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Why Rules Aren’t Always Meant To Be Broken

In the last few years, a number of self-proclaimed “bibles for dating” claim to have discovered “simple rules” to follow in order to land a man and keep him have sold like hotcakes to the female demographic. In response, a number of self-help handbooks have been written for men to exploit “the rules” taught to women and twist them around to their own advantage. Sounds like an unholy war replete with espionage, counter-espionage, tactical manoeuvres, hostages taken, prisoners liberated and of course, one side or the other becoming the ultimate victor. There’s just one problem: isn’t the point of dating to share some of your life with someone, not deceitfully win some sort of unseen battle?
I know, I know, we didn’t start the fire. Regardless, we are in the here and now, where gender roles have been turned on their heads. We’re still clinging desperately to old ideas about men and women in the hopes of better understanding the opposite sex. The problem is times change faster than the attitudes of most people and what may be politically correct isn’t always what people realistically want. The other problem is that somewhere along the way, we have confused being the same with being equal. Without delving into a great philosophical debate, it’s pretty obvious that as much as men and women may be equal, they will never be the same. It’s kind of what seems to make the world go around. You can’t have your black without white or even the chance of developing some grey areas in between without there being some strong contrasting colours.
Admitting that men and women are different is the first step. Realizing that it is easier to understand people like us than people who are different is the second step. Not very politically correct to admit either as fact, but that’s only because we also seem to confuse acceptance and respect with understanding. I will never understand quantum theory, but I still acknowledge its existence and respect the scientific advances that have resulted from its study. So it is with man and woman and in reality each individual in this world, you may never fully understand one another, but that doesn’t mean you can’t respect and accept each other.
Let’s get back to the often-maligned rules. Dating is sometimes thought of as a game, hence the idea of there being rules. How many profiles start out by saying how the person, male or female, doesn’t like to play games? Here in lies the ruse. Saying you don’t play games is already playing the game. There is no escaping it. Your only option is to understand it a bit and then to learn to respect and accept it. As children, why do we play games? Ideally it’s not supposed to be to win, but rather it teaches us to interact with other children in a healthy and productive manner. The best players are as good at winning as they are at losing. The best daters accept rejection as well as attraction.
That is the point of the game in dating. It’s not to win or lose, but it’s supposed to facilitate social communication with a complete stranger. Having rules is merely a way to let both parties know in advance what the next move in the process should be. One reason people lose at games is they don’t know the rules them. Too many times, we don’t ask other people what they expect or reveal to them our next move since we worry that it would show our strategy. However, we risk never learning the rules and when the game ends abruptly there will be no winner. If you break all the rules you lose the game by default.

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