking for a fit; a partner that is our match and our complement. There’s no right or wrong. If a guy isn’t a good fit for you because he’s into upside-down sex with a video camera and you cut him loose, it doesn’t mean he’s bad or should change. Quite the opposite. It just means he should continue searching for someone who IS a good fit and likes that kind of thing. Likewise for us ladies.
We can often get way too wrapped up in what we think we should be, or should say, or should do. We get hung up on what we think is “right” or sociably acceptable rather than being true and authentic about whom we are. What’s it matter if I think you “should” do or say something if it’s not a true expression of whom you are?!?!
Again, I am not talking at date #1 but if you are a few weeks in and you are the type that likes to text back and forth a lot…or spend a lot of time together…or maybe likes it a little more cool…why wouldn’t you showcase that to see if both of you are on the same page?
Why waste time trying to fit into a mold that you’re going to break apart down the road? Just be yourself.
We get swallowed up by hurt feelings or wondering what is wrong with us instead of marveling in our awesomeness and showing it off at every opportunity.
Yeah…it can suck. Dating can hurt. You can find yourself used by a douchebag. That blows. But don’t let the sometimes ugly sides of dating dissuade you from the task at hand: finding your life partner and soul mate.
Dating and falling in love ain’t for sissies. It’s hard. It means putting yourself out there and risking getting hurt. But that’s the price of admission for love. When you find someone that fits into you and your life like a glove, it’s worth it. Because you aren’t looking over your shoulder afraid of what’s going to happen when he gets to know you the real you…or exhausting yourself pretending to be someone you really aren’t.
If you want to hang at his place and watch movies but you aren’t ready to put out…just say so.
Just be yourself…
What do you think? Am I totally off my rocker with this age-old dating advice? What’s your best dating advice?
About Natalie Hartford
Natalie Hartford is an urban redneck; a cross-breed of city girl and redneck. She loves high heels, bling, all things pink and sparkly along with ball caps, 4X4ing, camping, and drinkin’ beer. She often mistakes tacky for fahbulous!
By day, she sports dress pants, button downs, and suits putting her bachelor degree in journalism to good use working in public relations. By night and weekend, she’s a pink goddess blogger divine spreading laughter, smiles, and zany word fun all over the blogosphere.
If you want more of Natalie, don’t be shy:
Visit her: http://nataliehartford.com
Talk to her: firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow her on twitter: @NatalieHartford
There’s nothing she likes more than talking (ain’t that the truth) and connecting with her peeps. Give her a shout, y’all will be BFF before ya know it!
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Natalie! It’s so fun to find you here on Jenny’s blog. I loved the original post (and your replies to all the controversial comments!), and think your advice here is spot on. If you say it up front, there’s no misconstruing of a touch, a look, etc. It’s such a shame women feel pressure to perform just to keep a guy. I wish guys were more honest, too. If all they’re looking for is a booty call, then by all means say so! Maybe the girl just wants a booty call, too and a lot of time wasted outside the bedroom could be put to better use, IYKWIM. 🙂
AMEN to that sista!!! Let’s just all be upfront and save each other the time jumping through needless hoops!! BAM! 🙂
Great advice Natalie. Putting the whole bootie call question aside though, after decades of dating, I figured out that guys were LAZY. Hanging out at your place or their place is easier than having to think up stuff to do. Forget sex. Do you want to be one of those couples who go fun places and do fun things or do you want to hang out his place? When the relationship progresses to the point where you are spending several days of the week together, every week, and engaging in a variety of group and couple experiences, hanging out at his place is great. When hanging out at his place is the sum total of the good time he wants to show you so soon in the relationship, I’d be thinking about how much I want to spend the rest of my life hanging out at his place – washing his socks, cooking dinner for him and watching TV alone while he had poker night with the guys. Wish I didn’t have so much evidence from personal experience to back me up, but start out like you want to the relationship to go. Don’t settle for TV night when what you really want is long walks in the park, drinks with a great group of people, visiting funky little art galleries, etc. Set the pace of your relationship early on and you won’t have to have an adult discussion about spending so much time in front of the tube later on.
OMG Jane…I love it!!!
I think you are spot on. And I think you are exactly in line with what I am saying. Be upfront from day 1 on what you want and what you are looking for setting the tone and stage for the relationship…then you’ll both know quite quickly if it’s a match or not!!!
Love that…start out like you want the relationship to go…OMG soooo good!!!!
First dates are like a nightmare situation to me, so much pressure. Be myself, good advice if I could ever take it 🙂
I know it can be very hard…the pressure and expectations we can put on ourselves can feel like heavy weights indeed. But practice makes perfect. I say go in like you have NOTHING to lose. Remember, so what if it doesn’t work out?!?! There’s always another one around the corner…LOL!! If you keep that in mind, it might help you to channel yourself a bit more…when you have nothing to lose, sometimes you can let caution fly to the wind…
And start small…push yourself each date to be more YOU and before you know it, your self-confidence will soar! 🙂
Thanks, Natalie. There is always another one around the corner; I must remember that 🙂
Emma, you’re so pretty! I’ll bet they’re just happy on that first date to be next to you. 🙂
Aw, thanks, Jenny. I’m just a nervous worrier by nature. Need to do a bit more yoga I think 🙂
I like Jane’s point. Early in the relationship there is so much potential to go and do and see! So much anticipation. Ay carumba! This is the time to enjoy sweet anticipation of what’s to come! It’s later – many months later – after all the running and doing and seeing that you can decide to crash In his couch and watch movies. But not yet. You can do that any night of the week! This dude needs to work it a little bit or you’ll both be packing an extra twenty pounds before Groundhog’s Day.
I loved Jane’s point too Renee….spot on!! You are right, there will be plenty of time for low key once the relationships solidifies. LOL!
Seriously. There is no where to go if you start at THE COUCH. 😉
ROFL… Good point, Renee.
AMEN Sista!!! AMEN!!! 🙂
The best advice! Just. Be. Yourself.
Speaking with the voice of experience, I hid behind a facade for years. Inner Me was not a happy person. Outer me was perky, engaging, and happy. Here’s where the sticky wicket hits on the dating front. Outer me tried to fill the unhappy void in Inner Me with the ill-conceived notion that intimacy meant acceptance and filling the void. What that filled was not the emotional void. IYKWIM.
Phew! I’m so glad those days are behind me. I am who I am [Why do I have a sudden image of Popeye?] — happy and free to be me.
I don’t disagree with your advice about not jumping into the sack immediately, Natalie. But, I (personally) wouldn’t attach a time-out (v. “in”) hard line. So long as it’s consenting adults, and safe-sex practices are employed, I’d prefer to go with the moment when the sparks fly.
Sparks don’t fly for me if I’m not intellectually and emotionally engaged with the guy in this imaginary scenario.
Again, differing opinion and certainly no disrespect for your rules of engagement. Whatever works.
Besides, when The Big Day finally arrived I’d likely wake up with a big, ugly zit on the end of my nose, (a la Big Fat Greek Wedding — pass the Windex!), or my date would be wound up with performance anxiety to the point where he’s wound down. IYKWIM.
Gloria, I know exactly where you are coming from. I too hid behind a facade for years and didn’t even really clue in…I am so grateful to finally be a peace and happy in my own skin!
Absolutely LOVE differing opinions darlin’! You know that and I totally appreciate your perspective. I think there’s a lot to be said about going with the flow as long as you are cool and comfy with it.
I think my advice primarily came from watching friends jump into the sack with Mr. Fabulous on date 1 or 2 and then fight to death and turn themselves inside and out to keep Mr. Fabulous who was pretty clearly a Mr. Douchebag after date 4 or 5. I think had said friend not banged boots, she’d have kicked his sorry ass to the curb but…after having slept with him and formed a somewhat emotional attachment she tried to keep him. Sex can sometimes cloud our judgement…I say in searching for Mr. Perfect, we need to keep our wits about us…
However…different strokes for different folks, OF COURSE! Cause ya know, there is no right or wrong way or no perfect way or formula to find Mr. Perfect…it’s all trial, error and finger crossing! LOL!
Hey, Natalie! In re “trial, error and finger crossing.”
In your advice, you might want to amend that to leg crossing. Just sayin…
I love your advice, Natalie! Spot on, girlfriend. And one of the ways I knew that I had truly found my guy was when my best friend told me, “I like him. You’re totally yourself with him.” I didn’t even subconsciously shift my personality to appeal to Mr. Right; we fit the way we were. Of course, there is a little iron-sharpens-iron that still goes on after you say the I do’s, but we’ve never had to pretend to be someone else and honesty has been a crucial part of our 20-year marriage.
LOVE it Julie and congrats on 20-years! AMAZING!
It is liberating to feel free to be yourself completely with a man and know that he loves you unconditionally…it was only then that I was able to truly experience vulnerability and earth-shattering love…ahhhhh!! 🙂
That is SO sweet, Julie! Congrats on two happy decades. 🙂
I’m fully in support of waiting. Why would you want to dive into intimacy with someone whom you didn’t even like. And sometimes it takes a few dates to figure that out. 90 days, seems extreme, I’m not sure how many guys (or gals) would do that in the modern age, but it worked for you. And it sure is a good way to tell if he’s interested in you, or just your body! Personally, I think you can tell pretty quick if you don’t like a guy. I used to dump them after one or two dates. If you can’t tell and you’re still hanging around with him, maybe you’re just trying to convince your inner self that he’s Mr. Right. And if that’s true, then it’s likely he’s Mr. Wrong.
I agree with your mom, be yourself and find someone who likes you. Why waste time on someone who doesn’t? Better to curl up with your own popcorn on your own couch and have a good time by yourself, than waste a minute on trying to be someone you are not.
(Great topic, BTW!)
Why dive into intimacy with someone whom you didn’t even like – LOVE that Jessica and so true…It does take a few dates to give someone the time to show you who they really are and vice versa….
Yeah, I think 90 days is a little extreme for most but you are right and totally got the point. It’s about finding out a little bit about each other to see if you like each other and that certainly takes some time…
I love how you whittled through them quickly. NEXT! No point trying to make a round peg fit into a square hole. And I agree, if you don’t know…YOU DO!! 🙂
HAHAHA! I love when you wrote that it’s better to curl up with your own popcorn on your own couch….SOOOOO true!!!
Thanks so much for the UBER compliment. So glad you enjoyed…
This is great advice, Natalie! I think what a lot of people are really struggling with when they date is that they are still discovering things about themselves, too – knowing what they want and don’t want, knowing what they find attractive and what’s a turn-off. Unfortunately, it can result in mixed signals and a whole lot of confusion for the other person. But each relationship, even when it doesn’t work out, is a learning experience. I learned more about myself and was better able to “be myself” with each dating relationship. Then, by the time my beloved came along (almost 24 years ago!), I really knew what I wanted and was totally ready to be myself. And look how it turned out!
Have a great weekend!
Kathy, sooooo true!!! I would say that I didn’t really start to figure out who I truly was until my 30s…it takes time and many life experience to learn and grow from. I think dating and learning from relationships is a great way to explore and solidify yourself…for sure!!!
24 years…wowzers!! CONGRATS!!!
Have a FAB weekend!!!
OMG…y’all are getting ready for your silver anniversary! That’s fantastic. 🙂
Ninety days, Natalie? Geesh, sounds like an old Johnny Cash song to me. Ninety days on bread and water, ninety days… tee hee hee
You give good sound advice, girl. Keep it coming. 🙂
Well…as you read I didn’t LAST 90 days…it was more like 6 weeks, which is like 42 days. The point was that I set a boundary that was a reflection of a personal value and I assertively communicated it without fear that hubby would run screaming…and if he had of, I would have known he wasn’t the guy for me…I think it was about me learning and expressing my values, something I had never done before…it felt so liberating!! LOL!!
Natalie said 90 days but let’s face it …who could resist Mr. AUGUST for 90 days….not Natalie that’s who.
From my perspective it was nice to see her serious about dating and finding the right person…I liked her resolve…I wasn’t looking for an easy lay/floozy!
90 days may seem excessive…its not about the length of time ….its about focusing on the person…getting to know them and examining their personality for how they fit with you.
So many time I watch our single friend dive in the sack and then over the next 60-90 days watch the “newness” fade as Mr. Perfect starts to get comfortable and show his true colors. Sometimes finding out they were ‘played’ and left feeling suckered.
Waiting simply cleans the turds out of the pool.
Great article sweetheart….so what are we doing tonight….”Beyond Dinner!” ♥ LOL!
Hubby Claus rocks my world!! I love it baby and love that you got ME from Day One! BAM!!!
Ohhhh…aren’t you brave…LOL!!!
Truly, I don’t know how anyone could resist Hubby Claus for 90 days. And you know what? She couldn’t!!
Wish I had this advice 33 years ago! I mean, we all know it (somewhere in our minds) but if a girlfriend had said, “Look, don’t do this yet.” AND “Be yourself.” my life may have been less stressful! Now, I can take this advice and move forward and use it now (not the witholding for 90 days–although it feels like we go that long w/o sometimes!) but the BE YOURSELF!
LOVE it Amy!!!
I know…I wish I had listened to my Mom when she gave me the advice when I was 15…and every day throughout my teen and young adult life. Would have saved me a lot of heart ache! But we learn it when we are ready and I hope it serves you beautifully!
Like I said, I didn’t actually end up waiting 90 days (was more like 6 weeks) but setting that boundary was important to me. More important was I was brave enough to communicate it assertively and share it as an expression of who I was and what my values were. It was more about putting my true self out there and letting the chips fall where they may. In the end, hubby respected me and my values and stuck around for more…
I say find what resonates with you and rings authentic to who you are…and then honor that with no apologies! BAM! 🙂
“Just be yourself.” Those are famous mom words right there. They rate right up there with “because I said so,” when asked a why question. Moms are great that way!
Good advice. I dated a lot between husband number 1 and husband number 2 and what worked best for me was when I stopped looking for Mr. Right. I just completely gave up, said the hell with it, and started living my life as a contented single person. That’s when he found me. Bam!
I didn’t realize that you were the blogging Dear Abby. I’ll keep that in mind for next time I need som advice.
w/a Jansen Schmidt
Gotta love Moms!! LOL!
I hear ya, happened much the same way for me Patricia. I wonder what it is about giving up and not looking that seems to light a spark in the universes ass! LOL!!
OH yes…I am multi-talented. It’s endless really. LOL!!
Natalie, this is SUCH good advice.
I have always been of the belief that honesty is the best policy. Especially in relationships.
A very dear friend of mine recently asked me some questions. She and I have a special relationship. We are about as close to soul mates as you can get without actually being together. Certain circumstances have not allowed us to be together, which is kind of heart-breaking for both of us. As such good friends, we always go to each other with questions. Her recent questions apply here.
She had been in a relationship for a few years with a guy that was a selfish ass. She was ready to get back to dating, but she wasn’t interested in serious relationships. She had been held back and controlled for so long that all she wanted to do was let her hair down and enjoy herself.
Being an amazingly beautiful, smart and talented woman, she had line of guys fighting for her attention in no time at all. After a few days, she narrowed the group down to a handful guys that she enjoyed spending time with. The guys all started to show signs of wanting to spend more and more time with her. After a few weeks, she wanted to continue spending time with each of the guys, but didn’t want them to think their relationship was monogamous. She wanted my advice.
I told her to simply tell the guys. Be up front with them. If they are more concerned about themselves, they probably won’t like the idea of her seeing other guys. If they are really interested in her and her desires, then they will be okay with it and probably try even harder to please her.
It worked. Nearly all of the guys were just fine with it. One of the guys was shocked that she would want to spend time with somebody other than him (egomaniac), so he bailed. Good ridance. Being up front was the best option.
We also talked about sex and intimacy with the guys, but I’ve already said too much here. My point is that your advice is good advice.
OMG Zack!! Love it…your advice was spot on. Honesty is the best policy. Nothing wrong with her wanting to get out and let her hair down. She knows what she wants and who she is and she took the opportunity to show her new “friends” without fear and now can relax and have EVER MORE fun knowing she doesn’t have to look over her shoulder, wonder or doubt…or lie/pretend….
This is exactly my point. We are who we are…we want what we want…whatever that is, at that time, is perfection for YOU so honor it and be authentic. Whether it’s a long-term relationship, roll in the sac, or something else all together different…if it’s what you want right now, own it…and go for it.
Life’s too short to pretend to be something we aren’t…
GREAT example…thanks so much for sharing!
I agree 100%. If we can’t be honest with ourselves as far as what we want out of a relationship, how can we expect the outcome to be anything completely satisfying?
Step 1 is being honest with yourself. What do I really want/need? Do I want a long-term relationship, a friendship, something in between, or do I want to have my world rocked for a night? It’s a question we need to answer. Step 2 is being honest with the person that we want to help fulfill that relationship want/need. If we can do that, then we have a much better chance of getting exactly what we want.
I see so many women with what I call the Runaway Bride syndrome. Their taste in music and movies change. They go from crying at the thought of having a bite of venison (Bambi), to wow, this is good stuff-just because the object of their obsession likes it. It’s like they allow themselves to be absorbed so that they’re no longer an individual, but part of the ‘love of their life.’ And then they say things like, “I don’t want to lose him,’ after six or eight weeks of dating…and I just want to shake them.
All of these things are nothing but signs of insecurity and desperation. They’re afraid to be themselves, afraid that if they don’t mold themselves into what ‘he’ wants (or what they think he wants), that they’ll be alone. And some of them never learn that it can be better to be alone and lonely than it is to pretend to be someone you’re not.
Glad you’re sharing your mom’s advice. Good stuff (and if you’ve noticed more weasel words than usual in my comment, I’m feeling really rebellious today 🙂 ).
Here’s hoping this post goes viral.
You made me smile with that last line, Kristy. And Runaway Bride syndrome is a great way to put it. Lord knows I spent some time early in life putting aside my own wants and needs for a guy’s.
I’m fairly sure we all did…at some point or another when we were younger. Thank God we learn, hmm? 🙂
Damn straight ladies…we’ve all been guilty of being a Runaway Bride…LOL!! OMG love that…I am so using it! 🙂
Wow. So glad I’m not dating. But good advice. Be strong, be yourself and don’t feel you have EVER put out when you don’t want to. 🙂
Natalie – Great advise. It worked 100 years ago and funny how it still works today. It does take some of us a couple of times before we get it right.
If at first you don’t succeed…LOL!! 🙂
Sometimes the oldest advice is the best….who knew that “moms” know what they are talking about…LOL!
Both funny and good advice here, Natalie! I’m all about the be yourself and being upfront about boundaries or lack thereof approach. I also agree with the earlier comments re: the couch date. In my experience, guys wanting to perch on the couch early on were either lazy-brained, not valuing me at a higher level or hoping it is a good old ploy to round some bases. Yes, even after a boundaries talk.
The lazy brain is in not being creative and willing to settle with the small screen for repeated dates. Boring. The lack of value is not feeling any more effort is needed– a la if she’s cool just chilling then that’s all I have to do. The bait and switch is the guy who talks the game about agreeing to take it slow then becomes octomanhands before the popcorn is gone.
My take is to stay away from sofa dates until more dates and weeks in so we can get more comfortable together and a better read on each other. I also suggest having the first chill at one’s home be for an afternoon game or brunch.
OMG Barbara…love it when you wrote “octomanhands before the popcorn is gone” ROFL!! So true, eh?! You are so right…keep the dates active and off the sofa for the first little while to see what Mr. Potential is made of. 🙂
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