Here is the long awaited Question and Answer blog I promised you. Thank you very much to the four Rules Girls (RGs) who submitted their questions.
Q. I recently got entangled with a man who was grieving his wife’s passing some years ago, and I thought I was helping him by becoming a friend. He was giving mixed messages – kissing me (on the lips which I DON’T do unless I’m in a relationship – and I told him that at one stage) and hugging me. He’d historically said things like I’m his ‘rock’ (NYE), and he ‘might end up staying at my house’. I started doing The Rules as best I could, but made a slight error in judgement by paying for tickets for both of us to go to a music event. I bought this in December when it felt like he was actively pursuing me. But then I started trying to abide by the rules as best I could.
So yesterday (25 Jan), we went to the event, and he tells me he has a new girlfriend!!!!! I’m confused! Is he a player? i.e. he was stringing me along until this other woman made up her mind? He’s taking her to Spain for a holiday! I’m utterly shocked and feel thoroughly confused and hurt.
Of course, it’s always difficult to explain when we write something down as it’s difficult to give all the relevant facts and remember what and what not to say. There’s loads of other factors, but for the sake of brevity…
I am 58, divorced for 8 years, single for about 4 years now (got involved with another man straight out of the divorce, who I didn’t invite to live with me etc, which ended badly).
I see a lot of information about The Rules, and they all seem to be aimed at younger people. What are the rules for older, divorced people? There are a lot of us out here, and it’s difficult enough as we all have scars from previous entanglements. We can’t afford to be choosy as there are few men out there – let alone a ‘keeper’. I tell myself I’m a good person with good values and a lot to offer, but I’m beginning to think it’s not worth trying in such a small ‘pool’.
A. Dear RG 1,
I’m so sorry to hear what happened with this guy. It’s not nice to be treated like this and in case you’re in any doubt unfortunately he’s a next!
It could be this guy’s Standard Operating Procedure or it could be that he was seeing both of you and hadn’t made his mind up. It sounds like he was enjoying the attention. Unfortunately you broke Rules with this guy and friend zoned yourself. Ellen and Sherrie (E&S) say that most women can’t be friends with men they fancy, it doesn’t work because you break Rules and it also prevents you from meeting other men. If you think you might like a guy then do TR no matter what. Unfortunately one Rule break often leads to another.
Regarding TR for women who have been divorced and / or are older. Please don’t lower your standards or break Rules because you believe there’s a ‘small pool’. With regards to divorcees I advise you look to Ellen Fein for inspiration as she is happily married to her second husband! Ellen herself is a success story in regard to this. Ellen has spoken about her journey in her seminars. There is also a seminar where E&S invite successful RGs to tell their stories (you can buy copies of their seminars on their website). E&S have helped many women after divorce and also older women who’ve never been married. Their advice is the same for older women as it is for younger women. It is always an effort to meet single guys – they tell their clients to get online and get to activities where single men will frequent. If this sounds like a lot of work then a good way to think of it is addressing your love life like a job. It’s important to have plenty of activities that you go to and to push yourself out of your comfort zone. There will be websites specifically for people in your position and plenty of activities and holidays too. You only have to do a Google search to find these things. If you’re not great on the computer then get someone to help you or get yourself on a course. In the UK for example there is the ECDL (European Computer Driving License). There are often free courses run by local services – check out your library. You could also get a Rules Coach to help you with all this. I know E&S put up online profiles and answered emails for their single friends to help them find Mr Right. If you read The Rules for Online Dating E&S give you step by step instructions for creating an online profile. Make sure to set up a profile on several dating websites. This way you’ll start matching more guys quickly. Please try not to think of yourself as damaged goods. The Rules is about letting go of past hurts and stepping out in faith. This is hard so do what you need to do to be a CUAO. If you need therapy to deal with this then go, but still go on dates as well. Just don’t treat your date like a therapist! It is hard not to feel like there is a ‘small pool’ – but having looked into it, the highest percentage of people living on their own in the UK are men aged 45-64 according to a report on statista.com: https://www.statista.com/statistics/281616/people-living-alone-in-the-united-kingdom-uk-by-age-and-gender/
The hardest part of The Rules is often meeting enough men, but this is why E&S tell us to ‘go, go, go’. You must make an effort to look for activities where single men frequent, to get online and get out very regularly. Also, to push yourself out of your comfort zone and go to a variety of events and places so you are not exposed to the same groups of people all the time.
TR are the same no matter what age you are. The only difference is that you may not want to get married again and this is fine. Or perhaps you have children, so you might want to wait longer to involve a man in your family life. Or you may want to take things extra slow and have a long engagement. But like I said please don’t lower your standards or break Rules because you think you won’t meet Mr Right. The most important thing though is that you don’t pursue a man, you are a bit of a mystery and a challenge. Guys have to ask you out and quickly. If there’s a guy and he’s not asking you out on Saturday night dates then you know where you stand. You don’t see a guy any time or relax The Rules because you’ve been divorced. He has to work to see you, he can’t just call, message and see you whenever he fancies. It’s up to you to pace the relationship.
Another source of inspiration for you is to reread Rule #40 from “The Complete Book of Rules: Time tested secrets for capturing the heart of Mr. Right” by Ellen Fein, Sherrie Schneider –
“Rule 40 Starting Over – Rules for the Mature Woman”
Q. How can I stick to the heart of the rules but better connect with the guy I’m interested in (who is likewise sweet on me and WAS the initial pursuant) but works as a cop in a severely understaffed department? Additionally, we both have school-age children from previous marriages. Being a soldier myself and having worked as military police, I can say firsthand that following to a T the rules would never be plausible because schedules CONSTANTLY change, work always run late, frequently night shifts are assigned but irregularly, and days off get cancelled. I don’t take it lightly that my guy sends me texts when he can, and I don’t think it’s cool to intentionally not reply when his days are nothing like the standard 9-5. He literally deals with matters of life and death, and the idea of him getting weekends or holidays off is laughable.
I want to avoid putting pressure on him, but the more I fall for this amazing guy, the more I find myself maybe letting too many rules go by the way side. What can I do to get back on track with the rules without becoming impossible.
Thanks so much!
A. Dear RG 2,
Since your contacting me about how to follow TR in this specific set of circumstances I’m assuming there are problems beginning to arise and that you feel these are related to Rules you have broken? I understand what you are saying about your guy and hats off to him for being such a dedicated cop. The problem is your relationship is suffering because your boyfriend’s priority is his work. Given the nature of his work and I imagine his personality as a dedicated cop this is unlikely to change. Work comes before your relationship. His family comes before your relationship. I’m not criticising him for this – I’m stating the reality of the situation. Are you prepared to live with his priorities? If you are (I know you’ve said you’re falling for this guy) then breaking TR is only going to make things worse. It’s not that you’re being difficult or inflexible, it just means that you can’t see him as much as you’d like because his schedule does change, he’s not always available. If you want to know how to follow TR with this guy its to follow them regardless and accept that he and his circumstances are not going to change. Were you following The Rules well at the start but now you’re falling for him you’ve begun to break them and make excuses for him / to break TR? In this situation you either accept him as he is and the circumstances – cancelled dates, long periods without seeing each other or you let the Rules slide and accept the consequences. Whatever you decide unfortunately you are not this guy’s first priority as he is married to his work and therefore you likely never will be his number one priority. Did his prior relationship(s) break down because of his commitment to his work? When you do follow TR, if he cancels a date then hopefully he is very apologetic and wants to make it up to you and you don’t give him a hard time. However, also bear in mind, can you be 100% certain this guy doesn’t use his work as an excuse? I know you’ve had a similar job so you feel sympathetic towards his situation but since you like this guy remember not to make excuses for him either. There are many men who live double lives with two families or affairs left, right and centre and use their demanding job and schedule as the perfect cover. Just because you wouldn’t do this doesn’t mean someone else wouldn’t. The most important time to be extra strict with The Rules is the first three months, after this you can see him more often (I’d expect you’d be exclusive by then) and be more flexible but I’d still advise abiding by The Rules because one rule break always leads to another and it’s easy to become complacent. I know you really like this guy so you have some difficult decisions ahead. Just remember that you don’t have to be impossible to get just hard to get, but you’re easy to be with. With texting back for example, you don’t not text back – you just don’t text back straight away – unless it’s a scheduling change to a date. Don’t make things easy for this guy, he has a challenging job so remember if he really likes you and is serious about you then he will enjoy the challenge of pursuing you!
Q. I have a question about how to behave during the first time a CUAO girl meets a man? Is mentioning about her parents considered as rulesy?
Just to mention something like my father is also orginally from the North of my country like him. That’s it no more 🙂
Purpose is because I think I want to share something in common between us.. (but not sure if it is normal for the first time to mentioned about parents) .
A. Dear RG 3,
I really wouldn’t bring your parents up unless he asks you about them or unless he’s invited you to meet his and you’re going to arrange for him to meet yours (but remember he must bring it up and ask you to meet his parents first). Always let him make the first move. Talking about parents is too scary for most guys – it’s a bit like mentioning the word ‘marriage’ – just don’t do it! Even if your best friend is getting married the next day. Keep conversation light and follow his lead.
Q. My question is how to keep being positive & overcome shy/awkwardness when I need to go out there & outside my comfort zone and meet the guy from online or attending single parties/speed dating? When I already trying for years and no success so our minds can be filled with ”this is not going to work again or something will happen and after all this hard work the guy wont be Mr Right again?”
How to get the right attitude after so many bad experiences that telling me its too hard?
A. Dear RG 4,
Treat TR like a job and use the principle of ‘Smart Feet’ to follow directions. TR is a thinking girls guide to dating but sometimes the problem is that we think and over analyse too much instead of getting stuck in and just having a go. Instead of letting negative thoughts run riot, re-read your Rules books and think about proactive actions you can take. This could be setting up an online profile. It could be reviewing your social media accounts and removing silly photos. It could be arranging activities and places to go with other single friends.
Gather success stories for inspiration – this could be from TR books, social media, magazines, family members, friends. Keep a list in your journal to refer to when you need inspiration.
What drew you to TR in the first place? Write out a list of reasons for why you chose to follow TR in the first place. Also write this in your journal and it will be another source of inspiration when your resolve is low.
Read my recent blog on Gratitude and Being a CUAO which explains how to practice gratitude and how we attract good things into our lives when we become aware and grateful for what we already have.
Have you considered working with a Rules Coach? Coaching quickly deepens your understanding of The Rules. It not only gives you the edge it sets you up for success by helping you to understand the fundamentals, often offering you a new paradigm and perspective. I offer a 100% money back guarantee if you are not satisfied with coaching with me.
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