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Rule #1 for lasting love: There are no rules!

by Shakera Reid-Stewart  
6/16/2007 / Relationships

The best books written about love are the ones that provide constructive advise. There are so many different types of people, personalities, and relationships. How can there ever be set rules for lasting love? True, most men have certain character traits that make them "guys". The same can be said for women. The problem is that in today's society gender roles are quite complicated. When we're upset with a man we group them all together and say that all guys are the same. Well, if you haven't figured it out, they're not.

Let's explore some of the "rules" of dating. First of all, there's the one that says that the man should always make the first move. I have to admit that it sounds rather old fashioned in this day and age. On the other hand, I'm still working on convincing myself that it is okay to ask a guy out. I would definitely advise that one should not show their desperation by being overly aggressive. To most onlookers, as well as the guy that you're trying to win, it is usually a big turn off. Unfortunately, it makes women look sleazy as opposed to confident. What makes men look like playaz, makes us look like hoes. Now there might be several men and women who would care to have me retract these words. There are some men who will argue that they love a woman who knows what she wants and doesn't play games. After all, they don't have to read minds or worry about getting shot down.

Now, this next rule is a bit perplexing to me. "Never allow yourself to love a man more than he loves you." I've always been baffled by how you would be able to control how deeply you fall in love. Upon requesting an explanation, I was told that if you allow the man to adore you more, you would have less invested and if the relationship should go sour, you wouldn't be that broken up over it. This rule also seems to coincide with the rule that says that the worse you treat your man, the more dedicated he will be to winning you over and keeping you. As ridiculous as this may sound to some of us, there is some validity to this rule. I have to admit that I have seen it first hand. Maybe the guys see it as a challenge or maybe they think that the woman is playing hard to get, but I've seen it work. The ones of us who give 100% and stay true with low maintenance often leave these relationships with a broken heart, and the sistuhs who demand that the rent be paid, the hair and nails be done once a week, and have contingency plan B, C, and D, leave the boys panting for more. This game can only be played by truly, skilled women. Women are generally emotional by nature, and if your game isn't tight, then you will lose this game and get caught up in love and inevitably get hurt. The flip side to this is that you have your guys who don't give gold diggers the time of day. These men want independent women. So far, I have to tell you that I find that most men that I've known speak out of both sides of their mouth. Most of them crave a needy woman. Not an overly needy woman, but needy nonetheless. Once again, there are different strokes for different folks.

This last rule is one for good measure, (just in case you're not convinced). A man who is truly in love wants to be with his woman all the time. This rule was actually confirmed by a friend of mine lately. His philosophy was that when he falls in love with someone or when he is exclusively dating someone, that person becomes all the friend he needs. He figures that if you love someone, you want to spend as much time with her as possible. You become a unit and spending time together helps you to get to know each other. That person should be the most important person in your life and therefore should be priority over all else. This works for a lot of people. They meet, fall madly in love and then ditch their friends. A nicer way to put it is to put them on the back burner. We all know that when the relationship is fairly new that there is quite a bit of quality time that is expected, but as the relationship progresses and becomes more permanent, I am a firm believer that there has to be some outside outlet for each person. Those relationships would seem to be very unhealthy to me. For as long as you are with this person there will be no hanging out or no girls and guys night out. I think that time apart is needed in a relationship. Although friends can be a hindrance to relationships, on the other hand, they make good listeners and we can confide in them about our significant others.

Lesson Learned: People have their own personal beliefs about relationships. Everyone is different. How can we even think to place limitations on matters of the heart? Everything isn't black and white. We would like them to be, but emotions have gray areas. Relationships are about compromise. There can't be that many hard and fast rules. There can be standards, but love does make us do crazy things. These rules often cost us dearly if we try to live by them. We miss out on opportunities because we're worried about what society thinks. We miss out because we don't want to appear weaker. We miss out because honesty makes us vulnerable. Guess what guys? Love is vulnerability. The one you love the most has the most power to hurt you. You make a choice to trust someone with your heart. Unfortunately, you have to keep on trusting and hurting until you find the one for you.

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Shakera Reid was born in Kingston, Jamaica and raised in Miramar, Florida. Her passion in life is counseling and educating youth. Hobbies include reading, writing and watching movies. Her hope is to encourage others through her writing and to help them in their Christian walk.

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