Duchess Digest: Following “The Rules”

By Jill Brown

“If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun.” – Katherine Hepburn

As a woman of a certain age (over 20 I’d say) you’ve heard about, possibly read and maybe even tried “The Rules” dating advice.  This was a massively popular book about fifteen plus years ago about a very basic, very rigid set of rules that apparently led to snagging the guy of your dreams. The authors and many of their followers swore they worked and many women felt they had finally discovered the equation to relationship success.

Or did they?

I’m not one for books like the rules for two major reasons. First, the implication of a book like this seems to be that we’re all women out wandering, desperate to sink our predatory coupling talons into the weakest prey. I don’t like the way that idea feels when I try it on; like cheap polyester blend on my cashmere inclined skin. And second, I don’t like the “quick fix” mentality of it. Getting into a relationship isn’t an easy one-stop-shop magic pill we should gulp down to escape the dreaded state of singledom. A relationship is a really fun, really great experience that we should all have the awesome opportunity to ease into and enjoy. I sometimes feel this overwhelming preoccupation with marriage as an end goal in and of itself is indicative of our achievement-obsessed culture. “Do YOU want to get married?” I hear you asking the Duchess. Of course! But I’m in no rush to get there and don’t feel that every moment between now and whenever that happens many, many years from now is a waste or somehow less-than the moments I’m living now. Being single is fun. Being in a relationship is fun too. Choose your magic and your poison, because there’s a little of both in either state of being.

However, I do think some rules are a great idea. Just not the ones you read from a book. I am and always will be a huge advocate of taking some time to sit down and brainstorm on what your own rules for life are going to be. Not based on religion’s rules, your parent’s rules, your political party’s rules or even books like “The Rules” but your own set of conduct to live by. I believe we’re all inherently good so it does without saying (but apparently not without typing) that these rules should of course not be malicious, but other then the intent to hurt – I say make up your own rules.

Drafting Your Own Rules or “Declaration of Inter-dependence”
One thing I suggest is coming up with your own rules by answering some important questions that you come up with (or borrow to get you started from the ones below). That way you’ll have a drafted document of your own to rule by.

  • How do I want to date?
  • What qualities are important to me in a partner (and do they extend beyond biceps and bank accounts?)?
  • What does the pace of the relationship feel like?
  • What can I and will I offer my partner?
  • What’s my strategy when things get tough?
  • How will I handle anger or misunderstandings with my partner?

When you take the time to think about how you’d like to experience and then navigate a relationship, you can recognize a great one more easily when it comes along. You’ll also have a draft of your rules to refer to – a kind of Declaration of your own Inter-dependence.

If you make the rules, then you can be sure you’ll live by them. Or at least know why you’re doing what you’re doing as you move through life on your own terms, not according to old beliefs you’ve never pondered.

Jill Brown is a Los Angeles, California-based coach and writer. She earned her Bachelors in Humanities and Sociology from USU and is a member of the National Association for Conflict Resolution and the Ladies Who Launch Network. She is the founder of “The Duchess Guide” a website dedicated to helping women become their most fabulous selves.  Her ALL NEW Home Study Course SIX WEEKS TO DATING SUCCESS is six weeks of coaching at your own pace to improve all your relationships, especially dating and is available now. For more on The Duchess Guide or Jill visit: http://theduchessguide.com/


Duchess Digest: Cinderella Was A Liar!

Duchess Digest: Five Ways to Defuse Difficulty

Duchess Digest: I Am Not Carrie Bradshaw!