"The Rules" - Do They Really Work?

"The Rules" - Do They Really Work?

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In 1995, a self-help book entitled The Rules: Time-Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right hit the market. The book promoted more than 30 rules women should follow in order to attract the men of their dreams. This advice was controversial at the time, sparking many debates about gender roles and courtship patterns. Nearly 25 years later, the book continues to be read by women around the globe. 

 

The world, and our approach to dating, has changed significantly over the past two decades. Do “The Rules” work, or are they a sexist and antiquated approach to dating? Here’s a brief look at “The Rules” and how they hold up today. 

 

What are “The Rules” About?

 

“The Rules” are essentially a traditional approach to dating. Rather than actively pursuing men, women should act in ways that entice men to court them. Some women find these guidelines to be outdated and anti-feminist; other women have argued that following “The Rules” made them feel empowered, allowing them to better control the outcomes in their romantic lives. 

 

It is often argued that “The Rules” work because they follow the natural pattern of male-female dynamics. Biologically, men are driven to hunt and pursue. Women, by taking a more deliberate and controlled approach to dating, may inspire suitors to pursue them and treat them with more respect. By slowing down the courtship process, both partners may also have more time to determine whether or not they are, indeed, well-suited for one another. 

 

On the other hand, “The Rules” certainly promote traditional roles in dating and relationships. Women are told that they shouldn’t talk to men first, approach them to dance, call them too often, or move too quickly while dating. Women are told that they should be mysterious, and should stop dating men if they don’t purchase thoughtful birthday gifts for them. To many, these guidelines seem stifling and sexist. 

 

“The Rules” Today 

 

The two authors of The Rules, Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider, admit that they aren’t professionals. The two women simply argue that following these guidelines worked for them, and that these tips have worked for others, too. 

 

Today, technology has completely transformed the world of dating. Schneider and Fein have therefore updated and adapted “The Rules” for the modern day. Women, they argue, are overusing technology in ways that may be detrimental to their romantic lives. Texting men back too quickly and too frequently may make them appear over-interested. Posting too often on social media may also make them appear too readily available, eliminating mystique from budding relationships. The authors argue, for instance, that one should have a “blackout period” from social media each weekend, not posting or messaging others between Friday night and Sunday evening. Though many of us may gawk at such guidelines, we should also remember that just decades ago, all of us were in touch with one another less frequently. Sometimes, less really can be more!

 

Whether “The Rules” are wise or simply sexist is difficult to say. For instance, not getting wasted and refusing to answer text messages after midnight may be good ways for women to protect their health and set reasonable social boundaries in an age of constant communication. On the other hand, limiting how much you speak while getting to know someone, or refusing a date simply for the sake of playing hard-to-get, may make many women feel rightfully stifled or suppressed. 

 

Establishing boundaries and demanding self-respect is certainly a part of “The Rules.” Schneider and Fein argue, however, that if you “want more from a guy, you need to give less.” For many women, talking less and texting infrequently, however, may simply be contrary to their nature. Some men, too, may be hurt and frustrated by these games. Should we even follow “The Rules?” 

 

Should I Follow “The Rules” or Date a “Rules Girl?”

 

Though “The Rules” may sound frustrating in theory, many have found that playing along with these cultural and biological guidelines actually works for them. One journalist, reflecting on “The Rules” in 2019, compared the relationship dynamics promoted by “The Rules” to those of hunters and their prey. No hunter wants to believe that his prey wants to be caught; the natural hunter-prey dynamic is arguably what works best in the dating world. Women should allow men to chase and catch them, rather than making it appear that they want to be caught. 

 

The biggest critique of “The Rules,” perhaps, is that they involve playing too many games. Being inauthentic and manipulative isn’t what will lead to trusting, happy, and long-lasting relationships. True “Rules Girls” argue that these guidelines need to be followed even when married. Keeping up a constant facade, however, is exhausting. Dating shouldn’t be reduced to tactical game-play; genuine love and connection need to be able to grow and flourish, too. 

 

In Conclusion:

 

Whether “The Rules” are an effective dating technique remains a debatable subject today. Women who feel that they become too quickly involved with others may find it liberating to use this framework as a way to attract potential mates. Other women, who enjoy being more proactive and vocal in their relationships, may find these guidelines to be frustrating and utterly unnecessary. Likewise, some men may truly enjoy “the chase,” whereas others may find themselves hurt and annoyed by having their conversations ignored and date requests blown off. 

 

Women who feel that their current dating dynamic isn’t working may want to read  The Rules and follow some of the authors’ advice. Those who feel comfortable in the way their dating life is going, however, can probably ignore these guidelines. Simply put, those who feel empowered by “The Rules” should consider following them; those who find them stifling should have no regrets in creating “rules” of their own!Do “The Rules” still hold up in the modern age? The only way to know is to try them out for yourself. If they don’t, abandon them, and find a dating technique that works for you! 

 

 

 

Photo:  © Adobe Stock / Christina Conti

Editor, 10/24/2019

Lover2Be
0 | 10/30/2019, 18:12

Hello Everyone!

I have been observing and analyzing the behaviours of men and women regarding attraction, dating and marriage for quite some time, and long before “The Rules” was written I drew a few conclusions for myself.

Pre-courtship and during the first year or two men and women actually are more intrigued by a potential or real partner who is not overly available than one who is right there, admiring them in person or overly present via communications device.

There are no big surprises here. While in theory, both genders should always be very comfortable in each other’s company, a man who endlessly fawns over a woman during the “just getting acquainted stage” runs the risk of appearing desperate and needy. He also may drive her to distraction.

But don’t feel too upset about these circumstances, men. Women who hang around too much of the time may appear desperate too. I have seen more than one budding relationship scattered to the four winds because of other’s need ”to get away”.

But there are other factors at work here too...

Personality is key. An extrovert who is in love may be much more tolerant of ceaseless conversation if it’s fun or if it bears prominent hallmarks of intelligence. However, introverts really need to be left alone for several hours a day, to recharge, think create and relax. (So don’t take a couple of days off to stare into the beautiful eyes of an introvert.)

There’s also a flip side to the introvert-extrovert paradigm. Take an extrovert to a social event, and he or she will have so much fun that you may wonder what you’re supposed to do while the chatting begins with everyone in sight.

But take an introvert to the same social event, and unless he has pre-existing friendships with others there. I guarantee that after a while, he will prefer your company to the company of others.

It’s no secret that relationships require compatibility and both recognition and respect for each other’s needs and differences, as well as a little bit of spice and mystery to keep mutual interests from flagging. The spice comes from activities and asexual relationships outside of your relationship. External activities and same gender relationships usually also increase appreciation for the love interest left behind.

But I don’t agree with everything written in The Rules. My biggest issues are these ones:

There are rules of engagement that when followed work well for men, just as much as there exist such rules for women.

However, a range of stressors or more favourable circumstances will alter the rules that apply to each person if the relationship is going to succeed and thrive. Individual differences in personality, culture and availability outside of work (and life’s other demands) are also significant when brought to bear for or against the likelihood of success in a relationship.

The reason why I disagree with “The Rules” is that they are written for women alone. There are (unwritten) rules for men too about how to delight a woman or send her packing. And there are so many variables!

geronimo16
0 | 10/26/2019, 21:22

i totally agree with some of the things said in the article